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Evolution and Global Warming: Some Underexamined Parallels

Usually when the topics of Anthropogenic Global Warming (or is it climate change now?) and evolutionary theory are contrasted, the focus is on the validity of the scientific claims associated with both. Is the global temperature average really rising? Is man the cause? Did macroevolution really take place? Does evolution proceed by the mechanisms often claimed? Both sides of both subjects pay a lot of attention, almost exclusive attention, to the foundational scientific questions related to both topics.

But there are important parallels between these topics that too often goes largely ignored – ones which shows that in many ways, the actual science is largely moot. In fact, it’s practically a non-issue when you get right down to it. I come at this from a largely TE perspective on the evolutionary front, and someone who until recently was largely content to shrug and say “Sure, I suppose AGW is at least a reasonable conclusion.” (The Climategate fiasco did serve to nudge me into more of a neutral column.)

Below the cut I’ll explain just what I’m talking about, and how Al Gore has accidentally supplied a crystal-clear example “in the field”.

It’s pedantic to point out, but it still must be said: What motivates most people to get others to “accept AGW” or “accept (Darwinian) evolution” has little to nothing to do with knowledge itself, and far more to do with the actions they hope such a belief will prompt. In the AGW case, the point isn’t to teach others some useful, inert fact like “beavers mate for life”, much less to make people have a firmer grasp of science in general – the express hope is that if someone accepts AGW, they will therefore accept and support specific policies ostensibly meant to combat AGW.

Likewise – I trust I’m not really saying anything groundbreaking on this one – what motivates many people to get others to “accept Darwinian evolution” isn’t the hope that some people will now have this particular belief about biology, period. The hope is that the acceptance of Darwinian evolution will detach them from their religious (and therefore, with luck, social and political) beliefs. You don’t have to go that far to find some very prominent biologists and philosophers saying this explicitly. Now, I did say ‘many’ rather than ‘most’ here, because I think there some who have different, even pro-theistic motivations on this topic – but I’m speaking frankly. And frankly, the draw of evolution for many has been its apparent utility as an anti-religion weapon (among other things), and this has been the case for a long time now.

So one parallel between proponents of AGW and proponents of Darwinism is this: While the topics in question are framed as scientific, the purpose of promoting them are social and political. The goal isn’t really “Get people to believe A”, but “Get people to do B and C”. It’s just that they think “If people believe A, then they will do B and C”. Perhaps because they think there’s something about A which makes B and C more reasonable to do, or even necessary to do. The problem is this complicates matters: It’s possible not only for A to be correct or incorrect, but for B or C to not be necessary or reasonable even given A’s truth. In fact, A may be true, and conceivably (in these abstract terms) B and C may be bad ideas or wrong conclusions.

Let’s move from the ABC talk to a real-world example, helpfully provided by Al Gore.

I’m sure many of you recalled the fairly recent news of Al Gore saying he made a mistake by endorsing ethanol subsidies. Gore, one of the most prominent faces of the AGW movement, had previously boosted corn ethanol subsidies for numerous reasons – and corn ethanol was touted as a way to combat AGW. Gore had this to say about his past commitment on the subject:

One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for President.

Let me pause here a moment to point something out. Gore isn’t saying that he believed corn ethanol was a great idea, but he misunderstood the data, ergo he made a mistake. He’s saying that he wanted to be elected president, certain constituents wanted corn ethanol subsidies, and he was willing to sell this as a great thing for the environment and the nation in exchange for their support. Has the word ‘mistake’ come to mean ‘any act which in retrospect a person claims to regret for any reason, even if they knew what they were doing at the time’?

But that’s beside the point. More central is this: Corn ethanol subsidies would be an example of one of those Bs and Cs that are supposed to follow given the truth of A. But Gore just illustrates the fragility of that move: AGW can be true, but a given policy (touted as necessary to ‘address AGW’) can still be a lousy idea. Corn ethanol subsidies are just a great and prominent example. Maybe the Kyoto treaty was a rotten idea regardless of the truth of AGW. Maybe carbon trading is a lousy idea. Maybe prevention is worse than adaptation. Maybe none of the most popular policies are good ideas. And, as it was with Gore and ethanol, maybe they aren’t being promoted for the reasons their proponents claim.

I want to stress that even if someone is skeptical of AGW, these points – points which assume for the sake of argument the truth of AGW – are tremendously important to raise. Again, what motivates most AGW proponents isn’t the data itself, but the policies they attempt to justify in light of the data. But if the data – even if true! – doesn’t justify their policies, that needs to be noted time and again. Part of the strategy is to make people miss that there’s an extra step beyond simply establishing the truth of “A” in the formula “If A, then B and C are necessary/very reasonable”. But the promotion of B and C are the whole point – and if B and C don’t really follow from A, that’s a point ignored at one’s own peril.

Which brings me back to evolution. As I’ve said before, I’m a TE of sorts. I don’t object to the possibility of intelligent design, or front-loading, or even intervention in nature’s past in one way or another. At the same time, I have no particularly strong ire against the mere claim of macro-evolution and so on – really, they seem like potential design strategies to me. But I do find that very popular line that gets drawn – “If evolution is true, then people should be atheists or reject design/guidance/purpose in nature” – to be utter crap. Rhetoric unjustified by the data, even if the data (not the philosophy or metaphysics often smuggled with it) is taken as true. I admit, the more I look at relatively ‘mainstream’ evolutionary science, the more I see teleology, guidance, and purpose – even as its defenders struggle to ignore, downplay, and deny it. Even if AGW is true, current corn ethanol technology as a way to combat it is a pretty bad idea, and even if evolution is true the atheistic and anti-guidance/design conclusions drawn from its truth are largely inane.

Let me end on this note: Notice that I’m not arguing for the truth of AGW or evolution here. I’ve moved into a more neutral column regarding the former, and the truth of the latter isn’t my focus. But I’m trying to point out, for both AGW skeptics and evolution skeptics, that there are more fronts to fight on than simply the topic of whether AGW or evolution is, at the end of the day, true – because the truth of both AGW and evolution aren’t what matters, even to most of their proponents. It’s what follows, the policies and intellectual conclusions they want to sell you on, given their truth. And if what they want doesn’t follow even granting this truth for the sake of argument, you have everything to gain by pointing this out.

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304 Responses to Evolution and Global Warming: Some Underexamined Parallels

  1. nullasalus:

    With all due respect, I think you are mistaken on two points:

    First, I believe that the proponents of AGW, for the most part, sincerely belive that AGW is not only real but a real threat to the future of humankind. In that sense, the two controversies you discuss are different: AGW is not just an issue of what’s true, it is also an issue that has potentially devastating consequences for all of us, depending on who is right about it. I think that for most of the AGW proponents, that threat is paramount, and the policies are secondary–means to the end of staving off the disaster they perceive is coming if nothing is done.

    Second, Darwinism in its pure form, while it doesn’t imply atheism, is an absolutely necessary support for atheism. No one has yet come up with any alternative to the two current explanations for the evolution (meant here as the increase in variety and complexity over time) of living forms, namely the neo-Darwinian synthesis and ID. And ID pretty much implies the existence of a Creator, at the very least some kind of non-material intelligence that has the power to effect change in the natural world.

  2. Bruce David,

    First, I believe that the proponents of AGW, for the most part, sincerely belive that AGW is not only real but a real threat to the future of humankind.

    On this topic I simply disagree. I do not doubt that there are some AGW proponents who really believe that AGW is a looming existential threat to humanity or even “the planet earth” itself, somehow. But I also do not doubt that there are many people for whom AGW is a justification for causes or goals that they would pursue regardless of AGW’s truth. I think the fact that Al Gore admits that he knowingly supported a very costly, environmentally ineffective policy in part with an AGW justification is at least suggestive.

    Regardless, those intentions are largely beside the point anyway. Even if someone is deeply sincere in their belief that AGW spells doom for humanity, that still leads to the case that belief in the mere fact of AGW isn’t the central concern – the policies are, assuming they believe the policies have at least some chance of preventing or defusing the disaster they think is coming. And there still remains that disconnect between the truth of AGW and the value of those policies.

    Second, Darwinism in its pure form, while it doesn’t imply atheism, is an absolutely necessary support for atheism. No one has yet come up with any alternative to the two current explanations for the evolution (meant here as the increase in variety and complexity over time) of living forms, namely the neo-Darwinian synthesis and ID.

    Sure they have. “Things pop into existence from nothing, utterly uncaused” is one. “Species have always existed unto eternity with no creator involved” is another. “Sometimes random forces just converge in just the right way and suddenly where there was just dirt and water, voila, now you have a buffalo”. More options are available. Sure, they’re either able to be regarded as discredited or not at all popular, but evolution isn’t necessary for atheism – at least not in a logical sense.

    And evolutionary theory, when stripped of superfluous metaphysics and philosophical assumption, is not innately anti-ID anyway. (I’m speaking here in the ultimate sense of ID, the idea that evolution is, either in whole or part, guided or directed either extrinsically or intrinsically in a way that ultimately leads back to an intelligent agent.) Sure, I take ‘Darwinism’ to be anti-ID, but that’s usually because Darwinism typically has “And there is absolutely no guidance, purpose(s), goal(s), or direction(s) of any kind!” worked into it as a ground-level claim/assumption. You can make YEC anti-ID if you set it up that way (Everything came into existence 6000 years ago fully formed, but no intelligent agent was responsible. It’s either a brute fact, or perhaps just one more possibility that flowed from a multiverse, or… etc, etc.)

  3. Bruce David,

    I agree and disagree. The scientific community’s support for AGW seems generally sincere, as evidenced by the fact that there is at least a modicum of debate on it. At least one can disagree and usually not get fired for it. The same is not so for Darwin doubters.

    I am not as confident that this is true of AGW believers in the policy community. They’ve jumped on it with rather more alacrity than may be warranted of such an extremely complex and developing science, and such a hugely expensive set of solution measures. It smacks of being a crisis too good to let go to waste, a convenient way to advance an agenda.

    Pardon me for being cynical about politicians.

  4. To both TomG and nullasalus:

    Speaking as one who formerly believed sincerely in AGW, I think you both overlook the fact that the AGW proponents see this as impending disaster (doom is too strong a word). This is the distinction I was trying to make between the two debates. Darwinism vs. ID is about who is right. AGW, to those who accept its validity, portends real, major hardship for humanity–economic upheaval, famine, loss of costal area including many of the world’s cities, etc. In their eyes, this possibility is real, and probable if we keep going in the direction we are headed. I firmly believe that this is the reason that there is so much passion generated around the issue. As for the politicians, one must judge in each case how sincerely they accept these premises and to what degree they are sincere.

  5. Germany for one had its own reasons for pushing the Kyoto Protocol.

    If you’ll recall Kyoto dictated that countries restrict their carbon emissions to 1990 levels. The catch is that the Soviet Union fell in 1991 and ushered in a major economic downturn in the former Soviet satellite republics of Eastern Europe as well as Russia itself. The emissions fell right along with the economy. So most of these Eastern European countries had naturally fallen below these levels and were only barely recovering by Kyoto.

    Germany of course had reunited East and West, and thus the 1990 carbon emissions levels of both East and West Germany combined were artificially high compared to unified Germany at the time of Kyoto in 1997. In other words, Germany, Russia and virtually all of the Eastern European countries were already in compliance with Kyoto or close to it, whereas most Western European nations and the United States had been growing and their emissions were growing with it. The carbon trading market was thus going to benefit these nations because they could sell their unused carbon credits to the richer Western nations who were way over and had no hope of genuinely cutting back.

    And of course international socialism was all for it because it provided a rationale for redistribution of wealth from rich countries to poor.

  6. Copenhagen failed largely because of a divide between rich and poor nations. The poorer nations were asking for money from the richer nations to “green” their economy, arguing that they had not been able to industrialize and emit their fair share of carbon before AGW and it wasn’t fair that other nations had.

  7. tragic mishap,

    I recall the east germany issue, which I thought was interesting. That does go some way towards adding to my central point here: You can assume AGW is true, and it can still be the case that given AGW-defusing proposal X is a bad idea, counterproductive, or hell – just plain dumb. Likewise, you can assume evolution is true, and still regard some of the “if evolution is true then…” conclusions as inane. That’s the issue I want to draw attention to, and that I wonder if people sometimes miss.

  8. Likewise – I trust I’m not really saying anything groundbreaking on this one – what motivates many people to get others to “accept Darwinian evolution” isn’t the hope that some people will now have this particular belief about biology, period. The hope is that the acceptance of Darwinian evolution will detach them from their religious (and therefore, with luck, social and political) beliefs.

    Do you have any evidence at all to support this?

  9. Do you have any evidence at all to support this?

    Evidence for what? That evolution is seen by atheists as a proselytizing tool for atheism?

    Plenty of evidence for that. I can provide some evidence that there is, in fact, a sun in the sky as well if this is needed.

  10. Okay, thanks. In that case, I shall take it to be something that you strongly believe, but for which you do not have one iota of supporting evidence.

  11. Neil Rickert,

    I asked you for clarification on what you were asking, because I was pretty surprised you’d need it. I’m not unwilling to provide it, if you’re actually serious. But if you really need the obvious pointed out to you, hey, I’ll do it.

    Will Provine:

    ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’

    So for Provine, evolutionary biology constitutes a demonstration that there is no God, no design, etc.

    Daniel Dennett, of course, refers to Darwinism as the “universal acid” which dissolves various beliefs we have – and he singles out religious belief and belief in God (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea; Darwin’s assault on the cosmic pyramid). He’s been pretty up front about this.

    And then there’s Jerry Coyne making it clear what means when he talks about evolution, and thus getting people to accept it:

    While the Catholic church officially accepts evolution, it accepts theistic evolution, in which God guided the process and casually slipped an immortal soul into the hominin lineage. And theistic evolution, in which God has a role in the process, is not acceptance of evolution as we biologists understand it. So yes, the true biological view of evolution as a materialistic, unguided process is indeed at odds with most religions.

    So for Coyne, getting people to accept evolution is pretty much one and the same thing as getting them to ditch their religious beliefs. For him it’s practically defined as such.

    I could go on, but this should be enough to show that yeah, there’s evidence in abundance that evolution is seen as a tool for atheist apologetics, and hence that’s why for some people there’s interest in promoting acceptance of evolution in particular. It’s not only a reasonable conclusion to draw, it’s the most reasonable conclusion available (certainly versus ‘atheists don’t see evolution as having anything to do with getting people to reject theism or religious belief’). If you can’t see this, that’s okay. There’s guys around here who deny causality and so on too. Nothing wrong with one more naive belief.

  12. You made an assertion about what motivates people. You would need mind reading abilities to be able to observe that. We can estimate that with opinion research surveying, if done properly. But we cannot just observe it.

    Your quote from Provine seems to not be relevant. Your claim was about what motivates people to accept evolutionary theory. Provine’s statement was about what motivates his religious views. There is no obvious relation between the two.

    I don’t know what motivates Dennett – I don’t claim mind reading abilities, and I have not read much of what he writes on religion. I likewise claim no mind reading ability with Coyne, but I have read enough of what he writes to be extremely doubtful that your claim is correct with respect to what motivates his acceptance of evolution.

  13. Oops, I misstated that. The point wasn’t about their acceptance of evolution, but about their presumed desire for others to accept evolution. But my point still holds – you cannot infer that from their expressed opinions on religion.

  14. Neil Rickert,

    You made an assertion about what motivates people. You would need mind reading abilities to be able to observe that. We can estimate that with opinion research surveying, if done properly. But we cannot just observe it.

    You asked me for evidence, Neil. Not certain proof. If you want to walk down this road, why not go whole hog and demand evidence that beliefs exist, and point out how there are some philosophers who reject their existence? It’s about as relevant.

    You asked me for evidence, I provided it easily. The evidence exists, is abundant, and is public. Speculate that maybe in their heart of hearts atheists don’t believe this (maybe they aren’t even atheists, right?), but a lack of certainty doesn’t remove evidence from the table.

    I likewise claim no mind reading ability with Coyne, but I have read enough of what he writes to be extremely doubtful that your claim is correct with respect to what motivates his acceptance of evolution.

    But I said nothing about what ‘motivates his acceptance of evolution’. I made the claim that evolution was seen as and used as a proselytizing tool by many atheists. I’ve provided evidence of that, in the form of Dennett’s promotion of evolution (with himself specifically singling out religious belief as something the ‘acid’ eats through), what Provine claims is an immediate consequence of evolution, and Coyne’s identification of evolution that has rejection of religious beliefs built into its very definition.

    Again, it’s not a very groundbreaking claim on my part. Dive to hyperskepticism if you wish, but do it elsewhere. It’s just not very interesting.

  15. HT to Pez.

    As if it had to be said-

    In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.1

    The frequently made assertion that modern biology and the assumptions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are fully compatible is false.2

    Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.3

    As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.4

    click here for a hint:

    ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’ 5

    Thank you for your honesty Will Provine.

    1- Academe January 1987 pp.51-52 †

    2-Evolutionary Progress (1988) p. 65 †

    3- “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life” 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address 1 2 †

    4- No Free Will (1999) p.123

    5- Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1), p.9, 1994.

  16. nullasalus (#15):

    You asked me for evidence, Neil. Not certain proof.

    Right. But you did not provide anything that I can recognize as evidence.

    I teach computer science. So I am wondering what diabolically evil ulterior motives you ascribe to me for that teaching.

  17. Null:

    The gun on this one had been smoking since 1880.

    As we may read in an October 13th, 1880 letter to Edward Bibbins Aveling (a physician, and Karl Marx’s son- in- law), Charles Darwin went on record as follows:

    ______________________

    >> . . . though I am a strong advocate for free thought [NB: free-thought is an old synonym for skepticism, agnosticism or atheism] on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family [NB: especially his wife, Emma], if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion. >>
    _____________________

    Next problem.

    GEM of TKI

  18. Neil,

    Thank you so much for demonstrating once again that the Christian world view is the one which explains the universe around us and how we react to it.

    You asked a question and information was given in response. In return you rejected that information and asked for more or different information. All through the exchange you have been able to find reasons to stick to your view while the persons answering have stuck to theirs. An outside observer really has to wonder if you are both in the same universe!

    Without worrying about who is right, consider the implication of what is happening. You are both looking at the exact same words/phenomena and finding totally different meaning in them. Why is that possible?? Only Christianity provides the ultimate answer to why that happens.

    Your answers are molded by your fundamental beliefs, the things you have faith in.

    God has given you free will and will NEVER overpower your fundamental beliefs with evidence. (If you are wrong about something then you may have to pay the consequences, but even negative consequences rarely force a person to change their beliefs.) If you are willing to have faith He will give you a fuller and deeper understanding. If you reject that offer of faith He will allow you to use the gift of your intellect to fashion anything you wish to believe.

    When I was baptized Catholic in 2001, the world did not changed. How I looked at the world had changed. With the gift of faith everything was so much clearer and understandable.

    Maybe some day you can experience the freedom and joy that gives.

    God Bless.

  19. Neil R, your reading assignment:

    The God Delusion — R. Dawkins

    God is Not Great: The Case Against Religion — C. Hitchens

    The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: How the Universe is Not Designed for Humanity — V. Stenger

    The End of Faith — S. Harris

    Breaking the Spell — D. Dennett

    These fellas attempt to use *science* in their anti-theistic arguments and wrote whole books on the subject. By implication, they are interested in people knowing about science in order to convince that atheism is correct.

    Please read those and report back.

  20. Neil, you must be joking. You simply can’t be serious in thinking that there’s no evidence that many people use evolution as a means to bash religion.

    Besides the other names mentioned, have you ever read Pharyngula, Panda’s Thumb, The Bathroom Wall, and After The Bar Closes?

    There are lots of blogs, and commenters on blogs, who constantly proselytize atheism and use evolution (and other aspects of science) as the basis for their arguments. Many of those people say that “science is silent on religious beliefs” but that’s a crock. Science is far from silent on religious beliefs and many scientists and science supporters are clearly more interested in promoting atheism and bashing religion than they are in the positive advancement or promotion of good science.

    I actually consider myself an atheist when it comes to the Gods people have invented, but I’m agnostic when it comes to the existence of a creator and/or designer of some sort.

    One of the things that really bugs me about some atheists/scientists is that they try to hide the fact that they are much more AGAINST religion than they are FOR science. To them, science (or just the ToE) is simply a convenient weapon to use against religion, but of course they won’t admit it.

    Atheists on blogs often accuse religious people of being dishonest, and of course some are, but those same atheists are often dishonest too, and won’t admit their real motives.

    As far as reading minds is concerned, you might want to read the materials suggested by others, and the blogs I mentioned. No mind reading is required to see what the real motives of those people are.

    It would be real refreshing to see atheists/scientists being honest about their motives and stop playing games.

  21. GCS: You said, “Only Christianity provides the ultimate answer to why that happens.”

    You Christians are SO provincial. A Buddhist could say the same thing, as could a Hindu or a Muslim. Christianity is NOT the only religion that claims to know the truth. One of the major sources of the discord that is tearing the world apart today is the certainty on the part of so many people that theirs is the only path to truth. If each religious perspective could simply affirm the statement, “Ours is not the only way; ours is merely another way,” the world would instantly be healed of most of its troubles.

  22. Neil R, your reading assignment

    I have not read any of those books, mostly because I expect that I would find them tedious and boring. However, I did read Dawkins: “The Extended Phenotype.” I did not find anything in that book suggesting that it was written with an ulterior motive of wanting people to become atheist.

    These fellas attempt to use *science* in their anti-theistic arguments and wrote whole books on the subject.

    That doesn’t seem particularly relevant. You surely would not expect them to ignore what they consider a major objection to religion.

    By implication, …

    There’s no such implication. It is just a jumping to conclusions not supported by the evidence.

  23. Neil Rickert,

    There’s no such implication. It is just a jumping to conclusions not supported by the evidence.

    There’s plenty of evidence, Neil. I’ve laid some out, others have supplied some. You’re under the typical internet-debater assumption that so long as you yourself say there is no evidence, or that the evidence provided ‘isn’t really evidence’, that that’s all you need. Sorry, it ain’t the case.

    Your ace in the hole has been to insist that one would need psychic powers in order to make valid inferences about people’s motivations. By all means, embrace that – but as I said previously, do it in another thread. I’m not interested in a debate about the obvious with someone hellbent on resisting reason and what amounts to common knowledge.

  24. Your ace in the hole has been to insist that one would need psychic powers in order to make valid inferences about people’s motivations.

    I was quite clear that I would accept properly done opinion research surveying.

    People like Coyne and PZ Myers are mainly teaching evolution to students who have enrolled in their class. They are not out in street marquees proselytizing for Darwinism. And sure, PZ also talks to groups of skeptics, but that’s mostly preaching to the choir. You could perhaps claim that Dawkins and a few others are proselytizing for atheism, but your claim was about “many” rather than “few.”

  25. Neil Rickert,

    I was quite clear that I would accept properly done opinion research surveying.

    No, you were quite clear about ‘psychic powers’, and having a wonderfully murky, magical view of ‘evidence’.

    People like Coyne and PZ Myers are mainly teaching evolution to students who have enrolled in their class.

    Yeah Neil, that’s what PZ Myers is primarily known for. Being a biology teacher at the University of Minnesota at Morris. His syllabus-formatting techniques rocketed him to the modest internet stardom he has today.

  26. You Christians are SO provincial. A Buddhist could say the same thing, as could a Hindu or a Muslim. Christianity is NOT the only religion that claims to know the truth.

    No, really? Who’d have thought it? Imagine the awfulness of having to carefully weigh and evaluate the alternatives. So one might as well not do it at all. It’s all just too hard to figure out!

    One of the major sources of the discord that is tearing the world apart today is the certainty on the part of so many people that theirs is the only path to truth. If each religious perspective could simply affirm the statement, “Ours is not the only way; ours is merely another way,” the world would instantly be healed of most of its troubles.

    It sounds like you are certain that yours is the only path to peace. That’s pretty damned dogmatic of you. But maybe you are actually willing to take your own medicine. If so, then you’re really saying that yours is “just another way”, and, well, thanks for sharing.

  27. Bruce David, this tidbit may help you see what sets Christianity so dramatically apart from other ‘religious/spiritual’ paths;

    The Bible being unique in its correct prediction for the universe’s transcendent creation, as well as Historical/archeological verification, and precisely fulfilled prophecies, are compelling hard facts in and of themselves, to set the Bible apart from other religions; yet there is one more piece of solid physical evidence which bears powerful witness to the Bible’s validity and also sheds an undeniable light on God’s deep personal commitment to man; The Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin clearly points out a fact that sets Christianity completely apart from all other religions of the world. The fact is that, as I’ve heard said by many preachers before, you can go to the graves of all the other founders of all the other major religions of the world and find the remains of a body, yet, as the Shroud of Turin stubbornly testifies despite many attempts to refute the Shroud’s authenticity, if you go to the tomb of Jesus you will not find the remains of a body because Jesus has risen from the dead.

    Burial places of all the other founders of the world religions
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B....._religions

    Shroud of Turin in 3-D – The Holographic Experience – Face & Body – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5889891/

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life! – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Front and Back 3-D images – articles and videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Bruce David perhaps you can rationalize some false excuse for how the image formed on the Shroud, but, after thorough examination, I hold that something very extraordinary happened in the tomb of Jesus to form that image, and to make so many of Christ’s followers willing to die horrid deaths for witnessing the fact that Jesus had in fact resurrected from the dead!

  28. The shroud of Turin is only 400 years old.

    “The Bible being unique in its correct prediction for the universe’s transcendent creation, as well as Historical/archeological verification, and precisely fulfilled prophecies, are compelling hard facts in and of themselves…”

    Wishful thinking, but there are no “hard facts” and no verification except by opinion.

    Any religion can claim hard facts and verification, but none have any.

    Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but opinions aren’t proof. Faith is the basis for religious beliefs. Why not just admit it? Why play games and claim hard facts and verification? Why rely on bogus claims about a shroud? Be honest.

  29. To Matteo: No problem, I’ll acknowledge it: Mine is not the only way to peace, it is just another way. What’s your way?

    To Born Again: We’ve had discussions like this before. I do not deny that there is truth in the Bible, nor that Jesus rose from the dead. There are two points regarding this, however, that I would like to make:

    1. Christians are often fond of declaring the scripture, by which they mean the Bible, is the only source of truth. However, it takes only a cursory reflection to realize that the “truth” in the Bible is extremely subject to one’s interpretation of the words written therein. One has only to look at the many conflicting versions of Christian dogma, from Catholicism to liberal Christianity to the Missouri Synod to see the truth of this. Furthermore, much of Christian dogma was developed after (sometimes long after) Jesus’ death by people no more qualified to discern truth than you or I.

    2. The fact that Jesus died and resurrected in his physical body does not imply that there is no truth in the other traditions. One has only to read the poetry of Rumi or Hafiz, or Yogananda’s marvelous Autobiography of a Yogi to see that it is possible to find God in non-Christian traditions.

  30. Bruce David, I would be very careful if I were you to just how far you wandered away from Christ, for as appealing as other spiritual paths may seem, and the gloss of truth they may possess, the fact is that non-Judeo-Christian cultures have an extreme rarity of the extremely pleasant Near Death Experiences commonly reported in Judeo-Christian cultures. In fact Bruce David many of the Near Death Experiences reported in foreign cultures are downright terrifying:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:

    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living. (of note; the last part of this paper contains the full paper)
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibe.....4&amp

    Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in a Melanesian Society by Dorothy E. Counts:
    Excerpt: “When you were in your village you claimed to be an important man. But in this little place you have been eaten up by a knife, a dog, and a pig. And now fire will utterly destroy you.” When the loudspeaker had finished, a fire blazed up and destroyed the remains.
    http://anthropology.uwaterloo......Death.html

    The Japanese find death a depressing experience – From an item by Peter Hadfield in the New Scientist (Nov. 30th 1991)
    Excerpt: A study in Japan shows that even in death the Japanese have an original way of looking at things. Instead of seeing ‘tunnels of light’ or having ‘out of body’ experiences, near-dead patients in Japanese hospitals tend to see rather less romantic images, according to researchers at Kyorin University. According to a report in the Mainichi newspaper, a group of doctors from Kyorin has spent the past year documenting the near-death experiences of 17 patients. They had all been resuscitated from comas caused by heart attacks, strokes, asthma or drug poisoning. All had shown minimal signs of life during the coma. Yoshia Hata, who led the team, said that eight of the 17 recalled ‘dreams’, many featuring rivers or ponds. Five of those patients had dreams which involved fear, pain and suffering. One 50-year-old asthmatic man said he had seen himself wade into a reservoir and do a handstand in the shallows. ‘Then I walked out of the water and took some deep breaths. In the dream, I was repeating this over and over.’ Another patient, a 73-year-old woman with cardiac arrest, saw a cloud filled with dead people. ‘It was a dark, gloomy day. I was chanting sutras. I believed they could be saved if they chanted sutras, so that is what I was telling them to do.’ Most of the group said they had never heard of Near-Death Experiences before.
    http://www.pureinsight.org/node/4

    India Cross-cultural study by Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia Medical School and Dr. Satwant Pasricha of the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India
    Excerpt: “Suddenly I saw two big pots of boiling water, although there was no fire, no firewood, and no fireplace. Then, the man pushed me with his hand and said, “You’d better hurry up and go back.” When he touched me, I suddenly became aware of how hot his hand was. Then I realised why the pots were boiling. The heat was coming from his hands! When I regained consciousness, I had a severe burning sensation in my left arm.” Mangal still had a mark on his left arm that he claims was a result of the burning. About a quarter of Dr Pasricha’s interviewees reported such marks. http://www.rediff.com/news/1999/apr/06pas.htm

    Hindu Woman asks Jesus to Make Himself Real – HE DID!!! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKp8w1qR5XM

    Monk and Jesus Miracle Story
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLEW3heQwA

    here is the transcript:

    The Buddhist Monk and Jesus
    Excerpt: Monk “And then the man turned and he walked away, going toward the door. And when he got to the door, he turned back around, and he said,

    Jesus: ‘My name is Jesus.

    Monk: “Now, I had never heard that name before, so I didn’t know who Jesus was. He didn’t tell me anything else about himself, only his name. And then I think I must have fallen asleep again. But later on in the night, I felt warmth in my leg. By morning, I had feeling. And when the doctors came to prep me for surgery, my leg was healed.”
    http://www.asiastories.com/?p=7

    Whereas here are the commonly reported Characteristics of Judeo-Christian NDE’s

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

  31. Since this thread has already spun wildly off-topic, I’ll throw my two cents in.

    I’d agree with Bruce David that other religious traditions can have some truth. I’d be willing to go so far as to say that there are some core ideas in common between all of the well-known western monotheisms, as well as some eastern theistic religions as well. I have no problem with the idea that other faiths may have some truth to them, even if not the whole truth. Maybe they’re out and out wrong on many things, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have some ideas correct. In fact, saying as much seems downright biblical, even pauline.

    That said, I reject the idea that Christianity has no clear teachings on the basis that ‘Look, there’s all these different claims about the teachings, so obviously none of them are clearly right’. Mere disagreement isn’t sufficient to establish a lack of certainty on a topic. If I say 2+2=4, call me “provincial” or “narrowminded” all you like for the crime of ruling out the idea that 2+2=27. 2+2 does not = 27, and if it breaks someone’s heart because to them it’s very important that 2+2=27, that’s really too bad.

  32. 33

    This is an interesting piece especially because I think that one of the more rational reasons for AGW and ToE denial ism is to avoid to talk about the consequences.

    And this fear of talking about the consequences is largely fueled by the impression that these are seen, even by a lot of the proponents, as inevitable while they actually are not.

  33. To Born Again: So what exactly do all these near-death experiences demonstrate other than that people generally see what they expect to see based on their cultural predispositions?

    To nullasalus: Certainly it’s possible that one tradition has a lock on the truth. However, I would ask you one question: How do you know which one? Obviously you believe that Christianity (which version?) is the one. but again, how do you know? What is the source of your certainty?

    For myself, I find it logically contradictory that an infinitely and unconditionally loving God would set it up so that only one tradition led back to Him, and based on the writings of the saints and sages of many traditions, that proposition is clearly false anyway.

    The idea that a child born and raised in the Arab world, for example, taught from infancy that the Koran is THE valid source of truth and who sincerely believes that teaching, would be denied communion with God because he or she didn’t accept Jesus as his or her savior is, frankly, preposterous. This just is not the action of a loving God. It just isn’t.

  34. Bruce David,

    Certainly it’s possible that one tradition has a lock on the truth.

    I didn’t say one tradition has a ‘lock on the truth’. Just that the mere existence of differing answers to a given question doesn’t mean that the possibility of achieving a single, correct answer is beyond possibility. Sometimes people are just plain wrong.

    would be denied communion with God because he or she didn’t accept Jesus as his or her savior is, frankly, preposterous.

    You’re confusing the truth of one religion/teaching or another with questions of salvation – those are distinct questions. I’m entirely comfortable with the idea that, say.. a noble pagan can go to heaven when he dies. But it wouldn’t be his due to his polytheism.

    Someone can believe in (for example) Christian universalism and still hold that other religions are wrong. Again, distinct questions.

  35. Bruce David you ask;

    ‘So what exactly do all these near-death experiences demonstrate other than that people generally see what they expect to see based on their cultural predispositions?’

    Well if you hold that near death experiences are merely figments of imagination then yours might be a reasonable position. Though for sure your position would be severely stretched of credulity since the ‘physics’ of the near death experiences reported in Judeo-Christian Cultures are so similar. i.e. it would be nearly the same as if you suggested that these millions of people are having the same hallucination. As well You might have a fall back reason, to give your ‘shared imagination’ postulate credibility, if you could point to a underlying physiological state that is shared among Judeo-Christian NDE’s but alas that would not explain why foreign cultures are so different, and to boot all physiological states suggested so far (anoxia, drugs, etc..) have all been ruled out. Dr. Jeff Long, who has recently written on the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting NDE’s, speaks on the ‘medically inexplicable’ nature of NDE’s here;

    Near Death Experiences – Scientific Evidence – Dr Jeff Long M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627/

    As well Bruce, special relativity overwhelmingly confirms the ‘reality of the physics’ of what the NDEer’s say they experience; Please note the similarity of the effect noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-D world folds and collapses into a tunnel, when traveling at the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ effect noted in many Near Death Experiences.

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven. (Barbara Springer)

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I saw a pinpoint of light in the distance. The black mass around me began to take on more of the shape of a tunnel, and I felt myself traveling through it at an even grea…ter speed, rushing toward the light. I was instinctively attracted to it, although again, I felt that others might not. As I approached it, I noticed the figure of a man standing in it, with the light radiating all around him. (Betty Eadie)

    As well, special relativity (traveling at the speed of light) provides correlation for the ‘eternal’ effect noted in many Judeo-Christian Near Death Experiences:

    …”I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein
    http://www.rd.com/your-america…-inspiring-people-and-stories/best-brainac/article37176-2.html

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    Perhaps Bruce you find it incredible that man could even have a ‘soul’??? Yet Bruce if you think than man has no ‘higher dimensional component’ to his being, and think that life merely ‘emerged’ from some type of primordial ooze, then please explain this following puzzle to me;

    The predominance of quarter-power (4-D) scaling in biology
    Excerpt: Many fundamental characteristics of organisms scale
    with body size as power laws of the form:

    Y = Yo M^b,

    where Y is some characteristic such as metabolic rate, stride length or life span, Yo is a normalization constant, M is body mass and b is the allometric scaling exponent.
    A longstanding puzzle in biology is why the exponent b is usually some simple multiple of 1/4 (4-Dimensional scaling) rather than a multiple of 1/3, as would be expected from Euclidean (3-Dimensional) scaling.
    http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/~dre.....18_257.pdf

    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.,,, The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection.” Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-369806

    Though Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini rightly find it inexplicable for ‘random’ Natural Selection to be the rational explanation for the scaling of the physiology, and anatomy, of living things to four-dimensional parameters, they do not seem to fully realize the implications this ‘four dimensional scaling’ of living things presents. This 4-D scaling is something we should rightly expect from a Intelligent Design perspective. This is because Intelligent Design holds that ‘higher dimensional transcendent information’ is more foundational to life, and even to the universe itself, than either matter or energy are. This higher dimensional ‘expectation’ for life, from a Intelligent Design perspective, is directly opposed to the expectation of the Darwinian framework, which holds that information, and indeed even the essence of life itself, is merely an ‘emergent’ property of the 3-D material realm.

