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  1. #1
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    The Semmelweis reflex

    Imagine that you are a physician on a hospital staff and another doctor at the hospital discovers a procedure that dramatically reduces the death rate of its patients. Wouldn’t you and the other doctors at the hospital eagerly adopt the procedure and practice it yourselves? The answer is so obvious to most people that it seems stupid to even ask such a question. But a doctor name Ignaz Semmelweis did discover such a process and the other doctors rejected it. Here is Wikipedia’s description of what happened.

    Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician of German extraction now known as an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the “savior of mothers”, Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics. Puerperal fever was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and often fatal, with mortality at 10%–35%. Semmelweis proposed the practice of washing with chlorinated lime solutions in 1847 while working in Vienna General Hospital’s First Obstetrical Clinic, where doctors’ wards had three times the mortality of midwives’ wards. He published a book of his findings in Etiology, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever.

    Despite various publications of results where hand-washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings. Semmelweis’s practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory and Joseph Lister, acting on the French microbiologist’s research, practiced and operated, using hygienic methods, with great success. In 1865, Semmelweis was committed to an asylum, where he died at age 47 after being beaten by the guards, only 14 days after he was committed.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis

    It seems unbelievable that doctors would ignore this clear evidence that hand washing could reduce the death rate among patients. The reason for their reaction what that this practice contradicted generally held beliefs regarding the cause of disease.

    Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time. The theory of diseases was highly influenced by ideas of an imbalance of the basic “four humours” in the body, a theory known as dyscrasia, for which the main treatment was bloodlettings. Medical texts at the time emphasized that each case of disease was unique, the result of a personal imbalance, and the main difficulty of the medical profession was to establish precisely each patient’s unique situation, case by case.

    The findings from autopsies of deceased women also showed a confusing multitude of physical signs, which emphasized the belief that puerperal fever was not one, but many different, yet unidentified, diseases. Semmelweis’s main finding — that all instances of puerperal fever could be traced back to only one single cause: lack of cleanliness — was simply unacceptable. His findings also ran against the conventional wisdom that diseases spread in the form of “bad air”, also known as miasmas or vaguely as “unfavourable atmospheric-cosmic-terrestrial influences”. Semmelweis’s groundbreaking idea was contrary to all established medical understanding.

    Eventually Dr. Semmelweis’s ideas were vindicated and the treatment he received led to the coining of a new term, the Semmelweis reflex.

    The so-called Semmelweis reflex — a metaphor for a certain type of human behaviour characterized by reflex-like rejection of new knowledge because it contradicts entrenched norms, beliefs or paradigms — is named after Semmelweis, whose perfectly reasonable hand-washing suggestions were ridiculed and rejected by his contemporaries.

    We can see the Semmelweis reflex in operation today in one area of scientific study, the origin and age of the earth.

    The established scientific belief is that the earth is billions of years old and life evolved gradually over this long period of time. The fossils that are found all over the earth are supposedly evidence of this evolutionary process.

    Some people have a different belief regarding the origin of the earth. We believe the Bible is true and God created the earth in six days. We believe there was a worldwide flood and the fossils are evidence that this flood actually occurred.

    There is scientific evidence that supports this belief. For example, the October, 2012, issue of Answers magazine, which is published by Answers in Genesis, contains a report on some evidence that shows the earth can’t be as old as is generally believed. You can read this report here:

    https://answersingenesis.org/evidenc...a-young-earth/

    Of course the Semmelweiss reflex will cause many to either ignore this evidence or try to explain it away. If you are willing to consider the possibility that the popular beliefs might be wrong here are some other sites you might be interested in:

    http://www.piltdownsuperman.com/

    http://biblicalgeology.net/

    http://sixdaysblog.com/

    http://scienceagainstevolution.info/
    The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.
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  2. #2
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Answers in Genesis are a pack of fraudulent liars who repeatedly cash in on the gullibility of people who want to believe in ancient myths and legends. The repeatedly lie and distort information to tell you what you want to hear instead of offering honest challenge to science.

    They will never openly question the bible. Questioning what you think is true is how science advances. The age of the earth has been challenged constantly and still the best evidence we have suggests it is very old indeed while constantly contradicting the claims of bible literalists who manufacture non existent timelines through inference from biblical genealogy.

