Home » Intelligent Design » Response to Comments: The Problem With Miracles

Response to Comments: The Problem With Miracles

Imagine if a police detective was told his theory had to be strictly natural. The evidence at the crime scene was obvious, but the boss wants no criminals indicted. The cause of the crime must be limited to the wind, rain, earthquakes, polar shifts, whatever. Absurd you say? Welcome to evolution.  Read more

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

97 Responses to Response to Comments: The Problem With Miracles

  1. The last time I checked, anything done by a criminal or other human would be considered natural (as opposed to supernatural).

  2. Wouldn’t criminals be considered part of the natural world (as opposed to the miraculous, as in the title)?

    DNA, blood, hair…seems the stuff of matter to me.

    On the other hand, a police chief or a judge might be right in strictly forbidding starting with supernatural explanations for a crime.

    How would one ever rule out a demon committing a crime, and planting evidence to frame a suspect, in a manner that left no traces discernable by humans?

    A supernatural hypothesis. Probably can’t be falsified. Is it a perfect defense? Or do forensics and our courtrooms favor methodological naturalism?

  3. 3

    The last time I checked, anything done by a criminal or other human would be considered natural artificial (as opposed to super natural).

    There ya go.

  4. But Alas Neil and REC, how come I know natural processes did not produce your posts? Am I to consider you supernatural???

    ================

    The Letter Black – music video
    http://vimeo.com/6772944

    =================

    Book Review – Meyer, Stephen C. Signature in the Cell. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
    Excerpt: As early as the 1960s, those who approached the problem of the origin of life from the standpoint of information theory and combinatorics observed that something was terribly amiss. Even if you grant the most generous assumptions: that every elementary particle in the observable universe is a chemical laboratory randomly splicing amino acids into proteins every Planck time for the entire history of the universe, there is a vanishingly small probability that even a single functionally folded protein of 150 amino acids would have been created. Now of course, elementary particles aren’t chemical laboratories, nor does peptide synthesis take place where most of the baryonic mass of the universe resides: in stars or interstellar and intergalactic clouds. If you look at the chemistry, it gets even worse—almost indescribably so: the precursor molecules of many of these macromolecular structures cannot form under the same prebiotic conditions—they must be catalysed by enzymes created only by preexisting living cells, and the reactions required to assemble them into the molecules of biology will only go when mediated by other enzymes, assembled in the cell by precisely specified information in the genome.
    So, it comes down to this: Where did that information come from? The simplest known free living organism (although you may quibble about this, given that it’s a parasite) has a genome of 582,970 base pairs, or about one megabit (assuming two bits of information for each nucleotide, of which there are four possibilities). Now, if you go back to the universe of elementary particle Planck time chemical labs and work the numbers, you find that in the finite time our universe has existed, you could have produced about 500 bits of structured, functional information by random search. Yet here we have a minimal information string which is (if you understand combinatorics) so indescribably improbable to have originated by chance that adjectives fail.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/docume.....k_726.html

  5. Upright-

    Interesting you’ve used ‘artificial’ as in man made. I don’t think that is the opposite of supernatural or miraculous.

    Perhaps it shows why Dr. Hunter’s analogy is a bit contorted.

    I think mine is the better one for the purpose.

    So, how would the prosecutor win against the demon defense? Would a judge invoke naturalism we seem so comfortable with in many aspects of our lives?

  6. Wish there was an edit button-that should have read “man-made” is not synonymous with supernatural or miraculous.

  7. The last time I checked, anything done by a criminal or other human would be considered natural artificial (as opposed to super natural).

    Fair enough. But that’s a very different meaning of “natural” and of no relevance to the ID vs. evolution debates. It perhaps might be relevant to the claims of some Thomists, that anything that is intelligently designed would necessarily be an artifact.

  8. DrREC, you state;

    ‘Wish there was an edit button-that should have read “man-made” is not synonymous with supernatural or miraculous.’

    But alas once again, there is nothing ‘natural’ about man’s ability to implement functional information onto nature!!! This ‘supernatural’ ability of man is actually very strong evidence that man has a transcendent component to his being!!!

  9. NR: you know or should know that hat is precisely the issue at stake, cf e.g. here, or you can try the UD WAC corrective no 17 on imposed methodological naturalism, top right this and every UD page.

    Onlookers, observe how these long since cogently answered talking points are recirculated again and again as though there is not an answer easily accessible and as though objectors have no basic duty of care of fairness to address.

  10. “But alas once again, there is nothing ‘natural’ about man’s ability to implement functional information onto nature!!! ”

    So all the things we might implement-our art, our structures, our tools, etc. are ‘supernatural?’

    Seems an expanding definition….

  11. WAC 17:

    17] Methodological naturalism is the rule of science

    Methodological naturalism is simply a quite recently imposed “rule” that (a) defines science as a search for natural causes of observed phenomena AND (b) forbids the researcher to consider any other explanation, regardless of what the evidence may indicate. In keeping with that principle, it begs the question and roundly declares that (c) any research that finds evidence of design in nature is invalid and that (d) any methods employed toward that end are non-scientific. For instance, in a pamphlet published in 2008, the US National Academy of Sciences declared:

    In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena. Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or disproving those explanations. [Science, Evolution and Creationism, p. 10. Emphases added.]

    The resort to loaded language should cue us that there is more than mere objective science going on here!

    A second clue is a basic fact: the very NAS scientists themselves provide instances of a different alternative to forces tracing to chance and/or blind mechanical necessity. For, they are intelligent, creative agents who act into the empirical world in ways that leave empirically detectable and testable traces. Moreover, the claim or assumption that all such intelligences “must” in the end trace to chance and/or necessity acting within a materialistic cosmos is a debatable philosophical view on the remote and unobserved past history of our cosmos. It is not at all an established scientific “fact” on the level of the direct, repeatable observations that have led us to the conclusion that Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun.

    In short, the NAS would have been better advised to study the contrast: natural vs artificial (or, intelligent) causes, than to issue loaded language over natural vs supernatural ones

    Notwithstanding, many Darwinist members of the guild of scholars have instituted or supported the question-begging rule of “methodological naturalism,” ever since the 1980’s. So, if an ID scientist finds and tries to explain functionally specified complex information in a DNA molecule in light of its only known cause: intelligence, supporters of methodological naturalism will throw the evidence out or insist that it be re-interpreted as the product of processes tracing to chance and/or necessity; regardless of how implausible or improbable the explanations may be. Further, if the ID scientist dares to challenge this politically correct rule, he will then be disfranchised from the scientific community and all his work will be discredited and dismissed.

    Obviously, this is grossly unfair censorship.

    Worse, it is massively destructive to the historic and proper role of science as an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) search for the truth about our world in light of the evidence of observation and experience.

  12. kairosfocus,

    That’s some fine rhetoric, but how does a science not rooted in methodological naturalism work?

