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Trading on borrowed capital

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2012/07/16/new-genus-of-south-asian-fish-named-after-richard-dawkins/

[Rohan] Pethiyagoda, an ichthyologist and internationally acclaimed conservationist, said extensive studies in India and Sri Lanka showed that the level of diversity among such fish was “much greater than previously suspected”.

This was partly the reason that the study group had chosen to name the new genus after the 71-year-old Dawkins, the British author of the anti-religion polemic, “The God Delusion”.

Is this irony? Having been trumpeted as the masterpiece of the new atheist movement, most readers of “The God Delusion” found vastly less evidence of developed thought than they had expected.

“Richard Dawkins has through his writings helped us understand that the universe is far more beautiful and awe-inspiring than any religion has imagined,” Pethiyagoda told AFP on Monday.

Has this guy read any of Dawkins? Dawkins position is that beauty and awe are merely subjective chemical processes inside the human brain. They have no external reality or value – they are worth only what other human brains prefer to assign to them. “No meaning, no purpose, just pitiless indifference”, etc.

“That is awe-inspiring” means the same as “Mmmm, nice flow of chemicals”. “Wow, that’s beautiful” is reducible to “personally, I prefer it, though that’s just the way my DNA was set up”. Richard Dawkins’ final position is collapsible into “awe and beauty have no substantial existence”.

The “the universe is beautiful and awe-inspiring” stuff is vacuous marketing fluff, trading off capital that was built up within a theistic view of reality, where such values are grounded in something.

“We hope that Dawkinsia will serve as a reminder of the elegance and simplicity of evolution, the only rational explanation there is for the unimaginable diversity of life on Earth,” he said.

Hope on! But what, we ask again, is the purpose of spending one’s time remembering about virtues of elegance and simplicity? Those are abstract virtues that, in the atheist world-view, have no value outside of the lumps of meat between human ears. Appeals to such things as if they were intrinsically valuable is again trading on borrowed capital from the theistic world-view.

The blog has the by-line: “Friendly Atheist – You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.” It’s plenty revealing that that needed clarifying, is it not? I suggest that Dawkinsian marketing fluff could itself do with a more genuinely skeptical examination.

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33 Responses to Trading on borrowed capital

  1. 1
    Christian-apologetics.org

    Yes, yes and yes. Just molecules in motion.

  2. Of related note:

    Cichlid Fish – Evolution or Variation Within Kind? – Dr. Arthur Jones – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036852

    Multiple Genes Permit Closely Related Fish Species To Mix And Match Their Color Vision – Oct. 2005
    Excerpt: In the new work, the researchers performed physiological and molecular genetic analyses of color vision in cichlid fish from Lake Malawi and demonstrated that differences in color vision between closely related species arise from individual species’ using different subsets of distinct visual pigments.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....072648.htm

    What is Speciation? (Cichlids) – July 2012 – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_12-07_00

    Fish & Dinosaur Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video and notes
    http://vimeo.com/30932397

    African cichlid fish: a model system in adaptive radiation research:
    “The African cichlid fish radiations are the most diverse extant animal radiations and provide a unique system to test predictions of speciation and adaptive radiation theory.—-(surprising implication of the study?)—- the propensity to radiate was significantly higher in lineages whose precursors emerged from more ancient adaptive radiations than in other lineages”
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....d=16846905

    In other words:

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....53881.html

  3. David Anderson posted this:

    “That is awe-inspiring” means the same as “Mmmm, nice flow of chemicals”. “Wow, that’s beautiful” is reducible to “personally, I prefer it, though that’s just the way my DNA was set up”.

    What a deeply unimaginative comment on how other people might think.

  4. How other people might think was never the issue under discussion. Re-read the post.

    Again, why does being imaginative or creative have any value? What within the atheist world-view gives any real significance to such concepts? You’re proving the point I was making.

    We’re not asking you to verify that you *do* care about such concepts. That’s a universal reality. What you need to do is explain how that fact comports with atheism. The Christian position is that mankind, being made in the image of God, is a race of creators. We create and we value imagination because we reflect our maker. But why *should* you care?