    These people are not idiots, they are liars and false prophets.
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  3. #3
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post

    These people are not idiots, they are liars and false prophets.
    I'm curious. What makes you qualified to render that judgment?
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Just my ability to do research and fact check their articles. You don't have to believe me, I don't really expect you to, but whenever I see them used as evidence I like to let folks (the audience reading the thread) that they need to buyer beware on those turkeys.

    I've gone point by point on a number of their articles. They misrepresent the claims of scientists constantly, sometimes you might imagine they just misunderstand it, but often a very small effort of research could easily show what they claim is a lie, and presumably they are capable of such research so they are indeed lying rather than simply misunderstanding. Their authors have also been caught numerous times in plagiarism. They are fundamentally dishonest and taking that all the way to the bank every day.
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  5. #5
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Okay, interesting thoughts, thanks.

    One issue presented is the bending of rock layers. If a layer of sandstone is pressurized and heated to the point where it can be folded, can it still be sandstone when it cools? They say no. I don't have a clue. Is there any proof they are wrong?
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Here is another christian based site that explains how rocks can be folded under normal geologic conditions and points out all the information that is left out of the young earth articles.
    http://www.oldearth.org/plasticdeformation.htm

    The summary is that rocks can indeed bend and when you have sufficient pressure, temperature, solution and time on your side you can bend them quite a lot. Rocks are largely crystalline structures and under pressure and heat they become more malleable and with a million years the very slow reformation of the crystal structure of rocks can bund them quite dramatically. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated that pressure and temperature can be used to bend rock, and if you simply give that process sufficient time, you can bend them a lot.

    Keep in mind that buried under tons of other rock and subject to volcanic forces there is quite a lot of pressure and temperature at play in the earth's crust.

    Notice the keen difference in the two articles. One of them just tells you that "duh we all know you can't bend rocks, they break!" While the other explains the conditions that are present in the earth's crust and how experiments to reproduce those conditions demonstrate that you can indeed bend rocks and further demonstrates the mechanics of rock that allows this to happen.

    The one plays upon ignorance while the other seeks to educate.

    If you want to learn about folding and faulting rock formations without any religious overtones one way or another (which is how science is generally discussed) this is a decent primer.
    http://geoscience.wisc.edu/~chuck/Cl...formation.html
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  7. #7
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    I've previously read some of that. But I saw nothing explaining why sandstone doesn't get pressurized into quartzite if there is enough pressure and heat to fold it.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Questioning what you think is true is how science advances.
    I agree. All of the measurements that show the earth is old begin by assuming that there have never been any divine intervention in nature. How many scientists have ever questioned that belief and considered the possibility that the earth was created by God? If more of them did so we might see some major scientific advances.
    The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by theophilus View Post
    I agree. All of the measurements that show the earth is old begin by assuming that there have never been any divine intervention in nature. How many scientists have ever questioned that belief and considered the possibility that the earth was created by God? If more of them did so we might see some major scientific advances.
    You have to kinda prove God even exists before you go down the route of saying he created the world! And then if you're going to assume he's going to meddle in every single problem then that's not really science either. God usually ends questions and questioning - it's really not a good answer for anything.

    What scientific advances do you think would arise for this belief anyway?

  10. #10
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    You have to kinda prove God even exists before you go down the route of saying he created the world.
    Life is too complex to have come about by natural processes. This is proof we are created by God. If you deny this evidence which you can see all around you nothing I say to you can prove that God exists.
    The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.
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  11. #11
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    You have to kinda prove God even exists before you go down the route of saying he created the world!
    You have to kinda prove that life can start without God before you go down the route of saying He doesn't exist.

    But atheists using science as evidence don't do that. Instead, the atheist looks at what science says might have happened and then, rejecting God, claims that is the way it did happen. The folding of rock layers is an example. Scientists say that it could have been a process involving heat and pressure taking millions of years. Atheists (and some Christians) then claim it as proof against a young earth, ignoring the possibility that what appears to be old really isn't. (I'm still waiting for someone to explain how sandstone that is pressured and heated enough to fold doesn't turn into quartzite.) Furniture makers often deliberately create an antique look for newly made furniture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distressing Why should we reject that as a possible part of God's creation of Earth and the universe, for whatever reason He might have had to do it?
    Last edited by evensaul; January 14th, 2015 at 08:17 AM.
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  13. #12
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by theophilus View Post
    I agree. All of the measurements that show the earth is old begin by assuming that there have never been any divine intervention in nature. How many scientists have ever questioned that belief and considered the possibility that the earth was created by God? If more of them did so we might see some major scientific advances.
    You need to think carefully about what science is and how it works. If science allowed for magical entities magically changing things beyond our ability to examine or test, then we could never claim any scientific knowledge. Science can't consider if we are all the dream of a giant sea turtle or if we are all slaves in an alien Matrix computer program, or if one or more Gods magically made everything look older than it is. Science only works through tests and experiments. If something is beyond your ability to test and cannot be reliably examined, then it is beyond science's ability to examine.