    How would forensic scientists and the prosecutor rule out the demon defense (see post 2)?

  13. NR: FYI, WACs 18 – 20 would also repay a read.

  14. DR: Your turnabout attempt dismissal is duly noted. If you would gander across here you would see what a restored uncensored, free science would be like. Let me clip the highlight from Newton’s Opticks, Query 31, which should be fairly familiar form classic HS or grade school definitions of science before the materialist censorship curtain descended:

    >>As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations. >>

  15. And, if you need a tutorial on responsible inference yo best explanation in a forensic context, cf. Greenleaf here on. Beyond a certain point, objectors have duties of care to do their homework before objecting.

  16. another candidate for “opposite” of natural is synthetic:

    syn·thet·ic (sn-thtk)
    adj.
    1. Relating to, involving, or of the nature of synthesis.
    2. Chemistry Produced by synthesis, especially not of natural origin.
    3.
    a. Not natural or genuine; artificial or contrived: “counterfeit rhetoric that flourishes when passions are synthetic” (George F. Will).
    b. Prepared or made artificially: synthetic leather. See Synonyms at artificial.
    4. Linguistics Relating to or being a language, such as Latin or Russian, that uses inflectional affixes to express syntactic relationships.
    5. Logic & Philosophy Relating to or being a proposition that attributes to a subject a predicate not inherent in the subject and that does not result in a contradiction if negated.
    n.
    A synthetic chemical compound or material.
    [Greek sunthetikos, skilled in putting together, component, from sunthetos, combined, from suntithenai, to put together; see synthesis.]

    note definition 2 above, where chemistry that is not natural is called sythetic; so what term do scientists use to describe the process by which the ribosome converts rna to proteins; synthesis, so this dictionary has told us that’s *not* natural.

    so, is it *outside* science by the defintion that the NAS tells us above by seek “natural” causes?

  17. es58-

    Effective refutation of the game Dr. Hunter is playing here. The opposite of ‘natural’ in methodological naturalism is not artificial, or synthetic, it is supernatural.

    As you demonstrate, ‘synthetic’ would be the wrong antonym, which would place science outside of science.

  18. kairosfocus-

    I don’t have time to read Greenleaf’s 800 page book, or (your own?) entire educational website right now.

    Since you have had the opportunity, could you provide me the answer to my question that lies therein?

  19. DrRec, what is supernatural?
    In other words, what does one mean when we say something is supernatural? That it violates the laws of nature?
    How is the existence of a demon supernatural? Does his mere existence break natural laws? I would think not. Why is it supernatural for a demon to murder someone? If a demon takes a walk in the park or reads a book, is that considered supernatural?I would say that unless he intervened in the regular workings of nature,i.e, break a natural law, it isnt supernatural. I say there is not such thing as supernatural, just out ignorance of how “supernatural” beings operate. If I was to show a television set to a caveman he would just as well consider it magical since he is ignorant of how it works. The same thing with miracles. We dont know how it is happening. I would more accurately classify it as intervention phenomenon. Things that would not happen by themselves without intervention from conscious agents with free will. Again a television set could be considered intervention because we are consiously manipulation electromagnetic waves and electric energy for a specific effect,i.e transmission and perception of moving digital images, that would not occur otherwise. It could be considered supernatural if we didnt know how it worked. There was a commercial where this peasant took some altoids and came up with a brilliant idea for how to invent a lightbulb. the vilagers promptly accused him of witchcraft and killed him. I just thought that was hilarious!

  20. kairosfocus (#9)

    NR: you know or should know that hat is precisely the issue at stake, cf e.g. here, or you can try the UD WAC corrective no 17 on imposed methodological naturalism, top right this and every UD page.

    I have never asserted that methodological naturalism is a requirement of science.

    I’m not even sure of your point. Even the most stringent of methodological naturalists would count the actions of the criminal as natural. The argument made in the main post has no relevance to the methodological naturalism that it claims to be addressing.

  21. Dr REC, you were pointed to a sharp, short, elegant summary of key principles by a founder of the modern theory of evidence; just read the one short chapter and much would be fixed. Second, the switcheroo from nature vs art to natural vs supernatural is the suspect innovation, cf Plato’s discussion as brought up here today.

  22. 22

    Dr,

    Wouldn’t criminals be considered part of the natural world

    Interesting you’ve used ‘artificial’ as in man made.

    I don’t use “artificial” as a placemat for “man-made”, because I am not speaking of a specific cause, but of a specific class of causes (i.e., one of the three classes known to exist: chance, necessity, and agency)

    Artificial describes what is caused by an “agent”, as in ‘the ribbon of slime on the sidewalk was caused by a snail’.

    If you lump “artificial” (that which is caused by an agent) with “natural” (that which is caused soley by physical law and chance) then you have removed a distinction from reality that demonstrably exists: agents can cause things to happen that chance and law cannot cause.

    You have subsumed artficial causes with the natural causes, and you leave no method for making a distinction between the two.

    You have in fact, simply assumed your conclusion.

  23. NR:

    >> Even the most stringent of methodological naturalists would count the actions of the criminal as natural >>

    Nope, and you were corrected on this at the top of the thread,. You are just insisting on sticking to a long since properly corrected point. Thanks for letting us know how you operate. Good day.

  24. PS: Ch 1 of Evidence is 3 pp long w 2 book pp of text.

  25. 25

    Casey Anthony was found not guilty due to design filter. Despite some compelling circumstantial evidence, the medical examiners inability to rule out the death of Kaley Anthony as an accident (chance, necessity), thus unable to conclude that the death was murder (product of intelligent agency), the jury could not then infer murder(design) beyond reasonable doubt, and she will walk.

  26. Let me clip the highlight from Newton’s Opticks

    Taking science back to the 17th Century is one alternative…

  27. For the record:

    The opposite of ‘natural’ in methodological naturalism is not artificial, or synthetic, it is supernatural. – DrREC

  28. Driver:

    Taking science back to the 17th Century</strike [out of C20 materialist censorship] is one alternative…

    There, fixed that.

    Had you bothered to pause from the race to make clever-sounding but inadvertently revealing talking points, and checked the relevant corrective on what uncensored C21 science should be like, you would have found:

    science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive, observational evidence-led pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world.

    Echoes of a genuine genius and key founder of modern science who is still fresh reading in C21 are not coincidental.

    That, sir, is WHY Newton was a genius!

    GEM of TKI

  29. You have in fact, simply assumed your conclusion.

    Is that bad? It’s not irrational is it? I thought Science was supposed to set us free from the irrational.

  30. OOPS:

    Taking science back to the 17th Century [out of C20 materialist censorship] is one alternative…

  31. KF, You are too modest. Echoes of Newton? More than that. I’m sure that you can have a great influence on the methodology of modern science. I must admit that I can’t really see where in your methodology you present the challenge to methodological naturalism, but I’m sure you know what you’re doing.

