Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why David Coppedge is Guilty

In our on-going investigation of the David Coppedge case we have uncovered some rather sordid details that suggest Coppedge has far more to hide than his misdeeds that are now so well known.

Not only did Coppedge actually loan DVDs that do not mandate evolution (something Jay Richards incredibly suggests may not even be a crime), but we are now learning that while in college Mr. Coppedge, then in his Sophomore year, once argued late into the night with his roommate and one other student (from down the hall) about various political issues.

Mr. Coppedge, according to our sources who are very reliable, expressed various opinions that were well known to be completely false. Coppedge provided various evidences to support his views, but that was irrelevant. On another occasion Mr. Coppedge was seen entering a bookstore on campus. Our source, who was naturally curious, ascertained that Coppedge browsed several controversial books in the Philosophy section of that bookstore.

If we were able to learn of such incriminations within our limited means, imagine what other crimes lurk in Mr. Coppedge's sordid past. Do we really need any more evidence? This case has guilt written all over it. Obviously the Jet Propulsion Laboratory acted in its great wisdom.

60 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Yep, definitely guilty. Of course, without a species of teleology that grounds the intelligibility of a non-relativistic notion of non-positivistic guilt, so what? Per that relativistic, positivistic view of normativity, there were Germans who were "guilty" of trying to save the lives of Jews who were in danger of death merely BECAUSE they were Jews. These are the good 'ole days. For how does a society recover from a free-fall into epistemological bankruptcy? How does one pull one's self up by non-existent bootstraps?

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  3. Jeff,

    The holocaust hyperbole seems a bit misplaced. After all, did the Jews have due process rights which they can exercise in court? Of course not.

    Of course, I'm sure you'll argue due process rights come from God, and without that teleology, we can't even know what rights are. I don't have time to debate that today, but how many faith-based societies and civilizations denied due process rights to some or all of the population? Where's the universal recognition of a standard morality there?

    If Mr. Coppedge was fired for exercising free speech, he will be vindicated. Of course, we have no statement from JPL, so the story is a bit one sided at present.

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  4. Shouldn't we wait for the court case before making any judgements on who's at fault here? I don't believe we know all the facts yet, especially from JPL's perspective. Or is Cornelius subject to the same confirmation bias that he accuses evolutionists of?

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  5. Robert: Of course, I'm sure you'll argue due process rights come from God, and without that teleology, we can't even know what rights are. I don't have time to debate that today

    Jeff: Then you might as well wait until you have time to debate that. Because THAT is all I'm arguing. But yes, I'm arguing that a non-positive, non-relative right is only conceivable in terms of precisely the species of teleology that most people seem to hold to.

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  6. Robert: The holocaust hyperbole seems a bit misplaced.

    Jeff: Since you took no time to make the relevant argument against my actual position, your above claim is just ungrounded assertion for now.

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  7. Rob: "holocaust hyperbole seems a bit misplaced"

    You Darwhiners are absolutely incredible.
    Lame and getting lamer every day.

    Talk about diluting the truth for your own selfish ends!

    "seems"?
    "a bit" ?
    "misplaced"?

    Get real Rob.

    Why don't you freedom of speech and opinion hating atheists just get up and move to a nice atheist controlled state where such freedom reigns that prison awaits all dissidents?

    There's a few really nice ones out there - China, North Korea for example? They will welcome you with open arms (guns that is).

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  8. Timcol62: "I don't believe we know all the facts yet"

    Oh right. Talk about irony.
    Since when do Darwinists ever show any concern over facts?
    Facts don't matter to you. The theory is a proved as gravity!

    I can just see all the physicists and others in the hard sciences running around shouting, "Gravity is as proved as Darwinism!"

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  9. I like David Klinghoffer's statement on this issue:
    "The stories we tell ourselves, if they’re false, actually deafen us. A deaf person can’t be blamed for not hearing. Most Darwinists couldn’t hear the truth if it was blown like a whistle right their face." - my bold

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  10. Hitch: "Since when do Darwinists ever show any concern over facts?"

    Another fine insightful and profound comment from Hitch. He has it all figured out!

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  11. Curious that the terrible 'Darwinists' are arguing for waiting for the facts, and for due process to run its course. We are so prone to jumping to hasty conclusions, no?

    While were on the subject of facts--has any one of you read or even skimmed the ONLY (albeit one sided) piece of evidence?

    Even the complaint as filed in court presents more nuance than you do.

    Read here:
    http://www.discovery.org/a/14511#complaint

    According to the filing, the plaintiff was presented with verbal and written notice for HARASSING his co-workers and subordinates with ID related materials. Now, maybe he didn't harass them--and this is what the plaintiff will have to prove--that he was demoted for practicing free speech, and this didn't in any way disrupt the work place, or impinge on any other persons right not to be harassed. He does has free speech rights, but those rights don't extend to disrupting the workplace to the point where other co-workers apparently were distressed by it.

    So there you have it. And this is not even JPL's side of the story. No defendant testimony. You've already conveniently extended the story well past what even the plaintiff claims!!!

    "Hitch said...
    I like David Klinghoffer..."

    You would. He's well known as a moderate and nuanced voice. Lol.

    "Since when do Darwinists ever show any concern over facts? Facts don't matter to you. The theory is a proved as gravity!"

    We have genes. What is it gravity has as a fundamental unit? Gravitons? And what is the theory of gravity that squares quantum mechanics and general relativity? Right.....and ironic for this thread.

    "Why don't you freedom of speech and opinion hating atheists just get up and move to a nice atheist controlled state where such freedom reigns that prison awaits all dissidents?

    There's a few really nice ones out there - China, North Korea for example? They will welcome you with open arms (guns that is)."

    (By the way, North Korea is arguably theocratic. The leadership is a family that claims divine right granted by the Immortal Kim Il-Sung, from which power flows to the current guardian).
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/felix-imonti/the-president-god-kim-jon_b_494118.html

    But, funny again, to call us this, since we're the ones arguing for speech and due process. I do value freedom of speech and due process, and I don't think Dawkins, Myers, or anyone I can think of has argued against them. The plaintiff should have the right to advocate ID-as long as he didn't harass others and disrupt the workplace.

    I could also ask the same to you. Why not move to a nice theocratic regime? Oh, right, they tend to behead Christians. My bad. I'd rather take my chances with a nice secular society like Denmark or Finland. Or the US! After all "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..." As per the Treaty of Tripoli.

    As for Jeff-
    If due process stems from a universal, transcendent source, why did it take until the last few decades for all persons (in a very few societies) to gain due process rights? Why is there not an objective and universal due process? Why has our concept of such evolved along with society?

    Just out of curiosity, why did God himself deny due process in the Bible? For example, God does not interrogate the serpent, or ask for his defense.

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  12. Robert: If due process stems from a universal, transcendent source, why did it take until the last few decades for all persons (in a very few societies) to gain due process rights?

    Jeff: If there are God-given rights, people have them all the time. As Jefferson said, governments are instituted by men to SECURE God given rights. If people had no intuitive sense that they had rights, they could not conceive of a way to argue against any putative impropriety of a law.

    Robert: Why is there not an objective and universal due process? Why has our concept of such evolved along with society?

    Jeff: Just believing we have rights doesn't mean we'll agree in all respects as to what they are. Specific rights are inferred inductively and, hence, different people will infer somewhat different, just like they do on a host of questions.

    Robert: Just out of curiosity, why did God himself deny due process in the Bible? For example, God does not interrogate the serpent, or ask for his defense.

    Jeff: Due process is what, per teleology, humans owe to one another because of our lack of omniscience. And certain religions do say God explicitly recognized the propriety of it. E.g., Judaism implies that God said certain punishments for certain allegations could only be done if those allegations were made by at least 2 or 3 witnesses. Whether this restriction was applicable to an Israeli theocracy only, or whether the implementation of it could be expanded upon with technological advances doesn't contradict the point.

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  13. Jeff,

    "If people had no intuitive sense that they had rights, they could not conceive of a way to argue against any putative impropriety of a law."

    Prove all people through all time felt they naturally had rights. Did all medieval peasants conceive of voting? Did all women conceive of having due process independent of their husbands? Is freedom from slavery a universal concept?

    Secondly, are animals who have 'codes*' in their societies responding to intuitive senses because of their transcendent understanding of God? Or did they evolve those systems because it suits their societies, and makes things work?

