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The “Skeptical” Zone, Where You Can Be Skeptical of Anything (Except Currently Fashionable Intellectual Dogmas)

For those of you who do not know, some months ago Elizabeth Liddle started the website known as The Skeptical Zone (TSZ). The site has a sort of symbiotic relationship with UD, because many, if not most, of the posts there key off our posts here.

Not only does TSZ have a name that invokes a skeptical turn of mind, it also has a motto apparently intended to bolster that attitude: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.” The motto is taken from Oliver Cromwell’s August 5, 1650 letter to the synod of the Church of Scotland urging them to break their alliance with royalist forces.

Now with a name and a motto like that, one might think the site is home to iconoclastic non-conformists bent on disrupting the status quo. But you would be wrong. I just finished pursuing the articles that have been posted at TSZ during the last six months. Among the regular posters there I found not a single article that even mildly criticized (far less expressed skepticism toward) a single dogma one would expect to be held by the denizens of the faculty lounge at a typical university.

Atheism. It’s true

Neo-Darwinian Synthesis. Fact beyond the slightest doubt

Philosophical materialism. Check

It seems that the regular posters at TSZ are skeptical of everything but the received wisdom, accepted conventions and cherished dogmas of the academic left. Perhaps they should change the name of the site ever so slightly to The “Skeptical” Zone. The irony quotes would make the name more honest.

Here’s a clue to the TSZ posters: If you want to be a real skeptic, perhaps you should challenge the beliefs of the secular elite that dominate our universities instead of marching in lockstep with them. The true skeptics of the early twenty-first century are those willing to take on the dogmas of the academic elite, people like Bill Dembski, Michael Behe, and Jonathan Wells.

The posters at The Skeptical Zone are skeptical alright.  They are skeptical of skeptics.  As for their motto, they certainly think it is possible that someone might be mistaken – anyone who disagrees with them or questions their deeply held beliefs.

Why don’t the posters at TSZ see the glaringly obvious irony of their enterprise? I was thinking about this question when I ran across a post by Matt Emerson over at FT. Emerson writes about how the dogmas of secularism act as a type of “revelation” that boxes in thinking in a way secularist thinkers probably don’t even perceive at a conscious level.  Emerson writes:

Even among those who declare no connection with God, reason operates under what amounts to a kind of revelation. These skeptics don’t conceive of revelation in the same way that I do as a Catholic, but for many, the ultimate source of an epistemological “guide” does not matter: Certain perceived facts, or certain foundational positions, hold the same thetical value for them as the Bible does for many Christians. For these men and women, as for the medievals, it might be technically possible to reason “outside” these givens, but why would they? To ask them to reason as if those givens were not true would be akin to asking a Christian to reason apart from the Incarnation. It just doesn’t make any sense.

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333 Responses to The “Skeptical” Zone, Where You Can Be Skeptical of Anything (Except Currently Fashionable Intellectual Dogmas)

  1. No surprise here, unfortunately. Most so-called skeptics lack the courage and the vision to question all paradigms and would rather retreat into their comfort zones of hypocrisy.

  2. People who are not skeptical of materialism and evolutionism, cannot be called skeptics. Hypocrites, yes, but not skeptics.

  3. Not bright enough in choosing their assumptions to be hypocrites, Joe. They’re all at sea. In a primordial soup.

  4. The ID movement is a big tent and all are welcome. Even agnostics and atheists are not in principle excluded provided they can adopt this open attitude of mind. In practice, however, agnostics and atheists have their minds made up. Agnostics know that nothing is knowable about a transcendent reality. And atheists know that no transcendent reality exists, so again nothing is knowable about it. Accordingly, agnostics and atheists tend not to join the ID movement. Johnson is a radical skeptic, insisting, in the best Socratic tradition, that everything be put on the table for examination. By contrast, most skeptics opposed to him are selective skeptics, applying their skepticism to the things they dislike (notably religion) and refusing to apply their skepticism to the things they do like (notably Darwinism). On two occasions I’ve urged Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, to put me on its editorial board as the resident skeptic of Darwinism. Though Shermer and I know each other and are quite friendly, he never got back to me about joining his editorial board.

    ~ William Dembski

  5. Hypocrites and liars:

    Despite the fact I’ve got Joe, only today, to basically say that ID is totally unsupported…

    ID is supported by the evidence and our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    OM is confused as evolutionism is totally unsupported.

    It must make them feel big to lie about theior position and their opponent’s position.

  6. More cluelessness:

    Never wonder why ID seems to be built on what Darwinism can’t do Barry?

    It isn’t. Eliminating necessity and chance are mandated by science.

    Never wonder why people like Joe are among the most vocal proponents of ID?

    So Behe, Meyer, Wells, Johnson and millions of others have nothing to say?

    Never wonder why unguided evolution is unsupported and unsupportable?

  7. As of June 2012 there are 318,926 scientific papers in PubMed that mention ‘evolution’.

    And not one for unguided nor blind watchmaker evolution. Your continued cowardly equivocation is duly noted.


  8. So Behe, Meyer, Wells, Johnson and millions of others have nothing to say?

    No, they’ve said their piece. And can continue to speak if the like. As is their right.

    It’s just that what they are saying is not really convincing anybody.

    Yet there are more people that accept ID than accept evolutionism. Many more.

    So what I’m saying is that ID is done.

    It’s just getting started. Evolutionism is done, and has been.


    ID is supported by the evidence and our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

    Presumably this is “evidence” used in the same way that “design” is a “mechanism”?

    Could be but then again you don’t know anything about evidence. You don’t know anything about science and you don’t know anything about ID.

    So perhaps you should start by getting an education- something beyond first grade.

  9. The problem for you Joe is that if you asked the authors of those 318,926 papers if they were talking about some “Intelligent Design” version of evolution they say no, of course not. If they were, they’d have mentioned it.

    They didn’t mention unguided evolution. So they must not have been talking about it.

    Evolutionism is not a productive anything. It can’t even muster a testable hypothsis.

    IOW you are a cowardly equivocator.

  10. If the best that ID has is the fact that papers on pubmed that mention evolution don’t have a disclaimer on them that explains that, yes, they are in fact talking about “unguided blind watchmaker evolution” then those papers do not support evolution then ID is even more broken then I’d guessed.

    No, YOU are broken. The fact remains taht unguided evolution can’t even muster a testable hypothesis.

    ID is supported in peer-review. ATP synthase is evidence for ID and written about in peer-review. The genetic code is evidence for ID and written about in peer-review.

    Howevber there isn’t anything in peer-review which tells us 1- how to determine if evolution is unguided nor 2- any testable hypothsis for unguided evolution.

    And OM’s cowardly refusal to post said hypothsis is very telling.

  11. Perhaps you remember a little bit of history where “ID” has been the default position for most of human history?

    Was it? If it was it is because materialism was tried and failed. And it still fails- well it can’t even be tested to fail, that is how bad it is.

  12. Among the regular posters there I found not a single article that even mildly criticized (far less expressed skepticism toward) a single dogma one would expect to be held by the vast majority of the denizens of the faculty lounge at a typical university.

    You, too, can sign up there. And if you do, you will probably be given authorship rights. You will be able to start such an discussion yourself.

    Atheism. It’s true

    “Atheism” is not even a proposition. It makes no sense to say that it is true or to say that it is false. Personally, I disagree with a lot of things that some atheists say, and I have expressed that disagreement in comments on Jerry Coyne’s blog.

    Neo-Darwinian Synthesis. Fact beyond the slightest doubt

    The neo-Darwinian synthesis is a scientific theory. My personal view is that scientific theories should be seen as guides to research, rather than as propositions. They should be seen as neither true nor false, but as useful.

    Some time ago, I started a thread at evcforum.net, where I dissented from neo-Darwinism (but not from evolution).

    At TSZ, I made a comment that I had some support for the ideas of James Shapiro, and his intelligence of the cell. Elizabeth Liddle, the owner of TSZ, responded that she had a similar view. The views of people at TSZ are not nearly as monolithic as you presume them to be.

    Philosophical materialism. Check

    There’s a post on my own blog, on Why I am not a materialist.

    So come on over, and start the kind of skeptical topic that you would like to see. Perhaps you will be surprised at the diversity of opinion.

  13. Perhaps you could support your claims by simply
    A) Linking to real paper that shows how ATP is evidence for ID.
    B) Linking to a real paper that shows how the genetic code is evidence for ID.

    Both fit the criteria I posted, duh. That is abput as simple as it gets. Unfortunately OM is much more simple than that.

  14. NR:

    The neo-Darwinian synthesis is a scientific theory.

    Just your say-so doesn’t make it so, Neil. Can you link to it? No.

  15. And yet almost every scientist in the world, knowing this, still refuses to believe in anything like Intelligent Design.

    And yet they still cannpot provide any evidence for anything else! What does that tell you?

    Newton- IDist

    Pasteur- IDist

    Einstein- IDist

  16. Neil @12:

    We may disagree on a lot of things, but I appreciate your measured and professional approach @12.

  17. 17

    Neil,

    Thank you for your response @12.

    I can base my conclusions only on what I read. If there is a post on the TSZ in the last six months that expresses even the slightest misgiving (far less outright skepticism) toward ANY idea currently fashionable in the academy, I missed it. Kindly point it out to me.

    The fact that you might have expressed dissent on other forums or that you personally disagree with, say, Jerry Coyne on some issues does not bear on my conclusion, which was about the content of the posts at TSZ. I was not talking about your personal views (except to the extent they were expresssed in posts at TSZ in the last six months)

    The fact that you are able to point to only a single comment (not a post, but a comment in some combox, which, I note, you did not link to) in all of the history of TSZ only supports my conclusion.

  18. The fact that you might have expressed dissent on other forums or that you personally disagree with, say, Jerry Coyne on some issues does not bear on my conclusion, which was about the content of the posts at TSZ.

    People start topics on what they are interested in discussing. I can only repeat my invitation for you to join, and start a topic on what you are interested in discussing.


  19. Newton- IDist

    Pasteur- IDist

    Einstein- IDist

    It seems to me, Joe, that you are conflating “ID” with “Jesus” now.

    Strange, it doesn’t seem that way to me.

    Did Einstein say relativity was based on Jesus? Did Newton say any of his claims were based on Jesus? How about Pasteur?

    And again, ole ignorant one, ID is OK with God being the designer. It is OK with people believing God is the designer. ID does not require that the designer be God.

    How many times do you have to be told the basics only to have to screw them all up the next time you have diarrhea posts?

  20. @Neil

    I also appreciate the professional tone.

    I am a skeptic regarding what evolution can actually accomplish. In keeping with your demonstrated patience, I’d be grateful if you would give serious consideration to something that keeps tripping me up.

    I’ve often thought of natural selection as the heuristic to random mutations’ exhaustive search.

    A path-finding algorithm can be aided in finding a path from point A to point B by using distance to B as a heuristic to narrow the search space. Without a heuristic, you are left to blind chance.

    It is said that evolution has no purpose or goal, so there is no point B. It is also claimed that evolution isn’t simply the result of blind chance, so a heuristic would seem to be required. Somehow, natural selection is supposed to address both of these concerns. Nature selects for fitness, we are told, so somehow we have a heuristic even without a point B.

    But what is fitness? How does it work as a heuristic? How is it defined? Evidently, it is all about reproductive success. But how does one measure reproductive success?

    This is where things get fuzzy for me. Surely evolution is a story about the rise of more and more complex organisms. Isn’t this how the tree of life is laid out? Surely it is the complexity of highly developed organisms that evolution seeks to explain. Surely Mt. Improbable has man near its peak and bacteria near its base. But by what metric is man more successful at reproducing than bacteria?

    If I am a sponge somewhere between the two extremes, how is a step toward bacteria any less of a point B for me than a step toward man? Why should the fitness heuristic prefer a step upward in complexity toward man in any way whatsoever over a step downward in complexity toward bacteria?

    It seems that, under the more obvious metrics for calculating reproductive success, bacteria are hard to beat. Even more, a rise in complexity, if anything, would appear to lead to less reproductive success and not more.

    So how can natural selection be any sort of heuristic for helping us climb Mt Improbable’s complexity when every simpler organism at the base of the mountain is at least as fit in passing on its genes as the more complex organisms near it’s peak? And without this heuristic, how are we not back to a blind, exhaustive search?

  21. Neil Rickert:

    I am not a materialist, because materialism is a metaphysical position, and I don’t do metaphysics. As best I can tell, metaphysics is impossible. The only method available for doing metaphysics appears to be making stuff up, and one should distrust what is made up.

    One cannot avoid metaphysics Neil. Your words are meaningless without a metaphysical context.

  22. One cannot avoid metaphysics Neil. Your words are meaningless without a metaphysical context.

    We are bound to disagree about that. I do not see anything metaphysical about meaning.

  23. Responding to Phinehas (#20):

    You ask some good questions. They demonstrate that the way you look at evolution is very different from the way that I look at it.

    I’m interested in discussing those issues, but not here. I don’t like taking a thread way off-topic for that, and a discussion will probably take a number of posts.

    My suggestion would be for me to start a thread at TSZ, quoting you. You can join up there, and we can discuss it there. And you can also see how other folk respond.

    An alternative would be for somebody to start a thread here, based primarily on your comment. In that case I’ll discuss it here and I suspect folk at TSZ might join a parallel discussion there if they are interested.

    Over.

  24. Holy Darwin batman- it’s robin:

    Of course, skepticism would never apply to evolutionary theory right now anyway. The very reasons that evolution is even considered a theory automatically remove it from being an object of skepticism.

    Right- dogma. Pure and simple.

    Can someone please provide a link or a valid reference to this alleged evolutionary theory? You know, peer-reviewed journal’s name, volume, date, pages, author(s)- that sort of stuff required of scientific theories.

  25. 25

    Neil @ 23. They are good questions aren’t they. I will start a thread here.

  26. One thread you won’t see over on TSZ, positive evidence for unguided evolution. That includes providing a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution.

    And I am sure that UD has had threads with positive evidence for ID AND with ID methodology. All the TSZ can say is “Uh-uh”.

  27. Atheists use the term “skeptic” in the same Orwellian fashion that they use the term “free-thinker.” In both cases it really means the opposite of what an unsuspecting bystander might think.

  28. 28

    I am TEC and have posted my share on TSZ. its a reasonable and fair forum.
    The thing for all forums is the need for more traffic.
    I never understand why these subjects which can generate heat, even amongst regular people, don’t have more traffic.
    I guess people who put their minds to these things really are the chosen few.
    People lose confidence upon confrontation.
    I’ve been banned for NO good reason on evolutionist forums and some Christian ones over the years.
    They all need to lighten up and not imagine they are holding back historical forces.
    People need to be smarter and kinder when telling other serious thinkers they are WRONG!
    Somebody’s wrong and going to be broken hearted as investigation of origins will in time reveal the errors.
    creationists being right means we need to be more gentle with the weaker folks.
    I truly feel sorry for evolutionists serious researchers/thinkers as they are coming into a embarrassing fll in our time.
    Especially once ID well degree-ed people added to the YEC old resistance.
    Indeed forums like these , thanks to the internet,must be speeding up the end of the story.

  29. Dick:

    Atheists use the term “skeptic” in the same Orwellian fashion that they use the term “free-thinker.” In both cases it really means the opposite of what an unsuspecting bystander might think.

    The Princess Bride-Inigo Montoya to Vizzini:

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    :)

  30. 30

    Neil,

    Here at UD, I had a six-month long conversation with Elizabeth Liddle regarding the semiotic state of protein synthesis. She claimed to be able to write a simulation demonstrating the rise of information from stochastic processes, and when she was forced to recant that claim, she then kicked off The Skeptical Zone with her initial thread based on the conversation we had been having. It could not possibly have gone un-noticed. To date, there are no less than six threads on TSZ regarding the evidence of genetic semiosis. Based on a specific premise (that it is impossible to transfer recorded information into an effect without using the matter/energy in the universe as a medium), I argued for four material conditions that flow from that premise. The conclusion of the argument was that a semiotic state observationally exist, and therefore the rise of information in the genome will require a mechanism capable of establishing that semiotic state.

    Beyond the time spent here with Dr Liddle, I also spent two and a half additional months at TSZ arguing the same evidence. During that entire time I did not notice a single point of diversity of opinion. You were active on both blogs at different points during that time period. Since you are here asking for traffic to The Skeptical Zone based on its diversity of opinion, would you mind clarifying your position? Can you demonstrate a flaw in either the material evidence presented, or the rationale?

  31. Barry is right.

    I’ve always found TSZ’s subtitle, that overwrought ‘I BESEECH from the BOWELS of CHRIST’ gimmick, entirely hypocritical. Or at least, deceptive. They beseech you – please, please! – consider that you may be wrong.

    You. As in, not them. THEY are quite certain they are right, thank you very much, and won’t be changing their views anytime soon. But please, PLEASE change YOUR views.

    Contra Neil – who is, at the very least, rather unique in his perspective – I don’t think the fact that they’re willing to let people who disagree with them comment there really does much to show Barry is wrong. They view it either as an opportunity to collectively go on the attack or, if they don’t manage to sufficiently harm the view they’re attacking, obfuscate. At least if it’s a theistic, non-materialist position.

    I don’t talk about them much – I don’t think they’re worth the bother or attention, considering how many of them are swampers. But seeing this, I had to weigh in for a moment.

  32. I am TEC and have posted my share on TSZ. its a reasonable and fair forum.

    Whats “TEC”, Robert?

    What drives me is the conviction that there is a fundamental right to free expression and any limits on those rights are worthy of the deepest scepticism. But the counterbalance is that if you make a factual claim in a public forum (false advertiusing claims would be a good example; I would like that to extend to false religious claims too ;) ) you should be able to support it and be challenged on it.

    Hence the criticism of selective moderation as a tool to massage comment content.

  33. I had to weigh in for a moment.

    And we appreciate that!

    Missing Telic Thoughts already?

  34. The posters at The Skeptical Zone are skeptical alright. They are skeptical of skeptics. As for their motto, they certainly think it is possible that someone might be mistaken – anyone who disagrees with them or questions their deeply held beliefs.

    Pardon, I meant to quote this earlier but left it out.

    Pretty much the most accurate, concise summary of TSZ. That’s not to say it’s a problem specific to the Holy Followers of Darwin and the Cult of Gnu, but it’s worth pointing out when it shows up.

  35. Mr. Fox you state:

    What drives me is the conviction that there is a fundamental right to free expression and any limits on those rights are worthy of the deepest scepticism.

    And then why in blue blazes are you not up in arms about Darwinian gestapo tactics to silence dissent from their atheistic viewpoint?

    EXPELLED – Starring Ben Stein – Part 1 of 10 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIZAAh_6OXg

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller

    Origins – Slaughter of the Dissidents with Dr. Jerry Bergman – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6rzaM_BxBk

    neo-Darwinists have a legal history of trying to suppress free speech in America through the court:

    On the Fundamental Difference Between Darwin-Inspired and Intelligent Design-Inspired Lawsuits – September 2011
    Excerpt:
    Darwin lobby litigation: In every Darwin-inspired case listed above, the Darwin lobby sought to shut down free speech, stopping people from talking about non-evolutionary views, and seeking to restrict freedom of intellectual inquiry.

    ID movement litigation: Seeks to expand intellectual inquiry and free speech rights to talk about non-evolutionary views.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50451.html

    Ironically:

    Intelligent Design Supporter Expelled from Civil Liberties Organization – podcast – January 2013
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_00-08_00

    As well,,

    “In the last few years I have seen a saddening progression at several institutions. I have witnessed unfair treatment upon scientists that do not accept macroevolutionary arguments and for their having signed the above-referenced statement regarding the examination of Darwinism. (Dissent from Darwinism list)(I will comment no further regarding the specifics of the actions taken upon the skeptics; I love and honor my colleagues too much for that.) I never thought that science would have evolved like this. I deeply value the academy; teaching, professing and research in the university are my privileges and joys… ”
    Professor James M. Tour – one of the ten most cited chemists in the world
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

    Scientific Dissent From Darwinism List
    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/

    Academic Freedom Under Fire — Again! – October 2010
    Excerpt: All Dr. Avital wanted to do was expose students to some of the weaknesses inherent in Darwin’s theory. Surely there’s no harm in that — or so one would think. But, of course, to the Darwinian faithful, such weaknesses apparently do not exist.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38911.html

    Here Dr. Behe relates how the president of the National Academy of Sciences sought to ostracize him for supporting Intelligent Design:

    TEDxLehighU – Michael Behe – Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCP9UDFNHlo

    Darwin’s diabolical delusions – Ellis Washington – September 2011
    Excerpt: Tragically, for over 150 years since the publication of Darwin’s diabolical, anti-scientific book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,” nonpartisan science, truth, logic and deductive reasoning have been ruthlessly suppressed and replaced with state-funded Darwinist propaganda, groupthink, education atheism, liberal fascism and Machiavellian tactics as demonstrated in the Sewell case representing the ongoing battles between the Darwin Gestapo and Intelligent Design scientists.
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?f.....eId=343445

  36. Lizzie sez:

    Right now there is a preponderance of people who take issue with the claims of ID (not surprisingly, as I do myself, and it is my blog),

    And yet not one of you can come up with a viable (testable) alternative.

    And no one has ever linked to porn on your site. Never

  37. Lizzie sez:

    It’s porn by the standards of this website.

    Your website’s employs double-standards, and standards that the rest of the world doesn’t use.

    It doesn’t fit the definition of porn, Lizzie. Your opinion means nothing.

    Now go back to thinking DNA is a self-replicator. Nothing like exposing your ignorance to prove MY point.

  38. To the septic zone ilk-

    Your childish antics and opinions mean nothing. If you think I posted a link to pornography then make your case.

    Cite the definition of pornography and then show how that picture meets the definition. I dare you to try.

    Or shut up.

  39. Yup, childish and ignorant:

    If what you posted was not pornography then it won’t offend anybody if you post that same link at UD.

    So only porn offends people? What are you a total moron?

    Ya see people, this is what happens when losers can’t make their case.

  40. Actually Joe, I don’t have the link anymore.

    Neither do I.

  41. Mr. Fox you also state:

    But the counterbalance is that if you make a factual claim in a public forum (false advertiusing claims would be a good example; I would like that to extend to false religious claims too ;) ) you should be able to support it and be challenged on it.

    Okie Dokie Mr. Fox, I challenge you to please support your ‘religious’ claim that the universe is materialistic/naturalistic.

    Why Quantum Theory Does Not Support Materialism – Bruce Gordon PhD.
    Excerpt: Materialism (or physicalism or naturalism) is the view that the sum and substance of everything that exists is exhausted by physical objects and processes and whatever supervenes causally upon them. The resources available to the materialist for providing an explanation of how the universe works are therefore restricted to material objects, causes, events and processes. Because quantum theory is thought to provide the bedrock for our scientific understanding of physical reality, it is to this theory that the materialist inevitably appeals in support of his worldview. But having fled to science in search of a safe haven for his doctrines, the materialist instead finds that quantum theory in fact dissolves and defeats his materialist understanding of the world.
    http://www.4truth.net/fourtrut.....8589952939

    Here is my evidence supporting the ‘religious’ claim that the universe is Theistic:

    Due to advances in Quantum Mechanics the argument for God from consciousness, instead of relying mostly on philosophical arguments (Nagel etc..),,,

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    The argument for God from consciousness can now be, empirically, framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    “The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”
    Charles Darwin to Doedes, N. D. – Letter – 2 Apr 1873

    Footnote:

    Here’s a recent variation of Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment, which highlights the ability of the conscious observer to effect ‘spooky action into the past’, thus further solidifying consciousness’s centrality in reality. Furthermore in the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that present conscious choices effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?,,, Since our free will choices figure so prominently in how reality is actually found to be constructed in our understanding of quantum mechanics (to the point of demarcating ‘randomness’ from consciousness; Quantum Zeno Effect),, I think a Christian perspective on just how important our free will choices are in this temporal life, in regards to our eternal destiny, is very fitting:

    Is God Good? (Free will and the problem of evil) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfd_1UAjeIA

    G.O.S.P.E.L. Poetry Slam; To The Point Propitiation – video
    http://vimeo.com/20960385

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    video – former militant atheist Howard Storm continues to share his gripping story of his own near death experience. Today, he picks up just as Jesus was rescuing him from the horrors of Hell and carrying him into the glories of Heaven.
    http://www.daystar.com/ondeman.....KvFrYYsE31

    Music and verse:

    Nichole Nordeman – “What If (You’re Wrong?)”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUGQFH03apc

    Matthew 7:13-14
    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

  42. OM must stand for “other mouth” for that is what it speaks from.

    No wonder it stinks when it posts…

  43. other mouth:

    What possible reason could you have for not posting such an image at UD?

    1- I don’t have any reason to post it

    2- I don’t have the link

    But nice to see that you are still a belligerent wanker…

  44. A moment ago I thought it was not porn…

    See, even you think it isn’t porn.

  45. Find a similar image, and post that.

    Go 4 it then. Make your case, coward.

  46. OM I posted it and made my case on my blog.

    So stuff it, loser.

  47. It’s your claim that TSZ has double standards.

    And I have supported it. Don’t blame me for your ignorance.

  48. Then be so kind as to link to that in a comment at UD, as I can’t see any such post.

    You can search my blog. You do know how to do that, right?

  49. Other Mouth-

    What is plain for everyone to see is taht YOU cannot make your case.

    I will not help you make your case- I can play that game too, moron.

  50. Other Mouth:

    What are the search terms Joe?

    Well, if you are too stupid to figure that out then you are too stupid to discuss anything.

    Good luck wallowing in your ignorance…

  51. Other Mouth:

    What case?

    You said I posted porn. Make your case.

    Or shut up. However it is given that you will do neither.

  52. Dizzie Ms Lizzie:

    I honestly couldn’t care less about Joe’s link except for a) the fact that I don’t want NSFW links on this blog (not fair on other posters) and b) the fact that he is lying about why he was banned.

    No, Lizzie, YOU are lying. And it is very telling that you cannot make a case for my linking to pornography.

    I say I was banned because you chumps are a bunch of losers who couldn’t stand being exposed.

  53. 53

    Most atheists in general claim that they love science but when scientific evidence goes against their worldview positions they suddenly become allergic to science.
    Case in point was when I went into a forum and discussed the shroud of turin . I made my points mostly from the peer reviewed research on the shroud and when they had no response from peer reviewed research to support their skepticism on the shrouds authenticity, they threw science and rationality away and started rediculing it as a dirty old rag.

    All I can say is I’m very thankfull for sites like UD, sites like this are where the true skeptics hang out. Thanks to sites like this I no longer believe in evolution.

  54. That pain in the back that you may feel? It’s just Kant. Nat. backstabbing us over on TSZ:

    It’s central to the ideological glue that holds together “the ID movement” that the following are all conflated:Darwin’s theories; neo-Darwinism; modern evolutionary theory; Epicurean materialistic metaphysics; Enlightenment-inspired secularism. (Maybe I’m missing one or two pieces of the puzzle.) In my judgment, a mind incapable of making the requisite distinctions hardly deserves to be taken seriously.

