Home » Intelligent Design » Uncommon Descent Contest Question 9 winner announcement:

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 9 winner announcement:

StephenB, at 50, won, for the appended comment in response to the question: Is accidental origin of life a doctrine that holds back science?

The prize? A free copy of Steven Meyer’s Signature in the Cell (Harper One, 2009). (But StephenB must send me a working postal address at [email protected])

The accidental origin of life idea hurts science because it militates against the vital principle of causation, the rational and indispensible standard on which science is based. The first question any researcher asks is this: “How did it happen? or—What caused it? Yet, the concept of spontaneous generation popularizes the idea that physical events can occur without causes—that there need not be a “how”—that they can “just happen.”

Consider the following proposition: Streets don’t just “get wet.” Using the scientific and philosophical principle of causation, we understand that something had to cause the streets to get wet. So, we say that if the streets are wet, then it must be raining, or else someone turned on a fire hydrant, or we look for some other reason. But if, as Darwinists or postmodern cosmologists claim, physical events do not always need causes or necessary conditions, that is, if something really can come from nothing, then streets can indeed just get wet. With this mind set, science is severely compromised. If, indeed, something can appear spontaneously or without a cause, why cannot it happen again somewhere else in some other situation?

In keeping with that point, if one thing can “just happen,” then why cannot anything just happen? Why not everything? Under these circumstances, how could the scientist know which things were caused and which ones were not? Science would become an intellectual madhouse where the impossible is affirmed with confidence and the obvious is dismissed with disdain, which, come to think of it, is not a bad description of Darwinst epistemology. For Darwinists, and for postmodern cosmologists, a universe can pop into existence, life can come from non-life, and, yes, streets could, in principle, just “get wet.” Science cannot survive this irrational mind set indefinitely.

As all reasonable people know, facts and evidence do not just interpret themselves. One reason why Darwinists cannot or will not follow where the evidence leads is because they refuse to interpret evidence according to the principles of right reason, one of which is the aforementioned principle of causation. How can scientists interpret evidence reasonably when they are hell bent on rejecting reason itself? As we already know, those dedicated to this principle of selective causation will avoid all the relevant questions about the information code in a DNA molecule. Perhaps it, too, was just another one of those events or circumstances that needs no cause—perhaps it, too, “just happened.”

Thus, in order to preserve their paradigm, Darwinsts practice selective causation, that is, they pick and choose which events need to be explained, which ones do not, and at what times an explanation is needed at all, without, of course, explicitly admitting that they have abandoned causation at the preferred times. To keep everyone confused, they play with the language and use words that sound like, but really are not, explanations —words like, “spontaneous generation,” or “emergence,” or “vitalism,” or anything else that creates the illusion of intellectual rigor. The doctrine of accidental origins, complete with its deceptive language, provides Darwinists with the anti-intellectual framework for institutionalizing the practice of selective causation. Of course, aggressive deception cannot survive without a protective front and a strong institutional barrier. Thus, Darwinists practice “selective causation” on offense and “methodological naturalism” on defense.

Science is, or should be, about pursuing truth, and the search begins with an honest admission of the relevant evidence and a willingness to interpret it reasonably. Scientific research stands on the metaphysical assumption that our universe is rational and its physical components can be reasonably understood in light of their cause-effect relationships. That is why the practice of appealing to accidents in lieu of causal explanations harms science. By treating these alleged accidents as explanations, partisan scientists challenge the assumption of a rational universe, corrupt the practice of science, and politicize the institutions that support it.

I particularly liked the part about “selective causation,” because one sees a lot of that these days – attempts to force one particular cause*, real or imagined – to bear a far heavier burden than it can, with all other causes of events discredited or discounted. It is one of the evils of reductionism, I suppose.

[*We see this all the time in the newspapers, of course. Consider, for example, when "lack of self-esteem" rolled through the Nineties as the supposed cause of student failure. Obviously it wasn't true because A- students can be suicidal and F- students can be very proud of "not letting THEM make me learn stuff I don't care about." Lack of study is a far more likely cause of failure than lack of self-esteem, but it received little attention at the time. ]

Comments I found interesting:

naontiotami at 1 told me,

You have to have a sterile environment for abiogenesis to take place

Of course, this assumes that solutions of precursor molecules still exist that are stable enough to last the millions of years it would take to gradually produce proto-life. I don’t think those exist anymore, or at least not ones that have no bacteria or other living creatures in them.

