Why Did ESPN Punish A Pro-Darwin Voice?

Dec 2, 2014

By Jon Frandsen

When ex-athletes hop on social media and venture away from the games they played to tackle other issues the results are often a dismaying display of ignorance.

So it was troubling but not terribly surprising when one-time pitching ace and current ESPN baseball analyst Curt Schilling started attacking the theory of evolution on Twitter. It also was aggravating, but still not surprising that when he got called out by those armed with actual scientific facts, Schilling resorted to the last refuge of ninnies: mixing name-calling with self-assured but frighteningly wrong-headed arguments. “Hey clown, why don’t apes still evolve into humans if that was the path?” was one of his more jaw-dropping retorts to a critic.

One of those critics was fellow ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law, who clearly was dismayed by Schilling’s promulgation of such patent nonsense. And he said so, without the name-calling.

And here is what is deeply troubling and makes a Twitter fight noteworthy: ESPN decided to step into the dispute — and punished Law by barring him from using Twitter for a few days.

ESPN told Deadspin that the Twitter timeout “had absolutely nothing to do with” Law’s views. And Sports Illustrated (in the third item of this column) speculated that ESPN, which has an unfortunate record of ignoring some truly offensive Twitter comments by high-profile ex-athletes on it its payroll, didn’t like Law criticizing one of its marquee names in public.

That may all be true. But the unfortunate appearance is that of a hugely influential media power taking sides — the wrong side — in a religion vs. science dispute that is not a real dispute at all. The science was settled long, long before Schilling ever set foot on the mound or used his lovely, evolved thumbs to embarrass himself on Twitter.

So we celebrate and applaud Keith Law for sticking his neck out when a colleague started publicly spouting nonsense. “There are hundreds of transitional fossils on record, Curt,” Law wrote in one exchange. When a critic suggested that Law (but not Schilling, mind you) stick to baseball, Law was blunt: “No, I won’t. Science is infinitely more important.”

And when someone implied Law was attacking Schilling’s beliefs, he chafed. “I haven’t criticized or questioned anyone’s faith. I oppose anti-science, that’s all.”

But our favorite tweet of Law’s was the first thing he wrote when his banishment ended: “Eppur si muove.” Legend has it that that Italian phrase — “Yet it moves” in english — is what Galileo muttered after being forced to recant his scientific observation that the Earth moved around the Sun.

It still moves. And organisms still evolve, even if Mr. Schilling’s thoughts do not.

82 comments on “Why Did ESPN Punish A Pro-Darwin Voice?

  • On a less flippant note, this is a simple lack of understanding of the concept of common ancestor. Its obvious that there is no such thing as a Fronkey. A cross between a Frog and a Donkey. (Ken Ham’s pet quote.) But how many times do I hear this ridiculous argument from the faith blinded sheeple. I assume someone has explained this to Shilling. Or would this be a waste of oxygen?



    Report abuse

  • Why Did ESPN Punish A Pro-Darwin Voice?

    It was probably because the censor was as ignorant and uneducated as Schilling, and was an epic fail in research and reasoning skills! – A clueless fudgist fence sitter, who backed a celebrity sportsman as a more likely authority figure in the absence of any understanding of science!
    (That’s why advertisers have clueless celebrities promote their products for a fat fee! – The gullibles swallow the story whole if it is told by an admired familiar face!)



    Report abuse

  • Yeah, it would be nice if people like him knew what the science they disagree with actually says. Maybe If people received better science education here, and learned what concepts like natural selection are, maybe they’d be more inclined to accept how scientist think evolution takes place. Opposed to their own bizarre (and I agree, unbelievable) ideas about how evolution is supposed to occur.



    Report abuse

  • What’s so disturbing is that 1) ESPN (whoever works there, that is) claimed that Law’s suspension from Twitter had nothing to do with his tweets, and 2) we don’t know who made the decision at ESPN, because there is no transparency. No one took responsibility, and there was no real explanation.

    P.S. We need a term equivalent to “mansplaining” (and how tired of that overused word I am!) for creationists. Strawmansplaining? Creosplaining?



    Report abuse

  • From what I’ve read it had more to do with Keith Law repeatedly making espn’s (highly paided, ex ball player) sports anchors look dumb on twitter for talking about subjects they knew nothing about more then any specfic objections the network has to evolution. Still you wish the network would tell the clueless to shut up instead of the people that are just trying to correct other people’s mistakes.



    Report abuse

  • doesn’t this sum up every problem in the world today?

    “you mustn’t call the stupids out for being stupid”

    Ya, I think that pretty much says it all.



    Report abuse

  • This seems like a prime candidate for one of Alan’s favorite biases, Dunning – Kruger. With Schilling of course as the DK dunce.

    Keith Law was educated at Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon, which in my mind trumps Schilling’s education at Shadow Mountain HS and Yavapai Junior College. Call me crazy but the likeliest critical thinker of the two is Mr. Law. The four letter network (many of us sports fans take pains not to utter or write the acronym in an effort to slow the networks goal of taking over the world) reached a new low with this mandate.



    Report abuse

  • A reply for David and your flippant remark. You epitomize the reason our progress over the last few years has zero effect on bringing conservative atheists out of the closet and into the ranks. Name calling, labeling and stereo typing are useless tools. Guess you learned nothing from Keith Laws example.



    Report abuse

  • John Dec 3, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Guess you learned nothing from Keith Laws example.

    I suppose the lesson from Keith Laws example is that ignorant twits, should not be employed as moderators on networks, – but that’s not how advertising driven, US media networks operate!



