Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Dunning-Kruger effect

I was checking through my comments recently, and came across this comment. I found it quite hilarious, it's always hilarious that sceptics / atheists are accused of not being open minded enough by people who believe on at best tenuous evidence. But that's his choice, if he wants to believe in God he's more than welcome to do so. If he just left it at a personal insult and with smug condescension told me that he was praying for me, then so what? But the fun never stops there with creationists. They just go and have to demonstrate their own ignorance, combining their own personal incredulity with a complete misunderstanding of how the science works. So without further adieu, here's why Olly should pick up a book on science before speaking on the matter:
Me, a man who does not go to church, who didn't believe in God but had faith in the laughable theory of evolution, am assured that you are a blinded man with NO SCIENTIFIC evidence of anything other than a Master Designed Earth, Sun, and Moon Stars etc.
Thanks to having tools that enable us to scour the galaxy, we can extract information about the origins of those great balls of fire. How do stars form? Out of a gravitational collapse of molecular clouds. We can see how materials clump together in nature, either in spherical lumps or in discs. We've witnessed the birthing of new stars at various stages and seen the deaths of stars. There's still some mystery as to how it works (as with all information) but there's nothing yet to show that a designer was involved.

Any child can see that we have Man & Monkeys but nothing in between.
The divergence of life, isn't it wonderful? Humans and old-world monkeys last shared a common ancestor around 25 million years ago, with new-world monkeys it's about 40. As for nothing in between? There are the primates Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Orangutans, and Gibbons all are more closely related to us than any monkey, genetically and anatomically.

As for our evolution, from the fossil record we can see divergences where one lineage eventuated in humans and another in chimpanzees. We've found many hominina skulls showing a clear pattern of evolution. We've found so many skulls that we've found lines of evolution that no longer exist. Homo erectus is not an ancestor and neither is neanderthal. Yet we've found skulls that could very well show human ancestry.

And to think, that is only one line of many lines of evidence that we use to know that we have evolved.

The serious & genuine scientists are now re-assessing their long held beliefs of random & chance mutations in favour of an incredible design
The serious and genuine scientists are doing nothing of the sort. The only scientists who are doing so aren't arguing for intelligent design in the scientific arena, they are appealing to an ignorant public for support. And it's working, people now think that Intelligent Design is a science. Even when it hasn't had any empirical verification and the arguments brought forward to support Intelligent Design (irreducible complexity, specified complexity) have long since been refuted by scientists. In the case of irreducible complexity, such systems were explained back in 1918 and are a prediction of evolutionary theory.

As for random and chance mutations being the only alternative? I'm afraid mutationism never really took hold. Chance mutations do play a part in evolution, but it's not the driving factor. Natural selection is a non-random process, and allows for the accumulation of successful or neutral mutations which over a period of time spread through a population and facilitate change. Evolution is an unguided yet non-random process. If you need an example, pull out 5 dice. Roll them and see if you can get all sixes. The odds are 1 in 7776 of rolling all 5 in one go. You'll eventually get it by chance, but it will take a long time. Instead, if any die should happen to roll a six, do not roll it again. You'll see that it won't take you many rolls to have 5 dice all displaying six.

We see a digital camera & know it is a product of a designer, yet when we look at a human eye (many times more intricate & far superior design) Some foolish people believe the trail of fools that tell them it all happened by accident.
Again, by accident? Evolution is a non-random process and it's been shown through experiment after experiment that through natural selection an eye comparable to our own can evolve in a very short space of time (on an evolutionary scale.) We can also look at nature and see different creatures with the different stages of said development.

As for the human eye being a far superior design to a digital camera, if someone tried to sell me a digital camera. There's a blind spot stemming from the optic nerve, it would be terrible to see any camera that is missing a piece of the picture. The light-sensitive rods are behind many layers - something that is common among all vertebrates. By contrast cephalopods do not have this problem, and the problems of our eye are not shared by the octopus - a cephalopod with an eye of similar functionality and quality to our own. The eye beyond all else is an example of evolution in action; or a really terrible designer that could be bested by 1st year engineering students.

