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Physicist Sean Carroll suggests that someday science can rule out God — revealing his philosophical agenda under the holy lab coat, yet again

This morning, as I opened up my computer, the following Yahoo News headline leaped out:

Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?

By Natalie Wolchover | LiveScience.com

Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God. Much of what once seemed mysterious — the existence of humanity, the life-bearing perfection of Earth, the workings of the universe — can now be explained by biology, astronomy, physics and other domains of science.

Although cosmic mysteries remain, Sean Carroll, a theoretical cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology, says there’s good reason to think science will ultimately arrive at a complete understanding of the universe that leaves no grounds for God whatsoever.

Carroll argues that God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. ”As we learn more about the universe, there’s less and less need to look outside it for help,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries.

He thinks the sphere of supernatural influence will eventually shrink to nil.

This is the sort of set up and knock over a God-of-the-gaps strawman materialist ideological agenda tactic that so often does disservice to the genuine cause of seeking to study and understand the universe, humbly and provisionally in light of the pattern of the evidence.

This is of course an attempt to drag a red herring across the track of the mounting up pile of evidence pointing to the evident fine-tuning of the observed cosmos that sets it to an operating point that facilitates C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life. The red herring is then led out to a convenient “God of the Gaps” strawman, duly set alight to the delight of the ideological atheists and their fellow travellers. (Cf. also here on building a sound worldview.)

It also brings to mind the classic blunders made by Lewontin in his declaration in the January 1997 NYRB, that:

. . . to put a correct view of the universe into people’s heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . .   the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test  [[--> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.  [NB: To save a side track, the linked more extensive cite  deals with the distractive talking point usually trotted out about how this is alleged quote-mining. Accurate and inconvenient citation will always attract such objections form Darwinist zealots.]

I leave it as a warm-up exercise for commenters to identify and correct the basic fallacies in the reasoning of both. END

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77 Responses to Physicist Sean Carroll suggests that someday science can rule out God — revealing his philosophical agenda under the holy lab coat, yet again

  1. Oh, to [France] with Carroll. He should be told to shut up and get his [self] back in the lab, and that if what he provides doesn’t result in practical benefits he should expect a funding cut, or be told to seek funding from private sources – like Templeton.

    And what a rotten, biased little article at that. It’s never asked, if science could show God doesn’t exist, does that mean science could in principle show God does exist? ‘Theologians’ are said to be the ones replying to Carroll, when in reality the replies come from philosophers and even other physicists. And at every stage, when a problem is pointed out, Carroll gets to basically say “Yes well I can imagine it’s logically possible that answer X will come to prominence – and that would be that!”

    Complete [garbage].

    [Null: I understand the intensity and points but ask for adjustment on tone and language. KF]

  2. F/N: Since Newton is often set up as the God of the Gaps strawman, let me clip from his General Scholium to Principia:

    ___________

    >> . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . .

    And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect . . . .

    It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. [i.e accepts the cosmological argument to God.] . . . .

    We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] >>
    ___________

    It seems — however much we may be inclined to adjust or disagree with Newton — there is a bit more substance there than we have been led to believe by those who present the God of the gaps caricature.

    In particular, it is clear that newton sees God as the architect and maker of the order of the cosmos and of its unfolding, such that the laws of nature are the decrees of God. Similarly, he sees the cosmos as the work of a supreme intelligence and sees the very laws that Carroll et al would try to use to dispense with God, as the manifestation instead of the mind of God in creation and providence.

    When we turn to The Opticks, Query 31, we find this, too:

    Now by the help of [[the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it’s unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . .

    And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. ”

    It is time for a more serious and sober-minded discussion.

    KF

  3. I’m glad to see some organized and intelligent comments here on the silly article on Yahoo.

    I found the article laughable, where it wasn’t just scary propaganda.

    We are on a Voyage of Discovery, and our goal is Truth. And every time we discover some Truth, we write it down so we don’t forget it.

    To decide in advance what MUST be True ruins the entire Exploration. From time to time, it is helpful to thoughtfully propose “This MIGHT be True” and then do some testing. But we have to be constantly prepared to abandon a really promising Theory when it becomes plain that the facts don’t support it.

    I find it terribly disappointing that so many scientists are so anti-Scientific.

  4. Over the past few centuries, science can be said to have gradually chipped away at the traditional grounds for believing in God. Much of what once seemed mysterious — the existence of humanity, the life-bearing perfection of Earth, the workings of the universe — can now be explained by biology, astronomy, physics and other domains of science.

    When someone opens an argument with such a foolish statement, it shows you that nothing that follows should be taken seriously.

    This is real news to me. Science can explain all these things? I mean science can offer some interesting theories for these things, but they all have a bunch of hand-waving assumptions in them which fail under true scientific scrutiny.

    Just a few examples:
    Science can explain…the existence of humanity? Last I checked no credible theory of OOL existed and people are still puzzled about it. I assume humanity’s existence is part of that life that somehow was created here.

    Science can explain… the life-bearing perfection of Earth. Since when is “life-bearing perfection” even a scientific term. What does it mean? And though many scientists would like to come up with a first principles reason why the parameters of nature are so tuned for life, their most recent stab at it – the multiverse combined with the anthropic principle is neither scientific nor an explanation.

    Science can explain… the workings of the universe???? a catch all phrase? Yes, there is a lot that science can explain, but the amount of ignorance we still have about the smallest things is mind-boggling.

    The horrible thing is that supposedly this writer represents the best of a youthful class of science and technology writers.

    I really hope she develops better critical thinking skills.

  5. Sean Carroll needs to catch up. Science has already ruled out God.

  6. In certain circles of atheism “God is dead or dying” never loses its currency. I think the reason for this is that atheism has always been and will always be seen as an unusual, even odd position to hold.

    It’s counterintuitive.
    It demands denying the obvious.
    It demands uttering strange things like “the universe and all that’s in it popped into existence from nothing” or “the universe and all that stuff in it has always existed”.
    And ever since an apple fell on Newton’s head, it demands that evidence be forcefully reinterpreted to say what it doesn’t.

    Carroll’s a bright guy. He’s no fool.
    But then again, he is.

  7. Physicist Sean Carroll suggests that someday science can rule out God

    Well that would be true save for the creation ex nihilo discovered for the Big Bang, the incomprehensible fine-tuning of universal constants that enable life to be possible in the universe, the privileged planet principle which strongly suggests that the earth was designed for intelligent creatures like ourselves to discover the universe, the overwhelming theistic implications found in the quantum mechanical foundation of reality (non-locality and consciousness), the higher dimensional ‘eternity of time’ found in special relativity, and the higher dimensional (4-D) construct of Gravity (General Relativity), and the integrated functional complexity of the information found for the ‘simplest’ biological life on earth, integrated complexity that blows away the most advanced programming ever achieved by man in computer programs or on computer chips, etc.. etc.. etc.. then yes perhaps Carrol may have a point.

  8. I have been scratching my head over something like this for awhile now and I’m hoping to get some help on it.

    I think Carroll may be looking at it from a literalist view of the bible which is what I was taught. If that is the case, then mainstream science has disproved the literal 24 hour creation days, the creation week, the creation of animals and the order they appear, the firmament of the earth, the appearance of man, existence of Adam and Eve, the global flood and the exodus etc. Science is also starting to rule out free will and consciousness as an act of God. I know some here take these parts of scripture as metaphor or parables but Jesus affirmed the existence of Adam, Noah, Jonah and Moses so they have to be real or else the gospels are false or mistaken. If the gospels are false, then why should we trust that there is a God?

    Science operates on methodological naturalism to find things and so far it’s been fine. However, the scientists of old still did good science while believing God did it. That is up until the enlightenment.

    What I’m trying to find out is why did science take the approach it did and what’s wrong with creation science? If mainstream science took the approach of there is no God then why is the science that says there is a God any worse? Why is it bad to use the bible as a starting point to find things out in nature but it’s fine to use chance, random mutations and natural law? If creation science has proof for a global flood, for example, why is that proof worse than proof that says it didn’t happen?

  9. JLAfan2001, though I take exception to just about everything you proclaimed as settled science (no references!), I want to focus on just one particular false proclamation of yours:

    Science is also starting to rule out free will and consciousness as an act of God.

    This is a interesting ‘scientific’ claim of yours because contrary to what you may believe to be true the ‘scientific’ facts are very different:

    In the following video, at the 37:00 minute mark, Anton Zeilinger, a leading researcher in quantum teleportation with many breakthroughs under his belt, humorously reflects on just how deeply determinism has been undermined by quantum mechanics by saying such a deep lack of determinism may provide some of us a loop hole when they meet God on judgment day.

    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    Personally, I feel that such a deep undermining of determinism by quantum mechanics, far from providing a ‘loop hole’ on judgement day, actually restores free will to its rightful place in the grand scheme of things, thus making God’s final judgments on men’s souls all the more fully binding since man truly is a ‘free moral agent’ as Theism has always maintained. And to solidify this theistic claim for how reality is constructed, the following study came along a few months after I had seen Dr. Zeilinger’s video:

    Can quantum theory be improved? – July 23, 2012
    Excerpt: Being correct 50% of the time when calling heads or tails on a coin toss won’t impress anyone. So when quantum theory predicts that an entangled particle will reach one of two detectors with just a 50% probability, many physicists have naturally sought better predictions. The predictive power of quantum theory is, in this case, equal to a random guess. Building on nearly a century of investigative work on this topic, a team of physicists has recently performed an experiment whose results show that, despite its imperfections, quantum theory still seems to be the optimal way to predict measurement outcomes.,
    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 (*conscious observation) parameters can be chosen independently (free choice, free will, 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

    So just as I had suspected after watching Dr. Zeilinger’s video, it is found that a required assumption of ‘free will’ in quantum mechanics is what necessarily drives the completely random (non-deterministic) aspect of quantum mechanics. Moreover, it was shown in the paper that one cannot ever improve the predictive power of quantum mechanics by ever removing free will as a starting assumption in Quantum Mechanics!

    Henry Stapp on the Conscious Choice and the Non-Local Quantum Entangled Effects – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJN01s1gOqA

    of note:

    What does the term “measurement” mean in quantum mechanics?
    “Measurement” or “observation” in a quantum mechanics context are really just other ways of saying that the observer is interacting with the quantum system and measuring the result in toto.
    http://boards.straightdope.com.....p?t=597846

    Needless to say, finding ‘free will conscious observation’ to be ‘built into’ our best description of foundational reality, quantum mechanics, as a starting assumption, ‘free will observation’ which is indeed the driving aspect of randomness in quantum mechanics, is VERY antithetical to the entire materialistic philosophy which demands that a ‘non-telological randomness’ be the driving force of creativity in Darwinian evolution! In fact the primary source of randomness for the ‘materialistic universe’ is found to be very destructive supermassive Blackholes. Which begs the question, could these two very different sources of randomness found in Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, respectively, be one of the primary reasons for their failure to be unified?

