PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#41  Postby epepke » Feb 23, 2015 3:03 am

Shrunk wrote:It would also appear that DalecWho is under the misapprehension that the main purpose in debating creationists is to respond to their arguments. It is not. It is, rather, to make creationists look ridiculous for the amusement of others. A bit like the function that freak shows used to perform, or the more lurid reality TV shows perform today. If Rana went on to make exactly the sort of arguments Myers predicted he would, then Rana would have performed his role admirably, and the audience would have received their share of entertainment value.


Quite. That's what debate is. I'll grant Myers credit for understanding that, unlike many of his fellows.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#42  Postby ADParker » Feb 23, 2015 4:43 am

Shagz wrote:Mr. Chesterson's long-winded bullshit is easily dismissed.

According to Chesterson, people never make shit up, and we have to believe every single thing that anyone says; otherwise, we are either prejudiced towards the teller, or prejudiced towards the story. Well, I have an invisible satyr living in my closet, Mr. Chesterson, and he gives me a hand job every night while I sleep. This must be true, because if you don't believe me, it's either because you are prejudiced towards "peasants" like myself, or you are prejudiced towards stories of satyrs in closets.

Yup. :thumbup:

Take note DalecWho; it really is as staggeringly simple as that! The 'trick' is of course that the hopelessly indoctrinated mindset of the "True Believer" is tuned to completely miss the flaws. Actually this is an example of strengthening a pre-existing flaw common to human thinking; a failure to see the errors in an argument when one already accepts the conclusion, in essence one is blinded to the content of an argument by the perceived truth of the conclusion.

Those who have difficulty with this (what one could call "conclusion bias or blindness" I guess) have difficulty spotting flaws in arguments like this:

Premise 1: All sharks are fish.
Premise 2: The Mako Shark is a fish
Therefore
Conclusion: The Mako shark is a shark.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#43  Postby DalecWho » Feb 23, 2015 5:35 am

Since mocking and derision (and I've succumbed and participated in my brief time here, as well*) seem to be a frequent part of this discussion — and endemic to the entire board, it appears, I wondered if we could refrain from the same in future posts. I do have extraordinary evidences**, but I expect they will be dismissed by many as inconsequential, and I am not willing to put them out for consideration only to be ridiculed. Someone well known said "...they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead."

*Shrunk, I'm sorry for my GAL remark. For all I know, you're locked up somewhere and have all kinds of time on your hands (especially considering your signature quote), which would make my comment especially inappropriate. In any case, it was wrong of me.
**I'm a stupid sailor on his way to Iceland who keeps a log of miraculous instances of timing his life. It may have been Einstein who said "Coincidence is God's way of staying anonymous"***, but it really is "Coincidence is one of God's ways of saying 'Here I am.'" Many miracles are miracles of timing, hypernatural as opposed to supernatural. Some in my timeline been life-path changing, some "Did it really happen that way?", some startling, most fun and some laugh-out-loud funny.
***I would be glad if some scholar among you could vet that. At last check, web resources were inconclusive. (I find it incongruous to want bibliographic information while embellishing remarks with eye-rolling and ROFL emoji.)
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#44  Postby DalecWho » Feb 23, 2015 6:22 am

Never mind. I just read the post by ADParker, a moderator, and since he supports the schoolyard culture evinced here, have fun playing with yourselves, girls — I'm slinking home, whipped, with my tail between legs. And you might just wonder about the circumstances around my going to med school at the age of 43. Ü (But, I know, you don't care, and you don't need my permission to be childishly gleeful about the idiot that I am.)
Last edited by DalecWho on Feb 23, 2015 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#45  Postby Scar » Feb 23, 2015 6:26 am

Pidgeons and chess.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#46  Postby DarthHelmet86 » Feb 23, 2015 6:44 am

Another person who can't tell the difference between themselves and their ideas and posts. Oh and someone so upset about the tone of others that they seem to just miss all the bits of the post pointing out why they are wrong.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#47  Postby OlivierK » Feb 23, 2015 6:58 am

DalecWho wrote:Never mind. I just read the post by ADParker, a moderator, and since he supports the schoolyard culture evinced here, have fun playing with yourselves, girls — I'm slinking home, whipped, with my tail between legs. And you might just wonder about the circumstances around my going to med school at the age of 43. Ü (But, I know, you don't care, and you don't need my permission to be childishly gleeful about the idiot that I am.)

If you're going to med school to become a doctor, please learn to think.

If you're going to med school so the students can be tested trying to diagnose your diseases, get well soon.

If you think that calling people "girls" is an insult, then you won't be missed here.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#48  Postby Thommo » Feb 23, 2015 7:24 am

Shagz wrote:Mr. Chesterson's long-winded bullshit is easily dismissed.