    *http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature
    /3116678.stm

    "Due process is what, per teleology, humans owe to one another because of our lack of omniscience. And certain religions do say God explicitly recognized the propriety of it."

    Some societies, some religions. Some, some some....
    Or, this is what some societies have evolved due to progress and social contract, and what is 'working' for them at the time.

    "And certain religions do say God explicitly recognized the propriety of it."

    Certain religions, reflecting the standards of the time their books were written. And then those standards are ignored for thousands of years....

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  14. Robert: Prove all people through all time felt they naturally had rights.

    Jeff: I don't have to. Inductive inferences are, by definition, analogical extrapolations. On the other hand, if we don't have God-given rights, then the point of my original post stands, right? You do see that, right?

    Robert: Did all women conceive of having due process independent of their husbands?

    Jeff: Have you ever known a human, female or male, that didn't think they were "wronged" when they were assumed "guilty" of something they had not done and for which there was no evidence of their "guilt?" I haven't.

    Robert: Is freedom from slavery a universal concept?

    Jeff: I don't know of any society that thinks any and all slavery is improper. Even our 13th amendment allows slavery in certain cases.

    Robert: Secondly, are animals who have 'codes*' in their societies responding to intuitive senses because of their transcendent understanding of God?

    Jeff: What would make me think animals have concepts at all?

    Robert: Or, this is what some societies have evolved due to progress and social contract, and what is 'working' for them at the time.

    Jeff: I've already addressed the fact that people infer inductively differently. It's the notion of a right, per se, that people have in common. It's your job, as my opponent, to show how that notion can be abstracted from the set of attributes characterizing matter, motion, etc, as opposed to the teleological causal relation. I say you can't do it. Pointing out that people disagree about inductive inferences has nothing to do with the point of contention.

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  15. "Inductive inferences are, by definition, analogical extrapolations."

    What is the induction here? Jeff feels like Jeff has X set of rights, therefore all people though all time do. Therefore they are universal and god-given. Prove it.

    By the way, claiming something is inductive and analogical doesn't make it right.

    Secondly, you consistently argue you have to prove nothing because of teleological inferences, such as here, or in the education thread before. Interesting philosophy-I guess it avoids actually having to defend anything, particularly in deductive terms.

    "On the other hand, if we don't have God-given rights, then the point of my original post stands, right? You do see that, right?"

    Not in the face of an alternative: 'Rights' have evolved as a form of social contract. They are plastic, and ever changing, as evidenced by history. They may have deep biological origins, in social animals with enforced hierarchies, rules, and primitive senses of justice. (See reference above).

    Jeff: What would make me think animals have concepts at all?

    Experimental data. Read the link. Animal societies have rules. The monkeys act out when treated unequally. Do the monkeys have a notion of universal rights based on their religion?

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  16. Robert: What is the induction here? Jeff feels like Jeff has X set of rights, therefore all people though all time do.

    Jeff: The induction is this: Even atheistic psychologists will tell you that people seem to think teleologically naturally. If you look at normative words in the dictionary, you'll see definitions that have to do with teleology. IOW, people's sense of normativity seems to be just a species of teleological thought.

    Now, even most atheists who finally realize that atheism grounds no intelligibility of non-relativistic normativity always admit that they only got there AFTER having abandoned theism. IOW, if people started off as natural a-teleologists, there is no reason to believe that humans would have ever even conceived of non-relativistic normativity.

    Robert: Therefore they are universal and god-given. Prove it.

    Jeff: Once again, inductive inferences are just analogical inferences. They can't be proven like mathematical proofs.

    Robert: By the way, claiming something is inductive and analogical doesn't make it right.

    Jeff: Right. That goes for the analogical inference of non-observable common descent as well. You realize that, right?

    Robert: Secondly, you consistently argue you have to prove nothing because of teleological inferences, such as here, or in the education thread before. Interesting philosophy-I guess it avoids actually having to defend anything, particularly in deductive terms.

    Jeff: Nothing can be absolutely proven in terms of deduction. Deduction ultimately requires premises and relations that are either apriori or derived from inductive inference. And inductive inferences are not known to be true in any absolute sense. If anything has to be accepted to be true absolutely, it's apriori notions. For without those, deduction and induction are modes of inference that wouldn't even be intelligible. And yet the teleological causal relation seems to be one of those apriori relations. For there seems to be no way it can be account for any other way.

    Jeff: "On the other hand, if we don't have God-given rights, then the point of my original post stands, right? You do see that, right?"

    Robert: Not in the face of an alternative: 'Rights' have evolved as a form of social contract. They are plastic, and ever changing, as evidenced by history. They may have deep biological origins, in social animals with enforced hierarchies, rules, and primitive senses of justice. (See reference above).

    Jeff: That's not an alternative. That's my point exactly. Because social contracts are never agreed upon by all members of a society. IOW, social contract theory is a form of positivistic relativism. And per that species of positivistic relativism, one can not argue normatively against what ANOTHER society contracts to find acceptable or tolerable.

    Jeff: What would make me think animals have concepts at all?

    Robert: Experimental data. Read the link. Animal societies have rules. The monkeys act out when treated unequally. Do the monkeys have a notion of universal rights based on their religion?

    Jeff: That fact that animals behave according to patterns does not imply that animals think conceptually or have free-will. For all we know, instinct+association+experience is all that is needed to explain those patterns. Indeed, virtually all people agree that much of human behavior is habitual rather than volitional.

    Some would say that humans have no free-will at all, even though virtually all of them admit that it SEEMS to them that they are free. Unfortunately, it only SEEMS to us that events are caused at all--we can't empirically observe whether events are caused or not. Thus, to reject free-will on the grounds that it merely SEEMS to be true is to prove too much. It would prove there is no causality and, hence, that there are no proofs.

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  17. What I find interesting is the fact that evolotionists claim that there is no bias in academia. The reason "nobody" publishes research in ID is not because of anti-ID bias, but because it is bad science. Apparently, there is anti-ID bias.

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  18. Rock on, Dr Hunter!!! (clapping)

    How strange that any theory, including Einstein's can be questioned, but God, oops I mean "darwin" help you if you question the 'theory' of evolution. Like you say Dr Hunter- "religion drives science, and it matters."

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  19. Jeff-

    So the induction is that people have an imagination therefore God? Therefore creationism and moral absolutism are normative? Therefore you don't have to defend them, and I must prove everything? Even worse. And because you imagine "non-relativistic normativity" (i.e. absolutism) to be true, I must accept God?

    I'm not a philosopher, but these arguments are really transparent.

    "Because social contracts are never agreed upon by all members of a society. IOW, social contract theory is a form of positivistic relativism. And per that species of positivistic relativism, one can not argue normatively against what ANOTHER society contracts to find acceptable or tolerable."

    Ahh. Kinda contradicts with your claim of absolutism, no? If we all fundamentally are filled with "non-relativistic normativity," why doesn't everyone always agree? Is there some moral absolute, that we're always misinterpreting? (And if we're always misinterpreting it, aren't we back to relativism, and all the arguments you presume against it? In this case, the relativism springs from the failed interpretation of your absolute standards).

    So, then, either through lack of a moral absolute, or our inability to interpret it (both lead to relativism) we have fights over womens rights, gay rights, civil rights. Some here might deny gay rights even exist. What do you think society in 100 years might say? What about the societies in certain neighborhoods in San Francisco?

    Maybe this is because social contracts are plastic and evolve, and not based on a universal, transcendent standard (or we can't know that standard). Maybe this is because relativism is normative! After all, I doubt we'd be happy stoning adulterers these days. Social contracts persist and evolve because they are useful. Even monkeys have them-suggesting deep evolutionary roots for such codes.

    On the topic of absolutism, the history of colonialism is full of terrible abuses of cultural imperialists who imposed their values, which they believed to be absolute, on others. Is cannibalism objectively wrong? Should we take all efforts to stop it? What about if it is within the funerary rites of a culture? Should Muslim fundamentalists impose Shia law (which they believe to be absolutely right) on us, given the opportunity? Should Christians convert by the sword?

    I would also argue, when necessary, we and do can impose our morals and standards, where we deem them to be superior to another (with the consultation of other cultures to prevent abuses) without invoking absolutism. What results is a sort of multi-nation social contract. We insist Japan stop whaling. Is this a moral absolute, or because other nations have agreed on this point? We fight slavery now, and would resist any slave owning culture, but was it absolutely morally wrong 150 years ago? (BTW, Darwin thought it was wrong far in advance of most Americans!).

