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Thread: OT: Evolution vs intelligent design

  1. #16
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    Attempts to map interspecies human evolution are much less solid than claimed, the "missing link" being more a case of a missing 6 foot length of chain. A jaw fragment and a piece of thighbone are hardly a sound basis for how you view the universe.
    Perhaps, but it is a chain millions of miles long. While long stretches of it are indeed missing, there are no known links that don't fit the theory. As mentioned before, this is because the theory is by it's very definition flexible enough to accomodate new information. This is the critical difference between scientific knowledge and religious faith. Science will always accomodate new data. Religion will steadfastly refuse to do so.
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  2. #17
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    PS - Have a joyful Saturnalia!
    All my fight strategy is based on deliberately injuring my opponents. -
    Crippled Avenger

    "It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever get near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propoganda visits...Perhaps when the next great war comes we may see that sight unprecendented in all history, a jingo with a bullet-hole in him."

    First you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.

  3. #18
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    A good read:

    "Calculating God"

    by Robert Sawyer

    it's Sci Fi but I still think there's a decent argument for ID.

    Sawyer seems to base the argument in the book for ID on the basis of water. As in H20 and the (supposed) fact that there is no other liquid in the universe like it. I've only read the book once so I may have misunderstood his point.

    Can anyone validate that? I've always meant to research it but haven't. Is H20 the only liquid that expands as it gets colder?


    I kinda like the idea of ID. I like being able to cuss as somebody and pass the buck of responsibility upward.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

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  4. #19
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    The war's over - evolution won.

    To say they are both unproven, so equally valid is so far beyond stupidity that it's almost impossible to begin arguing.

    It's sort of like saying DNA evidence used in criminal trials is 'inaccurate'. Sure it may not be 100%, but it is 99.9999999999999999%. Same with evolution.

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Finny
    The war's over - evolution won.

    To say they are both unproven, so equally valid is so far beyond stupidity that it's almost impossible to begin arguing.
    No more so than making a blanket absolute statement without providing supporting evidence to validate its truth!

    What was that someone said about Glass Houses????
    Last edited by Scott R. Brown; 12-24-2005 at 06:23 PM.

  6. #21
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    Why all the fuss?

    Nobody, KNOWS.

    We're all gonna find out for sure soon enough.

    Philosophy, Religion and Science all make people feel good whenever they talk about how whichever one they're stroking at the time 'proves' the truth.

    It just gets silly when anyone tries to take one of those three things and disprove the others with it.



    Me?


    I'm gonna go have some eggnog and wait for Santa.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  7. #22
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    I'll say this once more, as it is imperatitive to understand the difference.

    As far as evolution goes, there might be a God. Evolution does not dispute God, it simply does not say anything about God. So, if you are a man of faith, go easily, there isn't a contradiction.

    But ID then, that's another matter. ID is trying to overcome evolution, it's trying to do away with evolution.

    See the difference? It's s huge one.

    Anyone who believes ID and thus denies evolution (sorry, you cannot have it both ways, these two are the opposites), is simply letting his faith cloud his scientific judgment. I have never seen anything so unscientific gain ground so easily among the common man (not here, religion is so secular here, I mean y'all, the US), but then, matters of faith can make a man kill his brother, so...:

    Once again, you can believe in God and still see evolution for what it is - the best possible theory there is. Evolution has no rivals whereas ID is just a bogus, unscientific and political agent of propaganda that is aimed at the uneducated.
    Take your pick.
    ”The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.” Matthew Arnold

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  8. #23
    Hi Mika,

    You are a bit incorrect in your assessment of ID. Not all who propose ID posit a Christian God. I refer you to my post regarding Plato’s views on this matter.

    There is no inherent reason ID must disregard evolution. Even amongst Christians there is nothing inherent within the Bible that negates the possibility of evolution. It is the manner in which scripture is interpreted that creates the disagreement. At any rate the ID/evolution discussion for many individuals is only a façade used to disguise the issue for those who believe it is God who dictates appropriate attitudes and behaviors versus those who believe man is the measure of right and wrong. This is a topic for another post, not this one!!!