    So you are asking science to do something that undermines the foundation of how science works. When I look at what science has achieved since the discipline became widely practiced and what religion has achieved in the same time, it is clear that the process of empirical testing and examination of how the universe works is far far more effective that dogmatic tradition of religious belief. No curate or priest has ever cured a real disease but science has wiped at least one from the face of the earth and made many more survivable.

    No religious miracle has ever fed anyone (unless you believe ancient legend), but science has greatly increased food production around the world. Suggesting that science has some great lesson to learn from religion is madness. Religion has never given us practical solutions to natural problems. It's unique benefits are entirely of the spirit and sense of wellness among its practitioners.

    Give me one practical scientific advancement or invention that has come from the fools at answers in genesis. They do nothing for mankind except cast doubt on the hard work of people attempting to honestly understand our universe through direct observation and testing.

    ---------- Post added at 12:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:29 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    You have to kinda prove that life can start without God before you go down the route of saying He doesn't exist.
    No you don't. Science doesn't have to disprove god, it isn't one of its goals. All it does is examine the natural universe and try to explain it through observation and experimentation. Science is agnostic with respects to god. God could well have set the natural order and could well have modified it but Science cannot answer such questions.

    The only reason there is any conflict is religious dogma seems to demand that they challenge any scientific knowledge that contradicts their personal interpretation of ancient writings.

    But atheists using science as evidence don't do that. Instead, the atheist looks at what science says might have happened and then, rejecting God, claims that is the way it did happen.
    No, science examines the world and how it operates, forms hypothesis and then tests them. Atheists have many reasons for rejecting God but few if any would say God doesn't exist just because the world is more ancient than a number of specific religious folks think it is. honestly the justification for how old they think the earth is is based on nothing more than a bunch of extra textual ideas smuggled in based on trying to work out biblical genealogy. That is not a practical way for figuring out how old the planet is. Its just human pride thinking they can find truths from the bible that were never included in the bible in the first place.

    The folding of rock layers is an example. Scientists say that it could have been a process involving heat and pressure taking millions of years. Atheists (and some Christians) then claim it as proof against a young earth, ignoring the possibility that what appears to be old really isn't.
    How could you ever know how old a thing is without examining whether or not it appears to be old? Should we look to the bible to tell us how birds can fly or how to properly grow potatoes? The bible simply doesn't try to answer such questions. It talks about how you should mind your soul and moral behavior. It is not a guide to the natural world. The way to understand the natural world is to examine it and be honest about what you see and to test to ensure your ideas bare out in practice if possible.

    (I'm still waiting for someone to explain how sandstone that is pressured and heated enough to fold doesn't turn into quartzite.)
    Because not all sandstone becomes Quartzite. It takes sufficeint time and energy to do so. Different rock deforms at different rates under different conditions. When the conditions for quartzite are correct, you get quartzite, when they are not you don't. Its as simple as that. Some eggs become chickens, some don't, it all depends on the circumstances at play in each case.

    Furthermore consider this. If Quartzite is indeed the process of transformed sandstone over great heat, pressure and time, then its existence speaks against the young earth hypothesis. If god simply made it all to look old, then there is nothing anyone can do by way of observation to make any statement what so ever about the age of anything. Under the idea that all geology is just an instant creation of god, we should simply abandon all attempts at understanding the earth, the stars, or just about anything. Then where would we find ourselves? Highly ignorant and bereft of the many great scientific understandings we now have.