According to Chesterson, people never make shit up, and we have to believe every single thing that anyone says; otherwise, we are either prejudiced towards the teller, or prejudiced towards the story. Well, I have an invisible satyr living in my closet, Mr. Chesterson, and he gives me a hand job every night while I sleep. This must be true, because if you don't believe me, it's either because you are prejudiced towards "peasants" like myself, or you are prejudiced towards stories of satyrs in closets.


I'm slightly wary of this, because although we think of prejudiced as an inherently negative word, there most definitely is a sense in which we are prejudiced against the story of someone who walks up to us and says "I was dead on Friday, my heart hadn't beat for three days, but on Monday I am alive and well". It's exactly the same way Christians are prejudiced against such stories - we've already formed an opinion about the likelihood of such events based on evidence. Although we've never heard that particular version of the story before, we do carry with us a belief about whether it occurs as often as someone, say, stubbing their toe.

The trickery is in claiming that this is a bad sort of prejudice. Clearly a preference for natural explanations (to avoid situations like - I can't see my wife and she said she'd be here 5 minutes ago: maybe she spontaneously combusted, I'd better go and get a death certificate drawn up) is massively beneficial. You can maybe use the word prejudice, but if you use it to imply irrationality or unfairness you're misguided.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#49  Postby Thommo » Feb 23, 2015 7:26 am

OlivierK wrote:If you think that calling people "girls" is an insult, then you won't be missed here.


QFT.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#50  Postby Thommo » Feb 23, 2015 7:32 am

Also, it's not just peasants that lie.

Jeffrey Archer
Natasha Bolter

People lie about obviously checkable stuff all the time. Let alone the times they are mistaken. Or their memories change over time.

It wouldn't surprise me if someone were lying in this very thread.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#51  Postby Shagz » Feb 23, 2015 8:52 am

Thommo wrote:
Shagz wrote:Mr. Chesterson's long-winded bullshit is easily dismissed.

According to Chesterson, people never make shit up, and we have to believe every single thing that anyone says; otherwise, we are either prejudiced towards the teller, or prejudiced towards the story. Well, I have an invisible satyr living in my closet, Mr. Chesterson, and he gives me a hand job every night while I sleep. This must be true, because if you don't believe me, it's either because you are prejudiced towards "peasants" like myself, or you are prejudiced towards stories of satyrs in closets.


I'm slightly wary of this, because although we think of prejudiced as an inherently negative word, there most definitely is a sense in which we are prejudiced against the story of someone who walks up to us and says "I was dead on Friday, my heart hadn't beat for three days, but on Monday I am alive and well". It's exactly the same way Christians are prejudiced against such stories - we've already formed an opinion about the likelihood of such events based on evidence. Although we've never heard that particular version of the story before, we do carry with us a belief about whether it occurs as often as someone, say, stubbing their toe.

The trickery is in claiming that this is a bad sort of prejudice. Clearly a preference for natural explanations (to avoid situations like - I can't see my wife and she said she'd be here 5 minutes ago: maybe she spontaneously combusted, I'd better go and get a death certificate drawn up) is massively beneficial. You can maybe use the word prejudice, but if you use it to imply irrationality or unfairness you're misguided.


I'm not sure if you're missing my point, my friend, or I am missing yours. Prejudice simply means what it is, which is, according to every online dictionary I've just now looked at, a bias against something, preconceived notions probably formed unfairly. I didn't assert an opinion either way whether prejudice is negative; I merely attempted to show how redonkulous Chesterson's argument is, which seems to be "if you don't believe in miracles, you must be unfairly biased against those who believe, or against the idea of miracles", by applying the same logic to the first ridiculous thing that came to mind.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#52  Postby mingthething » Feb 23, 2015 9:50 am

Shrunk wrote:
Rumraket wrote:
DalecWho wrote:And quoting Nick Snow, "He was dismissive of the entire event and his position/premise from the get go was "basically this whole thing is silly"

I have to agree with PZ Myers there, the matter is totally settled within the scientific community. The fact that a bunch of religious institutions and the occasional oddball contrarian have a hard time accepting evolution doesn't mean there is an actual genuine debate to be had.


It would also appear that DalecWho is under the misapprehension that the main purpose in debating creationists is to respond to their arguments. It is not. It is, rather, to make creationists look ridiculous for the amusement of others. A bit like the function that freak shows used to perform, or the more lurid reality TV shows perform today. If Rana went on to make exactly the sort of arguments Myers predicted he would, then Rana would have performed his role admirably, and the audience would have received their share of entertainment value.



