February 24, 2002
Evolution as Science?
HokiePundit gives an account of the recent Evolution/Creation debate held at Virginia Tech. During my years there, I never attended these debates for the reason that HP gives as "dislike of the campus Freethinkers", although I would have phrased it "the so-called Freethinkers were the most closed minded, spiteful people I ever met". But I digress.
My personal philosphy doesn't particularly incorporate evolution or creationism, so I'm mildly unbiased on the issue. But I was severely disappointed by the comments of Dr. Pigliucci, who spoke for the evolution side. (Note that my comments are based solely on the account of the debate as given by HokiePundit.) Here's the worst bit attributed to Dr. P.
Finally, he said that evolutionary biology was a scientific field that was not required to use the scientific method, and said that one reason most evolution papers don't provide much proof is that it would be too difficult for an ordinary person to understand.
Quite frankly, if Dr. P was willing to stand up and say that, he's so full of shit his eyes were brown. And he most certainly is not correct. Science, by definition, requires the scientific method. Without it, you're just practicing Cargo Cult Science. I almost wish I had been at the debate just to have had the honor of calling him on that ruse. The other half of his statement is just as ridiculous. I've got a far better chance of understanding a paleo-biology paper than I do of understanding a sub-atomic-physics paper (personally, that is, I'm not speaking for the public in general), and yet those crazy sub-atomic-physicists publish details upon details in their papers. If this kook was the best that the Freethinkers could supply for the debate, they deserved to lose whatever credibility they had put on the line.
Posted by Daniel Hagan at February 24, 2002 11:39 PM
Well, the fact that you base your entire argument on a hearsay account (not to mention a very vague one) kind of negates your entire argument.
You've got a lot of nerve to make such statements such as "he's so full of shit his eyes were brown" when you didn't even attend the event. Dr. Pigliucci was personally recommended by the executive directors of not just one small regional Freethought group, but by the executive directors of the three largest NATIONAL groups in the country. Based on my personal experience, Dr. Pigliucci is one of the most knowledgeable, not to mention interesting individuals I've ever met.
The actual statements he made were in response to Dr. Guiluzza's repeated comments that any science that didn't use a closed double-blind method (essentially the method used to prove physics theories) was not, in fact, a real science. Dr. Pigliucci made a point to refute that fact that saying that, in actual fact, there are MANY sciences that do not use this method, including and not limited to forensic science, geology, astronomy,and paleontology.
Dr. Pigliucci also never said that details were not given. The details are in fact published, although these details are not given when they are covered in the normal media, such as on the news, or even through "scientific" shows such as NOVA or on the Discovery channel because they are quite complicated. Dr. Guiluzza made repeated comments on why these details weren't shown on these media, and as a rebuttal, Dr. Pigliucci put not one, but two very complex equations which gave the details that Dr. Guiluzza were looking for. He even began to elaborate on them, but it soon became clear that those details would have taken the entire time period of the debate to spell out, and that it would take a true expert (i.e., a grad student or PhD) to immediately and fully understand them.
So you can see that your comments on Dr. P. are quite misguided, but had you actually attended the event you would have known that for yourself. Both speakers presented a very decent argument, altough Dr. Guliuzza arguably failed because his argument completely revolved around shooting down evolution rather than defending his own creation science, which he spent practically no time during the entire three hours talking about.
As for your comment about the Freethinkers being "the so-called Freethinkers were the most closed minded, spiteful people I ever met" then you are obviously talking about the wrong group. For being close minded--it is a given that perhaps a couple members of our group are of, shall I say, "firm beliefs" or nonbeliefs as it may be, but most of our group is comprised of people with different values and different beliefs who prefer to discuss and learn what others think and believe and the reasons they do so--perhaps to better understand them as human beings. And for being spiteful--for me at least, the only time I am spiteful is when people make accusations based on their own ignorance. I will never harbor any ill-will towards one who has actually taken the time to research the things they argue for.
Anyway, that's all I've got. I hope perhaps you got something useful out of it. If not, then perhaps others will.
Interestingly enough, Daniel is not the first person I've heard characterize the "Free-thinkers" as a cover for a group of people who like most to critisize other's beliefs. It's therefore no small wonder that they picked a guy for their debate who spent most of his time knocking the creationist, while failing to defend his own views. It's also not generally good to bring up a subject in a debate which you cannot defend in the in the allotted time frame. And really, do you expect any debate, sponsored by a Christian group to be unbiased? I think the Free Thinkers found themselves dupped and outgunned.
And in conclusion, Cliff Palmer, Jr. blows goats.