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Why the creationism v. evolution debate?

YYW
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10/23/2013 8:35:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Why does it matter to you? What do you think is at stake in the outcome?'

These questions are not rhetorical. I really want to know. Of the science topics I've seen here, this is the most infectious it seems... and so many people seem to have such pronounced opinions about the topic.

And, I guess it's proper to ask as well: which, if either, should be taught in schools?
Tsar of DDO
drafterman
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10/23/2013 9:05:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/23/2013 8:35:32 PM, YYW wrote:
Why does it matter to you? What do you think is at stake in the outcome?'

Evolution is currently the foundation of our understanding of biology and related fields (such as medicine). To be successful in these fields you need to understand evolution.


These questions are not rhetorical. I really want to know. Of the science topics I've seen here, this is the most infectious it seems... and so many people seem to have such pronounced opinions about the topic.

And, I guess it's proper to ask as well: which, if either, should be taught in schools?

Both. One in science class, the other in social studies along with other creation myths. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which goes where.
YYW
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10/23/2013 9:08:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/23/2013 9:05:08 PM, drafterman wrote:
At 10/23/2013 8:35:32 PM, YYW wrote:
Why does it matter to you? What do you think is at stake in the outcome?'

Evolution is currently the foundation of our understanding of biology and related fields (such as medicine). To be successful in these fields you need to understand evolution.

Ok. So, your arguing with creationists, then, is an act of altruism because you want them to be successful in those fields? What about someone who isn't going into a biology based field? Does a computer scientist need to know what Darwin wrote about? How about a philosophy major?


These questions are not rhetorical. I really want to know. Of the science topics I've seen here, this is the most infectious it seems... and so many people seem to have such pronounced opinions about the topic.

And, I guess it's proper to ask as well: which, if either, should be taught in schools?

Both. One in science class, the other in social studies along with other creation myths. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which goes where.

Interesting. Even as a Christian I am fiercely opposed to creationism being taught in schools.
Tsar of DDO
Floid
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10/24/2013 6:07:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Does a computer scientist need to know what Darwin wrote about?

Yes, there are many algorithms based on evolutionary theory including genetic programming, genetic algorithms, neural networks, swarm intelligence, etc (i.e. most computer learning algorithms work by some combination of random mutation and natural selection).

How about a philosophy major?

Does knowing about evolution effect a philosophy majors ability to flip hamburgers? No not really. The percentage of people who will ever apply evolution in their profession is very low. But so is the percentage of people who need to know the Earth is round...

I would say any educated person needs to know at least the basics about major scientific theories (even if they don't agree with them). An the more educated people there are in society, the better of society becomes. The problem I see is the only thing large percentage of creationist that I talk to, especially in person, know about evolution is it says "people came from monkeys".
yesuke
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10/24/2013 2:55:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would say any educated person needs to know at least the basics about major scientific theories (even if they don't agree with them). An the more educated people there are in society, the better of society becomes. The problem I see is the only thing large percentage of creationist that I talk to, especially in person, know about evolution is it says "people came from monkeys".

I agree, the most repelling thing is that many arguments they come up with only show their ignorance of what is known about biology, evolution and the theory of evolution. In fact, some even go as far as to say that 'it is just a theory', 'then why is there obesity?' and 'then why haven't we sprouted wings yet' (or something similarly dim)...
Graincruncher
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10/24/2013 3:15:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/23/2013 8:35:32 PM, YYW wrote:
Why does it matter to you? What do you think is at stake in the outcome?'

These questions are not rhetorical. I really want to know. Of the science topics I've seen here, this is the most infectious it seems... and so many people seem to have such pronounced opinions about the topic.

And, I guess it's proper to ask as well: which, if either, should be taught in schools?

I think it is a central issue over the direction society takes; either one of curiosity, experimentation and rigorous self-criticism or one of on-faith assumption of answers that we've no way of actually knowing reliably if they're even correct or not. Creationism is an anti-intellectual curiosity that, due to circumstance, has already caused more damage than is excusable.

As to the schools question, I think creationism should be taught in Religious Education classes, in the same way as the creation stories and central tenets of faith of all the other religions. It is culturally significant enough that it should be covered, but where it belongs; i.e. not a science class.
Wnope
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10/24/2013 5:13:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I mainly engage in it because I find the subject interesting.

But in terms of stakes, creationism is a "knowledge stopper" which would basically shut down scientific research.

Radiometric dating, DNA analysis, everything we know about biology will have to be tossed into a creek in exchange for "we dunno, goddidit."

Everything we know about the universe's size and properties of physics would be wrong (see the Starlight Problem). Newtonian physics would be discarded (since it can be used to calculate distances of planets which are millions of lightyears away).

Tectonic theory, heck modern geology would have to be tossed aside.

For chrissakes, even ARCHEOLOGY would be put out of business permanently.

Or... you could teach Creationism as a Bible story in a class that is appropriate to that subject.
Bullish
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10/24/2013 5:16:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It just frustrates me when other people hold views that not just have little basis, but mountains of evidence otherwise.

It's gets even more frustrating when these people try to teach others the same.

I feel that if one mass delusion is possible, then all mass delusions are possible. And some of those are as "pretty" and "benign" as Creation.
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YYW
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10/24/2013 10:05:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is of course all very interesting, principally because to accept evolution as a theory does not come at the expense of Christianity. Science cannot validate or invalidate normative claims, propositions, ideals, principles, morals, etc. Science can only observe what is and hope to explain why that is the case... it cannot tell us what we ought to be, how we ought to live, etc.

The view that creationism must be lauded as a defense of Christianity is absurd (1) because Christianity does not need to be defended, (2) because even if you actually do accept Darwin's ideas as a viable theory -which they are- that does not mean that you cannot also believe that God is man's and the world's only creator and final authority, and of course (3) because Christianity does not need to be vindicated as a consequence of evolutionary theorizing.

