Evolution (and some Creationism, too)



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Original post

Posted by Götter, 08.04.2007 - 02:05
There doesn't seem to be a thread dedicated specifically to evolution, this wonderful way of explaining us and our surroundings. So I created one for intelligent discussion on evolution, creationism and their alleged clash in the USA. Also, you are allowed to freely bash creationism as long as you also include some intelligently designed sentences regarding evolution in your post. I mean, creationists' daily job is trampling on the theory of evolution without bothering to make sense - this way we can fight back and be better at the same time.


Okay, so what do we have? Evolution is at present (and, hopefully, in the future) THE way of seeing our world. It's the only one that has some scientific credibility tagged to it. These days, religions are rightfully required to adjust themselves to science, not the opposite; world-views that blatantly deny evolution, like intelligent design, are running out on their lease of life. I am not a qualified statistician or a seer, I cannot tell whether the entirety of religion is in its death throes, but creationism does seem to hint at something like that. Christianity had been slowly adapting itself to science when that heap of nonsense popped up in the twentieth century.

Now I am not trying to bash anyone just because they believe God created Heaven and Earth, but please look at the facts - the Theory of Evolution, despite its loose ends and controversies, is a working and proven theory. You should get used to it, or it's your loss. I know a lot of scientists are both religious and still they manage to accept evolution. In fact, despite what creationists would have us believe, there is no controversy in the scientific community regarding the evolution vs creation dispute. None at all - the scientists are unanimously in support of what Darwin started. What is happening in America is a bunch of overly religious people have found themselves in a situation where they can legally present their views as hard science and teach it in schools as such.

I guess me, being an European, shouldn't be overly concerned about all that - it'll never happen here. Yet if American children start getting such education, the entire world will be affected and our near future could get fucked up significantly. So I appeal to you all, especially Americans: fight against creationism (cretinism?) and for evolution. It's the only way.


Yes, I didn't actually post any scientific evidence for evolution, nor did I provide any links to sites containing that. What I also didn't do is refer to any specific creationist conspiracies and lies. The Internet is full of both of these things, look it up yourself. Start with Wikipedia, for instance. I do give a link to my current favorite song, "Creation Science 101" by Roy Zimmerman. Enjoy this, and common sense!

Poll

You don't disbelieve evolution, do you?

Nope.
169
I actually do for some weird reason.
39

Total votes: 208
26.04.2013 - 02:36
Rasputin
Written by Candlemass on 26.04.2013 at 00:33

Written by Rasputin on 25.04.2013 at 21:52

How about both theories are just theories, and we have no idea where, how and why we are here, and how we came to be?


As Newton's theory of gravitation or Quantum Theory are only theories? How about NOT?

Evolution is a theory that extrapolates using scientific experiments - unlike Creationism that is; "Scientifically [Creationism is] worthless, philosophically it is confused, and theologically it is blinkered beyond repair. The same is true of its offspring, Intelligent Design Theory. But do not underestimate its social and political power." - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
And indeed we should not underestimate the social and political power of people who crawled from under rocks shepherded by annoying religious clergy to pollute our minds and our children's minds via our educational systems, at times using deception and outright lying under oath as they did at the Dover trials.
Our origins are made and will made clearer by the sciences - and sadly humanity will keep being stalled by power hungry clergy.

They are still theories last time I checked. Our periodic table is still theoretical, math is an abstract concept, and so on and so forth. Finite knowledge, finite mind cannot comprehend this reality, and this reality is another construct of our minds in this time and space, and time is an abstraction, and space is limitless, or so we think.

Intelligent Design Theory makes more sense, than the random Big Bang, proverbial swamp of human existence, evolution from primates...I have no problem believing that we were created by something, but I have a problem in assuming that that something is still here.

