Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dawkins Drives SkepChick into Feminism

This must be an example of being Good Without God.

I am not really familiar with SkepChick, and have not visited that site until now, when the controversy rages around it. Apparently the Atheist penchant for vilifying instead of edifying has extended to its own, as Atheists and Skeptics have attacked SkepChick. That is why the SkepChick is going Feminist.
”So here we are today. I am a feminist, because skeptics and atheists made me one. Every time I mention, however delicately, a possible issue of misogyny or objectification in our community, the response I get shows me that the problem is much worse than I thought, and so I grow angrier. I knew that eventually I would reach a sort of feminist singularity where I would explode and in my place would rise some kind of Captain Planet-type superhero but for feminists. I believe that day has nearly arrived.”
But, along with the hate mail from Atheists, the main object of her distress is Richard Dawkins. Apparently Dawkins wrote the following to her, and its source was validated by PZ Meyers:
“Dear Muslima
Stop whining, will you. Yes, yes, I know you had your genitals mutilated with a razor blade, and . . . yawn . . . don’t tell me yet again, I know you aren’t allowed to drive a car, and you can’t leave the house without a male relative, and your husband is allowed to beat you, and you’ll be stoned to death if you commit adultery. But stop whining, will you. Think of the suffering your poor American sisters have to put up with.

Only this week I heard of one, she calls herself Skep”chick”, and do you know what happened to her? A man in a hotel elevator invited her back to his room for coffee. I am not exaggerating. He really did. He invited her back to his room for coffee. Of course she said no, and of course he didn’t lay a finger on her, but even so . . .

And you, Muslima, think you have misogyny to complain about! For goodness sake grow up, or at least grow a thicker skin.

Richard
SkepChick continues,
”That comment and many like it were sent to me in response to a video I did about the horrors of female genital mutilation, which, by the way, is a cultural practice and not relegated to Muslim women. I’ve spoken about the topic a lot, and the worst of my hate mail from atheists is about that.

So to have my concerns – and more so the concerns of other women who have survived rape and sexual assault – dismissed thanks to a rich white man comparing them to the plight of women who are mutilated, is insulting to all of us. Feminists in the west have been staunch allies of the women being brutalized elsewhere, and they’ve done a hell of a lot more than Richard Dawkins when it comes to making a difference in their lives.

That wasn’t the end, of course. Dawkins went on to compare my experience with his frustration at riding in an elevator with a person chewing gum (presumably he was once accosted by such a person who rubbed Bubble Yum into his silky white hair). You can read all his comments to date at Shakesville or one of the other sites linked above. ”
To be sure there were Atheists and Skeptics who sent her messages of support. But even the support from PZ Meyer was backhanded, at least according to Melissa McEwan at Shakesville.

The radical feminization of SkepChick seems to disallow the ridicule of one’s own group members; that is reserved for the other “Other”; one should not eat one’s own. In this case the Atheist/Skeptic grouping is fragmenting into male vs. female, with the males showing off their disreputable chauvinism and the females retreating into the moated defenses of female retreat disguised as female dominance.

One of the interesting comments at McEwan’s shakesville was this:
”This reminds me of when Christopher Hitchens couldn't believe that waterboarding could be torture until he experienced it himself. Why do these dudes need to actually experience something themselves before they can empathize with others? Why can't they put themselves in someone else's position WITHOUT having to experience it themselves? I've never been waterboarded, but I still know it's terrible. Dawkins has never been creeped out by someone in an elevator, and because of that, he can't possibly imagine that anyone else has ever been either? Give me a break. Learn to logic, Dawkins.”
Now, repeating this sentence:
” Why do these dudes need to actually experience something themselves before they can empathize with others? Why can't they put themselves in someone else's position WITHOUT having to experience it themselves?”
It should be obvious: it is because they are Skeptics! Other people’s experiences have no meaning to skeptics – by definition. What others experience is not knowledge; personal experience is merely a fault-prone emotional state, and therefore of no value to the skeptic. Just as the Atheist is totally free to define and redefine a moral system that he likes, so the Skeptic is free to define what is and is not knowledge for supporting a worldview that he likes. When relativism is the controlling function, sooner or later minority subgroups will go afoul of the dominant majority: it is inevitable when the answer is always about the holder of the question, never about anyone else. Never is the tyranny of the majority more palpable than in a relativist grouping. And when ridicule and personal attack is the modus operandi of the group as a whole, then the subgroups will turn on each other. It’s interesting to watch from the outside.