I'm not saying that the two get along just fine, but there is a level of cognitive dissonance that we accept in a postmodern world in which we take comfort in knowing that not only are the two sort of beyond reconciliation, but that their being beyond reconciliation is ok because the two do not govern the same intellectual spheres. I think the very idea that creationism is even necessary is offensive to Christian theology in that it presupposes that the Church must answer the laboratory... which is absurd. The church is one in its own. So is the laboratory.

The very idea that if people are taught evolution that they will abandon their faith is itself as idiotic as is the idea that Darwin himself posited any meaningful threat to the church. Why? If your faith is so weak that what you read in a biology text book can cause you to abandon your belief in the Christian God, then you were never a Christian to begin with. But again, that is not to say that Christians themselves cannot accept evolution as a THEORY. Scientific THEORY is not THEOLOGY, but both are compromised when Science pretends to be religion (as is entirely too often the case, such as with those atheists who preach evolution like Southern Baptists who preach hellfire and damnation) or when religion pretends to be science (enter, the creationist movement).

I don't think anything that I've said above, though, is especially groundbreaking. It also probably is both because of the fact that I have an astute background in science (albeit social science) and an equally astute background in Christian theology (having been born and raised in the Christian church). So, when I say that as a Christian I want nothing to do with Christians who try to vindicate their faith through scientific means, I do so because faith alone is enough -and in the moment that any feel it necessary to buttress their faith, they undermine it in that by buttressing it, they imply that faith is not enough by itself.

But it is equally the case that when atheists use science in such a way that would at least appear to be at the expense of belief in any god, much less the God of Christendom, they are similarly undermining the very foundation of science in that science deals ONLY with empirics and NOT with the normative, the metaphysical, or anything beyond what is here in this world. Science does not render the Christian God an impossibility, and to the extent that any posit that anything to that effect is the case, those who do undermine science itself by using it to attempt to usurp religion -which it absolutely CAN NOT DO.

I hope that made sense to all of you. If it didn't, then by all means carry on... in jest.
Tsar of DDO
Floid
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10/25/2013 5:43:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is of course all very interesting, principally because to accept evolution as a theory does not come at the expense of Christianity.

It does for many because to accept evolution you have to abandon a literal interpretation of the Bible (Genesis 1 and evolution are mutually exclusive). And as soon as you abandon a literal interpretation of the Bible you are on a slippery slope because how do you decide what to take literal and what to take figurative? Is it just everything in strong disagreement with science? In that case you have to abandon Jesus's miracles too. And if you abandon the miracles do you start to abandon the other supernatural claims?

The view that creationism must be lauded as a defense of Christianity is absurd (1) because Christianity does not need to be defended, (2) because even if you actually do accept Darwin's ideas as a viable theory -which they are- that does not mean that you cannot also believe that God is man's and the world's only creator and final authority, and of course (3) because Christianity does not need to be vindicated as a consequence of evolutionary theorizing.

The religion vs science issue is one started and perpetrated by religion. I don't see any scientist banging on the doors of churches demanding that evolution be given equal time with creationism in Sunday school.

I think the very idea that creationism is even necessary is offensive to Christian theology in that it presupposes that the Church must answer the laboratory... which is absurd. The church is one in its own. So is the laboratory.

So do you advocated cutting the first few chapters out of Genesis? Creationism is necessary because it is written in "the holy word of God".

But it is equally the case that when atheists use science in such a way that would at least appear to be at the expense of belief in any god, much less the God of Christendom, they are similarly undermining the very foundation of science in that science deals ONLY with empirics and NOT with the normative, the metaphysical, or anything beyond what is here in this world.

Part of dealing with empirics is the idea that if there is no empirical evidence of something, despite centuries of searching for it, then the chances are very slim that thing exists. The theology trick is then to say that is because this thing exists outside our reality. But I have been unable to find the line between "this thing exists outside our reality" and "this thing is not real".
chui
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10/25/2013 7:11:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm glad to say that I find myself in general agreement with pretty much everything said in this list. Those things I don't agree with, have been put in a rational fashion so I can respect the view point.

Unfortunately I find that most things said by the creationists in the greater debate is not actually debate but a propaganda campaign aimed at attacking the reputation of the scientific community. This is my issue with it and as several have already commented, if we allow this to happen for evolution it paves the way for many other areas of intellectual study to become closed down, including those areas devoted to improving government. The fact that many American Republican candidates have to be creationists in order to be electable is frightening.

I would also agree that zelously preaching atheism is not an answer. I respect other peoples' right to follow a faith. People I meet who have faith are usually good pragmatic people who are usually engaged in helping their community. But those people pushing the ID agenda risk a scientific backlash where mainstream science starts attacking religion and so the issue escalates making irrational outcomes more likely.
Quatermass
Posts: 166
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10/25/2013 8:00:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/23/2013 8:35:32 PM, YYW wrote:
Why does it matter to you? What do you think is at stake in the outcome?'

These questions are not rhetorical. I really want to know. Of the science topics I've seen here, this is the most infectious it seems... and so many people seem to have such pronounced opinions about the topic.

And, I guess it's proper to ask as well: which, if either, should be taught in schools?

It matters to me because the theory of evolution is as much a theory as the theory of gravity. Evolution is real, it is based on evidence, observation, experimentation. We've seen evolution work (see the article about Italian wall lizards evolving over 10 years). It's also not a fixed thing. New evidence and new research redefines our views of evolution in different areas all the time.

Creationism, however. Is based on none of these. It is faith-based and like all faith-based institutions is damaging to the mental development of a human being insofar that it teaches them to accept things without evidence and destroys critical thinking necessary for imagination, originality and creativity. And that is why I am against creationism.
Quatermass
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10/25/2013 8:02:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 5:43:56 AM, Floid wrote:
But I have been unable to find the line between "this thing exists outside our reality" and "this thing is not real".