    Furniture makers often deliberately create an antique look for newly made furniture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distressing Why should we reject that as a possible part of God's creation of Earth and the universe, for whatever reason He might have had to do it?
    Why shouldn't we accept that the magical unicorn god did it instead or put these thoughts in your mind to have a good laugh at your sillyness? Why shouldn't we accept any crazy thing someone wants to claim about the universe that is supposedly beyond our power to examine because some puppet master is behind the metaphysical curtain? Its pointless speculation. The only reason you hold these views is that as a child someone told you it was true and you made it part of the identity of who you are. You are a Christian so you must believe these things to be true to who you see yourself as.
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    No you don't. Science doesn't have to disprove god, it isn't one of its goals. All it does is examine the natural universe and try to explain it through observation and experimentation. Science is agnostic with respects to god. God could well have set the natural order and could well have modified it but Science cannot answer such questions.
    I was speaking about atheists generally, and JJ specifically. It is atheists that claim God does not exist, not science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Because not all sandstone becomes Quartzite. It takes sufficeint time and energy to do so.
    It seems to me that the millions of years, heat and pressure needed to fold sandstone would be enough to turn sandstone into quartzite. You've offered nothing compelling to prove otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Blah blah blah unicorns blah blah
    Science hasn't proven life started without God. It hasn't proven the earth is billions of years old. It has theories. For atheists to claim God doesn't exist based on human theories is hubristic foolishness.
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    I was speaking about atheists generally, and JJ specifically. It is atheists that claim God does not exist, not science.
    OK, we agree on that. And it is fair to say that some atheists point to points of science and use that as support, though I don't think that makes sense except to counter specific dogmatic views rather than theism itself.

    It seems to me that the millions of years, heat and pressure needed to fold sandstone would be enough to turn sandstone into quartzite. You've offered nothing compelling to prove otherwise.
    I'm not a geology professor so I can only tell you what I can research. Quartzinte is primarily found in Orogeny belts which are areas of significant tectonic shifting usually resulting in mountain ranges where tectonic plates are in collision or subversion. The implication here is it takes rather massive pressure and temperature to affect the transformation from sandstone into quartzite. Mind you only sandstone with the correct sylica composition can become quatzite.

    Sandstone itself is the formation of various kinds of sediment that is cemented together through time and pressure. It is put down by sedimentary action as the grit is suspended in water or wind and then accumulated over an area and in time buried and compacted by the weight of the sediment above. Cementing components often settle into the sandstone over time due to it being porous. The time and conditions required vary widely depending on the composition of the sand and the minerals cementing them.

    BTW If you still think sandstone can't bend, check out this short video of sandstone strips being wiggled about
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5zFADlnrdk

    If you want more academic work you can check this out
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...65160914000999

    Science hasn't proven life started without God.
    This is true, that doesn't mean that it did or did not. Science has also not proven what happens inside a black hole, but that doesn't mean nothing is happening inside a black hole or that god lives there.

    It hasn't proven the earth is billions of years old.
    On that account you are wrong. Science has literally mountains of strong evidence (as in mountains are part of that evidence) from multiple different sources supporting that the earth is some 4 billion years old.

    It has theories. For atheists to claim God doesn't exist based on human theories is hubristic foolishness.
    Human experience and experimentation is far better than ancient myths and legends as a source of practical knowledge.
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    BTW If you still think sandstone can't bend...
    I'm not disputing that heat and pressure over millions of years can bend and fold sandstone. I'm stating the answersingenesis claim that it would turn to quartzite, for which I've never seen a compelling refutation. The fact that folded and unfractured sandstone layers exist, without having turned to quartzite during the process, seems odd to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    This is true, that doesn't mean that it did or did not.
    So any scientific theory about origins of the universe or age of the earth, etc, should be understood to have a qualifier in front of it: "Absent a Creator, ...". The point of the op, I think, is that science and scientists refuse to do that, with unfortunate consequences. Current generations are brainwashed by public schools and the popular media into believing that they should only believe what science tells them, and not even consider the possibility of a Creator.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    On that account you are wrong. Science has literally mountains of strong evidence (as in mountains are part of that evidence) from multiple different sources supporting that the earth is some 4 billion years old.
    A perfect example of what I'm talking about. Evidence exists, yes. But science and evidence can and have been wrong before. Many times. And because science and scientists won't consider the possibility that God created the earth essentially as it is now, with an appearance of being much older, you and others ridicule the idea, without any logic to back the ridicule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Human experience and experimentation is far better than ancient myths and legends as a source of practical knowledge.
    I think it is more than a little practical to acknowledge that there is, or at least may be, a Creator or generic God. It allows one to consider questions about the meaning or purpose of our lives as created beings, which can't be seriously considered if one doesn't acknowledge the possibility of a Creator.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    You have to kinda prove that life can start without God before you go down the route of saying He doesn't exist.
    Well, then you still have to prove God existed to start life in the first place!

