Debate and Discussion

Science Vs Ignorance
Orin J Master at 6:03PM, Dec. 29, 2009
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none of that has anything to do with having too much information. you described someone training on their job. of course people are going to work to stay competitive in their job, that's not a mater of opinion.

people tend to form their opinion in recent years by selectively choosing what fit their opinions and actively ignoring conflicting information. that's not having too much data to work with, that's just being lazy and selfish.

look at the people that accused Barak Obama of being a kenyan because they didn't want him as president. they believed that someone had a kenyan birth certificate that was real even though it was filled with errors and Barak HAD a proper US birth certificate. none of that had anything to do with having too much information (considering how much of it actively said they were backing the wrong idea, it'd be pretty much impossible to believe that) they just didn't care about the facts so much as the did their own opinion, so they drowned reality out. this is actually becoming common practice with several groups of people.

people want to feel informed, but that doesn't mean they give a crap if the information that makes them feel smart is anything more than a bald-faced lie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
isukun at 8:31AM, Dec. 30, 2009
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You are totally missing the point. Nobdy knows everything about everything, so it isn't selfish and lazy to take shortcuts when it comes to informing yourself on matters of lesser importance. How many people do you think want to spend hours each day weeding through varying information sources so they can form an “educated” opinion on what basically boils down to idle conversation. Honestly, I think it's more selfish to expect everyone to do that.

People really have no incentive to spend that time getting information they just want, a opposed to getting the information they need. People are more willing to accept things that come from sources they trust, and just because they seem obviously invalid to you, that doesn't mean someone who spends less time rooting through the alternatives is going to find it as obvious.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Orin J Master at 7:41PM, Dec. 30, 2009
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isukun
People really have no incentive to spend that time getting information they just want, a opposed to getting the information they need. *snip*

that's what i've been saying, you know. people pursue opinions they want, rather than following up on the actual information. it doesn't make them informed, or even really aware of things they're going on about but there's this flaw that when they act like they are, it's fostering confusion.

it's perfectly fine to admit you don't really follow something closely. but when you take a poorly (if at all) though out opinion and treat it like it's well informed, you're only causing trouble. that's the problem, they don't want to go and find out about things, but still want to feel they are informed when they're not. it's troublesome for people involved in the actual situation, and lazy on their part.

that's why ignorance comes at odds with science, you see. they take an opinion they haven't researched, and when someone disproves it, they fight tooth and claw against reality over the fact their preferred opinion isn't actually real and they have to admit they were just running their mouths before.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
bravo1102 at 11:50PM, Dec. 30, 2009
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isukun
those two facts aren't really related.

They're very related. How much critical thinking do you think was needed back in the Middle Ages when the only source of information for most people was the church and the only news that sprang up was usually rumors about what was happening in the next town? It isn't just a matter of people being too lazy to form their own opinions, we also have a lot more to form opinions about and easy access to all of the varying points of view on those issues.


There was lots o' critical thinking going on in the Middle Ages. In every historical era there are the critical thinkers. It's just that there are certain periods where such thoughts can be expressed like in the West since the Enlightenment. Someone without critical thinking could not have invented the horse collar, cogged machinery or designed (let alone build) a Gothic cathedral.

There have always been free thinkers, it is only the past few centuries where people are finally able to share their free thinking with others. Whether it is a pamphleteer on a street corner or a blog on the internet it's still the same and it is not some new information overload. It's the same old information overload. People have always tuned out what does not belong in their belief system and only sought out information that supports their world view.

They never question their belief system, only the evidence that refutes it. They never apply critical thinking skills to their own beliefs only to the evidence that contradicts it. A believer in X doesn't use his critical thinking skills to examine the evidence supporting X but only that evidence that refutes X.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
isukun at 12:50PM, Dec. 31, 2009
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Whether it is a pamphleteer on a street corner or a blog on the internet it's still the same and it is not some new information overload. It's the same old information overload.