  32. Onlookers:

    Let’s clip some high quality dictionaries from the days before the radicals started to play their power games and propaganda games to try to impose materialist censorship:

    >> science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford, 1990 -- and yes, they used the "z" Virginia!]

    scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [”the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind”] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate, 1965] >>

    When defending he indefensible, the Alinsky rule book suggests:

    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” . . . .

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] . . .

    So, let us remember, the indefensible thing being advanced is to push science and science education into materialist, censorship straightjackets.

    Never mind glib quips that try to distract us.

    GEM of TKI

  33. I wonder Driver, do you consider defying time and space to be a natural or supernatural event?

    ==============

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579/

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    ================

    and Driver if you consider defying time and space to be a ‘natural’ event, would you please explain quantum wave collapse and fine-tuning of the universe in ‘natural’ terms??? and then, once you have exhausted the absurdity of many-worlds and multiverses on wave collapse and fine-tuning, would you please explain quantum entanglement in ‘natural’ terms???

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    This following study adds to Alain Aspect’s work in Quantum Mechanics and solidly refutes the ‘hidden variable’ argument that has been used by materialists to try to get around the Theistic implications of the instantaneous ‘spooky action at a distance’ found in quantum mechanics.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    etc.. etc..

  34. Materialism (Methodological Naturalism) compared to Theism within the scientific method:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    The artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has blinded many scientists to the inference of God as a rational explanation in these questions of origins. In fact, the scientific method, by itself, makes absolutely no predictions as to what the best explanation will be prior to investigation in these question of origins. In the beginning of a investigation all answers are equally valid to the scientific method. Yet scientists have grown accustomed through the years to the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method. That is to say by limiting the answers one may conclude to only materialistic ones, the scientific method has been very effective at solving many puzzles very quickly. This imposition of the materialistic philosophy onto the scientific method has indeed led to many breakthroughs of technology which would not have been possible had the phenomena been presumed to be solely the work of a miracle. This imposition of materialism onto the scientific method is usually called methodological naturalism, methodological materialism, or scientific materialism etc… Yet today, due to the impressive success of methodological naturalism in our everyday lives, many scientists are unable to separate this artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy from the scientific method in this completely different question of origins.

    A Question for Barbara Forrest
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....rrest.html

    In fact, I’ve heard someone say, “Science is materialism.” Yet science clearly is not materialism. Materialism is a philosophy which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind material processes generated everything around us, including ourselves. Materialism is thus in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created us in His image. Furthermore science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer is a materialistic one or not. This is especially true in these questions of origins, since we are indeed questioning the materialistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create us or did blind material processes create us?” When we realize this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then of course it is readily apparent we cannot impose strict materialistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation. No less than leading “New Atheist” Richard Dawkins agrees:

    “The presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science.” Richard Dawkins
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-crocker/

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

    In fact when looking at the evidence in this light we find out many interesting things which scientists, who have been blinded by the philosophy of materialism, miss. This is because the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These predictions, and the evidence we have found, can be tested against one another within the scientific method.

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    http://www.sciencebuddies.org/.....thod.shtml

    For a quick overview, here are a few:

    1. Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation. – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted that material has always existed, Theism predicted ‘material’ was created. – ‘Material’ was created in the Big Bang.

    5. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    6. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9)-

    7. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    8. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe – Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    9. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. -

    10. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    11. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    12. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    13. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. – The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. -

    14. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record – Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    15. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

    references:
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1ubha8aFKlJiljnuCa98QqLihFWFwZ_nnUNhEC6m6Cys

    ,,,for a far more detailed list of failed predictions of neo-Darwinism see Dr. Hunter’s site here:

    Darwin’s Predictions
    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & the Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355

  35. 35

    What is the difference between “supernatural” and “unexplained?” I don’t think there is a real difference. It’s an arbitrary demarcation.
    It’s been said that a thing is supernatural if it is unobservable (in brief.) But how do we know if a thing is unobservable or we just don’t know how to observe it yet?
    The difference is made up, and it’s intellectually dishonest.
    Scientists can spend years trying to observe a particle no one has seen. Scientists infer the existence of all sorts of phenomena without being able to observe them or understand their nature (dark matter, unknown particles.) They don’t give up and call them “supernatural.” They set their minds to trying to observe them.
    In the case of intelligent design, the rules change sharply. Now, the unknown we infer is supernatural. Looking for it must be really, really hard, so let’s put our hands over our eyes and assume it doesn’t exist. Let’s look for our keys under the streetlight.
    It’s no wonder that detractors resort to straw man arguments, because any substantial argument could also be applied to any number of well-funded, accepted scientific endeavors.

  36. Wow,

    I had kind of expected a response to my ‘demon defense’ query. I meant it as a discussion starter, but no one seems to have the answer. It isn’t that hard.

    How do we dispose of the demon defense, if not by defaulting to an assumption of methodological naturalism?

    And yes, Mung, I defend my definition of natural=constrained by natural laws; supernatural= transcending natural laws and unbound by them.

    You can see what silliness alternative definitions result in.

    Defining unnatural as ‘Synthetic’ yields definitions where chemical or physical (e.g. nanolithography) synthesis, firmly rooted in the natural laws, is ‘supernatural.’

    Similarly silly is ’caused by an agent” or “artificial” where the tools of New Caledonian crows, squirrel nests and slug slime trails (I kid you not, see your comrade Upright BiPed’s comment at 22 above) are not natural. Then nothing is. Tell a scientist studying slug slime trails or microbial biofilms they are not adhering to methodological naturalism, and prepare to hear the laugh of a lifetime.

    So having danced with definitions where slug slime is supernatural, and evidence-planting (in a way humans could never perceive) demons are natural (not kidding, comment 19), what is the refutation?

    I suppose we could look at kairosfocus’s (is that chi-rho–odd tie in to the pagan origins of Christianity in the sun God of Cairo, Egypt becoming chi rho the Christ….but I digress and perhaps misinterpret) references.

    I don’t see the answer in them. In fact, I was being overly polite earlier. I don’t see what either reference brings to the argument. If there was anything, perhaps kairosfocus could tell me. I find it quite rude to link out, and quip that I should have done my homework, as if an 800 page, 150 year old book, or his personal website should help.

    If a coworker asked me for assistance on a project, and I told him I had read a reference with the answer, I would hope he would ask me what the answer was. If I told him, man, do your homework, and provided links to my personal website, and chapters of a old text, i’d ask why he was wasting my time. Does he know the answer, or is he bluffing?

    I could be wrong, and kairosfocus can shame me by giving the paragraphs that answer the demon defense. Till then, I call literature bluff–give some citations, and hope I scurry away?

    So….how do we dispose of the demon defense?
    Why do we so casually resort to methodological naturalism?