That is because it's a fancy attempt at 'word-magic' to get people to accept something is not real. If it is outside of reality then it is not real. However, creationists must provide a coherent definition of what they think reality is. Because scientists have no idea what reality is, yet. Particularly since the discovery of the quantum realm.
SarcasticIndeed
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10/25/2013 8:10:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Little debates on here have a reason apart from a person's wish to have fun by arguing the topics he finds interesting.
<SIGNATURE CENSORED> nac
JonMilne
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10/25/2013 9:11:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I find it really difficult to add anything to this, largely because everyone has done a brilliant job of articulating why the Evolution vs Creationism issue is quite a big one. Honestly, I'm just surprised that this thread hasn't seen any Creationism/ID defenders make an appearance,

I guess another way of explaining the threat creationism poses to critical thinking is that, well, if we're going to allow creationism to completely bypass how the scientific process works and become ingratiated into the science classroom, then other similar pseudo-sciences can make pretty much exactly the same case for being given equal time to the actual sciences. What's to stop the promoters of "alternative medicine" making the case that their style of medical treatment should given be the same amount of equality in teaching as conventional medicine? Or what about astrology vs astronomy? Or what about climate change deniers? Or what about perspectives based on racism where blacks are considered by some to be genetically inferior to whites? Or how about UFOs? Or how about 9/11 truthers or Holocaust Deniers?

If Christian Creationism (and that is precisely what it is, and of course it doesn't address why we should favour this particular interpretation of Creationism over the Taoist/Hindu/Sikh/Scientologist/Ancient Greek/Ancient Egyptian/Roman/Raelian versions of Creationism) is to be accepted in the science classroom, what's stopping all the above from also being taught as factual, regardless of how utterly empirically nonsense they've actually been found to be?
YYW
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10/25/2013 10:28:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 5:43:56 AM, Floid wrote:
This is of course all very interesting, principally because to accept evolution as a theory does not come at the expense of Christianity.

It does for many because to accept evolution you have to abandon a literal interpretation of the Bible (Genesis 1 and evolution are mutually exclusive).

No, they are not. One is religion. The other is scientific theory. One is normative. The other is positive. I think it should be said at this point that the validity of the Christian faith is not contingent upon a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, which, once more, is another issue that complicates this discussion -but not one which I haven't already addressed.

And as soon as you abandon a literal interpretation of the Bible you are on a slippery slope because how do you decide what to take literal and what to take figurative?

That is just not true. I think that most of the people who want to advocate for a literal interpretation of the bible have utterly no idea how the bible has been translated over the years, how translations affect meaning, and how therefore the bible itself should be read.

I fluently speak three languages, and I can adequately communicate in five. I can tell you right now that if I were to translate what you said to German, and then someone was to translate my German to Russian, and then someone else was to translate that Russian to Spanish, and that Spanish to Latin, and that Latin back to English, what would be left would almost invariably be substantively different from what you originally said. Similarly, if, for example, something were written in Aramaic or Hebrew (which, btw. is itself complicated due to the lack of vowels and punctuation), and that were to be translated to Latin and that translated into English even still there is immense risk for something really very significant to be lost in that translation. I won't even start on the "updated" versions of the bible published in colloquial english...

Is it just everything in strong disagreement with science? In that case you have to abandon Jesus's miracles too. And if you abandon the miracles do you start to abandon the other supernatural claims?

You're walking down a slippery slope, and not only are you walking down a slippery slope but it at least appears that you know you are... which is fairly tragic.

The view that creationism must be lauded as a defense of Christianity is absurd (1) because Christianity does not need to be defended, (2) because even if you actually do accept Darwin's ideas as a viable theory -which they are- that does not mean that you cannot also believe that God is man's and the world's only creator and final authority, and of course (3) because Christianity does not need to be vindicated as a consequence of evolutionary theorizing.

The religion vs science issue is one started and perpetrated by religion. I don't see any scientist banging on the doors of churches demanding that evolution be given equal time with creationism in Sunday school.

No, their advocacy comes in the form of structuring public school curriculum.

I think the very idea that creationism is even necessary is offensive to Christian theology in that it presupposes that the Church must answer the laboratory... which is absurd. The church is one in its own. So is the laboratory.

So do you advocated cutting the first few chapters out of Genesis? Creationism is necessary because it is written in "the holy word of God".

Is that what I said? No. Is that what I meant? No. Is that something that follows from anything I said? No. Behold, the central problem with this issue: people think things necessarily follow from things that are not sufficient for anything.

But it is equally the case that when atheists use science in such a way that would at least appear to be at the expense of belief in any god, much less the God of Christendom, they are similarly undermining the very foundation of science in that science deals ONLY with empirics and NOT with the normative, the metaphysical, or anything beyond what is here in this world.

Part of dealing with empirics is the idea that if there is no empirical evidence of something, despite centuries of searching for it, then the chances are very slim that thing exists. The theology trick is then to say that is because this thing exists outside our reality. But I have been unable to find the line between "this thing exists outside our reality" and "this thing is not real".

One of the most common aspects of this issue is that on both sides, there are those who treat the absence of evidence as evidence of absence. Part of being a reasonable person is understanding the difference between normative and positive claims, and realizing how the two interact -or cannot interact- with each other.
Tsar of DDO
Floid
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10/25/2013 1:26:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
No, they are not. One is religion. The other is scientific theory. One is normative. The other is positive.

A couple of problems here:

1.) The Bible making a claim that God created something is not a normative claim. It is a claim of fact.

2.) Even when the Bible does tread on what we would typical call normative subjects (morality) if you believe that these are the commands of God they are no longer normative. Me saying children should obey their parents is normative, an all powerful, all knowing being saying children should obey their parents is not because if an all knowing, all powerful being says it then it has to be correct by definition.

