Home » theistic evolution » Marvin Olasky on theistic atheism – oops, I meant theistic evolution

Marvin Olasky on theistic atheism – oops, I meant theistic evolution

Journalism dean Marvin Olasky notes,

Today’s three great cultural flashpoints are abortion, same-sex marriage, and evolution. We can hedge on them and justify our hedging: Playing it cool here will help me gain for Christ people who would otherwise walk away.

I’m not knocking such considerations. Nor am I assuming that anyone who tries to meld eternal truth and contemporary trends lacks courage: Some do so on evangelistic principle, others because they believe what they’re saying is true. But attempts to unify antitheses generally defy logic.

Over the past 15 years I’ve tried to explain some of the problems of Darwinism. Last year I raised questions about the “theistic evolution” that Francis Collins espouses, but didn’t offer answers—and several WORLD readers have pressed me for more (see “Theistic evolutionist,” July 10, 2009).

Darn. He’s on to the story of the century, and I thought I had it all to myself. He continues,

To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”

Right, exactly, that is the project of “theistic” evolution, so far as I can see. Helping theists get used to a world run by atheists and their values, while still hollering fer Jesus irrelevantly somewhere.

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387 Responses to Marvin Olasky on theistic atheism – oops, I meant theistic evolution

  1. 1
    AnaxagorasRules

    To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”

    And how does that work against the argument that God wrote the equation and that the ’0′ is superfluous?

  2. And where did God ever say that he wanted his work to come out to zero?

    Where has any serious theist believed this?

    Does it not confute all theistic traditions?

    Authors sign their work. I know, because I have done it. Having worked in publishing, I have had to sign off on many works I did not write, but for which I must assume responsibility.

  3. —”And how does that work against the argument that God wrote the equation and that the ‘0? is superfluous?”

    I think “0″ means “no help needed,” whereas “God” means “help needed.” So, when the TE speaks to atheists, he asserts 0 (no help needed), yet when he speaks to Christians, he asserts God (help needed). When confronted with the inconsistency, he asserts 0 = God, meaning that help is needed, except that it isn’t. Welcome to the wacky world of modern theistic evolution.

  4. I like how Dr. Dembski’s equation of God and zero:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 -
    William Dembski
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.” http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    I don’t know how that would be properly written out, but none-the-less I hold the equation to be true.

  5. Admittedly I am not vested in TE, but how might TE folks push back?

    Is it not possible that God caused Darwinian or punctuated evolution? (Never mind the Bible and other evidence for the moment.)

    Yes, my fear has long been that an unnecessary God tends to get marginalized by the devoutly secular and by tepid theists. But is God’s marginalization from a TE perspective necessary?

    Those on a slippery slope may never reach bottom.

  6. First, I find O’Leary revealing his true motivations by linking to this post quite refreshing.

    Olasky writes:

    To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”

    Isn’t this already the case given that unbelievers are are, well, unbelievers?

    As such, it seems that Olasky is complaining that evolution takes away one of the ‘nuclear’ card theists commonly play, such as if God doesn’t exist than all things are permissible, or human beings only have value if God designed them in final form, etc. These sorts of arguments are not only non-sequiturs but have sown seeds which, as Olasky is now realizing, have grown into significant liabilities – not only to future evangelism but even the the immediate foundation of many existing believers.

    OK. It seems to me that since the Bible emphasizes God’s purposefulness and macro-evolutionary theory emphasizes randomness, the two are contradictory. Theistic evolutionists stretch the laws of logic: How can Creation be a sovereignly guided sequence and at the same time a sequence of chance, with random mutations and survival of the fittest?

    Here, Olasky reveals either a gross misunderstanding or presents a straw man of evolution. The resulting features that appear are NOT random. Nor are mutations the primary emphasis of the theory. This is non-controversial, yet we see it time and time again from many theists.

    Olasky also seems to suggest people adopt Christianity because it’s a purely rational endeavor completely void of contradictions. The theory of Evolution would, for the first time in history, introduce a problem that is somehow irreconcilable and would prevent it’s adoption. However, Olasky seems to have forgotten a number of significant historical problems that were explained away by centuries of theology. Examples? The problem of evil, the Euthyphro Dilemma, etc.

    Unless we see this chapter as metaphor rather than history, the biblical account is incompatible with the idea that Adam and Eve each had two parents plus some beneficial mutations.

    Theistic evolutionists logically have to discount other parts of the Bible as well. It’s not just that when we de-historicize parts it’s hard to stop. (Were Noah, Abraham, and Moses also metaphors?) We also have to discredit Paul the apostle, who cited early Genesis as fact (see Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 11 and 15, and 1 Timothy 2).

    Is Olasky really using “it’s hard to stop” as an argument? Even if evolution is true, we should pretend it’s not because it might lead us to determine other parts of the Bible are not accurate either?

    Furthermore, he seems to suggest contemporary views of the Bible have not changed in the last 2,000 years. Nor have theists have never been dragged kicking and screaming into accepting a scientific discovery that contradicted the currently accepted Biblical views at the time. Again, Olasky must ignore much of Christianity’s past to paint such a picture.

    Examples? From “Religion and Science” by Bertrand Russell (1935)

    “At first, the Protestants were almost more bitter against [Copernicus] than the Catholics. Luther said that “People give ear to an upstart astrologer who strove show that the earth revolves [...]. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.” Melanchthon was equally emphatic; so was Calvin, who, after quoting the text: “The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved” (Ps. xciii, I), triumphantly concluded: “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?” Even Wesley, so late as the eighteenth century, while not daring to be quite so emphatic, nevertheless stated that the new doctrines in astronomy “tend toward infidelity”.”

    So why should we think current day religious objections to Evolution are anything new?

  7. Hi, Veils of Maya:

    We might get some grammatical facts right, for convenience of communication: “First, I find O’Leary revealing his true motivations by linking to this post quite refreshing.”

    First, I am a “she”, not a “he”. I am a Toronto grandmother, a born and proud Canadian.

    The surprise that a person you are dealing with could be female can be accounted for by noting that we do not practice routine discrimination against women.

    So just for the record, I am subordinate only to proper authorities, not to just any guy who is mad at me. (I do not include you, as I understand you did not know this fact.)

    Okay, now to address the arguments:

    First, if God doesn’t exist, all things are indeed permissible because only survival in this world matters.

    Second, there is abundant evidence that Darwinism is not true, as an explanation of evolution in general.

    We are all looking for solutions.

    But from the professional tax burden Darwin establishment we find nothing whatever but obfuscation and demands that we accept that Darwinism is compatible with the human race’s traditional beliefs, which it obviously isn’t.

    If all those beliefs are wrong, how did we survive so long?

    So why don’t we start there and work forward ?

    Darwinism is dead, and we need a workable theory of evolution.

  8. I call this almost believing in divine action.

    The problem with it, is this:

    one day his students will wake up and realize that all of the theologizing was superfluous window dressing, and it was the materialistic paradigm which was doing all of the heavy lifting. Hopefully when this happens they will say, “how can we fix this?” But I fear that [the theistic evolutionist's] own teaching of deference to science on all questions of natural history will cause them to instead simply cast off the theology as irrelevant to reality.

  9. @O’Leary (#7)

    Sorry, for the confusion. It was a poor assumption on my part.

    You wrote:

    Okay, now to address the arguments:

    I can’t help but notice that you didn’t actually address my arguments.

    - Unbelievers already think God == 0

    - As such, Olasky seems to be complaining one of his “nuclear options” to essentially terrorize and coerce non-believers is being defused.

    - Olasky is either ignorant of or presented a straw man of evolution in his article

    - Olasky seems to suggest that Christianity is currently void of the contradictions, and theistic acceptance of evolution would represent some unprecedented event.

    - Olasky seems to think accepting evolution should be avoided as it would require interpreting part of the Bible as metaphor. However, this has already occurred many times in the past. Why stop now?

    - Olasky ignores the fact that Christians have been dragged kicking and screaming into accepting scientific discovery that contradicted the currently accepted Biblical views at the time.

    You wrote:

    First, if God doesn’t exist, all things are indeed permissible because only survival in this world matters.

    First, exactly what process did you use to determine that “only survival in this world matters” in God’s absence? Please be specific.

    Second, even if we assume “only survival matters” (which I do not), would this not imply an action such as blowing up the entire planet would not be permissible? Would you suddenly exhibit a desire to start killing and stealing things if you thought there was no supernatural being to punish you after you died?

    Again, this seems like an disingenuous and exaggerated attempt to coerce non-believers.

    Second, there is abundant evidence that Darwinism is not true, as an explanation of evolution in general.

    How do you define “Evolution” and what do you mean by “not true?”

    And when you say “abundant”, how does this evidence compare to the amount of evidence that collaborates TOE?

    For example, Galileo actually got the details of exactly how planets orbited the sun wrong. They are slightly elliptical, rather than perfect circles as he predicted. And, since the theory was relatively new, there wasn’t that much more evidence that collaborated Galileo theory at the time.

    Of course, Einstein came along and showed us that even Newton’s refined laws were actually wrong.

    But the fact that both Galileo and Newton’s theories were actually technically “wrong” did not change the fact that it’s the earth orbits the sun, rather than vice versa.

  10. 10

    @JohnyB (#8)

    The issue is propagating the idea that human beings do not have value unless they were “designed’ by an intelligent agent. While It might be useful for coercing non-believers in the present, if we do actually observe evolution at some point in the future, then what?

    A number of pastors I’ve engaged blame evolution for social problems in their neighborhood and even their church. As such, they take an anti-evolutionary stance even though they clearly do not understand the theory or have any scientific background. However, the problem appears partially self-inflicted as they wield the idea that human beings have no value unless designed by God as a weapon in their ‘spiritual warfare.’

    By presenting this sort of false dilemma they reap what they sow.

    In his article, Olasky seems to be objecting to theistic evolutionists taking one his nuclear options off the table.

  11. 11

    veilsofmaya,

    How do you define “Evolution” and what do you mean by “not true?”

    Are you kidding me? How do you define define? I could ask you a hundred inane questions that don’t deserve an answer too. Don’t troll around here my friend.

  12. Clive Hayden (11),

    If I may interject, it doesn’t appear to me that veilsofmaya’s questions were an attempt at trolling. Ms. O’Leary’s original statement:

    there is abundant evidence that Darwinism is not true, as an explanation of evolution in general.

    is sufficiently at odds with the findings of biology and other sciences that it seems important to clarify exactly what she means before responding.

    I would also be interested in seeing this “abundant evidence.”

  13. 13

    Cassandra,

    Darwin’s idea of gemmules, for starters. But that wasn’t my point, questions about the meaning of “not true” strike me as trolling and intentionally obfuscating needlessly.

  14. Clive Hayden (13),

    Thank you, that is exactly the kind of clarification that is required to understand Ms. O’Leary’s argument. If she is simply saying that some of Darwin’s ideas have been refuted by subsequent scientific investigation, that’s trivially true. If she is suggesting that his core theory is incorrect, that claim would not be supported by the evidence. If on the third (?) hand she is using the term “Darwinism” in more general sense that includes neo-Darwinism and the modern synthesis, that also is not supported by the evidence.

    I am interested in hearing a clarification from Ms. O’Leary herself.

  15. Cassandra:

    Ms. O’Leary’s original statement: “there is abundant evidence that Darwinism is not true, as an explanation of evolution in general.” is sufficiently at odds with the findings of biology and other sciences that it seems important to clarify exactly what she means before responding.

    Are you kidding? Have you suddenly forgotten where you are? In case, I will remind you that this is UD, the dark lair of those most evil people, the IDists. You know, maybe youy have not noticed, but here we do not believe in the mainstream interpretation of what you call “the findings of biology and other sciences”. We appreciate the findings, but we have our own ideas on how to interpret them, silly anticonformists that we are. And strange to say, I remember I have seen you on many other threads, and even answered you in detail on manu oh these arguments which now you pretend to ignore. How is it? After all, the ID arguments are many, but not infinite, After a while you should have some idea of what they are, at least of the most important ones. Otherwise, why do you come here? Just to waste time?

    Or are you suggesting that each time one of us states, like Denise, that “there is abundant evidence that Darwinism is not true”, he should again repeat all the arguments that he has already detailed hundreds of times?

  16. 16

    Cassandra,

    If she is suggesting that his core theory is incorrect, that claim would not be supported by the evidence. If on the third (?) hand she is using the term “Darwinism” in more general sense that includes neo-Darwinism and the modern synthesis, that also is not supported by the evidence.

    I can’t speak for Denyse, but no evidence supports Darwinism, I reckon the folks claiming it does have the burden of evidence. Molecules to man, and a shrimp ancestor and banana tree ancestor being the same ancestor, is a large claim, and that needs its own evidence, not just some bugs eating nylon or children having red hair from parents without it. I know this sounds simple, but it exactly this sort of thing that is used for evidence of evolution, and it doesn’t cut muster. If Darwinism cannot explain the simplest of things, it cannot explain anything else. Survival of the fittest is saying “Whatever survives survives”, which is saying “Whatever will be will be”. This is not an explanation, you may as well explain the way the wind blows on such grounds. Natural Selection is not an explanation of cellular machinery, data in DNA, etc., or a mouse giving birth, eventually, to a bat, as the myth claims. I know it’s a good dream to materialists, because dreams cannot be refuted. It takes everything as evidence and therefore lacks actual evidence.

  17. Clive:

    Since when are “bugs eating nylon” evidence for darwinism? They are not. They are only an example of microevolution (or, at best, simple neo-Lamarckian adaptation). Nothing more.

  18. 18

    gpuccio,

    Since when are “bugs eating nylon” evidence for darwinism? They are not. They are only an example of microevolution (or, at best, simple neo-Lamarckian adaptation). Nothing more.

    Exactly correct, sorry if I was unclear, that is exactly what I meant.

  19. Clive:

    I know you meant that: my post was just a provocation for our darwinists friends…

  20. veilsofmaya

    —“Olasky seems to suggest that Christianity is currently void of the contradictions, and theistic acceptance of evolution would represent some unprecedented event.

    Olasky is saying that two irreconcilable world views cannot be reconciled.

    —“ Olasky seems to think accepting evolution should be avoided as it would require interpreting part of the Bible as metaphor. However, this has already occurred many times in the past. Why stop now?”

    Olasky is saying that Darwin’s idea of unguided evolution, which Christian Darwinists unwisely accept, cannot be reconciled with their alleged belief in the Biblical teaching that God created the earth. He is, of course, correct in his analysis.

    —“How do you define “Evolution” and what do you mean by “not true?”

    Aren’t you the guy who just used the word “evolution” in the previous paragraph without defining it?

    —“First, exactly what process did you use [O’Leary} to determine that “only survival in this world matters” in God’s absence? Please be specific.

    The process she used is called abstract reasoning. If there is no God, then humans were not made to behave in any certain way or to pursue any meaningful end. That means that there can be no morality proper to human nature: Humans cannot pervert their created nature through bad behavior, because they have no created nature to pervert; they cannot frustrate the purpose of their existence with bad behavior, because there is no purpose for their existence. That makes all acts morally neutral. If there is no objective morality, there can be no universally binding standard for discerning good acts from bad acts. Indeed, there can be no such thing as a good act or a bad act. Thus, all things are permissible.

    —“Second, even if we assume “only survival matters” (which I do not), would this not imply an action such as blowing up the entire planet would not be permissible?”

    If there is no God, blowing up the planet is permissible just as arguing against such an act is permissible. Under those circumstances, anything at all is permissible because morality is reduced to the principle of “might makes right.” When that happens, the ruling tyrants become the agents of morality and it is they who decide what is “permissible. Thus, if the power is in the hands of those who would blow up the planet, blowing up the planet is permissible. If the power is in the hand of those who would not blow up the planet, then blowing up the planet is not permissible.

  21. veilsofmaya: “Again, this seems like an disingenuous and exaggerated attempt to coerce non-believers.”

    Olasky is not writing about nonbelievers. He is writing about schizophrenic believers who think that a purposeful, mindful creator used a purposeless, mindless process.

  22. gpuccio at 14 writes “If she is simply saying that some of Darwin’s ideas have been refuted by subsequent scientific investigation, that’s trivially true.
    [ ... ]

    I am interested in hearing a clarification from Ms. O’Leary herself.”

    You want a clarification? Well, you will hear one below:

    First, I have no idea what the term “trivially true” means. If it is true, it is true, and if it is true, it could certainly be important to someone somewhere.

    Also, I do not have a third hand.

    I, inconveniently, make do with two hands. But people say I have been a good pair of hands all my life, so will push on regardless.

    Now, to business: Darwinism of any kind is not supported by serious evidence.

    It would be better to describe it as supported by philosophy, budgets, endowments, and court decisions, not by evidence.

    People need to believe it.

    Now here is my question: Is there really any important evidence that one species morphs into another by vast increases in information due to Darwinian survival of the fittest?

    Or is this just another theory we need to believe?

  23. Talking about repeating arguments that have already been made many times before, this whole argument that without God there is no meaning or purpose, is exactly one of those.

    It is stated all the time like a mantra, but no-one has ever given me a reasonable explanation of why this would be true. It is completely contradicted by reality and I find no good philosophical reason for accepting it either.

  24. 24

    zeroseven

    Talking about repeating arguments that have already been made many times before, this whole argument that without God there is no meaning or purpose, is exactly one of those.

    De Futilitate from C.S. Lewis

    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  25. —zeroseven: “Talking about repeating arguments that have already been made many times before, this whole argument that without God there is no meaning or purpose, is exactly one of those.”

    Context, context, context. Please read for context. While it is true that there is no meaning or purpose without God, that is not what I said because I anticipated the typical Darwinist response. What I said was this: If there is no God, then humans were not made to behave in any certain way or to pursue any meaningful end. There isn’t anything controversial about that statement since it is obviously true. Do you deny this? That was step 1 in an argument that you clearly didn’t follow since you never got past step 1.

  26. 26

    Clive,

    Simply tremendous.

    Another example of why Lewis must be simply ignored – for the good of the cause.

  27. O’Leary (#22):

    gpuccio at 14 writes “If she is simply saying that some of Darwin’s ideas have been refuted by subsequent scientific investigation, that’s trivially true.
    [ ... ]

    I am interested in hearing a clarification from Ms. O’Leary herself.”

    Ehm… That was really Cassandra at #14. I just tried to counter those statements in my post #15.

  28. gpuccio (15),

    Are you kidding? Have you suddenly forgotten where you are? In case, I will remind you that this is UD, the dark lair of those most evil people, the IDists. You know, maybe youy have not noticed, but here we do not believe in the mainstream interpretation of what you call “the findings of biology and other sciences”.

    Objective, empirical evidence exists whether you believe in it or not.

    We appreciate the findings, but we have our own ideas on how to interpret them

    The only interpretation I’ve seen articulated with any consistency here, after lurking and occasionally participating for some months, is the argument from incredulity. If you can point to other interpretations of the evidence gathered over the past 150 years that explain it better than modern evolutionary theory and that make better predictions, I’d be very interested in hearing it, as would the peer-reviewed journals.

    Thus far, unfortunately, I have seen no real theory of intelligent design and no testable predictions. If I have somehow missed those, please provide references.

    Or are you suggesting that each time one of us states, like Denise, that “there is abundant evidence that Darwinism is not true”, he should again repeat all the arguments that he has already detailed hundreds of times?

    Just the once would be fine.

  29. Clive Hayden (16),

    I can’t speak for Denyse, but no evidence supports Darwinism, I reckon the folks claiming it does have the burden of evidence.

    If by “Darwinism” you mean modern evolutionary theory, you can only make a statement like that by willfully ignoring 150 years of research documented in thousands of books and hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers. On what basis do you reject not only the science of biology but all of the other supporting lines of evidence?

  30. Cassandra, at 29: I should not, it must be admitted, speak before Clive, to whom you addressed your comments, but I plead the fact that my time zone is earlier than his, and he doubtless has pressing commitments.

    First, do you want to say who you are? Is your name really “Cassandra”?*

    Okay, now to business: The fact is that Darwinism has never demonstrated an ability to create huge transitions in life forms. So far as I can see, the way Darwin racket works is to confuse “evolution” with “Darwinism”.

    Few doubt “evolution”. Find a tyrannosaur and I will doubt evolution.

    But evolutionary biology has, in my view, long functioned as a corrupt and idle racket, fronted by ridiculous popular science media – and I think you know exactly what I mean: “chimps show altruism”, due to some complex lab games that wouldn’t get anywhere in real nature.

    Next, I am sure we will be hearing that groundhogs show advanced concepts in religion.

    What I want to know is, why are evolutionary biologists not ashamed of all this nonsense?

    Why not just get used to the fact that humans – however it happened – are different?

    Maybe we could get somewhere with something if we did?

    *For the record, I am Denyse O’Leary, a female Toronto-based Canadian journalist, [email protected].

    There seems to be so much doubt about me that some have thought I was a man, so let me just take a moment to set the record straight.

    I mean, really. That is not a pseudonym. My parents baptized me at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina, Saskatchewan, shortly after my birth in 1950, under that exact name (required by the priest’s question: “What do you name this child?”) – and quite properly so.

    My father was “O’Leary” and my mother got to pick the Christian name, according to our local custom, when the birth papers were handed to her in the hospital.

    I have worked faithfully in media all my adult life, with no hint of scandal.

    I was a minor couple of pages in an anti-Christian screed published by Random House Canada, but could only address the major errors of fact that I knew of (the “marcis”, as I call them) – such as that Phillip Johnson became a Catholic.

    Like yourself, I have other responsibilities, so did not address most of them.

    Now, what about you? Who are YOU?

  31. Cassandra, though I surely am interested in your hundreds of thousands of proofs for evolution, for the sake of time, I would like for you to present just one proof. In fact I would like for you to present what you feel is your most clear rock solid undeniable proof for evolution that we would be absolutely nuts to deny. If it can withstand scrutiny and prove neo-Darwinism true with rigor, I will gladly join you in your fight to expose the frauds that we IDers are.

    As for confirmed ID prediction by peer review that would be ENCODE’s finding that every nucleotide is transcribed in a regulated way thus undermining the Junk DNA postulation of neo-Darwinism.

  32. Denyse:

    I believe Cassandra is the usual standard troll who comes here to repeat ad nauseam, parrot-like, his/her faith in the modern synthesis, strictly avoiding any real discusion. Maybe we should not take these people too seriously.

  33. @Clive Hayden (#11)

    Clive,

    O’leary linked to someone who included what is clearly either ignorance to or a straw man of TOE as part of his argument. She then goes on to write…

    Darn. He’s on to the story of the century, and I thought I had it all to myself.

    She offers no response when I bring it up. Does her silence suggest a hope the problem will go away if she ignores it? Perhaps it represents approval?

    And, as Cassandra illustrates, it’s unclear if O’leary is revering to mechanisms that were uncontroversially falsified in the 1800′s or the core of the theory which has survived 150 years of criticism.

    Given the above it’s unclear how asking O’leary what she means by “evolution” is an unreasonable question.

  34. @Clive Hayden (#16)

    I can’t speak for Denyse, but no evidence supports Darwinism,

    As a critical rationalist, I’d agree on that specific point. No evidence supports any theory. As Karl Popper put it, all knowledge is theory laden, which starts out as conjecture and guesswork. Theories are collaborated by evidence, not justified by it.

    I know this sounds simple, but it exactly this sort of thing that is used for evidence of evolution, and it doesn’t cut muster.

    When you over-simplify it like that, what did you expect? Opps, that is what you expected.

  35. @Clive Hayden (#16)

    If Darwinism cannot explain the simplest of things, it cannot explain anything else.

    At the risk of further accusal of obfuscating needlessly, what do you mean by ‘explain?’ Perhaps you mean ‘account for’ instead?

    For example, when The Inquisition demeaned Galileo denounce Heliocentrism, it was not because they denied there was some definitive state of affairs that caused planetary movement. Both Galileo and The Inquisition were realists in that respect. What they objected to was the principle that we could understand the world in terms of universal, mathematical laws, which were accessible to human beings when rigorously applied. If successful, they realized his method would take precedence not only over intuition and common sense, but religious doctrine and revelation as well. As such, it was forbidden to use Heliocentrism as an explanation of why the night sky appeared the way it did.

    However, since predicting the motions of the planets was quite useful, the use of Heliocentrism’s mathematical formulas to predict planetary movement was allowed.

    Since The Inquisition was perfectly willing to accept Galileo’s predictions, further argument appeared meaningless. They could always point out that no-amount of observable evidence could ever prove one particular state of affairs was true or false. As they put it, God could produce the same observed effects in an infinite number of different ways. Who was Galileo to claim knowledge of how God did it?

    Furthermore, at the time, it was not yet clear that Heliocentrism made much better predictions that geocentrism, as the observations were not very accurate and ad-hoc modifications were proposed resolve discrepancies. Nor did Galileo enjoy the kind of radio telescopes and satellite observations we have at our disposal. But was the issue really beyond resolution in Galileo’s time due to lack of observations?

    When The Inquisition demand Galileo denounce Heliocentrism, yet allowed it’s use to make predictions, they implicitly presented a theory of their own: the earth is actually at rest, with the sun and planets in motion about it. These bodies move in a complex way that, when viewed from the earth, is also consistent with the sun being at rest and the earth and planets in motion. If this implicit theory was true, we should still expect Heliocentrism to predict planetary motion, yet still be false. This would also imply that observations that supported Heliocentrism supported The Inquisition’s theory as well.

    Now that we actually have two theories – one explicit and on implicit – was there a way we could have differentiated between them at the time? I’m going to suggest that [A] there is such a thing as a bad explanation and [B] there really are ways we can identifying them.

    The Inquisition’s implicit theory explains the appearance of a stationary earth by saying it actually is stationary, which appeals to out intuitions; while Galileo had to employ complex mathematics and contradict the ideas of force and inertia we commonly associate with a body in motion. But what about the motions of the planets in the sky? Heliocentrism explains them by saying the planets are observed to move in complicated loops in the sky because they are actually moving in simple circles in space in conduction with the earth’s motion. This is in contrast to the Inquisition’s explanation that the planets appear to move in completed loops because they actually are moving in complicated loops in space; but this complicated motion just so happens to be governed by a simple premise – when observed from the earth, they appear just as they would as if moving in simple orbits around the sun.

    In other words, to understand planetary motions via the Inquisition’s implied theory it’s essential to reference Heliocentrism. It’s a cosmology that can be only understood in terms of a different cosmology which it contradicts but faithfully mimics. The result is that Inquisition’s theory does not actually explain planetary motion without having to introduce the complication of Heliocentrism first. As such, we can rightfully say that the Inquisition’s implied theory is a convoluted elaboration of Heliocentrism.

    Note that I did not reach this conclusion via appealing to observations of modern cosmology, but by taking the theory seriously, on it’s own terms, as an explanation of the real world.

    So, in this context, I’d ask you to take the theory of Intelligent Design seriously and actually use it to explain what we observe. When I say ‘seriously’, I’m not referring to the use of a somber tone or without resorting to jest, I’m asking you to actually explain what we observe using the implicit theory ID constantly presents when making it’s claims.

    Of course, this is a rhetorical question on my part, as I don’t think such an explanation will actually be forthcoming.

  36. O’Leary (30),

    Okay, now to business: The fact is that Darwinism has never demonstrated an ability to create huge transitions in life forms.

    The evidence for common descent with modification is overwhelming, as anyone willing to look at the peer reviewed literature honestly must admit. The amount of change calculated from modern genomes, the rates of change, and the amount of time available all support modern evolutionary theory.

    So far as I can see, the way Darwin racket works is to confuse “evolution” with “Darwinism”.

    “Racket”? Are you seriously asserting that all evolutionary biologists over the past 150 years have been complicit in a conspiracy?

    Few doubt “evolution”. Find a tyrannosaur and I will doubt evolution.

    Provide an alternative scientific theory that explains the same observations and makes better predictions and I’ll doubt modern evolutionary theory.

    But evolutionary biology has, in my view, long functioned as a corrupt and idle racket, fronted by ridiculous popular science media

    “Corrupt and idle” is a gross insult to generations of scientists who have worked very hard to improve our understanding of the natural world. What evidence do you have for your conspiracy theory?

  37. gpuccio (32),

    I believe Cassandra is the usual standard troll who comes here to repeat ad nauseam, parrot-like, his/her faith in the modern synthesis, strictly avoiding any real discusion. Maybe we should not take these people too seriously.

    I note that you have failed to provide a reference to a scientific theory of intelligent design that explains the evidence and makes better predictions than modern evolutionary theory. Pointing out that the ID emperor has no clothes is not trolling.

  38. @StephenB (#20)

    You wrote:

    Olasky is saying that Darwin’s idea of unguided evolution, which Christian Darwinists unwisely accept, cannot be reconciled with their alleged belief in the Biblical teaching that God created the earth. He is, of course, correct in his analysis..

    In what time frame? For whom? As I’ve illustrated, history has shown once thought to be irreconcilable world views can and have be reconciled. As such, this seems to be merely a complaint that he’s lost a significant nuclear card he can play to coerce non-believers.

    The process [O’Leary] used is called abstract reasoning.

    You seem to have ignored the actually claim O’Leary made, which was “only survival in this world matters” in God’s absence. I see nothing that explains this in your comment. Are you speaking for O’Leary?

    Under those circumstances, anything at all is permissible because morality is reduced to the principle of “might makes right.”

    I’ll ask you the same question. Why is this the case in the absence of God? As with O’leary, it seems you’ve smuggled specific assumptions as a theist when reaching this conclusion.

  39. @StephenB (#21)

    You wrote:

    Olasky is not writing about nonbelievers. He is writing about schizophrenic believers who think that a purposeful, mindful creator used a purposeless, mindless process.

    No?

    So the why did O’leary quote this specific part of his article? [Emphasis mine]

    To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.

  40. 40

    Cassandra,

    If by “Darwinism” you mean modern evolutionary theory, you can only make a statement like that by willfully ignoring 150 years of research documented in thousands of books and hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed papers. On what basis do you reject not only the science of biology but all of the other supporting lines of evidence?

    I’m not ignoring anything, I’m pointing out that a mountain of papers doesn’t mean anything true or real or scientific just by virtue of it being a mountain. I’m sure there were plenty of papers on alchemy, and I know there are plenty of papers on astrology. Mere volume means less than nothing to me, what does mean something is actuality, reality, as such I would need the link between the shrimp and the banana tree sharing the same great great great grandparents. Since we cannot observe evolution in real-time, we must speculate, and some of us speculate for evolution, though any person has this ability, and the same “evidence” can count against evolution, just as Charles Darwin himself said in the Origin. Evolutionists retro-fit all evidence into its paradigm. What “evidence” is excluded? Can you, at least, tell me that?

  41. 41

    veilsofmaya,

    And, as Cassandra illustrates, it’s unclear if O’leary is revering to mechanisms that were uncontroversially falsified in the 1800’s or the core of the theory which has survived 150 years of criticism.

    Given the above it’s unclear how asking O’leary what she means by “evolution” is an unreasonable question.

    What is unreasonable is asking what “not true” means.

  42. 42

    veilsofmaya,

    When you over-simplify it like that, what did you expect? Opps, that is what you expected.

    This is what I mean:

    Now, I will roughly arrange in order the facts of common knowledge that seem to me to support my conclusions as a matter of common-sense. First of all, there is something that will be very suggestive to anybody with a sense of human nature; I mean the tone of the Darwinians themselves. . . . the critic . . .added the very singular and significant phrase: that the Darwinian hypotheses was still “that most sound at bottom.” In short, this Darwinian is already on the defensive, . . .

    . . .I will take the instances selected in order to expound the hypothesis, . . .If you were explaining to a child, for instance, you would take things like the horn of the rhinoceros or the hump of the dromedary. In fact, you would give a correct and scientific version of the “Just-So Stories.” . . . But these horns and humps, these high outstanding features of variation, are exactly the things that are generally not chosen for examples, and not explained by this universal explanation. And the truth is that it is very often precisely these obvious things that the explanation cannot explain. . . .

    But if you will call up the Darwinian vision, of thousands of intermediary creatures with webbed feet that are not yet wings, their survival will seem incredible. A mouse can run, and survive; and a fitter-mouse can fly, and survive. But a creature that cannot yet fly, and can no longer run, ought obviously to have perished, by the very Darwinian doctrine which has to assume that he survived. . . .

    The Darwinians have this mark of fighters for a lost cause, that they are perpetually appealing to sentiment and to authority.. . .God condescended to argue with Job, but the last Darwinian will not condescend to argue with you. He will inform you of your ignorance; he will not enlighten your ignorance.. . .when men have a real explanation they explain it, eagerly and copiously and in common speech, as Huxley freely gave it when he thought he had it. When they have no explanation to offer, they give short dignified replies, disdainful of the ignorance of the multitude.

    G. K. Chesterton, Doubts about Darwin.

    I do not know the true reason for a bat not having feathers; I only know that Darwin gave a false reason for its having wings. And the more the Darwinians explain, the more certain I become that Darwinism was wrong. All their explanations ignore the fact that Darwinism supposes an animal feature to appear first, not merely in an incomplete stage, but in an almost imperceptible stage. The member of a sort of mouse family, destined to found the bat family, could only have differed from his brother mice by some minute trace of membrane; and why should that enable him to escape out of a natural massacre of mice? Or even if we suppose it did serve some other purpose, it could only be by a coincidence; and this is to imagine a million coincidences accounting for every creature. A special providence watching over a bat would be a far more realistic notion than such a run of luck as that.

    G.K. Chesterton, On Darwinism and Mystery

    It is that the Darwinian version of evolution is, in the most emphatic sense of the phrase, not like life. It is impossible to believe that life has been so completely separated from will as it is implied in the notion of natural selection producing all the varieties of nature. It is far too much of a fortuitous concourse of animals like a fortuitous concourse of atoms. In that sense, every chapter of the “Origin of Species” may be precisely described as a chapter of accidents. Natural selection is the most unnatural thing we can conceive. It is an eternal coincidence. But it is not only that the natural selection is not natural at all; it is the whole point of it that it is not selection at all. Nobody selects; and nothing cannot select. It seems to me in the largest and most luminous sense a matter of commonsense to say that, if there was not a clear design from above, then there was some sort of design from below; and it is quite possible, of course, that there was both. All this preliminary part of the preface and the argument is sound and on solid ground; because it is dealing with a definite theory and giving reasons for differing from the theory.”

    G.K. Chesterton, The Persecution of Religion

    Most modern histories of mankind begin with the word evolution, and with a rather wordy exposition of evolution, for much the same reason that operated in this case. There is something slow and soothing and gradual about the word and even about the idea. As a matter of fact, it is not, touching these primary things, a very practical word or a very profitable idea. Nobody can imagine how nothing could turn into something. Nobody can get an inch nearer to it by explaining how something could turn into something else. It is really far more logical to start by saying ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’ even if you only mean ‘In the beginning some unthinkable power began some unthinkable process.’ For God is by its nature a name of mystery, and nobody ever supposed that man could imagine how a world was created any more than he could create one. But evolution really is mistaken for explanation. It has the fatal quality of leaving on many minds the impression that they do understand it and everything else; just as many of them live under a sort of illusion that they have read the Origin of Species.

    G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

  43. StephenB,

    No, nothing controversial about that statement. But its the next step in your argument I am talking about:

    “If there is no God, blowing up the planet is permissible just as arguing against such an act is permissible. Under those circumstances, anything at all is permissible because morality is reduced to the principle of “might makes right.””

    I think what you are doing is indulging in the common fallacy that the theory of evolution is something more than a scientific theory. Just as we don’t look for moral prescriptions in germ theory, it is pointless to look for them in evolution.

    As I have said before, I believe in no god. Most of my fellow citizens are the same. In my country, morals exist and not everything is permissible. In fact it is an extremely peaceful and law-abiding country. Therefore your statement is patently wrong.

  44. 44

    veilsofmaya,

    Why is this the case in the absence of God?

    The obvious answer is that without accountability and objective morality, man can make his own notions of everything right, including might, and who are you to claim that man to be wrong? Under what standard would you claim StephenB to be wrong in asserting it? Do you think there is an objective purpose or objective meaning between men that we can reference in the absence of God? Who or what would create this standard, and how would they make it objective?

  45. 45

    zeroseven,

    I think what you are doing is indulging in the common fallacy that the theory of evolution is something more than a scientific theory. Just as we don’t look for moral prescriptions in germ theory, it is pointless to look for them in evolution.

    As I have said before, I believe in no god. Most of my fellow citizens are the same. In my country, morals exist and not everything is permissible. In fact it is an extremely peaceful and law-abiding country. Therefore your statement is patently wrong.

    Because they know better than their philosophy, and don’t actually live it out. They take morality for granted, and go from there, not examining that, at the bottom, it is just “fobbed off” onto us by our genes, as evolutionists believe. What do you hang your morality on? Yourself?

  46. 46

    veilsofmaya,

    @StephenB (#21)

    You wrote:

    Olasky is not writing about nonbelievers. He is writing about schizophrenic believers who think that a purposeful, mindful creator used a purposeless, mindless process.

    No?

    So the why did O’leary quote this specific part of his article? [Emphasis mine]

    To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”

    Olasky was not writing about the word “that” either, though what he wrote included that word. Context is everything.

  47. The debate around morality has been done on here so many times, but I do not tire of it. It’s funny to see how the atheist camp never gets it, relying on the same flimsy arguments. Unless it’s one of the honest atheists, but they make me worried.

  48. zeroseven, you state that you believe in no god, but would you be willing to put a probability on that unbelief as Richard Dawkins did for Ben Stein?

    Richard Dawkins Vs. Ben Stein – The UFO Interview
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4134259

    Just how certain are you zeroseven that there is no God? 99% sure? 90% sure?, 49% sure?

    Well zeroseven no matter how small you put the probability of God existing the fact that there is a probability of God existing makes it 100% certain that God does indeed exist.

    Ontological Argument Against Many Worlds – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

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

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

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

  49. Clive;

    Yes, myself (I am a product of generations of learning and cultural development) and the goodwill of those around me.

    Clive, if morality is given to us by God, why does it evolve? Why was slavery considered ok when the new testament was written? Why was torture considered ok in 16th century England? God must have evolving standards of morality which seems odd. You would think He would get them right the first time.

    BA77, I really don’t think about the probability. It just seems completely irrelevant to me. Regarding your argument above, I think steps 2 and 3 are problematic as well as 1. I don’t think 2 follows from 1 or 3 from 2. I’m not an expert in logic but the whole thing feels tautological to me. The whole thing could be turned around.

  50. —zeroseven: “I think what you are doing is indulging in the common fallacy that the theory of evolution is something more than a scientific theory. Just as we don’t look for moral prescriptions in germ theory, it is pointless to look for them in evolution.”

    Context, context, context. Inasmuch as I didn’t mention the theory of evolution in my argument, I can’t imagine what you are talking about? If you are going to comment on my argument, you really ought to read it. Here it is again:
    [If there is no God, then humans were not made to behave in any certain way or to pursue any meaningful end. That means that there can be no morality proper to human nature: Humans cannot pervert their created nature through bad behavior, because they have no created nature to pervert; they cannot frustrate the purpose of their existence with bad behavior, because there is no purpose for their existence. That makes all acts morally neutral. If there is no objective morality, there can be no universally binding standard for discerning good acts from bad acts. Indeed, there can be no such thing as a good act or a bad act. Thus, all things are permissible.]

    —“As I have said before, I believe in no god. Most of my fellow citizens are the same. In my country, morals exist and not everything is permissible. In fact it is an extremely peaceful and law-abiding country. Therefore your statement is patently wrong.”

    Obviously, I am right. To say that everything is permissible is not to say that every conceivable immoral act is permitted at the same time. It is to say that nothing can be ruled out–that no act can be declared now and forever impermissible. Atheists cannot rule out anything because they have no basis for differentiating a just law from an unjust law. Thus, they cannot say, “this law is unjust, therefore, we will not permit it.” They can only say, this law doesn’t appeal to me personally, therefore I will not support it for the moment.” Or, they can say, “This law does appeal to me; I will support it and enforce it. Further, I will punish anyone who refuses to obey it, even if they labor under the illusion that there is any such thing as just laws and unjust laws.
    If you have no objective moral standard by which you can declare that a law is unjust, then any unjust law is possible. Are you now trying to tell me that you have no unjust laws in your country? We have plenty of unjust laws in my country? Further, I can tell you why the unjust laws in my country are unjust and why the unjust laws in your country are unjust [if you tell me which country and cite some of the laws]. That is because I have a standard by which I can make that assessment. You have no standard and cannot, therefore, make any assessment at all except to assume that all your laws are just—except, of course, that you don’t think there is any such thing as justice.

  51. @Clive Hayden (#41)

    You wrote:

    What is unreasonable is asking what “not true” means.

    Clive, please see my earlier comment (#9) in which I’ve already illustrated how using the terms “evolution” and “not true” in conjunction could be ambiguous.

    Is Heliocentrism “not true” because Galileo was wrong when he suggested planets orbited around the sun in a circle rather than slightly elliptical paths?

    Would it be accurate to say the Bible is “not true” because textual critics uncontroversially accept the ending of Mark as an addition written by another author around the middle of the second century?