  5. David Anderson posted this:

    The Christian position is that mankind, being made in the image of God, is a race of creators. We create and we value imagination because we reflect our maker.

    As usual, you assume what you should demonstrate, if your argument is to have any value. But, as usual, you don’t.

  6. timothya, you tell us how he might have made it a little more imaginative. You and your definitively prosaic Brethren of the Double Helix evidently think more fancifully. Tell us how? Where did he ‘mis-speak?

  7. Sorry, that should have been, Covenanters, not Brethren, of the Double Helix.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....nedict-xvi

  8. Silence came the stern reply.

  9. tim states:

    you assume what you should demonstrate

    Glad you finally have come around to our way of thinking,,, since you certainly don’t want to be guilty of hypocritically ‘assuming what you should demonstrate’, do you care to demonstrate how this consciousness which appreciates and values, beauty, imagination, creativity, etc.. etc…, came about by blind/dumb material Darwinian processes?

    Darwinian Psychologist David Barash Admits the Seeming Insolubility of Science’s “Hardest Problem”
    Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52491.html

    David Chalmers on Consciousness – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....super.html

    What drives materialists crazy is that consciousness cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, touched, heard, or studied in a laboratory. But how could it be otherwise? Consciousness is the very thing that is DOING the seeing, the tasting, the smelling, etc… We define material objects by their effect upon our senses – how they feel in our hands, how they appear to our eyes. But we know consciousness simply by BEING it! – APM – UD Blogger

  10. timothya:

    As usual, you assume what you should demonstrate, if your argument is to have any value.

    Nice projection, timothya. Ya see it is YOUR position that always assumes and never demonstrates.

  11. 11

    Actually, atheistic materialists should just shut up, since under their paradigm everything they are saying is nothing more than the happenstance noises that are produced by interacting molecules. The sensation that those noises “make sense” is just another happenstance consequence of physics – not unlike the babbling of a brook or the sounds of loose rocks falling down a mountainside. I wonder if rocks think they are making sound logical arguments as they tumble?

    But, that presumes that atheistic materialists have the free will to independently control their behavior, which under their paradigm, they do not. So, they can’t shut up if physics tells them to make fools of themselves. Since (according to them) what we believe and think are simply evolutionary features, like skin and leaves and fins, they are in the unenviable and ludicrous position of being a maple leaf arguing that all other kinds of leaves are erroneous.

    Without free will independence from molecular governance over our thoughts, words and behavior, then they are arguing against the very same thing that created what they and everyone else here says – physics. Surely they’re not saying that the noises our (theists) particular molecular interactions produces are “wrong”? How can they be “wrong”? Do they also argue that the sun is shining improperly, or that the rain shouldn’t fall the way it does? Do they also debate the utterances of trees as the wind passes through?

    We should conduct a poll to see who believes they have free will, and just toss out everyone who is so insane that they believe they can engage in a meaningful argument without it.

  12. In years to come, it will seem incredible, unimaginable that brilliant scientists, including some atheists, felt the need to spend so much time and effort refuting the incomprehensibly insensate assertions of their materialist, at least nominal, confreres. A very real need, making it all the more surreal.

    Some kind of comparison would be, if a modern-day consultant surgeon felt compelled to teach whatever medical science would be transferable from our day to medieval times to a medieval barber-surgeon, in the teeth of a frightened and hostile medieval, ‘medical’ establishment.

    Materialism in all its fatuity, is so absurdly counter-rational, that it is actually counter-intuitive. To realise that it is utterly senseless wouldn’t require a moment’s reflection; it’s so goldurned obvious, as, only slightly tangentially, is the truth of Intelligent Design.

    At least, unlike our materialist friends, the medieval barber might have reached some kind of first, or perhaps second, base, but, then, he would have been immeasurably more rational and eager to learn than the modern-day evolutionist mystagogues.

  13. Axel posted this:

    Silence came the stern reply.