    Further note:

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    Bruce, the fact is that reality itself testifies to the validity of Near Death Experience, thus the truth of the matter is that there is a higher dimension that we go to upon death, and as the Shroud stubbornly testifies, it does indeed matter who you entrust your ‘higher dimensional soul’ to;

    Shroud of Turin in 3-D – The Holographic Experience – Face & Body – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5889891/

  36. Born Again:

    I fully accept that who we are is spirit, a soul, an individuation of God. I also accept that the place we go to after the death of the physical body, which is our true home, has characteristics that are different and hard even to imagine while occupying a physical body. I have also been quite certain for some time now that reality is entirely mental, as described in your quote by Richard Conn Henry, (we are living in a kind of virtual reality maintained by the mind of God) and that time itself, along with the physical universe, is an illusion (all there is is Now).

    What I don’t accept is that God would be so unloving as to punish people with everlasting damnation simply for not accepting Jesus as their savior. That, I submit, is a contradiction of the very nature of God.

  37. Bruce David this, reconciling God’s infinite love with His infinite justice, is a very deep subject that goes to the very heart of the nature of God. And I find Christ to be the perfect resolution for the infinite love/infinite justice dilemma.,,, Yet if one refuses to accept what God Himself has wrought though Christ on the cross, for our behalf, to satisfy God’s infinite justice for our sin, then there is nothing left for His infinite love to accomplish to save us, for indeed it was God’s infinite love that compelled Him to endure the cross on our behalf so that we could be reunited with Him in paradise.

    Here is a sobering video that answers a few questions as to why hell exists:

    Bill Wiese – 23 Minutes In Hell – video
    http://www.vimeo.com/16155839
    full length
    http://www.vimeo.com/16641462

    I saw this video yesterday which gave a little more clarity to the whole issue of ‘evil’ which is the number one hang up of many people to accepting God’s work through Christ. Perhaps you will find it enlightening as well;

    If God, Why Evil? (Norman Geisler)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtOOPaNmJFY

  38. Born Again:

    I won’t pretend that I have an explanation of Bill Wiese’s experience of Hell, but I do know that it does not follow from that that Hell actually exists as a place where souls are sent by God.

    Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. This would seem to imply that the kingdom of Hell is also within, which is what I believe. The only Hell that exists is the Hell we create for ourselves by imagining that we are separate from God.

    Norman Geisler’s lecture on evil was clever, but it has some flaws:

    1. At the very beginning he defines evil according to Augustine (as I remember) as a corruption of something good. This is a man-made definition. All concepts of evil are man-made. The truth is that in God’s eyes there is no evil. The reason that we believe that there is evil is so that we may experience ourselves as good. The entire purpose of physical existence is for us to experience ourselves as God like (in His image and likeness), and in that process God also experiences Himself through us. You see, the problem is that a being can know it is good, but it can’t EXPERIENCE its goodness without the experience of its opposite. So we make up evil in order to experience good.

    You see, we are actually all one with God, a very part of Him, in partnership with Him in the glorious business of experiencing our and His magnificence. Thus, there really is no sin, and no need for justice at all. There is only love.

    2. Geisler confuses free will with freedom, and what God gave us is not just the former, but the latter as well. We are free, free to do whatever we wish. There is no punishment. If there were, it wouldn’t be freedom. This is not to say that there aren’t consequences. We do reap what we sow, but in our daily lives, not in some eternal damnation.

    I don’t expect to convince you of any of this, by the way. My real purpose in replying is in the hope that perhaps someone reading this might be inspired by the idea of a God who loves us unconditionally and from whom we have nothing whatsoever to fear.

    To such a person: read Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsch. These ideas are expounded there at length and much, much more eloquently than I can manage.

  39. Bruce your entire reasoning is built on the presupposition that there is no evil. For me that is just plain non-sense. I don’t care how much you, or Conversations with God, doctors it up with big words, the fact is that evil (lack of loving God and others as ourselves) does exist and to deny that it does exist is tantamount to denying that truth and lies exist.

  40. correction; (lack of loving God with all our heart and soul, and others as ourselves)

  41. Born again: What I said was that evil is something we humans make up, that there is no evil in God’s eyes. The whole of creation is good, what we view as evil included, in His eyes, because it perfectly suits the purpose for which He created it. See my last comment for a very brief explanation of that purpose.

  42. Bruce David??? and I misunderstood your position how??? when you say that humans ‘made up’ evil, you are in fact saying that evil is not real, which is exactly what I pointed out was the flaw in your reasoning!!! Denying such an obvious reality is termed ‘denialism’.

  43. Born Again:

    What do you mean by the word “real”

    If you mean that God declares that evil is real, then I must disagree with you, for reasons I have already stated. (And I would ask you how you know that God declares evil is real anyway.) If you mean that somehow evil is simply real, then I cannot conceive of what you mean by that except that it sure seems real to you. But that just makes it your subjective judgment. If you mean that everyone agrees that evil is real, I say that simply isn’t true, and as we know from the Darwin vs ID controversy, a majority opinion is no guarantee of truth.

  44. Bruce David, your dream-world utopia vision of ‘Everything Is Good’ dissolves into absurdity. For if there is no absolute standard of ‘good’ to judge by then the whole standard of judging right and wrong collapses. i.e. might as well free all the criminals in jail since murder and rape is no less good than charity to our enemies and chivalry towards women. But of more to the point with you is that you hold your view of ‘Everything is Good’ to be ‘more good’ than my view that ‘evil exist’, thus defeating yourself with your own inconsistency of logic. For if you by you own admission claim that all things are good then you have forfeited the right to tell me my view is bad (i.e. evil) for in your overarching view of the goodness and badness of things, my view is just as good as your view is.

  45. Born Again:

    To take your points in order,

    1. You’re completely correct, there is no absolute standard of right and wrong, and there never has been. Notice that every sect of every religion has its own version of absolute right and wrong, and furthermore, each one of these changes over time. Absolute right and wrong is an illusion, part of what we humans make up as evil.

    However, there are other reasons to incarcerate murderers and rapists, like protecting ourselves, for example. The whole subject of the way we punish criminals in our society needs drastic revision, but that is much to big a topic to address here.

    2. I do NOT hold your views to be evil, simply incorrect. Goodness, if every incorrect view that we hold were evil, we’d be in a fine pickle, wouldn’t we.

    God made us in His image and likeness. That means that each of us is magnificent beyond imagining. The purpose of earthly existence is for us to EXPERIENCE our magnificence. This is God’s gift to us and to Himself (for we are all One). In order to experience our goodness, we must have something that is not good to compare ourselves to. However, in God’s world, there is nothing that isn’t good. Hence, we come here and label certain things as evil in order to have that “not good” something. In God’s eyes, however, the evil that we see is just part of the creation whose purpose is the experiencing of our magnificence. Hence, in His eyes (and ours, once we reach a certain level of understanding) that which we have labeled evil is actually good, because it is necessary for the purpose to be fulfilled. It is part of His perfect creation.

    There is only love; all is love–God’s love for us and ours for Him and each other. God is our friend, our lover, our mother and father. We have absolutely nothing to fear from His unconditional love for us.

  46. Bruce David I didn’t get past the first line;

    ‘You’re completely correct, there is no absolute standard of right and wrong,’

    Excuse Me, I have in no way ever even hinted that that was my position. Yet the irony of irony is that even though you want to believe that proposition you attributed to me, for whatever misguided reason, to be true, the simple fact is that you forfeit any right whatsoever to argue whether your ideas are right or wrong in the first place since you claim there is no absolute standard from which to judge by.

  47. Born Again: You keep confusing an “ought” with an “is”. My position that there is no absolute right and wrong in a MORAL sense has absolutely nothing to do with right and wrong in the sense of correct or incorrect. It is totally consistent for me to discuss what is correct or incorrect (ie., true or false) while still holding that there is no absolute right or wrong in the sense of good and bad.

  48. Born Again: and by the way, I did not mean to imply that you believe that there is on absolute right or wrong. My statement was more in the line of you have concluded correctly in that regard.

  49. —Bruce David: “At the very beginning he defines evil according to Augustine (as I remember) as a corruption of something good. This is a man-made definition. All concepts of evil are man-made.”

    Actually, there is a metaphysical definition of evil [privation of the good] and a moral definition [perversity of the will]. Both are sound definitions. You are conflating the linguistic definition of evil with the metaphysical reality of evil. Of course, Augustine’s [and Geisler’s] definition of evil is made up [all definitions are made up] but the reality that is being defined is not made up. What both men are saying, rightly, is that while evil has no substance [a mere parasite on the good] it is, nevertheless, real.

    —The truth is that in God’s eyes there is no evil: The reason that we believe that there is evil is so that we may experience ourselves as good. The entire purpose of physical existence is for us to experience ourselves as God like (in His image and likeness), and in that process God also experiences Himself through us. You see, the problem is that a being can know it is good, but it can’t EXPERIENCE its goodness without the experience of its opposite. So we make up evil in order to experience good.”

    By your account, we can “experience ourselves as good” if we will only first believe what, for you, is a lie. On the contrary, we should believe in evil because it really exists, not because it facilitates this or that experience. Indeed, the truth is inseparable from the good. How could it be otherwise?

    In fact, most of us aren’t all that good anyway. Why should we “experience” ourselves as good if we aren’t good, or if we have not yet become good? If we believe ourselves to be good when we are not good, we are living a lie. The only way to become good is to allow God [The Holy Spirit] to transform us into Christ, the model to be realized, but we cannot be so transformed if we already believe ourselves to be good.

    —“Thus, there really is no sin, and no need for justice at all. There is only love.”

    As Chesterton pointed out, sin is so obvious that we can see it in the streets.

    —“Geisler confuses free will with freedom, and what God gave us is not just the former, but the latter as well. We are free, free to do whatever we wish. There is no punishment. If there were, it wouldn’t be freedom. This is not to say that there aren’t consequences. We do reap what we sow, but in our daily lives, not in some eternal damnation.”

    How can we reap evil benefits if evil doesn’t exist?

    —“I don’t expect to convince you of any of this, by the way. My real purpose in replying is in the hope that perhaps someone reading this might be inspired by the idea of a God who loves us unconditionally and from whom we have nothing whatsoever to fear.”

    God has explained in great detail what it means to love and be loved by him. Among other things, it means loving Him with our whole heart and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. He has also made it quite clear that we demonstrate that love by obeying Him and, with His help, keeping the commandments. If we refuse to obey God and keep his commandments, we have a great deal to fear because, through those actions, we show that we love only ourselves and do not really love God at all. Those who persist with that attitude will go to hell. Where else would God put them? Immaterial souls, having no parts, cannot die, and there are no rebels in heaven.

    —“To such a person: read Conversations with God, by Neale Donald Walsch. These ideas are expounded there at length and much, much more eloquently than I can manage.”

    Please burn that book because its author, a pantheist, lacks sound judgment. I implore you to seek out authors who are not so naïve as to believe that God is organic with the universe. God is the Creator of the universe, not the sum total of all its parts.

  50. Dear StephenB,

    I don’t burn books, even Why Evolution Is True.

    You regard [your interpretation of] Christian scripture as revelation. I regard Conversations with God as revelation. The parts of the books where God is speaking are directly from God, in my view.

    There is no authority other than our own inner knowing with which to make the distinction between what is true and what is not. Do you really expect that you can tell me what is true and I will accept your beliefs over my own inner conviction, my own certainty that I have encountered Truth?

    I also am a pantheist, by the way. It’s the only belief that makes sense. God is All That Is. From what could He create other than Himself?

    You are so certain you know the truth, but in reality you are simply parroting back what you have been told. Personally, I find the Christian idea of God to be an oxymoron, self-contradictory. An unconditionally loving God who would condemn and punish anyone for anything (particularly for all eternity) is a contradiction (put in a correction, yes; set up consequences designed to allow someone the opportunity of making a more loving choice next time, yes; but condemn or punish, absolutely not.)

    I’m sorry to be so heated about this, but the arrogance of people who are so certain that they know truth when all they are doing is regurgitating ancient folly tends to annoy me.

  51. —Bruce David: “I also am a pantheist, by the way. It’s the only belief that makes sense. God is All That Is. From what could He create other than Himself?”

    Pantheism makes no sense at all. The Creator cannot also be his creation, just as an author cannot also be his book, just as an artist cannot also be his painting. That should be obvious.

    —You are so certain you know the truth, but in reality you are simply parroting back what you have been told.”

    No, I have actually thought the matter through very carefully and weighed the theological claims in light of the first principles of right reason. On the other hand, you have not submitted your belief system to the same test. A changing Pantheistic God, for example, cannot be a perfect God and does not, therefore, deserve to be worshipped. It is you, therefore, who are parroting back what you have been told.

    —”Personally, I find the Christian idea of God to be an oxymoron, self-contradictory. An unconditionally loving God who would condemn and punish anyone for anything (particularly for all eternity) is a contradiction (put in a correction, yes; set up consequences designed to allow someone the opportunity of making a more loving choice next time, yes; but condemn or punish, absolutely not.)

    You have yet to address the problem of where we put those who don’t want anything to do with God? Why would God force people to be in heaven who don’t want to be there? You are not facing the issue. People put themselves in hell by rejecting God, loving only themselves, and remaining steadfast in that decision. They have to be someplace, or in some state of existence, don’t they? Where would you put them?

    You must reject reason at every turn to sustain your indefensible belief system. Anyone who denies the existence of evil is clearly out of touch with the real world.

    –”I’m sorry to be so heated about this, but the arrogance of people who are so certain that they know truth when all they are doing is regurgitating ancient folly tends to annoy me.”

    You have it backwards. Christianity is a historical religion based on events that occurred in time/space/history. Jesus Christ really lived, really performed miracles, and really rose from the dead. Even his enemies admitted that the miracles occurred and even they could not account for the empty tomb. Those are all historical facts. Thus, I have a good logical reasons for believing what I believe.

    What logical reasons do you have for believing in Pantheism? You really don’t have any. You can only marshal negative arguments–you don’t believe in a God who punishes–you don’t believe in evil–you don’t believe in this or that. Those are not arguments in favor of pantheism. Those are misguided and erroneous arguments against Christianity.

  52. Bruce David, though this poem is no where near the eloquence and clarity with which StephenB states the absurdity of your position, I find it somewhat relevant none-the-less:

    Ten Foot Tall and Bulletproof
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ivh4Chvi0dL3UjBbqTknjFkn6hUvpTYaN0BZaVX0RUg

    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    He lived by the bloody sword’s edge
    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    With the manners of a sledge
    To take by force, to have it all
    Were his only creed and call,
    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    My oh my how hard they fall
    No love for life, no love to be
    Save the love he had for he
    Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    My oh my he could not see
    A need for God, A need for Jesus
    Despite his mother’s plea
    Survival of the fittest and dog eat dog
    Or so he thought, thought he
    Thus, Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    Came to meet his appointed day
    With no clue of the fate
    For all of the hate
    That he had called his play
    Yes, Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    Without any slight delay
    Soon found out that the cost
    For all he had lost
    Was not in his own strength to pay
    Yes, Ten foot tall and bulletproof
    Despite his own mighty strength to prevail
    Soon found out without any doubt
    That he was in the mouth of hell!

  53. StephenB:

    In the first place, reason is notoriously fallible. One has only to look at the history of Western philosophy to see the truth of that. A whole lot of very smart men all used reason to arrive at contradictory conclusions. I don’t trust reason BY ITSELF to give us any knowledge at all. The Sufis have a saying, “Knowledge is given and not acquired.” To me this means that one finds the truth through one’s inner knowing. It is actually revealed to our own inner eye, but one has to be patient, and one has to learn to distinguish the “still small voice” within from the rest of the chatter of our minds. I have found that real knowledge is a kind of seeing.

    Second, with regard to pantheism, my view is that creation is a dream in the mind of God. Of course, it is a conscious, lucid dream. The reality that we inhabit is like a virtual reality in which God acts analogously to the computer that controls the virtual environment. God imagines everything into existence out of his own creative intelligence. There is absolutely nothing self-contradictory about such a metaphysics.

    With respect to those who “don’t want anything to do with God”, all I can say is that one’s attitudes on that score change dramatically after death. When we die, we remember Who We Really Are. This changes everything. Also, the place we go when we die is a place where among many other activities, we review our most recent life and prepare for the next one. Our spiritual advancement does not stop when we die, and this physical existence is not the only one we experience.

    Regarding the life of Jesus. I don’t deny any of the historical facts that you mention. My quarrel is with the conclusions that subsequent church leaders and scholars have drawn with respect to what it all means. In my view they have created a theology based on fear designed to keep the laity in line and prevent them from thinking for themselves, which is contradictory to the very nature of God. As I have said before, God is not an entity who works through fear. God loves us unconditionally. He is our lover and our friend, and will never punish or condemn us. It would be like me punishing my hand for dropping a glass on the kitchen floor. Jesus said that he and the Father are One. I believe that Jesus came to show us by example what we all are, that we are ALL One with the Father. (Did he not refer to us as his “brethren”, and didn’t he say that the miracles he performed we would all do and more?) For God to punish us would be to punish a part of Himself for exercising the freedom that He granted that part. It would be insane, and God is not insane.

  54. Bruce David, Stephen, forgive me for butting in here.

    Mr David you speak with delighful certainty, You know God this and you know God that. You seem to know how all works, even the roster of activies upon our death.

    In all of it, you did say one thing that is interesting however. You said that reason had failed. Crazily, I always thought that man failed reason and not the other way around. Rather like making a mistake, or choosing to do so – our fallible inheritance, as it were.

    Now I ask you this question not because I don’t trust your word on the matter – particuilarly given the certainty on display. It’s just that this is fascinating, and I would like to explore it further.

    Can you give me an example where reason has failed?

  55. Good Afternoon,

    Good to see things continuing. It seems to me that this ongoing discussion continues to demonstrate that the Christian world view explains why we act the way we do.

    BA 77 is a Christian and acts like a Christian. Things we do have significance, they have eternal consequences. Therefore it is absolutely right for him to argue and try to persuade.

    However, why does Bruce David argue like a Christian? Why does he act as if this is all important. He himself said that our existance is only a dream state.

    I think the answer is obvious. All of us act like Christians because that is the way creation really is.

    God Bless All of You.

  56. Upright BiPed:

    I tried to be careful regarding what I know of God by the use of phrases such as “in my view” and “I believe” where appropriate. I have done a lot of spiritual seeking in my life. I have studied Sufism in great depth, and Buddhism and Christianity to a lesser extent. I have had several spiritual teachers and have read many, many spiritually oriented books. I found things that made sense to me and things that didn’t in all of that. However, when I finally was introduced to the Conversations with God books, my whole being said “Yes!” to nearly everything I read in them (when God was speaking). I found certainty there, and occasionally that certainty spills over inappropriately into my conversations with others on spiritual subjects. If I have done so here, I apologize.

    When I speak of God’s attributes such as His unconditional love, I do so out of the assumption that we all agree on that. From there I try only to speak with certainty regarding logical consequences. For example, it contradicts the nature of unconditional love to lay down arbitrary rules and then punish one for breaking them, especially when that punishment lasts for all eternity. Such “love” is not unconditional, at least not as I understand the meaning.

    I didn’t exactly say that reason has failed. What I said was that it has demonstrated itself to be fallible. As justification for that statement, I point to the history of Western philosophy, in which the vast majority of thinkers, all very smart guys, used reason to arrive at their conclusions. However, those conclusions were all different, and in the main contradicted each other. If reason were not fallible, they would all have reached the same conclusions, now wouldn’t they.

  57. To GCS:

    The reference to a “dream state” was by way of analogy to try to explain how I see the nature of reality. It is God’s dream, after all, and is the totality of the created world. That makes it pretty important in my eyes.

    I would also like to say that it is not true that I see nothing of value in Christianity. At the risk of vastly oversimplifying, I see two sides to Christianity: the “love” side and the “sin” side. I view the aspects of Christianity that emphasize love–God’s love for us, ours for Him, and ours for each other as something I agree with and applaud. It is the whole Christian notion of sin with which I take issue. I believe that it is incorrect and damaging. It prevents people from seeing their own magnificence and veils us from understanding the true purpose of God’s Creation.

  58. And the historical example where reason failed yet man did not, is……what?

  59. Upright BiPed:

    I have always been talking about men and women using reason, not reason in some abstract Platonic realm. My point was originally to StephenB, who claimed that he arrived at his conclusions using reason.

    If you want to talk about reason in the abstract being infallible, I really have no comment on that. Reason always manifests through its use by human beings.

  60. Stephenb@50:

    “Pantheism makes no sense at all. The Creator cannot also be his creation, just as an author cannot also be his book, just as an artist cannot also be his painting. That should be obvious.”

    Christianity makes no sense at all. A supernatural being cannot create a universe out of nothing. A man cannot be his own father and a God all at the same time. Bodies do not get up and walk after they are dead. That should be obvious.

    Upright. As for Bruce David speaking with “delightful certainty”, that is ironic coming from a member of a group that claim to know everything about what their God wants for us, including who we should have sexual relations with.

  61. Participation is, of course, voluntary.

  62. Upright BiPed,

    As I re-read these comments, it seems that you have some idea that reason can be used correctly to arrive at truth, and when truth is not arrived at, the person has failed to use it correctly. If this is accurate, I would be interested to know if you have in mind some kind of criterion or methodology by which one can be sure that reason is used correctly.

  63. Bruce David,

    I think humans are fallible and will miss the truth for a variety of reasons. That is why I was so interested in your slurry of truth statements. For instance, when someone states that it is absolutely correct that there are no standards by which to judge right and wrong, then I haplessly wonder what standard they used to make that jusgement – just crazy little things like that.

    In any case, if reason itself has a correlation to reality, which it must, then “no” it will never fail.

  64. Bruce David,

    Reason is not “notoriously fallible” as a means of identifying contradictory world views. The law of non-contradiction is infallible insofar as it is impossible for a thing to be true and false at the same time and under the same formal circumstances. No one here is suggesting that reason alone is sufficient for discovering all truth, certainly not me. There is a difference between “rationality” and “rationalism.” Rationality can be used to test religion’s truth claims, but it leaves the door open to Divine revelation; rationalism declares that all religions are unnecessary and that reason alone is sufficient to arrive at all truth.

    Because all religions make truth claims, they should be subjected to reason’s standards. Any religion that cannot pass the test should be rejected. Pantheism makes truth claims, but it does not pass the test of reason.

    You quote Sufis by saying that “knowledge is given and not acquired.” By that statement alone, you give away the store. If we cannot apprehend knowledge, but must wait until some guru deigns to give it to us, then rationality has left the building. Granted, one can receive a “revealed truth” from a Divine source, however, the religion that presumes to present that revelation must be grounded in, or tested for, rationality, otherwise, we cannot discern which revelations are trustworthy and which ones are not.

    Again, we can indeed hear God’s still voice during prayer, through which God may speak to us. However, the answers to prayers are, by no means, synonymous with the reasoning process. You say that you have found that real knowledge is a kind of “seeing.”

    Again, if God is speaking to someone in a mystical sense, that could be true. To know God as HE is would surpass all of reason’s capacity to apprehend it. However, one can also be mislead by that still small voice or even about the identity of its author. That still small voice, for example, has persuaded you that evil doesn’t exist, that God is organic with the universe, and that the law of contradiction is negotiable.

    Indeed, you not only deny the existence of evil, but go one step further by denying reality itself, suggesting that creation is merely a dream in the mind of God. Since you and I are part of creation, your philosophy reduces us both to dreams in the mind of God and completely wipes out our identity. That world view refutes itself. I know for a fact that I exist and am more than a dream in the mind of God because I can test that proposition daily.

    Interestingly, I agree with your following statement to the effect that we remember who we are after we die. Even so, I don’t know how you reconcile that point with your earlier claim that we are but a dream in the mind of God. How can we remember who we are if we don’t exist as persons, or have no distinct identity, or have no distinct intellectual faculty. If we are only a part of God, with no identity of our own, then it would be God who is remembering a part of himself. With that scenario, we would not be doing the remembering at all. Do you not see this? That is what reason is for—to find out if what we believe makes any sense.

    This escape from reason also leads you to conclude that God cannot punish us because we are a part of God. Yet one paragraph earlier, you argue that we can remember who we are after we die because, presumably, we have our own intellectual facility that can do the remembering, except that you don’t believe we have our own intellectual faculties at all– that they are God’s faculties. Do you see the problem here?

    On the matter of Jesus’s sayings, I can only acknowledge, once again, that you have not been listening to the quiet voice of God but rather to the loud voice of a misguided pantheist author. Christ did, indeed, say that He was one with the Father, because both the Son and the Father are equally and fully God. On the other hand, he certainly did not say, nor could he say, that we are “ALL one with the Father” because that would make us equal with God. What he did say is that we can become adopted sons of God and, to that extent, participate in Divine life. But we will always be creatures and God will always be God.

    The Father “begat” the Son, but He “created us.” To beget is to generate an equal; to create is to produce an inferior. Hence, humans beget other humans, their equals, but they create works of art, their inferiors. God the Father begat his Son, his equal, but He created us, his inferiors.

    Christ did, indeed, say that we can be his brothers and sisters [with his human nature not his Divine nature] but he very clearly laid down the conditions for such a relationship: As He put it, “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister….”

    You say that the church leaders have created a theology of fear to keep people in line and prevent them from thinking for themselves. By the theology of fear, I gather you mean the doctrine of hell. Once again, I must ask you to submit that proposition to the facts in evidence and the standards of reason.

    Would it be helpful if I pointed out that Jesus Christ himself spoke more about the reality of hell than on any other subject? Would it help if I pointed out that the Church’s doctrine on hell was a reiteration of the Savior’s own words.

    This, by the way, is another advantage of subjecting our interpretations to reasoned analysis. Among other things, reason allows us to distinguish between the act of reading out of a text the meaning that is inherent in it [exegesis] from the act of reading into a text the meaning we wish was there but isn’t [eisegesis].

  65. —Bruce: “I didn’t exactly say that reason has failed. What I said was that it has demonstrated itself to be fallible. As justification for that statement, I point to the history of Western philosophy, in which the vast majority of thinkers, all very smart guys, used reason to arrive at their conclusions. However, those conclusions were all different, and in the main contradicted each other. If reason were not fallible, they would all have reached the same conclusions, now wouldn’t they.”

    Are you really thinking this thing through? How would you know that these philosophers contradicted each other except by depending on reason’s rules to inform you of that fact. If reason is, as you say, fallible, maybe it is fallible in your present use, which would mean that it mislead you into believing that the philosophers in question had contradicted each other.

    Reason doesn’t fail, but unreasoning humans often do. Indeed, Western thought is replete with many forays into the truth and also many errors. Through the use of reason, we can detect those errors and learn from them. Interestingly, the forerunners of modern philosophy contradicted themselves on a regular basis, whereas the truly great philosophers never contradict themselves at all. Great philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, may begin with different assumptions, but they do not make logical errors or contradict themselves.

    On the other hand, the more popular philosophers embraced by the establishment and the Darwinist academy, commit one logical error after another. Hume, for example, is full of contradictions. In one breath, he tells us that miracles are impossible because nature is a closed system, limited by the unalterable laws of cause and effect. In the next breath, he tells us that the proofs for God’s existence are invalid because causality is undependable.

    How about Kant? In one breath, he tells us that we cannot really know anything about reality? In the next breath, he tells us that he knows enough about reality to declare that we cannot know anything about it.

    Why do otherwise intelligent men make such stupid logical errors? Easy! On some matters, they think with their glands [their desire for unfettered sex or the love of power] and leave their brains at home.

    Bertrand Russell, who was as gifted as most, asked one of the stupidest questions in history about classical theology: “Who made God?” Obviously, the classical theological formulation characterizes God as the uncaused cause, which would mean, of course, that God could not have been caused or made. The problem is not with reason but rather with fallen humans who would prefer that the conclusions to which reason leads them are not so.

  66. Upright BiPed:

    You said, “For instance, when someone states that it is absolutely correct that there are no standards by which to judge right and wrong, then I haplessly wonder what standard they used to make that jusgement…”

    You, like Born Again, are confusing right and wrong in the sense of good and bad with right and wrong in the sense of correct and incorrect. When I say there is no absolute standard of right and wrong, I am referring to the meanings right = good and wrong = bad. I am not making any statement whatsoever regarding the meanings right = correct and wrong = incorrect. In other words, you can paraphrase my statement as, “It is correct that there is no absolute standard of good and bad.” Clear?

    I take it you really don’t have any method by which you can determine when reason is being used correctly and when not.

    StephenB: I have explained to you why my view of pantheism is logically consistent. You nonetheless insist that it is not. We will simply have to leave it that we disagree. The rest of your long polemic is full of similar areas of disagreement for which I can see no hope of any kind of reconciliation between our views, and frankly, I don’t have the time to spend on what would clearly be a completely fruitless discussion.

  67. StephenB, Despite Bruce David’s refusal to honestly deal with his faulty reasoning in a ‘honest’ discussion with you, and despite his dismissive tone to your solid response, I am very appreciative of the depth you bring to the table when you defend your points!

  68. —Bruce: “I have explained to you why my view of pantheism is logically consistent. You nonetheless insist that it is not. We will simply have to leave it that we disagree.”

    I have provided no less than 16 refutations, none of which were answered.

  69. Bruce David, I noticed you said this;

    ‘like Born Again, are confusing right and wrong in the sense of good and bad with right and wrong in the sense of correct and incorrect.’

    Now Bruce David I take your logic to mean that being correct and incorrect does not equate to good and bad, since you hold that ‘bad/evil’ does really exist in your overarching view of reality, only good really exist in your view. Now let’s take this position of yours to the extreme and see if your position holds water. If I am ‘correct’ in my Christian view of reality, which I hold that I am by many uncompromising evidences I have seen, then, by my adoption into the eternal family of God through Christ, I will enter into an unimaginably wonderful paradise (testified to by NDE’s), which I hold to be a very ‘good’ thing. And yet if I am incorrect, and you are ‘correct’ in your ‘all is good’ reality, then I have lost nothing in my acceptance of Christ into my life since I will end up reunited with God anyhow. Yet, and this is a BIG YET, if you are ‘incorrect’ in your view of reality, as I adamantly hold that you are, and you cause yourself or someone else to reject Christ, because of your faulty reasoning in this very important matter, then you have lost everything that can be considered good, for you, or someone else you have misled, has rejected the ‘correct’ path to be reunited with God and will indeed be separated from all that is ‘Good’, since God is certainly the source of all that is good!!!

    and furthermore God is even the absolute standard we are to ultimately to judge good and evil, correct and incorrect by for there can be no higher standard in which to appeal.

  70. correction;

    since you hold that ‘bad/evil’ does NOT really exist in your overarching view of reality,

  71. StephenB:

    The only refutation of pantheism that I could find in all your words was this:

    “The Creator cannot also be his creation, just as an author cannot also be his book, just as an artist cannot also be his painting.”

    This is not a logical refutation, it is simply an argument from analogy, and the analogy doesn’t hold. It doesn’t even apply to humans. The book exists in the imagination of the author–ie., is a part of him or her–before it is translated to ink on paper or characters on a screen. My position with respect to God is that there is no translation to the physical world, because there is no physical world outside of Him. It is entirely within the mind of God–virtual reality if you will. God does create out of Himself. Now you may think my views are wrong headed (or just wrong) but I defy you to find a logical contradiction in them.

  72. Born Again:

    Please, not that old argument again. Who was it that first advanced it, some French philosopher, Poincare, was it? Anyway, it’s just more fear based reasoning. You’d better believe because if you’re wrong you’ll spend eternity in Hell.

    See, the problem with that argument is that God is unconditionally loving, so it simply is not possible that He would punish us that way. To me, Hell is just a story, made up by Church fathers to keep the troops in line. It has no reality.

    What if the fundamentalist Mulsims are right? Then you, as an infidel, will spend an eternity in Hell. I suggest you immediately convert. Start by affirming, There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet. Then you had better start following the Sharia. Set your alarm for 4:00 am so you don’t miss the first prayer tomorrow morning.

    Hell, man, there are even Christian sects that will have you burning in Hell for all sorts of ridiculous transgressions, like dancing, for instance, or listening to music that isn’t liturgical.

    If a man wants to avoid Hell, what’s a fella to do?

  73. —Bruce David: “The only refutation of pantheism that I could find in all your words was this:

    [God cannot also be his creation].

    The only one you could find? There are 20 points that you did not respond to.

    Here are the other 19.

    @48

    1) I showed how you conflated the definition of evil with the reality of evil.

    2) I showed that, according to your philosophy, one must believe a lie [believing in evil even when it doesn't exist] in order to experience goodness.

    3) I pointed out that, if we believe ourselves to be good and are not, we are living a lie,

    4) I argued that the outrageous behavior if some people exposes the self-evident nature of sin

    5) I asked you how evil consequences are possible if evil doesn’t exist.

    6) I argued that love undefined is meaningless and that it does, in fact, requires adherence to God’s commandments.

    @50

    7) I argued that a pantheistic God is always changing, cannot be perfect, and does not, under the circumstances, deserve to be worshipped.

    8) I asked you what you would have do with souls that live forever, but do not want to be in heaven.

    9) I showed that Christianity is a historical religion based on reason and that pantheism was simply hatched in someone’s mind.

    10) I pointed out that you present only false negative arguments against Christianity and no positive arguments in favor of pantheism.

    @62

    11) I showed that that law of non-contradiction is not fallible.

    12) I pointed out that your argument that knowledge is “given” and cannot be apprehended places you at the mercy of some guru who will give you the information.

    13) I pointed out that you not only reject evil, but you also deny that reality itself exists by saying that creation is a “part” of God

    14) I indicated that you need reason’s rules to discern deceptive “still voices” from truthful still voices.

    15) I pointed out that you cannot say that humans remember who they are and what they did after death if they have no identity or intellectual faculty of their own.

    16) I indicated that you cannot say humans have such an identity if they are, in fact, part of God and therefore a part of God’s identity. That would mean God, and not us, was doing the remembering.

    17) I pointed out that, according to Scripture, Jesus is ONE with the Father, but, contrary to your assertions, We are not.

    18) I showed that, according to Scripture, we cannot be Jesus brothers and sisters without doing God’s will

    19) I showed that the Church, contrary to your claim invented the doctrine of hell, took that teachings directly from Christ’s own words.

    If you want to pick just three or four, try 2, 3, 15, and 16.

  74. Bruce David,

    You, like Born Again, are confusing right and wrong in the sense of good and bad with right and wrong in the sense of correct and incorrect. When I say there is no absolute standard of right and wrong, I am referring to the meanings right = good and wrong = bad.

    Thank you for the adventure into mind-reading, but no, your words are fairly accessible and I wasn’t confused about any of them. But by all means, let us change out your original words with your revised choices.

    Here are your original words:

    You’re completely correct, there is no absolute standard of right and wrong, and there never has been.

    And here is your revision:

    You’re completely correct, there is no absolute standard of good and bad, and there never has been.

    And finally, here is the wording you consider mistaken:

    You’re completely correct, there is no absolute standard of correct and incorrect, and there never has been.

    - – - – - –

    Now that we have that out of the way, we can conclude from you that when reasoning over claims of truth, there can be instances where our reasoning could be good and right, but incorrect. At the same time, there can be instances where our reasoning could be wrong and bad, but correct.

    Thanks for the clarification.

  75. StephenB:

    Only 7 directly addresses pantheism, and it is a perfect example of how “reason” comes up with idiocy. What logical rule implies that something that changes cannot be perfect. Some scholastic philosopher made that up. Furthermore, even if we grant that God is less than perfect, why does that imply we should not worship Him, given that He is still our creator and still far beyond us? Finally, even granting all your premises, the conclusion that a pantheistic God is not worthy of worship does not invalidate pantheism, Rather, it invalidates worship. And anyway, why would a perfect God need or want our worship in the first place?

    Numbers 15 and 16 touch on pantheism, but they simply betray your lack of understanding of what I said. You concluded that humans have no “identity of intellectual faculty of their own”. It doesn’t follow. God divided Himself into all of us. We are each an individuation of Him, distinct but not separate. We are each made in His image and likeness with all of His qualities, including consciousness and individual identity. You don’t believe this, I know, nor do you understand it, which I can tell from the questions you ask. You think you are applying reason to my beliefs, but all you are really doing is betraying your lack of understanding. Reason cannot deal effectively with what it does not understand.

