Home » Intelligent Design » “Mirror” Needs to Hold One Up To His Side

“Mirror” Needs to Hold One Up To His Side

A commenter who goes by “Mirrortothesun” writes:

Here’s the problem with every single post on this site, including this one. They are all examples of motivated reasoning. The authors start with what they wish were the truth– that evolution is false– and then they look desperately for evidence that their wish is true. They construct arguments around that wish. Ultimately it is just intellectual dishonesty and propaganda, alas.

Perhaps Mirror has never read evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin’s famous “divine foot” screed.  Here it is:

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. 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 an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

Mirror accuses ID proponents of being committed to an a priori assumption and interpreting all data in the context of that assumption.  Perhaps that is the case with some ID proponents.  Personally, I am open to Darwinism.  Indeed, I would love to be a Darwinist.  It would make my life so much easier if I could go along with the herd instead of constantly swimming upstream.  Alas, I cannot handle the necessary faith commitments.

Here is the point of my post.  Mirror’s comment is laden with unintended irony; for he seems to be blissfully unaware of the close-minded dogmatism of many Darwinists.  Only those bad ID types have a priori assumptions.  Darwinists bravely follow the evidence wherever it leads.  His naivety would be amusing if it were not so common . . . and so dangerous.

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122 Responses to “Mirror” Needs to Hold One Up To His Side

  1. quotemining Lewontin certainly won’t help you make your case. Talk about irony!

    A intellectually honest po it would be prudent to provide the entire quote to fix the point in the context the author intended.

  2. edit: A intellectually honest position would be to provide the entire quote to fix the point in the context the author intended.

  3. Barry,

    Acipenser wants you to know that you have been unfair to Lewontin. All that stuff he said about having an “absolute” prior commitement to materialism… is just not true. Its not true.

    If we were to be so remiss in our duties in seeking truth that we allow ourselves to recognize something as blatantly demonstrable as the semiotic state in protein synthesis, for example, then surely the regularities of nature will be burst wide open, being foreever ruptured with pianos falling from the sky.

    Science cannot tolerate such miracles.

  4. One of the methods that I use every now and then when I comment on various blogs is to paraphrase the comment of an evolutionist and turn his argument back on him.

    Evolutionists start with what they know is the truth– that evolution must be true – and then they look desperately for evidence that supports their belief. They construct arguments around that beleif. Ultimately it is just intellectual dishonesty and propaganda, alas.

  5. Here’s the problem with every single post on this site, including this one. They are all examples of motivated reasoning.

    Is that what it’s called?

    The authors start with what they wish were the truth– that evolution is false–

    Construct a hypothesis

    and then they look desperately for evidence that their wish is true.

    Search for evidence

    They construct arguments around that wish.

    Theorize and predict.

    Ultimately it is just intellectual dishonesty and propaganda, alas.

    Alas, it seems like under the buzzwords “desperate” and “wish” lies the image of Mirror’s most beloved: the scientific method.

    Alas, the core tenets of Darwinism have disintegrated; I assure you it is no wish,no hypothesis, no theory, that random mutation and natural selection are unable to account for the diversity of life on the planet. It is an experimental fact.

    Alas, it is not a wish that complex specified information is best explained by Intelligent Design, but a direct observation.

    Alas, an a priori is further justified by the validity of the foundation premise.

    Alas, if Darwinian processes were capable I assure you, your arguments from homology would receive much less flak.

    Alas Mirrortothesun, drink and be merry, for from the ivory tower a hit was issued on your head for such outright blasphemy of the modus operandi.

  6. LOL, Upright if you consider quote-mining to be a demonstration of due diligence and scholarship far be it from me to try and dissuade you.

    the unintended irony is rich:
    “Perhaps Mirror has never read evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin’s famous “divine foot” screed. Here it is:”

    meaning, of course, that ‘I’m’ only going to present an edited version so I can to the quote reflect what I want it to reflect.

  7. Acipencer, is the quote really unfair?, How about this following quote;

    Here is another quote that, though not as detailed as Lewontins’s, none the less gets the same point across:

    ‘We should reject, as a matter of principle, the substitution of intelligent design for the dialogue of chance and necessity,,,

    Yet at the same time the same expert readily admits that neo-Darwinism has ZERO evidence for the chance and necessity of material processes producing any cellular system whatsoever,,,

    ,,,we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.’
    Franklin M. Harold,* 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 205.
    *Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, USA

    OK acipenser, please tell me exactly what apriori principle he is speaking of in science that mandates the total exclusion of Intelligent Design as ever even being remotely considered as a viable answer in these questions of origins? i.e. Exactly why are atheists allowed to dictate what type of answers are valid and what type of answers are not valid in these questions of origins? Shouldn’t we let the evidence speak for itself??? Speaking of which, when even a child sees one of these following molecular machines,,,

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994630

    Molecular Biology Animations – Demo Reel
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5915291/

    The ATP Synthase Enzyme – exquisite motor necessary for first life – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3KxU63gcF4

    Powering the Cell: Mitochondria – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrS2uROUjK4

    Programming of Life – Protein Synthesis – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Pr.....5Z3afBdxB0

    Dna Molecular Biology Visualizations – Wrapping And DNA Replication – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8NHcQesYl8

    Astonishing Molecular Machines – Drew Berry
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6861283

    Body Code – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDZLiZB0iPY

    Ben Stein – EXPELLED – The Staggering Complexity Of The Cell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4227700

    ,,,They know instinctively that the molecular machine was designed and that it was not a chance assemblage of parts. Why is this impression, that is so obvious that even a child immediately sees it, denied as valid, especially considering that atheists have no credible answers for how they came to be, much less an actual demonstration:

    “There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation of such a vast subject.”
    James Shapiro – Molecular Biologist

  8. Mirror acknowledged that his statement was true of his own post. I agree with him in principle, if not to his extreme.

    I believe that evidence held as supporting darwinism (perhaps some suspicious transitional fossils) is tainted because there’s a less-then-objective drive to get results supporting a certain conclusion.

    But to be intellectually honest I must admit that even if I claim perfect objectivity I’m fooling myself. Of course I want one side to be right. Anyone who cares enough to debate the matter and doesn’t recognize that about himself is lying to himself.

    We talk a lot about astronomical improbabilities. Confirmation bias is not so unlikely for me or for anyone else.

    So what do we do? We can’t fix human nature. We can’t change the other person who we suspect of such bias. Maybe it’s us, not them. All we can do is try to factor in an awareness of our own motivations and biases as we reason. It’s like polluting. Everyone does it and it’s bad for everyone, but our only course of action is usually to cut back on our own.

    Within that awareness, we reason the best that we can and try to persuade. And if we feel that logic is on our side and the other person is exhibiting bias then we can make that case.

  9. The key to understanding that quotation from Lewontin’s review are the two sentence that immediately follows the part you quote:

    The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

    In other words, science cannot proceed except under the assumption that nature is regular. To allow the possibility that nature may not be regular is to open ourselves to belief in “anything”.

    Now, it is perfectly possible that that assumption may be unjustified. Perhaps there is an irregularity at the heart of the reality that renders all science unreliable.

    But the entire methodology of science, as Lewontin says, is predicated on the assumption that we can abstract general laws from our observations, and expect that what is true today will also be true tomorrow.

    That is why the Divine Foot must be omitted from scientific calculations, not because it doesn’t exist (though I don’t think it does) but because even if it does, it is simply not amenable to the methodology of science.

    Which, on the whole, works.

  10. I would like a specific example of this method as used by an “evolutionist”.

    Thanks.

  11. Of course it’s true.

    It’s not that science cannot “tolerate such miracles” but that its methodology is intrinsically unable to research them.

    Science proceeds by looking for regularities and abstracting reliable predictions. By definition, a miracle is excluded from the regularities of the rest of the universe, and no theory of miracles can be devised which could give rise to a testable hypothesis.

  12. 12

    Oh Acipenser, wake up. Let me post Lewontin’s remaining sentence before you hyperventilate over the lost scholarship:

    “The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.”

    Now let us take a look at what the good man said, shall we? He says “anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything”. What a profound observation – no doubt backed up with equally profound scientific inquiry and observation. Who might that list include? Newton, Maxwell, Pasteur, Galileo, Corpenicus, Kepler, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Plank, Boyle, etc, etc. You know, all those silly men and their silly ideas (certainly none as “eminent” as Kant, mind you), who built the scientific foundation to which Lewontin has assumed needed his fraternal protection (apparently from the likes of those who created it).

    And what else does he say, “To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured”. Ahh, yes, the King of the strawman army. The intimidating threat that should we allow ourselves to follow evidence without prejudice, then certainly pianos may fall from the sky. What will we do? This comment is one that must be made as a sacrifice on the alter of materialist ideology. It’s the one where the materialist shows his cards. Apparently, the fundamental key to understanding materialism to to understand that good materialists are given special latitude to not even be materialist if the material in question threatens their materialist ideology. In other words, if being a full-fledged materialists causes one to doubt the efficacy of some explanations based upon our ever-deepening knowledge of the material involved, then to hell with materialism – we’ll just bullshit our way through it, and call it science.

    Watch out for the pianos.

  13. “Oh Acipenser, wake up. Let me post Lewontin’s remaining sentence before you hyperventilate over the lost scholarship:”

    for a discussion of what the last two sentences contribute to the context of the quote see Elizabeth’s post at #8

    I found it funny that Mr. Arringotn would accuse mirror of making a post containing ‘unintended ironies’ while ignoring, or not recognizing, his own contributions to the irony of the situation via quotemining Lewontin. Certainly, you can agree that if mirror had never read that passage before s/he has now had only a edited version presented for perusal.

    If the last two (omitted) sentences have no influence on the quoted passage (and they do) why not include them instead of selectively misrepresenting what Lewontin wrote?

  14. ,,,And Acipenser, irony of ironies is that you are trying to use your God-given transcendent logic to ’cause’ us to believe what you are saying is true, i.e. to prove to us that, ultimately, belief in transcendent causality is a non-existent fantasy. Ahhh yes, the ever schizophrenic world of materialistic atheists where cognitive dissonance is cherished above all else!

    Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl [UK Version] (HD Official Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oWSGcRrauA

  15. Liz Liddle could have left out evrything else and just kept the last line: Which, on the whole, works.

    Thats the key. Science works.

  16. This is how science works:

    We have observations. We devise a model that might explain our observations. We test our model by using it to predict new observations.

    We make new observations. If the new observations fit our model well, we keep the model (always provisionally). If they fit it badly, we adjust, or even abandon, the model.

    The Divine Foot cannot be accommodated in this methodology, because the Divine Foot is not a “regularity”.

    Let us say we observe a miracle. We make a model that says: miracles occur when we pray for them.

    So we set up a testable prediction: we ask people to pray for a miracle, and we make new observations. We compare these with the effects of no prayer.

    And lo and behold, we do not get any miracles. Why? Because God is not regular – not predictable.

    Skeptics say: see? Prayer does not work.
    Believers say: Do not put God to the test. His ways are mysterious. He answered you prayers, but on this occasion His answer was no.

    Both inferences are unjustified. What is justified is Lewontin’s actual point: there is no place for the Divine Foot in science. Science can neither prove nor disprove God, because the entire scientific methodology is based on the premise that the universe is predictable, and that the job of scientists is finding the keys to making the predictions.

    If you want a predictable God, by all means let the Divine Foot in. Or, if you want useless science, by all means let the Divine Foot in.

    But it seems to me better to let science do what it does well, i.e. proceed on the assumption that the universe is predictable; and, if you want, pray that on occasions it isn’t (and that on those occasions, the unpredictability works in your favour).

  17. 17

    If the last two (omitted) sentences have no influence on the quoted passage (and they do) why not include them instead of selectively misrepresenting what Lewontin wrote?

    Which one of the last two sentences are you referring to?

    The one which is entirely evicerated by the recorded history of scientific investigation, or the one which erects a strawman to stand in the place of unprejudiced empiricism?

  18. That’s pretty incoherent to me, BA77. Could/would you rephrase that into something coherent and on topic?

  19. Why do you feel the need to cut either of the last two sentences out of the quote if they do not affect your argument?

    Elizabeth’s post, (@6.1.2), presents a clear synopsis of the problem with allowing a Divine (or demon’s) foot in the door.

    Upright I’m curious how you would go about discerning the activities of the Divine versus the Demon in a scientific inquiry? Perhaps you could explain using a simple example, e.g.., an organism response to graded doses of a toxicant. What results would suggest a Divine foot versus a demons footprints?