    Because I am waiting for William J Murray to explain why I should accept a proposition that:

    mankind, being made in the image of God, is a race of creators

    It is the presumption that mankind is made in the image of God that requires explaining, and is why the stern reply is that sound you can hear of quiet drumming of fingers.

    Sorry but you don’t get to assume what needs to be explained.

  14. 14

    You mean you’re waiting for David Anderson to reply.

  15. William J Murray posted:

    You mean you’re waiting for David Anderson to reply.

    My apologies, of course you are correct.

  16. Axel posted this:

    In years to come, it will seem incredible, unimaginable that brilliant scientists, including some atheists, felt the need to spend so much time and effort refuting the incomprehensibly insensate assertions of their materialist, at least nominal, confreres.

    To whom will it seem incredible?

  17. timothya you state:

    It is the presumption that mankind is made in the image of God that requires explaining,

    My two cents, probably overvalued for what its worth, but none-the-less, my two cents is that quite a compelling case can be put forward that ‘mankind is made in the image of God’:

    Notes to that end:

    First and foremost, material reality itself is found to be ‘information theoretic’ in its most foundational basis:

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (‘observed’ and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.”
    John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:

    i.e. Materialism had postulated for centuries that everything reduced to, or emerged from material atoms, yet the correct structure of reality is now found by science to be as follows:

    1. material particles (mass) normally reduces to energy (e=mc^2)
    2. energy and mass both reduce to information (quantum teleportation)
    3. information reduces to consciousness (geometric centrality of conscious observation in universe dictates that consciousness must precede the infinite dimensional quantum wave’s collapse to its single bit state)

    John 1:1-1
    In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    Moreover, the ability of material processes to generate ANY non-trivial functional information has never been observed:

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

    Whereas man, almost as a force of habit, routinely generates more that 500 Bits of functional information:

    To clarify as to how the 500 bit universal limit is found for ‘structured, functional information’:

    Dembski’s original value for the universal probability bound is 1 in 10^150,

    10^80, the number of elementary particles in the observable universe.
    10^45, the maximum rate per second at which transitions in physical states can occur.
    10^25, a billion times longer than the typical estimated age of the universe in seconds.

    Thus, 10^150 = 10^80 × 10^45 × 10^25. Hence, this value corresponds to an upper limit on the number of physical events that could possibly have occurred since the big bang.

    How many bits would that be:

    Pu = 10-150, so, -log2 Pu = 498.29 bits

    Call it 500 bits (The 500 bits is further specified as a specific type of information. It is referred to as Complex Specified Information by Dembski or referred to as Functional Information by Szostak, Abel, et al, to separate it from merely Ordered Sequence Complexity or Random Sequence Complexity; See Three subsets of sequence complexity)

    Three subsets of sequence complexity and their relevance to biopolymeric information – Abel, Trevors
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. Dembski

    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    The reason why it is very interesting to learn that material reality is ‘information theoretic’ in its foundational basis, and that material processes have never been observed generating functional information, is that man, amongst all creatures on earth, is very unique in this ability to understand and manipulate information

    Darwin’s mistake: Explaining the discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds:
    Excerpt: There is a profound functional discontinuity between human and nonhuman minds. We argue that this discontinuity pervades nearly every domain of cognition and runs much deeper than even the spectacular scaffolding provided by language or culture can explain. We hypothesize that the cognitive discontinuity between human and nonhuman animals is largely due to the degree to which human and nonhuman minds are able to approximate the higher-order, systematic, relational capabilities of a physical symbol system.
    http://www.mendeley.com/resear.....n-minds-1/

    Origin of the Mind: Marc Hauser – Scientific American – April 2009
    Excerpt: “Researchers have found some of the building blocks of human cognition in other species. But these building blocks make up only the cement footprint of the skyscraper that is the human mind”,,,
    http://www.wjh.harvard.edu?/~m.....dSciAm.pdf

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Tattersall, Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Definition of the genus Homo is almost as fraught as the definition of Homo sapiens. We look at the evidence for “early Homo,” finding little morphological basis for extending our genus to any of the 2.5–1.6-myr-old fossil forms assigned to “early Homo” or Homo habilis/rudolfensis.”,,,,
    “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://arjournals.annualreview.....208.100202

