Rejection of evolution across the pond

February 1, 2009 | By | 38 Replies More

Great Britain is catching up to the U.S. when it comes to the rejection of evolution by natural selection.  Consider the following from The Guardian:

Half of British adults do not believe in evolution, with at least 22% preferring the theories of creationism or intelligent design to explain how the world came about, according to a survey.

The poll found that 25% of Britons believe Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution is “definitely true”, with another quarter saying it is “probably true”. Half of the 2,060 people questioned were either strongly opposed to the theory or confused about it.

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Category: Education, Evolution, ignorance, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Karl says:

    Dan,

    Here is a sample of what you require concerning proof for the existence of both God and his attributes.

    Several papers and books like this were written initially back in the mid 1990's by Dr. Robert A. Hermann and were published in journals of mathematics and philosophy. These models received such harsh attacks from rival worldviews that accordingly created such misinterpretations of the model through language semantics that the attempted application of the model to anything not already a part of the physical, measured observations was claimed as invalid science even though it is valid theoretical mathematics.

    Erich, You are quite right that until there is some kind of agreement upon the validity of any definition of the non-physical that is rational to a scientific worldview, proof for intelligent design or a higher intelligence will always be susceptible to any individual that simply considers only purely physical descriptions as rational and all others as irrational.

  2. Karl says:

    Erich,

    You quoted Dan directly:

    “There will never be a proof of, or against, “God” until there is a rigorous definition of God in some language that allows for proof or disproof. Believers are unlikely to make this happen, and doubters have no interest in trying.”

    Then you added that your comment:

    "Dan, thanks for this excellent succinct analysis"

    I assume that meant that you either agreed with it or were glad to have something to think about.

    I was simply trying to state that although believers have tried to help this happen by using mathematical terms, definitions and the logic of abstract algebra, they have not been able to make this happen because naturalist scientists resist because they are not just doubters with no interest in trying, they have opposing interest to prevent it from happening.

    You quoted Dan's "succinct analysis" of the inability for the acceptance of a rigorous definition for God by the use of any language that might lead to proof for or against the existence of God. This is so because the language of a rational naturalistic scientist will not allow mathematical models that are rational but not naturalistic to have any to support because of their worldview.

    I was simply trying to make it clear why some will not agree that their even could be such a "rigorous definition" though believers have done so in ways that have been not acceptable to the doubters.

    You seem to agree with Dan that the matter is neatly tucked away from anyone's need to spend any effort or waste of energy over the topic.

    You are right that doubters have "no interest in trying."

    You are also right in saying that believers are not likely to make it happen, but not because they haven't tried.

    I was explaining why there will never be an acceptable "rigorous" definition for language concerning God or anything else that a strict naturalist can't put into an observable "box" and measure or extrapolate to their fit with their worldview.

    Terms like good and evil are bantered around like a ping pong ball on this site yet they have no basis in a scientific naturalistic worldview either.

    If you would like a primer from Dr. Robert A Hermann you can start here:

    http://users.datarealm.com/herrmann/main.html

    or, here:

    http://users.datarealm.com/herrmann/attributes.ht

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Karl: You seem to be a nice fellow, but I really don't have time or interest in untangling all of the things I disagree with in the above comment. I have said what I have said, not what you say that I've said. The skeptics I know and admire have no interest in doing what they know to be impossible: Attempting to run scientific experiments to better understand imaginary beings.

  3. Karl writes:—"I was simply trying to state that although believers have tried to help this happen by using mathematical terms, definitions and the logic of abstract algebra, they have not been able to make this happen because naturalist scientists resist because they are not just doubters with no interest in trying, they have opposing interest to prevent it from happening."

    Or it could be that such models are sufficiently flawed as to be useless. You really do have to consider the possibility that what you seem to support is simply not a valid model of reality. On the one hand you suggest your premise is outside the realm of material science, then on the other you claim that people using the methodology of that science are ignored when they propose models that support it. This is very human, trying to have it both ways, and one of the more charming traits of our species, but it is also the chief reason supernatural discussions that try to assert that such things are "real"—i.e. can affect the material in this or that way, like in, uh, creating it—always fall apart and get shunted off into a drawer. Because it is not amenable to actual science, which tends to suggest that there's no There there.

  4. Karl says:

    Mark,

    I do not state that my premises are outside of mathematics, only outside of the usual methodologies of a naturalistic material science.