    Anyway, this philosophy of yours is quite a dodge. An artful dodge, but you keep ducking the topic.

    Back to the topic at hand, the plaintiff will have his day in court. We'll see if his free speech rights were violated, or if he harassed his co-workers and created a hostile workplace.

    On that note, another curiosity--is free speech a moral absolute, or do we treat it relative to the time, place, and manner of speech?

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  20. Robert: So the induction is that people have an imagination therefore God? ...

    Jeff: Actually, I said normativity is a species of teleological thought. That doesn't make it true any more than the fact that induction is a species of causal reasoning makes it true that events are caused.

    Robert: If we all fundamentally are filled with "non-relativistic normativity," why doesn't everyone always agree?

    Jeff: I've addressed the idea that inductive inferences vary from person to person. THat is not even deniable. As to what it means to be "filled," I don't know what you're talking about.

    Robert: Is there some moral absolute, that we're always misinterpreting?

    Jeff: If there is some moral absolute, then clearly as a race we are misinterpreting it. So what? We don't agree on all kinds of inferrences. Does that mean inferring is an inherently bogus intellectual activity?

    Robert: (And if we're always misinterpreting it, aren't we back to relativism, and all the arguments you presume against it?

    Jeff: If your argument, here, is valid, it would prove that differences in inductive arguments proves that induction itself is relativistic such that an inference that is better for one person may not be better for another. And if that is the case, then ID inferences could be best for ID'ists while anti-ID inductive inferences could be best for you. But in that case, why are you arguing against ID'ists, because there's no way to mount a non-relativistic argument against conclusions that are necessarily derived relativistically.

    Robert: Maybe this is because relativism is normative!

    Jeff: Relativism is normative to the extent that it presupposes free-will. If there is no free-will, then you would have to define "normative" differently than people who believe in free-will do.

    Robert: On the topic of absolutism, the history of colonialism is full of terrible abuses ...

    Jeff: Define "abuse" per relativism, then tell me who colonialism was an "abuse" TO, and by what relativistic standard. And then tell me how you know that.

    Robert: I would also argue, when necessary, we and do can impose our morals and standards, where we deem them to be superior to another

    Jeff: What makes it necessary? Necessary for what? Necessary to whom? Superior by what relativistic standard? You ever heard of "might makes right." That's what relativistic positivism is. Because it can be "superior" for some but not for others.

    Robert: (with the consultation of other cultures to prevent abuses)

    Jeff: "Abuse" is relative to the extent that normativity is relative.

    Robert: What results is a sort of multi-nation social contract.

    Jeff: But it's still a contract that is not agreed upon by all members of those nations. Thus, it is a species of positivistic relativism unless there is a true non-relativistic standard that the multi-national social contract is consistent with.

    Robert: Anyway, this philosophy of yours is quite a dodge. An artful dodge, but you keep ducking the topic.

    Jeff: I'm just calling things by their conventional "names." Unfortunately, if you want to communicate effectively, you have to use conventional language, which, sorry to say, is determined primarily by theists and/or teleologists seeings how they are the vast majority of language users.

    As for dodging, you are the one dodging. If you insist there are no final causes, then that is the sum total of your argument. Because in that case, ID inferences are necessarily false by definition, and no other argument is relevant. If you don't insist there are no final causes, then you have to show that the analogies put forth by ID'ists are not analogies at all. You've done neither.

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  21. Jeff,

    "Robert: Is there some moral absolute, that we're always misinterpreting?

    Jeff:I've addressed the idea that inductive inferences vary from person to person. THat is not even deniable....If there is some moral absolute, then clearly as a race we are misinterpreting it. So what? We don't agree on all kinds of inferrences."

    Thank you. I see you've granted my point that relativism is normative. Either there is no absolute moral standard, or we humans are so confounded in our attempts to understand it that it matters not. Either way, the result is the subjective morality that has evolved throughout time and across cultures. I prefer the former explanation, and have provided experimental evidence morality has deep evolutionary roots.

    At least you are intellectually honest. Some of your ID comrades have tried to argue there is a easily interpretable set of moral absolutes that are apparent to all cultures through all time! I guess it is that there is an apparent conflict, as
    your response seems an odd defense for 'no good without god,' no logic without ultimate logic, no truth without ultimate truth types, but whatever.

    As such, relativism is the dominant theme through time and history, and I don't have to define anything for you.

    Other points:

    "Jeff: Define "abuse" per relativism, then tell me who colonialism was an "abuse" TO, and by what relativistic standard. And then tell me how you know that."

    Reponse: Abuse in relative terms=shit I wouldn't wish to happen to myself, my family, or my worse enemy. TO: mostly non-white non-christian, non-european types. How I know this? First hand accounts from the liberators, the soldiers of christ, the missionary tortures, murderers and rapists. I might try the works of Bartolomé de las Casas, O.P., if you've never read such. Or do you subscribe to some totally whitewashed version of history, where religion and the belief in moral absolutes didn't go hand in hand with missionary zeal, conquest and slavery?

    For example, the Constitution of Texas was QUITE certain of its moral absolutism, as granted by the Christian God:

    *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* ]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations"

    Were they absolutist, or relativist? Were they correct in their interpretation of the will of the 'Almighty Creator,' or wrong?

    In contrast, relativism admits we might not be right. It avoids might makes right. It demands we consult other cultures and takes them into account. It demands we look at the personhood of others. Nevertheless, we are not hamstrung by it. We, as I've mentioned before, can have global, humanist social contracts.

    As you say:
    "But it's still a contract that is not agreed upon by all members of those nations. Thus, it is a species of positivistic relativism unless there is a true non-relativistic standard that the multi-national social contract is consistent with."

    And what would that be? What 'non-relativistic' standard will all nations agree to? The Bible? No. Koran? No. The (awful, secular, probably non-absolute) UN charter on human rights? Maybe.

    Back to the topic at hand, the plaintiff will have his day in court. We'll see if his free speech rights were violated, or if he harassed his co-workers and created a hostile workplace.

    On that note, another curiosity--is free speech a moral absolute, or do we treat it relative to the time, place, and manner of speech?

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  22. Robert: In contrast, relativism admits we might not be right. It avoids might makes right. It demands we consult other cultures and takes them into account.

    Jeff: No, that's not what ethical relativism means at all. Per ethical relativism, it may be right for you to consult other cultures but it may be wrong for someone else to consult them. You're talking about the kind of relativity that all people agree with--the notion that different environments and conditions call for different actions EVEN when you're still trying to love your neighbor as yourself.

    But the golden rule ethic is typically held by non-relativists. IOW, those who believe the golden rule is the proper rule of ethical behavior typically think that rule is normative FOR ALL. That's what makes a species of NON-relativistic ethics.

    Moreover, most people who hold to it do not see it as finding its authority in positive human law, either. That's why most people talk about natural and human rights which can be violated by positive law. Most people don't really talk as though ethical relativism is true. But the minute you ground non-relativistic ethical normativity in something other than positive law, you are saying something that only makes sense in terms of teleology beyond human free-will.

    Most people are ID'ists just on those grounds alone, whether or not they think macroevolution is possible or plausible. ID does not equal "macroevolution is false." ID just recognizes that inferences to final causes are legitimate because they are as natural as inferences to efficient causes. And those inferences are done analogically, just as are inferences to efficient causes.

    Until there are tests to confirm the possibility and realistic probability of macroevolution, it is not a superior hypothesis to its competitors merely by being a naturalistic one.

    To argue such is to just take a metaphysically naturalistic stance. But that's not science. No one is arguing that we cease to research the limits of NATURAL biological variation. We all want to know those limits for purely practical reasons, if nothing else.

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  23. Robert: ... is free speech a moral absolute, or do we treat it relative to the time, place, and manner of speech?

    Jeff: I've answered this above. The golden rule, when applied universally, is consistent with all kinds of relativity, just not ethical relativism. The very idea of ethical relativism is that you can't know what makes every person the happiest and, therefore, you can't say what he ought to do, ethically. E.g., if it turns out that pedophiles are most happy practicing pedophilia, even with all the consequences of those actions, there is no rational argument that could be made to conclude that they OUGHT NOT practice pedophilia.