    This is why I said that it would be fruitless to continue the conversation. Given your beliefs, it is impossible for you to grasp what I am trying to convey. Words can never describe spiritual truth. They can only point to it. You have to let the words evoke your inner knowing, which you are simply unable to do–not because you are not smart enough, but because your existing structure of belief will not allow it.

    This is no problem, really. We each have lifetimes and lifetimes to come to awareness. We have as much time as we need. But you and I really have nothing more to say to each other that would be productive, not that I can see anyway.

  76. Upright BiPed:

    I was responding to this statement from you: “For instance, when someone states that it is absolutely correct that there are no standards by which to judge right and wrong, then I haplessly wonder what standard they used to make that jusgement…”

    In that statement you have confused the two meanings of right and wrong. If you can’t see it, there is nothing more I can say.

  77. Bruce David,

    I was responding to this statement from you…

    That is unfortunate of course, if for no other reason than it does nothing to strengthen your claims. Just perhaps, what you should have been responding to is this:

    …we can conclude from you that when reasoning over claims of truth, there can be instances where our reasoning could be good and right, but incorrect. At the same time, there can be instances where our reasoning could be wrong and bad, but correct.

    - – - – - – -

    I’ve noticed that the repeated bottomline theme of your last posts have been to disengage from this conversation.

    In place of forcing me to address thoughtful responses to what has been presented to you, please allow me to bid you farewell.

    :)

  78. It’s amusing that those of you who say you are Christians don’t agree on how to interpret and practice Christianity, and of course you also think that your religion (and your interpretation and practice of it) is the only correct set of religious beliefs.

    When I read scientific articles/papers and/or science blogs, I often see disagreement and even some fights.

    When I read religious articles and/or religious blogs, I often see the same kind of disagreements and fights.

    Just about everyone thinks they know everything and that anyone who doesn’t agree with them must be wrong, whether it pertains to science, religion, politics, or anything else. A massive dose of humility would do the human race a lot of good.

    By the way, I’m not religious at all but I know the difference between right and wrong. Really I do.

  79. Bruce David,

    I can’t help noticing how closely your philosophy mirrors atheism/materialism, for the atheists hold that ‘material’ is all that there is, and you hold that ‘material’ is just a ‘part of God’. ,,, The parallels are spooky that come from that relationship!

  80. For an example, Bruce David, of how closely your philosophy mirrors atheism, notice how closely your moral dilemma would mirror the professor’s dilemma in this situation, since ‘All is good’ in your view;

    Cruel Logic
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qd1LPRJLnI

  81. Pachyaena, if you knew the difference between right and wrong you’d be a Christian.

    But, as it apparently helps you sleep at night, feel free to continue to ignore the fact that Christians agree on over 90% of what the Bible teaches, and the other 10% is mostly about fairly insignificant issues. Don’t remember either that what one would call “mainline” Christians all agree that if the core issues—the deity of Christ, salvation by faith alone, and similar—are not affirmed by a “denomination”, they are labeled a cult and not accepted as Christian, and that therefore there is no fighting in those cases among Christians.

    Whatever keeps you shielded from the truth doesn’t, in my opinion, stem from either integrity or critical thinking.

    Oh! And do you think you are right?

  82. Bruce David,

    Thank you for considering my commments. I found your comments at #58 very interesting.

    That the “dream state” of God is so real is only one (very small) step away from realizing that God actually created something different from Himself.

    I agree that sin is a problem. I was with you for most of my life. However, accepting the reality of sin was the most liberating thing. It explained why I and other people acted the way we do. No other world view explains why we act the way we do.

    I will give you a personal challange. Take a deep breath and just say, “Maybe Christianity is right.” Then just wait. If you asked with a true desire to know, you will find the answer.

    God Bless,

    Gesualdo

  83. Upright BiPed:

    So you want to leave with a parting shot? Get in the last word? Ok. I’ll let you have it.

    Via con Dios.

  84. Born Again:

    If you can’t tell the difference between my philosophy and materialism/atheism, then I can only say you really haven’t been paying attention to anything I have said.

  85. Pachyaena:

    I agree with you completely, even though it’s probably true that I could do with a little more humility myself on occasion.

    I particularly agree that it is not necessary to be religious or even spiritual to know the difference between right and wrong, or put another way, to be a good person. My brother is my favorite example. He is kind and honest and loving. He is the best father I know personally. I would trust him with my life (and my money, and my heart) And, he isn’t just an agnostic, he’s an out and out atheist.

  86. Gesualdo:

    Thank you for the civility of your response.

    I can only say that I had the same experience of liberation when God said (in Conversations with God) that there is no right or wrong, only what works and what doesn’t work given what you want to be do or have. Or when He said that He would never punish us, ever. The experience was, at last I know that God really does love me. I have nothing to fear from Him. It was like coming home, being embraced in the bosom of the Creator.

    Conversations with God also gives the only explanation that really makes sense to me of the purpose of the creation in general and the physical universe in particular. Included in that is a completely satisfying (to me) explanation of why we do and experience things that seem to be negative or at odds with our and God’s true natures (what Christians would classify as evil or sin).

    So I will issue a similar challenge to you: read Conversations with God with a truly open mind and see where it takes you.

  87. –Bruce: “You concluded that humans have no “identity of intellectual faculty of their own”. It doesn’t follow. God divided Himself into all of us.”

    Is God both Hitler and Mother Teresa? Are Hitler and Mother Teresa both parts of God? Is one part of God committing genocide while another part of God is healing lepers? Do you really believe that nonsense?

    You stated specifically that we must believe that evil exists, even though it doesn’t exist, in order to experience goodness. That means that, by your standard, we must believe a lie in order to experience goodness. That makes no sense. Do you not see that?

    There are just two of the multiple points that I have brought out.

  88. Ok, StephenB, I’ll give it one more shot, although I don’t hold out much hope.

    What I said was the there is no evil in God’s eyes. I said that what we label as evil is something that we decide (and if you notice, every sect of every religion has a different definition of what actually constitutes evil). We live in an illusion, but until we have reached a high level of understanding, the illusion seems very real. Thus the evil that we see is real IN OUR EXPERIENCE. This is all that is required for the purpose to be fulfilled. We have an EXPERIENCE of evil, which allows us to have an EXPERIENCE of good. Later, when our spiritual growth has progressed to the point where we see the whole picture, where we understand the illusion for what it is and what it’s purpose is, the memory of that experience of evil is sufficient for us to continue to experience our goodness. That’s my understanding of how it works. It makes perfect sense to me. If it doesn’t to you, well, so be it.

    As for Mother Teresa and Hitler, yes, they are both a part of Him. In particular, Hitler is one of the parts that allows us to have an experience of evil. So Hitler is part of the Creation, which is perfectly constructed by God to perfectly fulfill its purpose.

    On the subject of Hitler, I believe that he genuinely believed that his actions were right (in both senses of “right”). I think that he truly had no idea that the world at large regarded him as a monster. He could never understand, for example, why the English wouldn’t join him, given that they also were arians and thus members of the “master race”. Most people, most of the time, do nothing that they view as wrong, given their understanding of the world.

  89. Bruce, Bruce, Bruce. First you say there is no right or wrong, then you say your brother knows the difference between right and wrong. So either you are wrong about your brother or Brother Neale is wrong about right and wrong.

    Of course, you could both be wrong.

  90. allanius:

    I only ever said that there was no right and wrong in God’s eyes. Each of us has standards that we apply to our own behavior (and usually, unfortunately, to everyone else as well). This should be obvious. I don’t generally use the terms right and wrong when discussing peoples’ behavior, including my own, but I was responding to Pachyaena so I used her words.

    As I have said repeatedly in this thread, part of the purpose of the created world is for us to experience ourselves as good. There is no contradiction in saying there is no evil in God’s eyes and the idea that we need concepts of good and evil in order to have that experience ourselves.

    Honestly, is this all you people can do, continually try to catch me up in a contradiction? Why don’t you seriously try to understand where I am coming from instead?

  91. —Bruce: “Honestly, is this all you people can do, continually try to catch me up in a contradiction? Why don’t you seriously try to understand where I am coming from instead?”

    Bruce, I do understand where you are coming from.

    God is all people; all people are a part of God. Mao is one part, Mother Teresa is another part. God is one being and yet that same being commits genocide and also ministers to lepers. This behavior, while it may seem schizophrenic, is really an expression of oneness. In keeping with that point, Mao’s evil doesn’t really exist. Granted, his practices may seem evil, but they aren’t. They simply allow us to have an experience of evil, in the absence of any real evil, in order to experience goodness, which also doesn’t exist.

  92. StephenB,

    Not bad. I’m actually impressed. However, you got one part wrong: goodness does exist. God is good, and so are we, since we are a part of Him and made in His image and likeness. The problem, which is solved by the existence of the world, is that goodness cannot be experienced without its opposite being also present in awareness in some way. So in order for God to experience His goodness he had to have the experience of evil. But in the transcendent state, this is not possible. Thus, He created imminence (and us a part of it) so that we, by temporarily forgetting our true nature, can experience the opposite of good, or evil, thus allowing us to experience good as well. But since we are One with Him and created in His image and likeness, our experience also becomes His experience. This dynamic is not limited to goodness. All of His qualities are experienced in a similar manner.

    This is why there is no evil in God’s eyes, because what we experience as evil is all part of His perfect plan. And this is why He loves us unconditionally and will never punish us. Punishing us would be tantamount to punishing Himself for doing exactly what we were created to do.

    I will repeat what I said earlier, however: the lack of punishment does not imply a lack of consequences. Consequences tend to be in the nature of “What goes around comes around.” or “We reap what we sow.” If you sow hatred, hatred comes back to you. If you sow love, love comes back. I have personally experienced both to be true.

  93. “So in order for God to experience His goodness he had to have the experience of evil”

    “But in the transcendent state, this is not possible. Thus, He created imminence”

    “I tried to be careful regarding what I know of God by the use of phrases such as “in my view” and “I believe” where appropriate.”

    cough, cough.

  94. Bruce David, I just pointed out exactly where both your philosophy and atheism coincide. They both fail when they try to account for objective morals! It seems that your distaste for you, or anyone else, having to face eternal consequences for their ‘evil’ actions in this life (hell) has driven you to the absurd position of trying to redefine God in a way that makes him into sort of a cosmic gummy bear instead of The moral Law giver and upholder. But in doing so you have rendered your philosophy unable to deal with ‘real world’ moral issues. Thus your philosophy is also as unfounded in reality as materialism is.

  95. Bruce, you have been a good sport. I appreciate it.

    The problem, however, persists.

    If Mao, as part of God, decides to commit genocide, and if Mother Teresa, as another part of God, resolves to save lives, perhaps even those same lives, then God, who is said to be both of these people, and is therefore making both decisions, is at war with himself. It just doesn’t work.

  96. StephenB

    The reason you don’t understand it is that you insist on assuming what I do not, that evil exists in God’s eyes. Take away that assumption, and there is no conflict.

  97. Born Again:

    We’ve had 2000years of judgment, condemnation, punishment, and fear of Hell. Look around at the world today and tell me how well that has worked.

    I say it’s time to try something else, like love (the unconditional variety), compassion, understanding, and communication (especially listening).

  98. bornagain77 said:

    “Thus your philosophy is also as unfounded in reality as materialism is.”

    I’d say that you have a lot to learn about “reality”. Your “philosophy” is founded on blind faith and arrogance. Like most religious people, you think that your belief system is the only correct one.

    Has it ever occurred to you that if you had been born in, say, Iran, or Borneo, or India, or Myanmar, you would not likely be a Christian? And what if you had been born a thousand years ago in North America, or South America? How about ten thousand years ago, anywhere on Earth?

    When was Christianity invented by humans? Is everyone on Earth a Christian? Will all the people who weren’t and aren’t Christians burn in some Hell simply because they weren’t born in the right place at the right time, or because they don’t choose to be a Christian, or because they don’t interpret and/or practice Christianity exactly like you do?

    Are you being a true Christian by speaking as though you know all the answers?

    This site is allegedly devoted to ID and I’m pretty sure I’ve read posts here that say that ID isn’t necessarily a religious belief. Atheists on the internet regularly say that ID is just another religious belief that pretends to be scientific and that ID bloggers are being dishonest by claiming that they are not pushing a religious agenda. I understand why atheists and/or scientists would think that way, since most ID adherents do push their religious beliefs.

    If ID is ever going to be taken seriously by science, it has to be completely separated from religion. It must stand on its own, without any reference at all to religion or philosophy.

    As long as ID is connected to religious beliefs in any way, and not founded in reality, science will not see it as anything other than just another religious fairy tale.

    This site will also never be taken seriously by science if religious beliefs are allowed to be discussed here. Either ID is a religious thing, or it’s not. Which is it?

  99. Pachyaena you quote me;

    “Thus your philosophy is also as unfounded in reality as materialism is.”

    and then state;

    I’d say that you have a lot to learn about “reality”.

    Perhaps you would like to defend materialism/atheism? Really Pachyaena, I would very much like for you to try teach me about the ‘material’ foundation of this reality!

  100. Perhaps this might help you prepare your defense Pachyaena

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time ‘unifying’ into a ‘theory of everything’.(Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them?
    Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Field theory), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.
    http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    Quantum Mechanics Not In Jeopardy: Physicists Confirm Decades-Old Key Principle Experimentally – July 2010
    Excerpt: the research group led by Prof. Gregor Weihs from the University of Innsbruck and the University of Waterloo has confirmed the accuracy of Born’s law in a triple-slit experiment (as opposed to the double slit experiment). “The existence of third-order interference terms would have tremendous theoretical repercussions – it would shake quantum mechanics to the core,” says Weihs. The impetus for this experiment was the suggestion made by physicists to generalize either quantum mechanics or gravitation – the two pillars of modern physics – to achieve unification, thereby arriving at a one all-encompassing theory. “Our experiment thwarts these efforts once again,” explains Gregor Weihs. (of note: Born’s Law is an axiom that dictates that quantum interference can only occur between pairs of probabilities, not triplet or higher order probabilities. If they would have detected higher order interference patterns this would have potentially allowed a reformulation of quantum mechanics that is compatible with, or even incorporates, gravitation.)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142640.htm

    The conflict of reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity problem that crops up in different places of each theory:

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to todays physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics.,,, What the two theories have in common — and what they clash over — is zero.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    The following Physicist offers a very interesting insight into this issue of ‘reconciling’ the mental universe of Quantum Mechanics with the space-time of General Relativity:

    How the Power of Intention Alters Matter – Dr. William A. Tiller
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein’s equation: E=MC2. Here’s how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, “almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!” If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations.,,,, In conclusion Tiller states, “despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is.” “Matter as we know it,” Tiller concludes poetically, “is hardly a fragrance of a whisper.”
    http://www.spiritofmaat.com/ar.....tiller.htm

    Yet, the unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Moreover there actually is physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram – Face And Body – Dr. Petrus Soons – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5889891/

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    While I agree with a criticism, from a Christian, that was leveled against the preceding Shroud of Turin video, that God indeed needed no help from the universe in the resurrection event of Christ since all things are possible with God, I am none-the-less very happy to see that what is considered the number one problem of Physicists and Mathematicians in physics today, of a ‘unification into a theory of everything’ for what is in essence the finite world of General Relativity and the infinite world of Quantum Mechanics, does in fact seem to find a successful resolution for ‘unification’ within the resurrection event of Jesus Christ Himself. It seems almost overwhelmingly apparent to me from the ‘scientific evidence’ we now have that Christ literally ripped a hole in the finite entropic space-time of this universe to reunite infinite God with finite man. That modern science would even offer such a almost tangible glimpse into the mechanics of what happened in the tomb of Christ should be a source of great wonder and comfort for the Christian heart.

  101. Perhaps this might help you prepare your defense Pachyaena

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time ‘unifying’ into a ‘theory of everything’.(Einstein, Penrose).

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them?
    Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Field theory), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.

    Quantum Mechanics Not In Jeopardy: Physicists Confirm Decades-Old Key Principle Experimentally – July 2010
    Excerpt: the research group led by Prof. Gregor Weihs from the University of Innsbruck and the University of Waterloo has confirmed the accuracy of Born’s law in a triple-slit experiment (as opposed to the double slit experiment). “The existence of third-order interference terms would have tremendous theoretical repercussions – it would shake quantum mechanics to the core,” says Weihs. The impetus for this experiment was the suggestion made by physicists to generalize either quantum mechanics or gravitation – the two pillars of modern physics – to achieve unification, thereby arriving at a one all-encompassing theory. “Our experiment thwarts these efforts once again,” explains Gregor Weihs. (of note: Born’s Law is an axiom that dictates that quantum interference can only occur between pairs of probabilities, not triplet or higher order probabilities. If they would have detected higher order interference patterns this would have potentially allowed a reformulation of quantum mechanics that is compatible with, or even incorporates, gravitation.)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142640.htm

    The conflict of reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity problem that crops up in different places of each theory:

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to todays physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics.,,, What the two theories have in common — and what they clash over — is zero.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

    The following Physicist offers a very interesting insight into this issue of ‘reconciling’ the mental universe of Quantum Mechanics with the space-time of General Relativity:

    How the Power of Intention Alters Matter – Dr. William A. Tiller
    Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein’s equation: E=MC2. Here’s how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, “almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!” If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations.,,,, In conclusion Tiller states, “despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is.” “Matter as we know it,” Tiller concludes poetically, “is hardly a fragrance of a whisper.”
    http://www.spiritofmaat.com/ar.....tiller.htm

    Yet, the unification, into a ‘theory of everything’, between what is in essence the ‘infinite world of Quantum Mechanics’ and the ‘finite world of the space-time of General Relativity’ seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this ‘unification’ of the infinite and the finite:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    Moreover there actually is physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the ‘Zero/Infinity conflict’, we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Turin Shroud 3-D Hologram – Face And Body – Dr. Petrus Soons – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5889891/

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.

    “Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature.”
    St. Augustine

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    While I agree with a criticism, from a Christian, that was leveled against the preceding Shroud of Turin video, that God indeed needed no help from the universe in the resurrection event of Christ since all things are possible with God, I am none-the-less very happy to see that what is considered the number one problem of Physicists and Mathematicians in physics today, of a ‘unification into a theory of everything’ for what is in essence the finite world of General Relativity and the infinite world of Quantum Mechanics, does in fact seem to find a successful resolution for ‘unification’ within the resurrection event of Jesus Christ Himself. It seems almost overwhelmingly apparent to me from the ‘scientific evidence’ we now have that Christ literally ripped a hole in the finite entropic space-time of this universe to reunite infinite God with finite man. That modern science would even offer such a almost tangible glimpse into the mechanics of what happened in the tomb of Christ should be a source of great wonder and comfort for the Christian heart.

  102. Pachyaena,

    C’mon, be fair here. No one here is talking about ID, really – pro or anti. This whole comment thread has spun off into a different sort of argument. Judging ID based on this sort of conflict is like judging evolution based on what goes on in Myers’ comboxes.

  103. StephenB:

    Here is a better response to your last comment (#96):

    God has created billions of souls, several billions of which are currently embodied on this planet (God is nothing if not extravagant!). They all have their own beliefs, actions, and points of view, often at odds with each other, and each is a part of God. I see no contradiction for God to have set this up if it serves His purpose, which I believe it does, for reasons I have gone into at length above. God, being omnipotent and all, can do anything He wants, as long as it isn’t logically contradictory, and it isn’t a logical contradiction for one part of a being to have a different agenda from another part of the same being. I create characters like that in my dreams all the time.

  104. Brent said:

    “Pachyaena, if you knew the difference between right and wrong you’d be a Christian.”

    You must be joking. I know the difference between right and wrong because of being shown the difference by my parents, teachers, and others in my life, and because I have observed the results of rights and wrongs.

    Brent said:

    “Whatever keeps you shielded from the truth doesn’t, in my opinion, stem from either integrity or critical thinking.”

    Yeah, right, you know everything, just like other religious people. I can’t have integrity or be using critical thinking unless I conform to whatever religious beliefs you have. Actually, it’s because I have integrity and use critical thinking that I am not religious. I don’t need a fairy tale crutch to be a good person or to appreciate and respect all of nature. Religious beliefs are not required.

    And yes, I am right about everything I said in the post of mine that you responded to. Everything I said is based on actual observations and critical thinking.

    You and other religious people are the ones who are shielding yourselves. You have your minds completely made up and are not open to anything new or anything that challenges your belief system. You are blind and deaf in advance.

    Apparently it gives you comfort to think you already know the “truth” and all the answers but I’ll never understand why anyone would want to limit themselves to such a narrow point of view as in religious beliefs.

    You might want to do some critical thinking and realize that your way isn’t the only way. Believing in a God does not make you a God.

  105. Pachyaena,

    I would like to add the observation that one’s spiritual perspective, be it atheism, Christianity, or some weird far out philosophy like mine, is bound to influence how one views the Darwinism/ID debate. Most Darwinists are Darwinists not because the science supports it (it really doesn’t), but because it dovetails with and supports their atheist/materialist point of view. (Or, in the case of certain theistic evolutionists, because it saves them from having to confront some tricky problems of God being responsible for the apparent cruelty that exists in nature.) Likewise, I believe that ID is really only a viable option to someone who is willing to posit the possibility of a designer operating long before any intelligent beings were around on this planet in physical form, which pretty much limits it to those who believe in some kind of deity.

    The point I am trying to make is that this debate (the Darwinism/ID one, I mean) will inevitably be strongly colored by the spiritual/religious perspectives of the protagonists, whatever their position.

  106. Pachyaena, please forgive me for the information overload on the previous post of mine, let’s start over on this ‘materialism thing’ from a very simple point instead. Please explain this one simple experiment to me in a pure reductive materialistic framework, as is required to be explained for the classic view of atheism/materialism to be considered true;

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....1769/posts

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo.....ammeup.asp

  107. Hey! I’m new. Sorta. Nice to meet you all. I lurk around a bit from time to time and decinded to finally stop by thanks in large part to Pachyaena. So thanks Pach… wherever you are.

    Well… I guess I’ll dive right in to the firestorm.

    Pachyaena, you write:

    “This site will also never be taken seriously by science if religious beliefs are allowed to be discussed here. Either ID is a religious thing, or it’s not. Which is it?”

    This is a weird argument. Just because religion is being discussed on a science board the science must be religious? Weird. Why wouldn’t it be taken seriously by science anyway? Religion is discussed on Evolution boards across the country. Sure, usually it’s in mocking tone but it’s discussed none-the-less.

    Also, there are religious people on this board (like me) because the science behind ID appears to support our worldview. So of course you’ll get religious people coming in droves. It would be weird if it didn’t.

    You also say:

    “You and other religious people are the ones who are shielding yourselves. You have your minds completely made up and are not open to anything new or anything that challenges your belief system. You are blind and deaf in advance.”

    The problem with this statement is… well… much of the same could be said of you. Most of the post where you tout your ‘Critical Thinking’ reads like your basic hard atheist/anti-religious internet poster spiel. Heck, Bill Maher (who is a closet theist btw) said mostly the exact same thing on some rant with a Christian who had him on his show for some reason (saw it on youtube). There’s little about it that’s new. There’s also no indication that you’ve applied ‘Critical Thinking’ to Darwinian evolution or atheism or even being open to the possibility of an outside agency hovering about. It appears you’ve made up your mind just like we have.

    Why you don’t recognize that is curious.

    I expect I’ll be ‘rebutted’ in a few minutes, but whatever. Nice chatting with you!

    - Sonfaro

  108. [If Mao, as part of God, decides to commit genocide, and if Mother Teresa, as another part of God, resolves to save lives, perhaps even those same lives, then God, who is said to be both of these people, and is therefore making both decisions, is at war with himself. It just doesn’t work.]

    —Bruce: “The reason you don’t understand it is that you insist on assuming what I do not, that evil exists in God’s eyes. Take away that assumption, and there is no conflict.”

    But I do understand it. I didn’t say anything about evil in God’s eyes. I simply pointed out that, from a pantheistic perspective, two of God’s parts, that is, two humans who see the world differently, act differently, and decide differently cannot be reconciled with a unified Diety that is also said to be the ultimate decision maker.

    Simply telling me that they can be reconciled will not suffice. Don’t forget, that under your system, humans are not making decisions as independent agents, they are making decisions as “parts of God.” Thus, insofar as humans have conflicting values, and make decisions that reflect those conflicting values, God is at war with himself, independent of any claims about evil. Sorry, but your system just doesn’t work.

  109. StephanB

    I realized that I had misunderstood your argument. See #103.

    But, you are wrong that “humans are not making decisions as independent agents”. That is the central mystery of my particular point of view: God created us as part of Himself, yet He found a way to give us freedom. I will freely admit that I don’t fully understand how He did this, but I do take His word for it (as stated in my own source of revelation, Conversations with God, of course).

  110. Pachyaena, I would really like to see you step up to the plate and try to play the materialistic hand out for the teleportation experiment I cited in post 106. ,,,Will you try to invoke a ‘Many-Many Worlds’ hypothesis since the absurd ‘Many Worlds’ hypothesis has already been exhausted trying to get around the clear Theistic implications of quantum wave collapse?,,,

    ,,, Please do tell how does teleportation of atoms happen within the materialistic framework when no further imagined infinite probabilistic resource is available to call upon for the materialist?

    It is interesting to note that materialists, instead of honestly dealing with the obvious theistic implications of quantum mechanics, will many times invoke something called Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation, also referred to as decoherence, when dealing with quantum mechanics. Yet this ‘solution’ ends up creating profound absurdities of logic rather than providing any rational solution:

    Quantum mechanics
    Excerpt: The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[39] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Perhaps some may say that Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation of infinite parallel universes is not so absurd after all, if so,, then in some other parallel universe in which you also live, Elvis just so happens to be president of the United states, and you just so happen to come to the opposite conclusion, in that parallel universe, that Many Worlds is in fact absurd! For me, I find that type of ‘flexible thinking’, stemming from Many Worlds, to be completely absurd!!! Moreover, that one example from Many Worlds, of Elvis being President, is just small potatoes to the levels of absurdity that we would actually be witnessing if Many Worlds were the truth for how reality was constructed.

  111. Bruce, I agree that a person’s beliefs (or lack thereof) can or will color the way they see the ID/evolution debate and I also agree that many people are “Darwinists” simply because they’re against religion. I don’t necessarily agree that the science doesn’t support the ToE. I think that some evidence is strong, but some is weak. Someday it may be stronger, or weaker. Time will tell.

    Most people feel that they have to have a defined belief system and that it must have a label. In a way it reminds me of the way taxonomists endlessly argue about which name is the correct one for a particular organism. The organism couldn’t care less, unless the organism is a human. Humans are hung up on things that are often ridiculous and unproductive. Just think about how labels on clothing and other items can make a huge difference in the price. It’s crazy.

    The word deity implies a God and a God implies religion. To me, the concept of a creator or designer of some sort doesn’t necessarily include a ‘God’ and it definitely doesn’t include religion. I think it’s possible that there is or was a creator or designer of some sort but I don’t think it’s any of the Gods or deities that humans have invented. For one thing, the universe is much bigger and much more complex than any religion (and the associated God(s)) has ever considered or accounted for.

    Religion is small thinking. Extremely small. It doesn’t take into consideration anywhere near all of the processes and realities of this world, let alone all that goes on in the universe.

    I consider myself an atheist because I don’t believe in any Gods, and I don’t see my lack of belief in any Gods as just another type of religion or as a spiritual perspective, unless the lack of belief in spirits is a spiritual perspective. I think that some people do practice atheism as though it’s their religion. They proselytize it just as much as evangelists proselytize their religions. Some people are atheists even though they don’t know anything about science and couldn’t care less about science. They’re simply against Gods and religion. Others do know something about science and do care about it and try to show that science is a better way of understanding the way nature works. I definitely lean toward science but I also realize that science doesn’t have all the answers and likely never will. I’m okay with not knowing some things and not having all the answers. Sure, I’d like to know everything but that’s not going to happen, and I’m not going to invent some belief system or adhere to one already invented that fools me into thinking that I do know everything.

    Some people also believe that good morals are based on belief in a God, and of course they mean their particular God. They often say that the threat of eternal punishment is the means by which all people are held to decency and compassion. I totally disagree with that. For some people it may convince them to behave nicely but the forgiveness stuff in some religions (like Christianity) also gives them an excuse to behave badly and get away with it.

    To me, Christianity is a mass of contradiction and inconsistencies. It has so many versions and alterations as to be a complete joke.

    I seem to be an oddball in that I don’t need a religious crutch or some defined philosophy with a label on it, and I’m also content with thinking that when I die I will just be dead, forever. Who knows, I may meet a God when I die but for all I or anyone else knows it may be Zeus or Thor. I really don’t care though because I’m doing the best I can with this life and am not concerned with any ‘after’ life. Besides, I would never worship any God that is as cruel and selfish as the Christian God is said to be in the Bible. How others believe doesn’t concern me unless they try to convert me or try to force their beliefs into schools, politics, or law.

    I think it would be fascinating if a creator or designer could be discovered and proven but I doubt that it will ever happen. There are many things that humans will never know. In the meantime, many people will claim they know it all, whether they’re scientists or religious believers.

  112. bornagain77, I don’t automatically believe anything or everything I see or hear regarding relativity, quantum theory, the ToE, or any other aspect of science. I’m skeptical of just about everything until I see convincing evidence. Some evidence in science is strong or even totally convincing, but some is weak or non-existent. More answers will be discovered but there will always be mysteries.

    Even if science were wrong about absolutely everything, that wouldn’t make any religious beliefs real. To me, it’s not an ‘either/or’ situation. Any person could have a good life without ever knowing or believing anything that has to do with science or religion.

    Inferences don’t prove anything, whether they’re based on science or religious beliefs. Some scientific inferences MAY be reasonable, although actual evidence is much better, but to claim that the Bible holds the truth or evidence or reality of how the universe came about and/or how it works is just plain crazy.

  113. Bruce, do you see what is happening here? You [your author?] advocate pantheism, but often abandon the tenets of pantheism when it becomes necessary or convenient only to revert back to it at other times.

    According to pantheism, there can be only one real being. Everything else is an illusion. Indeed, you described reality as God’s dream. That is classic pantheism–any person other than God is an illusion. Insofar as you acknowledge that persons are, indeed, real, so real that they can make life changing decisions, you are not a pantheist.

    Again, in classic pantheism, those things [people] that appear to be different are not really different at all. Yet you acknowledge that people are different. Again, that is not pantheism. It is true, to be sure, but it isn’t pantheistic.

    Further, you insist that humans can live on after death, a completely anti-pantheistic notion. Only those who have souls can live on after death, and pantheism rules out that realm.

    Equally important, pantheism rules out the prospect of a creator, yet you have God creating us with the ability to make free will decisions.

    What it all adds up to is this: You often use pantheistic terms, but you borrow freely from the Christian metaphysic when you need it. You seem to realize instinctively that pantheism, as a thought system, cannot work.

  114. Pachyaena, Though It may sound crazy to you (and exactly what part of quantum mechanics does not sound crazy to you by the way?), the fact is that with what certainty we can ascertain reality through science, the Bible is far above, in correct predictions, any competing worldview for how the universe came to be and operates;

    Theism compared Materialism
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    It is also very interesting to note that among all the ‘holy’ books, of all the major religions in the world, only the Holy Bible was, and is, correct in its claim for a transcendent origin of the universe. Some later ‘holy’ books, such as the Mormon text “Pearl of Great Price” and the Qur’an, copy the concept of a transcendent origin from the Bible but also include teachings that are inconsistent with that now established fact. (Ross; Why The Universe Is The Way It Is; Pg. 228; Chpt.9; note 5)

    The Uniqueness of Genesis 1:1 – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBXdQCkISo0

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer cites several interesting quotes, from leading scientists in the field of Big Bang cosmology, about the Theological implications of the Big Bang in the following video:

    The Big Bang and the God of the Bible – Henry Schaefer PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5222493

    further note:

    Little known by most people is the fact that almost every, if not every, major branch of modern science has been founded by a scientist who believed in Christ:

    Christianity and The Birth of Science – Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D
    Excerpt: Furthermore, many of these founders of science lived at a time when others publicly expressed views quite contrary to Christianity – Hume, Hobbes, Darwin, etc. When Boyle argues against Hobbe’s materialism or Kelvin argues against Darwin’s assumptions, you don’t have a case of “closet atheists.”
    http://ldolphin.org/bumbulis/

    Christianity Gave Birth To Each Scientific Discipline – Dr. Henry Fritz Schaefer – video
    http://vimeo.com/16523153

    A Short List Of The Christian Founders Of Modern Science
    http://www.creationsafaris.com/wgcs_toc.htm

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov
    http://www.scigod.com/index.ph.....File/18/18

    The Origin of Science
    Excerpt: Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity.
    http://www.columbia.edu/cu/aug.....rigin.html

    also of note;

    The following video is far more direct in establishing the ‘spiritual’ link to man’s ability to learn new information, in that it shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court in 1963. Whereas the SAT scores for private Christian schools have consistently remained at the top, or near the top, spot in the world:

    The Real Reason American Education Has Slipped – David Barton – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318930

    Pachyaena, I hope that helps clear up a few ‘crazy’ misconceptions you may have towards Theism in general and Christianity in particular

  115. Pachyaena:

    I must say I really like your point of view and your way of expressing yourself. You really are a breath of fresh air. Thanks for contributing.

    Just for the record, I included atheism in the term “spiritual perspective”, well, because I think it is a spiritual perspective, at least in the sense that it is a belief about spirituality. It also enabled me to word my comment a little more concisely.

    If you have been following this very long thread (which I have found to be one of the more interesting ones of late) then you pretty much know what my beliefs are and the path that brought me to them. I use the term God because it is the most familiar term to the people who tend to post to these threads, but it is also a term that is loaded with religious connotations, and perhaps I should use another, such as “All That Is” or some such.

    I don’t agree, however, that God implies religion. I consider myself spiritual but not religious. I believe that there is a God for a number of reasons. First, I don’t think materialism can explain everything, particularly our actual experience. No one has the slightest idea how experience (sights, sounds, emotions, even thoughts) could possibly arise out of complex electro-chemical activity in a totally material brain. Second, I see science as pointing strongly to the existence of a creator–the Big Bang, the fine tuning of the physical and cosmological constants, the problem of the origin of life, and what I see as the total failure of Darwinism. Third, and this has been very important for me, I find the people from all spiritual traditions who seem to know some spiritual truth (e.g., Rumi, Yogananda, Lao Tzu, Abn al Arabi (a Sufi philosopher), St. Francis) to profoundly influence my beliefs regarding the existence of a creator.

    Well, I guess this has gone on long enough. I’ll end now.

  116. @Pachyaena,

    No, you don’t get it. The point was that in the original post I was responding to you obviously were not using a valid, integral, critically thought out argument to dispense with Christianity. “They all fight just like everyone else.” First of all, there is no apparent contradiction in the premise that two people who believe in the same world view but disagree on some points within it, may still have a correct overall world view. You were starting off on the wrong foot to begin with.

    So, in the post I was responding to, you definitely showed a lack of integrity and critical thinking. I suppose the same “fighting” that you use to dismiss the Christian message, you conversely tout as a great triumph for the scientific community. In science the fighting is for the pursuit of truth, or further truth, but in Christianity it is because they obviously don’t have any truth??? Wow me with your logic in another area, pretty please.

    In response to another post further down, you set up a straw man to try to get rid of Christianity. You start talking about what if you, he, she, it, we, they had been born another place . . . blah, blah, blah. Wouldn’t it do your integrity and critical thinking more good to first investigate what Christianity and the Bible actually teaches about this, and then attempt to criticize the real Christianity? A few minutes on Google can do a lot, ya know?

  117. @Pachyaena,

    And, if fighting is the sign that one doesn’t have truth, and you are fighting here, now, you have shown that what you said isn’t true. So far,then, you haven’t said anything!

  118. Brent, I didn’t say the words you quoted me as saying. If you’re going to quote me, make it honest and accurate.

    I also never said or implied that it’s okay for scientists to disagree or fight but not for religious people to disagree or fight. In fact, I often see the disagreements and fights on either ‘side’ as a good reason to question whatever is being said, and the disagreements and/or fights make me realize that many things are not and may never be settled.