    Report abuse

  • Curt schilling is actually qualified to be an expert on baseball, having pitched in the majors for many years, and yet his analysis is, when it is at its absolute best, a soporific statement of the obvious. The man can’t speak intelligently about a sport in which he had a hall of fame career, so any expectations of even basic grade school accuracy on matters of science are probably too high for Mr Schilling.
    The four letter network (thank you for that one Steven007) is execrable for a host of reasons. Bristol Connecticut is home to the world’s biggest BS factory. They suspend Keith Law for correcting a person that fans look up to when he publicly, and tacitly under the banner of ESPN, makes factually ignorant tweets about basic science. Why don’t they suspend Bill Simmons for being an obnoxious Boston Homer? Why don’t they suspend Brian Windhorst for being wrong about nearly everything he says in front of a microphone or a camera?
    Just to give you an example, Steven A. Smith blames abuse victims for the abuse they receive and he gets a two day suspension. Dan Lebatard buys a billboard in Cleveland and takes a very mild mannered poke at Lebron James, a guy that the four letter network spent most of 2010, ’11 & ’12 trashing and he gets a two day suspension.
    Most of their programming is a crime against television. They are only the worldwide leader because they developed the concept first, their competition is abysmal and most of their audience is dumber than a sack full of rusty hammers, which is probably why they employ the likes of Curt Schilling in the first place.



    Report abuse

  • I’m certainly no conservative, but I can’t deny that you have a valid point here, John. I think it’s fair game to criticize someone’s policy potions until your out of breath, but politics isn;t about policy for most folk. Factioning and orthodoxy have turned being a liberal or a conservative from a policy position to a lifestyle choice for most people.



    Report abuse

  • Hey clown, why don’t apes still evolve into humans if that was the path?

    Don’t give up hope , Mr. Schilling. Your descendants still might manage it…



    Report abuse

  • 20
    patrice says:

    Please Richard Dawkins people,

    stop only stating facts about evolution when talking to creationists.

    It helped at first but now this strategy reached it’s maximum effect.
    It convinced and educated everyone that could be convinced by such a strategy.

    the only other strategy i see you using is humiliation.
    And the same thing happened with this strategy, it hit it’s maximum effect already.

    If your goal is truly to help people abandon god theories, you need to start using different approaches.

    Reusing the same strategies over and over again expecting different results is insanity and a waste of time.

    here’s a drastically different approach that could lead to many effective strategies:
    start thinking about how a mind adopt/hold on to/replace beliefs.
    in a mechanical way.

    This goes completely against your humiliation strategy since we’re now looking at the mechanic of the minds.
    The mind that adopted religious belief is not much different from a mind that adopted evolutionary beliefs.
    The brains that adopted religious beliefs did so for great reasons. To maximize the organism chances of pushing it’s genes into the next generation.
    Now we can start thinking about all kind of interesting stuff like: in which situations a brain will determine that a belief in god is a better bet than a belief in science in order to accomplish it’s goal (pushing it’s genes into the next generation)?…. Quickly, the solution to the puzzles will become self evident.
    After all, the brain evolved to adopt beliefs based on rigorous and time tested mechanisms.

    Understand the mechanic of a brain in term of adoption/retention/replacement of beliefs is essential if your goal is to actually get people to replace their beliefs.

    You could have come up with your humiliation strategy in this way, by realizing that the brain clearly want to establish a high rank in all of it’s personal social hierarchy ladders.
    Humiliation will be very effective to scare the brain into wanting to avoid dropping steps on a few ladders in some scenarios,
    but it’s effect will be very limited in many circumstances since the humiliation wont be an effective threat to a person social status in many circumstances.



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Please Richard Dawkins people, stop only stating facts about evolution when talking to creationists.

    It helped at first but now this strategy reached it’s maximum effect.
    It convinced and educated everyone that could be convinced by such a strategy.

    Not really! Many who come to this site have never ever had science explained to them properly either for their personal enlightenment, or for educating friends and family. There are still many parts of the world where standards of education are woeful, or even perverse.

    the only other strategy i see you using is humiliation.
    And the same thing happened with this strategy, it hit it’s maximum effect already.

    Humiliation works best in front of an audience – particularly with know-it-all posers preaching pseudo-science or incredulity. An ignorant bigot may remain impervious to all evidence and reason, but on a site like this their ignorance, irrationality and stupidity becomes evident to most readers of the threads.

    If your goal is truly to help people abandon god theories, you need to start using different approaches.

    There are horses for courses, and strategies for particular situations. Different approaches and a diversity of strategies, may well be more effective in some situations.
    Most dogmatic god-fanatics, have only ever been given stories about one version of one god! They casually dismiss all the other gods of the world, but simply assume their pet one is somehow the default version, because they swallowed it as a child when it was fed to them by trusted people.

    It is frequently as shock for bible-thumpers to discover that atheists (who their preachers have told them know nothing of the Lawd!), frequently know far more about the Bible and its history, than they do!



    Report abuse

  • Sorry, but we gotta do it. Its for the kids, see. They keep being born in creationist homes and they believe their mommies and daddies. Nothing changes the mind of creationists in any numbers. As Hitchens said you can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned in to.

    Kids believe their folks more than anything. More than reason. They trust ’em. All we can do is create a scintilla of doubt in every seven year old (and there are new ones every year). Ridiculing their folks, gives them hopefully a moment’s pause. Seeing Bill Maher or John Stewart go for it, might get in early enough to plant a question mark that gets them to look deeper. Politeness is the failed strategy and given the gross abuse inflicted upon kids minds, crippling them intellectually, we’ve just gotta do it.