    Indeed, the rational conclusion one could make is that they OUGHT to practice pedophilia. Because the only thing that serves as a rationale for behavior is whether a given behavior contributes most optimally to one's highest natural good.

    Theistically grounded ethical systems almost always appeal to post-mortem karma of a sort precisely to get around the obvious alternative of bona-fide ethical relativism. Most people can't bring themselves to believe that it is more rational, ultimately, for ANYONE to be a pedophile. Because they already think teleologically in the first place.

    Teleology, then, is what allows people to posit post-mortem karma, etc. so that it is logically conceivable that one's highest good is consistent with and conducive to the highest good of their neighbor. Apart from teleology, this is clearly false much of the time. Think of the collateral damage of civilian death in war, e.g. There are myriads of such cases.

    This doesn't make teleology true. But I've yet to hear a a-teleologist talk consistenly about normativity, on the other hand. Sometimes, we have to posit that which renders our thought coherent. This is exactly what a-teleologists do with respect to macroevolution. They ASSUME macroevolution is possible and plausible because they can't think of another alternative.

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  24. Jeff1: They ASSUME macroevolution is possible and plausible because they can't think of another alternative.

    Jeff2: Actually, there are no grounds for the belief that I even apprehend an extra-ego reality per a-teleological epistemology. There is an infinite set of merely logically possible ways to account for most of our beliefs being illusory. Thus, there are plenty of a-teleological alternatives to macroevolution; it's just that most a-teleologists can't bring themselves to accept them--just like most teleologists can't accept ethical relativism. All people epistemologically posit what they need to to render their natural modes of inference coherent and adapted to a REAL extra-ego reality. These kinds of beliefs can not be tested. They are fundamentals that CONDITION the intelligibility of our aposteriori reasoning.

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  25. If Darwinists are so absolutely sure that they are right, why in the hell do they even want to comment on any ID followers or articles? When I see articles by people who still think the earth is flat, I don't think it's worth one second of my time to challenege them or dispute their view on such a ridiculous notion.

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  26. tcooper3: When I see articles by people who still think the earth is flat, I don't think it's worth one second of my time to challenege them or dispute their view on such a ridiculous notion.

    Jeff: Indeed. Because we know such views are non-analogical. But anti-ID'ists know that inferences to design ARE analogical and, therefore, inductive. So they are in the position of saying that induction only works when it bows to metaphysical naturalism to make their arguments compelling.

    The problem is, that puts a judge in a very awkward position. Because they don't want to have to come down positively on the side of atheism. That would create political fodder for the Republican party, who would exploit that to their advantage. After all, there are plenty of theistic Democrats.

    Most judges, like most other politicians, want to have their cake and eat it too. That's why Jones had to say that ID hypotheses are non-scientific even if they are true. IOW, Jones is saying that the framers of our federal constitution were trying to mandate that falsehoods be intentionally taught to children, if necessary, to remain neutral with respect to theism.

    Yeah, buddy, that's the kind of government the framers were publicly advocating--a LYING one. That being the case, one can only wonder why oaths are required of government officials by that same constitution if they are also required, thereby, to fund LYING.

    How can you argue with such irrationality?

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  27. "tcooper3: When I see articles by people who still think the earth is flat, I don't think it's worth one second of my time to challenege them or dispute their view on such a ridiculous notion.

    Jeff: Indeed. Because we know such views are non-analogical."

    Analogy: I live in Kansas, where and is flat. Therefore all the word is flat. I have no reason to suspect any proof otherwise is true(or the reality of those who posit it).

    "That's why Jones had to say that ID hypotheses are non-scientific even if they are true."

    Hypotheses are defined by the ability to prove them false. Jones ruled ID didn't amount to a scientific program of hypothesis testing.

    Wedge documents and and incomplete substitution of ID into the word creationism eased his decision.

    Do you really believe Jones thinks he was lying?
    Do you believe the goal of evolution is to deceive?

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  28. Robert: Hypotheses are defined by the ability to prove them false.

    Jeff: How would you conceivably falsify the claim that every organism ever observed by humans or for which we have found fossil remains shared a common reproducing ancestor in the Precambrian?

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  29. Jeff-

    Cambrian rabbits. A molecule with no ancestor. The lack of phylogeny. Etc. Etc. ID should really get going and prove us wrong.

    BTW, I see you aren't going to answer the 'analogical' inference above. You can't keep that philosophy of your working, can you.

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  31. Robert: Cambrian rabbits. A molecule with no ancestor. The lack of phylogeny. Etc. Etc.

    Jeff: Wrong. And other macroevolutionists have already admitted the bogus claim about the rabbit, in particular. THere is no prediction about what varies into what or how, SPECIFICALLY, that is entailed in the "hypothesis" of macroevolution. You can constrain the hypothesis any way you choose. But the "hypothesis" per se predicts no such constraints. The "hypothesis" is absolutely unfalsifiable.

    Robert: BTW, I see you aren't going to answer the 'analogical' inference above. You can't keep that philosophy of your working, can you

    Jeff: Sorry, what are you referring to?

    Robert: Do you really believe Jones thinks he was lying?

    Jeff: Do you believe the 1st amendment in conjunction with the 10th amendment can plausibly be interpreted to mean that what was going in Dover was unconstitutional? Flesh that out for me exegetically.

    Robert: Do you believe the goal of evolution is to deceive?

    Jeff: I thought you guys claim evolution is not goal-oriented?

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  32. Jeff: And other macroevolutionists have already admitted the bogus claim about the rabbit, in particular.

    Robert: Who? Reference or it is a false claim.

    Jeff: The "hypothesis" is absolutely unfalsifiable.

    Robert: Any single thing proved to be unevolved-not having evolutionary precedent would falsify evolution. As would having no hereditary mechanism, genotype not effecting phenotype, and a hundred other things Darwin couldn't have known, but oops, turned out to be solved by science.

    "Robert: BTW, I see you aren't going to answer the 'analogical' inference above. You can't keep that philosophy of your working, can you

    Jeff: Sorry, what are you referring to?"

    This:
    "Jeff: Indeed. Because we know such views are non-analogical."

    Robert: Analogy: I live in Kansas, where and is flat. Therefore all the word is flat. I have no reason to suspect any proof otherwise is true(or the reality of those who posit it). "

    Jeff: Do you believe the 1st amendment in conjunction with the 10th amendment can plausibly be interpreted to mean that what was going in Dover was unconstitutional?

    Robert: Yes. Free speech in the case of teachers is limited. Due to the student-teacher relationship, teachers cannot 'speak their mind,' but are encouraged to stick to the curriculum. ACLU:"Washington courts have upheld the authority of school districts to prescribe both course content and teaching methods. Courts in other jurisdictions have ruled that teachers have no free speech rights to include unapproved materials on reading lists."
    http://www.aclu-wa.org/detail.cfm?id=59

    That is, because of their special position, they are constrained. Jones ruled that ID was wolves in sheep's clothing creationism, naked imposition of religion in the scientific arena. The origins of the ID, Wedge document, and the incomplete replacement of creationism with intellegent design eased the decision. Why would imposition of one very narrow religious view as the state standard ever be constitutional?

    Evolution is a research program. It seeks knowledge, not deceit.

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  33. Jeff: And other macroevolutionists have already admitted the bogus claim about the rabbit, in particular.

    Robert: Who? Reference or it is a false claim.

    Jeff: First of all, such a response demonstrates how little you understand logic. A claim is not false merely because it is unreferenced. Second, a hypothesis either predicts something specific enough that we can check against the empirical world, or it doesn't. The mere hypothesis of macroevolution doesn't predict specifically what kind of phenotypes will appear or in what order. Much less does it tell us about how preservation bias or preservation incompleteness or discovery completeness plays into the correspondence of the fossil record to the true succession of fauna and flora on this planet. The Cambrian explosion, e.g., is still believed by some macroevolutionists to be an artifact of preservation rather than an indication of "explosive" evolution. But that can't be TESTED. It's just an analogical inference. When all you have is naturalism plus a finite age for a biologically-habitable universe, all you have is macroevolution, no matter what the fossil sequence.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precambrian_rabbit:
    "Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith doubted that a single set of anachronistic fossils, however, even rabbits in the Precambrian, would disprove the theory of evolution outright... Even if the "Precambrian rabbits" turned out to be genuine, they would not instantly refute the theory of evolution, because that theory is a large package of ideas, including: that life on Earth has evolved over billions of years; that this evolution is driven by certain mechanisms; and that these mechanisms have produced a specific "family tree" that defines the relationships among species and the order in which they appeared. Hence, "Precambrian rabbits" would prove that there were one or more serious errors somewhere in this package, and the next task would be to identify the error(s).[2]"

    From http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/10/storming_the_beaches_of_norman.html:
    "In an attempt to counter the impact of Darwin’s Dilemma, ... the museum would sponsor a free public lecture at 5 PM that day by Dr. Stephen Westrop, its curator of invertebrate paleontology, titled “The Cambrian Explosion and the Burgess Shale: No Dilemma for Darwin...

