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2006 Point Counterpoint Forum

The 2006 Point Counterpoint Forum is scheduled for February 10-11, 2006, on “Debating Design” – whether the universe was created by intelligent design or by evolution. The dialogue will be between one of intelligent design’s leading thinkers, William Dembski, the newly named director of the Center for Science and Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and evolutionist Michael Ruse, a professor at Florida State University. [From here]

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13 Responses to 2006 Point Counterpoint Forum

  1. I’m grateful for all that ID is doing to enable alternate theories to be heard, but Id just like to know when the middle-ground is going to get their shot at this debate, because there are scientists out there like, Eric D. Schneider and James J. Kay who can produce evidence that life and evolution is a guided manifestation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Here’s the real problem that ID has, that you’ll never hear supporters of evolutionary theory put forth, becuase it would mean compromise, and that’s the last thing in this world that either side wants:

    This statement:
    ID is not a deduction from religious dogma or scripture. It’s simply the argument that certain features of the natural world–from miniature machines and digital information found in living cells, to the fine-tuning of physical constants–are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.

    It’s easy to establish that the “cause” doesn’t have to be intelligent in origin to explain “guided creation” and/or “guided evolution”, because these things can also be explained by a higher-level physical need for them. For example, the second law of thermodynamics points out the predominant impetus of our expanding universe, and this dominating force can be adduced to represent good reason that the thermodynamic process of the universe would require energy disseminating sytems to arise and evolve to more efficiently satisfy the ever increasing entropic need of an expanding universe that has an increasing negative pressure component.

    The hypothesis is then observationally evidenced by our proven capability for increasing our contribution to the entropy of the universe, and it also defines “good reason” why humans would be required to evolve from apes to become the fire-breathing monsters that they are today, especially since our “high-energy physics” contributions fully justify the fine-tuning of the force constants to specifically islolate on humans, rather, sentient life, because this capability makes them “key-players” in the thermodynamic process which directly affects the symmetry of the universe.

    In this context, “purpose” falls out of our “higher-function” in nature, and “design” occurs in nature as the most practical means to satisfy a specific need, via the path of least “ultimate” action, so terms like, “purpose” are not outside of science when used in this manner.

    You can find a substantial mountain of proof for this assertion, including an independent derivation of the same theory by other scientists at this site:

    http://www.anthropic-principle.ORG

    If higher level physics isn’t your bag, then click on the link to the Entropic Anthropic Principle. You can even find some important stuff that can be used by IDists there to shoot down the stereotypical, “explain-it-away” arguments that evolutionISTS spit-out as an ideological knee-jerk response to the enemy. The trick is to hold them to empiricism, becuase the implications of fine tuning are very pointed in our favor if the observed universe is the only possible universe.

    I’d really love to debate the cosmology, because you don’t need a designer if the traits or characteristics of our finite universe are carried inherently and perpetually as “imperfections” or imbalances in the energy, and if Stephen Hawking’s latest theory is correct, then that’s exaclty what happens if a true event horizon never forms, becuase information is never truly lost, so the “blue-print” for everything in this universe pre-existed in the energy at the moment of the Big Bang, and causality is not violated when the effect is the cause of the effect… ;)

    http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr.....69755.html

  2. I’ve read the “needed” energy-disseminators conjecture before. I have a few problems with it that cause out-of-hand rejection.

    1) The contribution of living systems to energy dissemination is insignificant compared to other mechanisms.

    2) Energy dissemination in the universe appears to be going along just fine without aid from living systems.

    3) Heat entropy isn’t a goal that needs aid or requires fulfillment. It’s simply an inevitable result of the laws of nature.

  3. 1) You didn’t read what I wrote about high-energy physics.

    2) You didn’t read what I wrote about high-energy physics.

    3) You didn’t read what I wrote about an increasing negative pressure component.

    Now, if only people could read… heh

  4. In line with Dave Scott’s objections, it seems to me, if I understand “Island” correctly, that entropy is the “cause” of life. If that’s so, then why isn’t there life on Mars or on Venus?

    And what about the entropy-reducing effects of solar fusion? Certainly the sun is more responsible for entropy reduction than anything life can produce on earth?

  5. Island

    You didn’t write anything about high-energy physics. All you did was mention the term. Be specific. Do you have a point to make about expermental physics – the elusive graviton? Quarks? How about theoretical physics? Super strings? Brane theory?

    As well, you didn’t write anything about increasing negative pressure. All you did was mention the term. The universe is expanding and the rate of expansion is increasing. So? Visible matter that isn’t gravitatinally bound (up to the scale of galactic super clusters) is spreading out with it. No laws of thermodynamics are being violated. Theoretical explanations range from some uncharacterized “dark energy” to incomplete understanding of gravity. Perhaps there’s a force of nature we don’t know about that operates over great distances and becomes more powerful than gravity at those distances. Or perhaps the force of gravity isn’t uniform everywhere in the universe. No one knows at the present time.