  52. @Clive Hayden (#42)

    Clive,

    So, what you meant to express was personal incredulity?

    Yes, it’s it can seem counter intuitive. But so does the idea that solid block walls are 99.9999% empty space. It may seem like my fingers are actually touching the keys as I write this, but in reality they are repelled by the weak force before actually making contact. Theories such as Quantum mechanics and even Heliocentrism appeared to be absurd conclusions about reality. Yet they were eventually accepted, even when it contradicted interpretations of scripture at the time.

    While I greatly value human intuition, we must take into account the scale in which it is actually useful. Intuition breaks down as we move to the very small, the very large and the very complex. In these cases, intuition can become a significant liability to gaining knowledge.

    Again, as a critical rationalist, I realize intuition, observations and induction are insufficient on their own as any theory can make any prediction. Ultimately, It’s the arguments and explanations behind them which makes one tenable over another.

    So, to repeat my earlier question, I’d ask how you explanation what we observe using ID?

    Example? Lets say we discover a new species and find another variation of an eye that exhibits some traits we’ve observed, but others we had yet to discover. In other words, it’s still an functional eye, but it provides a specific level of functionality via some significantly different and unexpected means. How would you explain this?

    Evolution explains it by noting that eyes are so useful that they’ve evolved though multiple paths yet still perform roughly the same function. Evolution also predicts that we’d find examples where various optimizations were made to overcome obvious initial deficiencies such as a backwards retina. Our brain compensates for this deficiency by post-processing the image data, etc.

    How would ID’s implicit theory actually explain this sort of discovery?

    The designer just so happens to design eyes so they appeared to have evolved in a hap hazard way, but in reality, they did not? Mutations that result in detrimental traits are truly random, but mutations that result in positive traits – including those that separately were neutral or possible even detrimental alone, but resulted in a beneficial traits when combined – were intentionally orchestrated by an intelligent designer?

    In case it’s not clear, I’m suggesting that we can rightfully say ID’s implied theory is a convoluted elaboration of and a response to TOE. Furthermore, it shares the following with The Inquisition’s implied theory and even Solipsism: it draws an arbitrary boundary beyond which human reason and understanding has no access and problem solving can no longer increase knowledge.

    For Solipsists, this boundary is drawn at their brain/mind. For The Inquisition it was drawn around the earth. And for ID it’s drawn at the development of biological complexity we observe. We we simply cannot understand why the designer intentionally made things appear to have evolved, and we never will. Who are we do say how or why God, oops … I mean the intelligent designer did it?

    This is why my question is a rhetorical one, as answering it would require to you cross this boundary, which you claim cannot be crossed.

  53. Cassandra (#28-36-37):

    Even for a troll, you are boring:

    1) The evidence for common descent with designed modification is overwhelming; the evidence for common descent with non designed modification is nil.

    2) All evolutionary biologists over the past 150 years have not been accomplices in a conspiracy, but have worked under a big cognitive bias, and have been wrong on some fundamental points. Some of them, today, defend those wrong points through dogmatic and intolerant means.

    3)ID is not an argument from incredulity, and never has been. ID is technically an inference from analogy. If you can’t see the difference, you are epistemologically hopeless.

  54. Cassandra:

    Ah, and the only argument I have ever seen from you is an argument from authority.

  55. [Olasky is not writing about nonbelievers. He is writing about schizophrenic believers who think that a purposeful, mindful creator used a purposeless, mindless process.]

    —veilsofmaya: “So the why did O’leary quote this specific part of his article? [Emphasis mine]”

    Well, let’s analyze it for a moment.

    Number of words written about schizopheric Christian Darwinists = 667

    Number of words written about non-believers = 12

    Just for fun, which subject associated with which number would you say reflected the author’s theme?

    Since this is a multiple choice question, you have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right.

  56. 56

    @Stephen B (#54)

    599 words: Olasky paints an elaborate picture to depict Christians who accept TOE as “[schizophrenic].”

    87 words: Olasky leverages this elaborate depiction to complain how “[schizophrenic] Christians” hurt his ability to coerce non-believers.

    Should we hug evolution to further evangelism? Theologian Wayne Grudem has it right: “Theistic evolutionists tell us that Christians can surrender to this massive attack on the Christian faith and safely, inoffensively, tack on God… To put it in terms of an equation, when atheists assure us that matter + evolution + 0 = all living things, and then theistic evolutionists answer, no, that matter + evolution + God = all living things, it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”

    Of course, I didn’t ask for word counts. I asked why else would O’leary quote the particular words where Olasky leverages this depiction as part of his conclusion.

    Perhaps you thought this was a rhetorical question as well?

  57. —”Of course, I didn’t ask for word counts.”

    Anything that will give you a sense of proportion should be helpful.

    —”I asked why else would O’leary quote the particular words where Olasky leverages this depiction as part of his conclusion.”

    To show the mendacity of the TEs.

  58. As a public service to Darwinists, I probably ought to explain the meaning of Grudem’s comment, which ends with the words, “it will not take long for unbelievers to conclude that, therefore, God = 0.”

    Since TEs passionately promote the naturalistic anti-God argument, while strategically peppering it with a little pro-God rhetoric, it will not take the Darwinists long to figure out that the argument is real and that the rhetoric is a cover.

  59. 59

    @Stephan B (#56)

    Stephan, use of the proportions found in Olasky’s article is common when presenting data to support a particular conclusion.

    Example?

    [A] Paint an elaborate picture as to how BP was negligent in managing the Deep Horizon drilling operation.

    [B] Leverage this picture to conclude that BP should be financially responsible for cleaning up the gulf spill and future renewal.

    It’s reasonable to assume the proportions would be such that [A] would represent a majority of such a document, while [B] would be a minority.

    However, this in no way means that the financial responsibility of BP was not the subject of the document.

    @StephanB (#57)

    You wrote:

    Since TEs passionately promote the naturalistic anti-God argument, while strategically peppering it with a little pro-God rhetoric, it will not take the Darwinists long to figure out that the argument is real and that the rhetoric is a cover.

    Again, Darwinists already think the intervention of God was not necessary to explain biological complexity we observe. Otherwise, why would they be Darwinists? So what’s left?

    Translation of above: When TE’s present a version of God that I don’t agree with, it reduces my ability to coerce non-beleivers into accepting the God I do believe in.

    As a strong agnostic, I do not claim to know with 100% certainty that some kind of God does not exist. However, as a critical rationalist, it seems clear the failure of ID to actually explain what we observe allows us to rightfully say it is a convoluted elaboration of and a response to TOE by theists. This sort of behavior does not inspire confidence in those who continue to present it.

    Perhaps some explanation may appear in the future, but, for reasons I’ve already outlined, this seems highly unlikely as it would undermine the underlying goal of ID.

  60. —veilsofmaya: “Translation of above: When TE’s present a version of God that I don’t agree with, it reduces my ability to coerce non-beleivers into accepting the God I do believe in.”

    You are simply reading your own biases and prejudices into what authors are saying. Neither, Denyse, Olasky, or Gruden said anything like that. Not even close.

    —”Stephan, use of the proportions found in Olasky’s article is common when presenting data to support a particular conclusion.

    —”Example?

    —”[A] Paint an elaborate picture as to how BP was negligent in managing the Deep Horizon drilling operation.

    —”[B] Leverage this picture to conclude that BP should be financially responsible for cleaning up the gulf spill and future renewal.

    —”It’s reasonable to assume the proportions would be such that [A] would represent a majority of such a document, while [B] would be a minority.

    –”However, this in no way means that the financial responsibility of BP was not the subject of the document.”

    Is that your roundabout way of saying that a writer can use many words to prepare for the reception of a theme while using few words to articulate it? That is not what is happening here.

    —”However, as a critical rationalist, it seems clear the failure of ID to actually explain what we observe allows us to rightfully say it is a convoluted elaboration of and a response to TOE by theists.”

    I trust that you have been reading ID literature with the same perspicacity that you are showing with your analysis of Olasky.

  61. 61

    @Stephenb (#59)

    Stephan, so exactly what was Olasky trying to say?

    You wrote:

    To show the mendacity of the TEs.

    However, as I already noted in my first comment, how did Olasky go about doing this? By making objections that were purely theological in nature.

    That is, TE is false because it doesn’t fit with Olasky’s concept of God.

    Also, how do you know what O’leary meant to say? given that her only response to my questions was to correct the pronoun used in my comment, shouldn’t O’leary speak for herself?

  62. 62

    @StephanB (#59)

    So, I trust you’ll have no problem addressing comment 35 and comment 51.

  63. —veilsofmaya; “However, as I already noted in my first comment, how did Olasky go about doing this? By making objections that were purely theological in nature.”

    Olasky’s objections are both theological and scientific, with the emphasis on the latter.

    First, he alludes to the fact that Collins claims to be a Christian while, at the same time, denying the existence of an individual Adam and Eve. Olasky isn’t pointing to the difference between his concept of God and Collins’ concept of God. He is pointing to the fact that Collins finds it necessary to subordinate his faith to his science even as he claims that there is no conflict between the two.

    On the other hand, Olasky follows with this: “But I’m not so worried about Collins’s theological statements: Many readers can exegete them and come to their own conclusions. “What I and many others need help with is the science.”

    Thus, his objection is not “purely” theological in nature. Context, context, context.

    —”That is, TE is false because it doesn’t fit with Olasky’s concept of God.”

    No, TE is incoherent because it doesn’t fit with itself, that is, its science is at war with its proclaimed theology. Indeed, its science is at war with its science.

    Here is the way Olasky puts it:

    “Yes, he [Collins] speaks of “pointers to God from nature,” including “the precise tuning of 15 physical constants—if you tweak their values by a tiny fraction, it doesn’t work.” But he takes pains to argue for “theistic evolution” and recently set up the BioLogos Foundation, funded with a Templeton Foundation grant. According to its website, BioLogos “is the belief that Darwinism is a correct science.”

    Here is a little tip. When the first sentence begins with a “yes,” and the second sentence begins with a “but,” look for a conflict.

    —”Also, how do you know what O’leary meant to say?”

    Because O’Leary knows how to write and I know how to read.

  64. 64

    zeroseven,

    Yes, myself (I am a product of generations of learning and cultural development) and the goodwill of those around me.

    “Goodwill” begs the questions doesn’t it? You take it for granted what is good, not because of the people around you, but because you know yourself first what they are doing is good or not. So, in the beginning and end, you hang morality only on yourself, so do you just make it up as you go along? How do you know what is right or wrong before you see it in others or a community? How do you judge the case?

    And if morality really changed, as you claim, then we couldn’t say that anything in any other age was right or wrong, for unless the moral standard applies to both ages, indeed all ages, we have no standard to condemn slavery or torture. You can’t overtake Jones if you are walking in the other direction. So, the obvious truth is that morality doesn’t evolve; it may improve, but improvement implies a steady standard that is not changed, for if all were changed, there would be no improvement, no judgment could be made comparing two things to themselves. This seems obvious to me.

  65. 65

    veilsofmaya,

    Clive, please see my earlier comment (#9) in which I’ve already illustrated how using the terms “evolution” and “not true” in conjunction could be ambiguous.

    That’s still nonsense. For example, please define what you mean by “terms” and “evolution”.

  66. 66

    veilsofmaya,

    As a strong agnostic, I do not claim to know with 100% certainty that some kind of God does not exist. However, as a critical rationalist, it seems clear the failure of ID to actually explain what we observe allows us to rightfully say it is a convoluted elaboration of and a response to TOE by theists. This sort of behavior does not inspire confidence in those who continue to present it.

    What sort of behavior are you referring to? Surely you’re not claiming that David Berlinski, Fred Hoyle (at the time of his epiphany), and Bradley Monton are/were theists? They all defend ID. And ID does indeed explain what we observe exponentially more in biology and cosmology and metaphysics more than mere random happenstance of particle collisions in a blind natural process with absolutely nothing in mind because it lacks a mind at all. Just as Chesterton said, design is a much more reasonable conclusion than such a run of luck as all that. For by your schema, everything was once space dust that bumped about and produced everything physical and tangible that exists anywhere. Surely, as a critical rationalist, you know this is nonsense. Not just a gap in knowledge, but nonsense itself, because it is so unlike anything we observe whatsoever. What you’re claiming is akin to saying that a bit of mud on my front porch could eventually become you with enough time.

  67. @Clive Hayden (#16)

    Clive,

    You yourself showed that I was not obfuscating needlessly when you wrote…

    Darwin’s idea of gemmules, for starters. But that wasn’t my point, questions about the meaning of “not true” strike me as trolling and intentionally obfuscating needlessly.

    @Clive Hayden (#17)

    I’m referring to comment 35 and comment 51. I guess you should have no problem addressing them either.

  68. @StephanB (#62)

    You wrote:

    First, he alludes to the fact that Collins claims to be a Christian while, at the same time, denying the existence of an individual Adam and Eve.

    Stephan,

    It seems you’ve picked up on the irony in Oaslky’s article.

    Olasky is objecting to what he perceives as Collins drawing an arbitrary boundary where human knowledge and reasoning has no access and were problem solving can no longer increases knowledge. Furthermore, as a strong agnostic, I applaud such criticism.

    However, the problem is Olasky’s objections are also founded on some other arbitrary boundary which happens to be theologically mainstream in our time, but was rejected by theists on theological grounds in the past. It’s hypocritical in nature.

    Essentially, he’s claiming the boundary should be drawn here, rather than there, using arguments which I’ve already shown appear arbitrary in comment 6.

    The boundary has already moved in ways that contradicted scripture. The boundary has already moved in ways that contradict intuition. The boundary has already been dragged kicking and screaming due to new discoveries in science.

    So why accept Olasky’s boundary rather than Collins’ boundary? Better yet, why assume a boundary at all?

  69. 69

    @Clive Hayden (#66)

    What you’re claiming is akin to saying that a bit of mud on my front porch could eventually become you with enough time.

    First, it’s ambiguous as to what your implying. While there may be bacteria in mud, Evolution does not address the origin of life.

    Second, using the phrase “the mud on your front porch” is a woefully incomplete as it suggests it will remain in a static environment (your front porch) for the entire duration. Nor does it account for the conditions under which evolution would have historically formed create human beings.

    Third, evolution in no way suggests bacteria could evolve into an currently existing species, let alone a specific individual.

    Only if our universe is infinite, which is not a claim made by evolution, could such a thing possibly happen. Even then, the Big Freeze or the Big Rip could prevent that from happening.

  70. 70

    veilsofmaya,

    You yourself showed that I was not obfuscating needlessly when you wrote…

    Define “not” and “you” and “needlessly”.

  71. 71

    First, it’s ambiguous as to what your implying. While there may be bacteria in mud, Evolution does not address the origin of life.

    But materialism does.

    Second, using the phrase “the mud on your front porch” is a woefully incomplete as it suggests it will remain in a static environment (your front porch) for the entire duration. Nor does it account for the conditions under which evolution would have historically formed create human beings.

    Sure, let’s say mud in a river then, or sand in the ocean. Or a rock on a cliff. Doesn’t much matter if it’s on my porch or at the bottom of the sea when you understand what is really involved, which I’m sure you must as a critical rationalist.

    Third, evolution in no way suggests bacteria could evolve into an currently existing species, let alone a specific individual.

    No? Isn’t that Common Descent? Isn’t that the very crux of evolution? A Common Ancestor, of anything that has ever been alive, in the first single-celled organism? You included?

  72. —veilsofmaya: “So why accept Olasky’s boundary rather than Collins’ boundary? Better yet, why assume a boundary at all?”

    That’s not a bad question, if I understand what you mean about “boundaries.” So, we might be able to do business on this one. Since Olasky doesn’t use the term, and since you don’t define it, I’ll have to guess again about what you mean.

    By boundaries, I assume that you mean what Gould referred to as “non-overlapping-magisteria.” If that is what you mean, then I agree with you. If fact, Olasky seems to confuse macro-evolution, which refers to the amount of evolution that occurred, with Darwinism, which presumes to have discovered the mechanism that drives it.

    In fact, macro evolution can be understood to be either purposeful or purposeless, a point that seems to escape Olasky. Thus, there would no empirical boundaries between what science can teach us and what God revealed in nature. Indeed, Christianity stands on the notion that truth is unified, meaning that anything we discover through empirical investigation will never conflict with anything God teaches in Scripture–and vice versa.

    So, where does Olasky and Collins stand with respect to the unity of truth principle. Clearly, Collins does not believe it because he feels the need to subordinate his religion to his speculative science. Hence, his denial of an individual Adam and Eve. Further, he does embrace the self-contradictory notion that a purposeful God could create by using a purposeless evolution. That is clearly an illogical proposition. So, Olasky is right about that.

    On the other hand, Olasky seems to assume that all evolution must be purposeless, and he seems to ground that understanding on a literalist [not literal, which means grasping excatly what the author's meant (human and Divine)]understanding of Scipture. In fact, Scripture does not rule out macro-evolution, insisting only that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, with no limitations on which process he might have used. On the hand, Scripture clearly rules out Darwinistic evolution without qualification even as it also makes macro evolution seem highly unlikely, though not totally impossible.

    Still, Olasky is right to attribute randomness to Collins’ brand of evolution because Darwin’s variations are, indeed, totally random, and totally random variations leave no room for a purposeful evolution.

    Olasky is right about most things, but he wrong about his implied claim that Scripture rules out macro-evolution. What it rules out is Darwinism. That is what Francis Collins doesn’t get.

    So Olasky is a lot more right than Collins, but he does stumble on one point.

  73. @Clive Hayden (#17)

    You wrote:

    But materialism does.

    No, materialism suggests there is only one kind of substance. It says nothing specific about how life might have arisen naturally from that substance. This is the domain of biogenesis. If ID really has nothing to say about the designer, such as being supernatural or non-material, it would seem that ID could fit in a materialistic framework as well.

    As such, it seems what you’re really arguing for here is a form of spiritualism, which is based on dualism.

    Furthermore, given the discoveries such as E=MC2 and and quantum teleportation, which we can repeatedly observe repeatedly in the lab, the definition of ‘material’ is changing rapidly and subject to much debate. Is single kind of material or multiple kinds?

    Or perhaps quantum teleportation is proof that God does exist, as we’ve discovered how part of his supernatural abilities work and can harness them on demand?

    You wrote:

    Doesn’t much matter if it’s on my porch or at the bottom of the sea when you understand what is really involved, which I’m sure you must as a critical rationalist.

    and

    No? Isn’t that Common Descent?

    Clive,

    I’m giving you the benefit of doubt and assuming what you actually described was satirical, rather than ignorance or a disingenuous misrepresentation. If not, please see the clarifications I’ve already provided.

    For example, the conditions over the 4.55 billion years that created human beings no longer exists here on earth. The only way the these conditions could repeat themselves is if, given an infinite universe that does not die in a big freeze or a big crunch, such conditions would eventually appear again in close enough proximation. (Or perhaps God recreated them using his omnipotence?) However, TOE does not claim the universe is infinite. Nor does materialism claim the universe will not die in a big freeze or a big rip.

    As such, …”when you understand what is really involved”…, it really does matter.

  74. —“No, materialism suggests there is only one kind of substance. It says nothing specific about how life might have arisen naturally from that substance. This is the domain of biogenesis. If ID really has nothing to say about the designer, such as being supernatural or non-material, it would seem that ID could fit in a materialistic framework as well.”

    As a scientific enterprise, ID does not, in principle, rule out a material designer. What it contests is “scientific materialism,” and its tool of enforcement, methodological naturalism, which forbids the study of intelligent causes, either material or non-material. ID Science makes no claims about either monism or dualism. That is why even an atheist such as Bradley Monton can accept the principle of intelligent design.

    On the other hand, philosophy, if it is based on sound reasoning, recognizes that the idea of a material designer is totally illogical. Insofar as they are familiar with philosophy and sound reasoning, therefore, most ID scientists undoubtedly recognize that fact.

    First, the designer cannot be matter in motion, because anything that is moved must be moved by something else. Because that process cannot go on into infinity, a first mover is required.

    Further, the first mover must be Self existent. If it depended on anything else for its existence, then obviously it would not be the first mover. That also means that the first mover must be unchanging, because if it was changing, a prior cause would have to be changing it.

    Further, since the first cause if unchangeable, it must also be immaterial. If it was material, it would also be changeable. Further, since the first cause is self existent, immaterial, and unchanging, it must be the source of everything else.

    If the first mover is the source of everything else, it must possess and intellect and a will, and must therefore, be a person. Thus, two realms must exist, the material and the non-material.

    To sum up: While ID science is obliged to accommodate the possibility of a materialistic designer, sound philosophy recognizes that such a proposition is totally ridiculous.

  75. 75

    veilsofmaya,

    Clive,

    I’m giving you the benefit of doubt and assuming what you actually described was satirical, rather than ignorance or a disingenuous misrepresentation. If not, please see the clarifications I’ve already provided.

    I wasn’t joking whatsoever. Common Descent claims that everything that lives came from a single cell, quite literally. What’s to be satirical about? This is your theory, not mine, I am sure you would know this as a critical rationalist materialist evolutionist. Regardless of whether the conditions still exist here on Earth for macroeveolution of molecule to man, (we don’t know what they were to begin with, and may never know, given that abiogenesis is still a complete mystery for materialism), this is what materialists and evolutionists claim happened; everything alive came from one cell, which came from some self-replicating molecule, which came from rocks, which came from space dust, which came from the singularity, which came from nothing. Does this strike you as funny? It does me, but I’m certainly not being satirical.

  76. veilofmaya you state:

    “Furthermore, given the discoveries such as E=MC2 and and quantum teleportation, which we can repeatedly observe repeatedly in the lab, the definition of ‘material’ is changing rapidly and subject to much debate. Is single kind of material or multiple kinds?”

    Well veilsofmaya there is actually quite a lot to gleen from teleportation and E=MC2, none of which is friendly to the materialistic framework. that you would state the definition of “material” is changing rapidly is very funny for there is found to be no “material” foundation to reality as was first postulated by materialism thousands of years ago. In fact Reality, at its most basement level, reduces to transcendent information, which is exactly what John 1:1 has held for 2 thousand years.

  77. @StephanB (#72)

    you wrote:

    By boundaries, I assume that you mean what Gould referred to as “non-overlapping-magisteria.”

    While I can see how you might have reached this conclusion, what I’m referring to can be found here , which is somewhat of a continuation of here

    To quote from the comment.

    In case it’s not clear, I’m suggesting that we can rightfully say ID’s implied theory is a convoluted elaboration of and a response to TOE. Furthermore, it shares the following with The Inquisition’s implied theory and even Solipsism: it draws an arbitrary boundary beyond which human reason and understanding has no access and problem solving can no longer increase knowledge.

    For Solipsists, this boundary is drawn at their brain/mind. For The Inquisition it was drawn around the earth. And for ID it’s drawn at the development of biological complexity we observe. We we simply cannot understand why the designer intentionally made things appear to have evolved, and we never will. Who are we do say how or why God, oops … I mean the intelligent designer did it?

    For example, In ( #74) You wrote:

    On the other hand, philosophy, if it is based on sound reasoning, recognizes that the idea of a material designer is totally illogical. Insofar as they are familiar with philosophy and sound reasoning, therefore, most ID scientists undoubtedly recognize that fact.

    Is the boundary drawn by philosophical Solipsism based on sound reasoning? After all, if consciousness can only be a first person experience, it would be impossible for you to know for sure that an external realty actually exits or that you really having a discussion with a separate conscious entity. Why not draw the boundary at our brain/minds as Solipsism suggests?

    We are realists because when we take Solipsism seriously it does not explain reality. Instead, Solipsism suggests there are dream-like aspects of myself that act like autonomous conscious beings which surprise me, have different personalities and even disagree with me on Solipsism! And there object-like facets of myself that obey laws of physics like facets even though, as a non-physicist, I can’t do the math that describes their behavior. Not to mention that these supposed people-like facets of myself discover new things about myself (physics like facets) all the time, which I wasn’t aware of previously.

    In other words, Solipsism consists of the theory of realty with the added exception of it all being elaborate figments of my internal self. As such, It’s a bad explanation which we can discard. It does not actually explain reality, it attempts to explain way the currently tenable theory.

    Another example? Surely, it might be the case that the earth is surrounded by a giant planetarium, of which the boundary represents the limit of existence. This planetarium could faithfully returns light and radio waves so that merely appereas that we exist in a massive universe. It may return spaceships with manufactured telemetry, research and even remove fuel so it only appears they traveled vast distances. It may return astronauts with elaborate implanted memories of their journeys.

    Surely, from a philosophical position, it would be impossible to prove this were not the case either, so why not draw the line there? Again, we do not assume this is the case because it’s a bad explanation. It does not explain the universe, it only attempts to explain it away by drawing it’s own specific boundary at which human reason and understanding has no access and problem solving can no longer increase knowledge.

    Indeed, Christianity stands on the notion that truth is unified, meaning that anything we discover through empirical investigation will never conflict with anything God teaches in Scripture–and vice versa

    So, where does Olasky and Collins stand with respect to the unity of truth principle. Clearly, Collins does not believe it because he feels the need to subordinate his religion to his speculative science.

    Please see comment 6, as these claims have already been made by Luther and Calvin, among others.

    And how have discoveries such as these been resolved in the past? Assume that scripture that was once literal is actually metaphorical or the the result of finite beings trying to understand the message of an infinite God. After all, the Bible is not a science book, right? From a historical perspective, this is non-controversial, yet Olasky’s argument seems to imply it has never happened before, so why start now?

    On the hand, Scripture clearly rules out Darwinistic evolution without qualification even as it also makes macro evolution seem highly unlikely, though not totally impossible.

    You mean the specific interpretation of scripture Olasky holds, which has changed significantly over the centuries?

    Further, he does embrace the self-contradictory notion that a purposeful God could create by using a purposeless evolution. That is clearly an illogical proposition. So, Olasky is right about that.

    StephanB,

    What is the purpose of our universe?

    if we assume the depiction of Satan is accurate in the Bible, then having physical form does not appear necessary to accept or reject God as he was supposedly God’s right hand angel who had direct knowledge that God exited. Yet he eventually rejected him anyway. So, why do we exist in a physical universe?

    Do you think God fine tuned the universe? If so, what specifically wast it tuned for? Most theists suggest it was tuned support life as we know it, including human beings, which are supposedly Gods’ special creation. Should it be possible to vary these parameters significantly, life as we know it could not exist. is this not the classical theist argument?

    In other words, if the universe is finely tuned and has a purpose, but this purpose is not to facilitate choosing or rejecting God or creating life as we know it, then please explain what purpose does the universe serve?

  78. @bornagain77 (#76)

    You wrote:

    Well veilsofmaya there is actually quite a lot to gleen from teleportation and E=MC2, none of which is friendly to the materialistic framework.

    Born,

    Again, if quantum teleportation is not part of nature, then is it supernatural? Have we tapped into God’s omnipotent power which we can invoke on demand in the lab? Or perhaps these researchers are practicing the modern day equivalent of a Satanic ritual by enlisting demons to instantly teleport the state of one photon to another?

    If not then, by all means, please enlighten us and explain exactly what else is it?

    Of course, I won’t be holding my breath as I do not expect an explanation to be forth coming.

  79. @Clive Hayden (#75)

    I wasn’t joking whatsoever.

    So I’ll assume ignorance, a disingenuous misrepresentation or some combination of the two, as you failed to address how any of the “details” I illustrated really do matter.

  80. @gpuccio (#45)

    You wrote:

    The ID point is that such events are rare functional examples among a huge majority of non functional possible events. The ID point is that, exactly as obtaining a new functional protein is empirically impossible through RV and NS alone, in the same way obtaining a finely tuned duplication, or set of duplications, and the coordinated mutations both in the coding and non coding sequence and in the related regulatory sequences, which perfectly integrates in a complex regulatory system involving many different agents, is empirically impossible through RV and NS alone.

    Gpuccio,

    How is this not a convoluted elaboration of TOE?

    The complexity of biological life is just like neo-darwinsts suggest in that the arrival of harmful traits are unplanned errors on the part of nature, while the appearance of useful traits – including those that only appeared to be neutral or detrimental, but add up to an advantage when put together – are really the work of an intelligent being. In other words, it’s just like evolution, except an intelligent designer must have occasionally stepped in because useful traits represent information and we currently define information as resulting from an intelligent agent, or you simply can’t imagine a way these traits formed naturally (personal incredulity.)

    Again, your’e drawing what appears to be an arbitrary boundary. We can understand how harmful traits appear, but no amount of problem solving or reasoning can explain how positive traits can appear. Therefore, an intelligent designer must have done it.

  81. StephenB:

    First, the designer cannot be matter in motion, because anything that is moved must be moved by something else.

    So apparently there is no such thing as self-propulsion. I guess that’s not a terribly surprising claim, considering that it comes from someone who seems to believe that temperature cannot increase in an isolated system:

    Imagine a pan full of water changing from cold to hot. The cause of that change must come from the outside, either from the flame on the range top or from some other source of heat. The pan of water cannot warm itself. The change most certainly cannot come from the inside of the pan.

  82. veilsofmaya, when you stated this,,,:

    “Of course, I won’t be holding my breath as I do not expect an explanation to be forth coming.”

    ,,, in response to you expecting any explanation from me on how Quantum Teleportation relates to God you probably made quite a few of the regulars on UD laugh for I have probably bored more people with that particular topic, by repeating it repeatedly. But just for you I will go through it one more time.

    As well, “pure transcendent information” is now shown to be “conserved”. (i.e. it is shown that all transcendent information which can possibly exist, for all possible physical events, past, present, and future, already must exist. This is since transcendent information exercises direct dominion of energy which cannot be created or destroyed by any “material” means. i.e. First Law of Thermodynamics)

    Conservation Of Transcendent Information – 2007 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995275

    These following studies verified what I had suspected in the preceding video:

    How Teleportation Will Work -
    Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made.
    http://science.howstuffworks.c.....ation1.htm

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”
    http://www.research.ibm.com/qu.....portation/

    Unconditional Quantum Teleportation – abstract
    Excerpt: This is the first realization of unconditional quantum teleportation where every state entering the device is actually teleported,,
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/.....2/5389/706

    Of note: conclusive evidence for the violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics is firmly found in the preceding experiment when coupled with the complete displacement of the infinite transcendent information of “Photon c”:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....cjR0eG1neg

    In extension to the 2007 video, the following video and article shows quantum teleportation breakthroughs have actually shed a little light on exactly what, or more precisely on exactly Whom, has created this universe:

    Scientific Evidence For God (Logos) Creating The Universe – 2008 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3995300

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a (photon) qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport.
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

    It is also interesting to note that we can only “destroy” a photon in these quantum teleportation experiments. No one has “created” a photon as of yet. I firmly believe man shall never do as such, since I hold only God is infinite, and perfect, in information/knowledge. ,,,,,

  83. cont…,,,,,,,,

    More supporting evidence for the transcendent nature of information, and how it interacts with energy, is found in these following studies:

    Single photons to soak up data:
    Excerpt: the orbital angular momentum of a photon can take on an infinite number of values. Since a photon can also exist in a superposition of these states, it could – in principle – be encoded with an infinite amount of information.
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/7201

    Ultra-Dense Optical Storage – on One Photon
    Excerpt: Researchers at the University of Rochester have made an optics breakthrough that allows them to encode an entire image’s worth of data into a photon, slow the image down for storage, and then retrieve the image intact.
    http://www.physorg.com/news88439430.html

    This following experiment clearly shows information is not an “emergent property” of any solid material basis as is dogmatically asserted by some materialists:

    Converting Quantum Bits: Physicists Transfer Information Between Matter and Light
    Excerpt: A team of physicists at the Georgia Institute of Technology has taken a significant step toward the development of quantum communications systems by successfully transferring quantum information from two different groups of atoms onto a single photon.
    http://gtresearchnews.gatech.e.....mtrans.htm

    It is also interesting to note that a Compact Disc crammed with information on it weighs exactly the same as a CD with no information on it whatsoever.

    Information – Elusive but Tangible – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WytNkw1xOIc

    Information? What Is It Really? Professor Andy McIntosh – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4739025

    Reflection on the quantum teleportation experiment:

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its “infinite” information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. a photon “disappeared” from the universe when the entire information content of a photon was “transcendently displaced” from the material universe, in the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became transmitted photon “a”). Thus, this is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means, yet a photon of energy is destroyed by this transcendent means. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed and, in information demonstrating transcendence of space-time matter-energy, becomes the only known entity that can explain where all energy came from as far as the Big Bang is concerned. That is it is the only known entity which can explain where all the energy came from in the Big Bang without leaving the bounds of empirical science. (as a side note: transcendent information is the primary entity from which all reality presently comes from as far as the wave function collapse of Quantum Mechanics is concerned.) Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, a photon of energy, as transcendent information does in teleportation, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities as energy. i.e. All information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist. Another line of evidence, corroborating the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information, is the required mathematical definition for infinite information needed to correctly specify the reality of a photon qubit (Armond Duwell).
    As well, the fact that quantum teleportation shows an exact “location dominion”, of a photon of energy by “a specified truth of infinite information”, satisfies a major requirement for the entity needed to explain the missing Dark Matter. The needed transcendent explanation would have to dominate energy in a very similar “specified location” fashion, as is demonstrated by the infinite information of quantum teleportation, to satisfy what is needed to explain the missing dark matter.

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

    Moreover, the fact that simple quantum entanglement shows “coordinated universal control” of entangled photons of energy, by transcendent information, satisfies a major requirement for the entity which must explain the missing Dark Energy. i.e. The transcendent entity, needed to explain Dark Energy, must explain why the entire space of the universe is expanding in such a finely-tuned, coordinated, degree, and would have to employ a mechanism of control very similar to what we witness in the quantum entanglement experiment.

    Job 9:8
    He stretches out the heavens by Himself and walks on the waves of the sea.

    Thus “infinite transcendent information” provides a coherent picture of universal control, and specificity, that could possibly unify gravity with the other forces. It very well may be possible to elucidate, mathematically, the overall pattern God has chosen to implement infinite information in this universe. The following article backs up this assertion:

    Is Unknown Force In Universe Acting On Dark Matter?
    Excerpt: It is possible that a non-gravitational fifth force is ruling the dark matter with an invisible hand, leaving the same fingerprints on all galaxies, irrespective of their ages, shapes and sizes.” ,,Such a force might solve an even bigger mystery, known as ‘dark energy’, which is ruling the accelerated expansion of the Universe. A more radical solution is a revision of the laws of gravity first developed by Isaac Newton in 1687 and refined by Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity in 1916. Einstein never fully decided whether his equation should add an omnipresent constant source, now called dark energy. ,,Dr Famaey added, “If we account for our observations with a modified law of gravity, it makes perfect sense to replace the effective action of hypothetical dark matter with a force closely related to the distribution of visible matter.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....154644.htm

    “I discovered that nature was constructed in a wonderful way, and our task is to find out its mathematical structure”
    Albert Einstein

    Further reflections on the “infinite transcendent information” framework:

    Mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. As well, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for mass at the speed of light (i.e. the mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light.). For us to hypothetically travel at the speed of light, in this universe, only gets us to first base as far as quantum entanglement, or teleportation, are concerned. That is to say, traveling at the speed of light only gets us to the place where time, as we understand it, comes to complete stop for light, i.e. gets us to the eternal, “past and future folding into now”, framework of time. This higher dimension “eternal” inference for the time framework of light is warranted because light is not “frozen within time” yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein
    http://www.rd.com/your-america.....176-2.html

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.” – Richard Swenson

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

  84. 84

    The above comment was a response to a comment on another thread. Feel free to delete both this comment and the comment in question.

  85. cont.,,,,,,,,

    Also, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them, but, and this is a big but; this “timeless” travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent to our temporal framework of time, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference, is still not completely transcendent of our framework since light appears to take time to travel from our perspective. In information teleportation though the “time not passing”, eternal, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but also in our temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us. Thus “pure information” is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we have now examined; transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which It resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned). Logic also dictates “a decision” must have been made, by the “transcendent, eternal, infinite information” from the primary timeless (eternal) reality It inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive by yet another line of evidence besides the double slit experiment.

    The First Cause Must Be A Personal Being – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4813914

    The restriction imposed by our physical limitations of us ever accessing complete infinite information to our temporal framework/dimension (Wheeler; Zeilinger) does not detract, in any way, from the primacy and dominion of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, information framework that is now established by the quantum teleportation experiment as the primary reality of our reality. Of note: All of this evidence meshes extremely well with the theistic postulation of God being infinite and perfect in knowledge.

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy – Artwork homepage – http://www.artakiane.com/ – Music video – http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4204586

    As a side light to this, leading quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger has followed in John Archibald Wheeler’s footsteps (1911-2008) by insisting reality, at its most foundational level, is “information”.

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.” John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.” Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/Magaz.....fault.aspx

    etc..etc..

    further notes here:

    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

  86. —Rob: “So apparently there is no such thing as self-propulsion. I guess that’s not a terribly surprising claim, considering that it comes from someone who seems to believe that temperature cannot increase in an isolated system:”

    Strictly speaking, nothing is self propelled because the ultimate source of the energy must be explained. However, that fact would obviously be lost on someone who thinks that something can come from nothing.

  87. 87

    @Bornagain77 (#82)

    Are you claiming that quantum entanglement is supernatural, and researchers have harnessed God’s omnipotent power to instantly transport the state of a photon, at will, in a lab?

    In other words, we can make God perform tricks for us on demand? Really?

  88. veilsofmaya, I hold that God is the originator and sustainer of reality,, i.e. the Logos.

    If you want tricks I suggest you go to a circus, but if you want a personal relationship with God, I suggest you go to Jesus Christ in prayer.

  89. veilsofmaya @77: You just invested 969 words to say something that could have been said in one or two pargaraphs. Although Olaksy is the subject matter of this thread, I am going ask you to forget about him since it has proven too much of a burden for you to distinguish between his thoughts and mine.
    Try, at least, to stay with the main theme. Theistic Evolutionsts are illogical to hold that a purposeful, mindful God could use a purposeless, mindless process to create. Please try to stay on topic, avoiding discussions about solipsism, fantasy universes, and other irrelevant examples. Do you or do you not agree that the attempt to integrate purposeless Darwinism with purposeful Christianity is irrational?

    You can begin by answering yes or no. If the answer is no, then tell me how to reconcile the two points. If the answer is yes, then concede the point and move on. If you must use examples, make them relevant, and do not try to cram three of four themes into one paragraph.

  90. 90

    @Bornagain77 (#88)

    Born,

    Despite all of the links and followups you’ve provided, It’s still unclear what your position is.

    For example, given your last comment, you seem to suggest that God performs quantum teleportation on-demand in a lab because researchers have a personal relationship with him. But I don’t think this is really your position.

    My question is simple: is quantum teleportation supernatural or not? If so, why is it that researchers can perform it on-demand in a lab?

  91. veilsofmaya, you asked:

    My question is simple: is quantum teleportation supernatural or not?

    Since God “naturally”, and continually, sustains reality then it is to be considered “natural” from a Theistic perspective for God to sustain reality, yet from a strict materialistic perspective, there is nothing “natural” about defying time and space, in fact quantum teleportation clearly falsifies the primary definition of materialism, Thus from a strict materialistic perspective every time a quantum event is witnessed by a materialist that defies time and space it should in fact be considered a supernatural event. In fact, even though I am a theist, I still am blown away by the “spooky” world of quantum mechanics which blatantly defy time and space, though it is to be “naturally expected” from a pure theistic perspective for transcendent God to sustain reality as such.

    Yet of more to the point with you veilsofmaya,,,,,,

    ,,,,Does being able to discern the primary reality of reality, i.e. Logos, through quantum teleportation and the first law of thermodynamics, mean in any conceivable way that you have a meaningful personal relationship with that prime reality or not? Of course not! that is the whole point of Christs’ life, death, and resurrection is to “reestablish” God’s personal relationship with each and every man and woman who is willing so that we might be received into his presence in heaven.

    The Supremacy of Christ
    Colossians 1 15-20
    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by 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.

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity; Quantum Theory; and the Shroud Of Turin: – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993426/

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – (Of Note: Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every founder of each major branch of modern science also had a deep Christian connection.)

  92. …”Rob: “from someone who seems to believe that temperature cannot increase in an isolated system:”

    So, you think my little example of the heat from a rangetop transferring heat to a pan of water on the stove was an example of an isolated system, do you? Here is a clue: The rangetop is external to the pan of water.

    Speaking of isolated systems, your explanation for the source of the energy or heat contained in them is what? Isolated means isolated from other physical systems [surroundings]; it does not mean isolated from the influence of the power that drives it and sustains it.

  93. 93

    @StephenB (#89)

    You just invested 969 words to say something that could have been said in one or two pargaraphs.

    If you understand what I wrote well enough to know it could have been said in a few paragraphs, then why are you asking for further clarification?

    Please try to stay on topic, avoiding discussions about solipsism, fantasy universes, and other irrelevant examples.

    I invested 969 words to show exactly how it’s relevant and why Collins drawing a boundary at the universe appears arbitrary, and therefore illogical.

    Do you or do you not agree that the attempt to integrate purposeless Darwinism with purposeful Christianity is irrational?