    ...Professor Westrop suggested that the explosion might have been due to an increase in atmospheric oxygen and/or the opening of ecological niches by a mass extinction event at the end of the pre-Cambrian. (I thought to myself that increased oxygen and new ecological niches may have been necessary for the Cambrian explosion, but they were far from sufficient. New body plans need new information, not just air and space.) Westrop concluded by taking exception to J.B.S. Haldane’s claim that finding a fossil rabbit in the pre-Cambrian would prove Darwin’s theory wrong. If such a fossil were found, Westrop said, paleontologists would simply revise their reconstruction of the history of life.

    During the Q&A, one student asked him whether any fossil find could falsify Darwin’s theory, and Professor Westrop said “No,” since Darwin’s theory is really about natural selection, which operates on a much shorter time scale than the fossil record."

    In http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={D4A8EEE4-99E0-44AB-B1CB-05C835451772}, Wolpert said he could think of nothing that would count against macroevolution--the hypothesis, not the current theory.

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  34. Robert: Analogy: I live in Kansas, where and is flat. Therefore all the word is flat. I have no reason to suspect any proof otherwise is true(or the reality of those who posit it). "

    Jeff: The inductive philosophy is about seeking that hypothetical explanation that provides the greatest degree of analogy (i.e., the greatest explanatory breadth). We have analogical interpretaions that provide greater explanatory breadth than the one you've provided here. Thus, the analogical inference you have provided is deemed a WORSE explanation by the criteria that induction calls for.

    So apply that to macroevolution. Rule out final causes and see if you can think of an hypothetical, analogical, NATURALISTIC explanation of the origin of most biological attributes that seems BETTER than macroevolution in any conceivable sense.

    So far NO HUMAN HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO IT! Thus, the macroevolutionary hypothesis wins BY DEFAULT once you rule out final causes--NOT because there is any empirically-derived reason to believe it is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame.

    Metaphysics is doing the epistemological work for you, and you're too deep into it to realize it. It is not a coincidence that Dr. Hunter is able to find quote after quote after quote by scientists who can not argue non-metaphysically on the issue of macroevolution. Those scientists REALIZE the REAL grounds of their belief in macroevolution. And it's NOT empiricism.

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  35. Robert: Any single thing proved to be unevolved-not having evolutionary precedent would falsify evolution. As would having no hereditary mechanism, genotype not effecting phenotype, and a hundred other things Darwin couldn't have known, but oops, turned out to be solved by science.

    Jeff: What experiment would test that an organism didn't have an ancestor some time in the Precambrian? Hmmm? What experiment would prove that there was no hereditary mechanism or mechanisms that could turn a single-celled organism in the Precambrian into a human in the posited time-frame? Hmmm?

    On the other hand, physical hypotheses could be falsified quickly if they were significantly erroneous because they predict, BY ENTAILMENT (as Zachriel says), VERY SPECIFIC, OBSERVABLE events. Tell me a hereditary mechanism that implies that a SPECIFIC critter in the Cretaceous will evolve into a SPECIFIC critter in the Tertiary. What you call a theory is actually a huge set of hpotheses that are literally untestable and unfalsifiable.

    Jeff: Do you believe the 1st amendment in conjunction with the 10th amendment can plausibly be interpreted to mean that what was going in Dover was unconstitutional?

    Robert: Yes.

    Jeff: The 1st amendment says CONGRESS can make no law against speech or the exercise of religion, not STATES. Thus, regulation of speech and religious exercise falls under the jurisdiction of the States, per the Constitution. Moreover, the framers even claimed that the bill of rights was basically unncessary since it was IMPLIED by the limits of congressional power enumerated in the constitution, itself. Moreover, it is clear that what the framers meant by "religion" in the 1st amendment was something that a person would "exercise." ID inferences are like inferences as to whether vehicle production requires final causes. Nothing normative which could imply something that could be "exercised" even follow from such inferences.

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  36. My statement:

    "Any single thing proved to be unevolved-not having evolutionary precedent would falsify evolution. As would having no hereditary mechanism, genotype not effecting phenotype, and a hundred other things Darwin couldn't have known, but oops, turned out to be solved by science."

    Stands. The quotes you reference about the Cambrian rabbit treat it as a single anachronistic fossil. As one of the quotes you choose says: ""Precambrian rabbits" would prove that there were one or more serious errors somewhere in this package, and the next task would be to identify the error(s)." Exactly....ans if it is a systematic error, some subset of common descent could be invalidated. And correctly, some quotes point out this doesn't invalidate selection, which we observe in nature and can do experimentally.

    "We have analogical interpretations that provide greater explanatory breadth than the one you've provided here."

    Provide one for the flat earth scenario that is purely analogical. It might help me better understand what kind of evidences you would count as 'analogical.'

    "So apply that to macroevolution. Rule out final causes and see if you can think of an hypothetical, analogical, NATURALISTIC explanation of the origin of most biological attributes that seems BETTER than macroevolution in any conceivable sense.

    So far NO HUMAN HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO IT! Thus, the macroevolutionary hypothesis wins BY DEFAULT once you rule out final causes"

    Yeah! We have a winner. Lets keep using it!

    "-NOT because there is any empirically-derived reason to believe it is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame."

    Ohh. I see. Empirical? As in directly derived from data or experiment? As in calculations of mutation rates and molecular clocks directly form that data? As in the derivation of phylogeny from that data? As in sequence data? As in direct experimental alterations to body plan? As in directed evolution and artificial selection? Or not?

    So, is it just the fitting of theory to data you object to? Is that why you insist on analogical reasoning? Is that what you claim is metaphysical?

    "Those scientists REALIZE the REAL grounds of their belief in macroevolution. And it's NOT empiricism."

    Then why do we publish volumes of empirical research? Why would we bother if it matters not? Why wouldn't we sit in our temples of science and worship whatever thing you think we do?

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  38. Robert: Provide one for the flat earth scenario that is purely analogical. It might help me better understand what kind of evidences you would count as 'analogical.'

    Jeff: Robert, even interpreting 3-D and distance is analogical interpretation. Sight, per se, is 2-D. Even the belief in the uniformity of nature is an analogical one. We can't PROVE nature is uniform.

    Robert: Yeah! We have a winner. Lets keep using it!

    Jeff: Winner? How is the only naturalistic analogical hypothesis conceivable a winner? THere are no naturalistic competitors, Robert. But to claim that past events involved no final causes is a purely metaphysical claim. There is no conceivable analogical argument to be made for such a claim.

    Robert: Then why do we publish volumes of empirical research? Why would we bother if it matters not?

    Jeff: Because they realize they don't currently have an empirically testable hypothesis. That one hypothesis of macroevolution turns into MYRIADS of SPECIFIC hypotheses because of the constraints you impose. Thus, we are LIGHT YEARS from determining if all that you posit is possible or realistically probable in the posited time-frame GIVEN the laws of physics. Of COURSE you have to keep plugging at it.

    We don't oppose you deriving plausibility from metaphysics. We all do. We just are amazed that you actually think you've proven the myriads of claims you posit EMPIRICALLY.

    It's truly mind-boggling that you can't see what all the other macroevolutionists that Dr. Hunter quotes, as well as the rest of us, see so clearly--namely, that once you rule out final causes ARBITRARILY, macroevolution is the only thing left, analogically speaking, IF indeed, by some purely statistical miracle, you actually are apprehending a real, extra-ego reality aright in the first place, seeing's how you can not be known intuitively to be DESIGNED TO APPREHEND per your metaphysical approach.