  20. 20

    Elizabeth Liddle is correct. Science does not, indeed cannot, take account of miracles. The entire scientific project is premised upon previously observed regularities continuing to occur.

    Obviously this does not mean that miracles do not occur. Most people believe miracles do occur, and that belief is based upon evidence. It is not based, as some would have it, on blind faith. Nevertheless, miracles are not susceptible to scientific investigation because they are, by definition, irregular and unpredictable.

    All of this, of course, is beside the point of my post, and perhaps I should have made this clearer. In his comment “Mirror” implies that only ID proponents approach the data from a point of view, when it should be perfectly obvious that everyone approaches the data from a point of view. And it should also be perfectly obvious that we must all struggle to overcome our biases, because they make us almost literally blind. Stephen Jay Gould was very good on this issue. To his credit, he acknowledged that scientists are sometimes unable to see data that does not fit into their preconceived notions. Here are some nuggets.

    “. . . but stasis is data . . . Say it ten times before breakfast every day for a week, and the argument will surely seep in by osmosis: ‘stasis is data; stasis is data’ . . .” Stephen Jay Gould, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2002), 759.

    “We expect life’s bushes . . . to tell some story of direction change. If they do not, we do not feature them in our studies – if we even manage to see them at all . . . Paleontologists are now beginning to study this higher order stasis, or nondirectional history of entire bushes.” Stephen Jay Gould, “Cordelia’s Dilemma,” Natural History 102.2 (February 1993): 15, 10-18.

    “Correction of error cannot always arise from new discovery within an accepted conceptual system. Sometimes the theory has to crumble first, and a new framework be adopted, before the crucial facts can be seen at all.” Stephen Jay Gould, “Cordelia’s Dilemma,” Natural History 102.2 (February 1993): ____, 10-18.

    During the period of nearly universal rejection [of the continental drift theory], direct evidence for continental drift – that is, the data gathered from rocks exposed on our continents – was every bit as good as it is today . . . In the absence of a plausible mechanism, the idea of continental drift was rejected as absurd. The data that seemed to support it could always be explained away . . . The old data from continental rocks, once soundly rejected, have been exhumed and exalted as conclusive proof of drift. In short, we now accept continental drift because it is the expectation of a new orthodoxy. I regard this tale as typical of scientific progress. New facts, collected in old ways under the guidance of old theories, rarely lead to any substantial revision of thought. Facts do not ‘speak for themselves, they are read in the light of theory.

    Stephen Jay Gould, “The Validation of Continental Drift,” in Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History (1978; reprint, London: Penguin, 1991), 161.

  21. 21

    “Science works.” Yes it does, except when it doesn’t (which, of course, is why Dr. Liddle left herself some wiggle room).

  22. The annoying thing is that many, many, otherwise intelligent people follow this reasoning with a glaring category mistake.

    They do not say, “Science can not discern the Divine Foot, so let’s all acknowledge the limitation of Science”.

    They say, “Science can not discern the Divine Foot, so let’s all agree that the Divine Foot does not exist and close our eyes to the obvious evidence for him.”

    This is the main problem with evolutionists. They mistake limitations of science as evidence against God. They are rightly called fools by God. Ps. 14:1.

  23. “They say, “Science can not discern the Divine Foot, so let’s all agree that the Divine Foot does not exist and close our eyes to the obvious evidence for him.””

    If the evidence were obvious it follows that science would discern this evidence. Obviously, the evidence is not obvious thus the need for faith.

  24. This is the main problem with evolutionists. They mistake limitations of science as evidence against God.

    No, it is not “the main problem with evolutionists”. There are a huge number of “evolutionists”, a tiny minority of whom “mistake limitations of science as evidence against God”. A vast number are theists, and of those who are atheists, most do not consider science “evidence against God”, they simply consider that there is no value in believing in something for which they have no evidence.

    In fact, I can’t myself think of an example of an atheist who is an atheist because s/he thinks that science is evidence against God, although many may reject what what was once considered evidence for God or gods (lightning? rainbows? life?) as being perfectly explicable by natural causes.

    That is quite different from considering the power of those explanations as “evidence against God”.

  25. 25

    Acipenser,

    lol

    Why do you feel the need to cut either of the last two sentences out of the quote if they do not affect your argument?

    Firstly, I didn’t cut anything out. What I did is respond to your suggestion that the last two sentences somehow explain or mitigate anything whatsoever about the first portion of the quote. They don’t, just exactly as Lewontin himself says.

    The first of the final two sentences is entirely incoherent with regard to the recorded history of science. If you doubt this then you can address the actual recorded history regarding the theistic beliefs among the fathers of the scientific enterprise. You can explain how having such beliefs has been shown to be detrimental to the institution of science.

    The second of the two sentences is nothing but a strawman, as evidenced by the fact that no one seriously has proposed a break in natural law (and in regard to ID, no such break in natural law is required in order to conduct the science of design detection). In other words, its utterly a “strawman” just exactly as the phrase “strawman” has been described in the study of logical fallacies since it was first enumerated among them.

    Without hesitation, Lewontin told us upfront were his commitments are; instead of the sober commitment among scientists being properly given to an unwaivering respect for the evidence, it shall be given over to their materialistic ideologies instead.

    The final two sentences of that paragraph were nothing more than a committed materialist taking a cheap shot at his intellectual opponents.

    Elizabeth’s post, (@6.1.2), presents a clear synopsis of the problem with allowing a Divine (or demon’s) foot in the door.

    Dr Liddles treatment of the issue is little more than changing the strawman’s hat. Perhaps you haven’t heard such a presentation before (“This is how science works…”) but many here learned the scientific method long ago, and have heard the opening remarks more times than we care to count.

    Upright I’m curious how you would go about discerning the activities of the Divine versus the Demon in a scientific inquiry? Perhaps you could explain using a simple example, e.g.., an organism response to graded doses of a toxicant. What results would suggest a Divine foot versus a demons footprints?

    Please don’t ask me stupid-assed questions. Thanks.

  26. In the absence of a plausible mechanism, the idea of continental drift was rejected as absurd

    Exactly as it should be, and in the absence of a plausible mechanism, the idea of Intelligent Design should likewise be rejected as absurd. Once a plausible mechanism is proposed, that’s when the real science can begin.

  27. I beg to differ :)

    I don’t think hunches and speculations should be “rejected as absurd”. But I do think the next step is the development of a mechanistic theory, followed by a search for evidential support.

    And I also think that when we already have a good mechanistic theory, with substantial evidential support, that a hunch or speculation that lacks both is not likely to be taken seriously at least until it has them.

  28. That’s pretty incoherent to me, BA77.,,, I guess that is because it is transcendent logic and your material brain state does not respond, indeed CANNOT respond, to something that is not materially based.

  29. 29

    But I do think the next step is the development of a mechanistic theory, followed by a search for evidential support.

    The mechanics of information transfer by semiosis has been explained to you. And the physical, observable evidence of a semiotic state in the translation apparatus of the genome is something you blew off as uninteresting.

    /shrugs

  30. As to:

    “They say, “Science can not discern the Divine Foot, so let’s all agree that the Divine Foot does not exist and close our eyes to the obvious evidence for him.””

    To which acispenser responded:

    If the evidence were obvious it follows that science would discern this evidence. Obviously, the evidence is not obvious thus the need for faith.

    But alas, science HAS DISCERNED the evidence and it is now abundantly obvious that a divine foot (beyond space and time causality) is not only in the door of molecular biology, but has indeed kicked the door in!!! Yet sadly, the ‘faith’ of atheists, in purely material causality for molecular biology, has thus far prevented them from seeing that transcendent (beyond space and time) divine foot that governs molecular biology.

    notes:

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US

    Verses and Music

    John 1:1-3
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

    Todd Agnew – This Fragile Breath
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoGPG4JOcXs

    Brooke Fraser – Lord of Lords(Legendado Português) -
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkF3iVjOZ1I

  31. If Moses came back to part the waters of the Red Sea, and if scientists were present to observe the event, would they be obligated to conclude that natural causes were responsible for the event?

  32. This thread is going nowhere fast…

  33. “They don’t, just exactly as Lewontin himself says.”

    Do you have a link to support your claim that Lewontin approved the selected quoting? As I recall he stated quite the opposite.

    “The first of the final two sentences is entirely incoherent with regard to the recorded history of science. If you doubt this then you can address the actual recorded history regarding the theistic beliefs among the fathers of the scientific enterprise. You can explain how having such beliefs has been shown to be detrimental to the institution of science.”

    Holding religious beliefs do not prevent anyone from doing science. I should know I work with many religious people. One common thing throughout history is that a Divine foot (or a demon’s) has never been used to explain any phenomena in science. Newton may have believed angels pushed the planets around but he left those thoughts out of his reporting of the data and conclusions.

    Miracles are a break in natural law. People alleged to have flown around buildings in front of hundreds is not explained in any way by natural laws….do you know of a natural law that would permit people to fly unaided by any mechanical means? I don’t. Having the sun stand still, change color, and vibrate is also outside of natural law and I think we could agree that none of us have ever experienced the sun’s movement across the sky ceasing on any given day. That is beyond the realm of natural law and if we are to expected to hold that this is a very real possibility then we must consider that it may happen at any moment. Lewontin was correct.

    Why do you consider my question to be ‘stupid-assed? Is it because you consider it preposterous to even consider that a Divine foot (or a trickster demon) might influence the outcome of such an experiment? If your thinking lies along that line is ‘yes’ then we would be in agreement that there is no way we could incorporate, or accommodate, a Divine foot in the door.

  34. If aliens arrived on Earth and claimed that they are responsible for everything biological on the planet would religous people be obligated to conclude that God did not make man in His image?

  35. 35

    “Miracles are a break in natural law.”

    Than apparently CERN has recorded a possible miracle with the alleged “breaking” of c.

  36. 36

    wrong spot. commenting on acipenser. but while i’m here, I would argue that when you use the term, fuca you may very well being doing so so because it has to be true.

  37. If God created the universe and scientists found evidence for that creation event would they be obligated to study it??? Oh wait 10 to the -43 seconds, they already do;

  38. Considering some religious people do consider ‘aliens’ to have been a part of their origin I don’t think much would change. The Fundies would just call them demons or something.

    - Sonfaro

  39. Large scale miracles seem to be camera shy, now that everyone carries a video camera in his pocket.

    Things like miracles, ESP, UFOs and such seem to be inversely proportional to the means with which they could be studied.

    They still occur, but always, alas when the cell phone battery is low, or something.

  40. So, does this mean that both Liz and Acipenser are going to run away from my question? Here it is again in another form: If a meteorologist observes Moses parting the waters, is he obliged to say that the event was the result of natural causes?

  41. —”Here’s the problem with every single post on this site, including this one. They are all examples of motivated reasoning. The authors start with what they wish were the truth– that evolution is false– and then they look desperately for evidence that their wish is true. They construct arguments around that wish. Ultimately it is just intellectual dishonesty and propaganda, alas.”

    Notice that the intellectual dishonesty is coming from the person who wrote that paragraph and will not provide a concrete example of what evidence and which arguments he is talking about. How exactly are they constructed around wishes?

  42. 42

    Hello again Dr Liddle,

    Of course it’s true.

    What? Science can’t research pianos falling from the sky? Have you seen any pianos falling from the sky?

    I am having a little fun with it Dr Liddle for the admirable reason that its completely laughable. Let me know who has worked falling pianos, or anything like falling pianos, into their arguments. Of course, falling pianos is code for miracles; so tell me who has worked miracles into their ID books and papers? And what about the proponents on this site? Did I make any such appeal in the descriptions I’ve gave?

    I just think this objection is silly. It’s substantially disrepresctful as well. It keeps the focus on the people and off the evidence. You might remind everyone there are rules about that as well. Perhaps the people who make these objections in earnest could go off and argue whether or not the Big Bang broke any natural laws. When they’re tired of that, then they should come back here.

    It’s not that science cannot “tolerate such miracles” but that its methodology is intrinsically unable to research them.

    Dr Liddle, in the descriptions I’ve given you regarding information, was there any point where you needed me to inject a miracle into the conversation in order for you to understand the point I was making – even though you might disagree with that point? If so, then verbalize it.

    Science proceeds by looking for regularities and abstracting reliable predictions. By definition, a miracle is excluded from the regularities of the rest of the universe, and no theory of miracles can be devised which could give rise to a testable hypothesis.

