Re: MD On Faith - Improbability ?

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Sat Oct 16 2004 - 19:49:11 BST

  • Next message: Jim Ledbury: "Re: MD A bit of reasoning"

    Hi Platt, Jim, Scott...

    On 16 Oct 2004 at 9:10, Platt Holden wrote:
    > [Scott:] So why
    > call evolution "solely by chance and natural selection" scientific?
    > Why isn't it called dogma?
    > msh says:
    > Because the concept of randomness is mathematically and
    > scientifically sound, and nature is chock full of observable random
    > events, from galactic collisions to comet and lightning strikes to
    > the toss of dice to the dance of quarks. So, unless we're shackled
    > with a strict determinism (in which case any study of scientific
    > cause and effect becomes meaningless), randomness is scientifically
    > viable, and the idea of a non-human planner is not. I think.

    The only thing "scientifically sound" about randomness is its open
    admission of ignorance. Randomness means, "We have no idea why this
    event occurred."

    msh says:
    The discussion seems to be experiencing a severe "platteral" shift.
    The question I was addressing is whether or not Darwin's idea of
    random mutation knocks the scientific pins from beneath the theory
    of evolution. I think it doesn't because there's no shortage of
    random events undergoing scientific scrutiny. It may be that random
    events occur for reasons we don't understand, or for no reason at
    all. This is irrelevant to my point.

    Furthermore, and we might want to take this to a different thread, I
    think a lot of the confusion that results from discussions like this
    stems from mixing up two kinds of "why" questions. So, for example,
    someone might ask a scientist why water sometimes freezes. The
    scientist will say "Well, when the ambient temperature of a liquid is
    reduced past a certain point.... blah, blah, blah. But the
    questioner might interrupt her, saying "No, no. I mean for what
    purpose does water freeze." The honest scientist will say, "Uh.
    That's not my department."

    BTW, Jim, thanks for the link to the Ramachandran lectures. I'm
    enjoying them immensely, though randomly.

    Best to all,
    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

    InfoPro Consulting - The Professional Information Processors
    Custom Software Solutions for Windows, PDAs, and the Web Since 1983
    Web Site:
    "Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is 
    everything."  -- Henri Poincare'
    MOQ.ORG  -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward  -
    MD Queries -
    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Oct 16 2004 - 19:51:13 BST