Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Atheism's (Not So) Hidden Assumptions

Evolutionist Jerry Coyne thinks atheism is true. But if atheism (in addition to evolution) is true, then how could Coyne know it? For if atheism and materialism are true, then Coyne's brain is nothing more than a set of molecules in motion. Its various configurations are simply a consequence of its beginning, subsequent inputs, and some random motion here and there.

What Coyne thinks is knowledge would merely be certain molecular states, not necessarily having any correspondence with truth. How do evolutionists reconcile their atheism with their convictions of knowledge and truth? This Hobbesian predicament is particularly ironic in light of the atheist's strong theological convictions and arguments. We know atheism is true because god wouldn't have created this world. Do you see why atheism is parasitic on (and much less dangerous than) theism?

226 comments:

  1. Why is there an evolution-creation debate? In spite of the fact that the evolution hypothesis is stuck in step 3 of the 7- scientific method and there are 4 gaps in the hypothesis that evolutionary scientists admit cannot yet be explained, Evolutionists have already won. Evolution is taught in public schools, creationism is prohibited. Evolutionists have won in the courts. The media unanimously supports evolution. Why don’t Evolutionists simply ignore the Creationists’ objections? Or, why not point out that Creationism is not within the purview of science because God is not a falsifiable hypothesis nor can he be proved by science?
    Consider the fact that of the 6 major theological positions on creation, 3 allow for evolution, albeit with a divine influence of some sort, such as to fill those 4 gaps that scientist are struggling with. There are 2 reactions when a Creationist proposed theistic evolution as an answer to the incomplete hypothesis testing and the 4 gaps. An evolutionary scientist would respond by admitting there is no scientific explanation for the gaps, as yet, and dismiss the influence of God as something outside the purview of science. The Evolutionist philosopher, however, becomes extremely agitated at the mention of God because Evolutionism is about atheism, not science.
    As a philosophy, Evolutionism is not held to the rigor of hard science – the scientific method can be ignored. As a philosophy, Evolutionism can object to theism whenre hard science cannot comment. Evolutionism is a major cornerstone of Marxism and Human Secularism because is supports those philosophies built on atheism. Twenty-five percent of the Humanist Manifesto is devoted to opposition to religion and theism, and the establishment of evolution and atheism. As long as there is a God, those philosophies fail. But Darwin supplied the “missing link” to their philosophies,; a way to explain how we got here – without a God.
    Science and faith are not mutually exclusive, but theism and atheism are. So when a supporter of evolution attacks creation (and usually the Creationist), he does so as a philosopher, not as a scientist. And, when a Creationist opposed evolution, he must do so as a philosopher/theologian – not as a scientist. An excellent resource regarding the creation-evolution debate can be found at http://sechumanism.blogspot.com/p/secular-humanism.html

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  2. Even before I got involved in the intellectual debate around ID and Darwinism, consciousness has always been my strongest argument against atheism. Why would the arrangement of atoms, the one as dead and unaware as the other, magically create a collective consciousness for that group of atoms? The best explanation for this would be that the essence of consciousness is already contained in the atom, perhaps something we are yet to discover in quantum physics. But, if this is true, then everything is alive, and then Monism, rather than atheism is true. For atheism to be true, the atheist has to argue against his own existence - apart from being a material object. He is as dead as a rock or any other piece of matter that simply obey the laws of physics, this despite his own experience of himself. He argues that consciousness, or self awareness, is simply an illusion, but to have an illusion about anything, you first need to be aware of yourself. Dead things don't have illusions, otherwise they won't be dead.

    It is for this simple reason that atheism is arguably the most irrational world-view you can have, yes, even more irrational than those peace loving, tree hugging hippies that goes on about vibrations and energy flows etc. etc. etc. As crazy as their ideas sound, they at least have a plausible idea where awareness comes from, while the atheist argues, against his entire experience, that awareness does not exist, that experience does not exist, that everything that makes us human except the matter and energy, does not exist.

    Atheists say theists are irrational for believing in a God without evidence. (Of cause, most of those who makes this claim never investigated the evidence for themselves) But I would argue it is more irrational to not believe in something, even when you have all the evidence you need, and if your own awareness is not evidence enough, then truly nothing is.

    PS. I've read a book called "The spiritual brain". Among the things described in this book, is how materialist phycology could not cure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It took a phycologist with a dualistic approach (Seperation of mind and body) to achieve that.

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  3. If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane

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  4. While I agree with most of your arguments, this one escapes me. Regardless of whether it was generated by mutation-selection evolution or had to be designed, there is no way for a human brain to verify its own reliability, for that would be circular logic. This is the problem of self-reference, and is endemic to the human condition. Rejecting evolution does not solve it.