    And fools that make false accusations hardly deserve to be taken seriously.

    It seems that TSZ is a haven for fools who can only make false accusations. Birds of a feather type of thing…

  55. 55
    William J Murray

    One wonders what “conflated” even means when used by those that deny the necessary and universal validity of the LNC.

  56. Phil asks:

    And then why in blue blazes are you not up in arms about Darwinian gestapo tactics to silence dissent from their atheistic viewpoint?

    Don’t accept your premise, Phil. If there were some ID science and it proved useful and correct, it would be embraced. What gets rejected is pseudo-science. And the issue was that ID proponents wanted to inveigle some of this pseudo-science into school science classes. That had nothing to do with freedom of expression and falls also into the category of false advertising (my version).

    Okie Dokie Mr. Fox, I challenge you to please support your ‘religious’ claim that the universe is materialistic/naturalistic.

    I don’t see why you expect me to support a claim I haven’t made. My null hypothesis is that in the space and time occupied by this universe, the properties of matter and energy are fixed, continuous and consistent. I can’t prove it (though it is confirmed by all scientific observations and measurements so far) but it should be disprovable by demonstrating evidence of discontinuities such as miracles and interventions by the “Intelligent Designer”.

  57. Joe @54:

    I’m quite disappointed if KN actually said that. I have typically found his comments to be measured and reasonable (at least when he is posting here — I don’t know what happens elsewhere).

    It is true that some people (on both sides of the debate) conflate evolutionary theory with materialism. We’ve discussed this before on UD and I have clearly stated that they are separate (which is what KN also thinks). Further, the leading proponents of intelligent design understand the distinction and have made that clear. It is true, of course, that there are metaphysical implications flowing from both design and non-design theories. But those are separate from the theories themselves.

    Therefore, it is clearly false that conflation of concepts is “central to the ideological glue” of ID or some ID movement. Indeed, keeping them separate is one of the things that allows a broader participation under the umbrella of ID.

    I agree there are some commenters on UD who are less careful with the distinction — partly due to the nature of quick blog comments; partly due to not carefully thinking through the issues; partly due to the fact that the word “evolution” is notoriously slippery and has many meanings (including, by the way, a purely materialistic underpinning in some cases). But those individual failings are not a reflection of any “central glue” of ID any more than the common materialist cheerleading for Darwinism is an accurate description of evolutionary theory.

    So I hope KN will rephrase his comment.

  58. AF @56:

    . . . but it should be disprovable by demonstrating evidence of discontinuities such as miracles and interventions by the “Intelligent Designer”.

    You mean interventions like the rise of exquisite biological systems operating on the basis of complex functional specified information? :)

  59. One wonders what “conflated” even means when used by those that deny the necessary and universal validity of the LNC.

    Regarding the LNC and whether a thing can exist and not exist at the same time, when you try and apply this to reality and the space and time of the current universe, where there is conservation of the total of mass and energy, it becomes meaningless. You cannot destroy “a thing”, merely alter its constituent particles and energy into another arrangement. Moreover a “non-existent thing” is an oxymoron. Things always exist. How can a thing be “non-existent”. With reification, I guess!

  60. AF @59:

    So it sounds like you agree that a thing cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. Sounds right.

  61. So it sounds like you agree that a thing cannot both exist and not exist at the same time. Sounds right.

    Well, not really. At the moment, I am suggesting that a non-existent thing is a meaningless concept. To be a thing, it must exist. The statement “this thing does not exist” is incoherent.

  62. Alan

    Regarding the LNC and whether a thing can exist and not exist at the same time, when you try and apply this to reality and the space and time of the current universe, where there is conservation of the total of mass and energy, it becomes meaningless.

    The Law of Non-Contradiction, expressed ontologically as the Law of Identity, applies to anything (or any conglomeration/aggregation of things) that exists or that could not exist.

    You cannot destroy “a thing”, merely alter its constituent particles and energy into another arrangement.

    The Law of Non-Contradiction holds that a thing cannot exist and not exist in the same way (or “under the same formal circumstances”). The last prepositional phrase in that formula is critical.

    Moreover a “non-existent thing” is an oxymoron. Things always exist. How can a thing be “non-existent”. With reification, I guess!

    You were once non-existent.

  63. You mean interventions like the rise of exquisite biological systems operating on the basis of complex functional specified information?

    A good example of reification Eric! ;)

  64. Oops, forgot to close tags.

  65. StephenB:

    You were once non-existent.

    In one sense, yes. But the particles of which I am made (and that is a dynamic arrangement that is changing from moment to moment) have existed possibly from the time of the Big Bang. At least it is impossible to distinguish one particle from another or to tell their age.

  66. AF: Forgive my doubts on your declarations, but on strong evidence from your own pen you have no credibility on such declarations. Just so, the “good” Germans were unaware of the Holocaust while it was going on, even when there were signs all around that something was amiss. And the White Rose movement were hunted down and kangaroo courted to get rid of them for the crime of exposing a snippet of what was going on in print. People by and large refused to believe what hey had said, which was reproduced in Allied leaflets and dropped on Germany. Don’t put yourself in the place of the Germans who had to be marched through the camps in their neighbourhood after the defeat. KF

  67. G: You are speaking in riddles. The White Rose was indeed a very small beacon of enlightenment in a dark time and place. The courage shown by those few is to be greatly admired.

    You’ll have to clue me on what you are driving at.

  68. PS @Stephen

    And tense matters here. You say that I once did not exist. Depending on how you define “thing”, then things that exist may not always have existed. But if things are arrangements of matter and energy, then it is a question of re-arrangement, rather than creation and destruction.

  69. Alan Fox:

    If there were some ID science and it proved useful and correct, it would be embraced.

    ID is useful and correct. OTOH unguided evolution is useless and bogus.

  70. ID is useful and correct.

    In what way? Anyone can answer.

    Off-topic;

    You posted the words “have a tunie” ( I’m English and the word is unknown in the UK. I had to look in Urban Dictionary) with an embedded link to an image that would certainly qualify as “not safe for work”. That you maintain that this is not grounds for being banned sums up your credibility for me.


  71. ID is useful and correct.

    In what way? Anyone can answer.

    In the same way all design inferences are useful when correct. For one it tells us that an agency was involved. And according to archaeology, forensic science and SETI, that is very importatnt.

    Also it gets to one of science’s three basic questions- “How did it come to be this way?”

    You posted the words “have a tunie” ( I’m English and the word is unknown in the UK. I had to look in Urban Dictionary) with an embedded link to an image that would certainly qualify as “not safe for work”.

    That blog is NSFW. Strange that you chumps never address why I did it- what was the impetus. That alone justifies what I did. It could have been prevented. Your ilk had all the power to stop it. But belligerence is thy name and belligerence is thy game. And I had had enough.

    That you maintain that this is not grounds for being banned sums up your credibility for me.

    BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

    Alan, deary, YOU don’t have any credibility. The ilk at the septic zomne don’t have any credibility.

    BTW, I have maintained only that what I posted wasn’t pornography. IOW once again you prove my point about you.

    Nice job, ace…

  72. You were once non-existent.

    Alan

    In one sense, yes. But the particles of which I am made (and that is a dynamic arrangement that is changing from moment to moment) have existed possibly from the time of the Big Bang.

    Right. They didn’t exist prior to the big bang, which means they were once non-existent.

    And tense matters here. You say that I once did not exist. Depending on how you define “thing”, then things that exist may not always have existed. But if things are arrangements of matter and energy, then it is a question of re-arrangement, rather than creation and destruction.

    Matter that didn’t always exist must first be created in order to be arranged or rearranged. In the context of the First Law of Thermodynamics, created matter (or energy) can be rearranged, but it cannot be destroyed—except through the same kind of supernatural power that also had the power to create it out of nothing in the first place. The power to create implies the power to destroy. However, nature cannot create, so nature cannot destroy.

    But lets’ not lose track of the LNC. A thing cannot exist and not exist at the same time and in the same way. Keep in mind that this is not simply a matter of armchair philosophy; it is one of the rules by which evidence is interpreted rationally. Other such rules would be the Law of Causality, which follows from the Law of Non-Contradiction and the Law of Identity. Never forget that evidence doesn’t interpret itself. Without reason’s rules, there are no standards for rational interpretation. The irrational alternative is to draw any conclusion from the data that might happen to please us.

  73. Alan Fox @61:

    The statement “this thing does not exist” is incoherent.

    No. You are being incoherent.

    Perhaps you don’t have much experience with languages, so let me remind you that language permits us to consider and analyze hypotheticals, concepts, possibilities that do not exist in the physical world. It is very common and makes perfect sense. Furthermore, language permits us to employ negations and negatives to refer to the opposite of something. All perfectly legitimate.

    Nearly everyone in the whole world (except apparently you, according to you) knows exactly what it means to say something doesn’t exist. A small child understands this.

    The hilarious thing is that you too understand this. Your very statement that “to be a thing, it must exist” shows that you understand what it means for something to not exist. You can’t even make your argument without it collapsing in self-incoherent nonsense.

    So you quibble over definitions of words like “thing,” and pretend that a perfectly reasonable question can’t even be asked because it offends some silly intellectual barrier you have placed up.

    Unfortunately, you are obviously just blowing smoke and have no real interest in discussing the substance.

  74. 74

    Alan is typical. He’s a materialist that will ignore material evidence the very moment it doesn’t reflect his priori commitments.

  75. Mr. Fox, I noticed in post 56:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-450819

    Okie Dokie Mr. Fox, I challenge you to please support your ‘religious’ claim that the universe is materialistic/naturalistic.

    To which you responded:

    I don’t see why you expect me to support a claim I haven’t made. My null hypothesis is that in the space and time occupied by this universe, the properties of matter and energy are fixed, continuous and consistent. I can’t prove it (though it is confirmed by all scientific observations and measurements so far) but it should be disprovable by demonstrating evidence of discontinuities such as miracles and interventions by the “Intelligent Designer”.

    Now Mr. Fox, I put actual evidence on the table that materialism is false and that ‘consciousness’ precedes material reality,,,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-450784

    ,,, and you appeal to the invariant nature of universal constants to support your materialistic/atheistic view of reality? I hate to have to be the one to inform you of this Mr. Fox, but invariant universal constants are proof for theism not Atheism.,,, As to ‘demonstrating evidence of discontinuities’, I cite your own words that you have written in your own posts as to ‘demonstrating evidence of discontinuities’ in this universe since you cannot explain how the words appeared by the purely material processes of the universe without reference to your own consciousness/intelligence.

  76. They didn’t exist prior to the big bang, which means they were once non-existent.

    Well, no. Firstly a non-existent thing is an oxymoron. Secondly, we don’t know if it really was a singularity at about 14 billion years ago. Thirdly we don’t know, if there was a big bang, what was before if anything, including time and space.

  77. Matter that didn’t always exist must first be created…

    I don’t see how you can know that.

  78. you quibble over definitions of words like “thing,”

    It’s long experience with people who use familiar words in ways that are misleading. Design and intelligence would be good examples in this venue.

    Is Barry Arrington a thing or a dynamic arrangement of particles? Where would you draw a line around the planet Jupiter inside which Jupiter exists and outside which Jupiter does not exist?

  79. Alan is typical. He’s a materialist that will ignore material evidence the very moment it doesn’t reflect his priori commitments.

    And I thought we were getting along so well! Those pesky prioris!

  80. I hate to have to be the one to inform you of this Mr. Fox, but invariant universal constants are proof for theism not Atheism.

    I would suggest they are proof of neither but consistent with both (except where religious dogma denies facts, such as with young Earth creationism).

  81. Mr Fox you claim

    I would suggest they (invariant universal constants) are proof of neither but consistent with both.

    And that ‘suggestion’, as with all your other ‘suggestions’, would be false.

    The fine-tuning of invariant universal constants have backed atheists into a corner of logical absurdities. Materialistic blind chance tries to escape being completely crushed, by the overwhelming weight of evidence for design in the fine-tuning of the universe, by appealing to an infinity of other un-testable universes in which all other possibilities have been played out. Yet there is absolutely no hard physical evidence to support this blind chance conjecture. In fact, the ‘infinite multiverse’ conjecture suffers from some very serious, self-defeating, flaws of logic.

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory & The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    The End Of Materialism? – Dr. Bruce Gordon
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    As well, this hypothetical infinite multiverse obviously begs the question of exactly which laws of physics, arising from which material basis, are telling all the other natural laws in physics what, how and when, to do the many precise unchanging things they do in these other universes? Exactly where is this universe creating machine to be located? Moreover, if an infinite number of other possible universes must exist in order to explain the fine tuning of this one, then why is it not also infinitely possible for a infinitely powerful and transcendent Creator to exist? Using the materialist same line of reasoning for an infinity of multiverses to ‘explain away’ the extreme fine-tuning of this one we can thusly surmise; If it is infinitely possible for God to exist then He, of 100% certainty, must exist no matter how small the probability is of His existence in one of these other infinity of universes, and since He certainly must exist in some possible world then he must exist in all possible worlds since all possibilities in all universes automatically become subject to Him since He is, by definition, transcendent and infinitely Powerful.,,,

    The preceding argument has actually been made into a formal philosophical proof:

    Ontological Argument For God From The Many Worlds Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

    i.e. The materialistic conjecture of an infinity of universes to ‘explain away’ the extreme fine tuning of this universe also insures, through the ontological argument, the 100% probability of the existence of God:

    God Is Not Dead Yet – William Lane Craig – Page 4
    The ontological argument. Anselm’s famous argument has been reformulated and defended by Alvin Plantinga, Robert Maydole, Brian Leftow, and others. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being, a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and he would exist in every logically possible world. But then we can argue:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
    2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
    7. Therefore, God exists.

    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=4

    i.e. The materialist/atheist in his appeal to the infinite multiverse, without realizing it, ends up conceding the necessary premise to the ontological argument and thus guarantees the success of the argument and thus insures the 100% probability of God’s existence!

    I like the concluding comment about the ontological argument from the following Dr. Plantinga video:

    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exit.”

    Ontological Argument – Dr. Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ

    The Ontological Argument (The Introduction) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQPRqHZRP68

    And as weird as it may sound, this following video refines the Ontological argument into a proof that, because of the characteristic of ‘maximally great love’, God must exist in more than one person:

    The Ontological Argument for the Triune God – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGVYXog8NUg

    Here is another article outlining the absurdity of the multiverse conjecture:

    The Multiverse Gods, final part – Robert Sheldon – June 2011
    Excerpt: And so in our long journey through the purgatory of multiverse-theory, we discover as we previously discovered for materialism, there are two solutions, and only two. Either William Lane Craig is correct and multiverse-theory is just another ontological proof a personal Creator, or we follow Nietzsche into the dark nihilism of the loss of reason. Heaven or hell, there are no other solutions.
    http://procrustes.blogtownhall.....part.thtml

  82. Great, a new tardpost has hit the septic zone. It starts with:

    Guys, as your scientific output is lacking at the moment

    Earth to cupcake hughes- Your position’s scuientific output is exactly zero, nada, nothing, zilch.

    So perhaps you should focus on that.

  83. The preceding argument has actually been made into a formal philosophical proof

    I’m afraid that cuts no ice with me, Phil. As impressive as it might be in framing portentous questions, philosophy as a discipline has not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality.

  84. …many, if not most, of the posts there key off our posts here.

    That would seem to be what the facts indicate. But they claim that UD would retire into obscurity if it weren’t for TSZ.

    Can you say deluded?

    People who have no problem lying to themselves are not likely to quail at lying to others.

  85. People who have no problem lying to themselves are not likely to quail at lying to others.

    If the cap fits…

  86. Neil Rickert:

    So come on over, and start the kind of skeptical topic that you would like to see. Perhaps you will be surprised at the diversity of opinion.

    Take this thread at TSZ started by Neil:

    On Paul Nelson on macro-evolution

    Neil offered his opinion. He was wrong. He could not admit he was wrong.

    Mung:

    Let’s recap, just for grins.

    Neil made certain assertions. I demonstrated why those assertions were false. I invited a response, None was offered.

    What good is “diversity” without honesty? Why must truth suffer in the name of diversity?

  87. 87

    Alan,

    It was demonstrated to you that living things are dependent on the products of recorded information, and that in order to produce those effects, the information systems within living things have readily identifiable requirements – one of which is the existence of a materially-arbitrary relationship instantiated within the system, i.e. the system cannot operate without it. Why does this data (which you cannot refute) so obviously threaten you, and incite your mockery?

    Specifically, on what basis do you assign to matter capacities which are universally contradicted by the observation and experiment of every researchers who has ever lived?

  88. Alan

    Well, no. Firstly a non-existent thing is an oxymoron.

    A unicorn is a thing that doesn’t exist. .

    Secondly, we don’t know if it really was a singularity at about 14 billion years ago.

    True, but if it was a singularity, then it was preceded by a non-universe, and it is certainly possible (some would say probable) that it was a singularity.

    Thirdly we don’t know, if there was a big bang, what was before if anything, including time and space.

    A thing cannot both begin to exist and also have already existed. If, for example, the universe already existed, then it didn’t begin to exist. If, on the other hand, it began to exist, then it once didn’t exist. This, by the way, is an application of the Law of Non-Contradiction.

    I wrote, “Matter that didn’t always exist must first be created…”

    I don’t see how you can know that.

    If matter didn’t always exist, then there are only two logical possibilities. Either it brought itself into existence (created itself) or someone else brought it into existence (created it). If it created its own existence, then it would have had to exist before it existed in order to do the creating. Since it could not have created itself, someone else had to do it.

  89. Mr. Fox you state:

    philosophy as a discipline has not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality.

    Actually Mr. Fox it is only the materialistic/naturalistic philosophy(ies) that has/have ‘not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality’. Whereas Theism is doing quite well in that regards. In fact long before there was any empirical evidence for a beginning for the universe, or for the quantum non-locality of energy-mass in the universe for that matter, Theistic philosophers corrected surmised from logic, apart from scripture, that the universe must have had a beginning, and they also correctly surmised it must be dependent on a ‘first mover’ for its continued existence.

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt:,,, when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ng-nothing

    for instance:

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    I find this centuries old philosophical argument, for the necessity of a ‘First Mover’ accounting for change occurring at each moment, to be validated by quantum mechanics. One line of evidence arises from the smallest indivisible unit of time at the quantum level; Planck time:

    Planck time
    Excerpt: One Planck time is the time it would take a photon travelling at the speed of light to cross a distance equal to one Planck length. Theoretically, this is the smallest time measurement that will ever be possible,[3] roughly 10^?43 seconds. Within the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them today, for times less than one Planck time apart, we can neither measure nor detect any change. As of May 2010, the smallest time interval that was directly measured was on the order of 12 attoseconds (12 × 10^?18 seconds),[4] about 10^24 times larger than the Planck time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time

    The ‘first mover’ is further warranted to be necessary from quantum mechanics here. Quantum Mechanics has now been extended to falsify local realism (reductive materialism) without even using quantum entanglement to do it:

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    i.e. photons are dependent on a ‘non-local’ cause to explain their continued existence within space-time.

    Moreover,,

    Aquinas’ Third way – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V030hvnX5a4

    Contingency Argument
    1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature (e.g. mathematical object) or in an external cause (e.g. mountains, galaxies, people and chairs).
    2. The universe exists (whether it always existed or not).
    3. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is an external, transcendent, personal cause (that is beyond the universe: beyond space and time: beyond matter and energy: a non-physical, immaterial, spiritual entity that has brought the universe into being: the only thing that fits this description is an unembodied Mind: a transcendent consciousness).
    4. Therefore, the (only) explanation inextricably and inexorably for the existence of the universe is an external, transcendent, personal cause.
    http://biblocality.com/forums/.....y-Argument

    Same with the beginning of the universe…

    William Lane Craig – Hilbert’s Hotel – The Absurdity Of An Infinite Regress Of ‘Things’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994011/

    Time Cannot Be Infinite Into The Past – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0pdUvQdi4

    The Creation Of The Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument)- Lee Strobel – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993987/

    Dr. William Lane Craig defends the Kalam Cosmological argument for the existence of God against various attempted refutations – video playlist
    http://www.youtube.com/view_pl.....EE70E98A68

    I don’t know about you MR. Fox, but a philosophy that gets both the creation of the universe right and the quantum non-locality of the universe right, centuries before we had empirical confirmation as such, certainly has my deep respect! Whereas the materialistic/naturalistic philosophy, which ‘has not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality’, is worthy of nothing but the trash bin, or perhaps ridicule for the simple-mindedness inherent within so as to be a lesson for the folly that men fall prey to!

  90. Mr. Fox you state:

    philosophy as a discipline has not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality.

    Actually Mr. Fox it is only the materialistic/naturalistic philosophy(ies) that has/have ‘not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality’. Whereas Theism is doing quite well in that regards. In fact long before there was any empirical evidence for a beginning for the universe, or for the quantum non-locality of energy-mass in the universe for that matter, Theistic philosophers corrected surmised from logic, apart from scripture, that the universe must have had a beginning, and they also correctly surmised it must be dependent on a ‘first mover’ for its continued existence.

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt:,,, when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ng-nothing

    for instance:

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    I find this centuries old philosophical argument, for the necessity of a ‘First Mover’ accounting for change occurring at each moment, to be validated by quantum mechanics. One line of evidence arises from the smallest indivisible unit of time at the quantum level; Planck time:

    Planck time
    Excerpt: One Planck time is the time it would take a photon travelling at the speed of light to cross a distance equal to one Planck length. Theoretically, this is the smallest time measurement that will ever be possible,[3] roughly 10^?43 seconds. Within the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them today, for times less than one Planck time apart, we can neither measure nor detect any change. As of May 2010, the smallest time interval that was directly measured was on the order of 12 attoseconds (12 × 10^?18 seconds),[4] about 10^24 times larger than the Planck time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time

    The ‘first mover’ is further warranted to be necessary from quantum mechanics here. Quantum Mechanics has now been extended to falsify local realism (reductive materialism) without even using quantum entanglement to do it:

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    i.e. photons are dependent on a ‘non-local’ cause to explain their continued existence within space-time.

    Moreover,,

    Aquinas’ Third way – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V030hvnX5a4

    Contingency Argument
    1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature (e.g. mathematical object) or in an external cause (e.g. mountains, galaxies, people and chairs).
    2. The universe exists (whether it always existed or not).
    3. If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is an external, transcendent, personal cause (that is beyond the universe: beyond space and time: beyond matter and energy: a non-physical, immaterial, spiritual entity that has brought the universe into being: the only thing that fits this description is an unembodied Mind: a transcendent consciousness).
    4. Therefore, the (only) explanation inextricably and inexorably for the existence of the universe is an external, transcendent, personal cause.
    http://biblocality.com/forums/.....y-Argument

    Same with the beginning of the universe…

    William Lane Craig – Hilbert’s Hotel – The Absurdity Of An Infinite Regress Of ‘Things’ – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994011/

    Time Cannot Be Infinite Into The Past – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0pdUvQdi4

    The Creation Of The Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument)- Lee Strobel – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993987/

    I don’t know about you Mr. Fox, but a philosophy that gets both the creation of the universe right and the quantum non-locality of the universe right, centuries before we had empirical confirmation as such, certainly has my deep respect! Whereas the materialistic/naturalistic philosophy, which ‘has not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality’, is worthy of nothing but the trash bin, or perhaps ridicule for the simple-mindedness inherent within so as to be a lesson for the folly that men fall prey to!

  91. 91
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Eric Anderson @ 57:

    My “measured and reasonable tone” is a matter of politeness, and a recognition that I’m not playing in my own sand-box. Perhaps I was being more candid in TSZ, but I still stand by it.

    I acknowledge that there are a few people who keep the relevant distinctions straight — including yourself. But I think that most of the people who comment here — I shall refrain from naming names, out of politeness — don’t make the necessary conceptual distinctions, show no interest in trying to do so, and basically just don’t care about being careful. And I think that’s a big part of what fuels the emotional core of the ID movement, as distinct from design “theory”. (I’ve made it pretty clear what I think of the epistemological credentials of design theory, taking that as “the design inference as applied to organisms”.)

    In fact, to return to a theme I posted here a few months ago, I think that most rank-and-file ID supporters, if Uncommon Descent is representative, basically treat Darwinism as a scapegoat for capitalism.

    And I think that this has been made possible by virtue of two different things: (1) the use of Epicurean metaphysics in popular expositions of Darwinism (e.g. Lewontin, Dawkins, Provine) and (2) the transformation of Epicurean metaphysics into the legitimizing ideology of capitalist techno-science that we call “the Scientific Revolution”.

    Through on top of that the usual social conservative anxieties about “the culture wars” and you’ve got the raw emotional energy behind the intelligent design movement. Design “theory” just provided it with intellectual articulation.

  92. Mung quoting himself at TSZ

    Neil made certain assertions. I demonstrated why those assertions were false. I invited a response, None was offered.

    link to thread at TSZ

    I have to echo Allan Miller in that thread. What assertions?

  93. 93

    Alan Fox
    TEC is the problem with typing with one finger. I mean YEC.
    Actually we don’t have fundamental rights to speech or expression but only that the gov’t can’t interfere.
    everyone else can however.
    Its just a culture that allows freedom. i don’t think its in the law.
    Selective moderation is everywhere in everything. its human nature before serious motivation to control speech.
    i have noticed internet, like everywhere, control speech because people are soooooo offended by what other people say.
    In fact it should only be malice or serious derailing of subject that should be censored in forums etc where its open for public discourse.
    Of coarse in free discourse on contentions those in error will keenly feel the pressure to censor.
    If we all live by the same rules of evidence then the wrong guys will smell their losing ground.
    I do think evolutionists, to their own surprise, smell a paradigm shift in origin convictions or even mere opinions.
    ID (and YEC great;y) has truly knocked big holes in the ranks of evolutionary confidence.
    Error can’t last for long under serious cross examination.
    Evolution is soon going to the mat or its critics are.

  94. In fact Mr. Fox the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made for centuries, several natural contradictory predictions about what evidence we will find. These contradictory predictions, and the evidence we have now found, can be tested against one another to see which philosophy is more robust.

    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 that consciousness is a ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus has no particular special position within material reality. Theism predicted consciousness preceded material reality and therefore consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even central, position within material reality. -

    7. 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) -

    8. 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. -

    9. 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. -

    10. 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.”. -

    11. 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) -

    12. 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) -

    13. 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 -

    14. 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. -

    15. 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. -

    16. 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. -

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy from the scientific method (methodological naturalism), and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find that the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact, if one really gets down into the details, it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & the Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

  95. If matter didn’t always exist,..

    In terms of what was before the Big Bang, we have, apparently, no way of knowing. Is Jupiter a thing? Where would you put the boundary between Jupiter and not-Jupiter?