    Further notes:

    Zeilinger’s principle
    Zeilinger’s principle states that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics. Some have reasoned that this principle, in certain ways, links thermodynamics with information theory. [1]
    http://www.eoht.info/page/Zeilinger%27s+principle

    In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
    http://www.quantum.at/fileadmi.....t/bit.html

  10. Unfortunately for Mr Carroll, ‘Science ruled God (omnisicent, omnipotent and personal) in’, ninety plus years ago, when it identified the absolute speed of light as it acts within space-time. How many times do I have to repeat it on here for you, Sean?

    The louder they come, the harder they will assuredly fall. They have been hoisted with their own petard. ‘God scatters the proud in the imagination of their hearts.’ And what fun it is to witness, knowing as we do that ‘The truth wol out’, to adapt a Chaucerian locution. Learned nescience, in the face of elementary reason is the Road-Runner treading air before plummeting from the cliff. The marvel is that they have got away with it for so long, indeed, how such folly as abiogenesis ever got traction!

    It would be nice to hear his opinion on the latest scientific findings concerning the Shroud of Turin, too.

  11. of related interest to my post at #9. It is found that human consciousness has a small but ‘statistically significant’ effect on the random aspect of material reality:

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007

    Here are some of the papers to go with the preceding video;

    Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research – Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena – publications
    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html

    Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program – 1997
    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear.....review.pdf

    The Global Consciousness Project – Meaningful Correlations in Random Data
    http://teilhard.global-mind.org/

    I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiments, “Since you ultimately believe that the ‘god of random chance’ produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?”

    as well, here is a interesting article I found a few days ago:

    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/

  12. ‘I find it terribly disappointing that so many scientists are so anti-Scientific.’

    Nasty character though he seems to have been, J D Watson evidently knew a thing or two. He evidently laboured under no illusions concerning the level of intelligence that characterises so many of his atheist, fellow scientists, his fellow-Covenanters of the Double Helix, as per the famous Guardian cartoon. They never seem to develop beyond the mindset of the Harry Enfield, ‘Kevin’-type, adolescent, would-be iconoclast.

  13. JLA:

    Pardon a note, but, this thread is not about theology and Bible difficulties debates and skeptical talking points.

    I suggest you take these concerns to a forum that can address them fully without breaking out of focus. The view that may be closest to the one you may be open to is probably that of Reasons to Believe. (Creation Ministries International and Answer in Genesis may also help you on some of your Bible concerns. I also suggest that you may find this discussion of the evolution of academic theology over the past 250 or so years, and this on the Bible timeline and this on the debates over the Exodus, helpful. But that is off topic for this thread, I only offer for you to find resources that may help you.)

    My suggestion, in brief is that there are competent views that can address the concerns you have to say, from various perspectives. I also suggest that sensus literalis is not to be confused with naive literalism, which actually often ends up in scripture twisting.

    Beyond that, on fair comment Dr Carroll’s remarks are philosophically naive and ill-informed, indeed it is an abuse of the prestige of the lab coat. Science simply cannot rule out the reality of God. And, to beg the question in the way that say Lewontin did, is to do just that, beg questions.

    To give you an idea of how independent this is of any particular theological tradition, let me clip from Plato — a pagan Greek Philosopher — in his The Laws, BK X, 360 BC:

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

    [[ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?

    Cle. Exactly.

    Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?

    [[ . . . . ]

    Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

    In short, there is a worldviews analysis issue that is fundamental, and analytically prior to theological debates and scriptural traditions.

    It is to that issue that we must attend in this thread.

    KF

  14. 14

    Atheists have been predicting the death of God for quite some time now. My observation has been that the atheists die first.

  15. Whether Carroll’s views are being accurately summarized by the journalist (science journalists are notorious for misunderstanding what they are reporting) I cannot say. But regarding the position the journalist is representing as Carroll’s, I can say the following.

    Carroll’s disproof of God would be a disproof only of a “God of the gaps.” That is, it would disprove arguments that posit God as the direct cause of certain events not explained by current science.

    So, for example, suppose that we argued that life could never have come out non-life without the direct intervention of supernatural power. But then, suppose advances in molecular biology show that life can be produced in a test tube, repeatedly, without experimenter intervention, and that it could easily have been produced in primitive earth conditions. In such a case that argument for the existence of God would then be destroyed.

    Carroll is arguing that science will eventually close all possible gaps, and that this will leave no place where God’s causal activity is necessary. He is imagining a “Big Bang to man” scenario in which an unbroken chain of efficient causes has been identified, so that no special intervention by an intelligent agent is necessary.

    But even such an account, if it existed, which it doesn’t, wouldn’t disprove the existence of God. Take Michael Denton, for example, who in essence offers such an account, but thinks that in order for the chain of efficient causes to do what it has done, there would have to have been astouding fine-tuning done at the beginning of the universe — implying cosmic design, hence a cosmic designer. Denton does not hesitate to call the designer God.

    Carroll, I gather, doesn’t see it that way. He seems to take the view of Sagan. But here we see religious preferences in operation. Sagan, who held essentially the same molecules to man scenario as Denton, did not see any God behind the process, as Denton did. Carroll sides with Sagan. Yet there is no *scientific* reason for siding with Sagan and rejecting Denton’s design inference. It’s simply Carroll’s moral/theological preference. He would rather imagine that there is no God, than imagine that there is, so he will say that the universe just luckily happens to be tuned the way that it is, or that there are infinite universes and one of them is bound to be tuned right. In other words, he would rather accept, as an explanation for what we see, dumb luck or an unproved infinity than God.

    What personal reasons lie behind that choice, I have no idea, because I don’t know Carroll. But in my experience there is a great deal of willfulness in such decisions (both those in favor of and those against belief in God).

    What I like about the example of Denton is that he does not appear to be at all conventionally religious. He was brought up a fairly conservative Protestant, but abandoned that, and has never returned to it, nor has he joined any other religious organization. Yet he believes in the existence of God as the designer, the fine-tuner, the establisher of nature. He thus seems to be able to keep autobiographical loves and hates out of his reasoning. That can’t be said for people like Provine, Coyne, Shallit, Dawkins, etc., all of whom manifestly just plain don’t like the idea of God. Whether Carroll has that active personal animus against God, I don’t know, because I don’t know the guy. But in any case, his reasoning is faulty, since getting rid of a God of the gaps doesn’t get rid of the need for a designer.

    As for JLAfan2001, he is of course mostly off-topic, but one of his remarks is pertinent here. He wrote: “If the gospels are false, then why should we trust that there is a God?” This of course shows a gross misunderstanding of the purpose of the Gospels (they weren’t written to prove there was a God) — so much for the quality of theological teaching that JLAfan received in his literalist-inerrantist upbringing. But the connection with the subject here is that there are arguments to the existence of God from nature, regardless of the truth of the Gospels. And they aren’t necessarily God-of-the-gaps arguments. They are arguments from the apparent design of things. And these arguments are accepted, at least as *philosophical* arguments (though not as scientific ones), even by some TEs — like Barr and Polkinghorne.

    JLAfan would thus do well to read people like Michael Denton and learn of such arguments. But he has already proved, elsewhere, that he is impervious to suggestions to read good books written by well-informed people, so I won’t bother to repeat those suggestions here.

  16. This has been the driving force behind many atheists. People like P.Z Myers do not care about science, they only care about promoting their atheism as ‘fact’ which is why he verbally attacked Francis Collins when he learned he had been appointed director of NIH by Obama.

  17. What? I didn’t think science answered questions pertaining to the metaphysical.

  18. Realize of course that Carroll’s fantasy is precisely comparable to extrapolating that at the present rate of discovery, some day Science will have enough information to resurrect scientific determinism from the clutches of chaos, quantum mechanics, and the ghost of Kurt Gödel.

  19. If the gospels are false, then why should we trust that there is a God?

    Here’s a different test:

    If Jesus was not raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.

  20. If the gospels are false, then why should we trust that there is a God?

    Belief in God, even biblically, comes prior before belief in the Gospels.

    I’m Catholic, but if tomorrow Christ’s body were provided, I wouldn’t become an atheist. The rational step would be a theist or deist.

  21. If he predicts someone else can do this then that else must be smarter then him!
    So perhaps this admitted smarter folks will say otherwise about God being tossed out!
    Predictions be damned and get on with it!
    Do you need more research money?
    Where should we send our cheques?!

  22. If the gospels are false, then why should we trust that there is a God?

    Here’s a different test:

    If Jesus was not raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.

    Mung, you are exactly right, if you are referring to the God of the Bible.

    You seem to know the Bible pretty well! These were the inspired words of the apostle Paul himself meaning they are God’s words.

    The difference is we believe Jesus was raised from the dead and you don’t.

    The apostle Paul’s life was radically changed 180 degrees when he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. He staked his life on the truth of the resurrection. His radical life change that caused him so much personal loss and suffering is strong testimony to the truth of the resurrection.

  23. F/N: My response, at my personal blog, to the same Yahoo News headlines LiveScience article on a C4 Coptic language — ancient Egyptian speech — MS that speaks about a wife of Jesus. (It seems that Dan Brownism now haunts the fringes of academia.)

    In so responding, I link here on the authenticity and warrant for the gospel and the C1 canonical gospels.

    There is an obvious, politically tinged cultural agenda to dechristianise our civilisation on propagandistic pushing of claims and stories that fail to be responsible or fair or accurate, and over the past while Yahoo has been deeply involved in pushing it.

    At a deeper level, since at least the past 180 years — I here refer to Heine’s prophetic rebuke — there has been a push to promote intellectual systems that are post Christian, in defiance of predictable consequences. For instance, I was shocked to see how ideological commitment on a radical and irretrievably flawed relativism is seen as appropriate intellectual “development” since William G Perry published his studies on what was happening to naive students at Harvard, in 1970. Believe it or not, this is widely seen as a focus for what college should do as an educational aim. (Astonishingly, serious critiques of the Perry scheme on the fallacious nature of such relativism are as rare as hen’s teeth. If you want to know the why of what is happening in power elite circles and the media, especially the contempt that serious Christian commitment is now increasingly viewed with, here is your answer. For, repeatedly and often destructively, the doctrine of the college seminar room and hall of residence in one generation, becomes the policy of government in the next.)