    And does anyone think the original post holds water?

  37. DrREC: How would one ever rule out a demon committing a crime, and planting evidence to frame a suspect, in a manner that left no traces discernable by humans?

    Why would one rule it in, in the first place?

  38. “Why would one rule it in, in the first place?”

    Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, or a presumption of methodological naturalism?

    Is your response a vote for the latter?

  39. 39

    DrRec: “How do we dispose of the demon defense…”

    Argument to best explanation.

  40. “Argument to best explanation.”

    Go on….

    Are we channeling McCullagh?

    Scope, power, plausibility, etc….

    What is it?

    Is it less plausible because your presuppose methodologically natural explanations?

    Seems we’re comfortable with that in meteorology, seismology, economics, the courtroom…..but never biology. Curios.

  41. 41

    DrRec: “but never biology. Curios.”

    I don’t think “never” is accurate. In the case of OOL, after hearing both arguments at length, design seems to be the argument from best explanation.

  42. 42

    to best explanation

  43. “design seems to be the argument from best explanation.”

    From best explanation seems to be your favorite phrase. Applying it to science is novel, and invoking it without explanation or defense is interesting.

    You seem to think saying it absolves you from making a point. (I think it it philosophically lazy to say best=best=true).

    Let’s skip the digression to origin of life, and get back to the demon defense. What in “argument to best explanation” gets you out of that?

  44. 44

    DrRec: “From best explanation seems to be your favorite phrase.”

    No, this week it is “dry humping.”

    “and get back to the demon defense.”

    Sounds good.

    “best=best=true”

    Unless the murder is on videotape, there is no way to be certain. There is only argument to best explanation. In the case of a murder, mechanism, motive etc will be established, based on this suspects will be listed etc, the demon would be on the bottom of the list, right after secret society that frames people arbitrarily for murder, which in turn would be right after George Bush did it, and on and on up the list until we get to the top five suspects. From there, in a Sherlock Holmes style epic deduction, the cops will start eliminating possibilities, from a top down approach, until they find a suspect that fits all the known evidence better than any other.

    “Let’s skip the digression to origin of life,”

    You brought up biology.

    DrRec: “philosophically lazy”

    I’m not much about philosophy. If your looking for that kind of action, you got the wrong guy.

  45. ” the demon would be on the bottom of the list,”

    Why? Do you have a bias against supernatural explanations?

    Same number of agents involved. 1 criminal. 1 demon.

    So you assume metaphysical naturalism?

    Now, why is that?

  46. Dr Rec:

    Pardon, but you have in the main been invited to read three pages — two minutes at a moderate reading speed — in a classic that more than anticipates the issues we face today [not 800 -- which BTW would not be excessive to help you rebuild your worldview to a more reasonable state], and you are refusing to attend to the logic of inference to best explanation, in light of facts, which includes the reality of chance, necessity and art in causal patterns.

    Someone else above even pointed you to a current headlined murder case on how the logic of the explanatory filter applies.

    Let me cite from Wiki as linked on abduction, following Peirce c 100 – 130 ya:

    Abduction
    allows inferring a as an explanation of b. Because of this, abduction allows the precondition a to be abduced from the consequence b. Deduction and abduction thus differ in the direction in which a rule like “a entails b” is used for inference. As such abduction is formally equivalent to the logical fallacy affirming the consequent or Post hoc ergo propter hoc, because there are multiple possible explanations for b. For example, after glancing up and seeing the eight ball moving towards us we may abduce that it was struck by the cue ball. The cue ball’s strike would account for the eight ball’s movement. It serves as a hypothesis that explains our observation. There are in fact infinitely many possible explanations for the eight ball’s movement, and so our abduction does not leave us certain that the cue ball did in fact strike the eight ball, but our abduction is still useful and can serve to orient us in our surroundings

    [cf Newton in Opticks, Query 31, who fully understood this: ". . . although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur." ].

    This process of abduction is an instance of the scientific method. There are infinite possible explanations for any of the physical processes we observe, but we are inclined to abduce a single explanation (or a few explanations) for them in the hopes that we can better orient ourselves in our surroundings and eliminate some of the possibilities . .

    The heart of abduction is inference on tested, reliable signs; similar to how Hippocrates of Cos highlighted for medicine C5 BC. Apparent deer tracks on the side of a mountain are not a proof, but may warrant a responsible and often successful process of reasoning to the presence and actions of a certain kind of animal. Necessity has its signs, chance has its signs, and art has its signs. We may not in all cases be able to trace whodunit, but we can often identify that twerdun on signs. And, in some cases, wider circumstances allow us to infer reasonably and responsibly to whodunit, as the onward several chs to p, 20 or so in Greenleaf show.

    As well, you cannot tell the truth by the clock so dismissal of a founder of the modern theory of evidence by pointing to the clock is fallacious. Likewise the fact that you are being pointed to materials I happen to have put up by way of a contribution to the global info commons, does not warrant an implicit inverse argument by authority.

    The only appeal in the end that warrants a conclusion as responsible and reasonable is the credible material facts and well-applied, properly founded logic, including the underlying logic of science, abduction. Which FYI, is what the explanatory filter is about.

    Abduction in science is fatally censored by imposing materialism as an a priori. If we don’t fix the rot now, institutional science will suffer a massive loss of credibility, which has already begun once the climategate revelations began to soak in, despite the usual media shield.

    GEM of TKI

  47. 47

    “So you assume metaphysical naturalism?”

    I assume accept the argument to best explanation.

  48. PS: It bears underscoring that all reasonably exposed persons will be familiar with the distinction between confident inference that something happened, and confident inference that a specific agent was on best explanation, likely to be responsible.

    Applied to origins science,

    a: we can identify signs that point to our observed cosmos having a beginning and being contingent, dependent on one or more causally necessary external factors for its existence.

    b: we can identify similar signs that point to a peculiarly finely balanced operating point in the physics and circumstances of the observed cosmos making it suitable for C-chemistry cell based life.

    c: Such factors, on our experience of design, appear to be signs of design in the origin and setting up of the cosmos we inhabit. Design is an empirically warranted, plausible inductive inference, absent censorship by a priori materialism.

    d: We can characterise the sort of agent responsible for such: first, a necessary being, to explain a contingent world — even through multiverse speculations [cf linked on that, esp Leslie's remarks].

    e: Second, an intelligent, purposeful and rather powerful being to be able to give effect to a cosmos of 10^80 or so atoms, as we observe.

    f: Going beyond, we recognise what this is pointing to, a cosmic architect of great power and purpose.

    g: if we factor in other aspects of our reality relevant to building a coherent worldview, like our conviction that rights are real, that points to moral government of the cosmos.

    h: So, it is quite reasonable — and consistent with scientific findings — to infer to a cosmic architect and moral governor of our observed cosmos.

    i: In that context, it can easily be shown that this is the dominant pattern of thought of the key founders of modern science, and that it is still a strongly represented view among scientists and the educated public.

    j: So, the sort of pretence that to believe in such a generic theism [or even to go on to accept a given specific tradition], even one open to interventions by God above and beyond the usual course of the cosmos, for good reason, is inimical to science is a falsehood, even a slander in the teeth of easily accessible facts. Exhibit A is Newton, easily the most important scientist in the past 400 years.

    k: So, it is high time that materialist censorship on science be dropped.

    l: On origins science, it is high time that we accepted the signs pointing to design of life — digital code in the cell, give me a break — and of the cosmos.