  96. Mr. Fox you state:

    In terms of what was before the Big Bang, we have, apparently, no way of knowing.

    Says who?? YOU???

    Quantum Evidence for a Theistic Big Bang
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1agaJIWjPWHs5vtMx5SkpaMPbantoP471k0lNBUXg0Xo/edit

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    What Properties Must the Cause of the Universe Have? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SZWInkDIVI

    Psalm 115:2-3 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
    Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

    Steven Curtis Chapman – God is God (Original Version) – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz94NQ5HRyk

  97. It was demonstrated to you that living things are dependent on the products of recorded information, and that in order to produce those effects, the information systems within living things have readily identifiable requirements – one of which is the existence of a materially-arbitrary relationship instantiated within the system, i.e. the system cannot operate without it.

    Demonstrated to me? I think not, though I can’t quite parse the rest of the sentence following “that”. Are we back to semiotics? If so, then you have merely asserted stuff.

    Why does this data (which you cannot refute)

    What data are we talking about? Data usually indicate measurements or observations of some defined parameter. I don’t recall you ever producing any data.

    …so obviously threaten you, and incite your mockery?

    I think you mean invite.

  98. Hi Robert

    The only bit of your comment I take issue with is:

    I do think evolutionists, to their own surprise, smell a paradigm shift in origin convictions or even mere opinions.
    ID (and YEC great;y) has truly knocked big holes in the ranks of evolutionary confidence.

    But time will tell if you are right.

  99. Since it could not have created itself, someone else had to do it.

    And how do you explain the someone? Couldn’t have created itself you tell me so presumably had to be created by someone else. And how do you explain…? Well, you get the idea.

  100. Upright Mr. Fox’s response to you reminds me of this:

    Talking Evolution With Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter – December 2011
    Excerpt: “Like the cultist I spoke with, evolutionists are certain even though the facts do not support such certainty.,,,” “You can present the facts, you can walk through the logic, you can review the experiments, and you can tally up the findings. It doesn’t matter. It never did matter because, ultimately, evolution never was about the science.”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....nists.html

  101. Alan Fox:

    I have to echo Allan Miller in that thread. What assertions?

    Unbelievable. Are you going to next argue that Neil didn’t really create that thread?

    Assuming the absolute absurdity of that stance and assuming that it’s so absurd that you won’t go there (yes, it’s an ASSUMPTION), are you going to next argue that Neil, upon creating the thread, had nothing to say? That he made no assertions?

  102. Allan Miller:

    Do I have to watch the video?

    Way to go Alan!

  103. Assuming the absolute absurdity of that stance and assuming that it’s so absurd that you won’t go there (yes, it’s an ASSUMPTION), are you going to next argue that Neil, upon creating the thread, had nothing to say? That he made no assertions?

    Can you not answer a straight question, ever?

    What assertions? Quote or link. What’s the problem?

  104. Alan Fox:

    I have to echo Allan Miller in that thread. What assertions?

    And that’s why you’re a troll. That’s why you’re NOT A SKEPTIC. That’s why you have no home, either here or at TSZ.

    Neil Rickert:

    Nelson takes some evolutionary changes that Darwinists explain by natural selection. And, relying on his dissenting opinions, he wants to argue that those changes don’t happen.

    That’s an assertion, Alan.

    Not only is it an an assertion, it’s an assertion that is false.

    Nelson does not argue that those changes do not happen. Neil Rickert, Alan Fox and Allan Miller can’t produce the evidence to establish the truth of the assertion.

    I expect this sort of behavior from Alan Fox. I don’t expect it from Neil Rickert (or at the time, anyways, I didn’t). Live and learn.

  105. Alan Fox:

    What assertions? Quote or link. What’s the problem?

    You’re “the problem,” Alan.

    What do you want next? Another quote. Links?

    Neil Rickert:

    But that’s putting words into the mouths of those dissenting biologists.

    That’s another assertion. It’s another assertion that Neil never defended. It’s an assertion that you deny ever existed. What’s your excuse now Alan?

  106. Kantian Naturalist (90)

    Welcome back :)
    I’m one of those troglodytes who doesn’t make those refined conceptual distinctions. To me it is all atheism. I do enjoy our debates though. Very considerate of you not to mention my name.

  107. Neil Rickert:

    Based on what he says can’t happen, Nelson goes on to argue that macro-evolution cannot happen.

    What assertion, Alan? Need a link?

  108. F/N: The light of grace, by which the members of the White Rose movement spoke in the teeth of willful blindness, numbness and intimidation, with words that were paid for in blood, Christian martyrs’ blood:

    WR, Tract II: Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way . . . The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals . . . Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!

    WR, Tract IV: Every word that comes from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war, and when he blasphemously uses the name of the Almighty, he means the power of evil, the fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the foul-smelling maw of Hell, and his might is at bottom accursed. True, we must conduct a struggle against the National Socialist terrorist state with rational means; but whoever today still doubts the reality, the existence of demonic powers, has failed by a wide margin to understand the metaphysical background of this war.

    KF

    PS: The echoes of our own day of putting darkness for light, bitter for sweet, evil for good, and of pretending that all is right, save those who complain oh so unjustly are all too sadly plain. [Cf. on the march-past that I alluded to above, here. Also note here and here.]

  109. 109

    #96

    Abject denial… followed by pointing out a typo.

    powerful stuff

  110. OK that wasn’t so hard, was it, mung.

    I don’t watch talking-head videos as a rule and much prefer the written word so I can’t help you out about what Nelson said. I’ll wait for the paper on “ontogenetic depth” though I understand it is somewhat overdue.

    I’m sure Neil will pick up on the issue, though.

  111. Upright Biped

    I see your 108. You don’t answer my query about what you are referring to when you claim to have presented data.

  112. It’s an assertion that you deny ever existed.

    “What assertions?” means “what assertion?” It does not mean I deny assertions exist. Now you have clarified which of Neil’s statements you consider false and unsupported, you should give him the chance to respond.

  113. SB: I am beginning to wonder if we are seeing an outdated positivism influenced idea on AF’s part. The one that if something was not analytically so or is not subject to empirical test, it is meaningless. Which verification principle of course was exposed as having failed its own test of meaningfulness after years of being used to try to dismiss metaphysical issues. In answer I note that to conceive of a coherent notion or concept or possible object is not equal to its existence, whether at a given time or in a possible world. For example unicorns of some form — a horned horse-like creature, with a horn in the forehead or thereabouts, are obviously possible beings: cf. Rhinos and Triceratops, etc. And obviously, even though unicorns do not now exist in this actual world — they will doubtless be genetically engineered within a century as a show freak if nothing else — such creatures are coherent and meaningful without actually existing. KF

  114. 114
    Kantian Naturalist

    Box @ 105: by my lights, you are among the least of offenders, compared to others here. And I also enjoy our debates.

    KF @ 112: Fox is just using “thing” to mean “that which actually exists”. Perhaps he’d be open to “beings” or whatever to that which could exist, but doesn’t (e.g. unicorns). I don’t know. Personally, I think you’d be on firmer ground criticizing him for his nominalistic metaphysics than by accusing him of holding a verificationist theory of meaning.

    There, however, I think it’s important to distinguish between necessarily true facts and necessarily existing beings. A pragmatist such as myself can accept that 2+2=4 is necessarily true without risk of committing myself to any position about the reality of mathematical objects one way or the other. To get from necessarily true facts to necessarily existing objects, we need a further argument that takes us down from language to the world — something that ties together the notions of truth and reference as tightly as possible. (Call this the problem of “semantic descent,” in parallel with Quine’s “semantic ascent”.)

  115. Alan

    In terms of what was before the Big Bang, we have, apparently, no way of knowing.

    We know that if the Big Bang produced matter, then matter didn’t exist before the Big Bang.

    Is Jupiter a thing?

    Yes.

    Where would you put the boundary between Jupiter and not-Jupiter?

    Jupiter exists as a thing that we call a planet. Jupiter [the thing in question], once didn’t exist.

    And how do you explain the someone?

    Only a person can create because only a person can decide to create or not create. Things or laws do not have that option because things or laws do not have volitional capacity.

    Couldn’t have created itself you tell me so presumably had to be created by someone else. And how do you explain…? Well, you get the idea.

    Since nothing can create or cause its own existence (it would have had to exist before it existed to do the creating) it must be created by some previous cause. Since previous causes cannot go back all the way to inifinity, a causeless cause (first cause, uncreated cause) is required. A causeless cause (first cause) must also be a self-existent being because it cannot receive its existence from a prior cause. If it could receive its existence from a prior cause, it would not be the first cause.

  116. 116

    #110

    Here ya go.

    - – - – - –

    by the way…

    data:

    individual facts, statistics, or items of information

    – dictionary.reference.com

    factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions

    – American Heritage Dictionary

  117. StephenB

    Jupiter exists as a thing that we call a planet. Jupiter [the thing in question], once didn’t exist.

    The point I was making is that Jupiter does not have a defined surface, being a gas giant, so where Jupiter is and is not depends on what density one picks as a cut-off point.

  118. Did you mess up on the link, upright Biped.It takes me to a comment of yours in a previous thread that says:

    Alan allowed himself to be drawn into a one-step-at-a-time exposition of evidence he had previously managed to dismissed out of hand. So, he jumped ship.

    I think the silence after #117 demonstrates #75 rather nicely.

    Where’s the data?

  119. 119
    Kantian Naturalist

    Since previous causes cannot go back all the way to inifinity, a causeless cause (first cause, uncreated cause) is required.

    I have to say, I’ve never been entirely clear on why it is that “previous causes cannot go back all the way to infinity”. The objection, “but that’s an infinite regress!” doesn’t sway me too much. I harbor the suspicion that the infinite regress option begins with the ancient Greeks, who had it in part because they lacked a rigorous mathematical concept of infinity, which we now have. So it’s not really clear just what the objection to infinite regressions amounts to.

    I mean, I can imagine someone saying, “but then you’d have to explain what it is that causes this particular infinite sequence of causes!” Is that how the objection is supposed to work? If so, I don’t see why one couldn’t just affirm the infinite sequence of causes (universes, multiverses, multi-multiverses, multi-multi-multiverses — well, you get the idea) as a brute fact. Explanations do have to come to an end somewhere, after all.

  120. 120

    Alan,

    If you’ve forgotten, we can sure start again at the top. No problem:

    Is it possible to transfer information into a physcal effect without using an arrangement of matter to evoke a response within a system capable of creating the effect?

    Perhaps you should just join in the chorus with Elzinga and simply waive your hands in the air and pretend information doesn’t cause things to happen. It’s a much shorter path if you’re just going into denial anyway.

  121. Kairosfocus @112

    In answer I note that to conceive of a coherent notion or concept or possible object is not equal to its existence, whether at a given time or in a possible world. For example unicorns of some form — a horned horse-like creature, with a horn in the forehead or thereabouts, are obviously possible beings: cf. Rhinos and Triceratops, etc.

    Precisely. If a non-existent thing was an oxymoron, then any “thing” that could possibly exist (a three-headed tiger or an upright horse), does, in fact, exist.

  122. Perhaps you should just join in the chorus with Elzinga and simply waive your hands in the air and pretend information doesn’t cause things to happen. It’s a much shorter path if you’re just going into denial anyway.

    You said you had presented data. What data? I would have thought that you would be only too glad to point me to data that is evidence in support of your semiotic argument.

  123. KN @113:

    You are missing the absurdity of Alan Fox’s position and ascribing a potential depth of thought to him that doesn’t exist in this case.

    Alan is essentially arguing that because something that doesn’t exist doesn’t exist, then we can’t talk about it. Can’t discuss it. Can’t think about it. It is all just incoherent. So he’s not going to even talk about things that don’t exist. So there.

    That is the essence of his argument. And the fact that in the very act of making his argument he demonstrates that he knows precisely what is meant in common, ordinary, everyday language by something not existing just highlights the fact that he is blowing smoke and refusing to engage in the substantive question that was put to him.

    There is no deep philosophy or careful thought behind it.

  124. If the universe at one point in time did not exist and at a another point in time did exist, it follows that there was was a transitional point in time – when it did not exist and exist at the same time?
    More general, how does the LNC deal with change? When something changes (“moves”), it goes from potency to act with respect to an attribute. How about that transitional moment in time: the coming into existence of the attribute?

  125. Alan Fox @121:

    It is obvious that you are not sincerely engaging in discussion.

    Do you even know what semiotics is? If so, you would not ask a ridiculous question about data. The data is in any biology textbook. It is in the description of information storage, retrieval and translation processes that occur in the cell. That is the data. You may not understand it, but that is your failing, not UB’s.

  126. 126

    Yeah right Alan, I’m hiding the facts on semiosis. You should be able to sell that one. ;)

  127. Kantian Naturalist: “If so, I don’t see why one couldn’t just affirm the infinite sequence of causes (universes, multiverses, multi-multiverses, multi-multi-multiverses — well, you get the idea) as a brute fact. Explanations do have to come to an end somewhere, after all.”

    Let’s discuss the world of motion and movers.

    Agree or disagree:

    Every cause in a chain of cause and effect was set in motion by a prior cause.

    Agree or disagree:

    A first cause set the chain of cause and effect in motion.

  128. Re KN@118:

    I agree with you. I can’t see why an infinite regress is any more or less objectionable than a being that has always existed. Both require an acknowledgement of infinity don’t they?

  129. Alan

    The point I was making is that Jupiter does not have a defined surface, being a gas giant, so where Jupiter is and is not depends on what density one picks as a cut-off point.

    What does Jupiter’s potentially fuzzy boundaries have to do with our discussion? How does that affect or relate to the question of Jupiter’s existence or non-existence?

  130. KN: Pardon, but do you consider the truth asserted in 2 + 3 = 5 to be a real “thing” (usually, termed, a proposition); of whatever nature such a reality is? If not, why not? KF

  131. F/N: Stephen, we can for argument define the boundary of Jupiter to be the point where the density of gases falls below a reasonable threshold, something like the average density of particles in the interplanetary medium at that distance from Sol. But, the point that fuzziness of borders does not remove reality of the object so defined, is significant. And BTW, Earth’s atmosphere has a fuzzy border too, does that mean that Earth is not real, or that only the rocky core of a planet can be defined to be a part thereof? Similarly, a star is a ball of gases with no crisp border. Does that mean they are not real? This sort of stipulation does not seem reasonable. KF

  132. EA; unfortunately, this has come up frequently in regards to AF in recent days. And, on a related note cf. above on the exchange over the expelled/slaughter of the dissidents phenomenon. KF

  133. 133
    Kantian Naturalist

    Eric @ 122: it’s possible that I’m being excessively charitable. To be honest, I’ve been off the internet for a while and I haven’t back-tracked the entire discussion. But I’ll let him respond for himself if he so chooses.

    StephenB @ 126:

    Let’s discuss the world of motion and movers.

    (1) Every cause in a chain of cause and effect was set in motion by a prior cause.

    (2) A first cause set the chain of cause and effect in motion.

    I’m not really happy about analyzing causation within Thomistic language, but OK — we’ll try it this way and see how it goes.

    I think that (1) is acceptable, and that (2) is not. But, much more importantly, I don’t think there’s a deductively valid argument that takes (1) as a premise and (2) as a conclusion. To see why, consider this re-phrasing of the assertions:

    (1′) For every effect in a chain of cause and effect, there exists some cause for that effect.

    (2′) There exists some cause for the entire chain of causes and effects.

    I think that (1′) and (2′) are charitable interpretations of (1) and (2), but I also think that, as thus parsed, it is obvious why there cannot be a deductively valid argument that infers (2′) from (1′).

    Put formally:

    &#8704x&#8707y does not entail &#8707y&#8704x

    because constructing the proof requires a step in which x entails &#8704x, and that’s a fallacy.

    I’ve seen the argument all over the place in Aristotle, and I suppose it’s in Aquinas too, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fallacy.

  134. 134
    Kantian Naturalist

    Oh no! The HTML codes for the quantifiers looked perfect in the preview, but they’re all messed up in the actual post!

    I’d wanted to say: “for all x, there exists a y” does not entail “there exists a y for all x”.

  135. Alan is essentially arguing that because something that doesn’t exist doesn’t exist, then we can’t talk about it. Can’t discuss it. Can’t think about it. It is all just incoherent. So he’s not going to even talk about things that don’t exist. So there.

    No. What I was trying to say is that a non-existent thing is an oxymoron. I define a thing as something real. It follows that there is no such thing as a non-existent thing. Of course, it may be that other people are using “thing” in a different sense. Which is why I have mentioned reification a few times. I’m the last person to say you can’t talk about something (or even nothing! ;) ).

  136. How does that affect or relate to the question of Jupiter’s existence or non-existence?

    Precision. It’s important in science. Apparently less so in apologetics. Where Jupiter begins and ends is rather pertinent to its existence, I would have thought.

  137. Yeah right Alan, I’m hiding the facts on semiosis. You should be able to sell that one.

    Data have morphed to facts now. So you didn’t assemble any data to support a hypothesis?

  138. KN: Don’t trust any unusual character with WP, unless you have tested it first. The preview window often does not tell the truth. Why, I know not. KF

  139. KN:

    I don’t think the issue on first cause is one of deduction in logic that sees a first cause as entailed simply by the working of a causal chain.

    The issue pivots instead on several broader matters:

    1 –> The role of necessary causal factors, which for non-confusion I usually discuss as on/off switch enabling factors, such as heat, oxidiser, fuel and chain reaction for a fire. This entails that if absent/off, the entity cannot begin or continue to exist. That is how we start fires and it is how firemen fight them.

    2 –> We then see the significance of contingency vs necessity of being. Something that evidently has no dependence on on/off factors is such that its existence is either impossible or inevitable. Such as the truth in 2 + 3 = 5 is inevitable. A necessary being has no cause and its sufficient reason for existence lies in its necessity. It is eternal, without beginning and cannot end. (Think about a situation where 2 + 3 = 5 is false.)

    3 –> In that context, we see that an endless chain of cause-effect bonds, implies an infinite succession. Not, delivered all at once as a set, not in-principle, but sequentially. Which is enormously problematic.

    4 –> To see just one reason, consider the task of counting up in succession step by finite set — we are talking a chain of discrete, finite duration beings here, not infinitesimals that we can play limit games with — to exhaust the natural numbers, 0, 1,2,3, . . . Cannot be traversed in succession as there is no possibility of going infinity minus one, infinity.

    5 –> Reverse the sign, and assign a causal succession down to 0, the present: . . . -3, -2, -1, 0. You cannot traverse the succession from “minus infinity” in discrete finite steps of being and causing. In simple terms, you or I do not have an infinite succession of ancestors. The same holds for supposed prior stages of the observed cosmos or some underlying multiverse that had to carry out discrete finite processes.

    6 –> Our cosmos does not have an infinite succession of ancestral material cosmi, and the principle of increasing entropy would carry through such a succession, that is energy would have long since dispersed by processes related to diffusion from high quality concentrations, creating such a degradation by dispersal that heat death would have long since obtained. (BTW, this is what also sets an upper limit for the lifespan of our observed comsos, ~ 10^25 s, about 50 mn times the duration on the conventional timeline from the big bang at 13.7 BYA.)

    7 –> So, any notion of an infinite succession of causally related, finite duration beings fails the scientific test. Where, the second law of thermodynamics is a consequence of microparticle interactions, the existence of a space of possible configurations and momentum distributions, leading to an overwhelming trend to move to clusters of states in which something like energy is increasingly dispersed with time. Ultimately, the stars run down and the white dwarfs cool off. No energy sources to run solar systems and host cell based life.

    8 –> Therefore, no worldview that implies an infinite succession of causes is credible, coming out the starting gate. And of course the evidence we have strongly implies that our observed cosmos — the ONLY such observation — had A DEFINITE BEGINNING AT A FINITELY REMOTE TIME. The cosmos is contingent.

    9 –> All of this points to contingency dependent on necessity of being. That is, there credibly is a causal root of the observed contingent world, that is a necessary being.

    10 –> Where, that the cosmos is fine tuned for cell based life, strongly suggests that that root causal being is intelligent, skillful and powerful enough to build a cosmos, and to set it up to host cell based life.
    _________

    KF

  140. Kantian Naturalist, you state in 119:

    who had it in part because they lacked a rigorous mathematical concept of infinity, which we now have. So it’s not really clear just what the objection to infinite regressions amounts to.

    Actually Kantian Naturalist the ‘rigorous mathematical concept of infinity, which we now have’ is what led to incompleteness theorem of Godel,,,

    Georg Cantor – The Mathematics Of Infinity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4572335
    entire video: BBC-Dangerous Knowledge – Part 1
    https://vimeo.com/30482156
    Part 2
    https://vimeo.com/30641992

    The incompleteness theorem, simply put, means that the truthfulness of any given mathematical equation is not within the equation itself but is dependent on a outside source to derive its truthfulness. But since mathematical equations are transcendent of any space-time matter-energy constraints, i.e. 2+2=4 is true no matter where or when you are in the universe, then the ‘highest infinity’(Cantor) which gives the equations their truthfulness must also be completely transcendent of any space-time matter-energy constraints. Yet if you appeal to ‘pure randomness’ (i.e. chaos), instead of God as your ‘highest infinity’, so as to try to explain the truthfulness of any given mathematical equation, you, as Dr. Gordon has so eloquently pointed out, wind up in epistemological failure,,

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: 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.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    ,,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.,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    But Kantian Naturalist, due to advances in modern science, we can get to this ‘highest infinity, which both Cantor and Godel held to be God, from another direction besides philosophy and logic. We can arrive at this ‘highest infinity’ through empirical evidence.

    We now know through empirical evidence that traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be, because of time dilation, instantaneous travel for the person hypothetically travelling at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them at the speed of light, yet, and this is a very big ‘yet’ to take note of, this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework of time as quantum teleportation and entanglement are, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference of time, is still not completely transcendent of our temporal time framework since light appears to take time to travel from our temporal perspective. Yet, in quantum teleportation of information, the ‘time not passing’, i.e. ‘eternal’, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but is also ‘instantaneously’ achieved in our lower temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of quantum information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us in this temporal framework. Thus ‘pure transcendent information’, revealed in quantum experiments is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we now have (many of which I have not specifically listed here); transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which ‘It’ resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist.

    As well, a photon, in its quantum wave state, is found to be mathematically defined as a ‘infinite-dimensional’ state, which ‘requires an infinite amount of information’ to describe it properly, can be encoded with information in its ‘infinite dimensional’ state, and this ‘infinite dimensional’ photon is found to collapse, instantaneously, and thus ‘non-locally’, to just a ’1 or 0′ state, out of a infinite number of possibilities that the photon could have collapsed to instead! Moreover, consciousness is found to precede the collapse of the wavefunction of the photon to its particle state. Now my question to materialistic atheists is this, “Exactly what ’conscious cause’ has been postulated throughout history as to be completely independent of any space-time constraints (eternal), as well as possessing infinite knowledge, so as to be the ‘sufficient cause’ to explain what we see in the quantum wave collapse of a photon???

    Notes:

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entr.....tcomp/#2.1

    Direct measurement of the quantum wavefunction – June 2011
    Excerpt: The wavefunction is the complex distribution used to completely describe a quantum system, and is central to quantum theory. But despite its fundamental role, it is typically introduced as an abstract element of the theory with no explicit definition.,,, Here we show that the wavefunction can be measured directly by the sequential measurement of two complementary variables of the system. The crux of our method is that the first measurement is performed in a gentle way through weak measurement so as not to invalidate the second. The result is that the real and imaginary components of the wavefunction appear directly on our measurement apparatus. We give an experimental example by directly measuring the transverse spatial wavefunction of a single photon, a task not previously realized by any method.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....10120.html

    rightfully allowing God into mathematics offers a plausible reconciliation between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity,,,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-450638

    Music and Verse:

    Phillips, Craig & Dean – Great I Am – music
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSoz6L1vqm8

    1 Kings 8:27
    ,,,Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

  141. F/N: Observe, I have discussed necessary causal factors, not sufficient clusters. For a contingent event E to happen, there must be a sufficient cluster of causal factors, even if we do not know or cannot know what it is. Such a sufficient cluster will at minimum include all the necessary factors. My thoughts above pivot on necessary factors, not on sufficient clusters.

  142. AF: A red herring led away to an ad hominem laced strawman again. The reality of Jupiter or earth or your bodily existence does not depend on fuzziness of borders. That is blatant. And that you seem to be willing to deny or imply denial of the reality and recognisable identity of the planet Jupiter on grounds that its atmosphere — notice, the self referential inconsistency here [you cannot objectively observe and measure what does not exist . . . ] — does not have a simple and hard edged border, is utterly revealing about your desperation to avoid the implications of first principles of right reason starting with just that, distinct identity. And this is a matter of common sense, glorified and extended through instrumentation such as telescopes. Inserting labels such as “apologetics” in order to polarise the discussion (at least in your mind), with all due respect, simply reveals your hostility and lack of common good sense. It is time for you to look at what you have revealed about yourself in recent days and think again. KF

  143. Alan Fox:

    Precision. It’s important in science.

    And your position doesn’t have any precison nor any accuracy.

  144. Alan Fox:

    As impressive as it might be in framing portentous questions, philosophy as a discipline has not shown much ability in coming up with any useful answers about reality.

    Then why do you hitch your cart to the philosophies of materialisma nd evolutionism? They definitely have not shown any ability in coming up with anything useful wrt reality.

  145. Alan Fox:

    So you didn’t assemble any data to support a hypothesis?

    YOU do NOT. Your position can’t even muster a yestable hypothesis.

  146. Kantian Naturalist, in conjunction with the incompleteness theorem which shows that any given mathematical equation is dependent on a ‘highest infinity’ in order to derive their truthfulness, it is interesting to point out that our two best mathematical descriptions of reality,,

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    ,, are ‘higher dimensional’ in their construct. i.e. ‘higher dimensional’ mathematics had to be developed before Einstein could elucidate General Relativity, or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated;

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss and Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    And indeed Kantian Naturalist, looking at the universe through these ‘higher dimensional lenses’ is very strange:

    The Galileo Affair and the true “Center of the Universe”
    Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15]

    Psalm 33:13-15
    The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    It is interesting to note that higher dimensions are invisible to our physical 3-Dimensional(3D) sight. The reason why ‘higher dimensions’ are invisible to our 3D vision is best illustrated by ‘Flatland’:

    Dr. Quantum in Flatland – 3D in a 2D world – video
    http://www.disclose.tv/action/....._2D_world/

    Perhaps some may think that we have no scientific evidence to support the view that higher ‘invisible’ dimensions are actually above this 3 Dimensional world, but a person would be wrong in that presumption. Higher invisible dimensions are corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please note the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light:

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

    The preceding video was made by two Australian University physics professors.

    As well, as with the scientifically verified tunnel for special relativity to a higher dimension, we also have scientific confirmation of extreme ‘tunnel curvature’, within space-time, to a eternal ‘event horizon’ at black holes;

    Space-Time of a Black hole
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    Moreover time, as we understand it temporally, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2.