    I find it especially interesting that religious people disagree or fight about the particulars of their religion. I guess that’s why there are so many versions of Christianity and some other religions. Like I said before, just about everyone thinks they know everything and that anyone who doesn’t agree with them must be wrong, whether it pertains to science, religion, politics, or anything else.

    I see the same attitude in most humans, regardless of the subject matter. Most people consider themselves expert in regard to at least some topics (even though they often won’t admit it). Scientists are often too arrogant and stubborn to listen to new or challenging information and so are politicians, religious believers, and many others. Sometimes I think there must be a whole bunch of genes in humans that make us arrogant and stubborn.

  119. Onlookers:

    It might be very useful to listen to C S Lewis’ Mere Christianity here.

    If you are interested in what it takes to –

    1: recognise and address the problems of selective hyperskepticism and ideologised closed-mindedness in general,

    2: Address same regarding the authenticity and core warrant for the Christian Faith “once for all delivered unto the saints,”

    3: Build a reasonable and well-warranted worldview in light of first principles of right reason and well-warranted inferences from basic facts about our world,

    4: Understand the core basis for the reasonableness and credibility of the Christian faith, and

    5: Understand what C S Lewis was talking about when he spoke of in-common mere Christianity, and its biblical basis

    . . . I have provided some links that may prove helpful.

    (I note as well, that “I don’t like X [and can't be bothered to check out what could warrant its truth, or what warrants a credible worldview in general] and have no interest in truly understanding why quite educated, decent and informed people including historically pivotal ones have believed X” is not a good basis for rejecting X.)

    Cheers,

    GEM of TKI

  120. F/N: CSL audio parts 2 and 3, 4, 5 and so on.

    (PS: CSL in his own voice in a tape that survived the recycling to save materials policy in effect in the war.)

  121. @Pachyaena,

    I didn’t mean to imply I was directly quoting what you said, but of course I do mean to imply it was the essence, which you seem to affirm in your last reply.

    What I said about scientists disagreeing and you presumably thinking it OK, well, I did say specifically that I suppose you think that. I knew you didn’t say it specifically and that I may be wrong. It was a chance I was willing to take. I was wrong, and am happy to be because I’d rather be wrong than for you or anyone else to be so blatantly hypocritical.

    You failed to respond or acknowledge my original reply to you that Christians overwhelmingly agree on what the Bible teaches. Perhaps you could identify some of these disagreements that would seem to doom the Christian religion to the dust bin? Disagreements among Christians are on relatively minor issues. This is also what I was originally referring to about you not being integral because you fail to see what, in my opinion, should be obvious to any objective evaluation.

  122. Pachyaena, I would like to echo what Bruce David said about your contribution. I agree with much of what you said, but even if I didn’t, you come across very clearly, thoughtfully, and with much integrity.

    I, like you, find the truth claims of religion to be without foundation, arrogant, and the evidence of closed minds rather than an honest search for the truth.

    BA, how can you say the bible is an accurate predictor of the natural world when according to most interpretations it says the earth is six thousand years old?

  123. To bornagain77,

    whoever wrote this-

    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    doesn’t have a clue about the scientific method or the predictions science has made. Not all scientists agree on results, predictions, inferences, or methods, but that article grossly misrepresents the mainstream views in science.

    The article is completely biased in favor of a Christian viewpoint. It’s very obvious that you are obsessed with your ‘worldview’ and believe that it’s the only correct view. People who claim to be ‘born again’ usually are gung ho about their chosen religion and try hard to get others to believe in it too. What you should try to realize though is that your religious beliefs aren’t right just because you think they are. I love chocolate milk but that doesn’t mean that everyone should love chocolate milk.

    I didn’t look at your other links because my internet connection is too slow to watch videos and because they’re probably just more biased fluff anyway.

    Inferring that ‘God’ created and designed everything is no different than inferring that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created and designed everything. Anything can be made to fit anything if a person tries hard enough. Verifiable evidence is the only thing that really matters though, and there’s no evidence to back up any claims about the Christian God or any other God.

    Another thing to consider is that just because science doesn’t have evidence for some things right now doesn’t mean it never will. Many people are WAY too impatient and want all the answers to every question right now. If there are no verifiable answers, or no evidence, or only incomplete evidence, or evidence that they just don’t like, they make up some stories or a deity to convince themselves and others that they actually have the answers.

    What the hurry? What’s so bad about not knowing everything, either now or ever? Why are some people so obsessed with filling in gaps with fairy tale nonsense just because they are too impatient to wait for real evidence?

    If humans had everything on this planet or in the universe completely figured out, life would be pretty dull. One of the things that interests me about nature is that there are always new things to discover and learn about. I’m actually glad that nature is so wondrous and complex.

  124. Pachyaena, interesting that you would accuse me of being blinded my worldview, when I am firmly convinced that it is you that is being deceived by your own worldview. How to settle this??? How to settle this??? I tell you what Pachyaena let’s look at the evidence!!! And let the evidence decide who is right!!! Sound fair??? Oh but you don’t like what the evidence says right now so you say wait until ‘real’ evidence comes in??? Sorry to inform you of this, but the demise of your materialistic philosophy started with Hubble’s observation of a expanding universe (or was it Einstein’s special theory of relativity?) and has only gotten far worse since!!! As far as you dismissing the predictions and railing against me for my faith which I have carefully reasoned through, I guarantee you that I can back up each prediction with peer-review whereas you can’t even show a violation of genetic entropy to support your evolutionary worldview! So Pachyaena who is really the one operating on blind faith, even being vitriolic to whomever disagrees with that blind faith, and whom is the one trying his best to be fair in this disagreement?

    notes;

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    The Law of Physicodynamic Insufficiency – Dr David L. Abel – November 2010
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”,,, After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided. The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction: “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    http://www.scitopics.com/The_L.....iency.html

    The GS (genetic selection) Principle – David L. Abel – 2009
    Excerpt: Stunningly, information has been shown not to increase in the coding regions of DNA with evolution. Mutations do not produce increased information. Mira et al (65) showed that the amount of coding in DNA actually decreases with evolution of bacterial genomes, not increases. This paper parallels Petrov’s papers starting with (66) showing a net DNA loss with Drosophila evolution (67). Konopka (68) found strong evidence against the contention of Subba Rao et al (69, 70) that information increases with mutations. The information content of the coding regions in DNA does not tend to increase with evolution as hypothesized. Konopka also found Shannon complexity not to be a suitable indicator of evolutionary progress over a wide range of evolving genes. Konopka’s work applies Shannon theory to known functional text. Kok et al. (71) also found that information does not increase in DNA with evolution. As with Konopka, this finding is in the context of the change in mere Shannon uncertainty. The latter is a far more forgiving definition of information than that required for prescriptive information (PI) (21, 22, 33, 72). It is all the more significant that mutations do not program increased PI. Prescriptive information either instructs or directly produces formal function. No increase in Shannon or Prescriptive information occurs in duplication. What the above papers show is that not even variation of the duplication produces new information, not even Shannon “information.”
    http://www.scitopics.com/The_G.....ciple.html
    http://www.us.net/life/index.htm

    Dr. Don Johnson explains the difference between Shannon Information and Prescriptive Information, as well as explaining ‘the cybernetic cut’, in this following Podcast:

    Programming of Life – Dr. Donald Johnson interviewed by Casey Luskin – audio podcast
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201....._life.html

  125. Pachyaena,

    I would like to weigh in on one point, at least. It is a common accusation by the Darwinists that ID is just “Science can’t explain this, so God must have done it.” It really isn’t that. Most of the scientists now in the ID camp (Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Douglas Axe, and others) along with myself originally believed in the Darwinian explanation. What changed our minds was that when you look at the machinery of the cell, as well as multicellular organisms, you find that life simply “reeks of design”, to quote Michael Behe. I believe that at the bottom of the beliefs of scientists (or people who have a high regard for science) who are proponents of ID is a very strong intuitive response to the machinery of life that “this was clearly designed; there is no way this was not designed.” It’s really a positive statement, not “God of the gaps” at all.

    To repeat an oft used analogy, if you can imagine someone stumbling upon Mt. Rushmore, never having heard of it, you know that they would immediately conclude that it was designed. There would be no doubt. It’s like that. One looks at the machinery of the cell, for example, subtle, complex beyond anything yet built by humans, containing digital code, error correction, and nanomachines working together with exquisite timing and coordination, and the conclusion is unavoidable: this was engineered.

    I am not trying to convince you that this is true, by the way. My point is that the characterization of ID as just assigning-it-to-God-because-we-don’t-understand it, which I gather from your last comment that you accept, is both inaccurate and unfair. It’s a mis-characterization used as a rhetorical device by Darwinists to discredit a legitimate scientific minority view that for some reason they seem to be terribly afraid of.

  126. Vitriolic? How? Where?

    You assume a lot about me, including what my ‘world view’ is or may be. I haven’t brought up any of the things you keep referring to in your links and I’ve already said that I don’t automatically swallow everything that science dishes out.

    Even if most scientists are wrong about every topic you’ve brought up, it doesn’t mean that anything in religion is true or real. It is ridiculous to assert or imply that because something or even everything in science isn’t correct, religion, and especially your chosen religion, must be true and real. No wrong automatically makes some other claim right.

    I often see mistakes, fraud, poor methods, exaggerated results, guesses, unwarranted inferences, or just plain BS in science, but that doesn’t mean that all science is bad and it certainly doesn’t mean that any religion is right.

    As I’ve said before, I think that a creator or designer in some form are or were possible. There are mysteries, especially at the quantum level, that are extremely complex and difficult to figure out, but science is making some headway. Virtually every day new things are discovered. It may turn out that everything that is currently accepted by many scientists is wrong in some ways, but does it really matter? Whatever is going on at the quantum level or anywhere else is what’s going on and there’s nothing we can do to change it. We can only look for it and try to understand it. I would be perfectly happy no matter what is found and it would be fine with me if there is or was a creator or designer, or not.

    I have a strong feeling that no matter how deeply humans look into the small or the large there will always be another step, another question, and things beyond our reach.

    My world view could be described as having an open mind about what actually is and what actually occurs on this planet and everywhere in the universe. If that reality includes a creator or designer, and if either can be discovered and proven, then I’ll accept its or their existence. In the meantime I’d rather wonder than fool myself into believing that I already know.

    Some scientists think they know and virtually all religious people think they know, but no one knows. No one has evidence or proof of what’s behind everything in the universe. It would be interesting to have a time machine and travel into the future to see what mankind has figured out in a hundred years, and a thousand years, and a million years. That is of course if mankind hasn’t destroyed itself by then.

    I think that everyone wonders (at some point on their life) what’s behind everything and whether we have an ultimate purpose or not. That fact that religion exists shows that most people want to believe that we do have an ultimate purpose and that we are important to some deity. It’s a lot like wanting to be loved by our parents and to feel as though our lives are important and have purpose.

    For some reason we as a species are very insecure and fearful. We have immense capabilities and power but we’re afraid of the Bogeyman and each other. We dwell on negatives and strife, and we recklessly and selfishly lay waste to our only home, the Earth.

    What the world needs is a common cause and we need to quit fighting over Gods and thousands of versions of religious beliefs. We need freedom from antiquated stories written by goat herders and/or fishermen or guys with towels wrapped around their heads. We also need to hold scientists to a higher standard and get rid of the ones who supply us with BS.

    And most of all we need to take care of this planet and quit arguing about whether we’re ruining it or not. We are, and it’s obvious. Religion won’t fix it and neither will bad science. Good science may help but it will take more than just that.

    It really doesn’t matter if there’s a God or not or if there’s a creator or designer or not, and it doesn’t or at least shouldn’t take a genius to see what’s productive or destructive, good or bad, right or wrong for our world.

    Every minute that humans fight over ridiculous BS and ignore what’s important is another minute closer to our doom.

  127. Pach, you say:

    “My world view could be described as having an open mind about what actually is and what actually occurs on this planet and everywhere in the universe.”

    And then you say:

    “We need freedom from antiquated stories written by goat herders and/or fishermen or guys with towels wrapped around their heads. We also need to hold scientists to a higher standard and get rid of the ones who supply us with BS.”

    How can one be open, and then in the same post dismiss the (admittedly incredible) accounts of phenomena written down just because of the writers profession? While you seem convinced you have an open mind, your actions – at least to an outside observer – don’t appear that way.

    - Sonfaro

  128. Pachyaena,

    Hear, hear! I agree wholeheartedly.

    I would like to add this, however. There was a time when I worked in the environmental movement, but eventually I quit. The reason was that it became apparent to me that the fundamental problem was the overall level of consciousness of the human race. I saw it (and still see it) that the problems you allude to, and which are quite serious if we want to continue to live on this planet, will never be solved at the current level of awareness of humanity.

    What I believe is that we need to become much more aware of each other as fellow human beings and of the planet as a beautiful gift from God, which although resilient, cannot take the levels of abuse to which we subject it forever. We need to see ourselves as one with all humanity and with the planet itself, and we need to learn what truly makes us happy. (It’s not more stuff, and it’s not being right.) To me what is necessary to accomplish this is a spiritual transformation. And I agree with you that part of that awakening will be for all religions to realize that there are many paths to God, and that theirs is only one of them.

    For this reason, I do what I can to support the emergence of such an awakening, which is one of the reasons I post to this blog (although I must say that I have yet to experience being very successful!) But every interaction I have I learn from. Little by little.

  129. Hi Bruce, I think the problem lies in the fact that some people do equate ID with a God and assert that ID and a God are inseparable.

    Take this website for example. Many of the people who comment here are clearly very religious and obviously think that ID is due to a God, the Christian God.

    I can easily see why ID is considered to be a religious idea. It’s very hard to find a discussion about ID that doesn’t include people who tie ID to religious beliefs.

    I find the concept of ID interesting and think that the irreducible complexity part is the most interesting. The trouble with ID though is that it is virtually impossible to prove. Even if I were to believe that ID is a fact and that it’s the only explanation for the complexity of nature, I couldn’t prove it. It’s one of those things that can be wondered about or even believed but it’s not something that can be proven. Of course I realize that ‘proof’ is often in the eyes of the beholder. To get ID accepted as a scientific theory or to show that it actually occurs (or occurred) will require the complete separation of ID from any religious beliefs, and even if that were to happen it would still be difficult to impossible to get it accepted by science. Science is stubborn and often very slow to accept anything that is challenging to the status quo. Entrenched beliefs or theories, whether scientific or otherwise, are hard to change, even if they’re clearly wrong.

    At this point in time I think that science should admit that ID is possible (without a religious connection). If or when further evidence is found that either proves or disproves ID, science could revise its stance on it.

    I’ll admit that nature does look to be designed (in some ways) but that doesn’t mean it is. To convince science it’s going to take verifiable, testable evidence, and rightfully so. Science should be skeptical and should only rely on good evidence.

    I know, science doesn’t always do that and that’s one of the things that irks me. Scientists are sometimes just as biased, mistaken, greedy, fraudulent, ignorant, arrogant, or agenda driven as anyone else, but science is usually self correcting, eventually, although it can often take a long time.

  130. Bruce, I just want to point out that my comments above are in response to your comments in #123.

  131. Pachyaena,

    I figured out that you were responding to #123, actually.

    With regard to the ID debate, I have often thought that there is way too much sound and fury being generated. Why not just accept that there are two points of view and let the proponents of each side continue to do the science that is appropriate to their perspective. Those who believe in materialistic causes exclusively will continue to try to discover how life evolved from pre-biotic chemicals, and ID folks will do research attempting to delve deeper into the design. There doesn’t really need to be such a conflict. There are many fields of science where different workers in the field have different theories. Darwinism itself is such a field (eg., Gould’s punctuated equilibrium, or Lynn Margulis’ ideas). And you’re right, it seems eventually to sort itself out.

  132. To Pachyaena

    “I know, science doesn’t always do that and that’s one of the things that irks me. Scientists are sometimes just as biased, mistaken, greedy, fraudulent, ignorant, arrogant, or agenda driven as anyone else, but science is usually self correcting, eventually, although it can often take a long time.”

    Science “can” be self correcting. However, it hasn’t done such a great job in the last 50 or so years. I’m skeptical. It’s hard to believe things within the scientific community will suddenly change without outside stimulli.

  133. Pachyaena,

    To continue responding to your post above (#128), it’s true that in the blogs, religion is often present to large degree, but if you read the books and scientific articles you will see that religion is never used as any kind of justification for a conclusion that ID is the “most reasonable explanation”. I’m speaking of such authors as Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Phillip Johnson, Steven Meyer, William Dembski, Douglas Axe, and others who are scientific professionals.

  134. Bruce, to this:

    “There doesn’t really need to be such a conflict.”

    and to the rest of what you said in 128 I say yes.

    The conflict is way too heated and unproductive. Both ‘sides’ are often way too stubborn for their own good. Everyone should just be patient, let the research continue, and wait for more information.

    I think that if ID is not meant to be connected to religious beliefs, the ‘leaders’ of the ID ‘movement’ or theory are going to have to do everything they can to make sure that the disconnect is obvious and certain, and they’re going to have to try to get any adherents to ID to stop connecting it to any religious beliefs.

    Frankly I doubt that the disconnection of ID and religion is going to happen on a large scale though. I think that many religious people will cling to ID and connect it to their religious beliefs, if for no other reason than because they don’t like the ToE or anything to do with Darwin, and/or they want to believe that their god is responsible for creation and design.

    Maybe someday it will all sort itself out. Maybe enough evidence will be found to come to a solid conclusion one way or another. In the meantime I think that the disagreements and fights will go on and on. Human ego is involved and that can be a VERY large obstacle. :)

  135. “I think that if ID is not meant to be connected to religious beliefs, the ‘leaders’ of the ID ‘movement’ or theory are going to have to do everything they can to make sure that the disconnect is obvious and certain, and they’re going to have to try to get any adherents to ID to stop connecting it to any religious beliefs.”

    Why? Because you don’t like religious belief?

    If indeed there is an designer, why can’t it be a supreme deity? Because it’s “unscientific”? So is a multiverse, but that doesn’t stop people from dreaming.

    For the record, people should be allowed to draw whatever conclusion they want from the evidence. Lord knows they do that enough already. Just because a few irreligious would have their feathers ruffled doesn’t mean those with faith should be thrown under the bus.

  136. P:

    Pardon, but how should we interpret something like this:

    _______________

    >> To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. ] >>

    _______________

    Do you not see how relevant is Phil Johnson’s reply:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    nor is this exactly new. here is Darwin in an Oct 13, 1880 letter to Aveling, son in law of Karl Marx:

    . . . though I am a strong advocate for free thought [NB: free-thought is an old self-congratulatory synonym for skepticism, agnosticism or atheism] on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against christianity & theism produce hardly any effect on the public; & freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds, which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, & I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family [NB: especially his wife, Emma], if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion.

    In short the motive mongering game can run different ways. Far better is to focus on the actual merits of the issue, e.g you may want to start with the remarks here and the onward linked series.

    GEM of TKI

  137. Pachyaena you state;

    ‘Maybe someday it will all sort itself out. Maybe enough evidence will be found to come to a solid conclusion one way or another.’

    Yet ID is currently, from WHAT WE KNOW RIGHT NOW, the best explanation for the unmatched levels of complex information we find in life.

    Stephen C. Meyer – The Scientific Basis For Intelligent Design
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4104651/

    Thus as far as the science is concerned RIGHT NOW, the most ‘solid’ conclusion we can make right now is that life is designed! To appeal to ‘future discoveries’, just in order to maintain a belief in neo-Darwinism is irrational and reveals a philosophical bias.

    You also stated;

    ‘I think that many religious people will cling to ID and connect it to their religious beliefs, if for no other reason than because they don’t like the ToE or anything to do with Darwin, and/or they want to believe that their god is responsible for creation and design.’

    Yet interestingly Pachyaena, the Theists doesn’t need evolution to be false in order to believe in God, yet the atheist is absolutely dependent on evolution being true to maintain his faith in atheism. So let’s adjust this statement of yours to more appropriately reveal the hypocricy of the atheistic worldview therein;

    ‘I think that many ‘atheist’ people will cling to ‘neo-Darwinism’ and connect it to their ‘irreligious’ beliefs, if for no other reason than because they don’t like ‘ID’ or anything to do with ‘God’ and/or they want to believe that their ‘godless universe’ is responsible for ‘all appearance of’ creation and design.”

    as for a reference Pachyaena that this is true just wander over to PZ Myers blog and say anything favorable about ID whatsoever and see what happens to you,

    of note:

    When Atheists Are Angry at God
    Excerpt: I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....gry-at-god

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5066181/

    ‘To deny design in life makes science irrational’ = Behe – paraphrase

  138. Pachy:

    I can easily see why ID is considered to be a religious idea.

    And we can easily see why the theory of evolution is considered to be an atheistic idea:

    In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.1

    The frequently made assertion that modern biology and the assumptions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are fully compatible is false.2

    Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.3

    As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.4

    click here for a hint:

    ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’ 5

    Thank you for your honesty Will Provine.

    1- Academe January 1987 pp.51-52 †

    2-Evolutionary Progress (1988) p. 65 †

    3- “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life” 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address 1 2 †

    4- No Free Will (1999) p.123

    5- Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1), p.9, 1994.

  139. @Pachyaen,

    Oh! Not again! Nobody knows the truth you say. That is an assertion that you cannot prove. But, even if it’s true, you must conclude that you don’t know the truth either. But, you are as cocksure as all the other cocksure people you rail against. PU-LEASE Get a GRIP!!!

    Or, to carry your craziness further, let’s say your statement that nobody knows the truth is correct. It then follows that your statement is also incorrect, which means that at least some people must know the truth.

    It’s quite clear you do not know what you are talking about.

  140. Pachyaena,

    I must say that I agree with the last few posts regarding the degree to which atheism and Darwinism are conjoined, and the evidence suggests that this has been true right from the start (with Darwin himself). In fact, if you look objectively at the scientific evidence together with the way in which Darwinism is justified by its proponents, I think you’ll find that Darwinism as it is actually practiced is every bit as unfalsifiable as ID.

    It is my view that it is impossible to do science (or any other search for truth) from a completely neutral position. One’s fundamental view of the world inevitably influences the way we interpret what we see, and indeed what we actually do see. The best we can do is bring our paradigms into conscious awareness so that we can minimize their influence and hopefully be open to changing them when the evidence makes that appropriate.

    It has been my opinion for a long time that the Darwinsim/ID debate is at bottom a religious one (using the word religion in its broadest sense), between atheism and theism. (But theism does NOT equate to Christianity.) It is a debate between those who believe that the world is entirely physical and those who believe in a transcendent creator. And as I see it, the weight of scientific evidence at this point in time is strongly in favor of a creator (ie., a designer), and becomes more so the more we learn about living systems.

  141. Bruce David,

    you stated;

    ‘I think you’ll find that Darwinism as it is actually practiced is every bit as unfalsifiable as ID’

    ,,, actually Bruce David the one thing that dramatically separates ID from neo-Darwinism, as far as the science itself is concerned, is ID’s ability to easily be falsified, whereas Darwinism is notorious for not submitting to reasonable falsification criteria.

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,

    c?u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108

    c?g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96

    c?s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85

    c?e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70

    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/6/1/27

    The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds – Douglas Axe – 2010
    Excerpt Pg. 11: “Based on analysis of the genomes of 447 bacterial species, the projected number of different domain structures per species averages 991. Comparing this to the number of pathways by which metabolic processes are carried out, which is around 263 for E. coli, provides a rough figure of three or four new domain folds being needed, on average, for every new metabolic pathway. In order to accomplish this successfully, an evolutionary search would need to be capable of locating sequences that amount to anything from one in 10^159 to one in 10^308 possibilities, something the neo-Darwinian model falls short of by a very wide margin.”
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.1

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    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

  142. Born Again:

    I know all about the probabilities. But there is a difference between the statement that Darwinism is false and the statement that ID is true. “I don’t know.” is a perfectly valid response to the question of how life originated and developed. I’m pretty sure that this is David Berlinski’s position, for example

    I know about Dembski’s explanatory filter as well. It makes design falsifiable by default–if you can find a viable naturalistic explanation, then we all agree that design will not be asserted. However, what’s actually true is that design can never really be falsified because a designer can always make the design look like it was the result of natural causes. A classic case is Newton, after defining his laws of motion, was certain that what he had done was reveal some of the details of God’s design of the Universe. This is a perfectly viable intellectual position, but it is not falsifiable, at least not in the scientific sense.

  143. Bruce David, The case with falsifiability as set out with Behe is perfectly scientific, and does not trespass onto philosophy, or ‘intellect’, directly, which is exactly why I cited the video.,,, (the ‘no designer need apply’ would hold true as far as the philosophy went concerning the science),,, Here is another experiment that stays perfectly within the bounds of empirical science; i.e. the test dares Darwinism to prove itself true and to, at the same time, falsify ID.

    Is Antibiotic Resistance evidence for evolution? – ‘Fitness Test’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995248

    here is another test that gets right to the point in daring Darwinism to prove itself true and trying to falsify ID,,,

    Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness – Ann K. Gauger, Stephanie Ebnet, Pamela F. Fahey, and Ralph Seelke – 2010
    Excerpt: When all of these possibilities are left open by the experimental design, the populations consistently take paths that reduce expression of trpAE49V,D60N, making the path to new (restored) function virtually inaccessible. This demonstrates that the cost of expressing genes that provide weak new functions is a significant constraint on the emergence of new functions. In particular, populations with multiple adaptive paths open to them may be much less likely to take an adaptive path to high fitness if that path requires over-expression.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2010.2

    Response from Ralph Seelke to David Hillis Regarding Testimony on Bacterial Evolution Before Texas State Board of Education, January 21, 2009
    Excerpt: He has done excellent work showing the capabilities of evolution when it can take one step at a time. I have used a different approach to show the difficulties that evolution encounters when it must take two steps at a time. So while similar, our work has important differences, and Dr. Bull’s research has not contradicted or refuted my own.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/9951

  144. Here is a podcast:

    Testing Evolution in the Lab With Biologic Institute’s Ann Gauger
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....4_13-07_00

    On this episode of ID the Future, CSC Director of Research Jay Richards interviews Ann Gauger, senior research scientist at Biologic Institute, on a new article she and Dr. Ralph Seelke have in the peer-reviewed journal BIO-Complexity. Working with her co-authors, Dr. Gauger experimentally tested two-step adaptive paths that should have been within easy reach for bacterial populations. Listen in and learn what Dr. Gauger was surprised to find as she discusses the implications of these experiments for Darwinian evolution.

  145. Born Again:

    In the video, Behe is using Dembski’s explanatory filter without naming it as such. What he is saying is that he will consider ID to be falsified with respect to the flagellum if a naturalistic explanation for its existence can be demonstrated, so this does not address the point I made.

  146. Bruce, I’m strictly concerned with the science, as far as THE SCIENCE ITSELF is concerned evolution has not even proven itself true and refuses to submit to reasonable falsification criteria, though ID does lend itself readily to experimental falsification. And frankly Bruce David, not to hurt your feelings, but after your round with StephenB, I am not impressed in the least with your ‘philosophical prowess’ in the first place.

  147. Really, Born Again? Don’t worry, my feelings aren’t hurt in the slightest.

  148. Bruce David, to give an example, you state;

    ‘However, what’s actually true is that design can never really be falsified because a designer can always make the design look like it was the result of natural causes. A classic case is Newton, after defining his laws of motion, was certain that what he had done was reveal some of the details of God’s design of the Universe. This is a perfectly viable intellectual position, but it is not falsifiable, at least not in the scientific sense.’

    Yet Bruce, Newton did in fact reveal some details of ‘God’s design of the Universe’ by finding a piece of the ‘mathematical order’ governing the universe that he totally ‘expected’ to find from his base Christian perspective of believing the mind of God had made the universe intelligible for humans to understand. And this ‘mathematical order’, governing the material universe, is not presupposed from the materialistic perspective. As well Bruce, you hinted that perhaps gravity is now found to be a ‘natural cause’, thus undermining Newton’s original confidence for finding a piece of God’s design in the universe, but that is not correct. Scientists today are almost as mystified as to the ‘natural cause’ of Gravity as were Newton and his contemporaries;

    REPORT OF THE DARK ENERGY TASK FORCE
    The abstract of the September 2006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force says: “Dark energy appears to be the dominant component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our (materialistic) theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.”
    http://jdem.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs.....report.pdf

    Thus Bruce, Newton’s awe, as reflected in this statement,,,

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called “Lord God” ??????????? [pantokratòr], or “Universal Ruler”… The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.”
    Sir Isaac Newton – Quoted from what many consider the greatest science masterpiece of all time, “Principia”

    ,,,stand unscathed by any appeal to ‘natural causation’.

  149. 150

    Bruve David, when you state:

    “However, what’s actually true is that design can never really be falsified because a designer can always make the design look like it was the result of natural causes.”

    …you carelessly step off into a twist of logic that makes absolutely no sense.

    Firstly, Design can be immediately falsified by a demonstration that unguided causes can create the observed effects in nature. That has never been done.

    But to then suggest that Design can’t really be falsified “because a designer can always make the design look like it was the result of natural causes” is just too funky for words.

    If what seems like apparent Design was adequately explained by natural causes, then Design would not even would be proposed – and there would be nothing to falsify. Do you not understand that? And if design existed anyway (conceiled by a clever designer) then it would lead to a false negative – and again there would be nothing to falsify.

    :)

    Moreover, why invent situations out of the thin air? Why not just deal with what we actually find:

    1) the appearance of design is hardly debatable

    2) unguided causes cannot explain the observations, and in some instances can’t even address them

    3) design can explain the observed effects in nature

    3a) without asserting unsupported assumptions, it’s the only explanation that can

    3b) we even understand why that is.

  150. Goodness, y’ all. I seem to have struck some kind of nerve here. Let me set the record straight. I believe:

    1. that Darwinism has been totally discredited by the discoveries in biology over the last 60 years,

    2. that ID IS the most reasonable (in fact the only reasonable) explanation for the origin and diversity of life, and

    3. that Dembski’s explanatory filter is a very reasonable way of determining when the inference to design is warranted, which makes the inference to design falsifiable TO ALL WHO ACCEPT ITS PREMISES.

    What I question is whether all people who infer design accept the explanatory filter, and if one doesn’t, the inference to design is in principle NOT falsifiable, precisely because, as I pointed out above, a designer can design something to appear as though it arose through natural causes.

    I can’t see that this should be particularly controversial, or indeed particularly important in the context of the ID vs. Darwinism debate.

  151. Bruce, from what I’ve seen I’d say that atheism is often conjoined with “Darwinism” but not always. Many atheists don’t know much, if anything, about Darwin or the ToE and many don’t care. Some people just choose not to be religious or believe in any Gods. There are also a lot of people who believe there’s some sort of God but do not like religion and especially what they call ‘organized religion’, at all. Then too there are people, including some scientists, who think that the ToE is a solid theory and also believe in a God, and/or a religion. And, there are people, including some scientists, who think that some of the ToE is or may be credible, or even solid, but may not or do not think that the entire theory is credible, or solid, and those people may or may not believe there’s a God of some sort and may or may not adhere to any religion. The human race is a very mixed bag when it comes to belief systems, or the lack thereof.

    PZ Meyers, for example, is definitely an atheist and he claims that the ToE and other aspects of science are proof that there’s no god or creator or designer and that religious beliefs are bunk. Frankly, I don’t think it would matter to PZ if the ToE were right or wrong. He simply hates religions and belief in a God. Even though I consider myself an atheist and non-religious, I think of PZ Meyers as an angry, arrogant, extremist. Atheism is his ‘religion’, although he likely wouldn’t admit it. There are also many religious people who are just as arrogant, angry, and extreme as PZ Meyers, if not more so.

    When it comes to falsifiability (of anything) it’s a matter of opinion (often unfortunately). Like you said: “One’s fundamental view of the world inevitably influences the way we interpret what we see, and indeed what we actually do see.”

    Truth, especially when it concerns Gods or origins or evolution or religious beliefs and many other things, is also a matter of opinion and is often subject to the same kind of influences as falsifiability.

    You said:

    “The best we can do is bring our paradigms into conscious awareness so that we can minimize their influence and hopefully be open to changing them when the evidence makes that appropriate.”

    I agree that. Unfortunately the human race is a stubborn lot and most people don’t really consider how their world view (or ‘belief system’) influences the way they perceive evidence.

    I can’t say that I believe there’s a creator (or designer) of some sort but I don’t think it’s impossible. I’m hoping that more research and evidence will provide more answers, one way or another, but I think there will always be disagreements no matter what is found.

  152. Bruce, in reference to your comments in #151, I think you’re dealing with people who have their minds made up, and believe that their chosen God is THE creator and designer, and would believe that no matter what. Anything that isn’t inline with their belief system is not only controversial, but wrong.

    I’m not trying to sound insulting. I’m just saying what I think.

    On another note, the more I look at this thread the more I see why ID is considered to be a religious idea by many atheists, scientists, and other people. Some people simply will not separate ID from religious beliefs or a ‘God’.

    Here’s something for everyone here to consider:

    Atheism is sometimes connected to the ToE or other aspects of science by people who are atheists. Atheism is often connected to the ToE or other aspects of science by adherents to ID, creation, religion, or a God. Many atheists don’t care one iota about science. They simply don’t believe there’s a God. Science doesn’t depend on atheists or atheism. Some scientists do depend on atheism. Most probably couldn’t care less, at least when it comes to their work.

    ID is often connected to a God or religion by people who adhere to ID. ID is often connected to a God or religion by people who don’t adhere to ID, like atheists, many scientists, and other people. Some ID adherents aren’t religious. Some ID adherents may be atheists. Many are probably agnostic. Many people are likely undecided about ID. Most people don’t have the slightest clue as to what ID, or ID theory, even is.

    Most people don’t have a clue about and don’t care about the ToE or ID and would believe whatever a used car or snake oil salesman tells them. Most of humanity is dumber than a rock and always will be. Just watch “Jay Walking” on The Tonight Show and you’ll see what I mean.

    ID theory will never be taken seriously by science until and unless it is completely separated from any Gods or religions, and even then it would be be a tough sale.

  153. My sentence “I agree that.” in #152 should be I agree with that.

  154. Pachyaena:

    Kindly respond on the merits to the evidence presented from 137 – 142 above, on pain of coming across as simply reiterating tired NCSE strawman attack points.

    Then, it would help if you were to respond to the actual case on the merits, e.g. starting with the ongoing summary of the foundational scientific case for the design inference and theory here and in the onward linked series.

    GEM of TKI

  155. PS: Also, kindly show me where in the summary as linked and as linked onwards, “any Gods or religions” play any role in the scientific inferences being discussed.

    You may also find it useful to read and respond on the merits to the NWE survey article on design theory here, and the UD correctives to weak arguments top right this and every UD page. The lead of the former may be excerpted:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy . . .

  156. Pachyaena,

    I must say I admire your breadth of vision and your ability to see the big picture. And in general I think you are right. I beg to differ on a couple of points, however.

    First, whereas I’m sure there are a lot of atheists who could care less about Darwinism, I also think that the ones who are determined fighters for it, the ones who contribute to the blogs, who try to destroy the careers of people who show even a whiff of doubt about Darwinism, and the ones who fight tooth and nail to prevent students from being exposed to any criticism of it whatsoever are for the most part not fighting for Darwinism so much as they are fighting for atheism or against religion or both.

    Second, I strongly disagree with your statement that “ID theory will never be taken seriously by science until and unless it is completely separated from any Gods or religions, and even then it would be be a tough sale.” This is just my opinion, of course, but I am quite certain that it is only a matter of time before it becomes accepted that Darwinism simply cannot explain the variety of life and that there is no naturalistic explanation for its origin. My personal view is that there is already abundant scientific evidence to support both those positions, and optimist that I am, I believe that the truth will eventually prevail. Once the majority of scientists realize this, ID will also be accepted, since it is such a natural response to living systems if there is no belief system to block it.

    Again, my personal view, and only time will tell, but I believe that when that happens, there will be a new birth of spirituality (I use that word deliberately and not “religion”) in the world, which, hopefully, will be a lot more open minded than are many of the current religious believers (we won’t name any names, but you know who you are!).

  157. kairosfocus, I don’t see any point in arguing the particulars of ID or the ToE or what certain writers or scientists or proselytizers think.