That is just not true. I think that most of the people who want to advocate for a literal interpretation of the bible have utterly no idea how the bible has been translated over the years, how translations affect meaning, and how therefore the bible itself should be read

Exactly. I don't trust the Bible either. We have no idea what parts of it may or may not be true. Certainly the parts of it that disagree with science would seem either embellishments, misinterpretation, or out right lies.

The religion vs science issue is one started and perpetrated by religion. I don't see any scientist banging on the doors of churches demanding that evolution be given equal time with creationism in Sunday school.

No, their advocacy comes in the form of structuring public school curriculum.

Right, scientist structure the curriculum for science classes. Religions can structure the curriculum for religious classes. The problem starts when religions want to structure science classes. As I stated before and perhaps you could prove me wrong on this: I don't remember ever hearing of a scientist demanding to structure a religious class.

Is that what I said? No. Is that what I meant? No. Is that something that follows from anything I said? No. Behold, the central problem with this issue: people think things necessarily follow from things that are not sufficient for anything.

No, we are now in agreement that we have no way of knowing what parts, if any, of the Bible are true. We can do like Jefferson and examine the moral teachings to take whatever there might be of value from those and disregard the unsubstantiated historical and supernatural claims (or at least relegate them to the status of other mythologies).

One of the most common aspects of this issue is that on both sides, there are those who treat the absence of evidence as evidence of absence.

Which it is... there are really 10 moons orbiting the Earth? You have no evidence these don't exist? Well I guess they exist then.

Part of being a reasonable person is understanding the difference between normative and positive claims, and realizing how the two interact -or cannot interact- with each other.

I do understand your position now and we are in agreement. We can take and study the normative claims of Christianity such as Jesus' moral teachings. But the positive claims, such as Jesus is the son of God, God created the universe in 6 days, Jesus fed thousands with a few fish and bread, etc we can disregard as errors in interpretation.
YYW
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10/25/2013 1:58:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 1:26:15 PM, Floid wrote:
No, they are not. One is religion. The other is scientific theory. One is normative. The other is positive.

A couple of problems here:

1.) The Bible making a claim that God created something is not a normative claim. It is a claim of fact.

So, (1) avail yourself to learn what those two terms mean: normative and positive, and (2) realize what that means for what you just said.

2.) Even when the Bible does tread on what we would typical call normative subjects (morality) if you believe that these are the commands of God they are no longer normative. Me saying children should obey their parents is normative, an all powerful, all knowing being saying children should obey their parents is not because if an all knowing, all powerful being says it then it has to be correct by definition.


That is just not true. I think that most of the people who want to advocate for a literal interpretation of the bible have utterly no idea how the bible has been translated over the years, how translations affect meaning, and how therefore the bible itself should be read

Exactly. I don't trust the Bible either. We have no idea what parts of it may or may not be true. Certainly the parts of it that disagree with science would seem either embellishments, misinterpretation, or out right lies.

So, you apparently didn't understand the meaning or implications of what I just wrote...

The religion vs science issue is one started and perpetrated by religion. I don't see any scientist banging on the doors of churches demanding that evolution be given equal time with creationism in Sunday school.

No, their advocacy comes in the form of structuring public school curriculum.

Right, scientist structure the curriculum for science classes. Religions can structure the curriculum for religious classes. The problem starts when religions want to structure science classes. As I stated before and perhaps you could prove me wrong on this: I don't remember ever hearing of a scientist demanding to structure a religious class.

We're not in disagreement here.

Is that what I said? No. Is that what I meant? No. Is that something that follows from anything I said? No. Behold, the central problem with this issue: people think things necessarily follow from things that are not sufficient for anything.

No, we are now in agreement that we have no way of knowing what parts, if any, of the Bible are true. We can do like Jefferson and examine the moral teachings to take whatever there might be of value from those and disregard the unsubstantiated historical and supernatural claims (or at least relegate them to the status of other mythologies).

You're missing the point. I think it's because you don't actually grasp what faith is.

One of the most common aspects of this issue is that on both sides, there are those who treat the absence of evidence as evidence of absence.

Which it is... there are really 10 moons orbiting the Earth? You have no evidence these don't exist? Well I guess they exist then.

Astounding.

Part of being a reasonable person is understanding the difference between normative and positive claims, and realizing how the two interact -or cannot interact- with each other.

I do understand your position now and we are in agreement. We can take and study the normative claims of Christianity such as Jesus' moral teachings. But the positive claims, such as Jesus is the son of God, God created the universe in 6 days, Jesus fed thousands with a few fish and bread, etc we can disregard as errors in interpretation.

You literally demonstrate here that you have an incredibly basic understanding of what positive claims are. While it is the case that positive claims are statements of fact, they are moreover statements which are falsifiable, which is to say that given some piece of evidence we could prove it not to be the case. There is no way to prove whether or not Jesus is the son of God, etc. Those are beliefs that must be taken on the basis of faith, and can only be taken on the basis of faith.
Tsar of DDO
bladerunner060
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10/25/2013 2:45:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 1:58:44 PM, YYW wrote:

You'll have to forgive me, but I've always had a bit of trouble with the normative/positive dichotomy in regards to religious claims. So--presume I only have a basic understanding of the terms (if that).

Let's say I claim "The universe began last Thursday, complete with evidence including memories that it began much farther back".

To me, that is a positive claim, for which I have no evidence other than assertion of faith. It is a claim which is truth-apt--it is capable of being true or false, even if I've phrased it in such a way that it's impossible to PROVE it.

Can you explain precisely why and/or how that is a normative claim, and/or how it's different than the claims of Christianity? (I tried to pick a neutral example, but if it's not a GOOD neutral example it sort of defeats the point).
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YYW
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10/25/2013 3:29:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 2:45:02 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 10/25/2013 1:58:44 PM, YYW wrote:


You'll have to forgive me, but I've always had a bit of trouble with the normative/positive dichotomy in regards to religious claims.