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  5. Wrong, Darel. Any particular belief is either derived a posteriori, or not. If there is a non-derived, intuitive, human belief that events have one or more final causes (and the research suggests this is the case), that belief is not circular, but merely intuitive. IOW, a priori does not equal circular.

    On the other hand, if there is no such intuitive, human belief, then Haldane and Hunter are exactly right--all belief is blind faith. For in that case, we neither believe we're designed to apprehend INTUITIVELY nor can we conceive of any posteriori argument for it which isn't circular.

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  6. How could Coyne know it? Test your reading comprehension skills on this paragraph from the Coyne post you linked to:

    And me. As Jeremy Manier wrote a while back in The Chicago Tribune, I was brought up in a Jewish household believing in God, and accepted His existence without question, until, in 1967, I suddenly realized that there was no evidence for any of the claims of faith and became an instant atheist. It literally happened in a few minutes.


    So his knowledge of truth is based on evidence. What is your knowledge of truth based on?

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  7. Hanno:

    "PS. I've read a book called "The spiritual brain". Among the things described in this book, is how materialist phycology could not cure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It took a phycologist with a dualistic approach (Seperation of mind and body) to achieve that."

    Phycology? The study of algae? Really? I bet the immaterial study of algae will find a cure for OCD.

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  8. Hanno: He argues that consciousness, or self awareness, is simply an illusion, but to have an illusion about anything, you first need to be aware of yourself.

    Consciousness is not an illusion, but a sensation. Self-awareness has been shown to exist in several mammalian taxa, including primates, elephants and cetaceans.

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  9. Jeff: If there is a non-derived, intuitive, human belief that events have one or more final causes (and the research suggests this is the case), that belief is not circular, but merely intuitive. IOW, a priori does not equal circular.

    Of course it remains circular, because you are relying upon your intuition which can't be definitively verified. And that's true whether humans are evolved or not. Ultimately, science is founded upon the same induction that allows you to remember not to put your hand in the fire.

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  10. Cornelius Hunter: What Coyne thinks is knowledge would merely be certain molecular states, not necessarily having any correspondence with truth.

    My guess is that both Cornelius Hunter and Jerry Coyne avoid putting their hand in the fire. They both agree that the mind is somewhat reliable.

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  11. @troy

    Ok, I'm caught out, my spelling is bad. Anyway, I'm sure you know what I meant.

    @Zachriel

    Illusions, sensations, they all require awareness. Without awareness or consciousness you can not have a sensation. Awareness is what allows us to see, to feel, to hear, to know, to think. Yes, all of this is facilitated through biochemistry, but without consciousness, we would be nothing more than computers: we would be able to process input, but we will not be aware of anything, not even the input we receive from our senses. The brain is simply the interface with which our real selves interacts with the material world.

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  12. Hunter:

    "What Coyne thinks is knowledge would merely be certain molecular states, not necessarily having any correspondence with truth. How do evolutionists reconcile their atheism with their convictions of knowledge and truth?"

    There's that word "merely" again. The creationist's favorite "Matter Sucks" line of reasoning. Is a painting also merely a complex arrangement of molecules?

    Knowledge can indeed be regarded as a material model of material reality ("the truth is out there"). Good models make accurate predictions of reality, and this has an obvious advantage in an environment where other "mere" collections of molecules are out to feed on your mere collection of molecules.

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  13. Gentlemen,
    what material process in the cell creates consciousness or awarenes?
    Please explain it to this mere collection of molecules(may I say me).

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  14. How does a designer creates consciousness or awarenes?

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  15. Hanno: Illusions, sensations, they all require awareness.

    An illusion is among the class of sensations, a sensation that is misleading. Consciousness is a sensation, but not an illusion, as it is the sensation of the workings of the mind. This has nothing to do with atheism.

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  16. @Charles.

    For this, we need a bigger picture.

    We know that the universe had a start. The cosmological argument states that everything that begins, has a cause.

    From general relativity, we also know that time, space and matter is interlinked and that the one cannot exist without the other. If the big bang created space and matter, it also created time.

    From this, we can make some assumptions about the cause: The cause for matter cannot itself be material, the cause for time cannot itself be temporal (So much for the atheist's favorite question: where did God come from?), and the cause for space can not itself be confined to space. If one would, for the sake of the argument, add Intelligent design to the picture, then the cause requires consciousness as well. Now we have a picture of something that very much resembles what people refer to as "God".

    Now, if God is immaterial, and if he is conscious, it also follows that consciousness is immaterial, or as some would refer to it: it's a spirit or ghost.

