How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

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Yakk
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Re: How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

Postby Yakk » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:58 pm UTC

The business of science is not persuasion. It is poking at reality and building reliable systems to predict how reality pokes back.

It is true that societies that turn their back on science where the ones, in the last few 100 years, that saw themselves fall from prominence, get conquered, etc. Barring external intervention, they where usually able to self-perpetuate for centuries, and the lifestyles of the elite in those societies was often quite decent (especially if you care about relative status rather than absolute status).

So sure, it is quite possible that American Theocrats will overthrow the current science-leaning tendencies of the USA. They could form a theocratic government that perpetuates itself over centuries, and it could work. I'd expect not every nation would take this path.

So long as the American Theocracy kept enough technical knowledge to keep the nuclear weapons ready, they could even defend themselves against military intervention as their economy became relatively tiny next to the growth in the rest of the world. With a bit of double-thought, they could even maintain a scientific outlook in some areas to keep their military forces from being completely outclassed, at least in conventional weaponry.

Probably some chunk of the world wouldn't buy in to the Theocratic model, and it would see continued exponential increases in its ability to control and manipulate reality using the tools produce by science. It would have to try to grow in strength fast enough so that when the American Collapse happened, it wouldn't drag them down.

Preventing that kind of scenario (and it is just a possible story about the future) isn't what science is about. Someone can respect science, and battle for it politically -- but that isn't science. It is advocacy for a scientific world view.

So I guess one answer to "how to win an argument with an anti-creationist" is "take over the government and/or some other monopolistic social organisation, and make the anti-creationist position either illegal or unacceptable" -- ie, censorship.
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Re: How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

Postby defaultusername » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:01 pm UTC

Mathmagic wrote:Before we start abusing terms, you can't "believe" in evolution any more than you can "believe" in gravity.

Don't make me throw Intelligent Falling at you...
Mathmagic wrote:I don't know where YOU'VE been the last 84 years or so, but that's exactly what the ID/Creationist proponents have been doing, and in some cases, they've been succeeding. It's an ongoing battle with small wins for either side in multiple smaller cases. Honestly, I don't think it's EVER going to be "over", and no one side is ever going to "win". We just have to keep beating them back for as long as we can until something gives.

Fair enough.

EDIT Yakk: ever read the Handmaid's Tale?
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Re: How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

Postby Mathmagic » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

I think achan is confusing 'persuasion' with 'education'.
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Re: How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

Postby danpilon54 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:16 pm UTC

I think people need to be persuaded that the scientific method is valid, and only then can appreciate or be educated about scientific findings. This explains why all the "evidence" for ID is always flawed. It is either malicious, or just people trying to get across to us scientific method weirdo's in terms we can understand. The reason they don't really care that science disproves every single piece of evidence is that they don't believe that it has actually disproved anything.

So yes, people need to be persuaded about science, though that is not the ultimate goal of science. Only then can they be educated.
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Re: How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

Postby achan1058 » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:45 pm UTC

Mathmagic wrote:I think achan is confusing 'persuasion' with 'education'.
No, I think they are pretty much synonymous in this case. :wink: People who don't find it persuasive often don't understand it at all. But then, this could just be because of my bias from my cynical mind. At least, if I don't understand it, either intuitively or oherwise, I find it has little persuasive power, no matter what authority tells me.
doogly wrote:The goal isn't to have a theory that is accepted, but to have one that is correct. I'm not saying it wouldn't be awesome if everyone understood science, but science does not advance via diplomacy. I was specifically responding to default's talking about how the science side isn't being particularly persuasive. Our country is democratic (mostly), the scientific community is democratic (mostly), but nature is despotic (absolutely).
Yes, that much I agree on, but it has nothing to do with how to present science to the public.
doogly wrote:Also I'm not sure what the mathematicians have to do with this. I say they need to go marginalize some people's fairy tales before I give them equal street cred.
As above, I think that if the knowledge is more accessible, it has more persuasive power. Why did I bring up mathematics? Because it is the field that is usually being perceived as being hardest to understand, among with theoretical physics.
Yakk wrote:Probably some chunk of the world wouldn't buy in to the Theocratic model, and it would see continued exponential increases in its ability to control and manipulate reality using the tools produce by science. It would have to try to grow in strength fast enough so that when the American Collapse happened, it wouldn't drag them down.
Well, we will see whether China can hold up better than the States in the next 2 years. If so, they have already won.
Yakk wrote:So I guess one answer to "how to win an argument with an anti-creationist" is "take over the government and/or some other monopolistic social organisation, and make the anti-creationist position either illegal or unacceptable" -- ie, censorship.
Added to my TODO list, except in the opposite direction. :twisted:

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Re: How to win an arguement with an anti-creationist.

Postby Mathmagic » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:59 am UTC

achan1058 wrote:At least, if I don't understand it, either intuitively or oherwise, I find it has little persuasive power, no matter what authority tells me.
Exactly. Science does the education bit (so that people DO understand it), and with that comes the persuasive power of it. Believe me; I used to be a Creationist. I believed in Creation because that's what they had taught me at church (for what it's worth, I am now an agnostic), and it was persuasive because it was all I knew. It wasn't until I took a university course on primatology that I discovered just how much evolution made sense. The professor didn't have to try to be persuasive in his teaching; the science spoke for itself.
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