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

    And although there are many lines of evidence confirming the time dilation of special and general relativity, this following confirmation of time dilation is my favorite since they have actually caught time dilation on film (of note: light travels approx. 1 foot in a nanosecond (billionth of a second) whilst the camera used in the experiment takes a trillion pictures a second):

    Amazing — light filmed at 1,000,000,000,000 Frames/Second! – video (so fast that at 9:00 Minute mark of video the time dilation effect of relativity is actually caught on film)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoHeWgLvlXI

    Well one might rightfully ask, “what does all this higher dimensional stuff have to do with me personally?”. Well, it turns out that higher dimensionality is ‘personal’ to us because higher dimensionality, besides Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, is also unexpectedly found in life as well:

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

    Verse, quotes and music:

    Matthew 6:33
    But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

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

    “Regardless, it is impossible for me to adequately describe what I saw and felt. When I try to recount my experiences now, the description feels very pale. I feel as though I’m trying to describe a three-dimensional experience while living in a two-dimensional world. The appropriate words, descriptions and concepts don’t even exist in our current language. I have subsequently read the accounts of other people’s near-death experiences and their portrayals of heaven and I able to see the same limitations in their descriptions and vocabulary that I see in my own.”
    Mary C. Neal, MD – To Heaven And Back pg. 71 – Near Death Experience

    Evanescence – The Other Side (Lyric Video)
    http://www.vevo.com/watch/evan.....tantsearch

  147. 147

    Thats right Alan, pretending you own the words, and don’t like it when people misuse them is a powerful defense. It’s a “scientific” defense Alan! Everyone knows that.

    And don’t worry about those silly dictionaries either. Just remember Alan, Karl Popper said its better to argue over what we call facts than it is to argue over what those facts are. All real skeptics know that.

    Yup

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

    data:

    individual facts, statistics, or items of information

    – dictionary.reference.com

    factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions

    – American Heritage Dictionary

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    * Encyclopedia – Data
    Data is the plural of datum. A datum is a statement accepted at face value (a “given”). A large class of practically important statements are measurements or observations of a variable. Such statements may comprise numbers, words, or images. Data – Etymology. The word data is the plural of Latin datum, neuter past participle of dare, “to give”, hence “something given”. The past participle of “to give” has been used for millennia, in the sense of a statement accepted.

  148. Aaln is just another punk- why does anyone bother trying to explain anything to him? Treat him with the same contempt as he treats us.

    The chump is a nobody in the world of science. And he is a nobody in the real world.

  149. Allan Miller sums it up nicely:

    Evolution simply stumbles around, either taking up residence on a point, or hitting nearby ones, in the space of viable configurations.

    As I said, you cannot construct a testable hypothesis based on that.

    Thanks to Allan Miller for admitting evolutionism is not scientific.

  150. other mouth:

    Yet the IDers have no problem issuing proclamations like “it’s impossible for DNA to exist without Intelligent Design” and nobody bats an eyelid.

    That is because that is what the evidence says. Antony Flew accepted Intelligent Design because of DNA.

    Go figure.

  151. ‘Most atheists in general claim that they love science but when scientific evidence goes against their worldview positions they suddenly become allergic to science.’

    Here is something a little special for them, wallstreeter:

    http://www.loamagazine.org/nr/.....uenos.html

    Isn’t Lizzie a dirt-worhipper? Why would anybody want to lend credibility to her blog? You guys are nuts in that regard. Let them come here. (Or not as the case may be… Lizzie).

  152. other mouth:

    Show me the evidence for ID and I’ll believe ID.

    We have and you don’t. OTOH YOU can’t show anyone any evidence for your position. YOU can’t even produce a testable hypothsis. YOU are scientifically illiterate.

  153. Lizzie:

    The real problem is that the tests for ID in biology (as proposed so far) don’t distinguish between the output of intentional agents and the output of Darwinian algorithms.

    Darwinian algorithm is an oxymoron. Such a thing doesn’t exist in the real world.

    And AVIDA proves that your position has nothing. Darwinian processes only break and deteriorate. That is what the evidence says.

  154. Earth to Lizzie Liddle- if your bald assertions were evidence you would have something. Unfortunately your bald assertions remain just that- bald and evidence-free.

    But I am sure that you think they are supported… :roll:

  155. 155
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: BornAgain77 @ 140

    The incompleteness theorem, simply put, means that the truthfulness of any given mathematical equation is not within the equation itself but is dependent on a outside source to derive its truthfulness.

    Lest anyone else here be confused by this, that is most the egregious and nearly total misunderstanding of the Godel results I’ve ever witnessed. (The following exposition is drawn from Godel’s Proof, which I highly recommend for anyone interested in seeing how it works for themselves.)

    What Goedel showed is this: for any formal language that is sophisticated enough to contain arithmetic, there are true sentences in that language which cannot be proved within that formal language. (Goedel used the system of Russell and Whitehead’s Principia, but the point easily generalizes.)

    (A formal system is “complete” if and only if every sentence or its negation can be proven within that system. Goedel showed that if a formal system is sophisticated enough to contain arithmetic, then that system cannot be complete.)

    What one could do, and Goedel was explicit about this, is prove the completeness of the original axioms — but only at the cost of adding further axioms to the original ones. So it’s not that one cannot prove the completeness of arithmetic, but that one cannot prove the completeness of arithmetic from within arithmetic itself. By contrast, one can prove, within first-order logic, that first-order logic is complete. (The completeness proof for first-order logic is part of most undergraduate courses in symbolic logic.)

    So, the Godel results, however fascinating for mathematics, really have nothing at all to do with metaphysics, whether theological or naturalistic. It’s not even clear what they have to do with philosophy or science at all.

  156. What does Jupiter’s potentially fuzzy boundaries have to do with the fact of its existence or non existence.

    Alan

    Precision. It’s important in science. Apparently less so in apologetics.

    The Law of Non-Contradiction is not a scientific concept of measurement. It is a rule of logic and reason. I thought I made that clear early on. If you can’t do logic, you can’t think, reason, or interpret evidence.

    Where Jupiter begins and ends is rather pertinent to its existence, I would have thought.

    You would have thought wrong in a most spectacular way. WHERE Jupiter begins and ends is totally unrelated to the question of IF Jupiter exists or doesn’t exist.

    No one knows exactly where the Atlantic Ocean leaves off and the Amazon River takes over. Do you think that has anything to do with the question of whether or not water is present or not present at those locations?

  157. Hey Axel, given your innate sense and thirst for ‘beauty’, I thought you might be interested to know that ENV has a new article up detailing the futile attempt of two materialists who tried to reduce the sense of ‘beauty’ to mere brain function.,,

    Beauty Evades the Clutches of Materialism – March 27, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....70321.html

    Though the article was somewhat technical, it’s almost comical to read how every approach they tried to reduce the sense of beauty to mere mechanism was thwarted.,, But alas, don’t the researchers have even the faintest clue that,,,

    All Things Bright And Beautiful –
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4082996/

    ,,,come from God??

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

    notes:

    Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. – When I heard the Learn’d Astronomer

    WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
    When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
    When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
    How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
    Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
    Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

    And to that effect,,,

    The Mountain – Inspirational video
    http://video.yahoo.com/editors.....60678.html

    Baja California Timelapses – video
    (speaks a tension between time and timelessness that brings a holiness to mind and eye)
    http://vimeo.com/11892211

    “Walking On Air” – NASA (Expedition 30) – time lapse video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWz5ltE_I4c

    Mount Bromo HD Timelapse – video -
    (Be still and know,,,Psalm 46:10)
    https://vimeo.com/44543156

    Starlings Flocking – Murmuration – video
    http://vimeo.com/31158841

    This Wind – Inspirational Poem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4555714/

    Lightning – Inspirational Poem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4236830/

  158. Apparently Kantian Naturalist, you are to trying to draw a distinction where I made none, I was careful to say ‘equation’ which includes counting numbers. :

    Godel and Physics – John D. Barrow
    Excerpt (page 5-6): “Clearly then no scientific cosmology, which of necessity must be highly mathematical, can have its proof of consistency within itself as far as mathematics go. In absence of such consistency, all mathematical models, all theories of elementary particles, including the theory of quarks and gluons…fall inherently short of being that theory which shows in virtue of its a priori truth that the world can only be what it is and nothing else. This is true even if the theory happened to account for perfect accuracy for all phenomena of the physical world known at a particular time.”
    Stanley Jaki – Cosmos and Creator – 1980, pg. 49
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0612253.pdf

    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.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Alan Turing and Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (notes in video description)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8516356/

    And if you want to get into the actual empirics which severely undermine your preferred naturalistic worldview,,

    Are Humans merely Turing Machines?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cvQeiN7DqBC0Z3PG6wo5N5qbsGGI3YliVBKwf7yJ_RU/edit

    But we all know how you always seem to find something else to talk about when it comes to actual empirics don’t we Mr. Kantian!

  159. A bit more clarity is on Godel’s incompleteness theorem is found here:

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity . . . all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency . . . no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness . . . all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He summed it up this way: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.
    Kurt Gödel had dropped a bomb on the foundations of mathematics. Math could not play the role of God as infinite and autonomous. It was shocking, though, that logic could prove that mathematics could not be its own ultimate foundation.
    Christians should not have been surprised. The first two conditions are true about math: it is valid and consistent. But only God fulfills the third condition. Only He is complete and therefore self-dependent (autonomous). God alone is “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28), “the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13). God is the ultimate authority (Hebrews 6:13), and in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).
    http://www.answersingenesis.or...../equation#

  160. 160

    Elizabeth Liddle (via #153)

    Liddle: The real problem is that the tests for ID in biology (as proposed so far) don’t distinguish between the output of intentional agents and the output of Darwinian algorithms.

    Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar.

    Liddle: IDists have failed to demonstrate that what they consider the signature of intentional design is not also the signature of Darwinian evolutionary processes

    I wonder how that worked out for her?

    Liddle: You know, Upright BiPed, you are absolutely right!

    Darwinian evolution doesn’t explain how replication with heritable variation in reproductive success first came into being!

  161. Alan Fox @135:

    Good. So you confirm that this whole discussion has been a semantic game around your use of the word “thing.”

    Please tell us what word you wish to use instead of “thing” to refer to something that doesn’t exist, and I’ll be happy to use it for you in this thread. Then we can get back to the substance of the question that was originally posed.

  162. 162
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 158, there are fairly deep waters here. I think that Searle is basically right to deny both (1) that minds are programs and (2) brains are computers.

    But, there is still the following worry: does Searle’s argument just assume that all computers are von Neumann machines? Churchland has argued for neurocomputationalism — what brains do is compute — but it is crucial to his argument that brains compute in the sense that artificial neural networks compute, and not in the sense that von Neumann machines compute.

    Now, I do have pretty serious complaints about Churchland’s project — as I do about Searle’s, for that matter — and I don’t yet have a really good alternative. I think that the right way to proceed is to integrate John McDowell’s rehabilitation of Aristotelian naturalism (“the res cogitans is the rational animal”) with insights from Dennett and Churchland.

  163. Painting by numbers springs to mind, Philip. I expect they are puzzled there is no prize for it.

    It’s comical to imagine them sitting at a ‘painting by numbers’ book, but not as comical as the fact that these are real people, real human beings, and not, on the face of it, bereft of intelligence, either.

    I could look forward to reading about such these forays into the measurement of beauty, as much as I look forward to hearing the reaction of people who had heavenly near-death experiences, when they are told they have to go back!!!! Especially one bloke (an NDE outlier, really) who was actually a scientist, a chemist or some such.

    I can’t really explain it, I suppose, but there was something about his prosaic cast of mind that had me in hysterics almost every time he opened his mouth. His reaction, on seeing the brilliant light, was to wonder whether it would be possible to measure its intensity! And when he was told he had to go back, he said that was angry!

  164. I meant Nobel Prize for Painting by Numbers.

  165. Thanks for the links, Philip. I’ll be looking at them this evening. I saw a snatch of the beautiful time-lapse one.

  166. Well Kantian Naturalist, the empirical proof which undermines your preferred metaphysics is pretty straightforward. But as to prevent you from trying your usual dodging of what is a clear cut case through semantic word games, I will once again lay it all out, for others, so as to thwart your what I perceive to be purposely evasive tactic:

    Alan’s brain tells his mind, “Don’t you blow it.”
    Listen up! (Even though it’s inchoate.)
    “My claim’s neat and clean.
    I’m a Turing Machine!”
    … ‘Tis somewhat curious how he could know it.

    Are Humans merely Turing Machines?

    Alan Turing extended Godel’s incompleteness to material computers, as is illustrated in this following video:

    Alan Turing & Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8516356

    And it is now found that,,,

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    Yet supercomputers with many switches have a huge problem dissipating heat,,,

    Supercomputer architecture
    Excerpt: Throughout the decades, the management of heat density has remained a key issue for most centralized supercomputers.[4][5][6] The large amount of heat generated by a system may also have other effects, such as reducing the lifetime of other system components.[7] There have been diverse approaches to heat management, from pumping Fluorinert through the system, to a hybrid liquid-air cooling system or air cooling with normal air conditioning temperatures.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....chitecture

    But the brain, though having as many switches as all the computers on earth combined, does not have such a problem dissipating heat,,,

    Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories? – By Ferris Jabr – July 2012
    Excerpt: So a typical adult human brain runs on around 12 watts—a fifth of the power required by a standard 60 watt lightbulb. Compared with most other organs, the brain is greedy; pitted against man-made electronics, it is astoundingly efficient.
    http://www.scientificamerican......d-calories

    Moreover, one source for the heat generated by computers is caused by the erasure of information from the computer in logical operations,,,

    Landauer’s principle
    Of Note: “any logically irreversible manipulation of information, such as the erasure of a bit or the merging of two computation paths, must be accompanied by a corresponding entropy increase ,,, Specifically, each bit of lost information will lead to the release of an (specific) amount (at least kT ln 2) of heat.,,, Landauer’s Principle has also been used as the foundation for a new theory of dark energy, proposed by Gough (2008).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._principle

    And any computer, that has anything close to as many switches as the brain has, this source of heat will become prohibitive:

    Quantum physics behind computer temperature
    Excerpt: It was the physicist Rolf Landauer who first worked out in 1961 that when data is deleted it is inevitable that energy will be released in the form of heat. This principle implies that when a certain number of arithmetical operations per second have been exceeded, the computer will produce so much heat that the heat is impossible to dissipate.,,,
    ,, the team believes that the critical threshold where Landauer’s erasure heat becomes important may be reached within the next 10 to 20 years.
    http://cordis.europa.eu/search....._RCN=33479

    Thus the brain, which currently has more switches than all the computers of the world combined, is either operating on reversible computation principles no computer can come close to emulating (Charles Bennett), or, as is much more likely, the brain is not erasing information from its memory as material computers are required to do, because our memories are stored on a ‘spiritual’ level rather than on a material level,,, Research backs up this conclusion,,,

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness. And as soon as the function of brain has been lost, like in clinical death or in brain death, with iso-electricity on the EEG, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the reception ability is lost. People can experience their consciousness outside their body, with the possibility of perception out and above their body, with identity, and with heightened awareness, attention, well-structured thought processes, memories and emotions. And they also can experience their consciousness in a dimension where past, present and future exist at the same moment, without time and space, and can be experienced as soon as attention has been directed to it (life review and preview), and even sometimes they come in contact with the “fields of consciousness” of deceased relatives. And later they can experience their conscious return into their body.
    http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/Res.....sponse.htm

    To add more support to this view that ‘memory/information’ is not stored in the brain, but is stored on a higher ‘spiritual’ level, one of the most common features of extremely deep near death experiences is the ‘life review’ where every minute detail of a person’s life is reviewed:

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

    Thus, the evidence we now have in hand gives strong support to the common sense conclusion that humans are not Turing Machines!

  167. Of Note: Once Kantian Naturalist, though usually very elusive as to making any specific claims about reality, inadvertently claimed a position. He claimed that ‘I am my brain’.

    Yet, if the consciousness (mind) of a person were merely the result of extremely complex processes in the brain, as materialists hold, then, if half of a brain were removed, a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before, but that is not the case. The ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007
    Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,,
    Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says.
    Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,,
    http://www.scientificamerican......than-whole

    Case for the Existence of the Soul – (Argument from Divisibility) – JP Moreland, PhD- video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=2304s

  168. Kantian Naturalist

    I’ve seen the argument all over the place [against infinite regress] in Aristotle, and I suppose it’s in Aquinas too, but that doesn’t make it any less of a fallacy.

    We are speaking of a chain of efficient causal events in which the removal of one link in the chain would cause the other links in the chain to cease to exist. The first mover of the chain is just as necessary for the existence of the chain as each link in the chain is necessary for the existence of all that follows. You and I are caused to exist by air and food. If each ceased to exist, we would cease to exist. Likewise, air and food are caused by other elements, and so on. That this causal chain must terminate in a causeless cause, that is, in something that has existence not from another but rather from itself, follows as surely as the night follows the day. A chain of movement cannot start itself because the chain itself if an effect that requires a cause.

  169. 169
    Kantian Naturalist

    : Once Kantian Naturalist, though usually very elusive as to making any specific claims about reality, inadvertently claimed a position. He claimed that ‘I am my brain’.

    I once claimed that? Huh. I guess it’s logically possible, but that seems so uncharacteristic of me that I find it very difficult to believe that I did. I’d appreciate a citation, if you can find one. That doesn’t seem like any view that I currently have or can recall having ever had. But I doubt that neurocomputation will shed much light (if any at all) on intentionality or consciousness.

    In any event, I certainly don’t think that persons can be identified with brains or that brains are von Neumann machines, although what little I know about neurocomputation is very intriguing and suggestive.

  170. Sorry KN I misstated you,, the exact quote goes like this:

    I am wherever my body is. Right now I am seated at my desk in my apartment. I don’t think of “the I” as being somewhere inside my body; “I” am my body, as a living thing.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-443516

    Thus the argument from divisibility and empirical evidence I cited, (not that empirical evidence ever matters to you personally), refutes your belief!

  171. Case for the Existence of the Soul – (Argument from Divisibility) – JP Moreland, PhD- video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=2304s

  172. 172
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 170, ah, good! I do basically think that — that the person or self is his or her living body — though I probably did not put enough emphasis on the socio-cultural dimensions of personhood. So it might be better for me to have said that human persons are social roles that take human animals as their role-players.

    I don’t know what exactly I want to say about non-human animals that display high levels of intelligence, creativity, social cooperation and something a lot like morality — here I’m thinking of, say, chimpanzees, elephants, and some cetaceans — though I am strongly opposed to “corporate personhood.”

    I don’t see why hemispheretocomies should have any relevance to what I’m claiming, since all that shows is that the brain is much more interesting and complicated than we previously thought, particularly with regard to redundancy and plasticity.

  173. KN you are so full of it,,,

    it might be better for me to have said that human persons are social roles that take human animals as their role-players.

    were you able to keep a straight face when you wrote that? :)

    As to you appealing to plasticity, I’m sorry that just won’t cut it, the most parsimonious explanation, by far, is that the argument from divisibility is verified and materialism/naturalism is left with just another gaping ‘just so’ story instead of confirmation.,,, Moreover, that is just the tip of the iceberg of the problems you have to overcome from empirical evidence. To focus on one particular problem you have, as a naturalist, from empirics. If “I” were my body/brain, and only my body/brain and nothing else, then the following experimental result from quantum mechanics should be completely impossible: Here’s a recent variation of Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment, which highlights the ability of the conscious observer to effect ‘spooky action into the past’, thus further solidifying consciousness’s centrality in reality. In the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious, free will, choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that present conscious, free will, choices effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?,,, Moreover, in our best mathematical description of reality (quantum mechanic), which is verified to something like 13 decimal places, it is now found that one cannot ever improve quantum theory over its present state, with the only a priori assumptions being that measurements (conscious observations) can be freely chosen:

    Can quantum theory be improved? – July 23, 2012
    Excerpt: However, in the new paper, the physicists have experimentally demonstrated that there cannot exist any alternative theory that increases the predictive probability of quantum theory by more than 0.165, with the only assumption being that measurement (observation) parameters can be chosen independently (free choice assumption) of the other parameters of the theory.,,,
    ,, the experimental results provide the tightest constraints yet on alternatives to quantum theory. The findings imply that quantum theory is close to optimal in terms of its predictive power, even when the predictions are completely random.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-quantum-theory.html

    Now this is completely unheard of in science as far as I know. i.e. That a mathematical description of reality would advance to the point that one can actually perform a experiment showing that your current theory will not be exceeded in predictive power by another future theory is simply unprecedented in science!

    Moreover, KN, as if having the most successful science theory against you were not bad enough, you position is reducto ad absurdum on (at least) these eight following points:

    1. The argument from the intentionality (aboutness) of mental states implies non-physical minds (dualism), which is incompatible with naturalism
    2. The existence of meaning in language is incompatible with naturalism, Rosenberg even says that all the sentences in his own book are meaningless
    3. The existence of truth is incompatible with naturalism
    4. The argument from moral praise and blame is incompatible with naturalism
    5. Libertarian freedom (free will) is incompatible with naturalism 6. Purpose is incompatible with naturalism
    7. The enduring concept of self is incompatible with naturalism
    8. The experience of first-person subjectivity (“I”) is incompatible with naturalism

    KN, “I”, not my brain or any other part of my body, strongly suggest watching Dr. Craig’s short presentation, that I have linked, to get a full feel for just how insane the metaphysical naturalist’s position (your position) actually is.

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

  174. KN (172): I do basically think that — that the person or self is his or her living body

    Why do you say living body? What does living mean?

    KN (172): — though I probably did not put enough emphasis on the socio-cultural dimensions of personhood. So it might be better for me to have said that human persons are social roles that take human animals as their role-players.

    Part of a person is his (or her) social role (position), that I can understand.
    But social roles that take human animals as their role-players? A social role is no agency right?

  175. 175
    Kantian Naturalist

    I was completely serious, yes. I’m always serious, except when I’m not.

    And it follows from that, for example, when the question “was I once a fetus?” admits of no simple answer — for while the individual human animal that I am was, of course, once a fetus, the fetus itself is not a person. And persons change over the course of their lives, of course, even once they have gradually emerged over the course of infancy and childhood.

    Box, I believe you’re being too literal in your use of “take”. One might say that individual human animals fill the social roles of human persons, or satisfy them — whatever term you like — it’s the distinction between roles and role-players that I’m concerned with here.

    Though of course that distinction cannot be exactly right, insofar as the individual human person that I am is the consequence of how the individual human animal that I am has been affected by what I’ve experienced — including, quite importantly, by how I’ve been acculturated.

    A duplicate of me qua individual human animal, if placed in different circumstances as an infant, would have grown up to be a different human person than I am now — how different would depend on how different the circumstances, both physical and social.

  176. KN, you claim that,,

    I was completely serious, yes. I’m always serious, except when I’m not.

    Apparently that exception to seriousness takes place whenever you are refuted by direct empirical evidence!

    KN, you also claim that,,

    persons change over the course of their lives

    Yet, as Dr. Craig pointed out, in the short video that you apparently did not watch,

    “The enduring concept of self is incompatible with naturalism”

    Moreover KN you claim:

    the fetus itself is not a person

    yet theism holds that a ‘person’ is formed before their body is:

    Psalm 139:16
    Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

    To support this claim, in this following video, Dr. Neal speaks about the ‘timelessness of her soul’ that she experienced during her Near Death Experience,,

    video – As a surgeon Dr. Mary C. Neal was skeptical of people with life after death experiences until she had one of her own.
    http://www.cbn.com/tv/2178215942001

    Moreover, as with free will, we have evidence from quantum mechanics strongly supporting the concept of a ‘transcendent soul’ that lives past the death of our material bodies.

    Quantum entanglement/information, though at first thought to be impossible in ‘hot and noisy’ environments, is now found in our ‘hot and noisy’ body on a massive scale:

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    Moreover, despite repeated attempts to refute quantum non-locality, quantum non-locality refuses to be reduced to any naturalistic cause within space-time,,,

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    The implications of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, quantum information/entanglement in our ‘hot and noisy’ body on a massive scale are fairly self evident:

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Moreover quantum information/entanglement is found to be ‘conserved’,,,

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – March 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
    http://phys.org/news/2011-03-q.....tally.html

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    It is also important to note that consciousness is now found to be ‘quantumly entangled’ in a fairly different, more spread out, way than the rest of the body:

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence/Conservation of Quantum Information) – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    Brain ‘entanglement’ could explain memories – January 2010
    Excerpt: In both cases, the researchers noticed that the voltage of the electrical signal in groups of neurons separated by up to 10 millimetres sometimes rose and fell with exactly the same rhythm. These patterns of activity, dubbed “coherence potentials”, often started in one set of neurons, only to be mimicked or “cloned” by others milliseconds later. They were also much more complicated than the simple phase-locked oscillations and always matched each other in amplitude as well as in frequency. (Perfect clones) “The precision with which these new sites pick up on the activity of the initiating group is quite astounding – they are perfect clones,” says Plen

    Music, quote, and verse:

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DL6LPLNX

    “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
    ? C.S. Lewis

    Mark 12:27
    He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: ye do greatly err.

  177. KN:(172)”(..) human persons are social roles (..)”

    A person can have a social role and can identify strongly with that role. But a social role is no agency.

    KN:(172)”(..) social roles that take human animals as their role-players.”

    Uh .. not an agency; why the metaphor?

    KN:(175)”(..) individual human animals fill the social roles of human persons, or satisfy them (..)”

    Human animals differ from human persons because human persons are a role and human animals are not? This is getting confusing. Can you elaborate?

    KN:(175)”(..) it’s the distinction between roles and role-players that I’m concerned with here.”

    Why so complicated? A person plays his or her part in society. One can identify strongly with that part, but at the end of the day we are not social roles but persons.

  178. 178
    Kantian Naturalist

    Craig’s refutations of a view that I do not hold means nothing to me, and neither do quotations from a work of ancient literature. If my metaphysical views do not fit into the narrow dichotomy of “materialism or theism,” that is not my fault.

  179. KN you sir are the master of the art as to being the proverbial jello that refuses to be nailed to the wall,,, but alas, ‘”I” am my body’, is your one slip up that I certainly made you pay for! :) Can’t be to careful with clarity you know when deception is your stock and trade!

  180. KN

    It’s central to the ideological glue that holds together “the ID movement” that the following are all conflated:Darwin’s theories; neo-Darwinism; modern evolutionary theory; Epicurean materialistic metaphysics; Enlightenment-inspired secularism. (Maybe I’m missing one or two pieces of the puzzle.) In my judgment, a mind incapable of making the requisite distinctions hardly deserves to be taken seriously.