    You can begin by answering yes or no.

    While we both might think that Collins’ position appears irrational, it seems clear that we do so for very different reasons. As such, in demanding a yes or no answer, you seem to be presenting a false dilemma.

    If the answer is no, then tell me how to reconcile the two points.

    In case it’s not obvious, I’m suggesting they are both arbitrary. Therefore some form of logical or rational reconciliation is not possible.

    However, if the universe is purposeful, as both you and Collins seem to suggest, then what might that purpose be? Given that scripture suggests a physical universe is not necessary for us to choose or reject him, what other purpose did God had in mind?

    Collins seems to think God created and fine tuned our universe as a means to eventually form the kind of life we observe. That is, the purpose of the universe is to evolve, whether through stellar evolution or biological evolution. Again, while I think Collin’s position represents an arbitrary boundary, he has provided a specific purpose for universe.

    Not wanting to put words into your mouth, I pass the question to you. What do you think the purpose of the universe is?

  94. veilsofmaya, BA:

    I have not taken part in this interesting conversation, but I would just like to add a note on so called “naturalism”, because that has always been a point of disagreement and confusion, which probably is not worthwhile.

    As I see it, the problem with modern so called “naturalism” is that scientists identify “nature” with “our theory of nature”. I think veilsofmaya can probably agree that the two things are not the same.

    Distinguishing between a “natural” shere and a “supernatural” sphere can be a proper philosophical issue, although I am not sure how useful it is even at that level. But, at the scientific level, it just means a waste of time.

    The fact is, science deals with reality as we can know and understand it through some more or less definable procedures, let’s call them “the scientific method”, with all the caustion which is necessary about such a concept (ehm, my Feyerabendish spirit never dies…).

    So, nature, or perceivable reality and its workings, are the object of science.

    But we can agree that we don’t understand the whole of nature, whatever it is. So, our present understanding of nature is a limited map, maybe under some aspects a wrong map. Only the most die hard scientists can be completely sure that science can never be wrong.

    So, the only way to define “natural” at the science level would be something like that:

    “natural” is what can be explained by our present map of reality.

    So, if our map is limited or wrong, anything which cannot be explained in that map becomes “supernatural”. Or “innatural”?

    So, let’s say that we believe the laws of physics as we understand them now can explain everything. Shall we call dark energy, if it exists and whatever it is, supernatural?

    The scenario of physics today is everything but a complete and non contradictory one. Even quantum mechanics, probably the most important theory of the last century, admits many contradictory interpretations. String theory, on which many great physicists have worked for decades, is more a problem than a solution. And that’s only physics, not even astrophysics or, even worse, biology!

    So, wouldn’t it be better that we avoid to use again in our discussions the words “natural”, “naturalism”, “supernatural”, and so on? Or at least, if we definitely want to use them, please explain every time what we mean?

  95. —veilsofmaya: “While we both might think that Collins’ position appears irrational, it seems clear that we do so for very different reasons. As such, in demanding a yes or no answer, you seem to be presenting a false dilemma.”

    It’s not a false dilemma. Christianity cannot be reconciled with Darwinism. You either agree or you do not. Which is it?

    —“In case it’s not obvious, I’m suggesting they are both arbitrary. Therefore some form of logical or rational reconciliation is not possible.”

    I have no idea what you mean whey you say that each position is “arbitrary.” There is nothing arbitrary about the idea that God created the universe for a purpose. That is about as meaningful as things can get. It appears that you are simply unwilling to confront a very simple question. Can purposeless Darwinism be reconciled with the idea of a purposeful creator? Why will you not answer this very simple question with a yes or a no.

    —“However, if the universe is purposeful, as both you and Collins seem to suggest, then what might that purpose be?”

    The purpose of the universe is to provide a stage on which humans can make moral choices so as to determine their ultimate destiny. It was created to be a universe of soul making.

    —“Given that scripture suggests a physical universe is not necessary for us to choose or reject him, what other purpose did God had in mind?”

    I can’t imagine how you extracted such a meaning from Scripture. Would it be too much for you to explain how you arrived at such a conclusion? As created, man is composed of body and soul. Since his body is part of the physical universe, and since his body is involved in his choices, a physical universe would be part of that choice environment.

    —“Collins seems to think God created and fine tuned our universe as a means to eventually form the kind of life we observe. That is, the purpose of the universe is to evolve, whether through stellar evolution or biological evolution. Again, while I think Collin’s position represents an arbitrary boundary, he has provided a specific purpose for universe?”

    Collins’ begs the question. If the universe was created for life, then a follow up question must be asked. Why? It is the “why” question which provides the meaning of the universe, not the “how” question. The how is always for the sake of the why. Naturally, all of this would escape Collins because, competent scientist that he is, he is a terrible philosopher and not very clear thinker.

  96. gpuccio,

    Given your thoughts on the supernatural and natural, I thought you may appreciate this comment/observation by Chomsky:

    There is no longer any definite conception of body. Rather, the material world is whatever we discover it to be, with whatever properties it must be assumed to have for the purposes of explanatory theory. Any intelligible theory that offers genuine explanations and that can be assimilated to the core notions of physics becomes part of the theory of the material world, part of our account of body. If we have such a theory in some domain, we seek to assimilate it to the core notions of physics, perhaps modifying these notions as we carry out this enterprise.

    In other words, the problem isn’t just with ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’. It’s also a problem for ‘material’ and ‘physical’ (and therefore, ‘immaterial’).

    So I find the recent comment by veils of maya (“Given that scripture suggests a physical universe is not necessary for us to choose or reject him, what other purpose did God had in mind?”) to be somewhat misdirected. As bornagain77 would probably emphasize in his own way, the physical world ain’t what it used to be.

  97. StephenB,

    I can’t imagine how you extracted such a meaning from Scripture. Would it be too much for you to explain how you arrived at such a conclusion? As created, man is composed of body and soul. Since his body is part of the physical universe, and since his body is involved in his choices, a physical universe would be part of that choice environment.

    I think what maya is getting at is that if angels are A) nonphysical (whatever that means nowadays) and B) able to accept or reject God, what’s the point of a physical world? Of course, as I said above, this assumes “physical” has more content than it really does. And I’d add that right out of Genesis, it’s clear that God didn’t have only humanity in mind. God had everything in mind – planets, oceans, animals, plants, etc. (Notice Genesis has all these things being created, and God calling them ‘good’. We’re damn important, but the sole and exclusive point? Since when?)

  98. nullasalus:

    It’s also a problem for ‘material’ and ‘physical’ (and therefore, ‘immaterial’).

    I absolutely agree. As I have tried to point out, one of my firm points is that consciousness is an empirical reality, and we have to include it in any map we build. That’s the great error of anti-empirical scientism.

    So, what’s cosnciousness? Natural or supernatural? Material or immaterial?

    But those questions have no sense, because consciousness simply is, it’s real, it’s the first reality we experience, and the one through which we experience all the rest. IOW, we can even doubt matter, we can even doubt nature, but we can’t doubt consciousness.

    So, if concepts like natural and material have no meaning for the first and most important reality, they certainly cannot be assumed as absolutes for anything else. Indeed, “natural” and “material” are very relative concepts, bound to multiple assumptions about reality which can be very different from one person to the other, from one culture to the other. IOW, they are ambiguous concepts, of the worst kind.

  99. —nullasalus: “I think what maya is getting at is that if angels are A) nonphysical (whatever that means nowadays) and B) able to accept or reject God, what’s the point of a physical world?”

    As stated, that would be a very reasonable question. The angels may well have fallen prior to the creation of the universe, although I suspect not. In any case, they would not need a physical universe since they are pure spirits. My theological perspective, for what it is worth, is that their disobedience may well have put a crack in the universe even before we arrived.

    However, veilsofmaya asked this question:

    —“Given that scripture suggests a physical universe is not necessary for US to choose or reject him, what other purpose did God had in mind?”

    We are not angels, so the physical universe is not irrelevant with respect to our moral choices.

    —”as I said above, this assumes “physical” has more content than it really does. And I’d add that right out of Genesis, it’s clear that God didn’t have only humanity in mind. God had everything in mind – planets, oceans, animals, plants, etc. (Notice Genesis has all these things being created, and God calling them ‘good’. We’re damn important, but the sole and exclusive point? Since when?)

    Granted, all these things granted. However, the physical universe is part of our moral universe and was apparently meant to be. Don’t forget I am discussing the purpose for which God did create the universe–I am not claiming that it is the only possible universe which God could have created for that purpose. veilsofmaya is confusing the two considerations.

    No one is making the claim that it is the only kind of created order throught which God’s creatures could save their souls. However, it is through the created order we are now experiencing that God purposely intended for us to make choices about our final destiny. I suspect that God could have created us a solely spiritual beings, just as he created the angels, in which case a physical universe would be irrelevant.

    Insofar as we are composed of body and soul, however, and insofar as our bodies are part of the physical universe, and insofar as our choices involve our bodies, the physical universe [however you want to describe it as a non-spiritual reality] is part of the moral environment that God chose for us. We are tempted by both material flesh and non-material spirit. Without the physical universe, we could not be tempted by our physcial sensibilities nor would we receive any merit for overcoming them. Indeed, God needed a physical universe throught which he could perform the miracle of his incarnation.

  100. On the matter God’s purpose for creating the universe, here are a couple of other thoughtful answers:

    St. John of the Cross: “God’s purpose is to make the soul great.”

    Stafford Betty, a professor at professor of religious studies at California State quotes Rabbi David Wolpe:

    –We are “sprit buds.” “If we are only buds today, tomorrow we may be flowers. Nothing less could please God so much. For God’s innermost nature is loving, and love desires the good of the beloved, just as the best and wisest of human parents desire nothing so much as the good of their children. And what is that good? What else could it be, ultimately, but joy? God desires us to become joyous beings, realized saints. God creates with one purpose: to share his joy, to multiply, without end, the divine delight, to see the joy that resides at his core reflected in us–a few of us in this life, most of us, realistically, at some point in the next.”

    Now ask yourself how this fits in with Collins’ Darwinism. The one thing that makes no sense at all is to say that God created the world so that it would “evolve.” Indeed, it makes no sense to say even that God’s purpose was to create life. That simply leads to another question—why?

  101. 101
    CannuckianYankee

    I’ve been reading the posts between Veilsofmaya, StephenB, gpuccio and nullasalus regarding supernatural and purpose. Thought I’d enter some observations.

    There is a tendency to equate “natural” as “real,” and anything that is not natural as “supernatural” or “not real.”

    Discussions of this nature have permeated this blog since I started posting several years ago.

    There’s an argument often goes like this:

    Since God is supernatural, He can’t be real.

    And the further deduction that since God is supernatural, science cannot have any say in God’s reality.

    Such an argument is predicated on several false assumptions.

    The first assumption is this:

    God is not real. (we can’t know that)

    The 2nd assumption:

    If God is real, He is supernatural. (It’s not a logical deduction)

    And the 2nd assumption allows one to arrive at the first.

    Several issues arrise here:

    How does one arrive at “if God is real, He is supernatural?”

    How does one arrive at “The supernatural can’t be real?”

    The only proposal I can think of that would make this logical is an assumption of naturalism as the only reality. But such an assumption is only logical to an extent. As long as it does not consider philosophical or cosmological necessities, it remains logical; but once it goes beyond observable reality to consider issues of origins, it steps outside the bounds of logic.

    I don’t know whether it’s accurate to conceive of God as “supernatural,” but it is not a logical deduction that what we call supernatural is by necessity “super real.”

    OK, so we’ve done away with the most common logical objection to God’s reality. What then?

    Well God then becomes a logical possibility. If God is a logical possibility, there are certain assumptions that can’t be made simply by the possibility.

    One assumption earlier mentioned is that He is by necessity “supernatural.” The term itself is a human construct for forces that are unknown to our physical reality. So I would say that “supernatural” itself has a potential to not be connected to any reality. But this does not in the least cancel out God. Why? Because “supernatural” is simply a term that changes with new information. Forces that we currently do not know in our physical sphere of reality may become known. They will then become natural (or known) to our physical sphere of reality.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument, the phenomenon of ESP. We have no empirical evidence that it is real. Right now for all intents and purposes, it fits with what we would perceive as “supernatural.” Yet, it is a logical possibility. Once it becomes a reality through empirical evidence, then it will no longer be “supernatural.” We will have a logical explanation for its reality. I’m not suggesting that this will ever happen, but it is a possibility.

    The same argument can be made for God. God is a logical possibility. If we come upon empirical evidence that God is somehow a reality, then God too will cease to be “supernatural.” We will know that there are logical and empirical ways to determine not only His existence, but perhaps the methods/forces He employs to exert His will. Perhaps we will never find out those methods/forces empirically; then they will remain for us “supernatural,” while God as an empirical reality can remain “natural” to our experience.

    So you can see that “supernatural” is really a construct of our imagination in light of that which we don’t currently know. The ancients would probably see our modern technologies as “supernatural,” because they would not have a basis within their reality to explain them logically.

    Now what does this have to do with purpose? If God becomes an empirical reality and no longer “supernatural,” then all purpose falls within God’s realm. Currently for the non-theist, all purpose is subjective to the individual. Once God becomes a “natural” reality, the individual is then committed to explore purposes outside of him/herself; given that the Judeo-Christian views of God are correct.

    It’s a matter of what’s the basis for purpose. If God becomes an empirical reality, then we will know that such a God had certain things in mind rather than others.

    There is a problem here though, because according to Judeo-Christian beliefs, God is not known through empirical investigation, but through faith. If an atheist truly desires to know what God’s purpose is according to Judeo-Christian beliefs, he/she must have a correct understanding of faith from that perspective. Right now the common assumption is that faith is a blind acceptance of things for which there is no evidence. Yet this is not how most faithful Jews, Christians, Muslims view faith. If it was, then there would be no apologists. In fact, I would dare say there would be no Bible. What would be the point? If faith is simply blind acceptance, then the thousands of Chapters of the bible could be reduced to one sentence: “Believe in God because God said so.”

    But faith is not that way. Faith understands that God created the world for a certain purpose and not another. It is because of this that we know about purpose and meaning even apart from God: although we may not know exactly what is the purpose and meaning, we know about the concept of purpose and meaning.

  102. I like Dembski’s take on God purpose for creating the universe, or more importantly, on God’s purpose for allowing the opportunity for evil to be a part of His created universe:

    End Of Christianity – pg. 35
    Excerpt: It is vital here to form a correct picture of Christ’s redemption and our
    role in it. In allowing evil and then redeeming us from it, God is not an
    arsonist who starts a fire, lets things heat up for us, and then, at the last
    moment, steps in so that he can be the big hero. Nor is God a casual
    bystander, who sees a fire start spontaneously and then lets it get out of
    control so that he can be the big hero to rescue us.
    We are the arsonists. We started the fire. God wants to rescue us not
    only from the fire we started but also, and more importantly, from our
    disposition to start fires, that is, from our life of arson. But to be rescued
    from a life of arson requires that we know how destructive arson is.20 Fires
    always start out small. If God always instantly put out the fires we start,
    we would never appreciate the damage fires can do.
    We started a fire in consenting to evil. God permits this fire to rage. He
    grants this permission not so that he can be a big hero when he rescues us
    but so that we can rightly understand the human condition and thus come
    to our senses. In rescuing us by suffering on the Cross, God does end up
    being a hero. But that is not the point of his suffering. The point is to fix a
    broken relationship between God and humanity.
    http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    which reminds me of this scripture:

    Romans 8:22-23
    For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

    which reminds me of this poem:

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

    In a windswept field the clouds build
    The sky grows dark, the air smells of coming rain
    As a nervous world stews in fearful anticipation
    Fearful anticipation for the promised Wonders,
    Of the new promised Wonders from the Ancient Ones hand
    Yes, the mighty foretold Wonders
    Soon to be seen across the land
    Could this be THE prophesied cleansing rain?
    Will He finally wash away all our tears and pain?
    Lightning cracks the sky open,,,
    For a brief instance the glorious white light of His kingdom is revealed,,,
    The tear in the sky threatens to rip the sky asunder
    The world roars applause with a loud sustained thunder
    An applause for the glorious light we have glimpsed
    From the world of light promised past death’s weakened fence
    Yes, of the glory promised to our every fiber and sense
    Another longer bolt of lightning teases us yet again
    And again the world with thunder shouts an encouraging reply
    Yes, Encouraging the glory of paradise to swallow this world whole
    Yet, it is followed by a long low grumble for being teased yet again
    For being teased yet again with the coming of a glorious paradise
    A long low grumble yearning jealously for the promise that is so soon near
    But alas, the sky closes behind the lightning bolt’s rip
    All the world is still as it was
    The clouds open up, The rain pours down
    But it is not really raining, the clouds are really crying
    Crying for the world must face yet another day
    Face yet another day of being one step short of paradise.

  103. StephenB (92),

    “So, you think my little example of the heat from a rangetop transferring heat to a pan of water on the stove was an example of an isolated system, do you? Here is a clue: The rangetop is external to the pan of water.

    Speaking of isolated systems, your explanation for the source of the energy or heat contained in them is what? Isolated means isolated from other physical systems [surroundings]; it does not mean isolated from the influence of the power that drives it and sustains it.”

    That is incorrect: in thermodynamics – including the second law – “isolated” actually means THERMALLY isolated, rather than physically isolated from other systems. In other words, they can be spatially-connected neighbours provided there is no flow of thermal energy across the boundary between the neighbours.

    And your example of the pan and stove is not a good one – a pan and stove can, in combination, be a single isolated system. The rangetop may well be physically external to the pan, but the pan/range combination together is an isolated system if there is no energy flowing into the pan/range combination from outside. It follows, therefore, that there can be a local flow of energy WITHIN the isolated system, from the rangetop to the pan and thereby heating the pan, without there being any violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

    You are also wrong to say that something cannot come from nothing. It happens all the time at the quantum level – google Casimir effect, also check out the Heisenberg uncertainty principle as it relates to the complementary quantities of energy and time. Basically, under the uncertainty principle, small amounts of energy can spontaneously arise, out of nothing, for a small period of time.

  104. 104

    @gpuccio (#94)

    Gpuccio,

    I think we both agree that there are slices missing from human knowledge when it comes to understanding reality. The question is: do these missing slices belong the same pie tin as the slices we do know about or do they belong in another pie tin all together?

    If the latter, what does it mean to say a slice belongs in some other tin?

    We used to think atoms were the smallest components of reality. In fact, the word atom originates from the Greek word for atomos ‘indivisible.’ Today, we know that atoms are composed of elementary particles, which themselves are composed of other elementary parties. Our view of the world is vastly different than materialists in the past.

    So, it would seem the question is: do these sub-particles belong in the same tin as the particles they make up or another? And what significance would such a statement have?

    For example, for quantum teleportation to be a problem for materialism, you have to assume a very narrow definition of materialism in that is clearly false given quantum mechanics. As such, when theists like Bornagain77 brandish the word “materialism” they seem to be presenting a straw man.

    Furthermore, the boundary I’m referring to is related to the significance of not being inside the first tin. That is, problem solving can no longer increase knowledge of that which is in the second tin. Collins thinks the entirety of biological complexity is in the first tin, but the beginning universe is not, while ID thinks detrimental mutations are in the first tin, but beneficial mutations are in the second.

  105. 105

    @Bornagain77

    Our ability to describe time and space breaks down under the conditions found in the center of a black hole. Our models fail quite spectacularly. So how do we interpret this? We see it is an indication that our model is incomplete. Paradoxes also also indicators that that something is wrong with our model. But when I say wrong or incomplete, I do not mean that the answer is necessarily, to use my analogy above, in the second tin.

    For example, have you heard of the many-worlds, interpretation of quantum mechanics?

    Classical algorithms perform integer factorization in sub-exponential time. However, on a quantum computer, Shor’s algorithm performs integer factorization in polynomial time.

    In practical terms, some computer scientists estimate it would take a million years to factor a 256 digit number utilizing a million modern day computers running classical factorization algorithms. Even if this is a pessimistic estimate, since the time it takes for classical factorization algorithms increases threefold with every digit, one would only need to add a few more to make the problem many times harder. On the other hand, factorizing a 256 digit number using Shor’s algorithm would requite a few thousand arithmetic operations which could be run on a single quantum computer.

    You may interpret this vast difference in time as “spooky” behavior which cannot be explained. However the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics provides just such an explanation. However, due to the limited space, I can only summarize.

    When a quantum factorization engine is factoring a 256 digit number, the number of interfering universes will be 10^500 (10 to the power of 500) So, when I said a few thousand arithmetic operations are being run, these few thousand operations were occurring in parallel in each universe. You might ask, how do we convince scientists in these 10^500 universes to factor the same number? Shor’s algorithm only acts on universes that are initially identical to each other and causes them to differentiate only within the context of the factorization engine.

    I’d also note that the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics provides an explanation for many paradoxes, such as those associated with our common-sense flow of time, (the future seems open but the past is fixed) and time travel should it actually be possible. Space does not permit me to elaborate, so you’ll need to follow the links.

    To summarize, we seem to agree that paradoxes in regards to time and space are significant. However, I’d suggest that hard to vary explanations really do exist which can resolve them. The fact that quantum computing has been observed in the lab strongly collaborates the theory.

  106. veilsofmaya,

    You may interpret this vast difference in time as “spooky” behavior which cannot be explained. However the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics provides just such an explanation.

    ‘Providing an explanation’ is fairly easy to do, especially if you’re able to imagine pretty much whatever you want as a possibility, and regard anything that doesn’t outright contradict your idea given those limits as ‘corroboration’.

    For example, for quantum teleportation to be a problem for materialism, you have to assume a very narrow definition of materialism in that is clearly false given quantum mechanics. As such, when theists like Bornagain77 brandish the word “materialism” they seem to be presenting a straw man.

    Actually, he just has to be branding what ‘materialism’ was largely viewed to be right up until quantum mechanics entered the picture. Since then, “materialism” has bled a lot of its meaning out, practically becoming ‘Whatever we have to postulate to explain anything’. Now, panpsychism can be materialism. Idealism can, oddly enough, be materialism. I’m hard pressed to think of anything that can’t be materialism.

    Collins thinks the entirety of biological complexity is in the first tin, but the beginning universe is not, while ID thinks detrimental mutations are in the first tin, but beneficial mutations are in the second.

    That’s mistaken in a few ways, depending on what you mean. If you’re saying that ID proposes that only ‘beneficial’ or ‘nice’ things are designed, and anything harmful isn’t, you need only go so far as Behe. He’ll say flat out that malaria (for example) can show signs of design.

    Second, for most of the ID proponents I’m aware of, it’s not the mere distinction of ‘beneficial / malevolent’ that matters, but how many and to achieve what. If somehow certain organisms had formed what seemed like a wholly malevolent structure (say, some biological internal ‘bomb’ that exploded and killed the creature at random, with no benefits to itself or population elsewise) I think it’s fair that would still be investigated as a design instance.

  107. Incidentally, for those interested in the Many Worlds Interpretation linked, I have another link: The Many Minds Interpretation. One particularly fun quote from there:

    The idea of many minds was suggested early on by Zeh in 1995. He argues that in a decohering no-collapse universe one can avoid the necessity of distinct macrorealms (“parallel worlds” in MWI terminology) by introducing a new psycho-physical parallelism, in which individual minds supervene on each non-interfering component in the physical state. Zeh indeed suggests that, given decoherence, this is the most natural interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    There’s plenty of interpretations that provide all manner of solutions and explanations, from various idealisms and “God is behind it all” to Bohm-style hidden variables theories to elsewise. Amusing stuff. Great for breaking your faith in scientists.

  108. 108

    @StephenB (#95)

    You wrote:

    It’s not a false dilemma. Christianity cannot be reconciled with Darwinism. You either agree or you do not. Which is it?

    Do I define Christianity? For that matter, does any one person, including Olaksy or yourself? Last time I checked, the minimum requirement was a belief that Jesus was crucified, died, raised from the dead, is the Son of God and human kind’s savior. While this is controversial among Christians, the fact that there is controversy is, in itself, non-controversial.

    I have no idea what you mean whey you say that each position is “arbitrary.” There is nothing arbitrary about the idea that God created the universe for a purpose.

    You seem to be conflating the placement of arbitrary limit on the ability to gain knowledge with a position that the universe is not-arbitrary. Perhaps that’s why you thought those 969 words could be summarized in a few paragraphs?

    Collins suggests that the universe cannot be explained by nature, therefore God did it using some means which cannot be explained. However, he suggests biological complexity can be explained by nature, therefore evolution is true. ID agrees with Collins regarding the universe, but suggests that only explain harmful mutations can be explained by nature; beneficial mutations were orchestrated by God using a means by which, again, cannot be explained. Therefore, ID concludes evolution is false. Solipsism suggests that, despite the appearance of a complex world external to ourselves, no explanation can confirm anything but our own existence. Therefore, reality is false.

    Note that whether evolution or reality is true depends on where one draws the line at which we can no longer gain additional knowledge though observation.

    In each case, I’m suggesting the boundary chosen is arbitrary. This is in contrast to assuming the conclusions one reaches from drawing such a boundary leads someone to believe (or is driven by the belief) that anything in particular has a purpose.

    The purpose of the universe is to provide a stage on which humans can make moral choices so as to determine their ultimate destiny. It was created to be a universe of soul making.

    The problem with this “purpose” is that is raises more questions than it solves. I would elaborate, but we’ve already strayed significantly off topic. If you like, I can clarify further. However, at a minimum, I’d suggest that Collins’ purpose is much more specific and addresses observable phenomena, while the vague claim that souls need “building”, does not.

    I can’t imagine how you extracted such a meaning from Scripture.

    Nullasalus seemed to sum it up my process well.

    Collins’ begs the question. If the universe was created for life, then a follow up question must be asked. Why?

    Human beings start out as a handful of cells and mature into complex form. This is in contrast to popping into existing out of thin air. Surely, if God exists, each “how” could be motivated by the same “why.” Since I’m guessing Collins would agree with you on “why” God created life, it would seem that your disagreement with Collins is really over the “how”

  109. —Gaz: “You are also wrong to say that something cannot come from nothing.It happens all the time at the quantum level – google Casimir effect, also check out the Heisenberg uncertainty principle as it relates to the complementary quantities of energy and time. Basically, under the uncertainty principle, small amounts of energy can spontaneously arise, out of nothing, for a small period of time.”

    I don’t need to check. I have been through this dozens of times with Darwinists. Quantum events are not uncaused and they certainly do not represent an example of something coming from nothing. You are reading the wrong sources. Indeed, all related discoveries about quantum mechanics were discovered precisely because it was understood that something cannot come from nothing. Were it not for that principle, quantum mechanics would never have been discovered. All science is based on that principle.

    —”In other words, they can be spatially-connected neighbours provided there is no flow of thermal energy across the boundary between the neighbours.”

    I don’t care how you describe the relationship. You are missing the point. Nothing can change itself and nothing can heat itself.

    Also, you are avoiding the question. From whence comes the energy found in the isolated system?

  110. veilsofmaya:

    Thank you for your input.

    I will use your metaphor to explain my position very simply:

    Many things in observable nature are not in the first tin.

    Certainly consciousness and all related phenomena.

    Certainly biological complexity, which according to the ID perspective (which is absoluitely mine) is necessarily a product of consciousness.

    Certainly not the beginning of universe, and maybe other things after that.

    Simple detrimental mutations are in the first tin.

    Complex functional mutations (in principle, they can be beneficial or detrimental to something, according to the context) are in the second.

    I am not in any way understating the importance of the first tin. The only error is in believeing it’s the only tin.

    The first tin and the second tin are not rigid. Science is about expanding the first tin to include all that it is possible to include. Certainly consciousness badly needs to be included, not by stupidly trying to explain it in terms of models which cannot explain it, but rather by admitting its existence and correctly using it in our models.

    Consciousness and “matter”, whatever it is, certainly are interacting realities. That’s why there has to exist an interface. Quantum mechanics, especially when it will expand further beyond present models, is certainly a good candidate.

  111. [Christianity cannot be reconciled with Darwinism. You either agree or you do not. Which is it?]

    —veilsofmaya: “Do I define Christianity?”

    Clearly, you are not going to answer my question.

    —“Therefore, ID concludes evolution is false.”

    ID does not conclude that “evolution” is false.

    —“Note that whether evolution or reality is true depends on where one draws the line at which we can no longer gain additional knowledge though observation.”

    Whether evolution is true or false has nothing at all to do with what kinds of lines that we draw.

    [The purpose of the universe is to provide a stage on which humans can make moral choices so as to determine their ultimate destiny. It was created to be a universe of soul making. It is to build souls.]

    —“The problem with this “purpose” is that is raises more questions than it solves. I would elaborate, but we’ve already strayed significantly off topic.”

    It was your question and you asked it at least three times. So, it was evidently very important to you.

    —“If you like, I can clarify further.”

    Please do.

    —“However, at a minimum, I’d suggest that Collins’ purpose is much more specific and addresses observable phenomena, while the vague claim that souls need “building”, does not.”

    Evidently, you do not understand what a purpose is. A purpose is the ultimate reason someone does something. Collin’s purpose does not speak to the purpose of why life was created.

    —Nullasalus seemed to sum it up my process well. “Collins’ begs the question. If the universe was created for life, then a follow up question must be asked. Why?

    That was not Nullaslus’ summary; that was my summary. If, as you suggest, it was a good summary, then it confirms the very point you tried to discount in the previous paragraph, namely that the “why” question is the most important.

    —“Since I’m guessing Collins would agree with you on “why” God created life, it would seem that your disagreement with Collins is really over the “how.”

    Earlier, you said that, according to Collins, the purpose of the universe was to evolve or to create life, and you insisted that his purpose was better than mine. Now you are saying that Collins and I would agree on the purpose. Do you even read what you write, or are you just filling up space?

  112. StephenB (109),

    “I don’t need to check. I have been through this dozens of times with Darwinists. Quantum events are not uncaused and they certainly do not represent an example of something coming from nothing.”

    I know, but I don’t think you understand that cause and effect does indeed break down at the quantum level. We certainly do see “something coming from nothing” at the quantum level, and indeed Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle allows for it ((delta E).(delta t) greater than (h-bar)/2). Quantum events are expressed in probabilistic terms simply because we can’t use cause and effect to predict what will happen at the quantum level – working out the probability of something happening is the best we can do. Hence, two identical neighbouring nuclei sat next to each other will be in exactly the same physical state, the same physical environment yet one may decay and the other not – and we can never predict which it will be. All we can do is assess the probability that one of them will decay.

    “You are reading the wrong sources. Indeed, all related discoveries about quantum mechanics were discovered precisely because it was understood that something cannot come from nothing. Were it not for that principle, quantum mechanics would never have been discovered. All science is based on that principle.”

    No, that is simply wrong. Quantum mechanics did NOT arise because of conservation principles (to put in physical terms what you are saying), it arose because it was noticed that certain events only made sense if certain physical quantities took on only discrete levels and were not continuous. For example, Einstein got his Nobel because he gave a quantised – i.e. discrete packages, basically packets of light energy interacting with electrons – explanation of the photoelectric effect, with a better correspondence with experimental results, than the previous explanations based on continuous light waves that gave a poor correspondence with experiment.

    “I don’t care how you describe the relationship. You are missing the point. Nothing can change itself and nothing can heat itself.”

    That is wrong. An isolated system CAN change itself, by shifting energy around internally – e.g. localised heating. The total energy within the isolated system cannot change – first law of thermodynamics – but that doesn’t stop internal redistribution of energy.

    “Also, you are avoiding the question. From whence comes the energy found in the isolated system?”

    A good point, but easily explained. Isolated systems can be (usually are) systems that have been given energy in the past but become isolated at a later time. An example: boil a kettle, put the hot water in a flask, seal it and its isolated (far from perfectly, but as well as we can do domestically and it makes the point). I have a flask that can keep the water hot for 24 hours. So the water is heated, then isolated (as well as I can).

  113. Veilsofmaya,

    In your appeal to the many worlds scenario of quantum mechanics at least you are staying somewhat consistent to the materialistic framework, though you also claim that materialism can mean just about whatever you want it to mean. But does the bizarre Many World’s scenario help you in the least to “explain away” the necessity for the mind of God, which is “the matrix of all matter” as Planck has put it? No and let me point out one fatal flaw of many world’s scenario. One fatal flaw with the appeal to infinite probabilistic resource of the many world’s scenario is that it actually makes the ontological argument for theism certain:

    Ontological Argument Against Many Worlds – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

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

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

    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784641

    But what I find even more problematic with the many world’s scenario of quantum mechanics is that it actually greatly increases the likelihood of “witnessing chaos from an island of order” in the universe as William Lane Craig alludes to at the last part of this video:

    Refutation Of The Many World’s/Universes Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784630

    further note:

    Eugene Koonin tried to use many world’s here:

    The Biological Big Bang model for the major transitions in evolution – Eugene V Koonin – Background:
    “Major transitions in biological evolution show the same pattern of sudden emergence of diverse forms at a new level of complexity. The relationships between major groups within an emergent new class of biological entities are hard to decipher and do not seem to fit the tree pattern that, following Darwin’s original proposal, remains the dominant description of biological evolution. The cases in point include the origin of complex RNA molecules and protein folds; major groups of viruses; archaea and bacteria, and the principal lineages within each of these prokaryotic domains; eukaryotic supergroups; and animal phyla. In each of these pivotal nexuses in life’s history, the principal “types” seem to appear rapidly and fully equipped with the signature features of the respective new level of biological organization. No intermediate “grades” or intermediate forms between different types are detectable;
    http://www.biology-direct.com/content/2/1/21

    Biological Big Bangs – Origin Of Life and Cambrian – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284466

    It should be noted that Koonin tries to account for the origination of the massive amounts of functional information, required for the Cambrian Explosion, and other “explosions”, by trying to access an “undirected cause” mechanism of Quantum Mechanics called ‘Many Worlds’. Besides Koonin ignoring the fact that Quantum Events, on a whole, are strictly restricted to the transcendent universal laws/constants of the universe, including, and especially, the second law of thermodynamics, for as far back in time in the universe as we can see, it is also fair to note, in criticism to Koonin’s scenario, that appealing to the undirected infinite probabilistic resource, of the quantum mechanics of the Many Worlds scenario, actually greatly increases the amount of totally chaotic information one would expect to see generated “randomly” in the fossil record (indeed we would expect to witness a “sea of truly bizarre chaos” if Many World’s were true). Though Koonin is correct to recognize that the infinite probabilistic resource of the “uncollapsed Quantum Mechanic information waves” does not absolutely preclude the sudden appearance of massive amounts of functional information in the fossil record, he is very incorrect to disregard the “Logos” of John 1:1 needed to correctly specify the “controlled mechanism of implementation” for the massive amounts of complex functional and specified information witnessed abruptly and mysteriously appearing in the fossil record. i.e. he must sufficiently account for the “cause” for the “effect” he wants to explain.

    The point being veilsofmaya is that the materialistic philosophy is falsified no matter what route you choose to take to try to defend it. But why in the world do you try so hard to defend a theory that promises you nothing but death anyway?

  114. This is also interesting:

    Virtual Particles, Anthropic Principle & Relativity – Michael Strauss – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674

  115. Gaz and what is the probability in quantum mechanics that a pan of water will spontaneously boil by all the heat in a room converging on it?

  116. veilsofmaya you state:

    “Our ability to describe time and space breaks down under the conditions found in the center of a black hole.”

    Veilsofmaya actually the ability to describe time and space breaks down at the event horizon of a black hole where the force of gravity equals the speed of light.

    you then state:

    Our models fail quite spectacularly. So how do we interpret this? We see it is an indication that our model is incomplete. Paradoxes also also indicators that that something is wrong with our model.

    Our model? Maybe your particular materialistic model of the week which you have not told me which particular brand of materialism you are into this week since you feel the need change the definition of materialism at will! But if your model of the week is the one I think it is then actually Hawking’s work on black hole evaporation brings coherent resolution. Dr. Craig deals with that “breakdown in your model” here:

    Refutation Of The Many World’s/Universes Hypothesis – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4784630

    If this is not the model you will have to tell me your definition of your model more clearly.

    You also allude to string theory, a theory I certainly am less than impressed with,,,,,,,,

    Another escape that materialists have postulated was a slightly constrained ” string-theoretic” multiverse. The following expert shows why the materialistic postulation of “string theory” is, for all intents and purposes of empirical science, a complete waste of time and energy:

    Not Even Wrong: The Failure of String Theory and the Search for Unity in Physical Law:
    Peter Woit, a PhD. in theoretical physics and a lecturer in mathematics at Columbia, points out—again and again—that string theory, despite its two decades of dominance, is just a hunch aspiring to be a theory. It hasn’t predicted anything, as theories are required to do, and its practitioners have become so desperate, says Woit, that they’re willing to redefine what doing science means in order to justify their labors.
    http://www.amazon.com/Not-Even.....0465092756

    Though to be fair, a subset of the math of the string hypothesis did make an interesting “after the fact” prediction of a already known phenomena:

    A first: String theory predicts an experimental result:
    Excerpt: Not to say that string theory has been proved. Clifford Johnson of the University of Southern California, the string theorist on the panel, was very clear about that. http://www.symmetrymagazine.or.....al-result/

    Despite this seemingly successful prediction/description of a known physical phenomena, string theory is suffering severe setbacks in other areas, thus string theory has yet to even establish itself as a legitimate line of inquiry.

    Testing Creation Using the Proton to Electron Mass Ratio
    Excerpt: The bottom line is that the electron to proton mass ratio unquestionably joins the growing list of fundamental constants in physics demonstrated to be constant over the history of the universe.,,, For the first time, limits on the possible variability of the electron to proton mass ratio are low enough to constrain dark energy models that “invoke rolling scalar fields,” that is, some kind of cosmic quintessence. They also are low enough to eliminate a set of string theory models in physics. That is these limits are already helping astronomers to develop a more detailed picture of both the cosmic creation event and of the history of the universe. Such achievements have yielded, and will continue to yield, more evidence for the biblical model for the universe’s origin and development. http://www.reasons.org/Testing.....nMassRatio

    As well, even if the whole of “string theory” were found to be true, it does nothing to help the materialist, and in reality, only adds another level of “finely tuned” complexity for us to deal with without ever truly explaining the origination of that “logically coherent” complexity (Logos) in the first place.

    Baron Münchhausen and the Self-Creating Universe:
    Roger Penrose has calculated that the entropy of the big bang itself, in order to give rise to the life-permitting universe we observe, must be fine-tuned to one part in e10exp(123)?10^10exp(123). Such complex specified conditions do not arise by chance, even in a string-theoretic multiverse with 10^500 different configurations of laws and constants, so an intelligent cause may be inferred. What is more, since it is the big bang itself that is fine-tuned to this degree, the intelligence that explains it as an effect must be logically prior to it and independent of it – in short, an immaterial intelligence that transcends matter, energy and space-time.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....selfc.html

  117. bornagain77 (115),

    “Gaz and what is the probability in quantum mechanics that a pan of water will spontaneously boil by all the heat in a room converging on it?”

    It’s not a quantum mechanics matter – boiling pans of water are way too large for quantum mechanics to be used, this is the realm of macroscopic physics. Statistical physics, to be precise.

    The answer is that the probability of all the heat spontanously converging on the pan to boil the water is very very low indeed. Exceptionally low. It is not, however, nil.

  118. Gaz, Is it lower than the probability that PZ Myers will become a Christian? 8) I just mention this since it clearly seems like an exercise in futility for one to argue from that position.

    Veilsofmaya, I want to clarify this point a little more clearly:

    veilsofmaya you state:

    “Our ability to describe time and space breaks down under the conditions found in the center of a black hole.”

    Veilsofmaya actually the ability to describe space and time accurately breaks down beyond the event horizon of a black hole where the force of gravity equals the speed of light. And would break down completely at the proposed singularity.

  119. veilsofmaya; here is a excerpt that drives the point home of the absurdity of your many worlds position, though the excerpt is used in response to the multiverse argument from atheists, the overriding point remains valid against the atheists argument from many worlds of quantum mechanics:

    Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1:1010(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1:10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1;10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.

    http://elshamah.heavenforum.co.....es-t20.htm

  120. —Gaz: “That is wrong. An isolated system CAN change itself, by shifting energy around internally – e.g. localised heating. The total energy within the isolated system cannot change – first law of thermodynamics – but that doesn’t stop internal redistribution of energy.”

    It only appears that way. The energy within the isolated system, ruled by the laws of dynamics, must be maintained. The power source that does the maintaining is the ultimate cause of the changes.

    [“Also, you are avoiding the question. From whence comes the energy found in the isolated system?”]

    “A good point, but easily explained. Isolated systems can be (usually are) systems that have been given energy in the past but become isolated at a later time. An example: boil a kettle, put the hot water in a flask, seal it and its isolated (far from perfectly, but as well as we can do domestically and it makes the point). I have a flask that can keep the water hot for 24 hours. So the water is heated, then isolated (as well as I can.”

    You are describing an isolated system in which energy is stored, but you are not explaining the source of the energy. There was a time when there was no energy to be stored, isolated, etc. What is its source?

    You have already indicated that you believe that something can come from nothing. Is that your explanation for this phenomenon as well?