So, that’s why life does not spontaneously form in the lab or hospital (other than the fact that you don’t run a lab for millions of years). I hope you found that revelatory.

I did, yes, find Naontiami’s comments revelatory (?) but perhaps not in the manner supposed or hoped for.

Okay, so magic is always in the past, always somewhere we are not looking?

Naontiami also attempted to further instruct me at 5:

Operating rooms don’t produce life because they have none of the right precursor molecules. I don’t need to identify what *exactly* they would be (eg. amino acids, nucleic acids etc.), but biomolecules, even simple ones, do not abound in sterile, human environments like operating rooms.

Oh, but that’s just the problem. You do need to identify exactly what they would be, for the same reasons as a surgeon needs to exactly identify the location of a tumour she plans to remove and a mechanic needs to explain exactly what is wrong with your car.

Most people care about specific answers and solutions.

Why does this question even come up? For millennia, accidental origin of life did hold back science. They believed that life could originate from nothing and nowhere. At first they thought it could be traditional magic (= mice witched from garbage, bacteria from rotting food).

Sterile operating room conditions? Why bother? Life can self-generate! Easy and lazy.

But that monster was killed by clear demonstrations that there is no such thing – on this planet – as self-originating life (abiogenesis). Life comes from life, period. In Latin, one would say “omne vivum ex vivo”. But you don’t need to know a dead language to get the point.

Why does this matter? Well, if you completely scrub down an operating theatre, you can be sure that life won’t just self-generate. A non-sterile condition must be introduced, and therefore it can be investigated. Who? When? Where? How? So now we can do real science.

Okay, that’s my view, here are some others:

Frost [+ numbers] said

The of accidental origin of life absolutely holds back scientific progress. Isaac Newton accomplished more for the sciences than perhaps any other man on his own because he saw nature as something that was perfectly intelligible and therefore made for comprehension and discovery

Now with that I entirely agree. Newton’s view has been especially helpful for women, if I may say so. Obstetrics has proved far more useful for us than witching bones.

I once watched a TV doc with an MD acquaintance where a sick child was laid on some prophet’s tomb somewhere. My MD acquaintance blanched, and said, “You know, that baby is really sick.” The kid may well have died before the documentary was even aired. My MD acquaintance would have loved to just grab that kid off the tomb and run with him to any children’s hospital in Canada. We don’t know the origin of life, but we do know how to save it. People come to us from all over the world.

At 35 kairosfocus warned me that

Your contest attempts 8 and 9 are being overwhelmed by waves of darwinist distractive talking points. (It does not matter that hey have long since been adequately answered, the intent is to distract, distort and polarise.)

Perhaps you should propose a format for recognising entries and distinguishing them from commentary; then moderate those who abuse it. – GEM of TKI

Hmmm.

We do have a troll monitor who quickly gets rid of posters who – how may I decently put this? – eff and dam and defame. Just so you know, our whole leadership team are traditional Christians, so we do not intentionally tolerate incivility.** But if people choose to submit entries that probably won’t win, what can I do? They are entitled to lose, just as they are entitled to win.

**Incivility: Stuff that would get you landed on your butt out the back door of a bar. Save it for After the Bar Closes. They’ll understand, but we don’t.

At 42, yakky d remarked, “Nobody knows in detail how flagella came about. It’s an area of ongoing research.” It’s actually an area of ongoing speculation, substituting for research and propped up by Internet abuse.

Mike Behe made a shrewd choice when he tackled the Darwinists on this one because nowhere do they more tellingly reveal their agenda than when they hazard a guess at something that might have happened and say “There! Now we have an answer!”

Try that in a courtroom and see what happens. = “We have figured out some way the wretch on the defense bench might possibly have done the crime and therefore we know he is guilty!” If you pay taxes in a jurisdiction where the courts tolerate such arguments, please hold a revolution soon.

At 55, naontiotami advises, referring to 54,

Using non-specialist dictionaries to define an often-misunderstood scientific term is a cheap tactic. What a dictionary writer and what a biologist has to say on the matter should not be equated.

Then, I recommend replacing the dictionary. A good reference work does not leave the reader stranded.

At 58, camanintx asks “Why do people think they can assign probabilities to a process that they don’t understand?” Well, I don’t understand how lotteries work, but I knew something was wrong when far more people who owned the right to sell tickets were winning prizes than probability would allow. Our Ontario premier must agree because he just recently fired the chair and the whole Board.

And the beat goes on.

