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Thread: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines

  1. #1 Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
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    1) Why do subforum guidelines not exist for other subforums (except the pseudoscience subforum)?

    2) "But what is “support”? Ideally, support is an article published in a scholarly peer-reviewed journal. Yes, this system is not perfect, but it is the only system of publication held to the high standards of science. Sources other than peer-reviewed articles may still be challenged." This standard seems to imply that peer-reviewed sources are not allowed to be challenged. On the other hand, if both peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed sources are allowed to be challenged, then what is the point of including this statement within the set of standards?

    3) When addressing ID and Creationism, the standards claim that these ideas involve a supernatural guiding intelligence. I was wondering how the moderators know that any potential guiding intelligence would be supernatural as opposed to natural. I posted a thread in the Pseudoscience subforum asking how scientists know if something is natural and this was never adequately explained.


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  3. #2 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    1) Why do subforum guidelines not exist for other subforums (except the pseudoscience subforum)?
    there are forum-wide guidelines in this part of the forum
    additional guidelines for each subforum are up to the discretion of the individual moderator for that subforum (if there is one)


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  4. #3 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    I posted a thread in the Pseudoscience subforum asking how scientists know if something is natural and this was never adequately explained.
    It was adequately explained. you just didn't understand or accept the explanation.
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  5. #4 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    I posted a thread in the Pseudoscience subforum asking how scientists know if something is natural and this was never adequately explained.
    It was adequately explained. you just didn't understand or accept the explanation.
    I don't see how something can be adequately explained if the explanation is unreasonable. But you are correct in saying that I did not accept any of these explanations. I am still waiting for one that makes sense.

    Edit: Even the moderator of the subforum (TheBiologista) admitted that the word "natural" has no meaning in science, and you agreed that the definition of another's was "crap". There is more justification is saying that any potential designer of life would be purple as there is in saying it would be supernatural.
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  6. #5 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Even the moderator of the subforum (TheBiologista) admitted that the word "natural" has no meaning in science, ...
    really ? surely you're aware that science attempts to explain phenomena in the natural world, and explicitly excludes itself from the domain of the supernatural, where the scientific method of testing and falsification is not possible

    obviously it all depends on the meaning of the word "natural" you were using - if it was in opposition to "unnatural" then no, science can't express itself over such a value expression
    if, on the other hand, it was in opposition to "supernatural", then i declare myself puzzled, since exploring the natural world is the whole raison d'ętre of science
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Even the moderator of the subforum (TheBiologista) admitted that the word "natural" has no meaning in science, ...
    really ?...

    Yes, he really did say that.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    To clarify for those who may be wondering, I did say that natural has no specific meaning across all of science. But I also told ufcarazy in another thread and in PM that "natural" is a convenient way to limit discussions to topics that are testable, and generally those topics that are considered by most people as "supernatural" are not testable and therefore not science. ufcarazy, I find it rather disingenuous of you to bring this up again even after I clarified my position to you.

    If there are concerns that this will genuinely confuse and cause problems for people I will change the specific wording in the guidelines.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  9. #8 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Even the moderator of the subforum (TheBiologista) admitted that the word "natural" has no meaning in science, ...
    really ?...

    Yes, he really did say that.
    Did he indeed? Science limits itself to the realm of the observable and measurable, what we call "natural". This means that making a distinction between natural, unnatural and supernatural within science is essentially meaningless. That does not strip the word of any conceivable meaning nor does it prohibit the meaningful use of the word by scientists. Personally, I hold the philosophical position that the only way of gaining knowledge is via empiricism (ie science) and so for me, talk of the unnatural and supernatural is mere fantasy. When I spoke of "natural" however, I was primarily concerned with the fabricated line between "natural" and "unnatural" as used by proponents of organic foods and such, rather than the meaning of "supernatural". This was because at the outset of your post you did not make the meaning of your question clear. Now I can see that you were attempting to trap the posters here into some sort of admission that you could use as binding. Presumably in some rubbish argument intended to force us redefine "science" to include whatever brain farts the ID and creationist morons might produce.

    Now to your point: it is not the position of scientists which dictates that intelligent designers and the like are "supernatural". It is ID proponents and creationists who insist on rendering them so. They make the claim that this or that appears "designed" but provided no mechanism by which that design could take place, nor what form the designer might take, nor its origins nor location, instead talking in vague terms. They provide no means to test design or designer, placing both outside the realms of empiricism and thus making them "supernatural". They place these things beyond science, define them in non-testable terms, so they cannot be questioned. That is not our determination but yours. We have our model, we have mechanisms to explain every detail of it. It is internally consistent, all entirely testable and observable and it makes useful predictions. When you guys are ready to lay bare every detail of your hypothesis, with every element rigorously testable, then you can call it science and not before.

