The Overlapping Threads on Creationism, etc.

Richard Zander rzander at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Sun Aug 27 11:14:40 CDT 2000

Well, it's true that different "alternative sciences" may have robust
internal props for their viewpoints, but traditional, self-correcting
science is more practical. It deals with reality better, allowing
predictions and increasing integration of theories. We can dismiss
accusations that some non-immediate "reality" is also a metaphysical
postulate by subscribing to "critical realism," which is a philosophical
stance in which immediate things around you are "really real" in that you
can deal with them with confidence. Things farther away in time and space
are "less real," and a probabilistic attitude (or psychological expectation)
is necessary when dealing with such concepts. Traditional science postulates
facts (as well documented observations) and physical laws (as observed
regularities in nature) in an effort to allow us to deal more effectively
and confidently with more distant realities. All alternative parasciences
that rely on authority, superstition, or the irrational are less likely to
be useful as predictors.

Richard H. Zander
Curator of Botany
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Pkwy
Buffalo, NY 14211 USA
email: rzander at
voice: 716-895-5200 x 351

----- Original Message -----
From: "jeffrey shaw" <lccshaw at>
Sent: Friday, August 25, 2000 12:16 AM
Subject: Re: The Overlapping Threads on Creationism, etc.

> James Bass wrote:
> >It is a profound loss that the creationists have not had the opportunity
> >follow the various overlapping threads preceding and including:
> >"SCIENCE CONFUSION IN THE US", "Confusion in Science & Cladistics",
> >"SCIENCE CONFUSION IN THE US- revisited", and "Religious bigotry,
> >
> >I'm sure that the explosive light of clarity would have been for them a
> >true
> >epiphany and there would no longer be a problem of having to deal with
> >the creationists due to their failure to understand 'science'.      :-)
> >Jim
> Actually, some of are quite involved with science. While my professional
> pursuit is chemical engineering, I have been a member of the taxonomy
> listserve for years, as memorization of local flora is a hobby of mine.
> I have found that it is not only possible, but essential to a rational
> to understand the scientific method. It infuriates me that many
> narrow-minded scientists consistently refer to creationists as "sophists"
> and other such demeaning terms. Organisms change over time, they "evolve,"
> and this is FACT. How it all began is a matter of faith, whether that
> is supported by one's religious beliefs or upon unprovable human
> creates spurious division where it need not exist. Extrapolations blur the
> further they're taken, and differing views on the First Cause are
> inevitable.
> It is unfortunate that teaching curricula is altered by those who do not
> have a scientific education--it is equally unfortunate that many parents
> homeschool their children to avoid the conflict. Both extremes do a
> disservice to youth.
> Students are taught what teachers teach. When this directly impacts an
> where a student has very strong, differing opinions on a topic, the
> professor only gains alienation by assaulting a paradigm that can not be
> adjusted.
> There is a hypothesis presently circulating in the sociological sciences
> that basically says both sides will never agree because of the
> preconceptions put on the material presented. A creationist will "stuff"
> information into a preconceived paradigm, as will a secular scientist.
> Jeff Shaw
> Human Being
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