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34 Responses to Uncommon Descent Contest Question 9 winner announcement:

  1. 1

    I am new here, but until this year I was unimpressed with abiogenesis, but I ran across the little-heralded Russell-Martin model, now ten years in print. Micropores in a ‘Goldilocks’ temperature zone, within porous rocks bordering hot submarine vents, produce the requisite RNA. Viz. their detailed paper in TRENDS in Biochemical Sciences, V29#7, as well as numerous others. Anyone wanting to deny the possibility of abiogenesis must confront this theory. This is not your everyday tornado in the junkyard scneario, so it would be good to have posts here that discuss this school of abiogenesis, a school far more detailed than any other.

  2. On the subject of abiogenesis, I have a confession to make. Although I am an ID proponent, I don’t see any way around the fact that abiogenesis (being merely defined as “non-living matter transforming into living matter”) must have occurred at some point in the history of our universe. I would like to see if there are any other people here who share the same outlook as myself or have a constructive rebuttal.

    Obviously there was a point in time when our universe was sterile — no life. Then there becomes a time when there is life. What happened in between?

    Let’s say that we can watch the process in real time … the generation of the first living form. What would we see? As horrible of a caricature as this is, would we see a huge hand ripping through time and space and fashioning/front loading the first highly improbable living cell? Well maybe, but to me this seems almost as bad as “Last Thursdayism.”

    If we went back in time to the location(s) of the creation of the first living thing, would we instead see a slow process that looked moreso “random” with a slight hint of law-like attractions. And I say “random” and place quotes around it on purpose. The reason is because the phrase “ME THINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL” can also be programmed to appear on a screen from a random jumble of randomly mutating letters in a process that “looks random.” It is only on closer inspection of the final output and the algorithm which produced the phrase along with a basic understanding of causality and how it relates to law, chance, and intelligence that would give us enough information to say that the phrase most definitely was not the result of “randomness” although it may have appeared that way because there was no indication of direct intelligent intervention.

    So, back to our scenario where we are watching the first life unfold. Would it do so in a way that could be described from our vantage point as “abiogenesis?” Would we just watch the molecules gather together “randomly” and then organize themselves into something such as the “RNA first” hypothesis. Other than an abiogenetical hypothesis, what other option is there? First we have no life; then we have life. It seems obvious that the life came from the “no-life” [and something else of course]. But, the process would look like an abiogenetical hypothesis of some type.

    The reason I bring this up is that it seems that one major push of many ID proponents is to at least imply that ID Theory is an alternative to abiogenesis, when I see no other plausible alternative to an abiogenetical process which *might* look something like the “RNA hypothesis” with some other factors that we are presently overlooking. I mean, seriously, if the process that got us from non-life to life didn’t look like some type of abiogenesis then what *did* it look like? For starters, what *could* it look like?

    IMO, abiogenesis harms ID Theory just as much as “ME THINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL” harms ID Theory. It’s all the same thing. Start with something that *appears* random, observe a process that also *appears* random, then begin investigating when you start to get specific types of non-random patterns.

    So what’s the big deal with abiogenesis and why offer ID Theory as an *alternative* to hypothesis such as the RNA world, or any other type of abiogenesis hypothesis. IMO, the plausibility of abiogenesis hypothesis should be dealt with separate from ID hypothesis since there is no real conflict.

  3. CJYman #2

    An ID proponent who is prepared to think about what actually happened. I admire your intellectual honesty. You don’t have to restrict this line of thinking to abiogenesis. You might want to think about what actually happened during the Cambrian explosion, the appearance of the first human(s), or indeed any event of macroevolution.

  4. Hello Mark,

    I am pursuing a completely naturalistic hypothesis of intelligence design, which is why there is actually no difference between what I see as the process of evolution and the process of Intelligent Design. In fact, I see evolution as the best evidence for Intelligent Design. In fact, many people have asked for a mechanism of ID. One mechanism is indeed evolution — proof of concept provided by those programmers who utilize EAs to generate forms with pre-determined, intelligently designed functions.

  5. While I’m not at all as sure as CJYman is about the origin of life, I would agree with his gist. Indeed, I second his idea that evolution itself is the best evidence for intelligent design – though I also think evolution has a tremendous amount of explaining to do, and is often burdened and crippled by many of its defenders (Who seem vastly more interested in advancing political and social agendas than having much concern for science itself.)

    One difference I’d have is with the idea of a “completely naturalistic hypothesis of intelligent design”. Naturalism doesn’t really mean much anymore aside from “I don’t believe in God” or even “I don’t like the idea of God”.