    Let me cite this translation of Heine:

    “So the natur-philosoph will enter into terrible association with the original powers of nature. He will be able to conjure up the demonic forces of Old Germanic pantheism, and that lust for battle which we find among the old Germans will awaken in him, which does not battle to destroy, or to conquer, but solely for the sake of the battle itself. Christianity – and this is its greatest merit – has to some extent tamed that brutal Germanic lust for battle, but could not destroy it; and if ever that restraining talisman, the cross, breaks, the savagery of the old fighters will rattle forth again…The old stone gods will then emerge from their forgotten ruins and rub the dust of millennia from their eyes. Thor, with the giant hammer, will spring up at last, and destroy the Gothic domes…and when you hear crashing, as it has never crashed before in all of world history, you will know, German thunder has finally reached its goal. With this sound, eagles will fall dead from the sky [--> The eagle is a symbol of both air power and the USA], and lions in the most distant desert in Africa [--> As in, Rommel vs the British 8th Army] will pull their tails between their legs and crawl into their royal caves. A play will be enacted in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like a harmless idyll [--> Nazism, a profoundly anti-Christian system animated by just that spirit of false messiahship in political guise] …And the hour will come. As on the rows of an amphitheater, nations will gather around Germany to see the great game of battle” (pp. 116-17).

    Remember, this is in 1833 or 4. As Prof Yair goes on to observe:

    Heine wrote it in 1834, and 99 years later Thor came to power. And his giant hammer banged so hard, that eagles fell down from the skies and lions shivered in their caves. And the world stood in the amphitheater and watched the burning of the book and the butchery of its people. So 99 years later Heine’s words indeed became real. He knew that. He was no prophet, but a good philosopher. And he knew that ideas and deep cultural codes keep hammering reality. This is why ideas matter so much.

    We cannot say that we have not been warned that we are irresponsibly playing with civilisation destroying fire.

    KF

  24. 24

    “Physicist Sean Carroll suggests that someday science can rule out God”

    All that means is that S.C is an idiot.

    Nigga PLEASE!

  25. Of related interest, in this following debate, Dr. Hugh Ross shows that, far from science being antagonistic to God, advances in modern science are revealing the universe to be the handiwork of God:

    Hugh Ross vs Lewis Wolpert – Is There Evidence For A Cosmic Creator? (uploaded Sept. 5 2012) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF1xSErF_f4

    Description: Recorded at Imperial College London, Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross of Reasons To Believe debates atheist biologist Lewis Wolpert. Ross brings evidence for God from Big Bang cosmology, explaining why scientific advance provides a testable model of biblical creation. Wolpert says that belief in God is a by-product of evolution and nothing more.

  26. The difference is we believe Jesus was raised from the dead and you don’t.

    lol.

    it’s ok. I forgive you. This is the internet, after all.

    You probably don’t know me from, well, adam.

  27. 27
    critical rationalist

    While we will never be able to rule out the existence of non-material being that did not want to be discovered, took no actions or merely sat on the sidelines wishing us on, this will eventually be irrelevant.

    Due to the open-ended stream of knowledge creation, at some point in the future, anyone will be able to design a more harmonious, moral, biosphere. And they will do so using exponentially more powerful computers created from this same open-ended stream of knowledge creation.

    At which time, the “designer” of our biosphere will seem immoral and intellectually uninteresting. The latter will not be so easily brushed off as theists will not longer want to claim the biosphere as the handiwork of their “God” – just as they no longer claim thunder today.

  28. John Lennox, responding to a different “God of the gaps” statement, made the following points:

    The internal combustion engine is arguably more relevant than Henry Ford to the question of how a car works, but not for why it exists in the first place. Confusing mechanism and/or law on the one hand and agency on the other…is a category mistake easily made by ignoring metaphysics.

    ..his concept of God is one that no intelligent monotheist would accept. His “God” is the soft-target “God of the gaps” of the “I can’t understand it, therefore God did it” variety.

    …like Dawkins and Hawking, (he) regards God as an explanation in competition with scientific explanation. That is as wrong-headed as thinking that an explanation of a Ford car in terms of Henry Ford as inventor and designer competes with an explanation in terms of mechanism and law. God is not a “God of the gaps”, he is God of the whole show.

    Indeed, it was belief in an intelligent Creator that convinced the great pioneers, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Clerk Maxwell, Babbage and many others that science could be done. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”

  29. SteveO:

    I see:

    God is not a “God of the gaps”, he is God of the whole show.

    Ironically, it is newton who said much the same in his General Scholium to Principia. That is the whole God of the gaps scheme has been a strawman from the beginning.

    KF

  30. 30
    critical rationalist

    Mung: If Jesus was not raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.

    Wouldn’t that represent the fallacy of undesired consequences, rather than a test?

  31. steveo and kf, here is a John Lennox interview where, at the 28:09 minute mark, he answers the question “Is your God a God of the gaps?”

    Questions and Answers with Professor John Lennox – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tr7dCphnkw

    I thought the entire interview of Lennox was one of John Lennox’s best.

    Quote of note to the overall topic

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    (NASA Astronomer Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, p. 116.)

  32. Wouldn’t that represent the fallacy of undesired consequences, rather than a test?

    No.

  33. Of related interest, here is recent video of Dr. Hugh Ross that has his powerpoint slides visible:

    Evidence of God in Creation (Hugh Ross) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjYSz1OYG8Y

  34. critical? rationalist?

    While we will never be able to rule out the existence of non-material being that did not want to be discovered, took no actions or merely sat on the sidelines wishing us on, this will eventually be irrelevant.

    It’s irrelevant today.

    Due to the open-ended stream of knowledge creation, at some point in the future, anyone will be able to design a more harmonious, moral, biosphere. And they will do so using exponentially more powerful computers created from this same open-ended stream of knowledge creation.

    whooey. Where are they going to get the energy to operate?

  35. 35

    Interesting as this discussion is, it’s worth pointing out that it wouldn’t matter to either theology or to design theory if Carroll were correct. All Carroll is asserting is that a meta-induction over the history of science makes a posteriori arguments for God’s existence increasingly less plausible. That doesn’t matter (too much) for theology, because it doesn’t rule out a priori arguments, and it doesn’t rule out anything about design theory, because design theory (according to design theorists) neither presupposes nor entails theism.

  36. CR:

    Did you read the context of 1 Cor 15:1 – 20, written by Paul of Tarsus 55 AD, before suggesting a fallacy on seeing a snippet?

    Let me clip the last part, just to illustrate a case of correctly logical inference on implications, which are counter-factual and are countered by the testimony and declaration of the known truth — 500 + eyewitnesses including the writer — that upends the lot:

    1 Cor 15:12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.

    20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

    As to the why of his assertion in v 20, cf the citation and discussion of 1 Cor 15:1 – 11, here on in context. This is the official summary of the church’s testimony on the 500 core witnesses, about 20 of whom can be specifically identified. And, it dates to 35 – 38 AD, within a decade of the events of Passion Week, and in the same city; maintained in the teeth of bloody official opposition.

    That, is a proper use of implication logic, and an application of fact known to moral certainty on eyewitness testimony.

    KF

  37. 37
    critical rationalist

    Mung; Here’s a different test: If Jesus was not raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.

    CR: Wouldn’t that represent the fallacy of undesired consequences, rather than a test?

    Mung: No.

    Because?

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/in+vain

    Vain:
    Not yielding the desired outcome; fruitless: a vain attempt.

    in vain
    1. To no avail; without success: Our labor was in vain.

    Can you point out the difference?

    Furthermore, are you suggesting that God couldn’t have chosen to resurrect Jesus at some time in the future, or not even at all, yet still resurrect everyone else?

    It’s as if you think God had to raise Jesus at that specific time, or even at all, before he would be able to raise everyone else, despite God supposedly being all powerful. I’m having difficulty reconciling these to claims.

    This is what I mean by a bad explanation, as God’s supposedly has no limitations, so he could do it regardless. That is possible because the details of how God supposedly resurrects people are unrelated to resurrections, except via the claim that he will resurrect everyone itself. This is in contrast to a long chain of independent, hard to vary explanations.

  38. 38
    critical rationalist

    1 Cor 17: And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

    Do you not consider those undesired consequences? What’s the difference?
    ________

    [At this point, CR shows himself evidently unable to understand an implication argument, of form p => q => r => s. But NOT_p, upending the lot. He imagines a fallacy of undesirable consequences, failing to see that we have here a modus ponens chain suspended from p, where -- on morally certain facts adduced in context, and that in the midst of a contentious debate so if Paul had his facts wrong he would have invited dismissal -- p is falsified so the whole suspended chain falls to the ground as p is snipped. The rhetorical context is to point out a contradiction, claiming to be Christian while clinging to the Greek disdain for the body which leads to denial of the resurrection of the dead. That too is a clue that Paul was arguing for that which he confidently knew to be true as a matter of fact, reported in 1 Cor 15:1 - 11, and he was therefore charging straight up the hill against the overwhelming consensus of the learned and popular thought in Greek culture; which in due course, his work overturned. And, we must recall, in the same context, he alludes to his former state as the hammer of the Sanhedrin, the first arch persecutor who literally made bloody havoc of the church. Now, JLA, do you also see why UD is not a proper forum for theologically tinged debates? While the above is about CR's failure to deal properly with implication arguments, it will doubtless be twisted for years to come into a "proof" that this is merely about creationism in Barbara Forrest's cheap tuxedo. When in fact, manifestly, what is happening is that CR has shown himself unable to recognise and correctly address an argument of form modus ponens, upended by countering the chief premise on a pivotal fact established on 500+ witnesses. KF]

  39. 39
    critical rationalist

    Mung,

    Resources are not scarce. What’s scarce is the knowledge of how to utilize them. Again, unless it’s prohibited by the laws of physics, the only think that would prevent us from using energy from the sun, the massive amounts of hydrogen in intergalactic space, or even an entire uninhabitable solar system is knowing how. For example, have you ever heard of a Dyson sphere?

    Not to mention, we cannot predict the impact new knowledge we will create will have in the future. For example, people in 1920 didn’t consider nuclear power or the internet unlikely. They didn’t conceive of them at all. As such, it’s unclear how they could factor them into how they will effect the future.

    This is why I keep pointing out the genuine creation of knowledge is the key point of conflict between creationism (and it’s variants, such as ID) and Darwinism.
    ________

    [Onlookers, this is where we see insistent repetition of a canard in action. CR has been corrected previously and pointed to resources on which he could have formed a more reasonable view, but he simply insists of further spewing slander-laced talking points. KF]

  40. …have you ever heard of a Dyson sphere?

    Only in science fiction novels. But yes.

  41. CR:

    Do you understand that the declaration — which you have been corrected on before — is a slander, meant to poison the atmosphere:

    creationism (and it’s variants, such as ID)

    I suggest you read the Weak Argument correctives in the resources tab, esp no’s 1 – 5 and onward to no 8.

    That and other reasonably accessible sources will suffice to show that design theory is not a variant of or a disguised hidden agenda form of creationism and/or some alleged theocratic agenda, as such terms are usually used. Never mind the drumbeat repetition of this canard by the irresponsible and outright dishonest all over the internet.

