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Why equation evolution and religion is wrong

Be it evo­lu­tion in gen­er­al, mi­cro-evo­lu­tion or macro-evo­lu­tion.

Let's start with Ger­vase's three points:

  • It's a ba­sic po­si­­tion that you hold about the na­­ture of re­al­i­­ty that's not prov­able - it's a faith po­si­­tion.

  • It's some­thing that you put your trust in, and live your life on the ba­­sis of.

  • It's some­thing you urge oth­­ers to be­lieve as the truth.

Per­haps the third ap­plies to evo­lu­tion, The oth­er two are garbage.

Let's start with the first one. There's this nifty con­cept called fal­si­fi­a­bil­i­ty (sor­ry about the spelling). Some­thing is fal­si­fi­able if it can be proven false.

Things that are un­fal­si­fi­able are not apt for ra­tio­nal dis­cus­sion, since the truth val­ue be­hind the propo­si­tion is un­know­able.

Here's an ex­am­ple of some­thing that's un­fal­si­fi­able: there is a supreme be­ing that com­mands the whole uni­verse, yet is not part of it, and can not be con­tact­ed.

Here's some­thing that's not: ran­dom mu­ta­tions get se­lect­ed by the en­vi­ron­ment to pros­per.

That is, be­cause it can be proven false. If there were no mu­ta­tion­s, it would be false. If ex­pos­ing difer­ent breeds to en­vi­ron­ments caus­es no dif­fer­en­tial in sur­vival rate, it is proven false.

Yes, this is the mi­cro-evo­lu­tion Ger­vase ac­cept­s. Macro-evo­lu­tion sim­ply ex­trap­o­lates from this gen­er­al­ly ac­cept­ed the­o­ry in­to a larg­er one. Is it the right one? Not sure.

There is no imag­in­able ex­per­i­ment that can prove the in­ex­is­tence of god. That's why god's ex­is­tence is a re­li­gious mat­ter, and not a sci­en­tif­ic one. The ex­is­tence of mi­croevo­lu­tion can be seen, and even ex­per­i­ment­ed (ask any guy that hap­pens to have a few hun­dred fruit flies in a bot­tle).

As for macroevo­lu­tion, well, as mpyne says, there is a thnk­able ex­per­i­men­t. And even if it is­n't tech­ni­cal­ly fea­si­ble, there can be a ra­tio­nal dis­cus­sion, re­gard­ing the re­com­bi­na­tion spped­s, and ra­di­a­tion lev­els pro­duc­ing mu­ta­tion­s, and vol­umes, and timescales.

So, dis­cussing it is a ra­tio­nal process.

As for the sec­ond point: I doubt any­one lives his life based on evo­lu­tion, al­though it can pro­vide some rea­son­able tips about how to ex­pect things to hap­pen, but that's most­ly rea­son­ing by anal­o­gy.

Now re­li­gion.. one of its pur­pos­es is usu­al­ly to de­scribe how you should live.

So, what Ger­vase is de­scrib­ing is re­li­gion. And by his def­i­ni­tion, evo­lu­tion ain't.

Evo­lu­tion the­o­ry may be wrong. That's ok. It hap­pens to al­most all the­o­ries in one way or an­oth­er, usu­al­ly they end re­placed by a slight­ly evolved new ver­sion.

But re­li­gion? Well, dude, that's just an­oth­er name for who the hell knows. If you ac­cept re­li­gion as a premise, you are in­to voodoo land.

Maybe the uni­verse on­ly ex­ists since 1987, and ev­ery­thing ear­li­er is a thought in god's mind. Who knows? Pre­summably on­ly him.

Maybe he's cranky and we all die and go to hell to­mor­row. He's many things but not rea­son­able, as ev­i­denced by his al­leged handy­work.

So, what's the point in ar­gu­ing a sub­ject where no ra­tio­nal dis­course is ap­propi­ate, a sub­ject which is the very ba­sis of ir­ra­tional dis­course?