ALL scientists agree that only life can beget life & then many totally contradict themselves when they say the earth magically appeared from a BIG BANG..
Current life can only beget life, spontaneous generation of life is impossible. But if you rewind the clock far back enough to around 4 billion years ago, then there's a point where life needs a start. Instead of having fully-formed animals springing forth, instead we hit a primitive cell. And while we don't know exactly how cells first formed, there are some promising leads through certain interactions that make the "stuff of life"

As for the earth magically appearing from the big bang? That sounds awfully biblical. That the earth magically formed in the beginning, only with the word "God" thrown in there. Where scientists stand on the issue is that the big bang was the beginning of the universe and over time the fundamental forces of interaction formed stars and galaxies, that stars died and some shot heavy atoms all throughout space. And the process of star formation began again, this time with the heavier elements that were needed for planets. It was the attraction of gravity thanks to the giant thermonuclear reactor sitting 150 million kilometres away from us and the interactive forces of nature that built the earth - nothing magical about it.

A child will tell you that no matter how many explosions you have, you will end up with a mess & chaos. You are never going to get any order, let alone an amazing world that is full of design where ever we look.
The big bang is not an explosion, rather it's an expansion of space time out of a singularity. What accounts for order in the universe? The fundamental forces of nature. It's not simply chaos, on a macroscopic level the universe behaves according to a set of forces. The arguments from design are in this sense tautological. "We exist, therefore God exists."

In the interests of making a falsifiable argument, I would ask anyone using the argument from design to describe just how one can detect for an absence of design; and from there make a distinction between a universe governed by naturalistic forces and one that requires an intelligence in order to function. Just what exactly is God needed to do if through the fundamental forces of nature one can account for the current state of the universe? Likewise, what parts of the universe cannot be accounted for between the fundamental forces that would require a conscious designer? Without answering such questions, appealing to design is arguing from ignorance in the most tautological sense possible.

It is FAR better science to believe in the truth than in your EXTREME FAITH in CHANCE.
Faith in chance? The only chance I believe in is the probability that is systematic in quantum mechanics - which has been empirically demonstrated time and time again. Beyond that it's cause and effect all the way, again empirically demonstrated. As for the dichotomy between accident and design...

If there is no God then a loving decent Christian (one who follows Jesus kind & gentle example) has everything to gain & nothing to loose. But an atheist or non-believer has nothing to gain & EVERYTHING TO LOOSE. Think about it.
*sigh* Pascal's Wager again. So many ways to refute it. Pascal assumes too much, that it's simply a choice between God and nothing (it isn't), that there's such thing as an infinite reward (there isn't), and that reward will come through belief. It's hard to imagine that anyone who believes is a loving god could also in the same breath talk about eternal torture for anyone who doesn't believe in Jesus as their saviour. By this logic a mass-murdering Christian would get heaven and their godless victim would get hell no matter what kind of life. This doesn't fit in with the message of justice so often spouted by theists, Pascal's wager and subsequent use of it is pushing conformity through fear.

Even a child will make the right choice if he is LOVED enough to have been given the right of truth & not brainwashed into believing Darwin's mid 1800's incorrect theory that is now taught as fact.
Ironic that a religious person is talking about brainwashing of children, but that's besides the point. It's not Darwin's nineteenth century theory that is taught in schools today - science progresses with as new information comes to light. Darwin's insight was natural selection and the tree of life, yet modern evolutionary theory is centred around genetic inheritance and variation. Natural selection plays a role, but so do many other features. What is taught today is known as modern evolutionary theory, it's not brainwashing Darwin's ideas rather it's telling students where the science is at today.

Science is not brainwashing. There's no threat of hell or promise of heaven associated with it - unlike Christianity. There's no indoctrination into evolution rather it's merely taught in the science classroom - unlike the biblical account of creation. There are no rituals in place and no prayers that reinforce the theory - unlike adherence to religion. And children are not properly exposed to the theory until their later years, again unlike religion. Science is taught where the evidence lies and our best way to interpret such evidence. And if there was brainwashing involved, it seems we've done a bad job. Because most people don't know the first thing about how evolution works and how nature works as a whole. Whoever taught you science failed, please actually read up on the basics before you try and lecture someone else on it. Because unlike you, not everyone is completely oblivious to the role of nature.


dave mabus said...

do you ever stop babbling about nothing, idiots...

Kel said...

You're right. It's far more important to babble on about how Randi owes you a million dollars for a psychic power you claim someone else had... Time to go back on the meds.