  6. I predict that only when we figure out how to detect new dimensions and their interface with living systems, will we make any headway in resolving the debate on design.

    I think Dembski’s mathematical approach to ID will ultimately yield huge dividends in this regard. These these dimensions are obviously elusive and will only be detected through mathematical equations rather than direct observation.

    In case anyone is wondering what would one base such a prediction on, well all I have to go on is:

    1. “Seek and ye shall find”.
    2. “There is nothing that is hidden that will not be revealed”.
    3. “There are many rooms in my father’s house”.

  7. Hello nullasalus,

    You stated:
    “I also think evolution has a tremendous amount of explaining to do, and is often burdened and crippled by many of its defenders (Who seem vastly more interested in advancing political and social agendas than having much concern for science itself.)”

    … and I fully agree. To me, it is obvious that “Darwinian evolution” is dead and something akin to James Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering” is where our understanding of the evolution of life is headed.

    nullasalus:
    “One difference I’d have is with the idea of a “completely naturalistic hypothesis of intelligent design”. Naturalism doesn’t really mean much anymore aside from “I don’t believe in God” or even “I don’t like the idea of God”.”

    On one hand I do agree that the term “natural” really doesn’t mean much since I have never seen a satisfactory definition of either “natural” or “non-natural” or “supernatural” as it applies to science in a way that would demarcate that which is “natural” from that which is “supernatural.”

    However, I still use the term “natural” since every component of ID Theory relies only on observation, experience, and understanding of phenomenon which do occur within nature — that is, within the operation of the laws of our universe. IE: the operation of intelligence does not “break” any laws of nature. Thus, ID Theory is an empirical investigation into natural phenomenon. Furthermore, ID is falsifiable and makes distinguishing and testable predictions about the roles of law, chance, and intelligence in the cause of certain patterns. Most people label that type of investigation “scientific.” Call it what you will, ID Theory is empirical (based on observation and experience), relies only on phenomenon which operate within universal laws, is falsifiable, and makes empirical predictions about the cause and generation of specific types of patterns which distinguish it from “non-teleological” predictions.

  8. CJYman

    Furthermore, ID is falsifiable and makes distinguishing and testable predictions about the roles of law, chance, and intelligence in the cause of certain patterns.

    This is where I may disagree. Nothing about ID is falsifiable until you propose something about the mechanism. But maybe you are proposing something about the mechanism? If you say nothing about the motives and powers of the designer than all outcomes are equally possible.

  9. Mark #8,

    Science deals with hypothesis. A hypothesis is merely a statement about something we wish to explain. That statement can be falsifiable or non-falsifiable. Falsifiability can only be investigated in reference to a statement.

    One hypothesis of ID Theory is that law and chance absent previous intelligence will not produce certain patterns. That is one main statement that needs to be investigated. Is it falsifiable? Since the statement provides something that will *not* happen under certain circumstance it essentially can be formulated into a no-go theorem, similar to a theorem against the existence of perpetual motion free energy machines.

    Thus, it is easily falsifiable by showing that specific something *does indeed* happen under those certain circumstances.

    However, I am curious, in discussion of the mechanism, are you speaking of the operation of intelligent systems or of the operation of evolution?

  10. One hypothesis of ID Theory is that law and chance absent previous intelligence will not produce certain patterns.

    What is it about the pattern that made you think it would not be caused by law and chance other than your belief than that a particular account of law and chance did not cause it?. Unless you can point to some other factor then it is not a prediction of ID. It is simply your belief that a particular account of law and chance did not cause it – end of story.

  11. However, I am curious, in discussion of the mechanism, are you speaking of the operation of intelligent systems or of the operation of evolution

    The operation of intelligent systems.

  12. CJYman #4

    When you say:

    “I am pursuing a completely naturalistic hypothesis of intelligence design, which is why there is actually no difference between what I see as the process of evolution and the process of Intelligent Design. In fact, I see evolution as the best evidence for Intelligent Design.”

    Should we be pursuing the truth wherever it leads, as opposed to “a completely naturalistic hypothesis” (I read here materialistic)?

  13. O’Leary

    At 58, camanintx asks “Why do people think they can assign probabilities to a process that they don’t understand?” Well, I don’t understand how lotteries work, but I knew something was wrong when far more people who owned the right to sell tickets were winning prizes than probability would allow. Our Ontario premier must agree because he just recently fired the chair and the whole Board.