  121. bornagain77 (118),

    Believe it or not, the probability that PZ will become Christian is vastly greater! Nonetheless, don’t hold your breath waiting! Not sure where you see the futility though, I’m not arguing a position – just correcting StephenB’s statements about certain aspects of physics.

  122. –Gaz: “just correcting StephenB’s statements about certain aspects of physics”

    You are not correcting anything because I have said nothing that contradicts the laws of physics. The physics of isolated systems is not in question here, the substance of which I am familiar. My question is, by definition, metaphysical and it persists. What is the source of the energy contained in the isolated system?

    Everyone knows that Darwinists believe that quantum events are uncaused, energy comes from nowhere, life comes from non-life, mind [redefined] comes from matter, and that universes just pop into existence. I just wanted you to confirm the point that your something-from-nothing philosophy applies to heat and energy as well.

  123. StephenB,

    I’m afraid your answer at 120 shows that you’re trying to talk about thermodynamics when you don’t really understand the basics of it. Your statement:

    “The energy within the isolated system, ruled by the laws of dynamics, must be maintained. The power source that does the maintaining is the ultimate cause of the changes.”

    is simply incorrect. In an isolated system – an ideal one – the energy within it is maintained anyway, because there is nowehere else for it to go (because the system is “isolated”). That’s the first law of thermodynamics.

    There is no need for any power source. What will happen – by the second law of thermodynamics – is that the energy within the system will tend to be distributed throughout it so that it ends up evenly spread throughout the isolated system. No power source is needed, the energy will just flow through thermal gradients without any interference (and if there was any interference it probably wouldn’t be an isolated system anyway!). In the course of this entropic process, you’ll find that some localities within the isolated system actually increase in energy because they were at a lower level than the average previously – hence the localised heating.

    Your then wrote:

    “You are describing an isolated system in which energy is stored, but you are not explaining the source of the energy. There was a time when there was no energy to be stored, isolated, etc. What is its source?”

    I don’t need to explain the source of the energy. In most situations, the system received the energy at a time when it wasn’t isolated. In my example, the system was the water which I then boiled and hence wasn’t isolated (because I fed energy into the system). I then isolated it by putting it in a vacuum flask. It’s only when I put it in the vacuum flask – i.e. isolated it – that the thermodynamics of isolated systems became relevant.

    “You have already indicated that you believe that something can come from nothing. Is that your explanation for this phenomenon as well?”

    No, because it’s not necessary. You don’t need to say where the energy came from to explain the thermodynamics of isolated systems.

  124. StephenB (122),

    I’m afraid your commnts do need correcting because you give incorrect statements about aspects of physics, and anyone reading your comments may be inadvertently misled.

    As to your final paragraph, my answer is a simple one: the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that, at a quantum level where cause and effect break down, not only can something come from nothing but that it happens all the time. We don’t notice (unless you are a physicist) because the amounts of energy concerned are absolutely tiny.

    But at the macro level – i.e. the scale of Gaz and StephenB – then macro physics, including statistical physics, dominates hugely over quantum physics. The first law of thermodynamics applies and so does the second law. These say you can’t get something for nothing at the macro level. The physicists joke, comparing thermodynamics to gambling, is that the first law says you can’t win. The second law says you can’t break even. And the third law says you can’t get out of the game.

  125. Gaz on the quantum level you argue:

    “not only can something come from nothing but that it happens all the time.”

    Yet that is clearly not true for transcendent information is found to be “real” by the refutation of the hidden variable argument, by Alain Aspect and company, and by the violation of the first law in quantum teleportation, by Anton Zeilinger and company. If you have another materialistic solution besides hidden variables please present it for otherwise transcendent information is shown to be a real entity by at least two lines of evidence! Since I certainly see you presenting no coherent materialistic solution to these mysteries of entanglement and teleportation (many worlds especially included), I hold that what appears to be real is in fact real, i.e. I hold that Transcendent Information is real,,,thus since it is vastly more satisfactory to say that the virtual particles are arising from the transcendent information framework than to suggest that something is coming from nothing I find your suggestion that something does come from nothing to be lacking in understanding to what we are actually dealing with. As well to add further weight to my claim virtual particles popping in from “nowhere” as you would have it, are actually found to be in tune with the anthropic principle and thus are shown to have “purpose”:

    Virtual Particles, Anthropic Principle & Relativity – Michael Strauss – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674

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

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – (Of Note: Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every founder of each major branch of modern science also had a deep Christian connection.)

  126. bornagain77 (125),

    You claim virtual particles arise from a “transcendent information framework”, whatever that is. Very well – how do they acquire mass from information?

    Virtual particles have absolutely nothing to do with the anthropic principle. Aspect and Zeilinger have both done excellent work on quantum entanglement, not a “transcendent information framework”.

  127. Gaz, So instead of accepting the most parsimonious explanation that transcendent information is what gave (and gives) rise to this universe you say particles pop in to existence from nowhere? Thanks for clearing that up with solid scientific reasoning. I can now go to church and tell everyone to stop worshiping God for now we know for a fact that absolutely nothing gave rise to absolutely everything because Gaz said so! I still have a nagging doubt Gaz,,,,Please tell me Gaz what exactly is entangling particles if it is not hidden variables or transcendent information?

  128. Gaz as for you denying that virtual particles have absolutely nothing to do with the anthropic principle please see the video I listed in which Dr. Strauss, who has a PhD. in particle physics, explains that the “top quark” is a virtual particle, and that without it we would not be here to observe that it is “virtual”!

  129. correcion:

    Gaz as for you saying that virtual particles have absolutely nothing to do with the anthropic principle,,,

  130. As for mass coming from information, come back to me when they find the Higgs Boson then we can hash it out if you want.

  131. Gaz:

    Without entering into the details of your discussions with Stephen (which I have followed only in part), I must say that I think that you have a correct view of the matter as far as physics is concerned (are you a physicist?).

    Even so, I would like to discuss a moment the point of cause and effect breakdown in quantum theory (and if I am wrong, please correct me: I am not a physicist, although certainly sincerely interested in the matter).

    As far as I understand, quantum theory is at least in part a deterministic theory, and the evolution of the wave function is deterministic. In that sense, the cause and effect relationship is perfectly valid at quantum level, just as it is at non quantum level (I will not say macrolevel, as I believe macroscopic quantum effects do exist).

    Obviously, there is another aspect to quantum theory, which is the collapse of the wave function, or however one wants to call it. Here, the probabilistic interpretation of the wave function becomes the cause of what is observed, and traditional rigid cause and effect relationship is disrupted.

    I hope I am right up to now.

    The interesting point, IMO, is that, while QM has been confirmed extensively at the operational level, the meaning of some aspects of the theory at the level of philosophy of science, or more simply of philosophy, remains open to a rich debate. And, obviously, the meaning of the wave function, of its collapse, the role of the observer and of determinism (or non determinism) at QM level are among the most debated issues.

    My idea is that exactly this unsolved cognitive status is what makes of QM a really precious subject for general theories of reality, and especially for theories of consciousness. I am not saying that we know enough to really elaborate a detailed theory, but provisional attempts have been made, and I am confident that new knowledge, both experimental and cognitive, is accumulating about those points, and that in time it will give us better tools to integrate QM in those general theories.

    That’s only to say that I agree with what you say abou QM, but that still it is not easy, at present, to give a precise and univocal interpretation of the “cause and effect relationship disruption” at quantum level in a more general picture of reality, or at a purely philosophical level. I remain very interested but cautious about that point.

  132. 132

    bornagain77,

    So instead of accepting the most parsimonious explanation that transcendent information is what gave (and gives) rise to this universe you say particles pop in to existence from nowhere? Thanks for clearing that up with solid scientific reasoning.

    Come now, BA77. Things pop into existence from nothing all the time. Ever drive on a highway? You’ll see cars, then you won’t see cars. You’ll see buildings, then you won’t see buildings. Where do they come from and where do they go to? The answer is “nothing”.

    I’ve heard some people say that all these things come from somewhere or something else. Superstitious people, I say, with their supernaturalisms.

    Science is on my side.

    (I kid, of course. But really, StephenB has gone over this time and again, and I never cease to be amazed at how many people will honestly assert that something comes from nothing, or worse, that science actually demonstrates this. This is vastly more magical and unverifiable than anything any ID proponent has put forth. Hell, cargo cultists are making a less magical claim. And yet…)

  133. —Gaz: ..”is simply incorrect. In an isolated system – an ideal one – the energy within it is maintained anyway, because there is nowehere else for it to go (because the system is “isolated”). That’s the first law of thermodynamics.”

    Sorry, but you continue to avoid the issue, which is the source of the energy. I am not talking about where it goes but rather where it came from.

    –”What will happen – by the second law of thermodynamics – is that the energy within the system will tend to be distributed throughout it so that it ends up evenly spread throughout the isolated system.”

    That tells me nothing about the power thrust that keeps things moving. It tells me nothing about the origin of the law. What is the source of that law?

    —”I don’t need to explain the source of the energy.”

    What you mean is, you choose not to answer the question.

    –”In most situations, the system received the energy at a time when it wasn’t isolated.”

    Irrelevant to the question.

    —”No, because it’s not necessary. You don’t need to say where the energy came from to explain the thermodynamics of isolated systems.”

    You believe that because you are apparently unfamiliar with the metaphysical foundations for modern science. We tend to be down on what we are not up on. Since you cannot or will not answer the question, you declare that it has no importance.

    Earlier, you insisted that something can come from nothing and that it happens all the time. So, why not just apply that same principle here. Just say that the energy came from out of nowhere and the second law of thermodynamics came from out of nowhere. You may as well be consistent.

  134. Does Gaz understand what nothing “is”?

  135. nullasalus @ 132 LOL ,,, The old faithful If I can’t see it it ain’t real hypothesis LOL 8)

  136. gpuccio (53),

    My apologies for the delay in replying — I’ve been traveling.

    Even for a troll, you are boring:

    I see no need for rudeness in this discussion. If an ID opponent were to make that same statement, I suspect he or she would be placed in permanent moderation.

    1) The evidence for common descent with designed modification is overwhelming

    Please present or reference it, then. Thus far you have completely failed to provide any scientific theory of intelligent design that explains the evidence at least as well as modern evolutionary theory and makes better predictions.

    the evidence for common descent with non designed modification is nil.

    Like Clive Hayden, you can only make this claim by willfully ignoring 150 years of research, in a wide variety of disciplines.

    2) All evolutionary biologists over the past 150 years have not been accomplices in a conspiracy, but have worked under a big cognitive bias, and have been wrong on some fundamental points.

    If that is the case, it should be no problem for ID researchers to identify those fundamental points and publish refutations in the peer reviewed literature. Thus far, no such refutations have been forthcoming.

    3)ID is not an argument from incredulity, and never has been.

    Actually, that is all ID appears to be, based on my reading of this blog and the writings of ID proponents. The lack of any scientific theory of ID that explains the available evidence and makes better predictions than modern evolutionary theory is clear to everyone.

  137. gpuccio,

    Thanks for your interesting note at 131. To answer your first question, I was a physicist but am now a patent attorney – basically, I get to do the interesting stuff of science and technology, but also law (and more money, I dare say!).

    QM isn’t easy at all. It involves a realm of existence – the very micro levels – that don’t directly affect humans as a species in nature and hence we haven’t evolved to understand the QM world. Personally – and this is only my personal opinion – I doubt we ever will fully understand it.

    I agree with you about the interpretation bit. There are different interpretations of the QM world (Copenhagen etc.) but they can only be approximate interpretations to help human understanding and hence will probably always be imperfect. As to the meaning and philosophy – again personally, I don’t believe there is any meaning to QM, it’s just the way the universe is at the micro level. Nor am I worried about the philosophical implications – for me, we have to try to understand the universe as best we can but if it throws up some odd results that cause us issues then so be it. No sense arguing against facts. It (QM) doesn’t alter the way humans live anyway.

  138. gpuccio (54),

    Ah, and the only argument I have ever seen from you is an argument from authority.

    I have made no arguments from authority. I reference the peer reviewed literature and publicly available research from the past century and a half of biology and numerous other disciplines. I would love to see more ID proponents learn more about biology and read the literature for themselves rather than making yet more arguments from personal incredulity coupled with probability calculations that utterly fail to take into consideration the underlying science.

  139. bornagain77,

    regarding your comments at 128 to 130 – I heard nothing in the Strauss video about transcendent information networks. What I did hear, though, was Strauss talking about “virtual particles popping in and out of existence”, which is precisely my point – something can come from nothing (at the quantum level). Strauss clearly agrees with me. Presumably you can help StephenB to see that Strauss and I are right?

  140. StephenB (133),

    No, you still miss the point – you don’t need to know where the energy of an isolated system came from to understand the thermodynamics of it. Your continual asking of the question is a lot like saying you can’t explain the workings of an internal combustion engine without saying where the petrol (translation if needed: gas) came from. It’s completely unnecessary.

  141. Phaedros @ 134,

    An interesting question – but do YOU know what “nothing” is? In physics, it’s a lot more involved than you might expect……

  142. gpuccio,

    One thing I forgot to mention in my response to your 131 was your very perceptive point about the breakdown of quantum theory. I assume you mean that, if quantum theory gives one set of phenomena and macro theory gives a different set of phenomena, then there must be a point somewhere between the micro and macro worlds where the two become the same? If that is what you are asking then you are right – it is called the Correspondence Principle. Basically, it means that in states where there are high quantum numbers -e.g. large numbers of particles – the quantum theory using high quantum numbers equates to macro physics theory. Personally – again, only my own personal thought – is that there is probably a vast range around the Correspondence principle whereby at the lower end QM theory and macro theory wash around together, with QM domination, and the reverse at the higher end (i.e. larger quantum number end). But I’ve no evidence for this, nor come across any.

  143. 143

    @nullasalus (#106)

    You wrote:

    ‘Providing an explanation’ is fairly easy to do, especially if you’re able to imagine pretty much whatever you want as a possibility, and regard anything that doesn’t outright contradict your idea given those limits as ‘corroboration’.

    I would agree. However, this does not seem to be the case with quantum computing.

    Historically, the classical Copenhagen interpretation focused primarily on predictions. That is, speculating on how quantum mechanics actually worked was general frowned upon, which represented an instrumentalist position. However, the many-worlds interpretation represents a departure from the classical Copenhagen interpretation as it seeks to provide a specific and hard to vary explanation to why these predictions come about (the interference of many worlds.)

    The very concept of quantum computing was founded on the specific assumption that the many-worlds interpretation was correct. That is, the specific way that worlds interfere with each other is one of the primary reasons why it’s founders thought to attempt using quantum mechanics to perform computations in the first place.

    This is in contrast to first observing quantum computing, then assuming that there must be some yet to be discovered fact that explained it. Then noting that some quantum algorithms ran faster than classical versions, which was explained by a leap that there might be two universes or maybe three? Then noting that integer factorization occurred in polynomial-time, which was explained by another leap: the existence of 10^500 universes, etc.

    The many-worlds interpretation came first, then quantum computing was proposed from it’s entirety. As such, I would suggest that quantum computing really does collaborate the many-worlds interpretation in a very significant way as it represents a hard to vary explanation.

    This is in addition to the points made here.

    I’m hard pressed to think of anything that can’t be materialism.

    Something that was not a necessary part of, or for which interaction is non-optional with that which we originally considered material? For example, many theists suggest that it was not necessary for God to make a physical universe and that his interactions are optional.

    This is in contrast to quantum mechanics, which appears to be both a necessary sub-component of material things and always interacts in a predictable way (despite limitations on what we can simultaneously predict, etc)

    Some theists suggest that God actively sustains the physical world moment by moment, but they also tend to claim he can choose to only intercede in specific cases that suit his will.

    That’s mistaken in a few ways, depending on what you mean. If you’re saying that ID proposes that only ‘beneficial’ or ‘nice’ things are designed, and anything harmful isn’t, you need only go so far as Behe. He’ll say flat out that malaria (for example) can show signs of design.

    I’ve hinted at this in previous comments, but did not include them here for brevity. However, these clarifications still leave some mutations in the first tin and others in the second.

    Of course one could always make the stretch that, if the designer wasn’t making changes, neutral or non-significant traits that keep an organism relatively stable also represent intent as the designer intended them to say the same. that is, If human beings are what God intended to produce, then a lack of future evolution due to non-intervention would be intentional.

    @nullasalus (#107)

    You seem to be confusing the many-minds interpretation with the many-worlds interpretation. For example, it’s unlikely the many-minds interpretation would not have led physicists to think quantum computing was possible as it suggest there are only many-observers (minds) but a single world.

    In addition, it appears that that many-minds interpretation was abandoned by it’s co-inventor, while a 1988 poll suggest broad acceptance among leading cosmologists and other quantum field theorists. This includes Stephen Hawking, Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman. Of course, the exact figures could have changed since them, but MW is still considered a mainstream interpretation.

  144. 144

    @bornagain77 (#113)

    You wrote:

    In your appeal to the many worlds scenario of quantum mechanics at least you are staying somewhat consistent to the materialistic framework, though you also claim that materialism can mean just about whatever you want it to mean.

    Born,

    I’m not appealing to anything. I’m simply noting where we agree and disagree and why. Again, that there is a relationship between matter and energy and quantum mechanics is non-controversial. That we do not have a unified theory does not mean that we need to assume the missing slices are found in some other pie tin.

    Ontological Argument Against Many Worlds – William Lane Craig – video

    Again, I’ll ask, where are these staggering computational resources coming from, God? If so, how would we convince him to factor a 256 digit number whenever we please? Or are you suggesting that we’ll discover that God only chooses to factor integers using Shor’s algorithm when he thinks it suits his perfect will?

    The many-worlds interoperation explains it by suggesting these few thousand arithmetic operations are being run in 10^500 universes, which are initially identical to each other and varies only in the context of the factorization engine.

    You also allude to string theory, a theory I certainly am less than impressed with

    You seem to be conflating string theory with the many-worlds interpolation of quantum mechanics.

    Veilsofmaya actually the ability to describe space and time accurately breaks down beyond the event horizon of a black hole where the force of gravity equals the speed of light. And would break down completely at the proposed singularity.

    Again, this is non-controversial. Your point is?

  145. 145

    @gpuccio (#110)

    Thanks for your clarification.

    Your position is roughly what I had anticipated.

    I am not in any way understating the importance of the first tin. The only error is in believeing it’s the only tin.

    In assuming there is a second tin, you’re drawing the boundary I’m referring to. Where the boundary is drawn defines what belongs in which tin. For example you wrote:

    Certainly consciousness badly needs to be included, not by stupidly trying to explain it in terms of models which cannot explain it, but rather by admitting its existence and correctly using it in our models.

    Here, you’re drawn the conclusion that conciseness cannot be explained because it is a first person experience. That is, you’ve draw an arbitrary boundary beyond where human reason and understanding has no access and problem solving can no longer increase knowledge. Therefore, conciseness belongs in the second tin.

    However, Solipsism makes a similar claim in that, regardless of the fact that I appear to be interacting with a number of conscious beings in this discussion, we cannot know this for sure since consciousness is a a first-person only experience. Therefore, we should just admit we cannot actually prove reality outside of ourselves exits. While the second tin is not “supernatural” in the case of the Solipsist, the implications of unexplainably for things that reside in it is the same.

    Given that both of these claims are based on the assumption that first person experiences cannot be explained, why are you not a Solipsist rather than a realist and theist? This is why I’m suggesting that boundary drawing of any kind appears arbitrary.

  146. 146

    @StephenB (#111)

    Clearly, you are not going to answer my question.

    To use an analogy, you’re essentially asking me if the 2009 depiction of high-resolution touch screens, rather than analog odometer-style dials, on the bridge of the NCC-1701 Enterprise conflicts with Star Trek cannon.

    First, this is not my decision to make. Second, I do not assume the Enterprise is actually constrained by facts about reality because I conceder it fiction.

    My personal opinion would be no, as our perceived notion of technology would be like in the future (2245-2255) has changed significantly based on recent discoveries and new ideas; just as what is compatible with scripture has changed over the centuries. (which is something I do not recall you having addressed or acknowledged in any of your comments) As a strong agnostic, I think it’s highly unlikely that God exists, let alone any of our concepts accurately describe him if he did.

    ID does not conclude that “evolution” is false.

    Replace “evolution” with TE.

    Whether evolution is true or false has nothing at all to do with what kinds of lines that we draw.

    Agreed. I was referring to conclusions drawn, not the actual specific state of affairs that exists in reality.

    Please [elaborate further].

    First, soul building is vague. How does it differ from gaining knowledge or experience? Nor does it seem such things require a physical universe.

    Second, it leads to the question, when do we obtain souls.

    Third, It’s estimated 43% of conceptions are lost within ten days of ovulation, with the mother often being none the wiser. It would seem that these souls would be missing someone of such importance that God created the entire physical universe to obtain it. As such, what is the implications of a lack of soul building for those souls whom’s nervous systems never formed? What of those who started to form, but never matured to the degree necessary to experience anything significant?

    If there is no implications, then it’s unclear as to what purpose “soul building” exhibits other than possible claims that God is “creative” or some other vague notions.

    Evidently, you do not understand what a purpose is. A purpose is the ultimate reason someone does something.

    You were suggesting TE was purposeless. In doing so you were conflating God’s possible use of a natural process (driven by the very laws of nature), with having no ultimate purpose. However, if Collins assumes the very laws of nature were specifically fine tuned to eventually produce life as we know it, then the process of TE was the means by which God implemented his ultimate goal.

    To use an example, why do human beings make any choices at all? Theists suggest this occurs because God supposedly created us with a kind of baseline which results in such behavior, but he also allows for significant variance, which would account for non-theists. This allowed, yet not dictated, variance is supposedly an intentional part of God’s plan.

    That was not Nullaslus’ summary;

    I was referring the following statement, which Nullaslus summarized.

    I can’t imagine how you extracted such a meaning from Scripture.

    You wrote:

    Now you are saying that Collins and I would agree on the purpose. Do you even read what you write, or are you just filling up space?

    You would both agree on the ultimate purpose, but not the means by which said purpose was brought about.

    Please see above. Collins seems to suggest that the purpose of TE is to create life using a natural process. Would you not agree that creating life was one of God’s goals and since God is supposedly omnipotent, the specific means by which he did so is an implementation detail?

  147. veilsofmaya do you believe in God?

  148. 148

    veilsofmaya,

    The very concept of quantum computing was founded on the specific assumption that the many-worlds interpretation was correct. That is, the specific way that worlds interfere with each other is one of the primary reasons why it’s founders thought to attempt using quantum mechanics to perform computations in the first place.

    I think you’re confusing the idea that some people who adhered to the many-worlds interpretation also were proposing quantum computing as corroboration for quantum computing. If someone argued that quantum phenomena indicated that Berkeleyan idealism were true (and I can name a physicist who thinks exactly this), and therefore that quantum computing was possible because it was just God granting access to a superior information processing method, would quantum computing therefore become ‘corroboration’ for the idea?

    If you’re going to suggest that an otherwise unfalsifiable, metaphysical or philosophical idea is corroborated in the case that those adhering to such a belief make a falsifiable prediction logically compatible with various other beliefs, then hey – fair enough. In which case everything from idealism to dualism to all manner of ID has been corroborated repeatedly.

    I’ve hinted at this in previous comments, but did not include them here for brevity. However, these clarifications still leave some mutations in the first tin and others in the second.

    Not really, because the very nature of the ‘tins’ you’re discussing are part of the question. You’re also making the mistake of assuming that when ID ‘identifies design’, it’s also saying that therefore everything else is not designed. But Dembski himself has rejected this claim, pointing out that it’s entirely possible for ID to not identify that which is actually designed. In other words, everything can be designed in actuality, though we may only be strongly inferring design about certain things.

    (And for the record, I have some strong criticisms of ID myself. But, I like to pay attention to both the idea and their proponents.)

    You seem to be confusing the many-minds interpretation with the many-worlds interpretation.

    How can I be ‘confusing’ them when I specifically cited Many-Minds as distinct from Many-Worlds, and cited a link which expressly contrasts the views?

    In addition, it appears that that many-minds interpretation was abandoned by it’s co-inventor, while a 1988 poll suggest broad acceptance among leading cosmologists and other quantum field theorists.

    I wouldn’t care if acceptance was at 100%, really. I didn’t say that MWI was unpopular, or not mainstream. I said it was one of a number of interpretations, all of which are capable of ‘explaining’ a great deal, most of which are downright amusing.

    Mind you, I’m not too concerned about these interpretations regardless. That MWI is now even on the table as a possibility just indicates how disastrous science has been for The-Metaphysics-Formerly-Known-As-Materialism. In fact, I’m downright tickled by it since (and I say this, again, as someone not very onboard with ID) MWI and related ideas makes ID’s truth a certainty in a tremendous number of ‘worlds’, opens the door to some hilarious skepticism, and makes Bostrom- and Gribbin-style speculations about simulations and created realities look all the more plausible.

    In another age, these things and more would have been called supernatural outright. That they aren’t now is more about stubbornness and careful word choice than anything else.

  149. Veilsofmaya I see you are agnostic,,,, if you could please cite the many worlds computation that you have alluded to,

    as far as finding mathematical calculations to be a part of reality, if this is the case for your example, Dr. Sewell, a professor of mathematics, actually uses that fact to argue for theism, and I see nothing incompatible from a “mathematical reality” with the Logos (The Word) of John 1:1 since Logos is also the Greek word from which we get our English word,,,Logic!: in fact Galileo said:

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

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In The Multiverse, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    This following site has a couple of interesting equations, pointed out by Dr. Granville Sewell, that relate to how 3-D material particles will act in the space time of general relativity:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-354142

    Michael Denton – Mathematical Truths Are Transcendent And Beautiful – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003918

    Systematic Search for Expressions of Dimensionless Constants using the NIST database of Physical Constants
    Excerpt: The National Institute of Standards and Technology lists 325 constants on their website as ‘Fundamental Physical Constants’. Among the 325 physical constants listed, 79 are unitless in nature (usually by defining a ratio). This produces a list of 246 physical constants with some unit dependence. These 246 physical constants can be further grouped into a smaller set when expressed in standard SI base units.,,,
    http://www.mit.edu/~mi22295/co.....tants.html

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

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

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

    How can it be that mathematics, being after all a product of human thought which is independent of experience, is so admirably appropriate to the objects of reality? — Albert Einstein

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

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

  150. bornagain77 (147),

    “veilsofmaya do you believe in God?”

    Not my debate but forgive me for asking – can you explain why this question is relevant to this dicussion?

  151. 151

    veilsofmaya,

    Some assorted comments.

    As a strong agnostic, I think it’s highly unlikely that God exists, let alone any of our concepts accurately describe him if he did.

    That’s not “strong agnosticism” by any definition I’ve ever seen. Going by the Wikipedia definition, strong agnosticism is “the belief that it is impossible for humans to know whether or not any deities exist.” But you’re giving probabilities of God’s existence (“highly unlikely”), which only works if you think there is evidence in play which you can quantify – and evidence/quantification makes no sense when discussing what would be a deity one is strongly agnostic about. (You’re giving probabilities on the existence of a being you say is unknown, unknowable, and may be radically different from the typical imaginings. Think about that.)

    However, if Collins assumes the very laws of nature were specifically fine tuned to eventually produce life as we know it, then the process of TE was the means by which God implemented his ultimate goal.

    The problem with Collins is this: Yes, if he believes that the laws of nature were fine tuned to produce life, and if he believes that God used evolution (“TE”) to produce life, and that God knew evolution would produce what He wanted, there’s no conflict there with believing in an omniscient, omnipotent God.

    But then there is a problem with believing in Darwinism, because Darwinism (at least any view of it which stays true to Darwin) excludes evolution as a process being used by a divine being for certain and known results. If someone believes God used evolution to create man (as in, God knew what results would come from evolution, knew that humanity and animals, etc, would come from it – as opposed to ‘had no idea, but thought it may be possible’), that person is no longer a Darwinist by any meaningful definition. They may still believe in evolution, or natural selection or mutation or macroevolution. Darwinism, however, is out. They may not be an ID proponent (If they assert that this guidance can’t be discovered, at least not by “science”), but they are Darwinists no more.

    First, soul building is vague. How does it differ from gaining knowledge or experience? Nor does it seem such things require a physical universe.

    But “physical”, as I’ve pointed out, is deeply undefined – and has been for quite a long time. (Gone are the old materialists, and as Chomsky says, the new materialists call whatever they need to make sense of observations ‘physical’.) If the ‘physical’ includes subjectivity, qualia, formal and final causes, etc – and I see no reason why it in principle couldn’t, anymore – then a ‘physical universe’ is required because a ‘physical universe’ is just ‘a universe’.

    What’s more, ‘soul building’ doesn’t require a long life. You may be mistaking the idea of soul building with ‘building a specific soul’ – but a person who lives for only 3 days has value, as does one who lives for 30 years, or one who lives for (by some miracle or technology – I wonder if those words mean different things anymore) 300 years.

    And, as StephenB will no doubt tell you, a soul is not a thing you ‘get’ at some point after you’re alive under the traditional view. It’s practically 1 to 1 with ‘being alive’. The soul is the form of the body and such.

  152. —veilsofmaya: “Collins seems to suggest that the purpose of TE is to create life using a natural process. Would you not agree that creating life was one of God’s goals and since God is supposedly omnipotent, the specific means by which he did so is an implementation detail?”

    Inasmuch as this is the third time I find it necessary to explain to you that the purpose for creating life takes logical precedence over the goal of creating life, and inasmuch as this is the second time that you have imposed my quotes on nullasalus without apology, and inasmuch as you continually fail to comprehend what you read, and inasmuch as you write in a code that only you can understand, and inasmuch as you change subjects on a whim, and inasmuch as you inject multiple themes into your paragraphs, and inasmuch as you offer irrelevant examples that do not pertain to the subject matter, and inasmuch as you tell me that you meant something other than what you said after I refute what you said, I think I will enstrust you to the other commentators with the hope that perhaps they can prompt you into participating in a reasonable discussion.

  153. —Gaz: “No, you still miss the point – you don’t need to know where the energy of an isolated system came from to understand the thermodynamics of it.”

    Sorry, but you are the one who misses the point. I didn’t say that one needs to know where the energy of an isolated system cam from to understand the thermodynamics of it. As I have pointed out more than once, I am referring to the origin of the energy and origin of the laws themselves, which is another way of saying that there cannot be any system without that input.

    —”Your continual asking of the question is a lot like saying you can’t explain the workings of an internal combustion engine without saying where the petrol (translation if needed: gas) came from. It’s completely unnecessary.”

    No, its more like your attempt to argue that the internal combustion engine can provide its own gasoline. Then why I try to explain to you that the origin of the gasoline cannot be in the internal combusion engine and must, therefore, come from the outside, you tell me first that that gas came from out of nowhere; following that, you revert back to saying that it came from inside the system; following that, you claim it really doesn’t matter.

  154. StephenB, It is a bit like alice in wonderland LOL 8) .

    You know veils I looked up your quantum computations for Shor’s algorithm and it is not even completely proven yet:

    Shor’s powerful quantum algorithm for factoring represents a major challenge in quantum computation. Here, we implement a compiled version in a photonic system. For the first time, we demonstrate the core processes, coherent control, and resultant entangled states required in a full-scale implementation. These are necessary steps on the path towards scalable quantum computing. Our results highlight that the algorithm performance is not the same as that of the underlying quantum circuit and stress the importance of developing techniques for characterizing quantum algorithms.
    http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v99/i25/e250505

    We report an experimental demonstration of a complied version of Shor’s algorithm using four photonic qubits. We choose the simplest instance of this algorithm, that is, factorization of N=15 in the case that the period r=2 and exploit a simplified linear optical network to coherently implement the quantum circuits of the modular exponential execution and semiclassical quantum Fourier transformation. During this computation, genuine multiparticle entanglement is observed which well supports its quantum nature. This experiment represents an essential step toward full realization of Shor’s algorithm and scalable linear optics quantum computation.
    http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v99/i25/e250504

    So here you are completely ignoring everything that has been presented to you for design just so to entertain something that is not even proven yet and even if it is proven it does not come anywhere near proving what you are trying to derive from it, i.e. the non-necessity of God,,, frankly after having you go on and on about this “proof” I thought you might have something solid, but alas I should of known it was but a another foray through the wild imagination of a materialist.

    Pure Imagination
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ-uV72pQKI

    From now on if you make a claim please cite your claim up front so as to not waste the time of those who choose to respond to you.

  155. Gaz, I asked if veils believed in God because I usually can spot a materialist/atheist fairly quickly but veils does not seem to hold to a coherent position in materialism. But the agnosticism seems to explain veils inability to be coherent in argumentation to either a materialistic or theistic position.

  156. Gaz @ 139, I can assure you with 100% certainty that Dr. Strauss, a very personable and outspoken Christian, does not think particles are coming into existence from absolutely nothing at all. In fact you have to be completely deaf to reality to not get the drive home point he was making about the top quark virtual particle being necessary for life in this universe.

  157. bornagain77,

    Just to take this in a slightly different direction. You speak of transcendent information. Isn’t that compatible with MWI anyway? Just because there’s some hilarious number of other ‘worlds’ doesn’t seem to me to challenge the idea that they are all ‘transcendentally informatic’ so to speak, as near as I can tell.

    Me, I have no idea how many universes God would make. (Well, I can speculate, but it’s just that – speculation.)

  158. 158

    @nullasalus (#148)

    you wrote:

    I think you’re confusing the idea that some people who adhered to the many-worlds interpretation also were proposing quantum computing as corroboration for quantum computing.

    If QC was not developed to intentionally collaborate MW, it’s unclear how this would somehow exclude it from collaborating MW. Regardless of the intent, QC still treats the MW interoperation as a hard to vary explanation which is integrated into the theory.

    If someone argued that quantum phenomena indicated that Berkeleyan idealism were true (and I can name a physicist who thinks exactly this), and therefore that quantum computing was possible because it was just God granting access to a superior information processing method, would quantum computing therefore become ‘corroboration’ for the idea?

    It depends on how “quantum phenomena” indicates Berkeleyan idealism is true. Is he merely referring to predictions that quantum mechanics makes or does he reference a specific and hard to vary explanation of why quantum phenomena occurs the first place?

    If the former (the connection is implied regardless of the which interpretation of quantum mechanics used), it’s likely that merely using “quantum phenomena” would be a very weak collaboration for Berkeleyan idealism. This is because you could radically alter the explanation of why quantum phenomenon occurs without any consequences.

    To illustrate my point further, take our current explanation of seasons verses the ancient Greek myth.

    Our current theory depends on a chain of hard to vary explanations, such as a the rotation of the earth, the discovery that a rotating sphere tends to remain at a constant tilt, that surfaces tilted away from radiant are cooler than those more parallel, the earth rotates around the sun in a period that corresponds to seasons, the sun transmits heat via solar radiation, etc. Falsify any of these separate conclusions and the whole explanation goes crashing down.

    On the other hand, the ancient Greek myth suggested that seasons were caused by Hades magically compelling Persephone to return every year as part of a forced marriage contract. Each time this occurs, her mother, Demeter, becomes sad and causes the entire earth to grow cold. Unlike the Greeks, we know that the seasons vary in the two hemispheres, which would falsify this myth. But, had the Greeks discovered this, they could have easily substituted any other annual action to compensate. For example, Persephone could have returned every year to take revenge on Hades and used her “spring powers” to push heat away from her vicinity, causing summer. Of course, they would have still been wrong.

    This is because the role played is only related to seasons via the myth itself.

    Not really, because the very nature of the ‘tins’ you’re discussing are part of the question

    From comment #52 in this thread.

    The designer just so happens to design eyes so they appeared to have evolved in a hap hazard way, but in reality, they did not? Mutations that result in detrimental traits are truly random, but mutations that result in positive traits – including those that separately were neutral or possible even detrimental alone, but resulted in a beneficial traits when combined – were intentionally orchestrated by an intelligent designer?

    This would include malaria, but not the sort of species destroying bombs you referred to.

    You’re also making the mistake of assuming that when ID ‘identifies design’, it’s also saying that therefore everything else is not designed.

    Which I though I had addressed in noting a lack of intervention could be interpreted as intent, but identifying it as such would be a stretch. If Collins thinks TE was the means by which God decided to create life, then TE was part of his plan.

    I said it was one of a number of interpretations, all of which are capable of ‘explaining’ a great deal, most of which are downright amusing.

    Again, I’m suggesting that not all explanations are equal. Specifically, some explanations are better than others and there really are ways to quantify them. That we might find them down right amusing doesn’t mean they are false. For example, the idea that a solid steel door is actually made of up mostly empty space seems quite ridiculous as well. Yet this is what quantum mechanics suggests is true.

    In another age, these things and more would have been called supernatural outright. That they aren’t now is more about stubbornness and careful word choice than anything else.

    Please see above. I’d challenge you to actually review historical scenarios were significant discoveries have been made. You’ll find a significant majority are founded on a chain of hard to vary explanations. This doesn’t mean we know they are 100% accurate, but that they represent the best explination among rival theories.

  159. 159

    veilsofmaya,

    If the former (the connection is implied regardless of the which interpretation of quantum mechanics used), it’s likely that merely using “quantum phenomena” would be a very weak collaboration for Berkeleyan idealism. This is because you could radically alter the explanation of why quantum phenomenon occurs without any consequences.

    I want to repeat: I’m not saying that you can’t argue that quantum computing provides corroboration for MWI. I’m saying that if you take the view that this is the case, then ‘corroboration’ exists for a wide variety of things, from idealism to dualism to ID to otherwise.

    Now, I notice you’re not denying this. You’re just questioning the strength of the corroboration (“hard to vary”). My response is, the only thing you’ve said in favor of MWI being “strongly corroborated” by quantum computing is that QC’s early pioneers were MWI adherents who imagined how QC would work in a MWI scenario, if it did work. That’s pretty flimsy. It’s like taking the twin-slit experiment as corroboration for someone saying that invisible pixies don’t want us to know the finest details of the world’s operation. I suppose that’s corroboration. It’s just, shall we say, limited.

    From your 52:

    The designer just so happens to design eyes so they appeared to have evolved in a hap hazard way, but in reality, they did not? Mutations that result in detrimental traits are truly random, but mutations that result in positive traits – including those that separately were neutral or possible even detrimental alone, but resulted in a beneficial traits when combined – were intentionally orchestrated by an intelligent designer?

    And I have said already that ID isn’t committed to saying that the designer only designs certain things, or certain positive things. “Truly random” isn’t necessary for ID whatsoever. “Treated as random” is.

    What’s more – eyes “appear designed in a haphazard way”? Even given an evolutionary history, I disagree. That’s a nice dash of subjectivity being added. In fact, strip the subjectivity and the metaphysics out of evolution, and you’re left with a bare-bones ‘theory’ that doubles as a design tool.

    Which I though I had addressed in noting a lack of intervention could be interpreted as intent, but identifying it as such would be a stretch.

    By what made-up standard? And why presume that there are only ‘interventions’ in the case of beneficial results? Again, no ID proponent I know of says this, and more than a few explicitly state otherwise.

    The models of design are more numerous than you seem to think.

    Again, I’m suggesting that not all explanations are equal.

    They’re not, but your particular attachment to one suggestion doesn’t make it any more compelling, nor does an informal poll. And I say this as someone who’d get a kick out of MWI. It does so much disastrous harm to ‘materialism’, atheism, and to probablistic talk in general that I’d find it all grimly amusing. What it (or better yet, Tegmark’s intellectual child) would do to scientism would practically be worth the admission price.

    I’d challenge you to actually review historical scenarios were significant discoveries have been made. You’ll find a significant majority are founded on a chain of hard to vary explanations.

    Who said otherwise? I said that in any other age, these things would have been called supernatural outright. Apparently, you equate supernatural with false. My response is that anything either determined to be true, or which scientists require in order to properly model something or explain their models, gets called “natural” or even ‘physical’ almost reflexively. The words have lost their meaning, and with them ‘supernatural’ or ‘immaterial’.

    The giveaway point was when you insisted to BA77 that his definition of materialism must be a strawman on the grounds that if that were the case, then materialism would be flat out false due to discoveries in quantum physics. Materialism, exposed as incorrect by science? Unthinkable!

    And yet, and yet…

  160. veilsofmaya (#104):

    Interesting remarks. I am really enjoying this discussion.

    Here, you’re drawn the conclusion that consciousness cannot be explained because it is a first person experience. That is, you’ve draw an arbitrary boundary beyond where human reason and understanding has no access and problem solving can no longer increase knowledge. Therefore, conciseness belongs in the second tin.

    However, Solipsism makes a similar claim in that, regardless of the fact that I appear to be interacting with a number of conscious beings in this discussion, we cannot know this for sure since consciousness is a a first-person only experience. Therefore, we should just admit we cannot actually prove reality outside of ourselves exits. While the second tin is not “supernatural” in the case of the Solipsist, the implications of unexplainably for things that reside in it is the same.

    Given that both of these claims are based on the assumption that first person experiences cannot be explained, why are you not a Solipsist rather than a realist and theist? This is why I’m suggesting that boundary drawing of any kind appears arbitrary.