    The question of whether or not the Universe was created by a Transcendent Being was not settled by the Big Bang Theory.
    The Big Bang Theory was adopted because the physical entailments involved in the theory were supported by the evidence. ID asks for no more, or no less. Therefore, there is no legitimate reason to deny that request.

    ID claims that the information that organized matter into living things was the product of an agent. The existence of that information has very observable, physical entailments. Those physical entailments (which are truly profound in their dynamics) are an exact match to the same physical entailments which result from information being conveyed by semiotic means (by representations and rules). These are clearly ‘the physical entailments invloved in the theory’ and they are fully supported by the evidence. Materialism has no argument to refute that evidence (none). Therefore, the claim of ID with regard to semiosis is supported by the observable physical evidence of representations, protocols, their effects, and the specific dynamic relationship which exists between the three.

    Our argument should be about what mechanism can cause that result, because that result is what needs to be explained. Perhaps you can understand why these diversions into sillyland are sometimes seen as a little insulting.

  43. Elizabeth,

    This would be far more convincing if you were consistent.

    In other words, science cannot proceed except under the assumption that nature is regular. To allow the possibility that nature may not be regular is to open ourselves to belief in “anything”.

    Statement: All life originates from a series of chemical reactions that was was unintentionally originated.

    Scientific response: Let’s spend billions of dollars finding out how that happened. Let’s not worry about the big “if.” We’ll just run with it.

    Statement: All life originates from a series of chemical reactions that was deliberately initiated.

    Scientific response: Let’s spend billions of dollars finding out how who or what might have done that, why and how. Heck, let’s at least not rule it out. That would be irregular. We can’t base science on the possibility of irregular events.

    It’s not lying because they believe in it.

  44. Aci,

    There is no one in ID who has proposed a divine miracle “to explain any phenomena in science”.

    I hope that calms your concerns (after all, you just affirmed that a belief in God is not a impediment in science). But will it, or will you hit it again?

  45. Liz:

    At Fatima, Portugal, on October 17, 1917, the ground on which people were standing was soaked by rain. Then the “Miracle of the Sun” occurred, documented by atheist reporters who had come from Lisbon to denigrate the goings-on generated by the prediction of a miracle for that day. When the sun ‘stopped hurtling down towards the earth’, it went back to its normal spot. Yet the the previously rain-soaked ground was now dry—as well as the clothes of the people who had experienced the ‘miracle’.

    If science can’t explain what happened, then of what utility is science? Doesn’t this point to the absolute limited utility of science?

    Scientists want to deify science. They act like the high priests of a religion. And then scorn the value and importance of religion.

    What “mirrortothesun” has done is what all liberals do: they project. He’s simply telling us what he/she does. He/she is not telling us what we do. We’ve heard about this before. It’s the pointing out a splinter in your neighbor’s eye when, the whole time, there’s a beam in your own.

  46. PaV,

    “Scientists want to deify science. They act like the high priests of a religion. And then scorn the value and importance of religion.”

    I agree that there is such a tendency. Fortunately, not every scientist acts like this. Perhaps those who don’t just don’t know “how science works” after all.

  47. As to Elizabeth’s comment here:

    But the entire methodology of science, as Lewontin says, is predicated on the assumption that we can abstract general laws from our observations, and expect that what is true today will also be true tomorrow.

    That is why the Divine Foot must be omitted from scientific calculations, not because it doesn’t exist (though I don’t think it does) but because even if it does, it is simply not amenable to the methodology of science.

    Though much could be written on science studying irregular ‘miraculous’ events that defy law like regularity, (i.e. Big Bang) and even studying events that defy time and space itself (Quantum Mechanics), The fact that the material universe even obeys a set of invariant transcendent laws in the first place is a ‘miracle’ in that undermines the atheistic worldview:

    Randomness vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetic – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    Moreover for the atheist to say we can ONLY study law-like events is sheer hypocrisy on the atheist part, for the atheist holds that random, non-regular, non-law-like, events are responsible for why the universe, and all life in it, originated in the first place. The atheist’s worldview, far from demanding regularity, demands random irregularity at the base of reality. The atheist is just extremely particular, prejudiced, and irrational, as to exactly what, or more precisely WHO, he will allow to be the source for his required random, irregular, non-law-like, events that he himself demands to be at the basis of reality.,,, In fact we find out some very interesting things when we look for the ‘randomness’ at the atheistic worldview

    Blackholes- The neo-Darwinians ultimate ‘god of randomness’ which can create all things

    Being the helpful guy I am, always trying to help atheists out when I get a chance, I’ve been trying to piece together a experiment that would prove once and for all, for everyone to see, that RANDOM variation plus undirected natural selection can produce functional proteins just as atheists adamantly claim (even though no one has ever seen RANDOM processes do this). Now I just about got the RANDOM part of the experiment down for the atheists! I’ve searched for the maximum source of RANDOMNESS that I could find in the universe, (since the ‘god of randomness’ is who atheists claim for their creator), and I think I’ve found it for them;
    First:

    Thermodynamics – 3.1 Entropy
    Excerpt:
    Entropy – A measure of the amount of randomness
    or disorder in a system.
    http://www.saskschools.ca/curr.....rgy3_1.htm

    Thus, the more entropy a system has the more randomness it will generate for our experiment to find a RANDOM functional protein. And if we ask, ‘what is the maximum source of entropy, i.e. RANDOMNESS, in the universe?’, we find this:

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”
    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?

    Plus for a added bonus for atheists, being the helpful guy that I am, I found that if we find a really supermassive blackhole we might just start to overcome the homochirality problem, which is a huge problem against finding functional proteins, as well:

    Homochirality and Darwin: part 2 – Robert Sheldon – May 2010
    Excerpt: With regard to the deniers who think homochirality is not much of a problem, I only ask whether a solution requiring multiple massive magnetized black-hole supernovae doesn’t imply there is at least a small difficulty to overcome? A difficulty, perhaps, that points to the non-random nature of life in the cosmos?
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.com/page3

    But of course there is the problem with actually getting the atheists to the super-massive blackholes to actually do the experiments, so that they may try to RANDOMLY generate a functional protein. Not to mention the problem of someone trying to survive being stretched into as a piece of spaghetti, by the extreme warping of space-time, near the blackhole. But what the hey, it is just a little sacrifice for ‘science’ right!?! At least atheists will have a maximum source of randomness to work with in their experiments!!! But there is another problem I probably need to tell atheists about before they pack up and go off to the super-massive blackholes in order to prove to the world that their ‘god of randomness’ can create all things,

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – Eminent Chemist

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? ….The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Tom Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90 – Quotes attributed to Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin in the article

    But what the hey, atheists haven’t needed any stinking equations to prove their theory so far have they!?!

    Oxford University Admits Darwinism’s Shaky Math Foundation – May 2011
    Excerpt: However, mathematical population geneticists mainly deny that natural selection leads to optimization of any useful kind. This fifty-year old schism is intellectually damaging in itself, and has prevented improvements in our concept of what fitness is. – On a 2011 Job Description for a Mathematician, at Oxford, to ‘fix’ the persistent mathematical problems with neo-Darwinism within two years.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46351.html

    I even have a inspirational quote for their future experiment;

    GILBERT NEWTON LEWIS: AMERICAN CHEMIST (1875-1946)
    “I have attempted to give you a glimpse…of what there may be of soul in chemistry. But it may have been in vain. Perchance the chemist is already damned and the guardian the blackest. But if the chemist has lost his soul, he will not have lost his courage and as he descends into the inferno, sees the rows of glowing furnaces and sniffs the homey fumes of brimstone, he will call out-: ‘Asmodeus, hand me a test-tube.’”(1) Gilbert Newton Lewis
    http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/ci/1992/Lewis.html

    further notes:

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    i.e. As with any observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them.

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    And a song for their experiment;

    Creed – Six Feet
    http://www.youtube.com/v/aQ9Gr.....autoplay=1

  48. further note; materialism simply dissolves into absurdity:

    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/

    As well, as should be blatantly obvious to everyone, mathematics cannot be grounded in a materialistic/atheistic worldview;

    ‘In chapter 2, I talk at some length on the Schroedinger Equation which is called the fundamental equation of chemistry. It’s the equation that governs the behavior of the basic atomic particles subject to the basic forces of physics. This equation is a partial differential equation with a complex valued solution. By complex valued I don’t mean complicated, I mean involving solutions that are complex numbers, a+bi, which is extraordinary that the governing equation, basic equation, of physics, of chemistry, is a partial differential equation with complex valued solutions. There is absolutely no reason why the basic particles should obey such a equation that I can think of except that it results in elements and chemical compounds with extremely rich and useful chemical properties. In fact I don’t think anyone familiar with quantum mechanics would believe that we’re ever going to find a reason why it should obey such an equation, they just do! So we have this basic, really elegant mathematical equation, partial differential equation, which is my field of expertise, that governs the most basic particles of nature and there is absolutely no reason why, anyone knows of, why it does, it just does. British physicist Sir James Jeans said “From the intrinsic evidence of His creation, the great architect of the universe begins to appear as a pure mathematician”, so God is a mathematician to’. Granville Sewell – interview with Casey Luskin

    i.e. the Materialist/Atheist is at a complete loss to explain why this should be so, whereas the Christian Theist presupposes such stunning ‘transcendent’ control of the universe,,,

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

    of note; ‘the Word’ is translated from the Greek word ‘Logos’. Logos happens to be the word from which we derive our modern word ‘Logic’.

    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

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    The Underlying Mathematical Foundation Of The Universe -Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491491

    The Five Foundational Equations of the Universe and Brief Descriptions of Each:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....#038;hl=en

    How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? Is human reason, then, without experience, merely by taking thought, able to fathom the properties of real things?
    — Albert Einstein

    “… if nature is really structured with a mathematical language and mathematics invented by man can manage to understand it, this demonstrates something extraordinary. The objective structure of the universe and the intellectual structure of the human being coincide.” – Pope Benedict XVI

    “The reason that mathematics is so effective in capturing, expressing, and modeling what we call empirical reality is that there is a ontological correspondence between the two – I would go so far as to say that they are the same thing.”
    Richard Sternberg – Pg. 8 How My Views On Evolution Evolved

    God by the Numbers – Connecting the constants
    Excerpt: The final number comes from theoretical mathematics. It is Euler’s (pronounced “Oiler’s”) number: e*pi*i. This number is equal to -1, so when the formula is written e*pi*i+1 = 0, it connects the five most important constants in mathematics (e, pi, i, 0, and 1) along with three of the most important mathematical operations (addition, multiplication, and exponentiation). These five constants symbolize the four major branches of classical mathematics: arithmetic, represented by 1 and 0; algebra, by i; geometry, by pi; and analysis, by e, the base of the natural log. e*pi*i+1 = 0 has been called “the most famous of all formulas,” because, as one textbook says, “It appeals equally to the mystic, the scientist, the philosopher, and the mathematician.”
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=3

    (of note; Euler’s Number (equation) is more properly called Euler’s Identity in math circles.)

    “Like a Shakespearean sonnet that captures the very essence of love, or a painting that brings out the beauty of the human form that is far more than just skin deep, Euler’s Equation reaches down into the very depths of existence.”
    Stanford University mathematics professor – Dr. Keith Devlin

    music:

    Mandisa: Stronger – Official Lyric Video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emgv-VRtMEU

  49. What? Science can’t research pianos falling from the sky? Have you seen any pianos falling from the sky?

    Of course it can.

    What on earth in my post made you think I thought it couldn’t?

    As for the rest of your post, I actually can’t make head nor tail of it.

    We seem to be divided by a common language.

  50. Yes PaV, science is powerless to explain the inexplicable.

    That doesn’t mean it has no utility though. It provides us with models of enormous predictive power, allowing us to cure diseases and navigate through space.

    But in the face of totally unpredictable events it is has no power, by definition. Science is all about prediction.

  51. 51

    A quote-mine is supposed to refute my point? It just proves it. Yes, the authors of this site are religiously motivated. It drips from every post. They make the barest effort to hide it. Their religious commitment indeed a priori disposes them to motivated reasoning and rationalizations. All the tu quoque “I don’t have enough faith to be a Darwinist” deflections in the world won’t make this any less obvious.

  52. 52

    Of course it can.

    What on earth in my post made you think I thought it couldn’t?

    Because science can’t study miracles, remember?

    As for the rest of your post, I actually can’t make head nor tail of it.

    lol, sure Dr Liddle, sure.