    I think your analysis of the driving force behind ID is way off base. That’s not to say that persons who advocate ID (including myself) aren’t sometimes guilty of sloppy use of language, nor am I making the claim that the modern synthetic theory of evolution is synonymous with materialism or secularism. Having made that acknowledgement, though, it is demonstrably true that (1) metaphysical presuppostions absolutely undergird much of the modern synthetic theory. This is especially true with regard to methodological naturalism (of course, MN is distinct from ontological naturalism, but if, as some claim, science describes the whole of reality, then reality becomes coextensive with that which is natural). Methodological naturalism is not the end product of some experiment or series of experiments. On the contrary it is a ground rule that excludes a priori any explanation that might be classed as “non-natural”. Some would argue that it is necessary for practical reasons, after all we don’t want people atributing seasonal thunderstorms to Thor, do we? However, science could get along just as well as at present (even better in my view) if the ground rule is simply that any proposed causal explanation must be rigorously defined and that it shall not be accepted except in light of compelling evidence. Problem solved! Though some fear “supernatural explanation” (which is highly definitional) overwhelming the sciences, such concerns are frequently oversold. Interestingly, the much maligned Michael Behe makes very much the same point in his 1996 Darwin’s Black Box:

    If my graduate student came into my office and said that the angel of death killed her bacterial culture, I would be disinclined to believe her…. Science has learned over the past half millenium that the universe operates with great regularity the great majority of the time, and that simple laws and predictable behavior explain most physical phenomena.
    Darwin’s Black Box pg. 241

    If Behe’s expression is representative of the ID community (which I would venture it is), then why the death-grip on methodological naturalism? I suggest that its power lies in its exclusionary function. It rules out ID right from the start, before even any discussions about the emprical data are to be had. MN means that ID is persona non grata, thus some sort of evolutionary explanation must win by default. (2) In Darwin’s own arguments in favor of his theory he rely heavily on metaphysical assumptions about what God would or wouldn’t do. Effectively he uses special creation by a deity as his null hypothesis, casting his theory as the explanatory alternative. Thus the adversarial relationship between Darwin (whose ideas are foundational to the MST) and theism is baked right into The Origin. To this very day, “bad design” arguments in favor of evolution still employ theological reasoning. (3) The modern synthetic theory is often used in the public debate as a prop for materialism (which I believe you acknowledged in another comment). How many times have we heard the famed Richard Dawkins quote to the effect that ‘Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist’? Very frequently evolutionary theory is impressed into service to show the superfluousness of theism or to explain away religion as an erstwhile useful phenomenon produced by natural selection (or something to that effect). Hardly can it be ignored that the most enthusiastic boosters of evolutionary theory tend to fall on the atheist/materialist/reductionist side of the spectrum (e.g. Eugenie Scott, Michael Shermer, P.Z. Meyers, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Peter Atkins, Daniel Dennett, Will Provine). My point simply stated is that it is not at all wrong-headed to draw a connection between the modern synthetic theory and the aforementioned class of metaphysical views. Can it be said that the modern synthetic theory (am I allowed just to write Neo-Darwinism for short?) doesn’t mandate nontheistic metaphysics? Sure. But it’s just as true that they often accompany each other.

    In chalking up ID to a massive attack of confused cognition, you overlook the substantive reasons why many (including a number of PhD scientists) consider ID to be a cogent explanation of many features of our universe (especially the bioshpere):
    -Functionally-specified complex information present in cells in prodigdious quantities
    -Sophisticated mechanical systems at both the micro and macro level in organisms (many of which exhibit IC)
    -Fine-tuning of fundamental constants
    -Patterns of stasis followed by abrupt appearance (geologically speaking) in the fossil record
    In my opinion the presence of FSCI/O and complex biological machinery are very powerful indicators of intelligent agency, judging from our uniform and repeated experience. Also note that none of the above reasons employ theological presuppositions. They flow naturally, inexorably from the data. And, yes, we are all familiar with the objection that organisms are distinct from artificial objects, the implication being that our knowledge from the domain of man-made objects doesn’t carry over to biology. I think this is fallacious. Everyone acknowledges that matter inhabiting this universe is made up of atoms, which in turn are composed of still other particles. This is true of all matter, not just “natural” things, not just “artificial” things – everything. If such is the case, then must not the same laws apply to all matter with equal force? From whence comes the false dichotomy that between “natural” and “artificial”? If design can be discerned in one case, why not in the other?
    To this point we have not even addressed the shortcomings of the modern synthetic theory (excepting only its metaphysical moorings). They are manifold, however – evidential shortcomings (e.g. lack of empirical support), unjustified extrapolations, question-begging assumptions, ad hoc rationalizations, tolerance of “just so” stories, narratives imposed on data instead of gleaned from data, conflict with empirical data from generations of human experience with breeding, etc. If at the end of the day you truly believe that all ID has going for it is a culture war mentality, then may I politely suggest that you haven’t been paying attention.

  181. Optimus, well said. Headlined, here. KF

  182. If the TSZ is an example, then being a skeptic means you get to make one bald assertion after another and if you are good then you will use the first bald assertion as a reference for the others.

    It also means that you get to make false accusations against those that you are allegedly skeptical of. Or if you are sketical of an idea/ concept you get to create a strawman of it and destroy that strawman.

    And according to the TSZ, equivocation and obfuscation are the oft-used tools of skeptics.

    Strange that their use of the word just doesn’t measure up to the commonly accepted use.

  183. Hi Kantian Naturalist,

    Regarding your claim that arguments for a first cause involve a quantifier shift, I suggest you read these posts by Ed Feser:

    On some alleged quantifier shift fallacies, Part I
    On some alleged quantifier shift fallacies, Part II (especially relevant)
    On some alleged quantifier shift fallacies, Part III

    For my part, I would say that the crucial insight required in order to understand why an infinite regress of per se (as opposed to per accidens) causes is impossible is simply this: you can have an infinite regress of conditions (e.g. A would not be the case were it not for B, which would not be the case were it not for C, etc.), but you can’t have an infinite regress of explanations. An infinite regress of explanations explains nothing.

    Regarding your denial that the embryo/fetus is a person, I’ve written an online book on the subject, in defense of fetal personhood:

    Embryo and Einstein – Why They’re Equal

    I hope you find it useful.

  184. “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

    My question, has Elizabeth Liddle ever genuinely beseeched anyone in the the bowels of Christ ever during her entire life on this planet?

    Somehow I doubt it. And of not, then she’s exactly what she appeared to be back when she posted here. A smarmy know-it-all whose opinions deserve exactly zero attention from anyone who takes the questions posed on this blog in any way, shape, or form seriously. Especially since they can be had elsewhere without the gagging reek.

    “It’s irony!” wink-wink.

    “Oh, how terribly sophisticated of you,” he replied as he reached for the barf bag.

  185. 185
    Kantian Naturalist

    Dr. Torley, thank you for your 183. I’ll take a look at the Feser pieces on quantifier shifts. That’s been bugging me for a long time. Yesterday it struck me that quantifier shifts might be a weird kind of mistake — Fregean logic is a predicate logic, and Aristotelian logic is a term logic. Could it be that quantifier shifts are just when happens when Aristotelian term logic is ‘translated’ into Fregean predicate logic?

    I like the contrast between the two kinds of infinite regresses; that’s exceedingly helpful. And I fully agree that there can’t be an infinite regress of explanations. But what halts the regress is brute facts (for else can do it?), and I don’t see why brute facts about contingent beings are less intellectually satisfying than brute facts about necessary beings.

  186. Some more stuff for petrushka to ignore-

    p:

    My question for gpuccio and friends is, how does a designer know which neutral mutations to create and preserve so that they might, in combination with some future mutation, enable a new function?

    Please tell us why a designer has to know such a thing and couldn’t write a search program to care for contingenies?

    Lensky’s answer, supported by observation, is that a population of bacteria can “test” every possible point mutation in a reasonable amount of time.

    And as far as you know that was/ is by design.

    Just because we observe mutations occurring doesn’t mean the blind watchmaker didit. So stop with your equivocation already- which you won’t because you love to attack a strawman with your equivocations.

  187. other mouth:

    We observe mutations. We note the fact that they appear to be random with respect to function.

    Actually they are not all random wrt function and being random wrt function does not = blind and undirected.

    Joe uses this as evidence that we don’t in fact know that was by intelligent design.

    No, I don’t. My point is you are just guessing and have no science to support anything you say.

    So here we have an evo, unable to support its position’s claims, and forced to spew false accusations and bald assertions- just as predicted.

  188. Lizzie:

    One is: find a criterion that reliably indicates a designer.

    We have and have written about it

    The second is: predict what you would see if a designer designed something

    We have.

    OTOH no one has done the same for unguided evolution. If you think that I am lying or mistaken, then please do so on TSZ and we can have a look as to its validity.

    My bet is that you won’t because then you would be making an actual claim that you would have to supprt.

  189. Robin:

    Is there some reason that you can think of that a designer who could design DNA could not design water?

    Umm, water is evidence for design. Read “The Privileged Planet”.

  190. Allan Miller:

    If DNA sequences were not in fact commonly descended, this would show up like a beacon in these analyses.

    If DNA sequences were not in fact commonly designed, this would show up like a beacon in these analyses.

    BTW common descent doesn’t say whether or not it was darwinian or design.

    As you say, viral insertions provide a particularly interesting piece of the puzzle, and there is simply no way to deal with these on a ‘design’ paradigm, other than one involving deceit.

    You cannot test the comon descent version for the alleged viral insertions. And for the most part it all amounts to “they look like viral insertion remnants to me”.

    As to complexity, there are two mechanistic considerations I might mention that are game-changers: endosymbiosis and sex.

    And both magic as far as materialism is concerned.

    Again nothing is explained in terms of unguided evolution.

    Pathetic…

  191. Lizzie’s new post ends with:

    Honestly, it’s not that I’m “skeptical” of ID – I have just yet to read a pro-ID article, even by the academics in the field, that doesn’t make rookie errors about evolutionary science.

    What evolutionary science? Whatever happens and whatever survives ain’t science.

    And it is very noticeable that you still haven’t presented any evidence to support your claims.

    Talk about rookie mistakes…

  192. In the circumstances, Joe, she would have deserved at least a merit star for trying – with a little note to that effect on her term report (since you will insist on giving remedial teaching to the unteachable…!)

  193. Re your post #77:

    ‘Matter that didn’t always exist must first be created…’ I don’t see how you can know that.’

    You can’t not know it, if English is your first language and you have an IQ in double figures, as it is an a priori truth. Everything must have an origin. ‘Turtles all the way down’ has even been disproved philosophically.

    As regards your not believing in the Big Bang and Singularity, more and more evidence in proof is being being discovered and published – right up to this week. So, it’s hardly regarded by physicists as a conjecture yet to be adopted as a reliable hypothesis.

  194. Sorry. I keep thinking I’ve addressed the person I’m responding to by name. Alan, Renard, Reynard, Reginald.

  195. Re your #173, Philip, I keep warning you guys, but you are political naifs. I’ve never seen anyone fashion such an exquisitely discursive and detailed filigree of sophistry as KN quite regularly (and apparently, quite effortlessly); at least without disappearing you know where, (if you are not a total stranger to the coarse, avian concept of a kind of self-referential Bermuda Triangle on the human anatomy, for the same empty vessel engaging in such vapid discursions, to vanish into without trace).

  196. Alan Fox:

    I don’t watch talking-head videos as a rule and much prefer the written word so I can’t help you out about what Nelson said.

    I suppose that’s why you are appealing to Allan Miller, who famously stated:

    Do I have to watch the video?

    Troll.

  197. Elizabeth Liddle:

    I have just yet to read a pro-ID article, even by the academics in the field, that doesn’t make rookie errors about evolutionary science.

    Right. There’s never been a pro-ID article that fails to mention evolutionary science.

    If there has ever been a pro-ID article that fails to mention evolutionary science you’ve not read it.

    All pro-ID articles you’ve ever read mention evolutionary science.

    Not only do all pro-ID articles you’ve ever read mention evolutionary science, all pro-ID articles you’ve ever read make rookie mistakes about evolutionary science.

    You’re either ignorant, or a liar, or an ignorant liar.

    And that’s why you no longer post here at UD.

  198. So Lizzie et al., are griping and moaning about IDists’ portrayal of natural selection, yet they still cannot provide any EVIDENCE tat refutes that portrayal.

    However if “blah, blah, blah” was evidence then we would be refuted :)

    So yeah, if being a skeptic means that you can also make up evidence, then Lizzie et al., are skeptics…

  199. Lizzie sez:

    In the two posts I made recently, both concerning Douglas Axe, I point out that he rests his case on demonstrably false characterisations of the evolutionary hypothesis he is criticising.

    Yes lizzie and it is very telling that you A) did NOT reference your claims taht show Axe is wrong and B) did not produce any evidence taht demonstrates Axe is wrong.

    IOW, Lizzie, you are full of it, as usual.

    Ya see Lizzie, your continued bald assertions make us cross!

  200. ‘I have just yet to read a pro-ID article, even by the academics in the field, that doesn’t make rookie errors about evolutionary science.’

    Evolutionary what?

  201. In my experience, major ID proponents are often more insightful about evolutionary theory than evolutionists. The latter tend to gloss over problems, assume things that are questionable, make unwarranted logical leaps, rely on just-so stories, and so on. As a result, when problems are pointed out the evolutionist often naturally feels that evolution is being unfairly mischaracterized.

    Indeed, it is often the failure to get into the details that gives evolutionary theory its perception of explanatory power. That is why I coined my maxim, which is applicable to the larger evolutionary claims:

    The perception of evolution’s explanatory power is inversely proportional to the specificity of the discussion.

    —–
    That said, I’m curious to know if there is some substance to the complaint this time around. If I get time, I’ll try to check out Lizzie’s posts to see exactly which egregious errors were committed by Axe.

  202. A new false accusation/ bald assertion:

    It is particularly difficult to remain civil when the work and opinions of Nobel Prize winning biochemists is dismissed out of hand by people who couldn’t pass a high school chemistry final exam. Not necessarily referring to Phinehas, but definitely referring to many posters at UD.

    Unfortunately it doesn’t say what work and opinions is dismissed. And taht is the rub- tey never reference their claims, they just spew them as if spewing makes it so.

  203. And not suprisingly petrushka, instead of posting the alleged evidence just poats another false accustion:

    Joe couldn’t name a Nobel winning biochemist who works on OOL if his life depended on it.

    Christian De Duve, Leslie Orgel- oops, that’s two without even thinking about it.

  204. OK Orgel wasn’t a Nobel prize winner. I could have said Monod or maybe even Sanger, who elucidated the structure of insulin (don’t know how much he worked on the OoL)- but Urey should have been the obvious choice.

    It doesn’t matter. There isn’t anyone’s work that is dismissed out-of-hand. petrushka is making it all up, as usual.

  205. And more innuendos and still no evidence that we dismiss any work out of hand.

    Life as a “skeptic” is nice. BTW when did dna jock become a dick?

  206. OK, I finally made my way over to TSZ to see what these “rookie mistakes” were that Lizzie is making much of. I have not looked at all the posts, but I did read one about Axe and Gauger and here is the “mistake” they make:

    Without getting all technical, Axe and Gauger apparently feel that the fitness landscape is punctuated by peaks and valleys, with the result that organisms are likely to get stuck at a fitness peak. This is the egregious error Lizzie sees. She acknowledges that natural selection would be “doomed” under such a scenario.

    Now, this is not a new concept with Axe and Gauger. Indeed, many people have argued that the fitness landscape is as described above.

    Lizzie argues, however, that this is not so. The landscape, according to her is like this:

    And given that we know (and both Axe and Gauger must know, being biologists) that similar phenotypes have similar genotypes, the landscape is not only full of climbing ramps, but is also “paved” – smoothed by the similarities between the phenotypic consequence of similar genotypes.
    (emphasis added)

    Now this is certainly a thoroughly Darwinian view of things harking all the way back to Sir. Charles. Darwin felt that there was an unbroken continuum — slight successive changes — such that the fitness landscape would be essentially flat, like colors merging almost imperceptibly on a color chart.

    Unfortunately for Darwin, and unfortunately for Lizzie, that is not at all what we see in nature. We see breaks and leaps and uniqueness and discontinuity. We in fact see organisms occupying disparate points on the map.

    It is possible — logically possible, that is — that these points we currently see are indeed joined together by smoothed, paved, easy-to-access pathways. But that is an assumption, not an empirical fact, and those frequent oases in the organism’s long and directionless path to that distant and dusty peak are more a mirage imagined by the desperate traveler than an actual point of refuge. Furthermore, there are good reasons to think that many points on the map — from individual biochemical systems to whole organisms — are in fact steep peaks that cannot be so easily traversed.

    Thus, at most what Lizzie could have objectively said would have been that some people disagree with the idea of a discontinuous landscape and argue for a more level landscape. Fine. But that certainly doesn’t mean that Axe and Gauger have committed some rookie mistake in their description of the landscape.

    Further, Lizzie’s assertion that the landscape is smooth, and therefore easily traversable by natural selection, is nothing more than that — an assertion. It certainly has not been demonstrated.

    Moreover, not only is a smooth fitness landscape not an empirical fact, it is really just a restatement of the theory: namely, that slight, successive changes can lead to just about anything.

    It thus commits the error of assuming the very thing that needs to be demonstrated. And that is something we (rookies and all) quite accurately understand about evolutionary theory.

  207. 207

    So the bottom line is that the rookie mistake made by those who argue against the efficacy of Darwinian evolution is arguing against the efficacy of Darwinian evolution.

  208. Kantian Naturalist:

    You wrote:

    “But I think that most of the people who comment here — I shall refrain from naming names, out of politeness — don’t make the necessary conceptual distinctions, show no interest in trying to do so, and basically just don’t care about being careful. And I think that’s a big part of what fuels the emotional core of the ID movement, as distinct from design “theory”.”

    It’s true that many ID proponents in the blogosphere don’t make necessary conceptual distinctions. But I find that to be true of *all* camps — atheistic Darwinists, theistic Darwinists (TEs), YECs, OECs, etc. I think this is a disease of partisanship as such, rather than any vice peculiar to ID. And one thing I’ve appreciated about your posts here is that your disagreements with certain ID positions seem to stem from thoughtfulness rather than partisanship.

    I don’t think it’s an accident that you have some philosophical training. Philosophical training is in short supply in these debates. The philosophical acuteness of Dawkins, Coyne, Myers, Eugenie Scott, Ken Miller, Francis Collins, Darrel Falk, Elizabeth Liddle, Ken Ham, etc. is pathetically low. The debate tends to be “science geeks” versus “Bible thumpers,” with both sides lacking the intellectual discipline and the moderation that philosophy — at its best, anyway — can provide.

    By the way, you have been away, it seems, and so you may not have noticed my reply to you on another thread. See my #65 at:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....the-day-8/

  209. EA @ 206
    Well said, sir!

  210. 210

    Eric @206:

    I second that nomination.

    Note that Liddle claimed to “know” that fitness landscapes are “paved” and “smoothed.”

    How does she or anyone know that? I’d love to see her defend that claim. Unfortunately, she may not be aware of your solid refutation unless she drops by here. Why don’t you go over to TSZ and call her bluff?

  211. Thanks DK- Axe & Gauger may never hear of Liddle’s “solid refutation” as it is doubtful they even heard of the TSZ- well perhaps if they read UD they would have heard of it.

    Fitness landscape is a contrived term and it doesn’t address the derivation of new body plans and new body parts.

  212. TSZ, where Granville explaining himself = he is sulking and behaving like a child.

  213. They need to know that is blame- the- victim, enabling behaviour, and that their resort to it (again) is telling.

  214. Well nice to see that Gregory is back over there spewing his brand of nonsensical strawmen.

    He and Lizzie are going at it. I don’t know which one I feel sorry for….

  215. And Joe Felsenstein is prattling on how Granville left out much of biology.

    Earth to Joe F- YOU left out the EVIDENCE that unguided evolution can account for anything on your list- the first two are obviously pre-evo.

    You chumps and your bald assertions are beyond pathetic.

  216. Lizzie “responds” to Eric:

    There is some poor reasoning that leads to this conclusions, but Irreducible Complexity turns out to be a) not a theoretical bar (because, arches) and b) not a bar anyway (turns out evolutionary processes can result in IC features (because, AVIDA).

    What total unsupportable nonsense. Unguided evolution does NOT have an answer for irreducible complexity and demonstrate that unguided evolution can result in IC.

    Lizzie is lying, again.

    Also fitness changes as the environment changes, and sometimes without the environment changing. And having more offspring, ie fitness, does not account for new body plans with new body parts. Lizzie is equivocating again.

    But anyway, with all of her bloviations it is very telling tat Lizzie cannot prodice any evidence to support her claims. All she has is Lizzie and that ain’t going to win any arguments.

  217. the other mouth sez:

    There are many critiques of Dembski’s work out there, most of them remain unanswered.

    And not one presents any evidence that refutes him. Typical.

    That is why unguided evolution hasn’t gone anywhere nor done anything.

    Then the other mouth uses an out-of-date quote from Dembski saying that he has dispensed with the EF.

    Earth to OM, Dembski took it back- the EF works just fine.

  218. Lizzie also sez:

    But there is plenty of biological evidence, in lab, field, and from artificial selection.

    And each case demonstrates the severe limitations of evolutionary processes

    We can actually observe natural selection in real time, and do, and yes, it does “do this or that”, i.e. result in populations of individuals better fitted to their current environment.

    Actually we don’t know what we observe. That is because natural selection requires the variations to be chance/ happenstance and we don’t seem to have any methodology for making such a determination.

  219. Lizzie:

    For instance, Dembski’s case is that Darwinian evolution can’t account for the generation of complexity.

    Nope. Try again.

    I understand Dembski’s argument pretty well-

    All evidence to the contrary, of course.

    Dembski acknowledges that to do his proposed calculation (of CSI) he’d have to know the probability distribution for an event under the evolutionary hypothesis.

    Yet evos can’t even provide any evidence of feasibility.

    And talk about a rookie mistake, Liizze sez:

    Is he saying that novel variants of protein-coding sequences do not tend to produce similar proteins to their parent sequence?

    Similar proteins performing similar or the same function is not going to get you new proteins performing new functions. Your position requires the latter, not the former.

  220. Joe:

    When we see dismissive critiques from those who often have a problem with truth and are committed to reject anything that may bring their comfortable ideological materialism under the microscope; such critiques tend to undermine their credibility.

    In any case, what we just showed is a conservative estimate of the search capacity of the 10^57 atoms of the solar system (and the wider cosmos). Such would be able — as has also long been on the record in the exchanges in and around UD — to do the equivalent of blindly picking one straw sized sample from a cubical haystack 1,000 LY on the side, about as thick as our galaxy. Sampling theory — there is no need to go down rabbit trail debates on probabilities — tells us that even if such were superposed on our galaxy, with all but certainty, we will pick straw.

    It is thus not hard to see why it is a sound conclusion that if we see the equivalent of 72 ASCII characters or 500 bits of FSCO/I, its most credible explanation is exactly what we commonly observe, design.

    That is what objectors are trying to brush aside or dismiss, and on track record will resort to almost any tactic to avoid. Here, they refuse to see that we have taken what Dembski did and have moved to a generous estimate of the number of possible search steps in a config space, to set a limit. As in 10^57 atoms each looking at a different config every 10^-14 s, as fast as ionic reactions take, much less organic ones. And that, for a reasonable estimate of the solar system’s age.

    With the 1,000 bit observed cosmos limit, we have allowed searches every 10^-45 s, for the about 10^80 atoms involved.

    In that case the scope of search to the scope of configs is so far beyond one atom to the observed cosmos as is ridiculous.

    The message is clear.

    First, no reasonable doubt should exist as to why FSCO/I is a reliable index of design.

    Second, that what we are dealing with here is ideologically motivated UN-reasonable doubt, driven by ideological a prioris.

    That is sad, but we have to face what we are up against.

    Such unreasonableness will only yield when it sees that the game is up, and no-one is taking their talking points seriously anymore.

    As happened with the Marxists at the end of the 1980′s.

    (Of course, the current neo-marxist revival, is driven by a generation that never learned the real reasons why marxism fell apart. Looks like we are going to have to learn the hard way all over again. At bitter cost.)

    KF

  221. F/N: Notice, again — after I at least twice corrected her on the explanatory filter, per aspect form, with reference to its diagram, EL distorts:

    Dembski’s case is that Darwinian evolution can’t account for the generation of complexity

    Complexity merely means that we have a large config space, the issue Dembski has always raised — echoing Wicken and Orgel etc — is SPECIFIED complexity, coming from a narrow and special zone in the config space. Let me again clip from NFL, as is highlighted in the IOSE introsumm:

    p. 148: “The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology.

    I submit that what they have in mind is specified complexity [[cf. here below], or what equivalently we have been calling in this Chapter Complex Specified information or CSI . . . .

    Biological specification always refers to function . . . In virtue of their function [[a living organism's subsystems] embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the sense required by the complexity-specificity criterion . . . the specification can be cashed out in any number of ways [[through observing the requisites of functional organisation within the cell, or in organs and tissues or at the level of the organism as a whole] . . .”

    p. 144: [[Specified complexity can be defined:] “. . . since a universal probability bound of 1 [[chance] in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, [[the cluster] (T, E) constitutes CSI because T [[ effectively the target hot zone in the field of possibilities] subsumes E [[ effectively the observed event from that field], T is detachable from E, and and T measures at least 500 bits of information . . . ”

    At this stage, there is no excuse for EL’s strawman misrepresentation. That is evidence of UN-reasonableness, and of speaking with willful disregard to truth that one knows or should know, hoping to profit from the misrepresentation.

    Let us take due note.

    KF

  222. F/N: On the design inference and explanatory filter, cf. 101 here.

  223. With all due respect, I much prefer my methodology of dealing with these deceiving, equivocating, quote-mining, misrepresenting, strawman creating, and bloviating “skeptics”.

    Seriously, how many times are you going to just sit there and correct them only to have them attack you, just so they can justify ignoring what you post?

    Oh well, things to do.