    It really doesn’t matter what I think about ID or the ToE or religion or science. The bottom line is this : If ID adherents WANT science to accept ID theory as a truly scientific theory, ID must first be completely separated from any Gods or religions. And like I already said, even then it would be a tough sale. It’s going to take more than inferences. And even if some or much or even all of the theory of Abiogenesis and the ToE are based on inferences, those inferences are much more entrenched in science and have been for a long time, and they would be very hard to displace without some really convincing evidence.

    A handful of scientists may accept ID theory as being scientific but it will never be accepted on a large scale without the separation I mentioned above. That’s just the way it is.

    As long as people, and especially many ID adherents, connect ID with a God or religion, it will be thought of as simply a religious idea and will be met with scorn by most scientists, and especially evolutionary biologists.

    Ya know, when it comes right down to it, most people on this planet believe that a creator and/or designer (a God) is responsible for everything. If anything, science is the one with a problem convincing people that Abiogenesis and the ToE explains the origin and diversity of life.

    No agenda ‘wins’ anything by convincing or converting one person, and no agenda is going to convince or convert every person. There will always be differing opinions and belief systems, no matter what evidence is discovered.

  158. Bruce, thank you for your complimentary comments.

    Regarding #157, I agree with what you said in the second paragraph. It really irks me when people speak as though everything in the ToE is beyond question. And I agree that some people, like the bloggers you refer to, are fighting against religion and for atheism, rather than fighting for “Darwinism”, the ToE, or any other aspect of science. I thought I had made my stance on that clear in my other posts but maybe not.

    Regarding the rest of what you said, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Fasten your seat belt, it could be a bumpy ride. :)

  159. Pachyaena, you say ‘science’ must always be separated from God, yet you are painfully unaware of the fact that science is impossible without God in the first place,,,

    Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
    Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove “mathematically” to be true.”
    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......pleteness/

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.,,, the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    “Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate — it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially.”
    Nobel Prize winning Physicist Charles Townes

    further notes;

    Despite the common perception of a great divide between science and belief in God, within the last century there has been a veritable avalanche of discovery, from many diverse fields of science, which has greatly narrowed this perception of a ‘great divide’ between science and belief in God.

    The Return of the God Hypothesis – Stephen Meyer
    http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf
    video lecture:
    http://www.watermarkradio.com/.....;message=0

    Indeed science, when taken ‘unemotionally’, points overwhelmingly to God;

    Richard Dawkins Lies About William Lane Craig AND Logic! – video and article
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1P6L_QtpZ1pSyOjWvuEOXBWqLFZPdSAWor-MTzKbpVC0

  160. Pachyaena,

    Pardon, but the point is that you are echoing a pernicious and willful misrepresentation of the design inference.

    As to the idea that science must run as far from any allusion to or hint of a link with God as it can, once science deals with issues of the roots of existence and the structure of the cosmos, it will intersect with the question of worldviews.

    Your demand therefore boils down to two unacceptable expectations:

    1: an implicit controlling assumption of atheistical evolutionary materialism, which is of course a particularly aggressively promoted worldview that often likes to dress in a lab coat; in effect de facto quasi establishment of such atheism as the functional equivalent of an Established Church, but in lab coats not ecclesiastical robes.

    2: the alienation of the historic understanding of science led by men like Newton, who saw science in a theistic worldview [please, re read the General Scholium to Principia, and Query 31 of Opticks]; indeed,the classic definition they used was thinking God’s [creative and sustaining] thoughts after him.

    Going beyond that, I must insist: the design inference is about the empirically and inductively warranted causal source of functionally specific and complex organization and associated information.

    On empirical evidence of routine observations — not a priori worldview impositions — and inference to best explanation backed up by the infinite monkeys analysis, we see just one credible source of such phenomena: intelligence. Indeed, when you hit your head and the EM make sure you are fully conscious,the Glasgow Coma Scale evaluation they will give you is a design inference. In a life and death context.

    It is thus a reasonable inference that such FSCO/I, in various forms, is a signature of intelligence. Indeed, this is utterly uncontroversial in any other context than origins. When you see complex functional text in this post you infer to intelligence not lucky noise bursting in on the Internet. As just one case in point.

    To assume, pretend or assert that to think like that is inevitably an irrational theocratic agenda or the like, is SLANDER DRIVEN BY BIGOTRY.

    Sorry, as a black man, I know the scent of poisonous bigotry all too well, and I will never surrender to it, whether presented with shouts and curses or with gentle soothing words, on respecting the “sensibilities” of the prejudiced.

    And, pardon me, this last is exactly what one does when s/he refuses to engage the merits but appeals instead to tiptoe-ing around the closed mindednbess of the bigoted.

    Pardon if that is painful, but it seems to be now necessary to be frank and direct.

    Please, think again.

    I am sure you would never even consider suggesting that a black man would have to face a hard sell to promote himself as a man worthy of respect and fair treatment.

    Now, I also happen to be both a Christian and a Scientist; and an educator.

    I care passionately about all three, and see from each a principal duty to the truth.

    And on investigating the matter carefully, I find that I can be all three without fatal contradiction.

    I have taken time to show why, here and here.

    Next, as a philosophically literate person, I see that the radical contingency of our observed cosmos, even through the multiverse suggestion [which is speculative], requires a necessary being as its root cause. Going beyond that, the evident fine tuning of the physics of the observed cosmos that facilitates C-chemistry cell based life points to an intelligent and powerful designer of the cosmos. Just the properties of that very familiar substance water, multiplied by the significance and abundance of Carbon and Oxygen, are quite significant.

    I would need no more than that to see a profound mutually supportive connexion between theism and science.

    When I turn to life, when I see the digitally coded, functionally specific, algorithmic technologies manifested there, that tells me that I am looking at blatant FSCO/I pointing to intelligence as its most credible cause; I have too much respect for thermodynamics and the underlying statistical analysis to see otherwise.

    I am fully aware that the intelligence is a category of cause not a given person or even property of the cosmos. So, I accept that the inference to design is not an inference to God as designer of life. That is what he evidence can point to and what it cannot by itself point to as science.

    Frankly, I have good reason to resent when that balanced conclusion is now twisted viciously into an accusation or insinuation of deceptive Trojan horse tactics pushing improper religious censorship of science, or even imposition of a theocratic tyranny or worse.

    That sort of toxic rhetoric emanating from the NCSE and other similar sources does no good, and it tells me a lot about those who resort to it.

    None of it good.

    It is high time that it stops.

    As in, now.

    Good day, sir.

    GEM of TKI

  161. Hi Pach.

    You say:

    “The bottom line is this: If ID adherents WANT science to accept ID theory as a truly scientific theory, ID must first be completely separated from any Gods or religions.”

    Considering most of the time ID is lumped together with Religion by people outside of ID, I think your call for separation is idealistic at best. From what I’ve seen (and I am in no ways an expert) ID presents what they believe the evidence claims, and Darwinists ignore it and call them Creationists. If they (‘scientists’) have already decided that ID is religion, then no amount of evidence is going to convince them. It’s like the lunar landing deniers: No matter how many moon rocks people can point to, they’re always going to find a reason to discredit the evidence.

    “And like I already said, even then it would be a tough sale. It’s going to take more than inferences.”

    That’s all anyone on either side has really. Inferences. What they believe the evidence points to. Personally though, it appears to me that ID has gathered more evidence for their inference in the few years it’s been a movement than Darwinian Evolution has in the last hundred years.

    “And even if some or much or even all of the theory of Abiogenesis and the ToE are based on inferences, those inferences are much more entrenched in science and have been for a long time, and they would be very hard to displace without some really convincing evidence.”

    But that’s the problem isn’t it? Abiogenesis and ToE are so entrenched in the field that any attempt to think critically about them sends people into a panic. The majority appears to consider it settled science, even though it doesn’t look like we’re even close to figuring things out.

    “Ya know, when it comes right down to it, most people on this planet believe that a creator and/or designer (a God) is responsible for everything. If anything, science is the one with a problem convincing people that Abiogenesis and the ToE explains the origin and diversity of life.”

    That tends to happen when your attempts to prove your theory often backfire. Badly.

    “No agenda ‘wins’ anything by convincing or converting one person, and no agenda is going to convince or convert every person. There will always be differing opinions and belief systems, no matter what evidence is discovered.”

    I’m glad you acknowledge this. Now if only someone could explain that to scientists who don’t understand why people are skeptical of Darwinian Evolution.

    Also, Kairosfocus… I know this probably isn’t proper or whatever – But as a young black guy still looking for answers, it’s nice to know guys like you exist.

    I wanna be like you when I grow up.

    :)

  162. Sonfaro:

    Thanks for giving the “cool” version of the point.

    I think this is one time when both ways need to be put.

    I hope the message begins to get through. Enough is enough.

    GEM of TKI

  163. The smug confidence on display by some on this thread has been entertaining. It’s somewhat reminiscient of the General Motors executive in the mid sixties who visits a Toyota dealership to slap them on the back, then rock back on his heals in laughter “nobody gonna buy them tin cans”.

    Then a decade and a half later that same executive is frantically telling the engineers to “stick some more chrome on it”.

    That is probably about where we are at right now. The semiotic reality of DNA and the Cambrian explosion are the solid rear-axle and drums brakes of the day. And in turn, the NCSE and the Darwin lobby are tacked on as a landau roof and three feet of overhang in every direction.

  164. —Pachyaena: “Some people just choose not to be religious or believe in any Gods.”

    Right you are. Atheism is not an intellectual decision at all; it is based on preference. A reasoned argument will take you in a totally different direction:

    1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence.

    2. The universe has a beginning of its existence.

    3. Thus the universe has a cause of its existence.

    4. This first uncaused cause must transcend physical reality.

    5. This uncaused cause that transcends physical reality is the description of God.

    6. Therefore God exists.

    The only way to avoid this logic is to make a “choice” against reason. So your phrase, “choose not to believe” is well conceived.

  165. To everyone:

    I think it my be valuable to step back for a minute an look at what’s going on here. Pachyaena is clearly an intelligent, thoughtful person who although he(?) she(?) has formed certain opinions is nonetheless not irrevocably entrenched into a particular world view. Where he/she tends to get his/her back up is on the subject of religion, demonstrating strong resistance to any attempts at conversion. In spite of the fact that the scientists who argue for ID have bent over backwards to disassociate the inference to design from any religious connection, Pachyaena appears to experience that ID is nonetheless intimately tied to religion, based at least partly on what goes on in blogs like this.

    My personal opinion is that if one is really interested in making the case for ID with people like Pachyaena, it would be best to back off the attempts at religious persuasion entirely. This is not to say that religion couldn’t be discussed, only that the comments coming from a stance of “I know the truth and you don’t.” are counter productive.

    Pachyaena: If you disagree with anything I have said regarding you in this post, feel free to correct me.

  166. Hi Bruce,

    “I think it my be valuable to step back for a minute an look at what’s going on here. Pachyaena is clearly an intelligent, thoughtful person who although he(?) she(?) has formed certain opinions is nonetheless not irrevocably entrenched into a particular world view. Where he/she tends to get his/her back up is on the subject of religion, demonstrating strong resistance to any attempts at conversion. In spite of the fact that the scientists who argue for ID have bent over backwards to disassociate the inference to design from any religious connection, Pachyaena appears to experience that ID is nonetheless intimately tied to religion, based at least partly on what goes on in blogs like this.”

    I understand this post (I think).

    My problem was that he/she asked for ‘open mindedness’ but appears to categorically dismissed the worlds Religion – all attempts to understand the nature of our creation and it’s implications – as meer delusion. I don’t wanna put words in your mouth Pach, but that’s how it felt to me.

    The reason people like me are excited by ID is because it’s a science that appears to support my worldview. ID isn’t a religious movement, but it draws the religious because – like the big bang – it supports what we believe. It can’t confirm it, but it can open it up as a possibility.

    What I mean is – if there IS an intellegent designer, wouldn’t it be at least POSSIBLE for that designer to interact with his designs?

    I guess that’s all I was hoping he/she’d acknowledge. Not that there ‘was/is’ a God of religion, but that it’s possible. And I didn’t get that at all. So to me, if felt like a ‘my truth is better ‘en yours’ moment.

    That said, Pachyaena is certainly one of the more balanced and mellow skeptic/atheist/agnostic’s I’ve had the pleasure of reading, so thank you for that Pach. If my (admittedly strong) opinions on ‘the (T)ruth’ have proven disagreeable, then I apologize.

    - Sonfaro

  167. BD:

    I am afraid the talking point line that ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo hoping to impose a right wing theocratic tyranny is a willful propagandistic ploy.

    Such are by and large invulnerable to reason; they are toxic mind-closing polarising deceitful rhetoric in service to slanders.

    That is why I insist that we understands that so soon as science touches on origins, it will have import for worldviews. The thing is to do science, and not import ideologies such as a priori evolutionary materialism as censoring straightjackets, a la Lewontin.

    Once that is done, it will be very evident that on inference to best explanation, intelligence is the most credible cause of FSCO/I. On straight induction from the common observation, and backed up by the infinite monkeys analysis. Such only becomes controversial on origins, and that precisely because a dominant school of thought has got away with imposing materialism on science in recent decades.

    Do I really need to cite Lewontin et al yet one more time on this?

    Instead, we should insist that science at its best is:

    the unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) progressive pursuit of the empirically evident truth about our world, based on observation, measurement, analysis, theoretical modelling on inference to best explanation, and free, uncensored but mutually respectful discussion among the informed.

    Once that is accepted, it is immediately apparent that the design inference on origin of life and on origin of a fine tuned cosmos that facilitates such C chemistry cell based life, is eminently reasonable. You need not agree with it, and you are free to come up with evidence that shows that it is credible that on chance plus necessity — without a priori materialism — the FSCO/I in life came about by chance plus necessity. And, that the fine tuned organisation of the physics of the cosmos that facilitates life came about similarly.

    What is interesting is that after many decades in the first case, and several decades in the second, no such serious evidence is forthcoming.

    “But, the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, mommy!”

    GEM of TKI

  168. Sonfaro:

    Nicely stated. I pretty much agree, and I particularly like the olive branch you held out at the end.

    GEM: You said,
    “I am afraid the talking point line that ID is creationism in a cheap tuxedo hoping to impose a right wing theocratic tyranny is a willful propagandistic ploy.”

    I’m pretty sure you are right about that, but I don’t believe that Pachyaena is in that camp. I think that she/he is open to accepting that charge as true, however, at least partly because of the way that people commenting in this blog seem to bring evangelical Christianity into the picture. I’m only suggesting that if people want to create a climate where ID has the best chance of getting a fair hearing, they back off from the religious proselytizing.

    As for the rest of your post, I hope it is obvious from my other comments that I agree completely.

  169. BD:

    Pardon, have a look at the series that I have been posting, to here, including the comments. Compare the discussion here on in the draft course I have developed.

    Is that “prosletysing” — what a studiously loaded word — or is it a serious look on the merits?

    I let you in on a secret, as you can see by examining this parallel thread: THE REACTION-RHETORIC FROM THE LIKES OF LT (AND OTHERS)IS TO TRY TO MAKE OUT THAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT CREATIONISM IN A CHEAP TUXEDO, PROBABLY SEEKING TO IMPOSE A RIGHT WING FUNDAMENTALIST THEOCRACY.

    Just look at how a background post about how we observe patterns of signs and sets of symbols and infer from these to objective states of affairs, objects in the world, and meanings, on warrants that give more or less support, has been treated rhetorically!

    Do you see why I am heart-sick and tired to my bones of that sort of poisonous, polarising, trifecta fallacy — red herrings led out to strawmen soaked in ad hominems and ignited to cloud, confuse, choke, poison and polarise the atmosphere — slander?

    Why I see a lot of what is going on as being ever so much like Nero proverbially fiddling while Rome burns?

    Why I insist that since we are dealing with deep origins issues, whether of man or of the species or of life or of the cosmos, worldview level issues are bound to come up and should be addressed on the merits? That this inevitably will involve people’s live worldviews? That they will show passion and will seek to persuade others that they are right? That they will see scientific results as relevant to their views?

    And, that they will want to thrash out how that relevance in the end comes out?

    So, not only science findings but first principles of right reason, critical thinking methods, and worldview analysis themes are relevant. And, socio-cultural agenda issues and debates.

    Do you notice how, when that comes up, I have consistently gone back to Plato in The Laws Bk X?

    Do you see that the issues Plato raised are really, really important, not only in Athens in the ruined aftermath of utter defeat by Sparta, but ever since in our civilisation? And, that echoes of these these keep coming up time and again?

    That advocates of evolutionary materialism owe us a very good answer to these concerns, given the history over 2,300 years?

    And, that too often they duck the issues behind a cloud of poisonous or at least evasive and distractive rhetoric?

    Do you see why I am of the publicly expressed view that the wound in the heart of our civilisation is mortal?

    Why, I think a horrendous price is already beginning to be paid, and — on my lifetime experience with the consequences of the march of ideological folly in the days of my youth in my homeland [I cannot think of it without a deep pain in my heart] — will continue to be paid for a long time to come?

    Do you see why I refuse to accommodate slanderous bigotry that further poisons the atmosphere and makes a bad situation worse?

    We need to wake up from our slumbers and pipe dreams in Plato’s Cave.

    I don’t even know if I can add . . . before it is too late.

    Most of all: do we realise the terrible harm that has been done, and the price that will have to be paid for it?

    GEM of TKI

  170. Pachyaena, I find it very peculiar that you would jump into the middle of a philosophical/theological discussion to scold us on ‘separating science and God’ and yet when we directly address you as to show you some of the abundant scientific evidence for the ID position, you begged off, refusing to get into the details of the scientific evidence, as well you also ‘dreamily’ alluded to some ‘future discoveries’, without ever bothering to elucidate to us what areas those future discoveries might be in,,, in order that those discoveries would bring 60 to 100 years of persistent, and growing, crushing evidence against the materialistic philosophy to a halt. So what are we to do??? When we discuss ‘the science’ you will not engage us. And yet when we discuss the philosophical/theological implications of the scientific evidence you feel qualified to scold us!?! You simply cannot scold us on the latter without first defending the former.

  171. —Bruce: “In spite of the fact that the scientists who argue for ID have bent over backwards to disassociate the inference to design from any religious connection, Pachyaena appears to experience that ID is nonetheless intimately tied to religion, based at least partly on what goes on in blogs like this.”

    Pachyaena was not arguing against ID so much as he/she was arguing against the reasonableness of God from a philosophical perspective, which is why I responded with the counter argument @65. That argument, by the way, refutes both atheism and pantheism.

    —”My personal opinion is that if one is really interested in making the case for ID with people like Pachyaena, it would be best to back off the attempts at religious persuasion entirely.”

    The case for ID has little to do with the case for the legitimacy of religion.

    —”This is not to say that religion couldn’t be discussed, only that the comments coming from a stance of “I know the truth and you don’t.” are counter productive.”

    Why is it counterproductive to tell people who are not reasoning properly that they are not reasoning properly. It helps everyone concerned, including onlookers and lurkers. If one has the truth [a universe that begins in time necessarily requires a first cause] shouldn’t he share it.

  172. BA:

    On another head, I have been working on a summary of the biblical timeline over the past week, in light of the impact of David Rohl’s chronology work since the mid 90′s. (Contrast my previous work on the general geochronological timeline here, set against the backdrop of the implications of astronomical and astrophysical evidence [including fine-tuning of the cosmos], which BTW seems to currently be the single most interest-drawing item in the IOSE course. None of this is any news to LT and ilk; they know or should know the specifically different cases that are explored, and the different ways they are explored. That — given what I have had to say on the rise of modern liberty [and what I have had to do to stand up for liberty on the ground over the past 30 years; FYI LT, I had to put myself on the line literally to deal with Communists, DOUBLE SHAME ON YOU for making me have to say that explicitly!] — is part of why I find the slander they have made so utterly inexcusable.)

    In the work I have been doing, I ran across this.

    I think we should all take a sober look at this video, as a presentation of the core warranting case for the Christian faith. (I note too, here, on the themes of building a worldview in light of first principles of right reason, here, part of the same course I am working on.)

    Notice, how this is a very different context from the question of origins science and the inference to design, it is an argument in the end about historical warrant, and about understanding the human heart enough to know whose report we should believe.

    Of course, on both Rom 1 – 2 and Jn 1, the Christian faith puts itself on the line at points of empirical test: it is committed — right in foundational teachings — to the concept that the heart of the cosmos is Reason himself, manifested in Information himself.

    And, to the claim that from our hearts and minds within and the world around us, we see good reason to see that he cosmos is a Creation by a Creator, a good Creator who is the is who grounds ought, so that we are under moral government; first in light of the candle of conscience within.

    Can you imagine how that would have been treated if the tests had been clearly failed?

    [Actually, we do not have to imagine, those who — per the controlling a priori of Lewontinian-Saganian a priori evolutionary materialism — think they have been failed make it plain what they feel on the subject. But, once the actual evidence is given an uncensored voice, from the heavens above, to the cells in our bodies, to the awesomely complex and functionally specific organisation of the body plans that scream out as we observe our world, to the mind and probing conscience within, the situation is very different.)

    I think we all have some serious thinking to do.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: P, DR, etc. is that video empty, manipulative “proselytism” as I have actually seen in a development agency’s project specifications? Or, is it a call to think and examine seriously for oneself, on the evidence . . . however unwelcome it may be at the first?

  173. I want to let you guys know that I have a lot going on, so I’ll respond when I can.

    In the meantime, I want to respond to this:

    “Pachyaena, you say ‘science’ must always be separated from God, yet you are painfully unaware of the fact that science is impossible without God in the first place,,,”

    I am not aware that “God” (or any God) is required for there to be science. No human knows whether there are any Gods or not and no human knows whether there is a creator or a designer. Also, no human knows everything about the universe, or everything about how the universe came about, or whether strictly materialistic causes are responsible for the universe or the origin and diversity of life.

    People can choose whatever it is that they want to believe, but there are lots and lots of things yet to be discovered and there are lots and lots of things that will never be known. Nature is BIG and COMPLEX.

    And again, if ID adherents want SCIENCE to accept ID theory as a SCIENTIFIC theory, then it MUST be completely separated from ANY religion or Gods. Science must be based on verifiable, material evidence.

    Science cannot and should not be interested in or concerned with Gods or religions. If it were, it wouldn’t be science. It would be philosophy. Science and religion have different names and different processes, for good reasons. They are not the same thing.

  174. From a post above:

    “This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.”

    Seems to me that the author of that paragraph is making a big, and selfish, assumption. He’s assuming that the universe was created and designed for humans. Does the universe fit us, or do we fit the universe? Try substituting the word nature, for universe.

    Many people, and especially most or all religious ones, believe that humans are the pinnacle beings, and that nature was or is formed to support and cater to humans. People who adhere to the ToE or Abiogenesis are much more likely to see humans as just another species that evolved from previous species that originally came about from chemical processes. In other words, we’re nothing special, or at least not any more special than any other organisms.

    Those two trains of thought have a lot to do with whether people are religious and believe in a God(s), or whether they believe that we are just another organism among all the other organisms.

    Think about it.

    More later.

  175. kairosfocus, in regard to your comments in 161:

    I’m not demanding anything and I’m not being bigoted. I’m merely stating my opinions and being realistic about whether science will accept ID as a scientific theory without separating ID from any Gods or religions.

    Even if I were the most religious man on Earth I would like to think that I would still realize that science is a large and entrenched endeavor that is reluctant to welcome ideas that challenge the status quo unless the ideas are backed up by verifiable, material evidence.

    Of course some ‘mainstream’ scientists do readily accept ideas that could be described as challenging to the status quo, or even radical. However, those ideas are usually not associated with Gods or religions.

    Some of you here obviously think that ID isn’t necessarily a religious thing but you should realize that ID is often associated with religious beliefs by religious people and/or adherents to ID. Actually, from what I’ve seen, most ID adherents associate ID with their religious beliefs in some way. Some ID adherents, and especially some of the most vocal ones, cannot hide the fact that they are thoroughly religious and are much more motivated by a religion/ID connection than by a science/ID connection. And some ID promoters are trying to use deceptive Trojan horse tactics to push improper religious censorship of science, or even imposition of a theocratic tyranny or worse.

    If people want to associate ID with their religious beliefs, that’s fine, but if ID isn’t completely disconnected from any Gods or religious beliefs it will never be accepted by science, or many science supporters.

    You said:

    “It is thus a reasonable inference that such FSCO/I, in various forms, is a signature of intelligence.”

    That is a matter of opinion. Many people would agree with you, and many would not. To convince ‘mainstream’ science it will take more than opinion or inference. Personally, while I think that ID is possible, I’m not convinced of it.

    On the subject of a multiverse, I don’t take it very seriously. It makes for an interesting thought or conversation but there’s no credible evidence to prove it one way or another. There are many, many things that science hasn’t figured out about this planet, let alone how many universes there are. Some scientists (or mathematicians) probably like to see their name in print and want to get more grant money so they come up with non-provable ideas that really don’t matter anyway (even if they’re right). I wish they would all spend more time and money on taking better care of this world.

    Just so you know, it doesn’t matter to me what color your skin is, and I don’t think it has any relevance to the things we’re discussing. If you were purple with green stripes it would be fine with me. :)

  176. @Pachyaena,

    And again, if ID adherents want SCIENCE to accept ID theory as a SCIENTIFIC theory, then it MUST be completely separated from ANY religion or Gods. Science must be based on verifiable, material evidence.

    This almost made me spew the first time you said it, and you just had to repeat it. That sound you now hear is a major groaaaaaaan. First off, if you and other supposedly educated people are intellectually unable, or philosophically unwilling, to separate the scientific theory of ID from religion, it is purely and clearly your problem!

    Second, why do you think (and pretty, pretty please, at the very least, respond to this question) it’s reasonable to rule out a priori any conclusion that any scientific observations may indicate or lead one to?

    So, you say that no one knows everything. Great! We agree. You seem to indicate that it is possible for there to be a God. Good. But, for the sake of argument, assume for a moment that God does exist (after all, it is possible as you seem to think). Then, wouldn’t you expect science to lead us to the conclusion that God, or some intelligence anyway, was the cause of the Universe? So, your position is utterly impossible to defend logically. You think God is possible, but you say that science must be separated from God. But, if God exists, and we take your stand that we utterly separate scientific endeavor from God, then we are bound to only find and affirm things that are untrue. Science is meaningless without leaving open the possibility and freedom to conclude from it that God exists.

    Therefore, your position really is, emphatically, THERE IS NO GOD!!! Which was quite clear to unbiased observers from the very beginning.

    If you are truly open to the possibility of God, you cannot logically take the position that you claim to take. You must say that God is possible AND that it is possible and permissible for science to come to that conclusion, or that, emphatically, and as I’ve said I’m sure is really the case, that God does not exist and therefore we should not and cannot leave the possibility of God open to science.

    Take your pick, but your position now should be embarrassing to you.

  177. On the subject of a multiverse, I don’t take it very seriously. It makes for an interesting thought or conversation but there’s no credible evidence to prove it one way or another.

    Not true. An actual number of infinite things is logically impossible.

  178. Pachyaena

    Sorry to have to be direct, but you are indulging in what is called enabling behaviour.

    Enough is enough.

    It is time that we expose the evolutionary materialistic, question-begging ideological straight-jacket being imposed on science, and it is time that we exposed the inexcusable, slanderous bigotry of those who are projecting what they know or should know are false accusations of theocratic tyrannical intent.

    Enough is enough.

    GEM of TKI

  179. P:

    On just one point:

    [KF:] “It is thus a reasonable inference that such FSCO/I, in various forms, is a signature of intelligence.”

    [P:] That is a matter of opinion. Many people would agree with you, and many would not.

    This is an abandonment of the role of empirical evidence in science, a grounding principle of science since Galileo.

    We do often observe FSCO/I, and we have billions of cases in point where we credibly know the source, by direct observation or by credible testimony. Start with every book in every library across the world. Move on tot he libraries and other buildings, roads, vehicles etc we encounter along the way. Go on to look at the web sites and pages on the Internet. Then come back to the posts in this thread.

    In each case, without exceptions, we have good reason to see that FSCO/I is a reliable signature of intelligence. That is, we know to moral certainty — when an EMT uses the Glasgow Consciousness Scale s/he is making an inference from FSCO/I to design in a life and death situation — a causally sufficient source for FSCO/I, and we know of no other causally sufficient, empirically warranted source. This is backed up by the infinite monkeys analysis that is the foundation of statistical thermodynamics’ version of the second law.

    So, it is a REASONABLE step — not mere optional opinion — to infer from FSCO/I to design as cause, and onwards to the credible presence of an intelligence capable of making the design.

    What that means in this context, is that if there were not institutionalised question-begging at work, no one would seriously dispute the point. And, unless origins issues are in question, no one does dispute the claim.

    We all routinely and reliably infer to authors of books, makers of autos, builders of buildings, and writers of web pages and blog posts, on the mere evidence of the result of their work, FSCO/I.

    In fact, the real and proper burden of warrant is on those who object in an origins context. Just like those who claim that a perpetual motion machine of he second kind is possible, they are the ones who need to show the fact by empirical demonstration. Pleas of logical possibility joined to assumptions that we must pretend that no intelligent cause was possible at the point of origin of life, are simply not good enough.

    Now, that this is not the currently fashionable opinion among the evolutionary materialistic elites in the science institutions, many uni depts, among media pundits etc, makes no difference to the balance of evidence and reason on inference to best explanation.

    After all, within living memory, black men were often deemed an inferior race. Not that long before that, my ancestors were in chains of slavery, slavery backed by the same notion.

    The popularity or institutionalisation of a patently wrong notion makes no difference to the balance on the merits of evidence.

    P, why not reconsider your declaration above, then simply address the argument here and in the posts that lead up to it?

    Surely, if they were ill-founded, we could easily find a simple, empirically well supported refutation, and could simply link it.

    GEM of TKI

  180. Hi again Pach.

    I really don’t want this to be a ‘jump on Pachyeana’ thing but…

    You say:

    “And again, if ID adherents want SCIENCE to accept ID theory as a SCIENTIFIC theory, then it MUST be completely separated from ANY religion or Gods. Science must be based on verifiable, material evidence.”

    I’ll say it again. “For the record, people should be allowed to draw whatever conclusion they want from the evidence.” Your call that ID should seperate from the religious is an ideal that, to me at least, falls apart at the beginning.

    If indeed the evidence points to a God, then the God(s) of religion just got more probable. Which is why most religious people flock to ID. (It’s why I’m here anyway.)

    And to be honest “Science” is perfectly fine with the idea of a creative force over the universe – a force what we humans would call ‘God’. It’s certain “Scientists” (or should I say, scientismists?-_-) who refuse to even attempt to investigate ID’s claims. There’s no convincing them, they made up their minds a long time ago.

    “Just so you know, it doesn’t matter to me what color your skin is, and I don’t think it has any relevance to the things we’re discussing. If you were purple with green stripes it would be fine with me.”

    :)

    Awesome. Though Kairosfocus brought it up for a reason, and indeed bigotry has a lot to do with what we’re discussing here. At least it certainly seems that way.

    - Sonfaro

  181. @Pachyaena,

    “Just so you know, it doesn’t matter to me what color your skin is, and I don’t think it has any relevance to the things we’re discussing. If you were purple with green stripes it would be fine with me.”

    This makes no sense either. You should hate kairosfocus for his skin color. After all, we may find out scientifically in the future that it really is the right thing to do. Nobody knows anything for sure right now, ya know?

  182. @Pachyaena,

    If you’re even reading anything I write anymore . . .

    I’ve really streeeeetched the bounds of kindness in my various posts to you throughout this thread. Indeed, I’ve probably danced on the other side of the line a little. Let me step back and, hopefully, give you something to consider to hopefully start you objectively evaluating the things that people are trying to get you to see here.

    What follows is the idea that I’d like to ask you to take a little time to mull over:

    As much as you may think and even believe that you are unbiased in your stance; as objective as you think you are in your current conclusions concerning God and science as they relate to one another (or how they should not relate to one another), that perhaps you are not completely unbiased, or even that you are quite biased. Just take a little time and consider that possibility.

    Here is why. Whether you or I or anyone else likes it or not, this is one fight that everyone has a stake in. You have a dog in this fight, and so does everyone else. The truth of the existence of God affects everyone.

    I, as a Christian, was not very interested in checking out what the critics had to say about my Christianity. I was afraid that my faith may be shown to be unwarranted. I finally had to admit, however, that if there were good reasons to question what I believed, I’d better know what they are and ask them. There comes a time, no matter who you are, to look at things in the starkest light we can, be the consequences what they may.

    I think if you will take a step back and look at your situation in a stark light that you’ll see that the reason you struggle to engage the arguments and evidence is because you don’t like the conclusions you know we have in mind. As much as you may think or feel that some here are attempting to force these conclusions on you, I suggest it is just that, your thinking and feeling. We are here just giving you solid scientific and philosophical reasons for what conclusions that some of us have come to. We all, as far as I know, are not concerned with making you a Christian, but rather to give you some stark light to help you on your journey. We happen to be convinced that that stark light will lead you to the same conclusions we have come to, but we are only concerned with giving you the information, not to try to infuse the conclusion.

  183. Brent & Son:

    Well said.

    We need to hear more from you guys!

    G

    PS: I hate to find myself feeling compelled to bring up having to deal with race prejudice and Marxist ideologues, but things, sadly, have reached that stage. When you take people who patently are seeking to think through momentous issues seriously [P, have you read through just the intro-summary page in my draft online course?], and smear them like I have seen for years now; and pay no attention to pleas to stop such, it is time to draw some conclusions. Then, to demand that such uncivil conduct stop. Now.

  184. @kairosfocus,

    I have to agree with your stand. But mostly I want to tell you thanks for the treasure trove that you’ve put online. Very helpful. Sorry that some just dismiss it out of hand. I like what you and some others have done, compiling solid information to readily link. I usually take a different approach and ask a simple question or two. If one can’t even respond to that, well . . .

    “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.”

  185. Brent

    Thanks. Appreciated.

    And that proverb Jesus cited to those who objected to him and to his cousin John the Baptist, is unfortunately apt.

    The one cometh eating and drinking, and you say he consorts with sinners.

    The other, a Nazirite, is in Elijah’s camel’s hair garment, and eats locusts and honey, and you say he has a devil.

    G

  186. F/N: I should add, that my white Irish and Scottish ancestors, as well as my Indian ones, were also seen as inferior races by many of their English oppressors. (I’se be a Jewmakie after all, a real gumbo.)

    Dehumanisation of the victim is ever the resort of the oppressor.

    Indeed, today, with the rise in porn, it is very evident that the whole idea is a dehumanisation and desensitisation exercise, opening the way for an amoral chaos. And, ever so many are content to allow these skunks to get away with degrading our daughters, sisters and even mothers and — God help us — Grandmothers now, in the name of claimed freedom and the claim that morality is an oppressive imposition; morals after all are relative to power balances and we have no real freedom and responsibility of will. Just as Plato warned in his The Laws Bk X, 2,300 years ago.

    (I don’t need a scientific argument to find evolutionary materialism wanting; its simple amorality contrasted with my experience of myself as a morally governed creature who has a capacity to think, know and reason for himself, and the duty to do so towards the truth and the right, is more than enough to give it short shrift as necessarily false and utterly absurd. of course that does not mean that evolutionary mechanisms were not in the arsenal of the designer of life as we experience it, but then even modern young earth creationists accept that, and see that kinds were made to adapt to niches. The problem is with over-claiming evidences, and with imposing worldviews and begging questions then expelling those who beg to differ. At least, in Mr Gaskell’s case, they had to pay US$ 125,000. The pity is it probably did not come out of the pockets of those involved or paying at censor on job appointments. And Ms Scott of NCSE, yes, that specifically means NCSE.)

    Anyway, I am saddened but not really surprised to see that the game is to smear and dehumanise those who would object to evolutionary materialistic secularism hiding in a cheap lab coat.

    [Actually, I have never seen or worn a really expensive lab coat. Do they have designer lab coats? Where I come from, they are strictly utilitarian, and I preferred slate blue-grey to white.]

  187. GEM,

    It is time that we expose the evolutionary materialistic, question-begging ideological straight-jacket being imposed on science, and it is time that we exposed the inexcusable, slanderous bigotry of those who are projecting what they know or should know are false accusations of theocratic tyrannical intent.