    My comments:

    1) I think you are misunderstanding me a little. The secpond tin, for me, does not necessarily include issues “where human reason and understanding has no access” (although issues of that kind certainly exists, and would certainly have their place in the second bin). But tha more intersting content of the second bin (at least from a scientific point of view) is made of issues which cannot be comnpletely explained according to our present map of reality in the form of current scientific knowledge and theories. That does not mean in any way that they are not in principle accessible to reason, and that has never been my position. For instance, I have always believed (and stated here) that not only design detection, but also inferences about the designer’s nature and modus operandi are in principle (and probably in fact) accesiible to scientific approach (although maybe some other IDists would not agree on that). So, I am not drawing any arbitrary boundary between what is accessible to reason and what is not. My boundary is empirical, and it is about what can be reasonably explained according to current theories, and what cannot. Just to give a couple of important examples, in my (moktivated) opinion:

    a) complex biological information cannot be explained by the current causal theory of neo-darwinism.

    b) consciousness cannot be explained by the current cusal theory of strong AI.

    But I am in no way affirming that both consciousness and biological infpormation are not accessible to scientific reasoning. Indeed, I do believe the opposite.

    2) About consciousness, I believe that consciousness is in the second tin only because current “scientific” theories about it (especially strong AI) have simply tried to explain it without any rationale and any empiric support. My position about consciousness is very simple and very empirical: as it is a fact, it must be accepted as suchh and included in our maps of reality. And, definitely, it can be used to explain other facts (eg, designed things). If and when the fact of consciousnee will be succesfully “reducted” to other facts (that is, satisfactorily explained as a result of other facts), then we can discuss those explanations. Until then, consciousness has to be treated for what it is: something that exists, which we can’t explain on the basis of other facts, and which can contribute to explain other facts (that position is not strange, it is shared by many scientific concepts, like energy, mass, spin, and so on).

    3) About solipsism (and why I am not a solipsist). First of all, thank you for having pointed to the issue of solipsism, which I like very much, and which I have used in many posts of mine.

    Here, too, the issue is in some way simpler than it appears. I have stated many times the epistemological status about consciousness, which of fundamental importance, because only if we understand it correctly can we reasonably approach ither problems. It is as follows:

    We approach the concept of consciousness in two different ways:

    a) Our personal consciousness is directly experienced, let’s say intuitively, and is therefore a fact. Indeed, it is the fact on which all other facts relay, the experience in which all other experiences are made. That is the concept to which I refer when I say that consciousness is a fact.

    b) But it is true that our concept of consciousness is usually extended (with th only important exception of solipsists) at least to other human beings. As I have stated many times, this second aspect of the concept is not a fact, but an inference, and in particular an inference based on analogy. More or less:

    - We know that we are conscious (fact)

    - We perceive other beings who are similar to us (other human beings) and whose behaviour corresponds very well to our behaviour, which in turn corresponds very well to nour consious states

    - Therefore, we infer (by analogy) that other people have conscious states.

    Now, I do believe in that inference. IMO, it’s one of the best inferences ever made. I like inferences by analogy. ID is an inference by analogy.

    That’s why I am not a solipsist. The error of solipsists is that they seem to think that empirical knowledge about the external world should be “proved” absolutely, in a purely logical and deductive way. But that’s not true. No knowledge about the world has that status. Empirical knowledge is always based on inference, and is never “absolute”. But it can be empirically “very certain”.

    That’s why I am sure that I am conscious (fact), and I firmly believe that other people are conscious (very certain inference based on analogy), and I firmly believe that complex biological information is designed (very certain inference based on analogy).

  161. veilsofmaya you ask:

    “You speak of transcendent information. Isn’t that compatible with MWI anyway?”

    No it absolutely is not! veils I find Many Worlds to be a completely absurd materialistic postulation which has blinded many to seeing “transcendent information” as what it really is i.e. the dominant, primal, component of reality.

    veils please try to answer this question, if materialistic hidden variables are not entangling particles, in quantum entanglement experiments, exactly what entity is?

  162. bornagain77 (156),

    Strauss himself talks about “virtual particles popping in and out of existence”. As for the top quark, I’m underwhelmed – one could make a much better argument for the up and down quarks being necessary for the existence of life.

  163. StephenB (153),

    You have serious problems in comprehending statements that are perfectly clear. Your claim that I’m arguing that internal combustion engines can provide their own gasoline, or that the gas comes from nowehere, is not only totally incorrect, it’s utterly bizarre.

    I don’t see any point in discussing this issue with you – you are clearly incapable of understanding even the rudiments of thermodynamics. I get the feeling that what you are trying to get to is where did the energy that makes up the universe come from, an interesting question and one I’d normally be happy to engage in. But quite honestly I don’t believe you are capable given your lack of even any basic grounding in the subject matter.

  164. gaz, this is funny even though a virtual particle is shown to be necessary for there to even be atoms in the first place, you consider it “underwhelming”. Yet you hold the absurd position that each and every time a virtual particle pops into existence, to sustain each and every atom in the entire universe, it does so from coming into existence from absolutely nothing at all. Gaz your faith in materialism makes the most outlandish Christians look sane,,, I just ain’t got that much faith to be an atheist Gaz!

  165. bornagain77 (164),

    Rather like StephenB, you seem to have a comprehension problem. What underwhelms me is using the top quark as evidence in support of the anthropic principle (and I presume Strauss means the strong, not weak, version of the principle). The fact is that the top quark is a rather exotic form of quark. Conversely, the up and down quarks are in all the atoms in all the matter around you – they (and their antiparticle counterparts) make up all the protons and neutrons in all the nucclei of all the atoms in you and me and everything around you. One would think the up and down quarks were much better entities in support of the anthropic principle than the top quark.

    As to the issue of virtual particles popping in and out of existence – that is in fact what physcists see, including Strauss. You may not like the implications, but that is the simple fact. It’s nothing to do with faith – it’s to do with the evidence.

  166. StephenB:

    Strictly speaking, nothing is self propelled because the ultimate source of the energy must be explained.

    How does that statement make any more sense than the following?

    “Strictly speaking, nothing can cause something else to move, because the ultimate source of the energy must be explained.”

    or

    “Strictly speaking, a flame cannot cause a pan of water to heat up, because the ultimate source of the energy must be explained.”

    or

    “Strictly speaking, StephenB cannot type on his keyboard, because the ultimate source of the energy must be explained.”

  167. R0b (166),

    Good questions, but I think you’ll find that in StephenB’s view it’s all my fault for saying petrol/gas comes out of nothing (apparently).

  168. StephenB:

    So, you think my little example of the heat from a rangetop transferring heat to a pan of water on the stove was an example of an isolated system, do you?

    Of course not.

    Here is a clue: The rangetop is external to the pan of water.

    Yes, and you seem to think that the source of thermal energy must be external to the pan of water. (“The change most certainly cannot come from the inside of the pan.”)

    But the source of thermal energy could be inside the pan, so the pan could heat up even if it were an isolated system. Even the water itself contains plenty of energy. If there’s enough water — say, a solar mass — it will heat up in a spectacular way.

    Speaking of isolated systems, your explanation for the source of the energy or heat contained in them is what?

    Are you asking about a primum movens? If so, I doubt that either empirical science or formal logic can answer that question, so it’s a matter of speculation or personal faith.

  169. Gaz (#137 -142):

    Thank you for your remarks.

    Your position about the interpretation of QM is in itself an interpretation (if I am not wrong, more or less the Copenaghen type), and is a perfectly valid approach, bit not certainly the only one. I am probably more interested in the philosophical and cognitive consequences of QM than you are.

    About the “connection” between quantum level and macro level, for instance, I am among those who believe that probably in that “window” we could find the interface between consciousness and matter. That’s obviously because it is possible that in this “space” between the deterministic-truly probabilistic representations of reality in QM, and the deterministic – pseudo probabilistic representations of classical physics, consciousness and the principle of free will can intervene. That’s not only my idea, but a neurological model supported, among others, by Eccles.

  170. 170

    Gaz,

    Strauss himself talks about “virtual particles popping in and out of existence”.

    I thought “poof” was not a scientific explanation?

  171. Gaz, though your little tap dance around the top quark may intrigue your fancy as to a satisfactory answer, the plain fact is that if there was no top quark there would be no atom, thus no life in this universe, period. Of course the other quarks, and zoo of other particles, are necessary for the atom to exist, thus demonstrating the irreducible complex nature of the atom, I did not say that they were not necessary, but the drive home point here is that you completely fail to comprehend the absolute absurdity of your position for believing that the virtual particles, of the top quarks and other virtual particles, “just so happen” to pop into existence, to sustain each and every atom in the entire universe, from absolutely nothing at all. If you heard a bang outside a door and I told you in all seriousness that absolutely nothing caused the bang outside the door you would rightly question my sanity, why should I not question yours? Indeed the entire scientific method is based on casual adequacy, as StephenB has clearly pointed out, to adopt your approach for explanation undermines the entire scientific enterprise.

  172. gpuccio (169),

    You’re quite right – I’m no expert in QM, but insofar as I favour any model it’s Copenhagen, but that’s only because it’s the easiest one for me to understand! I make no pretence that it is better than any of the others.

    You probably are more interested in the philosophical/cognitive consequences implications of QM than me – personally, I think QM is so weird that we would be looking in quite the wrong place if we looked at QM for guidance, but that’s just my thought.

    You may also be right about the consciousness angle, although my feeling is we probably don’t need to. I expect consciousness will arise as an emeregent quantity but at the level of classical physics, without the need to invoke QM.

  173. I’m sorry nullasalus I mistakingly attributed this question to veils:

    “You speak of transcendent information. Isn’t that compatible with MWI anyway?”

    No it absolutely is not! nullasalus I find Many Worlds, which was primarily devised to “get around” the casual inadequacy of materialism to explain wave collapse, to be a completely absurd materialistic postulation. A postulation which has blinded many to seeing “active transcendent information” as what it really is i.e. the dominant, primal, component of reality i.e. Logos.

    nullasalus please try to answer this question, since materialistic hidden variables are proven not to be entangling particles, in quantum entanglement experiments, exactly what entity is entangling the particles? Do we appeal to an infinity of untestable universes to explain the phenomena? Or do we use the answer that is right under our nose? i.e. That “transcendent information” is its own independent entity? For me the answer is not even close.

  174. Clive Hayden (170),

    “Poof” isn’t adequate. On the other hand, Heisenberg (see my 112) is more of an explanation, although not as much as we’d like (it never is in QM).

  175. bornagain77 (171),

    ….and if there was no up or down quark the same would be true. I’m not going to look at the top quark as anything special in view of that.

    As for virtual particles popping into existence, it’s not just me saying that, it’s your friend Michael Strauss too (and you brought him into this, rememeber?). It happens. It’s observed. Live with it. The entire scientific endeavour is NOT based on “causal adeuqacy”, it’s based on looking at the evidence and deducing what happened. In the realm of QM cause and effect break down – that’s observed by science and it’s another simple fact that you and StephenB need to get past.

  176. Gaz, Strauss holds transcendent God to be the ultimate cause, for you to twist the intent of what he actually meant by what he said to be in support of your atheistic worldview is really too much. I will waste my time with you no further since it is impossible to reason with one who adamantly refuses to be reasonable. To remove any doubt as to Dr. Strauss’s actual position on the anthropic principle, this video is clear as to his position.

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

  177. 177

    Gaz,

    “Poof” isn’t adequate. On the other hand, Heisenberg (see my 112) is more of an explanation, although not as much as we’d like (it never is in QM).

    Isn’t “poof” exactly what you’re claiming is adequate as a scientifically observable phenomenon?

  178. —[Rob on the origin of energy]: “Are you asking about a primum movens? If so, I doubt that either empirical science or formal logic can answer that question, so it’s a matter of speculation or personal faith.”

    Notice that you cannot provide a straight answer to a straight question. You don’t accept the principle that nothing can begin to exist without a cause. Because of that deficient world view, you cannot interpret evidence reasonably or make reasoned judgments about the world you live in. So, you believe that isolated systems can be the sourcee of their own energy. For you, energy can appear “poof.”

  179. bornagain77 (176),

    But it was Strauss who said “virtual particles popping in and out of existence”! Now, he may well think that it’s God doing that. But that is not a scientific statement, it’s a matter of faith.

    Cline Hayden (177), that is what we observe. It’s the explanation that isn’t adequate. But explaining anything in QM is difficult – doesn’t mean it won’t improve though (and it’s certainly better than “God did it”)

  180. —Rob: “But the source of thermal energy could be inside the pan, so the pan could heat up even if it were an isolated system. Even the water itself contains plenty of energy. If there’s enough water — say, a solar mass — it will heat up in a spectacular wayBut the source of thermal energy could be inside the pan, so the pan could heat up even if it were an isolated system. Even the water itself contains plenty of energy. If there’s enough water — say, a solar mass — it will heat up in a spectacular wayBut the source of thermal energy could be inside the pan, so the pan could heat up even if it were an isolated system. Even the water itself contains plenty of energy. If there’s enough water — say, a solar mass — it will heat up in a spectacular way.”

    Even if in your wildest dreams a pan of water could heat itself, which it cannot, you still have not explained the source of the internal energy that you claim makes it possible. So, you are, again, begging the question, as you always must.

  181. —Gaz: “Good questions, but I think you’ll find that in StephenB’s view it’s all my fault for saying petrol/gas comes out of nothing (apparently).”

    It was your own analogy which exposed the absurdity of your position. Have you given up on your self-sufficient internal combusion system? If so, here is a question on which you can crack your wisdom teeth? Where did the engine come from?

  182. StephenB (181),

    Flattered you’re still bothering, but your flagrant misrepresentation of my comments only serves to demonstrate that you really don’t have the first clue what you are talking about.

  183. –Gaz: “As for virtual particles popping into existence, it’s not just me saying that, it’s your friend Michael Strauss too (and you brought him into this, rememeber?). It happens. It’s observed. Live with it.”

    No one knows exactly what is happening. What we do know is that it is not a causeless event. The causal conditions for the quantum event MUST be present.

    —”The entire scientific endeavour is NOT based on “causal adeuqacy”, it’s based on looking at the evidence and deducing what happened.”

    Incorrect. Evidence doesn’t speak for itself, it must be interpreted. One can only deduce what happend by using the principles of deduction. Need I repeat some of them. [A]A thing cannot be and not be [B]Nothing can begin to exist without a cause.

    —”In the realm of QM cause and effect break down – that’s observed by science and it’s another simple fact that you and StephenB need to get past.”

    There is no cause and effect breakdown in science. Science depends on the law of causality to maintain its rationality. What you need to get past is your something-from-nothing Darwinsm.

  184. StephenB (183),

    You’re still just plain wrong and you refuse to learn. Your basically making up principles that no-one else uses or accepts. Part of the problem is that you try to use what you see in the everyday world around you and apply it as a general rule. But as has been made clear to you, the classical physics world that you and I inhabit is very, very different to the quantum world (or the cosmic sphere, where general relativity applies) and you can’t transfer classical principles to those other regimes – it simply doesn’t work.

    Frankly, I can’t be bothered wasting my time continually writing repsonses to you when you just won’t learn, so just look at these sites:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causality_(physics)

    In particular from the latter, see these paragraphs:

    “One crack in this belief system has been produced by radioactivity. An atom of some radioactive substance such as radium will eventually decay, and in the process it will emit energy. But there is no known triggering event that could serve as the cause of this decay event. In a large collection of radium atoms the rate of decay can be accurately predicted, but the identity of the decayed atoms cannot be determined beforehand. Their decay is random and uncaused. Of course it is possible to assert that there must be a hidden factor interior to the radium atoms that predetermines their time of decay, but that factor cannot be found.

    Another crack in this belief system has been produced by quantum mechanical events such that the same sequence of causal events (or causal factors) regularly produces different effects (i.e. results), but the results may repeat themselves in some random (unknowable) sequence. Furthermore, the percentages of results of each kind can be calculated and they are highly predictable.

    Results of this kind are seen in the macro world of human beings only in the case of crooked roulette wheels or other such crooked gambling devices.”

  185. 185

    Gaz,

    Cline Hayden (177), that is what we observe. It’s the explanation that isn’t adequate. But explaining anything in QM is difficult – doesn’t mean it won’t improve though (and it’s certainly better than “God did it”)

    We’re making progress if you admit that “poof” is indeed scientific. :)

  186. Gaz-

    It is quite incredible that you cannot seewhy things popping into and out of existence uncaused is a highly dubious claim. First, what is existence? Secondly, the principle of sufficient reason tells us that there will be a reason for every contingent entity or effect. Third, there has to be some existence for it to “pop” into. There are also laws by which this would occur we only have to work them out.

  187. Oh Gaz one more thing. No one is saying “God did it” is an adequate explanation. What they might be saying is something like, “this is how God works rationally within the universe.”

  188. Phaedros,

    You’re doing what StephenB is doing – coming up with principles that aren’t valid. There is not necessarily any “reason” for some things to occur. Like it or not, QM does indeed allow for a breakdown in cause and effect. Many scientists aren’t fussed about it either, but accept it’s how the universe is and have to live with it.

    Nor is saying “this is how God works rationally within the universe” any different from saying “God did it” iff there is no underlying explanation for what God is actually doing.

  189. Clive Hayden (185),

    Sorry, you’ve lost me….

  190. StephenB:

    —[Rob on the origin of energy]: “Are you asking about a primum movens? If so, I doubt that either empirical science or formal logic can answer that question, so it’s a matter of speculation or personal faith.”

    Notice that you cannot provide a straight answer to a straight question.

    I asked for a clarification of your question, and provided a perfectly straight answer based on a tentative interpretation. The answer is that I don’t know what the primum movens is or if there is one, since, as far as I can tell, it’s a matter of speculation or personal faith.

    Here’s a crazy thought: Why not respond to the request for clarification? Are you asking about a primum movens or not? If so, then why not just say First Cause instead of talking about external causes, like flames?

    And why not clarify your “something cannot come from nothing” claim while you’re at it? What counts as “something”? A state? An event? A regularity? A statistical regularity?

    And what counts as “nothing”? Absence of matter? Absence of energy? Absence of quantum wave functions? Absence of the “something”s mentioned in the previous paragraph?

    And what does “comes from” mean? If B comes from A, does that mean that P(B|A)=1, or P(B|A)>>0, or P(B|A)>0? Does it mean that P(B|~A)=0?

    You don’t accept the principle that nothing can begin to exist without a cause. Because of that deficient world view, you cannot interpret evidence reasonably or make reasoned judgments about the world you live in.

    So you say. But of course, you can’t back it up, since alleged principles of right reason cannot be reasoned TO or demonstrated empirically. (BTW, if failing to adopt correct first principles leads to absurdity, then that means that those principles can be reasoned TO via reductio ad absurdum.)

    So, you believe that isolated systems can be the sourcee of their own energy. For you, energy can appear “poof.”

    No, I was very careful to talk about sources of thermal energy, which consist of other types of energy. Isolated systems obviously obey the 1st Law, modulo the uncertainty principle, and they can heat up if they contain a source of thermal energy.

  191. Gaz-

    Lol gaz you said exactly what I knew you would say and you betrayed your bias. You’re just going to have to get over the fact that Christians believe God created everything and the greatest scientists were in fact trying to figure out how God did it rather than if God did it. It’s not a question of “if”. You also betray your irrationality again and again. You say that somehow cause and effect breaking down is a better explanation than trying to figure out what thereal causes are since we dont live in a universe where here are effects without causes. You can either take a Francis Collins viewpoint on it, i.e. Deistic, or a Christian, or some variation, as a theist and look for the root causes or you can halt science because some early scientists in the field couldn’t work it out.

  192. StephenB:

    —Rob: “But the source of thermal energy could be inside the pan, so the pan could heat up even if it were an isolated system. Even the water itself contains plenty of energy. If there’s enough water — say, a solar mass — it will heat up in a spectacular way…”

    Even if in your wildest dreams a pan of water could heat itself, which it cannot,

    Water contains a huge amount of nuclear energy, and I’m guessing that if you had a solar mass of water, the gravitational pressure would result in fusion of the hydrogen atoms, converting some of that nuclear energy to thermal energy. My guess may be wrong, but you’ve offered no reason to think that it is.

    you still have not explained the source of the internal energy that you claim makes it possible. So, you are, again, begging the question, as you always must.

    Why is it begging the question to posit an internal cause for an increase in temperature, but not begging the question to posit an external cause, like a flame?

  193. Phaedros (191),

    There are and have been many scientists – both believers and not – who have sought to understand what is happening in nature without recourse to whether or not a God was behind it all.

    Nor do I think that cause and effect breaking down is a better explanation than trying to find a cause – as a matter of personal preference, I would always prefer to find a cause simply because, as a human being, I’m used to cause and effect in normal evryday life. It’s easier to understand. At the same time, if the evidnce shows effects without cause – as it does in radioactive decay – then we have to accept the evidence. Now, if our knowledge improves and a cause is identified then so much the better. But it hasn’t so far, there is no model to suggest one, so the likelihood is there isn’t one to find, it’s just QM up to its old tricks.

  194. 194

    bornagain77,

    I’m not advocating MWI, by the way. I’m just asking some questions. I’d like to read up on this transcendent information you speak of – I have heard of some scientists viewing information as more fundamental than “matter” (Zeilinger, perhaps?) I just don’t see the incompatibility of that general idea with MWI.

    To give an example, Max Tegmark believes in a MWI view that makes the mere QM interpretation seek anemic in comparison. But that’s because Tegmark, as near as I can tell, is some kind of strange hyper-pythagorean/platonist who believes that math is the most fundamental reality. That’s a lot of things. Materialist? I don’t think so.

    No it absolutely is not! nullasalus I find Many Worlds, which was primarily devised to “get around” the casual inadequacy of materialism to explain wave collapse, to be a completely absurd materialistic postulation. A postulation which has blinded many to seeing “active transcendent information” as what it really is i.e. the dominant, primal, component of reality i.e. Logos.

    Oh, I think MWI is pretty absurd. What I don’t think is that it’s materialistic. I mean, come on, let’s be frank here: Materialism – what everyone meant by materialism for centuries, possibly millenia if you want to go back that far – is dead. It died a long time ago. That “I” am a smear of probabilities existing in a multitude of universes that are constantly splitting off is a downright supernatural, immaterial claim. That an atheist in a lab coat is making it hardly changes that.

    Go look at this paper where Tipler responds to some of David Deutsch’s endorsement and criticism of his Omega Point to see what I mean. Tipler, recall, is an (admittedly unorthodox) Christian and ID sympathetic. You tell me what Deutsch is.

    nullasalus please try to answer this question, since materialistic hidden variables are proven not to be entangling particles, in quantum entanglement experiments, exactly what entity is entangling the particles? Do we appeal to an infinity of untestable universes to explain the phenomena? Or do we use the answer that is right under our nose? i.e. That “transcendent information” is its own independent entity? For me the answer is not even close.

    My understanding is that local hidden variables are ruled out as being the culprit, but “non-local” ones are still considered. Even MWI doesn’t get around non-locality, it’s just some bizarre cross-world different kind of it, which they think is better because for some reason. I don’t think they even really explain “what is entangling”, so to speak. Seems like more of a the-world-just-works-that-way thing.

  195. 195

    Gaz,

    It is a common reproach against ID that the designer just “poofed” something into existence. This is, no doubt, an aversion to style, rather than the impossibility of it. But leaving that on the side, one cannot maintain an argument against anything “poofing” into existence (as with their imagined design method of the designer), because “poof” is unscientific, and maintain, at the same time, that “poof” is indeed scientific to avoid the cause and effect argument. One or the other, one or the other. Both cannot be maintained. If “poof” gets one out of the cause and effect sequence when it is convenient, one must also admit that “poof” is valid in other areas. I am not claiming that “poof” is the way anything was designed in reality, I’m only pointing out the inconsistency of materialists who argue against “poof” when arguing against design, and argue for “poof” when arguing against causation.

  196. nullasalus, leaving aside the multiple absurdities of MWI, “transcendent information” when looked at as a unique entity that has a tangible, and even “physical”, presence has far more going for it than just entanglement and teleportation and it (Information considered as a unique entity) ties up many loose ends in science in a very pleasing and coherent manner:

    the first part of this paper goes into more detail:

    http://lettherebelight-77.blog.....is_19.html

  197. —Rob: “Here’s a crazy thought: Why not respond to the request for clarification? Are you asking about a primum movens or not? If so, then why not just say First Cause instead of talking about external causes, like flames?”

    I am not raising the bar nearly as high as that. I don’t expect anyone either from a scientific or from a reasoned perspective to identify the cause, first cause or otherwise. I am simply asking allegedly reasonable people to acknowledge the fact that the original source of energy in an isolated system could not have come from that system. Inasmuch as there once was a time when there was no energy at all, this should not be too much to ask. But I realize that it may well be an intolerable stretch for those who are invested in a something-from-nothing ideology where things just pop into existence without a cause. Even in an isolated system, the system itself cannot account for the origin of its energy, much less can it account for the laws that do the regulating.

    —“And what counts as “nothing”? Absence of matter? Absence of energy? Absence of quantum wave functions? Absence of the “something”s mentioned in the previous paragraph?

    —And what does “comes from” mean? If B comes from A, does that mean that P(B|A)=1, or P(B|A)>>0, or P(B|A)>0? Does it mean that P(B|~A)=0?

    It is hard to believe that someone could get so invested in the world of symbolic language that he would claim not to know what “nothing” means.

    —“So you say. But of course, you can’t back it up, since alleged principles of right reason cannot be reasoned TO or demonstrated empirically.

    Oh, I don’t know, let’s give it a try. Can the planet Jupiter both exist and not exist at the same time?

  198. Clive Hayden (195),

    The QM version isn’t just “poof” though. As I mentioned in 112, there is an explanation at least for the way in which the energy can be martialled to form the particles. That gets us ahead of ID at least, whereby you would need to explain how the designer did it and also why the designer wasn’t apparent when the deed was done (bearing in mind that we do see particles pop in and out of existence all the time).

  199. 199

    Gaz,

    You have two options, either their is a cause, and the causal argument applies, or there isn’t, and “poof” is legitimate science.

  200. StephenB (197),

    “Oh, I don’t know, let’s give it a try. Can the planet Jupiter both exist and not exist at the same time?”

    That’s an easy one – no, it can’t. But again – yet again – I need to explain to you that the situation is from classical, macro physics, but (for the nth time) the situation is rather different at the micro levels where quantum mechanics operates. See here:

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....bject.html

    Basically, the oscillation can both exist and not exist at the same time – it’s in a superposition of two states until the point where it’s observed, when the wave function collapses.

    The quantum effect may also be considered in the familiar “Schrodinger’s cat” thought experiment. A cat is put in a sealed box with a radioactive particle, a detector and a poison gas vial set to release gas when the detector picks up radiation from the particle. The cat is said to be in a superposition of two states – dead and alive – until an observer looks in the box. The implication is that the radiation from the particle – a gamma ray, say – is in a superposition of two states (existing and non-existing) until the observer opens the box.

    So yet again your question gives an obvious answer at the macro level, but not at the micro level – no at macro, yes at micro.

  201. Clive Hayden (199),

    Not quite. The “poof” in ID is entirely random and we have no idea where, what or who the designer is or does. On the other hand the situation in QM is that we can at least put probabilistic bounds on events even if we don’t know exactly when or where they will happen.

  202. 202

    @gpuccio (#160)

    Gpuccio,

    I’m finding this discussion interesting as well.

    While your reasoning and assumptions may be different from the Solipsist, isn’t the end result the same?

    I’m a realist because Solipsism consists of the theory of realty with the added exception of it all being elaborate figments of my internal self. As such, It’s a bad explanation which I discard.

    You seem to hint at this when you say…

    We perceive other beings who are similar to us (other human beings) and whose behaviour corresponds very well to our behaviour, which in turn corresponds very well to nour consious states

    However, solipsism also makes the prediction that other people would give the appearance of behavior that corresponds with our conscious states. And our observations do support this prediction, right? Where solipsism disagrees is that claims these people only appear to be external to ourselves and therefore are not actually conscious.

    If consciousness really is a first person experience, then we cannot rely on observations to reject the Solipsist’s claim as both realism and solipsism make the same predications.

    The critical flaw is that solipsism fails to explain why human beings only appear to be separate conscious external entities. This is simply not addressed at all. Instead it attempts to explain way the currently tenable theory of reality.

    You wrote:

    But I am in no way affirming that both consciousness and biological infpormation are not accessible to scientific reasoning. Indeed, I do believe the opposite.

    Couldn’t the Solipsist make the same claim about Solipsism? After all, he is in no way affirming he cannot use reason to identify that these dream-like beings only appear to be conscious and are really just facets of his own mind. Nor is he affirming that he could not methodically study object-like facets of himself that obey laws of physics-like facets of himself which are discovered by physicist-like facets, which appear to work independently of him.

    He affirms that he can gain reason about and knowledge of these things, but he denies that we can know that they exist outside of himself.

    Now, I do believe in that inference. [other people have conscious states] IMO, it’s one of the best inferences ever made. I like inferences by analogy. ID is an inference by analogy.

    Gpuccio,

    First, this isn’t really an analogy. Since you a person, which you know is conscious, you’re inferring that the next person should be conscious, and the next person, etc. An analogy would be to illustrate the same point via a different yet related scenario. For example, since you know one computer gave you the right answer, you infer that another computer of the same model would give you the right answer, etc.

    Second, as David Hume illustrated, inferences are subject to the problem of induction. While you might think that other people are really conscious “one of the best inferences ever made”, It’s unclear why. Perhaps this is because it implies you are not alone?

    Rather than say we merely “like” one inference over another, I’m suggesting there is a solution to the problem of induction, which is critical rationalism. This is the process I’ve used to show that Solipsism is should be rejected.

    The error of solipsists is that they seem to think that empirical knowledge about the external world should be “proved” absolutely, in a purely logical and deductive way.

    The error of the solipsist is that he provides no explanation as to why human beings only appear to be conscious, why what appears to be external objects only appear to follow the an objective laws of physics, etc. As such, It’s a convoluted elaboration of reality.

    Please note that my reasons for rejecting solipsism is not limited to an inference of consciousness in other people. Solipsism is convoluted elaboration of the entirety of reality (with exception of himself), including objects that follow the laws of physics, other people that surprise the solipsist and even disagree with his position that sophism is true!

  203. —Gaz: “That’s an easy one – no, it can’t.” [Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time?]

    Why not? According to you the principle of causality is negotiable. Why cannot a planet somewhere both exist and not exist at the same time? You stated with certainty that Jupiter cannot exist and not exist? What makes you so certain?

    —”But again – yet again – I need to explain to you that the situation is from classical, macro physics, but (for the nth time) the situation is rather different at the micro levels where quantum mechanics operates.”

    As I tried to explain to you numerous times, the point as to whether quantum particles come and go is not the issue. The issue is that the phenomenon is not and cannot be a causeless event.

  204. 204

    Gaz,

    Not quite. The “poof” in ID is entirely random and we have no idea where, what or who the designer is or does. On the other hand the situation in QM is that we can at least put probabilistic bounds on events even if we don’t know exactly when or where they will happen.

    I’m not arguing that the designer “poofs”, though that cannot be ruled out if “poof” is a valid scientific observation, regardless of any associated probabilities involved in QM. The conditions for “poof” in ID, and your assumptions about it, are not what interest me. The causal argument either is or is not adequate, and with regard to QM, you claim it is not, ergo, “poof” is perfectly valid science. If you want to argue particular cases, that is wonderful, but you cannot have it both ways. It’s not a matter of knowing when or where these particles will poof, it’s the fact that there is no cause (according to you), and the probabilistic predictions do not cause anything. It’s an “after the fact” assumption and probabilistic calculation which has no bearing on cause. But the fact within the “after the fact” event is that you claim no cause and effect. Therefore poof equals science, in and of itself, regardless of other considerations about a designer.

  205. 205

    bornagain77,

    , leaving aside the multiple absurdities of MWI, “transcendent information” when looked at as a unique entity that has a tangible, and even “physical”, presence has far more going for it than just entanglement and teleportation and it (Information considered as a unique entity) ties up many loose ends in science in a very pleasing and coherent manner:

    the first part of this paper goes into more detail

    Heady reading! It would help if you would organize the relevant quotes under a single page sometime dealing with transcendent information. I’m fascinated by it.

    Either way, I want to make things clear. What I see you saying is that information is more fundamental than ‘matter’ (whatever that is, anymore). I hope you see my point when I roll my eyes at the idea of MWI being a materialist theory. I certainly can see some atheists hoping to rely on MWI to evade some disconcerting conclusions, but not only do I think it’s not successful, but I think they don’t appreciate just what they’re accepting by making the move. Rather like drinking cyanide out of fear that one may be diagnosed with cancer.

    Now, I have a lot to learn about this subject, even Zeilinger’s specific view. But when I hear that information is transcendent, that information underlies the ‘material’, I immediately think that’s a claim with comes prior to a lot of this quantum interpretation talk. To illustrate what I mean, look at Max Tegmark – who accept MWI, and then ‘roids it up to something even more breathtaking. But Tegmark, if I read him right, is a hyper-platonist – he thinks that ‘information’ (in this case, math) is all there is. Math doesn’t describe reality. It is reality.

    I think you and I would both agree that even accepting MWI for the hell of it doesn’t disprove ID, much less solve it. Paul Davies caused no end of outrage by admitting as much. And Deutsch? Just look at his interaction with Tipler. Once someone accepts the Omega point, or entertains it as a real possibility/destiny*, they’re into theism land. Weird, strange theism land, but theism all the same.

    (* Destiny, if it hasn’t already happened yet. One problem with the Omega Point is if it’s true, then the reality we now experience is entirely compatible with it already having taken place.)

  206. 206

    veilsofmaya,

    So I’ll assume ignorance, a disingenuous misrepresentation or some combination of the two, as you failed to address how any of the “details” I illustrated really do matter.

    Ignorance of molecules to man evolution? Yes, you have it too, I think you’re starting to get it.

  207. StephenB (203),

    {sighs} Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time for the simple reason that the quantum numbers for the system we call “Jupiter” are far too large for QM effects to have any bearing on it. It’s not the case that causality is “negotiable”, it’s just that there are certain situations in QM where it breaks down. Jupiter is not a QM situation, its a classical physics situation where causality hasn’t broken down.

    I explained at 184 why you are wrong about causality at QM level and I don’t propose to waste more time on it until you’ve read that (and understood it).

  208. Clive Hayden (204),

    I would always rather know more about the physics, including cause and effect in QM situations, but the simple fact is QM explains vastly more than ID does.

  209. 209

    Gaz,

    It’s not the case that causality is “negotiable”, it’s just that there are certain situations in QM where it breaks down. Jupiter is not a QM situation, its a classical physics situation where causality hasn’t broken down.

    Saying that utterly uncaused things/events are subject to rules and specific conditions is just a roundabout way of denying that utterly uncaused events aren’t possible.

    What’s more, the very idea of “observing” particles popping into existence either uncaused or out of nowhere is silly. Again, that’s like me saying that I see things pop in and out of existence uncaused all the time on the highway. I start seeing them, then I don’t see them anymore. Where did they come from? Where did they go? “Nowhere”.

    At the absolute best, all you can ever “see” is some thing where it was, that wasn’t there before. What you never “see” is it coming into existence without a cause, or from absolutely nothing. Just as, when I turn my head on the highway and see a car that wasn’t there before, I did not “observe it coming into existence uncaused”. And the reason I didn’t has nothing to do with it being macroscopic.

  210. StephenB:

    I am simply asking allegedly reasonable people to acknowledge the fact that the original source of energy in an isolated system could not have come from that system.

    I’m happy to acknowledge that, again, modulo quantum uncertainty. But it does not follow that “nothing can change itself and nothing can heat itself.” A system that consists of energy and matter can change itself and heat itself. To say that it can’t, but that an external flame can heat it, makes no sense. We can redefine the system to include the stove and the propane tank, and we have an isolated system that’s heating itself.

    It is hard to believe that someone could get so invested in the world of symbolic language that he would claim not to know what “nothing” means.

    Do you think that “something cannot come from nothing” is an unambiguous claim? If you can answer the questions, I think there would be value in fleshing out your claims. Who knows, you might see a need to modify them.

    We’re both using symbolic language. I’m trying to use language that’s less equivocal. Disambiguation should be the start of the discussion, not the fallback after wasting our time going around in semantic circles.

    —“So you say. But of course, you can’t back it up, since alleged principles of right reason cannot be reasoned TO or demonstrated empirically.

    Oh, I don’t know, let’s give it a try. Can the planet Jupiter both exist and not exist at the same time?

    I have no problem saying no. Does this empirically demonstrate the LNC? Does this constitute reasoning TO the LNC? If not, then what do you mean by “let’s give it a try”?

  211. 211

    Gaz,

    I would always rather know more about the physics, including cause and effect in QM situations, but the simple fact is QM explains vastly more than ID does.

    I would like you to concede that “poof” is now scientific. And what does QM explain? Aren’t we trying to explain QM?

  212. nullasullas (209),

    Sorry, but that’s what happens – it’s everything to do with whether something is macroscopic or not. Like it or not, the quantum universe is totally different to the classical world we live in, and there’s a world of difference between cars spontaneously appearing on the highway and virtual particles popping in and out of existence.

  213. Clive Hayden (211),

    “Poof” isn’t scientific, but again I don’t concede QM is “poof”. Go back to my 112. Now then: QM explains phenomena we see at the microscopic level. That’s what we use to try to explain quantum phenomena. QM is the tool, quantum events are the phenomena we seek to understand using the tool.

  214. —Gaz: “Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time for the simple reason that the quantum numbers for the system we call “Jupiter” are far too large for QM effects to have any bearing on it.”

    So, in your opinion, it is quantum mechanics and not reason’s principles that determine the fact that Jupiter cannot exist and not exist at the same time? So you are saying that the evidence science can decide whether the law of non-contradictionn is true or how and where it can be applied?

    —”It’s not the case that causality is “negotiable”, it’s just that there are certain situations in QM where it breaks down.”

    If it breaks down in those situations, how do you know it may not break down in other situations. There are trillions and quadrillions of situations that we are not aware of. Could there be millions of other such instances in which causality breaks down? If so, how would you know how to identify those situations since Jupiter is not a QM situation, its a classical physics situation where causality hasn’t broken down.

    I explained at 184 why you are wrong about causality at QM level and I don’t propose to waste more time on it until you’ve read that (and understood it

  215. 215

    Gaz,

    Sorry, but that’s what happens – it’s everything to do with whether something is macroscopic or not. Like it or not, the quantum universe is totally different to the classical world we live in, and there’s a world of difference between cars spontaneously appearing on the highway and virtual particles popping in and out of existence.

    Nonsense. It happens all the time, Gaz. You see cars, you don’t see cars. You see buildings, you don’t see buildings.

    It doesn’t happen in Cleveland during the winter, though. That’s an important scientific difference. Happens plenty everywhere else, however. This is empirically observable.

    Wait, you say I’m engaged in special pleading? Funny you should say that…

  216. nullasullas (215),

    If you think the difference between the quantum and classical world is special pleading, along the lines of the difference between Cleveland and somewhere else, then I’m afraid you need to go back and study high school physics – this is 10th grade stuff in the UK.

  217. The last sentence in 214 represents Gaz’s comments, not mine. I repeat.

    —Gaz: “I explained at 184 why you are wrong about causality at QM level and I don’t propose to waste more time on it until you’ve read that (and understood it.”

    I understand it all too well. According to your source, quantum events are uncaused because we don’t know the cause. That is an irrational proposition.

    —”Frankly, I can’t be bothered wasting my time continually writing repsonses to you when you just won’t learn, so just look at these sites.”

    But I have already and long ago been where you are now, and I have heard all these irrational arguments. It is you that are in need of instruction, not me.

  218. 218

    Gaz,

    If you think the difference between the quantum and classical world is special pleading, along the lines of the difference between Cleveland and somewhere else, then I’m afraid you need to go back and study high school physics – this is 10th grade stuff in the UK.

    Quantum physics is fine. I am talking specifically about your claim that…

    As for virtual particles popping into existence, it’s not just me saying that, it’s your friend Michael Strauss too (and you brought him into this, rememeber?). It happens. It’s observed. Live with it.

    No, it has not been “observed”, and complaining that “but this is quantum physics!” doesn’t help you out here any more than it helps Deepak Chopra. No one observes anything “popping into existence” uncaused or from nothing. What is ‘observed’ is just what you see on the road. In fact, less so, since a lot of this relies on making sense of math formula – abstractions.

    I won’t deny that your grasping of observation, empiricism, and quantum physics is hovering around the 10th grade level. (Cleveland 10th grade.)

  219. StephenB (214),

    We may be getting somewhere (emphasis on “may”). It’s certainly reason and logic that determines whether Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time, but that reason and logic is based on scientific understanding of the classical universe. The problem with the quantum world is that it is highly counterintuitive – phenomena happen that are completely against what we would expect in the classical world (apart from what we have discussed, cosnsider quantum tunnelling – I used to use tunnel diodes in a previous job).

    I recognise no such law as the “law of non-contradiction” – what is it?

