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Yes. Evolution. 
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
Attributing the unknown to the supernatural falls under the fallacious God-of-the-Gaps argument.

A materialist assumes there is a materialist explanation for all phenomenon, even if we don't know it yet or cannot know it yet. This is the most rational position as far as I can see. Jumping to supernatural conclusions is never going to be the most parsimonious explanation (Occam's razor). Anyway, to throw up your hands and say it must be God is hardly an explanation for anything. As Thomas Hobbes says in Leviathan, the word "God" represents only what we cannot fathom. How many supernatural explanations throughout history have been rendered moot by science?


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Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:38 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
ant wrote:
You've debated nothing here. There was no claim made that was up for debate You were more antagonistic than anything.
I think it was childish and dumb of you.


I didn't say my last post was a debating point.

Maybe you'd feel better about yourself in a Bible study forum.



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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
I
Quote:
didn't say my last post was a debating point.


Thanks for clarifying that.

Quote:
Maybe you'd feel better about yourself in a Bible study forum.


:lol:

Maybe you and your family would feel better among chimps, since you all share the same moral base ;)


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Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:55 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
ant wrote:
It's a shallow view,


ant wrote:
I think it was childish and dumb of you.


ant wrote:
It's haughty.
It's bullying.
It's empty intellectualism.


People are welcome to believe that God exists and plays a hand in human events, but this is a personal position that cannot be argued rationally or logically. Such a position may be personally meaningful to you, but doesn't correspond to objective reality. I think as you feel your belief being threatened, you resort to ad hominem attacks. Perhaps there's nothing more to say at this point except to agree to disagree.


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Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:57 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
It's a shallow view,


ant wrote:
I think it was childish and dumb of you.


ant wrote:
It's haughty.
It's bullying.
It's empty intellectualism.


People are welcome to believe that God exists and plays a hand in human events, but this is a personal position that cannot be argued rationally or logically. Such a position may be personally meaningful to you, but doesn't correspond to objective reality. I think as you feel your belief being threatened, you resort to ad hominem attacks. Perhaps there's nothing more to say at this point except to agree to disagree.



human events? I don't think I've ever taken an anthropomorphic stance here. Which people are you referring to? I can't speak for them, sorry.

Quote:
but this is a personal position that cannot be argued rationally or logically.


That drum has been beat ad nauseum here.

Are you ready, to, say, logically debate the randomness of quantum mechanics and it's highly counterintuitive nature?
No one can.
I hardly think you or any else here is in a position to assert that a universal intelligence does not exist (you get the burden of proof) and argue it logically from that point forward. It's safer ground to spout "of course we cant be 100% certain, just 999999.999% certain."

I see nothing ad hominem about pointing out someone's ignorance, or gladly acknowledging their certainty that their morality is chimp-like based on the evidence. He believes that, right?


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Last edited by ant on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:11 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
ant wrote:

Quote:
but this is a personal position that cannot be argued rationally or logically.


That drum has been beat ad nauseum here.

Are you ready, to, say, logically debate the randomness of quantum mechanics and it's highly counterintuitive nature?
No one can.

I hardly think you or any else here is in a position to assert that a universal intelligence does not exist (you get the burden of proof) and argue it logically from that point forward. It's safer ground to spout "of course we cant be 100% certain, just 999999.999% certain."

I see nothing ad hominem about pointing out someone's ignorance, or gladly acknowledging their certainty that their morality is chimp-like based on the evidence.


A materialist would assume materialist explanations for the workings of the universe. In the absence of evidence, why would you assume anything else? Those who assume a "universal intelligence" are doing so only because they want to believe. There's nothing there to support a "universal intelligence." The unknown doesn't automatically get tallied up to God. It remains an unknown.

The 99.999% claim is meaningless. No one can claim to know with a percentage that which is unknown.

By the way, it makes sense that the universe is strange and counterintuitive because the kind of knowledge that comes from our scientific explorations are using instruments that go beyond our five natural senses. The nature of quantum mechanics never figured into our evolutionary adaptations to survive.


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Last edited by geo on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:26 am, edited 2 times in total.



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Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:25 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
There's nothing there to support a "universal intelligence."

What beliefs do we hold that seem irrational, but are nevertheless accepted as fact?

There actually are examples that support an inductive leap toward a designer. Your belief system (yes, you come packaged with your belief systems in place) does not acknowledge these indicators.

Quote:
The 99.999% claim is meaningless.


Agreed. His assertion that he is 9999.999% certain is in fact meaningless.
It amounts to nothing more than a feeble attempt at certainty.
You are just as uncertain of many things as I am.


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Last edited by ant on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:26 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
freakin' bug that only happens in BT on a Mac using Safari web browser.


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Last edited by geo on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:31 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
ant wrote:
There's nothing there to support a "universal intelligence."

What beliefs do we hold that seem irrational, but are nevertheless accepted as fact?

There actually are examples that support an inductive leap toward a designer. Your belief system (yes, you come packaged with your belief systems in place) does not acknowledge these indicators.


Evolution suggests a designer because only successful adaptations have survived to remain in the gene pool. We are only looking at the success which gives the illusion of design. All the prototypes and failed "designs" are no available to be examined. Dawkins addresses this in The Selfish Gene. What other designer pointers are there? I'm curious.


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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
geo wrote:
ant wrote:
There's nothing there to support a "universal intelligence."

What beliefs do we hold that seem irrational, but are nevertheless accepted as fact?