    This is simply fascinating, material reality itself is found to be information theoretic in its foundational basis, biological life, with the discovery of DNA is found to be information theoretic in its foundational basis, and yet man alone, amongst all creatures on earth, is found to have a very unique ability to understand and manipulate information. Then or course there is also the fact that modern science was brought to a sustained level of maturity in the matrix of Christian theism, and then there is Godel’s and Turing’s incompleteness and halting problem (leaps of human intuition), there is also centrality of conscious observation in the universe and 4-D space-time, relativity, etc.. etc.., which, all and all, builds a very, very, compelling case that the grand claim of Christian Theism, that mankind was indeed made in the image of God, for a personal relationship with God, as far as what the best of our science can tell us!

    Further note:

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Music and Verse:

    FFH – One of These Days
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHdSgQVIb5c

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”–

  18. David Anderson I hope I did not overstep polite manners to try to answer timothya before you did. I apologize if I did so.

  19. bornagain77, you’re always welcome. I often get called away to meetings, have deadlines, or totally forget that I wrote a story in the first place…

    timothya: you’ve not yet grasped the point being made. You, and the Friendly Atheist, assume both the worth and importance of certain values, which cannot be justified from the foundations of your position. They can be justified from Christian assumptions. The argument I’m making is that you are internally inconsistent. To ask for the external justification for my position is changing the discussion for a different one. Part of the evidence for the truth of a Christian world-view is that both you and I and the Friend Atheist all assume it in the way that we debate. We all apparently agree that such things as beauty, awe and creativity are objective and important. How do you explain that, because on atheist premises, it is the opposite of how things are – that “empty pitiless indifference”, as Dawkins puts it, etc.

  20. Can we re-cap? We are currently examining the following:

    mankind is made in the image of God

    David Anderson is on the hook to demonstrate the proposition is true.

    Bornagain77 offers a defense of the proposition that starts by asserting “material reality … is … ‘information theoretic’ in its most foundational basis.” The connection is unclear; how does the make-up of material reality relate to the assertion that humanity resembles (in various senses) a presumed supreme being of the universe?

    I appreciate that Bornagain77 provides an answer, which is essentially a chain that goes:

    matter -> energy -> information -> consciousness -> 1 John 1:1.

    The above is, of course, my summary of what bornagain77 is saying. I think I have it right, but ask for polite correction if I don’t. In any event, it would be nice to read some properly scientific papers that explain this “correct structure of reality” as “now found by science.” Also interesting and relevant would be the input of biblical criticism on 1 John 1:1. Do modern scholars see the verses as a statement on the material structure of the universe?

    My sense of 1 John 1:1–and I admit that my Greek and Latin are poor–is that it’s hard to take them as saying what Bornagain77′s chain of reductions says they do.

    Nevertheless, we’re still not talking about the main claim under discussion: humanity was made in the image of the universe’s supremest being.

    So the next bit of argumentation brought in after the structure of the universe is, basically, “material process have never achieved anything important.”

    OK, but how does this relate to the original question?

    Next, Bornagain77 explains that people make important, complex things all the time. This is undoubtedly true, but again we’re not talking about what we want to talk about: the claim that humans have been made in the image of God.

    Then, we get further assertion that “man, amongst all creatures on earth, is very unique in this ability to understand and manipulate information.”

    Finally, toward the end, it all gets tied together:

    (1) Material reality is information theoretic.
    (2) Biological life is information theoretic.
    (3) Man alone has the ability to understand and manipulate information.
    (4) Modern science matured thanks to Christian theism.
    (5) Godel’s and Turing’s incompleteness and halting problem (leaps of human intuition).
    (6) Conscious observation is central in the universe and 4-D space-time, relativity.

    Therefore….

    (7) Mankind was indeed made in the image of God

    [Bornagain77's paragraph, edited by LT for clarity.]

    Bornagain77, please don’t think I’m picking on you. I’m really just trying to understand the case you are presenting.

