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Science Forum

  1. 16 Sep '08 20:56
    I realise that the "Genius of Charles Darwin" series finished weeks ago but the "Darwin" thread it prompted is still winding its pointless way so I thought I'd start another.

    I watched the series hoping to see an explanation of the theory for the layman (it is a remarkably simple theory considering its impact: no maths required and if explained well the whole thing becomes blindingly obvious) and/or a biography of the man himself. What we got was neither. What we got was another polemic against religion. Evidence for and explanation of evolution was scant. Dawkins was preaching to the converted and maybe a narrow band of undecideds. My wife is a 'default' christian: goes to church once a month but does not know anything really about the religion. I wanted this series to be for her but I am too embarrassed to encourage her to watch it.

    As you probably know, I agree with most of what Dawkins says. His books are far better. Well written, clear and informative but on tellyI find him to be a disappointment.

    Is Dawkins doing more harm than good? Was a fine opportunity to educate and inform thrown away? What do you guys think?

    --- Penguin.
  2. 17 Sep '08 00:09
    I really think Dawkins could do a lot more good by focusing his efforts in better areas.

    I think he would do better to focus on teaching and promoting science and critical thinking and then things will follow from there.

    I want to read some of his books, but I'm not too interested in the god delusion though. I'm more interested in the ones where he writes more about science.
  3. 17 Sep '08 06:56
    Originally posted by Penguin
    Is Dawkins doing more harm than good?
    I heard Dawkins wrote a book called "The God Complex". I assume that it's all about his own view of himself.

    Richard
  4. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    17 Sep '08 08:25
    Originally posted by Penguin

    Is Dawkins doing more harm than good? Was a fine opportunity to educate and inform thrown away? What do you guys think?

    --- Penguin.
    Outside his field, Dawkins is a waste of breath -- and quite passé. The God Delusion? Who cares?
  5. 17 Sep '08 13:04
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Outside his field, Dawkins is a waste of breath -- and quite passé. The God Delusion? Who cares?
    I wouldn't go that far.

    The one good thing he has done through the popularity of the god delusion, etc.. is that there have been more atheists willing to stand up and come out of the closet, so to speak.

    An odd aura has arisen around him though, in no small part built by his opponents, that has made him basically an icon that is almost a reflection of what people want him to be.

    Of course, like anyone who has reached his level of fame/infamy, there are those that hate and love him irrationally.
  6. 17 Sep '08 20:25
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    I wouldn't go that far.

    The one good thing he has done through the popularity of the god delusion, etc.. is that there have been more atheists willing to stand up and come out of the closet, so to speak.

    An odd aura has arisen around him though, in no small part built by his opponents, that has made him basically an icon that is almost a reflection ...[text shortened]... who has reached his level of fame/infamy, there are those that hate and love him irrationally.
    I have been shamed by what Wormwood said in the 'Science Forum' thread. This thread sould not be here. It should be in 'Debates' or 'Spirituality'.

    The Science forum was created for science discussions and this was, I think (and I should know, I started it), a question about belief systems and how best to promote them.

    I have been guilty in the past of contributing to the hijacking of science threads towards discussions of religion and faith. I will try to refrain from such in future.

    Can the thread be moved to Spirituality?

    --- Penguin.
  7. Standard member KellyJay
    Walk your Faith
    18 Sep '08 06:18
    Originally posted by Penguin
    I realise that the "Genius of Charles Darwin" series finished weeks ago but the "Darwin" thread it prompted is still winding its pointless way so I thought I'd start another.

    I watched the series hoping to see an explanation of the theory for the layman (it is a remarkably simple theory considering its impact: no maths required and if explained well the w ...[text shortened]... ne opportunity to educate and inform thrown away? What do you guys think?

    --- Penguin.
    Math is required once DNA was discovered and we could figuire out the
    odds of some of this stuff occuring, but it is ignored
    Kelly
  8. 18 Sep '08 07:02
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Math is required once DNA was discovered and we could figuire out the
    odds of some of this stuff occuring, but it is ignored
    Kelly
    Math was required long before the discovery of DNA. Without math DNA would never be discovered.