    And since know exactly how lottery winners are chosen, we can predict exactly what the odds of anyone winning are, can’t we?

  14. StephenB

    The accidental origin of life idea hurts science because it militates against the vital principle of causation, the rational and indispensible standard on which science is based. The first question any researcher asks is this: “How did it happen? or—What caused it? Yet, the concept of spontaneous generation popularizes the idea that physical events can occur without causes—that there need not be a “how”—that they can “just happen.”

    Exactly what theory of spontaneous generation (except maybe Pasteur’s) suggests that something can “just happen” without a cause?

  15. —camanintx: “Exactly what theory of spontaneous generation (except maybe Pasteur’s) suggests that something can “just happen” without a cause?”

    Richard Darwins has written this: “The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing – is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.”

    Victor J. Stenger argues that the universe could have come from nothing based on a theory of positive energy bound up in matter.

    John Sowa has denied the principle of causality and one Darwinst on this site supports him and claims to have met him.

    Plenty of Materialist Darwinists on this site have denied the principle of causality. Indeed, they practice “selective causality,” as I have indicated. Many who visit here think something can come from nothing.

  16. I thought mine was the best. Steve’s was good but I felt like I hit the nail on the head- that the “accidental” view of origins is a science stopper because it kills the spirit of discovery. If things “just happen” the way they do- then there is little more depth than one can grasp and instead of a clear path of intelligibility, we a left with a dark ally of no destination.

    The “God does not play dice” view of reality though, which Einstein held- is what ecourages man to try and see further, as Newton did on the back of other intelligent “giants”. And although this view may ultimately be religious, in some non-dogmatic and ecumenical sense, it is at least general and liberal enough to operate alongside science without undermining objectivity- and we know this from it’s fruits.

  17. StephenB, #15

    Richard Darwins has written this: “The fact that life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing – is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.”

    How does this deny causality?

    Victor J. Stenger argues that the universe could have come from nothing based on a theory of positive energy bound up in matter.

    Again, how does this deny causality?

    John Sowa has denied the principle of causality and one Darwinst on this site supports him and claims to have met him.

    Has John Sowa proposed a theory of spontaneous generation?

    Plenty of Materialist Darwinists on this site have denied the principle of causality. Indeed, they practice “selective causality,” as I have indicated. Many who visit here think something can come from nothing.

    Since when did posts on an internet blog constitute scientific theory?
    Your prize winning argument was that scientists are denying causation, so shouldn’t it be rather easy for you to produce a scientific theory of the origin of life that denies causation?

  18. Frosty:

    ” . . . I felt like I hit the nail on the head- that the “accidental” view of origins is a science stopper because it kills the spirit of discovery. If things “just happen” the way they do- then there is little more depth than one can grasp and instead of a clear path of intelligibility, we a left with a dark ally of no destination.”

    Um . . . . there seems to be a lot of research being done despite that . . . It seems like many, many, many people are terribly interested in finding out HOW things just happen. :-) I always find it surprising that many people in the ID community seem so reluctant to ask the how and when questions of the Designer. What could be more interesting than that? I would love to see some work being done to try and pin down the when in particular.

  19. —camanintx: “Your prize winning argument was that scientists are denying causation, so shouldn’t it be rather easy for you to produce a scientific theory of the origin of life that denies causation?”

    Richard Dawkins believes in spontaneous generation; he calls it a “miraculous event.” He is not alone. Darwinists have only two answers to the origin of life–

    “poof” [it just happened]

    “no comment.” [I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me]

    These days, most of them play it safe and take the latter option, but they argue on the basis that nothing created everything. At least Richard Darwkins has the guts to say what he means.

    By the way, which position do you take?

  20. —Frost: “The “God does not play dice” view of reality though, which Einstein held- is what ecourages man to try and see further, as Newton did on the back of other intelligent “giants”. And although this view may ultimately be religious, in some non-dogmatic and ecumenical sense, it is at least general and liberal enough to operate alongside science without undermining objectivity- and we know this from it’s fruits.”

    I liked your essay and agreed with it. Yet when I tell Darwinists on this site that the only reason we can comprehend the universe is because it is comprehensible, they say comprehensibility is not a property of the universe. They call it a “category error.” Incredible!

  21. 21

    StephenB,

    “Richard Darwins has written this:”

    So is he an intermediary? A missing intellectual link? Interesting. I thought you might have something there.

    So…….