  49. JDFL:

    I assume [accept] [the uncensored] argument to [empirically grounded] best explanation.

  50. BTW, Holmes’ “deduction,” is really ABDUCTION.

  51. So Dr REC -

    You have decided that methodological naturalism is the only thing allowed in science. Is your decision a result of purely natural processes?

    Then it was NOT rational. Rationality implies a choice. Rational choices by their very nature involve the exercise by an agent which must NOT be ruled ONLY by natural choices. Any choice ruled ONLY by purely natural forces is not a real choice, only an illusion or choice.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You shouldn’t promote premises which can not possibly be true.

    Either the practice of science is unnatural or it is irrational. I will take the former. You think its possible to believe and to argue the latter. That is why I do not respect you. You are not intellectually honest. But then again few materialists are. Its hard to defend that which is massively self contradictory.

  52. 52

    “BTW, Holmes’ “deduction,” is really ABDUCTION.”

    Thanks, noted.

  53. F/N: Dr Rec’s mistaken etymological games on kairos — a Greek word now well on its way into general English vocabulary [like logic, stomach, idea[l] and a lot of other words . . . ] — and related Dan Brownish speculations on the roots of the Christian position in the teeth of the pattern of credible historical evidence, if meant seriously, would be diagnostically suggestive of a breakdown in basic abductive reasoning skills; for history is of course an extension of the sort of courtroom reasoning Greanleaf was discussing. I think we are beginning to see a pattern here on the breakdown of logic and epistemology in our day.

  54. F/N: And, a slime trail is a sign pointing to a rather humble but nonetheless real agent.

  55. JDFL: welcome.

  56. exploring kairos

  57. 57

    Morning Rec,

    I’d like to address your demon doubts.

    First of all, you have a point: to begin with, there is no way to distinguish between actual evidence of murder and demon-planted evidence of murder. I’m with Descartes on this one: how do we know that all existence is not simply an illusion created by a demon (who presumably has your soul in a jar!)?

    However, the important point that you are missing here is that ‘something’ is definitely behind existence rather than ‘nothing’. And coming back to the crime, if a demon committed the crime then that still means that there is no way this was death by suicide, accident or any other *natural* causes. This was murder: and murder requires a murderer.

    Intelligent Design is simply concerned with establishing whether or not purely naturalistic causes can account for existence on the one hand and demonstrating that existence can only be brought about by Intelligent Design on the other. Determining whether or not the Intelligent Designer is human, alien, demon or the Creator is not within the remit of Intelligent Design. But surely it is enough to know that there is no way it all made itself: something is definitely behind it. Wouldn’t you agree, Rec?

  58. DrREC: How would one ever rule out a demon committing a crime, and planting evidence to frame a suspect, in a manner that left no traces discernable by humans?

    Me: Why would one rule it in, in the first place?

    DrREC: Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, or a presumption of methodological naturalism? Is your response a vote for the latter?

    You didn’t answer my question. No need to “rule it out” if you don’t “rule it in” in the first place. Why would you rule it in (the demon theory) in the first place?

  59. Mike (and CD):

    excellent point, and it points to the issue of empirically equivalent — e.g. brains in vats [or souls in jars . . . ] — worlds.

    Also, a subtlety is that were demons or the like (space aliens would do) to frame someone for murder, the evidence pointing to art not chance or undirected mechanical necessity would still accurately flag up design; and that is all the science is trying to do.

    You don’t fault the infamous left handed spin bowler who just took down the opposed team in four overs, for failing to then go on to knock a century in your own innings. That is not what he is there for. (Resemblance to recent failings of the Windies batsmen is — sadly — not coincidental. You take down a team in 200 or so runs then cannot match them, at the pitch in Barbados?)

    So, we see the switcheroo game again.

    The issue being substituted is an onward question in forensics beyond science proper — whodunit, not that tweredun.

    Note, therefore, how DR is regrettably persistently refusing to read even 3 pp of Greenleaf on how evidence works in courts, and if he were willing to go on through the next few chapters, how it warrants a case on applied inference to best explanation — whodunit — in a context where serious consequences apply.

    if you want a handy summary of Greenleaf’s methods [as he applied them to the case of the historicity of the gospels], cf here. DR might profit from reading on, on how to build a worldview starting with first principles of right reason and self evident truths.

    GEM of TKI

  60. PS: Trying once more: Evidence ch 1

  61. (57),

    “if a demon committed the crime then that still means that there is no way this was death by suicide, accident or any other *natural* causes.”

    How would one know? Surely if a demon did it then the demon could, with its supernatural powers, commit the perfect murder: by making it look like a suicide and without leaving any evidence of the demon’s involvement.

  62. 62

    Hi mike1962, just in case you missed my comment over on the “God and Evil” thread, I’m justing taking the opportunity to flag it again as, if you’re willing, I’m genuinely interested in a response:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-388584

  63. BA: Interesting [loved the alien tech theme], this one seems a bit more explicitly instructional. G

  64. Neil and DrREC,

    “Artificial” fits in perfectly well with what Intelligent Design claims.

  65. Methodological naturalism breaks down at the origin of nature, ie the universe. That is because natural processes only exist in nature and therefor cannot account for its origin, which science says it had.

    Let DrREC choke on that…

  66. Joseph:

    Ever since Plato in the laws bk x.

  67. DrREC:

    And yes, Mung, I defend my definition of natural=constrained by natural laws; supernatural= transcending natural laws and unbound by them.

    What natural law constrains the natural laws you seem to have in mind? Or are they not themselves constrained by natural law? Are natural laws, according to your definition, supernatural?

  68. p.s. You don’t get to define natural by appealing to what is natural.

    That’s a logical fallacy. It means you’re being irrational.

  69. “Neil and DrREC,

    “Artificial” fits in perfectly well with what Intelligent Design claims.”

    Then why protest so loudly about methodological naturalism?

  70. kairosfocus and others appealing to Greenleaf, personal websites, abductive reasoning, and argument to best explanation-

    Citing a concept, or sending me off to a reference doesn’t make the argument.

    How does abductive reasoning solve the demon defense?
    How does Greenleaf address it?