Not at all. Going back to the Middle Ages example, a person's understanding of the world rarely involved anything more than the events and opinions present within a 5-10 mile radius. There was a much stronger sense of community among the people in a village or farming town and there was nowhere near the bredth of knowledge that we have today. People had a tendency to form closed communities and people who strayed too far from their shared code of ethics would be isolated or killed. Today we have a much more global view of the world. We have more issues to consider and a lot more opposition from people of varying opinions. We're more willing to accept that there is variety in the world. The peasants of the Middle Ages didn't give a crap about what people were doing in other countries. They would rarely if ever even hear about political issues across their borders. I doubt most even followed their own coutry's politics that closely. Doing so would have required far more effort than it does today.

As our views of the world expand from local to global and as our technology advances, the number of issues we have to consider increases. Do you think cavemen were contemplating the morality of things like abortion, genocide, or the use of fossil fuels? We create more issues to contemplate as our understanding of the world and our use of technology increases.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Orin J Master at 9:03AM, Jan. 1, 2010
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isukun
Not at all. Going back to the Middle Ages example, a person's understanding of the world rarely involved anything more than the events and opinions present within a 5-10 mile radius.

okay, that's terribly inaccurate even under casual scrutiny. in the middle ages, not only were plague, inquisition, and roving thieves and unscrupulous bounty hunters concerns, but they also had to pay attention to the whims of uncaring rulers and the much smaller and more volatile borders between the various small empires.

the middle ages were a time of constant risk and fluctuation, and if you weren't paying attention, it was much more likely to lead to getting killed, sick, or imprisioned than things do now. the quiet hamlet of story and myth was….well, a myth. there was just as much you needed to pay attention to as now, it was just on a smaller scale with small packs of blaggards replacing global terrorism and and provincial rulers replacing national government.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
isukun at 10:06AM, Jan. 1, 2010
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Still, not really. There are still concerns over personal safety from local threats. Instead of bandits, it's breaking and entering by crack addicted psychos. Instead of the plague, it's SARS or Bird Flu. Instead of a local Noble, we look at our mayors, governors, or other local government. Instead of the inquisition, we look at religious intolerance. On top of all that, though, we also concern ourselves with the many new and global issues only accessible to us because of our advancements.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Orin J Master at 1:32PM, Jan. 1, 2010
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isukun
Still, not really. There are still concerns over personal safety from local threats. Instead of bandits, it's breaking and entering by crack addicted psychos. Instead of the plague, it's SARS or Bird Flu. Instead of a local Noble, we look at our mayors, governors, or other local government. Instead of the inquisition, we look at religious intolerance. On top of all that, though, we also concern ourselves with the many new and global issues only accessible to us because of our advancements.

on the reverse of your argument, the people in the middle ages had neighboring provinces attempting to invade their borders and conquer them instead of foreign nations attempting to attack their borders, had selfish noblemen trying to force their money out from under them instead of corporations trying to trick their money from then, and had social prejudice from a caste system instead of from racial assumptions.

really we can have this back end forth endlessly because we're arguing towards the same point while expecting differing results. the exact same problems and concerns existed in both eras. it's only the scale that's changed. there aren't more problems, only bigger ones. trying to argue otherwise is just throwing unneeded confusion onto the matter.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
isukun at 5:19PM, Jan. 1, 2010
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I still say we have more to consider today. We may call some of these issues by a different name, but while they may have had concerns about small scale skirmishes from their immediate neighbors in the Middle Ages, your average person today wants to be informed on multiple ongoing wars, terrorist activity, and a whole host of other foreign policy issues which weren't really part of life back then. This requires a much more intricate understanding of global cultures, geography, politics, and current events than people were capable of back then. This is all in addition to local concerns. While some issues have changed some over the years, most of what concerned people back then STILL concerns people today and on the same scale. It goes beyond simply being “bigger issues”. The amount of research required to have what is considered an informed opinion on everything these days is much greater.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
bravo1102 at 7:28AM, Jan. 2, 2010
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Let's forget the Middle Ages as I'm not going to convince you. I could trot out any number of Medievalists and tons of primary evidence to disporove your well defended assertions but in the end you're repeating a belief that's been ground into our heads since the Renaissance. (Calling the Middles Ages the Middle Ages because it came between the enlightened Classical Age and the re-birth of learning in Europe.)