    We seem to be divided by a common language.

    It’s not language Dr Liddle that divides us. The distinction is far more organic than that. The division comes from me being a mere generalist who has sought to understand the physical qualities of recorded information. You on the other hand are a well-trained specialists who robotically takes recorded information for granted. You do this because to not do so threatens the easy-go-lucky way in which you protect your worldview from scrutiny.

    Genetic translation exhibits the exact same physico-dynamic qualities and requirements as any other form of recorded information. The semiotic state of genetic information is therefore confirmed by the observable evidence.

    You just simply do not want to know about it (which is striking for a scientist) so instead you give the board these silly lectures on the scientific method. Which is insulting, given the circumstances.

  53. 53

    Drips from every post?

    Mirror, are you going to hit and run, or do you have the sack to actually stick around to defend your accusations?

  54. Hi Mirrortothesun

    The quote-mine won’t refute anything, all it does is point out the pot-kettle-black nature of your alleagtion. For those who question the reliability of the quotation here is the complete paragraph which is locatd near the end and a link to the entire review of Sagan’s book by Lewontin.

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. 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. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    http://www.drjbloom.com/Public.....Review.htm

    I can’t speak for the other posters on this site, but in my own case my beliefs did not originate from religious motivation, the religious belief came after I realized the inadequacy of materialism (and please note the distinction, materialism is not science, and science is not materialism). I often think I would be far more comfortable if I could go back to being a self-satisfied atheist but the evidence won’t permit me to do so – at least it won’t permit me to do so and remain intellectually virtuous.

  55. 55

    The sack? Classy.

    As far as defending what I’ve said: well, I am not going to hang over my keyboard all day waiting for some religious apologist to google up a quote mine to “refute me,” but I am willing to respond if someone has something substantive to say.

  56. Okay, substantive. Your comment that was every post here is ‘dripping’ with religious motivation.

    Here is one of my recent post: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-401213

    Please point to the religious motivation in this posting. Since you do not know me, this should be an intersting exercise.

  57. 57

    Upright BiPed, I was obviously referring to the main entries to the blog, not to every single comment posted by every single poster, as one could infer in two seconds based on the fact that I am one of said posters. Regardless, I have seen some of your posts in the past. You are religiously motivated and you do have fish to fry. While I certainly can’t prove it, your claim that you decided to convert to religion based on your philosophical analysis that materialism is inadequate certainly rings false, since materialism’s inadequacy has nothing to do with the truth of your Christian religious beliefs. If your claim is indeed true, then you did so on logically fallacious grounds.

  58. Mirrortothesun: This is the second time I have asked you to provide an example (example = single concrete instance) of an ID argument that is grounded in a wish and why you think that is the case. Do I need to provide a few the ID arguments for you so that you can pick one? Or are you familiar enough with even one of them to identify it and support your claim?

  59. StephenB, I noticed you ignored my question. Are you running away from it? I’d be more concerned with documenting Moses return. That would be a far greater miracle than the parting of the Red Sea.

    Now my question rephrased: Would the arrival of a race of aliens who made the claim that they created all of biology on Earth oblige the religous to give up the notion that man was created in the image of God?

  60. Dr Liddle, in our previous conversation about recorded information, we were using a music box as a prop, and you stated: “The melody that emerges can of course be explained simply “in terms of natural forces”.”

    To which I responded:

    “The melody is explicable by the natural forces at work in the material of the music box, Dr Liddle? Or is that melody only explicable by natural forces working elsewhere on the material that makes up the music box?

    Do you by chance have an answer for this specific question?

  61. Does this mean that you are now willing to identify which ID arguments are grounded in wishful thinking or should I wait a bit longer?

  62. Mirrortothesun, would you be so kind as to tell us your own religious beliefs, or lack thereof, or would you rather keep that a secret?

    From my experiences, which, admittedly, are limited to various online discussions, there’s a strong correlation between ardent Darwin defense and atheism.

    Go to YouTube, search for pro-Darwin and/or anti-I.D. videos, and it’s a near guarantee that you’ll be hit head-on with militant-atheist-after-militant-atheist, with friends lists full of militant atheists. The same holds true for any

    Who are the most well-known Darwin defenders?

    Richard Dawkins, Eugenics Eugenie Scott, P.Z. Meyers, Jerry Coyne, Daniel Dennet, Christopher Hitchens, Larry Moron.

    Their worldviews? Atheist, atheist, atheist, atheist, atheist, atheist, and atheist, in that order. ;)

    Hmm…

    It’s plainly obvious that to many?and likely most?atheists, Darwin’s argument-from-ignorance, when coupled with a design-free origin of life, acts as a creation myth. I strongly suspect this is what motivates them to defend it so vigorously, and to attack I.D. so dishonestly (“creationism!”) and unscientifically (“God wouldn’t have done it that way!”). Very few, if any, will be honest enough to admit it.

    With all of this said, I would never use the fact that, to many, Darwinism is clearly motivated by atheistic convictions as an argument for it being false, nor have I ever seen an I.D. proponent use said argument. Clearly such a conclusion does not follow. Yet, curiously, I routinely see designophobes trying to use “religious motivation” as an argument for I.D. being false, including by UD’s newest atheist-in-a-cheap-tuxedo troll, Mirrortothesun.

    What gives?

  63. “Statement: All life originates from a series of chemical reactions that was deliberately initiated.”

    Scott, what you need to do then is to write up some grant proposals outlining how you will go about investigating this hypothesis. In a grant proposal you include the background supporting information, the methods you will use with a justification of why those methods are appropriate, then state your deliverables. Once completed submit to the granting agency for review.

    To my knowledge no one from the ID camp has taken these steps. In fact the Templeton foundation was a bit perplexed when no one from the ID camp responed to their request for proposals. The DI institute would be another source of funding for such research lines. There are also numerous other agencies who solicit grant proposals that may be appropriate for submission.

  64. Hit what again? The fact that a Divine foot has no place in science?

    I notice that you ignored my request for clarification on your claim of my question being ‘stupid-assed’? I hope we could agree that there is no way to discern the imput of a Divine or Demon foot in any experiment and that we depend on regular, predictable responses when conducting scientific investigations, e.g., dose-responce relationships in a organism exposed to a chemical compund.

  65. The answer to your question is no, but it has nothing to do with the problem of whether science must proceed as if nature is all there is, which is the point at issue.

    Just to help you out here with my question, we don’t need to document Moses’ return. If, in the presence of a Meteorologist, a man stands in front of the Red Sea, raises his arms, and parts the waters, is the scientist required to assume that the event was the result of natural causes?

  66. Mirror,

    I was obviously referring to the main entries to the blog, not to every single comment posted by every single poster, as one could infer in two seconds based on the fact that I am one of said posters.

    Your comment that religious motivation “Drips from every post” is hardly true. And BTW, the “main entries” are typically referred to as the “OP” and the comments are typically referred to as the “posts”. Your confusion in terms is duly noted. No problem.

    Regardless, I have seen some of your posts in the past. You are religiously motivated and you do have fish to fry.

    So I am guilty without evidence, based upon no more than your word being taken as a fact? Okay. But if that is the case, allow me to return the favor: Your comments are racially motivated. How do I know? Because I said so.

    Regardless, I have seen some of your posts in the past. You are religiously motivated and you do have fish to fry.

    Yes, no doubt, the judgement is in. All that is needed now is some evidence to corroborate it. Provide some, or recant, or be seen as disconnected from evidence as those to whom you wished to criticise.

    While I certainly can’t prove it, your claim that you decided to convert to religion based on your philosophical analysis that materialism is inadequate certainly rings false, since materialism’s inadequacy has nothing to do with the truth of your Christian religious beliefs. If your claim is indeed true, then you did so on logically fallacious grounds.

    What are you talking about? You must be confused about much more than the posts. Perhaps you should lay off the sweeping judgement program. I don’t think its working for you.

    Cheers

  67. Of course you need to document someone returning thousands of years after his death. I see now you recognize the problem and have changed the question to that of a ‘man’.

    A scientist must, of course, consider natural explanations. For example we know that after a earthquake tsunamis may be generated. We also know that these waves can travle very long distances and when they arrive on a shoreline the shallow waters adjacent to land are drawn far out to sea. That would need to be evaluated before someone concluded Divine interaction as the immediate cause of the problem. To not do so would be remiss and not doing science.

    So if the aliens created mankind are they now going to be worshipped as God? I forgot to mention that the aliens look like humans but acknowledge that they are the sole source of biological diversity on Earth, i.e., they created mankind in their image. Are they now the entity called God that is worshipped by many religious people?

  68. PaV: “If science can’t explain what happened, then of what utility is science? Doesn’t this point to the absolute limited utility of science?”

    Well, there yah go. If there’s anything science can’t explain, then what good is science?

    Let’s see – you had ten or twenty thousand people who came from miles around and gathered in a field in the rain. They were there because three teenagers claimed to have met the Virgin Mary and they believed them. Most of them were hoping to see a miracle that day and they were psychologically primed to interpret anything unusual as the miracle they came to see.

    Then the sun came out and everybody stared at it. Try that sometime, just for a few seconds. See how everything dances?

    There were a lot of clouds around and there were probably some atmospheric events too since the sun was often shining through thin clouds. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....phenomenon for pictures of some of the astonishing and spectacular things that happen when you mix sunlight and thin clouds.

    Check out circumzenithal arcs, crepuscular rays, glories (they didn’t see a glory at Fatima, but I saw one last month from an airplane and it knocked my socks off. Look at the pictures of the aircraft glories with the shadow of the airplane right in the center. It’s enough to drive you to Jesus if you don’t know what it is.) halos, cloud iridescence, light pillars and especially sun dogs.

    We can’t tell for sure what happened that day because most of the witnesses were excited and descriptions contradict each other wildly. Some non-enthusiasts saw something, so it wasn’t all excitement and imagination, but several million soldiers were outdoors fighting WW I at the time and none of them noticed the sun swooping around so whatever it was, it was local.

    Nevertheless, science can’t say exactly what happened on that day, so what good is science anyway?

  69. Who said that the falling piano was a miracle?

    I didn’t say that science can’t study alleged miracles. It can, and does.

    What it can’t do is posit “a miracle” as an explanation, because it isn’t one in a scientific sense – it’s completely non-predictive.

    Re your question about the musical box:

    No, I don’t have an answer because I don’t understand the question.

  70. 70

    Who said that the falling piano was a miracle?

    Well, I first intimated it as such in my post at #3.0 where I was poking fun at the strawman objection that if should we recognize the blantantly observable physical inferences to design in nature, then “surely the regularities of nature will be burst wide open, being forever ruptured with pianos falling from the sky.” Then I said it again directly in post #3.1.1 where I sated “Of course, falling pianos is code for miracles; so tell me who has worked miracles into their ID books and papers?”

    How you missed both of those references while still commenting on them is a mystery.

    What it can’t do is posit “a miracle” as an explanation, because it isn’t one in a scientific sense – it’s completely non-predictive.

    And I am still waiting on who “has worked miracles into their ID books and papers?”

    Re your question about the musical box:

    No, I don’t have an answer because I don’t understand the question.

    Regarding a melody coming from a music box, you stated: “The melody that emerges can of course be explained simply “in terms of natural forces”.”

    I then gave you two options. Either the melody is explicable by a) the natural forces at work in the material of the music box, or b) by natural forces working elsewhere on the material that makes up the music box?

    Quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that you don’t see a distinction bretween those two.

  71. Mirrortothesun suffers from the usual materialist fallacy, the belief that atheism is rational… so theism by extension and definition is irrational. It is not necessary for Mirror to analyze or refute any of the arguments since they are being made by irrational agents… hmmm…. agents? No! naturalism doesn’t allow for agency, rational or otherwise. I guess there is some other reason… hmmm… reason?

  72. As to:

    Of course you need to document someone returning thousands of years after his death.

    Let’s see Moses died 1406 BC and yet was seen alive again during Jesus’s earthly ministry 1400 years later:

    Matthew 17:3
    Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

    As for evidence that the Red Sea was parted, surprisingly, we now have some fairly strong evidence for that:

    The following videos have some fairly persuasive archaeological, and even geological, evidence that the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt actually did occur:

    Exodus Revealed part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bJ5JdBd4QU

    The Exodus Case Interviews with Lennart Moller – video
    http://www.prophecyinthenews.c.....rt-moller/

    But you object that we need to explain the parting, ‘naturally’, by a Earthquake first??? And the cause of the Earthquake is what??? You say Material causation??? And material itself that makes up the earthquake, since it is not self sustaining as shown quantum mechanics, is caused by what??? Dang it back to a transcendent causation again!!! Oh well, at least you can take comfort in the fact that you have deluded yourself that it may have happened ‘naturally’ by purely material causes!!!.