But something else should be bubbling to the level of consciousness here. Skepticism is never productive. There is no production of new knowledge by Skepticism. It is purely destructive. Skepticism always attempts to destroy the knowledge which it cannot itself have: personal experiential knowledge.

And PZ comes under fire for some of his posts which objectify women, here and hhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifere. Also PZ supports Title IX for women on the condescending theory that they are too weak to fend for themselves in thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhe real world, placing them in a category with blacks and other "weak" minorities.

SkepChick has triggered the cult’s denial mechanism which underlies Skepticism itself. And even though she doesn’t like it, she remains a Skeptic and Atheist and backs into a corner of the cult which she thinks provides for a defense against the rest of the cult. It will be interesting to see where she goes from there.

UPDATE:
A recent overview of the SkepChick-Dawkins debacle is here. And a cartoon commentary is here.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

In a very strong standing, this is quite possibly one of the stupidest things I have ever read. There is such a variety of dim-wittedness to choose from here one hardly knows where to start. In particular though, the phrase "skepticism is never productive" is so breathtakingly idiotic, one wonders how a person making such a comment earnestly is capable tying their own shoes in the morning.

Stan said...

Your Ad Hominems do not add up to either knowledge or a contribution. In true skeptical format, you are merely attacking without making an argument.

Perhaps, then, you would give us an example where being skeptical produced a new, unknown piece of knowledge? Just skepticism by itself, not in conjunction with its parasitism on actual knowledge.

If not an example, at least an argument for your position?

Stan said...

BTW, kindly choose a moniker. I don't typically converse with those who hide behind "anonymous".

kafircake said...

In front of you stands this massive chunk of marble, you hack away at it first with your huge chisels and later with the smaller, finer ones. 'Ohhh' everyone says, 'great sculpture.'

This sculpting business, it's destructive?

That's what you seem to be saying, that applying Occam's razor -applying any rigour at all- is destructive.

Stan said...

Everyone has been skeptical of something at some time. And some things are worthy of skepticism. But mild and occasional skepticism is not what is at play with the Skepticism of today, or the Philosophical Skepticism that goes back as far as the early Greeks.

Skepticism (capital S) is not the same as applying rigor to propositions or premises: anyone who makes propositions seriously will automatically apply rigor to the possibility that the premises are not true and the proposition is not in a valid format. Skeptics (capital S) are not in that business even though they claim a penchant for science (to which they do not apply their Skepticism.)

Philosophical Skepticism comes in two flavors, both of which deny that certain classes of knowledge can be held. By discriminating against categories rather than against individual propositions they reveal that they are dogmatic in their discrimination rather than logical.

knowledge sources can be divided into two major categories: (a) sensory input; (b) mental rumination / cogitation.

The first flavor of Skepticism (note 1) is Pyhrronian Skepticism, which denies that any knowledge is possible, because category (a) is fallible, and category (b) is fallible; hence no knowledge can be held with any confidence of its veracity, including the Pyhrronian Skepticism itself.

The second flavor of Skepticism rejects category (b), but maintains that disciplined approaches to sensory data can produce knowledge with a modicum of certitude.

Today's Skeptics reject category (b), and conditionally accept category (a) where they still reject any input that is outside the category of empirical science. Single events that occur to individuals just once are rejected as sources of knowledge. Empirical, replicable, falsifiable, material science they claim is self-correcting and trust worthy. This is not specifically Scientism, but it is a short step to arrive at the idea that science and only science can and will answer all questions.

So no, the concept of applying rigor is not the main job of Philosophical Skepticism. The Skepticism of modern Materialists rejects based on the basis of category, not on the basis of individual propositions and their validity or invalidity.

Skepticism has become a cult, a factor that can be seen when anyone steps outside the boundaries which are pre-set for today's skeptics. (Favorite example once again is what happened to the Amazing Randi when he stepped out of bounds).

