86

The slogan different scientists can reach very different conclusions, depending on their starting assumptions. is misleading in the context of the "debate" between evolution and creationism. Scientists aim to explain how the world works. If two scientists disagree about some issue, then at least one of them is wrong. That is, at least one of them has ...


42

The big picture of current evolutionary theory draws from many different fields, like biology, paleontology, geology, physics (radiometric dating) and chemistry. There is a strong consensus between scientists that the results of their respective fields support the big picture, e.g. evolutionary synthesis is a consensus among biologists. So, while different ...


24

I think the honest answer is best viewed through the teachings of Karl Popper, notably the Falsifiability Criterion, according to which anything scientific has to supply a self refuting empirical criteria. That is, in the absence of an empirical way to test the hypothesis -- upon failure of which the theory is refuted -- the theory in question is hereby not ...


21

The root of this concept lies in a theory, most closely associated recently with theorist David Sloan Wilson, that moral behaviors --specifically altruism --convey a group-level survival advantage. The idea itself is quite old, but it has recently experienced a revival after being dismissed for a long period of time. (Note: The theory is still considered ...


21

One has to keep apart different layers: a) abiogenesis (the emergence of life) vs. evolution (the development of existing life over generations) and b) the incompatibility of biblical accounts of the origin of species with evolution vs. the incompatibility of the belief in God being the creator of life with evolution. I will first answer the title question ...


18

“different scientists can reach very different conclusions, depending on their starting assumptions.” This is true so far as it goes, but it stops before the critical step that distinguishes natural science from creationism: scientists then check their conclusions against reality, and reject or change their assumptions if reality and conclusion don't match. ...


12

Affirming the consequent Scientists distinguish between the merit of explanations on the basis of (a) how accurately and (b) how widely they make experimentally-verified predictions. This means empiricism is fundamentally based on affirming the consequent (and uses inductive reasoning), so you could argue empiricism is rather weak logically. However, you ...


12

A theory is a model that has predictive power. When scientists talk about evolutionary theory they make statements to the effect of "If this is true we'd expect to see such and such". They then go and see if they can find "such and such". If they cannot then the model is revised. The model is always as consistent as possible with the entire body of ...


9

I will answer this question with Kant's own words taken from (my personal favorite of his works) The Critique of the Power of Judgment. Specifically, I will be citing the Cambridge University Press 2nd Edition, edited by Paul Guyer and translated by Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews. Please decide for yourself what you think Kant would think of Darwinian ...


9

This is more of a biology question (or possibly English, if it's a definitional issue) than philosophy, but: The change in genetic material is still random. Selection has been nonrandom since the beginning: if it's too cold for you, you are unfit; if it's too hot, you're unfit; if it's too acidic, you're unfit; if you can't escape predators, you're unfit; ...


9

The problem of free will reads: How to explain the subjective experience of free will (first person’s stance) by a scientific theory, dealing with objective concepts (third person’s stance). Due to our subjective experience we do not need further arguments “for humans having free will” (first person's stance). What we need, is a scientific explanation ...


9

If according to some compatibilist free will is something that makes sense in a social context (where the notions of personhood, of responsibility or of agentivity take their appropriate meaning) then this is no argument. Evolution theory does not undermine the fact that we live in organised society. The question becomes "at which point in evolution did ...


7

Does that mean that if Darwin's theory is right, Kant's whole moral philosophy becomes worthless, because his axiom does not hold? No, it means that Kant's whole moral philosophy is imperfect. That's not a big shock; I don't think anybody (outside of Kant himself) actually thought that it was. I think that there are very few today who would doubt that ...


7

No, "evolution" has not reached a plateau It doesn't make sense to conceive of a "plateau" when it comes to evolution by natural selection outside of a situation where a particular species is subject to relatively little evolutionary changes over a long period of time because the environment is relatively stable. Only in that sense does the term "plateau" ...


7

When one person is unethical and everyone else is ethical, that person gains an advantage. But when everyone is unethical, everyone suffers. It's the classic "Prisoner's Dilemma". From an evolutionary point of view (if you accept the concept of group fitness) an ethical population as a whole could outcompete an unethical population. I don't have a ...