    As to aliens, didn’t Richard Dawkins mention something about aliens being more acceptable to him than God in his interview with Ben Stein??? Oh well so much for being unbiased in these questions of origins!

    further notes

    Historically, the Bible has indeed proven extremely resilient in its historical accuracy with stunning archaeological confirmation:

    “In Extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New testaments – corroborating key points of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.”
    Jeffery Sheler – ‘Is The Bible True’, U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 25th, 1999, pg.52

    This is a gem of a quote from a Bible skeptic who thought it unfair to use the Bible as a guide in archeology since,,,::

    ‘he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way (using the Bible as a guide), “she would certainly find that building”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-it-makes/

    Jericho Unearthed – Bible Confirmed Once Again – video
    http://vimeo.com/27636080

    Archeology: Digging for the Truth of the Bible – Dr. Don Patton – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWawVUZg3Es

    The following video is downright eye-opening with its evidence for authenticity of the Bible:

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y

    The Dead Sea Scrolls were of no minor impact when they were discovered

    Dead Sea Scrolls – Dr. Don Patton – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEa1dGHyDJY

    Isaiah 53 and the Dead Sea Scrolls – verified prophecy before the birth of Christ
    http://www.allaboutarchaeology.....olls-2.htm

    This is a interesting video that was surprising in the way it found evidence that the feeding of the 5000 was a authentic miracle:

    Accuracy Of The Bible – Feeding 5000 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6745194

  73. Of somewhat related interest; Rainbows are formed by what are called ‘Quantum Catastrophes’. Thus, since I find Quantum Mechanical phenomena to be thoroughly Theistic, as to the necessity of providing a coherent non-local (beyond space and time) causation, that does not dissolve into absurdity as postulated ‘non-reductive’ materialistic causes do, then yes I actually do think God does form rainbows;

    Quantum Catastrophes
    Excerpt: Catastrophes [1] are at the heart of many fascinating optical phenomena. The most prominent example of such a catastrophe is the rainbow.
    http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~ulf/catastrophe.html

    27 Amazing Miracles in Real Life
    Excerpt: Our son died of a brain tumor at 17. On the second anniversary of his death, as I was driving to work, a double rainbow appeared in the clear sky. One end was on the road in front of us and the other at the cemetery where he was buried. —Peggy H., Boone, North Carolina
    http://www.rd.com/family/27-am.....al-life-2/

  74. 74

    Mirror, you seem to be missing the point of my OP. Let me try to help you. In your comment you implied that “motivated reasoning” is somehow unique to ID. (If you didn’t, it is difficult to see the point of your comment).

    The point of my OP is that another word for “motivated reasoning” is bias, and everyone is biased toward one point of view or another, and I gave an example of an opponent of ID discussing his own biases, which, to his credit, he freely admits. Here’s another example of materialist “motivated reasoning”:

    I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption . . . The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves . . . For myself . . . the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation . . . sexual [and] political.

    Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for Their Realization (New York: Harper Bros, 1937), 270.

    I hope you understand now. It really is quite a simple and obvious point.

  75. Oh, right, you said it.

    I thought you meant I said it.

    Well, if you say silly things, UBP, you can’t really blame me for not understanding them, can you?

    Any let’s see if I get on any better with your rephrased question:

    a) the natural forces at work in the material of the music box, or b) by natural forces working elsewhere on the material that makes up the music box?

    That’s an either/or question?

    Sheesh.

    The first question is about proximal causes, the second is about distal causes.

    Both questions have answers. They aren’t alternatives.

  76. Mr. Arrington, was it bias that led you to excise the last two sentences in Lewontin’s paragraph in the OP?

  77. 77

    Well, if you say silly things, UBP, you can’t really blame me for not understanding them, can you?

    And what it is that now prevents you from listing any ID proponents that have implemented a miracle in their ID books and papers?

    Since after all, that is what the comment was about from the start.

    (I will return after a short break to address your answer to the music box question)

  78. The fact that to my knowledge none have, UBP.

    I’m really not sure what your point is.

    (I’m assuming you mean “hypothesised” not “implemented” – I’m extremely sure that no ID proponent has implemented a miracle.)

  79. 79

    Acipenser, it was my judgment (a correct judgment I should add) that the two sentences to which you refer did not change the sense of the quotation in the context of the purpose for which I was using it. This is quite a hobby horse of yours isn’t it?

  80. No, I am not doing so, junkdnaforlife.

    I only ever mention it when people mention the LUCA.

    If there was a LUCA there must have been a FUCA.

    I think the evidence suggest that there were, and they were not the same organism.

    But it doesn’t “have to be true”, and may not be.

    So I’m still waiting for the example I asked for :)

  81. Mr. Arringotn, it is not so much of a hobby for me as it is for kairofocus it seems. He’s posted thousands of words on the subject!

    One point I have is that if your stated goal was to help educate mirror via this:

    “Perhaps Mirror has never read evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin ’s famous “divine foot” screed.”

    then I still don’t understand the necessity of editing the paragraph. Doing so, IMO, only supported mirror’s original point.

  82. Mr. Arringotn obviously should have been Mr. Arrington. My aplogies for the typo.

  83. tbh, I’m not sure what Barry’s point is. He, I’m glad to say, appears to agree with both me and Lewontin that scientific methodology is incapable of dealing with miraculous events because it its methodological principle is prediction. By definition, a miracle cannot be predicted.

    So I’m not really sure why we are arguing :)

    It isn’t that scientists are somehow biased against miraculous hypotheses, but that they simply cannot test them.

  84. Elizabeth:

    What evidence suggests that FUCA and LUCA were not the same organism? I am curious. Please, detail.

  85. Elizabeth again makes this assertion:

    I’m not sure what Barry’s point is. He, I’m glad to say, appears to agree with both me and Lewontin that scientific methodology is incapable of dealing with miraculous events because it its methodological principle is prediction. By definition, a miracle cannot be predicted.

    So again I respond;

    For a atheist, such as Elizabeth, to say we can ONLY study law-like events that can be faithfully predicted is sheer hypocrisy on the atheist part, for indeed the atheist holds that strictly random, non-regular, non-law-like, events are responsible for why the universe, and all life in it, originated, and ‘evolves’, in the first place. The atheist’s worldview, far from demanding regularity, demands that random, by definition ‘non-predictable’, events be at the base of reality and of all life. Being ‘non-predictably random’ is the exact polar opposite of the predictability of science that Elizabeth accuses Theists of violating when they posit God. In truth, the atheist is just extremely prejudiced, and irrational, as to exactly what, or more precisely WHO, he/she will allow to be the source for his/her required source for the random, irregular, non-predicatable, non-law-like, events that he/she himself demands to be at the very basis of the creation of the universe and all life in it.,,, Moreover, unlike neo-Darwinian evolution which continually requires ‘miraculous’, non-law like, random events, (which is the antithesis of ‘science’ according to Elizabeth’s own criteria) Intelligent Design finds itself only requiring ‘random’ top down implementation of novel genetic information at the inception of each parent species, with sub-speciation, from the parent species, following law-like adherence to the principle of genetic entropy. A principle that is in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics, as well as in accordance with the law of Conservation of Information as laid out by Dr. Dembski and Marks.

  86. BA77,

    Intelligent Design finds itself only requiring ‘random’ top down implementation of novel genetic information at the inception of each parent species

    At last, somebody says something specific.

    It’s funny, but this and what KF believes cannot both be true. According to him the bodyplan of species X cannot evolve and has to be tinkered with to become species Y. Yet you believe that there was only one “tinkering”, at the inception of each “parent” species (whatever that is).

    Can you give me the name of one of these “parent” species? How do you know that? Are there fossils?

    So BA77, how do you know that Intelligent Design requires top down implementation of novel genetic information at the inception of each parent species? Is that in the Bible? I don’t remember reading it.

  87. notes:

    Here is a graph showing a partial list of fossil groups showing their sudden appearance in the fossil record- (without the artificially imposed dotted lines) – Timeline Illustration:
    http://www.earthhistory.org.uk.....groups.jpg

    The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.
    Stephen J. Gould
    http://thedesignspectrum.wordp.....il-record/

    The Truth About Evolution – Transitional Fossils
    Excerpt: Major adaptive radiations provide a formidable challenge to biological evolution.,,, Major adaptive radiations of groups of vertebrates are:

    a) Placoderms in the early Devonian. Because they were heavily armored, jawed fish, intermediates and ancestral forms should have fossilized but none are found. No placoderms exist today.
    b) Chondrichtyes during the Devonian. They are the cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays. Intermediates and ancestors are unknown.
    c) Agnatha Fish in the Silurian. These were jawless fish with bony skeletons. Intermediates and ancestors should have fossilized but none are found. Most types became extinct but hagfish and lampreys are living jawless fish.
    d)Tetrapods in the early Carboniferous. These were many, diverse forms of four-legged amphibians that are believed to have evolved from fish. But no fossilized links to fish have been found and specific interrelationships of the numerous lineages is unknown.
    e) Amniotes in the late Carboniferous. Amniotes are characterized by their complex reproductive system and include reptiles, birds and mammals. They are believed to have evolved from amphibians but their ancestry has not been determined from the fossil record.
    f) Archosaurs in the late Permian. They were reptiles with diverse sizes and shapes that became extinct in the Triassic. Some as long as six meters have been found.
    g ) Dinosaurs in the late Triassic. Dinosaurs include the largest terrestrial animals that have ever lived. Their diversity in size and shape was spectacular. Their ancestry is unknown and specific interrelationships of the numerous types is unknown.
    h) Teleosts in the late Cretaceous. These are bony fish approximately 20,000 living species in 35 orders and 409 families. Interrelationships of the higher groups are unknown.
    i) Therian mammals in the late Cretaceous and early Tertiary. These are placental and marsupial mammals. When they first appear in the fossil record, they are very diverse and interrelationships are unknown.
    j) Birds in the late Cretaceous and early Tertiary. There are estimates of 8900 living species in 166 families and about 27 orders. Fossil evidence is lacking for establishing the interrelationships of the orders of birds.
    http://tellall.org/fossils.htm

    Saltational Evolution: Hopeful Monsters are Here to Stay – Günter Theißen – 2009
    “While we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation. Despite Darwin’s undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38581.html

    Genesis 1:21 & 25
    So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.,,,,, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

    Lynn Margulis Criticizes Neo-Darwinism in Discover Magazine (Updated)
    Casey Luskin April 12, 2011
    Excerpt; This is the issue I have with neo-Darwinists: They teach that what is generating novelty is the accumulation of random mutations in DNA, in a direction set by natural selection. If you want bigger eggs, you keep selecting the hens that are laying the biggest eggs, and you get bigger and bigger eggs. But you also get hens with defective feathers and wobbly legs. Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create….[N]eo-Darwinists say that new species emerge when mutations occur and modify and organism. I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change-led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45691.html

    EXPELLED – Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036840

    “…but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have…”
    Maciej Marian Giertych – Population Geneticist – member of the European Parliament – EXPELLED

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.(that is a net ‘fitness gain’ within a ‘stressed’ environment i.e. remove the stress from the environment and the parent strain is always more ‘fit’)
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Testing Evolution in the Lab With Biologic Institute’s Ann Gauger – podcast with link to peer-reviewed paper
    Excerpt: 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. Dr. Gauger’s paper, “Reductive Evolution Can Prevent Populations from Taking Simple Adaptive Paths to High Fitness,”.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....4_13-07_00

  88. —Acipenser: “Of course you need to document someone returning thousands of years after his death. I see now you recognize the problem and have changed the question to that of a ‘man’.

    I said “IF Moses came back,” which is, of course, a hypothetical. We don’t need to document a hypothetical because a hypothetical is always assumed as a fact for the sake of argument. Didn’t you know that? Inasmuch as you chose to evade the issue, I said let’s consider “any” man so that you would stop evading the substance of the question, not because there was anything wrong with my original formulation. But, of course, you will not stop evading it. No problem. I will answer it for you, which is what I must always do with Darwinists who refuse to engage in honest dialogue, which, as far as I can tell, is all of them.