    A conclusion that insists ID proponents may not accept the theory of evolution is founded upon misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the issue!

    I am in agreement with some of the previous points mentioned by Ben Gash:

    Evolution is merely a “theory” and not a demonstrable scientific fact. At best scientists may state that evolution “appears” to be a scientific fact. The evidence cited to demonstrate evolution is arrived at through inductive reasoning. That is, the conclusions are arrived at by observing effects and attempting to use reason born of experience to speculate on the causes. Inductive reasoning may not be used to demonstrate certainties, only probabilities. I may assert the sun will rise tomorrow morning. I arrive at this conclusion because the sun has risen every morning, apparently, for millions of years (thousands if you are a Christian). This assertion is not a certainty, it is only probability. To be sure it is a high probability, however there are any number of possible scenarios that may “actually” occur in which the sun will not rise tomorrow morning. As such scientists do a disservice when they insist a plausible explanation is a certainty and not a possibility or probability. Scientists have asserted many “facts” throughout history that were later proven false in the light of future discoveries!

    When arguing for evolution scientists may only assert evidence they have observed and must also demonstrate the evidence and its interpretation are accurate. Neither of these conditions may be proven to an absolute certainty. This is because when inducting conclusions we are particularly susceptible to our own personal biases. Scientists observe what “appear” to be intermediary stages in the fossil record of similar, but different, animal bones that “seem” to indicate a progression from one type of animal morphology to another. By comparing the types of fossils a conclusion is reached that one form evolved into another. This conclusion is arrived at because no other possibility is accepted or conceived. This does not mean there are no other possibilities. Even if we apply Occam’s Razor, that is, the simplest conclusion is most likely to be the most accurate, we must understand that this principle is merely a rule of thumb that is accepted as a guiding principle, but does not carry with it any inherent certainty as to the validity of the conclusion. We therefore return to probability and not certainty.

    It appears we know of no intermediary evolutionary species present on earth at this time. If evolution is fact there must always be intermediary species present and evolution must be perpetual if it is inherent to our system. The only examples of evolution scientists have been able to point to in our present are merely examples of adaptation and NOT evolution. A moth whose wings were once brown, but are now white, is proof of adaptation, not evolution. The breeding of dogs to get the various diverse breeds are an example of guided adaptation. They remain dogs! We CANNOT breed dogs until we get a bird.

    Carl Sagan in his book and TV series Cosmos sought to demonstrate the possibility of random chance creating life by citing an experiment in which a closed system was DESIGNED. All the constituents of the primordial ooze PLACED INTO the closed system. The experimenter then INTRODUCED an electric jolt to the mixture and a rudimentary amino acid was formed. This experiment was thought to validate the THEORY that life occurred by random chance, however the biases of the scientists and Carl Sagan are clearly evident. Any impartial observer would perceive that:

    1) The experiment was conceived and performed by an Intelligent Designer, the scientist!
    2) The “closed system” was created by an Intelligent Designer, the scientist!
    3) The “primordial ooze” was produced, combined and placed into the closed system by an Intelligent Designer, the scientist.
    4) The electric jolt to stimulate the chemical conversion of the substrate to rudimentary amino acid was INTRODUCED INTO THE CLOSED SYSTEM FROM WITHOUT by an Intelligent Designer, the scientist!

    How can it be a closed system if all the constituents of the experiment, including the electric jolt, were produced outside the system and then introduced INTO it!! This is a serious experimental flaw and negates the implied conclusion!!

    Intelligent Design permeates this entire experiment, but the biases of the scientists blinded them to the inherent contradictions that negated their conclusion. This demonstrates the inherent flaw of these types of scientists: They seek to prove a conclusion they have already arrived at and are thereby unaware of their biases that caused them to reach invalid conclusions!