    In short, you atheists have to assume that you are the equivalent of a god because you demand that not only must there be an extra-ego reality, but that it SUIT your intellectual impulses--even though an atheistic metaphysic can't epistemologically account for such a state of affairs non-arbitrarily.

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  39. Jeff-Vision is 2D? I have binocular vision. Are you saying the brain converting it to 3D is analogical?

    Are all the senses then, analogical? Conversion of a nerve impulse to a feeling.

    Is thought analogical? Is teleology analogical?
    Is inductive reasoning even possible?

    "The 1st amendment says CONGRESS can make no law against speech or the exercise of religion, not STATES. Thus, regulation of speech and religious exercise falls under the jurisdiction of the States, per the Constitution."

    The Bill of Rights has been applied to the states. Google 'Incorporation Doctrine.' Thank goodness, since the 13th amendment was not ratified by Kentucky till 1976, and Mississippi till 1995. Secondly, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees Freedom of/from Religion.

    "We don't oppose you deriving plausibility from metaphysics."

    We derive plausibility from data. Genomes have been observed to evolve. From genetic data, we can interpret phylogeny and calculate rates of mutation and evolution. If the result was implausible, common descent would be disproved. Metaphysical? Not by my definition. You and Cornelius have ever-expanding definitions to be sure.

    "That one hypothesis of macroevolution turns into MYRIADS of SPECIFIC hypotheses because of the constraints you impose."

    I suppose the individual fields that yield evidence for macro-evolution have hypotheses, but they are just restatements of the
    meta-hypothesis. Could you give an example of a sub-field hypothesis that is distinct from evolution, and the 'constraints we impose' that forced it?

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  40. "IF indeed, by some purely statistical miracle, you actually are apprehending a real, extra-ego reality aright in the first place, seeing's how you can not be known intuitively to be DESIGNED TO APPREHEND per your metaphysical approach."

    And why is it teleology gets around this? Can you prove God/Gods/Satan is a stable force? Christian dualists might not think so. Neither would Greeks, Romans, or Vikings. Does evil leave the world interpretable? How is it intuitive to know you are designed to apprehend the world?

    Why is the Judeo-Islamo-Christian deity inherently one of stability? Theism only guarantees stability because you fiat it. A deity could change things at any time. EXCEPT that you feel you know the qualities of yours well enough to predict its future actions. I don't know why that would be.

    I can't think of a single Biblical reference promising that physics will remain constant throughout time and space. Quite the contrast-God appears to disrupt things on a number of occasions.

    The Sun can stand still for Joshua. Moses can bring about alchemical transformations, disease from naught. Jesus can convert water to wine and raise the dead.

    Genesis 11:1-9
    "6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."

    Not to mention the flood:
    The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the LORD said, "I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them."

    And we are promised future instability:

    (Luke17:26) “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.”

    Where is the promise that the speed of light in a vacuum is fixed?

    Sure we could all live in the Matrix. Can I prove we don't? Does your feeling you have a God on your side really solve all these problems?

    Frankly, the reproducibility of observations leads to my working hypothesis that the universe is the way it is (at least locally). This has functioned just fine for me thus far. Induction yields hypothesis I can test, with data I collect and share. Where's the metaphysics there? My conclusions might not be compatible with your metaphysics. So sad.

    Saying your arguments are teleological doesn't raise their status. You'd love to turn things upside down, where teleology=unimpeachable, and the naturalistic method of science=metaphysics.

    IDers, of course, want to confuse metaphysics with science because they want to smuggle their own (usually bad) metaphysics into how they think "science" should be conducted. This goes all the way back to the Wedge document and before.

    "In short, you atheists have to assume that you are the equivalent of a god"

    Atheism is not required to believe in evolution (Francis Collins). That I am an atheist is not a critique of evolution, nor support for ID.

    As for ID:
    "Yet we must exhaust all natural explanations
    before we fall back upon such a theory as this.

    Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot," His Last Bow [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1917]. "
    natural explanations
    before we fall back upon such a theory as this.

    Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot," His Last Bow [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1917]. "

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  42. As for all your bible talk, Robert, if you've made it this long without realizing that ID is about the analogical inference to a final cause and not scriptural theology, you're seriously confused.

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  43. Robert: Are all the senses then, analogical?

    Jeff: Senses aren't analogical. People THINK analogically.

    Robert: The Bill of Rights has been applied to the states.

    Jeff: And what constitutionally authorized act brought that about? NONE! When judges act as legislators they are violating the constitution they swear an oath to uphold. Of course I realize that as an atheist, you're fine with that. But consent of the governed doesn't mean consent of only atheists.

    Robert: Thank goodness, since the 13th amendment was not ratified by Kentucky till 1976, and Mississippi till 1995.

    Jeff: News flash: Only three fourths of the states are required to pass an amendment.

    Robert: Secondly, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution guarantees Freedom of/from Religion.

    Jeff: Was Dover decided in a federal court or not?

    Robert: From genetic data, we can interpret phylogeny

    Jeff: Sure you can. No one said you couldn't. That's what the macroevolutionary inference IS--an analogical interpretation of the data. But that interpretation implies myriads of hypotheticals which can not be tested or falsified. How, e.g., would you design an experiment to test whether or not there is a DNA sequence that produces one of the hypothetical transitional phenotypes you posit? Just dogmatically asserting that such DNA sequences existed consistently with the known laws of physics is not science.

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  44. Robert: Atheism is not required to believe in evolution (Francis Collins).

    Jeff: Yes, but those theists that believe in macroevolution tend to have religious reasons for rejecting final causality for biological origins. E.g., Collins, Ayala, and Miller all argue that ID can't be true because it would imply that God is evil--not hardly a scientific approach.

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  45. "ID is about the analogical inference to a final cause and not scriptural theology, you're seriously confused."

    I laughed at that one. Sorry, no. ID is the naked imposition of evangelical Christianity on the classroom and the academy. The 'evolution is metaphysics' is the latest attempt to hide this. And seriously-your starting point in this line of reasoning is teleological, while mine is data. How can god be step 1 in the scientific method? What does that to to naturalism? Are we studying natural processes or mythology?

    Nevertheless, some of your big issues you hang on atheism aren't solved without very specific understanding of god. Morality from a higher power is only non-relativistic if you understand with clarity the morality revealed to you. Otherwise, error and imposition in interpretation makes it relative.

    The stability of physics in the universe is only if the powers that be will it. Your ability to reason (which you keep hammering naturalists about) is only if your deity wills it, and doesn't choose to confuse you. You only know you don't live in the Matrix because your book tells you so. This is why I bring up the bible quotes. To say teleological inferences on face, solve all these questions, and then to try to hang them on me is a joke. You presuppose very specific religious beliefs, that must be 100% true (without proof) to solve these issues.

    Or-my working hypothesis: things are the way they appear. For now, for here.

    "How, e.g., would you design an experiment to test whether or not there is a DNA sequence that produces one of the hypothetical transitional phenotypes you posit?"

    You could reconstruct a sequence inferred by phylogeny, and test its function.

    Resurrecting the Ancestral Steroid Receptor: Ancient Origin of Estrogen Signaling
    Science 19 September 2003:
    Vol. 301. no. 5640, pp. 1714 - 1717

    "Collins, Ayala, and Miller all argue that ID can't be true because it would imply that God is evil--not hardly a scientific approach."

    I think you're confusing their science, and their private life. The scientific method has nothing to do or say about your so-called "final causes," in whatever fashion you are using that term. My guess is their scientific response is that ID is not science. On top of that, their theological objection is noted. How do you answer that, by the way? Is God evil for willing malarial drug resistance, creating novel information in leukemia, etc.?

    Jeff-since you seem to have no regard for historical science-what is your feeling about forensics? No one saw the crime happen. We could reconstruct a crime scene, bringing evidence to bear. But someone could make an analogical induction. Most people believe in the Devil-therefore it is the logical apriori starting point. The defense argues a demon did it, perfectly planting the evidence, and creating DNA or fingerprints. Did the crime scene occur naturally, or was it intelligently designed? Without the presupposition of methodological naturalism in forensics, can we ever convict anyone? Discuss. Is the presupposition of natural or human causes metaphysical?

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  46. "Jeff: News flash: Only three fourths of the states are required to pass an amendment."

    Right...no one said otherwise.....and then the amendments, and the Bill of Rights are imposed on the states so they don't abuse their citizens. You object to this? Hell of a view. I wonder how long civil rights would have taken in some states.