Categorical discrimination is not valid argumentation; it serves to produce nothing new, but merely serves to perpetuate prejudicial sequestration of certain concepts without due justification or argumentation. (This is not the same as "Category Error" which is a logical defect occurring within an argument)

Rigor, on the other hand, is part of the standard procedures applied by the intellectually honest. A mature arguer will anticipate counter arguments, list them, and show why they do not apply. This is rigor, not Skepticism. So a critic might find a defect in the argument which has not been considered by the proponent: then a counter proposal can be made, and the discussion continue. This is still not Skeptical rejection of categories of knowledge.

Modern Skepticism is not skeptical of itself; it is not skeptical of peer-reviewed science; it is not skeptical of evolution or abiogenesis; but it denies the validity of anything else outside those categories. It makes this denial as a point of dogma.

As for Ockham's razor, Einstein provided the example of its misuse (it is not a law of nature). Mach had denied the existence of atoms based on skeptical parsimony; almost simultaneously Einstein proved their existence conclusively using Brownian motion. Once again, Skeptical denial is not a producer of knowledge.

Note 1: see plato.stanford: skepticism.

S. Davies said...

Dawkins Drives SkepChick into Feminism

Good! Or are you saying there's something wrong with Feminism?

"Skepticism is never productive. There is no production of new knowledge by Skepticism. It is purely destructive."

Now there is skepticism and "skepticism". "Skepticism" is destructive. Nowhere is this more evident than climate change denialism where the fate of the human race is at stake.

FrankNorman said...

The sculptor analogy is an interesting one. The guy chipping at a block of marble is "making" a statue by removing everything that doesn't fit a shape which exists in his own mind.

The so-called "Skeptic" is just as selective.

Bob said...

"A former 40 year Atheist analyzes Atheism, without resorting to theism, deism, or fantasy."
Line one:
"This must be an example of being Good Without God."

So there's that...

Stan said...

Skepticism doesn't produce ideas or statues. Skepticism is purely criticism. Like the arts critics who have never produced a piece of art, the play critics who have never written a play, movie critics who have never produced a movie, the Skeptic only attacks the ideas (candidates for knowledge) of other people.

There is the thought that they make other people's ideas stronger by attacking them. But in actuality they attack blindly and from category discrimination rather than from a rational base.

So the sculptor analogy is not valid because the Skeptic sits to the side, heckles and ridicules the sculptor until the sculpture is finished, then he denounces it because the material is the wrong type, and the sculptor is an idiot.

When asked for the basis for this criticism he demurs claiming that only the sculptor need be examined, not himself.

CHRIS said...

In the spirit of skepticism, I just discovered a website that caught my attention:

Apatheticagnostic.org home of
The Church of the Apathetic Agnostic - "We don't know and we don't care"

hmm?

Stan said...

Reminds me of the Procrastinator's Club, which always put off the meeting and never actually had one.

Actually though, Apathetic Agnostic is the functional description that some Atheists are using - deceptively - when they claim that they "have no god theory" and that they have no intention of defending their position... when in actuality, of course, they are out here arguing their Atheism.

Anonymous said...

Skepticism is the basis of everything we know. Without it we would rely on revelation as a means of knowledge with no way of testing it.

Skepticism is just a disposition to incredulity; a way of suspended judgment. It doesn't mean they don't believe anything. It means they wait for the evidence to be in.

CHRIS said...

Oy.

"It means they wait for the evidence to be in"

Perhaps an admission that metaphysical naturalism is hard pressed to hold under rational scrutiny.

Stan said...

S. Davies said,
"Now there is skepticism and "skepticism". "Skepticism" is destructive. Nowhere is this more evident than climate change denialism where the fate of the human race is at stake."

There is a good point underlying this comment. Climate Change Denialism is a moniker created to defame and denigrate those who insist on properly executed science. As I have pointed out earlier, Skepticism (the dogmatic ideology) has no skepticism for science, and in this particular case, no skepticism for the pretense of science.

Materialist science requires that all "knowledge" be rigorously tested, replicated and non-falsified under the aegis of empirical rules. Starting with evolution, and now with AGW/CC, the rules of empirical science have been tossed aside, not so much by the scientific community in general, but by the ideological activists inside the community and in the outside political culture of Leftist activism.

The scientific activities surrounding climate change / AGW do not include the empirical standards for experimental replication and non-falsification, and for that reason they are vulnerable to charges of being non-scientific, or at least sub-empirical. Moreover, they cannot demonstrate the degree of confirmation that empiricism provides, and thus don't have the status of "knowledge" which Materialists demand (usually).