    Now in regards to Plato, he arrived at his conclusion of a prime mover (ID) through reasoned consideration using inductive reasoning. His conclusion can only be said to “appear” to follow from the “seeming” evidence as well. His conclusion is also supported by the 3rd law of thermodynamics, a current LAW of physics. Scientists are, at present, unable to account for the Order found within a system that has a natural tendency towards disorder and they are apparently unconcerned with this unexplained anomaly! Could this be because they FEAR the only conclusion presently reasonable? It is ABSOLUTELY CLEAR to any reasoned and unbiased individual that something MUST have ordered the system.

    Order is present in everything man lays his hand too. Everything that is created by man springs from his inherent ability to intelligently design/create. The natural system is both ordered and follows a reasoned (cause & effect) process. When man creates something he follows a reasoned process to CREATE a new order out of his chosen media. It takes no great leap of logic and takes no faith whatsoever to conclude that what occurs on a micro level, (man) has its inherent foundation within a source of greater intelligence and order. It takes greater faith to believe everything sprung spontaneously out of nothing than to consider an Intelligent Designer.

    Who then is the greater fool, the Evolutionist or one who believes in ID??
    Last edited by Scott R. Brown; 12-25-2005 at 02:51 AM.

  9. #24
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    Father Dog, what are you on about? A round earth is directly observable and experimentally provable and repeatable.
    "The man who stands for nothing is likely to fall for anything"
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  10. #25
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    Scott, I see you are serious. That's good.

    Still, this particular subject I have discussed to death. I sincerely doubt anyone can produce anything even remotely logical I haven't heard before, and that goes for you too, at least so far. I have heard all that before - and not just once. It's OK, you need to dig a little deeper. No offense.

    There is no viable alternative, simple as that. Science speaks for itself.

    By the way, why is it that really only in countries where religion has a more or less strong foothold, ID comes up? OK, in Finland we have this nutty professor (of engineering, so his expertise is nowhere near the subject matter) who has made a fool of himself by ranting on and on about ID, but other than that, we have separated religion and science.

    Seriously, common sense doesn't always cut it. Please, study the area if you wish to be taken seriously. Again, no offense.

    Start with Dawkins: http://www.csicop.org/intelligentdes...h/dawkins.html

    Cheers,

    Mika
    Last edited by Mika; 12-25-2005 at 05:38 AM.
    ”The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.” Matthew Arnold

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  11. #26
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    http://beliefnet.com/story/178/story_17889_1.html

    The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins
    The renowned biologist talks about intelligent design, dishonest Christians, and why God is no better than an imaginary friend.


    You criticize intelligent design, saying that "the theistic answer"--pointing to God as designer--"is deeply unsatisfying"--presumably you mean on a logical, scientific level.
    Yes, because it doesn’t explain where the designer comes from. If they’re going to emphasize the statistical improbability of biological organs—"these are so complicated, how could they have evolved?"--well, if they’re so complicated, how could they possibly have been designed? Because the designer would have to be even more complicated.

    Dawkins on Design
    Listen to clips from Dawkins' recent speech:

    • The Flaws in the Argument from Design
    • There Is an Alternative to Chance
    • The Faulty Logic of 'Irreducible Complexity'
    • Creationists Adore Gaps in the Fossil Record
    • Evolution and Theism Are Incompatible

    Audio provided courtesy of the World Congress of Secular Humanism

    Obviously, a lot of people find the theistic answer satisfying on another level. What do you see as the problem with that level?
    What other level?

    At whatever level where people say the idea of God is very satisfying.
    Well, of course it is. Wouldn’t it be lovely to believe in an imaginary friend who listens to your thoughts, listens to your prayers, comforts you, consoles you, gives you life after death, can give you advice? Of course it’s satisfying, if you can believe it. But who wants to believe a lie?

