I don’t think I’m doing Evolution anymore.

I don’t think I’m doing Evolution anymore. January 20, 2016

In a previous post, a commenter left a very helpful comment.

There is more proof God exists than not…..

Well, okay, not that helpful. That’s not really how it (epistemology) works.

  1. People who don’t accept the claim have zero burden to provide any evidence to the contrary, at all.
  2. The only question is whether you’ve sufficiently substantiated the claim. (Hint: no)

I’m not familiar with any evidence for a god, actually. They’ve presented zilch. They’ve presented a bunch of noise they call evidence, but haven’t actually.

During one of my patented drive-by snarky comments, someone replied to me, asking, “Care to provide the evidence for evolution?” Gazed into to the horizon, and whispered, “No… I don’t care to do that.” I’m weary of the apparent futility.

I knew exactly where that conversation was about to go. I’d present the empirical research, and it’d get tossed out for ridiculous reasons. Here I cooked a delicious pancake for the person, and I watch dumbfounded as he/she starts cramming it into a DVD player, thinking, “… what, are you doing?

I think ERVs alone are convincing, in terms of demonstrating common ancestry. Common ancestry the simplest, least-assuming explanation, that has the most precedented establishing mechanisms. Yet, they’ll dismiss this for bizarre reasons. Suddenly, requirements that someone had to be standing there, watching all of evolutionary history unfold, are declared as absolutely necessary, as though eye-witness testimony is reliable. The epistemology becomes clownish, all of a sudden.

They’d accuse me of being equally rediculous – that they’ve provided evidence, but I’m dismissing it for invalid reasons. I think my reasons are valid.

  • Arguments have crippling logical fallacies. Aron Ra has a miniseries in development, where he’s tackling “Irrefutable” proof of God. In a nutshell, it’s just one big long sequence of one incredulous moment after another. “HOW could you POSSIBLY BELIEVE that all this just HAPPENED BY ACCIDENT?” – or other epistemic failures.
  • They take the form of, “X is consistent with Y. X is demonstrable. Therefore, Y” – basically, postdictive pseudohypothesis testing.
  • Misrepresenting the science and/or models.

All the arguments I’ve ever heard, have fallen into one or more of these categories.

I’ll grant Ken Ham one thing… kinda. He asserts that we’re examining the same evidence, but we’re interpreting it differently. For the sake of argument, I’ll grant that, but it doesn’t really help his case.

Not all interpretative pathways are equal. If two detectives analyze a crime scene, and one evaluates the data through standardized forensics, and the other analyzes the same data through a Magic 8-ball (“Was the killer wearing a baseball cap… *shake shake* … All signs point to yes… hmmm“) , one of those detectives is bound to have much more accurate results than the other. In Ham’s case … I don’t even know. His process seems to be just – whatever is consistent and confirms the Bible is true. If not, it’s false. He starts with the presumption that it’s infallible.

I think I’d side with Magic 8-ball Detective – might get better results.

That’s why I’m kind of done with presenting evidence for evolution. They don’t know what to do with it. I’m wasting my time. For some of it, you need sufficient background education to understand the implications of the evidence, and how it interweaves into the rest of the scientific body of knowledge.

They think one needs to be in the proper mindset to “see” the evidence they’ve given for a god. It sounds similar to my position, but it’s not. My position is established on epistemology, where any particular procedure or rule can be independently shown to be needed and effective. The goal isn’t to believe a pre-defined thing. It’s to make sure that what one believes is true. Their process… is essentially the exact opposite.

… and that’s where I want to dig in. The problem between us isn’t evidence for/against evolution or a god…. it’s the epistemology.

Maybe later, when this person and I can come to an agreement on an epistemology that works, we can then move onto evidence. Until then, if I am asked about evolution, I’m going to ask them what they think about evidence first, and how it works. That’ll be more productive.

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