7

Full disclosure: I am no expert in Scientific Methodology, and make no claim to be. From my basic understanding of proper Scientific Method, I can point out the most misleading bit about that sign is the end: “different scientists can reach very different conclusions, depending on their starting assumptions.” more specifically, the starting assumptions ...


7

One of the clearest answers in modern times was given by Stephen Jay Gould, in one of his books. Gould was a professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard, died about 13 or 14 years ago, but his books are still available and popular. He came up with the theory of evolution called punctuated equilibrium. He dealt with this subject in his book Hen's Teeth and ...


7

Different subject matters Note: Philip Klöcking answers the title question, this answers the question in the body. The original work of Darwin was named "On the origin of species by means of natural selection", and not "On the origin of life". Evolution takes place after Abiogenesis. So asking someone trusts that evolution by natural selection is an ...


7

Darwin I should have thought that Darwin's theory of evolution does not recognise anything like an 'arc of history'; that evolution is not progressive, and that it moves with no purpose (cf. R.Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker). Darwinian evolution, working causally through random variation and natural selection, is naturalistic, non-directional and non-...


7

The notion of evolution in the sense of different species descending from a common ancestor predates Hegel, Darwin's contribution was the theory of natural selection to explain how the process happens, along with lots of empirical evidence for common descent and local adaptive processes such as Darwin's finches. Darwin's own grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731 -...


6

There are two things written by Kant that pretty much answer your question: First, the famous quote “Two things inspire me to awe: the starry heavens above and the moral universe within” seems to indicate that Kant would put the beauty of the Universe on par with the beauty of the "unity of human consciousness". Second, Kant was the first philosopher who ...


6

This is really a biology (human genetics) question, not a philosophy question, but I suppose that there is no better fit among the Stack Exchange sites. I also need to clarify a few of the points of biology. First, the question is mostly about selection. Although there are random processes that affect biological evolution, only selection turns evolution ...


6

Creationism is to theology what alchemy is to science, or what arithmetic is to mathematics or what school-physics is to physics itself. It was Kant who remarked of the 'proofs' of God that the one from Design is the one that most deserves respect. I placed the word proof in quotes as they are not proofs in the sense of mathematics, but as in 'argument for'....


6

“different scientists can reach very different conclusions, depending on their starting assumptions.” The sentence is correct, but it does not prove the point the creation museum wants to imply. What exactly is science and a scientific approach ? While there are many, many explanations, I think the most succinct explanation is that science tries to get ...


6

The "gradient of evolution" does not exist, biological evolution neither has to be monotone in "complexity", nor does it have to be continuous. "The idea... is based at least partly on the presumption that evolution" requires some sort of purposeful direction towards "increasing complexity". Modern evolutionary theory, beginning with Darwin at least, poses ...


6

Chomsky was famously called out by Dennett in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, who saw “signs of Chomsky’s agnosticism — or even antagonism — towards Darwinism”, and added that "if Darwin dreaders want a champion who is himself deeply and influentially enmeshed within science, they could do no better than Chomsky". This is over the top, but some Chomsky's comments ...


5

the choice of theory has to be put in 'by hand', is that not then in itself a teleological act? You're confusing the map with the territory. The choice of a theory is a motivated choice, which implies a telos--but that does not mean that the objects or processes governed by that theory are likewise teleological. The way apples fall from trees was not ...


5

"Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek σύν "together" and βίωσις "living") is close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbiosis Assuming these married people belong to the same species, their pair-bond is not an example of symbiosis, by definition. In order for your idea to work, you ...


5

AndrewC had a very good answer; however I wanted to add a few things. When beginning to compare theories it's best to begin by looking at your assumptions. In this case you are assuming that both creation and evolutionary theories are mutually exclusive. The second major assumption is that they have equal probabilities. Covering the first point, there ...


5

I see two common themes in the previous answers: Unquestionability leading to weird and incorrect interpretations of evidence. Lack of motivation because of the availability of a cop out, "Dunno. God did it. End of discussion." I'll start with the second one: Lack of motivation From an evolutionist perspective, I can see how you would come up with that,...


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