    Report abuse

  • Dear Patrice,
    Please stop telling other people how to be an atheist. Formulate your arguments however you choose and leave mine to me. Any person whom is humiliated by the statement of objective facts should’t be speaking publicly about science under the banner of one of the best recognized global media brands.
    The point of this type of argument is not to convert the faithful. It is to expose religion for the ignorant, destructive farce that it is. In a society that extends unwarranted and at times, unconstitutional privilege to religion, no one will accept that the emperor has no clothes if no one is willing to say it out loud and with conviction. The goal isn’t to change Curt Schilling’s mind. The goal is to create a space in which a dialogue about the fundamental irrationality of Mr. schilling’s beliefs can take place.
    If atheism, or the atheist community or the non-blelief community or how ever you feel comfortable stating it, has any institutionalized problem it is the propensity for more philosophical non-believers to constantly criticize Dawkins, Harris, et al.
    It’s not a coincidence that he ascendency of non-belief is closely tied to “new atheism” with it’s grounding in facts and it’s willingness to directly confront faith. If you prefer a less confrontational, more philosophical approach, that’s fine.
    I’ll stick to the facts.
    They’re working pretty well for me so far.



    Report abuse

  • 24
    patrice says:

    im not saying you should abandon fact stating and humiliations as strategies, just suggesting researching other strategies in order to expand the number of tools you can use and polish the ones you already have.

    humiliation for example, can backfire and have the opposite effect of closing minds.
    Off the top of my head i can easily come up with a bunch of scenarios where this might be the case.
    Imagine for example: A very religious person come talk to you. First words he says: “My friend, evolution is garbage. You just haven’t been educated to the truth. People who believe in evolution are just stupid short sighted people.”
    What happen in your mind? You immediately box this guy in a category and ignore everything he says. You might have an urge to listen to what he says so you can argue with him, but it doesn’t put a shadow of a doubt in your mind at all, it effectively closes it.
    I assume a good chunk of the religious crowd relate to their beliefs in gods in a very mechanically similar way as you do with your beliefs in evolution therefore we can imagine how their reaction could easily be very similar as yours; to close their mind and prevent any re-consideration of beliefs.



    Report abuse

  • 25
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    As Hitchens said you can’t reason someone out of something they weren’t reasoned in to.

    How true and how often we tend to forget it.

    Politeness is the failed strategy and given the gross abuse inflicted upon kids minds, crippling them intellectually, we’ve just gotta do it.

    Hear, hear. The time for political correctness is over. When you’re on the field with bullies (intellectual or otherwise), you have to play rough or you get clobbered. Period.



    Report abuse

  • John Dec 3, 2014 at 10:38 am

    A reply for David and your flippant remark. You epitomize the reason our progress over the last few years has zero effect on bringing conservative atheists out of the closet and into the ranks.

    If atheists are in the closet because they are likely to be attacked in an Islamic or fundamentalist theocracy, then they may need to stay out of sight for their own protection.
    If however they are simply not prepared to stand up for truth, education, and proper information on which to base decisions, that is just shirking civic responsibility, and allowing charlatans and evangelists prevail and dominate.



    Report abuse

  • Until religious ” education ” is an adults only entertainment, ie no minors, it will be a long, up hill battle, possibly fruitless.



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    im not saying you should abandon fact stating and humiliations as strategies, just suggesting researching other strategies in order to expand the number of tools you can use and polish the ones you already have.

    Have a look in the site archives. Some of us have been using a wide diversity of strategies for years.

    Creationists by their very nature and lack of education, are abysmally weak in trying to argue anything about science.

    On evolution, most have just blindly copied drivel from the likes of AIG, and are biologically illiterate.



    Report abuse

  • What happen in your mind? You immediately box this guy in a category and ignore everything he says.

    Not me! I love a challenge. This is how some of my friends act. Its a tease. A high stakes discussion is a delight.

    I assume a good chunk of the religious crowd relate to their beliefs in gods in a very mechanically similar way as you do with your beliefs in evolution

    Well now that is downright offensive, but under the circumstances, lets have at it…

    Calling someone’s beliefs idiotic is not to call them an idiot. I have believed idiotic things and been called on it. But when people presume I believe things in an idiotic fashion, I get offended. Creationists to a man and woman are so because they are people of faith. I would never question the integrity of their faith. I claim to be a person of reason and for you to say I am probably not is offensive. Ridicule reason if you wish as I will ridicule faith, but don’t deny anyone their integrity. Don’t mind read motives in others. We all mostly get it wrong.



    Report abuse

  • Ryan1306 Dec 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Yeah, it would be nice if people like him knew what the science they disagree with actually says. Maybe If people received better science education here, and learned what concepts like natural selection are, maybe they’d be more inclined to accept how scientist think evolution takes place.

    Ah! You mean like the syllabus I linked here!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/11/ofsted-reveals-serious-risk-to-students-physical-and-educational-welfare-in-faith-schools/#li-comment-161896



    Report abuse

  • 31
    patrice says:

    hey hey Phil, thanks for the reply.

    What happen in your mind? You immediately box this guy in a category
    and ignore everything he says.

    Not me! I love a challenge. This is how some of my friends act. Its a
    tease. A high stakes discussion is a delight.

    im calling you out on this statement.
    I can’t imagine you will truly re-consider your beliefs in evolution after the guy approached you in this way.
    Like the next sentence i wrote (from what you quoted), you might have an urge to listen to what he says so you can argue with him, but it doesn’t put a shadow of a doubt in your mind about evolution at all.

