Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Icons of Evolution

Going to the arn.org page to find out what they said about the teaching of evolution in schools, I find that some of the complaints have to do with the fact that the textbooks teach myths of "icons" of evolution which have been provide incorrect. Are the claims made about these icons by arn.org incorrect?

7 comments:

Ahab said...

This FAQ provides plenty of links documenting the general worthlessness of Wells' critiques of "evolutionary icons."

I'm a little surprised that you are aking this kind of question. Perhaps you are less familiar with the controversy of ID than I had assumed.????

Victor Reppert said...

I'm not familiar with all aspects of the ID controversy, but I am just trying to apply my skills in analyzing arguments to see what the strong and weak points in the controversy are. II should point out, though, that it doesn't follow from the fact that a rebuttal has been written to this that or the other defense of an ID claim, that the defenders of ID are stunned into silence. Here is a rebuttal to Tamzek's critique of Wells:

http://www.arn.org/docs/wells/cl_iconsstillstanding.htm

Ahab said...

I am just trying to apply my skills in analyzing arguments to see what the strong and weak points in the controversy are.

I see now that is where the real problem is: you are treating a scientific problem as though it were a philosophical problem.

If you really want to know the truth of the matter here, you will just have to take up some of those excellent books B.D.K. has been linking to here and learn the science.

Otherwise you'll neve be able to figure out that the claims made by ID'ers are about as valid as those made by the fundies accusing Lewis of using maryjane.

Victor Reppert said...

The problem here is that you believe in an easy-to-draw line between science and philosophy. In a way I wish there were one, but there isn't. If you really think that science can escape fundamental questions of philosophy then I think you have to be on drugs of some kind.

Same with the neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. You have the empirical discoveries, and then you have what is being done with them, which is invariably highly philosophical.

Jason Pratt said...

???

Surely you didn't mean that Victor's real problem is that he's trying to apply his skills in analyzing arguments to see what the strong and weak points in the controversy are?

Before you get too annoyed about his "being on drugs" retort, consider that _that_ is what you looked like you were saying to him:

a.) treating a problem philosophically == analyzing arguments to see what strong and weak points are in a controversy;

b.) the "real problem" is that Victor is treating the problem philosophically;

c.) therefore, Victor's real problem is that he's trying to analyze arguments to find the strong and weak points in a controversy. (i.e. Victor's real problem is that he's trying to do what _any_ responsible thinker, including you yourself and everyone in the debating links posted at talk origins, are and were trying to do.)


Anyway, since Victor provided the link to Luskin's rebuttal; here's a link I found to the counter-rebuttal collated by Nic Tamzek.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/luskin.html


By and large, I think Wells looks well-hammered (though various sources quoted against him don't always come off altogether clean themselves {wry g}. It shouldn't be necessary to misrepresent all theistic opponents to NDT as young-earth Noah's flood creationists, for instance.)

Ahab said...

Jason wrote:
Surely you didn't mean that Victor's real problem is that he's trying to apply his skills in analyzing arguments to see what the strong and weak points in the controversy are?


I'm saying that this is basically a scientific controversy. It's not a philosophical controversy. The only way one can know what the weak and strong 'arguments' are here is by knowing the science.


Before you get too annoyed about his "being on drugs" retort, consider that _that_ is what you looked like you were saying to him:


I try to be brief in my comments and sometimes I'm too brief. Apparently that was the case here.
I was trying to used the fundies claim of Lewis being a druggie as an analogy to the ID critiques of evolution. Victor knows a great deal about Lewis' life and writings so it was quite obvious to him that the fundies claims are ludicrous. In the same way, most (if not all) of the claims made by the ID theorists seem equally ludicrous to those who have a thorough understanding of the scientific theory of evolution.
Basically, my suggestion to Victor is that he spend more time learning the science of evolution and less trying to grapple with the abstract principles that might or might not actually be involved here.

Ahab said...

Victor wrote:
The problem here is that you believe in an easy-to-draw line between science and philosophy. In a way I wish there were one, but there isn't. If you really think that science can escape fundamental questions of philosophy then I think you have to be on drugs of some kind.


I didn't say (nor do I believe) that it is always easy to draw a line between science and philosophy . But that doesn't change the fact that theory of evolution is a scientific issue in the same way that the theory of gravity is a scientific issue. Elements of philosophical reasoning may or may not be useful in helping to improve either one of those theories, but to use that 'philosophy' corrrectly requires a great deal of scientific expertise.

Same with the neuroscience and the philosophy of mind. You have the empirical discoveries, and then you have what is being done with them, which is invariably highly philosophical.

After centuries of theorizing, philosophy has told us virtually zilch about how the mind operates. In fact, much of what it claimed to tell us is now being shown wrong through neuroscientific studies. And as neuroscience advances, the study of mind is going to incrasingly become a scientific matter, just like evolution and gravity are now.