The average American has just as much a limited world view today not going past his/her nose than any resident of Montesque for example (to use the best documented example of the average Medieval person.) That town crier and pamphleteer spread news slower than today, but everyone had just as much of it all at the same time. To get past Bodo and Ermatrude the peasant, it can be conclusively argued that the average Briton and American middle class person in the nineteenth century (much better analogy) was better informed than the same person is today. That's because of the wide variety of opinions that people exposed themselves to than most people do today. (read What Hath God Wrought, Freethinkers and various works on US newspapers and scientific knowledge)

In the late nineteenth century Americans were more exposed and more aware of the latest scientific developments than they are today because of traveling speakers and reading huge amounts of periodicals and journals that people today just do not. What are the biggest interests today? Sport, celebrities and porn. Everyone knows Lindsey Lohan, how many know Freeman Dyson? In 19th Century America the majority knew more about Darwin than they do today.

You can say the world is so much smaller because of TV and radio and cars and planes, trains and automobiles but the minds are just as closed as you say that Medieval Peasant was. In the end Joe Average knows less about more than that peasant. A great example is the average soldier in Iraq. Sure he's travled but how much does he know about what the average Iraqi thinks and knows? He/she is still as ignorant and limited in his outlook that he might as well only know about 5-10 miles outside his hovel. Ask yourself how much do you really know about Tennessee or Texas let alone France or the Philippines. We know more about less than Bodo and Ermatrude.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
isukun at 3:44PM, Jan. 2, 2010
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In the late nineteenth century Americans were more exposed and more aware of the latest scientific developments than they are today because of traveling speakers and reading huge amounts of periodicals and journals that people today just do not.

If that were true, there would have been no need for the Scopes trial in the early 20th century. As information became more readily available, people actively resisted it at first and actually tried to pass legislation to slow or stop the flow of information. Science was one of the biggest victims during that time in the US. Traveling speakers were never hitting the masses the way televised speakers do today and instead of print publications, people can get the same information and more from the internet these days. Another big problem back then, too, was that news sources were highly unregulated and typically weren't held accountable if they printed something that was totally inaccurate or false.

What are the biggest interests today? Sport, celebrities and porn.

Whether you like to admit it or not, that has ALWAYS been the case.

In 19th Century America the majority knew more about Darwin than they do today.

Darwin maybe, but not evolution. Ask anyone on the street what biological evolution is today and odds are they WILL be able to tell you the gist of it. That wasn't the case in the 19th century.

You can say the world is so much smaller because of TV and radio and cars and planes, trains and automobiles but the minds are just as closed as you say that Medieval Peasant was.

I'm not saying they were closed-minded. They weren't any more closed-minded than people today. Their communities, however, wer far more removed from the rest of the world, which gave them a much narrower world view. That has nothing to do with being closed-minded.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 2:41AM, Jan. 3, 2010
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isukun
In 19th Century America the majority knew more about Darwin than they do today.

Darwin maybe, but not evolution. Ask anyone on the street what biological evolution is today and odds are they WILL be able to tell you the gist of it. That wasn't the case in the 19th century.
I'm not so sure about that Isukun. In the 19th century reading of scientific periodicals was EXTREMELY popular. People off all class stratas were up with the latest info on the latest scientific discoveries. All that dry boring stuff we learn about refraction, electricity, pressure, etc. was HOT news in the 19thC. Darwin was the talk of the town, his theories changed the way people understood the natural world and the info was widely disseminated. -At least in Europe, but I suspect the case was the same in the U.S.A.