    There are many aspects of mathematics that bear little if any relation to observed reality, but science doesn't shred these because the math doesn't contradict their existing worldview.

    N-dimensional spaces work on paper but they are mostly considered null and nonexistent beyond n=4, perhaps 5 if you are a singing group.

    However, If it is somehow stated that God could be in a dimension beyond the four usual human dimensions, this becomes untenable.

    The same goes for functions with high orders of power.

    Our minds can grasp derivatives and integrals of 6X to the fifth power. We don't decry the exercise on paper, we even try to match this to real world phenomena and when we can't figure out real world applications we don't shrug off the mathematics as having no value.

    However, when models describe the working of human thought, language, values, ideas, premises and logic using abstract algebra and nonstandard ways of analysis the models are usually ridiculed as irrational even though the "mathematics" on paper is rational.

    It all comes down to the value that an individual places upon the match of one's initial premises to reality or not. It’s the adherence to specific initial premises that either permit or prevent a person from accepting proper use of logic and analysis of their own thought process.

    Those who come to God must believe at least in the possibility of His existence, even if there is little if any material science behind it.

  5. Karl says:

    A creator can not be studied as a part the physical creation, that is, scientifically.

    Jesus as a part of the creation could be and was studied very thoroughly as "Luke" a physician of his day, did.

    The Spirit of God also can not be studied scientifically as material science. Many people try to apply only human scientific reasoning to God and in so doing shut the door to faith in anything but own understandings of the strictly physical world.

    Some do not rule out that the best of human interactions can also model the interaction of God with creation as well.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      This is where I get off the train, Karl. I'd merely be repeating my objections to your preaching that I've raised dozens of times at this site. This is not a productive conversation.

  6. Jim Razinha says:

    Please, let's drop the "intelligent" from the design argument. As several have noted in at least some of the threads on this site and in many many publications outside DI, there are far too many leftovers and supremely stupid flaws in the "design" that resulted from evolution for there to be anything remotely "intelligent" in its development. Dawkins did a good job in "The Greatest Show on Earth" in highlighting several flaws and their evolutionary path. An intelligent designer would have done a much better job. WEll, if it were my chosen profession to be a god, I like to think I would have done a better job. In real life, I work with architects and engineers and together we are intelligent enough to design complex structures. With flaws. Always with some flaws (small, and most times correctable). Can't help it. But then we're not flawless, though many would consider us intelligent.

    As much fun as I think it would be to pick apart Herrmann, I don't have the time nor do I have the desire right now. I admit that given the title of his book is "Science Declares Our Universe is Intelligently Designed", I am immediately, if unfairly, turned off. I've read enough gobbledegook from Answers in Genesis, the Discovery Institute and others to know that one more won't change a thing for me: there is no science in the creation myth and calling it "creation science" was an oxymoron. Repackaging it as "intelligent design" is a sad marketing ploy, for there is absolutely no evidence for intelligence behind any of the evolutionary developments that led to what we see today. Herrmann having a PhD in math is a misleading argument from authority in this case, for he though he taught mathematics at the Naval Academy and supposedly published in "mainstream journals" (that from a blog site), I could find nothing in a half-quick search other than his own site you provided and his name in a bunch of copies of the same list of people who support creationism.

    I have a book by Immanuel Velikovsky (a respected psychiatrist clearly out of his element) called "Worlds in Collision", which spent time on the best seller list in 1950 until the scientific community soundly trounced its pseudo-scientific doublespeak as contradictory of the laws of nature. You can google it to get a synopsis, and read Martin Gardner's critique in "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science". Credentialed author hawking an implausible and impossible theory (of the Holmesian type, not scientific type) that cannot stand the simplest of scientific scrutiny? Dr. Herrmann might have good company. Maybe someday I'll check out his book.

    As we don't know anything about what's on the other side of the time discontinuity that marks the big bang, it could be that there was an intelligence that set it in motion. That'd be cool. But it's really unreasonable to hold that that intelligence simultaneously and instantly interacts, though capricious and petulant in such interaction, with every piece of E=mc^2 in our universe AND has an unnatural interest in every one of the lives of one species of animal on one small planet in a minor galaxy among billions of galaxies.

    Well, unreasonable to me.

  7. Karl says:

    My reason for interacting here at DI is to give you a clear indication that what you normally call "preaching" doesn't need to be done in ways that are offensive.

    I try to point to the differences in what we consider as the basic premises of our beliefs.

    Yours appear to be physical, mine are physical and meta-physical.

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