    Make your points. Throwing buzzwords around doesn’t make any points with me.

  6. No, that’s false, I have made a point about high-energy physics, as well as the relevant effect, not to mention our potential by comparison, etc…

    Also, you didn’t ask me for clarifaction… you assumed the position of authority, instead, as if I hadn’t even mentioned the term, so… not my problem that you don’t understand. PaV was more in-line with what one would expect of an honest interest.

    ~

    haha, no, conservative mainstream physics doesn’t use unevidence and speculative junk like, “dark energy” to explain an expanding universe, they use Einstein’s relativity including his cosmololgical constant.

    You’re stereotypically lost in speculative cutting-edge popularizations, but if you’d read the article, including the follow-ups:

    http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr.....69755.html

    Made to the physicist screened research group, then you’d also know that it is also quite “Self-Evident” that Einstein hasn’t been disproven anyway, because his vacuum isn’t unstable, since you have to condense his negative pressure vacuum energy down over a finite region of space in order to achieve postive matter density, pressure, and gravitational curvature.

    This “rarefaction” of vaccum energy leaves a *real* void in the Einstien’s negative pressure vacuum which causes negative pressure, energy, and vacuum expansion to increase in proportion to particle pair creation.

    The increase in mass-energy, gravity gets offset by the increase in negative pressure, which holds the vaccum stable and flat as it expands, but tension increases between the vacuum and ordinary matter instead… and this will eventually compromise the integrity of the forces, boys… and we’ll have ANOTHER big bang.

    Because…
    “i” wrote:
    Causality isn’t violated when the effect is the cause of the effect.

  7. Here’s a prediction, Island. You’re going to get axed by the blog owner for cluttering the place up with nonsense.

  8. Here’s a great link. The “Into the Cool” blogsite. I sifted through as much as I could stand of it some time ago and dismissed it as pseudo-scientific bunkum.

    http://intothecool.com/blog/

    It’s kind of funny seeing Eric Schneider, a geologist, and Dorian Sagan whose only credential is being Carl’s son, trying to dismiss Dembski and Behe’s work with some whacked out hypothesis that living systems, which disseminate energy gradients on an insignficant scale compared to say, forest fires, volcanos, wind, and radioactive decay, is somehow what directs the development of parts and assembly thereof into irreducibly complex structure and builds complex specified information merely out of some natural “desire” of the universe to dissipate insignificant energy gradients on the surface of one insignificant little planet.

    Sounds like grist for a Penn & Teller episode. But maybe magicians cut each other some slack. I understand Dorian Sagan is a decent magician.

    http://intothecool.com/dorion_sagan.php

    He was also recipient of an award from Silent Mora Ring 122 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians for his practice in the arts of sleight of hand.

  9. For a brief coherent discussion of 2LOT in regard to living systems see this paper by Granville Sewell.

    http://www.math.tamu.edu/~sewe.....rticle.pdf

  10. DaveScot

    Out of curiousity, how would you be able to predict whether Dembski would revoke Island’s posting privaleges or not? And maybe I am reading too much into this or could your comment be seen as a thinly veiled threat. Goodness, you could consider me more of a troll then Island, and all I have gotten is a few comments on my own blog regarding quotations of Darwin. No reason to be so testy. It just makes you seem like you can surely dish out the criticism but can’t take it.

  11. His rationale is that I don’t know what I’m talking about, so he thinks that Dembski will remove my posts as crackpot “nonesense”.

    He’s wrong about the first part, but I’d half expect him to be correct about the second part, since his attacks on myself and others have cause me to react in a manner that probably won’t fly with the “spirit” of the website.

    A bad habit of mine that comes from trying to talk sense to fanatics on both sides of the debate that already have all the out of context but patent answers.

    They says stuff like:

    I’ve read the “needed” energy-disseminators conjecture before…

    Even though you just gave them a link to a mountain of hard proof.

    LOL@”Conjecture”… it’s a VALID EVIDENCED natural “design” hypothesis… at the very least, which far outweighs anything that ID has going for it.

    I’m sorry that I don’t have much patience for the authoritative, “already-got-it-all-figured-out”, approach that requires me to do their homework for them.

    The preferred theory doesn’t care…

  12. Doran

    It was just a prediction. It’s part of the scientific method that Island encouraged us all to believe in. I thought that would be a good way to start. ;-)

    Island, I don’t have much at all figured out. But one of the things I did figure out is “Into the Cool” would be more aptly titled “Into the Baloney”. I suspect you’re just posting here to boost awareness of the website promoting the book and would’ve preferred to leave an Amazon link to the book but that would have been too obvious. Of course that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong.

  13. Doran – additionally

    You’re not a crank trying to drum up book sales and I don’t consider you a troll at all.

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