It's finally that time, thank you all for joining me. I can't wait to see what kind of intellectual conversation we can make of this. I want to start by letting everyone know that this is the first time I've tried to lead anything like this and that constructive criticism and suggestions are gladly welcome. My idea for running this is plain and simple, Open Forum Style. Open to any and all questions, stories, and comments related to the reading and keeping in mind that we all have a different reading/comprehension level and we all deserve to understand what Dawkins is trying to communicate to us. With that out of the way, let's get started!
Preface and Chapter 1 both give us a good idea of what to look forward to. The Preface contains our base information on the book and what is different between this book and two other books Dawkins has written. Chapter 1 however, is very precise about a few definitions, specifically the word 'theory' and the use of Sense 1 (Dawkins labels it as Theorum) and Sense 2 (Labeled as hypothesis). I think this is a good starting point as it was where my first question started to form. What do you think is the main difference in 'Theorum' and 'Hypothesis' as they are defined in this book, and where do you think such a drastic change in meaning came from?
I see the biggest difference being only one word that is found in the 'Theorum' section. CONFIRMED. This is what we seem to always look for when we state a conclusion right? We need a confirmation of a positive result in an experiment. This is what we learned as children when we were first introduced to the "Scientific Method" in the 4th grade, or whenever it was that we had our first set of science classes. As for why there is such pronounced difference in the two meanings for the same word, I am at a loss. I can see how they are related to each other, but to make a bold leap from defining something as a "hypothesis that has been confirmed" to "A hypothesis proposed as an explanation" just seems irrational to me. In the same style as Dawkins wrote his observations, lets look at the definitions to these two key words.
Confirmed - (a) - Marked by long continuance and likely to persist.
(b) - Fixed in habit and unlikely to change.
Proposed - To form or put forward a plan or intention.
I see here the idea of intending to prove something, like it's mission statement of a thesis project before you even attempt to perform an experiment, versus the conclusion to all of your hard work. These are VERY different words to me and I just don't understand how they could have come to these two being the candidates to represent the same thing. I guess our words can evolve as well, but this is like having the pen on my desk evolve into a new planet.
Well this sums up what I gathered was the main point, I wrote way more than I thought I would and I hope you are all as interested in this as me. Thanks again for participating and I can't wait to see the comments!
I certainly hope you don't intend to clog the following discussions with your long winded suppositions about what you think the author will write next, instead of actually keeping an open mind about what the author is trying to relate. That said, I've already read the book, and it's essentially this beginning part that addresses those so ideologically apposed to thinking outside of their dogma (like yourself, just in case you thought you were proffering a convincing masquerade.) The rest of the book gets to the teaching and the wonder that is scientific perusal, examination and eventual legitimate understanding of the natural world. The preface is simply periodical context and explanation of the book's purpose.
And lay off the 'intellectual integrity' line, you're obviously not someone who is intellectually honest with yourself on this point. You came here with a very determined point of view, and have set to attack, not to learn. I know exactly what that's like, as I did the same thing when I was a child that had been brought up in a willfully ignorant Christian home, and it was nothing more than an emotionally fueled 'righteous defense' from dogmatic indoctrination, and I see people my current age doing the same thing when the subject comes up. Only when you let go of that positional indignance will you let yourself learn.
My point: this is a place for honest intellectual discussion and debate. Don't go on a disingenuous tirade or you will get called on it.
Thank you for your response and intertest in this discussion JC. As far as clogging the discussions with long-winded responses...I can't guarantee that for I am rather long-winded. It is more of a bane than anything I must admit. Actually, the majority of what I wrote ^ was addressing, in depth, the proposed reading for this week. I thought that is what we were supposed to do? You have read the book, I have not. I am merely commenting on my personal experience with Dawkins' lectures and the reading we have been assigned up until this point. Forgive me if that was not the correct approach for this thread. If you took the time to notice, you would see that I am, in fact, very excited and hopeful that we will encounter some evidence in the up-coming chapters. I am just not impressed so far. Is that wrong? I consider it to be healthy. Maybe we can just agree to disagree.
