Grey Thoughts
Evolutionists,Elitism and Idealism
You know someone has to be elitist if David Heddle gets on his case, and compares PZ Meyers favorably to him. Enter Allen MacNeill. It seems Allen is running a course at Cornell Uni on "Evolution and Design: Is There Purpose in Nature?". Suffice to say, I doubt it will be an even handed or balanced approach. From David's post
I can’t resist: when my students ask me if I believe in “God”, or (even better) if I believe that “God exists” (or doesn’t), I ask them “Does the United States exist?” Almost always someone takes the bait and says “yes”, and then I ask “Where?” Sometimes they describe the geographical boundaries of the USA, but usually at least one realizes what I’m driving at and says “Yes, it exists as an idea in our heads.” And I commend them, and point out that the United States, like God (or, more properly, the “idea” of God) exists exactly where all ideas exist: in (and only in) the human mind.
Poor Allen is appealing to Idealism. Too bad he doesn't understand it or it's implications....David mentions how evasive Allen gets when someone who understands idealism asks him a pointed question...
Dr MacNeill, would you please answer the following question: Say, a few years ago a guy named John went to a remote area in Australia and came across a fancy stone half-buried in the ground. Having seen it, he believed that it existed, and, if I understand your thesis, this means the stone in question indeed existed to the extent it existed in his mind. Yesterday John died. There is nobody any longer who ever believed in the existence of that stone, so, according to your thesis, it does not exist as it does not anymore exist in anybody’s mind. I am confused - does that stone exist or not? Say, it does not. If tomorrow some girl by the name of Mary travels to the remote area in question and discovers the stone still in the same place, it will suddenly come into existence, right? So, it existed between the time John saw it and the time of his death, then it did not exist for a while, and then it again came into existence when Mary saw it? Do I misrepresent your thesis? Thanks for clarification and apology if I distorted your thesis.

There is much, much more on the thread although, at least for the moment, Perakh seems (with a follow-up question) to have scared MacNeill away. It’s not as fun when the big boys get out of school.
One of the issues that needs to be dealt with in Idealism is the continuity of objects (like the stone in the above example). There aren't many answers to this question, as generally Berkeley (who is a famous proponent of idealism) felt continuity required a mind always observing all things (i.e. an omnipresent mind)...other issues with Idealism are with the laws of nature being consistent (which requires an omnipotent/very intelligent mind)...You can see where this is going. If you accept idealism, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that some sort of 'God' MUST exist. I guess MacNeill would rather avoid that conclusion...

Consistent evolutionists...they are hard to find.
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