    There may certainly be other situations where causality breaks down. As for QM, we” recognise it when we see the phenomena.

  220. 214 posted prematurely

    —Gaz: ”It’s not the case that causality is “negotiable”, it’s just that there are certain situations in QM where it breaks down.”

    If it breaks down in certain situations, why can it not break down in other situations? How would you know which times it broke down and which times it didn’t. You could no longer use the deductive principle of causality to make that judgment because you would have already forfeited it in the name of progressive science. I am amazed that you do not grasp this point.

    Indeed, for you causality is negotiable. By your standards there may be millions or billions of situations in which it doesn’t apply. By what principle do you declare that it breaks down in quantum situations and nowhere else? Or, are you saying that it may break down anywhere and everywhere if we probe deeply enough. Clearly, you have not thought this matter through.

  221. nullasullas (218),

    it’s not just making sense of mathematical formula, it’s also based on observations of actual quantum phenomena. If you don’t accept that, take it up with Michael Strauss and bornagain77 who brought him into it.

  222. StephenB (220),

    It’s not an issue because if it breaks down then we will see effects with no cause (e.g. radioactive decay). If it doesn’t then we see effects with a cause. There is no problem.

  223. 223

    Gaz,

    it’s not just making sense of mathematical formula, it’s also based on observations of actual quantum phenomena. If you don’t accept that, take it up with Michael Strauss and bornagain77 who brought him into it.

    You don’t get it, Gaz. No one has, and no one ever can, “observe” something coming from nothing, or something popping into existence utterly uncaused. What you are saying is a lot like saying that we “observe” the collapse of the wavefunction, or that we “observe” the same photon going through both slits or interfering with itself in the twin-slit experiment. That observation has not, and can not, take place. It doesn’t even need to be brought in here, but the fact that “measurement” is such a landmine topic in QM should at least have given you pause before nattering off with a claim like this.

    Now, we can formulate interpretations or entertain wild ideas to explain experimental results. That is absolutely not “observing” squat. I don’t need to take this up with BA77, because he clearly knows this. I don’t have to take it up with Strauss either.

    You were dead wrong with saying we “observe” things popping into existence from nothing. Not even the wildest quantum woo nut will back you up on this. If you want to back off and say “Yeah well, that’s what I think is happening”, be my guest. You won’t be the first engineer with a nutty idea.

  224. nullasullas (223),

    That’s a reasonable point – easy to get sloppy with language here. We do, however, observe quantum phenomena – which is my statement that you quote – and from those we deduce that the wavefunction collapses, or that a photon is in two places at once. Fair enough?

  225. 225

    Gaz,

    You said that we observe things popping into existence uncaused, and that’s what I’ve disputed. What you mean by “we observe quantum phenomena” really depends on what you mean. I of course agree that we can speculate, deduce, interpret, etc in various ways. I don’t want to commit to more without rapt definitions in play.

    But yes, language is important here as anywhere, with some particular concerns with quantum topics. That I can agree with easily, so fair enough.

  226. nullasullas (225),

    On that note, I’ll just conclude by apologising for my comment about 10th grade stuff. It was unwarranted – guess I’m getting too old and grouchy for UD.

  227. 227

    Gaz,

    No harm done. Thank you for letting this tie up courteously, it is appreciated. I’m not perfect in that regard either.

  228. 228

    @nullasalus (#151)

    But you’re giving probabilities of God’s existence (”highly unlikely”), which only works if you think there is evidence in play which you can quantify – and evidence/quantification makes no sense when discussing what would be a deity one is strongly agnostic about.

    I am suggesting that we can rule out (falsify) many specific concepts of God for several reasons. For example, may are in direct contradiction, especially on maters of great importance.

    I also think the “supernatural” is a bad explanation for reasons I’ve already outlined.

    Furthermore, it’s clearly impossible to know if a non-material, all knowing, all powerful being sat on the sidelines and watched our universe unfold naturally. We could say the same for an omnipotent God who did not want us to know he existed. By definition, there would be no way to detect his actions if both claims are true. It’s only when a particular concept of God is claimed to have impacted our universe in a specific way that we have information that could possibly falsify or collaborate his existence.

    So, yes, I would say there are some conceptions of God for which we simply do not have enough information to decide one way or another. However, most people do not make claims of their existence. And, as a critical rationalist, I understand the impact of the problem of induction on gaining knowledge: we accept the most tenable theory, which we cannot guarantee with 100% accuracy is true.

    You wrote:

    But then there is a problem with believing in Darwinism, because Darwinism (at least any view of it which stays true to Darwin) excludes evolution as a process being used by a divine being for certain and known results.

    Why do need to stay “true” to Darwin and what exactly would that mean if we did? Must I adopt his political and socio-economical views to be a “Darwinist” as well?

    If the ‘physical’ includes subjectivity, qualia, formal and final causes, etc – and I see no reason why it in principle couldn’t, anymore – then a ‘physical universe’ is required because a ‘physical universe’ is just ‘a universe’.

    Regardless how it is defined, if one suggests the ‘universe’ began when God created if from nothing, it’s unclear how the universe could be a requirement for knowledge, intent, design, subjectivity, etc. You might claim that human beings achieve these things via some completely different ‘mechanism’, but this would suggest that God made us as entirely ‘physical’ beings that mimic his ability to exhibit knowledge, intent, design, subjectivity, etc.

    Of course, it is necessary for the universe to exist if we are to perceive it, have knowledge of it, etc.

    What’s more, ’soul building’ doesn’t require a long life.

    Neither does gaining knowledge or experience. The difference is we know people gain knowledge and experience. We do not ‘know’ souls need building, whatever that means, or that a universe would be necessary to do so. Nor am I suggesting that people do not have value unless they’ve lived 30 years.

  229. nullasalus you really gave me a plate full in 205, give me a bit to go through your cites, I will try to organize my notes on transcendent information in a more concise manner for you in short order (day or two). I appreciated your insights in your exchange with Gaz.

  230. 230

    Veilsofmaya,

    I am suggesting that we can rule out (falsify) many specific concepts of God for several reasons. For example, may are in direct contradiction, especially on maters of great importance.

    No, many are not “in direct contradiction”. Specific claims are. There are many conflicting accounts of Abraham Lincoln’s life and beliefs. ‘Well, then he probably didn’t exist’ doesn’t become a reasonable option. Nor does it become the case that two historians who disagree about the details of Lincoln are therefore talking about two different Lincolns. They’re having a dispute over the same Lincoln.

    What’s more, even the wildest God claims are typically unfalsifiable. I believe in evolution, even common descent, though not Darwinism. But I know better than to believe that, say… a YEC’s view is “falsified”. They can maintain that God created the world 6000 years ago, and all appearances to the contrary are mistakes or outright lies. The God they believe in just happens to be capable of this.

    The idea can be argued against, internal contradictions can attempt to be found. Falsified? That’s a joke.

    I also think the “supernatural” is a bad explanation for reasons I’ve already outlined.

    You believe in a humongous, possibly infinite, number of parallel universes that zip into existence day to day, and that these alternate universe people help us solve problems on quantum computers.

    You, my friend, believe in what most reasonable people would have once called the “supernatural” to an extreme that would make animists blush.

    Furthermore, it’s clearly impossible to know if a non-material, all knowing, all powerful being sat on the sidelines and watched our universe unfold naturally.

    Since when does God have to be non-material (especially given that ‘material’ hardly means anything anymore)? What happened to all those Zeuses and Thors and other gods atheists used to love bringing up as examples?

    Read your David Deutsch. He believes in Tipler’s Omega Point, in no small part due to MWI. He just doesn’t think an omniscient, omnipotent world-creating entity should be called God. Read your Nick Bostrom while you’re at it.

    I repeat: A strong agnostic commits that the answer to the question “Is there a God?” is undecidable, regardless of proof. That means no probability estimates.

    Why do need to stay “true” to Darwin and what exactly would that mean if we did? Must I adopt his political and socio-economical views to be a “Darwinist” as well?

    I know what you’re saying, Veils. I thought it myself for a long time. I argued with StephenB over a related topic. In the end, I couldn’t do it anymore. Darwin is the one who wrote his theory. The only thing that really made Darwin’s theory distinct WAS his metaphysics. Guys like Coyne, to this day, defend “Darwinism” with that specifically in mind.

    Play the game you’re trying to play here, but realize that to do so you have to say “I believe in Darwinism, just my version of it happens to be one Darwin would explicitly reject”. It’s not like I’m saying that I disagree with Darwinism because Darwin was an agnostic and, darnit, I don’t want to have anything to do with an agnostic’s theories. It’s his beliefs about the theory he formed that are the problem.

    Regardless how it is defined, if one suggests the ‘universe’ began when God created if from nothing, it’s unclear how the universe could be a requirement for knowledge, intent, design, subjectivity, etc. You might claim that human beings achieve these things via some completely different ‘mechanism’, but this would suggest that God made us as entirely ‘physical’ beings that mimic his ability to exhibit knowledge, intent, design, subjectivity, etc.

    Depends on the theology we’re talking about, and again, these claims of ‘non-material’ have shattered. It made sense to talk about ‘non-material’ back when Cartesianism and the ‘little odorless, colorless pebbles bouncing off each other’ model was what “materialism” is. Those models are gone, upended. Now “physical” is obnoxiously wide-open.

  231. 231

    BA77,

    Oh, by all means take your time. And don’t rush on my account – that was a suggestion and a hope, you’re the one putting in so much work there.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you on this. And I’m still intrigued at this talk of ‘transcendental information’. I keep seeing this idea pop up as information being the source of all reality, in various other contexts. Fascinating.

  232. 232

    #230

    !

  233. RE 219 “but that reason and logic is based on scientific understanding of the classical universe”

    reason and logic are not based on our understanding of the classical universe any more than they are dependent on our understandining of the quantum world.

    Vivid

  234. 234

    @bornagain77 (#154)

    You know veils I looked up your quantum computations for Shor’s algorithm and it is not even completely proven yet:

    Born,

    If you’ve concluded these articles suggest that Shor’s algorithm is “Pure Imagination”, it’s clear you do not understand how quantum computing works. It’s only necessary to solve a handful of non-controversial equations to prove Shor’s algorithm actually does factor integers.

    Instead, you’ve merely cut and paste what seems like a “problem” for QC and Shor’s algorithm and claimed it a “a another foray through the wild imagination of a materialist.”

    However, even in the absence of an understanding how QC and Shor’s algorithm works, are you suggesting it would be possible to factor a 2 digit number using Shor’s algorithm, yet not a 256 digit number? Since we cannot yet factor a 256 digit number using a classical computer running a classical algorithm either, using you ‘logic’, classical computers and classical factoring algorithms would be pure imagination as well.

    The current challenge is creating a quantum computer with a large number of qubits which does not interfere with it’s environment. Just as the current challenge in classical computers is creating transistors that can run faster, consume less power and not melt down in the process.

    From now on if you make a claim please cite your claim up front so as to not waste the time of those who choose to respond to you.

    Yes, it appears that you did waste you time replying as you even pasted an excerpt from one of the papers that actually demonstrated quantum factorization in the lab.

    We choose the simplest instance of this algorithm, that is, factorization of N=15 in the case that the period r=2 and exploit a simplified linear optical network to coherently implement the quantum circuits of the modular exponential execution and semiclassical quantum Fourier transformation. During this computation, genuine multiparticle entanglement is observed which well supports its quantum nature.

    Should you actually be interested in detailed explanations of how and why quantum computing works (which would give you an understanding of the papers you linked to do not suggests what you think they suggest) please see the following lectures by David Deutsch.

  235. gaz:

    You say:

    We may be getting somewhere (emphasis on “may”). It’s certainly reason and logic that determines whether Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time, but that reason and logic is based on scientific understanding of the classical universe. The problem with the quantum world is that it is highly counterintuitive – phenomena happen that are completely against what we would expect in the classical world (apart from what we have discussed, cosnsider quantum tunnelling – I used to use tunnel diodes in a previous job).

    In #233, vivid comments:

    “reason and logic are not based on our understanding of the classical universe any more than they are dependent on our understandining of the quantum world.”

    I think vivid has a very good point here. Reason, logics, and mathemathics are innate deductive disciplines, they are not dependent on understanding of the outer world.

    And, with all your certain understanding of QM, you will certainly admit that the fact itself that QM theory exists is made possible by a very sophisticated, complex and (you are right) often counter-intuitive application of logics and mathematics.

    So, your statement about reason seems at least inappropriate. Breakdown of cause and effect on quantum world, whatever its philosophical meaning, is not just an observed fact: it is an expectation of the theory. So, we can well say that a serious application of mathematics, which is based on deductive principles characteristic of human reasoning, allows us to build a consistent (and very effective) theory of some aspects of physical reality which oincludes, in part of its reaonings, an (apparent) breakdown of classical causality.

    Moreover, I think that you will probably agree with me that, in QM, even particles coming out of nothing (indeed, of the quantum vacuum, which is not necessarily “nothing”) don’t behave in an anarchic, completely lawless way: while they don’t obey the laws of classical physics, they certainly obey the laws of QM. Reasonably.

  236. gpuccio,

    I don’t disagree with either you or viv – the point I was trying to make to StephenB was that we need to use and reason and logic based on classical physics when we consider Jupiter, because Jupiter is an entity that exists in the macro, classical universe. Certainly, we need different tools -often mathematical – when we consider the quantum regime. I hesitate to call it “reason and logic” because it is so counterintuitive, but it could certainly be interpreted as a kind of QM reason and QM logic for those more able than to think in QM terms.

    I’d also agree that particles obey QM laws, but we need to recognise that those laws tend to give probabilistic results rather than deterministic (as in classical physics), hence the breakdown in causality.

    My problem with StephenB’s comments – and he does this often – is that he takes classical reason and logic and thinks it can be applied at the quantum level as a general rule. So if I talk about QM he disagrees on the basis that I wouldn’t say the same thing about Jupiter. He doesn’t appreciate – or doesn’t want to appreciate – that the physics that applies to Jupiter is different to the physics that applies to the quantum realm. Thus, his apparently logical and reasonable statement that a thing cannot exist and not exist at the same time is certainly true for Jupiter, but not necessarily true for a subatomic particle, for reasons explained earlier.

  237. veils I’m sorry for any misunderstanding in my post in that I don’t say that quantum computing is impossible, but the point I tried to make is that, as nullasalus has so clearly and eloquently pointed out in post 230,,,,

    You believe in a humongous, possibly infinite, number of parallel universes that zip into existence day to day, and that these alternate universe people help us solve problems on quantum computers.

    You, my friend, believe in what most reasonable people would have once called the “supernatural” to an extreme that would make animists blush.

    ,,,, what you think the conclusion is from your interpretation of the “incomplete” quantum computation evidence is a wildly supernatural conclusion that is not justified in the least. I could just as easily and more coherently argue from a theistic position in that you have not addressed the fundamental problem of chaos/randomness that plagues any non-theistic solution.

  238. Gaz but why do you not look for a transcendent cause (active transcendent information) that is sufficient to explain effects that defy time and space instead of just saying causality breaks down?

  239. —Gaz: “It’s certainly reason and logic that determines whether Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time, but that reason and logic is based on scientific understanding of the classical universe.”

    Reason and logic are not based on our understanding of the classical universe nor can we learn anything about them by observing the quantum world.

    One can say that Jupiter cannot both exist and not exist only on the strength of the law of identity [a thing cannot be and not be]. If there were exceptions to the law, it wouldn’t be a law. Quantum mechanics has nothing to say about it.

    The law of causality [nothing can begin to exist without a cause] is derived from the law of identity and is equally necessary for science. As is the case with the law of identity, Quantum mechanics has nothing to say about the law of causality. Quantum events are unpredictable, but that does not mean that they are uncaused. It just means that we do not yet know what those causal conditions are.

    To sum up, we do not learn about reason’s rules by studying evidence. We study evidence in the light of reason’s rules. If we compromise those rules, we cannot interpret evidence reasonably.

  240. —Gaz: “My problem with StephenB’s comments – and he does this often – is that he takes classical reason and logic and thinks it can be applied at the quantum level as a general rule. So if I talk about QM he disagrees on the basis that I wouldn’t say the same thing about Jupiter. He doesn’t appreciate – or doesn’t want to appreciate – that the physics that applies to Jupiter is different to the physics that applies to the quantum realm.”

    You really need to get a grip. My question about Jupiter was made to another blogger in a totally different context. The purpose of asking whether Jupiter can exist and not exist at the same time was to dramatize the self-evident nature of the law of non-contradiction. I made no references to “quantum mechanics” and Jupiter. On the contrary, it was you who lept into that discussion with the daring claim that the answer to the question about Jupiter was “easy” inasmuch as the evidence from quantum mechanics exposes the contradiction.

  241. bornagain77 (238),

    It sounds above my capabilties to understand – but if you can supply the mechanism by which transcendent information manifests itself as physical phenomena then I’m sure I and others would be very interested (and if you have something useful you can expect a Nobel prize!).

  242. Gaz said:

    “I’d also agree that particles obey QM laws, but we need to recognise that those laws tend to give probabilistic results rather than deterministic (as in classical physics), hence the breakdown in causality”

    What is your argument to support your position that ONLY deterministic events need a cause?

  243. —Gaz: [what if causality breaks down in other contexts] “It’s not an issue because if it breaks down then we will see effects with no cause (e.g. radioactive decay). If it doesn’t then we see effects with a cause. There is no problem.”

    So, it is your contention that causality could break down in other contexts, which would mean that the micro events that you characterize as being so dramatically different from macro events may not be unusual at all. For you, it would not harm science in the least if effects without causes pop up all over the place.

    Has it ever occurred to you that the only way you can deduce whether or not an effect has occurred without a cause is to use deductive principles, in this case the law of causality? Put another way, if causality is not a law, you cannot use it to make scientific deductions.

  244. StephenB (239),

    Sorry, I don’t recognise these laws you mention – law of identity, law of causality. Never heard of them, nor where they came from, nor where they are used nor the bounds on them.

    “To sum up, we do not learn about reason’s rules by studying evidence. We study evidence in the light of reason’s rules. If we compromise those rules, we cannot interpret evidence reasonably.”

    Again, I do not agree with you. If reason says one thing and the evidence another, then I’m afraid it’s reason that’s at fault (as long as the evidence is valid, of course). Another example: reason led 19th-century scientists to conclude that there must be a medium – luminiferous aether – through which light waves propagated, on the reasonable ground that all other waves were known to need a medium to propagate. Michelson and Morley conducted an experiment to find details of the aether (e.g, did it move in relation to the Earth?). But their experiment demonstrated, very elegantly, that there was no aether, and scientists had to conclude – on the basis of the evidence – that their earlier reasoning was faulty.

  245. mullerpr (#242):

    You are absolutely right. The point is that probabilistic laws are laws just the same. And quantum probability is, most likely, intrinsic probability, and not a “hidden variables” effect.

    So, probabilistic causality should be viewed more like a different form of causality, and not as a true breakdown of causality. But there is no doubt that it is different, sometimes very different, and that’s what makes QM truly interesting, both scientifically and philosophically.

    I really think that, if we all stop a moment, we could find some agreement on this point, and go on with the discussion from there.

  246. mullerpr (242),

    I’m not saying that – I am saying that StephenB’s comments about a “law of causality” do not apply as a universal law, because in the quantum realm we know there are events that do not have an evident cause (e.g. radioactive decay). That is different from saying that only deterministic events need a cause (which I’m not saying).

  247. gpuccio you are right in that a transcendent mathematical law is found to be over the “random” events of quantum mechanics, yet this is not explainable from a materialistic viewpoint as illustrated in this exchange:

    God does not play dice with the universe.
    Albert Einstein

    In response Niels Bohr said,
    Do not presume to tell God what to do.

    Proverbs 16:33
    The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.

    further notes:

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

    It seems even the “exotic” virtual photons, which fleetingly pop into and out of existence like the virtual particles, may be tied directly to the anthropic principle through the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant for dark energy:

    ELECTROMAGNETIC DARK ENERGY
    Abstract: We introduce a new model for dark energy in the Universe in which a small cosmological constant is generated by ordinary electromagnetic vacuum energy. The corresponding virtual photons exist at all frequencies but switch from a gravitationally active phase at low frequencies to a gravitationally inactive phase at higher frequencies via a Ginzburg–Landau type of phase transition. Only virtual photons in the gravitationally active state contribute to the cosmological constant. A small vacuum energy density, consistent with astronomical observations, is naturally generated in this model. We propose possible laboratory tests for such a scenario based on phase synchronization in superconductors.
    http://www.worldscinet.com/ijm.....11870.html

  248. Gaz-

    I don’t think that the Michelson-Morley experiment showed anything like you’re saying it did. It was a very primitive experiment looking for something probably only 21st century scientists, if that, will really be able to delve into. Not only that, but reason doesn’t break down because someone made a reasonable conjecture and it didn’t lead down the right path necessarily. You just make other reasonable conjectures and hypotheses. What you’re saying is that because “reason” may have led Michelson and Morley astray in one experiment therefore we throw out reason, with logic and mathematics while you’re at it.

  249. As far as radioactive decay goes, it doesn’t have anything to do with the loss of energy or entropy?

  250. Gaz:

    the law of identity, or the similar principle of non contradiction, are not empirical laws of empirical science. They are, anyway, axioms of logics (I am not speaking rigorously here, so if there is any logician here, please bear with me).

    You say:

    Sorry, I don’t recognise these laws you mention – law of identity, law of causality. Never heard of them, nor where they came from, nor where they are used nor the bounds on them.

    That’s a strange statement. It is not a question of “recognizing” anything. All human deductive knowledge is based on those logical principles, so without them no scientific knowledge would be possible, least of all QM. You know that any mathemathical system cannot admit any internal contradiction, IOW it needs to be consistent. And all physical theories, including QM, are based on mathemathical models.

    You say:

    If reason says one thing and the evidence another, then I’m afraid it’s reason that’s at fault (as long as the evidence is valid, of course).

    I think you are equivocating a little about the role of “reason” (logicomathemathical models) in empirical sciences.

    It is perfectly true that we build logico-mathemathical explanatory models to explain what we observe, and it is obvious that, if our model in on conflict with facts, it’s the model which should be discarded, not the facts. SWe obviously agre on that.

    And yet, if our model does not explain well our facts, that does not mean that “reason says one thing and the evidence another”. That’s a misrepresantation. The only correct interpretation is that the reasonable model we have built is not the right model for that evidence. The only correct behaviour is not to discard reason and just stay with unexaplained evidence, buit rather to build a new rational model, if necessary assisted by the collection of new facts, to explain the evidence in a better way. And, as you know, no explanation is necessarily final.

    So, I don’t see any conflict between reason and evidence. There may be a conflict between some specific rational models and evidence. But reason is always necessary to give any meaning to evidence. Otherwise, it will not be evidence of anything, but just anecdotical collection of events.

  251. Phaedros:

    I see we have made more or less the same argument at the same time :)

  252. StephenB (240),

    I take from this that you accept there is no law of causality, nor a law of non-contradiction, given that they don’t necessarily apply in the quantum realm?

  253. 253

    It seems as thought the only thing that animates Gaz is to win a debating point from Stephen.

    And, he/she seems willing to trash the logical foundations of discovery in a failed attempt to make it.

  254. Gaz,

    If you don’t say that your argument’s conclusion is that causality ONLY applies to deterministic entities, then what other entities does causality applies to, and how do you decide?

    It still looks as if you think causality does not apply to the QM world, just because it is indeterministic from a human observer’s perspective.

    Do you really want to maintain this position? Because then we can start to talk about the consequences of your position.

    The only thing that I know of that logically does not need a cause is a thing that does not have a beginning in ANY possible reality. From which it logically follow that all actual realities (…including QM) would have such a being as the origin. I am very certain that I know Him (…said being) to be the Triune God revealed to us through the Living Word Jesus Christ and sustaining our entire consciousness.

  255. Gaz:I’m not saying that – I am saying that StephenB’s comments about a “law of causality” do not apply as a universal law, because in the quantum realm we know there are events that do not have an evident cause (e.g. radioactive decay). …

    We know no such thing.

    What we know is that we do not know what, if anything, causes this radioactive atom, as opposed to that atom, to decay. To turn that into an assertion that the “if anything” is the pertinent clause of the sentence is wholly unwarranted.

    This is one of the things that really ticks me off about quantum-claims — note: my ticked-offedness is not directed at Gaz, but at the irrational/illogical scientists who make the assertions he echoes.

  256. Gpuccio-

    You certainly made the argument better thab I did.

    Mullerpr-

    I was going to make a similar argument. I was going to point out that we could posit these events as necessary or first causes or causeless, but one would have to then say, I think, that they explain or constitute the base of reality and indeed why there is a reality or existence in the first place. I don’t think that that is the case and indeed the opposite is more likely the case. That is, they are contingent entities requiring existence or reality in order to occur, therefore they are effects of something prior and therefore they are caused.

  257. gpuccio @245,

    I agree that states produced by causes when we study them are very interesting and when we encounter something like QM, things get very interesting, but it actually is not a property of causality.

    Causality does not have properties apart from the entity that had a beginning. From my previous post it should be clear that when I talk about “a beginning” I am not mentioning an event isolated to our space-time continuum. I am talking about an entity with “a beginning” in any possible reality.

    In that sense it is obvious that QM entities has a cause.

    P.S. In a deterministic space time continuum it is possible to trace causality and the link between the QM and CM worlds is clear for all to see. Beyond that our minds need to use logic to investigate, because we might be able to trace causality beyond QM and come up with some wonderful technologies for everyday application.

    I think this because, even if it does not seem necessary to trace observed reality back to the original Cause, it sure will be fun to keep finding new things for …an eternity.

  258. gpuccio/Phaedros,

    Again, I find myself in agreement with what you say. In terms of QM terms, we wouldn’t be the first to have disagreements and we certainly won’t be the last, although we probably aren’t that far apart. My disagreement is with StephenB, who appears to be trying to raise identity, causality and non-contradiction to the levels of laws, when in reality they are tools that we use, rather than laws, and whose utility is constrained in certain circumstances (e..g the quantum realm). Hence he insists that there is a cause to radioactivity based on the law of causality, when there is certainly no evident cause and no other reason to think there is any. That is what I object to.

  259. It looks as if this is just going to end up with us agreeing to disagree – mullerpr has invoked Christ so the discussion has gone beyond science.

    Thanks guys, it’s been a blast…

  260. nullasalus here is a condensed version of notes from the paper (I will work on organizing it bit better):

    Transcendent Information Is Foundational to Reality
    http://docs.google.com/View?id=dc8z67wz_54hd65s5fb

    Don’t be intimidated by the length, the first part roughly deals with how transcendent information deals with cosmology and quantum mechanics whereas the second part gets into the “encoded” information we find in life. (It would be interesting to do a Rolf Landauer experiment in biology by the way)

  261. Gaz as to your quip about a Nobel prize for postulating transcendent information as foundational to reality. I am far from the first to do so and in fact that particular postulation goes back at least 2000 years:

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

    Maybe you can talk the Nobel committee into giving the Nobel post-posthumously to John the apostle! 8)

  262. Gaz as for you to be able truly say there is absolutely no law of causality for radioactive decay then there would have to be no way for us to write an equation for the second law which governs all physical systems in the universe, which is clearly not the case. You are looking at it from the wrong angle. Instead of saying I can’t predict exactly when the atom will decay therefore I say it has no direct causality, you should be asking “from whence does this law of decay arise?”

  263. nullasalus @ 205;

    Your cites are very interesting and reminded me of this video:

    BBC-Dangerous Knowledge (Part 1-10)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw-zNRNcF90

    In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.

    nullasalus as you can see, somewhat from the video, an actual infinity can only be dealt with effectively, and satisfactorily, by “transcendent information” and not by any materialistic postulation no matter how many infinities (MWI) are postulated for the material since you must always assume, as Godel elucidated, that there is always a larger infinity that you must assume to be true but cannot prove to be true in order for mathematics to remain consistent. To put it simply, Mathematics cannot be “true” unless this assumption for a highest infinity is true. A highest infinity which Cantor, and even Godel, held to be God:

    Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
    Excerpt: Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume but cannot prove.”
    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......pleteness/

    further notes:

    Hilbert’s Hotel and Infinity – William Lane Craig
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lobeX6ft6PA

    The “infinite” problem of joining relativity and quantum mechanics:

    The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and the laws of Quantum Mechanics), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology – in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality.
    http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20I.....enrose.pdf

    Yet, this “unification” between what is in essence the “infinite world of Quantum Mechanics” and the “finite world of the space-time of General Relativity” seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3993426/

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 – William Dembski
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.” http://www.designinference.com.....of_xty.pdf

    further note

    When taking into consideration the quantum wave state of a photon we find that a photon is “made” of infinite specified information:

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport.
    http://www.cas.umt.edu/phil/fa.....lPSA2K.pdf

  264. Gaz,

    In that case …I suppose you can use any excuse to get out of the discussion. I did not invoke Christ as part of my argument.

    You leave some critical questions about your position unanswered.

  265. @Gaz

    -”Sorry, I don’t recognise these laws you mention – law of identity, law of causality. Never heard of them, nor where they came from, nor where they are used nor the bounds on them.”

    The reason you probably never heard of them is because most of the primary principles that the scientific enterprize was built on are now hidden (mostly involuntary) or embeded in other axioms and assumptions that serve as the phenomenal starting point of what we call the sciences. This becomes startingly clear with a little bit of linguistic analysis and linguistic historicism.

    At any rate, what Stephen gpuccio and others are saying cannot be rejected without leading to a form of reductio ad absurdum. QM does not undermine the law of causality. All it does is bring deterministic assumptions regarding reality into question.

  266. 266

    @nullasalus (#230)

    You wrote:

    No, many are not “in direct contradiction”. Specific claims are. There are many conflicting accounts of Abraham Lincoln’s life and beliefs. ‘Well, then he probably didn’t exist’ doesn’t become a reasonable option.

    Nullasalus,

    Even if we remain within Christianity we can contrast Calvinism and Arminianism. Would you suggest a being that would create other sentient beings with the explicit intent to torture them for an eternity could remotely be the same being that loves us all perfectly, equally, and wants each and every one of us to be saved to the extent he send his only son and suffers with us? That one or the other is true would have massive implications regarding said begins nature.

    Note that I’m not suggesting that these difference could not be reconciled under the umbrella of Christianity via theology, as clearly they have. instead, I’m suggesting that the resulting beings they each refer to has a radically different nature.

    Or we can refer back to the original article the original post. Olasky, and apparently StephanB, cannot reconcile TE with Christianly because the particular being they believe in would never use it to create life. Acceptance would result in a being be so foreign to them that I’m guessing he would likely cease to be ‘God’ from their perspective.

    But I know better than to believe that, say… a YEC’s view is “falsified”. They can maintain that God created the world 6000 years ago, and all appearances to the contrary are mistakes or outright lies.

    You’d have to assume that God is intentionally trying to fool us by planing false evidence. Again, this suggests a God that would intentionally present falsehoods that could ultimately cause a massive number of people not to believe he exists and be lost. Would a perfect being do this? How do you define a perfect being?

    You believe in a humongous, possibly infinite, number of parallel universes that zip into existence day to day, and that these alternate universe people help us solve problems on quantum computers.

    According to MWI, parallel universes do not ” zip into existence day to day.” They start out with identical conditions in the initial conditions of the qubits that well perform the calculations.

    Please see the links provided to Bornagain77

    Read your David Deutsch. He believes in Tipler’s Omega Point, in no small part due to MWI. He just doesn’t think an omniscient, omnipotent world-creating entity should be called God.

    If you had actually read David Deutsch, you’d know this is a gross misrepresentation of his views. Deutsch points out that much of Tipler’s conclusions are dependent on making broad assumptions regarding future history leading up to the omega point. He also ignores significant differences between religious views we hold today.

    For example, the Omega Point is a singularity. Until it is actually reached, a collective will exist which is not all knowing or all powerful. However, God is assumed to have existed before anything was created with ability and knowledge already present. Nor does he change. The inhabitancies of the omega point will not have created the universe or the laws of physics. Nor could the violate them if they wanted to. Instead, they are harnessed to perform computations. They may be able to detect prayers from today as faint signals, but could not communicate with us to answer them or work miracles on our behalf. They are unlikely to exhibit a desire to be worshiped. In other words, the vast collective intelligence that exists at the omega point will not just be utilized to control the collapse of the universe, it will also be used to make decisions about what will or will not happen, including those regarding morality. That Tipler knows the vast intelligence at the Omega Point will resurrect us in a environment similar to our own, but lacking hunger, displeasure, pain, etc. (Heaven) because it would be possible to do so appears speculative. As with Deutsch, I’d rather be acclimated to their environment instead.

    Furthermore, we no longer think the universe will end in a big crutch. Tippler has supposedly revised his theory to support a big rip, but it’s unclear if these conditions provide an equally strong correlation to assume Deutsch’s acceptance.

    I repeat: A strong agnostic commits that the answer to the question “Is there a God?” is undecidable, regardless of proof. That means no probability estimates.

    The term strong agnostic, as I’m using it, is part of the commonly used series that runs from strong atheism, atheism, weak atheism, strong agnosticism, agnosticism, weak agnosticism, etc. Even if we leave the strong ambitious as to whether it suggests more or less likelihood, it still qualifies agnosticism in one direction or another.

    The only thing that really made Darwin’s theory distinct WAS his metaphysics.

    I think you’re confusing the conclusions Darwin reached (how things evolved) with the way that he reached those conclusions. Furthermore, Darwinism is not social Darwinism.

    Depends on the theology we’re talking about,

    Again, If you assume only God existed in the beginning, then you have a boundary regardless of how you define either God or the universe. Other theologies could be concocted, as I illustrated. We could could be part of God’s collective consciousness, etc.

    Those models are gone, upended. Now “physical” is obnoxiously wide-open.

    The gaps in our knowledge are uncontroversial, which makes your continued repetition “obnoxious.” Again, I’d suggest you watch the online quantum computing lectures, which addresses many of these issues.

  267. 267

    @bornagain77 (#237)

    You wrote:

    what you think the conclusion is from your interpretation of the “incomplete” quantum computation evidence is a wildly supernatural conclusion that is not justified in the least.

    Born,

    Again, quantum factorization of a 265 digit number isn’t any more “incomplete” than classical factorization of a 265 digit number using existing computers, as both have yet to be accomplished. Is factoring a 265 digit number using classical means a “wildly supernatural conclusion that is not justified in the least?”

    Second, the individual logical operators required for Shor’s algorithm have been demonstrated in the lab. They really do perform the logical operations necessary. And we have actually combined them to factor a 2 digit number in which quantum entanglement has been observed. The paper you quoted from describes it.

    Simply repeating a claim which you clearly do not understand does not make it true.

    Now, you might suggest that that QC does not collaborative to the MWI of quantum mechanics, which is a different claim. However, I’ll illustrated several times that, as the best a hard to vary explanation, it actually does collaborate the theory.

    Again, if God is your explanation, then how do we convince him to factor an integer any time we please? You have yet to respond to this at all.

    The MWI says Shor’s algorithm only acts on universes that are initially identical to each other and causes them to differentiate only within the context of the factorization engine. That is only the universes that are close enough were the corresponding researchers are also factoring the same number interfere in ways that effect the results.

  268. veils you assume math to be true from your reliance on quantum computation, right? But you do not hold God, who is the highest conceivable being, to be true, right?

    But in order for you to assume math to be true in the first place you must also assume God to be true:

    To reiterate part of my post to nullasalus,,,,

    BBC-Dangerous Knowledge (The Math Of Infinity) (Part 1-10)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw-zNRNcF90

    In this one-off documentary, David Malone looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide.

    nullasalus as you can see, somewhat from the video, mathematics cannot be held to be “true” unless this assumption for a highest infinity is held to be true. A highest infinity which Cantor, and even Godel, held to be God:

    Gödel’s Incompleteness: The #1 Mathematical Breakthrough of the 20th Century
    Excerpt: Excerpt: Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:
    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot “mathematically” prove to be true.”
    http://www.cosmicfingerprints......pleteness/

  269. veilsofmaya,

    Even if we remain within Christianity we can contrast Calvinism and Arminianism.

    [...]

    Note that I’m not suggesting that these difference could not be reconciled under the umbrella of Christianity via theology, as clearly they have. instead, I’m suggesting that the resulting beings they each refer to has a radically different nature.

    And that, veils, is precisely why it’s nonsense to argue that everyone’s running around insisting that all these different Gods exist. Calvinists and Arminians have major differences. As do catholics and protestants and orthodox and jews and, etc, etc. You say these beings have ‘a radically different nature’. That’s as preposterous as saying that historians who disagree about famous figures are all discussing utterly distinct people. The differences in school are considerable. The particular emphasis you’re placing on it is exaggerated for effect.

    You’d have to assume that God is intentionally trying to fool us by planing false evidence. Again, this suggests a God that would intentionally present falsehoods that could ultimately cause a massive number of people not to believe he exists and be lost. Would a perfect being do this? How do you define a perfect being?

    Intentionally trying to fool us? According to most YECs I’ve heard, God could not be clearer about what His actions were. If anyone is ‘fooling’ anyone else, it’s agents other than God. What’s more, you seem to assume that YECs say anyone who doesn’t accept YEC itself is ‘lost’. Again, that’s off-base from what I read.

    As for discussions about a perfect being, really. Just think about what you’re saying here. You, strong agnostic, could tell a perfect being if you saw one? You may want to rethink that label.

    According to MWI, parallel universes do not ” zip into existence day to day.” They start out with identical conditions in the initial conditions of the qubits that well perform the calculations.

    …And then proceed to diverge, otherwise no quantum calculations (among many other things) would get done. Veils, that is ‘zipping into existence’ under another name. It’s a supernatural hypothesis. Believe it or not, just because a scientist proposes an idea doesn’t make it non-supernatural by a once-upon-a-time normal use of the word.

    What’s more, Deutsch’s many-worlds model in particular makes the following claim: The only way we can explain certain results of nature is by proposing the existence of unseen, unseeable intelligent agents in parallel universes working in tandem with us on their own quantum computers. He explicitly writes about the need to rid science of pure inductionism (as in, making it ‘scientific’ to postulate the existence of unseen entities and beings).

    I hate to break it to you, veils, but given that – among many other things Deutsch has written – MWI is an ID proposal, and Deutsch is an ID proponent. The only difference is that Deutsch’s ID is outside the norm. And frankly, it’s not even THAT outside the norm, because Tipler himself hasn’t exactly been tremendously distant from ID.

    So, welcome about the ID train my friend. Or at least, that’s what I’d say if I were on it.

    If you had actually read David Deutsch, you’d know this is a gross misrepresentation of his views. Deutsch points out that much of Tipler’s conclusions are dependent on making broad assumptions regarding future history leading up to the omega point. He also ignores significant differences between religious views we hold today.

    I linked Tipler’s response to Deutsch’s writing on the Omega Point. It is not a “gross misrepresentation” of Deutsch’s views. The Omega Point is what I said it is, given the particular explanation of Tipler (who DOES explicitly identify the OP with God). Deutsch’s refusal to identify the OP with God IS what I said it is.

    You aren’t denying that Deutsch accepted the Omega Point (a word popularized by Teilhard de Chardin, by the way, and likely selected by Tipler for no small reason due to such.) Your defense, and Deutsch’s, comes down to “Well, sure, the Omega Point will be effectively omniscient, omnipotent, it will be ‘resurrecting’ people in various ways, it will be infinity. But, it will be different from the God most people talk about today, therefore it’s not any kind of god/God”.

    That’s an accurate summary of Deutsch’s move here – read that chapter yourself, with Tipler’s responses. I find it even weaker than Tipler does, because the absolute best Deutsch can hope for is to argue that the Omega Point is not the specific God Tipler says it is (the Christian God). But arguing it’s not any God at all? Now we’re into word games.

    MWI is a supernatural hypothesis. The Omega Point is a supernatural hypothesis. Deutsch’s arguments to promote the acceptance of MWI are eerily similar to ID arguments, and the scent of ID is all over his thinking. Which isn’t surprising: Transhumanists, in general, believe in eschatologies and futures that are downright indistinguishable from supernatural religious claims in most details.

    The term strong agnostic, as I’m using it, is part of the commonly used series that runs from strong atheism, atheism, weak atheism, strong agnosticism, agnosticism, weak agnosticism, etc. Even if we leave the strong ambitious as to whether it suggests more or less likelihood, it still qualifies agnosticism in one direction or another.

    I didn’t say it didn’t. I said strong agnosticism precludes giving probability estimates of God’s existence. That’s the whole point of strong agnosticism.

    I think you’re confusing the conclusions Darwin reached (how things evolved) with the way that he reached those conclusions. Furthermore, Darwinism is not social Darwinism.

    I am *not* confusing Darwinism with social darwinism. I am confusing Darwin’s own description of and demands about his theory with Darwinism – I say that’s no confusion at all. The version of Darwinism YOU are talking about here – a Darwinism stripped of claims that amount to ‘utterly unguided, proceeds with no foresight or intention’ – would be a Darwinism many ID proponents and sympathizers can and do accept. I say that’s not actually “Darwinism”.