Scientists and famous authors went on world tours to all corners of the globe, to big cities and small fly blown towns in outback Australia to do lectures to interested audiences. That trend had started in the 18thC, but really took off in the 19thC with the ease of telegraphy, steam powered ships and trains…

Bravo is a bit of an expert on history, to an academic level, so he knows what he's talking about there. Whereas, I mostly know about the 19thC British Empire (as you can see from the passages above), but not to an academic level.

—————–
I think you'll find that the crazy scopes trial wasn't just to do with plain ignorance of science.. That was something different: the late 19th C and early 20thC saw the rise of evangelical Christian movements in America that took the word of the bible literally. Those were new movements who actively supported ignorance and sought to make Christianity ignorant and backward. That trend is what led to your anti-evolution trials.
-Bravo could tell you more.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
isukun at 12:03PM, Jan. 3, 2010
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-At least in Europe, but I suspect the case was the same in the U.S.A.

Maybe in the late 1800s. The real push for scientific progress in the US didn't occur until after the Civil War and most of that was centered around industrilization and practical science.

That was something different: the late 19th C and early 20thC saw the rise of evangelical Christian movements in America that took the word of the bible literally. Those were new movements who actively supported ignorance and sought to make Christianity ignorant and backward.

While the fundamentalist didn't officially get named until the 1900's, the sentiments behind their movement were popular in the US going back to the 1700's. Creationism wasn't something invented by the fundamentalist evangelicals and Christians trying to suppress scientific knowledge because it goes against their religious teachings isn't anything new. In fact, they did a much better job of it when the technology behind communication was more primitive.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Orin J Master at 3:31PM, Jan. 3, 2010
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isukun…..could you provide some references to that when you have the time?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
isukun at 1:16AM, Jan. 4, 2010
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“Squinting at Silliman”: Scientific Periodicals in the Early American Republic, 1810-1833 by Simon Baatz talks about how fragmented the scientific community was prior to the Civil War and how that led to scientific periodicals being fairly unpopular during that time period here in the US. After that period, the US moved into the industrial revolution. Periodicals in the early 1800's were mostly political based like those prior to the 1800's. Getting closer to the end of the 1800's, though, there were more women reading and periodicals about popular culture and women's interest publications started to pop up and become popular. Interest in advances in science was primarily something native to the more educated people in urban centers, which in the 1800's certainly did not account for the majority of people.

In Religion in 19th Century America by Grant Wacker, we see why people like Darwin were met with opposition here in the US. Sure, we didn't call them fundamentalists back in the 1800's, but as the book says, the evangelical Christians were very much in existance, were the majority back then, and had the same literal approach to Biblical interpretation.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Orin J Master at 7:48AM, Jan. 4, 2010
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isukun
Periodicals in the early 1800's were mostly political based like those prior to the 1800's.

if you'd read that report closer, they're not political, but institutional in their themes. meaning that they placed the emphasis of their content on material produced in their own cities, which, considering the limits of communication, greater fear of having your discovery stolen from you before you'd profited from it, and the ever present self-promotion of pretty much any large institution is sorta to be expected.

yes, there was a lot of dissent in the scientific community at that time, but it doesn't mean it made periodicals unpopular. it just means that the scientific community tended to snub publications outside of their own groups (which if i recall was among the biggest hurdles of Darwin, really) so most publications would put more importance on providing it's printings to the common layman than they do now.

i can't even FIND anything of the sort these days…..but that's another matter.
EDIT:moved a word into the right place.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
Blatz at 5:30AM, Jan. 6, 2010
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Sorry for interrupting you guys, but I just wanted to quickly add my 2 cents regarding ignorance, I think it has a lot to do with what we know for now. Look how the world and our understanding of it has changed, people used to believe the craziest things (believe as in take it as fact), look how many people thought that the world was flat. Maybe in a 100 years time, every day people like you and me will think how silly and stupid we were back in the year 2010, “They actually believed in a thing such as global warming!”. Now I'm not knocking on global warming here, but I'm just using it as an example.