    In this thread, I am insisting on a modicum of basic civility and respect.

    You need to withdraw that intended atmosphere-poisoning invidious association, and never use it again.

    If you insist on using it, I am afraid I will — for cause — have to request you to leave this thread and any further thread of which I am owner.

    In short, such behaviour is dishonest and disrespectful when sustained in the teeth of evident correction.

    KF

  42. CR:

    Can you point out the difference?

    Can you point out the fallacy?

    It’s as if you think God had to raise Jesus at that specific time, or even at all, before he would be able to raise everyone else, despite God supposedly being all powerful.

    There are certain Christians who, even though Jesus claimed he would return within a specific period [I think you need to revisit your understanding of Mt 24 i/l/o Eph 3:14 - 21 and 2 Pet 1 & 3; but this is not a theological forum. KF], are still awaiting his return today, some 2000 years later.

    So I suppose it’s possible there could be a cult today still waiting for his resurrection, even though he said it also would take place within a specific period of time.

    But it would make Paul’s preaching rather pointless. And there’s no reason to think Paul would have been preaching at all, inasmuch as his own conversion was tied to his attempt to stamp out the resurrection cult. He went from denying to proclaiming.

    I don’t know what this has to do with your bizarre view of how it is possible to know something or what qualifies as “true” knowledge.

    This is what I mean by a bad explanation, as God’s supposedly has no limitations, so he could do it regardless.

    It may be a bad explanation but not for the reason you think. You apparently don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Jesus predicted that he would be raised, and that it would be within a given time frame.

    [Mung, yes, in three days, which is what happened the first Easter Morning, or there would have been no church founded on the witness of the core 500 witnesses. KF]

  43. #39

    hmmm,

    What happens when we “create” and “test” “knowledge” and find that our ability to “create” and “test” “knowledge” is inescapably depedent on prior “knowledge” of how to recorded and transfer the information within our bodies?

    - – - – - –

    Hey! I know what we do, we go on full automoton protect mode. If anyone should bring it up, we simply deadpan and repeat:

    .
    Sep 5: because people do not recognize their own conceptions of human knowledge as as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 6: further suggests you do not recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 9: you are unable to recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 9: you cannot recognize your specific conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 11: as if you simply cannot recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 15: you do not recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 18: you are merely offended that your conception of human knowledge is an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 19: you cannot recognize your own conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism

    and

    Sep 20: just because you cannot recognize your own conception of human knowledge as an idea that would be subject to criticism.

    and

    Sep 20: your authoritative, justificationist conception of human knowledge is ideas that is subject to criticism

    etc, etc, etc…

  44. Now CR, it seems you have great hope, contra Godel, in the advance of human knowledge by purely materialistic means (since I take it you don’t believe that man has a transcendent consciousness/mind), your blind faith in this is so much so that, from what I can gather of what you wrote, you think that man will someday create entire universes, and/or computer simulations of universes that will be indistinguishable from real universes. One problem with your vision, besides a stunning lack of humility, for this unlimited capacity of humans to evolve to the point someday to create universes, is that nobody has a clue how to create even a single photon of this universe much less photons we may choose to use in a different universe of our own making,… the other problem is that we do not, ourselves, live in a computer simulation right now.

    Quantum Computing Promises New Insights, Not Just Supermachines – Scott Aaronson – December 2011
    Excerpt: And yet, even though useful quantum computers might still be decades away, many of their payoffs are already arriving. For example, the mere possibility of quantum computers has all but overthrown a conception of the universe that scientists like Stephen Wolfram have championed. That conception holds that, as in the “Matrix” movies, the universe itself is basically a giant computer, twiddling an array of 1’s and 0’s in essentially the same way any desktop PC does.
    Quantum computing has challenged that vision by showing that if “the universe is a computer,” then even at a hard-nosed theoretical level, it’s a vastly more powerful kind of computer than any yet constructed by humankind. Indeed, the only ways to evade that conclusion seem even crazier than quantum computing itself: One would have to overturn quantum mechanics, or else find a fast way to simulate quantum mechanics using today’s computers.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12.....ef=science

    I also liked this insight, from a computer programmer with a PhD in Physics, about a fundamental difference between human consciousness and computer programs:

    The simple fact is this, despite years of experience writing many complex codes, I can not write a computer program that disobeys me. I don’t even know how to do it. I can write computer programs that have bugs and don’t perform what I thought they were going to do; I can write computer programs that make pseudo-random choices. I do not know how to write a program that disobeys. I would contend it can’t be done. But the ability to disobey the Creator is the essence of consciousness. Otherwise it’s just complicated programming with random choices.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-363067

    CR, Your folly reminds me of the arrogance displayed by Barrow and Tippler in ‘The Anthropic Cosmological Principle”:

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    This preceding video, at the 6:49 mark, has a very interesting quote:

    “So what are the theological implications of all this? Well Barrow and Tipler wrote this book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, and they saw the design of the universe. But they’re atheists basically, there’s no God. And they go through some long arguments to describe why humans are the only intelligent life in the universe. That’s what they believe. So they got a problem. If the universe is clearly the product of design, but humans are the only intelligent life in the universe, who creates the universe? So you know what Barrow and Tipler’s solution is? It makes perfect sense. Humans evolve to a point some day where they reach back in time and create the universe for themselves. (Audience laughs) Hey these guys are respected scientists. So what brings them to that conclusion? It is because the evidence for design is so overwhelming that if you don’t have God you have humans creating the universe back in time for themselves.” –
    Michael Strauss PhD. – Particle Physics

    Now CR like you I have great enthusiasm for advancing human knowledge myself, but, not to dampen your unbridled enthusiasm, perhaps it should help you to know something about our current state of knowledge. The foundation of quantum mechanics within science is now so solid that researchers were able to bring forth this following proof from quantum entanglement experiments;

    An experimental test of all theories with predictive power beyond quantum theory – May 2011
    Excerpt: Hence, we can immediately refute any already considered or yet-to-be-proposed alternative model with more predictive power than this. (Quantum Theory)
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1105.0133.pdf

    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 CR 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, finding ‘free will conscious observation’ to be ‘built into’ our best description of foundational reality, quantum mechanics, as a starting assumption, ‘free will conscious observation’ which is indeed the driving aspect of randomness in quantum mechanics, is VERY antithetical to the entire materialistic philosophy. The other major theory that we have today is General relativity, and though no one has yet done an experiment showing that it will not be exceeded in predictive power by another future theory, it none the less has stood up to every test thrown at it (to 15 decimal places of accuracy as of today). And those two theories refuse to be joined together into a ‘theory of everything’. The reason why I bring up the irreconcilability of those two primary theories of man is, contrary to what you would hold as a starting assumption, Jesus Christ offers a very credible, empirically backed, reconciliation of those two primary theories of modern science:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US

    Now CR, reflect on this a bit, why should such a reconciliation by Christ of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics even be on the radar scope of reason??? This should, at the very least, give you a bit of a pause as to this whole resurrection of Jesus thing that you seem so confident did not happen (by the way, as is evidenced in your belief of man creating universe, methinks you, as of right now, have a tendency to severely misplace your confidence) :)

    verse and music:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Evanescence – The Other Side (Lyric Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiIvtRg7-Lc

  45. critical rationalist is a bot?

  46. 46
    critical rationalist

    KF: Do you understand that the declaration — which you have been corrected on before — is a slander, meant to poison the atmosphere:

    Just so I have this straight, you’re insinuating that I’m ignoring *your* comments?

    [a --> CR attempts a turnabout, where the issue is not personal pique, but his willful ignoring of well warranted facts regarding a known canard, the "creationism in a cheap tuxedo" accusation so often resorted to by a certain class of ID objectors. cf correction here in context.]

    Again…

    Specifically, the fundamental flaw in creationism (and its variants) [b --> This is a case of attempted proof by citation of one's earlier assertion of errors that were corrected by pointing to corrective resources, ignored. Drumbeat repetition of falsehood and citing one's earlier errors as thought hey establish facts, do not constitutte warrant.] is the same fundamental flaw in pre-enlightenment, authoritative conceptions of human knowledge [c --> This is an allusion to the ill-informed consensus on intellectual and ethical development in college promoted by William G Perry from 1970 on, that it is intellectual progress to move from an alleged naive authoritarianism marked by black and white dualist thinking to radical relativism, cf correction here on] : its account of how the knowledge in adaptations could be created is either missing, supernatural or illogical.

    [d --> Strawman on a red herring side track. Design, based on intelligence, is how functionally specific complex organisation and associated information are routinely observed to be caused, including in the posts in this thread and the underlying software that makes the computers involved work. This is a case of refusal to accept that there is a broad base of observations of a uniform pattern on which a generalisation can be made inductively. One backed up by the needle in the haystack analysis that shows why it is that chance and necessity without intelligent direction on the gamut of our solar system or observed cosmos, are not credible sources of FSCO/I. But on the pretence that inductive reasoning and in particular inference to best current empirically grounded explanation may be dismissed -- this is the foundation of science we are dealing with here -- CR wishes to suggest that there is no warrant for the sort of conclusions made by design thinkers. In short, his root problem is with logic, and he has for instance shown himself unable to handle the way that we have comet to accept that to moral certainty, electrons are real sufficiently so that hey are the foundation of Electronics, on which PC technology, the technology he is using to post here, is built. In addition, he snidely appeals to anti-supernatural prejudice. He knows or should know that since Plato,t eh true issue has not been appeal to the supernatural but that there is an alternative to chance and mechanical necessity observed, intelligence working by art, which may leave empirically reliable signs. The whole design theory project is an investigation of whether there are such signs, which has been strongly answered on evidence, yes. On that, it is then reasonable to see that things in the natural world that we experience that re replete with such signs, credibly are designed. CR and others do not have empirical counter examples that can stand scrutiny so they now are resorting to convoluted and tendentious philosophical arguments that try to undermine inductive thinking. Thus we see the astonishing spectacle of the self-proclaimed champions of science seeking to undermine the foundations of science. In this case, they do not even notice that Popper's reference to preferring corroborated theories is tantamount to acknowledging that these are best current explanations, i.e. warranted on a provisional basis. Much as Newton said of scientific findings 300+ years ago.]

    In some cases, it’s the very same theory, in that specific types of knowledge, such as cosmology or moral knowledge, was dictated to early humans by supernatural beings.

    [e --> Further appeals to prejudice.]

    In other cases, parochial aspects of society, such as the rule of monarchs in governments or the existence of God, are protected by taboos or taken so uncritically for granted that they are not recognized as ideas. [f --> Yet more appeals to prejudice, driven by uncritical acceptance of a distorted, strawmannish caricature of the intellectual climate of the past few centuries. The clips from Newton above should suffice to show that something is very wrong with this picture.]