    The brain did not evolved to easily re-consider fundamental beliefs about the nature of reality. The implications of such fundamental beliefs are too great.

    I will make you a bet that if you are an educated convinced atheist, your brain will not seriously consider the possibility that spaghetti monster is really and control your life. Unless a very significant and dramatic event happen in your life.

    I assume a good chunk of the religious crowd relate to their beliefs in gods in a very mechanically similar way as you do with your beliefs in evolution

    Well now that is downright offensive, but under the circumstances,
    lets have at it…

    i apologize for describing my idea in a poor way that made it easy for you to misinterpret. I didn’t mean to offend you.
    What i was trying to say was that the brain structures and the way it adopt any beliefs is consistent for the human animal. The way the brain uses beliefs to make sense of reality, mechanically, and the way it relates to beliefs no matter what belief it is, is also very consistent in a biological way.



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I assume a good chunk of the religious crowd relate to their beliefs in gods in a very mechanically similar way as you do with your beliefs in evolution

    “Assumption” is the mother of misconception and error.

    There is no equivalence in the mechanisms by which scientists consider the evidenced reasoning about evolution of specific biological organisms, and indoctrinated methods “faith-thinking”.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith
    faith ;- strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence.

    patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    What i was trying to say was that the brain structures and the way it adopt any beliefs is consistent for the human animal.

    This is simply wrong. Acceptance on “faith” and objectivity and reasoning, are entirely different processes.

    The latter has a depth of understanding associated with the concepts.



    Report abuse

  • 33
    patrice says:

    thanks for your replies Alan.

    Have a look in the site archives

    please don’t send me into scary dark places haha

    On evolution, most have just blindly copied drivel from the likes of
    AIG, and are biologically illiterate.

    in earlier posts in this thread, i was trying to introduce the idea that perhaps people in general, might not be adopting beliefs based only on facts.
    I believe that facts play only i minor role in the adoption/retention/change of beliefs for at least a great portion of the general population.

    Almost all people i know who describe themselves as atheists have only a very vague understanding of the theory. For them at least, their own understanding of the facts did not play a major role. Things like faith in what they personally consider the experts of reality and/or various fears or cravings played a bigger role.

    From observation, it would seem to me that instinctual urges plays a bigger role in the adoption of beliefs in general for most people.

    Like the very powerful urge not to be excluded from the community would prevent the adoption of beliefs that goes against the beliefs held by said community for most personality types.

    Thoughts?



    Report abuse

  • Over in Britain, a few years ago there was an England footballer called Glen Hoddle. When he started spouting his Christian views he was largely laughed at in the media. There was no Twitter then. I wonder if Schilling understands the physics of pitching ? Does he have any respect for science at all ? It seems unlikely to me.

    Too bad the American media is so lick spittle to the Christians.



    Report abuse

  • Patrice, truly if he had something to say I would hear him out and consider it. This is my very point. This fact that I would do things this way is the essence of what and how I believe things. I……adore…..learning things. I mean adore it! There would be nothing so exciting as to learn something new that was really profound. I didn’t take evolution on faith. I was more or less indifferent to it and was reasoned into it by The Selfish Gene and later by the Extended Phenotype, later still, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Your Inner Fish and its changed and refined and got hugely complex and interesting, but its not fixed. I am so open to change. It is ideologies that are poisonous….every last one.

    And sorry, I wasn’t really too offended, but I wanted to make the point that more poisonous than ridiculing ideas (entirely not poisonous) is ridiculing people for their integrity and that is what I try not to do. I ridicule creationists when they assert they are. I try not to ridicule people who are also creationists but don’t feel obliged to promote it. (Sadly many do.)



    Report abuse

  • 36
    patrice says:

    This is simply wrong.

    haha, pretty confident statement.

    okay first off i want to make sure you understand that i was trying to refer to the brain itself, the way neurons connect to each others type of physical thing.

    Acceptance on “faith” and objectivity and
    reasoning, are entirely different processes.
    The latter has a depth of understanding associated with the concepts.
    Wouldn’t you say that there is still plenty of reasoning done for people who accept stuff on faith? it certainly make sense to them.

    The reasoning is clearly not consistently of the same quality for every individuals, but reasoning is present nonetheless.

    Reasoning and faith, both are always present in the adoption of beliefs in any human brain, only the degree of both varies.

    I do not believe that different part of the brain processes the acquisition of beliefs weather the belief are adopted mainly on faith or mainly on reasoning.
    is all im saying.

    Im not saying that lots of reasoning and little faith is not wildly superior and lead to more likely accurate beliefs than less reasoning and more faith.



    Report abuse

  • I’m a somewhat conservative atheist, and I didn’t take any offense at the “Tea Party” comment. I thought it was humorous. Sadly, the “Tea Party” thing got taken over by religious fanatics, so that generalization I think wasn’t really out of place.

    Anyways, +1 libertarian atheist here..



    Report abuse

  • 38
    patrice says:

    Patrice, truly if he had something to say I would hear him out and consider it.

    haha, just my luck. i found the one rational guy in a million who will truly and profoundly consider and explore the possibility that a spaghetti monster do control everything in the universe and makes him do everything he’s ever done 😉

    but im certain that you can appreciate how rare this is, if only you’ve ever open a tv set or talked to any relatively normal amount of people 😉

    and i completely agree with you about the “ridiculing ideas” vs “ridiculing people for having a particular idea” thing.
    It’s always been a distinction that i consider to be very useful in life.
    I do not think that this distinction is widely realized tho, and this is unfortunate imo.

    thanks for the replies.