    "Jeff: Was Dover decided in a federal court or not?"

    Federal courts can interpret state law. I don't know if PA constitutional law was cited in Dover or not. Just making a point nothing was 'imposed' on the state of PA that wasn't already in their law.

    "NONE! When judges act as legislators they are violating the constitution they swear an oath to uphold. Of course I realize that as an atheist, you're fine with that. But consent of the governed doesn't mean consent of only atheists.
    "

    Why would an atheist be ok with the violation of the Constitution? As an small percent of the population that is despised by some, I cherish it.

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  47. RobertC:

    "Sorry, no. ID is the naked imposition of evangelical Christianity on the classroom and the academy. The 'evolution is metaphysics' is the latest attempt to hide this."

    Can you elaborate a bit on why you think this. How is 'evolution is metaphysics' specifically related to ID? I ask because I don't understand any such connection, and I suspect you don't either. I suspect you're contriving this.

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  48. Robert, I'll let you volley with Dr. Hunter a while before responding. But I'm curious. How do you define science? If you want to say that science is ALWAYS methodologically natural, that's fine. That still doesn't mean that all questions can be answered by science UNLESS there are no final causes. So in that case, the fact that ID is not science, by your definition of it, is irrelevant to the mode of inquiry to the question of what happened to CAUSE cells and DNA sequences and what phenotypes are possible with DNA sequences, etc.

    You can just say final causes don't occur. But that claim is neither intuitive or demonstrable. Moreover, inferring an effect to be due to final causality is not religion because that mere fact implies no obligation, whatsoever.

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  50. One more thing about religion. Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that governments are instituted by men to SECURE the God-given rights of men. Virtually all Americans today and in the past deem certain obvious natural rights of humans as God-given rights. The founders/framers knew (and anyone who has a clue, actually) that traditionally delivered religious beliefs like rules about baptism, etc. have nothing to do with the natural rights most people view as God-given.

    These were the kinds of "duties" that governments had been in the habit of enforcing. And those were the kind of religious duties they were saying the Congress (not the States) could not enforce or deny the free exercise of.

    It turns out that sane people can differ on rather difficult cases as to what the natural rights of humans are while still seeing CLEARLY that baptism, per any mode, is NOT a duty correlative with any conceivable natural right. Natural rights and their correlative duties are rights/duties that have to do with what humans ARE as humans, not what started being handed down traditionally by SOME humans at some PARTICULAR point in history.

    Thus, for a state to put in their constitution that laws could not impose religion could not possibly have implied a meaning of religion that included natural, God-given rights/duties of humans. For it would imply that even murder laws were unconstitutional simply because the vast majority of people believe murder is wrong because it is a violation of a God-given right.

    Natural, God-given rights were always distinguished from traditionally-delivered duties that they called RELIGIOUS duties. Virtually all framers of all American laws and constitutions were theists and could not have been intending, in their legal language, anything as moronic as denying the government the right to make murder laws.

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  51. "Can you elaborate a bit on why you think this. How is 'evolution is metaphysics' specifically related to ID? I ask because I don't understand any such connection, and I suspect you don't either. I suspect you're contriving this."

    Actually I would correct myself and say it is NOT specifically related to ID.

    In fact, I think its early uses go back to Young-Earth Creationists. Ken Ham is one example that almost coined your favorite phrase-there are hints of "religion drives science and it matters":

    "When we discuss creation/evolution, we are talking about beliefs: i.e. religion. The controversy is not religion versus science, it is religion versus religion, and the science of one religion versus the science of another." (Ham 1983, cited in Selkirk and Burrows 1987:3)

    Phillip E. Johnson:
    Evolution in this sense is a grand metaphysical system that contradicts any meaningful notion of creation, because it leaves the Creator with nothing to do. Contemporary neo-Darwinism rules out theistic or "guided" evolution just as firmly as it rejects direct creation ex nihilo.
    http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/pjdogma3.htm

    The evolution as religion gambit was even tried in court in 1994, in Peloza v. Capistrano School District. The plaintiff claimed evolution is a religion. This claim was rejected by the court.

    This blog seems to try to go a step further, and state that the data, the primary literature and methodology itself is steeped in religion. Interesting.

    So yeah, these statements are not unique to ID, but they generally come from the anti-evolution arena. An exception might be, say, Ruse and some other philosophers of science who seeks clearer demarcations between science and worldview.

    Generally the criticisms focus on:

    1) The conflation of methodological naturalism with atheism (which is false). The method should be metaphysically neutral. And in response to Jeff, perhaps some things are unknowable to science as a result. We're fine with that.

    2) The tendency of scientists to speak as philosophers, and not clarify. Scientific data and results can clearly conflict with Religion, and disprove metaphysical claims (Flat earth, geocentric model, Young Earth). Evolution can get caught up in worldview, but we need to demark methods and data versus big-picture conclusions.

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  52. Dr. Hunter, forgive me for interjecting, but I just want to address what Robert said for me:

    Robert: And in response to Jeff, perhaps some things are unknowable to science as a result. We're fine with that.

    Jeff: Like anti-ID psychological researchers, I think it's obvious that people think teleologically naturally. Even Dawkins and plenty of other atheists admit this. One can not disprove the validity of a categorical mode of thought. It's logically impossible. If categorical modes of thought were invalid merely by virtue of BEING categorical, it would prove too much by proving that even causality itself is invalid, thereby rendering the notion of "explanation" itself illusory.

    Furthermore, it is obvious that people do infer final causes analogically (as in court cases involving the question of whether a defendant had the capacity of self-control--i.e., volitional capacity) all the time. Thus, such analogical inferences just ARE examples of inductive reasoning. As such, they are what logic books call RATIONAL whether or not they are true or even possible.

    The same is true of the inference to macroevolution. But there is no conceivable way to design an experiment or experiments to TEST whether all the hypothetically-posited phenotypes can exist via any conceivable DNA sequence, or whether they could be attained in the posited time-frame by blind mutation with any realistic probability. Thus, BOTH the inference to macroevolution AND the inference to final causes are INDUCTIVELY RATIONAL while being, nevertheless, UNTESTABLE and UNFALSIFIABLE.

    No one is arguing that macroevolutionists can't use their belief as a WORKING hypothesis. But this provides no rational ground for PENALIZING dissent of opinion about what will remain to be untestable and unfalsifiable hypotheses for at least the foreseeable future. And there certainly is no constitutional grounds for it, because an inference to final causes does not at all imply a DUTY which can be EXERCISED.

    A person could infer final causes for the origin of certain configurations of matter (like cars and cells) and yet see no correlative duty intended by the designer. There is no necessary logical relation between the two inferences. An inference to a duty presupposes the reality of the teleological causal relation, but design, per se, is just a NECESSARY but not SUFFICIENT condition for DUTY. Otherwise, an inference to design for the origin of a car would imply some duty, which it clearly doesn't.

    There are bona-fide deists for this very reason. They infer design but see no conceivable grounds for non-relativistic normativity. Indeed, I think Paul Davies was once of that persuasion. I have a friend who is also of that persuasion. You conflate way too much.

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  53. Jeff,

    You're argument hinges on evolution being untestable--which it is-directly, through experimental reconstruction of ancestral proteins as inferred by phylogeny, molecular clocks estimating rates of evolution, proof of genotype correlating with phenotype, etc.

    Note the number of ways common descent could have been invalidated by just the discovery of DNA as genetic material:

    If life did not share common genetic material.
    If phenotype did not depend on heredity.
    If genetic material was immutable.
    If rates of mutation were to slow to accommodate evolution.

    Moreover, science is NOT about proving the 'all.' How many times do we drop a weight before we conclude it falls under gravity? Can science say it will fall every time without experimentally infinitely dropping a weight? And what you are asking for is to rigorously disprove ID, which is proving the unfalsifiability of your hypothesis!

    So there really is only one untestable, unfalsifiable hypothesis, and it is yours.
    (This is not to say specific design predictions, or specific evidences cited could not be falsified).

    Further, the call to 'final causes' is the call to dispense with science.