    What is ID explanation for how this knowledge is created?

    [g --> Here we see a pretence that design theory has not given an account of the credible cause of FSCO/I where we encounter it. This is a strawman, and a willful distortion maintained in the teeth of repeated correction. This is arguing in bad faith.]

    Does it even explicitly have one at all? And, if only implicitly, what might it be? Care to enlighten us?

    [h --> This is a case of willfully pretending that that which is in front of one's very eyes does not exist. To create this very post CR acted as an intelligent being, a designer who configured matter and energy using technologies to create and send a message that is chock full of FSCO/I. When such a one as CR has to pretend that what he is doing is not a case in point of a massively evident inductive pattern, that self referential inconsistency is proof in and of itself that he is patently wrong to the point of self-referential absurdity.]

    Any theory of an organism’s improvement raises the following question: how is the knowledge of how to make that improvement created?

    [i --> Yes, indeed. So, kindly explain to us the empirically warranted grounds on which FSCO/I has been seen to be created by blind chance and mechanical necessity, without intelligent direction. This very message you yourself typed, CR is evidence that intelligence is a known cause and means by which knowledge and more particularly FSCO/I is created. You even choose to substitute a tendentious term, in order to dodge the patently obvious. You have been long since told that it is highly reasonable for reasons of robust adaptability that once we have a vNSR system in hand, we should have built in adaptability that allows for fitting to niches in a varying environment. Similarly, we know that to one extent or another it is common for functional capacities to be built into software by designers from the outset, AND for such to intervene from time to time to inject new capacities. All of this is familiar form the world around you if you will but simply look and listen with an ope mind.]

    Was it already present in some form at the beginning? A theory that it was represents creationism.

    [j --> Canard, based on a strawman. CR knows that Creationism -- as the very Creationists will themselves confirm -- represents a movement that argues that we were not there from the outset of origins, but the Creator was. So, we ought to take the record presented by God seriously and adapt our scientific explanations to that record. Design theory, as the WAC's point out, does not do this, but instead asks whether inference on sign is reasonable and reasonable in the context of signs that may point to design as cause of FSCO/I. Going beyond that, design theory then analyses the evidence and concludes that FSCO/I is indeed an empirically reliable sign of design. However, from the outset of modern design theory in the very first technical book in the mid 1980's, TMLO, has pointed out that while empirical evidence may warrant inference to design as causal process, it does not on the biological evidence warrant inference to a designer definitively within or beyond the cosmos as the agent of that design process. Design theory on biology is no shortcut around worldview level debates and discussions on comparative difficulties. The evidence for cosmological finetuning (cf here and onward) -- which CR has consistently not taken up and addressed cogently -- makes it a reasonable argument that a cosmos set up to a fine tuned operating point that facilitates C-chemistry aqueous medium cell based life from the roots of the underlying physics, puts design of the overall cosmos on the table, which would point to a designer beyond our cosmos, but that, too does not short circuit the worldview level discussions thast need to be taken up if one is to have a responsibly arrived at view of reality.]

    Did it just happen?

    [k --> More strawmen off a red herring sidetrack, about to be battered with a 2 x 4]

    If so, the theory represents spontaneous generation

    [l --> of course, the gap where there is no root to the Darwinian tree of life, as OOL is in a shambles, is a case of appeal to spontaneous generation of life, without adequate warrant. Notice, onlookers, how often objectors to design theory want to put a red line around discussions of OOL, the better to avoid a case where since self replication on a vNSR is off the table, the favourite out of appealing to natural selection is not there. Not to mention, the vNSR is based on FSCO/I and is a pivotal instance of the reason why the inference to design is reasonable. Ont eh progress of Venter et al we have good reason to suggest that a molecular nanotech lab several generations beyond where we now are, cold invent cell based life such as we see on earth. That is a SUFFICIENT cause of cell based life on the only place where we observe it. Not a necessary and sufficient cause, but it is to be noted.]

    – such an example is found in Lamarckism, which assumed we still see simple creatures (such as mice) today because a continuous stream of simple creatures is being spontaneously generated.

    [m --> Strawman caricature, loaded with invidious suggestions and associations]

    Does ID’s theory *not* imply is was present at the beginning?

    [n --> Design theory as pointed out repeatedly but willfully ignored in haste to make obfuscatory and dismissive talking points infers that per proper empirical investigation, FSCO/I is a good sign of design, and then on seeing it in a context where there is no reasonable alternative explanation, infers that it is the best empirically warranted explanation for the phenomena of the living cell. Which includes digital codes, algorithms, co-ordinated implementing machines and the like. Such IBCE is exactly the method advocated over the past 200 years by the champions of origins sciences. CR et al do not wish to engage this, so they duck it. The objections to ID are selectively hyperskeptical.]

    So, my declaration is meant to poison, but point out the flaw in both creationism and the current crop of ID.

    [o --> Drumbeat repetition of a slander laced strawman in the teeth of adequate and repeated correction does not warrant it.]

    I suggest you read the Weak Argument correctives in the resources tab, esp no’s 1 – 5 and onward to no 8.

    The particular argument I’m does not exist in those resources.

    [p --> False. As in "creationism in a cheap tuxedo" etc etc.]

    In this thread, I am insisting on a modicum of basic civility and respect.

    Given your accusations, are you immune from this?

    [q --> Turnabout, compounding false accusation, intended to create the perception of hypocrisy.]

    You need to withdraw that intended atmosphere-poisoning invidious association, and never use it again.

    So, you will be providing ID’s explanation for how the knowledge of biological improvements is created, so there will be no reason to point it out again?

    [r --> Further pretence that that which has been repeatedly presented does not exist. At this stage, this is willful disregard for the truth with the hope that that which is false or should be known to be false, will be taken as true. There is a sharp, short word for that sort of continuing misrepresentation, that you would do well to ponder CR.]

    If you insist on using it, I am afraid I will — for cause — have to request you to leave this thread and any further thread of which I am owner.

    If I insist on criticizing both creationism and ID, in that both represent bad explanations due to the missing or supernatural explanations for said knowledge, then you’ll ban me from your threads, rather than accept and genuinely respond to that criticism?

    [s --> More continuing misrepresentation.]

    In short, such behaviour is dishonest and disrespectful when sustained in the teeth of evident correction.

    “Corrections” which are based on misrepresentations that I keep correcting and you keep ignoring.

    [t --> Drumbeat repetition of a continuing misrepresentation, maintained in the teeth of abundant evidence and correction to the contrary, and in defiance of duties of care to the truth and to fairness. CR here shows that he is not dealing in good faith and is not adding anything positive to the discussion. That is the context in which as I have already indicated, I am asking him to leave this discussion and not to return to any thread of which I am owner. That can be rescinded if and when he learns better and takes back the sort of willfully continued misrepresentations I have corrected yet again above.KF]

  47. 47
    critical rationalist

    UB: What happens when we “create” and “test” “knowledge” and find that our ability to “create” and “test” “knowledge” is inescapably depedent on prior “knowledge” of how to recorded and transfer the information within our bodies?

    Hey! I know what we do, we go on full automoton protect mode. If anyone should bring it up, we simply deadpan and repeat:

    What happens when I present the following criticisms?

    - Theoires are tested by observations, not derived from them.

    [a --> Theories are not mechanically derived from observation but, per inference to best current explanation, are creatively synthesised to explain observed uniformities and facts in the world. This is a strawman. In addition, theories are subject to test on factual adequacy in light of fresh facts vs predicted ones.]

    - Observations cannot make a theory more probable

    [b --> This is one of CR's drumbeat assertions. There are some sets of observations that can so establish an inferred best explanation that they warrant the conclusion that the underlying explanation is true to moral certainty. As CR has been confronted with in recent days, the inference to the reality of the electron is a case in point. of course there is another side to this, where despite the strength of the evidence that FSCO/I is indeed a good sign of design as cause,t hat is often dismissed on a priori materialism disguised as reasonable scientific methodology, and sustained by false accusations on inference to the supernatural. Where, in absence of empirically warranted evidence to sustain the evo mat account of OOL, it is assumed to have been by spontaneous generation in some pre life environment and also in absence of such empirical warrant on the origin of body plans, evidence of minor adaptations is grossly extrapolated to the point of the fallacy of hasty generalisation to be claimed as evidence of said body plan level macro evolution. For, such macro evo on blind chance and mechanical necessity "must" have happened. Why? because in the end of a priori materialism imposed on origins science, cf the rebuke to this here, in context. I must repeat, contrary to CR's confident manner assertion, observations can make some explanations morally certain, such as the electron.]

    - Induction is missing a key step, which no one has provided guidance for

    [c --> More confident manner assertion. Induction is in fact the major part of real world reasoning, where we argue in light of evidence and on the premise of experiencing a world that exhibits pervasive uniformities that make it predictable [dropped heavy objects near earth fall at 9.8 N/kg] and which ground confident inference from sufficient observations to reliable generalisation. More broadly, induction is that type of reasoning in which the grounding evidence and the dependent reasoning do not DEMONSTRATIVELY PROVE the conclusion, but provide support for it. So, CR is trying to hold induction to the standard of deduction, conveniently ignoring that the very premises used in most deductive arguments are inductively warranted as plausible. As in Socrates is a man — per observation originally and now reliable and consistent reports. Then, Men are mortal — per observations of graveyards etc and also the nature of the human frame that makes it reasonable to accept mortality as a characteristic of biological creatures including humans. So, Socrates is mortal, by logical entailment. Confirmed by historical report and the fact that the man is no longer with us.]

    - We cannot extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework

    [d --> the generally understood explanatory framework for induction by generalisation of observed patterns is that we live in a world in which such patterns are common. So, this objection is put up in the teeth of the abundant reason why induction is routinely done. This is a failure on CR's part of duties of care to be accurate and fair in reasoning.]

    - Your argument ignores other forms of epistemology that do not rely on justiificationism

    [e --> sets up a strawman, and fail=s to recognise that such arguments have been found wanting by comparision with the overwhelming consensus of mankind that reasoning from observed pattern to general conclusion held provisionally is reasonable, and that it is reasonable in general to draw conclusions that are suppor5ted by evidence but not necessarily proved beyond correction by them. We cannot live without acting like this, so we may as well embed it into our life as reasoning creatures. This is also foundational to science.]

    - Knowledge emerges from material arrangements of matter.

    [f --> Foolish assertion delivered with confident manner in order to erect a strawman.]

    Hey! I know what we’ll do, we’ll just keep repeating that everyone knows that we use induction in science and that knowledge is warranted, true justified belief.

    [g --> Closed minded dismissal of that which is well supported, in order to proceed to asserting that which is not.]