    Stop playing these ridiculous games. Don't misrepresent my position again.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    To clarify for those who may be wondering, I did say that natural has no specific meaning across all of science. But I also told ufcarazy in another thread and in PM that "natural" is a convenient way to limit discussions to topics that are testable, and generally those topics that are considered by most people as "supernatural" are not testable and therefore not science. ufcarazy, I find it rather disingenuous of you to bring this up again even after I clarified my position to you.

    If there are concerns that this will genuinely confuse and cause problems for people I will change the specific wording in the guidelines.
    Are you saying that first scientists determine whether something is testable, and if it is then it is called natural, or are you saying that first scientists determine if something is natural, and if it is then it is called testable?

    Are you saying that we can make a claim or entity untestable simply by calling it supernatural, and make a claim or entity testable simply by calling it natural?
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Not at all, and you are making an extremely transparent attempt to twist my words into something that casts aspersions on all of science. The ultimate arbiter is and only is testability, nothing else.

    Get it through your head, ufcarazy. No way, no how, are you ever going to convince anyone who has any say in how this forum is run that intelligent design or anything of it's ilk is as acceptable for discussion as any other scientific topic. You can twist our words, misquote us, spam us with silly threads asking clever but ultimately ridiculous questions, call us dogmatic tyrannical establishment scientists, etc etc etc. If you think you've come here to show us something, you have - shown us every dirty little trick we've all seen IDers and creationists use before. Congratulations.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  12. #11 Re: Questions about Biology subforum guidelines 
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Even the moderator of the subforum (TheBiologista) admitted that the word "natural" has no meaning in science, ...

    Did he indeed? Science limits itself to the realm of the observable and measurable, what we call "natural". This means that making a distinction between natural, unnatural and supernatural within science is essentially meaningless.
    I think what you are saying it the the description of something as natural, unnatural, or supernatural occurs outside of science, such that a person is not speaking in their official capacity as a scientist when labeling something "natural", "unnatural", or "supernatural". Is this correct?

    Now to your point: it is not the position of scientists which dictates that intelligent designers and the like are "supernatural". It is ID proponents and creationists who insist on rendering them so.
    I don't know of any mainstream ID proponents who claim that intelligent designers are supernatural (edit: it may be their personal, religious belief without being their statement as an official ID proponent, much like a supporter of the theory of evolution who personally believes that the theory of evolution opposes theism/religion). However, they do claim that intelligence is non-natural, although I disagree with them on this claim and wish I could publicly debate with them about it. In fact, it is those who oppose ID who claim that if a designer(s) exists, then it is supernatural. The problem with the claim that the potential designer(s) is supernatural is that it is a religious belief and religious beliefs are not allowed to prevent one from accepting a claim as scientific.

    They make the claim that this or that appears "designed" but provided no mechanism by which that design could take place, nor what form the designer might take, nor its origins nor location, instead talking in vague terms.
    The mechanism by which design took place is step-by-step, sometimes slow and sometimes rapid, with new forms appearing from older ones. This mechanism has been discovered by the findings of modern biology, and future scientific research will give us a more detailed description of how intelligence guided the process. I oppose abandoning science simply because it cannot answer all questions.

    They provide no means to test design or designer, placing both outside the realms of empiricism and thus making them "supernatural".
    It sounds like you are saying that something is supernatural if there is currently no known method of testing it. Is this what you are saying?

    We have our model, we have mechanisms to explain every detail of it. It is internally consistent, all entirely testable and observable and it makes useful predictions. When you guys are ready to lay bare every detail of your hypothesis, with every element rigorously testable, then you can call it science and not before.
    I think what you are saying is that if there is any aspect of a claim that is not rigorously testable, then we cannot describe that aspect as scientific. Is this correct?

    Don't misrepresent my position again.
    Here was what you wrote: Natural is not really a concept with any meaning in science. So it doesn't really come into consideration at all. It's more a concept used by advertisers to sell things, since "natural" and "good" tend to be synonymous in most people's minds. Or to suggest a thing is bad by labelling it "unnatural" when no specific harm can be ascribed to it.

    The question I asked concerning the meaning of the word "natural" should not have been confused with foods. Here is the question posted in the pseudoscience section on Sept. 2, 2009: In all the scientific articles I have read I have never encountered one that contained a test to determine that the ideas offered have the quality of being "natural". It seems as though the concept of "natural" is purely philosophical rather than scientific. How do scientists know that their ideas are natural?

