RE: Evolution Statement

From: Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@uncwil.edu)
Date: Tue Dec 11 2001 - 20:40:26 EST

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    No scientist can make any scientific statement without objective data. I ask
    you what constitute objective data in your field? You will see that what makes
    something objective is that it is determined or can in principle be determined
    by physical devices. If you see something that nobody can verify, then you are
    hallucinating. If you see the same something next time, my advise to you is to
    take a picture of it! Moorad

    >===== Original Message From tikeda@sprintmail.com =====
    >Moorad wrote:
    >>>One must distinguish the past evolution of the characteristics of the
    >>>moon from that of its original creation. Evolutionary theory deals
    >>>with the appearance of new complex forms of life from simpler ones.
    >
    >Me:
    >>>Pedantic aside:
    >>>There is no good measure of complexity that distinguishes among
    >>>vertebrate forms of life and there is some question that even the
    >>>metazoans can be distinguished without controversy (I think they might).
    >>>On the basis of your suggested criterion -- complexity -- could we put
    >>>you in with the group of scientists that thinks lampreys and humans
    >>>evolved naturally from a common ancestor?
    >
    >Moorad:
    >>When I lived in California I was in a jury case in the trial of the
    >>Oakland Seven--during the Vietnam War these accused blocked a train
    >>track carrying military material. I was dismissed by the prosecution
    >>and I wondered why. I spoke to the defense attorney, who was an
    >>Armenian like me, and he said that I would never be a juror in a
    >>criminal case since I am a scientist and would require too much proof
    >>to convict.
    >>
    >>In answer to your question, you could not put me in such a group of
    >>scientists. I am in the same position of people who have to take what
    >>I say quo physicist by faith since they do not know enough to judge by
    >>themselves the physics involved. I require too much proof and I do not
    >>see it in this case.
    >
    >Ok, but let's be clear that "complexity" was _not_ the sticking point
    >in the question of vertebrate evolution.
    >
    >Further, let's try to be sure that we have actually taken the time
    >to study and research the question at hand before assuming what
    >proof is actually available.
    >
    >>Perhaps it is my realization that it is logically impossible to avoid
    >>the existence of a Creator. Also, I associate the Creator with the
    >>biblical God and His Son Jesus Christ. For instance, the following
    >>puzzles me, why did Jesus say that from the beginning God created them
    >>male and female? Did He think we were not ready for a class in biology
    >>or evolutionary theory?
    >
    >Considering that dolphins and flounder were grouped as "fish"
    >in ancient zoological classifications, and that people continually
    >had problems understanding infectious diseases, a little instruction
    >in biology wouldn't have hurt.
    >
    >But seriously...
    >I don't pretend to know what He thought (I'm skeptical of those that
    >do). That's why I don't get too worried about why the order of creation
    >of various forms of life as described in Genesis doesn't seem to track
    >with physical evidence. Or why the depiction of animals being created
    >as either male or female doesn't bother me when I'm confronted with
    >bacteria (it's hard to call what they have as "sex", let alone
    >identifying a male or female), parthenogenic insects and reptiles,
    >fish that change sex over the course of their life, and hermaphroditic
    >organisms like worms. Perhaps He had something else in mind other than
    >providing a historically accurate account. Perhaps He was shooting for
    >spiritual, metaphysical or moral instruction instead?
    >
    >Moorad:
    >>>The analogous statement for the moon would be to find a simpler moon to
    >>>which the present more complex moon evolved from.
    >
    >Me:
    >>>That's not the impression I've had reading your posts.
    >>>The actual statement I feel you've been defending is that events which
    >>>happened unobserved in the past are not valid scientific subjects.
    >>>After all, we could never have predicted the specific pattern of craters
    >>>that appear on the moon, let alone whether a moon would have formed
    >>>to orbit the earth. And we certainly can't jump into the "way-back
    >>>machine" and see it all happen again.
    >
    >Moorad:
    >>What I have said is that the subject matter of science is determined by
    >>physical devices. For instance, consciousness cannot be determined or
    >>measured with a physical device and so it is not the subject matter of
    >>science. Only the non-physical self in man can detect consciousness.
    >>Fossil, stones, etc. are physical entities that can tell a story via
    >>physical devices that measure, for instance, chemical composition, age,
    >>etc. Therefore, your understanding of what I have said is not quite right!
    >
    >_One_ of the things you said was that science involves measurement by
    >physical devices. But that wasn't what I was discussing, which actually
    >addressed the reconstruction of past events and the relative importance
    >of prediction in defining what represented science. Others raised
    >these same issues.
    >
    >
    >Moorad:
    >>>It is the problem of origins that I strong believe is not a scientific
    >>>question. Moorad
    >
    >Me:
    >>>I'm aware of your beliefs. But let me ask you something that you
    >>>once considered in an earlier post:
    >>>
    >>>What role do you think pre-existing religious convictions play in
    >>>forming such a belief about what constitutes "true science"(tm).
    >
    >Moorad:
    >>Philosophers, psychologists, etc. can talk and do talk about with is
    >>time. But physicists define time operationally via clocks. It is that
    >>simple.
    >
    >Other scientists measure bones, the location & strata in which fossils are
    >found, and the %similarity of organisms on the basis of numerous
    >parameters. Still others feed data into computers that dispassionately
    >sort groups into patterns of relatedness. Some observe what genetic
    >transformations are available today, determine the patterns produced
    >in the genome and locate these patterns in the genomes of existing
    >organisms and occasionally, in the DNA of organisms that lived in the
    >past. It's not simple. But then, neither was finding a good clock.
    >
    >>The whole of science is like that otherwise objectivity will soon disappear
    >>from science. This has nothing to do with my religious views. In fact,
    >>by reigning in science one can then talk about the supernatural. Otherwise,
    >>doing science is confused with human reasoning and then one is lead to
    >>scientism, materialism, etc.
    >
    >Moorad, taking measurements and doing calculations without reasoning isn't
    >science; it's accounting. Yes, it is important to minimize subjective
    >influences, but that's not what human reasoning necessarily is.
    >
    >Regards,
    >Tim Ikeda (tikeda@sprintmail.com)
    >
    >
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