    In other words, what else do you expect me to conclude other than you cannot or refuse to recognize your conception of knowledge is an idea that is subject to criticism?

    [h --> On the contrary, we can conclude that, since we have looked at the alternatives and find them wanting, with CR as a good case in point of why, there is good reason to accept the view that knowledge is warranted, credibly true belief.]

    Given that I’ve asked you directly several times to clarify if you think knowledge is justified by authoritative sources, every one of those quotes could have been avoided by simply denying it.

    [i --> This is the William Perry radical relativist agenda again, and it willfully ignores the fact that 99% of real world arguments do rely on authorities starting with the dictionary. The issue is which authorities are credible in general and on specific cases in contention. That, calling forth an audit of the quality of said sources, and then an assessment on the merits of fact, reasoning and assumptions. But that is an old old story, conveniently ignored to pretend that those who CR is dealing with are blind adherents of discredited theological theocratic authorities, i.e the creationists and the like he so despises.. . ]

    So, I’ll ask you yet again…

    are you denying that you hold a pre-enlightenment, authoritative conception of human knowledge?

    [j --> Drumbeat repetition of the already confuted, as though its repetition can manufacture warrant out of thin air.]

    Specifically, the fundamental flaw in creationism (and its variants) is the same fundamental flaw in pre-enlightenment, authoritative conceptions of human knowledge: its account of how the knowledge in adaptations could be created is either missing, supernatural or illogical.

    In some cases, it’s the very same theory, in that specific types of knowledge, such as cosmology or moral knowledge, was dictated to early humans by supernatural beings. In other cases, parochial aspects of society, such as the rule of monarchs in governments or the existence of God, are protected by taboos or taken so uncritically for granted that they are not recognized as ideas.

    While empiricism is an improvement it still depends on inductivism, so it still shares the same fundamental flaw.

    Is there something in the above you disagree with? Better yet, wouldn’t such a conception explain objections to Darwinism? And not just any objections, but specific objections that we see here and elsewhere?

    If someone thought the knowledge of how to build the biosphere could only come from some ultimate authoritative source, would it come as a surprise they would conclud the biosphere cannot be explained without a designer? And if Darwinism were true would, would they not then conclude there could be no knowledge? Everything would simply be meaningless and random and astronomically unlikely, which is a commonly argued strawman of evolutionary theory. Finally, since everything is not random and meaningless, would they not conclude Darwinism must be false?

    I don’t know about you, but this sounds very familiar.

    [k --> Empty repetition of the false does not make it true, cf the markup already done this morning, and CR evidently does not recognise that he is wasting people's time to have to repeatedly correct him. That, too, is rude and a distraction from serious matters. Notice for instance how this thread is way off track from the topic in the OP.]

    Is there something in the above you disagree with? If so, please point out where and exactly how your view differs, in detail.

    [l --> Long since done over and over but willfully and rudely ignored.]

    You can put this to bed right hear and now. Is your conception of human knowledge an idea that is subject to criticism? Yes or No?

    [m --> CR here sets up a strawman, and seems to imagine that he is dealing with illiterates who do not know about the debates on knowledge. The very fact that I have used warrant rather than justification as the pivotal term should tell him that I am reflecting for just one instance the impact of the Gettier counter examples. (Cf here for a basic illustration.) His appeals to Popper have been addressed also, just ignored. I simply note that Popper's corroboration is an instance of unacknowledged admission of the validity of inference to best current empirically grounded explanation in science.]

    I won’t be holding my breath.

    [n --> Onlookers, this is yet another example of recycled continued misrepresentations and already long since cogently answered talking points. This is a way of evading and side tracking from the substantial issue at stake and a means of reinforcing a position that patently cannot stand on its merits, starting with the hole in the evolutionary materialist narrative of origins that is presented by the origin of life challenge, cf here on. KF]

  48. CR, to be completely frank, I don’t know if I have ever talked to someone as profoundly deluded as you.

    You think you don’t take positions, but you do. You think you don’t justify your beliefs, but you do. And the most amazing part is that you seem utterly adamant about the entire preposterous lot. You hail yourself as an “exponent of critical rationalism” yet you’ve failed to demonstrate either of those words. Your pathology was exposed when you first came here to explain your schtick. You kept building and building on this immense story of all the things you don’t do, only to finish by giving yourself a pass to do them all anyway. I am lucky enough to know people who have truly uncanny inner lives, who are very much what you are attempting to be. You should find one yourself and study them closely over a number of years. You will see they demonstrate none of the neediness you have displayed here. You simply do not have the skillset. Perhaps you will someday, but you will not get there by the disconnectedness you’ve shown here.

    In any case, when asked to support your claims, your answer is to simply repeat them. Your position is lost by the act of defending it.

  49. CR:

    You are willfully misrepresenting the situation. You have been given more than enough access to information to know that design theory is not a variant of creationism, and that this canard is designed to poison the atmosphere in which serious discussion must happen.

    You have been given enough to know better.

    You are not discussing in good faith and in the teeth of adequate correction, insist on slander. You also further insist on false accusations, that are tantamount to calling me a liar.

    That is uncivil, rude and disrespectful, not merely an act of ignorance.

    Where there is ignorance involved, it is patently willful. (Onlookers may consult the Weak Argument Correctives and Definition of ID in the resources tab, top of this and every UD page to ascertain what a more reasonable view would be. Similarly, in contrast to the slander-laced hatchet job at Wikipedia [which is itself utterly if inadvertently revealing of the actual balance on the merits once you know that . . . ], the New World Encyclopedia, here, has a good survey of what design theory is, and what motivates it. You may also wish to peruse my own survey starting here on, which will both suffice to reveal the fundamentally scientific character of the issues pivotal to design theory and its approach; contrary to the false accusations that are commonly encountered that go to the character of those who insist on such. I am not acting out of mere pique, but on the premise that willfully slanderous false accusations and arrogance connected to such are so corrosive to discussion on a subject that suffers from polarisation and distortion driven by willful slander that I must nip it in the bud.)

    KINDLY LEAVE THIS THREAD, AND DO NOT RETURN TO ANY THREAD I OWN.

    GEM of TKI, Thread Owner

    PS: I will pause and deal with the slamming the door on the way out just above, but I must deal with first things first.

  50. “As we learn more about the universe, there’s less and less need to look outside it for help”

    Says the guy invoking a multiverse! Doublethink much?

  51. F/N: I trust that the above markup will suffice to help CR take a pause and rethink what he has been doing. (I have no intention to have to go over this again; having been forced to spend considerable time this morning on refuting in one collected place what I and others have had to refute several times already in several threads. I did so to explain my disciplinary action in respect of CR, but of course know that the action will be twisted by the usual fever swamp denizens. Let the above stand as their refutation and exposure as irresponsible and willfully in error and slander.) If CR is unwilling to make amends for his errors and slanderous misrepresentations, sadly, he is not a positive contribution to the process of this thread. KF

  52. 52
    critical rationalist

    Mung; Here’s a different test: If Jesus was not raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.

    CR: Wouldn’t that represent the fallacy of undesired consequences, rather than a test?

    Mung: No.

    CR: Because?

    Vain:
    Not yielding the desired outcome; fruitless: a vain attempt.

    in vain
    1. To no avail; without success: Our labor was in vain.

    CR: Can you point out the difference?

    Mung: Can you point out the fallacy?

    Fallacy Files: Appeal to Consequences

    (Belief in) p leads to good consequences.
    (Where the good consequences are irrelevant to the truth of p.)
    Therefore, p is true.

    (Belief in) p leads to bad consequences.
    (Where the bad consequences are irrelevant to the falsity of p.)
    Therefore, p is false.

    “If Jesus was not raised from the dead then our faith is in vain.” is a form of the latter. The proposition that Jesus was not being raised from the dead leads to ones faith in themselves being resurrected being in vain, which is a bad consequence. But that’s irrelevant to the truth or falseness of whether Jesus was actually resurrected.

    CR: Furthermore, are you suggesting that God couldn’t have chosen to resurrect Jesus at some time in the future, or not even at all, yet still resurrect everyone else?

    It’s as if you think God had to raise Jesus at that specific time, or even at all, before he would be able to raise everyone else, despite God supposedly being all powerful. I’m having difficulty reconciling these to claims.

    Mung: I suppose it’s possible there could be a cult today still waiting for his resurrection, even though he said it also would take place within a specific period of time.

    You’re not addressing the substance of my comment.

    Again, it’s unclear what Jesus being resurrected at a specific time, or even being resurrected at all, has to do with whether God could or will resurrect everyone else.

    But it would make Paul’s preaching rather pointless. And there’s no reason to think Paul would have been preaching at all, inasmuch as his own conversion was tied to his attempt to stamp out the resurrection cult. He went from denying to proclaiming.

    Not the point I’m making.

    To use an analogy, It’s not necessary for me to build *you* an iPhone app at some particular place and time before it’s possible for me to make an iPhone app for all of my clients. Nor does my not building you an iPhone app mean I do not intend to build one for all of my clients. My ability or intention to do so does not hinge on whether I build one for you.

    Now, perhaps you mean, If Jesus was not raised from the dead, which conflicts with some supposed promise that he would, then our faith is in vain?

    But someone already has found a way to interpret the bible in a way that “explains” how some promise wasn’t actually broken, despite significant scholarly acknowledging that Jesus’s prediction of when he would return was wrong.

    _________

    [CR: You have substantiated further the reason why I am calling an end to the pattern of behaviour you have been carrying on with. As just one example, notice how you have failed to observe that in fact there is a chain of implications that are pulled out of a first counter-factual premise, then the whole chain is cut by exposing the falsity of the root premise. You are yet again being impervious to substantial correction and insist on points that are laced with contempt and strawman caricatures. Such being disruptive and distractive, I have asked you to leave this thread. Kindly do so now. Good day. KF]

  53. RE: critical rationalist and “knowledge”

    Likewise in this thread I find no mention of either “explanatory knowledge” or “non-explanatory knowledge” nor any attempt to disambiguate when the more general term “knowledge” is used.

    I’ll respect KF’s wishes that critical rationalist depart from this thread. Perhaps we can take up the discussion elsewhere.

  54. 54
    critical rationalist

    Warning ignored, action taken for cause. KF

  55. Modern science (the fine-tuning of the laws of physics and the fundamentally information-based nature of living systems) has rendered belief in God superbly rational, and an atheistic/materialistic worldview phenomenally irrational.

    This is not hard to figure out, unless one has a pathological predisposition to avoid transparent truth, even when it smacks him over the head with a sledgehammer.

    Carroll has it precisely backwards.

  56. 56

    I can understand, and accept, that a metaphysics of infinite universes is not supported by our best empirical theories. And I can understand, and accept, that a metaphysics of infinite universes is a very old rejoinder to theism. (It really hasn’t changed much since Democritus thought it up in the early 300s or so BC.)

