Re: That (not so) idiot Darwin

From: Davin Enigl (
Date: Mon Jan 15 2001 - 19:21:19 MST

"Evolution is a fact, because it is inferred by scientific observations,
explained by scientific theories and anyone who disputes this is wrong (or
stupid, or anti-science, or uneducated, or a religious nut, etc.)."


Karl R. Popper, as a philosopher of science, wrote that this
kind of optimistic statement along with the self-confidence and
impossibility about being wrong leads to self-deception and does nothing to
guard against errors. The Australian writer and philosopher, Rafe
Champion said, in the Australian journal _The Skeptic_, in 1991,
that George Orwell described this as applied by Catholics and Communists:
"Each of them tacitly claims that 'the truth' has already been revealed, and
that the heretic if he is not simply a fool, is secretly aware of 'the truth'
and merely resists it out of selfish motives."


The importance of this subject to the Extropian, is dubious, and
is mostly a clash of _True Believers_. Yet, does, at least illustrate how
easily the _dogma_ meme complex infects even the most thoughtful of
humanity. Both making such statements are True Believers, whether
scientist or religionist. Both have the _same_ dogmatic authoritarian
cult attitude. _Their_ source of knowledge is
correct. The truth of their assertion is obvious and easily seen
by all who use the correct means (_their_ means) of acquiring
true enlightenment.


To me, as a scientist, evolution really being "out there" is _not_ obvious,
nor does it make common sense. However, most scientists *and* most
_religionists_ (both) believe evolution takes place. The reason(s) both
believe are different, called: explanatory theories. Now, _both_
find great plausibility for their own respective theories, one supernatural and
one natural. Science (science not infected with dogmatism that
is) can _test_ its own (possibly inductively generated) theory
via observations and prediction of physical reality, via deductive
reasoning. Science can not test non-physical supernatural theories -- no
observations or predictions to test. Not even the religionists can
test non-physical supernatural theories. They take it on faith
or make endless qualifications until the theory fits the dogma
e.g., "There must be a God that created everything, it's just that . . .
maybe . . . he is invisible."


Now, I ask you: Which theory is more likely to be disproved, if
wrong? If you never totally accept it as fact, which theory is
guarded against errors? Conversely: If you accept a certain theory
_as fact_, just what would have to happen to withdraw that acceptance? If
you stop testing and questioning your assertion what becomes of your
assertion? See: Flew, Antony. _Theology and Falsification_. _Philosophy
Now_ Oct/Nov 2000 page 28-9.


----- Original Message -----

From: Michael S.


Sent: 1/15/01 9:05:08 AM

Subject: Re: That (not so) idiot

Frankly I fail to see what all this debating about Darwin has to do

Extropy. Its of even less use than the great dreaded G*ns
topic. cut

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:19 MDT