Part of keeping an open mind means critically analyzing everything that someone tries to push into it. Being open minded doesn't mean just accepting something that someone says is truth cuz it seems to be a good idea or I like the principles being related or the person relating them. As far as "proffering a convincing masquerade" and the other personal insults aimed at me...are there rules about that somewhere? Brother, you do not know me nor can you begin to imagine to know me by a few posts of mine and a scant profile page. If you took the time to get to know me, you would see that your accusations as to my character, intentions and ideals are quite presumptuous and false. I am glad you are convinced that I will eventually find a place in life where I may finally let myself learn. As someone who has earned several degrees over the course of the last + ten years and has two years left until I am finished with my doctorate, I would say that I am an "intellectually honest" person whose life is rooted in intellectual pursuit of not only knowledge but more importantly, wisdom. I believe in science and am a biologist, a chemist, a registered nurse and soon to be doctor among many other titles that I could throw at you. The point is, I seek truth and fact. I love scientific theory and practice medicine that is evidence based. IMO, all of our lives should be an honest intellectual pursuit until our death. That means exploring every aspect of reality and not just some. And, I am not too proud to admit that I don't know everything even though I am not satisfied with that by any means. Also, I don't mind standing firm in what I have discovered as true. Finally, I realize that we are all unique in our perspectives and places in this pursuit and ultimately, it is not my job to convince you of anything. You are perfectly capable of discovering truth on your own. If I were to feed it to you, it would just be another belief for your paradigm. I am not interested in equipping you or anybody else with more beliefs, only facts.
I am sorry you had a bad experience as a child in a "christian" home. So did I. As we get older, we realize that we cannot pigeonhole all people or groups into a category labeled ignorant because they have discovered or understand something we don't. I am glad you are finding freedom to love and accept all people regardless of their faith or lack thereof, and are maturing in all things. Maybe you can continue to be a beacon to those in your life whom you love who are "willfully ignorant" and enslaved to "dogmatic indoctrination". Brother, "Be the change you wish to see in this world" - Ghandi
As far as my "tirade", while it grieves me that I would be accused in such a manner, it does not surprise me. Once again, I earnestly seek forgiveness from anyone whom I have offended with my critical scrutiny and confrontational approach of this material. If this is a "fluffy, accept all things without question" kind-of forum then I am in the wrong place and I will kindly bow out. As far as I am concerned, we are all on the same team and if I wasn't truly interested in this book or this discussion, why would I be up after 2am when I have a huge Pharmacology final exam at 9am (in less than 7hrs). I have much better ways to spend my time than wasting it on a "disingenuous tirade". Too many genuine things to accomplish in life and I consider this to be one of them. I am sorry you do not.
Jerry, your dad is an aerospace engineer specializing in rockets? He must be really good at math. I think that is a wonderful suggestion to assign probabilities to everything we encounter in the world around us. I am not a rocket scientist nor math whiz by any means but that seems like a reasonable approach to making logical decisions as we flow through life! I am a bit curious as to how your dad has instructed you to assign probabilities to various "facts" of life and how you came to assign the above probabilities to Evolution and Christianity. We must not just arbitrarily assign probability ratios to random aspects of life, I am sure you would agree. :)
Also, we should not just pick on Christianity but also Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Baha'i and many others. I really am curious as to your scientifically grounded assignment of probabilty ratios for these faiths as well as your evidence and methods correlating mathematical probabilities for their authenticity. This system could prove valuable to us all...
Just in case the others are not as interested as I am in your methodology and because this digression falls outside the scope of this thread, maybe we can continue this in a private conversation? :)
He was an engineer really and worked on the Mars and Moon rovers. He was not really great at math but better than I and he was real creative. You're right about including all systemitized deified systems. His advice came generally as ruminations about the "nature" of things as in "if one could determine the probability of any mechanical system failing -- what is the probability of God existing?" In other words as facts become somewhat apparent how does that change the probability of whatever?