Science has been changing, therefore it is constant, it is not frozen in one spot. But science is the other coin of faith, and I think that creationism and scientific research actually have more connecting points, only, both faiths like to fight each other.
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26.04.2013 - 07:36
Candlemass
Defaeco
Written by Rasputin on 26.04.2013 at 02:36

Written by Candlemass on 26.04.2013 at 00:33

They are still theories last time I checked. Our periodic table is still theoretical, math is an abstract concept, and so on and so forth. Finite knowledge, finite mind cannot comprehend this reality, and this reality is another construct of our minds in this time and space, and time is an abstraction, and space is limitless, or so we think.

Intelligent Design Theory makes more sense, than the random Big Bang, proverbial swamp of human existence, evolution from primates...I have no problem believing that we were created by something, but I have a problem in assuming that that something is still here.

Science has been changing, therefore it is constant, it is not frozen in one spot. But science is the other coin of faith, and I think that creationism and scientific research actually have more connecting points, only, both faiths like to fight each other.


"I have no problem believing that we were created by something" - me too. By God's random whim and arbitrary will ":lol:.
"reality is another construct of our minds" Your'e equivocating the word "theory" - without quantum theory computer chips that run your computer would not exist.
On the other hand God explains nothing and is a sueless concept as far as 'concrete' reality goes.
Science is based on repeatable experimental evidence - it is reliable and based on cross-cltural publiclly open evidence, and in any case - creationism isn't science.
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26.04.2013 - 17:44
Azarath
The difference is:

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26.04.2013 - 21:30
Rasputin
Written by Candlemass on 26.04.2013 at 07:36

Written by Rasputin on 26.04.2013 at 02:36

Written by Candlemass on 26.04.2013 at 00:33

They are still theories last time I checked. Our periodic table is still theoretical, math is an abstract concept, and so on and so forth. Finite knowledge, finite mind cannot comprehend this reality, and this reality is another construct of our minds in this time and space, and time is an abstraction, and space is limitless, or so we think.

Intelligent Design Theory makes more sense, than the random Big Bang, proverbial swamp of human existence, evolution from primates...I have no problem believing that we were created by something, but I have a problem in assuming that that something is still here.

Science has been changing, therefore it is constant, it is not frozen in one spot. But science is the other coin of faith, and I think that creationism and scientific research actually have more connecting points, only, both faiths like to fight each other.


"I have no problem believing that we were created by something" - me too. By God's random whim and arbitrary will ":lol:.
"reality is another construct of our minds" Your'e equivocating the word "theory" - without quantum theory computer chips that run your computer would not exist.
On the other hand God explains nothing and is a sueless concept as far as 'concrete' reality goes.
Science is based on repeatable experimental evidence - it is reliable and based on cross-cltural publiclly open evidence, and in any case - creationism isn't science.

So in your mind the scientific method is without a fault and it is infinite, and has the ability to explain everything. Interesting.
No, it is as I wrote it, we construct our reality, because we are conditioned for this reality, and everything subjective, therefore, everything is relative.
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26.04.2013 - 21:54
Candlemass
Defaeco


No. Again, something that is stuck to the inner part of your skull projecting on other people.

"because we are conditioned for this reality, and everything subjective, therefore, everything is relative."
I don't want to even try and make sense of this and of it's implications because it so typical that's it's simply annoying and nothing more.
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26.04.2013 - 23:09
Rasputin
Written by Candlemass on 26.04.2013 at 21:54



No. Again, something that is stuck to the inner part of your skull projecting on other people.

"because we are conditioned for this reality, and everything subjective, therefore, everything is relative."
I don't want to even try and make sense of this and of it's implications because it so typical that's it's simply annoying and nothing more.

But of course it is
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27.04.2013 - 11:36
Candlemass
Defaeco
Of course it is.

For starters, you did not represent me; you represented an shallow stereotype and a strawman.
"So in your mind the scientific method is without a fault and it is infinite".
False. It is a fallible human social activity (please refer to Helen E. Longino).

"everything subjective, therefore, everything is relative." -except your statement which is soundly objective on that matter of fact.
In this context (of religious fundamentalists) it's one of the worst apologetic tactics; "Everything is relative; hence GOD!".