    I'll repost my forensic science analogy:

    Jeff-what is your feeling about forensics? No one saw a crime happen. We could reconstruct a crime scene, bringing evidence to bear. But someone could make an analogical induction. Most people in the community the crime occurred in believe in the Devil-therefore a logical starting point. The defense argues a demon did it, perfectly planting the evidence, and creating DNA and fingerprint evidence. Did the crime scene occur naturally, or was it intelligently designed? Without the presupposition of methodological naturalism in forensics, can we ever convict anyone? Discuss. Is the presupposition of natural or human causes metaphysical?

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  54. Robert: Note the number of ways common descent could have been invalidated by just the discovery of DNA as genetic material:

    If life did not share common genetic material.

    Jeff: That has nothing to do with the hypothesis. It matters not whether critters have common genetic material so long as they vary as they reproduce.

    Robert: If phenotype did not depend on heredity.

    Jeff: It takes only the most simplistic of analogical inference to get one to that conclusion. That's why you'll never meet anyone that doesn't agree with you on that.

    Robert: If genetic material was immutable.

    Jeff: That would merely prove that genetic configurations are not relevant to variation. It would imply nothing one way or another as to whether macroevolution occurred on this planet.

    Robert: If rates of mutation were to slow to accommodate evolution

    Jeff: Rate is a necessary but insufficient condition of macroevolution. WAY insufficient.

    Robert: Without the presupposition of methodological naturalism in forensics, can we ever convict anyone?

    Jeff: One can convict arbitrarily if they want, I suppose. There either are final causes or not. If there are, and they are in involved in certain human behavior, criminal or otherwise, methodological naturalism can not provide the correct answer as to the total causal complex of that behavior. That is just simple logic. To say otherwise is to assert a contradiction.

    IOW, to claim that methodological naturalism always provides the best explanation is to say there ARE NO final causes (for that's the only way the claim could be true). But the latter claim is neither intuitive nor demonstrable. It's just a bald pontification. Any conclusions derived from a premise that is a bald pontification are no more valid, epistemologically, than a BALD PONTIFICATION.

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  55. Robert: Note the number of ways common descent could have been invalidated by just the discovery of DNA as genetic material:

    If life did not share common genetic material.

    Jeff: That has nothing to do with the hypothesis. It matters not whether critters have common genetic material so long as they vary relatively predictably as they reproduce. Macroevolution could still be true that way.

    Robert: If phenotype did not depend on heredity.

    Jeff: It takes only the most simplistic of analogical inference to get one to that conclusion. That's why you'll never meet anyone that doesn't agree with you on that. Indeed, that is the GROUND of the analogical inference to macroevolution.

    Robert: If genetic material was immutable.

    Jeff: That would merely prove that genetic configurations are not relevant to variation. It would imply nothing one way or another as to whether macroevolution occurred on this planet.

    Robert: If rates of mutation were to slow to accommodate evolution

    Jeff: Rate is a necessary but insufficient condition of macroevolution. WAY insufficient.

    Robert: Without the presupposition of methodological naturalism in forensics, can we ever convict anyone?

    Jeff: One can convict arbitrarily if they want, I suppose. There either are final causes or not. If there are, and they are in involved in certain human behavior, criminal or otherwise, methodological naturalism can not provide the correct answer as to the total causal complex of that behavior. That is just simple logic. To say otherwise is to assert a contradiction.

    IOW, to claim that methodological naturalism always provides the best explanation is to say there ARE NO final causes (for that's the only way the claim could be true). But the latter claim is neither intuitive nor demonstrable. It's just a bald pontification. Any conclusions derived from a premise that is a bald pontification are no more valid, epistemologically, than the BALD PONTIFICATION that grounds them.

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  56. Jeff: Seriously?

    Me: If life did not share common genetic material.

    You""That has nothing to do with the hypothesis. It matters not whether critters have common genetic material so long as they vary relatively predictably as they reproduce. Macroevolution could still be true that way."

    But not common descent. How can we and other organisms share common descent, but not the same genetic material?

    Me: If phenotype did not depend on heredity.

    You: It takes only the most simplistic of analogical inference to get one to that conclusion. That's why you'll never meet anyone that doesn't agree with you on that.

    Google. Lamark and Lysenko. Hell, some your comrades are still arguing this point

    Me: If genetic material was immutable.

    Jeff: That would merely prove that genetic configurations are not relevant to variation. It would imply nothing one way or another as to whether macroevolution occurred on this planet.

    No changes, no diversity, no natural selection to act on. Evolution=change. Immutability of species? Not so much.

    Robert: If rates of mutation were to slow to accommodate evolution

    Jeff: Rate is a necessary but insufficient condition of macroevolution. WAY insufficient.

    Right.....and if you disprove something necessary to a hypothesis it is falsified.

    Your analysis of the forensic science analogy is superficial. How, as a juror, do you make a decision in that scenario? Can reason be applied?

    "IOW, to claim that methodological naturalism always provides the best explanation is to say there ARE NO final causes "

    And why would we accept that in the criminal justice system, but not the classroom? Or can we convict no-one since we can't rule out all final causes?

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  57. Robert: If life did not share common genetic material.

    Jeff: That has nothing to do with the hypothesis. It matters not whether critters have common genetic material so long as they vary relatively predictably as they reproduce. Macroevolution could still be true that way.

    Robert: But not common descent. How can we and other organisms share common descent, but not the same genetic material?

    Jeff: You're gonna have to define your terms. Macroevolution is just a DEGREE of common descent. All people believe in some degree of common descent. Moreover, people believed in macroevolution before we knew anything about genes as such. So I'm not following what distinction you're getting at.

    Robert: If phenotype did not depend on heredity.

    Jeff: It takes only the most simplistic of analogical inference to get one to that conclusion. That's why you'll never meet anyone that doesn't agree with you on that.

    Robert: Google. Lamark and Lysenko. Hell, some your comrades are still arguing this point

    Jeff: No one doubts that phenotype depends LARGELY on inheritance. Environment plays a role in phenotype, but that's beside the point.

    Robert: If genetic material was immutable.

    Jeff: That would merely prove that genetic configurations are not relevant to variation. It would imply nothing one way or another as to whether macroevolution occurred on this planet.

    Robert: No changes, no diversity, no natural selection to act on. Evolution=change. Immutability of species? Not so much.

    Jeff: The variation is observable no matter whether we can observe genetic material or not. People have deemed that variation to be, in large part, due to inheritance for millenia, and for obvious reasons.

    Robert: If rates of mutation were to slow to accommodate evolution

    Jeff: Rate is a necessary but insufficient condition of macroevolution. WAY insufficient.

    Robert: Right.....and if you disprove something necessary to a hypothesis it is falsified.

    Jeff: Macroevolutionists have speculated about faster mutation rates in the past, Robert. How do you falsify THAT hypothesis?

    Robert: Your analysis of the forensic science analogy is superficial. How, as a juror, do you make a decision in that scenario? Can reason be applied?

    Jeff: Yes. INDUCTIVE reasoning. You pick the most parsimonious interpretation of the facts.

    Jeff: IOW, to claim that methodological naturalism always provides the best explanation is to say there ARE NO final causes

    Robert: And why would we accept that in the criminal justice system, but not the classroom?

    Jeff: I have no reason to believe that the majority of people in the criminal justice system don't believe in free-will. And still have no idea why you think that it is the case.

    Robert: Or can we convict no-one since we can't rule out all final causes?

    Jeff: Free will IS final causality, Robert.

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  58. Jeff,

    You can't seriously be arguing that without shared genetic material, the ability for genomes to change, if genetics was fully decoupled from phenotype, and if mutation rates were insufficient for evolution, that evolution would be a functional hypothesis? I'm not going to spend the time to ponder what your responses could possible mean.

    My second point is not about free will. It is about the power to presume natural causes in the face of supernatural interpretations.

    Why in a courtroom, do we presume natural causes, use forensic science, and convict, when there could be supernatural final causes that could have produced the same forensic data? Why is a demon planted the data not a logical explanation using your logic?

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  60. Robert: Why in a courtroom, do we presume natural causes ...?

    Jeff: We don't, Robert. Most people believe humans have libertarian free-will, which is final causality, not natural causality.

    And you showed nothing wrong with anything I said about the unfalsifiablity of macroevolution. Thus, unless you have something else, you've made no case whatsoever that macroevolution is falsifiable. It's not. It's a working hypothesis that will always get the benefit of the doubt for those whose metaphysics compels such a conclusion no matter how much the "theory" (which is just a huge subset of hypotheses) has to continue to change to accomodate it (the mother hypothesis).

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