FanPost

Epistemology and Long Twos

Moving the discussion from the "Would it really be so bad to get the No. 7 seed?" to here.

What is the nature of knowledge? How do we know anything? How do we process empirical data and form objective opinions of the world? Is it in fact possible to convince people of anything, or do people pretty much only believe what they want to believe? Are we all little islands of awareness drifting around aimlessly with no hope of influencing anyone or anything around us?

Is it acceptable that there are people in the United States that believe the world is 6,000 years old and are trying to force that worldview into the elementary curriculum? Is it in fact possible to convince someone who thinks this way to change their mind?

My answer is yes, because I've done it. Twice, once in the nineties and again in a completely different forum about fifteen years later. It took a long time and I can only give a brief summary of the discussion here but here's the overall gist:

Here's their argument: The Bible is written by God and infallible. Therefore it is impossible for anything in the Bible to be wrong. Therefore you must believe everything written in the Bible word for word. Therefore the world is 6,000 years old. There cannot have been a Big Bang because there's no mention of it in the Bible.

We started with the assumption that the Bible is written by God and infallible. Why didn't God mention the Big Bang? In the part where the Big Bang should go is Genesis, where God says the world was created in seven days.

How would God have described the Big Bang in a comprehensive way to Moses 4,000 years ago? Ancient Hebrew had no word for quantum mechanics. So instead God tells a story. "First I did this, then I did that, then I did the other." God focuses on the important details -- there aren't many. What parts of the universe, apart from human beings, which are created later, are "good"?

God is the creator. God's perspective starts from inside the big bang. What God sees is equivalent to what a particle originating inside the big bang traveling near the speed of light would see. What from our perspective looks like 14 billion years might only look like 7 days from God's perspective.

That's all God really needs to say because the Bible is not an encyclopedia. Why did God give the Torah to Moses? Because he wanted us to be nice to each other. So the Bible is God's textbook on how to be nicer. Just like there's no reason for a mathematics textbook to discuss morality, there's really no need for the Bible to get into science. So it doesn't. The only reason Genesis is in there at all is for God to make a point that creation is good, and to point out which particular parts of the creative process God considers good. For example, separating the light from the dark (which to me sounds like an allegorical endorsement of the scientific method anyway).

So the perception that the Bible and science disagree with each other is actually an illusion born from reading the Bible carelessly. Why would God create a world that contradicts the Bible? It's not possible from a creationist's point of view. Rather than twist facts to fit your flawed interpretation of the Bible, perhaps changing your interpretation of the Bible would be better? The Bible isn't wrong -- YOU ARE.

Now this worked because the two guys I was arguing with were truly open-minded guys. Really smart, really curious. But really reluctant to consider a universe where the Bible is wrong, which necessarily means God doesn't exist.

So yeah, there's a ton of flaws in this argument, most importantly, LEVITICUS. But what the two guys found convincing was it started with the assumptions they were comfortable with - God exists and therefore is infallible, and therefore God's book, the Bible, is infallible. Not one atheist arguing with them had ever made that effort before.

So if I can convince two creationists to consider embracing the scientific method, SURELY it's possible to convince EG and/or Wittman to get the team to stop shooting so many long twos! There's hope!

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.

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