    Happy Easter-

  224. Joe: are they resorting to ad hominems again, here in defense of willfully false statements and misrepresentations? At this point, that would even more go to character. And, by hosting or participating in same without correction and action in defense of truth and fairness, that would include EL. KF

    PS: On skimming recent remarks at TSZ, I note that any reasonably informed person who is unaware of the dogmatic imposition of ideological evolutionary materialism among the intelligentsia of our civilisation is willfully blind; which last attitude was precisely the indictment of the general German populace by the White Rose movement in pamphlets 2 and 4 — as I QUOTED (but of course, it was so much easier to set up a convenient strawman . . . ). And, any such distorter of the truth who imagines that “both the Nazis and KF think that homosexuals are immoral and/or deviants” should know that, post 1 Cor 6:9 – 11 — “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[b] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” [cf. my remarks here on recovery from life dominating, addictive, destructive, sinful practices and habits through 12-step methods . . . ] — the notion that I or any serious Christian would be trying reimposition of OT covenantal laws as a part of some imagined right wing theocratic agenda, is more than sadly mistaken. Such a person also needs to ask himself why Hitler said the red in the Nazi party colour indicated its stance, and just what the National Socialist German Workers Party was about in terms of statist political messianism. (Hint: contrary to popular notions, Fascism is essentially an ideology of the LEFT, of state domination with a messianic political leader, cf. here. Political messianism — of any species — is essentially idolatrous and introduces a counterfeit messiah, so it is inherently and inescapably Anti-Christian, whether nominally left, right or centre. For those who need the truth, politically I am a convinced, principled small-d democrat and a practical monarchist as a citizen of the Commonwealth who views the Queen as a public relations asset to a tourist industry region. That is why it was great news for the Caribbean region when The Jamaica Regiment recently took its turn guarding our Queen at Buckingham Palace in London. News, world news, not advertising: priceless!) Instead, I hold the obvious — obvious to anyone not taken in by the vicious, toxic and manipulative games and amorality now running rampant across our civilisation, and in line with the longstanding consensus of principled thinkers on morality across the world down the long ages: such behaviour (YOU raised this, not me; cf here for a corrective briefing . . . ) is a blatant perversion of the obvious creation order for sexuality, marriage and family; but there are those who will become so endarkened and benumbed that they will put darkness for light, bitter for sweet and evil for good, and will indulge or enable or approve or demand approval. Such need to wake up and lay off the conscience benumbing indoctrination, come to their senses and repent. Thankfully, as noted, 1 Cor 6:9 – 11 speaks true and a 12-step approach offers hope to those caught up in The Spin Zone that now dominates our civilisation. And yes, having witnessed Russia send a delegation of apology to Jamaica c. 1990 [ten years after the mini civil war], I am confident that there will come a point where the willful blindness to the evil of our day will meet with a “tour of shame.” By then, it will be too late to undo the wrongs. And, it should be obvious that I am pointing out the censorship and expulsion tactics that are now so evident, at the hands of champions of the evo mat reigning orthodoxy; cf. case in point — Gonzalez — here. Calling me a Nazi by invidious association, for pointing out things like this — notice the documentation of what was done to Gonzalez in the case in point — Omagain, is shameful; and, allowing it to stand is shameful, Dr Little. Do you wonder why I see no reason to dive into such foetid waters?

  225. Happy Resurrection Sunday to all.

  226. F/N: the context of my stricture a little while ago is 66 above, and my onward remark at 108, in which I cited the White Rose tracts 2 and 4. After the war, Allied soldiers forced German townspeople to tour the death camps as they had just been discovered, so that they could never after pretend to ignorance of what had been going on next door to their town. Notice, it is those who by their passivity were enablers, who were made to tour the camps. DV, on the morrow, I will pause to do such a forced tour on what is going on at TSZ, and it is too late, I have the screen captures. Dr Liddle, with all due respect, you need to recognise and do something serious about what you have been enabling; indeed just a little below the post I intend to highlight, you were carrying on business as usual. KF

  227. F/N 2: for those ignorant of the relevant history at TSZ and elsewhere [observe O's reckless and mischievous mischaracterisation of my remarks at 66 above: "What KF is saying is that people like Alan Fox (AF) and the posters here are like the Nazi party, fully aware of the horror they are inflicting but who don’t particularly care, no doubt because of the lack of morals"], notice a forced tour by CIVILIANS from nearby towns [in this case, Buchenwald & Wiemar] who were deemed by the allies as complicit by passivity, on April 16, 1945, here. Note the applied categories for adult Germans c. 1945: V. Exonerated, or non-incriminated persons (German: Entlastete) IV. Followers, or Fellow Travelers (German: Mitläufer) III. Less incriminated (German: Minderbelastete) II. Activists, Militants, and Profiteers, or Incriminated Persons (German: Belastete) I. Major Offenders (German: Hauptschuldige). There is such a thing as degree of taint, when an evil is in progress. That, the martyrs of the White Rose movement plainly indicated in the cited pamphlets at 108. And if you doubt that an evil — obviously, not as horrific as Nazism, but most definitely an evil — is in progress today in the academy and the wider culture, I again invite you to reflect on this exhibit. KF

  228. Lizzie’s comment @216 via Joe:

    There is some poor reasoning that leads to this conclusions, but Irreducible Complexity turns out to be a) not a theoretical bar (because, arches) and b) not a bar anyway (turns out evolutionary processes can result in IC features (because, AVIDA).

    Oh, boy, not the AVIDA bluff again. As it relates to irreducible complexity, AVIDA is an exercise in irrelevance. It assumes a relatively smooth, easy-to-traverse landscape. And wonder of wonders, it delivers on its underlying programming. But the very point in question is whether biology exists in a smooth, easy-to-traverse landscape, so assuming it certainly doesn’t demonstrate it. Indeed, the authors acknowledge (in the very same paper that made all the headlines) that without their step-by-step reward system carefully leading all the simplistic ‘creatures’ up Mount Improbable, that it doesn’t work. AVIDA most certainly is not a valid simulation of IC being created in the real world by natural processes.

    Perhaps, though, I’ve missed all the truly innovative functional, irreducibly-complex engineering systems AVIDA has designed in the real world over the past few years. After all, if it really works one would think it would have been put to good use — sheesh, it’s even free to use. Those of us who are involved in engineering would certainly prefer to just sit back and watch sports on TV while our “algorithms” come up with the next big innovation. What’s that? Crickets . . .

  229. So I ventured back over there, now that it’s DESIGNEDLY back up.

    What a bunch of morons. No wonder Elizabeth took such a long break.

  230. LoL! @ Mung!

    the other mouth is actually saying that GAs are not teleological.

    Let’s see- they are designed by designers for a purpose. And when they fulfill that purpose that means they did so by design, ie teleologically.

    There just isn’t any getting around the FACT that GAs/ EAs are wholly teleogical and represent Intelligent Design Evolution, evolution by design

  231. And clueless Lizzie is still hanging on to AVIDA even though it has been refuted:

    The effects of low-impact mutations in digital organisms

    Chase W. Nelson and John C. Sanford

    Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, 2011, 8:9 | doi:10.1186/1742-4682-8-9

    Abstract:

    Background: Avida is a computer program that performs evolution experiments with digital organisms. Previous work has used the program to study the evolutionary origin of complex features, namely logic operations, but has consistently used extremely large mutational fitness effects. The present study uses Avida to better understand the role of low-impact mutations in evolution.

    Results:

    When mutational fitness effects were approximately 0.075 or less, no new logic operations evolved, and those that had previously evolved were lost. When fitness effects were approximately 0.2, only half of the operations evolved, reflecting a threshold for selection breakdown. In contrast, when Avida’s default fitness effects were used, all operations routinely evolved to high frequencies and fitness increased by an average of 20 million in only 10,000 generations.

    Conclusions:

    Avidian organisms evolve new logic operations only when mutations producing them are assigned high-impact fitness effects. Furthermore, purifying selection cannot protect operations with low-impact benefits from mutational deterioration. These results suggest that selection breaks down for low-impact mutations below a certain fitness effect, the selection threshold. Experiments using biologically relevant parameter settings show the tendency for increasing genetic load to lead to loss of biological functionality. An understanding of such genetic deterioration is relevant to human disease, and may be applicable to the control of pathogens by use of lethal mutagenesis.

    The sad part is this reference has been given to Lizzie numerous times and all she does is ignore it as if her willful ignorance is a refutation.

    And she actually thinks AVIDA refutes Behe- obnly a moron would think so as the real- world does NOT follow AVIDA- AVIDA does not model the real world.

    And Lizzie, AVIDA is NOT a GA and GAs solve problems BY DESIGN. That you refuse to realize that fact tells us that you are on an agenda of deception and nonsense.

  232. other mouth:

    Well, I have some strings of ASCII characters I’d like you to meet. One is random, one is not. You’ve had a few months now and you’ve yet to tell me which is which. So on that basis, it seems that “nothing to do with design is ID.

    Please show us any ASCII string arising via blind and undirected phyical processes, or stuff it, moron.

  233. And I see that Lizzie is still too dense to understand why the origin of life directly impacts any subsequent evolution.

    Talk about a lost cause…

  234. Lizzie sez:

    If that is all ID is, then I am an ID proponent, I just profoundly disagree that the design-detection methods so far proposed for detecting design in the pattern of living things differentiates between the products of design and the products of natural selection.

    Well natural selection doesn’t do anything so obviously educated people can tell the difference between design and NS. Not only that NS could not have produced a living organism and how a living organism was produced in the first place tells us how it evolved- by design or by accident.

  235. And Joe Felsenstein is a legend in his own mind- Earth to JoeF- your NCSE article doesn’t even address CSI, never mind demonstrate that natural selection can produce it.

  236. Earth to the other mouth-

    Mung is EXPOSING you as morons. He isn’t that desperate to try to learn from you.

  237. And yes OM, you are quite the character. Unfortunately, for you, that is all you have.

  238. LoL! OM thinks that a random number generator- something DESIGNED to provide random numbers = blind and undirected processes.

    OM, CONTEXT is important. If someone went into a cave and saw ASCII on the cave wall, would they think erosion didit? Or would they think some agency did it?

  239. And BTW OM- ID is accepted by the vast majority of people. And those who do not accept it cannot provide any evidence that supports any alternative.

  240. semi OT: Martyred in the USSR is a documentary about militant atheism in the former Soviet Union. It tells the personal, emotional and horrific story of what people went through simply because they chose to cling to their faith, even at the risk of death. It did not matter what religion you practiced, if you believed in God in the USSR you were persecuted, and persecuted brutally. From 1917 to 1990 people of faith were shot, executed, thrown in the gulag and left to die because the Soviet Government hated religion. What makes this story extremely important is that the new generation in Russia knows nothing about their past and will deny that the brutality ever happened.

    Martyred in the USSR – Militant Atheism in the former Soviet Union – interview about documentary (due for release in late 2013)
    http://frontpagemag.com/2013/j.....iet-union/
    video trailer:
    http://www.martyredintheussr.com/
    Understanding Militant Atheism in the Soviet Union – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZJ_zsYUsXg
    The Soviet Union Story – documentary video
    http://www.documentarytube.com/the-soviet-story

  241. BA: Didn’t someone win a Nobel Prize for Literature for exposing the Gulag, and go on to write a three-volume expose? Looks like they need to have done a forced walk through to force facing hard truths. Those who forget or refuse to learn the truth about the past are doomed to make the same basic mistakes. KF

  242. Joe Felsenstein responds to Mung:

    Mung needs to explain why the LCCSI works to eliminate the kind of “chance hypothesis” that includes natural selection.

    Strange, I thought it would be up to Joe F to show that natural selection A) actually does something and B) that something is related to the issue.

    As far as I can tell natural selection A) doesn’t do anything and B) starts with the very thing that needs to be explained in the first place.

  243. F/N: Random text generation, courtesy Wiki:

    One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[24]

    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:

    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…

    If you needed a lesson on the limitations of blind search mechanisms relative to generating FSCO/I . . . ~ 19 – 24 letters is searching a space of about 10^50 at the upper end. That is 1 in 10^100 of the space we are using for a solar system search threshold, 500 bits or 3.27 *10^150. KF

  244. PS: Dembski on limitations of NS in a context of CSI and thus FSCO/I, here. Title: Why Natural Selection can’t design anything.” KF

  245. other mouth:

    Just like KF’s “billions of messages online” prove FSCI/O exists and is created by designers and life has FSCI/O so therefore life is designed.

    Umm, wrt SCIENCE, that is called establishing cause and effect relationships. That must be what has om all in a tither.

    Ya see om, if we ever observe blind and undirected processes producing FSCI/O then we can no longer use it to determine design. It is that simple. But we never have. To date the only process known to give rise to FSCI/O is agency activity. 100% of the time.

  246. And the other mouth proves it is clueless:

    Rather it’s that any data represented in ascii format is therefore designed.

    That has nothing to do with it. CONTEXT means everything in science.

    BTW you do realize that archaeology depends on being able to determine design from not. As does forensic science. AND even YOUR position depends on it.

    So please, go around the internet and see if you can any scientist from any of those venues to take up your “challenge”.

  247. LoL! OM thinks that a random number generator- something DESIGNED to provide random numbers = blind and undirected processes.

    OM, CONTEXT is important. If someone went into a cave and saw ASCII on the cave wall, would they think erosion didit? Or would they think some agency did it?

    other mouth:

    Then there is no need to calculate FSCI/O as the mere fact a file is formatted in ASCII proves that the contents represented by those symbols is designed.

    Non-sequitur.

    We need to see what it is we are actually trying to determine is designed. You just can’t pull numbers from the sky and say “designed or not”. What do those numbers represent? Why are we even investigating in the first place?

    IOW once again you have demonstrated that you don’t know the first thing about science.

    And nice job “refuting” archaeology, forensic science, SETI and evolutionism.

  248. other mouth:

    Yes, I can see that you need to see if the thing you are trying to determine is designed or not before you determine if it is designed, or not.

    So if you see one of any billions of messages on the internet and understand it, it’s designed.

    If you see one and you don’t understand it, it’s obviously not designed.

    Yup, that sums up your strawman/ limited ability to grasp anything.


    You just can’t pull numbers from the sky and say “designed or not”. What do those numbers represent? Why are we even investigating in the first place?

    Yes, if you know what the numbers represent you can make a determination of design.

    Non-sequitur.

    They can’t make a determination solely on the basis of the provided evidence for design or not.

    OM thinks it just refuted archaeology, foensic science, SETI and evolutionism!

    Nice job.

    According to Joe, if SETI received a string of numbers “from the sky” until they knew what those numbers represented they would not be able to determine design.

    When all else fails start with false accusations-

    No, moron. It would all depend on how those numbers were received. In a tight band or bleeding on every channel.

    As I said CONTEXT is everything in science. And you, being scientifically illiterate, just don’t get it.

    What if we have no referent for what those numbers represent…

    Why would anyone be investigating? There has to be a REASON- what is it?


  249. We need to see what it is we are actually trying to determine is designed.

    Yes, I can see that you need to see if the thing you are trying to determine is designed or not before you determine if it is designed, or not.

    Yes, that is how SCIENCE works. By actually being able to study the thing we are trying to make a determination about.

    Do forensic scientists work absent a crime scene to put together a crime they don’t even know happened?

    om is April’s fool….

  250. 250
    William J Murray

    I was watching the science channel and they had a guy that formulated a means to determine whether or not a string of information was a language of some sort that conveyed information. It worked on all languages and supposedly it was used to determine that dolphins actually have a language they use to transmit information. This article:

    http://www.space.com/12811-dol.....-life.html

    … refers to it as a “-1 slope”, but the show called it the 45 degree angle. Essentially, when you plotted the words, sounds, or sections of data, a flat graph (or nearly flat) indicated a random distribution of “terms” (or sounds, text, e-m noise, etc.), but when there are repeated “terms” as in a language, the graph always shows a 45 degree angle for “most repeated”, “next most repeated”, etc., terms.

    The show was about how to recognize meaningful information from extraterrestrial sources. I was wondering if this could be applied to DNA sequences.

  251. Joe: It seems that providing of actual examples of a phenomenon [in a context that implies or provides counter examples] should suffice to establish its reality. FSCO/I is real on billions of text strings, programs, and organised functional entities dependent on specific organisation to operate. The attempt to deny obvious and easily observed facts, is not a sign of intellectual health on the part of objectors. And if the concern is on quantification, we have ever so many cases where we measure functional bits or equivalent. Introduce the reasonable threshold and the implication of functional specificity [isolation of effective configs to target zones or islands in the config space of raw possibilities], and we have that FSCO/I is beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, and is functionally specific organisation that is in principle reducible to descriptive strings or is in the form of strings to begin with. metrics can be introduced, and the one advanced should be enough: Chi_500 = I*S – 500, bits beyond the solar system threshold. Refusal to acknowledge such is inadvertently revealing that once such is accepted, the implications are so obvious that every effort must be taken at any cost to lock out FSCO/I. So, questions are being begged through selective hyperskepticism. Game over. KF

  252. William J Murray, there is something along that line for DNA here:

    Skittle: A 2-Dimensional Genome Visualization Tool – Josiah D Seaman and John C Sanford
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2105/10/452/

    The first few minutes of this following video goes over Skittle

    Multidimensional Genome – Dr. Robert Carter
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....rt_carter/

  253. Never wonder why ID seems to be built on what Darwinism can’t do Barry?

    It isn’t. Eliminating necessity and chance are mandated by science.

    LOL. It has the timbre of the sovereignly-dismissive epigram about it, Joe! ‘Eliminating necessity and chance are mandated by science!

    However, you do need to keep to words of no more than two syllables in these exchanges with protein-soup ‘bitter-enders’, as necessity continues to mandate that they emerge, blinking, into the sunlight.

  254. 254

    @kairosfocus:
    Happy Easter!

    Would you categorize “a IS DESIGNED BY b” as a transitive relation or a non-transitive relation?

  255. JWT: Greetings on Resurrection Monday. That B designs A does not mean that B is or is not designed in turn. If B is a necessary being, B is not designed, otherwise, I have reason to hold B to be designed in turn, pointing to some J, who is an ontologically necessary — and so eternal — being. KF

  256. Earth to OM- I have walked you through how IDists- well anyone actually- determine design from not.

    IDists have provided the parameters of what we say is designed. OTOH your position has provided absolutely NOTHING. And your ignorance “ID can be inferred from anything” (really?) is duly noted.

    And then OM prattles on about FSCI/O- dude, Shannon told us how to break text strings down into bits. And just because you are too dense to count doesn’t mean other people cannot do so. Heck I have shown you how to measure information on my blog.

    How many times does this stuff have to be explained to that ilk?

  257. And cupcake hughes chimes in:

    Should we look at the CSI of CAEK again?

    You would just choke on it again. So why bother?

  258. 258

    In your example: If (A is designed by B) AND (B is designed by J) does it follow that A is designed by J? That’s what I mean by “transitive relation”.

  259. petrushka:

    Actually, SETI is just looking for a narrow band transmission, something for which there is no known natural source,

    SETI is not looking for a message.

    So if they received a message they would just discard it?

    Case A: A series of numbers are receieved by SETI on a tight band.

    Someone speaking the numbers? HOW are the numbers presented?

    If it was a tight band then I would suspoect agency involvement. Natural signals tend to bleed all over the place.

  260. 260
    William J Murray

    The guy on the show had a pretty good argument why “narrow band” transmission isn’t something we should be looking for because it’s probably non-existent as far as extraterrestrial communication.

    He argued that they’d be using broad band for the same reasons we do – harder to lose an entire message, and you can put much more information into a broadband signal. SETI has been looking for “narrow band” signatures because that was the only thing they could look for, because up until this guy’s discovery there was no way to find information in a broadband signal.

    The whole show, however, was how you could pick out the signs of intelligently ordered information from what was otherwise random broadband noise.

  261. 261
    William J Murray

    I mean, there used to be no way to find out there was information in a broadband signal unless you had the decoding side of the semiotic system. With this guy’s method, you could at least find out if there was information encoded in some type of language in the signal.


  262. HOW are the numbers presented?

    When I got them, they are presented on an A4 sheet in point 9 Arial.

    Well, if you are involved then the whole thing is already a huge FAIL

    My sheet of random numbers has now somehow got mixed up with the sheet of paper with the numbers on that SETI asked me to look at.

    If SETI is asking you to do anything it would be to take out their trash.

    If only there was some way to determine which sheet’s numbers, if any, were in fact intelligently designed.

    Just ask SETI to resend their numbers or go there and get them- never mind. You couldn’t find your butt if you had a map.

  263. petrushka wants to know:

    And has anyone in the ID movement actually addressed current OOL research?

    Yes, it doesn’t look good for you guys. If you want a more specified answer then please ask a specific question- which research, all of it? Is there any particular research that you think looks promising for blind and undirected processes?

  264. JWT, that depends on a critical piece of being a DESIGNER. Choice towards purpose or goals. Once A has real power of choice, the design is its own. In that sense of transitivity, J has made A directly or indirectly, and A makes B by A’s decision. A is not a programmed robot. That takes us into some deep waters, with oodles of issues lurking such as the problem of good/evil. For that, I suggest Plantinga’s free will defense is a watershed. Another issue is, the reality of mind with purpose. I suggest that any species of mechanical determinism [even if it allows for chance influences . . . ] ends up in self referential incoherence. Oddly, this does not obtain for a view that holds that grace is given to some to shift motives and attitudes, which frees them to ever more rise above a tendency to evil. KF

  265. Joe, doesn’t Signature in the Cell do just that, c. 2009 — there being AFAIK little substantial change in t4eh situation since then? KF

  266. F/N: I should note that it is a general fact of codes that some symbols will characteristically be more common and others less so. This BTW means the more common signals and those that have the sort of near 100% correlation, will convey relatively little info. In English text about 1/8 of text is an E. Hence, a very worn key on my PC. KF

  267. kairosfocus-

    There appears to be something more recent- or perhaps something Meyer didn’t cover. I don’t know. All petrushka is good for are bald assertions, false accusations and equivocations. For example, just today pet sed:

    When we want to solve high-dimensional problems we turn to evolutionary algorithms.

    And those are examples of Intelligent Design Evolution, not blind watchmaker evolution.

    That said, by way of DNA Jock’s hints, it could be something related to Jack Szostak’s work- something we are allegedly dismissing out-of-hand.

  268. petrushka:

    Biological evolution is pretty much a continuous process of optimization.

    Yet bw evolution is supposed to be the best explanation for suboptimal design.

    Talk about just saying anything…

  269. WJM @250 and 260:

    Sounds like an interesting approach. I might have to check it out.

    I mean, there used to be no way to find out there was information in a broadband signal unless you had the decoding side of the semiotic system.

    I’m not sure that is strictly true. When we’ve stumbled across written artifacts from long-lost civilizations we’ve eventually been able to decode them — if we have enough samples to work from. Same goes for any kind of code cracking. Of course in these situations, there is a specific object/string and good reason to think the object/string contains information, so a lot of effort is put into cracking the code/language. Forensics can decipher a lot of signals, even if the decoding side isn’t initially known up front.

    I think the practical problem for SETI is that the sheer volume of transmissions they are receiving doesn’t lend itself to a detailed forensic-style investigation of each and every signal. So SETI is really not in a position to do a detailed needle-in-a-haystack type of search (although technology is catching up to where that may be more feasible). Instead SETI is hoping an information-rich signal will hit them over the head, so to speak, and shout “Here I am!”

    Of course a signal sent with the intent of a third party deciphering it (e.g., the Contact string of primes) would be very easy to recognize as information and decipher. The harder situation would be if the alien civilization isn’t trying to communicate with us and all we get are their stray reality TV and rap music signals. In that case, it may indeed be difficult to distinguish them from sheer noise. :)

  270. Incidentally, WJM, this SETI thread from a couple of years ago may be worth revisiting.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....with-seti/

  271. A tour of shame for OM, RTH and EL of TSZ. KF

  272. kairosfocus,

    Did you really expect anything else from that bunch of equivocating losers? Really?

  273. Joe: They have been headlined for what they have done. I infer that it is no accident that this is happening six months after the Darwin essay challenge was issued with a free shot at goal and not one serious taker. Nothing on substance multiplied by slander and the worst kind of invidious association, multiplied by enabling. Sad, and sadly telling. The marker is there, for reference. Let us see if Dr Liddle has the decency and the gumption to fix what is so seriously wrong at TSZ. KF

  274. 274
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Timaeus @ 208,

    That seems basically right to me, and I appreciate the need for qualification. One of the things that bothers me about how these debates are framed — especially on blogs — is that the need for affirmation of communal identity overpowers intellectual considerations. (I’ve come to think that, at some primal level, we humans really enjoy being angry at each other.)

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the terms of the debate have been set by people who have little, if any, philosophical acumen. (Paul Churchland, for whom I have a great deal of respect and with whom I somewhat agree, once wrote that “Dawkins is an epistemological naif” — couldn’t have said it better myself!)

  275. Joe:

    I took some time to see what Petrushka may be hinting at (the very coyness being suggestive that there is a lot less there than meets the eye).

    Here is a clip from a Scientific American (Sept 2009) article courtesy Dr Cornerlius Hunter, back at the time:

    There could be pools of cold water, perhaps partly covered by ice but kept liquid by hot rocks. The temperature differences would cause convection currents, so that every now and then protocells in the water would be exposed to a burst of heat as they passed near the hot rocks, but they would almost instantly cool down again as the heated water mixed with the bulk of the cold water. The sudden heating would cause a double helix to separate into single strands. Once back in the cool region, new double strands–copies of the original one–could form as the single strands acted as templates.

    As soon as the environment nudged protocells to start reproducing, evolution kicked in. In particular, at some point some of the RNA sequences mutated, becoming ribozymes that sped up the copying of RNA–thus adding a competitive advantage. Eventually ribozymes began to copy RNA without external help.

    It is relatively easy to imagine how RNA-based protocells may have then evolved. Metabolism could have arisen gradually, as new ribozymes enabled cells to synthesize nutrients internally from simpler and more abundant starting materials. Next, the organism might have added protein making to their bag of chemical tricks.

    With their astonishing versatility, proteins would have then taken over RNA’s role in assisting genetic copying and metabolism. Later, the organisms would have “learned” to make DNA, gaining the advantage of possessing a more robust carrier of genetic information. At that point, the RNA world became the DNA world, and life as we know it began. [Connectives and logical, non-sequitur leaps highlighted]

    Dr Szostak is a Nobel Prize holder.

    We can expect that he would know what is known, and what is not. And, the above makes it clear that what is going on here is a tissue of empirically ungrounded suppositions — may, could, etc — joined to leaps of imagination with little or no empirical warrant, and often with no proper logical connexion. Moreover, the pivotal issue of the formation of FSCO/I (especially the information in key macromolecules) is simply ducked.

    Then, at the end, the rabbit is pulled out of the hat, hey presto, as though it were all ever so inevitable.

    The sole discernible piece of actual empirically warranted context is the PCR chain reaction, where typically, heat in bursts is used to feed the cycle of DNA replication by breaking apart DNA double-coils for the next stage of replication. But of course, how one gets the un- interfered- with reagents in sufficiently pure and single-handed form is ducked, much less the role of the polymerase in the PCR reaction cycle. Which, let us note is NAMED after the enzyme: POLYMERASE chain reaction. As in, chickens and eggs again.

    In short, yet another poorly grounded just-so story designed to strengthen the faith of the Darwin Faithful.

    No wonder, Hunter’s acid reply was: “What a pathetic and embarrassing example of evolution’s influence on science. While great material for a story book, it is astonishing that a scientist would pen such a passage. Religion drives science, and it matters.”

    Ironically, at the same time, when the very same same Darwin Faithful put on their favourite Anti-ID hats, they are ever so skeptical [selectively hyperskeptical] in the teeth of billions of un-exceptioned cases in point on the existence and routinely observed cause of FSCO/I, the associated needle in haystack or infinite monkeys analysis of solar system and observed cosmos-scale capability to sample such a space.