    Who exactly is “we”?

    And to this comment:

    FYI LT, I had to put myself on the line literally to deal with Communists, DOUBLE SHAME ON YOU for making me have to say that explicitly!

    What a cheap and cowardly thing for you to write–knowing full well that whatever response I write will be moderated out and never appear here (as an earlier comment of mine seems to have done)–that I have “made” you say anything!

    No, sir, I have not “made” you do anything. You are the author of your own behavior.

    Don’t blame me because your watchmaker analogies ultimately fail and people generally don’t take them seriously.

    Don’t blame me for the “tyrannical” perception that gets attached to religions and sects and groups.

    I laid out a case for why your signs post was wrongheaded on several levels. You distort Peirce: that’s a fact. You employ a nuanced but ultimately flawed analogy: that’s a fact. You use biased language to steer the reader to the conclusion you want: that’s a fact. You consider no alternative scenarios or possible objections in your post: that’s a fact.

    You say I’m tossing out red herrings, straw men, and ad hominems. Honestly, would you please grow up? Deal with the arguments instead of crying foul all the time. If you want to play basketball with me, you are occasionally going to get fouled. Deal with it and move on, maybe consider whether you want to get out of the game.

    One way to deal with it is this: revise your post on signs. In over 20 years of writing and publishing, I can tell you I have learned that every criticism on a piece has value and should lead to a change.

    I anticipate you will bring up that time earlier when you got offended, probably rightly, at an indirect Torquemada snipe I had made. Yes, I indeed changed a bit of what I had originally written, although I kept the central snipe as it was for reasons I explained. I understand you didn’t and don’t like the reasons, but that’s the end of the line. I sought to understand your points, I incorporated that feedback and made the changes I felt best represented the truth.

    So, instead of taking cheap shots at me when my voice will never be heard at UD (I’m tempted to dare you to publish this post in a timely manner, if ever), why don’t you revise and improve your signs post. I would really like that. I genuinely think that there’s a contribution to be made by that post of yours–it’s just not fully cooked yet.

    I think you make people like me out to be the boogeyman at least as much as you think we do it to you. Perhaps we all can simmer down. I’m asking you to reconsider and revise your signs post because I think it would improve the thing. Take the advice or reject it, no problem to me.

    I’m sure you have advice for me and “those of my ilk.” Well, let’s have it.

    LT (Monday, 21 Feb 2011, 11:45 am EST)

  188. Brent, I didn’t say that I think that a “God” is possible. I’ve said that I think a creator or designer of some sort is possible. I don’t believe that any of the Gods humans have invented are possible.

    I am able to separate the concept of ID from religion or any Gods in my mind, but it is not my problem that many people do associate ID with a God or religion, especially when most ID adherents make it obvious that they are religious and believe in a God.

    You asked:

    “Second, why do you think (and pretty, pretty please, at the very least, respond to this question) it’s reasonable to rule out a priori any conclusion that any scientific observations may indicate or lead one to?”

    I’m not sure I understand the question. Can you rephrase it?

  189. From No. 178:

    I said:

    “On the subject of a multiverse, I don’t take it very seriously. It makes for an interesting thought or conversation but there’s no credible evidence to prove it one way or another.”

    Brent said:

    “Not true. An actual number of infinite things is logically impossible.”

    What is not true in what I said?

    And are you saying that a multiverse is impossible?

  190. 191

    Pach, should the materialism proposed by a wide swath of science be believed, given that most of its adherents are materialist?

  191. kairosfocus said:

    “So, it is a REASONABLE step — not mere optional opinion — to infer from FSCO/I to design as cause, and onwards to the credible presence of an intelligence capable of making the design.”

    Even IF you’re right, that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to agree with you. No matter how reasonable you think something is, there will always be people who think it’s unreasonable.

    Many people think that the story of Noah’s Ark is reasonable. I think it’s crazy. Many people think that a guy named Jesus died for everyone’s sins and rose from the dead. I think that’s crazy. Many people think that life came from from strictly materialistic chemical processes. I think it’s possible. Many people think that ghosts, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and fairies are real. I think they’re delusional. Many people think that their God helps them to win football games or score a touchdown. I think they’re nuts.

    Many people think that nature has an inexhaustible supply of resources for human consumption. I think they are ignorant, selfish, and arrogant. Many people like red cars. I prefer other colors. Many people think that wolves are bloodthirsty, human baby killers. I know that those people are stupid, fearful morons. Many people think that their religion is THE religion and that their God is THE god. I think that they’re selfish, arrogant, and delusional.

    Many people love to eat mushrooms. I don’t. Many people like to kill animals. I think they’re barbarians. Many people like Glenn Beck. I think he’s a maniac. Many people think that good morals are inseparable from belief in a God and religion. I don’t. Many people think they know everything, or at least everything that needs to be known. I don’t.

    There are about six and a half billion people on this planet, which means there are about six and a half billion opinions.

  192. P:

    being reasonable is not an issue of whether or not people agree with you.

    Cf the parable of the cave, here.

    GEM of TKI

  193. PS: You might want to also look here on building a worldview up from first principles of right reason. Soundness, cogency and warrant — the very stuff of reasonableness — are not mere matters of opinion.

    PPS: And, to think that those who differ from you are “crazy,” “nuts,” delusional,” or the like, etc as you note above is not a good sign. Indeed, it uncomfortably echoes the smug bigotry of Dawkins’ “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.”

  194. Upright BiPed asked:

    “Pach, should the materialism proposed by a wide swath of science be believed, given that most of its adherents are materialist?”

    To me, it would depend on exactly what material things they are proposing or claiming. And also to me, it’s not who proposes or claims it that counts, it’s what they propose or claim and what evidence they have.

  195. Pach: “To me, it would depend on exactly what material things they are proposing or claiming.”

    We certainly don’t have to wonder about these things. There is very little to clarify. The proposition is that only unguided material forces are at work in the cosmos (or even before the cosmos existed). This is what men and women who are authorities associated with such knowledge say they’ve come to know. They pursue this distinction within their associations and in their interaction with the public. It’s an authority which is largly granted by a public that has questions, but that accomodation comes with responsibilities. They have a responsibility to be honest about what they say – and not just honest in their personal beliefs, but also factually honest in the state of knowledge. They also have a responsibility to correct errors in public understanding of that state of knowledge.

    So, should they be believed?

    Pach: “And also to me, it’s not who proposes or claims it that counts, it’s what they propose or claim and what evidence they have.”

    Really? I tought you were making a rather extended case that there are certain people who hold certain beliefs, and these people’s opinions are obviously secondary to those that hold an opposing belief. One belief is valid while the other in suspect.

    In any case, once again, there is very little to clarify. Since they have given an answers to the questions, they are saying whatever is necessary to explain their authority over the subject. This should be obvious.

  196. @Pachyaena,

    “I didn’t say that I think that a “God” is possible. I’ve said that I think a creator or designer of some sort is possible. I don’t believe that any of the Gods humans have invented are possible.

    So, your problem is God, as I’ve been saying. At least now you’ve come out and said so (and in the process admitted your bias). Thank you for that, anyway.

    I’d just love to hear more about this: “I don’t believe that any of the Gods humans have invented are possible.” Oh, please do elaborate on how you have come to a logical conclusion concerning this. Of course, the statement itself is correct, but it is so necessarily correct that it isn’t even worth saying. You’ve only actually said that all things that were invented were invented. But, what you are trying to imply is that all the Gods that humans have proposed or believe in are invented in the minds of humans.

    I’m being completely 100% genuine here. If you can reason out that stance logically and without being circular I will send you a prize for your effort. Really, I will. In fact, not only will I send you a prize that you may not like (of course it will be something intended to change your mind), but I’ll also send you something unrelated just for your enjoyment.

    So, I’m putting $15 worth of enjoyment prize, plus the book (or possibly video) that you may or may not enjoy, on the line here, and that’s because I’m sure anything you can possibly say ultimately will reduce to circularity.

    As for rephrasing my earlier question to you: Why do you think it’s reasonable to rule out a priori (prior to the scientific investigation that we do in order to give us a conclusion to start with) any conclusion that any scientific observations may indicate or lead one to?

    In other words, why is it reasonable to rule out any possible answers before the search for answers is even begun?

    And please, don’t start with examples analogous to, say, police investigations where they rule out some answers “before” they begin. When that happens, the real case is that the reason the answers are ruled out is because they have good reasons to do so, which reasons are in fact a part of the investigation, and therefore not really a priori.

    So, why is it good, or should it even be permissible, to rule out any conclusions to scientific inquiry before the inquiry even begins? If you already know that certain answers are not possible, then you must have some cogent argumentation for that fact, which is what people are trying to get you to produce here, but you have given zero.

    Man, I have so much more to say to you, but you are very unable to bear it.

  197. @Pachyaena,

    Forgot this part.

    Me: “Not true. An actual number of infinite things is logically impossible.”

    Pach: What is not true in what I said?

    And are you saying that a multiverse is impossible?

    You had said about the multiverse, “there’s no credible evidence to prove it one way or another.” And so, I was saying that that was an incorrect statement, since an actual infinite number of things is logically impossible. However, I did wonder if my response was correct in that I don’t know if anyone out there is proposing a finite number of universes as apposed to an infinite number which I’ve always heard that the multiverse theory holds.

    Either way, it is very, very telling that you would withhold judgment on the multiverse theory since there is absolutely zero evidence for it, and which ultimately is only evading the question it purports to answer. The very reason the theory even exists is precisely because scientific evidence is leading unavoidably in the direction of a Beginner.

  198. Brent, the concept of a multiverse doesn’t necessarily assume that it’s an infinite multiverse.

    You obviously believe that an infinite universe or multiverse is impossible and illogical. Is your God finite, or infinite? Is anything about it finite? Going by your way of thinking, it would be impossible and illogical for God to be infinite in any way. Therefor, God must be finite. So, God had a beginning. Then who or what created God? And who or what created the who or what that created the who or what, ad infinitum?

    If you rule out infinity before the search has begun (actually, it began long ago but isn’t finished and likely never will be), isn’t that an a priori conclusion? And if you rule out the possibility of a creator and/or designer, or another God, that isn’t your chosen God, isn’t that an a priori conclusion? And if you rule out the possibility of a strictly materialistic universe and evolution of life, isn’t that an a priori conclusion?

    The Gods people have invented are (or were) in the minds of those people. Animals think, but they don’t invent Gods, or if they do we’re not aware of it.

    People invent Gods because of fear and ignorance. Many, many Gods and religious beliefs have been invented. Are they all true? Which one is true, and which ones aren’t? And why?

    Gods are not invented by people because of logic. They aren’t based on facts. There is no evidence and no proof that any God that people have ever invented actually exists. It is illogical to believe that something exists in reality that has no basis in reality. And if something only exists in un-reality then it doesn’t really exist except in the imagination. I can imagine lots and lots of things but that doesn’t mean they actually exist.

    It’s possible that there’s an entity of some sort that is responsible for the creation and/or design of the universe but I don’t believe it’s the Christian God or any other Gods that people have conjured up.

    The stories in the Bible are ridiculous and totally illogical. People have never lived for hundreds of years, Noah’s Ark could not have held all the things it allegedly did. There’s no evidence of a global flood. Snakes can’t talk and dinosaurs didn’t live alongside humans. There’s no evidence or proof that ‘Jesus’ ever lived, and even if he did there’s no evidence or proof that he did any of things that are attributed to him. It’s all hearsay and exaggerated story telling.

    Religious beliefs are superstitious nonsense. Humans are obsessed with inventing monsters and ghosts and wizards and demons and angels and leprechauns and Gods. All that stuff may be entertaining, and it may make for profitable movies, TV shows, and books but they’re all just figments of the imagination. Reality is much more interesting and fulfilling.

  199. kairosfocus,

    “..think at all, we must be able to distinguish things (or else all would be confusion and chaos), and these laws immediately follow from that first act of thought.”

    Does that apply to animals, or only humans?

    “In short, it is a relevant instance of the fallacy of composition to assume or infer that by attacking individual components and/or highlighting its particular difficulties, one can dispose of and dismiss a worldview case.”

    Does that apply to any world view or only one that matches your own?

    “…it should be pointed out that the New Testament has been remarkably confirmed time and again by external evidence. This is not to say there are no problems; but to the unbiased observer, little doubt can be cast on the statement that archaeology has confirmed the [general] historical reliability of the New Testament.”

    Wishful thinking. And even if archeology were to confirm the historical accuracy of the new testament (which is hasn’t and can’t), that doesn’t mean it can confirm the accuracy of the beliefs put forth in the new testament, or the old testament.

    Lots of things have a history but that doesn’t mean they have validity. In other words, just because people have believed something for a long time doesn’t make those beliefs true.

  200. Pachyaena,

    Even using the materialists very own line of reasoning for a infinite number of universes to explain to extreme fine-tuning of this universe guarantees to existence of God. This is because the materialists, in their appeal to a multiverse, grant the necessary premise for the ontological argument;

    The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is some purposeless materialistic theory based on blind chance. Materialistic blind chance only escapes being completely crushed, by the overwhelming weight of evidence for design, by appealing to an infinity of other un-testable universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Yet there is no hard physical evidence to support this blind chance conjecture. In fact, the ‘infinite multiverse’ conjecture suffers from some very serious flaws of logic. For instance exactly which laws of physics, arising from which material basis, are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when, to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Plus, if an infinite number of other possible universes must exist in order to explain the fine tuning of this one, then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator to exist? Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses to explain the extreme fine-tuning of this one we can surmise; If it is infinitely possible for God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of His existence in one of these other infinity of universes, and since He certainly must exist, then all possibilities in all universes automatically become subject to Him since He is, by definition, All Powerful. To clearly illustrate the absurdity of what the materialists now consider their cutting edge science: The materialistic conjecture of an infinity of universes to explain the fine tuning of this one also insures the 100% probability of the existence of Pink Unicorns no matter how small the probability is of them existing. In fact a infinity of universes insures the existence of an infinity of Pink Unicorns an infinite number of times. Thus it is self-evident the materialists have painted themselves into a inescapable corner of logical absurdities in trying to find an escape from the Theistic implications we are finding for the fine-tuning of this universe.

    The preceding argument has actually been made into a formal philosophical proof:

    Ontological Argument For God From The Many Worlds Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

    God Is Not Dead Yet – William Lane Craig – Page 4
    The ontological argument. Anselm’s famous argument has been reformulated and defended by Alvin Plantinga, Robert Maydole, Brian Leftow, and others. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being, a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and he would exist in every logically possible world. But then we can argue:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
    2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
    7. Therefore, God exists.

    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=4

    I like the following concluding comment about the ontological argument from the Dr. Plantinga video:

    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exit.”

    Ontological Argument – Dr. Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ

    The fact is Pachyaena, the atheists are the ones who are making a baseless emotional appea, while the Theists are the ones sticking to the evidence, as is clearly illustrated here by Richard Dawkins and William Lane Craig;

    Richard Dawkins Lies About William Lane Craig AND Logic! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1cfqV2tuOI

    1. Argument From Contingency – God is the best explanation for why anything exists rather than nothing.

    2. Kalam Cosmological Argument – God is the best explanation for the beginning of the universe.

    3. Teleological Argument – God is the best explanation for the fine-tuning of the initial conditions of the universe for intelligent life.

    4. Moral Argument – God is the best explanation for the existence of objective moral values and duties in the world,,, even for the existence of evil which is a departure from the way things ‘ought’ to be.

    5. Ontological Argument – modal – The very possibility of God’s existence entails that God exists.

    6. Comprehensibility Argument – God is the best explanation for why the universe can be grasped and understood by the mind of man in the first place.

    7. Law Like Structure Argument – God is the best explanation for why the universe obeys a set of invariant transcendent laws.

    Pachyaena, as for your argument from ‘infinity’. Infinity is impossible for ‘material’ things, but is not for transcendent things,

    William Lane Craig – Hilbert’s Hotel – The Absurdity Of An Infinite Regress Of ‘Things’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994011/

    Georg Cantor – The Mathematics Of Infinity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4572335

    Logic also dictates ‘a decision’ must have been made, by the ‘transcendent, eternal, infinite information’ from the primary timeless (eternal) reality ‘It’ inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive by yet another line of evidence besides the necessity for a ‘first mover’ to explain quantum wave collapse.

    The First Cause Must Be A Personal Being – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4813914

    further note;

    Fibonacci Numbers – Euler’s Identity – The Fingerprint of God – video – (See video description for a look at Euler’s Identity)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5988843/

  201. Pachyaena:

    I do not have a great deal of time just now, but will note a few quick points:

    1 –> The basic distinction between object A and not-object A is an aspect of reality, that we recognise, we do not invent. Animals and plants for that matter have to respond to the same law, if they are to survive. Food A is not poison NON-A, to begin with.

    2 –> Serious worldviews are to be assessed on comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power [elegance vs ad hocness or simplisticness] in light of first principles of right reason and other warranted credible truths. Cf discussion here and onward.

    3 –> To merely point out that a w/v, considered in isolation, has difficulties is not good enough as ALL WORLDVIEWS OF CONSEQUENCE HAVE DIFFICULTIES.

    (And extreme skepticism does not make the starting gate, as it is self referentially incoherent: how do you know you cannot know? to then try the trick of selectively being hyper-skeptical falls into fatal inconsistency in warranting standards.)

    4 –> I suggest you examine the basic historical evidence of the core Christian faith, e.g. starting here, and address whether you would prefer to let go of all knowledge of the past beyond several hundred years ago, and whether you can reasonably warrant such in public. If not, you are merely playing at selective hyperskepticism targetting the Christian faith.

    5 –> If you do that, BTW, a lot of science would also collapse because the warrant for it depends crucially on historical evidence and inference from present to past. So would the court system.

    6 –> As to your sneering “hearsay” dismissal of documentary evidence, I suggest you examine the tested rules of evidence summarised here, and reflect again on the consequences of selective hyperskepticism.

    7 –> That does not begin to reckon with the experience of millions across the ages of living encounter and relationship with God, through penitent faith in Christ, which issued and issues in life-transforming, miracle-working power. I am one, and there are others in and around this blog, including the same BA 77 you often dismiss. BTW, the transforming power I speak of has strongly shaped out history for the good; for a start simply look up the life story of say William Wilberforce,and it will not hurt to look up the life story of Blaise Pascal too, or even Chuck Colson, and try out Mother Theresa and John Paul II, the Great — and I say that as a convinced protestant. (One of the worst manifestations of bigotry in current times, is the cynically slanderous ongoing attempt to paint Christians as fascistic, destructive plagues on the earth.)

    G’day

    GEM of TKI

  202. Hi Pach,

    You say:

    “Lots of things have a history but that doesn’t mean they have validity. In other words, just because people have believed something for a long time doesn’t make those beliefs true.”

    The inverse is also true. Just because a thing is purported to have happened a long time ago doesn’t mean that the thing is automatically false. An objective observer should be prepared to accept both theories in his/her search for truth as the evidence comes in.

    Which is what most of us appear to be asking of you (it’s what I’m asking anyway.)

    - Sonfaro

  203. Pach,

    Judging by your non-response, it seems you wish to ignore or avoid something in my post at 195. Please feel free to sneer at me for bringing it up.

    Perhaps you’d rather argue over Noah’s ark than engage the evidence that ID brings to the table – that would be the standard response coming from your direction. For a materialist, it sucks when the observable evidence goes against you in such an obvious (and intractible) manner.

    I do wonder though about the internal strength it takes to ignore evidence on the one hand, yet maintain the air of enlightenment on the other. What refinement! Imagine someone like Anthony Flew; how much more a simpleton than you. Or perhaps even someone like Gladys Aylward; truly a miserably wasted life by your standard. Without equivocation, this must be true.

  204. Also, Pach. Just noticed this:

    “You obviously believe that an infinite universe or multiverse is impossible and illogical. Is your God finite, or infinite? Is anything about it finite? Going by your way of thinking, it would be impossible and illogical for God to be infinite in any way. Therefor, God must be finite. So, God had a beginning. Then who or what created God? And who or what created the who or what that created the who or what, ad infinitum?”

    The basic response (from a Christian at least) is that everything that has a beginning has a cause. Our universe appears to have a beginning. So our universe appears to have a cause. That cause would have to be outside of the laws it created on the inside. Thus, the rules of our universe wouldn’t apply to our creator. (If I’ve gotten that wrong somebody correct me. That’s how I remember the argument.)

    The “Who created the creator” argument has been done to death by other non-believers (I believe Dawkins did it in the God Delusion). It typically flounders when dealing with a Christian theist who actually paid attention during Sunday School.

    On the subject of the infinite: It is most improbable that there are infinite things IN this universe. Beyond it? That is a different ball game.

    You also say (and this ticked me off, ’cause you had been somewhat respectful before).

    “People invent Gods because of fear and ignorance. Many, many Gods and religious beliefs have been invented. Are they all true? Which one is true, and which ones aren’t? And why?”

    This is also a very basic Atheistic/Materialistic ASSUMPTION. It also has been done to death. From a Christian perspective, we have a saying.

    “God has not given us the spirit of fear.”

    We(Christians) don’t believe in God because we’re afraid of the consequences (or at least we’re not supposed to). We believe in God because we’re hardwired to do so. To know of God is part of the programing. The natural response when seeing design in nature is to acknowldge the designer.

    C’mon dude, it’s like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back here.

    :(

    - Sonfaro

  205. Happy Washington’s Birthday.

    Just got a break at work to check in. Interesting comments. I would like to add one thing.

    I did not invent the Christian God. I would never had invented a “god” who made so many specific and difficult demands on me! If I had a choice it would be a “god” who let me do what I want.

    I did not invent God. As I came up against problems in life there was no answer better than the Christian God. My choice was to believe or not. My beliefs would not change the reality one iota, but believing and living according to the demands of that belief surely make life much more understandable and joyous.

    God Bless everyone here.

    Gesualdo

  206. @Pach,

    You obviously believe that an infinite universe or multiverse is impossible and illogical. Is your God finite, or infinite? Is anything about it finite? Going by your way of thinking, it would be impossible and illogical for God to be infinite in any way.

    Wrong.

    “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:”

    The God of the Bible is not an infinite number of parts, much less an infinite number of material parts. The whole thing about “God” is that by definition He is understood to have created everything, which includes time, and He must therefore transcend time, and space, and matter. When we say God is infinite we mean so not in number of parts, but in that He transcends everything. He has no beginning or end.

    If you rule out infinity before the search has begun (actually, it began long ago but isn’t finished and likely never will be), isn’t that an a priori conclusion?

    No, because the ruling out of infinity has been done as a result of the search, not beforehand; the search has indicated unanswerably that an infinite regress is impossible, and likewise an actual infinite number of things is as well.

    And if you rule out the possibility of a creator and/or designer, or another God, that isn’t your chosen God, isn’t that an a priori conclusion? And if you rule out the possibility of a strictly materialistic universe and evolution of life, isn’t that an a priori conclusion?

    But, I didn’t. So what is your excuse? Again, I’ve openly investigated the evidence, and as stated before, listened to the critics of my Christianity, and the evidence and logic has done nothing but strengthen my faith in the Bible. To make clear what I’m saying, the investigation that I’ve done in both listening to the critics of the Christian religion, and listening to materialist, Darwinist, atheistic proponents, have both led to a more firm foundation of belief in the Bible (though I don’t know if there is really warrant to differentiate them).

    The Gods people have invented are (or were) in the minds of those people. Animals think, but they don’t invent Gods, or if they do we’re not aware of it.

    People invent Gods because of fear and ignorance. Many, many Gods and religious beliefs have been invented. Are they all true? Which one is true, and which ones aren’t? And why?

    Gods are not invented by people because of logic. They aren’t based on facts. There is no evidence and no proof that any God that people have ever invented actually exists. It is illogical to believe that something exists in reality that has no basis in reality. And if something only exists in un-reality then it doesn’t really exist except in the imagination. I can imagine lots and lots of things but that doesn’t mean they actually exist.

    It’s possible that there’s an entity of some sort that is responsible for the creation and/or design of the universe but I don’t believe it’s the Christian God or any other Gods that people have conjured up.

    The stories in the Bible are ridiculous and totally illogical. People have never lived for hundreds of years, Noah’s Ark could not have held all the things it allegedly did. There’s no evidence of a global flood. Snakes can’t talk and dinosaurs didn’t live alongside humans. There’s no evidence or proof that ‘Jesus’ ever lived, and even if he did there’s no evidence or proof that he did any of things that are attributed to him. It’s all hearsay and exaggerated story telling.

    Religious beliefs are superstitious nonsense. Humans are obsessed with inventing monsters and ghosts and wizards and demons and angels and leprechauns and Gods. All that stuff may be entertaining, and it may make for profitable movies, TV shows, and books but they’re all just figments of the imagination. Reality is much more interesting and fulfilling.

    I don’t get you Pach. In some posts you come across as articulate and able to use your brains, but then you vomit out stuff like this. It is so stupid it doesn’t even deserve a response. The sad thing is, you cannot possibly live your life as illogically and incoherently as your above statements. If you did, you’d inadvertently kill yourself. If you did, I’d actually and honestly call you a certified moron. But the actual case may be even worse, because you show that you really know better.

    I’m not saying you don’t still have a chance for the prize I offered, but whatever the heck that was that I just skinned you for, as I said, doesn’t even deserve a response. Try again if you’d like. You indicated you were busy and perhaps, therefore, you’re just tired and didn’t type things as well as you normally would have. If that’s so, then I apologize, but you’ve given me no real reason yet to think that any rational thought has led to your conclusions about God and/or Christianity.

  207. Pach, forgot to address this:

    “Many, many Gods and religious beliefs have been invented. Are they all true? Which one is true, and which ones aren’t? And why?”

    Quite a few of the worlds religions have the same God actually. Heck, I’d venture that most of the worlds religions believe in the same God. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Bahi, ect. Heck, some Hindu are saying that their God is ours too. We don’t differ on God Pach.

    We differ on what to do with that knowledge.

    Should we be as strict as, say, Muslims in Pakistan? Or should we be laxidasical like many American ‘Christians’ today? That’s the real question between theists. Not what God there is. But what that God would have of us.

    As to why I’m a Christian, from my understanding it’s the simplest of the faiths out there (At least it appears that it’s supposed to be that way to me.) Know that there is a God. Know that he loves you to sent an intercessory sacrifice so you wouldn’t have to keep killing sheep. Know that he is easily accessible. And know that he wants you to be kind.

    Really, Christianity is just Theistic Humanism… and is often more Humanist than Secular Humanists! (How many Humanist groups showed up to help Haiti? I don’t mean give donations to the organizations set up to help. I mean how many actually stopped what they were doing to help? I didn’t hear of any. Maybe I’m wrong…)

    On a side note… I’m really annoyed a skeptic has me doing my weak apologetics on an science board. -_-

    - Sonfaro

  208. On the subject of the infinite: It is most improbable that there are infinite things IN this universe. Beyond it? That is a different ball game.

    I don’t think that “beyond the universe” has any meaning. First off, there is no possible way to know even if there were other universes (was just listening to something interesting about that, but not too attentively so I can’t lay out the argument). Second, it seems to me that an infinite number of actual things would necessarily completely fill any universe that possibly existed to contain them, but then the actual things would have to stop somewhere because they would have to be contained within that universe, but that would mean there were only a finite number of those things. So, to have an actual number of infinite things to exist, it would be necessary for the universe that contained them to itself be infinite, which would mean that it is the universe in which we live. But, we have evidence that our universe isn’t infinite.

    Hmmmmm. That was kinda off the top of my head, but it makes sense to me in one way at least, though maybe not in another. The thing I’m bumping up against is the idea of something outside our universe. What does that even mean? If it’s outside our universe then what separates our universe from that other universe? Not space. Not time. Maybe I’m answering the part about it not even being possible to know if another universe existed.

    One thing I know for an absolute fact, however, is that it is way past my bedtime.

  209. “The thing I’m bumping up against is the idea of something outside our universe. What does that even mean? If it’s outside our universe then what separates our universe from that other universe? Not space. Not time. Maybe I’m answering the part about it not even being possible to know if another universe existed.”

    For me, the creator of the laws of our universe would not be subject to them. Like a programer who writes a set of rules into a video game. The world of “Super Mario” adheres to a set of rules: Mushrooms make you grow. Plants give you hadoken powers. Touching creatures who don’t like you will result in instant death. These rules apply in the world of the game. They don’t apply to the games designer.

    That’s a weird way to describe it and probably to simplistic but it’s all I could think of at the time. I’ve got work in a minute so I can’t dwell to much. I’ll give it some thought though…

    “One thing I know for an absolute fact, however, is that it is way past my bedtime.”

    Go to sleep!!!!

    :)

    - Sonfaro

  210. 212

    Brent,

    The issue has been stated as such:

    If everything in the material universe is Contingent, then there must be at least one thing that is Necessary, and that Necessary thing cannot be Contingent on this material universe

  211. What he said.

    :)

  212. Kairosfocus: You said, “That does not begin to reckon with the experience of millions across the ages of living encounter and relationship with God, through penitent faith in Christ.”

    You forgot to mention all the millions across the ages who have experienced a living encounter and relationship with God who were NOT Christians. Here are five examples whose experiences are available through books currently in print: Rumi, Ibn al Arabi, and Hafiz (muslims), and Yogananda and his teacher, Sri Yukteswar (both Hindus).

    Born Again, Brent, Upright BiPed, StephenB, et al:

    Don’t you know that reason is powerless to convince anyone of the existence of God, much less of the truth of the Christians beliefs? If all those proofs of God’s existence were really effective, don’t you think that intelligent people everywhere would already be convinced? For whatever reason, they are obviously unpersuasive to anyone who is not already a believer.

    Pachyaena: You said at one point something like, “Nobody knows whether God exists or not.” I submit that you do not know that. There have been many, many people who have had a direct experience of the presence of God (using the term God in its general sense, not any particular conception of Him/Her/It such as the Christian one). There is a book devoted to a detailed exploration of that subject, titled Cosmic Consciousness (I forget the author’s name). They report that this experience is as powerful and real as any experience of “ordinary” reality such as seeing a sunset or hearing a symphony. On what basis do you deny that such experiences lead to knowledge whereas the experiences brought to us through our senses do lead to knowledge?

  213. Bruce David,

    Don’t you know that reason is powerless to convince anyone of the existence of God, much less of the truth of the Christians beliefs? If all those proofs of God’s existence were really effective, don’t you think that intelligent people everywhere would already be convinced? For whatever reason, they are obviously unpersuasive to anyone who is not already a believer.

    As someone who has a very cynical view of the power of reason to persuade most anyone who is firmly set in their ways… no, that’s not correct. Those proofs, those arguments, really do have an effect. It may not be the most wide-spread effect – it may only have pull with certain people – but they do have their place.

  214. Bruce David you state;

    Don’t you know that reason is powerless to convince anyone of the existence of God, much less of the truth of the Christians beliefs? If all those proofs of God’s existence were really effective, don’t you think that intelligent people everywhere would already be convinced? For whatever reason, they are obviously unpersuasive to anyone who is not already a believer.

    ,,, and yet though reason and discerning of overwhelming evidence alone may not win that many atheists to the truth that belongs to Christ alone, correct reason and discerning of the overwhelming evidence does guard against those who would love to destroy the christian faith, such as the ‘new atheists’ of PZ Myers, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins etc.. etc.. as well as defends against those who would seek to water the exclusive truth claims of Christianity down.

  215. 217

    “Don’t you know that reason is powerless to convince anyone of the existence of God, much less of the truth of the Christians beliefs?”

    ID is not a program to convince anyone of the truths of the Christian faith.

  216. 218

    Oh, by the way Bruce, did you come to your belief in pantheism by reason, or were you forced into it beyond your will? Was it a matter of organic physical necessity?

  217. Upright BiPed,

    Since you ask, the process went something like this:

    I started life as an atheist materialist. I was opened to the possibility that there was more to reality than this by a number of influences–a study of Eastern Religions in college, notably Zen, The Inner Game of Tennis, by Tim Galwey, and the Seth books by Jane Roberts.

    I came to my belief in pantheism first through a realization that the physical universe does not actually exist as such, ie., that all there is is mind and the contents of mind–thoughts, sense impressions, and emotions. In this I was strongly influenced by Bishop Berkeley’s philosophy. I don’t regard this as the product of my reason, however, it is more a kind of seeing, an “Ah ha” experience, as in, “Oh my God, THAT’s how it is!”

    Next, I realized that for there to be a common world which all minds shared in experiencing, there must be an entity that is coordinating our shared experience. This entity could only be God, and it really only made sense if our minds (souls, actually) were in fact contained withing His mind (or Him).

    Then I was introduced to the Conversations with God books, and the knowledge contained therein confirmed, clarified, and extended my understanding.

    Thanks for asking.

    Bruce

  218. 220

    Bruce,

    Then you may no rational excuse for telling others to ‘can it’ with the reason that influences them, since it was reason that influenced your own conclusions. Telling another that his reason is “powerless” is self-serving crap. You may wish to call your reasoning an “AH HA” moment, but that is no diffrerent than anyone else’s “AH HA” moment.

    Besides that, your comment can’t account for the millions of people each year who acknowledge faith through reason, now can it?

    ID is a big tent.

    :)

  219. Upright BiPed,

    I knew you’d come back with that.

    To me there is a profound difference between “reason”, which is attempting to reach (or convince others to reach) a conclusion using logical argument, and the kind of knowing that I tried to describe above. What I am talking about is a kind of seeing, as I said. You can’t get there with logic. You have to apprehend it directly, and you definitely can’t force another to see it by the power of “reason”.

    Another example is the apprehension that all there is is now, that the future and the past don’t exist. You can’t get to that understanding via reason, only by seeing that it is so.

    This kind of knowing is personal. The important point relative to this discussion and what I said earlier about the futility of trying to convince another of your point of view via reason is that you cannot convince another of its truth through logical discourse. You can only relate your own experience, and they will see it or they won’t. Sometimes they will see it in the fullness of time.

  220. Upright BiPed,

    P.S. I submit to you that no one arrives at faith through reason. Rather, they arrive at faith through some other means and then justify it with reasoned arguments (if they do).

  221. Upright BiPed:

    P.P.S. Exactly how is my admonition that you can’t convince anyone of God’s existence or of the truth of Christian dogma through reason “self-serving”?

  222. Upright BiPed said:

    “ID is not a program to convince anyone of the truths of the Christian faith.”

    Well, it shouldn’t be but it sure does appear to be. Just look at this thread. It is overflowing with religious preaching and proselytizing.

    What happened to ID being a scientific theory?

  223. Sanforo said:

    For me, the creator of the laws of our universe would not be subject to them. Like a programer who writes a set of rules into a video game. The world of “Super Mario” adheres to a set of rules: Mushrooms make you grow. Plants give you hadoken powers. Touching creatures who don’t like you will result in instant death. These rules apply in the world of the game. They don’t apply to the games designer.

    That’s a weird way to describe it and probably to simplistic but it’s all I could think of at the time. I’ve got work in a minute so I can’t dwell to much. I’ll give it some thought though…

    Upright BiPed said:

    If everything in the material universe is Contingent, then there must be at least one thing that is Necessary, and that Necessary thing cannot be Contingent on this material universe.

    Thanks to you both. I was simply thinking outside of that box for a moment: If there were no creator, or, if one existed, it wouldn’t prohibit the existence of other universes. It was just a mental exercise in trying to grasp how it would be at all possible for an actual infinite number of things to actually exist. I don’t think there is any way at all, at least not according to the laws of logic that govern this universe. But then, what we are left with is absolutely nothing at all to root even the idea of infinity itself to, as well as anything else.

    Literally, I don’t see any possible way to even imagine that we can imagine another universe. It’s crazy. We either have to imagine one that is basically like ours, or just give it up altogether.

  224. Pach,

    If you’re in a crowded restaurant and shout, “Bomb!”, you’re going to get a reaction no matter what kind of food that restaurant serves.

    Likewise, if you’re in a place that happens to have a lot of Christians hanging out, and you shout, “God is man’s invention!”, you’re going to get a reaction. It doesn’t matter where that is.

    What is your complaint again? And where is your argument to back up your claim again??? Oh, right. The appeal to emotion.