    If a meteorologist observes a man who stands by the Red Sea, raises his hands, and parts the waters, the scientist will, if he is of sound mind, say that, based on the data and his reservoir of scientific knowledge, the event is not likely the result of natural causes and is, most likely, a miracle.

    Here is another example of the same principle:

    Of the thousands of alleged medical cures at the famous Lourdes site in France, only 68 have been officially recognized by the Catholic Church as being of a miraculous nature. In each case, the Church asks skeptical doctors and scientists from various locations around the world to take part in the investigation and judge if these events are likely beyond medical explanation. Sometimes, not often, the scientists judge in the affirmative and it is on the strength of those scientific judgments that the Church verifies the suspicion that a miracle is the best explanation. Not one of the scientists that were consulted ever said that he will not participate in the exercise on the grounds that science must consider only natural causes.

    –”For example we know that after a earthquake tsunamis may be generated. We also know that these waves can travle very long distances and when they arrive on a shoreline the shallow waters adjacent to land are drawn far out to sea. That would need to be evaluated before someone concluded Divine interaction as the immediate cause of the problem. To not do so would be remiss and not doing science.”

    Irrelevant.

    –”So if the aliens created mankind are they now going to be worshipped as God?”

    No. Also irrelevant.

    —”I forgot to mention that the aliens look like humans but acknowledge that they are the sole source of biological diversity on Earth, i.e., they created mankind in their image.” Are they now the entity called God that is worshipped by many religious people?”

    No. Also irrelevant.

  89. Irrelevant? Really? LOL. Any scientist, like your meteorologist, would be foolish to not negate the accounts of the biblical creation of man given the aliens testimony. If your going to follow the evidence where it leads then it follows that God did not create man in his image the aliens did, in this hypothetical.

    Documented evidence of one source of ‘waters parting’ are now irrelevent? Now that’s some funny. Try watching some of the videos from 2006 tsunami. Is your meteorologist ignorant of the effects of tsunamis? Also you know there is no evidence that the Red Sea, or is that the Reed Sea, was ever parted by Moses or anyone else….but maybe you don’t.

    As for Moses as I said before his arrival would be of more interest than any parting of any waters. Not only for returning from the dead after thousands of years but for his alleged life span. We also have examples of mechanisms which can move vast amouunts of water that create unflooded land. We have no instances of anyone returning from the dead. If as you suggest Moses did return from the dead there would be no need to even add the ‘parting of the waters’ that alone would be sufficient for anyone to believe in miracles. Of course it never happened and never will happen so such is the life in imagine land.

    As for the miracle at Lourdes many are certainly in question concerning the diagnostic capabilities at the time. Most resemble MS which is well known to have periods of remission. The rate of ‘miracles’ has certainly slowed as medical diagnostic technology has advanced. Which is no surprise to anyone including some of the doctors on the panel who voted no concerning some of the alleged ‘miracles’.

  90. 90

    I’ll have to disagree with Mr. Arrington here, where he says:

    “Science does not, indeed cannot, take account of miracles. The entire scientific project is premised upon previously observed regularities continuing to occur.”

    Because science observes and identifies where such regularities occur, it is obviously the best tool for locating where such regularities have been apparently violated or suspended. The same methodology that identifies and quantifies regularity must also be able to identify and quantify non-regularity.

    If miracles were precisely described phenomena, and materialism a precise set of values, and divine feet were known commodities, then Lewontin’s maxim wouldn’t be so problematical. The problem is that miracles, materialism and divine feet are vague, socio-cultural worldview structures that are easily susceptible to various baises.

    The claim that science cannot investigate miracles or divine feet in the door is really just a setup for the biased dismissal of any proposition that seems to contradict one’s particular materialist perspective.

    Can science investigate a “miraculous” healing? Of course. Can science investigate claims of contact with the dead? Of course. Does it matter if one calls a phenomena “demonic possession” or “a mental disease”? Can’t both claims be scientifically (methodologically) investigated? Of course they can.

    Because an entity deliberately does something that is not explicable via resort to natural laws and chance doesn’t mean science cannot investigate the matter. Science can rule out (to a reasonable degree) natural law; that’s how we gain findings of arson and murder. That’s how we recognize archaeological artifacts and distinguish them from natural artifacts.

    When science investigates quantum effects that apparently depend on the status of the observer, is it investigating what formal 19th century materialists would have considered to be miraculous?

    Let’s say afterlife researchers could film and document the spirits of the dead, and hold conversations with them – would that be a “miracle”? If science could document psi events like telekinesis, would those be miraculous? If bilocality was observed, or local reality found to be untrue, are those miraculous discoveries?

    The problem with an a priori commitment to materialism, and an a priori avoidance of the “miraculous”, is that those things are vague, socio-cultural worldview biases that predispose people to dismiss, avoid, and even ridicule that which seems, at the time, to fall outside of the purview of our definition of proper scientific inquiry.

    That is the danger and failing of Lewontin’s maxim. Best to simply follow the evidence and stop trying to make claims about what science can and cannot investigate. People can attempt to investigate anything using sound scientific principles, even that which some might claim is “miraculous”, and even when investigating the effects of unknown sentient entities.

    Is the capacity to organize matter into virtually infinite FSCO/I, from nothing other than intent, without even a functioning knowledge of, much less a working control of, how intent is translated into biochemical impulses and mechanisms which then generate the FSCO/I onto page or into voice, a miracle? Hasn’t reasonable natural law been violated? If the answer is no, why is that? What justifies that claim?

    Because we are familiar with the miraculous doesn’t mean that natural laws (regularities) aren’t being (by any reasonable definition) suspended or violated every day all around us. Can we not examine this abrogation of the Universal Probability Bound? Can we not measure them?

  91. 91

    Mr. Murray, I am not sure we are in disagreement. Certainly a scientist can “take account” of a miracle in the sense of saying “this is beyond the ken of known natural causes” with respect to any given event.

    A scientific theory cannot, however, be predicated on the occurance of miracles, because they are, by definition, unpredictable. That was all I was saying. It is illustrated nicely by the following:

    http://www.sciencecartoonsplus.....allery.php

  92. Yes, all your comments are irrevant, including your naive perception that a tsunami can, ever has, or ever could part the waters leaving a clean walkway between two walls, especially at the same time a human being would command it to be so. Indeed, you have confirmed the theme of this thread, exhibiting your own personal bias against the power of intelligent agency. And, of course, you were fearful of providing a straight answer to a straight question. An intellectually honest Darwinst (permit the oxymoron for now) would have had the courge to say this: “Yes, a tsunami can time itself to unleash its forces at exactly the same time a man raises his arms and commands the waters to part, and, it can change its unilateral direction and go both ways at once, as if was two tsumamis, each working against the other. As a Darwinst, I believe this ridiculous proposition (shades of Lewontin) because I cannot, under any circumstances, allow a divine foot in the door.”

    In that same sense, you, like all Darwinists, received your information about Lourdes from uninformed sources, probably Wikipedia. Naturally, you ignored the 67 miraclees confirmed with no controversies and obssessed over the one which did. This is another example of your raging bias. In any case, you seem not to know that the final verdict comes from a panel of experts in the form of a consensus decision, not from one dissenter with irrational objections (he complained that the panel did not use technology yet to be invented). You so desperately want you false beliefs to be true that you throw out all evidence that doesn’t support them. Even at that, your comments are, once again, irrelevant since the issue is whether science can appropriately comment on the likelihood of miracles occuring–not whether their conclusions are true or false.

  93. Can you tell me how miracles are “confirmed” Stephen? What is the methodology?

  94. Can we not examine this abrogation of the Universal Probability Bound? Can we not measure them?

    Not in retrospect. Once an event has happened it has a probability of one.

    Consider going back 500 years and predicting all the events necessary for all your ancestors to meet, marry and have children leading to you. that would be some prediction.

    But once it has happened, you can’t calculate the probability. Or perhaps you can, but it would be pointless.

    Behe tries to do this in a response to Thornton, but it doesn’t make sense. Thornton resurrected the mutation path leading to a specific new function. He found and tested the necessary series of mutations.

    Predicting them would take some doing, but Thornton wasn’t predicting. He merely figured out what happened. There’s no reason to assume the exact series would repeat if you restarted the experiment.

  95. Miracles are not confirmed by the scientists. They simply make an informed judgment that the events in question are are not likely the result of natural causes. The Church does the confirming based on input from scientists who affirm what seems likely from a scientific perspective.

    The methodology goes something like this:

    -The original diagnosis must be verified and confirmed beyond doubt
    -The diagnosis must be regarded as “incurable” with current means (although ongoing treatments do not disqualify the cure)
    -The cure must happen in association with a visit to Lourdes, typically while in Lourdes or in the vicinity of the shrine itself (although drinking or bathing in the water are not required)
    -The cure must be immediate (rapid resolution of symptoms and signs of the illness)
    -The cure must be complete (with no residual impairment or deficit)
    -The cure must be permanent (with no recurrence)

  96. How does that confirm a miracle?

    What rules out spontaneous remission?

    Or misdiagnosis? No diagnosis is ever “beyond doubt”.

    Are spontaneous remissions that occur in atheists, or outside Lourdes not considered miracles? Why not?

  97. Many of the Lourdes ‘miracles’ were accepted as such due to a lack of diagnostic technology. Retrospective examinations of these cases reveal many where the symptoms of MS create a very tight fit to the claims. That we know today how to detect and diagnose MS and can apply what we know about that disease and it’s progression to case histories of the past msot definitely leads to the conclusion that many of the so called miracles were only the known remission of MS and not any Divine intervention. My sources for this is the Lourdes data base itself. StephenB, it only takes one instance of a mistake to acknowledge that there are likely more especially with the lack of sophisticated diagnostic teshnology that is available today. Cling to them if you wish but any application of critical thinking points to numerous mistakes, due to ignorance, being made in the declaration that a ‘miracle’ has occurred. Do you deny the possiblity that some of the previously declared miracles may have simply been the remission of the symptoms of MS or cancer…very well documented events in the medical literature.

    Another well documented event in the medical literature is the spontaneous remission of cancer tumors. Each year up to 1% of cancer cases undergo spontaneous remission. A miracle? Perhaps the the individual but from a science-based assessment the immune system often causes cancer to go into remission. Inexpicable to science?….hardly and there is no need for any Divine foot as an explanation.

    I’m not fearful at all of your question drawn from imagine land. That imagine land is made up of ridiculous and impossible constructs is nothing to be bothered about. They are laughable in that some people actually think they pass as some form of data that can be analyzed in any meaningful way.

    The parting of the Reeds Sea would not create any walls of water and like any other myth from antiquity has been much embellised in the telling through the centuries. The alleged ‘clogging’ of the chariots wheels were likely a rendition of the pursuit through the marshes of the Reed sea. I think we could agree that it’s pretty difficult to drive a chariot through a marsh.

  98. The very fact that scientists adhere to the precepts of methodoligcal naturalism suggests that they may not/should not seek explanations other than explanations involving the fundamental forces of nature.

    If methodological naturalism were treated simply as a working assumption that would be discarded if evidence were found that would suggest that the laws of nature are not sufficient to explain the complexity observed in life, then I would have no argument.

    ID proponents reason that the complexities observed in life cannot be explained by the laws of nature alone and conclude that intelligent agency is required.

    Under normal circumstances any new discovery in science would be allowed and maybe even crumble its foundations. Of course any new discovery should be challenged and questioned and scrutinized, but should it be arbitrarily dismissed because it doesn’t fit a definition?

    I submit that the inference to intelligent agency is dismissed out-of-hand by a large number of scientists because it is not considered “science.” Even worse is the treatment of those proponents by many in the scientific establishment.

    Need I mention the treatment of Dr. Richard Sternberg or Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez?

  99. My post at #23 was intended to be a reply to Elizabeth Liddle at #4.1.

  100. I also find it striking that “miracles” only seem possible in the case of a limited set of conditions – cancer and MS being two notable ones, both of which are known to go into spontaneous remission. Indeed a relative of mine had a complete spontaneous remission from what was considered terminal Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but as far as I know she’s an atheist. She’s certainly never attributed it to divine intervention (though delighted to be well).

    If God can cure cancer and MS, sometimes, in some places, and also make the sun stop in the sky and dance, or at least appear to, to some people, and maybe something else to other people, even though we know that it is a star and we orbit it according to extremely reliable natural laws, and that the apparent violent perturbation of our orbit resulted in only local effects, and had no effect on the length of the earth’s days, and personally intervene in the more efficient design of a gut microbe that kills small children, yet apparently cannot regrow amputed limbs, or ensure that a slagheap collapses a few minutes too early to bury a school full of Welsh children – what are we to think of that God?