    Perhaps we both misunderstood the other.[/i]
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Not at all, and you are making an extremely transparent attempt to twist my words into something that casts aspersions on all of science. The ultimate arbiter is and only is testability, nothing else.
    I think what you are saying is that it doesn't matter if something is natural, non-natural, unnatural, supernatural, or sub-natural, rather, all that matters is if a claim can be tested. Is this correct?
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    I don't know of any mainstream ID proponents who claim that intelligent designers are supernatura
    They all do. Every single one of them. And here's why:

    'intelligent' design implies a 'designer.'
    a designer implies agency.
    agency suggests either an evolved being or a non-evolved being.
    an evolved being is not intelligently designed.
    therefore, intelligent design is done by a non-evolved being.
    a non-evolved being cannot naturally exist, otherwise it would have evolved.
    therefore, a supernatural being designed all that there is.


    Can you suggest a different set of premises that allows for 'intelligent' design? If you're saying that the 'designer' might have been an alien that evolved on some other planet, aren't you just saying you believe in evolution, just not on Earth?

    If there's a non-supernatural (thus superstitious) explanation for a designer, please spell it out here. Otherwise, accept that every single 'intelligent' design supporter is a superstitious (and probably undereducated nut) person who ultimately believes goddidit.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    ufcarazy, in its current incarnation ID can never be science because it doesn't make any predictions of its own - it merely points to perceived deficiencies in the current fabric of science and wants to fill them with a designer

    the god of the gaps concepts is still as flawed today as it was a few centuries ago, independent of whether you to try and wrap it in a cloak of semi-scientific respectability
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    I don't know of any mainstream ID proponents who claim that intelligent designers are supernatura
    agency suggests either an evolved being or a non-evolved being.

    an evolved being is not intelligently designed.
    For the first sentence above, I would like you to produce scientific evidence that any agent that could possibly exist must exist only because it was caused to exist by one or more of the mechanisms that are a part of the theory of evolution. In other words, provide scientific justification for the claim that evolutionary mechanisms are logically necessary to produce intelligence.

    In regards to the second sentence, I would like you to explain why you believe that the mechanisms of change included as a part of the theory of evolution are mutually exclusive from intelligent guidance.

    Since ID proponents do not believe either of the claims you are making, then it does not logically follow that they are reaching the same conclusion as you since the conclusion is based on those two claims. I'll prove it:

    All living things exist either due to an intelligent cause or random processes.
    No living things exist due to random processes.
    Therefore, supporters of the theory of evolution believe that all living things are intelligently caused.

    Please respond to my requests concerning the two statements in question before explaining why my analogy does not fit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    ufcarazy, in its current incarnation ID can never be science because it doesn't make any predictions of its own - it merely points to perceived deficiencies in the current fabric of science and wants to fill them with a designer
    A claim need not make predictions to be scientific. For instance, when astronomers point massive telescopes into the sky waiting for a supernova they predict neither where or when it will occur, yet are still doing science.


    For predictions of ID:

    http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr...ls.php/id/1156

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/05...esign_pre.html

    "Signature in the Cell", by Stephen C. Meyer, Appendix A.


    Supporters of the theory of evolution have made at least one prediction from ID:

    If life were designed, there would be no bad design.


    Here are two relevant quotes:

    "the presence or absence of a creative super-intelligence is unequivocally a scientific question." - The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, p. 58-59.

    "The process I will follow is the scientific method of hypothesis testing. The existence of God will be taken as a scientific hypothesis and the consequences of that hypothesis searched for in objective observations of the world around us. Various models will be assumed in which God has specific attributes that can be tested empirically. That is, if a God with such attributes exists, certain phenomena should be observable." - God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor Stenger, p. 17-18.
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  18. #17  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    A claim need not make predictions to be scientific. For instance, when astronomers point massive telescopes into the sky waiting for a supernova they predict neither where or when it will occur, yet are still doing science.
    there is an implied prediction in their activities, which is that, if they wait long enough and scan enough portions of the night sky, supernovas will be observed

    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Supporters of the theory of evolution have made at least one prediction from ID:

    If life were designed, there would be no bad design.
    which do you prefer : no prediction or one that has been refuted ?
    if sticking with a falsified prediction is science, then it is at best outdated science
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR

    Quote Originally Posted by ufcarazy
    Supporters of the theory of evolution have made at least one prediction from ID:

    If life were designed, there would be no bad design.
    which do you prefer : no prediction or one that has been refuted ?
    if sticking with a falsified prediction is science, then it is at best outdated science
    I think what you are saying is that if one prediction of a theory is refuted, then the theory should be rejected. Is this correct?
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  20. #19  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    not necessarily so - it depends on whether the prediction is central or peripheral to the theory
    if the latter, then maybe some aspect of the theory needs to be revised, whereas if the former, then the theory in question is at least due for a major revision if not a total overhaul

    whatever the case, any new theory should try to supplant the existing by providing a better or more complete explanation of the evidence, and definitely shouldn't attempt to use discredited or refuted arguments in doing so
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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