    The probability of existance of DNA =1, because we actually have discovered it already.
  9. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    18 Sep '08 07:30
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Math is required once DNA was discovered and we could figuire out the
    odds of some of this stuff occuring, but it is ignored
    Kelly
    Go outside your door, note the first license plate number that you see. Calculate the odds that you would get exactly that number.
  10. 18 Sep '08 12:35
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Math is required once DNA was discovered and we could figuire out the
    odds of some of this stuff occuring, but it is ignored
    Kelly
    Don't you think that maybe maths is required to know whether or not such 'odds' are in fact calculable and meaningful? Why do you believe that 'it is ignored' and who are you accusing of ignoring it? Do you have any of the ignored odds to share with us? What do those odds mean?
  11. 18 Sep '08 12:38
    Originally posted by Penguin
    Is Dawkins doing more harm than good? Was a fine opportunity to educate and inform thrown away? What do you guys think?
    It sounds like he missed an opportunity to do good. But what harm was he causing? Are you saying that some people would get put off science if they watched the series?
  12. 18 Sep '08 12:39
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    I want to read some of his books, but I'm not too interested in the god delusion though.
    I thought it was well worth reading.
  13. Standard member KellyJay
    Walk your Faith
    18 Sep '08 12:40
    Originally posted by FabianFnas
    Math was required long before the discovery of DNA. Without math DNA would never be discovered.

    The probability of existance of DNA =1, because we actually have discovered it already.
    You miss my point, we can look at DNA now see the numbers and find
    what the odds are for it just occur. The fact that we found DNA is 1,
    but what were the odds using DNA that you'd be here?
    Kelly
  14. 18 Sep '08 13:01 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    You miss my point, we can look at DNA now see the numbers and find
    what the odds are for it just occur. The fact that we found DNA is 1,
    but what were the odds using DNA that you'd be here?
    Kelly
    I go to a beach of pebbles. I take up one pebble and ask the question: "What is the probability that there exist a pebble exactly like this?" (It's a classical question.)

    The answer is: =1 because I hold the one in the hand.

    (You use the term odds, I use the term probability. If E(p) = 1 then odds = 1/probablity. Normally in gambling E(p) is not =1, because the betting company have to make some profit. You can still use odds, but I prefer probability because it is more well defined.)

    So when you ask about the probability that the DNA-chain looks like it actually is, then the answer must be =1.
    But if you ask this question: "What is the probability that a planet, any planet, with an age of 4.6 billion of years can come up with a DNA exactly like this?" Then the answer is =0 (if not there has to be some transfer of DNA from our planet to the other, This is a question of its own.)

    Is this answer surprising? No it isn't. What is the probability that you find another pebble on the beach that is exactly like the one you're holding in your hand? Same answer: =0.

    Is it possible to find a pebble with enogh likeness of the one you're holding in your hand? Then we have to define 'likeness', And we can have any answer depanding of the definition.
    What is the probability that another planet, old as ours, can come up with DNA-like structure, in some kind of evolution? It's a definition of 'DNA-like'.

    We don't know anything about life on exo-planets, therefore we cannot give any probability at all.

    Please, Kelly, I know your KJ retorics, so I hope very much that you believe the things I write, if you don't have better answer yourself. You might have, then I am willing to change my view, of course. (I have a scientific mind, you know.)
  15. 18 Sep '08 14:18 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    You miss my point, we can look at DNA now see the numbers and find
    what the odds are for it just occur. The fact that we found DNA is 1,
    but what were the odds using DNA that you'd be here?
    Kelly
    If you are so sure that we can find what the odds are, then are you able to tell us what they are, or to point us to some who is?
    What conclusions can we draw once we know the odds?

    I hope you are not playing your old game of trying to shed doubt on something without actually saying anything concrete at all.