Having seen Ken Ham's finances get a rejuvenating shot in the arm after his debate with Bill Nye, I'm not so sure the entertainment value outweighs the price of providing more finances to the creationism movement.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#53  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Feb 23, 2015 10:19 am

Ah the delicious hypocricy of tone-policing other people whilst calling them names. :roll:
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#54  Postby ADParker » Feb 23, 2015 10:48 am

DalecWho wrote:Never mind. I just read the post by ADParker, a moderator, and since he supports the schoolyard culture evinced here,

Not knowing which of my posts you mean (I have made four, all in response to your own, to which you responded to not a one, so it may be any of them) I re-read all of them. Not a bit of "mocking and derision" or "schoolyard culture" to be found within. :dunno: I can only imagine that you are playing a game; making up wild accusations in order to save face, to pretend that it is we that are at fault when in truth you find yourself unable to 'compete', itself a rather childish tactic. Seen that kind of behavior oh so many times before, sad really. :(

DalecWho wrote:have fun playing with yourselves, girls — I'm slinking home, whipped, with my tail between legs.

You think that suggesting that we are female is some kind of insult? :nono: And whipped? You think this is some kind of contest with winners and losers? I was trying to help you understand the flaws in what you presented. Oh well I suppose that you have fallen for one of those other aspects of religious indoctrination, in that you care more about maintaining your beliefs than the truth. :nono:

DalecWho wrote:And you might just wonder about the circumstances around my going to med school at the age of 43. Ü (But, I know, you don't care, and you don't need my permission to be childishly gleeful about the idiot that I am.)

Why would I wonder about that? :what: I know practically nothing about you. I myself have just began to venture into a new career path at about the same age as it happens. And I certainly came nowhere near implying that you are an idiot. :dunno:
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#55  Postby Clive Durdle » Feb 23, 2015 11:24 am

So that is agreed then - Pepsi is available in heaven.

It is as if groups are in time warps. They really should do things properly and dress, speak, act, use the technologies of the times there ideas are from.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#56  Postby Thommo » Feb 23, 2015 11:59 am

Shagz wrote:
Thommo wrote:
Shagz wrote:Mr. Chesterson's long-winded bullshit is easily dismissed.

According to Chesterson, people never make shit up, and we have to believe every single thing that anyone says; otherwise, we are either prejudiced towards the teller, or prejudiced towards the story. Well, I have an invisible satyr living in my closet, Mr. Chesterson, and he gives me a hand job every night while I sleep. This must be true, because if you don't believe me, it's either because you are prejudiced towards "peasants" like myself, or you are prejudiced towards stories of satyrs in closets.


I'm slightly wary of this, because although we think of prejudiced as an inherently negative word, there most definitely is a sense in which we are prejudiced against the story of someone who walks up to us and says "I was dead on Friday, my heart hadn't beat for three days, but on Monday I am alive and well". It's exactly the same way Christians are prejudiced against such stories - we've already formed an opinion about the likelihood of such events based on evidence. Although we've never heard that particular version of the story before, we do carry with us a belief about whether it occurs as often as someone, say, stubbing their toe.

The trickery is in claiming that this is a bad sort of prejudice. Clearly a preference for natural explanations (to avoid situations like - I can't see my wife and she said she'd be here 5 minutes ago: maybe she spontaneously combusted, I'd better go and get a death certificate drawn up) is massively beneficial. You can maybe use the word prejudice, but if you use it to imply irrationality or unfairness you're misguided.


I'm not sure if you're missing my point, my friend, or I am missing yours. Prejudice simply means what it is, which is, according to every online dictionary I've just now looked at, a bias against something, preconceived notions probably formed unfairly.


Sure, but it's that word probably which is central to what Chesterton is talking about. Not all prejudice or bias (in at least some senses of the word) is unfair. Sometimes we expect certain outcomes based on past evidence. Neither of us has seen the sun rise tomorrow, it's possible we both won't for some reason, yet I suspect both of us are absolutely convinced that the sun will rise tomorrow. I at least know I would not believe someone who told me it would not.

I think this distinction is probably central to understanding what Chesterton was saying (since as far as I can see he didn't use the words "unfair", "bias" or "prejudice"), I think his starting point is correct - we are "biased" (for want of a better word) by past experience and knowledge of the world. Where he goes wrong is asserting this is a dogma or creed and that he actually does have evidence for his belief. He does not. I actually accept that we often do evaluate claims in a preliminary fashion - "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and all that. What I reject is that this is wrong, and also that Christians and other theists don't do this as well (if they did, they'd accept Muhammed and not just Jesus, to give one of many obvious examples).

Of course, you may not agree. Fair enough.

Shagz wrote:I didn't assert an opinion either way whether prejudice is negative; I merely attempted to show how redonkulous Chesterson's argument is, which seems to be "if you don't believe in miracles, you must be unfairly biased against those who believe, or against the idea of miracles", by applying the same logic to the first ridiculous thing that came to mind.


