Re: Re[2]: Evolution as fact

Mr. E (jackechs@EROLS.COM)
Thu, 7 Mar 1996 06:01:57 -0500

ARGUMENTUM AD IGNORANTIAM: Argumentum ad ignorantiam means "argument from
ignorance". This fallacy occurs whenever it is argued that something must be
true simply because it has not been proved false. Or, equivalently, when it
is argued that something must be false because it has not been proved true.
(Note that this is not the same as assuming that something is false until it
has been proved true, a basic scientific principle.)

At 03:39 AM 03/07/96 EST, Deus Ex Machina wrote:

>First of all evolution as I said before is fact. Natural selection as I
>and others have said is the theory. Evolution is the basis for modern
>biology which includes physical anthro. There is NO competing alternate
>model/whatever to explain the diversity on this planet that has any vali
>,solid, hard scientific evidence. Since in science and the real world
>we are always dealing in probabilities the SLIGHT possibilty that
>evolution didn't happen CANNOT be used as an argument against it because
>that would discount everything that we consider fact. DO NOT let this
>confuse you it is an inherent possibility that the sun may not rise
>tomorrow, but that DOES NOT mean we would regard this possibilty as
>a reasonable one, that would be UNSCIENTIFIC. The fact that something
>MIGHT be unfactual DOES NOT support any other idea it simply means that
>this particular idea/concept is that percent unlikely. To state that
>anything is possible because we don't know everything is a fallacy
>called an argumentum ad ignoratum.
>To state that we would have gotten nowhere had people accepted
>certain principle and premises as fact in their own time is illogical
>and wrong. In the example of the discovery that the earth was round
>the ancient Greeks used GEOMETRY that was accepeted as a legitimate
>science then and now. Scientist do not reinvent the wheel every time
>they disagree with something.
>It is faulty to think that "we need to be there" to prove something
>in science as this type of thinking betrays an ignorance of general
>scientific practice.
>Comparing science to religion is also a BIG mistake. For one thing
>religion tends to be Dogmatic and stagnant in its beliefs. Science
>changes alot. When a new model/hypothesis is proposed and it has
>legitimate data etc that shows or suggests that this new idea
>is better than the old one science will change accordingly. Science has
>a unique self-correcting device called a dialectic. When one chooses
>not to accept a given idea the threat of Holy war is not imminent
>as it has been in religion. I nor I think does any scientist worship
>scientific method as GOD. Science and religion are VERY different
>the similarities you think you see are superficial. Similar to the
>similarities that many would see in A. robustus and A. boisei if
>one where untrained in phys. anthro.
>As to whether or not probabilty in the real world is a "great argument
>for questioning science" I would have to say again that this statement
>is made in ignorance as to the workings of science.
>As for my sig file itsin reference to the censorship on the net not
>As to whether I am "trapped in science" this would I suppose refer to
>the idea of close-mindedness that I may be suffering from. I would
>argue that close-mindedness works both ways. Everyone is inherently
>close-minded and believes themselves to be right and everyone else
>wrong. All I can say is that if someone proposes an alternate idea
>to something I believe and know to be true I will TRY to judge as
>fairly as HUMANLY possible. It may be pointed out that our
>current level of scientific advancement in the world is due to
>scientists believing themselves to be absolutley right and never giving
>up the quest for knowledge, truth, or fact.
> Matthew D. Joanis '98
> St. Lawrence University
> Anthro major
>>At 02:45 AM 03/06/96 EST, Deus Ex Machina wrote:
>>>It occurs to me that if one wishes to practice science "properly" one
>>>must as a necessary course accept certain principles and premises as
>>>fact. In light of this when you look at science it is seen that
>>>all learning always comes in the theoretical. However it should be noted
>>>that when the word "theory" or even "hypothesis" is used in the
>>>scientific arena both terms take on very different meanings than their
>>>colloquial usuage. This I think is basic knowledge for most students of
>>If Darwin followed that premise and excepted the scientific views of his
>>time, we wouln't be having this debate ... not to mention; Einstein,
>>Hawkins, Leakey, etc. There has been a prevaling fact in every generation
>>... if someone didn't guestion it ... look into it thoroughly ... well the
>>Earth would still be flat, at the center of the universe, etc. Personally,
>>I do not doubt evolution at all ... but the theories or other assumptions
>>based on evidence that cannot be proved without actually being there, I
>>believe is open to question ... at worse the standing theory/opinion will
>>stand the test of debate or something closer to the truth or fact will be
>>found. To except science unequivically is no different than a religious
>>individuals unwaving faith in God/Goddess/Whatever.
>>>As to the "factualness" of anything it was demonstrated by AJ Ayer that
>>>there isn't anything in the "real world" that is 100% certain, factual,
>>>or provable. Therefore it can be said there isn't anything which is
>>>actual or factual just probable. Given this then it can be said that
>>>evolution is highly probable. If when we classify things as fact
>>>we do it based on probability of occurence then evolution must be
>>>included and I think that it is clear that we base the qualification
>>>of fact on probability. I find it interesting to note that modern
>>>biology is based on the idea of evolution yet we still can't agree on
>>>whether evolution happened or not. If we use the same argument against
>>>other fields of science that we use against evolution can science
>>>continue to exist? I doubt it. Evolution is fact plain and simple.
>>>What is at question here as some others on the List serve have said
>>>is not whether evolution is fact rather is natural selection fact?
>>>To make the analogy to volcanology we know volcanoes erupt, we are only
>>>uncertain as to how they erupt.
>>A great argument for questioning science ... the more we know the closer we
>>can come to that ever allusive 100% fact.
>>>"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain Security,
>>>will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."
>>> -- Thomas Jefferson
>>Good quote ... though it goes against your premise. Your comment to support
>>science unquestionably is giving up your freedom to explore/learn to see
>>what may or not be there for the security of a set way, a path determined.
>"Those who desire to give up Freedom in order to gain Security,
>will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."
> -- Thomas Jefferson

thank you for your time and space ... respectfully submitted,

Anthony Dean Dauer
Senior Functional Applications Analyst
PRC, Inc

All views stated are of the author only and do not reflect
PRC, Inc., Litton Industries, or their affiliates.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly (1913-1973), Pogo

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