    But I don’t see a clear connection between the premises and the conclusion.

    To defend the claim that “mankind is made in the image of God,” I think we need several elements:
    (a) A definition of “man.” Does it include women? Does it include other hominids? Does it include primates? I’m not trying to be controversial, but in the interest of precision, it would be nice to say exactly what we are talking about by “man” (or “mankind”), and what we are not talking about.
    (b) A theory of “made.” Made in what sense(s)? How, or by what means? Over how much time? Where? I think the narrative here is central. Can we simply go to the Bible to get the narrative or is there something scientific that can be added to our knowledge of what the making of humankind actually entailed?
    (c) A theory of “image of God.” There is, of course, lots of biblical and talmudic commentary on what the “image” of God might refer to: reason, morality, free will, creativity, and so on. The word “image” gives us a pregnant metaphor–there are a number of senses in which it could be used. Any argument drawing upon the expression will need to be precise about what it means and why–and how we can know it’s correct!
    (d) A definition of God and a case for the existence of this specific being–not to mention a demonstration that God is as the image (i.e., mankind [but only some aspects of mankind, I guess]) would suggest. Everything else in the argument hinges on this item. Bornagain77′s argument above might more properly be a defense of this item, but it still doesn’t persuade me either for the Philosopher’s God or the biblical God.

    So, the take-away is that the case for God needs to be made, then the unification of the Biblical God and the Philosopher’s God, then the understanding of God’s image, then the theory of “made,” then the clarification of “mankind.”

    I look forward to having this case presented compellingly.

  21. LarTanner, you also completely misunderstand the argument I’ve made. I argued the inconsistency between atheist beliefs and the manner of atheist argument – together with consistency between Christian beliefs and the manner of Christian argument.

    That argument does not require a prior proof of Christian beliefs in order to work. It’s an argument based upon internal consistency.

    Bob: I think I’m going to die this evening!
    Simon: What are you going to do during the afternoon?
    Bob: Book next year’s holiday.

    At this point, Simon can demonstrate an inconsistency between Bob’s expressed belief and his practice. It is not necessary for him to start waffling about whether or not Bob has supplied a from-first-principles proof of his belief in order to do that.

  22. David,

    Fair enough, but I was responding to timothya’s request, and then Bornagain77′s response.

    However, I don’t think it’s wrong or surprising for timothya or anyone else to ask you to clarify “a theistic view of reality.”

    If you decline to give timothya a response to his request, just say so.

  23. WJM,

    Actually, atheistic materialists should just shut up, since under their paradigm everything they are saying is nothing more than the happenstance noises that are produced by interacting molecules. The sensation that those noises “make sense” is just another happenstance consequence of physics – not unlike the babbling of a brook or the sounds of loose rocks falling down a mountainside. I wonder if rocks think they are making sound logical arguments as they tumble?

    Exactly. I don’t know why atheists even read and post comments on internet blogs, because to them,obviously websites don’t really exist. Like everything else–they’re just molecules randomly bumping into each other.
    // end sarcasm

    This is the same issue as in the morality discussion. Nothing, not morality, not rationality, not beauty, not technology, not even existence is real. Only God is real. There’s no debate with this kind of nonsense.

  24. David Anderson,

    Dawkins position is that beauty and awe are merely subjective chemical processes inside the human brain. They have no external reality or value

    What would you say gives something “external reality or value”? In a universe without God, do you think “external reality” and “value” have any meaning?