    Why do you presume methodological naturalism sometimes, when it conveniences you?

  71. DrRec:
    We send a single astronaut to Mars,and lose contact, years later a team arrives and finds he’s been dead for years, with 500 knives in his back.
    There’s no evidence anyone else was ever present except the knives.
    Would you conclude that was a suicide?

  72. Chris Doyle-

    I was concerned with methodological naturalism, not ID per se. There probably are ways ID could adhere to methodological naturalism. And ID does claims to be a science, unless I’m mistaken.

    But oddly, I often find its proponents railing against methodological naturalism, in effect saying that we should include miracles as counter-hypotheses.

    Seems odd.

  73. “We send a single astronaut to Mars,and lose contact, years later a team arrives and finds he’s been dead for years, with 500 knives in his back.
    There’s no evidence anyone else was ever present except the knives.
    Would you conclude that was a suicide?”

    What would you conclude, and why would you abandon methodological naturalism at the onset?

    I would explore some options-
    1) He was arraying the knives to make a antenna, and fell backwards on them.
    2) He was not actually alone.
    3) He was killed by another human prior to leaving earth.

    But once you conclude the findings were due to a supernatural, unexplorable event, it limits further investigation.

    And how would the team proceed in this event. Would they radio back NASA, and say something supernatural occurred, or look for clues, collect data, and test methodologically natural hypotheses?

  74. But oddly, I often find its proponents railing against methodological naturalism, in effect saying that we should include miracles as counter-hypotheses.

    Still waiting for a coherent definition of methodological naturalism…

    Is it ok for us to rail against the irrational?

  75. 75
    Elizabeth Liddle

    It’s back to this null hypothesis thing.

    Posit a miracle as an alternate hypothesis, by all means.

  76. Posit a miracle as an alternate hypothesis, by all means.

    How would that make your position any less irrational?

  77. When you can’t be bothered to read explanatory material when directed to it, you don’t really want an explanation.

  78. DrRec

    you wrote:
    I would explore some options-
    1) He was arraying the knives to make a antenna, and fell backwards on them.
    2) He was not actually alone.
    3) He was killed by another human prior to leaving earth.

    the knives are clearly jabbed in, as my a murderer, all investigation has turned up no sign of another person, we had been in contact with him while on Mars, was not dead before leaving

  79. Dr Rec:

    Pardon, but you know full well that if I were to lay out the argument in details here, which I do not have the time to do just now, you and others would revert to the complaint against length.

    This is heads we win, tails you lose.

    Sorry, a case is laid out in summary, and serious sources are given on the merits, with reference resources to back it up.

    If you then refuse to address the matter on its merits but complain against those showing the outline and giving where details are to be found, then that says to me you are only trying to find objections and distractions.

    In which case, the already provided is more than enough to show to the onlookers what is going on in-thread, and to show to those who need it, where they can follow up in responsible details.

    Fundamentally, it is clear that a loaded switcheroo has been done, to substitute for the eminently empirically study-able issue of inference to credible cause on empirical signs across the generic patterns, chance and/or necessity and/or art, to go to a loaded language prejudicial censoring straight jacket, natural vs supernatural.

    So, to correct this rhetorical side track, we need to restore the central issue of inference to cause on empirically tested, reliable signs.

    There indisputably are highly reliable and generally recognised and used signs of design and/or of necessity and/or of chance, and science itself is demonstrably based on the logic of abduction, as is courtroom inquiry and as is historical inquiry, and as is arguably a good slice of worldviews analysis.

    So, we can reasonably approach the that tweredun case using recognised methods of inquiry.

    At least, so long as we do not beg worldview level questions at the outset, whether overtly as Lewontin did, or covertly by imposing a nice sounding criterion that smuggles in a priori materialism as a censoring control by the back door. As you can easily see, I documented that this is just what is being done, done by even top level science and science education institutions.

    If science is to preserve its integrity and credibility, such ideological censorship must be removed forthwith, maybe fifthwith.

    In terms of the question of science detecting he supernatural, I have pointed to the cosmological evidence and what it implies on logic: a necessary being at the root of our cosmos. I am not going to reproduce already written out fairly lengthy materials here, and I am not going to write the equivalent of textbook chapters, you have more than enough to see this already.

    It also turns out that the observed cosmos is credibly fine-tuned for C-chemistry cell based life in many ways, ranging from the chemical abundance of H, He, O, C, N etc onwards, to the requisites of getting to a cosmos such as we observe. With only slight shifts away from present values, the cosmos would be radically different and uninhabitable, i.e. it has the characteristics of a functionally specific complex, operating point set entity with organisation of finely balanced interacting parts towards a goal. If you doubt me — and your repeated snide references to “personal sites” amount to that [in the teeth of the fact that these pages are about evidence, serious citations of relevant authorities and inferences on evidence . . . i.e. it is in the end more reasonable to lay out the case once then point to it than to fill blog threads with hundreds of pages of detailed discussion over and over again], have an argument with Sir Fred Hoyle and many others.

    So, an inference to design as best explanation for the cosmos is reasonable and should be openly on the table, whether or not you are inclined to accept it. Just, do not play games and censor it.

    On reasoning in ways materially similar to how we do so in courtrooms to decide major and weighty matters with serious consequences, we can strongly argue that the link of a necessary being as causal root of our cosmos with a credibly designed cosmos, points to that necessary being being a cosmic architect. [And Greenleaf elegantly anticipated the sorts of issues we run into in reasoning on empirical evidence and in light of our fallibility, which is why I pointed you to him. If we are to be consistent in reasoning, courtroom praxis and the underlying principles set a benchmark for evaluating serious evidence in a tested context where serious matters are at stake.)

    Multiplying by the generally acknowledged fact that we have rights and the implication of the principle that my right implies your duty of respect for it, then we find ourselves under the moral government of ought. So, for those who take oughtness seriously, the only credible worldviews are going to be those that have in them a foundational is that can ground ought.

    Cutting to the chase scene, those views are views resting on a good Creator serving as cosmic architect. That is, a generic, ethical theism. Beyond this, many will go on to accept some one or other of the various ethical theistic traditions. That is of little concern here.

    What is, is that we have now moved from that tweredun, to whodunit, with a prime suspect now out to the jury with what looks like an open and shut case. And no surprises likely to toss the verdict overboard, as there is no serious question that the key SCIENTIFIC evidence pointing to design as a SCIENTIFIC inference on empirically reliable signs would be very hard indeed to account for on chance or accident. FYI, highly contingent outcomes are only credibly accounted for on chance or choice.

    Aned, FYI, if you now wish to inject a new standard of warrant for this case, proof beyond all dispute per deduciton form premises acceptable to all, this is selective hyperskepticism rooted in question begging.

    For the issue in all empirical investigations will be that there is always a way to construct some outlandish alternative that would sweep away all possibilities of reasoned scientific or forensic investigations. Like, we are all brains in vats dreaming that we share a common world, etc.