But when activists become involved with computer simulations, and when the Chicken Little syndrome has political and economic implications beyond our wildest ability to accommodate them, and when skepticism is applied, the activists call foul: skepticism = denial.

Whenever WAGD (We're all gonna die!) is attached to science, skepticism is warranted, and when WAGD is attached to partial science, the demand for better rigor in the scientific method which is being used is intellectually necessary.

WAGD is part of the infamous Precautionary Principle, which devolves to Luddism when applied to science. The same WAGDers who fear AGW/CC also fear GM grains and DDT, both of which could benefit humans immensely. The common thread is WAGD activism, and the push for more government control because if we don't get it, then WAGD.

So watch for the push for more government based on WAGD, regardless of whether it is GM grains or AGW/CC or whatever.

Anonymous said...

Well, ontological naturalism works. Scientists didn't build computers by praying and waiting for a supernatural being to tell them how.

Stan said...

Another Anonymous said,
"Skepticism is the basis of everything we know. Without it we would rely on revelation as a means of knowledge with no way of testing it.

Curiosity is the basis of discovering what we know, not skepticism. Skepticism is a withdrawal of permission to believe a thing, based on criteria provided solely by the Skeptic. Skepticism is passive incredulity, and it provides nothing positive, especially in the Philosophical Materialist ideology of rejecting categorically.

Curiosity leads to rigor of justification, and intellectual integrity produces knowledge. Curiosity is what generates active searches, not the passivity of incredulous Skepticism.

Skeptics would like to believe that skepticism is the fire that strengthens the sword. But while Skepticism is never the sword, it is also not required if the rigor of intellectual integrity is present first. Skepticism provides nothing intellectual to the pursuit of knowledge; it merely rejects based on its own unquestioned criteria.

Stan said...

Anonymous, last chance. Choose a moniker or be deleted.

Stan said...

No, I suspect that you don't mean ontological naturalism, you more likely mean voluntary naturalism. There is no scientific proof available for ideological Naturalism or Materialism, because empirical science admits to its inability to measure anything which is not material.

In no manner does empirical science declare that non-material existence is false: only Materialist ideology does that, and it does so without evidence or support of any kind. So empirical science is agnostic concerning non-material existence, not Skeptical. Skeptics step outside of both empiricism and logic when they demand material evidence for a non-material existence. In other words, Skepticism is an ideology of non-logical restriction of knowledge, not an objective pursuit.

The implication that non-material existence cannot exist because materialist measurements and manipulations work is a non-sequitur of the Category Error kind. Of course materialist creations work: that has no bearing on non-material existence whatsoever.

Martin said...

"Starting with evolution...the rules of empirical science have been tossed aside"

I thought I won this. Empirical evidence of evolution.

Anyway, I don't get it. Rationalism and empiricism. "Found" evidence would fall under the category of empiricism, not rationalism. Putting together a murder case is a perfectly valid scientific endeavor, and one that is not a prior and so therefore must be a posteriori.

Stan said...

I bought into the modified digestive enzyme allowing the use of nylon as evolution for a while. But there is no way to extrapolate from that to the real meat of evolution, which is the creation of the organs themselves, all of them, or modification from prokaryotes to warm blooded, live-bearing, conscious creatures. I concluded that the change in digestion is more on the order of modification of beak length in Darwin’s Finches, where the organic function remains constant but as the class of objects it uses changes, the organ changes slightly due to selection. There is no new organic function; digestion is still digestion, the beak is still a beak. If the case of digestion change is termed evolution, then the beak change would also be evolution, but not even the Grants make that claim. So I don’t accept the nylon digestors as evidence of macroevolution. There is a difference in that the digestion was the product of a mutation. But macroevolution – sensibly considered imo – requires that a number of mutations which are not dilatory be saved up, and ultimately come together as a new feature: an incredibly non-probable occurrence even given the magic of “Deep Time” (only 1.5 bn years). This instance doesn’t seem to contribute to that scenario.

As for empiricism including forensics, that is not the case in any definition I have seen, maybe you have a source that defines it that way? The reason is that the guarantee of replicability and falsifiability are not available to historical or forensic “found” sciences. But it is that guarantee that makes empirical factoids credible as “knowledge”, especially to the Skeptics. It is much easier to measure (conclusively) the volume of liquid a goblet will hold than it is to prove (conclusively) whether it was or was not held by Jesus… Empirical vs. Forensic.