Fair enough.

So--presume I only have a basic understanding of the terms (if that).

If and only if a claim can be falsified is it a positive statement. All other claims are normative. In order for a claim to be falsifiable, there must be the possibility that empirical evidence could prove that it is not the case -meaning that if there could not be some evidence in the physical world which could not disprove some claim, then the claim is not falsifiable. Said another way, all and only positive statements are statements about the world, and the world is all that is the case. In order for something to be the case, it must be said of something that is observable in the physical world. Metaphysical statements, then, cannot be falsifiable because they do not deal with the physical world, and are therefore normative. Why? If it is not possible to disprove something, then a claim is not falsifiable, and therefore a claim is normative.

There is this belief that all "is" statements, are positive because they appear to describe what is imminent in the world. While it is the case that positive statements do describe the world, to say only that something "is" is not sufficient to indicate that it is a positive statement. It must also be falsifiable. And, if a statement is not falsifiable, then it has no positive meaning.

Let's say I claim "The universe began last Thursday, complete with evidence including memories that it began much farther back".

But it didn't, and we can know that, because there would be overwhelming evidence to disprove that. However that "the universe began last thursday" would be a falsifiable statement, and therefore a positive one, because it could be disproven.

To me, that is a positive claim, for which I have no evidence other than assertion of faith. It is a claim which is truth-apt--it is capable of being true or false, even if I've phrased it in such a way that it's impossible to PROVE it.

Of course it would be impossible to prove it, because it's a false statement.

Can you explain precisely why and/or how that is a normative claim, and/or how it's different than the claims of Christianity? (I tried to pick a neutral example, but if it's not a GOOD neutral example it sort of defeats the point).

I did, I think, above, but if I wasn't clear I'll be happy to elaborate further. But, for now, let it be said that the Bible does not itself does not say when the earth was created. It does say that all of creation came into being in 7 days. Maybe that meant 7 periods of 24 hrs. Maybe not. We don't and can't know. It's one of those things that we take on faith that we will -perhaps one day- understand. It does not mean that the proffering of modern science rule out the possibility of the truth of the first book of Genesis. (Yes, if you were wondering, I realize how odd that statement may seem. If you're interested in understanding it further, read what I've written above.)

Now, there are individuals who, through various means, deduced that the world was created 5k years ago or so... that conclusion is stated nowhere in the bible, and so far as I am concerned it is therefore nonsense. Why? To be a Christian does not require that one accept one other Christian's account of how long ago the world came to be. People certainly are free to believe whatever they like, but the point remains. Moreover, the legitimacy of Christianity as a religion is in no way contingent upon what one Christian thinks he deduced from the bible (like a claim of the world's age).
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bladerunner060
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10/25/2013 4:02:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 3:29:47 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/25/2013 2:45:02 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 10/25/2013 1:58:44 PM, YYW wrote:


You'll have to forgive me, but I've always had a bit of trouble with the normative/positive dichotomy in regards to religious claims.

Fair enough.

So--presume I only have a basic understanding of the terms (if that).

If and only if a claim can be falsified is it a positive statement.

I was under the impression that it was iff it can be untrue is it a positive statement, and that normative statements are by definition value judgments.

But it didn't, and we can know that, because there would be overwhelming evidence to disprove that. However that "the universe began last thursday" would be a falsifiable statement, and therefore a positive one, because it could be disproven.

But that wouldn't falsify the entire claim, since it also included: "complete with evidence including memories that it began much farther back"."

Of course it would be impossible to prove it, because it's a false statement.

A false statement can still be a positive statement.

I still am a bit confused. I recognize that certainly, not everything in the bible is a positive claim--that's not the confusion. I'm sure it's my fault, because I know you're not the only one I've heard say this type of thing. You're just the one who's attempting to explain it through my thick head.

I don't see the specific relevance of falsifiability to whether a claim is positive or normative. I was under the impression that objective truth was--and often, for something to be recognized as having an objective truth value, we require falsifiability because otherwise we reach an absurdity--and so, an unfalsifiable positive statement relies on faith, but I don't see how "faith" makes it therefore a normative claim--it's still a claim about what is, not what ought.

"God exists" has a truth value--he does, indeed, either exist or not exist, even if we can't think of a way to determine how to falsify it.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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10/27/2013 2:26:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree with Wnope. I debated the topic because I found it interesting. I also wanted to learn more about the theory of evolution. The best learning experience comes not upon reading a theory, but upon reading and researching it so meticulously as to defend it against seemingly reasonable attacks. Nothing is at stake. I wanted to understand evolution well enough to defend it.
Ore_Ele
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10/27/2013 6:56:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/24/2013 5:16:59 PM, Bullish wrote:
It just frustrates me when other people hold views that not just have little basis, but mountains of evidence otherwise.

You're gonna drive yourself crazy if you cannot get over that.


It's gets even more frustrating when these people try to teach others the same.

I feel that if one mass delusion is possible, then all mass delusions are possible. And some of those are as "pretty" and "benign" as Creation.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
Quatermass
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10/27/2013 7:06:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Using religious logic one can believe anything, no matter what anyone says or however much evidence there is to the contrary.

I BELIEVE UNICORNS ARE REAL! THEY ARE JUST FAT, GREY, AND SCIENTISTS CALL THEM RHINOCEROS!!!!!

"Five exclamation marks is a sheer sign of madness." - Terry Pratchett.
YYW
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10/27/2013 8:45:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/25/2013 4:02:30 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 10/25/2013 3:29:47 PM, YYW wrote:
At 10/25/2013 2:45:02 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 10/25/2013 1:58:44 PM, YYW wrote:


You'll have to forgive me, but I've always had a bit of trouble with the normative/positive dichotomy in regards to religious claims.

Fair enough.

So--presume I only have a basic understanding of the terms (if that).

If and only if a claim can be falsified is it a positive statement.