    What I don’t understand, however, is why a metaphysics of infinite universes is supposed to be less reasonable than a metaphysics of an eternal & personal Creator. Rather, it strikes me that both views are equally non-scientific (in the strict sense) and equally rational — or not — depending on whether one restricts the use of ‘rationality’ to empirical knowledge. (Which I, for one, would reject.)

    Any articles or books folks here would recommend for an argument as to why an eternal & personal Creator is a more rational view than a metaphysics of infinitely many universes?

  57. KN @56:

    Any articles or books folks here would recommend for an argument as to why an eternal & personal Creator is a more rational view than a metaphysics of infinitely many universes?

    Good question. I’ll see if I can come up with some.

    In the meantime, what about Aquinas’ Five Ways?

    The Existence of God can be proved in five ways

  58. Even given an infinite number of universes in an infinite number of configurations we would still lack a basis for rationality in the first place. God explains the very existence of rationality.

  59. 59

    Mung,

    I find Aquinas’ Five Ways problematic, partly because of the objections raised by Hume and Russell, and partly because I just can’t think my way into his conceptual framework with regards to causation and possibility. I’m a child of modernity, (un)fortunately.

    I will say this much for theism: it solves the problem of origins of rationality and the problem of the origins of the cosmos at the same time. Indeed, I think that’s a major reason why theistic metaphysics remains attractive — because it explains the rational intelligibility of the universe, which is to say, it answers the question (to use Kant’s vocabulary) “how is synthetic a priori knowledge possible?”

    So, where does that leave naturalism? The main lesson I think naturalists should draw from the theistic critique of naturalism is that naturalists should not be “materialists”, in the Democritean/Epicurean/Hobbesian sense. Because, truth be told, I’m a metaphysical naturalist, and I find the theistic critique of “materialism” (from Plato through Leibniz, just to stick with the pre-Kantian period) thoroughly devastating.

    And, on a side-note, I don’t share the views of the so-called “New Atheists” because they follow Jacques Monod’s “Epicurean” Darwinism from his Chance and Necessity. Monod “epicureanizes” biology, from his point of view as a molecular biologist. What gets lost as a result is the reality of the organism as a whole — teleological realism — which has been rightly emphasized by philosophers such as Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, and Hans Jonas.

    Personally, I find the problem of the origins of rationality much more serious than the other problems (e.g. the origins of the universe, the origins of life, the origins of sentience). Lately I’ve taken a serious interest in the work of two twentieth-century philosophers, Wilfrid Sellars and Robert Brandom, in the hope that they might shed some light on the problem.

  60. Kantian Naturalist @56,

    I submit that a transcendent God as the first cause is more reasonable than an appeal to multiple, ever-changing universes composed of matter. The latter would be no less in need of being brought into existence than a single universe. Only a self-existent, unchanging, personal, immaterial being who chooses to create can serve as the first cause. Physical laws or temporal matter cannot play that role.

    Russell’s surprisingly naive question about “who made God” is misguided. By logical necessity, the first cause, which is self-existent and eternal, cannot also be a non-eternal, created effect. For a good account of the Humean/Kantian error, may I suggest “Little Errors in the Beginning,” by Mortimer J. Adler. It can be found on the internet.

  61. KN,

    While the following may not address your initial question, you may however find it interesting:

    Real Essentialism

    Also:

    The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science

    I don’t know what you think about the nature and role of information, but I’d say that if it’s as much a real aspect of our world as matter and energy, I don’t know how a infinite universes explains information. otoh, I think the existence of a creator would.

    For example, regardless of the supposed self-contained ability of universes to be configured differently, why should any particular configuration actually form anything at all?

    cheers

  62. KN: here and onward may help. KF

  63. In addition to rationality and information, another aspect of our own world that I wonder whether “infinite universes” can explain is causation.

    I find Aquinas’ Five Ways problematic, partly because of the objections raised by Hume and Russell, and partly because I just can’t think my way into his conceptual framework with regards to causation and possibility.

    I certainly understand that! How to think like a Scholastic?

    http://www.philosophybasics.co.....icism.html

  64. 64

    Thanks for the reading suggestions!

    I do think that if “information” is a fundamental property of the cosmos — as seems plausible, taken in a certain light — then it certainly strengthens theism qua inference to the best explanation. I don’t rightly know what the naturalistic alternative would look like. Clearly there is a tendency towards increased complexity over the course of cosmic history. Perhaps the naturalist would say that there are physical laws we’re not yet aware of. I believe Stuart Kauffmann has said something along these lines.

    KN

  65. Kantian Naturalist (59):

    Some interesting observations on the pre-Socratics, Monod, the New Atheists, Plato, etc. I think that you and I could do business. I’m so impressed, I’ll even forgive you for being a Kantian.

    On God vs. the multiverse, I’d argue that God is at least as parsimonious an explanation, and more rationally satisfying, especially regarding your question of the origin of rationality. (I’m speaking of “God” here as the philosopher would, and not with reference to any particular religious tradition.) And, while I’m not up on the origin of the multiverse idea within recent physics — it may have an intrinsic scientific justification that I don’t understand — there’s no doubt in my mind that the reason the multiverse idea is so popular within the blogosphere and in the world of pop science generally is that it increases the probablistic resources of reality infinitely, so that no matter how unlikely an outcome is (origin of life, man from unguided evolution), it can always be asserted that the outcome was the product of chance rather than design. Without the multiverse, it looks as if the molecules-to-man narrative, the substitute creation theology of Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould and Star Trek etc., cannot stand before what we are learning of fine-tuning, of the intricate systems of molecular biology, etc. I’m convinced that 95% of the people on this planet who accept the multiverse accept it for extrinsic reasons — it gets rid of the need for that existentially inconvenient fellow, God — rather than on the strength of the intrinsic reasons for it. (In fact, 99% of the people now living couldn’t even begin to do the math and physics necessary to understanding the intrinsic reasons. Most people simply take out of modern science whatever metaphysical or theological conclusions they want to take out of it, without any regard for the actual science involved.)

  66. Kantian Naturalist, I agree with others here. You are an interesting voice.

  67. Folks

    I am always concerned when infinities are being tossed around cavalierly. Quasi-infinity (large, indefinite no, maybe; actual infinity of discrete objects, questionable.)

    To give an idea, consider how the set of natural numbers is shown transfinite, by 1:1 correspondence of a known proper subset with the set N:

    1, 2, 3, 4 . . .

    Do for each n, 2*n:

    2, 4, 6, 8 . . .

    Now, do 2*n -1:

    1, 3, 5, 7 . . .

    That is, we can match the evens and the odds with the whole, there must be in inexhaustible cardinality, known as aleph-null.

    Now, consider a plane mirror. Behind it, it forms a virtual half-universe of reflected images, that can be located. (The classic pins and rays experiment shows this. Similarly two parallel mirrors mutually reflect a series of receding images.)

    Convert this to an operation of mathematical reflection with a plane, say Y-Z, that reverses the x-values to -x.

    Impose the plane at an arbitrary point in the cosmos.

    This puts a virtual reflection “behind.” Now, we have left and right halves and the whole. Imagine that galaxies or sub cosmi are numbered. That is the whole.

    Now those in the right half are matched to those in the left half by a nearest-to-virtual image operator. Are you prepared to argue that the cardinality of those in one half matches that in the second half and that in the whole as well? On what observational grounds?

    Do you see the implied problems with thinking of as a scientific claim, that there is an infinity of galaxies, stars or sub cosmi?

    Quasi-infinity is a better concept.

    Going on, what is the observational evidence of a multiverse of sub cosmi, of whatever scale?

    NIL

    Why then are so many speaking of it as though it were a fact of life?

    This is metaphysical speculation, whether or not presented with a sophisticated mathematical apparatus. And, whether or not done while wearing lab coats. (Great for protecting clothes from the proverbial chalk dust generated by doing theoretical speculations on the chalk-board.)

    So, let us revert to the actual subject: philosophy.

    So, we are looking at no holds barred comparative difficulties, and cannot arbitrarily cripple or dismiss any serious claim or sketch in arbitrary datum lines fortified with rhetorical barbed wire, machine guns and QF field guns with BL heavies backing up.

    God sits at the table by right, not by sufferance.

    And the evidence of life-transforming encounter with the living God also is at the table, with millions of cases from all across the world for thousands of years. We even have the 500 eyewitnesses to the risen Jesus the Christ of Nazareth sitting to the table. These have somewhat to say — if they (including Pascal and his night of fire, Nov 23, 1654) are all delusional, on what grounds can you trust the mind in claimed knowledge of a real world and in logical analysis?

    Indeed, I must allow Craig to speak, from a recent exchange with Ludemann (and with an onward input from Bradley), regarding one of Kant’s apparent little errors in the beginning:

    insofar as these . . . assumptions include Kant’s strictures on the scope of scientific knowledge, they are deeply, fatally flawed. For Kant must at least be claiming to have knowledge of the way some things (e.g., the mind and its structures and operations) exist in themselves and not merely as they appear; he confidently affirms that the idea of God, for instance, has the property of unknowability. [10] So the theory relies on knowledge that the theory, if it was true, would not — could not — allow. [ Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment, ed. Paul Copan (Downer's Grove, IL: IVP, 2000), p. 13. NB: Ref. [10] is to Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief, pp. 3 – 30, and is shortly followed by a reference to F. H. Bradley’s gentle but stinging opening salvo in his Appearance and Reality, 2nd Edn.: that “The man who is ready to prove that metaphysical knowledge is impossible has . . . himself . . . perhaps unknowingly, entered the arena [of metaphysics] . . . . To say that reality is such that our knowledge cannot reach it, is to claim to know reality.” (Clarendon Press, 1930), p.1]

    So, maybe there is a different balance at the table of comparative difficulties than is imagined.

    KF

  68. Kantian Naturalist:

    Clearly there is a tendency towards increased complexity over the course of cosmic history. Perhaps the naturalist would say that there are physical laws we’re not yet aware of. I believe Stuart Kauffmann has said something along these lines.

    Kauffmann’s an interesting sort. He denies a personal Creator God. But he also rejects reductionism and the idea that everything can be reduced to physical laws. So I’m not sure he feels he needs to rely on many worlds.

    I’ll have to see what I can find of what he has to say on the origin of the cosmos.

  69. 70

    Timaeus and Upright Biped: thank you!

    I myself don’t quite know what to make of the multiverse hypothesis. But I do believe that “multiverse vs. Creator” is not about “science vs. religion”, but just a debate between rival metaphysical systems. The relation between metaphysics and science is quite complicated, and so too is the relation between metaphysics and religion. I do think that if more explicit attention was given to the category of “metaphysics”, a lot of these “science-and-religion” issues would be clarified.