Some forensics can be backed with fairly solid empirical tests. A few weeks ago, there was a PBS program on Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The huge prehistoric pueblos seemingly built randomly were found to be built exactly on solar equinox paths, east-west, and the north star, north-south, while the remote buildings were located exactly on lunar solstice paths. This was deduced from wall diagrams, and then tested over the nine year lunar precession. It still doesn’t answer why. So the archaeologists stepped outside of empiricism and speculated rather wildly on the “why”, including why no one actually lived there (few fires, no garbage mounds), and why they took care to seal it up when they left. Not to mention why they made a two lane, 32 mile road going very straight due north, which terminated in a canyon with a pile of potsherds at the bottom (the road to nowhere).

Granted, empiricism doesn’t answer many “why’ questions either, but the issues it answers, it answers very well, within the limits of induction and deduction. Forensics merely says we found a thing, X, and we speculate that it is/does Q as it seems to relate to other found things Y and Z. Key word being speculate, with occasional empirical verification. Even the extreme forensic rigor in excavating sites and careful logging and handling of artifacts can't make up the difference in certitude created by deduction, experimentation, replication and falsification.

Martin said...

But macroevolution – sensibly considered imo – requires that a number of mutations which are not dilatory be saved up, and ultimately come together as a new feature: an incredibly non-probable occurrence even given the magic of “Deep Time” (only 1.5 bn years). This instance doesn’t seem to contribute to that scenario.

But it would be impossible to observe macroevolution actually happening, since it is a million-year process. Its literally impossible to get what you want. Macroevolution must rely on forensics to reach its conclusions, because there is nothing else.

As for empiricism including forensics, that is not the case in any definition I have seen, maybe you have a source that defines it that way?

A priori vs a posteriori.

According to the SEP rationalists beleive: "Some propositions in a particular subject area, S, are knowable by us by intuition alone; still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions."

And empiricists believe: "We have no source of knowledge in S or for the concepts we use in S other than sense experience."

Digging in the ground and finding dinosaur bones would be sense experience, not intuition.

It is much easier to measure (conclusively) the volume of liquid a goblet will hold than it is to prove (conclusively) whether it was or was not held by Jesus… Empirical vs. Forensic.

Well, here you are criticizing specifically atheists. You are correct in that sense. I've seen it described as "selective hyper-skepticism", which I think is accurate. The skeptic dials go up so high that it would require nothing less than a mathematical proof for, say, the existence of God. But I've warned you before that atheism is linked to evolution but evolution is not linked to atheism. Dragging evolution through the mud because of how atheists use it is exactly the same way that many atheists drag Jesus' name through the mud because of how many of his followers behave. I'm always defending Jesus: "Hey! Jesus said to be nice to people, not to protest at their funerals! Leave him out of this!"

Similarly, evolution says absolutely nothing about metaphysical naturalism vs theism, despite what some of its followers might try to say. Even Augustine and Aquinas postulated that the universe and life might have evolved through natural mechanisms, and that the natural sciences should act as a veto of sorts on the Bible.

The attempt to extract metaphysical naturalism from evolution is false and impossible.

So the archaeologists stepped outside of empiricism and speculated rather wildly on the “why”, including why no one actually lived there (few fires, no garbage mounds), and why they took care to seal it up when they left.

Yes, this is speculation, and in this case it might be a good, educated guess but it will always be that and it ends right there.

But let's say the speculated as to why no one lived there, and then said: "If our speculation is correct, then we should find X when we look at Y." And they do. And then they say: "If our speculation is correct, then we should find Q when we look at R." And they do. And so on. And for 150 years every single speculation they make passes multiple tests like that.

At that point, it is technically still an educated guess. You are right. But it has been "tightened up" to such a degree with confirmed predictions that its a lot better than "just a guess". It can never be "truth", of course, and atheists are wrong to call it that. But it carries more weight than "just a guess."

CHRIS said...

What precisely is the difference between theistic evolution and intelligent design?

I haven't had the chance to start
Feser's book.

Stan said...

Martin said,
” Macroevolution must rely on forensics to reach its conclusions, because there is nothing else.”

