Re: MD On Faith - Improbability ?

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Sat Oct 16 2004 - 02:31:08 BST

  • Next message: Scott Roberts: "RE: MD A bit of reasoning"

    Mark, Jim,

    > On 15 Oct 2004 at 9:33, Scott Roberts wrote:
    > > >But why is Darwinism
    > > >treated as scientific? The theory is untestable, as far as I can
    > > >see.
    > > >
    > jim:
    > > Not strictly true. There are a few retrodictions that constitute
    > > tests, although not in the standard set-up experiment & compare
    > > results to theory basis.
    > scott:
    > When I say Darwinism, I have been explicitly using it in the sense of
    > evolution solely through chance and natural selection. I don't see
    > how the evidence you describe indicates that evolution comes about
    > through "solely through chance" and natural selection, rather than in
    > some other way.
    > msh says:
    > But isn't the fossil record loaded with examples of biological false
    > starts, goofy non-viable mutations, and dead ends? (I bet Jim can
    > provide plenty of examples.) If this is so, then wouldn't this be
    > evidence (retrodictive tests, to use Jim's phrase) supporting the
    > idea of random mutation rather than design, which (design) is what
    > I'm assuming you mean by "some other way."

    [Scott:] It's not the only "other way", but that is beside the point. The
    point is...

    > As for testability, since when must ALL elements of a scientific
    > theory be immediately testable? General Relativity wasn't completely
    > testable for, what, 10 years before science was able to measure the
    > warp of starlight passing through the Sun's gravitational field.
    > Does this mean the theory wasn't scientific?

    [Scott:] It was testable from the start, just that one had to wait for the
    right situation to do the testing.

    > Besides, what sort of test would one conduct to show that life and
    > consciousness can arise randomly? I suppose we could cook up a
    > primordial soup and bombard it with random flashes of lightning for a
    > million years, then wait around for a few billion years for self-
    > aware life to start tapping on the glass. But even if such an
    > experiment were possible, there would be no scientific defense
    > against the claim that we had in no way excluded the possibility of
    > divine intervention. It's a no win situation for science because,
    > ultimately, the question is not a scientific one.

    [Scott:] That's my point. There is no scientific way to tell. So why call
    evolution "solely by chance and natural selection" scientific? Why isn't it
    called dogma?

    - Scott

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