For childish trolls - I doubt this is apparent ("But of course it is").
It's like speaking to I'll-play-along-with-the-Rabbi orthodox Jews that try and convert secular Jews with dialectical tricks the've learned was at the Yeshiva - only in English.
מחב"ת.
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01.10.2013 - 01:17
Schizoid6.6
First of all, evolution is nothing to 'believe' in like it's a faith; like it or not, it's what is. People tend to severly misunderstand the term 'theory' as if it's just a guess. In regards to science, it means that it's the best tested and emperically supported explanation that we have. Yes it has its holes, but so do a lot of other well accepted theories such the big bang and general relativity. Neverthless the picture is gradually completing. There is no need to place a god in between these gaps, that only adds more problems.

Creationism on the other hand is one giant black hole of bullshit, not a single trace of evidence given. Just a mere fantasy for those having difficulty accepting reality. it's hardly a worthy opponent of evolution. It made more sense 10,000 years ago when we knew next to nothing. Christians who accept evolution doesn't accept true evolution as per Darwin. It's just anthoer version of creationism, typically called intelligent design. But there are too many absurdities around that can hardly be called 'intelligently designed.'
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22.02.2014 - 05:18
AtDawnTheySquee
Like Bill Nye said, the Bible isn't factual.
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22.02.2014 - 11:16
IronAngel
"Creationism" is simply the belief that there is a creating cause for the physical world and its order. It is not a scientific theory, though many try to make it into one by explaining the history of life with Biblical or other models. The core meaning of creationism is perfectly compatible with evolution and a scientific world view because they don't interact on the level of predictions, and I'm not sure how you would estimate its credibility. It simply boils down to the question of whether you believe in a higher power or not. I don't see how you could possibly be in any way religious and not be a creationist.
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27.02.2014 - 17:07
Ernis
狼獾
Written by IronAngel on 22.02.2014 at 11:16

I don't see how you could possibly be in any way religious and not be a creationist.


That's a point. Personally though, I couldn't consider myself a creationist because I don't disagree with evolution theory at all. I was never one of those people who said that dinosaur fossils are the remnants of angels cast down by the Lord.
What is creationism anyway? Is it the claim that Earth was created exactly as described in the OT or just acknowledging the possibility of an intelligent design? As Darwin himself was a religious person, wouldn't he be a creationist as well? All I can say is that I see life as something more than just mildew that accidentally started spreading on its own on some random planet. I also believe that existence is present outside of the parameters that our current stance allows to perceive. Coming back to evolution and creationism, I can't say I could deny either of them. What I could deny, though, is that Earth was created "fresh from the oven" exactly 5000 years ago à la Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... that's too science fiction...
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27.02.2014 - 20:39
IronAngel
Creationism is, at its simple core, the suggestion that the cosmos has been created - even if it's through the Big Bang and evolution. That was the point I was making. It is carelessly applied to a specific type of Christian fundamentalism and uneducated Bible interpretation, but that's not really what the term itself implies.
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09.04.2014 - 00:07
Dentura
Shadow King
I prefer objective theory over church dogma personally.
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...And so death to the falsity of thy former rulers. Thy kingdom of "heaven" burns in a field of fire, and Dentura is the one true God thou must yield thy hearts and souls to in absolute submission. It is his ultimate decree and will unto thee..
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23.04.2014 - 19:21
IronAngel
Written by Guest on 23.04.2014 at 03:34

That still doesn't make sense. Theories (leastways in science) are not things you "believe in", they are things you either accept or do not accept. Believeing is a faith thing, faith is not required where there is logic and evidence ;-)


That is nonsense. Belief is an epistemic attitude. To know anything you must believe it. "Accepting" is a somewhat unclear term, but it is sometimes used to indicate that you act according to a proposition even if you might not entirely believe it. Ironically, the example of accepting I can think of is specifically in the realm of religion: you might experience periods of spiritual turmoil and doubt and not quite believe in the sacramental power of Communion, and yet you continue to accept the practice and doctrine and attend Mass. In science, I suppose, accepting a theory would be to take it as a background assumption for further experiment or other research, whether or not you personally believe it. And as regards evolution, you could accept it but not believe it if you taught it at school as the best available scientific theory despite your personal religious belief to the contrary.