    Again: I used to have your view. In the end, I could no longer sustain it. I can’t deny what Darwin wrote and thought about his theory. I can’t deny the metaphysics he packed into it. It makes no sense to reject the metaphysics yet accept Darwinism. If it makes sense to you, go for it, but understand the problem there. It’s considerable, and it’s not like I’m just one guy who thinks this. Again, see Coyne. See Dawkins. See *Darwin*.

    The gaps in our knowledge are uncontroversial, which makes your continued repetition “obnoxious.” Again, I’d suggest you watch the online quantum computing lectures, which addresses many of these issues.

    I’m an obnoxious guy, what can I say. Alas, sometimes obnoxious guys are right. What’s more, if you don’t think what ‘gaps in our knowledge’ exist are controversial, then you, my friend, don’t read enough philosophy. And if you think this is a question only for science, then your definition of science either includes philosophy, or you’re misinformed.

  270. veils do you see my point? without God you have no basis in which to claim the unchanging “truth” necessary to do math in the first place. You have merely tried to belittle the concept of God by insisting God would not be bothered to factor a number by quantum mechanical means, so this somehow makes your wildly speculative MWI more plausible, all the while ignoring the fact that without God you have a basis based totally in chaos.

  271. 271

    @bornagain77 (#237)

    Futhermore, we know Shor’s algorithm runs in polynormal-time – O((log N)3). This is true whether factoring a two digit number or a 265 digit number. We know this because of the number additional operations necessary to factor each additional digit. This is in contrast to fastest known classical factorization algorithm that operates at sub-exponential time – about O(e(log N)1/3 (log log N)2/3)

  272. BA77,

    Thanks for the updated information, I’ll take a look at it soon. Just wanted to leave a note saying I appreciate all the effort you put into the site, and your surprisingly fast response in assembling these notes.

    As for MWI, I stand by what I said. It’s a supernatural hypothesis by any reasonable measure. The Omega Point is absolutely a supernatural hypothesis, and the entire thing – especially given Deutsch’s specific remarks on and image of it – is better classified as esoteric ID than anything else. But hey, ID proponents can have disagreements with each other. And for all I know, MWI (of some form) + God is true. I have no idea how many universes God would create.

    But, I say all this without accepting MWI, and needing to read up on this transcendent information. Time for me to read!

  273. 273

    Transhumanists, in general, believe in eschatologies and futures that are downright indistinguishable from supernatural religious claims in most details.

    This seems to be your point of confusion. Since they seem to make similar predictions, they must be the same?

    But, again, any theory can make any predication. See my response to gpuccio (#202) which shows how critical rationalism differentiates between competing theories that make similar predictions. Specifically, some explanations are better than others.

    Then note how ID appears to be a convoluted elaboration of TOE.

  274. 274

    veilsofmaya,

    This seems to be your point of confusion. Since they seem to make similar predictions, they must be the same?

    No confusion here, veils. No, they aren’t 1:1 the same, nor did I say so. I said they are supernatural, period. MWI’s fundamental claim (ignoring Deutsch) is that explanation for nature are insufficient if they are completely confined to our observable universe. Deutsch’s elaborations, from the Omega Point to his insistence that inductionism must be a boundary science leaps past, only drives this point home. He is making the ID argument for ID proponents.

    Then note how ID appears to be a convoluted elaboration of TOE.

    It “appears” to be no such thing, especially given that ID is not a single monolithic view but covers a wide range of views from front-loaded evolution to outright intervening acts of intelligent beings in our universe to MWI and Omega Points to Bostrom-style simulated universes to otherwise.

  275. veils you state:

    “Futhermore, we know Shor’s algorithm runs in polynormal-time – O((log N)3).”

    So what, God is completely outside of time and created every dimension of time that can exist!!! as well He Created all dimensions of space that can exist!!! He Created every photon that exist in the universe, Named every star in the universe, or multiverse if He so chose to create a multiverse, and in His spare time, of which He has an infinity of, probably named every atom to boot. He knows every hair on your head. And when God was incarnate as Jesus, though He had no army, He conquered the entire world!!!

  276. 276

    BA77,

    One thing to keep in mind is that MWI’s claim actually has some direct compatibility with ID, and even your claims as far as I see. Not necessarily the specific MWI interpretation, but this claim which leads to it: “Our” universe, our “physical” (whatever that word means anymore) reality, is insufficient to explain the results we see in quantum physics, among other areas. Thus, we have to go beyond it to explain it.

    There’s various interpretations that accept this and can go on to offer an explanation, yours (as near as I can tell) included. But the reason those interpretations are called on is interesting enough.

  277. nullasalus I do like your method of inquiry!

  278. 278

    Gaz,

    “Poof” isn’t scientific, but again I don’t concede QM is “poof”. Go back to my 112.

    Sure you do, you concede exactly that poof is scientific. Either there is, or is not, a cause behind the poof. If not, then poof is scientific. If so, then QM is under exactly what StephenB claims it is under, CAUSE and EFFECT. Mentioning “conditions” of QM and “probabilities” of QM particles poofing into existence doesn’t change that either there is, or is not, a cause. You cannot have it both ways.

  279. 279

    @nullasalus (#269)

    You wrote:

    That’s as preposterous as saying that historians who disagree about famous figures are all discussing utterly distinct people.

    Nullasalus,

    This is a failed analogy. Famous figures are not God. They are finite beings who’s nature has a limited scope. However, the implications of theses various conceptions of God would have massive implications should theism be true.

    Again, why is it that Olasky cannot integrate TE with Christianity?

    Intentionally trying to fool us? According to most YECs I’ve heard, God could not be clearer about what His actions were. If anyone is ‘fooling’ anyone else, it’s agents other than God.

    If Satan planted evidence then God is either not in control or allows said evidence to exist on a global scale. Again, expecting one to ignore such evidence could be a significant liability in believing God exists.

    You aren’t denying that Deutsch accepted the Omega Point

    First, you aren’t denying that Deutsch may significant objections and qualifications. Nor are you denying that his current acceptance is unknown since we no longer think the universe will end in a big crunch. Nor are you denying that Tipler’s claims about what the intelligence that inhabits the omega point will actually do, should it occur, seems to be speculative.

    Second, you mean, like one has to accept Darwin’s views to accept Darwism?

  280. 280

    @nullasalus (#274)

    You wrote:

    No, they aren’t 1:1 the same, nor did I say so. I said they are supernatural, period.

    So, you’re not implying they are both “supernatural” because they make similar predictions? If not then please elaborate on why the MWI is “supernatural.”

    MWI’s fundamental claim (ignoring Deutsch) is that explanation for nature are insufficient if they are completely confined to our observable universe.

    And I’m suggesting Deutsch’s explanation is the very thing that makes MWI tenable. Again, see comment (#202) which illustrates my point.

    Deutsch’s elaborations, from the Omega Point to his insistence that inductionism must be a boundary science leaps past, only drives this point home. He is making the ID argument for ID proponents.

    Deutsch’s refusal to identify the OP with God IS what I said it is.

    So God is anything that creates worlds? Apparently “physical” isn’t the only thing that is “obnoxiously” open.

    Then you should have no problem showing exactly how he makes the argument, rather than asserting it.

    It “appears” to be no such thing,

    First, I’m referring to ID in the context of this blog: biological complexity. Please explain how Tipler’s Omega Point “designed” us despite being a future singularity. Saying the omega point is an eventual necessity which we are a part of is not the same as having been intentionally designed by an existing agent.

    It “appears” to be no such thing, especially given that ID is not a single monolithic view but covers a wide range of views from front-loaded evolution to outright intervening acts of intelligent beings in our universe to MWI and Omega Points to Bostrom-style simulated universes to otherwise.

    First, “physical” isn’t the only thing that is “obnoxiously” open.

    Second, by what method did the designer use to determine which mutations to make, in what sequence and when to make them? Certainly, this knowledge would be extremely helpful in, synthesizing proteins, creating organisms which can provide new energy sources and clean up oil spills, etc. How did he cause just the precise mutations he wanted and not others? This would be incredibly useful gene therapy, repairing genetic damage, targeting cancer and viruses that mutate rapidly, etc.

    When will ID provide these answers?

    Surely, there are possible worlds where organisms have radically different forms of DNA, there are no significant variations in biological structures, such as the eye, and organisms that do not change or cannot be arranged in a tree.

    How does ID explain this?

    I think you’d agree it’s no coincidence that biological ID stops abruptly and has no interest in answering these questions for reasons that are obvious. If God is the designer, we cannot understand how he did any of these things. Nor could we ever hope to reproduce his methods. This is not to say that we might not come up with ideas how to do things things our own – which we have before ID came along – but there is no equivalent to biogenesis for ID’s designer.

    As such, ID does appear to be a convoluted elaboration of TOE.

  281. Cliv e Hayden (278),

    “You cannot have it both ways.”

    Sure I can, Clive – it’s called a superposition of states!

  282. Gaz (#281):

    I have to give it to you: that was funny!

  283. mullerpr (264),

    No, I think we’ve gone as far as we acn on this one. I say there is no law of causality as StephenB claims, bearing in mind that such a law is violated by quantum phenomena such as radioactive decay and spontaneous electron transitions; whereas StephenB and other who share his views say there is some unknown cause, for which there is no evidence. We’re at a dead end – one which has exercised better minds than ours – and there’s no point going on. That said, I’m mindful of above’s comments at 265, but question whether causality can be elevated to a position of “law” as StephenB claims.

  284. Thanks gpuccio – mind you, I don’t think I’ll take it on a tour of the comedy clubs!

  285. 285

    veilsofmaya,

    So, you’re not implying they are both “supernatural” because they make similar predictions? If not then please elaborate on why the MWI is “supernatural.”

    Because MWI interprets quantum physics as saying that undetectable, unreachable beings from universes distinct from ours are popping into existence and/or interact with our world and experiments? Because Deutsch’s entire explanation of ‘quantum computation’ explicitly relies on these beings working in parallel with “us”?

    Suggest the existence of other worlds and agents within them that cannot be directly detected empirically and you’re making supernatural claims. Unless you’re wearing a lab coat at the time. Then it’s physical. I’m calling that out as nonsense.

    And I’m suggesting Deutsch’s explanation is the very thing that makes MWI tenable. Again, see comment (#202) which illustrates my point.

    “Tenable” is easy. That’s like saying the results of science are “consistent with” metaphysical views A-Z. Low bar.

    So God is anything that creates worlds? Apparently “physical” isn’t the only thing that is “obnoxiously” open.

    Then you should have no problem showing exactly how he makes the argument, rather than asserting it.

    I have repeatedly given a link where Frank Tipler himself argues against Deutsch on that topic – I ain’t just “asserting”. You’re not responding.

    What’s more, look at what you just said: Beings capable of creating worlds are not gods? Apparently, the greek and norse pantheons, all those ideas, were naturalist hypotheses. Who knew!

    This is the new naturalism/physicalism, folks: Parallel dimensions where undetectable intelligent agents cooperate to eventually create an omniscient, omnipotent entity that creates worlds. Be still my freaking heart.

    First, I’m referring to ID in the context of this blog: biological complexity. Please explain how Tipler’s Omega Point “designed” us despite being a future singularity. Saying the omega point is an eventual necessity which we are a part of is not the same as having been intentionally designed by an existing agent.

    For one thing, because Tipler himself cops to one problem with his view: The “Omega Point” is capable of creating exactly this reality we are experiencing now. In fact, according to Tipler (and seemingly, Deutsch), this will happen practically by necessity. At which point we have to wonder, is this Omega Point “going to occur”? Or did it already? Empirical results are compatible with either view. And frankly, given that lineup, we can discard “non-ID” as a needless hypothesis.

    Second, this blog – and ID in general – goes far beyond “biological complexity”. Cosmological fine tuning and otherwise is regularly discussed, and is part of the ID program. If you think ID is only about evolution, you haven’t read up on it.

    Second, by what method did the designer use to determine which mutations to make, in what sequence and when to make them? Certainly, this knowledge would be extremely helpful in, synthesizing proteins, creating organisms which can provide new energy sources and clean up oil spills, etc. How did he cause just the precise mutations he wanted and not others? This would be incredibly useful gene therapy, repairing genetic damage, targeting cancer and viruses that mutate rapidly, etc.

    When will ID provide these answers?

    Ask Deutsch and Tipler, veils. Because according to their views on the Omega Point, this was and/or can be accomplished via straight up ID: Computer simulations, or something analogous to it. Which opens the possibilities from front-loading to direct intervention to otherwise.

    That’s the great thing about throwing out induction as Deutsch wants to, Veils. ID comes storming in, fast. But Deutsch should know this, because he’s adhering to a non-mainstream version of it.

    I think you’d agree it’s no coincidence that biological ID stops abruptly and has no interest in answering these questions for reasons that are obvious. If God is the designer, we cannot understand how he did any of these things. Nor could we ever hope to reproduce his methods. This is not to say that we might not come up with ideas how to do things things our own – which we have before ID came along – but there is no equivalent to biogenesis for ID’s designer.

    My friend, you have a tremendously incomplete and incorrect view both of Intelligent Design, and a view of “god”, “physical” and “natural” that is downright amusing.

    Look. You embrace MWI? You embrace the Omega Point? Then congratulations – you’re an ID proponent. It’s a great club, Veils, lots of diverse and interesting thinkers, and you’ll fit right in. John Davison is wildly unorthodox, but they happily quote him. Bill Dembski flat out admits that simulated universe hypotheses are ID.

    As I said, welcome to the club. This isn’t me being sarcastic either: Your views, Tipler’s views, Deutsch’s views, fall under ID as near as I can tell. Sure, it isn’t the YEC stereotype peddled by most ID critics. Good thing the stereotype is false.

  286. nullasalus, if you haven’t seen this video Michael Strauss touches on Tipler’s “omega hypothesis” and book in it:

    The Anthropic Principle – Fine Tuning Of The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    Gaz so when something defying time and space is encountered in science we just throw up our hands and say there is no cause? well isn’t that special,,, Your method of practicing science reminds me of this song,,,

    Doris Day – Que Sera Sera
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZbKHDPPrrc

  287. 287

    @StephenB (#152)

    You wrote:

    Inasmuch as this is the third time I find it necessary to explain to you that the purpose for creating life takes logical precedence over the goal of creating life,

    That I have a purpose for anything in particular does not necessitate creating it in a particular way. Before something can fulfill it’s purpose it must exist.

    What is God’s purpose for all living things and how does it exclude TE?

  288. 288

    Gaz,

    “You cannot have it both ways.”

    Sure I can, Clive – it’s called a superposition of states!

    So you think a “superposition of states” applied to causes, means that there both can and cannot be a cause of particles “poofing” at the same time? Do you think that superpostions gets the situation of cause and effect out of the dilemma? You cannot have it both ways, either “poof” is scientific, or there was a cause; a superposition of states once there is something that exists is totally irrelevant. If you’re just trying to be humorous, I appreciate it, because QM is odd, I totally agree, but we cannot both claim that there is no cause and that poof is not scientific.

  289. Gaz actually the is a law of decay:

    Boltzmann equation
    An important equation in statistical mechanics that connects entropy (S) with molecular disorder (W). It can be written:
    S = k log W
    where k is Boltzmann’s constant.

    The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said:

    This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant. Nothing can better illustrate the positive and hectic pace of progress which the art of experimenters has made over the past twenty years, than the fact that since that time, not only one, but a great number of methods have been discovered for measuring the mass of a molecule with practically the same accuracy as that attained for a planet.
    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....ation.html

    Gaz,, If instead we ask from whence this law of decay came? instead of saying that decay is uncaused, as you insist on doing, we find:

    according to esteemed British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose (1931-present), the odds of one particular individual constant, the “original phase-space volume” of the universe, required such precision that the “Creator’s aim must have been to an accuracy of 1 part in 10^10^123”. This number is gargantuan. If this number were written out in its entirety, 1 with 10^123 zeros to the right, it could not be written on a piece of paper the size of the entire visible universe, even if a number were written down on each sub-atomic particle in the entire universe, since the universe only has 10^80 sub-atomic particles in it.

    Roger Penrose discusses initial entropy of the universe. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhGdVMBk6Zo

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”

    How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123. (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)
    http://www.ws5.com/Penrose/

    As well, contrary to speculation, Black Hole singularities are completely opposite the singularity of the Big Bang in terms of the ordered physics of entropic thermodynamics. i.e. Black Holes are singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order.

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

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

    Evolution is a Fact, Just Like Gravity is a Fact! UhOh!
    Excerpt: The results of this paper suggest gravity arises as an entropic force, once space and time themselves have emerged.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....fact-uhoh/

    This 1 in 10^10^123 number, for the time-asymmetry of the initial state of the “ordered entropy” for the universe, also lends strong support for “highly specified infinite information” creating the universe since;

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

    Did the Universe Hyperinflate? – Hugh Ross – April 2010
    Excerpt: Perfect geometric flatness is where the space-time surface of the universe exhibits zero curvature (see figure 3). Two meaningful measurements of the universe’s curvature parameter, ½k, exist. Analysis of the 5-year database from WMAP establishes that -0.0170 < ½k < 0.0068.4 Weak gravitational lensing of distant quasars by intervening galaxies places -0.031 < ½k < 0.009.5 Both measurements confirm the universe indeed manifests zero or very close to zero geometric curvature,,,

    A "flat universe", which is actually another surprising very finely-tuned "coincidence" of the universe, means this universe, left to its own present course of accelerating expansion due to "Dark Energy", will continue to expand forever, thus fulfilling the thermodynamic equilibrium of the second law to its fullest extent (entropic "Heat Death" of the universe).

    The Future of the Universe
    Excerpt: After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things. — Not a happy ending.

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Big Rip
    Excerpt: The Big Rip is a cosmological hypothesis first published in 2003, about the ultimate fate of the universe, in which the matter of universe, from stars and galaxies to atoms and subatomic particles, are progressively torn apart by the expansion of the universe at a certain time in the future. Theoretically, the scale factor of the universe becomes infinite at a finite time in the future.

    Thermodynamic Argument Against Evolution – Thomas Kindell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4168488
    entire video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV3WWDfGsX4

    Does God Exist? The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007708

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    Does God Exist? – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007708

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Thus there does appear to be a cause Gaz that you have totally missed because of your "non-interested" position of denying causality:

  290. @nullasalus

    You said that the MWI has a connection to ID. Do you mind elaborating a little bit on that. From what I read it is purely a materialistic sci-fi scenario.

  291. above, I believe the last part of the Strauss video touches a little on that subject:

    The Anthropic Principle – Fine Tuning Of The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

  292. 292

    above,

    Well, I think I’ve elaborated on it here already, at least the gist of it. So let me zero in on what I think is the real problem: Words like “materialist” and “naturalist” get thrown around left and right nowadays, despite those words meaning next to nothing anymore. Materialist had a meaning pre-20th century: The material half of cartesian’s dualism, the ‘little odorless, colorless pebbles bouncing off each other’ view. That view went away in the 20th century. It’s gone, the model failed.

    Let me give what I think is an even better example: Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument, where speculates on the possibility we’re living in a computer simulation. The actual argument isn’t important here, but this part is: Bostrom claims that, if we’re living in a simulation, that this is a ‘naturalist’ (and I bet he would say ‘materialist’) hypothesis. Deutsch wrote about accepting the idea that eventually the Omega Point would come to fruition, this quantum computer sci-fi entity that would be omniscient and omnipotent, simulating worlds left and right.

    Now, keep all this in mind. Here’s Dembski himself on ID:

    ID’s metaphysical openness about the nature of nature entails a parallel openness about the nature of the designer. Is the designer an intelligent alien, a computional simulator (a la THE MATRIX), a Platonic demiurge, a Stoic seminal reason, an impersonal telic process, …, or the infinite personal transcendent creator God of Christianity? The empirical data of nature simply can’t decide.

    Now, as I said, Bostrom and Deutsch will probably dig in their heels and insist that – despite the word being so empty – their views are “materialist”. I think the word is nonsense now, but put it aside. Once we’re talking about Omega Points and parallel universe beings who we in principle can never see nor directly interact whose existence and actions are necessary to explain what goes on in *our* world, I fail to see how these can be anything but ID theories, hypotheses, and explanations.

    ID casts a wide net, and that big tent really is big. It can and does even scoop up some guys who stomp their feet and insist their views are ‘naturalist’ or ‘materialist’. I say, don’t be fooled by those labels. Realize what others are arguing, what they mean, and what their implications are.

  293. 293

    @Nullasalus (#285)

    So, the MWI of quantum mechanics is “supernatural” because it’s nonsensical? That’s a rather interesting criteria you have there.

    “Tenable” is a woefully simplistic summary of comment #202. Hard to vary explanations are, well, hard. If you’re going to claim the bar is low, what is your solution to the problem of induction?

    You’re assuming I had not read Tipler’s response and did not anticipate it in my comment. You’re also assuming Tiplers’ response addressed all of Deutsch’s arguments.

    If we gain the technical ability to create a world, have we become Gods? Again, apparently “physical” isn’t the only thing that is “obnoxiously” open.

    For one thing, because Tipler himself cops to one problem with his view: The “Omega Point” is capable of creating exactly this reality we are experiencing now

    First, this is NOT the reality Tipler claims it will create. One of his arguments of why the Omega Point is “God” is that it will resurrect us in a realty familiar to ours, but without suffering, illnesses, death, etc. Does this describe the reality we currently observe?

    Would any entity that intentionally created the realty we observe deserve your worshiped?

    Note, I’m not suggesting that we would not be able to create an virtual reality simulation in proportion to available computational resources. Neither is Deutsch. I’m suggesting that

    A. Such a situation is possible because of the Turning principle, among others. This is quite different that claims made by 99.99% of all theists.
    B. The omega point requires the universe to end in a very specific way to provide the necessary computational resources. Given that we no longer think our universe will end in a big crunch, it’s unclear if such resources will be available.
    C. That MWI is true does not guarantee the Omega Point will occur.

    Again, if we gain the technical ability to create a Star Trek like holo-deck, have we become Gods? If not, when do we qualify?

    Cosmological fine tuning and otherwise is regularly discussed, and is part of the ID program.

    As I wrote in my supposedly absent response….

    The inhabitancies of the omega point will not have created the universe or the laws of physics. Nor could the violate them if they wanted to. Instead, they are harnessed to perform computations.

    My friend, you have a tremendously incomplete and incorrect view both of Intelligent Design, and a view of “god”, “physical” and “natural” that is downright amusing

    My friend, you have a tremendously open and vague view both of Intelligent Design, and a view of “god”, “physical” and “natural” that is downright obnoxious.

    Your point is?

    Ask Deutsch and Tipler, veils. Because according to their views on the Omega Point, this was and/or can be accomplished via straight up ID: Computer simulations, or something analogous to it. Which opens the possibilities from front-loading to direct intervention to otherwise.

    Nullasalus,

    Are you really going to argue one has to accept Darwin’s metaphysics to be a Darwinist, then turn around and claim Deutsch agrees with Tipler’s claim that the omega point is God?

    Are you really going to argue from a position that apparently no one here, including yourself, actually believes in and what likely represents a fraction of the views of ID proponents as a whole? It’s one thing to say that Dembski classifies a simulated universe is as ID, but does he really believe we live in a computer simulation?

    For example, if the resurrected Jesus is a simulation, it’s unclear how believing this is true ensures an omnipotent entity at the omega point will resurrect me at all – let alone that it will put me in a pleasant simulation rather than one that is extremely unpleasant. If anything is non-sensical, this would be it.

    Again, I’d ask anyone here to answer the questions I posed based on what they actually believe to be true.

  294. 294

    @ Nullasalus (#292)

    The empirical data of nature simply can’t decide.

    I’d strongly suggest otherwise, and have provided numerious examples to illustrate why. Any theory can make any prediction and empirical evidence is insufficient on it’s own. There is such a thing as bad explanation.

    Now, as I said, Bostrom and Deutsch will probably dig in their heels and insist that – despite the word being so empty – their views are “materialist”

    Deutsch digs in his heals and suggest theories that do not provide hard to vary explanations blight progress and should be discarded.

    And if you’ve read Deutsch, you’d have a clear idea of how he defines reality. The qualifier “probably” would be unnecessary.

  295. 295

    veilsofmaya,

    So, the MWI of quantum mechanics is “supernatural” because it’s nonsensical? That’s a rather interesting criteria you have there.

    Wow, what a completely dishonest, avoidance-based rewording of what I said. You know, strawmen like this don’t work when anyone can just scroll back and read my comments.

    “Tenable” is a woefully simplistic summary of comment #202. Hard to vary explanations are, well, hard. If you’re going to claim the bar is low, what is your solution to the problem of induction?

    It’s not a very “hard to vary” explanation when your explanation amounts to “this thing I can’t demonstrate or falsify, sprung forth from my imagination, but trust me, it can do the job”.

    You’re assuming I had not read Tipler’s response and did not anticipate it in my comment. You’re also assuming Tiplers’ response addressed all of Deutsch’s arguments.

    You didn’t “anticipate” anything, because you’re acting as if I haven’t given any response to this question, when I’ve been referencing Tipler repeatedly.

    If we gain the technical ability to create a world, have we become Gods? Again, apparently “physical” isn’t the only thing that is “obnoxiously” open.

    Ask the people in the world we created, veils. What do you think they’ll say? Have Zeus and Thor and such ceased to be thought of as gods because all they were, really, were really powerful beings?

    You don’t get it: When “physical”, “material”, and “natural” become obnoxiously – yes, obnoxiously! – open, then so too does “non-physical”, “immaterial”, and “supernatural”. That those latter three words are now practically meaningless is a direct result OF changing the former three. You’re not even arguing with me now. You’re just agreeing in a more huffy manner.

    First, this is NOT the reality Tipler claims it will create. One of his arguments of why the Omega Point is “God” is that it will resurrect us in a realty familiar to ours, but without suffering, illnesses, death, etc. Does this describe the reality we currently observe?

    No, Tipler argues that the Omega Point will by necessity ‘resurrect’ via simulations, and create infinitely more. Simulating *this* reality is entirely within the realm of possibility for the Omega Point, and would perfectly fit with it – so long as we are eventually “saved” by it. We don’t need to be saved immediately. Read what the man himself and Deutsch both say about what this OP is capable of.

    Would any entity that intentionally created the realty we observe deserve your worshiped?

    And here we get to the heart of the matter. Yes, Veils, I say so. Of course, you probably don’t understand what worship is, or the sort of God I speak of. I don’t subscribe to the MWI or OP idea, interesting as it is. More of a classical theist.

    A. Such a situation is possible because of the Turning principle, among others. This is quite different that claims made by 99.99% of all theists.

    Great, we’re making up numbers now. Fine, I’ll make up some of my own: 99.9% of all theists believe God is beyond them in many ways, infinite and unknowable, and don’t inquire as to “how” God does what He does. Even the boldest scholastics made this much clear. What’s more, ID != theism, and certainly not any specific or traditional theism. Again, I quoted Dembski on this subject.

    B. The omega point requires the universe to end in a very specific way to provide the necessary computational resources. Given that we no longer think our universe will end in a big crunch, it’s unclear if such resources will be available.

    According to Tipler, the way the universe ‘has’ to end will be forced upon it by intelligent beings.

    C. That MWI is true does not guarantee the Omega Point will occur.

    The Omega Point does not need to be brought up to illustrate that MWI is an ID hypothesis. It does, however, really help to show what these supposedly supernatural-rejecting, ‘materialist’ thinkers are really saying. Deutsch is about as atheistic and naturalistic as someone sacrificing chickens to keep a volcano dormant.

    And you know what? That’s fine. If that’s where “critical reason” takes him, go for it. But I’m going to happily point out what his views really entail in the process.

    The inhabitancies of the omega point will not have created the universe or the laws of physics. Nor could the violate them if they wanted to. Instead, they are harnessed to perform computations.

    Actually, they WILL have created the universe or the laws of physics. Just of different worlds. Were their laws, in turn, created? Good question. But considering they will have demonstrated without a doubt that such a thing is possible, what will they do? Say “Oh, sure, these infinite numbers of simulations we’ve created we have omnipotent, omniscient control over. Ours, however – which we can and do also simulate – was obviously created by utter blind chance.”?

    Again, MWI, the Omega Point, and transhumanism in general is just non-mainstream ID.

    Are you really going to argue one has to accept Darwin’s metaphysics to be a Darwinist, then turn around and claim Deutsch agrees with Tipler’s claim that the omega point is God?

    I expressly did not say that Deutsch agrees with Tipler’s claim. I cited the damn article with Tipler arguing with Deutsch’s denial! You asked me, how can a deity front-load evolution, or make sure certain mutations happen, and I answered. Or rather, Bostrom, Tipler, and Deutsch answered for me. Don’t like the answer? Take it up with them.

    Are you really going to argue from a position that apparently no one here, including yourself, actually believes in and what likely represents a fraction of the views of ID proponents as a whole? It’s one thing to say that Dembski classifies a simulated universe is as ID, but does he really believe we live in a computer simulation?

    He doesn’t need to, nor did I say he did. I pointed out that Dembski – not exactly a small name in ID debates – has pointed out exactly how broad the ID net stretches, and it absolutely swallows up MWI, the Omega Point, and with it the speculations of Tipler, Deutsch, and Bostrom. I have repeatedly said that this would be a non-mainstream ID view, but it would be an ID view all the same.

    My “position” doesn’t require one to personally believe any of these guys, any more than ID requires one to be a YEC or a TE. You’re trying to change the subject because you don’t like the idea of being thought of as an ID proponent. Too damn bad. You’re the one supporting Deutsch, MWI, and apparently other transhumanist shenanigans. Not me.

    Again, I’d ask anyone here to answer the questions I posed based on what they actually believe to be true.

    An irrelevant and desperate attempt to change the subject. I never once said, nor do I believe, that most ID proponents “believe” we live in a simulation, or in the Omega Point. I said that arguments to such effect, like it or not, are ID arguments.

    You’re an ID proponent, veils. Just accept it and join the club already. I’m sure they won’t force you to be a Christian so long as you don’t force them to watch The Matrix or play .hack/sign.

  296. 296

    veilsofmaya,

    I’d strongly suggest otherwise, and have provided numerious examples to illustrate why. Any theory can make any prediction and empirical evidence is insufficient on it’s own. There is such a thing as bad explanation.

    You’d strongly suggest otherwise that the “empirical data of nature” can’t decide the question Dembski is asking, then you turn around and say the “empirical evidence is insufficient on its own”? Go figure.

    This is doubling amusing considering in MWI, all things that are in fact possible do come to pass. I’d be a strong agnostic on more than God if I believed that. It does interesting things to probabilities.

    Deutsch digs in his heals and suggest theories that do not provide hard to vary explanations blight progress and should be discarded.

    Deutsch talking about the importance of “hard to vary explanations” while cheerfully endorsing both MWI and the Omega Point is comedy writ large. That you bring this up while frantically trying to find a way to insist that Omega Points and undetectable parallel-universe intelligent agents co-working on lab experiments is not ID makes it doubly so.

  297. The thing about MWI is that it only makes the possibility for the existence of God as likely as anything else it seeks to explain, doesn’t it?

  298. 298

    Phaedros,

    The thing about MWI is that it only makes the possibility for the existence of God as likely as anything else it seeks to explain, doesn’t it?

    Not really, if I take your question right. MWI doesn’t have much to say about the ultimate start/origin of the universe. Alex Vilenkin embraces MWI, he believes that the claim that the universe had an ultimate beginning is now beyond doubt, and he still struggles with how to explain that – he does not like theism, but he briefly entertains the possibility that the laws of nature were in existence in a mind “prior to” the universe coming into being. And as Paul Davies says, embracing multiverse suggestions only shifts the whole question up a level. In those and other senses, the “God” question goes untouched.

    There are other problems with believing in MWI views, particularly ones which are infinite such that anything possible does in fact come to pass, and an infinite number of times at that. Especially if you view ‘created worlds’ as possible. Since that gets into nesting (A created world where the denizens created a world where the denizens created a world where…), and suddenly you have to ask “How likely is it that I’m on the top of any given world, given that I can exist anywhere from 1 to N on these ‘levels’?”

  299. nullasalus,,,

    Deutsch is about as atheistic and naturalistic as someone sacrificing chickens to keep a volcano dormant. 8) ROTFLOL 8)

    That laugh had tears 8)

  300. nullasalus-

    What I meant was that they are trying to explain away the beginning of the universe which in fact increases the likelihood of the thing they wish to avoid. I think they would still have to come up with a reason for there being something rather than nothing, i.e. “space” for space if you know what I mean. I’m not saying that MWI wishes to explain God or something, but that it opens up the possibility for God as well as just about anything else. I mean, what’s to stop, in MWI, a boulder popping into the middle of my living room? That seems like it would be a likely occurrence in MWI.

  301. 301

    I wrote:

    First, this is NOT the reality Tipler claims it will create. One of his arguments of why the Omega Point is “God” is that it will resurrect us in a realty familiar to ours, but without suffering, illnesses, death, etc. Does this describe the reality we currently observe?

    Would any entity that intentionally created the realty we observe deserve your worshiped?

    To head off any possible confusion by the classical theists in our midsts, I was specifically refereeing to what we currently observe as an infinite, wholly designed, virtual reality simulation intentionally brought about by an entity at the Omega Point.

    According to Tipler, the very reason we are resurrected is because, at the Omega Point (or some proximity near it), the resulting collective entity has gained the technical ability to simulate an eternity without these things. In fact, this is one reasons why Tipler concludes the Omega Point is “God.”

    Yet, we still observe suffering, illnesses and death.

    If such an entity could omit these things, but chooses to create a eternal simulation that includes them, (which is in itself, non-sensical, as death already excludes this from being the eternal resurrected simulation Tipler is referring to) would such an entity deserve to be worshiped?

  302. 302

    @ nullasalus

    Given your wide definition of ID, wouldn’t Solipsism be considered ID since everything that exists would have been “designed” by a single intelligent agent?

    Should I expect you to welcome Solipsists into the wide club of ID with open arms?

  303. veilsofmaya,

    Given your wide definition of ID, wouldn’t Solipsism be considered ID since everything that exists would have been “designed” by a single intelligent agent?

    Should I expect you to welcome Solipsists into the wide club of ID with open arms?

    My wide definition? I quoted Dembski. I can quote others. Every ID proponent I’m aware of concedes that ID does not prove the existence of, nor require the belief in, the Christian God. The range is broad.

    As for solipsism, I’ll worry about that when it comes to pass that there are a lot of solipsists suggesting interpretations of quantum physics. MWI, however, absolutely makes certain that Boltzmann Brains (an infinite number of them) do come to exist.

    You, veils, have vastly more ‘trouble’ with solipsism given MWI than I do.

    If such an entity could omit these things, but chooses to create a eternal simulation that includes them, (which is in itself, non-sensical, as death already excludes this from being the eternal resurrected simulation Tipler is referring to) would such an entity deserve to be worshiped?

    This is just the classic problem of evil, restated. Back to the discussions of soul-building, fallen worlds, and so on. And regardless of whether or not you think such an entity ‘deserves’ to be worshiped, a god is a god. Zeus, by most accounts, was kind of a horse’s rear. Was he not a god? Can someone believe in Zeus’ existence yet be an atheist? An agnostic?

  304. Gaz @283

    In the discussion of QM and its reliance on probability theory, I have one more question (see IOW at the end).

    Probability can only be applied on the basis that there actually is a possibility for an event to happen. It presupposes a causal agency and then calculate probability of a specific effect to take place because of said cause. (This position indecently maintains the scientific principle that a cause does not need to be known… something anti-ID agents keep on insisting, without acknowledging that their insistence would stop any inquiry.)

    That in itself seals the fact that QM does have a cause because an event can be predicted on a probabilistic level.

    IOW – Who can apply probability theory to an uncaused event?

  305. Clive Hayden (288),

    Yes, I was being humorous (trying to be, anyway). QM certainly is odd

    I suppose it’s a question of definitions, really. I hesitate to call, for instance, virtual particles popping in and out of existence as “poof” because “poof” tends to imply that anything can happen. That’s not true in QM, there are of course bounds on the extent of the change in energy and the time that the energy can be “borrowed” (as set out by Heisenberg), and of course they tend to arise in certain circumstances (e.g. a virtual W or Z boson when there is an electroweak interaction). If that’s what you mean by “poof” then “poof” it is: if by “poof” you mean anything can happen, then it isn’t.

    Let me use this opportunity to correct an interpretation I may have left with correspondents, but didn’t intend: I certainly don’t mean to imply that cause and effect ALWAYS breaks down in the quantum realm. There are of course instances where cause and effect applies. Let me give an example: elctron transitions between atomic energy levels can be caused AND uncaused – caused in the event of anpother particle, a photon for example, imparting energy to an electron to allow jumps between energy levels; and uncaused in the event of spontaneous transitions, e.g. in spontaneous emission of radiation.

  306. mullerpr (304),

    A good question indeed. Let’s take the example of radioactive decay – we can’t, in fact apply any theory to determine when an individual radioactive nuclei will decay, because it is “uncaused” and entirely random. We can, however, assess the probability that nuclei will decay and calculate the half-life – essentially a probabilistic measure – to determine when half of a given quantity of radioactive nuclei will decay.

    So given that we know some nuclei will decay, and the rate at which they decay, we can make a probabilistic assessment to determine the half-life in bulk of what is, at the level of the individual nuclei, an event without a cause.

  307. bornagain77,

    Just picked up your 289 – sorry to have missed it.

    That equation of Boltzmann’s relates to STATISTICAL mechanics -by definition, the treatment of particles in bulk, not individually. It doesn’t relate at all to the decay of an individual radioactive nuclei.

  308. Gaz,

    It seems as if my question helped you to construct a “method to decide when to deny causality”. You have to admit that it is not a good method because it falls down when you consider all indeterministic causes in the light of probability. Remember probability needs no “knowledge” about a cause it simply predict the occurrence of an effect. In fact any number of unknown causes can achieve the same effect and probability will still apply.

    As I said before it is much more realistic to expect a cause by default regardless of its property being deterministic or indeterministic.

    It therefore still seems as if your problem is not with causality but with the human observer’s inability to determine the cause. Surely that level of anti-realism has, by and large, been laid to rest a long time ago. “The bird is singing in the wood regardless of the observer” (i.e. the realist view). Read section “Anti-realism in science”

    I think you fall in the category described in bold:

    Anti-realism in science

    In philosophy of science, anti-realism applies chiefly to claims about the non-reality of “unobservable” entities such as electrons or DNA, which are not detectable with human senses. For a brief discussion comparing such anti-realism to its opposite, realism, see (Okasha 2002, ch. 4). Ian Hacking (1999, p. 84) also uses the same definition. One prominent anti-realist position in the philosophy of science is instrumentalism, which takes a purely agnostic view towards the existence of unobservable entities: unobservable entity X serves simply as an instrument to aid in the success of theory Y. We need not determine the existence or non-existence of X. Some scientific anti-realists argue further, however, and deny that unobservables exist even as non-truth conditioned instruments.

    If you fall in this category do you have references to support this view of “Some scientific anti-realists”

  309. mullerpr (308),

    no, it’s not anti-realism at all. I don’t deny the existence of objects that can’t be seen by humans or instruments – in fact I would apssionately argue for the existence of electrons, say. Nor do I agree with the instrumentalist position in your quote, saying we ddon’t need to determine the existence or non-existence of X – we need such determinations to test our models (and it’s what extablishments such as CERN are involved in all the time).

    My position really is quite simple – it’s that some quantum events demonstrate a breakdown of causality (e.g. radioactive decay, spontaneous electron transitions). Now, if someone came up with a realistic and testable model for a cause for such events then I, personally, would jump for joy because frankly QM is so weird that anything that reduces the weirdness factor would be a good thing from my viewpoint.

    But there hasn’t been, nor is there at present, any model for one. It really does seem – with regret – that these events are uncaused. If you can point me to a realistic, testable model to say otherwise then I’m all ears. But just saying “there must be a cause because of the “law of causality”" simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

  310. Gaz you state:

    Just picked up your 289 – sorry to have missed it.

    After reading your response it is apparent the you still missed it

  311. Gaz,

    I am also a realist. The thing is that what you describe about “…radioactive decay, spontaneous electron transitions” does not fit into any form of breakdown of causality… at all. You implied it yourself, it only refers to the weirdness of QM.

    What I am saying is that there is nothing, that begins to exist, so weird that you would be warranted to expect a breakdown of causality.

    P.S. My definition for the “Law of Causality” is therefore. Everything that has a beginning in any possible reality, has a cause. Nothing has contradicted this law, yet.

    If you want to conclude that radio active decay has no beginning, in any possible reality, you effectively assume that event to be indistinguishable from …well it seems …indistinguishable from everything. (That is obviously not the case.)

  312. I feel I have to clarify this last point I made against my view of God, because it might be receive the wrong interpretation. Again Gaz, nothing to do with the argument. It is just how I would like people to understand my perception of the implications of my argument.

    I said,

    “If you want to conclude that radio active decay has no beginning, in any possible reality, you effectively assume that event to be indistinguishable from …well it seems …indistinguishable from everything. (That is obviously not the case.)”