    Report abuse

  • I do not believe that different part of the brain processes the acquisition of beliefs weather the belief are adopted mainly on faith or mainly on reasoning.

    This is just unevidenced folk psychology, patrice. An unfounded belief.

    What you are reasoned into is built on a matrix of interlocking prior knowledge that itself has been fruitful and tested in many ways. If that prior knowledge takes a set back your accumulated education from that point on has to be revisted for any dependent knowledge that may be affected.

    Like most here, I take nothing on faith. I do, however, have (more or less) evidenced confidence in my knowledge. All scientists will tell you that the very best working hypotheses they have about reality, that most people know as “facts”, they know as “theories”. There is no element of unquestioning trust for them.



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    in earlier posts in this thread, i was trying to introduce the idea that perhaps people in general, might not be adopting beliefs based only on facts.

    I think you are right as far as children copying cultural norms in their communities and in childhood indoctrination.

    I believe that facts play only i minor role in the adoption/retention/change of beliefs for at least a great portion of the general population.

    In the absence of education in rational thinking processes and science this is often so.

    Almost all people i know who describe themselves as atheists have only a very vague understanding of the theory.

    This may well be so for non-scientists or recent converts to atheism.

    For them at least, their own understanding of the facts did not play a major role.

    The details of the revision of theories over 150 years of history and for genetic details of individual organisms is complex. However, the process of natural selection and concepts of limited random variation, are very simple and easy to understand.

    Things like faith in what they personally consider the experts of reality

    Confidence in scientific experts is merited because to be a scientist with published peer-reviewed work, requires diligence, expertise, and work which will stand the test of scrutiny by fellow subject experts.
    (That’s why scientists can make predictions to land and operate Rovers on Mars.)

    It bears no resemblance to preachers making up how they FEEL they imagine something (like history) should be.

    and/or various fears or cravings played a bigger role.

    Scientist have human biases and ambitions, but scrutiny by peers weeds out the error prone and charlatans.

    From observation, it would seem to me that instinctual urges plays a bigger role in the adoption of beliefs in general for most people.

    Again this is a fall-back in those who lack reliable education and knowledge seeking skills.

    Like the very powerful urge not to be excluded from the community would prevent the adoption of beliefs that goes against the beliefs held by said community for most personality types.

    There are of course productive academic communities, where respect for scientific methodology rules. These provide the science and technologies on which the modern world depends.

    Other communities which are given to wish-thinking rather than objective reasoning, have to buy their products from those who have a scientific understanding of how stuff works in the real world.

    Wish-thinkers are also very vulnerable to charlatans, unscrupulous advertisers, rogue journalists and quacks.

    Evolution is the core mechanism in biology, so I can assure you that its understanding by biologists like myself, is entirely different to the “believe-it-because-the-preacher said-so” brigade.

    The difference is similar to the difference of planet-view of between flat-Earthists and astronauts! The learning process is definitely not the same! Scientific understanding and “faith” are very different.



    Report abuse

  • the one rational guy in a million

    Ha! Not what my ex wife thought, and she was a bit sharp…

    But stick around. This is a point of principle for very many here. The sciencey, evidenced open minded bit really is what its about. It is so not about beliefs. Creationism is a pain, not for Goddy things so much but for screwing up the science for millions and millions of kids.



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    This is simply wrong.

    haha, pretty confident statement.

    Of course! Science is very good at refuting wrong answers!

    Reasoning and faith, both are always present in the adoption of beliefs in any human brain, only the degree of both varies.

    Nope! “faith” does not even qualify as “reasoning”.
    It is thinking!

    I do not believe that different part of the brain processes the acquisition of beliefs weather the belief are adopted mainly on faith or mainly on reasoning. is all i’m saying.

    Still wrong!
    You need to study neuroscience!
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120419091223.htm

    Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences. Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

    As Phil points out, your notions on psychology are not coming from medical scientists.



    Report abuse

  • 43
    patrice says:

    I do not believe that different part of the brain processes the acquisition of beliefs weather the belief are adopted mainly on faith or mainly on reasoning.

    This is just unevidenced folk psychology, patrice. An unfounded belief.

    haha, you seem to be quick at dismissing for someone who claim to have such an open mind 😉
    my statement actually come from my hobby neurobiology.
    stuff like this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071212202008.htm
    this type of things. (this particular one is from Sam Harris, coincidentally)

    What you are reasoned into is built on a matrix of interlocking prior
    knowledge that itself has been fruitful and tested in many ways. If
    that prior knowledge takes a set back your accumulated education from
    tht point on has to be revisted for any dependent knowledge that may
    be affected.

    just for my own personal understanding, if you dont mind, could you please tell me what motivated you to describe to me how higher level theories are dependent on relevant lower level ones?



    Report abuse

  • 44
    patrice says:

    Alan

    i may have used the wrong term.
    trust could have been a better choice for me instead of faith.
    I take the easy way out by blaming this completely on secondary language and laziness haha

    the article you linked to do little to make your point tho.
    Spiritual experiences and the adoption of beliefs are not obvious synonyms.
    Maybe you interpreted the study differently?

    I’m a little surprised to see so many ultimate statements from you guys. 😉
    you’re talking about things like “what most people know as “facts”, we know as “theories”, but you use words like “this is wrong” “this is the way it is” without considering misinterpretations or requesting more information…



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I do not believe that different part of the brain processes the acquisition of beliefs weather the belief are adopted mainly on faith or mainly on reasoning.