  25. LT, I find the evidence compelling. You may not agree, that’s OK. I’ll defend your right to be wrong. But I’ll not get into nitpicking the Greek and Latin meaning of words with you or get into trying to convince you otherwise. I’ve learned my lesson well from Darwinists over the years! Not to say you are playing games ( as with “A definition of “man.” Does it include women?”), but there is no convincing someone who is determined to play obscure games in semantics all the while ignoring the clear evidence, and I’ll certainly not play such a fruitless thing! I’ll just agree to disagree, let the argument, as laid out, stand, and perhaps provide onlookers more details here:

    Let There Be Light
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....light.html

    Somewhat related notes:

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    Responding to the Challenge that Intelligent Design Lacks a “Mechanism” – Casey Luskin – May 2012
    Excerpt: Intelligent agency, therefore, is a mechanism which we can observe and understand in the world around us, and from those observations we know it alone is capable of producing high CSI. But the skeptic wasn’t satisfied with this argument. He insisted what ID lacks is a mechanism that, at the direction of an intelligent agent, could be capable of instantiating information, or design, in the real world. As we spoke after the talk, I asked him, “Why should it be so hard to believe that intelligent agents can implement their designs in the real world? After all, we see intelligent agents manipulating the information in DNA all the time.”

    As the skeptic was a philosopher, he was apparently unaware of the burgeoning field of genetic engineering, where biologists manipulate the information in DNA to produce new biological functions. Unfortunately, this hardened ID critic was probably still not convinced after I explained that it’s easy to believe intelligent agents might have ways of implementing their designs in the natural world — since we see it happening, reported in the scientific literature on a regular basis. This new research discussed in Nature News shows exactly how intelligent agents can manipulate information in DNA to create new structures and functions. There is no reason, in principle, why an intelligent agency must lack a mechanism for implementing designs in the natural world.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....59941.html

  26. “They can be justified from Christian assumptions.”

    “Part of the evidence for the truth of a Christian world-view…

    “because on atheist premises, it is the opposite of how things are – that “empty pitiless indifference”, as Dawkins puts it, etc.

    David,
    In contrasting atheist and Christian worldviews, are you equating Theism with Christianity? Do other monotheistic religions (for instance Judaism or Islam) provide the believer with similar assumptions?

  27. as to:

    Do other monotheistic religions (for instance Judaism or Islam) provide the believer with similar assumptions?

    I ‘serendipitously’ just saw this short video this morning.

    Ravi Zacharias – Christian Morality vs. Muslim and Old Testament Morality – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl9ds3W7HQ0

  28. How about Judaism, BA? Can the “worth and importance of certain values” be justified under a Jewish perspective, or does one have to believe in Jesus?

  29. Well lastyearon, as Ravi Zacharias pointed out, Christ came not to abolish Jewish law but to fulfill it. As well, Jesus took Mosaic law to a higher level making our thoughts, and even every single word we speak, accountable to God. This higher level of accountability happens to be the level of accountability that agrees with what we find in the life reviews of Judeo-Christian Near Death Experiences:

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

  30. So it’s not just belief in God that gives things meaning, it’s belief in the Christian God. And it’s not only atheists that lack the worldview to be able to speak of anything as if it were meaningful, it’s anyone that doesn’t believe in Jesus. Do I have that correct BA77? What about you David Anderson? Can non-Christian theists be moral?

  31. LarTanner, timothya asked his question in comment 5 and I answered it in comment 19. When you say “If you decline to give timothya a response to his request, just say so” you still seem to be missing the conversation.

    lastyearon – as my arguments thus far have only depended on the existence of a God of order who creates objective beauty and endows purpose on his creation, therefore they would favour any position that posits such realities over and against atheism, which can hold beauty, awe etc. only as subjective feelings and preferences.

  32. David Anderson posted this:

    To ask for the external justification for my position is changing the discussion for a different one.

    Yep you have nailed it. A discussion based on internal justifications for “I say this, therefore it is so” is classically circular. Extending the argument to “I say this is so, because someone in the past said it is so” just makes the circle larger.

    External evidence for a proposition may be sufficient to establish its validity, but it it is certainly necessary.

  33. timothya, you don’t seem to have arrived at the discussion yet. “I say this, therefore it is so” has formed no part of the argument you’re being presented with. If you think it has, then you need to start again, beginning with the original post. Do you see the irony in your position? Let’s take your assertions about what is “necessary” at face value. Why are they necessary? Is it because transcendent and universal laws of logic exist? Ones which have objective value beyond those that we lumps of meat place upon them? Are you seeing the issue yet?

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