    That implies that we will most probably never see/distinguish GOD as the beginningless cause of everything, however we can always be looking for His handy work and incarnation of Himself in Jesus Christ.

  313. The difference between “poof” and naturalism is old-hat. What’s on the cusp is their similarity.

    Believers have no difficulty accounting for the excellence and complexity (and beauty) of nature. Poof! God did it. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

    Naturalists don’t want God in nature, so they claim that nature made itself. But the more we learn about nature, the more we realize how “very good” it actually is. The more we know about the astonishing excellence and economy of the cell, for example, the less likely it seems that nature is capable of investing itself with such goodness of its own accord.

    Darwinists cannot show, have never shown in any degree in any lab or experiment, the natural transformation in form described by the great poet of naturalism—Natural Selection. They have never demonstrated the emergence of a complex, contingent mechanism like the cell from that which is self-contained and simple. It seems the very thing they set their minds to do is what they cannot do.

    But thanks be to Whomever—poof! They invoke the divine principle of Darwinism, Deep Time, and all of these troubling impediments melt away. Their touching faith in Deep Time is exactly the same thing as a believer’s faith in God, the substance of things not seen.

    Deep Time has transcendent properties. Just as God is, by Augustine’s famous description, above and beyond time, so Deep Time provides the Darwinist with a theoretical force of pure resistance to the meddlesome scientific entity of time itself, which makes his theory quite impossible.

    Poof! The impossible occurs because of the undefined mystical powers of Deep Time. It is Deep Time that makes Darwinism unfalsifiable, and Deep Time that enables our Darwinists to share the gracious freedom of Poof! with benighted believers.

  314. 314

    Gaz,

    An event that is random, does not by virtue of being random, also become uncaused. Just because you insist that it does (and by “insist” I mean that you repeatedly sneak it into the conversation) does not make it so.

  315. Hmm, God invoked again, so the science is over. Time to end this (again).

  316. Gaz,

    LOL, see you later!

  317. UprightBiPed (314),

    I agree that just because something is random does not necessarily mean that it is uncaused. In fact, my view is that random events in classical physics will certainly have a cause. All I am saying is that there are phenomena at the quantum level that do genuinely appear to be uncaused.

    I’ll repeat the question I asked earlier – if you have a testable mechanism for these apparently unacused quantum events then let me know.

  318. Gaz, since God is by far the parsimonious explanation for the uncaused cause of all the reality of this universe, then every discipline of “science”, science which you said was “over” once He was invoked, only truly is “over”, i.e. comes to full fruition of all its inherent knowledge of reality, when all known relevant data, of any particular sciences’ discipline, is lined up to that true point of His primary and uncaused reality!

  319. bornagain77 (318),

    I can give a far more parsimonious explanation than God. There is an entity that I shall christen(?) the “godoid”. This is an entity that does all the physical causing of stuff that appears to be uncaused at the quantum level, but is not omnipotent, omniscient, intelligent, not creative at the macro level (hence didn’t create humans), not even conscious, thus not necessarily aware of humanity and certainly doesn’t answer prayers. That is much more parsimonious than the God explanation.

  320. Gaz, your godoid is a false idol that you have very unwisely put in the place of God. But why would you choose to be so unwise?

  321. i.e. what is your payoff Gaz? do you delude yourself into thinking separation from the living God would be a good thing? The evidence I’ve found indicates you are very severely mistaken!.

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

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    It should be noted: All foreign, non-Judeo-Christian culture, NDE studies I have looked at have a extreme rarity of encounters with “The Being Of Light” and tend to be very unpleasant NDE’s. The following study was shocking for what was found in some non-Judeo-Christian NDE’s:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand – Todd Murphy:
    Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of ‘going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves. http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    Hell – A Warning! – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4131476

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

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

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience – Pim Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/.....ommel_nde/

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their NDEs. 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth.
    http://findarticles.com/p/arti....._65076875/

    In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a “mental intention” preceded an actual neuronal firing – thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether. http://books.google.com/books?.....8;lpg=PT28

    “As I remarked earlier, this may present an “insuperable” difficulty for some scientists of materialists bent, but the fact remains, and is demonstrated by research, that non-material mind acts on material brain.” Eccles

    etc.. etc…

    Methinks you should give a lot more consideration for the safety of your own soul Gaz!!!

  322. 322

    Gaz,

    I agree that just because something is random does not necessarily mean that it is uncaused. In fact, my view is that random events in classical physics will certainly have a cause. All I am saying is that there are phenomena at the quantum level that do genuinely appear to be uncaused.

    I’ll repeat the question I asked earlier – if you have a testable mechanism for these apparently unacused quantum events then let me know.

    But you miss the point, your question is the one which you yourself must answer – since it is you that wishes to abandon one of the first principles of science, to wit, all effects have causes.

    What you have done above is no more than present a personal preference; that we have found the uncaused effect. To which others can reply with their own personal preference.

    The distinction will be that their personal preference is based upon the universal experience of all human discovery throughout all of recorded history. And until you answer the qustion you wish to pose to others, your personal preference will be based upon what you don’t know to be true.

  323. bornagain77 (321),

    I don’t see what the problem is – I’m not saying there’s not a God, I’m just saying that the godoid is a more parsimonious explanation as a cause of apparently uncaused events.

  324. UBP (322),

    The trouble is that for most of human history bar the last 100 or so years, the classical realm where every effect had a cause was all that was known. QM changed all that (as relativity changed mechanics from the Newtonian model). It meant that causality wasn’t a “law” as such. And it’s not my personal preference – give me cause and effect any day, it’s much easier to handle – but the reality appears to be that certain effect are uncaused at the quantum level.

    Unless you can come up with a plausible, testable model for what causes the uncaused, I suggest we agree to disagree and draw discussions to a close.

  325. 325

    Gaz,

    Restating your position does not change it.

    Once again you simply assert that QM has changed the law without any proofs of it, then ask if others would care to prove the law still exists.

    You are ass backwards on this.

    - – - – - –

    By the way, couching your comments as if this mirrors the addition of Einstien to Newton is patently incorrect. The idea that Einstien would have demanded acceptance of his ideas without demonstration is simply ludicrous.

    Cheers…

  326. UBP (325),

    No, I think the problem is that you are asserting that effects needing a cause is a “law” without any proof that it is a law, even when there is evidence that it doesn’t apply in all situations. Nor do I expect anyone to accept the ideas without demonstration – radioactive decay and spontaneous electron transitons, amongst others, demonstrate it.

    (I should add that I have no pretensions to be Einstein either – the ideas I mention here aren’t originally mine, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear).

  327. Gaz, your explanation is no explanation at all and is the antithesis of parsimony:

    Cosmological Argument – The Uncaused Cause Is A Personal Conscious Being – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4813914

    excerpt of description:

    Logic also dictates “a decision” must have been made, by the “transcendent, eternal, infinite information” from the primary timeless (eternal) reality It inhabits, in order to purposely create a temporal reality with highly specified, irreducible complex, parameters from a infinite set of possibilities in the proper sequential order. Thus this infinite transcendent information, which is the primary reality of our reality, is shown to be alive by yet another line of evidence besides the double slit experiment. The restriction imposed by our physical limitations of us ever accessing complete infinite information to our temporal framework/dimension (Wheeler; Zeilinger) does not detract, in any way, from the primacy and dominion of the infinite, eternal, transcendent, information framework that is now established by the quantum teleportation experiment as the primary reality of our reality. Of note: All of this evidence meshes extremely well with the theistic postulation of God being infinite and perfect in knowledge.

    “An illusion can never go faster than the speed limit of reality”
    Akiane – Child Prodigy

  328. 328

    @nullasalus (#295)

    You wrote:

    Simulating *this* reality is entirely within the realm of possibility for the Omega Point,

    Here’s the crux of the problem: ID claims there is a scientific method we can us to *detect* design. However, in making this objection your appealing to the mere possibility that we might be in some kind of simulation. If Tipler’s Omega Point theory really is an intelligent design theory, as you claim, then it includes a means to detect it.

    For example, if you understand Tipler’s theory you know he explains how the omega point actually comes about – an infinite amount of energy being released, should our universe end in a particular way, to drive power the simulation. The OP is not necessary in the way you are describing it as it depends on this actually occurring. This is a possibility. Tipler also says we could “detect” we were resurrected simulations via the OP because he makes specific predictions about the environment we would find ourselves in. Specifically, that it is similar to ours, but lacks sickness, suffering, death, etc.

    Ignoring these key aspects of the theory would seem to exclude it as ID as it becomes merely a possibility.

    You might object and say that we cannot know this is what they will NOT do, but this is also one of Deutsch’s key objections, which I’ve mentioned earlier. Tipler’s detection method almost entirely depends on predicting what vastly intelligent, computational based, collective super agent will do in the future. I.E. they will act like one of our current conceptions of God.

    As you’ve continually noted, based on the wide definition of God, the supernatural, etc. – historically and even today – this is wildly speculative.

    As such, posing a theory that predicts, should we exist in a virtual reality simulation, it would appear just like our reality, but does so using the assumption above is a bad explanation. That is, it is a convoluted elaboration of reality based on high speculation, which we can discard.

    Note that one could claim we can detect that we live in a simulation if the sun rises tomorrow or if the sky is blue or if we act just like we have acted in the past and act as we do today. Empirical observations fit all of those predictions.

    Welcome to the problem of induction and the incompleteness of empiricism.

    ..[ID]absolutely swallows up MWI

    for reasons you have still yet to elaborate on.

    Given this claim, does ID swallow up Soliphism as well?

    As for the rest of your comment, please see above. ID theories not only make claims about what is designed but how it can be detected. You’re mixing and matching the designer and the means to detect him.

    this is why I provided the example…

    if the resurrected Jesus is a simulation, it’s unclear how believing this is true ensures an omnipotent entity at the omega point will resurrect me at all – let alone that it will put me in a pleasant simulation rather than one that is extremely unpleasant. If anything is non-sensical, this would be it.

    If Dembski really does believe Jesus was resurrected, it’s highly likely he would not think this represented detection of design via the OP.

    I asked…

    Again, I’d ask anyone here to answer the questions I posed based on what they actually believe to be true.

    Why do you not believe in the Omega Point? If I were to guess, you’d also not believe the claim that we can detect we live in a simulation because the sky is blue, etc., And that you’d not believe for essentially the same reason. Neither provide a hard to vary expiration of how their detection criterial indicates we live in a simulation.

    Again, why is Tipler’s explanation easy to vary?

    Tipler’s detection method almost entirely depends on predicting what vastly intelligent, computational based, collective super agent will do in the future. I.E. they will act like one of our current conceptions of God.

    As you’ve continually noted, based on the wide definition of God, the supernatural, etc. – historically and even today – this is highly speculative.

    Why is explanation that they sky is blue easy to vary?It’s merely a prediction that matches what we empirical observe. I’ve provided no explanation.

  329. 329

    @nullasalus (#295)

    You wrote:

    Wow, what a completely dishonest, avoidance-based rewording of what I said.

    I assumed what you wrote was actually an answer to the question of why the MWI is supernatural. Furthermore, I had already asked if making the same prediction as other claims deemed “supernatural” qualified, which you seemed to deny. So, If what you said was not an answer, then please provide one.

    You know, strawmen like this don’t work when anyone can just scroll back and read my comments.

    Lets take a look, shall we? I wrote:

    So, you’re not implying they are both “supernatural” because they make similar predictions? If not then please elaborate on why the MWI is “supernatural.”

    You replied;

    Because MWI interprets quantum physics as saying that undetectable, unreachable beings from universes distinct from ours are popping into existence and/or interact with our world and experiments? Because Deutsch’s entire explanation of ‘quantum computation’ explicitly relies on these beings working in parallel with “us”?

    Suggest the existence of other worlds and agents within them that cannot be directly detected empirically and you’re making supernatural claims. Unless you’re wearing a lab coat at the time. Then it’s physical. I’m calling that out as nonsense.

    Again, if the MWI isn’t supernatural because it makes similar predictions to other “supernatural” claims, such as “existence of other worlds and agents within them that cannot be directly detected empirically”, then what’s left? Otherwise, you seem to be merely asserting the MWI is “supernatural”, which is what why I asked the question in the first place.

    Given that other supernatural claims “cannot be directly detected empirically” either, it’s unclear why you wouldn’t conceder them nonsense as well.

    Please see my previous comment.

    Clearly, there is clearly some reason why we do not accept the claim we live in a simulation because the sky is blue, etc., despite the fact that the predictions match empirical observations. Right?

    What is that reason? This is the question I’m asking.

  330. This is getting beyond the point of absurdity. I think all that Gaz has succeeded in doing is steering this forum off-topic for at least a week. The silly thing was that he accepted causality at one point, but then went on to claim that StephenB was wrong for “making causality a law”. Gaz i simply looking to troll this entire forum I think.

  331. bornagain77 (327),

    the godoid can hardly be the antithesis of parsimony – it’s a lot simpler than God, and a lot simpler than “information” that makes a “decision” – does that imply “conscious information”?

  332. 332

    Gaz,

    We have now circled back to the top. Random decay events and spontaneous transitions demonstrate a lack of predictability by human observation, they do not demonstrate that they occur without cause or reason.

    And as before, it is for you to either support that claim or modify it reflect the facts which (by your own words) are not even in dispute.

  333. Phaedros (330),

    Of course I accept causality at the classical level, it’s what I use to live my life. I’m just trying to say – for the umpteenth time – that there appear to be quantum situations where it doesn’t apply and hence it cannot be considered a “law” in the general sense – which is what I feel some of the other corresponders here think when they claim that these uncaused quantum events must really have a cause because of the law of causality! I’m certainly not trolling.

    Help me out here – do you consider that there is a universal law of causality, that applies even in the quantum realm? Because if you do then we have a genuine disagreement. If you don’t think that and consider that causality applies generally in the classical realm but may not in other circumstances, then we have an agreement. Which is it?

  334. Phaedros (332),

    OK – then why can’t we predict when an individual nuclei will decay or a sponatneous electronic transition will occur?

  335. Gaz-

    Why cant I predict what will happen in one week or how a butterfly’s wings flapping in Australia will affect the weather in Brazil or the actions and motivations of others all of the time? It seems to me the simplest explanation fo these events is the fluctuation of energy levels and entropy. It would be hard to predict these things because they are essentially random an we dont have the tools to detect it. I mean look I think you’re still confusing the breakdown of classical mechanics with you’re desire to make this assertion about the breakdown of cause and effect. Basically, without cause and effect there is no sequence of events through time and no reality. There can be many ways that particular effects are caused by preceding effects an so on back to the uncaused cause.

  336. 336

    Gaz,

    Hmm, God invoked again, so the science is over. Time to end this (again).

    The above statement is called a philosophy that you hold to Gaz, one saturated with assumptions and presuppositions about science and God. You may as well say that Philosophy was invoked again, so the science is over, unless you can show me scientifically, not philosophically, why invoking God stops science, and by science, I mean things like the temperature in a beaker, the speed of light, you know, natural movements….unless you can do this, your philosophy is self-referentially damaging to your own philosophy about what stops science, because your philosophy is not scientific. No philosophies are. They are what we bring to science, not what movements of matter “ought” to be. The old is/ought fallacy. From natural movements, no philosophy will be given, only things like weight, speed, distance, velocity, angle, position, etc. So it is your philosophy that ends the discussion, not God and science.

  337. Gaz believe whatever lie you want, it is obvious you will go to extraordinary length to do so anyway. as for myself I will follow the evidence and reason, as best as I can, to the truth. As I asked another unreasonable atheist though, Do you think you will be able to hide in your lies when you die and are brought before your Creator?

  338. 338

    Gaz,

    I suppose it’s a question of definitions, really. I hesitate to call, for instance, virtual particles popping in and out of existence as “poof” because “poof” tends to imply that anything can happen.

    I see, I had no idea that “poof” in your mind meant that anything can happen. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear on that, I never intended it to mean that anything can happen. I meant it, and still mean it, in this particular situation and circumstances of QM.

  339. bornagain (337),

    I’ll thank you not to accuse me of lying as I’ve been quite sincere throughout this exchange.

  340. Gaz, to remove any doubt to your claim that godoid (false idol) is a “simpler” explanation, Dr. Craig, in response to Dawkins, goes over that very topic in the video I listed:

    Cosmological Argument – The Uncaused Cause Is A Personal Conscious Being – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4813914

  341. 341

    veilsofmaya,

    Given your wide definition of ID, wouldn’t Solipsism be considered ID since everything that exists would have been “designed” by a single intelligent agent?

    Solipsism would never posit a designer because it would never posit anything outside of itself, and if it designed itself, it would never need to posit design.

  342. Clive Hayden (338),

    OK, if you want to call the QM version “poof” then I’m content to agree with you. I hope you’ll excuse me if I don’t use it myself because of the wider connotations.

  343. Gaz, and exactly how am I to know that you are not being insincere about your sincerity? Couldn’t your sincerity have just pop into existence completely uncaused after the sheer insincerity of your reasoning throughout this thread?

  344. Clive Hayden (336),

    I certainly wouldn’t invoke God because it stops any further analysis. Once you get to God you’re at the end, as far as you can go. And most of the time we simply don’t need to, there’s more science to be done.

  345. 345

    Gaz,

    I certainly wouldn’t invoke God because it stops any further analysis. Once you get to God you’re at the end, as far as you can go. And most of the time we simply don’t need to, there’s more science to be done.

    We can certainly talk about the merits or lack of merits of your philosophy, but make no mistake, it is only a philosophy. It might be right, it might be wrong, but what it isn’t, is scientific.

  346. 346

    bornagain77,

    Gaz, and exactly how am I to know that you are not being insincere about your sincerity? Couldn’t your sincerity have just pop into existence completely uncaused after the sheer insincerity of your reasoning throughout this thread?

    I think he’s being sincere, no need to call his sincerity into question. It’s a red herring.

  347. Clive I hope you don’t mind but Gaz you stated to Clive:

    Once you get to God you’re at the end, as far as you can go.

    No Gaz, God is infinite in wisdom and knowledge, thus once you “get to God” you are then at the beginning of true learning that will be a journey of learning that last for eternity:

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    However, as it is written:
    “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
    no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him”

    and

    Psalms 111:10
    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

  348. 348

    bornagain77,

    Clive I hope you don’t mind but Gaz you stated to Clive:

    Once you get to God you’re at the end, as far as you can go.

    No Gaz, God is infinite in wisdom and knowledge, thus once you “get to God” you are then at the beginning of true learning that will be a journey of learning that last for eternity:

    I don’t mind at all, because that is an actual argument and not a calling into question anyone’s sincerity. I agree with you in this comment, by the way.

  349. Well Gaz I am sorry if you are truly being sincere in you argumentation, but it is very, very, hard for me to see how you can maintain your position after being shown so clearly, by so many, the unreasonableness of it.

  350. 350

    @Phaedros(#335)

    Here’s an analogy that I found quite useful.

    It’s from Chapter 11 of The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch.

    If we observe where one piece of a fully assembled jigsaw puzzle is, and we know the shapes of all the pieces, and that they are interlocked in the proper way, we can predict where all the other pieces are. But that does not mean that the other pieces were caused to be where they are by the piece we observed being where it is. Whether such causation is involved depends on how the jigsaw puzzle as a whole got there. If the piece we observed was laid down first, then it was indeed among the causes of the other pieces being where they are. If any other piece was laid down first, then the position of the piece we observed was an effect of that, not a cause. But if the puzzle was created by a single stroke of a jigsaw-puzzle-shaped cutter, and has never been disassembled, then none of the positions of the pieces are causes or effects of each other. They were not assembled in any order, but were created simultaneously, in positions such that the rules of the puzzle were already obeyed, which made those positions mutually predictable. Nevertheless, none of them caused the others.

    It wasn’t until I read this that I could remotely comprehend how something could be uncaused or what that might even mean.

    As I understand it, physical laws make determinations about events in spacetime just as the shapes of individual interlocking pieces predict their correct location in a puzzle. As such, there are specific aspects of an event we can predict regardless they occurred all at once as part of a group (no cause) or due to some previous cause. However, to return to the analogy, we cannot determine *when* the puzzle was completed, we can only determine that it *is* completed.

    This limits our ability to make predictions. It also allows things to appear to be uncaused, yet still adhere to the laws of physics.

    Of course, I’m a software engineer, not a quantum physicist, so hopefully Gaz will fill in any gaps or make any necessary corrections.

  351. Gaz,@344

    Come on! You look like a reasonable man. Newton invoked (came to) God and it did not stop any of his brilliance. The rest of the examples that contradict your position are there to see.

    Are you implying a scientist looking at a phenomenon and saying, “How wonderful now I know that God made this…”, he automatically stop his investigation and does nothing further.

    Please be specific when you claim “invoking God” stops science. Give some examples or make a logical argument. Claims does not cut it.

  352. Is Gaz a quantum physicist? I doubt it.

  353. Sorry veils that analogy doesn’t say it was uncaused it says it was a different type of cause.

  354. 354

    “Please be specific when you claim “invoking God” stops science”

    If Gaz wants to worry about science stoppers perhaps he or she should be looking much closer to home. The real science stoppers is the nonsense Gaz has been putting forth such as something can come from nothing and effects dont have causes. God as a science stopper is the least of our problems with this stype of thinking.

    As Clive has stated and Gaz is in agreement this type of thinking is nothing more than poofery. One could say it is tantamount to magic but that would be giving magic a bad name. As William Lane Craig points out at least when the magician pulls a rabbit out of his hat THERE IS A HAT!!

    Vivid

  355. 355

    @Clive Hayden, (#341)

    Solipsism would never posit a designer because it would never posit anything outside of itself, and if it designed itself, it would never need to posit design.

    He doesn’t claim to exist?

    In other words, isn’t the Solipsist essentially using the claim that nothing exists outside of himself as a means to detect design? After all, if there is an external realty, there is the possibility that these external things are undesigned. Furthermore, many of these things appear to follow objective physical laws. But according to the solipsist, we cannot know this. Therefore, they do not exists outside himself.

    Where else did this complex phenomena that merely appears to be real come from? The solipsist is essentially calming to have designed the entirety of what we accept as external reality, including all biological lifeforms, the entire cosmos, all existing technology, every field of medicine, etc.

    So, it would appear that the solipsist’s claim that nothing exists outside of himself is a filter for detecting design – in the case of the solipsist, he just happens to be the designer.

  356. bornagain77 (349),

    But you HAVEN’T shown the unreasonableness of it – that’s the point. All I have been doing is pointingh out what we see at the qunatum level. Certain phenomena appear uncaused. Some of you claim that there is no such thing as an effect without a cause, yet no cause appears and – despite repeated requests – no-one, including you, has come up with any plausible, testable mechanism. For those who object to me mentioning references to “God did it”, I suggest you look at bornagain’s posts.

  357. 357

    @Phaedros (#353)

    Sorry veils that analogy doesn’t say it was uncaused it says it was a different type of cause.

    It wasn’t designed to.

    Instead it was designed to show why somethings cannot be predicted and how uncaused things can still be said to obey the laws of physics.

  358. Clive Hayden (348),

    it may be an argument but it’s not a testable one and takes us no further.

  359. mullerpr (351),

    Anyone can look at anything and think God made it. If they think, like Newton, that God made it using laws of nature than they can still do useful scientific work. It’s when they insist God made it without nature that the science ends.

  360. bornagain77 (343),

    What exactly am I supposed to make of this statement?

  361. 361

    RE 357 “Instead it was designed to show why somethings cannot be predicted and how uncaused things can still be said to obey the laws of physics.”

    Funny but there is a cause of the uncaused things.

    “But if the puzzle was created by a single stroke of a jigsaw-puzzle-shaped cutter, and has never been disassembled, then none of the positions of the pieces are causes or effects of each other. They were not assembled in any order, but were created simultaneously”

    The cause of the uncaused things is the jigsaw puzzle shape cutter!!

    Vivid

  362. Gaz should you not look for a cause that is not bound by time and space to explain an effect that defies time and space? To presuppose that a cause will be found within time and space to explain an effect that defies time and space, as you have done, is an unreasonable position to start from.

    As far as repeatable experiments that defy time and space:

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

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

    Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Wigner

    That a photon would actually be destroyed upon the teleportation (separation) of its “infinite” information to another photon is a direct controlled violation of the first law of thermodynamics. (i.e. a photon “disappeared” from the universe when the entire information content of a photon was “transcendently displaced” from the material universe, in the experiment, when photon “c” transcendently became transmitted photon “a”). Thus, this is direct empirical validation for the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information (i.e. information cannot be created or destroyed). This conclusion is warranted because information exercises direct dominion of energy, which cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means, yet a photon of energy is destroyed by this transcendent means. Thus, this experiment provides a direct line of logic that transcendent information cannot be created or destroyed and, in information demonstrating transcendence of space-time matter-energy, becomes the only known entity that can explain where all energy came from as far as the Big Bang is concerned. That is it is the only known entity which can explain where all the energy came from in the Big Bang without leaving the bounds of empirical science. (as a side note: transcendent information is the primary entity from which all reality presently comes from as far as the wave function collapse of Quantum Mechanics is concerned.) Clearly anything that exercises dominion of the fundamental entity of this physical universe, a photon of energy, as transcendent information does in teleportation, must of necessity possess the same, as well as greater, qualities as energy. i.e. All information that can exist, for all past, present and future events of energy, already must exist. Another line of evidence, corroborating the primary tenet of the Law of Conservation of Information, is the required mathematical definition for infinite information needed to correctly specify the reality of a photon qubit (Armond Duwell).

  363. 363

    Gaz,

    it may be an argument but it’s not a testable one

    Neither is this argument.

    and takes us no further.

    Neither does this argument.

  364. 364

    veilsofmaya,

    Solipsism would never posit a designer because it would never posit anything outside of itself, and if it designed its OWN self, it would never need to posit design.

  365. Clive Hayden (363),

    I agree entirely. I’ve mentioned at least twice to responders here that we should just agree to disagree, but it doesn’t even seem we can agree to that!

  366. bornagain77 (362),

    “Gaz should you not look for a cause that is not bound by time and space to explain an effect that defies time and space?”

    That’s a very interesting idea, although I’m not sure how I’d go about it. How would I detect a cause that was outside time and space? Also, if causes outside time and spaces can have effect within it, why do we not see this happen at the classical level as well as the qunatum regime?

    “To presuppose that a cause will be found within time and space to explain an effect that defies time and space, as you have done, is an unreasonable position to start from.”

    No, I’m not presupposing anything, inlcuding a cause that will be found within time and space – I don’t think there is one. Willing to be persuaded otherwise but nothing I’ve seen does it so far.

  367. Phaedros (335),

    “Why cant I predict what will happen in one week”

    It depends what it is – you can predict the moon’s phase next week, for instance, it’s the complicated and chaotic things with too many variables that you can’t predict…

    “or how a butterfly’s wings flapping in Australia will affect the weather in Brazil or the actions and motivations of others all of the time?”

    ….yeah, that sort of thing.

    “It seems to me the simplest explanation fo these events is the fluctuation of energy levels and entropy.”

    Certainly radioactive nuclei are often unstable because of the energy levels of the nucleons – but that doesn’t explain why one nuclei will decay whilst another, equally unstable nuclei never will.

    “I mean look I think you’re still confusing the breakdown of classical mechanics with you’re desire to make this assertion about the breakdown of cause and effect.”

    It’s not a desire – in fact I don’t desire it. I’m human and prefer a cause to precede an effect. All I’m doing is reporting what appears to happen at the quantum level.

    “Basically, without cause and effect there is no sequence of events through time and no reality.”

    If we had no cause and effect at all I would agree, but that isn’t what I’m saying.

    “There can be many ways that particular effects are aused by preceding effects an so on back to the uncaused cause.”

    I get a bit suspicious when I see a phrase like “uncaused cause” – surely an uncaused cause is, by definition, basically an effect without a cause?

  368. No, the uncaused cause is the necessary entity or being that grounds the effects after it, otherwise you’d never get to this moment in time because you’d have an infinite number of preceding causes.

  369. Gaz, with the refutation of the hidden variable argument of materialists, transcendent information is shown to be a unique entity, separate from matter and energy, that has demonstrated dominion over matter and energy, (do you have another candidate to explain entanglement, or teleportation, now that hidden variables are refuted?), Entanglement is shown to be instantaneous, with instantaneous being the key word, and thus the information that entangled the photons is shown to be transcendent of any considerations of time and space. As well by transcendent information exercising direct dominion of energy transcendent information, by default, inherits the rights of the first law of thermodynamics from energy, i.e. all transcendent information for all events of energy, past, present, and future, already must exist since energy cannot be created or destroyed by any known material means. That the definition of a photon qubit would be found to be defined by infinite information, and that a photon qubit is, in principle, able to be encoded with infinite information, gives solid mathematical and empirical basis for believing that infinite transcendent information specified the creation of each and every photon at the creation of the universe 13.7 billion years ago. That the creation event would be found to be exceedingly ordered (low entropy) by Penrose (1 in 10^10^123) and to gain entropy ever since, offers another strong piece of evidence that specified transcendent information created this universe since “Gain in entropy means loss of information and nothing more’(Gilbert Newton Lewis). That Quantum teleportation would “destroy” a photon, by displacing infinite information of a photn, only add icing to the cake.

  370. Phaedros (368),

    Or you have an effect without a cause.

  371. Gaz-

    No it’s a little different. There was nothing before it that caused it, but it’s something like a logical necessity. That’s why it’s called “uncaused”. That is why I am, and others are, a little suspicious of your causeless quantum effects or whatever it is you’re claiming exactly. I’m still not quite sure what it is or why we’re even talking about it in this thread so I’m going to move on and hope some other interesting topics come up.

  372. 372

    RE 367 “All I’m doing is reporting what appears to happen at the quantum level.”

    If that was all you were doing you would get no push back from anyone but that is not all you are doing. You are going from “this appears to be happening” to “therefore there is no cause” You have yet to justify that leap in logic.

    You have yet to respond to nulls post in 223, Ilions in 255, uprights in 325 and 332. Assertions are not proof of anything. If you are going to ask people to accept what I now officially think should be called “the poof the magic dragon did it hypothesis” you should attempt to address the posts numbered 223, 225, 325 and 332. So far you have not done so.

    Vivid

  373. 373

    RE 367 “I get a bit suspicious when I see a phrase like “uncaused cause” – surely an uncaused cause is, by definition, basically an effect without a cause?”

    A self existent entity cannot be an effect since it has no beginning to its existence.

    Vivid

  374. 374

    @Clive Hayden (#364)

    You wrote:

    Solipsism would never posit a designer because it would never posit anything outside of itself, and if it designed its OWN self, it would never need to posit design.

    It would appear that you are not taking Solipsism seriously.

    Remember, the reason I’m not a solipsist is because Solipsism is an convoluted elaboration of reality. That is, the solipsist experiences everything you and I accept as external to ourselves, but claims it is somehow internal to himself. This includes being surprised by discoveries he makes and not having first hand knowledge of having designed everything.

    The solipsist does not detect design based the presence of absence of recalling having done so himself, but based on his conclusion there is there is no external reality.

    Furthermore, the solipsist is assuming that he is the designer of the things external to himself which otherwise not have been designed.

    Last, that there is no external reality does not mean that Solipsism does not present anything, even if it is only presented to one’s self. After all, Solipsism suggests there are dream-like aspects of one’s self that act like autonomous conscious beings, present alternate theories and disagree with one’s self on Solipsism.

  375. 375

    I’m gavelling this cause/effect argument and the solipsism argument. You all are more than welcome to continue this among yourselves with private messages. We’re way off the topic of the thread now, and it’s getting to be a little redundant anyway.

  376. 376

    Thank goodness.

  377. And the cause of that effect Gaz is because we are Beating A Dead Horse,,, 8)
    http://bombmatt.files.wordpres....._horse.jpg

    http://s75.photobucket.com/alb.....57fc49.flv

  378. 378

    @nullasalus (#296)

    Deutsch talking about the importance of “hard to vary explanations” while cheerfully endorsing both MWI and the Omega Point is comedy writ large.

    nullasalus,

    You have yet to explain exactly why these things are comical.

    For example, to reach this conclusion I’d suggest that for you’d have to had made a false assumption or have misunderstood what Deutsch means by “hard to vary explanations.” You’d also have to discount the explanatory power (or the lack there of) provided by competing theories for the same phenomena.

    Again, when I gave comment #202 as a reference, you merely summarized it as “tenable.” However, I’m specifically referring to the different reasons why gpuccio and I are not solipsists. Gpuccio’s reason was essentially an inference of consciousness and is subject to the problem of induction. Apparently the reason why he things this inference should be accepted is that “It’s the best inference ever”, but it’s unclear why. Perhaps he prefers this inference because it implies he’s not alone? Furthermore, the solipsist makes the same prediction about the appearance consciousness, and the observations agree with him as well. it’s unclear why gpuccio is not a solipsist rather than a realist. This is in contrast to the fact that solipsism proves no explanation why it predicts reality would appear to be real, but is not. It merely attempts to explain away the current theory.

    Please note that my reasons for rejecting solipsism are not limited to an inference of consciousness in other people. Solipsism is convoluted elaboration of the entirety of reality (with exception of the self), including objects that follow the laws of physics, other people that surprise the solipsist and even disagree with his position that sophism is true!

    You may disagree that this contrast is significant, but you have yet to explain why. Nor have you provided any better solution to the problem of induction. Even then, your disagreement would not necessitate being “comedy writ large.”

    In regards to quantum mechanics, the classical copenhagen interoperation is primarily an instrumentalist approach due to it’s focuses on predictions of quantum phenomena. This is in contrast to the MWI, which not only includes predictions of quantum phenomena, but provides a hard to vary explanation of what causes that phenomena to occur. Furthermore, this explanation has been collaborated by quantum computing in the lab, including the fact that Shor’s algorithm does indeed operate at polynomial time.

    Do you have a better, hard to vary explanation for quantum phenomenon, if any at all? Do you have any explanation that is collaborated by an entirely new field of computation which has verified in the lab? Do you have better explanation why Shor’s algorithm can be executed on demeaned and operates at polynomial time, rather than sub-exponential time?

  379. veilsofmaya:

    I apologize, I had for some reason missed your post #202 on solipsim. I think I owe you at least a brief comment.

    First of all I can agree that solipsism is “logically” consistent. That is simply a good example of the fact that a logically consiostent explanation is not necessarily a good explanation.

    Why? Because solipsism is not a “credible” and “satisfying” explanation. That only means that we choose explanations not only according to pure logic, but also according to many other faculties of our consciousness (intuition, feeling).

    The empirical proof? How many people are convinced solipsists?

    Second, I don’t understand your problems with inference by analogy. It is not an induction in the mathemathical sense. You say:

    “Since you a person, which you know is conscious, you’re inferring that the next person should be conscious, and the next person, etc.”

    That’s wrong. Indeed, you also say:

    ” An analogy would be to illustrate the same point via a different yet related scenario. For example, since you know one computer gave you the right answer, you infer that another computer of the same model would give you the right answer”

    And that’s exactly my point. In the inference by analogy which I described, you are not “inducing” consciousness from one element to the next, and so on to infinite. No. You are simply comparing two classes of elements. The first class is yourself. The second class is all other humans.

    The two classes has many properties in common (the analogy): external appearance, behaviour, language, and so on. That’s why you infer that another property (consciousness), of which you are certain in the first class, and which in the first class is strictly connected to a definite behaviour, is very credibly present also in the second class of elements (the inference). There is no induction from one element to the next, only a simple inference from the first class to the second.

    I agree that inferences do not give a “certainty” in the sense of deductive reasoning. But all empirical knowledge is based on them.

    Why I state that this inference is one of the best ever made? Because practically everybody (with the only exception of solipsists, and how many of them do you know?) makes it and strongly believes in it. Why? Intuition, feeling? Maybe.

    Perhaps this is because it implies all of us are not alone? Perhaps because we all know, deep in our hearts, that we are not alone?

    Finally, you say:

    “If consciousness really is a first person experience, then we cannot rely on observations to reject the Solipsist’s claim as both realism and solipsism make the same predications.”

    I don’t understand. Are you affirming that consciousness is not a first person experience? That’s strange news to me. And what is it, then? If your critical rationalism brings you to such bizarre statements, I don’t know what its epistemologic value can be. But maybe I have not understood well your point.

    I know (not “think”) that consciousness is a first person experience. Indeed, the concept itself of “first person exoerience”, indeed the concept itself of “person” is modeled on the experience of consciousness.

    And I do agree with you that “we cannot rely on observations to reject the Solipsist’s claim as both realism and solipsism make the same predications”.

    In the sense that we cannot rely on
    “observations only”. Or on “predictions only”. Or on pure logic.

    We have to rely on observations, predictions, logic plus our cognitive intuition, or conscious feelings, our innate sense of reality and experience, and a lot of other conscious representations and principles. All that is at the basis of our inferences, and our inferences are at the basis not only of our science, but also of our everyday behaviour.

    IOW, knowledge is not dependent only on logics and predictions, as some fanatics of some specific scientific method would like to believe. Knowledge is a complex, and under many aspects not understood (and, as Polanyi has said, under many aspects not transmissable), experience, on which we base all aspects of our cognitive and practical life.

    Again, even if solipsims is a consistent explanation of reality, and makes good predictions, how many convinced solipsists do you know?

  380. Clive Hayden (375),

    Amen to that. But if I may have one more comment to set the record straight – vividblue’s 372 said I hadn’t responded to some specific posts. I don’t want leave that unanswered, so I’ll just point out, for viv’s benefit, that contrary to the assertion I responded to posts 223, 325 and 332 at 224, 326 and 334 respectively. I did not respond to 255 because it only rehashed the same arguments that had already been beaten to death, and I tried to end the discussion shortly after, at 259.

  381. Gaz,

    It was fun, on my part! I know you have been given more than enough pointers to evaluate the consequences of your position.

    Hope a new subject comes along soon.

  382. P.S. Gaz, you also forced all of us to revisit our own position. Thanks for that.

  383. mullerpr:

    I agree with you: Gaz has been a fine, sincere and constructive interlocutor.

    I hope he stays at UD and goes on contributing.

  384. mullerpr/gpuccio,

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the comments and the feeling is mutual. I certainly have been given a lot of food for thought, which is always a good thing. I do intend to stay at UD, although my internet access time is unfortunately sporadic because of work and domestic commitments. But I’ll look in whenever I can.

    All the best ’til next time.

  385. 385

    @gpuccio (#379)

    First, I’d like to apologize. I did not mean to single you out personally. Instead, it was an attempt to reference what I had already wrote, rather than repeating myself.

    Why? Because solipsism is not a “credible” and “satisfying” explanation. That only means that we choose explanations not only according to pure logic, but also according to many other faculties of our consciousness (intuition, feeling).

    I’m not suggesting our intuition or feelings are irrelevant. For example I find sophism highly unintuitive as well. But this far from the only reason I’m not a solipsist. I’m suggesting that our intuitions can and has been wrong on many occasions and wrong in great proportion. This is because our intuition does not scale well as we move to the very large, the very small and the very complex.

    Furthermore, we seem to agree that there are bad explanations, but how do you know if an explanation is “satisfying” or not? Who or what criteria is being satisfied? Instead, I’m suggesting that there really are ways identify bad explanations. For example, we can specifically say solipsism is a convoluted elaboration of reality. As was The inquisition’s implied theory of planetary motion, etc. Furthermore, Solipsism does not explain why the object-like facets of one’s self obey laws of physics-like facets of one’s self. Nor did the The inquisition’s implied theory actually explain planetary motion. Clearly, this is not an appeal to intuition or feeling.

    Also see my previous comments regarding the seasons and many worlds interpretation quantum mechanics as examples of hard to vary explanations.

    The empirical proof? How many people are convinced solipsists?

    You do not seem to be taking the implied theory of solipsism seriously. The solipsist experiences everything you and I accept as external to ourselves, but claims it is somehow internal to themselves. Solipsism predicts exactly the empirical observations we observe . This means every every discovery in technology, medicine and particle physics also “supports” solipsism. They just happen to be internal to the solipsist, rather than external. Again, this is why I say solipsism is a convoluted elaboration of reality which we can discard.

    While I don’t want to sound like a broken record, your question suggests you might not have understood this key point.

    I don’t understand. Are you affirming that consciousness is not a first person experience?

    Please see above. Both yourself and the solipsist are using the same observation to make significantly different claims and draw different boundaries as to what can and cannot be known.

    Again, even if solipsims is a consistent explanation of reality, and makes good predictions, how many convinced solipsists do you know?

    Not only is solipsism is a convoluted elaboration of reality, it’s designed to explain away the prevalent theory of reality. It does not explain why everything merely appears to be real but is not. This is what I meant by taking Solipsism seriously, rather than it’s most common use as a logical possibility or to attack realism.

    In case it’s not clear by now, I’m suggesting biological ID is also a convoluted elaboration of TOE and doesn’t really explain what we observe. (see comment #280) it’s a response to explain away the prevalent theory.

  386. veilsofmaya:

    thank you for your answer. I really don’t want to go on with this discussion here, out of respect for the moderators. But I think we have rather well explained our different positions. So, to the next discussion…

  387. 387

    Gpuccio,

    Agreed. Thanks for the discussion.

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