    Phil – This is just unevidenced folk psychology, patrice. An unfounded belief.

    haha, you seem to be quick at dismissing for someone who claim to have such an open mind 😉
    my statement actually come from my hobby neurobiology.
    stuff like this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071212202008.htm
    this type of things. (this particular one is from Sam Harris, coincidentally)

    You seem to be confusing the initial acquisition of beliefs, with the evaluation/judgement of presented new claims under titles belief, disbelief, and uncertainty on the basis of back-reference to consistency with existing beliefs/understandings.

    @your link – While inside the scanner, subjects were presented with written statements covering a broad range of topics, including mathematics, geography, factual knowledge, word definitions, religion, ethics and biographical facts about themselves. Subjects were asked to rate these statements as true, false or undecidable. The authors then compared the brain images recorded when their subjects believed, disbelieved or could not judge the truth-value of these written propositions.

    This is an entirely different process to learning the “beliefs” in the first place.

    A Flat-Earthist could well use a similar area of memory as an astronaut for his planetary image or written description, but the initial methods of acquiring that concept would be entirely different and involve different parts of the brain.

    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/brain/Structure.shtml



    Report abuse

  • Instead of patrice telling where we get it “wrong”, how about patrice showing us how to deal with such a person as Schilling, who evidently knows little or nothing about evolution ? Show us the way patrice !



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I’m a little surprised to see so many ultimate statements from you guys. 😉
    you’re talking about things like “what most people know as “facts”, we know as “theories”,

    Working science looks at high probabilities in some theories, with repeatedly confirmed observations of physical laws, confirmed as fact.

    .but you use words like “this is wrong” “this is the way it is”

    That’s science! Once a claim is decisively refuted, it is wrong! – Just like the Phlogiston theory of heat, or the flat Earth hypothesis!

    without considering misinterpretations or requesting more information…

    I don’t need any further information on Phlogiston!
    Multiple refutations are sufficient.

    I’m not sure what basis you are using to dispute my link on spirituality – the basis of religious god-feelings and “spiritual knowledge”.
    They used scanners as on your link, to identify more active and reduced activity, brain areas.



    Report abuse

  • 48
    patrice says:

    Alan

    but the initial methods of acquiring that concept would be entirely
    different and involve different parts of the brain.

    of course, it was the best i could come up with with the total amount of time dedicated to adding sources for this conversations.
    but still way more relevant than the first article you linked to haha 😉

    here’s a small and somewhat relevant little extract:
    “The fact that ethical belief showed a similar pattern of activation to mathematical belief suggests that the physiological difference between belief and disbelief may be independent of content or emotional associations.”

    why did you add this link?
    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/brain/Structure.shtml

    just linking random brain sites or this one is one of your favorite?
    here’s my contribution if you were linking random brain stuff haha
    http://www.newscientist.com/topic/brain



    Report abuse

  • Moderator message

    A reminder to all users that the aim is thoughtful, civil discussion that focuses on the question at hand and avoids derogatory, hostile or other kinds of personal remarks about other users. Disagreement does not have to entail hostility or discourtesy.

    Our Terms of Use set out the rules and ethos of the site. Please take a(nother) look at them if you are at all unclear about them: a link can be found at the foot of each page.

    Thank you.

    The moderators



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Alan

    but the initial methods of acquiring that concept would be entirely different and involve different parts of the brain.

    of course, it was the best i could come up with with the total amount of time dedicated to adding sources for this conversations. but still way more relevant than the first article you linked to haha 😉

    Not really! It was irrelevant to the diversity of senses and practical activities, scientists use in initially experimentally building up understandings of reality.

    here’s a small and somewhat relevant little extract:

    “The fact that ethical belief showed a similar pattern of activation to mathematical belief suggests that the physiological difference between belief and disbelief may be independent of content or emotional associations.”

    I did read that paragraph, but it was irrelevant to your assertion about initial acquisition of beliefs.
    Given the influence of hormones in emotions, this is unsurprising!

    why did you add this link?
    http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/anatomy/brain/Structure.shtml

    It lists the areas of the brain relevant to various cognitive functions. There are quite few in addition to those used in reading text.

    just linking random brain sites or this one is one of your favorite?

    Nope! but I see you added one anyway.



    Report abuse

  • Nearly missed your comment there, patrice.

    just for my own personal understanding, if you dont mind, could you please tell me what motivated you to describe to me how higher level theories are dependent on relevant lower level ones?

    Because this is the aspect of reasoning (as opposed to faith, taking things on trust) that I wanted you to notice. Reasoning dosn’t mean you are necessarily working with the truth nor does taking things on trust imply a lie. But, if one has a process of building logically upon prior things etc. and all were done with reason and the earlier theories proved consistently reliable then we could have trust in those later dependent theories. Taking something on trust, without the reasoning from prior reliable theories, means that you have not in any sense a set of intellectual processes to undergird the thing.

    The Cohen experiment is just underlining a separate point brought into play long ago by the famous case of Phineas Gage (which see) when we started to realise that good quality (rational) decision making depended on having a healthy emotional response to give a motivating value to it. Now as it happened the Phineas Gage incident might not be such the perfect illustration of these things as Antonio Damasio claimed. (He had part of his brain destroyed and though strictlly rational started to make seemingly irrational decisions it was surmised because he didn’t care about the outcomes.) But this thought of emotional valuation has been validated many times. Trivially, valuing the opinions you hold is required if you are going to use them at all.

    This valuation is quite different from knowing where they come from and how they found a place in your head. Valuation (your illustration) and adoption (your first claim) are quite distinct processes.



    Report abuse

  • 54
    patrice says:

    Alan, first off know that i only playing and having fun at this point.