I have no idea. That's why I'm an ag­nos­tic.

superstoned / 2006-04-03 15:06:

I think you make a mistake. You say science is fundamentally different from believing something.



but, don't you have to believe in science, too? There is nothing you can prove about science for sure. there are ways in which we try to separate science from belief. but these still depend on the idea there are things to know... maybe there is nothing, you can't dis-prove we live in the matrix..



well, I prefer to believe in science above God, and I agree science shouldn't try to say anything about God, but I disagree with you on the point there is a real difference between science and believe.



you talk about falsification. well, falsification indeed says certain things can't be talked about in a scientifically way. indeed. We can't prove we exist, but we believe we do - don't we? believe is at the very basis of what we are, science really isn't that great :D

Reza / 2006-04-03 15:07:

Guys,



Perhaps you can check out the following websites (the first is italian language, the second is english. I prefer the first, though, more thorough. Also it has been translated to many languages). There you can find that it is no way this whole world exists without creator (by coincidence only). You can wander around the first website, created by Harun Yahya (Aaron John) to read other articles.



http://www.harunyahya.org/other/evoluzione/evol10.html



http://www.geocities.com/anwars_crib/truereligion/beliefingod.html



With all best hope,

Reza

rjw / 2006-04-03 15:07:

superstoned:



Any scientist worth his salt will tell you that there are things that the scientific method cannot reveal. These are unknowable questions : What is the cause of the universe? Why would the universe need a cause? If something is unobserved, does it exist? You can believe in an answer to these questions, or you can choose that it is enough to know that they can't be answered.



Also, you really need to go and read Descartes again. I know you have heard the phrase "I think, therefore I am". I'm not sure you've understood it. This is not science, but try to refute it, I dare you ;-)

germain / 2006-04-03 15:08:

> everything earlier is a thought in god's mind.



The idea of a god's thought, by the way, is what makes religions irrelevant for a human beeing's inner life.



Either a god is believed to be a perfection (as in most modern religions) and then: it doesn't flow in time, therefore it can't think, therefore it is useless from a human point of view.



Or it is naively believed to be some kind of limited super beeing. In which case it is just as miserable as yourself.


Roberto Alsina / 2006-04-03 15:09:

germain: nice example of silly apriori reasoning. Why should perfection not flow in time? What is perfect for one moment may not be perfect for the next.



Reza: those sites are bollocks. It is in every man´s nature to eat a hot dog if it´s available. Go worship a frankfurter.


Roberto Alsina / 2006-04-03 15:18:

Superstoned: On what I can´t think about rationally, I choose one of three things:



* I believe it (or not) without much thought because it seems of no consequence



* I refuse to make a decision because of unknowability



* I don´t give a damn



The choice between those is completely arbitrary.



For example, I chose to believe I exist.

Rajeev J Sebastian / 2006-04-03 15:24:

Existence is neither a religious matter, nor one for science. It lies in the domain of philosophy (perhaps metaphysics).



But both religion (need/reason for existence) and science (means/method of existence) try to answer some of its questions ... but neither have gotten anywhere near ... atleast not recently.





Another thing .... about falsifiability ... you are taking it too far. If something is deemed non-falsifiable, it is not immediately chucked away as being unreasonable (scientifically): it is merely non-false as of now. I believe, Popper in his writings has also said that the more fantastic the theory, the more it should be researched. Hence, i suppose, Depts of Theology at major universities ;)



Now, philosophical ideas about existence are also many and varied. According to some, god has to exist (since god is an idea - like a circle or any mathematical formula). According to others, god doesnt exist, etc etc etc.



So sure, God exists (just like a circle or triangle exists). Now, does he *really* exist ? LOL ...





Given all these things, falsifiability is a good thing in the short-term and uncertain times: and it should be realised, that falsifiability is a time-bound process. So statements like "Here's an example of something that's unfalsifiable", are really broad and also falsifiable ;)



Dont get me wrong ... falsification is *really* good thing in the long-term as well ... but I was writing in response to the specific statement made by you :)


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