  225. Hey Pach,

    The reason I’m defending my faith is you keep bringing it up. Same for most of the other christians here. I don’t know if you’re actually reading my responses, as you seem to be picking and choosing but I’ll try to explain again. It would be strange if people like me didn’t flock to ID. It would be like a naturalist atheist not believing in ToE. Of course we’d be here. The science supports our worldview. If you focused on asking about the science instead of attacking the religious among us – and it does feel like an attack from you at times.

    Most of us (christians) don’t care much about converting you.

  226. (Sorry writing on my phone. Blaurgh.)

    We aren’t trying to convert you. We’re asking you to take your own advise and be openminded. You don’t have to believe in the God(s) of religion if you don’t want to. I assume you live in a country where you’re free to believe what you want. But don’t go demanding we see things your way when you clearly have no interest in seeing it our way.

  227. Upright Biped,

    In regard to your comments in No. 205:

    I’m not ignoring or avoiding the question. I already answered it. See below.

    Upright BiPed asked:

    “Pach, should the materialism proposed by a wide swath of science be believed, given that most of its adherents are materialist?”

    To me, it would depend on exactly what material things they are proposing or claiming. And also to me, it’s not who proposes or claims it that counts, it’s what they propose or claim and what evidence they have.

    ———————-

    I don’t care whether someone is a ‘materialist’ or whatever else they may call themselves when it comes to their claims. If they have sound evidence, I’ll seriously consider it. If all they have is speculation, guesses, inferences, or beliefs, I probably won’t take it seriously. The title or reputation of the person has little to no effect on me. I’m interested in the evidence of whatever claim they may make. I’m as skeptical of scientists as I am of just about anyone else.

    I don’t worship a God and I don’t worship any person. I notice that some of you drop names, as though that will make your arguments stronger. I couldn’t care less what some favored writer/author of yours thinks (or opines) or what was written by some guys thousands or hundreds of years ago. I make up my own mind based on evidence, and if there is no evidence I’ll keep an open mind, unless the claim is absurd. And I will decide what’s absurd to me.

    And just so you all know, I’ve read all of your comments but I don’t have the time to respond as quickly as you might like, and may never. I’ll respond if or when I can.

  228. 230

    Bruce,

    ID is a big tent and you need no one’s welcome. But I hate to break it to you; you have no access to special powers of understanding.

    You are just as free and limited as anyone else. Sorry.

  229. 231

    Pach at 224

    I haven’t preached or proselytized to anyone. That’s not what I do here. You are welcome to cut and paste evidence to the contrary. I visit here to keep up on ID news, and defend it when I wish to. I am also free to make comments about other issues if I am so inclined.

    What is profoundly obvious is that you do nothing but attack religious people with the most wornout, low-frow, village atheist crap possible. But you don’t engage the evidence for design. And you seem eager to condemn ID for not being sterilized of people who see the evidence of design as evidence of a design. Yet in the standard materialist’ contradiction, you shrink from applying any such standard to materialism.

    You state that ID should be about science. Okay then. Set aside your god-complex and debate ID on the merits.

  230. Hey Pach. You say:

    ” And I will decide what’s absurd to me.”

    And therein lies the rub dude.

    You’ve decided, a long time ago, that religion was stupid. And there will be no convincing you otherwise.

    Fine. It’s your life, live it your way. But please, don’t come on an ID board, bash religion, then cry foul when the religious people who attend that board call you out on it.

    I’ll say it again. Hopefully you’ll get it. ID is not a religious movement. The religious follow it because it affirms our faith… the same way the un-religious hold to Evolution.

    If I am in error with the following statement please forgive. This is the attitude I feel like I’m getting from you though, so it’s the attitude I feel I must respond to.

    Don’t appeal to keeping an open mind when you yourself are selective about your own openness. Don’t keep pulling up old Atheist complaints (and they really are quite old) if you’re more interested in the science. Don’t ask us to question our faith if you don’t feel comfortable questioning yours. And don’t judge the science because people who disagree with your worldview support it.

    Judge the science for the science.

    Again, maybe I’ve got your opinion down wrong or something. But that’s what it seems like dude(dudette?).

    - Sonfaro

  231. You know what? Just listen to what Upright Biped said.

    - Sonfaro

  232. Sonfaro, I appreciate your decent responses but I want to point out that I didn’t bring up religious beliefs in the first place. nullasalus did in the original post and others did after that.

    It’s no wonder that so many people think that ID is just a religious agenda, and especially when statements like the following are made:

    “…and even if evolution is true the atheistic and anti-guidance/design conclusions drawn from its truth are largely inane.”

    If ID truly were a scientific theory, it wouldn’t matter one bit whether someone is an atheist or not. Theism is a belief in a God or Gods. Gods have nothing to do with science. The instant a God (or anything else religious) is injected into the ID debate is the instant people are going to think that ID is a religious agenda, and only a religious agenda.

  233. 235

    Pach at 229.

    You didn’t respond to 196.

    - – - – - – -

    - – I don’t care whether someone is a ‘materialist’ or whatever else they may call themselves when it comes to their claims.

    Judging by your own words, this doesn’t seem to be so. This sounds exactly like what an ideologue would say in order to sound reasonable and absolve himself for being close-minded. You are welcome to prove otherwise.

    - – If they have sound evidence, I’ll seriously consider it.

    Again, prove it.

    - – If all they have is speculation, guesses, inferences, or beliefs, I probably won’t take it seriously.

    News for you: ID doesn’t involved scientific issues that are already confirmed by repeatable evidence, or even a preponderance of evidence. Perhaps you didn’t understand this, or perhaps you’re merely repeating the party line.

    Either way, it is wrong on its face.

  234. “Sonfaro, I appreciate your decent responses but I want to point out that I didn’t bring up religious beliefs in the first place. nullasalus did in the original post and others did after that.”

    Indeed. As I said, religious people flock to ID. We’re excited for it. We’ll probably start using it in sermons. I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. It’s not meant to.

    You also say:

    “If ID truly were a scientific theory, it wouldn’t matter one bit whether someone is an atheist or not.”

    The thing is – and I thought I brought it up before, maybe I didn’t though – while it SHOULDN’T matter, all too often it does. The idea of a creator instantly messes with the world veiw of many atheists – perhaps not you, but I’d wager most are repulsed by it. No matter how scientific it gets these Athiests will reject it because of where they percieve it leads… or worse, where they’ve been told it leads.

    “Theism is a belief in a God or Gods. Gods have nothing to do with science. The instant a God (or anything else religious) is injected into the ID debate is the instant people are going to think that ID is a religious agenda, and only a religious agenda.”

    My problem, as a Christian anyway, is WHY? Why is this a problem for SCIENCE? Why must science box itself in by focusing only on results that please naturalists?

    Growing up, science was about learning the truth. Now it feels like ‘learn the truth we tell you’. A force outside of what we percieve is not the antithesis of science. It’s the antithesis of scientism, which is a different thing.

    So, I ask again… I feel I have to. Not because I’m preaching to you or trying to convert you, but because where you’re standing doesn’t make sense to me and I want to make sense of it. Why should God not be an option for science? Not for materialism, or atheism – those are givens. But for the search for truth, why must God be ruled out?

  235. bornagain77 said:

    “The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is some purposeless materialistic theory based on blind chance.”

    Not true. Some other ‘theories’ (actually just guesses) are not only possible but many have been posited/postulated.

    You apparently believe that creation and design are inextricably linked, and that your chosen God is behind both of them. It’s obvious that most people here think the same way, or close enough. No wonder ID and/or creation are considered to be religious things, and not scientific.

  236. Pachyaena, care to elaborate on what ‘non-materialistic’ theory has been postulated that did not involve intelligence. I would really like to hear your take on the matter!

  237. C’mon Pach

    :(

    You say:

    “You apparently believe that creation and design are inextricably linked, and that your chosen God is behind both of them. It’s obvious that most people here think the same way, or close enough. No wonder ID and/or creation are considered to be religious things, and not scientific.”

    Of course he believes creation and design are linked: He’s a Christian. It’s part of the worldview!

    We flock to ID because our worldview is supported. Same as atheists flock to Darwinian Evolution. I really want to know why you’re still holding on to this complaint dude.

    - Sonfaro

  238. pachyaena, Here is a tidbit for you, the mass density of the universe is balanced to within 1 part in 10^60, which means that if the universe would have one been 1 grain of sand larger are smaller during the big bang, we would not be here for the universe would have either crushed into oblivion or accelerated to fast to allow life to be possible. Just 1 grain of sand!!!! Please give me a materialistic explanation for why that should be so, instead of just saying I’m mixing ‘my God’ with science and then saying that I can’t do that,,, Pach, by the way, who in blue blazes gave you permission to dictate what we are allowed to consider in science? You seem to think you have the answer before you even looked at the evidence?

  239. Sonfaro asked:

    “Why should God not be an option for science? Not for materialism, or atheism – those are givens. But for the search for truth, why must God be ruled out?”

    Science is not interested (or at least should not be) in things that can’t be determined by scientific means. Gods and religions are not scientific. Inferences and opinions based on Gods or religious beliefs are not scientific.

    Science isn’t necessarily interested in what you call “truth”. Science is interested in facts and material processes. Truth can mean many things to many people that have nothing to do with facts or material processes. Many people believe that their chosen God and religion is the truth, even though there are no facts or material processes to prove it.

    What I wonder is why do some religious people feel so threatened by science?

  240. “I really want to know why you’re still holding on to this complaint dude.”

    My “complaint” isn’t simply about ID being linked to a God or religion. It’s about ID being called a scientific theory that has nothing to do with a God or religion while it is being linked to a God and religion.

    It’s either a scientific idea or it’s a religious idea. It can’t be both. Trying to disguise a religious idea (or agenda) as a scientific idea (or theory) is dishonest and will not fool science.

  241. ‘Kay Pach,

    For me ‘truth’ and ‘facts’ are not different things. The facts are truth. The truth is made up of fact. If the facts point towards a creative force, why should we not infer a God? It’s as likely as any other inference.

    Or are you saying Science shouldn’t infer anything at all? See, if that’s what you’re saying I’d almost agree with you, except I’m pretty sure half the discoveries we’ve made in recent years are due to someone infering from the facts how something must work.

    And it’s not ‘science’ that we’re threatened by (at least I’m not. I love REAL science). Our problem is ‘science’ that’s geared for our destruction – Evolution in the hands of men like Dawkins and the like. This science gets wrapped up with the rest, so religious people are wary of it.

    I hope I made sense there. If I didn’t I’ll try to rephrase it later.

    Also, most of the discoveries of late don’t conflict with our beliefs. (Quite a few confirm them actually). It’s just things like Darwinian Evolution (wrapped in a package like it’s science fact) that ruffles our feathers.

    This is a Christian perspective of course. I don’t know my cousins in faith fare with science – I have a suspician that Islam in general is warry of anything ‘scientists’ say these days though.

    - Sonfaro

  242. Pach says: “science is not interested (or at least should not be) in things that can’t be determined by scientific means.”

    The evidence of design is 100% material. It is instantiated into matter and can be observed by anyone.

    – - “Inferences and opinions based on Gods or religious beliefs are not scientific.”

    ID makes no claims based upon Gods or religious beliefs. Now that you’ve been told that several times, you can stop repeating the claim. Or, as an alternative, you can start defending your comment by addresssing the evidence of design.

    – - “Science is interested in facts and material processes.”

    Again, the evidence of design is 100% material – observable by anyone. Design is a part of those processes, which materialism can’t even approach without relying on unsupported assumptions.

    - – “What I wonder is why do some religious people feel so threatened by science?”

    Without a doubt, it is you who is threatened by the science. That is precisely the point.

  243. Pach, I fixed your last post for you. I couldn’t have said it better yourself :)

    My “complaint” isn’t simply about materialism being linked to science or enlightenment. It’s about materialism being called scientific and enlightened when its proponents ignore the observable evidence and attack religion instead.

    It’s either a scientific idea or it’s a religious idea. It can’t be both. Trying to disguise a religious idea (or agenda) as a scientific idea (or theory) is dishonest and will not fool anyone.

  244. Dude, I thought I adressed this already. I’m sorry If I wasn’t clear, but you’ll have to pardon my frustration.

    “My “complaint” isn’t simply about ID being linked to a God or religion. It’s about ID being called a scientific theory that has nothing to do with a God or religion while it is being linked to a God and religion.”

    It’s either a scientific idea or it’s a religious idea. It can’t be both. Trying to disguise a religious idea (or agenda) as a scientific idea (or theory) is dishonest and will not fool science.”

    Again: Religious folks like myself, like BA’77, like other Christians on this board flock to the SCIENTIFIC THEORY that our world was DESIGNED because it affirms our worldview. We already believed there was a designer – now suddenly there seems to be evidence for him in nature, in space, in physics, all around. You’ll simply have to forgive us for being excited about this.

    Of course ID has no real say who the creator is. Most of us have already… for lack of a better word… “imagined” what he/she/it is already. For Bruce it’s the idea that we are all part of God (Bruce if I’m wrong and got Pantheism confused somehow feel free to correct me man :) ). For me it’s the God of the New Testament. For some Jewish rabbi out there it’s the God of the Torrah. For some stoned out dude in Cali it’s probably an alien or something.

    The SCIENCE behind ID makes NO CLAIMS as to who the Creator is. Those who are already Religious may make all the claims we want (and trust me, we will.) ID is compatible with all of them… From Deism to Pantheism. But that’s all it is. Compatable. Seeing the designs in action doesn’t directly point to what the designer would be like. ID is most definitely a science. And maybe we religious folks can tone it down a bit (it’ll be hard, believe me.) But if your worldview already accepted that there’s probably a creator you’d be excited too!

    Does that makes sense Pach? It’s why your appeal to seperate ID followers and supporters from ID seems off-base to most of us (at least to me). You seem to be asking us not to be religious, and then saying the science isn’t science when we refuse. The science behind ID didn’t change any when Religious people got on board. It just got followers whose worldview you disagree with.

    Does that make sense? I hope so. I’m a bit annoyed that you appear to ignore my point everytime BA77 or someone posts something, so if I sound ranty I appologize.

    - Sonfaro

  245. GWARGH!!! Spelling errors. Sorry everyone.

    To Pach in particular: I’m not sure if I was clear enough in my post to explain my position and I’ll likely have to reword it tomorrow. I do want to reiterate my earlier statement regarding you however.

    While I disagree with quite a bit that you have to say, and despite the fact that you’ve ticked me off more than one in this thread (heck, you’re the reason I came on board in the first place. I was 108!) You have managed to be the first online atheist/agnostic/skeptic whatever who managed to be mostly civil. And while it appears (to me at least) that you may have a God-complex… I don’t know for sure, just what it seems like… I do appreciate having a civil conversation with you.

    - Sonfaro

  246. pach, if you ever do decide to fully defend the materialistic position you want so desperately to be true (so I guess that you may continue to imagine you are the ‘cherished’ son of primordial slime instead of a ‘despicable’ son of almighty God???),, this is the falsification of reductive materialism here;

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    The following articles show that even atoms (Ions) are subject to teleportation:

    Of note: An ion is an atom or molecule in which the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge.

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo.....ammeup.asp

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.
    http://www.freerepublic.com/fo.....1769/posts

    and pach, here is the falsification of non-reductive materialism;

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.,,, the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

  247. More than *once.

    Bah, it’s time to sleep.

    >:(

  248. Upright BiPed: You said, “I hate to break it to you; you have no access to special powers of understanding.

    You are just as free and limited as anyone else. Sorry.”

    You’re putting words into my mouth. I never claimed to have any special powers of understanding. My only claim is that I have seen some small portion of the truth. Way earlier in this thread, I quoted the Sufi saying, “Knowledge is not acquired, it is given.” That was taken to mean that it is given by a guru (understandably, actually, since I didn’t explain it further). But that is not the meaning. What is meant is that it is given by God. And what that means is that from time to time in each of our journeys Home, some of the veils are lifted and a portion of the truth stands revealed.

    My firm belief is that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. I take that very seriously. That means, among other things, that we each have within us the capability of knowing everything, and furthermore, eventually every one of us will. But as I explained above, it is part of the purpose of creation that we forget when we embark on physical existence. The remembering comes in bits and pieces, so that we and God can savor it together.

    I am not special. Or more precisely, we are all special, every single one of us.

  249. Sonfaro, I understand your points. The point I’m trying to get across is that science will not accept a religious based idea.

    I know, you said that ID is scientific and that religious people are drawn to it because they think it helps to verify their beliefs. But, and this is a big but, as long as religious comments of any kind are made in any article, discussion, or debate about ID, ID will be thought of (by science and science supporters) as merely a religious idea and agenda.

    It’s one thing to imagine that ID supports certain religious beliefs. It’s quite another to inject a God and/or religion into articles, discussions, or debates about ID.

    Consider this:

    I’m discussing something scientific with a scientist. Let’s say it’s the evolution of horses. I say that the evidence for the evolution of horses fits well with my belief in unicorns and the unicorn God. What would the scientist think of that?

    Now, let’s say that a lot of people connect unicorns and the unicorn God to the evolution of horses, and at least some of them want to have stories about unicorns and the unicorn God taught in public schools and to be considered in laws and government. What would the scientist think of that, and what would other people who don’t believe in unicorns and a unicorn God think of that?

    The evolution of horses is considered well established and is accepted by science. Unicorns and unicorn Gods are not. Neither is ID. ID doesn’t have anywhere near the evidence that horse evolution has. Even if horse evolution were considered a religious thing that is connected to unicorns and a unicorn God by one or more people, the evolution of horses could stand on its own and survive as a scientific theory. ID doesn’t have that sort of standing. ID has been put forth as having a connection to God and religion from the beginning by most of its adherents and, if anything, there are even more people now who are connecting it to a God and religion. It is virtually impossible to find a discussion about ID that doesn’t include a bunch of religious stuff.

    As I’ve said before, if ID adherents want SCIENCE to accept ID as a scientific theory, it must be completely disconnected from Gods or religion, and that includes leaving Gods and religion out of any article, discussion, or debate about it.

    What I think about ID doesn’t matter to science. What matters to science is the evidence and the disconnection from Gods and religions.

    On another note, I would agree that some inferences made by science shouldn’t be made and are based on speculation or guesses. That irritates me. Some scientists go overboard in their claims and conclusions. I’ve complained about it on some so-called science forums and was attacked and banned for my comments. I don’t like it when anyone stretches what is actually known and speaks as though it’s a proven fact.

  250. bornagain77 said:

    “pach, if you ever do decide to fully defend the materialistic position you want so desperately to be true (so I guess that you may continue to imagine you are the ‘cherished’ son of primordial slime instead of a ‘despicable’ son of almighty God???),, …”

    Science has a materialistic position, whether I do or not. Science should only be interested in material things. Otherwise it wouldn’t be science.

    I really don’t care whether I’m evolved from primordial slime or a creation of a God. It doesn’t effect my life either way. And besides, what’s so bad about slime? If you believe that God is the creator and designer of everything, he created and designed slime too! I guess he must have thought that slime is a good and necessary thing.

    You apparently believe that you are above slime and all other things. That’s typical of many religious people. To me, that’s complete arrogance. There is nothing in nature that isn’t important and as valuable as anything else. If anything, humans are a destructive force on nature and will likely become extinct long before slime.

    Nature did just fine before there were humans and it will do just fine when we are extinct. Nature isn’t here for the benefit of us, just like it wasn’t there for the benefit of the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are extinct, and nature is still around. Many other things are extinct, and nature is still around. Even when this planet is consumed by the Sun, nature will still be around, in the rest of the universe.

  251. P, Re:

    The point I’m trying to get across is that science will not accept a religious [materialistic atheism] based idea.

    I know, you said that ID [methodological naturalism] is scientific and that religious [atheistical] people are drawn to it because they think it helps to verify their beliefs. But, and this is a big but, as long as religious [atheistical] comments of any kind are made in any article, discussion, or debate about ID [origins science], ID [origins science] will be thought of (by science and science supporters) as merely a religious [materialistic] idea and agenda.

    See the ever so revealing inconsistency?

    In fact, you are again reiterating the attempted redefinition of science as applied — thus, a priori — materialistic philosophy that tries to explain reality from hydrogen to humans on evolutionary materialistic models.

    Then, you are multiplying this by the slander that seeks to ideologically smear and dismiss the design inference without having to address actual evidence and inference to best empirical explanation of a very significant class of facts, namely functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information.

    Some correctives are in order:

    1 –> News flash. As the strikeout and substitute markup above shows, your remark is a reiteration of a repeatedly corrected, bigotry driven materialist propaganda line. As I have warned, the smear that design thought is creationism in disguise, in a lab coat, and that it is thus an agenda to impose a right-wing “fundamentalist” theocratic tyranny is a vicious, libellous slander. Including, a slander on creationists in particular and Christians in general. Those who indulge in it or enable it and closed-mindedly insist on it in the teeth of cogent correction thereby expose themselves for what they are: uncivil, disrespectful of other people, as well as of the truth or fairness, and destructive.

    2 –> Here is what ID is, in essence, as aptly summed up by the New World Encyclopedia 101 article on ID, a much better introduction than the ideologically loaded, evolutionary materialistic Wiki article:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. [Cf Berlinsky's remarks, and even some hints from Hoyle on cosmological fine tuning] As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans) [and, we should not put too much store on optimality in design, robustness and overall balance on trade-offs are a relevant and different design intent].

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. [which, given the dominance of a priori Sagan-Lewontin type evolutionary materialism in various institutions, is enough to trigger a revolution in thought] It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). [parenthestical comments added]

    3 –> A civil response, would be to address this on the merits. If you disagree, show why; especially by showing how FSCO/I can come about by undirected chance and/or mechanical necessity. Cf the UD post here, and the onward linked series.

    [ . . . ]

  252. 4 –> In fact, the real problem, obviously, is that FSCO/I is on abundant evidence a very well warranted sign of intelligence in action; but on matters linked to origins, that may point in directions that the materialists who dominate scientific and linked educational, media and policy influencing institutions, are uncomfortable. So, they have resorted to smear tactics to change the subject and demonise those they differ with, but whose claims they plainly cannot address on the merits.

    5 –> Newsflash 2: ALL THEORETICAL EXPLANATIONS OR MODELS, OR LAWS OF SCIENCE ARE INFERENCES TO BEST CURRENT, EMPIRICALLY ANCHORED EXPLANATIONS. So, to dismiss an inference [especially to the deep past of origins, which is inherently unobservable] because it is an inference, is a bit of selective hyperskepticism. If it were consistently applied, there would be no origins science for us to discuss, and in fact there would be no theories in science or laws of science either.

    6 –> Newton said it well in Opticks, Query 31 (which you were pointed to already), when he laid out the basic generic scientific method more or less like it is taught in primary school:

    As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses [empty metaphysical speculations] are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations.

    7 –> this can be summed up: initial observations lead to credible facts to be explained. These may be explained as being consequences of an acting force or pattern or object etc, the explanation is subjected to onward tests by experiment or observation, and is provisionally accepted if empirically reliable. Eventually, there may be high but not closed-minded confidence in it.

    8 –> Ironically for the huffing and puffing on scientific thought and “religion,” in the very same query, Newton also said:

    Now by the help of [[the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . .

    And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. ”

    9 –> Newton also reasoned along much the same lines in his General Scholium to his Principia.

    10 –> Principia being, of course the work that put the scientific revolution in its firm footing, through advancing the Laws of Motion and of universal gravitation, with the invention of calculus hovering in the background. Indeed, therein, he observed:

    . . . This most beautiful system [i.e. the solar system understood in light of the Newtonian synthesis] of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being . . . . This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . . It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. [i.e. N accepts the cosmological argument to God.] . . . . Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from. the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy.

    11 –> The design-oriented context of Newton’s thought could hardly be more explicit. And, I see no signs of a repudiation of Newton’s work as unscientific religious rubbish tending to establish a right-wing theocratic tyranny. In short, what is going on regarding the design inference is slanderous rhetorical talking points and bigotry, not sound thinking.

    12 –> Such poisonous bigotry needs to be exposed, shamed and corrected, not mollycoddled.

    GEM of TKI

  253. F/N: BD, of course, we all may have some degree of awareness of or relationship with our common Father!

    Here is how Locke cited Hooker from his Ecclesiastical Polity in his 2nd essay on civil govt, Ch 2 sect 5, to ground modern liberty and democracy in our being equally made in God’s image and equally being under the core principles of moral government:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant.

    Similarly, when he set out to ground our capacity to know, Locke in the Introduction sect 5 of his essay on human understanding, said:

    Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 - 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 - 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 - 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 - 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

    Nor is this sort of reasoning exactly news, circa 1690.

    Locke was subtly alluding to the teaching of the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, Chs 1, 2 and 13. Let me cite Amplified Bible:

    _____________

    >>Rom 1: 19 . . . that which is known about God is evident to [[people]] and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

    20For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],(B)

    21Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they [[too often]] did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and [c]godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

    22Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

    23And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.

    24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],

    25Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! . . . .

    Rom 2:6For He [[God]] will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]:(A)

    7To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [[b]springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [[c]the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.

    8But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth [[i.e. what degree of access to the truth about God and yourself and our world have you had, what should you do about it, and what have you done about it? (Cf here, a href = "http://www.angelfire.com/pro/kairosfocus/resources/Selective_Hyperskepticism.htm#ntcase">here and a href = "http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.com/2010/11/unit-1-biblical-foundations-of-and-core.html#u1_intro">here)]] but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath . . . .

    13For it is not merely hearing the Law [read] that makes one righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be held guiltless and acquitted and justified.

    14When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law.

    15They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] [e]decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving [f]thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]

    16On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to [g]the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts) . . . .

    Rom 13:8Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one's fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].

    9The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.(B)

    10Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. [[Double parentheses added to the clarifying parhentheses used by AMP]]>>
    _____________

    So, we all can sense the reality of God and the pull to pour common Father, from the world without and our own constitution of conscious mind, responsible thought, choice and conscience within.

    The crucial question, is how have we responded to the truth we have access to and know or should know.

    Have we sought it, or fled it?

    Penitently persisted in it even when we stumble, or abandoned it?

    Distorted it or rejected it?

    GEM of TKI

  254. Oops on some links:

    (Cf here, here and here)

  255. F/N: As with Jn 1:1, the remarks in Rom 1 are scientifically quite relevant and empirically testable.

    While materialists were able to strut their claims that life comes from chemical noise filtered by survival, and while they could indulge the idea of an eternal observed cosmos, they were quite content to clam how modern origins science made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

    But, once it was seen — oops — that life is based on a digital code implemented through step by step algorithms in a self-replicating device with metabolic capacity, and once it was seen that the cosmos that sets up that C-chemistry cell based life, is very carefully fine-tuned for that, and credibly had a beginning, suddenly we hear about making sure thsat no connexions ever be drawn by anyone, any time from science to religion.

    H’mm, do we get to say, then that no connexions ever be drawn by anyone, any time from science to irreligion?

    Of course, not . . . science must pretend that all is explainable on matter, energy, space and time interacting without intelligent direction, on chance plus mechanical necessity.

    See the real agenda problem?

  256. Pach you state;

    ‘Science has a materialistic position, whether I do or not. Science should only be interested in material things. Otherwise it wouldn’t be science.’

    and yet ‘science’ has rigorously falsified materialism!

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-372911

    so pach what is a ‘scientist’, as you have narrowly defined him/her to accord to your own worldview, to do when his working presumption is shown to be false? Should he just pretend that materialism is not falsified?

  257. bornagain77 said:

    “….the mass density of the universe is balanced to within 1 part in 10^60, which means that if the universe would have one been 1 grain of sand larger are smaller during the big bang, we would not be here for the universe would have either crushed into oblivion or accelerated to fast to allow life to be possible.”

    What evidence do you have of this?

  258. bornagain77, you said:

    “The only other theory possible for the universe’s creation, other than a God-centered hypothesis, is some purposeless materialistic theory based on blind chance.”

    I responded:

    “Not true. Some other ‘theories’ (actually just guesses) are not only possible but many have been posited/postulated.”

    Then you said:

    “Pachyaena, care to elaborate on what ‘non-materialistic’ theory has been postulated that did not involve intelligence. I would really like to hear your take on the matter!”

    Notice that your first statement specified “God”, while your second statement said “intelligence”. Moving the goalposts is a futile endeavor.

  259. Pach. you ask for evidence of mass density fine-tuning? Your kidding right?

    Barrow and Tippler – The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

    Here is a discussion of that particular fine-tuned parameter, with quotes by leading scientists as to its implications;

    The Anthropic Principle – Fine Tuning Of The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661/

    As well, you state;

    Notice that your first statement specified “God”, while your second statement said “intelligence”. Moving the goalposts is a futile endeavor.

    Baby steps are needed before you can walk pach, so I would like for you to at least admit the necessity for intelligence. Or are you saying that you are comfortable with some type of Intelligence just so long as it is not the Judeo-Christian God. and if so, Just what type of transcendent Intelligence would you be comfortable with pach. to explain the origination and fine-tuning of the universe?,,, And if not please tell me the many materialistic conjectures that you claim have been postulated.

  260. F/N: Re P, at 252:

    Science has a materialistic position, whether I do or not. Science should only be interested in material things. Otherwise it wouldn’t be science.

    Y’mean as in:
    _________________

    >> To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Emphases added.] >>
    __________________

    That is putting an a priori, worldview, ideological, question-begging straight-jacket on science that cripples it from being able to seek and see the uncensored truth about our world.

    Instead, science at its best is an unfettered (but ethically and intellectually responsible) provisional, progressive pursuit of the truth about our world, based on observation, experiment, analysis, explanatory/theoretical modelling, and empirical testing, evaluated though uncensored (but mutually respectful) discussion among the informed.

    In short, P, you have openly admitted precisely the problem that is dogging origins science study.

    Worldview level a priori evolutionary materialistic question-begging (presented under cover of what science is or should do, i.e loaded redefinition under the name of methodological naturalism), backed up by thought police enforcement tactics. The recent Gaskell expulsion on censorship by UK backed up by NCSE, is just a symptom of the problem.

    Enough is enough.

    GEM of TKI

  261. F/N 2: can you show us how information — and NB its connexion to entropy and coded digital manifestation in DNA etc — is a strictly material thing?

  262. To Everyone,

    May I suggest that we all drop everything for a moment and agree to only ask Pach one question and force him to attempt to answer it?

    I propose my question earlier, and what GEM is getting back to:

    “Why do you think it justified or even permissible to a priori rule out any conclusions from science, whether they suggest the existence of God or anything else?”

    I think that may be backing up a few steps and making him/her repeat bits and pieces of scattered information that we would otherwise have to dig up and put together, but I think that best.

    If we can get some consensus, or a suggestion for a better (or better worded) question, that’d be great.

    Hold off on answering that above question for now, Pach (and I know that you began to answer it before, but you didn’t get back to my rebuttals of your reply), until we can either agree on this question or perhaps another.

    So . . . ?

    OH! And it’d probably be best to keep our replies to his/her reply limited so things don’t just get unraveled again. Kinda hard in this style of communication, but we’ve probably all been on the other side like Pach is now, and it isn’t easy.

  263. Him/Her??? I don’t know. Could you clue us in on that also, Pach? :-)

  264. Brent:

    Okay.

    P, let’s hear your response:

    _______________

    >> “Why do you think it [may be?] justified or even permissible to a priori rule out any conclusions from science, whether they [e.g. the implications of cosmological expansion, and red shift, that the cosmos has a beginning at a definite time, also, fine tuning of the cosmos, and the FSCO/I in DNA and its increments to account for body plans, etc] suggest [to many informed onlookers or even participants -- up to and including Nobel and Equivalent Prize holders] the existence of God or anything else?” >>
    _______________

    G

  265. KF,

    I’m confused by your use of digital when talking about DNA – If you are referring to the fact that DNA encodes with discrete molecules then fine, but why keep using the term, after all any chemical system is composed of discrete molecules so you could also use that term when talking about naturally occurring chemicals. (i.e. that they are ‘digital’)

    Also, why does it matter that it is digital – would an analogue encoding make any difference to the function it performs? aFCSI or dFCSI – it doesn’t seem to make a difference to what is being discussed.

    If its purpose (the d in dFCSI) is just to highlight similarities with digital (designed) computers then you can equally use aFCSI to highlight similarities with older (designed) analogue computers.

  266. >> “Why do you think it [may be?] justified or even permissible to a priori rule out any conclusions from science, whether they [e.g. the implications of cosmological expansion, and red shift, that the cosmos has a beginning at a definite time, also, fine tuning of the cosmos, and the FSCO/I in DNA and its increments to account for body plans, etc] suggest [to many informed onlookers or even participants -- up to and including Nobel and Equivalent Prize holders] the existence of God or anything else?” >>

    I think that’s great, as long as the examples listed don’t become a stumbling block and Pach doesn’t address the actual question being asked. It could be completely hypothetical/implausible. I.E., “Why shouldn’t we leave open the door for science to possibly find that pink unicorns frolic in a land called fmlr and scratch bear bellies for fun before we start doing any research that may lead to (or away from) that conclusion?”

    I think we should leave the question with “God”, though. I think what’s gonna happen is that this question is going to force us to back up a step.

  267. Dr Bot

    DNA uses a discrete state symbolic code, i.e. a digital code.

    (Actually, there are several levels of code and interwoven technologies. As a fisherman, I am even astonished at how they twine and roll up DNA without tangling it. Dupont/Stren, are you listening?)

    Digital systems are not locked up to be 2-state.

    You are right at another level, quantum technologies, including the atom, are discrete state. Digital is built into the substructure of the cosmos. Atoms are digital technology.

    GEM of TKI

  268. F/N: Analogue info and computation are also useful, but because they can be translated [e.g. using the nodes, interfaces and arcs model], to convert the focus to digital is without loss of generality.

  269. “…any chemical system is composed of discrete molecules so you could also use that term when talking about naturally occurring chemicals. (i.e. that they are ‘digital’)”

    No big deal, but this is not really accurate. The presence of discrete consituent chemicals and compounds is not the issue, it is the sequence that matters.
    “The existence of a genome and the genetic code divides the living organisms from nonliving matter. There is nothing in the physico-chemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences.” – Hubert P. Yockey: Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life

    “A remarkable feature of the structure is that DNA can accommodate almost any sequence of base pairs—any combination of the bases adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T)—and, hence any digital message or information.” – Leroy Hood and David Galas PhD: The Digital Code of DNA

  270. Dr Bot

    in communications and data storage, discreet modes are preferred for all the advantages you probably know about. Lets just think for a moment, if you (or me) have a chance to setup communication or storage system which mode: analogue or digital (discreet) would you use. I would pick digital for its simplicity, resistance to noise, easy manipulation of discreet units, etc…

    Another interesting thing. As we look down the nucleotide pair chain and we see for ex. AT and next pair is TA. Reminds me of PSK modulation where signal phase is switched by 180 deg. It probably doesn’t mean much because nucleotides must come in groups of three to represent amino acid.

  271. Eugen:

    You are right.

    A cam bar/shaft is an analogue program, but the cam bar is subject to wear, chatter, noise etc.

    Convert to a sequence of digital instructions and the mess goes away.

    Do discrete state control, and where you need it put in feedback control, which can also be done digitally.

    G

  272. Eugen:

    in communications and data storage, discreet modes are preferred for all the advantages you probably know about. Lets just think for a moment, if you (or me) have a chance to setup communication or storage system which mode: analogue or digital (discreet) would you use. I would pick digital for its simplicity, resistance to noise, easy manipulation of discreet units, etc…

    I agree, but if you are implying that this is an indicator of design then I would disagree, for quite simple reasons:

    What other ways are there of encoding information at the mollecular level, and are they any simpler than an arrangement of molecules?

    If an arrangement of molecules (as opposed to say charge or spin) is the simplest and most versatile method of encoding information at the mollecular level then is is both a pragmatic design solution, but it is also what we would expect to see if life occured by natural means.

  273. Dr Bot:

    Well you know, the referenced item that is held to be an empirically well supported sign of design is FSCO/I.

    That, because with an info sto4age capacity of 1,000 or more bits, you start at 10^301 possible configs.

    So, if you are in an island of function that is fairly specific [and coded programs and languages are specific], since such a config space is well beyond the search capacity of the cosmos, it is maximally unlikely to find such an island of function through a random walk from an arbitrary initial config, on the gamut of the observable cosmos.