    I’m not sure what basis you are using to dispute my link on
    spirituality – the basis of religious god-feelings and “spiritual
    knowledge”.

    in a earlier post in this thread, you did acknowledge that you believe many kids adopt religious beliefs based on the parents rearing. Therefore you imply that you do not believe all religious beliefs come from spiritual experiences. Since your study relate to spiritual experiences, it seem irrelevant to me.

    As far as the relevance of the study i linked to, it would be very difficult to create a study where we scan the brain of people at the very moment of adopting/changin a profound belief, therefore, unless im missing a very cool study somewhere, the kind of study i linked seem to me to be the closest we’ll get to relevance.

    ps for the fun of it, please correct me if im wrong but i noticed something i consider very amusing and ironic in your last few posts. (im not trying to make fun of you, i think it’s a funny little ironic moment 😉

    On one hand, you used a great chunk of your posts in this threat explaining to me the scientific method and it’s achievements (not sure why haha), stating stuff like: “Working science looks at high probabilities in some theories, with repeatedly confirmed observations of physical laws, confirmed as fact.”

    while on the other hand, you seem to completely ignore that sound advise and jump to a conclusions like “Still wrong! You need to study neuroscience!”
    and link to a study that has very little to do with the subject to back up that very definitive statement.

    surely you can appreciate the irony no? 😉



    Report abuse

  • 55
    patrice says:

    Phil, thank you.

    this was quite pleasant to read.

    i also admire how you completely (conveniently? ;)) dismiss some points i thought would be interesting to follow through haha

    Just one more question (just for fun):
    how would you describe your valuation process that led to this definitive conclusion?

    This is just unevidenced folk psychology, patrice. An unfounded belief.

    was it founded on some kind of habit to dismiss stuff based on a specific filter “maybe the vocabulary i used?”
    or did you study the subject? I would love to see some sources if you did.
    or at least the reasoning behind it?

    thanks Phil



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Alan, first off know that i only playing and having fun at this point.

    On this site we try to deal seriously with science and reasoning. Confused “messing around”, does not enhance the clarity of issues.

    in a earlier post in this thread, you did acknowledge that you believe many kids adopt religious beliefs based on the parents rearing. Therefore you imply that you do not believe all religious beliefs come from spiritual experiences.

    I did not claim that the spiritual factors in religious belief were the totality of the thought process. The evidence is that they reinforce other parts of religious belief and cultural religious memes, as part of multiple factors and multiple processes in assorted parts of the brain.

    Since your study relate to spiritual experiences, it seem irrelevant to me.

    You seem to have missed the point about the parts of the brain connected to religious thinking.

    As far as the relevance of the study i linked to, it would be very difficult to create a study where we scan the brain of people at the very moment of adopting/changin a profound belief,

    I know – which is why I pointed out (as Phil has also done), that an irrelevant study describing a different process, does not support your claims.

    As I have already pointed out, the “hands-on” nature of science, makes scientific learning a very different process, from indoctrination.



    Report abuse

  • Patrice,

    I was with you all the way on your first post and have said the same a few times. Can you tell me if you are actually using the method you advised on because, even though I agree with what you said initially, I have succumbed to another symptom you pointed out and stopped listening to you. Your tone HAS become one of ridicule, confrontational and counterproductive. I too would like to see a more scientific approach to “conversion” but have always been disappointed (still disappointed). If you are actually using the method by stealth, how is it going in your opinion? I don’t mean to offend in any way and am just reporting my feelings for you to add to any analysis you may offer.



    Report abuse

  • Amen on the Brain Windhorst comment. He is somehow the person that’s the quickest to spell doom and gloom for Lebron and at the same time the first guy who is interviewed later about how Lebron proved all the presumptuous critics wrong.



    Report abuse

  • @ patrice

    how would you describe your valuation process that led to this definitive conclusion?

    This is just unevidenced folk psychology, patrice. An unfounded belief.

    Unreasonable. And I apologise and thank you for your comment. I never stop learning I’m happy to say. I saw your comment only from one aspect.

    If you want to restate the other points I would be happy to to take them up.



    Report abuse

  • patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    The mind that adopted religious belief is not much different from a mind that adopted evolutionary beliefs.

    It may not have been initially in early childhood, but this is where your understanding of mental development departed from reality.

    Understanding evolution (or other science) is an evidence based, reasoned process. Uncritical childish copying ideas on faith is not.

    Many types of indoctrination, actively discourage and obstruct development of adult rational thinking, while promoting child-like dependence on spoon-feeding of ideas by the parent figures of “spiritual leaders” and gods.

    The result, is the type of “god-did-it-by-magic-so-I-know-it-all” unthinking ignorance and incredulity, shown in the OP.

    The difficulty in educating such people, is overcoming the “know-it-all” mental block, and allowing them to slowly develop the abstract reasoning skills needed to understand science, which their up-bringing retarded. (Have a look at the contorted fallacious and circular arguments, and semantic shufflings, presented by theologians as “reasoning”.)
    They have a deeply ingrained “core faith-belief”, that childish thinking is “a superior way of knowing” obstructing this development, and cannot understand the stage of thinking they have not yet achieved.

    http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/piagets-formal-operational-stage-definition-examples-quiz.html

    there are four stages of cognitive development. The final stage is known as the formal operational stage and is present when someone reaches about the age of 11 or 12 and continues into adulthood.

    During this stage, the person will demonstrate ability to critically analyze situations taking into consideration reasoning and argument. This stage is also marked by being able to demonstrate ability to think in more abstract terms.



    Report abuse

  • Hey clown, why don’t apes still evolve into humans if that was the path?”