I was under the impression that it was iff it can be untrue is it a positive statement, and that normative statements are by definition value judgments.

Value judgements are normative, but what makes a statement normative is a statement's non-falsifyability.

But it didn't, and we can know that, because there would be overwhelming evidence to disprove that. However that "the universe began last thursday" would be a falsifiable statement, and therefore a positive one, because it could be disproven.

But that wouldn't falsify the entire claim, since it also included: "complete with evidence including memories that it began much farther back"."

I wasn't talking about the entire claim, and so for a reason. Also, memories aren't empirical proof.

Of course it would be impossible to prove it, because it's a false statement.

A false statement can still be a positive statement.

Correct. A state of being false and falsifiability are not the same thing.

I still am a bit confused. I recognize that certainly, not everything in the bible is a positive claim--that's not the confusion. I'm sure it's my fault, because I know you're not the only one I've heard say this type of thing. You're just the one who's attempting to explain it through my thick head.

I hope this has been useful.

I don't see the specific relevance of falsifiability to whether a claim is positive or normative.

If and only if a claim is falsifiable is it a positive statement.

I was under the impression that objective truth was--and often, for something to be recognized as having an objective truth value, we require falsifiability because otherwise we reach an absurdity--and so, an unfalsifiable positive statement relies on faith, but I don't see how "faith" makes it therefore a normative claim--it's still a claim about what is, not what ought.

The basic gist of it all is this: (1) Only those statements which describe the world as it empirically exists are true positive statements. (2) All positive statements which are falsifiable which do not describe the world as it empirically exists are not true statements. (3) Only positive statements can be true or false. (4) Normative statements are normative because they are not positive.

"God exists" has a truth value--he does, indeed, either exist or not exist, even if we can't think of a way to determine how to falsify it.

The claim "God exists." is a claim which if believed must be done so on the basis of faith because there is no empirical evidence sufficient to verify the claim. It is not a value judgement, and it is also not positive -but it is not not positive because it is a value judgement. The claim above is not positive because it is not falsifiable -which is to say there is no empirical evidence which could verify the claim.
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bladerunner060
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10/27/2013 11:04:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 8:45:31 PM, YYW wrote:
lots of things but I'm truncating for space....

I know that teaching is something you're usually paid for, and I have nothing to offer except what are undoubtedly thickheaded questions, and appreciation for your time---but I'm still confused.

And yes, I am kissing your a$$, because, again, I have heard this before--which makes me fair certain the problem is me, not the folks explaining. So I'm fervently hoping that I haven't completely used up your patience quota yet.

I've understood the idea of positive statements vs. normative statements as being the difference between is and ought.

Or, to say another, much more verbose way--wrong though it undoubtedly is:

A positive claim is one that makes a specific claim about an objective truth. "This car has 4 wheels".

Etymologically speaking, it springs from something that can you can be positive about--because it is either true or false, even if there may be no way to verify that.

A normative claim, as classically conceived, is one that makes a claim about one's opinion, or how things "should be" or, more broadly, any "value judgement". Something like "This car should have 5 wheels"

You can't really be "positive" about such things. It's a claim with inherent subjectivity.

Equating it to Falsifiable vs. nonfalsifiable is where I don't understand.

You seem to be saying that all one needs to do to change a positive claim to a normative claim is to add enough to make it unfalsifiable:

"It's not just a unicorn in my basement, it's an invisible unicorn that doesn't interact with the material world in any detectable way"

This claim is unfalsifiable--I've explicitly said, as part of the claim, that it can't be detected.

But I haven't changed anything about the nature of the claim: it's still a claim about what is, in fact, in my garage, and this is either true or not true--as opposed to whether having a unicorn in my garage would be AWESOME, which is a matter of opinion, or value judgment.

Granted, there seems to be no practical or rhetorical value to this claim, or difference in this claim than its opposite--because I've explicitly equated it with the situation where there IS no unicorn in my basement. But I don't understand what about this makes it a normative claim, just because I've added to it in such a way as to make it practically unfalsifiable. Unlike "Oranges are better than beets", it is a claim which truly is either true or false--even if we can't test it. There either is, or is not, a unicorn in my basement.

An example of the confusion: Were the claims of greek philosophers who spoke of atoms normative until such time as it became possible to test them? What if they truly thought that we would NEVER be able to assess things on what is now known as the atomic scale--would that make them, at least, think it was a normative claim (though of course they wouldn't have used those terms because they weren't used, and are in English, but you get the idea).

It's a long way around the mountain to question both your definition of normative/positive, and your use of falsifiability.

I could understand, of course, if this becomes a problem of definition--since the definition of "God exists" is not explicitly included in the statement, then until that is addressed it could mean anything. But if we presuppose a specific definition of God, our own personal inability to falsify the existence doesn't seem to affect whether it is, in fact, true that there is a god--that is a dichotomy of true and false, in way that normative claims are not supposed to be.

The links here seem to be in keeping with my understanding of the terms. I don't post them to contradict--merely to explain my understanding and, to a certain extent, where my understanding came from. But they ARE wikipedia (well, and "philosophy-index.com"...no, this isn't where my understanding of these terms explicitly came from, but they seem to be at the same "level" of understanding as me)--and your grasp of academic philosophy is greater than mine, even more so than others on here who ALSO have a greater grasp of these things:

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.philosophy-index.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

None of those reference falsifiability as a necessary or definitive component of positive claims. They talk specifically of truth value, and value judgments.

So, while I understand the concepts your presenting, I don't understand how they apply to these terms.

So...yeah. I hope that makes sense--when confused people ask questions, they're often reflections of that confusion.
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YYW
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10/27/2013 11:38:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/27/2013 11:04:51 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 10/27/2013 8:45:31 PM, YYW wrote:
lots of things but I'm truncating for space....