Yes, exactly so. There are factoids which are so remote that they cannot be given the same certitude as proximate factoids. Not even close.

” Digging in the ground and finding dinosaur bones would be sense experience, not intuition.”

But the existence of dinosaurs in the ground is not proof of evolution: evolution is intuited speculation.

” Well, here you are criticizing specifically atheists.”

Unintended consequence. Change the analogy to read:

“It is much easier to measure (conclusively) the volume of liquid a goblet will hold than it is to prove (conclusively) whether it was or was not held by Socrates… Empirical vs. Forensic.”

” The attempt to extract metaphysical naturalism from evolution is false and impossible.”

Agreed.

” And for 150 years every single speculation they make passes multiple tests like that.

“But it carries more weight than "just a guess."


This goes back to the basic question I asked long ago w/r to Dawkins' claim of "mountains of evidence": How many speculations add up to truth? And how many speculations should one use as a guide to constructing a personal worldview? Is it not the case that open speculations, no matter how well believed, do not carry any gravity, hence without the weight of truth, still fall into the category of not-truth?

It is interesting to me that science never pretends to produce truth, only contingent factoids; yet this particular part of science, forensic science at that - evolution - is fought for as dogmatic doctrine, even legally presented as such in government schools.

The degree of actual certitude is not what the public defenders of evolution claim it to be. You always wish to separate the "science" from the ideology (an idealistic pursuit), and I see no fruitful meaning in doing that, given the war axe that evolution has become.

Stan said...

Chris said,
"What precisely is the difference between theistic evolution and intelligent design?"

Fundamentally no difference; functionally, ID never posits GOD directly, and tries to slip him in through the back door (evolutionists are right in calling them out on that). Theistic evolution just says, well, God coulda done that way. At least that's how I understand it.

Don said...

It is interesting to me that science never pretends to produce truth, only contingent factoids; yet this particular part of science, forensic science at that - evolution - is fought for as dogmatic doctrine, even legally presented as such in government schools.

Sure, science doesn't prove anything. Math and logic prove things. Science makes theories more or less likely depending on the available evidence. The mountains of evidence for evolution are not just forensics, they include everything from mathematic analysis of DNA to observations in the lab. Everything taught as science in schools is more likely than not to be true. More likely to such a large extent that you might as well call it a fact. Would you call it a fact that physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass (gravitiy)? When teaching children, I do. There's more evidence for the mechanisms behind evolution than gravity.

How many speculations add up to truth? And how many speculations should one use as a guide to constructing a personal worldview?

You have a personal world view - former atheist. What speculations made you move from the default position to former atheist?

Martin said...

Chris,

What precisely is the difference between theistic evolution and intelligent design?

Both would accept the materialistic version of the universe, where the universe operates by itself. Formal and final causes do not exist on such an account. As a result, there is a danger of deism or atheism, and so the theist has to make God into a tinkerer, who steps in once in awhile to guide things along. Things that otherwise work by themselves.

The Catholic Church is fully accepting of evolution, and it surprises me that they feel the need to postulate theistic evolution, when they have Aquinas and his Fifth Way, which seems to make it unecessary.

Martin said...

Stan,

How many speculations add up to truth? And how many speculations should one use as a guide to constructing a personal worldview? Is it not the case that open speculations, no matter how well believed, do not carry any gravity, hence without the weight of truth, still fall into the category of not-truth?

No amount of induction can ever add up to truth.

But if something is inductive, and hence not truth, then I still don't think you can categorize it as not-truth. I.e., false. It is inductive that the sun will rise tomorrow. Hence, not-truth. And it may well not. But should we categorize that as false? I would still call it "true" colloquially, even if not Truth.

...yet this particular part of science, forensic science at that - evolution - is fought for as dogmatic doctrine, even legally presented as such in government schools.

What you are seeing is reactionist against ID. As you agree, ID tries to slip God in through the back door (and, as Feser would say, concedes most of materialism and makes severe problems for itself as a result).

Forensic hypothesis X is well tested and makes accurate predictions.

Forensic hypothesis Y is not (yet, if ever).