    Is atheism the logical extension of believing in evolution?
    They clearly can’t be irrevocably linked because a very large number of theologians believe in evolution. In fact, any respectable theologian of the Catholic or Anglican or any other sensible church believes in evolution. Similarly, a very large number of evolutionary scientists are also religious. My personal feeling is that understanding evolution led me to atheism.


    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/039...Code=beliefnet

    The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (Paperback)by Richard Dawkins "We animals are the most complicated things in the known universe..." (more)
    SIPs: one true tree, togetherness factor, true cladists, computer biomorphs, choice discrepancy (more)
    CAPs: Biomorph Land, South America, Old World, Charles Darwin, The Selfish Gene (more)




    Amazon.com
    Richard Dawkins is not a shy man. Edward Larson's research shows that most scientists today are not formally religious, but Dawkins is an in-your-face atheist in the witty British style:

    I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence.
    The title of this 1986 work, Dawkins's second book, refers to the Rev. William Paley's 1802 work, Natural Theology, which argued that just as finding a watch would lead you to conclude that a watchmaker must exist, the complexity of living organisms proves that a Creator exists. Not so, says Dawkins: "All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way... it is the blind watchmaker."

    Dawkins is a hard-core scientist: he doesn't just tell you what is so, he shows you how to find out for yourself. For this book, he wrote Biomorph, one of the first artificial life programs. You can check Dawkins's results on your own Mac or PC.
    Last edited by RAF; 12-25-2005 at 07:22 AM.
    "Its better to build bridges rather than dig holes but occasionally you have to dig a few holes to build the foundation of a strong bridge."

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  12. #27
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    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/153/story_15340_1.html


    Yet today many intellectuals think that if they're going to be true Darwinians, they should give up on any notion of divinity, any hope of higher purpose. Why? In no small part because of the widely read philosopher Daniel Dennett. In his influential 1995 book "Darwin's Dangerous Idea," Dennett insisted that evolution is "purposeless"—and that, indeed, this lack of purpose is part of the "fundamental idea" of Darwinism. More recently, in a New York Times op-ed piece, he urged his fellow non-believers to unite and fight for their rights, depicting belief in God as contrary to a "naturalist" worldview.

    I have some bad news for Dennett's many atheist devotees. He recently declared that life on earth shows signs of having a higher purpose. Worse still, he did it on videotape, during an interview for my website meaningoflife.tv. (You can watch the relevant clip here, though I recommend reading a bit further first so you'll have enough background to follow the logic.) [Editor's Note: Since this article was published, Dennett has claimed that it misrepresents his views. Robert Wright responds to Dennett here.]

    Dennett has long accepted Dawkins's line of thought, and he has long accepted one extension of it: that natural selection has imbued organisms with "goals," with "purpose". Specifically: the goal of organisms is to get genes into subsequent generations. That may not be their conscious goal, but it is nonetheless the basic thing they were "designed" to do. (And their other apparent "goals" are subordinate to it. All animals seek food, for example, but that goal was itself favored by natural selection only because it helped animals survive long enough to transmit their genes.)

    In short: Dennett has long believed that William Paley was right to look at organisms and surmise that (a) they had a designer (in some sense of the word); and (b) this designer had imbued them with goals, with an overarching purpose (however ignoble a purpose genetic proliferation may seem to us).

    The gist of the argument I made to Dennett was this: What if you took this part of Paley's logic—the valid part—and applied it not to individual organisms, but rather to the whole system of life on this planet? Doesn't it suggest that the whole system had a designer (again, in some sense of that word). To see what I mean, let's look again at an organism through Paley's eyes, only this time let's look at its whole life span, starting at the very beginning.

    Meanwhile, as the human species is becoming a global brain, gradually assuming conscious control of the planet's stewardship, other species—also descended from that single primitive cell that lived billions of years ago—perform other planetary functions. Trees are lungs, for example, generating oxygen.