    My response is to hope that he does not exist.

    Fortunately I find the evidence too ludicrous to consider it supportive.

    If there is a good God (the only kind of God I would want to worship) then it isn’t the one attested by these “interventions”.

  101. I am not privy to the dialogue between the many doctor’s that determine whether a given healing qualifies as miraculous healing or a spontaneous remission. However, they ask the same questions that you asked prior to making their judgment. Remember, the bureau is independent of Ecclesiastical authority, and its roster is made up of many skeptics who are inclined to issue a negative judgment. A panel of true believers would violate the whole point of the investigation.

  102. Acipenser, on the matter of miracle healings, you need to take up your objections with the Lourdes Medical Bureau who passed judgment on these cases. I didn’t make the call, they did. If you believe that you know more about each set of individual circumstances than they did, or if you think you are more qualified to make the judgment, then feel free to challenge their findings on the basis that you don’t approve of them.

    —”I’m not fearful at all of your question drawn from imagine land.”

    Well, then why will you not answer it? Why do I have to keep providing the answer for you.

    If a man stands by the Red Sea, lifts his arms, and parts the waters, would a scientist present at the event be required to say that the event was the result of natural causes. Let me provide another answer on your behalf: “I don’t believe that any such thing ever happened or could happen, but if it did, the scientist would be obliged to say that it did not occur as a result of natural causes. Why do you seem incapable of acknowledging that which is obvious?

    —”The parting of the Reeds Sea would not create any walls of water and like any other myth from antiquity has been much embellised in the telling through the centuries.”

    You seem to have lost track of the scenario. A man who can part the waters (of the Red Sea) can also decide which direction they will go.

    –”The alleged ‘clogging’ of the chariots wheels were likely a rendition of the pursuit through the marshes of the Reed sea.”

    Let’s not talk about the clogging of chariots wheels. I am having a hard enough time getting you to focus on the activity of the water.

    –”I think we could agree that it’s pretty difficult to drive a chariot through a marsh.”

    If a man stands by the Red Sea and parts the waters, he would certainly want to make sure that he finishes the job and provides for a dry pathway between the two walls of water. Surely, you can see that if a man can part the waters, he can also pull out the residual marshy water in the ground and provide for a pathway.

  103. Acipenser, it seems you did not bother to look at this video, At the 3:50 marks they speak of the probable crossing points of the Red Sea, The place where they actually found evidence of the Exodus, Chariot wheels, etc.., is certainly not a ‘Reed Sea’ as you have mistakenly believed;:

    Exodus Revealed part 2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bJ5JdBd4QU

    A interview is here:

    The Exodus Case – Interviews with Lennart Moller – video
    http://www.prophecyinthenews.c.....rt-moller/

    As well as for your denial sufficient evidence for Medical Miracles, a little investigation reveals that you are misleading people here as well;

    Medical Miracles Really Do Happen
    Excerpt: No one knows exactly how often such cases occur. Approximately 3,500 medically documented cases of seeming miracles — based on reports from doctors in America and around the world dating to 1967 — have appeared in 800 peer-reviewed medical journals and cover all major illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
    http://www.bottomlinesecrets.c.....e_id=42254

    Scientifically Documented Miracles (10 detailed cases)
    One Example: “This lady’s brain abnormality was well documented by the standard diagnostic techniques and she was seen by man specialists. Electroencephalographic study was performed in each of her hospitalizations.The repeat study dated January 6th reported ‘abnormal EEG suggesting left temporary pathology, there is no significant change since 12/27/74.’…the clinical impression was that of brain tumor and her symptoms suddenly and completely disappeared following a visit to the Shrine service.”
    When she went to the service an unknown christian placed his hands on her shoulders and prayed for her. The symptoms immediately disappeared and subsequent tests found that the abnormality had disappeared. This is not normal remission. Remission does not mean that the symptoms immediately vanish.
    http://christiancadre.blogspot.....acles.html

    As well, we have direct physical evidence of the greatest miracle of all; That Jesus Christ defeated death itself and rose from the grave so that we may inherit eternal life:

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041205

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.”
    http://www.shroudstory.com/natural.htm

    If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the “3D – photographic negative” image I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright ‘Light’ or ‘Being of Light’ who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of ‘The Being of Light’ while having a deep NDE have no doubt whatsoever that the ‘The Being of Light’ they were in the presence of is none other than ‘The Lord God Almighty’ of heaven and earth.

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

    Etc.. Etc.. Etc..

    music and verse:

    Matthew 17:2
    There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

    Mandy Moore – Only Hope
    http://www.youtube.com/v/0ofeD.....autoplay=1

  104. Natalie Grant – Alive – music
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F09J9JNU

    He’s Alive – Dolly Parton – 1989 CMA – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbRPWUHM80M

  105. StepheB, here is a challenge for you. Construct a scatter plot of the data from Lourdes. On the x-axis plot the year and on the y-axis plot the number of cures that the board declared. Here is the data in case you don’t have it:

    Prior to 1914 there were 57 ‘cures’ each year.
    from 1947-1990 there were 56 recognized cures
    since 1978 there have only been 4 ‘cures’ recognized by the board.

    While there are gaps in the data set the pattern is clear. As medical diagnostic technology advances the number of alleged cures plummets in a very dramatic fashion. The explanation is very clear. In the past the medical board made a large number of mistakes based on our knowledge of medicine today. Does ignorance in the years past make the numerous cures actual cures or are they still comprised of many mistaken conclusions.

    Elizabeth, the Board at Lourdes also only requires a 2/3 majority to determine if a cure is a cure. Any dissentors are kicked to the curb and consensus rules. Seems like an arbitrary way to declare miracles but I’ve given up trying to understand religous motivation. You’d think a unanimous decision would be required as a measure of veracity.

    It is funny that in the case of the declaration of miracles a consensus of a small panel of doctors is just fine but a consensus of thousands and thousands of scientists is not to be believed. To me it seems hypocritical but that’s just my opinion.

  106. 106

    Dr Liddle,

    The first question is about proximal causes, the second is about distal causes.

    What is it exactly about the object in question that leads one to infer a requirement for a distal cause?

  107. There is no “requirement” UBP – whether you are interested in proximal or distal causes depends on what your question is, which is a property of you, not a property of the object in question!

    I think this is a crucial issue, actually, UBP, and may explain why we seem to find it so hard to communicate.

    I think it also lies at the heart of what I think are unfounded criticisms of the perceived “reductionism” of “materialism”.

    Some questions, and some phenomena, can only be understood at systems level, and there may be systems within systems, and so the explanation for a phenomenon has to be dealt with at the systems level at which the phenomenon you are interested in is manifest.

    So minds for example,cannot be “reduced” to the firing of neurons, even though, just as in a musical box, the melody is produced by the striking of pins against a tuned comb, the thoughts of a mind are produced by coordinated cascades of neural firing within a brain. But the “melodiness” and “mindness” of these phenomena are simply not captured by a physical-level description of the atomised events that make up the system as a whole. They need to be addressed from different stances – for instance, what Dennett calls the “Design” stance, and the “Intentional” stance. For instance, take the example of the question: why does a bird fly?

    From the “physical stance” we could answer the questions in terms of aerodynamics, and lift, and propulsion. From an “Design” stance, we could explain it in terms of the evolutionary processes (well, I would anyway) that have optimised the bird’s upper limbs for flight. And from the “Intentional stance” we could answer the question in terms of the bird’s intentions – it flies because it needs to survey the ground for voles, or to catch flies on the wing, or to roost in a safe tree.

    All these answers may be correct, but they are answers to questions on quite different levels.

    Similarly, if you ask me why I am typing this post, I could answer in terms of neural connections between my language centres and output to my finger muscles, or in terms of the evolutionary processes that have endowed me with language, and the cultural processes that have endowed me with a computer and the internet, or in terms of my intentions to try to communicate with Upright BiPed!

    Again, they are all correct, they perfectly consistent with each other, and one is not less or more “materialist” than any of the others, they are simply addressing different questions.

    Do you see what I am trying to say?

  108. —Acipenser: “While there are gaps in the data set the pattern is clear. As medical diagnostic technology advances the number of alleged cures plummets in a very dramatic fashion. The explanation is very clear. In the past the medical board made a large number of mistakes based on our knowledge of medicine today. Does ignorance in the years past make the numerous cures actual cures or are they still comprised of many mistaken conclusions.”

    I can think of several reasons why fewer miracles are now being confirmed at Lourdes that have nothing to do with technology. It is interesting, though, that you trust the integrity of the board, their application of the scientific method, and their democratic decision-making-process only when their reports indicate fewer miracles.

    In keeping with that point, the objection against a 2/3 majority decision seems very strange to me. If simply one scientist was involved, there would be no check and balance system against a single bias. In same cases, the decision has been unanimous. Would that matter to a Darwinst? Not in the least. That would be just more evidence that it cannot be true. For a Darwinist, a one man decision proves nothing, a consensus decision is inconclusive, and a unanimous decision arouses suspicion. That about covers all the possibilies, doesn’t it?

    However, we are getting pretty far afield here. I am not trying to convince Darwinists on this site that miracles occur because I know that they are not open to the evidence. My argument is, and has been, that science may legitimately speak on the matter, which would rule out methodological naturalism, the ideological shield that atheists use to protect themselves against reasoned inferences.

    I

  109. 109

    Dr Liddle,

    Do you see what I am trying to say?

    Elizabeth, I am asking you, will you please stop with the lecturing. The more I address the evidence, the more you lecture me on how to address the evidence. We are not having a communication problem. The presence of recorded information within a system causes discrete physical objects to acquire observable qualities that go beyond their mere materiality. The details therein poses a substantial threat to certain theories in terms of origins, as it properly should. We are discussing observable dynamics here, merely redefining words/concepts (and bringing in irrelevant topics) will not change those observations.

    Liddle: The melody that emerges can of course be explained simply “in terms of natural forces.

    BiPed: The melody is explicable by the natural forces at work in the material of the music box, Dr Liddle? Or is that melody only explicable by natural forces working elsewhere on the material that makes up the music box?

    Liddle: That’s an either/or question? Sheesh. The first question is about proximal causes, the second is about distal causes.

    BiPed: What is it exactly about the object in question that leads one to infer a requirement for a distal cause?

    Liddle: There is no “requirement” UBP – whether you are interested in proximal or distal causes depends on what your question is, which is a property of you, not a property of the object in question!

    Allow me to show you how obfuscation operates in the defense of weak positions and lost causes. We’ve been having an ongoing conversation about the physical requirements of recorded information. A music box was used as an example of recorded information. The question arose as to what can cause the melody playing from a music box. You stated that it was explicable in terms of natural forces. “Natural forces” is a fairly indiscreet term, which answers nothing, given that we assume that everything operates by natural forces (even the bodies of material agents). So I asked you for a simple clarification as to whether you meant the melody was explicable to the box itself, or required more. Instead of offering a clarification of your meaning, you offered a clarification on the types of questions we could ask ourselves – proximate or distal. Seeing that you still haven’t addressed the original issue, I asked what observation you might make about the box which would lead you to infer the requirement of a distal cause (in order to explain the melody playing). Instead of explaining any inference to a distal cause, you have now begun discussing that the questions we ask are properties of ourselves, not the objects we ask about. And to top it all off, you ask if I am understanding you – which will become fodder for the next exchange.

    Here’s the deal: Please go back to the point where I first asked for a clarification of your non-discreet answer. You stated that it was not an either/or question. But it is an either/or question – if the question is what can explain the melody coming from a music box.

    Dr Liddle, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever you can attribute to the brass and wood that makes up a music box which can explain a melody coming from it. It doesn’t have the information. It can never have that information by virtue of its material. Not only can it not create the melody, but it also cannot create the representations required to record that melody, nor can it establish the protocols within the system which actualizes those representations into an audible result.

    There are certain limits to explanations when they must include the existence of recorded information. Those explanations must account for the physical requirements of that information.

  110. Aci, Anti Evo forum members, and onlookers:

    As a major specific target of this particular “Lewontin is being quote-mined” misleading talking point at Anti Evo etc, I hereby link a full clip with my own critical comments; with onward links to a source and similar clips and comments on three other eminent sources: Coyne, the US NAS and the US NSTA. (My response to a previous attempt to use this false accusation at UD is here. Note esp CD at no 3 in the comment exchange.)