    I did some tinkering, and here’s the rest of the missing pieces:

    Charles Darwin
    Charlerd Darwin
    Rharlerd Darwins
    Rcharlrd Darwins
    Richarld Darwins
    Richard Darwins
    Richard Dawrins
    Richard Dawkins

    :)

  22. Mark #10, 11:
    “What is it about the pattern that made you think it would not be caused by law and chance other than your belief than that a particular account of law and chance did not cause it?.”

    I have commented and provided an answer to that very question a few times before now, both here and recently on TT. However, this time I’m going to ask you a question and we can both “work toward an answer together.” How is “law” and “chance” defined? What is “law” and “chance” used to describe or explain? Tell me a bit about the phenomena we describe with the words “law” and “chance.”

    Mark:
    “Unless you can point to some other factor then it is not a prediction of ID. It is simply your belief that a particular account of law and chance did not cause it – end of story.”

    I agree completely!

    I asked:
    “However, I am curious, in discussion of the mechanism, are you speaking of the operation of intelligent systems or of the operation of evolution?”

    Mark, you responded:
    “The operation of intelligent systems.”

    I have a couple things to say about that …

    1. Tell me, do we have to have a comprehensive theory of how gravity works in order to utilize the “law of gravity” and connect gravity with its effects? Wasn’t the law of gravity penned before a description of what causes gravity was offered. Furthermore, as far as I understand, there are a few different hypothesis out there as to the actual mechanism of gravity — ie: boson or wave? So, apparently the law of gravity is one of the most accepted laws of science yet it was a part of science before we even had a clue as to how it operates (mechanism).

    An analogy would be that you are playing a video game and you notice that pressing certain buttons causes your character to move in specific ways. You are well within science to state the observation that upon pressing a certain button, your character moves a certain way without being able to diagram the internal workings (mechanism) of how that happens. And guess what … observation is the first part of science.

    Of course, ID Theory goes beyond a simple observation, however that analogy should answer your question of “does ID Theory need a mechanism for the operation of intelligence” in order to make the claim that intelligence does indeed produce certain patterns.

    2. Furthermore, we know how an intelligence operates to the extent that it utilizes foresight and we also know that we (as intelligent systems) utilize our foreisght to generate certain patterns. “How” intelligence does that is an extremely interesting question, however it does not affect the fact that intelligent systems actually do use their foresight to produce certain patterns (ie: cars and essays) that we don’t observe coming from law+chance absent intelligence.

    And that my friend is the interesting observation that begins our foray into ID Theory and prompts us to ask the following questions:

    “Can the effects of intelligence be objectively detected without ever seeing the responsible culprit?”

    “Is there a way to objectively separate the effects of intelligence from the effects of law+chance?”

    Harmless questions, no? Do you, Mark, support the rights of scientists to research those questions? I’m just asking because it appears to me that a lot of people would answer in the negative and I can’t help but wonder why.

  23. Ella,

    I never said that there would not be some research despite a “just happened” view of nature. Human beings are naturally inquisitive and when there are incentives people find many, often ridiculous ways of getting them. But my point is that the ID perspective is more inspiring. You said there is “a lot” of research going on despite ID not being widely accept or even publicly taught about virtually at all. But the grade average SAT scores, and drop out rate of the public education system is meanwhile thriving. No surprise as they are teaching people how to think but merely what to think- and most of the time it is poorly presented information and even sometimes flat out wrong. I don’t see all of the great advancements in technology and sceince happening at the rate that they once did. I think the spirit of discovery is quite sick- I certainly see a ubiquitous apathetic attitude towards complex intellectual issues at the nearby college I was attending only over a year ago. I think more than that, that the liberal arts, from writing to especially television and cinema, have completely degraded over time.

    In the past there was a great religious sense that there was a higher purpose- though perhaps it was due to a systemic conservative religious fervor- that has dwindled- but that positive optimistic fervor people become amenable to via an outlook on origins which is includes the notion of intelligence and purposefulness.

    So your attempt to say that “a lot” of research does not cut it- and it does not tell us whether the research is god research or not. I see a degrading intellectual atmosphere among the intellectuals. Students, teachers, and I also think that researchers have lost the spirit that makes little things like the Principia Mathematical and general relativity happen.

    A doctor can go to work but unless he is operating with the right outlook and intentions- that is spirit- then he is not going to maximize his ability. ID provides one with the outlook that things are at best perfectly comprehensible and that we can have some real hope and faith that we can come relatively close to full understanding or at least a maximization of what we are capable of. ID gives a reason why scientific discovery is fertile. ID provides apriori fecundity. Of course ID is based on real cogent reasoning and empirical evidence as well making is it also an honest perspective and not simply a credulous self help philosophy.

