[FoRK] Open Question: Earth vs. ______?

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Sun Jun 24 01:33:48 PDT 2007

Lion Kimbro wrote:
> On 6/22/07, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> Still, plenty of hard science and hard reasoning can be done,
>> including "is there credible evidence for God?", "is the Earth's
>> ecosystem resilient in certain ways?", "has the temperature changed?",
>> "are we having a negative effect?", "can we extrapolate from the science
>> we know and think we are about to know to plan active correction
>> efforts?", etc.
>  Sure sure sure, and you can do all of these things.
>  The problem is, you're so enamored with your particular chain
>  of hard-earned discovery, that you miss the outer context of what
>  you'd call "soft" reasoning.
You think I do.  What is the evidence that I actually have?
I have more emotional intelligence, fuzzy / soft reasoning skills, 
interpersonal, communication, and people management / manipulation 
skills than many.  There are plenty of times when that is necessary.
> For instance, "Lack of credible evidence for God" *hardly,*
Hardly?  I hope we're not back to that conversation.  I invoke Dawkins.
>  in any way shape or form, means, "so there's probably not a God."
>  You're just inferring that step.  It's a *magical* step.
No!  I'm disagreeing with the magical step that others take.  I refuse 
to take any magical steps.  That's anathema to the scientific method.

Dawkins covers this well.  If you argue that I shouldn't be dissing God 
because he's unlikely to exist since there is zero verifiable evidence 
of existence or agency, I could use exactly the same evidence to "prove" 
existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Zeus, and an infinite number 
of other gods, angels, demons, etc. 
>  I'm not a theist, I'm an agnostic, in this domain, with this particular
>  "God" we're talking about.
>  You're not- you think you've got a clenching, all pervading "proof."
Lack of proof proof.
>  You imagine that you can calculate out a number, a percentage,
>  a value, a likelihood, that there is, or is not a God, within some
>  degree of confidence.  (And it points "no.")
>  But you can't actually do it.
>  And you guys *keep* doing this.  You go, "Oh, look, I can make
>  this very careful chain of reasoning, that goes clearly from point
>  G to point M."  But you forget that not only are there all these
>  other letters, but further, that there are *numbers* out there as
>  well, and in addition to numbers, there are signs and symbols
>  and videos and so on.
You're off the deep end again.
>   There's all this contextual stuff, and it can render your careful
>  chain from G to M completely pointless.
The only context worth anything here is reality.
>  If you can't get from "There's no evidence of God" to "Therefore,
>  it's very likely that there's no God," then all that effort in pointing
>  out "There's no evidence of God" is basically pointless.
It follows directly.  Things that have no evidence are unlikely to be 
true, and are false as far as we know.  It's a simple rule.
What's the problem?
>  Here's another instance of messed up context:
>  "has the temperature changed?",
>  "are we having a negative effect?",
>  "can we extrapolate from the science we know and think
>   we are about to know to plan active correction efforts?", etc.
>  Yeah! Sure!  You can do all the hard science, and get ALL of
>  your answers!  Great!
>  Can you do it in *time* to be relevant?
How does time related to a "messed up context".
You're trying to misdirect here.  Plenty of scientists have hard numbers 
one way or the other on those questions, so apparently it can be in 
time, unless that time has passed.
>  (Relevance, again.)
>  Let's say it's going to take 50 years, to really get it down right,
>  in a way that can persuade all the relevant political and economic
>  actors.
>  So, what do you do in the meantime?  Do people just put all
>  their dreams on hold, because some scientists think this "might"
>  be an issue?
What are you talking about?
>  And that's not even possible:  People are not so easily controlled
>  by a single government or movie.
>  So we live in tension between dreams and ideals and trusts and
>  other "soft" stuff.
>  The "hard" stuff is expensive, and doesn't always work, because
>  the soft context it lives in can render it meaningless, irrelevant,
>  and so on.
>   There are pockets of rationality, but they live in a sea of reason.
Rationality == the systematic employment of evidentiary and scientific 


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