    In other words: If you watched evolution on this planet unfold from a distance (and on fast forward), you would find it strikingly like watching the maturation of an organism ("epigenesis"). So why can't the part of Paley's argument that can be validly applied to an organism's maturation—the idea that it suggests a designer of some sort—be applied to the whole system of life on earth?

    Convinced? Even if not, you're at least ready to go to the videotape. After viewing it, you can come back here to read the findings of my post-mortem:

    1) Dennett's climactic concession may not sound dramatic. He just agrees reluctantly with my assertion that "to the extent that evolution on this planet" has properties "comparable" to those of an organism's maturation—in particular "directional movement toward functionality"—then the possibility that natural selection is a product of design gets more plausible. But remember: He has already agreed that evolution does exhibit those properties. Ergo: By Dennett's own analysis, there is at least some evidence that natural selection is a product of design. (And this from a guy who early in the interview says he's an atheist.)

    2) Again: to say that natural selection may be a product of design isn't to say that the designer is a god, or even a thinking being in any conventional sense. Conceivably, the designer could be some kind of natural-selection-type process (on a really cosmic scale). So Dennett might object to my using the term "higher purpose" in the first paragraph of this piece, since for many people that term implies a divine purpose. But "higher purpose" can be defined more neutrally. You can say that organisms have a "higher purpose" in the sense that (a) they have a purpose (genetic proliferation) and (b) the purpose was imparted by a higher-level process (natural selection)—so much higher, in fact, that all organisms on earth were oblivious to it until revelation came in the form of Charles Darwin. Analogously, once you accept the argument that Dennett has now accepted, you can say that evolution's directionality is evidence of "higher purpose."

    3) How much evidence? I want to stress that Dennett isn't saying he thinks evolution's directionality constitutes anything like a strong case that natural selection was in some sense a product of design. He's just conceding that (a) to the extent that evolution exhibits directionality of the kind I've just described, there is at least some evidence of design; and (b) evolution does exhibit some of this directionality. Anyway, however strong you deem the evidence, I contend that it's growing. Over the last few years alone, cultural evolution—notably the mushrooming of the internet—has made the term "global brain" less of a stretch.

    4) If there is indeed a "higher purpose," what would it be? Answering that question would be a little presumptuous. For all we know, the "maturation" of the ecosystem is in an early phase, nowhere near manifesting any ultimate purpose it may have (just as, say, a three-year-old human is nowhere near manifesting the "purpose"—genetic proliferation—for which natural selection "designed" it). But if you're interested in theological speculation, you might check out the recently re-released collection of essays The Future of Man by the mystical Jesuit priest (and paleontologist) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard deserves credit for seeing and grappling with the direction of cultural evolution early on; he was writing about the emerging giant planetary brain more than half a century before I had heard of the internet. (But note: Unlike Dennett and I, Teilhard wasn't a strict Darwinian; he didn't believe that nuts-and-bolts natural selection is the sole propulsive force of evolution. And as long as I'm distinguishing myself from others who see the possibility of purpose in evolution: I'm not part of the "intelligent design" school; like Teilhard, intelligent design theorists, such as William Dembski, see forces other than natural selection at work, whereas I'm just saying that natural selection, though able to do all the work of designing organisms, may itself be a product of design.)

    5) If we don't know what the purpose of life is, can we at least say whether it's something we should be happy about—whether any "designer" of natural selection would merit the term "divine"? Well, natural selection is in some ways a horrible creative process; much past death and suffering are the price paid for the evolution of our species. So it isn't easy to argue that natural selection's creator would be a wholly good being (or process)—just as thoughtful Christians, for example, don't find it easy to reconcile all the suffering in the world with their notion of a benevolent, omnipotent deity.

    Still, one could mount an argument that evolution on this planet has at least some of the hallmarks of the divine—a directionality that is in some ways moral, even (in some carefully delineated sense of the word) spiritual. In fact, I've mounted such an argument in the last chapter of my book Nonzero. But Dennett hasn't signed on to that one. Yet.
    "Its better to build bridges rather than dig holes but occasionally you have to dig a few holes to build the foundation of a strong bridge."