    The idea that life happened by chance means that we have no reason to think that we can ever crack any part of the puzzle. If I am trying to find the answer to a question it is certainly encouraging to thin that the answer is very likely to be accessible based on a purposive and comprehensible scheme of reality which is inferred to be that way because of it’s relationship to intelligence.

    SteveB,

    I think the categorical fallacy argument is totally incorrect. The argument goes something like this- the world is comprehensible therefore it must be the result of a comprehending cause- so then the hyper skeptic says “our minds have evolved to comprehend things and that is why the world seems comprehensible” but if our minds are also comprehensible and have the power to comprehend, we need to realize that our minds are a product of causative reality as well as the existential environment. And of course there is also the interface between the environment and the mind which itself also seems highly specified and intelligently designed like the interface between a man and his computer or automobile.

    I don’t think the people who use that categorical fallacy argument really know or understand what a categorical fallacy is. Comprehensibility is absolutely a property of the universe. Or if they prefer, “intelligence” may suffice. But certainly there is order and disorder- there is form- there is “information”- even a materialist knows this to be the case- the question is “is there mind?”

    That then leads into a conversation of what mind is- and it becomes increasingly stupid as the other side tries (unsuccessfully) to explain away the very thing they are using in the process.

    Order is the product of either necessity, chance, or design. Period. It is time that we re-enrich the minds of our students and scientists by allowing them to freely explore the third domain. Maybe it will take them to great and high new places like it did for Einstein and Newton. We need to learn the lesson from history, of the scientific fecundity which comes from the theory of design.

  24. StephenB, #19

    By the way, which position do you take?

    Whether one supports the pre-biotic soup theory of Miller and Urey or the newer RNA World theory of Muller, both are rooted in the causual effects of basic chemistry. Neither theory suggests that anything “just happened” or violate causation. Since you cannot produce a scientific theory that does, your argument has more holes than swiss cheese.

  25. —-camanintx: “Whether one supports the pre-biotic soup theory of Miller and Urey or the newer RNA World theory of Muller, both are rooted in the causual effects of basic chemistry. Neither theory suggests that anything “just happened” or violate causation.

    Anyonr who proposes that life came from non-life, that non-life came from matter or that matter came from nothing, violates the principle of causality. Darwinists generally posit all three. That, by the way, is why so many of them appeal to quantum mechanics as an example of something coming from nothing, or didn’t you know that?

    The hang up about finding a scientific theory is all yours, not mine. My thesis is that Darwinists think that something can come from nothing, and they do it here all the time. That is why they appeal to quantum mechanics as an example of quantum particles coming out of nothing. They resist the principle of causality which holds that nothing can begin to exist without a cause.

    What position do you hold on that matter?

  26. StephenB, #25

    Anyonr who proposes that life came from non-life, that non-life came from matter or that matter came from nothing, violates the principle of causality.

    Non-life cannot come from matter? Really? Maybe you want to think about this a little more.
    As for the life from non-life argument, maybe you can explain exactly what differentiates the two and how it prevents one from becomming the other.

    The hang up about finding a scientific theory is all yours, not mine. My thesis is that Darwinists think that something can come from nothing, and they do it here all the time.

    You stated that this holds back science yet you cannot produce a single scientific theory that proposes such a concept. Sorry, but irrelavent quotes taken out of context and obscure references to blog posts do not constitute science. And since no theory of biological origins suggest that something came from nothing, your thesis has no legs to stand on.

  27. —-camanintx: “Non-life cannot come from matter? Really? Maybe you want to think about this a little more.”

    You’re right, of course. It should have been written as follows: matter cannot come from nothing, and life cannot come from matter.

    —”As for the life from non-life argument, maybe you can explain exactly what differentiates the two and how it prevents one from becomming the other.”

    Life just has elements that matter doesn’t have—consciousness, for example.

    —-”You stated that this holds back science yet you cannot produce a single scientific theory that proposes such a concept. Sorry, but irrelavent quotes taken out of context and obscure references to blog posts do not constitute science. And since no theory of biological origins suggest that something came from nothing, your thesis has no legs to stand on.”

    All processes suggested by and involving Darwinian evolution propose something from nothing. We already know that matter is not eternal, so to suggest that matter came from nothing is to propose something from nothing. Materailist Darwinists hold that view. To propose that life came from non-life is to propose that life came from that which had no life. That is something from nothing.. Life can only come from life.