Granted, "believe in something" is a bit of a strange formulation. It has connotations other than the purely epistemic. When I say "I believe in you" I don't mean "I believe that you exist" or "I believe that you are true" (which is a nonsensical sentence), I mean that I trust you to have some merit or to achieve something, trust you not to disappoint, or whatever.

In that sense, we can still believe in evolution if we trust it remains the best, most fruitful theory to explain natural phenomena and guide further research. But we can be benign and accept that "I believe in evolution" in everyday speak just means "I believe the theory of evolution is true." Whatever way you look at it, though, no amount of logic or evidence can make you just magically "accept" a theory. You either believe something or you don't, and it is an epistemic attitude (with plenty of unfounded assumptions accepted regardless) whether it is a scientific theory or a religious doctrine you believe.

We should not be too cocky about it, though. It is far from clear that the "theory of evolution" (whatever the hell that is; there's probably no uniform complete theory at this point) is "true"; but it is pretty clear that it is the best scientific theory at this point. It is equally clear, though, that science is a very specific arena that does not necessarily correlate with truth in the various senses we might think of in everyday life. It does not help matters that scientists who popularize their field are rarely philosophers of science themselves, which leads to gross simplifications and misrepresentations. A good example is the t of physics - it is not clear that it actually means time, in any sense recognizable to us, but physicists are quick to make the leap and declare truths that lead to paradoxes because they can't make the distinction.
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24.04.2014 - 05:59
AngelofDeth
Cyborg Raptor
Written by IronAngel on 23.04.2014 at 19:21

We should not be too cocky about it, though. It is far from clear that the "theory of evolution" (whatever the hell that is; there's probably no uniform complete theory at this point) is "true"; but it is pretty clear that it is the best scientific theory at this point. It is equally clear, though, that science is a very specific arena that does not necessarily correlate with truth in the various senses we might think of in everyday life. It does not help matters that scientists who popularize their field are rarely philosophers of science themselves, which leads to gross simplifications and misrepresentations. A good example is the t of physics - it is not clear that it actually means time, in any sense recognizable to us, but physicists are quick to make the leap and declare truths that lead to paradoxes because they can't make the distinction.

Amen to that.

I believe in evolution but I don't think we should take it for fact as everyone seems to do. It's a theory which means it has compelling and continuous evidence and nothing has yet to disprove it. But it still hasn't been 100% proved either and I think we should keep that in mind and like you said^ not be so cocky about believing in it.

It's really annoying how polarized our world is, it's Conservative vs. Liberal, Evolution vs. Creationism, Us vs Them. People choose a side and then blindly conform to and follow that side of the spectrum just so they can be 'part of the pack'. People who tout science often criticize the religious for being closed minded but really they are often just as close minded, like people waving around evolution as inarguable fact, if you are open minded you should be open to the fact that it could plausibly be disproved.

Truth's often lie somewhere in between the two sides of the argument and because of this, I'm of the mindset that Creationism and Evolution can work together to paint a larger picture. In that sense I am a Deist, where the more science discovers about the universe the stronger my belief in a God does with it. But at the same time I don't subscribe to any religion and surely don't believe in many aspects of the bible, especially the old testament.
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14.04.2016 - 19:36
Enteroctopus
Belief in higher beings or intelligence, or even the existence of consciousness itself (not to mention free will), extends from the assumption that what we are observing follows a pattern. It's like clouds. You can look up in the sky and find a cloud that looks like a horse. Why? Is God a horse? Does it have some higher meaning? Like, "Gee, maybe I should buy a horse this afternoon?"

No. It looks like a horse because your brain tries to find similarities between what it is seeing and what it has observed or learned previously. This saves time and has a very simple (evolutionary) explanation:

Conscious thought, like solving a complex chemistry problem, is decidedly S-L-O-W!!!