I know that teaching is something you're usually paid for, and I have nothing to offer except what are undoubtedly thickheaded questions, and appreciation for your time---but I'm still confused.

Well, not anymore, but yeah...

And yes, I am kissing your a$$, because, again, I have heard this before--which makes me fair certain the problem is me, not the folks explaining. So I'm fervently hoping that I haven't completely used up your patience quota yet.

lol, no worries

I've understood the idea of positive statements vs. normative statements as being the difference between is and ought.

Falsifiable statements are "is" statements, but not all "is" statements are falsifiable.

Similarly, normative statements may be "ought" statements, but value judgements are not normative because they are "ought" statements but because they are not falsifiable.

When I was an undergrad, I had a professor frame the difference between positive and normative as an "is/ought" thing too. The problem is that doing so doesn't tell the whole story. So, I did to her in class basically what we're going over now... the only difference was that I had a textbook and some publications on my side then. Now, I just know the stuff. I suppose you might benefit from reviewing some academic articles... but you don't really need them.

Or, to say another, much more verbose way--wrong though it undoubtedly is:

A positive claim is one that makes a specific claim about an objective truth. "This car has 4 wheels".

That word "objective" is intellectually precarious. Granted, empirical facts are objective, but it's better to just use "empirical" instead of "objective" lest you risk invoking a series of philosophical questions that deviate from the subject at hand.

Etymologically speaking, it springs from something that can you can be positive about--because it is either true or false, even if there may be no way to verify that.

Ok, so that's the disjunction.

We can say some claim is true or false only if there is evidence to demonstrate that a statement's being true or false is the case. So, in the absence of evidence that something is the case, we can't say that it's true. However, in the absence of evidence that something isn't the case, we can not say if it is either true or false because the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. To verify something is to demonstrate with evidence that something is the case. To falsify something is to demonstrate with evidence that something is not the case. But recognize that all true claims are falsifiable...

A normative claim, as classically conceived, is one that makes a claim about one's opinion, or how things "should be" or, more broadly, any "value judgement". Something like "This car should have 5 wheels"

NOT as "classically" conceived. I have no idea what you mean by "classical." Perhaps as "mistaught by many" but not "classical."

You can't really be "positive" about such things. It's a claim with inherent subjectivity.

Let's just not use the words "objective" or "subjective" for the same reason I mentioned earlier.

Equating it to Falsifiable vs. nonfalsifiable is where I don't understand.

I think I might have explained it above.

You seem to be saying that all one needs to do to change a positive claim to a normative claim is to add enough to make it unfalsifiable:

Not at all. If I say, "There are unicorns on the sun which are awesome!" I've made both a positive claim that 'there are unicorns on the sun' and a normative claim that 'the unicorns on the sun are awesome'. But, we can look at the sun with telescopes and know that there are no unicorns on the sun -or we could infer that there could be no unicorns on the sun because unicorns are not real, and deduce that the normative claim is meaningless because the positive claim on which it is opining has no truth value.

"It's not just a unicorn in my basement, it's an invisible unicorn that doesn't interact with the material world in any detectable way"

See example above.

This claim is unfalsifiable--I've explicitly said, as part of the claim, that it can't be detected.

You're right, the claim wouldn't be falsifiable -but it would be meaningless because you're saying that something is the case and saying that the conditions for it's being the case are in fact states of non-being. So, you're assuming that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence... such that only when there is no evidence of being, something is.... und das ist nicht genau (does not work!) in any logically meaningful way.

But I haven't changed anything about the nature of the claim: it's still a claim about what is, in fact, in my garage, and this is either true or not true--as opposed to whether having a unicorn in my garage would be AWESOME, which is a matter of opinion, or value judgment.

Well, you've assailed the very concept of "being" in the world -which is less about falsifiability then it is about the metaphysics of unicorns. But alas, it is a normative statement.

Granted, there seems to be no practical or rhetorical value to this claim, or difference in this claim than its opposite--because I've explicitly equated it with the situation where there IS no unicorn in my basement. But I don't understand what about this makes it a normative claim, just because I've added to it in such a way as to make it practically unfalsifiable. Unlike "Oranges are better than beets", it is a claim which truly is either true or false--even if we can't test it. There either is, or is not, a unicorn in my basement.

It is normative because there is no meaningful way we could demonstrate that this unicorn which defies the laws of physics was in your basement, and also there is no way that we could demonstrate that this unicorn which defies the laws of physics was not in your basement.

That was an amusing thought experiment though...
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YYW
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10/28/2013 12:07:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
An example of the confusion: Were the claims of greek philosophers who spoke of atoms normative until such time as it became possible to test them?

We call atoms, atoms only because the Greeks hypothesized as they did -but that aside at the time that the ancients hypothesized, there was no way to determine if they were right...

What if they truly thought that we would NEVER be able to assess things on what is now known as the atomic scale--would that make them, at least, think it was a normative claim (though of course they wouldn't have used those terms because they weren't used, and are in English, but you get the idea).

I have no idea what may or may not have ran through the minds of ancient Greek philosophers... or what that would have meant. But I would make the argument that reality is intelligible in a far different way in the present than it was for ancient Greek philosophers.

It's a long way around the mountain to question both your definition of normative/positive, and your use of falsifiability.

lol, no worries

I could understand, of course, if this becomes a problem of definition--since the definition of "God exists" is not explicitly included in the statement, then until that is addressed it could mean anything. But if we presuppose a specific definition of God, our own personal inability to falsify the existence doesn't seem to affect whether it is, in fact, true that there is a god--that is a dichotomy of true and false, in way that normative claims are not supposed to be.

I think that the unicorns on the sun thing I spoke of earlier might help elucidate that problem.