    The sharp contrast is utterly revealing, and underscores Dr Hunter’s point that evolutionary materialism is an ideology driven by a priori assertions in the teeth of serious challenges, and operating as a functional equivalent to a religious faith, complete with dogmas.

    So much for the vaunted “skepticism.”

    Indeed, it is worth highlighting why skepticism — as opposed to critical awareness — is no intellectual virtue, never mind how it likes to congratulate itself on its position of alleged “free thought” and its dismissal of “dogmas” — imagined to be the sole property of theistic religions.

    A bit of dictionary work will help, as too often Lewontin a priori Evolutionary Materialism Darwin Faithful tend to fail the basic vocab test (as can be seen in the TSZ discussion in attempted rteply to Mr Arrington’s post):

    skep·ti·cism also scep·ti·cism (skpt-szm)
    n.
    1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety. See Synonyms at uncertainty.
    2. Philosophy
    a. The ancient school of Pyrrho of Elis that stressed the uncertainty of our beliefs in order to oppose dogmatism.
    b. The doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general.
    c. A methodology based on an assumption of doubt with the aim of acquiring approximate or relative certainty.
    3. Doubt or disbelief of religious tenets. [AmHD]

    dog·ma (dôgm, dg-)
    n. pl. dog·mas or dog·ma·ta (-m-t)
    1. A doctrine or a corpus of doctrines relating to matters such as morality and faith, set forth in an authoritative manner by a church.
    2. An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true. See Synonyms at doctrine.
    3. A principle or belief or a group of them: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present” (Abraham Lincoln). [AmHD]

    The Freethinker

    The Freethinker may be:

    The Freethinker (journal), the oldest surviving secularist publication in the world, first published in 1881 . . . [TFD, disambiguation]

    free ?thought?
    n.
    thought unrestrained by deference to authority, tradition, or established belief, esp. in matters of religion.
    [1705–15][Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary]

    It should be obvious that to be aware that we may err is important as a first step in serious thought, one that is crossed in one’s first math class, when one gets X’s.

    But, a more mature thinker is one who is able to follow the chain of analysis put forth by Josiah Royce, Elton Trueblood et al: that “error exists” — let us call the proposition, E — is so is notorious by experience.

    Where also E is undeniably true on pain of self referential absurdity and confusion of meaning as a consequence.

    For, E and NOT_E are mutually exclusive and exhaustive. At least one of them MUST be, an error. (The usual attempted escape from this is telling, attempted denial of the first principles of right reason starting with identity that can separate the world into {A | NOT_A}; which is a signal failure.)

    So what?

    All you have shown is that skeptics are right to be concerned about the reality of error and so the proper place to begin free thinking from is doubt!

    Not at all, look closer.

    E has been shown to be not only notoriously true by experience, but it is by logic rooted in undeniable first principles, undeniably true.

    That is, E accurately corresponds to what is, and is warranted to do so to certainty, indeed not only objective but absolute. It is undeniably true. That is, it is a case of knowledge, first acquired empirically, then confirmed to be undeniable.

    So, truth exists, experience can at least sometimes correctly guide us to truth, and by logic rooted in common sense first principles, we can see that we can warrant truth as so, thus arriving at certain knowledge, here, absolute certainty.

    Where also, the experience based knowledge and testimony of our world has long since properly led us to moral certainty that E is so.

    In short, the stance of doubt as the first beginnings to knowledge has been undermined, and the attitude of dismissiveness to bodies of thought that are presented by authorities is also undermined.

    Further, sometimes, experts and authorities are in fact just that and are summarising and presenting the truth that happens to be well warranted, starting with parents and elementary teachers.

    And, arguably, pastors or Sunday school teachers too, could at least possibly be telling us the truth. [Kindly cf. especially the table of comparison on the minimal facts, and how these were arrived at. Notice, in context, the battle for truth that now rages in our civilisation.)

    So, it is at least to be considered that, per the remarks of Simon Greenleaf, a founder of the Harvard School of Law and of the modern Anglophone theory of evidence:

    . . . The error of the skeptic consists in pretending or supposing that there is a difference in the nature of things to be proved; and in demanding demonstrative evidence concerning things which are not susceptible of any other than moral evidence alone, and of which the utmost that can be said is, that there is no reasonable doubt about their truth . . . .

    [27] . . . . In proceeding to weigh the evidence of any proposition of fact, the previous question to be determined is, when may it be said to be proved? The answer to this question is furnished by another rule of municipal law, which may be thus stated:

    A proposition of fact is proved, when its truth is established by competent and satisfactory evidence.

    By competent evidence, is meant such as the nature of the thing to be proved requires; and by satisfactory evidence, is meant that amount of proof, which ordinarily satisfies an unprejudiced mind, beyond any reasonable doubt. . . . . If, therefore, the subject is a problem in mathematics, its truth is to be shown by the certainty of demonstrative evidence. But if it is a question of fact in human affairs, nothing more than moral evidence can be required, for this is the best evidence which, from the nature of the case, is attainable. [Testimony of the Evangelists, Sections 26, 27, emphases added.]

    In that light (and given that absolute skepticism about the possibility of knowledge is an implicit and self-refuting knowledge claim . . . ), too often the vaunted skepticism of today is in fact SELECTIVE HYPERSKEPTICISM; which is self-refuting by applying a double standard of warrant.

    That is, what one is inclined to believe — cf. Szostak above and the apparently welcoming response to it in Darwinist Faithful circles — is given a free pass, but what one is disinclined to believe given one’s underlying secularist dogmas is derided as credulous and greeted with Sagan’s echo of Cliffordian eviderntialism:

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary [ADEQUATE] evidence.”

    The strike and correct shows the problem.

    Given, also, that dogmas are not the preserve of adherents of theistic religious systems, it ought to be evident that ANY worldview has core first plausibles that adherents hew to. The issue is, then, not “free” vs “chained [dogmatic]” thought, but whether one’s first plausibles have been given due critical reflection per the canons of comparative difficulties assessment relative to factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory elegance and power: simple, not simplistic, cogently explanatory.

    Do I need to highlight here that “free thinker” ironically has too often been the self-congratulatory appellation of dogmatic and closed minded adherents of radical secularist worldviews and ideologies?

    That, such are too often unaware that they are as chained by their own unquestioned a prioris as any naive religious believer they would mock and deride?

    In short, it is time that the denizens and sponsors of TSZ pause and ask themselves whether they have seriously thought about whether they could be mistaken.

    And then, maybe they could join us here to reflect on issues concerning worldview foundations and grounding, bearing in mind the concerns regarding the worldview of evolutionary materialism (whether dressed in the philosopher’s cloak or the scientist’s lab coat makes but little difference) here on in context.

    It is particularly worth the pause to observe the remarks of noted evolutionary theorist J B S Haldane:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” ["When I am dead," in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    KF

  276. F/N: I have put up a for record on this here. KF

  277. Lizzie sez:

    I don’t lie, …

    Well saying that darwinian processes can produce CSI is a lie. Saying that a simple replicator capable of darwinian evolution can produce anything beyond that simple replicator, is a lie.

    Or maybe you are just so freaking ignorant that you don’t know that you are lying when you spew the things you spew.

    I mean you really could believe what you say is true, although it is always very telling that you never provide any evidence to support your claims.

    So maybe you aren’t lying. But you sure do tell some unsupported stories.

  278. F/N: While I think we should be very careful with heavily freighted words such as “lie” I believe we each need to pause and think (about ourselves first — hint to those tempted to project accusations and imagine that everyone ELSE is a hypocrite [to struggle with moral inconsistency, sadly, is a mark of being a morally struggling human] . . . ) regarding our duties of care to accuracy, truth, fairness and prudence.

    Accordingly, I think it useful to post here a definition of “lie” that — unsurprisingly — is no longer on the front page of a Wiki article on the subject:

    To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth . . . . even a true statement can be used to deceive. In this situation, it is the intent of being overall untruthful rather than the truthfulness of any individual statement that is considered the lie . . . . One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them . . . . One lies by omission when omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation . . . . A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe in an untruth . . .

    As I reflect on some of the points of concern I have had to raise over the past few days [cf above], these words make for sobering reading. For instance, the persistent misrepresentation of what design theory is, and what it entails or implies — in the teeth of easily accessible more accurate summaries, is simply and inexcusably wrong. The false accusations, tainted insinuations by invidious comparisons, the strawman distortions, and so on and so forth simply are not good enough.

    I must therefore plead with Dr Liddle et al, to pause, think and do better.

    Dr Liddle, do you REALLY want to be the host of a blog that harbours willful misrepresentations, slanders, tainting by improper invidious associations and the like?

    Even if you actually believe these accusations are true, this does not lift the responsibility. For, the information to correct such distortions is easily accessible and the duty of care to truth and fairness demands that such be accessed and taken into account.

    If this sort of situation continues, what is going on no longer is merely misunderstandings and the fog of sharp disagreement.

    We are dealing here with that which goes to character.

    Please do better.

    Please.

    KF

  279. 279
    William J Murray

    re: Dr.Liddles statement that ID had failed to prove the existence of god:

    If:

    1. Henry says that he can prove that some mice are white, posted that claim in plain view and stated for the record that his argument is not about all mammals, but just mice and makes his case;

    and

    2. then Janet, after hearing the case, states that Henry failed to prove that all mammals are white;

    what are the options available to explain Janet’s non-sequitur?

    As I see it:

    (1) Janet is lying
    (2) Janet is monumentally stupid
    (3) Janet is suffering severe confirmation bias to the point of being unable to understand/hold simple and obvious information that contradicts their desired view.

  280. Regarding Szostak’s OOL research (kf @275):

    For anyone interested in Szostak’s work and Liddle’s uncritical enthusiasm of the naturalistic storyline, the following thread is worth re-reading in some detail. (I’m thinking primarily of my exchange with Elizabeth, as I actually spent some time on her insistence looking into Szostak’s work.)

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....%E2%80%9D/

    Also worth checking briefly are:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....mple-cell/

    and

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-biology/

  281. Elizabeth admits her ignorance, but claims ignorance is the best place to begin for a true “skeptic.”

  282. Mung & WJM (and EL — on right of fair comment):

    M: Elizabeth admits her ignorance, but claims ignorance is the best place to begin for a true “skeptic.”

    W: Dr.Liddles statement that ID had failed to prove the existence of god

    EL is simply wrong, as Josiah Royce showed over 100 years ago.

    We cannot and do not start from ignorance. We start from incorrigible self-awareness of ourselves as conscious, thinking, knowing, choosing, acting creatures in a world full of other things that often surprise us.

    One of those surprises is the fact of error. Which is a human consensus, enforced in our experience by those red X’s in our first Math class.

    Then, we can see that Royce’s “Error exists” has a few lurking surprises. Including that it is undeniably and necessarily true on pain of absurdity. Thence that truth exists as what accurately refers to reality, and knowledge exists even as the strong form: warranted and necessarily true belief. Thus, worldviews that dismiss such are undercut, and those that presume knowledge to be suspect or project suspicion unduly on what they are disinclined to accept, are hardly better off.

    In the much less exalted case of design theory, I point would-be skeptics to duties of care to evident facts, truth and fairness. Where, it would seem to me that one has a reasonable duty to make oneself acquainted with easily accessible basics before commenting adversely. I need not go on to abusive commentary or hosting same, that condemns itself.

    On recently reviewing what has been going on at TSZ, I am distinctly less than impressed with the hosting of gross abuse. For which the blog owner will have unavoidable material responsibility.

    Next, on reviewing old threads that have come up, I cannot find that EL is warranted in several of her dismissive claims.

    I suggest to her and her ilk, that they may wish to start here with the recent clip and comment on Meyer, and work back from there.

    If one cannot bring oneself to acknowledge basic, patent and well grounded facts concerning design theory and the design inference, such “ignorance” is plainly willful.

    We can stare on the notion of proof.

    That is simply not a subject for science, being an exercise in inductive reasoning. As has been explicitly on the table since Newton’s Opticks, Query 31 [c. 1704], such aims for provisional empirical reliability, not certainty beyond correction. However, we may have quite high confidence in certain results of science, such as when we take powerful medicines.

    Next, EL knows or should know that proving or warranting the existence of God is not a topic of the scientific investigations of design theory. What is, is the empirical investigation guided study of the question as to whether intelligent designers — which certainly exist — may leave traces of their action that are sufficiently characteristic as to serve as signs pointing to design as most credible causal explanation.

    That empirical, inductive exercise is independent of debates concerning the root nature of intelligence or mind etc.

    What seems to be the root problem here (apart from irresponsible or outright mischievous rhetoric emanating from anti-design advocates such as the NCSE etc) is that many are uncomfortable with design inferences on warranted signs that address contexts of origins. But, for 200+ years, scientists have been researching origins on traces and characteristic signs. So, it is a little late to be having qualms about abduction in science, and it is never justifiable to play at selective hyperskepticism.

    Next, EL knows or should know, having been repeatedly informed and shown evidence:

    1 –> FSCO/I is a well warranted, empirically reliable sign of design as credible cause.

    2 –> Such was first noted as a feature of life forms in the 70′s, by OOL investigators.

    3 –> So, there is reason on empirical investigation to argue that life and body plans for complex life etc show strong signs of design.

    4 –> Where, it has also been explicitly, repeatedly noted that design as process is not to be confused with identifying any particular designer as acting agent.

    5 –> Indeed, it has been pointed out any number of times, that it is reasonable that an adequate cause would be a molecular nanotech lab that fulfills the promise evident in Venter et al.

    6 –> It has also been noted again and again, with reasons such as fine tuning for life, starring water and aqueous medium C-chemistry etc etc, that the observed cosmos shows signs that point to design as credible cause.

    7 –> It is this side of design theory that points to a skilled and powerful designer beyond our cosmos. An inference underwritten by the likes of Sir Fred Hoyle, notoriously a lifelong agnostic.

    8 –> Obviously, again, this does not essay to be a proof of God, but it is a sign that should give us pause on imposing a priori materialism on science and its methods.

    9 –> And, it should lead us to not treat theistic thinkers with contempt, censorship and expulsion.

    As my mom was so fond of saying, a word to the wise is enough . . .

    KF

  283. Wm. Dembski has the septic zone all in a tither. I can’t stomach their continued cowardly equivocations and promissory notes “Just wait until Szostak solves the self-replicating problem!”

    And Felsenstein still hasn’t demonstrated a basic understanding of CSI.

    TSZ is just a pathetic little echo chamber.

  284. Joe: Is that because of his reply to JoeF’s attempt to discredit Meyer’s new book before it is released? Because there is a coherent meaning to a narrow, separately definable zone T in a space of possibilities W, where W is so large that solar system or observed cosmos scale resources cannot reasonably sample anything beyond an effective zero, so that it is maximally unlikely to hit on members of T? Because he has pointed out the implications of searching for ever higher order searches in ever growing spaces of possibilities, or that intelligent injection of active info turns an intractable search into a tractable one — the warmer/colder effect? Maybe, they will find this on conservation of info a helpful 101? KF

  285. “Just wait until Szostak solves the self-replication problem!”

    Ah, yes. The promissory note of evolutionary theory. Which essentially amounts to: Just wait until we find some evidence — then you’ll see!

    Szostak is no doubt a brilliant and capable researcher, but he is nowhere near solving the ‘self-replication problem.’ Certainly not at the level of a simple single-celled organism. And not even at the level of a biologically-realistic self-replicating molecular structure.

    Building a self-sustaining, self-replicating, single-celled organism is a tremendous undertaking. Those who actually think through what is required can catch a glimpse of the enormity of the undertaking.

    In contrast, there are many cheerleaders for materialism who simply gloss over all the difficulties and exercise blind faith in the powers of matter and energy to organize themselves into a self-replicating organism.

    My maxim, which is highly applicable to so many aspects of the evolution debate, holds particularly true with respect to OOL:

    The perception of evolution’s explanatory power is inversely proportional to the specificity of the discussion.

  286. 286
    Chance Ratcliff

    “Ah, yes. The promissory note of evolutionary theory. Which essentially amounts to: Just wait until we find some evidence — then you’ll see!”

    This is also known as the origin of evidence problem, or OOE.

    Just wait until Szostak engineers a self-replicator by intelligent design, then we’ll see the power of unguided processes. :P

    By the way, wasn’t Szostak “halfway there” a while back? He must be further along now, perhaps two-thirds or three-quarters.

  287. Kairosfocus-

    Yes, it is in response to Dembski taking Joe to task. Felsenstein is totally clueless wrt CSI and what ID says and argues against. And it shows. Unfortunately he has many people convinced- well he is singing to the choir.

    His “arguments” would be destroyed if he ever posted them on a pro-ID forum.

  288. Eric-

    In Lizzie’s mind all Jack has to do is get some self-replicating molecule capable of variations that can be advantageous/ cause differential reproduction. A cell simply emerges after some number of easily reached steps.

    You just don’t understand emergence, well because nobody does. :cool:

    I mean look at what Jack did- created two nucleotides via an indirect path- the nucleotides, esp. the sugar, EMERGED from the stew! Why do you dismiss that out-of-hand (I know we don’t but you know who sez we do)?

    You have the sun inputting energy. Just add water and watch emergence emerge…

  289. Joe,

    Yeah, I understand the viewpoint: Getting a basic self-replicating prebiotic polymer should be pretty straight forward under early Earth conditions, and then Darwin’s magical process can take over and generate any quantity of functional specified information to build all of biology around us. It’s all so simple, see.

    This kind of lazy thinking is painful to watch. It doesn’t even pass the laugh test . . .

    Perhaps the saddest part is that some of these folks like to imagine themselves as “skeptics.” Sure. If being skeptical means setting aside all powers of reason and accepting fantastical and unproven stories on blind faith alone.

  290. Eric,

    That is why I cannot stomach their diatribe any more. If being full of it = scientific evidence, then they would have tons of scientific evidence. Unfortunately…

  291. Joe@287: I have added a f/n to my recent ID Founds no 17 post on the positive case for the design inference on FSCO/I, here. I trust this provides relevant points for a more balanced response to JoeF. KF

  292. Earth to petrushka, I have destroyed Felsenstein’s “arguments”, just by showing that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Just go to my blog and search on Joe Felsemstein and start reading. I would love to get him (Joe F) on the stand in a court of law

  293. Joe: I have begun a markup of the JoeF article you linked, here. KF

  294. Elizabeth, as usual, is hard to pin down.

    Now she claims to be a design believer.

    As long as natural selection is capable of mimicking design.

  295. TSZ poster admits design is valid and scientific:

    Real scientists can and do detect design.

    here

    my response

  296. Elizabeth Liddle:

    We can argue about the reasonableness of my priors, but it’s clear that a design inference is perfectly possible and can be perfectly valid.

    As science? So you’re willing to go beyond Todd Wood’s version of faith-based ID?

  297. TSZ posters kill me:

    Rational people shouldn’t let themselves be persuaded if they’ve only heard one side of a question.

    Why not?

    Or are you already persuaded, having heard only one side of the argument?

  298. cubist sez:

    The way real scientists detect design involves forming a hypothesis of how the putatively-designed whatzit was manufactured, and then testing that hypothesis.

    LoL! So if we can’t figure out how it was manufactured then it wasn’t designed? If all of our hypotheses fail, it wasn’t designed?

    That’s just stupid bassackwards thinking.

    First we determine design and THEN we examine it and all relevant evidence to try to figure out the “how”.

    These people are some of the dumbest on the planet.

    And Mung, good luck with Little Richie. All he wants to be is a thorn in your side, foot, wherever it bothers you.

  299. Elizabeth:

    But can I suggest that the learning will go better if you make the working assumption that the person you are willing to learn from is not a moron?

    Is that what it means to be a “skeptic”?

  300. Elizabeth claims she’s not skeptical of ID:

    Honestly, it’s not that I’m “skeptical” of ID – I have just yet to read a pro-ID article, even by the academics in the field, that doesn’t make rookie errors about evolutionary science. Oh, except for Todd Wood, and he relies on faith, not science, for his belief.

  301. There is a God in heaven.

    Patrick aka MathGrrl

    The MathGrrl Confession

  302. Another interesting exchange at TSZ:

    Mike Elzinga: “How can we get you to demonstrate that you know anything?”

    Mung: “How can we get you to demonstrate that you aren’t just random noise?”

  303. Lizzie @296 via Mung:

    I am gratified to read Lizzie’s comment. I wish many others would at least acknowledge this much, as failure to do so is clearly motivated by something other than objective reason.

    So design detection, as a general enterprise, is legitimate and can be a scientific undertaking. I understand she is, however, concerned with the parameters placed on the design inference and believes that false positives and false negatives can result.

    As to false negatives, that is a red herring. ID has never been about identifying everything that is designed. Indeed, we know that things can be purposely designed to appear not designed. ID has never proposed that we should be able to draw a design inference about everything that has ever been designed; only that we can draw an inference that some things are designed.

    This all harks back to the basics of ID. As I mentioned in my Brief Primer on Intelligent Design from a decade ago (on my now-defunct website):

    As a result, intelligent design is limited in two important aspects: it can neither identify all things that are designed, nor can it tell us with certainty that a particular thing is not designed.

    But that leaves one remaining possibility: is it possible to identify with certainty some things that are designed? Dembski and Behe would argue that the answer is “yes.”

    http://web.archive.org/web/200.....Design.htm

    As to false positives, this is a reasonable issue. I strenuously disagree with Elizabeth that purely natural processes can mimic design as outlined by ID theorists and disagree with the putative examples that she and others have put forth. However, the question of whether there are false positives is a rational area of discussion, and has been from the outset a matter of significant consideration and thought for design theorists. Indeed, this is precisely why strict parameters (such as CSI) are used to help us avoid false positives.

    Design theorists believe they have proposed parameters strict enough to avoid false positives. This view could be countered by providing real-live examples of false positives. If such false positives are ever found, it will mean, not that design is a failed enterprise or that everything was not designed, but rather that the parameters need to be tightened. That too could be a reasonable area of discussion, when and if live examples of false positives based on the current parameters are ever found.

    There are unfortunately many who are unwilling to even consider the possibility of design. For those who are willing to consider design (which I believe should include Lizzie, based on her quote above), much of the consternation about the design inference rests on a misunderstanding of the parameters. Unfortunately in the anti-ID camp the misrepresentations are legion (e.g., “if something is too ‘complex’ then it was designed,” etc.), although I would hope Lizzie’s objections are more substantive.

    Ironically — given Lizzie’s concern with both false positives and false negatives — it is precisely the fact that the bar is set so high in order to avoid false positives (500-1000 bits, for example, as often discussed here), that we end up having lots of false negatives. ID purposely allows for lots of (potential) false negatives in order to gain certainty of avoiding false positives.

    I hope she will at least update her viewpoint to eliminate the (red herring) concern of false negatives and focus attention solely on the (legitimate, though I would argue unsubstantiated) concern with false positives.

  304. Mung @300:

    Yeah, I already addressed the alleged “rookie error” she attributed to Axe and Gauger in #206. Kind of turned around to bite her in that instance.

  305. F/N, attn TSZ: On design detection vs manufacturing methods, the case of the crystal skulls per Nat Geog (speaking inadvertently against known ideological interest):

    The famed crystal skulls of ancient Mesoamerica have been a source of mystery and controversy for decades. The handful of known skulls have defied even the most advanced scientific efforts to determine who made them, when, and most puzzling, how. This specimen [--> this is a picture caption, top of page], owned by the British Museum in London, was originally thought to have been made by the Aztec of Mexico but was later determined to be a fake.

    In short, design detection “that twerdun,” is distinct from “whudunit,” or “howtwerdun,” or “whytweredun.”

    These skulls are complex, functionally specific, organised in accordance with definite “wiring diagrams” for the implied wireframe meshes, and evidently works of art. Some are certainly fakes, e.g. the style of the captioned case strikes me as fairly modern European rather than Mesoamerican, pre-Columbian.

    In short, the objections do not pass even cursory tests for serious claims. They are rhetorical stunts, not serious or sober-minded thinking.

    The underlying disrespect for duties of care to truth, accuracy, fairness and more, strike me more and more.

    KF

  306. EA:

    Your note above on false positives is excellent.

    I have noted on how sampling 1 in 10^50 is feasible (as the Wiki article section on random document generation demonstrates), but that this is a factor of 1 in 10^100 short of the solar system level threshold.

    (And, I suppose I should note explicitly, that this shows a point of difference with WmAD on my part, I think the need for odds of 1 in 10^150, and conservativism, leads to a need to make the 10^150 possible states of the observed Cosmos’ atoms, to be 1 in 10^150, hence my shift to 1,000 bits. That squaring of the Dembski threshold means that our observed cosmos, acting as a search engine for its thermodynamically credible lifespan, perhaps 50 mn times the usual suggested timeline to date, would not be able to sample as much as 1 in 10^150 of possible configs. This guarantees that, per sampling theory, it is utterly unlikely for a blind at random or chance dominated sample to pick up anything but the bulk of possibilities, once sampling is blind. Where the chemistry in question is patently highly contingent. And if one is arguing that the laws of physics and chemistry somehow have cell based life written into them, that would imply that they are programmed to create life, just as it is already quite evident that the cosmos is set up on fine tuning, in a way that facilitates forming the atoms that are the major part of cell based life. Let us not forget, the first six most abundant elements: H, He, C & O, Ne, N. That gets us to your basic protein in aqueous medium!)

    In this context, I must say, I like your summary from your linked page:

    as intelligent design’s primary spokesperson, William Dembski, has pointed out, intelligent design’s use as a tool for change is secondary to intelligent design’s undertaking as an independent scientific enterprise.

    Finally, therefore, intelligent design refers to the science of detecting design. In this latter sense, intelligent design is not limited to debates over evolutionary theory or discussions of design in nature, but covers the study of signs of intelligence wherever they may occur: whether in archeology, forensic science, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, or otherwise. (Though not strictly limited to historical events, intelligent design argues that design can be detected in some things even in the absence of any reliable historical record or independent knowledge of a designing intelligence. It is in this context that we wish to discuss intelligent design.) Defined more tightly, intelligent design can thus be viewed as the science of studying the criteria, parameters and procedures for reliably detecting the activity of an intelligent agent.

    Associated with this latter more limited definition are scientists involved in such a scientific enterprise. These individuals include, probably most notably, Dembski and Michael Behe, and a number of other scientists who have begun to take notice of intelligent design as a legitimate scientific inquiry.

    Let us see if we can have a more positive outcome, though I will say to you that I distinctly recall trying to help EL to see the issue of allowing false negatives cheerfully, in order to secure extremely high confidence on a positive ruling in light of sampling theory [which is far more broad than the requisites of making specific probability calculations]. At that time, she was simply not responding to that.