    The best reply to such is that hey would reduce our reasoning to utter delusion, and so we should not resort to such absent positive direct proof.

    Which of course proposers of such outlandish scenarios can never deliver.

    Notice, even in Plato’s cave, somebody was freed and saw the apparatus of confinement and deception, then was led out to the real world.

    Science is not about investigating the supernatural, but it is about investigating cause effect pattens on empirically reliable signs. Which may in certain cases, point beyond a world of cause and effect driven by chance circumstances, noise interference, and mechanical necessity.

    GEM of TKI

  80. Pardon, but you know full well that if I were to lay out the argument in details here, which I do not have the time to do just now, …

    And yet you do have time to write a 1,000 + word essay in response? Why not just lay out the argument and be done with it? If it takes more than 1,000 words, it’s probably a poor one.

  81. 81

    Dr at 36

    Similarly silly is ’caused by an agent” or “artificial” where the tools of New Caledonian crows, squirrel nests and slug slime trails (I kid you not, see your comrade Upright BiPed’s comment at 22 above) are not natural. Then nothing is. Tell a scientist studying slug slime trails or microbial biofilms they are not adhering to methodological naturalism, and prepare to hear the laugh of a lifetime.

    Tell a scientist that the slime trails appeared on their own, and be prepared to hear an equally robust laugh.

    Yet ask a materialist to demonstrate the rise of conscious experience from a computational network…and you’ll hear crickets.

  82. NormO:

    I have laid out the full argument at 101 college level with substantiating details and references as Dr Rec asks for by way of dismissing “personal web sites.”

    Once you go to that level, you are looking at 100+ pp equivalent.

    (Remember, this includes stuff like, what is the H-R diagram, how does stellar evolution fit into it, what is the observational evidence therefor; how does this relate to the big bang cosmological model, how does this onward fit into the issue of fine tuning of the cosmos. BTW, unsurprisingly given that most people know very little about astrophysics and cosmology and how such fit into origins science, this is a particularly popular page with viewers of the IOSE. Tell me what you think of the significance of figs G.3 a and b, relative to common views of the thinking about the world in the Middle Ages.)

    That is, you are looking at a short course reader; as should be familiar.

    And, I am fairly sure that a course reader of 100+ or so pp is not a bad argument because it takes up that length. And, my point was that it is better to write out the 100+ or so pp once and link it in sections than to write or clip and quote at length the substance thereof over and over again.

    In short, your argument is a clever but misleading dismissive quip.

    Please do not try that stunt again.

    Above, you see a summary focused on certain key issues relevant to this thread.

    Additional materials focus on abductive reasoning, and on issues of evidence, warrant and provisionality of human knowledge and decision on courses of action. (This last is the 3 pp intro from Greenleaf on evidence, and also the summary of 12 principles leading on to a discussion of building a worldview from first principles of right reason and first self evident truths like “error exists.”)

    Why don’t you respond to the above in light of the context of substantiating details from here on and the other linked resources, instead of making clever dismissive quips.

    Good evening,

    GEM of TKI

  83. Oh dear.

    I’ve been out of town for the weekend, and I’d expected a response by now.

    What is the answer to the demon defense? How do we dispose of it except by accepting methodological naturalism?

    And why is it we like our forensic scientists, or NTSB or FDA or NHSTA engineers or meteorologists or seismologists or judges and jurys to adhere to methodologically naturalistic explanations?

    I don’t see an answer to this.

    Why are we biologists in the hot seat?

    kairosfocus wants me to go read some links.

    I have. There is no direct answer therein. Further, persons who wish to engage in intelligent conversation have the ability to synthesize relevant information in providing a coherent argument. In science, years of work are condensed in a one paragraph abstract. What
    amazing response lies in 800 pages of a 1800′s text, and ” at 100+ pp equivalent” of links to kf’s webpages that cannot be condensed into a response here?

    The term for this is literature bluff.

    I would never defend evolution by telling someone to do their homework and read the entire scientific literature.

    I do not treat people on this website as children or errand boys to send scurrying off to read hundred year old texts, or “100+ pp equivalent” pages of web posts before engaging them in conversation.

    KF routinely post 1000′s of words here, so why can’t he give me a few sentences in answer.

    I feel I’m being over polite. It isn’t that I haven’t, or won’t read from your links-I just think they are a bluffing diversion that you think will dispose of me.

    Again, shame me and prove me wrong. Quote here the text that answers the demon defense.

  84. 84

    DrRec: “In science, years of work are condensed in a one paragraph abstract.”

    For the record, I gave my answer in a single sentence at 39, and 47, along with a fragment appearing at 42:

    Argument to best explanation.

    If the Demon ends up the best explanation, so be it.

  85. junkdnaforlife

    “Argument to best explanation.”

    This brackets the polar oposite to kairosfocus’s problem. Instead of 1000′s of words, I have four.

    I know what they mean, but an argument they do not make.

    Best in what sense?

    If I ask what “stands up best to tests,” and one hypothesis is untestable, then what?

    Does Pat Robertson’s theory that God caused hurricane Katrina win because I can’t test it?

  86. 86

    “Does Pat Robertson’s theory that God caused hurricane Katrina win.”

    No. As far as I know the argument to best explanation was the low pressure areas over the ocean.

  87. “No. As far as I know the argument to best explanation was the low pressure areas over the ocean.”

    By what criteria?

    Did you presume methodological naturalism?

    “The argument to best explanation” seems an oddly subjective dodge.

  88. 88

    DrRec:

    “Did you presume methodological naturalism?”

    There is no need to presume any methodological naturalist first premise, or any premise whatsoever to arrive at the argument to best explanation. I think that is the point I attempted to make in four words, and Kairosfocus illustrated in great detail in 3,000,000.

  89. DrREC:

    I would never defend evolution by telling someone to do their homework and read the entire scientific literature.

    I haven’t seen you defend evolution at all. Why is that?

    Perhaps what you meant to say was:

    “I would never defend evolution.”

  90. DrREC:
    Does Pat Robertson’s theory that God caused hurricane Katrina win because I can’t test it?

    How do you know you can’t test it?

    Do try not to beg the question.

  91. “I think that is the point I attempted to make in four words, and Kairosfocus illustrated in great detail in 3,000,000.”

    Goldilocks? Hehe. Is there a middle ground here.

    In your defense, you make as coherent a point in 4 words as Kairosfocus does in “3,000,000″ as you say.

    Nevertheless, neither of you answer the question.

    “Best explanation” is a weak post-hoc attempt to bolster the answer you’ve chosen with philosophy.

    Again, maybe in 50-100 words, tell me how you dispose of the demon defense, if not with defaulting to methodological naturalism.