It is a somewhat an arbitrary system well designed for the way I think -- that is most people do not deal well with the possibility of "maybe" but are "either or" thinkers -- god exists or s/he doesn't. In my view it is not a "random" aspect but a well designed, for me, system allowing for the possibility, though highly improbable, of a god -- or higher power. I see god as an abstraction of the universe. Who knows how it is organized and what its true laws are?
The 1 chance in 10,000 comes from how I "feel" about things -- largely, I imagine, as a function of the implicit/tacit thought system.
"Evolution has about a 1 in 10,000 chance of not being true -- as does the likelihood of christianity being true"
lol, love it
When I started this post I was a little disappointed at the amount of comments it was receiving, especially compared to the amount of interest that was shown when I initially suggested this. Well now there are an increasing number of posts but it's not at all what I had hoped for.
First things first though. I am not here to take sides with anyone or to moderate a discussion. I believe we are all adults here and can manage to have an intellectual conversation without attempting to belittle anyone. I typed a nice long response to the latest off topic conversations we have had and then my laptop died and I didn't get to post it, so this will be the cliffnotes.
I learned very quickly to have my phone, laptop, or a dictionary close by when I am reading Dawkins, and now when I read some of Chris' posts. I do not mind this at all. I don't mind if you write a 30 page response either, just don't expect that I am going to respond that day. ;) I think we are all here to read, (Duh!) and if it takes that long of a post to convey your point then do it. I am here to learn and I hope that is the case for everyone else. If you think someone is getting off topic, then ask them where they are going or how they got to that conclusion. We don't need to make any assumptions as to what someone else is thinking, we need to understand each angle and try to perceive what is actually being taught to us. I have not read any of Dawkins' other books, this is my first one. As well as my first book of any sort on evolution. I appreciate all the background about Dawkins and his writing style, as well as the information on some of the topics he was talking about so far. Thank you to everyone that has participated so far. Now, on to the subject, right?
Chris, I love the idea that life started somewhere else. I am working my way through that video series that you posted for us and I am very intrigued by the idea. I have a few questions about it but I will save them until I finish the set. As far as the reading so far, do you think that Dawkins has a little more to prove of himself by writing this? I got that idea when i started, especially when he had his list of interested parties and he began to speak of his position with them. I am looking forward to the next set of reading in the same way that you are. The facts. I really want to see what he has to tell us about evolution and what his reasoning and proof for the phenomenon is. Thanks for joining us!
Jerry, I as well like that idea of having a probability attached to everything that happens. Even when it is a fact I always see that there can be outside influences in something. If you place chemical solution A, into chemical solution B, the reaction is always the same. On paper this happens 100% of the time. But in real life there is always other factors that can influence it. My recent experience is that while pouring A into B, you have to be assured that your lab partner isn't a complete neanderthal ( I know I said i don't like to belittle anyone, so i apologize to any neanderthals that happen to be reading this! )and knows how to read properly, otherwise you end up burning your hand with the uncontrollable, lava hot, overflow. This has to be a statistic that can be accounted for. I think in all things there is always some margin of error. Yet again, another good thing to keep in mind while we read this.
Thanks to everyone that has been keeping up through all this. I hope we don't discourage any of our readers and i look forward to hearing from everyone on these topics.
so have you had any insights concerning the original question you asked?
"What do you think is the main difference in 'Theorum' and 'Hypothesis' as they are defined in this book, and where do you think such a drastic change in meaning came from?"
i was hoping to show that, as i understand it, the 2 uses of "theory" are actually connected even though the meaning can drift along the continuum from sense 1 to sense 2.
i just found this link in another discussion and thought it fit very well with what we've been discussing here:
(i especially love the poster at 7:40 lol)