    But atheists using science as evidence don't do that. Instead, the atheist looks at what science says might have happened and then, rejecting God, claims that is the way it did happen. The folding of rock layers is an example. Scientists say that it could have been a process involving heat and pressure taking millions of years. Atheists (and some Christians) then claim it as proof against a young earth, ignoring the possibility that what appears to be old really isn't. (I'm still waiting for someone to explain how sandstone that is pressured and heated enough to fold doesn't turn into quartzite.) Furniture makers often deliberately create an antique look for newly made furniture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distressing Why should we reject that as a possible part of God's creation of Earth and the universe, for whatever reason He might have had to do it?
    Because that explains nothing! When you interpret the world to fit your particular religious beliefs, which only you and other YEC's (assuming you are one) believe, then you basically end up in what is a circular argument that has no further explanatory power to explain other things - it only explains God. It's a religious exercise and not science.

    To believe in YEC means that you have to invoke God at every turn: the geological record of the Earth, half-life of various atoms, the evidence of the stars that are millions of light years away, the number of species of animals that we have today, DNA evidence that links every living thing on Earth, and so on. There is nothing wrong per se to do it but it is only useful for those that believe in your particular set of religious constraints. There are plenty of groups doing that but I don't think they have been able to produce anything useful outside of their religion yet.

    Besides, there are other religions with their own religious claims as to how the Earth and there are also problems with the Genesis story anyway. So there's little reason to believe in the narrative anyway. Science on the other hand has been proven to be a reliable methodology and its results are consistent in determining the age of the Earth via many very different methods. When faced with a choice about how to proceed in understanding the world, science has been chosen above religion. I think science has proven itself whereas religious explanations have disproven themselves.

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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Well, then you still have to prove God existed to start life in the first place!



    Because that explains nothing! When you interpret the world to fit your particular religious beliefs, which only you and other YEC's (assuming you are one) believe, then you basically end up in what is a circular argument that has no further explanatory power to explain other things - it only explains God. It's a religious exercise and not science.

    To believe in YEC means that you have to invoke God at every turn: the geological record of the Earth, half-life of various atoms, the evidence of the stars that are millions of light years away, the number of species of animals that we have today, DNA evidence that links every living thing on Earth, and so on. There is nothing wrong per se to do it but it is only useful for those that believe in your particular set of religious constraints. There are plenty of groups doing that but I don't think they have been able to produce anything useful outside of their religion yet.

    Besides, there are other religions with their own religious claims as to how the Earth and there are also problems with the Genesis story anyway. So there's little reason to believe in the narrative anyway. Science on the other hand has been proven to be a reliable methodology and its results are consistent in determining the age of the Earth via many very different methods. When faced with a choice about how to proceed in understanding the world, science has been chosen above religion. I think science has proven itself whereas religious explanations have disproven themselves.
    Once again, I find trying to talk with you is more trouble than its worth. I'm done with you here.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Once again, I find trying to talk with you is more trouble than its worth. I'm done with you here.
    No worries - I didn't realize it was you otherwise I wouldn't have wasted my time.

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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    science examines the world and how it operates, forms hypothesis and then tests them.
    All of the verbs in this sentence are in the present tense. We have learned a lot about the state of the world through scientific research and have developed a high degree of technology. But if you change to the past tense and examine how the world operated you are dealing with history, not science. It is possible to determine what would have happened in the past if the natural processes we observe had always been going on without any intervention by God but science can't tell us whether or not such intervention actually occurred.
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    Re: The Semmelweis reflex

    Theophilus, there is a major hole in your argumentation.
    You have smuggled in an important premise. Semmelweis reflex is an analogy based on the refusal to let go of something based on tradition. In your example, you provide the doctors who refused to wash their hands even though there was evidence that doing so could save lives. Their refusal was based on their insistence of doing things how they were always done. In order to make your argument, then, you must somehow show evolution came prior to religious theory on creationism. Your tortured attempt at this was done subtly with the following sentence,
    Quote Originally Posted by theophilus View Post
    The established scientific belief is that the earth is billions of years old and life evolved gradually over this long period of time.
    In fact, the tradition had been, prior to the theory of evolution, that the Earth was created in six days (i.e. the Biblical creationist theory). Per the definition of the Semmelweis reflex, evolution would have had to have been the traditional/older belief. Very obviously, it is not. Therefore, since your premise is false, then your conclusion cannot be proven true from it.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

 

 
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