    KF

  307. PS: EA, could I have permission to put up the primer here at UD, credit to you?

  308. to revisit Mr. Arrington’s opening observation:

    ,,,I just finished pursuing the articles that have been posted at TSZ during the last six months. Among the regular posters there I found not a single article that even mildly criticized (far less expressed skepticism toward) a single dogma one would expect to be held by the denizens of the faculty lounge at a typical university.

    Atheism. It’s true

    Neo-Darwinian Synthesis. Fact beyond the slightest doubt

    Philosophical materialism. Check

    It seems that the regular posters at TSZ are skeptical of everything but the received wisdom, accepted conventions and cherished dogmas of the academic left.

    I would certainly like to see the evidence for their belief that atheism is true. For instance when one approaches the foundation of reality revealed by quantum mechanics, the quantum mechanical foundation of reality reveals a foundation for reality that blatantly defies our concepts of time, space and even defies all of materialism itself.

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Thus it can’t be the empirical evidence about the foundation of reality that leads TSZ’s crew to such certainty that their belief in atheism is true.,, In fact, when confronted with this type of consistent evidence from quantum mechanics, I’ve seen a few hard core atheists retreat to the dictum ‘nobody really understands quantum mechanics’, thus revealing their lack of certainty as to explaining the foundation of reality to a atheistic viewpoint. Moreover, even though the intricacies of Quantum Mechanics can be quite technical, there is a very simple point that everybody understands about Quantum Mechanics. Even people who see the double slit experiment for the very first time immediately ‘understand’ that it completely undermines a simplistic materialistic/atheistic point of view for the foundation of reality.,,,

  309. Hello Bornagain77,

    I have a question about the double slit experiment. Why do we speak of detectors as being an equivalent of an ‘observer’ or ‘consciousness’?
    Let me formulate my question more generally: how undisputed is it that consciousness is a causal factor in these experiments?

  310. Thus with no certainty to be had for atheists from the foundation of reality itself (as revealed by quantum mechanics), how can atheists be so certain that Neo-Darwinism (or some variation of atheistic evolution therein) is ‘beyond the slightest doubt’? It simply does not follow to have such certainty in a some atheistic version of evolution. Moreover, if one tries to reason from the other angle of trying to see if what are perceived to be ‘naturalistic’ processes can produce the complexity in life that we see,,,

    ExPASy – Biochemical Pathways – interactive schematic
    http://web.expasy.org/cgi-bin/.....mbnails.pl

    ,,,we are immediately confronted with a chasm, between ‘simple’ naturalistic processes and the integrated processes we find in life. A chasm that, conceptually speaking, makes the Grand Canyon look like a insignificant crack in the sidewalk,,

    To Model the Simplest Microbe in the World, You Need 128 Computers – July 2012
    Excerpt: Mycoplasma genitalium has one of the smallest genomes of any free-living organism in the world, clocking in at a mere 525 genes. That’s a fraction of the size of even another bacterium like E. coli, which has 4,288 genes.,,,
    The bioengineers, led by Stanford’s Markus Covert, succeeded in modeling the bacterium, and published their work last week in the journal Cell. What’s fascinating is how much horsepower they needed to partially simulate this simple organism. It took a cluster of 128 computers running for 9 to 10 hours to actually generate the data on the 25 categories of molecules that are involved in the cell’s lifecycle processes.,,,
    ,,the depth and breadth of cellular complexity has turned out to be nearly unbelievable, and difficult to manage, even given Moore’s Law. The M. genitalium model required 28 subsystems to be individually modeled and integrated, and many critics of the work have been complaining on Twitter that’s only a fraction of what will eventually be required to consider the simulation realistic.,,,
    http://www.theatlantic.com/tec.....rs/260198/

    Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors – Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8
    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?”
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/c.....2-2-29.pdf

    Nor does this chasm show appreciable signs of narrowing if one goes down in scope from the ‘simplest’ cell to trying to explain how ‘simple’ protein molecules arise:

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

    Moreover, even the experimental evidence from Darwinists themselves land in the same ballpark for the extreme rarity of proteins:

    Now Evolution Must Have Evolved Different Functions Simultaneously in the Same Protein – Cornelius Hunter – Dec. 1, 2012
    Excerpt: In one study evolutionists estimated the number of attempts that evolution could possibly have to construct a new protein. Their upper limit was 10^43. The lower limit was 10^21.

    These estimates are optimistic for several reasons, but in any case they fall short of the various estimates of how many attempts would be required to find a small protein. One study concluded that 10^63 attempts would be required for a relatively short protein.

    And a similar result (10^65 attempts required) was obtained by comparing protein sequences.

    Another study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required.

    And another study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required. In that case the protein was only a part of a larger protein which otherwise was intact, thus making the search easier.

    These estimates are roughly in the same ballpark, and compared to the first study giving the number of attempts possible, you have a deficit ranging from 20 to 56 orders of magnitude. Of course it gets much worse for longer proteins.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....1503051454

    Moreover, as if the preceding was not bad enough to those who would wish to stick their head in the sand and pretend atheism is true, quantum mechanics, which atheists thought they had left neatly behind at the double slit experiment (read ‘ignored’ at the double slit), comes back full force at the base of life. i.e. It is now found that quantum entanglement, though at first thought to be impossible in the ‘hot and noisy’ environment of the cell, is now found to be ‘holding life together’:

    Life Uses Quantum Mechanics – September 25, 2012
    Excerpt: it looks as if nature has worked out how to preserve (quantum) entanglement at body temperature over time scales that physicists can only dream about.
    http://crev.info/2012/09/life-.....mechanics/

    Testing quantum entanglement in protein
    Excerpt: The authors remark that this reverses the previous orthodoxy, which held that quantum effects could not exist in biological systems because of the amount of noise in these systems.,,, Environmental noise here drives a persistent and cyclic generation of new entanglement.,,, In summary, the authors say that they have demonstrated that entanglement can recur even in a hot noisy environment. In biological systems this can be related to changes in the conformation of macromolecules.

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    The reason this is so bad for atheists is that the ‘non-local’ correlations, as quantum entanglements are referred to, refuse to be explained by any conceivable materialistic scenario:

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed.
    Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,,
    The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    Thus atheist are, (or at least should be), severely perplexed as to explaining this ‘non-local’ beyond space and time’ cause that is holding life together ,,, but as a theist I am very comforted to know that Christianity has proposed such a ‘beyond space and time’ cause all along many centuries before the ‘quantum effect’ was even known about in life:

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    ROYAL TAILOR – HOLD ME TOGETHER – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbpJ2FeeJgw

  311. Box, I find the easiest way to establish that consciousness precedes quantum wave collapse is not to focus so much on ‘what’ is collapsing the (infinite dimensional) wave function, as that line of investigation establishing the primacy of consciousness can get very technical very quickly, (such as the ‘delayed choice quantum eraser’ experiment),,, Though the following article does a excellent job of trying to make that line of investigation easy to understand:

    The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul
    Chapter 6 is Hans Halvorson’s ‘The Measure of All Things: Quantum Mechanics and the Soul’
    Hans Halvorsen is a philosopher of quantum physics at Princeton University
    Description: Quantum theory’s strange conclusions are founded on data obtained by measuring effects in certain experimental situations. But if quantum theory is correct there are no determinate data of the required sort, for the states of the measuring instruments will be superposed and entangled and thus indeterminate. The dualist has a way out of this problem. Superposition is when a physical system is in two apparently inconsistent states at once — for example, an electron is passing through both the left-hand slit and the right-hand one at the same time. Because of the nature of linear dynamics, this superposition is retained in a device further down the line of this process. If this continued with an observer, he would be aware of inconsistently believing that the electron was in two places at once. But this is not what happens. Observation ‘collapses the wave packet’ (not a phrase Halvorson generally deploys) and only one determinate state is observed. Now it is often pointed out that measurement collapses the wave packet, but that the measuring device need not be a conscious observer. Halvorson replies to this that a non-conscious measuring device will itself be in an entangled state, but that if a conscious subject observes it, only one of its possible states will be seen, so consciousness is crucial to making reality determinate. (151)
    http://ndpr.nd.edu/news/24611-.....-the-soul/

    Rather than that line of investigation, Box, I find that it is much easier to establish the primacy of consciousness to (infinite dimensional) quantum wave collapse by noting the geometric centrality of each unique point of conscious observation in the universe,,, i.e. the argument for God from consciousness can be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    The Galileo Affair and ‘life’ revealed as the true “Center of the Universe”
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

  312. Dembski, in “Conservation of Information Made Simple”, makes the point that Darwinists presuppose searches and/or convenient landscapes they are not entitled to by referring to the old joke of many scientists on an island trying to figure out the best way to open a can of beans, where the economist “supposes” a non-existent can opener as the most efficient way to open the can.

    The punchline: “Suppose a can opener.” Dembski then goes on to point out that evolutionary biologists (of the materialist persausasion) smuggle in “can openers” all the time in their descriptions of evolutionary processes.

    Here is Dr Liddle trying to explain an “out” from Dembski’s crushing argument that referring to a “landscape” as a source of progressive information to purchase functional novelty is simply begging the question of where such a convenient landscape came from:

    Let’s imagine that some future OOL researcher, let’s call her Tokstad, discovers a chemical reaction, involving molecules known to be around in early earth, and conditions also likely to be present in early earth, that results in a double chain polymer of some sort, that tends to split into two single chains under certain cyclical temperature conditions, whereupon those single chain atracts with monomers in the soup to become double chains again, but now with two identical double chain polymers where before there were one.

    It’s quite a big suppose, and possibly impossible, but not beyond the bounds of chemically plausible science fiction.

    IMO, when you do exactly what your debate opponent explicitly says you will do in order to smuggle in a means to acquire functional information – “suppose a can opener” – and you even do it with exactly the same terminology and in the same format as he has illustrated cannot gain ground over the cost of acquiring such a can opener, you are utterly blind and immune to reason.

    Dembski: “You are not accounting for how you got the can opener in the first place.”

    Dr. Liddle: “I’m supposing a can opener.”

  313. Bornagain77, thanks for answering my question. I would like to have some understanding of the causal status of consciousness in quantum physics. My question about the equivalency between detectors and consciousness is indeed addressed:

    Now it is often pointed out that measurement collapses the wave packet, but that the measuring device need not be a conscious observer.

    So measurement – detectors – alone collapses the wave packet. No scientist in the room necessary. So why conflate a measuring device with a conscious observer?
    The answer to this question is:

    Halvorson, if I understand him, replies to this that a non-conscious measuring device will itself be in an entangled state, (..)

    Here I’m lost already. What is meant by ‘non-concious measuring device’? Do they mean a measuring device acting on its own – without a supervising scientist? And what is meant with ‘entangled’? Entangled with the ‘splitting electron’? Entangled in what way?

    (..) but that if a conscious subject observes it, only one of its possible states will be seen, so consciousness is crucial to making reality determinate.

    What is being said here? Are they saying that when there is a ‘conscious subject’ in the room, checking the measurements, that at that point the wave packet collapses? And when he turns his head, or starts daydreaming, the wave packet resurrects?

  314. Box why does everyone want to go the ‘technical’ route?,, Sigh!,, as to,,,

    Are they saying that when there is a ‘conscious subject’ in the room, checking the measurements, that at that point the wave packet collapses?

    As counter-intuitive as it is, yes, that is what ‘they’ are saying. (Actually it what the double slit and the bell inequality, among other experiments, are ‘saying’),,, Here is a clip of a talk in which Alain Aspect talks about the infamous debate between Einstein and Bohr, and the failure of ‘local realism’, or the failure of materialism, to explain reality:

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

    This following study adds to John Bell’s and 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

    (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for ‘spooky’ forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.)

    These following experiments goes a step further than the Bell inequality,,,

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    “I’m going to talk about the Bell inequality, and more importantly a new inequality that you might not have heard of called the Leggett inequality, that was recently measured. It was actually formulated almost 30 years ago by Professor Leggett, who is a Nobel Prize winner, but it wasn’t tested until about a year and a half ago (in 2007), when an article appeared in Nature, that the measurement was made by this prominent quantum group in Vienna led by Anton Zeilinger, which they measured the Leggett inequality, which actually goes a step deeper than the Bell inequality and rules out any possible interpretation other than consciousness creates reality when the measurement is made.” – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D., Calphysics Institute, is an astrophysicist and author of over 130 scientific publications.

    Preceding quote taken from this following video;

    Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness – A New Measurement – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D (Shortened version of entire video with notes in description of video)
    http://vimeo.com/37517080

    Here is further work in this area that extends the integrity of the results:

    A simple approach to test Leggett’s model of nonlocal quantum correlations – 2009
    Excerpt of Abstract: Bell’s strong sentence “Correlations cry out for explanations” remains relevant,,,we go beyond Leggett’s model, and show that one cannot ascribe even partially defined individual properties to the components of a maximally entangled pair.
    http://www.mendeley.com/resear.....relations/

    Violation of Leggett inequalities in orbital angular momentum subspaces – 2010
    Main results. We extend the violation of Leggett inequalities to the orbital angular momentum (OAM) state space of photons, which is associated with their helical wavefronts. We define our measurements in a Bloch sphere for OAM and measure the Leggett parameter LN (where N is the number of settings for the signal photon) as we change the angle ? (see figure). We observe excellent agreement with quantum mechanical predictions (red line), and show a violation of five and six standard deviations for N = 3 and N = 4, respectively.
    http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/12/12/123007

    It is interesting to note that Leggett himself, an atheist, though he himself was instrumental in devising the experiment, refused to accept the conclusion of his own experiment he had set up to try to prove the conclusions of quantum mechanics wrong:

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: Leggett doesn’t believe quantum mechanics is correct, and there are few places for a person of such disbelief to now turn. But Leggett decided to find out what believing in quantum mechanics might require. He worked out what would happen if one took the idea of nonlocality in quantum mechanics seriously, by allowing for just about any possible outside influences on a detector set to register polarizations of light. Any unknown event might change what is measured. The only assumption Leggett made was that a natural form of realism hold true; photons should have measurable polarizations that exist before they are measured. With this he laboriously derived a new set of hidden variables theorems and inequalities as Bell once had. But whereas Bell’s work could not distinguish between realism and locality, Leggett’s did. The two could be tested.

    When Aspelmeyer returned to Vienna, he grabbed the nearest theorist he could find, Tomasz Paterek, whom everyone calls “Tomek.” Tomek was at the IQOQI on fellowship from his native Poland and together, they enlisted Simon Gröblacher, Aspelmeyer’s student. With Leggett’s assistance, the three spent six months painfully checking his calculations. They even found a small error. Then they set about recasting the idea, with a few of the other resident theorists, into a form they could test. When they were done, they went to visit Anton Zeilinger. The experiment wouldn’t be too difficult, but understanding it would. It took them months to reach their tentative conclusion: If quantum mechanics described the data, then the lights’ polarizations didn’t exist before being measured. Realism in quantum mechanics would be untenable.

    ,,, Leggett’s theory was more powerful than Bell’s because it required that light’s polarization be measured not just like the second hand on a clock face, but over an entire sphere. In essence, there were an infinite number of clock faces on which the second hand could point. For the experimenters this meant that they had to account for an infinite number of possible measurement settings. So Zeilinger’s group rederived Leggett’s theory for a finite number of measurements. There were certain directions the polarization would more likely face in quantum mechanics. This test was more stringent. In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.

    Leggett agrees with Zeilinger that realism is wrong in quantum mechanics, but when I asked him whether he now believes in the theory, he answered only “no” before demurring, “I’m in a small minority with that point of view and I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” For Leggett there are still enough loopholes to disbelieve. I asked him what could finally change his mind about quantum mechanics. Without hesitation, he said sending humans into space as detectors to test the theory. In space there is enough distance to exclude communication between the detectors (humans), and the lack of other particles should allow most entangled photons to reach the detectors unimpeded. Plus, each person can decide independently which photon polarizations to measure. If Leggett’s model were contradicted in space, he might believe. When I mentioned this to Prof. Zeilinger he said, “That will happen someday. There is no doubt in my mind. It is just a question of technology.” Alessandro Fedrizzi had already shown me a prototype of a realism experiment he is hoping to send up in a satellite. It’s a heavy, metallic slab the size of a dinner plate.
    http://seedmagazine.com/conten....._tests/P3/

    i.e. As the double slit, and quantum symmetries, clearly indicated decades ago,,, Consciousness indeed precedes collapse!

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    (Max Planck, as cited in de Purucker, Gottfried. 1940. The Esoteric Tradition. California: Theosophical University Press, ch. 13).

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    (Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.)

  315. 315
    CentralScrutinizer

    WJM @ 312 quoting Liddle: chemically plausible science fiction

    Blind Watchmaker Evolution:

    Chemically plausible science fiction…

    Except that it’s not plausible.

  316. kf @307:

    Of course, I’d be honored.

    It is probably fine to post it as is, whether you want to make it a post for discussion or link to it as a general resource.

    Alternatively, if there is value in having it function as a more current primer, I’d probably want to at least read through it again and make any updates, if necessary. It’s been a decade and I and was quite new to the design debate at that point, although I’d like to think that the fundamental issues I laid out are still spot on. Ironically, I guess it shows that it is quite possible for someone who is sincerely interested to grasp the fundamentals and the nuances very quickly — a sad commentary on those who have been involved in the debate for years and are still unable (or unwilling) to accurately represent what intelligent design is.

  317. Bornagain77 thank you for this exposé. I have worked my way through the articles and things have become clearer to me. And of course I agree with you that this is all very important.
    The ultimate reality of materialists is not so ‘no-nonsensical’ as they would like to believe. Maybe that’s why the materialists on this forum are so silent on this subject.

  318. WJM @312:

    Well said.

    There are really two issues at play here.

    OOL or OIR (Origin of Initial Replicator). Someone argues that there is no evidence for a self-replicating polymer under early earth conditions. Elizabeth counters with, “Suppose a self-replicating polymer . . .” I agree with you that this is a case of solving a problem by assuming it away or at least assuming that it may one day be solved. We just need more time, the thinking goes — the old promissory note of materialistic evolution presented to the unsuspecting public, now faded, worn and long overdue, but on which few seem to notice the due date has quietly been surreptitiously crossed out and replaced with a much later date . . .

    Information. But there is another, more important, elephant in the room. Even if you have a self-replicating polymer, you don’t get information. Elizabeth seems enamored with the power of natural selection, proclaiming with the zeal of a televangelist that once we get that self-replicating polymer, then, hey, anything is possible. Yet there is precisely zero evidence (nay, there is a lot of contrary evidence) that a simple self-replicating polymer can ever turn into more than a simple self-replicating polymer through purely natural and material processes. You don’t just get to invoke new complex specified information through the magic of mutation and selection.

    So Dembski’s real point: conservation of information, is not only not solved by assuming a self-replicating polymer; it is not even addressed. You can have all the self-replicating entities you want. You still don’t get to ‘buy’ information for free. The information has to be provided from somewhere in order to navigate the search space.

    —–

    Incidentally, the whole self-replication thing as a source of new information is a red herring anyway. But that is perhaps a topic for another thread another time . . .

  319. EA: Passed by and looked at it. It looks clean and by your token is a first impression summary by one seeking to genuinely understand. That’s worth something. Why not look and make an update if you think it helpful. My contact is through my handle. KF

  320. William J Murray:
    That has nothing to do with the debate. The debate is about the ability to fine-tune searches (one way or another) towards the construction of complex, specified, functional machinery.There is no known commodity that can do this other than intelligence.

    Lizzie:

    Yes, there is. We know that a smooth high-dimensioned fitness landscape can do it.

    That is nothing but a crock of unsupportable nonsense.

    Geez Willaim, why don’t you just ask Lizzie how we “know” such a thing and ask her to present the evidence for it.

  321. Lizzie sez:

    But in any case we know there are vast swathes of genomes that do nothing, because if you remove them, it makes little or no difference to the phenotype.

    I worked for a computer company that made circuit boards with redundant circuits and their systems had redundant circuit boards.

    You could literally remove over half of the stuff in the system and it would function just fine- made little of no difference of its preformance.

    That does NOT mean all the redundant circuits do nothing.

    Talk about a totally clueless person.

  322. Joe:

    You could literally remove over half of the stuff in the system and it would function just fine- made little of no difference of its preformance.

    Short-run.

    Long-run in a world of MTBF, and that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    KF

  323. Joe:

    Absolutely right, redundancy is often ignored by knock-out experiments and similar such claims.

    Further, there are hundreds (thousands?) of processes that only function at particular stages, for example processes that build the initial organism in the first place. When your ears, eyes, teeth, etc. were all initially growing in the womb, something had to be controlling all those processes. Now that they are fully built, you could perhaps knock out the genetic material responsible for the initial construction and not notice anything problematic.

    Also, it is certainly possible that some defects would not show up until multiple generations down the road.

    Also, it is possible some genetic material is only needed to deal with certain contingent environmental conditions and would only come into play in special circumstances, thus being missed in the experimental review.

    Some people also ignore the fact that some portion of DNA is structural, rather than coding-based.

    It also ignores the possibility of front-loading.

    To be sure, there may be some non-functional portions of genomes. But given our current limited state of knowledge about cellular function, organismal development, and what contributes to long-term stability across multiple generations, the oft-claimed “vast swathes” of non-function is little more than an ignorance-of-the-gaps assertion.

    In any case, the trajectory of the evidence can only proceed toward more known function, not less. Those clinging desperately to non-function as confirmation of their beliefs are standing squarely on the wrong side of the evidentiary trajectory.

  324. 324
    Chance Ratcliff

    Eric and Joe @323 and 321, good points — redundancy and contingent functionality are good possible explanations for “non-functional” segments of DNA. The same is true for software, namely operating systems. There are loads of files such as drivers for various hardware components that are part of the installation but not in use, because the hardware that they support may not be present in a given system. So what’s to be said about files on a hard drive that are never accessed, are they “non-functional”, or contingently functional? I prefer the latter, since the former term is misleading. This is just one reason why perfectly valid data might not be in use on a given system — because the condition that would require its use does not necessarily occur, it occurs conditionally.

    There are other examples. Later versions of Microsoft Windows have a feature called “System Protection” that optionally backs up certain changed files and registry settings, so that in the event of an update failure, the system can be rolled back to a previous valid configuration. This feature can be turned on or off. It is part of the operating systems robustness but not necessary for the system to function in the first place. The entire feature could be wiped from the system — a significant swath of files and supporting features could be done away, without compromising the function of the system, that is until a certain type of failure occurred. If a system was never updated, or if an update never failed, the feature would never be missed. It’s significant worth would only be realized given a specific contingency. Many other examples could be suggested as to why segments of DNA might be present but not in use. The assumption of “junk” is entirely unhelpful.

    I too suspect that some “junk” DNA could be accounted for by considering the engineering principles of robustness and redundancy, which by the way is something that the assumption of design would suggest, not an assumption of random cobbling.

  325. Chance, great thoughts. Particularly the system protection idea.

    What about information and systems that are able to fight disease. There are lots of things in this area that would only come into play contingently.

    Also, what about the cell’s uncanny ability to identify and “fix” mutation errors, protein folding problems, etc. The information for such detection and correction has to exist somewhere in the files. You could get by for quite a while without it, but eventually it would catch up to you. So without such systems the organism would not be viable over many generations.

    I think there is a general principle at work here:

    The more independent and self-sustaining a system needs to be, the more redundancy, backup, protection, and contingent systems it will incorporate.

    We know this is true in remote and/or mission-critical engineering systems.

    It’s hard to think of a more independent and self-sustaining system than a living organism that is expected to thrive and self propagate over the course of millions of years and in the face of myriad contingent environmental challenges.

    It is quite possible — nay, even reasonable to expect — that living systems incorporate significant amounts of such systems.

    Anyone pushing the idea that living systems — systems that are incredibly sophisticated, incredibly robust, incredibly faithful reproducers, and incredibly capable of adapting to changing conditions — are loaded with ‘swaths of junk’ speaks less to the reality of such swaths and more to the individual’s engineering naivete.

  326. 326
    Chance Ratcliff

    Footnote for #324,

    The emergence of a cecal valve in podarcis sicula looks to represent a case of contingent function and robustness.

    “Examination of the lizard’s digestive tracts revealed something even more surprising. Eating more plants caused the development of new structures called cecal valves, designed to slow the passage of food by creating fermentation chambers in the gut, where microbes can break down the difficult to digest portion of plants. Cecal valves, which were found in hatchlings, juveniles and adults on Pod Mrcaru, have never been reported for this species, including the source population on Pod Kopiste.” — Lizards Undergo Rapid Evolution After Introduction To A New Home

    Might the species have still appeared viable if the coding segments required for the cecal valve construction and the accompanying environmental response mechanisms were knocked out?

    “These structures actually occur in less than 1 percent of all known species of scaled reptiles,” says Irschick. “Our data shows that evolution of novel structures can occur on extremely short time scales. Cecal valve evolution probably went hand-in-hand with a novel association between the lizards on Pod Mrcaru and microorganisms called nematodes that break down cellulose, which were found in their hindguts.”

    P.S. I’m wondering what the essential difference is between Rapid Evolution and Phenotypic Plasticity.

    Rapid Evolution

    What is Phenotypic Plasticity and Why is it Important

  327. 327
    Chance Ratcliff

    Eric @325,

    “I think there is a general principle at work here:

    The more independent and self-sustaining a system needs to be, the more redundancy, backup, protection, and contingent systems it will incorporate.

    We know this is true in remote and/or mission-critical engineering systems.”

    Exactly. That’s a fine example of design thinking, and is more applicable than anything the assumption of “unguided” processes can say about biology.

  328. Various RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configurations are also good examples of what might appear to be “junk” data.

    I’d be curious to know whether research has been done on DNA with respect to data being “striped” across disparate sections of DNA or whether something like parity bits are used to help rebuild lost data.

    I’d think this would be the sort of research that an inference to design might suggest.

  329. My understanding is that bit-parity algorithms are in fact used in DNA error detection and correction.

  330. Lizzie gets is wrong, again:

    Ergo, we don’t know whether we need to infer either a Designer OR multiverses.

    A multiverse does not exclude a designer or designers.

  331. petrushka sez:

    Evolution in one of the best understood and most studied phenomena in science.

    Really? Yet no one can tell us how many mutations it takes to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped. No one even knows what DNA sequences are involved.

    No one seems to be able to answer any questions about this allegedly “best understood and most studied phenomena in science”.

    Why is that?

  332. From a quote of Dawkins in Optimus’ #180:

    ‘…..”Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”’.

    Don’t take it too hard, Richard. What you lose intellectually on the swings, you may well gain on the roundabouts.

    Life basically IS unfair, what with matter ruling the roost, and its something we, materialists, must habituate ourselves to.

  333. ‘Yet no one can tell us how many mutations it takes to get an upright biped from a knuckle-walker/ quadraped. No one even knows what DNA sequences are involved.’

    Just because they believe they are scions of knuckle-draggers, doesn’t mean they have to know the whys and wherefors, Joe. Don’t be pedantic about their science.

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