Also, I think, ignorance will always be with us, our lives our simply to short to understand everything there is in the world. We can be experts at one thing yet be complete idiots at something else. The most we can do is share our knowledge to others, thus enlightening someone and at the same time, learn something yourself.

Updated every Tuesday & Friday
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
RabbitMaster at 6:58PM, March 10, 2010
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I just think it's terribly amusing as a creationist, how anti-creationists repeatedly frame their arguments with assumptions of ignorance on my part. It's amusing in its condescension, this mindset that says “If only you were as enlightened as me ,you poor backwards rube….” Quite entertaining.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
ozoneocean at 8:59PM, March 10, 2010
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This thread was flawed to begin with, since I started rather belligerently. Which stifles debate and the free flow of ideas.

Still, the concerns I outlined are real, and have real, measurable effects in the world:

- The “religions VS Science” fallacy demeans religion and causes religious people to become alienated from the scientific sphere by creating a false conflict.

- It also strengthens the hand of extremists by forcing religious people to choose their loyalties:
“these science folks are calling all religion stupid, backward and evil. I'm religious and I like religion and the same with my family, if they say that about us I don't want anything to do with them.”
Simplified but it happens.

Interestingly though, many in the creationist crowd are now actively promoting climate-change denial. There is a generalised anti-science movement being created.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:36PM
RabbitMaster at 9:06AM, March 11, 2010
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Someone
The “religions VS Science” fallacy demeans religion and causes religious people to become alienated from the scientific sphere by creating a false conflict.
That is a fair point, but there is another angle to your point. There is a mindset that a creationist cannot be a ‘real’ scientist ( you know ,like Sir Issac Newton). If a creationist , or anybody else in the science community, publishes findings, the way to deal with their findings if to find out if, first and foremost, are the findings repeatable. If they are not repeatable, then they by definition cannot be included in the body of knowledge known as ‘science’. But if they are repeatable or if their research stands up to true scrutiny then their religious views are immaterial.

Now you make what I believe is an error by assuming that man-made global warming is a fact and by extension, any one who denies it is ‘ignorant’. You then tie ‘religious people’ to this same group you claim is ‘ignorant’. Come on, you can do better

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
cartoonprofessor at 2:52PM, March 11, 2010
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RabbitMaster
Now you make what I believe is an error by assuming that man-made global warming is a fact and by extension, any one who denies it is ‘ignorant’. You then tie ‘religious people’ to this same group you claim is ‘ignorant’. Come on, you can do better
Acrually, I don't think Ozone is assuming man-made global warming as a fact.
No true scientist will do that. Much of the evidence does support that theory, but any real scientist will acknowledge that there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that global change is a regular, constant part of our planet. SUre, humans might be causing it this time (or contributing to it in any case) or not.

No real scientist accepts dogma or theory as fact.

All scientific theories remain just that…. theories… until they are proven wrong.

Gravity is a great example. Gravity is NOT a ‘fact’. It is a theory. There is very strong evidence that supports science's theory of gravity, but this does not make gravity (as we know it) a fact.

In reality, gravity has our top scientists very confused… we simply do not know what it is or how it works. The latest theory (being tested at the Hadron collider) is that gravity ‘leaks’ into other dimensions!

The main difference betwen science and religion is that science constantly questions and never assumes to know all the ‘facts’. Science only postulates theory, and NEVER states ‘Facts’. Science constantly tests the known ‘facts’, even ones widely understood by the mainstream as accepted fact, like gravity.

Religion, on the other hand blindly accepts dogma (or religious theory) as fact… no questioning… that's why it is called ‘blind faith’.

Also, with the odd exception, scientists do not usually have an alterior motive to developing their theory, they simply do it out of an urge to discover.

Religion, on the other hand, states dogma for power, so much so that if you do question their ‘knowledge’ you are ostricised, ex-communicated, or even murdered!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM

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