    "Traditional Northern Chinese Martial Arts are all Sons of the Same Mother," Liu Yun Qiao

  13. #28
    Hi Mika,

    Thank you for the response. I must say I am a bit disappointed however. I understand you may be weary of participating in this seemingly eternal debate, however responding by referring the reader to someone else’s thoughts on the matter is a bit of a cop out. You are discarding the arguments presented outright by saying you have heard them before, but have provided no reasoned response demonstrating them to be invalid. This is an inadequate and impotent response!

    I have read the referenced webpage. All Dawkins has done is complain about the political motivations of the “religious” ID crowd, referenced what he believes to be some of their flawed logic and rhetorical tactics, and completely misunderstood the motivations of mystics. I am sure many mystics (myself included) are just weeping in their oatmeal over his clear ignorance of their motivations!! LOL!! If he wishes for the “religious” ID crowd to be better educated and more adequately reasoned he should start with himself. He presumes to know the motivations of others, when he clearly does not!! Dawkins has not presented himself adequately! His polemic did not address any of the points I have made.

    If you find flaws in my reasoning please address my argument directly. If you are unable to address my reasoning that is fine too, but to divert your unwillingness or inability by referencing an ineffective polemic is a waste of time.

    I am not an apologist for the “religious” ID crowd. I know nothing of their movement, purposes or goals. Neither do I care. I prefer to think for myself using whatever limited talents for reasoning I possess! You will have to ask someone else if you wish an answer to your questions concerning them. This is not a political issue for me it is an investigation into the Truths of existence. I have no emotional investment in either view. My purpose is to ascertain Truth!

    I am interested in obtaining a reasoned response to the argument presented. You have made blanket assertions without providing any reasoned argument for your conclusions. The presentation of unfounded conclusions makes the comments inherently valueless within the context of a discussion based upon reasoned argument. This gives the appearance your view is based upon unfounded opinion, belief or faith which is the same flaw you accuse the “religious” ID’s of committing. Personal views founded upon opinion, belief or faith and not true facts are inherently valueless when one is attempting to ascertain the Truth of a matter!

    I would be interested in reading any referenced webpage that directly refutes my argument, but I am more interested in having YOU respond, since it is you that I am responding too. I am not interested in making a lifelong study of the debate nor am I impressed so far by Dawkins. He has presented himself to be more of an ill-informed whiner than anything else! You say you disagree with the argument that I have presented yet you are unwilling or unable to refute it. Therefore your comments are inherently meaningless since they seek to divert the focus of the discussion to someone else’s ideas and do not demonstrate the flaws within the argument I have presented.

  14. #29
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    "It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever get near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propoganda visits...Perhaps when the next great war comes we may see that sight unprecendented in all history, a jingo with a bullet-hole in him."

    First you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.

  15. #30
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    Scott, in general, when referring to me, you are right, but in this particular conversation I am placing myself beside the all arguments because I really have gone through this several, several times. It is not stated anywhere how far I should go in a discussion and what I should or should not do or say, as far as I comply with the usual rules of discussion (no ad hominems etc.).

    But I did want to reply to you since you called me out in several paragraphs. I owe you that much.

    OK, let's do this. Say what in Dawkins' text bothers you intellectually and from a science point of view. Let's leave his style aside, it bears no difference to anyone who ponders matters of science as they are to be thought without emotions. Only the core matters, not the covering. Dissertations are a different matter, free text is free in its style.

    When you have shown me something that bothers you and have explained why it bothers you, and have come up with a logical and viable option, I will do my best to respond.


    EDIT: CNS: Nah, you're right, actually. Why do I keep doing this to myself?
    Last edited by Mika; 12-25-2005 at 09:37 AM.
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