  92. 92

    If you and I were detectives, investigating the same murders, whether or not I start with the demon as my number one suspect on every list, or the demon is the last suspect on my every list, (and you with no demon on any list), all things being equal between our skills as detectives and the evidence that we acquire, we will come to the same conclusion, by using argument to best explanation, in every instance. Except one. The event that the demon is actually responsible for the murder. In this event, I will be open to investigation, but you will double back. Moreover, nothing would stop me from doubling back as well, but you are hindered from moving foreword.

  93. Dr REC:

    I am sorry to have to be direct, but you are now being outright disrespectful.

    You have had your answer, several times, from several people, including myself, but want to go on making objections that in the end if accepted and taken to logical conclusions, would reduce our empirical knowledge base to irretrievable delusions. In short, your undetectable demonic defense — with all due apologies to Descartes — is little more than the brain in the vat absurdity; compounded by sheer chronological snobbery by a live donkey kicking the bones of a dead lion, here a key founder of the modern theory of evidence.

    Do you really want to imply that we should take the experienced world as deceptively delusional, in absence of specific evidence, even as Plato in his Parable of the Cave, made sure that he had his former captive SEE the cheat, before being led up out of the cave to the outer, non-manipulated world.

    As for Greenleaf whose work you wish to deride, you would do well to consider his strictures on the sort of selective hyperskepticism tactics you are playing at, from the first three pages of vol I of The Treatise on Evidence you have refused to read, on how:

    None but mathematical truth is susceptible of that
    high degree of evidence, called demonstration, which excludes
    all possibility of error, and which, therefore, may reasonably
    be required in support of every mathematical deduction.
    Matters of fact are proved by moral evidence alone ; by | which is meant, not only that kind of evidence which is employed on subjects connected with moral conduct, but all the evidence which is not obtained either from intuition, or from demonstration.

    In the ordinary affairs of life, we do not require demonstrative evidence, because it is not con-
    sistent with the nature of the subject, and to insist upon it
    would be unreasonable and absurd.

    The most that can be
    affirmed of such things, is, that there is no reasonable doubt
    concerning them.^ The true question, therefore, in trials of
    fact, is not whether it is possible that the testimony may be
    false, but, whether there is sufficient probability of [--> i.e. epistemic warrant for] its truth; that is, whether the facts are shown by competent and sat-
    isfactory evidence. Things established by competent and
    satisfactory evidence are said to be proved.

    § 2. By competent evidence, is meant that which the very-
    nature of the thing to be proved requires, as the fit and
    appropriate proof in the particular case, such as the produc-
    tion of a writing, where its contents are the subject of
    inquiry. By satisfactory evidence, which is sometimes called sufficient evidence, is intended that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond reason-
    able doubt.
    The circumstances which will amount to this degree of proof can never be previously defined; the only legal test of which they are susceptible, is their sufficiency to satisfy the mind and conscience of a common man ; and so to convince him, that he would venture to act upon that
    conviction, in matters of the highest concern and importance
    to his own interest.^

    If this is not directly relevant and if it is not a satisfactory answer to a fair minded and serious inquirer, then nothing is. I find it an eloquent summary of the challenge of adequate warrant, by one who has pondered long and well.

    In such a light, absent positive evidence that warrants a “demonic” explanation as a live option, it is not a reasonable consideration at the table of comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power.

    And if you now wish to try to project Lewontin and Sagan’s blunder about the alleged irrational demon haunted world, the problem you have is that in design thought we operate at two levels and are inferring on tested and known reliable SIGNS to a known, observed causal process that is a best explanation, design. And, in the case already pointed out, cosmological evidence of design of a fine tuned cosmos suited to C chemistry cell based life, points to a necessary being, with intelligence knowledge and power to create a cosmos.

    In that context, origin of life based on complex functionally specific information systems, and of body plans based on great elaboration of same, puts design by one and the same power right on the centre of the table as the candidate to beat, absent the sort of a priori materialist censorship Lewontin et al indulged.

    Going further, you will see that Greenleaf highlights that in the courtroom setting — as a paradigm of factually anchored warrant — the issue is to establish on preponderance of evidence or to reasonable warrant on competent and satisfactory evidence that a certain conclusion is the best. Not the one that is and must be so beyond all possible doubt, but beyond reasonable doubt.

    In any number of serious affairs, that is how you operate and that is how sane people operate.

    To see a Lewontin and ilk suddenly pretend and insist on a novel and extreme standard because you do not like where the evidence on the balance of the merits points across alternatives, and then beg worldview level questions, once exposed, is its own rebuke.

    GEM of TKI

  94. PS: To top off, we can observe that to reach his level in whatever discipline he is in Dr REC has had to do many courses, so he is very familiar with the amount of reading that a typical course requires; typically 300 or so pp [about 200 -300,000 words]. For just one instance, can someone above point out where any objector has addressed the little challenge on the HR diagram and its connexions, or on the implication of the C13 medieval cartoon of men walking around a round earth to the antipodes? What does this tell us about the C19 rationalist myths on the so called dark ages?

  95. So that is a no on a direct answer? More quotes and more chapters of your online courses?

    Absurd.

  96. Dr REC:

    At this point, you have your answer, step by step [including for several onward rhetorical tacks], both from the undersigned and from several others, but refuse to acknowledge it.

    I will give just one clip from my overnight response, which should be understood in context:

    absent positive evidence that warrants a “demonic” explanation [in context, of a hypothetical murder and framing of the actually innocent, and onward context, Sagan's terms of a "demon-haunted world" as discussed by Lewontin] as a live option, it is not a reasonable consideration at the table of comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power.

    The onward context takes up the wider issue, on artificially constructed delusional world scenarios, and where the relevant positive evidence lies. Greenleaf as quoted from the three pages you have refused to take two or three minutes to read, highlights the limitations and practical basis for adequately establishing empirical facts as the cornerstone of a credible view of the world and of events in it.

    Good day

    GEM of TKI

  97. F/N: remember too, dear onlookers, the reason for my choice of making the primary case in what is in effect a draft course reader. We are dealing with a complex system of thought, one built up and institutionalised over generations, and which purports to be the definitive account of origins and reality. It has to be addressed at least as a reasonable survey across its width and roots. For instance, after some preliminaries on the roots of key idea alternatives, that is why I begin with the stellar and cosmological issues [origins science done right], and it is why I expose the C19 rationalist myths about the imagined dark age just before the alleged dawn of the “rebirth.” Educated people in our civilisation since about 300 BC have known that the earth is round [Ari noted on the shadow the earth casts on the moon in a lunar eclipse: what solid ALWAYS casts a round shadow?], and that it has a size of about 50 times the distance from Alexandria to Syene. Indeed that was one of the objections to Columbus: his number was wrong. But he did have some evidence of something out there, not least near enough that bodies in boats could wash up in Ireland, IIRC.

Leave a Reply