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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25067  
Subject: Re: Where's the Foundation? Date: 3/5/2001 4:57 PM
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As you've noted, I quote one of Kazim's own, a scientist, Kazim disputes it. Kazim than provides a link to a scientist who disagrees with well-known scientist Fred Hoyle. I provide more quotes, Kazim says that things have changed since the quotes. Inconsistencies maybe? I'm not surprised, I expected it all along.

I don't follow what your problem is. I really don't. Perhaps it is because you are used to quoting people in authority and having their opinions accepted, just because they have some initials after their names. Perhaps the argument from authority works among the people you talk to, but it doesn't work on me and it doesn't work on most scientists.

In scientific circles, someone isn't regarded as automatically right in their opinions just because they are famous. In fact, well-known scientists are even more open to scrutiny than many others; and it frequently happens that more well-established scientists propose a lot of controversial theories.

Fred Hoyle isn't "one of my own". In the first place, I'm not a scientist, but a software developer, though I hang out with and am related to a lot of science types. In the second place, Fred Hoyle is a mathematician, as is his associate Chandra Wickramasinghe, which means that their opinions are mostly irrelevant to the field of biology. Which brings up another good point: only in very rare cases do scientific creation proponents have degrees from accredited universities that actually qualify them to talk about evolution, abiogenesis, the age of the earth, or whatever it is they are commenting about. You can make rationalizations about why, for example, a lawyer is extremely qualified to criticize science. But when you come right down to it, hardly anyone who agrees with you has a degree in biology, physics, paleontology, etc. There are occasional exceptions, but they're notable mostly because they are stark exceptions in their fields.

In recent memory, when you've quoted somebody it has tended to be a quote of somebody's opinion. "The field is in an uproar." "The theory is full of holes." "Such-and-such is a great mystery." When I quote from scientists, I usually try to have an actual point in mind. I usually link to entire articles, so that you can get the full context surrounding the quotes. They usually cite particular studies or experiments that you can look up or verify. (Exercise for the reader: Can you find me any actual experiments that creationists have performed to advance the state of science?)

So when I accept the opinion of one scientist and not another, that is not called inconsistency; it's called going with the one who has the most evidence backing him up.

For the most part, though, it seems that you don't pay attention to what I write. I get the distinct impression that you have a long list of articles that you intend to post eventually, and anyone who responds to you receives a single paragraph brushing them off, before you then plod along posting the rest of your canned material.

Perhaps this is why Richard Dawkins sounds so impatient in your quote (which, as usual, is simply Dawkins' opinion). It's not that being a creationist means you are "stupid", but because so many of the creationists that he personally deals with like to continuously drone on, oblivious to the evidence and the opposition and demonstrations that their research was invalidated years ago.

Finally, regarding that one particular quote that you mentioned, you didn't even address most of the issues I brought up. First of all, that quote is of dubious context because the man has been a practicing evolutionary biologist in the last 18 years since he wrote the article, which implies that he was trying to make a point that you didn't intend. I asked what the entire text of the article might be, and you glossed over that.

But more importantly, the fact that the evidence changes doesn't imply that science is inconsistent -- it implies that science is progressive. 200 years ago, there wasn't even enough evidence for evolution to fill a breadbox. Know why? Because there wasn't any concept of evolution. The year Darwin published his theory, the only supportive evidence was what he found on his trip. After that, evidence started accumulating and confirming the theory. Ten years ago, there wasn't much genetic evidence for evolution, because we didn't know enough about genetics. Thanks largely to advances made THIS YEAR, evolution continues to be confirmed in yet more ways. But I'll bet that in 2010, creationists will be quoting scientists from 1990 who said "Our information about the human genome is not very good evidence for evolution."

Science isn't a trial based on eye-witness testimony, and it never was. It's all based on circumstantial evidence, across all fields. If you found Bob's gun at the crime scene where Joe was killed, then you'd be likely to convict Bob. But your crime lab comes back with evidence that Tom's fingerprints are fresh on the gun, and one of your witnesses found a tape recording where Tom's voice is heard over gunshots and Joe screaming, you'd probably update your theory. And if Tom's defense attorney ignores the recent evidence and chooses to use old information to "prove" that Bob did it, then you'd have to conclude the obvious: that he's "ignorant, stupid or insane."
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