    Questions like this are a marker that the person learned about evolution from creationist sources, and thus has only a straw man view of what evolution is.

    One of the most amusing things about creationists is their extreme confidence they are experts in evolution.

    One of the great appeals of fundamentalism is the illusion that knowing the elements of a child’s story is all you need to be 100% informed. If you are a stupid person, this is a great ego boost. You can use it to lord over eggheads.



    Report abuse

  • That’s just the great chain of being all over again, the misunderstanding that evolution has some sort of “direction” toward “progress.” It’s so stupid, yet I answer this question again and again on YouTube.



    Report abuse

  • fronkey

    Kirk Cameron tells a bald lie, that the evolutionists expect a crocoduck to exist, but it does not.

    This guy needs to be publicly confronted with words something like this:

    “You have said many times all evolutionists expect to there to be crocoducks according to the theory of evolution. I have read dozens of books on evolution, but can find no reference to crocoducks, (or fronkeys for that matter). Google just points to you. What texts did you read this in? I did a text search of the KVJ. It is not there either. I have watched lots of YouTube video and DVDs on evolution. Not a word about the expected crocoducks. Where did you learn about crocoducks? It looks like you just made this up. You just pulled it out of your anus.”



    Report abuse

  • Alan4discussion Dec 4, 2014 at 6:37 am

    patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    The mind that adopted religious belief is not much different from a mind that adopted evolutionary beliefs.

    patrice – I assume a good chunk of the religious crowd relate to their beliefs in gods in a very mechanically similar way as you do with your beliefs in evolution

    An assertion that learning/accepting, beliefs/understandings, from entirely different operational stages of mental development in the wiring of the brain are equivalent, is simply wrong!

    patrice Dec 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Alan – This is simply wrong.

    haha, pretty confident statement.

    okay first off i want to make sure you understand that i was trying to refer to the brain itself, the way neurons connect to each others type of physical thing.

    So when the physical processes, the psychological processes, and the development stages are different: – the unsupported assertion that they are the same, is easily refuted, and can be confidently dismissed. –
    Regardless of how many times the assertion is repeated, or how many irrelevant links or ha! ha!s, are produced.



    Report abuse

  • phil rimmer Dec 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Its obvious that there is no such thing as a Fronkey. A cross between a Frog and a Donkey.

    Aha! But there is a Dog!

    According to the folk-tales beloved of wish-thinkers, –
    hansom “Frinces” are just one kiss away from a frog!! (With no transitional forms!!)



    Report abuse

  • David R Allen Dec 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I think the clue is in the initials. ESPN.

    Extra Sensory Perception for Nincompoops.

    Could I suggest, “Exceptionally Silly, Pathetic Nincompoops”, as an alternative.



    Report abuse

  • I believe you are probably right!
    Believers in fairies deny the mountain of evidence that supports the intellectual reasoning of CD.
    They don’t seem to realise,that rejection of major scientific theory ,makes them look like daft dogma dickheads!



    Report abuse

  • “Believers in fairies deny the mountain of evidence that supports the intellectual reasoning of CD.”
    That’s why it’s called faith, the belief in something despite all the evidence to the contrary.



    Report abuse

  • That’s why it’s called faith, the belief in something despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    Actually, faith is the belief that something is true for which there is a lack of evidence. Believing something to be true despite strong evidence to the contrary is called stupidity.



    Report abuse

  • <<< However, the process of natural selection and concepts of limited random variation, are very simple and easy to understand. >>>

    No they are most certainly not easy to understand. Darwin wrote a whole book about that and it needed revisions between editions. A person who is so wrong about that, and also totally fails to understand the enormous problem that, for example, a youngster has going home and saying to their parents that what they have taught them for all their lives is wrong, in my view is not qualified to call those people stupid.
    What do you expect? If you shout loudly at them that they are damn stupid and this is simple, then they will have learnt it|?



    Report abuse

  • jonbee Dec 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    ; However, the process of natural selection and concepts of limited random variation, are very simple and easy to understand.;

    No they are most certainly not easy to understand.

    Sorry, but you are confusing the basics with the complicated details.

    When a child looks at several trays of seedlings of the same species the range of diversity is clearly evident. Those more competitive plants will out-grow and over-run the weaker growing specimens, where those with mutant genetic defects, such as an absence of chlorophyll, will die as their food reserves in the seed are exhausted.

    Such features are easy to observe and understand.

    Darwin wrote a whole book about that and it needed revisions between editions.

    Explaining the more complicated details of genetics and making a scientifically rigorous theory is much harder. – As is understanding the competitive interactions in ecology.

    A person who is so wrong about that, and also totally fails to understand the enormous problem that, for example, a youngster has going home and saying to their parents that what they have taught them for all their lives is wrong,

    Not at all!

    Persuading bigoted dogmatists, to change their views, is an entirely different subject to understanding simple scientific concepts.
    Achieving parental enlightenment, may well be beyond the capabilities of a child – even an educated child. – The stubborn stupidity is often resistant even beyond the capabilities of expert adults armed with massive evidence.

    in my view is not qualified to call those people stupid.

    The child who learns, is not stupid, but the know-it-all ineducable adults certainly are.

    http://www.atheistmemebase.com/2014/10/27/how-to-use-the-bible/

    What do you expect? If you shout loudly at them that they are damn stupid and this is simple, then they will have learnt it|?

    I don’t think anyone suggested shouting at people!



    Report abuse

  • I think Chris Porter puts it well when he says ‘We never use to make products for stupid people. We would make products and stupid people would have to adapt. Now there are so many of them they’ve become a marketing demographic’.



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.