I think we aren't quite reading him the same way, but that's not really a big deal.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#57  Postby Shrunk » Feb 23, 2015 4:26 pm

Shagz wrote:Mr. Chesterson's long-winded bullshit is easily dismissed.

According to Chesterson, people never make shit up, and we have to believe every single thing that anyone says; otherwise, we are either prejudiced towards the teller, or prejudiced towards the story. Well, I have an invisible satyr living in my closet, Mr. Chesterson, and he gives me a hand job every night while I sleep. This must be true, because if you don't believe me, it's either because you are prejudiced towards "peasants" like myself, or you are prejudiced towards stories of satyrs in closets.


I think Chesterton's problem goes deeper than that, even.

There is a relevant discussion going on at the Sandwalk blog, which Rumraket and I frequent, of a post made by creationist VJ Torley on the Discovery Institute's blog, in which he argues that St. Joseph of Cupertino had the ability to fly, based on a number of eyewitness reports from the 1600's. That seems quite similar to the argument Chesterton makes, so lets use it as an illustrative example.

The problem with Chesterton's argument, IMHO, is that he sets different ground rules for the person who accepts the existence of the supernatural, and for those who do not. The skeptic is required to provide explanations consistent w/ science and other empirical evidence, whereas the supernaturalist is able to propose any scenario he wishes, no matter how outlandish. It's as if Chesterton is playing a tennis game in which his opponent has to keep his shots strictly within the lines, but Chesterton can aim his shots any old place he wishes.

That's not very fair, is it? Instead, in a debate, the rules should apply equally to both participants. So say, for the sake of argument, that Chesterton wanted to prove that St. Joseph actually could fly and, in his defence, he cites thousands of signed affidavits. The authenticity of these affidavits is beyond question and, moreoever, we know that every single witness has never met with any of the other witnesses, and yet all of the accounts are completely consistent down to the last detail. Chesterton, I presume, would think this was pretty convincing evidence. However, the skeptic need only say "I think all those people are lying." To which Chesterton might respond, "But how is that possible? How could thousands of people, who never met each other come up with exactly the same lie? It's impossible!"

To which the skeptic need only reply. "I know. It's a miracle!"

Or suppose the skeptic says he does not believe these affidavits even exist, so Chesterton dutifully rounds them all up and places them before his interlocutor. Triumphantly, he says, "There. Believe me now?" To which the skeptic, again, need only reply, "Isn't this amazing! These affidavits do not exist. And yet, here we are: Both of us are convinced that we are seeing the affidavits right before our eyes. There is only one explanation: By some remarkable process beyone human understanding, we are both having the same hallucination at the same time. It's a miracle!"

And so forth.

Far from providing intellectual support for his religious presuppositions, Chesterton's argument only succeeds in removing any possible basis to accept any claim as true. If one disregards the evidence provided by science in determining whether something could actually happen, then there is no means by which a claim could be disputed. Assessments based on probability or possibility have to be thrown out the window, and one's conclusions and explanations limited only by one's imagination. Or one's ideological presuppositions.
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Re: PZ Myers' great opening statement in debate with creationist

#58  Postby Calilasseia » Feb 23, 2015 4:40 pm

A little interjection here ... my understanding is that words such as 'prejudice' and 'bias' are deployed in order to imply that a preference for, or aversion to, an idea, is based upon something other than the actual merit of the idea in question. This is certainly the case whenever we see these words deployed in creationist apologetics, which frequently insinuate that rejection of creationist assertions, instead of being based upon past dissection thereof, and the entirely proper conclusions arising from said dissection, is instead purportedly the product of some wilful and malicious refusal to accept those assertions, and frequently portrayed within said apologetics as purportedly rooted in "dogma". The fact that those assertions arise from dogma themselves, is, of course, omitted from the requisite apologetics.

In short, rejecting an idea because all the evidence available says it's wrong, a bad idea, nothing more than absurd fabrication writ large, or an outright deliberate lie, isn't "bias" or "prejudice", it's the exercising of proper discoursive conduct. The reason creationist apologetics all too frequently misrepresents this proper discoursive conduct as some act of wilful malice, is because creationist ideas all fall into the requisite discardable categories - they are either demonstrably wrong, absurd, or outright lies - and the only way creationists can prop up these ideas, is by misrepresenting the entirely proper exposure of the nature of these ideas as the product of wilful malice. The aetiology is all too familiar here, and we can detect the usual canards in our sleep, indeed, frequently we can predict their arrival in advance, in the more febrile instances of ideological stormtrooping for creationist doctrine.
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