What happens when you are attacked by a bear? The dumber, far faster part of your brain that decides to run or stab it repeatedly with a very sharp stick takes over.

If you look at a flock of birds it might appear they are under Divine control, right? They have some spooky way of coordinating their behavior seemingly instantaneously, people have even suggested they may use quantum mechanics, even entanglement (faster-than-light communication, which is impossible), etc. What's really going on?

Each individual bird is "programmed" to keep a certain distance from each other bird, to have a perimeter of space around itself, but close enough to its buddies so as not to die. But this appears to us to result in extremely complex behavior that reputable people have suggested points at the flock being a "super organism" or, to completely misinterpret quantum theory, communicating almost telepathically through some mysterious properties of reality.

Bullshit.

We musn't allow our "fast idiot" brain to take over except in rare instances where we have to swerve out of the way of an oncoming truck or die. Too often we believe that we observe some behavior or property and thereby convince ourselves that there is a Creator or that birds somehow communicate via quantum entanglement.

So? Higher order "master bird" commanding the flock, or a trick of the mind convincing us of such?

Creationism is nothing more than that, a trick of the mind.

But does that disprove of the existence of God, or his role in creation or evolution? No, and it doesn't have to. The burden of proof is on the believer, not the other way round.

Science makes no statement as to the existence, or lack thereof, of a God or gods. It simply boils down to the fundamental pieces as many specific properties and behaviors that it possibly can.

Whether God is around or not is of no interest to the true scientist. He simply doesn't care.
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17.07.2016 - 11:39
JD
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."

― Neil deGrasse Tyson
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15.12.2016 - 21:00
tuerda
WARNING: Long, nerdy post!

The main issue I have with "believing" or "disbelieving" in evolution has a lot to do with what both evolution and belief are. In the usual sense, you could say I absolutely believe in evolution, but I have the (mis?)fortune of working in science, and have come to the conclusion that the question itself is more complex than most people (including scientists) think it is.

Like pretty much everything in science, evolution is a theory. It is very important to understand what this means. Many well educated believe that a theory is a claim about reality that is backed up by evidence. This is not accurate.

A theory is a model for reality. There is a really big difference between a model that represents something and a claim about the real thing: If I draw a man as a stick figure, that doesn't mean I believe the man is a stick figure; it means I am going to represent the man in this way. In a very similar sense, theories are extremely simplified representations of reality that are *useful for making predictions*.

The last part is important. Theories are ways to predict what is going to happen, which is the objective of about 90% of science. We say "OK, we have this really complicated thing going on, and we really have no idea what exactly is going to happen, but lets take these salient features which we can model. Now we have this *much simpler* version of what is going on, and in this simplified version we actually can figure out what will happen. Finally, we take the result of that simplified experiment and use it to predict what happens in reality. We might be wrong of course, but this is our best guess." If your simplified version of reality does a good job of predicting what is going to happen in reality, you call it a theory.

In this sense, theories are never exactly "true". And nobody should really *believe* any of them.

So, back to evolution: We have this jumbled mess of stuff, and some of that stuff we have decided to call "life". There is a real question here of whether life exists per-se. What determines whether something is alive or not? Is it an actual property of the thing, or is it the way we choose to draw our stick figure? Are viruses alive? Say we encounter some new kind of thing we have never seen before . . . are we sure that we would be able to tell whether it is alive? Since evolution is about things that are alive, we would really hope to be able to say what "alive" means, no?

Casting life aside for a moment, we now say that evolution is about species changing over time . . . What the hell is a "species"? We have sort of a working definition, but you really have to jump through all sorts of hoops. Dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and seem far more different than do two different species of frogs, but the frogs are different species and the dogs are all the same. We explain this with interbreeding, but then you have horses and donkeys that mate to make mules . . . oh but mules are sterile. OK, but here are two different kinds of bird who could mate to have non-sterile offspring; it totally could work, but it just turns out that even thought hey *could* breed, they choose not to. Oh, those are different species too. OK then, back to dogs, because there is no way in hell a chihuahua is ever going to mate with a great dane because it is pretty much physically impossible . . . And what about bacteria and such, that *never* interbreed because they reproduce by mitosis?