    That is because the resources of he whole cosmos of 10^80 or so atoms, working for 10^25 s [credible lifespan], 50 mn times the duration since the estimated singularity,and incrementing in Planck time steps [~ 10^20 faster than strong nuclear force interactions], would only go through 10^150 atomic states, i.e 1 in 10^150 or less, a practical zero scope search.

    Our routine experience is that FSCI of at least 1,000 bits, or 125 bytes, is uniformly the observed result of intelligence that specifies what is desired and uses smarts to do it.

    So now, when we see such FSCI in the code in DNA, what is that telling us is the best explanation?

    GEM of TKI

  274. Dr bot

    I’m not implying design. I carefully try not to make strong statements re. biological systems as I have only somewhat more than basic knowledge in biology.

    Regarding going simpler than what we see I think we should remember stability of the discreet units.

    Albert Einstein said:

    “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

    If I was creating a system I would go as basic as possible but keeping in mind reliability of my components. I would look for solutions where my system could have redundancy and some form of error correction.

    Now , looking at two DNA strands of bases it appears to me they are backup for each other (redundancy) with the added bonus of physically stabilizing the structure. Also, sequenced complimentary pairs provide easy setup for basic error correction. Twist in strands encloses bases and probably protects them that way. Also, it makes it easier to twist further into tight, very protective and compact structures.

    There is something interesting going on with codon table but that will be in the next post.

    Biologists can shoot me down in flames but I’ll have some fun first.

    Jesuit credo:

    It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

  275. Sonfaro said:

    “Of course he believes creation and design are linked: He’s a Christian. It’s part of the worldview!”

    “We flock to ID because our worldview is supported.”

    “Again: Religious folks like myself, like BA’77, like other Christians on this board flock to the SCIENTIFIC THEORY that our world was DESIGNED because it affirms our worldview. We already believed there was a designer – now suddenly there seems to be evidence for him in nature, in space, in physics, all around.”

    “Of course ID has no real say who the creator is. Most of us have already… for lack of a better word… “imagined” what he/she/it is already.”

    “The SCIENCE behind ID makes NO CLAIMS as to who the Creator is. Those who are already Religious may make all the claims we want (and trust me, we will.) ID is compatible with all of them… From Deism to Pantheism. But that’s all it is. Compatable. Seeing the designs in action doesn’t directly point to what the designer would be like. ID is most definitely a science.”

    ————————–

    So, if the science behind ID makes no claims as to who the creator is, how do you know it’s a “who” (instead of a what, an it, or a bunch of whos, whats, or its) and how do you know it’s a “him”.

    In the alleged science behind ID, where does it say that your world view is supported or affirmed? In other words, where does it say that the God you have chosen actually exists, and is the one and only God and that the Christian Bible is the word of your chosen God and that everything in the Bible is true and accurate?

    Believing that the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a unicorn God created and designed everything would be just as “compatible” with ID or creation as your beliefs are. Any imaginary being(s) or thing(s) can be imagined to be compatible with ID or creation if someone wants it badly enough.

    What you or anyone else have “imagined” or do imagine isn’t evidence, and it certainly isn’t scientific.

  276. Pach you state;

    ‘Notice that your first statement specified “God”, while your second statement said “intelligence”. Moving the goalposts is a futile endeavor.’

    Baby steps are needed before you can walk pach, so I would like for you to at least admit the necessity for intelligence. Or are you saying that you are comfortable with some type of Intelligence just so long as it is not the Judeo-Christian God? and if so, Just what type of transcendent Intelligence would you be comfortable with pach. so as to explain the origination and extreme fine-tuning of the universe?,,, And if not please tell me of the many materialistic conjectures that you claim have been postulated to explain such overwhelming appearance of design.

  277. Pach, seriously?

    How many ways do I have to say it so you understand me dude?

    I make the claims because I’m religious. I was brought up in a religious house hold – indoctrinated if you want to use the hyperskeptic materialistic worldview (which annoys me because we’re all ‘indoctrinated’ by our parents/guardians in one way or another). The claims I make are those of the worldview I’ve been brought up with and lived by. Could they be wrong? Sure, why not.

    This has nothing to do with ID.

    The science: irreducible complexity, the fine tuned universe, ect… heck, we can throw the big bang in there too. They all appear to point to a creator. They don’t say who or what the creator is. Just that there appears to be one.

    So if there IS a creator, MY natural response is to associate that creator with MY God because that fits MY worldview. Maybe it doesn’t fit yours. But it fits mine.

    You say:

    “In the alleged science behind ID, where does it say that your world view is supported or affirmed? In other words, where does it say that the God you have chosen actually exists, and is the one and only God and that the Christian Bible is the word of your chosen God and that everything in the Bible is true and accurate?”

    I answered this already Pach. If indeed the observations made by Behe and others are acurate, and if indeed the universe is fine tuned for life, then my God – the God some people think is mere delusion – suddenly becomes a possibility. Merely the evidence of a Creator would be support for me. Which is what this is. Not definitive proof. But support. Maybe not as much as the possibility of Aliens or some mystic unspecific ‘life force’ or whatever it is you were okay with the creator being. But the possibility is still increased in my opinion.

    And that’s what it is Pach. My opinion. Like your opinion that Religion is false. The difference, at least how I see it, is that I’ve at least tried to be honest with what I do know and don’t know. I’ve made no illusion to my worldview in this thread, but I’ve tried to be open about the possibility of being incorrect.

    But in several of your posts you made comments that you’ll see in any hard atheist website. And when we asked you to keep an open mind you stated ”…I will decide what’s absurd to me.”

    I’m willing to say I could be wrong. Why aren’t you?

    My God may indeed not exist. I have no problem saying that. If evidence – true evidence – came out to the contrary I don’t think the way I live my life would change too much. I might be depressed for a few weeks, but I’d get over it.

    But if the claims of ID are true, then why shouldn’t I, a believer in a SPECIFIC Creator, be overjoyed that there appears to be evidence for even a GENERIC-deistic creator the even the unbeliever can see.

    “Believing that the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a unicorn God created and designed everything would be just as “compatible” with ID or creation as your beliefs are. Any imaginary being(s) or thing(s) can be imagined to be compatible with ID or creation if someone wants it badly enough.

    What you or anyone else have “imagined” or do imagine isn’t evidence, and it certainly isn’t scientific.”

    Two steps back dude.

    Flying Spaghetti Monsters? Unicorn God? These are the arguments of a highschool atheist trying to convince a highschool theist that they are living in fantasy. It’s kinda uneducated, and it’s downright boring.

    Specifically though, you say: “Any imaginary being(s) or thing(s) can be imagined to be compatible with ID or creation if someone wants it badly enough.”

    Right, I agree. What does that have to do with the science that gets us to that conclusion?

    Once we get to the point of ‘Who is the creator’ we drop out of science and into speculation and guess work. We Christians have a pretty good idea that our evidence for our God is solid… but then again so do our Muslim cousins, and our Jewish brothers, and the Hindu, and the Bahi and Deists and on and on.

    It isn’t science anymore at that point. It’s guessing and faith. Sure. But that doesn’t change the work that led us there. That remains constant.

    There are times Pachyeana that you seem informed, balanced, and capable of having a conversation. And then there are posts like the one you just made, that leave you indistinguishable from the kind of internet-trolls that follow PZ Myers. I’m sorry if that offends but I see no other way to describe your actions in this thread.

    Kairosfocus posted a description of ID from an encyclopedia and asked you: “A civil response, would be to address this on the merits. If you disagree, show why”

    That’s what we’re asking from you. We’re not saying “Come to Jesus or burn!” I don’t even thing BA77 would say that. And he’s hardcore for Christ (love ‘ya BA ;) ) We’re asking for a reasoned argument. And you’ve given us a materialist spiel most of us have heard in one form or another.

    You’re on an ID board. Some of us are religious. Shockingly though, there are religious people on non-religious boards around the world. Doesn’t change what the board is about. I know somebody else in the thread brought God up first, but c’mon, lets be honest with ourselves. If you want to talk about ID lets do so. But if all you want to do is rail at religion or religious people please do it where that sort of thing is applauded.

    Challenge ID for the science behind it please, not the faith-based beliefs of people who support it.

    - Sonfaro

    (To anyone, if I have been in error or unclear in anything I wrote in this post, please correct me. I don’t want to keep arguing in circles. It’s not healthy. :( )

  278. Sonfaro,

    You said:

    “This has nothing to do with ID.”

    That’s right. Your religious beliefs and indoctrination into them have nothing to do with ID, if ID is merely a scientific theory. And if ID is merely a scientific theory, then why do you and many others bring up religious beliefs and Gods when talking about ID?

    “If indeed the observations made by Behe and others are acurate, and if indeed the universe is fine tuned for life, then my God – the God some people think is mere delusion – suddenly becomes a possibility.”

    No. Your God is no more possible even if ID turns out to be a valid scientific theory. Unless ID actually shows evidence or proof of your chosen God, the possibility of your God is unchanged by anything that has to do with ID.

    “I’m willing to say I could be wrong. Why aren’t you?”

    Because your God or any other Gods have no evidence whatsoever to verify them. Many people have tried for thousands of years to prove that their God is authentic. None have succeeded. All the Gods humans have invented are simply preposterous.

    “But if the claims of ID are true, then why shouldn’t I, a believer in a SPECIFIC Creator, be overjoyed that there appears to be evidence for even a GENERIC-deistic creator the even the unbeliever can see.”

    Because even if ID theory turns out to be valid, it doesn’t have any evidence or proof of your God. Your God is a specific claim. ID is a ‘general theory’ about intelligent design, not any Gods, that is of course if ID theory is truly a scientific idea and not a ruse or platform to push religious beliefs and/or a God or Gods.

    “Flying Spaghetti Monsters? Unicorn God? These are the arguments of a highschool atheist trying to convince a highschool theist that they are living in fantasy. It’s kinda uneducated, and it’s downright boring.”

    There’s as much factual evidence in favor of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or a unicorn God as there is for your God or any other God.

    I said:

    “Any imaginary being(s) or thing(s) can be imagined to be compatible with ID or creation if someone wants it badly enough.”

    And you said:

    “Right, I agree. What does that have to do with the science that gets us to that conclusion?”

    What science? What conclusion? The science of ID, which allegedly has nothing to do with religion or Gods, or an erroneous conclusion that ID or science of any kind supports the existence of your God or any other Gods?

    “Once we get to the point of ‘Who is the creator’ we drop out of science and into speculation and guess work.”

    Yes, it is speculation and guesswork, which isn’t scientific.

    “It isn’t science anymore at that point. It’s guessing and faith. Sure. But that doesn’t change the work that led us there. That remains constant.”

    What work? What “work” leads to faith and guessing? If you’re referring to ID theory, it can’t honestly be said that the “work” on it led you to believe in your God. You already believed in your God before ID theory came about and you said yourself that you were indoctrinated into religion by your parents, not by any “work” pertaining to ID.

    Christianity began a long time ago, WAY before anyone ever thought of the current ID theory. ID theory had and has nothing to do with people adhering to Christianity or any other religion. Some religious people have latched onto ID to convince themselves (and try to convince others) that their beliefs were right all along. I find it interesting that some religious people want or even expect science to verify that their ‘faith’ isn’t misplaced.

    “Kairosfocus posted a description of ID from an encyclopedia and asked you: “A civil response, would be to address this on the merits. If you disagree, show why””

    I’ve already said that I think ID is possible. Not necessarily exactly as you or some other ID adherents see it but possible in some way. It has already been challenged by many people and it hasn’t settled a thing. At this point in time, it seems fruitless to nitpick the details. In time, more evidence will be found and understood that will help to determine whether materialistic or intelligent causes are behind life and/or everything else. I can wait.

    “We’re asking for a reasoned argument. And you’ve given us a materialist spiel most of us have heard in one form or another.”

    Faith and guessing are not reasoned arguments. Material things are all that science should be concerned with. If ID can’t be verified materially, it isn’t a scientific theory.

    “You’re on an ID board. Some of us are religious.”

    You make it sound like religion and ID go together. If they do, then ID isn’t scientific.

    “I know somebody else in the thread brought God up first, but c’mon, lets be honest with ourselves. If you want to talk about ID lets do so. But if all you want to do is rail at religion or religious people please do it where that sort of thing is applauded.”

    And if you and others want to talk about religion and Gods, maybe you should do it on a Gods or religious board. If ID is supposed to be a scientific theory, religion and Gods should be completely left out of it. Religion and Gods saturate this website. A website that is allegedly about the scientific theory of ID.

    If your desire (or agenda) is to get science to accept ID as a scientific theory, you’re doing your desire (or agenda) more harm than good, by injecting religion and Gods into ID and any discussion of it.

    “Challenge ID for the science behind it please, not the faith-based beliefs of people who support it.”

    Then promote and discuss ID strictly for the science behind it and stop challenging atheists or others who aren’t interested in any connection between religious beliefs or Gods and ID.

  279. Pach,

    Well, at least GEM and I want you to address this one specific question. I think that it’s obvious that if we don’t narrow this down this conversation will go nowhere.

    So:

    “Why do you think it [may be?] justified or even permissible to a priori rule out any conclusions from science, whether they [e.g. the implications of cosmological expansion, and red shift, that the cosmos has a beginning at a definite time, also, fine tuning of the cosmos, and the FSCO/I in DNA and its increments to account for body plans, etc] suggest [to many informed onlookers or even participants -- up to and including Nobel and Equivalent Prize holders] the existence of God or anything else?”

    I’ll give you a rephrased version to ensure that you know the heart of the question: “Why do you think it is OK to rule out, beforehand, any possible conclusions from science, whether those conclusions suggest the existence of God or anything else?”

  280. P:

    First, I agree with Brent’s narrowed question (once the context is held in hand):

    [Q1c:] “Why do you think it is OK to rule out, beforehand, any possible conclusions from science, whether those conclusions suggest [or, support worldview possibilities such as] the existence of God or anything else?”

    Kindly notice, I have specifically laid out a description of science as it should seek to be here.

    Let me scoop it out [in a fairly detailed form], and ask you to address it as a part of your response to Brent’s narrowed question Q 1c:

    science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    If you compare my excerpt from Newton’s Opticks, Query 31, and context at 253 – 254 [point 6] above, you will see much of where I am coming form, and the links where I have scooped from will show more. (BTW, observe from point 10, 254, how N says that the disucssion of worldview level implications is a reasonable part of Natural Philosphy, which in those days was seen as the context of work that when it delivered solid findings, those findings were to be seen as Scientia, knowledge, however constrained by the limits of inductive reasoning.)

    So, it is time to ask another question, too:

    [Q 2:] If “science” in your view [and that of the neo-magisterium in the holy lab coat that rules the roost in key institutions] is constrained to materialistic consequences and by materialistic assumptions [a la Sagan and Lewontin, NAS, NSTA, NCSE, Coyne et al], regardless of impact on ability to find truth about our world, why should we prefer to do “science” rather than Newtonian style “Natural Philosophy” [and related "Natural History"] — precisely because they seek and do not censor inquiries directed at the truth backed up by observable evidence?

    In the context of these questions, I will next turn to the issue of your response to an acceptable, reasonable definition of ID, and the associated rationale for why it is to be seen as properly scientific.

    (Mind you — as Plantinga reminded us so sharply — the question of what is rapidly becoming an honourific label, is less important than the question of seeking the reasonable truth about our world in light of evidence and reasoned analysis.)

    GEM of TKI

  281. Science can’t make any ‘conclusions’, or at least no credible ones, unless it has the means to observe and/or test things. Your God or any other God isn’t observable, or testable.

    The suggestions you’re thinking of are determined and biased by your religious beliefs. If anything, you have a priori beliefs and want to fit the science to those beliefs.

    Yeah, I know, some scientists want to ‘adjust’ the science too but it’s usually not because of their religious beliefs and especially not if they’re evolutionary biologists or in a similar field. When scientists ‘adjust’ the science it’s usually because of a desire for money (grants, etc.), fame, reputation, promotion, job security, etc.

    Some scientists may adjust the science because of their atheism but that doesn’t make it okay for religious people to do the same thing.

    No possible things should be left out of science IF those things actually are possible and are verifiable (or not) through sound scientific methods.

    Why do you want science to verify and substantiate your religious beliefs, or even care if it does?

  282. P:

    Let’s see your response to the definition of ID as science I provided in 253, point 2, above:

    [P, 280:] I’ve already said that I think ID is possible. Not necessarily exactly as you or some other ID adherents see it but possible in some way. It has already been challenged by many people and it hasn’t settled a thing. At this point in time, it seems fruitless to nitpick the details. In time, more evidence will be found and understood that will help to determine whether materialistic or intelligent causes are behind life and/or everything else. I can wait.

    1 –> Now, the heart of that definition was this:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

    2 –> In turn, this was in response to a comment you had made earlier, which I take must be seen as the context for interpreting your remarks on the definition, from 280 above:

    [P, 251, as marked up in 253:]The point I’m trying to get across is that science will not
    accept a religious [materialistic atheism] based idea.

    I know, you said that ID [methodological
    naturalism] is scientific and that religious
    [atheistical] people are drawn to it because they think it helps to
    verify their beliefs. But, and this is a big but, as long as religious
    [atheistical] comments of any kind are made in any article, discussion,
    or debate about ID [origins science], ID
    [origins science] will be thought of (by science and science
    supporters) as merely a religious [materialistic] idea and agenda

    3 –> Do you see why I have said in effect that you are indulging an ideologically loaded, question-begging, selectively hyperskeptical dismissal of design thought?

    4 –> On the merits, the issue pivots on this: [Q 3:] are functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information [FSCO/I] empirically testable and reliable signs of design as materially significant cause?

    5 –> In turn, this all pivots on the [glorified common-sense] point — never mind the side-tracking objections of a certain Mr “Tanner” — that we routinely observe patterns of signs and infer to objective states of affairs and/or objects, on a warrant:

    I: [si] –> O, on W

    6 –> So, Q: is it true that we routinely observe FSCO/I to be the result of intelligent cause? A: Plainly, yes, as posts in this thread and millions of other cases in point demonstrate. Indeed, the Glasgow Coma Scale, used in life and death head trauma situations, is an inference to design on FSCI.

    [ . . . ]

  283. 7 –> Again, Q: Do we observe such FSCO/I being caused by undirected forces of chance [stochastic, credibly undirected contingency] and/or mechanical necessity of natural law forces? A: No, there are no credible cases in point.

    8 –> So, those who view design theory as a reasonable scientific project find that we have here a reliable empirical induction, yielding an observable sign that points to design as credible, objective, causal state of affairs.

    9 –> That, in turn is backed up by the sort of infinite monkeys analysis that also supports key laws of physics such as the second law of thermodynamics, statistical form.

    10 –> So, on the uniformity principle of origins science [suggested by Newton, and used by the likes of Lyell and Darwin, and onwards down to today], we infer that it is a reasonable and scientific principle to infer from FSCO/I to the signified cause, design, on the warrant that such is inductively strong and analytically supported.

    11 –> So, from this, with the observation of abundant FSCO/I in unicellular life forms [including the most primitive] — starting with DNA — and much larger increments of that in the major body plans, we infer that it is credible that a significant causal process involved in the origin of life and that of major body plans was design.

    12 –> Similarly, when we see the credible origin of our observed cosmos at a finite point in time, and the associated complex fine-tuning of the physics of that cosmos that facilitates such C-chemistry, cell based life, we find it reasonable to infer that the cosmos we inhabit was also designed, with the evident purpose of supporting life.

    13 –> An inspection of the chain of reasoning and supportive evidence will reveal that at no point has an unsupported metaphysical assumption been injected as a controlling a priori.

    14 –> Nor, has the reasoning strayed from the canons of scientific investigation on empirical evidence, observation and reasoned analysis controlled by that evidence.

    15 –> So, we conclude that the inference/explanatory model is properly scientific, and should be investigated further.

    16 –> While this may be friendly to theistic worldviews [especially on teh cosmological side], the root is a matter of empirical facts, observed causes and related analysis of why the observations are why they are as they are, not appeal to religious texts, or to unsupported a priori metaphysical impositions.

    18 –> Precisely opposite to the way that through the stalking horse of so-called methodological naturalism, a priori evolutionary materialism has been injected into too much of current origins science and related education.

    19 –> And, when I look at your response above, I find, P, that it is evasive rather than responsive on the merits. You have specific evidence, analysis and inferences.
    ________________

    Kindly, please address such on the merits.

    GEM of TKI

  284. My comments above (No. 283) are directed to Brent (regarding No. 281).

  285. P:

    Re: Science can’t make any ‘conclusions’, or at least no credible ones, unless it has the means to observe and/or test things. Your God or any other God isn’t observable, or testable.

    Pardon, but this is triply fallacious:

    1: This is a subject-changing strawman argument, as the design inference is an inference about cause on observation and analysis.

    2: A great many key explanatory constructs in science are inferred not observed, and we hold them to be quite well established, e.g. can you show me a picture of entropy, or of an electron?

    3: As to the observability and testability of what many would call God as Creator, the evidence of the origin of our cosmos at a finite point in time, thus its contingency, multiplied by the evidence of its fine-tuning to support life has a very interesting import on inference to best warranted explanation:

    a: the radical contingency of the cosmos entails the existence of a necessary being as root cause [in the old days before that origin was solidly established, the necessary being was routinely thought to be our observed universe as an eternally existing entity].

    b: Such a necessary being, is one that has no causally necessary factors external to itself, and as such does not have a beginning nor would it go out of existence. (Contrast a fire that depends on air, heat and fuel, each being necessary, and the three being jointly sufficient.)

    c: Further to this, the fine-tuning of the cosmos that supports intelligent life, points to an INTELLIGENCE as being involved with that necessary being.

    d: Also, we consider the power, skill and knowledge required to create such a cosmos.

    e: so, we see a cluster of observable evidence, testable by further observations, that point to a necessary, intelligent, extremely powerful and knowledgeable being as the most credible explanation of our cosmos.

    f: All, well within Newton’s canons of “Natural Philosophy.”

    GEM of TKI

    PS: On the specifically Christian side, the evidence put forth in summary here, points to such a God who “tabernacled” among us. So, since you have the opportunity to examine the evidence, I suggest that you should do so without selectively hyperskeptical dismissals, if you are determined to live towards the truth and the right.

  286. kairosfocus, I’m not dismissing design “thought” and I’m not dismissing intelligence “thought”. I’ve said several times that I think that an intelligent designer of some sort is possible.

    What I’m dismissing is a God(s) and religion “thought”. The thing is though, that it really doesn’t matter what I accept or dismiss when it comes to whether science will ever accept ID theory as being scientific (or credible). I’m just one person and science is much bigger than any one person.

    I have to get some sleep now.

  287. P:

    I am afraid that is just what you have done again.

    The issue addressed by design theory is not whether an intelligent designer is a logically possible state of affairs in our cosmos.

    The issue is whether there are observable, empirically reliable signs of intelligence as acting cause, and in particular that on observing such signs, one may reasonably infer therefrom to the objective state of affairs, that design was the relevant cause. This on inference to best, empirically anchored explanation.

    Above, I have summarised and linked on why I and many others believe this is correct.

    Kindly, respond to it, and also to the narrowed question by Brent. For, it seems to us that the reason why that infverence in the cotngext of origins science is being dismissed and diverted from to try to raise discussions on religion and suggest tyrannical theocratic agendas, is that there is a successful imposition in key institutions of Sagan-Lewontin style a priori evolutionary materialism.

    An imposition that is plainly censoring science form the ability to pursue the truth about our world based on evidence.

    GEM of TKI

  288. P: Further to the just above, I note:

    What I’m dismissing is a God(s) and religion “thought”.

    That is actually an admission to the problem.

    If, a priori you rule out the possibility that an Intelligent Creator capable of building a cosmos such as ours exists, then you are begging serious questions and censoring the possibility that science could provide evidence that points in that direction.

    As it evidently does.

    For, it is credible on observable and observed signs, that our cosmos had a beginning at a finite distance in the past, so it is a contingent being,. One that has a begin-ner external to it.

    And, as the previously linked shows, even through a multiverse speculation, that simply pushes the contingency back one step, as we now have to ask, what is the explanation of he finely tuned “cosmos bakery” that is capable of putting out fine tuned life-facilitating sub-cosmi like the one we inhabit.

    That fine tuning points as well to certain characteristics of such a necessary being root cause: purposefulness, power, knowledge and skill. All of which are attributes of intelligence.

    So, we are looking at an extra-cosmic, necessary being, with purpose, skill and intelligence sufficient to create at least one physical cosmos.

    Such a being would be reasonably described as the God.

    So, to dismiss such a chain of reasoning implies that there is a controlling, question-begging metaphysical a priori at work, specifically materialism.

    Which — never mind its dominance among elites in various institutions — is demonstrably a self referentially incoherent, self-refuting, necessarily false worldview.

    GEM of TKI

  289. PS: Nor is this a matter of just one individual. There is a definite power establishment committed to evolutionary materialism, that needs to be exposed for question-begging closed mindedness, for plain old fashioned bigotry, for their thought police expulsion and slander tactics, and they need to be strongly corrected. If they refuse such correction on the merits [as is also happening with the global warming issue, which the OP joins to the evolutionary materialism agenda], they need to be shamed for such uncivil behaviour, and then we need to take back science and science education from such untrustworthy hands. Newton’s remarks in Opticks, Query 31, would be an excellent place to begin.

  290. Pach, you said:

    Science can’t make any ‘conclusions’, or at least no credible ones, unless it has the means to observe and/or test things. Your God or any other God isn’t observable, or testable.

    This does not correctly address the question. I did not ask if you thought God was observable or testable. I asked, ““Why do you think it is OK to rule out, beforehand, any possible conclusions from science, whether those conclusions SUGGEST the existence of God or anything else?” I did not say nor have in mind science concluding God. So would you please answer again.

    No possible things should be left out of science IF those things actually are possible and are verifiable (or not) through sound scientific methods.

    This shows again that you are not correctly and directly answering what’s being asked. I think the answer is fairly good as far as it goes, but to parse the words in that reply leaves major holes. You said no “things” should be left out of science, but I was not asking about things, rather about conclusions that suggest things. We are leaving the question about whether those things that science may suggest are directly testable or not for later.

    You then say, “IF those things actually are possible . . .” But we don’t know what is possible until we apply the science to begin with. So, this point is even further from addressing the question.

    And then, ” . . . and are verifiable (or not) through sound scientific methods.” This goes back to the first point about not correctly addressing the actual question being asked. The conclusions that science suggests need not themselves be verifiable. That is the next step.

    So, could you address the question again, please?

    Why do you want science to verify and substantiate your religious beliefs, or even care if it does?

    I don’t. But hey, if science verifies my worldview I’m not gonna be ashamed of sticking that feather in my hat. I don’t care if science substantiates my religious belief. But if my religious belief happens to be true then I expect science to do so. I don’t want or need it to be forced to, however.

  291. P:

    A Challenge:

    Work your way through Gil Dodgen’s presentation, here. Then, tell us on the merits, why you reject it.

    I think that can serve to supplement the questions above.

    GEM of TKI

  292. Hi Pach,

    My reply to you may be a bit jumbled. It’s early in the morning for me. Hope you can forgive. Also, I’m hoping this will be the last time I repeat myself.

    ID will not point to my God specifically. Only to a creator.

    However, my God IS a creator.

    It is then a possibility that my God exists IN MY OPINION. Maybe it’s not a strong possibility, but it’s a possibility.

    “Why do you want science to verify and substantiate your religious beliefs, or even care if it does?”

    I was fine when Science said my faith was pure delusion. And I’m fine now. While I love it that Science seems to be substantiating what I already believed, I would have believed it regardless. (Indoctrinated, remember? -_- ) I ‘care’ because as a Christian I have something more to defend my faith with, and something I can share with people who want to know why I believe what I believe.

    “What I’m dismissing is a God(s) and religion “thought”. The thing is though, that it really doesn’t matter what I accept or dismiss when it comes to whether science will ever accept ID theory as being scientific (or credible). I’m just one person and science is much bigger than any one person.”

    Throughout this thread, you’ve conflated ‘Science’ with materialism. Please don’t do that. I’ve said it before, there will be no convincing Materialists that ID is valid. They made up their minds – like you apparently. Others have said it better but science should be after the facts. Not just material facts. Fact period. And it appears that all of the facts – from physics to cell structure – point to a designer.

    “You make it sound like religion and ID go together. If they do, then ID isn’t scientific.”

    Why you left out the rest of my statement is beyond me. But I’ll try to rephrase it so you have no excuse.

    You’re on a science board where there are also religious people. You could go to a Naruto board and find the same. Or a wrestling board. Or a board for porn (why religious people would be there though is beyond me) Heck, there are religious posters who pop up on Dawkins board trying to defend their faith when a hardline atheist starts talking trash too! We outnumber non-believers Pach. We’re everywhere. Yes, even here.

    “If your desire (or agenda) is to get science to accept ID as a scientific theory, you’re doing your desire (or agenda) more harm than good, by injecting religion and Gods into ID and any discussion of it.”

    My discussion of God came from your dismissal and rudimentary atheist anti-religious spiel. Remember? It’s why I started posting. I’m asking you to stop bringing up God. You keep bringing him up.

    “Then promote and discuss ID strictly for the science behind it and stop challenging atheists or others who aren’t interested in any connection between religious beliefs or Gods and ID.”

    Pach, If’ I’ve ‘challenged’ you, it was in defense of my beliefs, which you’ve taken unnecessary shots at throughout. I’ve said time and again I’m not trying to convert you. If someone else was on this board you’ll have to take it up with them. I’m trying to get you to stop being such a closed-minded hardcore atheist who likes to bash religion, which you apparently refuse to do.

    Also, as to evidence for my faith: A Christian can give you the historical documents that confirm Jesus’ existence. We could point out that most objections to the bibles accuracy typically fall flat when you read in context. We could remind you that we’ve found Jericho, Sodom, Nazareth, ‘The House of David’ ect. We could show you all these things and they wouldn’t mean much to you.

    Like the Landing-deniers I mentioned earlier, you made up your mind about the answer, and nothing we could say would change it. You’d just rationalize it away with a wave of the hand.

    Fine. Whatever. It’s your life, live it your way (I’ve said this before already). But don’t go thinking your opinion is more valid than mine because you’ve dismissed whatever evidence that exists. A Christian can do the same for evidence against their/our faith. So can a LL-denier. It’s your opinion Pach. It’s not fact. Stop taking your god-complex out on ID just because you catch the wiff of religious people hovering around. It’s boring.

    Seriously, I thought we were having a conversation, but it appears you’ve shut down completely.

    - Sonfaro

  293. Pach. let’s turn your logic around on itself and see if it holds water, ,,, you may say believe Richard Dawkins exists but can you prove it?

    Do you believe Richard Dawkins exists?
    Excerpt: Conclusion’ The evidence for the existence of God is far more conclusive than the evidence that I have personally seen for the existence of Richard Dawkins. To be honest, I’m pretty sure Dawkins exists too. But I’m even surer of the existence of God.
    http://creation.com/does-dawkins-exist

    The Dawkins Delusion – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QERyh9YYEis

    “Does Richard Dawkins exist? Many people would say yes. Terry Tommyrot thinks otherwise. In a revealing interview on “The Big Questions”, Dr. Tommyrot explains how belief in Richard Dawkins is, in fact, a harmful delusion, and how it can be explained scientifically.”

    (A parable within a parody)

  294. correction;

    you may say YOU believe Richard Dawkins exists but can you prove it?

  295. Sonfaro I noticed you stated;

    ‘I don’t even thing BA77 would say that. And he’s hardcore for Christ’

    Sonfaro, I’m not even close to the people I consider ‘hardcore for Christ’; People who travel half the way around the world with the gospel, hoping to when a few souls to Christ, knowing that their very lives (on this world) could be a stake, sometimes within their very own countries they suffer such peril. Those people are ‘hard core; Francis Chan speaks of some ‘hard core’ Christians here;

    Experiencing Jesus Christ – Francis Chan – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4928919/

    Shoot Sonfaro, I’ve a hard enough time keeping my focus on eternity instead of just on the here and now;

    Francis Chan On Living for Eternity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5848080/

    notes;

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein
    http://www.rd.com/your-america.....176-2.html

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The Near Death Experience of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544/

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got… up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

  296. Science can’t make any ‘conclusions’, or at least no credible ones, unless it has the means to observe and/or test things.

    The evidence for ID is entirely material, and is observable by anyone.

    Your God or any other God isn’t observable, or testable.

    This objection is irrelevant. ID doesn’t test for a God, or gods, or any particular God at all.

    The suggestions you’re thinking of are determined and biased by your religious beliefs. If anything, you have a priori beliefs and want to fit the science to those beliefs.

    The only thing of consequence to science is the evidence. Anyone’s personal beliefs are secondary to that evidence, and it is only that evidence that is at issue.

    Yeah, I know, some scientists want to ‘adjust’ the science too but it’s usually not because of their religious beliefs and especially not if they’re evolutionary biologists or in a similar field.

    This is like saying that someone who likes vanilla ice cream has a preference, but someone who doesn’t like vanilla ice cream has no preference. It’s a scam against logic and reason – it’s a back marker for ideologues who wish to see themselves as paragons of reason, those whose beliefs are not affected by their beliefs.

    When scientists ‘adjust’ the science it’s usually because of a desire for money (grants, etc.), fame, reputation, promotion, job security, etc.

    Agreed. And when everyone is forced to “adjust” the science in the same direction it is called pseudo-science, which is what materialism is.

    Some scientists may adjust the science because of their atheism but that doesn’t make it okay for religious people to do the same thing.

    Firstly, the evidence of design in nature doesn’t require an adjustment. It’s readily observed by those on both sides of the argument. The “adjustment” you speak of is simply to ignore that it exist. Secondarily, the scientists who make the adjustment (to ignore the evidence) do so in order to come to the same conclusion which happens to support your worldview. So to decode your comment – you don’t care if some scientists lie in order to support your worldview, but even if they do, that doesn’t make it okay for other scientists to not lie to you.

    No possible things should be left out of science IF those things actually are possible and are verifiable (or not) through sound scientific methods.

    Again, the evidence of design is completely material and is observable by anyone. You’re doing the ideologue’s dance. You demand that ID can’t test for a God, and then when told that ID doesn’t test for a God, you demand that ID can’t test for a God. You’ve placed your intellect in a cocoon, inside an echo chamber, with denial guarding the door. Such a position empowers you to claim that other people are close-minded and won’t listen to reason. The more you speak, the more rational you appear.

  297. Hey BA77,

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. It’s what I get for making assumptions.

    :)

  298. Bornagain

    “spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome”

    Eternity is weird. What are we going to do for eternity? I’m afraid I’ll get bored,start bugging people and get in trouble.

  299. Hey Eugene,

    You say:

    “Eternity is weird. What are we going to do for eternity?”

    It would depend on where you end up I guess.

    Mwahahaaa!!!
    ;)

    - Sonfaro

  300. Eugen you state in regards to living in eternity;

    ‘I’m afraid I’ll get bored,’

    Existing in a intimate fellowship with the Being who created this universe, with merely His spoken word no less, could NEVER be boring Eugen!

  301. For Bruce David,

    Thank you for the invitation to read “Coversations with God”. I confess that I will probably not read it. A dollar or two for a used copy is ok, but not the $9 for the copy I looked through. I did look up the website and wikopedia. Those efforts combined with your comments in this thread indicate that it is basically a Christian Heresy.

    A heresy takes a truth out of context and then assigns too great an emphasis on it. Take your statement, “Knowledge is not aquired, it is given.” That is a Christian statement. God gives us all knowledge: through scripture for example, through other people, through our senses, through our mental activities, and through direct infusion of knowledge. Your statement implies only the last is true and that is a very narrow interpretation of giving.

    I have found your comments interesting because you basically give a “Christian” message, but you are hung up on sin. The simple way is to just relax and not worry about it. Follow your own advice and let God give you the knowledge you need to understand it. You will know you have the answer when you are at peace with it.

    God Bless you and all others here.

    Gesualdo

  302. “could NEVER be boring Eugen!”

    OK as long as there’s no Vogon poetry.

    See,it’s easy to get in trouble.

    But Father, you and everybody else know that I’m joking!

    Now seriously and no emotions.

    NDE reports talk how there is some sequence to their experience in other reality. Events don’t happen all at once ,it seems.They also communicate with others one on one and in groups.
    I think logic should work as well ie. 2+2=4.

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