    In any case, spontaneous generation IS a theory. It fell out of favor for a while, but it appears that Richard Dawkins and the new militant atheists are bringing it back.

    Dawkins writes; “Before the coming of life on earth, some rudimentary evolution of molecules could have occurred by ordinary processes of physics and chemistry. There is no need to think of design or purpose or directedness. If a group of atoms in the presence of energy falls into a stable pattern it will tend to stay that way. The earliest form of natural selection was simply a selection of stable forms and a rejection of unstable ones. There is no mystery about this. It had to happen by definition”

    That’s spontaneous generation theory and it seems consistent with what biochemist George Wald wrote in the Scientific American in 1954 when he held that, though it seemed impossible, the spontaneous generation of living organisms was, given enough time, probable.

    Even if that is a rare opinion among biologists today, the Darwinistic idea that life can come from non-life, or that mind can come from matter, or that matter can come from nothing, violates the principle of causality. So, the dialogue continues with the Darwinist:

    Question. Where did life come from?

    Darwinist: We once believed that is was spontaneously generated, but that sounded too ridiculous for a while, so most of us now believe that some physical law allowed it to happen

    Question: Great, where did the law come from?

    Darwinist: It was spontaneously generated.

  28. —-Frost: “Order is the product of either necessity, chance, or design. Period. It is time that we re-enrich the minds of our students and scientists by allowing them to freely explore the third domain. Maybe it will take them to great and high new places like it did for Einstein and Newton. We need to learn the lesson from history, of the scientific fecundity which comes from the theory of design.”

    Well put. I wish I had said it.

  29. StephenB, #27

    Life just has elements that matter doesn’t have—consciousness, for example.

    How do you determine if something has consciousness?

    Question: Great, where did the law come from?

    Do you believe physical laws are descriptive or prescriptive?

  30. Frosty,

    Thank you for your long and thoughtful reply; sorry it took me a while to see it. I think people are motivated to explore for lots of different reasons and I can see your way of thinking about would be very important to some people, Isaac Newton perhaps? I also know there are pure materialists who are passionate about discovering the principles behind observed phenomena.

    Different strokes eh? :-)

  31. —camanintx: “How do you determine if something has consciousness?”

    It is manifested in rationcination, decision making, free choice, and most of all, self reflection.

    —-”Do you believe physical laws are descriptive or prescriptive?”

    Laws regulate the matter in nature and we also describe those laws; thus, the laws themselves are objective realities and our descriptions of them are subjective reactions. Put another way, [A] We live in a rational universe [nature organized by orderly laws], [B] We have rational minds [a faculty that can apprehend those laws], and [C] there is a correspondence between the two [the logic of one miraculously matches the logic of the other].

    Darwinsts deny the correspondence between the rational universe and the rational minds that apprehend it. Even so, there really is an object of the the investigation [the laws themselves, the way they operate, and regulate], and there really is an investigator [who apprehends, describes and puts names on the laws,

    The existence of the laws themselves must be explained; they have not been around forever because the universe has not been around forever. Darwinists not only take these facts for granted, they even deny the fact of causation, suggesting that neither the universe or its laws had to be caused. That is not rational.

    Further, when I ask Darwinists where those laws came from, they either change the subject, refuse to answer, or deny that any such laws exist, indicating that only our reaction to them is real. That is not rational either.

  32. StephenB, #31

    —camanintx: “How do you determine if something has consciousness?”

    It is manifested in rationcination, decision making, free choice, and most of all, self reflection.

    I would agree with you that anything exhibiting these features would be considered alive, but I doubt you would convince anyone that all living things share these features. Doesn’t that make it a poor tool to differentiate life from non-life.
    Maybe we can try to narrow down the line were life and non-life meet. Do you consider bacteria to be alive?

    Further, when I ask Darwinists where those laws came from, they either change the subject, refuse to answer, or deny that any such laws exist, indicating that only our reaction to them is real. That is not rational either.

    How is this different from ID proponents refusal to define the designer? Last time I checked, the origin of natural laws was a topic for physicists and cosmologists, not biologists.

  33. StephenB,

    Just a quick note for now to say Congratulations on your winning entry, as well as to express appreciation for your continued contributions.

    Best to you,
    ericB

  34. #27

    Life just has elements that matter doesn’t have—consciousness, for example.

    Bacteria?

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