Of course, the word "species" is really just another stick figure, because reality is a lot more complicated than what that word can actually describe. So anyways, these "alive" things, that we don't know how to pin down, get grouped into "species", that are a really artificial kind of grouping, and now we are going to say that these groups change over time in a way that benefits the "fittest for survival". But of course, a lot of other things are going to affect who breeds that have nothing to do with fitness for survival. For instance, you might be born an absolute paragon of perfection; the best thing your species has ever seen, and then within a couple of minutes, be burned to death by lava from a nearby volcano. Also, you might be terribly adapted for survival and just be really lucky. Similarly, a lot of other things end up being selected for that are NOT related to survival: I am pretty sure that males that fight to the death with each other over who gets to mate would have a much better chance of survival if they decided not to do that, but that gets selected for anyways.

But hey, you know what? We draw this one stick figure "life", and another one "species" and then we throw in this other stick figure rule which says that the species "change over time and adapt to their environment in order to survive" and we use that to try to figure out what is going to happen when we run into fossils or see how a community of birds changes as selective pressure applies and . . . Lo and behold! we can kinda guess what is going to happen in reality!

Does this mean evolution is "true" or something to be "believed in"? I hope that this post has convinced you that the answer is "no", but also that the issue lies not in any intrinsic fault with the theory of evolution, but rather in the question itself. Is evolution really "true"? Is it even meant to be? And yet, even after writing all that stuff myself, when people ask me if I believe in evolution, the short answer kinda has to be "yes".
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15.12.2016 - 21:21
IronAngel
Written by tuerda on 15.12.2016 at 21:00

The main issue I have with "believing" or "disbelieving" in evolution has a lot to do with what both evolution and belief are. In the usual sense, you could say I absolutely believe in evolution, but I have the (mis?)fortune of working in science, and have come to the conclusion that the question itself is more complex than most people (including scientists) think it is.


That was beautiful and I couldn't have put it better myself. You write like a humanist!

We in the humanities (especially in philosophy which was my second major) often poke fun at natural scientists for their apparent lack of understanding about the nature of their own work. We, of course, lack understanding about the substance of their work. It is really a shame there aren't more people with a strong cross-disciplinary academic background that would allow them to put their specialist work into context and understand its methodological and theoretical underpinnings and, also, the range of possible questions and tools to answer them that have been developed in the various disciplines.
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15.12.2016 - 22:19
tuerda
Written by IronAngel on 15.12.2016 at 21:21

Written by tuerda on 15.12.2016 at 21:00

The main issue I have with "believing" or "disbelieving" in evolution has a lot to do with what both evolution and belief are. In the usual sense, you could say I absolutely believe in evolution, but I have the (mis?)fortune of working in science, and have come to the conclusion that the question itself is more complex than most people (including scientists) think it is.


That was beautiful and I couldn't have put it better myself. You write like a humanist!

We in the humanities (especially in philosophy which was my second major) often poke fun at natural scientists for their apparent lack of understanding about the nature of their own work. We, of course, lack understanding about the substance of their work. It is really a shame there aren't more people with a strong cross-disciplinary academic background that would allow them to put their specialist work into context and understand its methodological and theoretical underpinnings and, also, the range of possible questions and tools to answer them that have been developed in the various disciplines.


Everyone seems to think they know what they are talking about better than everyone else. I write from the perspective of a statistician, and I think most people in applied mathematics would agree with what I have said. A lot of us would claim that this means that we understand science better than scientists do. I think that kind of hubris really isn't justified, but it is true that we have a different perspective, and that it allows us to understand certain pieces of the puzzle better than they do -- sometimes -- maybe.

Also, of course, there are plenty of scientists who also see things as I do. To say that "scientists do not understand the nature of their work" is a ridiculous over-generalization, at least insofar as *anyone* understands the nature of their work.

Either way, this is going pretty far off topic.
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