The links here seem to be in keeping with my understanding of the terms. I don't post them to contradict--merely to explain my understanding and, to a certain extent, where my understanding came from. But they ARE wikipedia (well, and "philosophy-index.com"...no, this isn't where my understanding of these terms explicitly came from, but they seem to be at the same "level" of understanding as me)--and your grasp of academic philosophy is greater than mine, even more so than others on here who ALSO have a greater grasp of these things:

lol

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.philosophy-index.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

None of those reference falsifiability as a necessary or definitive component of positive claims. They talk specifically of truth value, and value judgments.

So, while I understand the concepts your presenting, I don't understand how they apply to these terms.

So...yeah. I hope that makes sense--when confused people ask questions, they're often reflections of that confusion.

I'm not in conflict with what you've posted, there. I'm just explaining how it all works...

This might be a good reference point/background to what I'm saying:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This might also be useful, though perhaps not needed, but I'm including it anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This is what you most need to read of the links I've posted:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And finally, parts of this article are worthwhile as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

...and while reading this, recognize that my background is principally in social science.
Tsar of DDO
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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10/28/2013 1:37:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/28/2013 12:07:42 AM, YYW wrote:
An example of the confusion: Were the claims of greek philosophers who spoke of atoms normative until such time as it became possible to test them?

We call atoms, atoms only because the Greeks hypothesized as they did -but that aside at the time that the ancients hypothesized, there was no way to determine if they were right...

What if they truly thought that we would NEVER be able to assess things on what is now known as the atomic scale--would that make them, at least, think it was a normative claim (though of course they wouldn't have used those terms because they weren't used, and are in English, but you get the idea).

I have no idea what may or may not have ran through the minds of ancient Greek philosophers... or what that would have meant. But I would make the argument that reality is intelligible in a far different way in the present than it was for ancient Greek philosophers.

It's a long way around the mountain to question both your definition of normative/positive, and your use of falsifiability.

lol, no worries

I could understand, of course, if this becomes a problem of definition--since the definition of "God exists" is not explicitly included in the statement, then until that is addressed it could mean anything. But if we presuppose a specific definition of God, our own personal inability to falsify the existence doesn't seem to affect whether it is, in fact, true that there is a god--that is a dichotomy of true and false, in way that normative claims are not supposed to be.

I think that the unicorns on the sun thing I spoke of earlier might help elucidate that problem.

The links here seem to be in keeping with my understanding of the terms. I don't post them to contradict--merely to explain my understanding and, to a certain extent, where my understanding came from. But they ARE wikipedia (well, and "philosophy-index.com"...no, this isn't where my understanding of these terms explicitly came from, but they seem to be at the same "level" of understanding as me)--and your grasp of academic philosophy is greater than mine, even more so than others on here who ALSO have a greater grasp of these things:

lol

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.philosophy-index.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

None of those reference falsifiability as a necessary or definitive component of positive claims. They talk specifically of truth value, and value judgments.

So, while I understand the concepts your presenting, I don't understand how they apply to these terms.

So...yeah. I hope that makes sense--when confused people ask questions, they're often reflections of that confusion.


I'm not in conflict with what you've posted, there. I'm just explaining how it all works...

This might be a good reference point/background to what I'm saying:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This might also be useful, though perhaps not needed, but I'm including it anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This link doesn't work, did you mean http://en.wikipedia.org... ?

This is what you most need to read of the links I've posted:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And finally, parts of this article are worthwhile as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

...and while reading this, recognize that my background is principally in social science.
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
YYW
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10/28/2013 1:38:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/28/2013 1:37:42 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 10/28/2013 12:07:42 AM, YYW wrote:
An example of the confusion: Were the claims of greek philosophers who spoke of atoms normative until such time as it became possible to test them?

We call atoms, atoms only because the Greeks hypothesized as they did -but that aside at the time that the ancients hypothesized, there was no way to determine if they were right...

What if they truly thought that we would NEVER be able to assess things on what is now known as the atomic scale--would that make them, at least, think it was a normative claim (though of course they wouldn't have used those terms because they weren't used, and are in English, but you get the idea).

I have no idea what may or may not have ran through the minds of ancient Greek philosophers... or what that would have meant. But I would make the argument that reality is intelligible in a far different way in the present than it was for ancient Greek philosophers.

It's a long way around the mountain to question both your definition of normative/positive, and your use of falsifiability.

lol, no worries

I could understand, of course, if this becomes a problem of definition--since the definition of "God exists" is not explicitly included in the statement, then until that is addressed it could mean anything. But if we presuppose a specific definition of God, our own personal inability to falsify the existence doesn't seem to affect whether it is, in fact, true that there is a god--that is a dichotomy of true and false, in way that normative claims are not supposed to be.

I think that the unicorns on the sun thing I spoke of earlier might help elucidate that problem.

The links here seem to be in keeping with my understanding of the terms. I don't post them to contradict--merely to explain my understanding and, to a certain extent, where my understanding came from. But they ARE wikipedia (well, and "philosophy-index.com"...no, this isn't where my understanding of these terms explicitly came from, but they seem to be at the same "level" of understanding as me)--and your grasp of academic philosophy is greater than mine, even more so than others on here who ALSO have a greater grasp of these things:

lol

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.philosophy-index.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

None of those reference falsifiability as a necessary or definitive component of positive claims. They talk specifically of truth value, and value judgments.

So, while I understand the concepts your presenting, I don't understand how they apply to these terms.

So...yeah. I hope that makes sense--when confused people ask questions, they're often reflections of that confusion.


I'm not in conflict with what you've posted, there. I'm just explaining how it all works...

This might be a good reference point/background to what I'm saying:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This might also be useful, though perhaps not needed, but I'm including it anyway:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This link doesn't work, did you mean http://en.wikipedia.org... ?

Emile Durkenheim... his wikipedia page.

Fvcking DDO doesn't recognize certain characters...

This is what you most need to read of the links I've posted:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

And finally, parts of this article are worthwhile as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org...

...and while reading this, recognize that my background is principally in social science.
Tsar of DDO