A group is trying to get hypothesis Y to be taught alongside and as an alternative perfectly viable next to hypothesis X. They are doing it by fiat; by skipping over scientific testing grounds and just shoving it in. This is illegitimate. Defenders of the scientific process are right in resisting it. Colloquially, they use the term "truth" to refer to the tested and accurate hypothesis, even though it is no such thing. It is, however, "truth" in the same way I used it above about the sun coming up tomorrow.

Stan said...

Don said,

”More likely to such a large extent that you might as well call it a fact. Would you call it a fact that physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass (gravitiy)? When teaching children, I do.”

The proportionality of gravitational attraction to the masses involved is measurable and demonstrable; i.e. it is experimentally verifiable, replicable, and falsifiable. It can be done in high school physics Evolution is not in any manner demonstrable or measurable. You might have observed a great many higher order effects, but you have not observed evolution. Nor is it demonstrated in high school biology: it is taken on faith in the extrapolations. If you call it fact you are stretching the meaning of the word "fact" beyond its limit.

”There's more evidence for the mechanisms behind evolution than gravity.”

Had you said the “proposed mechanisms”, I might agree with you. Comparing it to gravity, which is empirically measurable is a Category Error, because evolution is not empirically measurable. But having proposed mechanisms for an unprovable effect is not certainty or even near certainty.

”You have a personal world view - former atheist. What speculations made you move from the default position to former atheist?”

I found that Atheism is an incorrect use of logic. It depends upon fallacies and heavily upon Category Errors. That was not speculation.

Stan said...

Martin said,
”But if something is inductive, and hence not truth, then I still don't think you can categorize it as not-truth. I.e., false. It is inductive that the sun will rise tomorrow. Hence, not-truth. And it may well not. But should we categorize that as false? I would still call it "true" colloquially, even if not Truth.”

Truth is incorrigible and allows no falseness; if a proposition is true, then it contains no falseness, including in its premises, its subpremises, clear down to the axioms required to support it. If you make a Venn diagram with a circle called True, then no falseness is inside that circle. As Boole showed with his algebra, True / False is binary; there is no middle ground. And there is no third level called conditionally true. "True" is discriminatory; "False" is not discriminatory because everything which is not True is False by definition (it is tautological).

You might wish to rate degrees of falseness, with 100% being totally false, but the range would have to be asymptotic to zero without ever reaching zero, because zero falseness is Truth. 10^-999% false is still false.

They are doing it by fiat; by skipping over scientific testing grounds and just shoving it in. This is illegitimate. Defenders of the scientific process are right in resisting it. Colloquially, they use the term "truth" to refer to the tested and accurate hypothesis, even though it is no such thing. It is, however, "truth" in the same way I used it above about the sun coming up tomorrow.”

The use of the term Truth is onerous, and is possibly at the core of the conflict. The scientism bullies see it as a worldview war, just as I do. They use the term Truth for a stack of extrapolated conclusions which they favor. The other day I watched an hour of PZ Meyer lecturing on embryology in Scotland. After he discussed HOX genes he made this comment: ”You should now be thinking one thing: Common Descent.” This was so foreign to what I was thinking that it was like coming from another universe: he had made a leap on the basis of HOX genes that is totally not justified by the existence of HOX genes. I was thinking, ”where could HOX genes have come from? What is their source?” PZ, on the other hand, jumped to a desired conclusion without any warrant. In point of fact, HOX genes do not disprove or refute design; they so resemble design that it is uncanny. But design cannot be proved any more than can evolution and it requires an extra dimension, where evolution only requires suspension of incredulousness when it comes to abiogenesis (common descent under materialism requires it).

For understanding the necessity of a pure and unadulterated concept of truth, I recommend reading Boole’s “The Laws of Thought”. Once truth as a concept is adulterated, then there is no truth, period. If there is no absolute truth, then nothing matters.

It cannot be true in any sense that we know that the sun will come up tomorrow: it is very probable. But in no sense is it true.

Martin said...

Stan,

It cannot be true in any sense that we know that the sun will come up tomorrow: it is very probable. But in no sense is it true.

Yes. That is my point. If the archeologists have their story of the ruins, it might be probable. But if their story can make predictions of what they should find when they dig in XYZ locations, and they do, then it adds more weight to the probability. It becomes even more probable.

That's what has happened with evolution. They tell their story, but their story predicts what they should find when they dig.

And like any good scientific theory, it is probabilistic only. But that probability has been strengthened above and beyond "just a story."