    I don’t recall what Kauffmann says about the origins of the universe — I’m not even sure he says anything at all! — but yes, he’s not a reductionist, which is one of the reasons why I like his work. More specifically, he claims that biology is not reducible to physics, and that seems basically right to me. (My commitment to teleological realism has a lot to do with that.) At some point I’m going to have to sit down with the literature on emergence, just to figure out my own views on the subject.

    KN

  70. Kantian:

    No comments on Kaufmann, whom I’ve not read.

    Regarding your first point, while I think that “multiverse versus Creator” *could* be “just a debate between rival metaphysical systems,” I think that, given the human factor, i.e., given that most people who discuss these issues are not “pure philosophers” who just want to know the truth for the sake of knowing the truth, but are human beings with vested interests in certain things being true, I think that “multiverse versus Creator” is rapidly becoming the most recent version of “science versus religion.” (I add immediately that I reject the whole notion of “science versus religion,” as if the two are intrinsically in conflict, but in the minds of some, they are.)

    In the typical “science versus religion” scenario, according to “science” (more accurately, an ideological use of science, but of course those claiming the authority of “science” never put it that way), everything takes its origin from blind natural laws and sheer chance, and according to “religion” everything takes its origin from the intelligent design of the Creator. Now, let’s ask, why is the multiverse so popular *now*, among not merely a few physicists who have calculated that it logically follows from what we know of astrophysics, but among legions of popular science writers, journalists, bloggers, anti-religious polemicists, members of Skeptical societies and so on?

    Here is the reason. Until very recently, it was thought that blind natural causes could provide a substitute creation story, with only *one* universe. After all, there were, as Carl Sagan said, “billions and billions” of stars, and even of galaxies. But now, the more we learn about biochemistry — the complex conditions needed to set up even the simplest of working cells — and about the fine-tuning of the cosmos — the odds of things forming by chance are looking less and less every day. Why? Because the universe, though very large, is still, according to the standard model of cosmology, *finite*. There are only so many galaxies, and only so many stars, and only so many planets, and only so many planets of approximate earthlike qualities. And even given the right kind of planet, the chances of life forming by chance seem extremely low; the origin-of-life scientists are pulling out their hair in frustration. Then there are the difficulties in getting Darwinian processes to explain all the variety of life, given the vastly greater number of evolutionary dead ends than useful pathways, and the limited time (even 4 billion years is starting to look too short now). So if there is only *one* universe, the standard substitute creation story, the one preached by Asimov and Sagan and Gould and Star Trek and so on, becomes less and less the rational option. So atheists and materialists are casting about for a means of holding onto their anti-Genesis version of Genesis.

    So what drops into their lap? The multiverse. There are many universes, not just one. There may be a thousand. There may be a million. There may be “billions and billions.” In principle, there may be an infinite number. This means that, no matter how low the odds are against man, or even life, coming into being in *one* universe, the odds are high that in *one* universe out of “billions and billions” (possibly infinitely many), life and even man will evolve. And, while to someone *within* that universe, who thinks there is only one universe, such an evolution will seem vastly improbable, to those who realize there are many universes, it is not improbable at all, but almost dead certain, that such a thing will happen in some universe.

    So naturally, the atheists will grab onto it. And if they are famous and have a Ph.D. in Physics, they can lend the authority of their degree to the speculation, and 99% of the human race doesn’t know enough math and physics to argue with them. And if they don’t have a Ph.D. in physics, they can just point to the guy who does, and say: “He teaches at an Ivy League school, so he’s smart, and he’s right.”

    In other words, the motivation for accepting the multiverse is deeply tainted, both inside and outside the scientific community. I’m not saying the people who came up with it were necessarily motivated by atheism, because I don’t know that. But it certainly is what an atheist needs today, just as Darwinism was what an atheist needed in 1859 (as Dawkins pointed out).

    Now, I know, as a philosopher, that bad motivations for accepting a theory don’t make a theory wrong. The multiverse might still be true, even though most of its adherents hold to it far more because they hate religion and hate the idea of God than for any scientific reason. But the fact that the extrinsic motivation is obviously so high, coupled with the fact that there is as yet no empirical evidence for the existence of other universes, and the fact that there may never be such evidence — meaning that belief in the multiverse may ultimately rest entirely on trust in the theoretical physicists’ equations (and the premises on which those equations rest, in a field, cosmology, that changes almost every couple of years) — should make all sober, cautious philosophers highly guarded in thinking about the multiverse. It is a wish-fulfillment for those who do not want to believe in teleology of any kind. And most philosophers lack the training in mathematics and physics to even being to assess the working assumptions that the physicist champions of the multiverse are making. I can talk to a Kantian philosopher and soon discern the assumptions he is making. But if I read a book of theoretical physics I’m lost after the first paragraph; I cannot bring my philosophical skills to bear to assess the premises of the physicist — unless he is gracious enough to give me a careful layman’s summary, a candid one in which he admits exactly what is not really known, but only assumed, by his professional colleagues. And most theoretical physicists aren’t willing to do that. Most of them would rather “talk shop” and leave the lay translation to journalists.

    But 90% of the journalists living today are ideologues and propagandists rather than truth-tellers — and this is *especially* true of the famous journalists who work for the big newspapers, magazines, broadcasters, etc. — and since almost the same percentage of them are committed to a left-liberal, secularist, humanistic, atheistic view of life, it is very hard to get a balanced presentation of the physicists’ assumptions.

    So before I will seriously consider the multiverse, I want to see it written about by (1) a physicist who actually currently works in the field of cosmology, not a journalist; and (2) a physicist who is literate enough to write in the English language rather than jargon and equations; and (3) a physicist who is not already committed for personal reasons against teleology in nature, God, and religion. Condition (3) rules out Sean Carroll, from everything I’ve read of his writing. (His childish temper tantrum over the appearance of Mike Behe on Bloggingheads gives away his prejudices.) It also rules out the obviously prejudiced Stephen Hawking. Condition (2) rules out most Ph.D.s in theoretical physics, who are geeky poor communicators, like the guys on *The Big Bang Theory*. So where is the literate, prose-gifted, theologically neutral (or, if not neutral, at least scholarly and fair) physicist, who will tell us the real story about the evidence for the multiverse, the assumptions made by the physicists who support it, etc.? Who realizes that the foundations of physics, like those of everything else, are subject to metaphysical analysis and criticism? I’ve not yet encountered such a person.

    I would trust a working physicist who was known to be quite willing to tread on toes and be unpopular among his physics colleagues for breaking ranks on various issues, especially if, even if he was not a religious believer, he regularly read, with sympathy and interest, works by religious authors or about different religious traditions of the world, and did not hold to crude reductionism. And if in addition, he showed independence of popular thinking — if, for example, he thought that AGW was a pile of baloney, I would immediately warm to him, because it would mean he was not a tool of the journalistic and political left. And if he questioned neo-Darwinian theory as shoddy science, I would warm to him even more. Such a person, I would think, would have no motive for misleading me about the multiverse. But is there such a person?

  71. 73

    Timaeus,

    I don’t know if there is a such a physicist, though I share your skepticism. What would be needed here, I think, is someone who had enough respect for theology that she or he would be willing to admit that the theistic solution is intellectually attractive — so much so that the multiverse hypothesis has to be at least equally plausible. I know some philosophy, but I don’t have the background in physics or mathematics to make heads or tails of it myself.

    One point that might be worth making, though, is that the question about the origins of the universe is quite separate from the probability of life within our universe. I mean, sure, the laws of physics do seem to be “fine-tuned” for life. And if that’s right, then given that the laws of physics are the same throughout the universe, it could be — for all we know (and quite likely, for all that we’ll ever know) — that life in some form or other is rampant throughout the cosmos.

    But regardless of whether life is common or rare in the universe, the question remains as to why those laws are the way they are, and the debate about whether those laws are best explained by a Creator or by infinite universes will continue so long as “why are the laws of physics the way they are?” is thought to be a question worth asking.

    On the general “science and religion” issue, I tend towards Gould’s NOMA position, so I’m curious as to what people here think of that position. (I certainly don’t think that science will put religion out of a job, or that it would be a good thing for civilization if it did!)

    KN

  72. Mung:

    There are certain Christians who, even though Jesus claimed he would return within a specific period, are still awaiting his return today, some 2000 years later.

    kf:

    I think you need to revisit your understanding of Mt 24 i/l/o Eph 3:14 – 21 and 2 Pet 1 & 3; but this is not a theological forum.

    What does this this have to do with theology?

    What Jesus said in Matt 24 is pretty plain. However, my position is not limited by the statements Jesus made in Matt 24. Please don’t attempt to dispute what I say unless you are willing to debate it.

    The view I am putting forth has a long and accepted history in the church. Please search on “The Proof of the Gospel” Eusebius, Ferrar.

    The view that Matt 24 refers to some yet future coming of Jesus is relatively new.

    There are many other New Testament texts which demonstrate an expected imminent return of Jesus.

    Hebrews:

    For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay…”

    James:

    …he Lord’s coming is near.

    Peter:

    The end of all things is near.

    and many other texts.

    You’d like to separate Jesus’ prophecy of his resurrection from his prophecy of his coming, but how can you in good conscience do so?

    Matt 16

    21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

    Jesus:

    27 For the Son of Man is going to [Greek: ABOUT TO] come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

    28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

    ___________

    Mung, you have given your view, which I will let stand. I point to this [and onward to Grudem's Systematic Theology], to give an introductory summary of a different one; where as I already said, I — this is my own view — think your views, with all due respect that they are held in more or less that form by relevant scholars, need to address the specific texts given (including Peter’s caution in 2 Peter 3 on how the text of Scripture is sometimes not as easily understood as we may assume). And no, we should not take this thread off track with an exchange on the reasonable views on eschatology. KF

  73. kf. God bless you my friend!

  74. The universe is about 13.7 billion years old, earth is about 4.5 billion years old, in all these billions of years why are we “humans on earth” the only life (civilizations) found in the universe. No ET has ever been detected or made known to us in all these billions of years? by now advanced beings could have developed faster than light travel speed, If we are not a special creation then according to evolution and random process then other more advanced civilizations would of made themselves known to us. Occam’s razor has always been used against God and the Bible, but the simplest explanation is that God indeed did create the universe, earth and humanity just as he has stated in Genesis, Psalms, Colossians and Revelation. There is no ET because man was CREATED, now evidence tells us that this is right and is simplest explanation. Evolution proponents cannot have it both ways, acting as if the Bible is a magic show. There has never been found a single shred of evidence anywhere in support of any other civilization(s)found anywhere in the universe, and we (many) are looking too! Now they dream up a multiverse(s), because this one seems too designed, too fine tuned and ordered, but they fail to realize that the same transcendent and sovereign creator can easily do this as well.

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