    I contend on that cluster of clips and comments in context, that a fair and critical reading will confirm that Mr Arrington is quite correct and demonstrably has not materially misrepresented Lewontin. (Indeed, as the notes in the just linked will amplify, that some seem to believe that an allusion to Beck JUSTIFIES the sort of attitude and behaviour highlighted in the clip Mr Arrington has made, demonstrates either an utter lack of knowledge of the history of the founding of modern science, the worldviews issues connected thereto, and the implications of Judaeo-Christian theism for the existence of an orderly cosmos subject to scientific study, or else something worse, much worse.)

    Similarly, it is quite evident on the balance of easily accessible evidence that the attempts to dismiss this and other similar citations as misleadingly out of context is at best irresponsible.

    Sadly, this pattern of irresponsible [or worse] rhetoric by darwinist objectors to design theory, seems to be persisted in in the teeth of any and all correction, over literally months and years, dating to within a year of the original NYRB article by Lewontin.

    That, sadly does not speak well for such objectors.

    GEM of TKI

    PS: Acipenser, I responded here to one of your challenges some months ago [on the design theoretic significance of the Glasgow Coma Scale], but you never seemed to respond. Care to do so now?

  111. F/N: Cf also here.

  112. heh, UBP, who is doing the lecturing here, do you think?

    Look, I’m sorry if that came over as a lecture, but what I am doing is what I assume you are also doing, is trying to explain where I am coming from.

    If you aren’t interested, fine. But sometimes, when someone asks a question, the reason the other person can’t easily answer is that to them, the question itself is ill-posed.

    That is what I find with your questions. I think there are unexamined assumptions and unpacked concepts buried in your questions that, if examined and unpacked, would enable you to answer them yourself – or rather, to recognize that they are not, in fact, questions, or at least, not the questions you think they are.

    Of course I could be wrong – but obviously I don’t think I am, or, as my friend says, I wouldn’t think it :)

    You accuse me of “obfuscation”. That is exactly what I think you are doing (though I do not accuse you of doing it knowingly, and would appreciate a return of the compliment).

    I think you are equivocating with terms, applying terms from one level of analysis to another, and then generalising across usages without justification.

    Now, let me take your post in detail:

    You say:

    The presence of recorded information within a system causes discrete physical objects to acquire observable qualities that go beyond their mere materiality.

    I have no idea what this means. Observable by whom? What does “go beyond their mere materiality” mean? What kind of “system” are we talking about here? Who is the receiver of the information and who the sender? The observer? What if there is no observer? Is the information still “recorded”?

    The details therein poses a substantial threat to certain theories in terms of origins, as it properly should.

    Well, I can tell you think you have posed a problem for “certain theories” by which I assume you mean something like the theory that the OOL was the result of chemical processes. I am not at all clear what the problem is.

    We are discussing observable dynamics here, merely redefining words/concepts (and bringing in irrelevant topics) will not change those observations.

    Defining (or redefining if you prefer) words and concepts is of course absolutely vital when talking about observable anythings. As we’ve discussed. If you don’t have operationalised criteria for what you are observing, then you can’t proceed with any discussion. As for what is “irrelevant” – it may be your view that the things I have brought up are irrelevant. It is not mine. If we are to understand each other, it would be worth your trying to understand why I consider them relevant.

    A music box was used as an example of recorded information. The question arose as to what can cause the melody playing from a music box. You stated that it was explicable in terms of natural forces. “Natural forces” is a fairly indiscreet term, which answers nothing, given that we assume that everything operates by natural forces (even the bodies of material agents).

    I take it you mean “imprecise” rather than “indiscreet”.

    Yes, the proximal cause of the melody emerging from the box is, as I said, the sequential displacement of the teeth of the comb by the pins on the cylinder.

    Obviously that does not explain how pins on the cylinder got to be in that sequence. To explain that, we’d need to talk about the intentions of the music-box designer etc. We’d need to take “the intentional stance” to use Dennett’s phrase.

    Right?

    So I asked you for a simple clarification as to whether you meant the melody was explicable to the box itself, or required more.

    Did you? What does the question mean? What would it mean to say the melody was “explicable to the box”? Do you mean: does the box enjoy the melody? Can the box predict the melody? Obviously not.

    OK?

    Instead of offering a clarification of your meaning, you offered a clarification on the types of questions we could ask ourselves – proximate or distal. Seeing that you still haven’t addressed the original issue, I asked what observation you might make about the box which would lead you to infer the requirement of a distal cause (in order to explain the melody playing).

    Ah. So this is a “watch on the heath” question, right? Sorry, I didn’t get it.

    If I found a musical box playing on a heath, what about the box would excite my curiousity about how it came to exist?

    OK.

    What would excite my curiosity about how it came to exist would be the fact that it seemed to have an internal source of energy (it’s producing sound), that it’s producing a something I recognise as a melody in the Western musical scale (probably) which would suggest a human origin, and that it appears to be an artefact rather than a living thing (it’s doesn’t seem to reproduce).

    Instead of explaining any inference to a distal cause, you have now begun discussing that the questions we ask are properties of ourselves, not the objects we ask about. And to top it all off, you ask if I am understanding you – which will become fodder for the next exchange.

    Well, I honestly didn’t understand your question UBP. I hope I have now addressed it satisfactorily. Please do not assume that if an answer to a question seems not to address the question, that the answerer is “obfuscating”. There is an alternative – that the answerer didn’t understand the questions. Which could be due to lack of clarity in the question.

    Dr Liddle, there is absolutely nothing whatsoever you can attribute to the brass and wood that makes up a music box which can explain a melody coming from it. It doesn’t have the information. It can never have that information by virtue of its material. Not only can it not create the melody, but it also cannot create the representations required to record that melody, nor can it establish the protocols within the system which actualizes those representations into an audible result.

    Sure, the music box cannot design itself. No problem.

    There are certain limits to explanations when they must include the existence of recorded information. Those explanations must account for the physical requirements of that information.

    No. The reason the music box must have had an intelligent designer is not because it contains “recorded information”. It must have had an intelligent designer because there is no other candidate process that could have recorded that information.

    However, had that music box been one of a population of self-replicating entities that replicate with heritable variance in musical output, implemented as random changes to the sequence of pins on the cylinder, and in which the chances of reproducing was dependent on how like a Western musical melody its output was, then, over time, information as to what sequences resulted in Western melodies would gradually be accrued, so that after many generations, the only surviving cylinders would be those that produced acceptable Western melodies.

    It’s a nice example – the cylinder is the genome, the melody is the phenotype. Maybe there is also a second genome, or part of the genome, that undergoes random changes that result in adjusted comb-tooth lengths.

    At first, the melodies will be cacophonous, but as the least cacophonous are the ones that reproduce best, we should end up with a finely tuned comb, and a finely crafted cadential melody.

    Of course I know of no natural environment that will select for Western melodies, but then I know of no self-replicating musical boxes that produce them either.

  113. F/n:My response — as a principal specific target — above to the “Lewontin cite is quote-mining” false accusation (with links to longstanding corrections that are being willfully or at least negigently being ignored).

    –> I hope this helps given the presence of sub threads that make it hard to follow comment trends.

  114. –> I am premising willful or negligent [oops on typo] above on the principle of a particular duty of care before making adverse comment. Someone is being negligent or willful if s/he does not take cognizance of key and warranted correction and restrain him or her self before perpetuating a falsely accusatory talking point.

  115. F/N 2: On investigating miracles of healing, I have always found Rex Gardner’s 1983 BMJ paper a classic that sets out a reasonable framework for the reasonable and open-minded. One that parallels classic cares in historical record with contemporary similar ones. The discussion of the case in Pakistan of post partum bleeding is worth the time to read the whole paper.

  116. Neil: what kind of “explanation” would it be that did not “involve…the fundamental forces of nature”?

    I have yet to see a supernatural “explanation”. I have only ever seen a supernatural conclusion, and that is reached on the grounds of the lack of a “natural” explanation.

    In other words, all a “supernatural” “explanation” is it the admission that we do not know of a natural one.

    Which is not an “explanation” at all.

    This is why I take issue with the allegation that scientists are remiss in not seeking “supernatural” explanations. There are none. Supernatural causation is unexplained causation.

    What kind of “evidence” could be “found” that “would suggest that the laws of nature are not sufficient to explain the complexity observed in life”?

    What would such evidence look like?

    I suggest it would look, literally, like nothing.

    How do you set about finding “nothing”?

    And when you’ve found it, how to you figure out what it is?

  117. Thanks!

  118. The problem, kf, is that what you see as “correction” may be the very issue under dispute.

    I have frequently been “corrected” by you – but I do not consider your “correction” to be “correct”!

    Do you see the problem?

  119. StephenB, I trust that the board, in the past, made their decisions based on the best methodologies available at the time. However, the conclusions that these ‘cures’ represent miracles was a conclusion based on obvious ignorance due to the lack of advanced diagnostic technology. That’s the entire point: yesterdays miracles evaporate with better understanding of biochemistry and medicine. There is no reason to beleive that any miracles have occurred given the available data.

    I’d be interested in hearing what your other explanations but this is likely my last post to this thread. My 26 kbps modem correction will not load UD pages past a certain size. This post alone took me since yesterday to get the thread to load so I could read and respond. Just a FYI headsup before some ‘critic’ began allegations of ‘running away’.

    If as you state a consensus is “a consensus decision is inconclusive” then those ‘cures’ that are reached by consensus alone should not be acknowledged as ‘cures’ and should not be considered by the church as being miracles. That seems simple enough to me which is why I questioned the entire process. Why should a unanimous decision arouse suspicion? If the evidence is robust enough to cause everyone involved to draw the same conclusion what would be the source of the suspicion. If a bunch of scientist sat around watching the temperature drop in a beaker of water until it changed from liquid to solid would their conclusion that this transition occured at 0 C arouse suspicion?

    I also have read where the church wishes to add a new category, a sort of miracle-lite, where based on the claims of the individual that they experienced a ‘cure’ would be sufficient evidence of Divine intervention. Perhaps watering down the criteria is a response to the dramatic decline in ‘cures’ observed at Lourdes.

    Contrary to your claim, StephenB, I am open to the evidence and it is the evidence that led me to the conclusions I’ve posted here. The dramatic drop in cures should open anyone’s eyes to what is the likely explanation of events.

    Excuse me, StephenB, the doctors on the board depend on methological naturalism (and materialism) to reach their decision. They have no other means/method for doing their work. Curious that you ignore this when it’s inconvienent for your position.

  120. 120

    ahem…

    ;)

  121. The specific sequence of nucleotides in DNA is independent of any laws of nature. Of course, the laws of nature are relied upon to hold the DNA together.

    Forgive me for repeating the simple analogy of the arrangement of magnetic letters on a metal board. The forces of magnetism hold the letters there, but what law of nature is a direct cause of the sequence of those letters such that they would code for a meaniful word or sentence?

    Are not the sequences of nucleotides that code for functional proteins only an infinitesimally small subset of all possible sequences? What is the direct cause of the specific sequence?

    Scientists committed to methodological naturalism can only appeal to chance and time to explain any specific sequence.
    What if it can be shown — and scientists such as Douglas Axe supposedly have — that there is not enough time to form meaningful sequences?

  122. I also have some questions about what constitutes an “explanation.”

    The design inference is not an explanation. It merely establishes a cause for an observed effect. If indeed the cause is supernatural, we can only speculate how a supernatural agent did manipulate the physical world to effect the complexity we observe in living things.

    Maybe Craig Venter’s manipulations of the genome can give us a clue.

    The theory of evolution purports to have an explanation for the mechanism that effected the complexity observed in living things.

    Certainly scientists don’t consider the random mutation and natural selection meme to be a complete explanation. It is merely a template and many details need to be filled in before science can truly say they know how evolution works.

    For example, do scientists know how a body plan is modified? How do we get from a random variation creating a new protein to arranging the proteins into tissues, arranging the tissues into organs, and arranging tissues and organs into a body plan?

    It should not suprise you that as an engineer (retired) I would view the redesign of an organism as an engineering project. An engineering project requires forsight and planning and many diverse elements have to come together in the right palce and the right time in order to have a successful project.

    Yet evolution supposedly works without such planning and forsight. Contrary to good engineering practice, evolution works by using “bottom up” design. It begins with the creation of a new part that may or may not fit with the next new part created that may or may not fit with the next new part created…

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