There actually are examples that support an inductive leap toward a designer. Your belief system (yes, you come packaged with your belief systems in place) does not acknowledge these indicators.


Evolution suggests a designer because only successful adaptations have survived to remain in the gene pool. We are only looking at the success which gives the illusion of design. All the prototypes and failed "designs" are no available to be examined. Dawkins addresses this in The Selfish Gene. What other designer pointers are there? I'm curious.



You haven't answered my question.
Please give it some thought.


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Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:41 am
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
"What beliefs do we hold that seem irrational, but are nevertheless accepted as fact?"

I can't think of any offhand. Love is irrational, but we know it's true in a subjective sense.


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Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:09 pm
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
geo wrote:
"What beliefs do we hold that seem irrational, but are nevertheless accepted as fact?"

I can't think of any offhand. Love is irrational, but we know it's true in a subjective sense.


Have you read "Sex at Dawn"?

http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/artic ... h-and-more

Here is an example of a study (with evidence to back it, apparently) that claims monogamy, marriage, the nuclear family, are religious, Judaeo Christian values in origin, and that the evidence indicates sexual interaction was a shared resource, much like food, child care, group defense, etc.

If this is part of our NATURE, would you support polygamous sectors of society? Or do you in this particular instance support religious values that do not support this?

Mormons are just living closer to a state of true NATURE, if you accept this view, right?
Is there in fact a moral base here that nature does not support?


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Last edited by ant on Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:54 pm
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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
ant wrote:
geo wrote:
"What beliefs do we hold that seem irrational, but are nevertheless accepted as fact?"

I can't think of any offhand. Love is irrational, but we know it's true in a subjective sense.


Have you read "Sex at Dawn"?

http://www.thedailymaverick.co.za/artic ... h-and-more

Here is an example of a study (with evidence to back it, apparently) that claims monogamy, marriage, the nuclear family, are religious, Judaeo Christian values in origin, and that the evidence indicates sexual interaction was a shared resource, much like food, child care, group defense, etc.

If this is part of our NATURE, would you support polygamous sectors of society? Or do you in this particular instance support religious values that do not support this?

Mormons are just living closer to a state of true NATURE, if you accept this view, right?
Is there in fact a moral base here that nature does not support?


Haven't read Sex At Dawn, but I have no doubt that some cultural values run counter to biological inclinations. I have heard that men in particular are not monogamous by nature. I think there's a biological instinct to spread the seed, as it were, while women are more likely to want to engage in monogamous relationships so as to ensure the survivability of offspring. Perhaps it made more sense at one time, during certain conditions, where a patriarchal and polygamous structure made sense in terms of a clan's survivability.

I think there was also a time when the nuclear family structure became culturally desirable, possibly as a result of the neolithic revolution when we gained more control of our food supply and established more sedentary societies. Under those evolving conditions we began to prize the stability of the nuclear family unit and it would have naturally become embedded in our religious beliefs. I'm not sure if you're suggesting that these beliefs are anything other than culture-based (influenced by conditions on the ground as Robert Wright puts it).

A materialistic view of changing cultural values seems to suggest a sort of moral relativism that I know is difficult to accept. But I'm not sure I would assign a moral value to polygamy, although I do find the idea to be repugnant. Infidelity is a rather destructive behavior and, yet, a large percentage of both males and females are unfaithful to their spouses. As a result, we have a high divorce rate and many children come from broken homes. I think there are many reasons why religion is becoming less relevant in our culture, but it would be difficult to argue that religion has NOT been a positive force especially in terms of social bonding and family cohesion.

I have heard about Inuit families who don't name their babies for the first year of life because there's a chance that during a harsh winter when resources are scarce that the parents may have to kill the baby. Likewise, the Inuits will kill elderly and unproductive people. I've never been able to verify these stories, but you can see how "moral" values could be seen as somewhat relativistic. I think it would be immoral to kill children and elderly if resources were plentiful. But in times of great distress, humans must do what they must to survive. Slavery is wrong today, but I also don't think we can judge our ancestors who lived under very different circumstances.

Would I support polygamous sectors of society? I'd be inclined to say no because usually it means the subjugation of women. And polygamy just doesn't make sense in modern America. When we do see it, it's usually some extremely patriarchal religious cult in Texas that uses the Bible to justify sexual discrimination. However, there are some cultures like Chechnya, where there is a shortage of young men and so it might actually be beneficial to the women to allow polygamy. Likewise, the reverse might be true, a great shortage of women might lead to matriarchal polygamous families (if that's the correct term). Offhand, I don't know why Mormon culture favors polygamy, but I can't imagine there's a good justification for it.


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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
It seems that E. O. Wilson's latest book, The Social Conquest of Earth, might be relevant to the discussion. He argues for a different mechanism to explain altruistic behavior. There is a strong genetic component in a handful of eusocial species that makes group selection at least as important as the individual and kin selection that Dawkins and others have insisted is the only explanation needed for altruistic behavior. This is what the press for the book says, anyway. I haven't read it.

Amazon
Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while “overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology. Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.


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Post Re: Yes. Evolution.
Perhaps our next nonfiction selection. :-)

I was just reading a description on Amazon which uses the title of one of Gauguin's famous paintings as a setup for the book .

Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Image

The interesting thing is that Ronald Wright used Gaughin's three questions to frame his famous Massey lectures which led to his book, A Short History of Progress. Well, maybe not that interesting. Wright's book is great by the way, but it has always been overshadowed by Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsPMaGdg_38


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