    Since we ourselves live in a material world, it is difficult for us to imagine something that is not material, let alone how to create it. However, it is reasonable to assume that an immaterial being can make an immaterial things, such as a soul.

    In the end, this boils down to an fundamental and ancient question: Is matter the cause for consciousness, or is consciousness the cause for matter. I find the latter to be far less problematic than the former. Not only that, if you remove materialistic scientism from science, I believe the data actually confirms the latter.

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  17. Zachriel

    I do not agree. sensations also requires consciousness. No consciousness, no sensations. Consciousness is not a sensation, it is what allows us to have, among other things, sensations.

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  18. Hanno: Consciousness is not a sensation, it is what allows us to have, among other things, sensations.

    Just because consciousness encompasses other sensations doesn't mean it is not a sensation itself.

    Curious. Does an ant have sensations? Is it conscious?

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  19. Hanno:

    But does it help explaining what is consciousness? How it works?

    I think the only honest answer, whether you think evolution is true or not, is: I don't know. Postulating a designer does not help to understand it better.

    We do know that it can be influenced, to some extend, by physical mean. For example: drugs (hallucinogens), hormones (adrenaline) and mental illness (Schizophrenia).

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  20. @Zachriel

    I believe "awareness" is a better description of consciousness than "sensation", but ok, we'll agree to disagree.

    Regarding an ant, that is impossible to know. Unfortunately, the only way we can examine consciousness, is from within. We can not "view" it externally, so we have no concept of how an ant experiences the world, it it experiences anything at all. If you're really interested in examining consciousness, I suppose the best place to look is those people who claims that they can achieve higher consciousness through meditation. The skeptic might scoff at such things, but the only way to know for sure is to try it yourself. I would not advise it though, because as a Christian, I believe that these are spiritual gifts from evil spirits. How do I know? Well, just like a dad tells his kids not to accept candy from strangers, so our Heavenly father also warns against taking spiritual candy from spiritual strangers. That, however, is a matter of faith.

    @Charles

    Yes, I now that my argument does not quite help you put consciousness in a test tube. However, I found that it helped me to conceptualize metaphysical concepts (Which includes consciousness.) Infinity and Gods perspective on time becomes a lot easier to grasp when you realize the He himself does not exist within it. Thats why it makes sense that "1 day is to him like a 1000 years, and a 1000 years is to him like 1 day". Once time becomes irrelevant, it becomes inevitable that God is all knowing.

    I think metaphysics is much like quantum physics: it can make sense conceptually, but it is impossible to draw a picture of it.

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  21. On this point our views are irreconcilable, as I think that the brain as a physical entity is sufficient to explain consciousness. While I do realize that at this point it is a metaphysical claim.

    What I am sure though, it’s that the brain is necessary (and I sure hope you do too). Maybe someday we will understand perfectly how the brains work and we will find that it is not sufficient. But at this point, our knowledge is clearly insufficient to claim any definitive conclusion.

    As a scientific, I tend to favor the model with the less parameter. So until I have a good reason to do so, I’ll stick with a material explanation.

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  22. CH, why are you so hung up on attacking Coyne's beliefs? By best estimates all of human mythology contains over a hundred thousand different Gods. Coyne just believes in one fewer of them than you do.

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  23. Charles.

    On the contrary.

    There are lots of reports from the medical world regarding NDE's: People who were clinically dead and then revived, who told details of things they could only have known if they were conscious during the time they were clinically dead. I believe there are enough of these reports to suggest that mind is NOT a product of the brain, but uses the brain to interact with the body. The materialist skeptic would scoff at this, claiming that anything that can not be reproduced in the lab is unreliable, but in that claim he has to make assumptions which he takes on blind faith as well.

    I would agree though, that as far as the human mind or soul is concerned, it DOES require the brain to interact with the material world.

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  24. Steve said: "If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane"

    Let's apply that thinking in another way:

    "If my computer's computational processes are determined wholly by the motion of electrons in its motherboard, I have no reason to suppose that its calculations are true. They may be sound electronically, but that does not make them sound logically."

    I'm not sure that it holds up very well. But it could be that the analogy falls short for some reason. If so, can anyone explain why it's not a good analogy?

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  25. derick:

    Wait the minute...

    "If my computer's computational processes are determined wholly by the motion of electrons in its motherboard, I (***you have to replace I with IT****) have no reason to suppose that its calculations are true. They may be sound electronically, but that does not make them sound logically."


    So what do you think IT supposes IT'S doing? IT is also mere collection of molecules we have to remember.

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  26. Hanno: Unfortunately, the only way we can examine consciousness, is from within. We can not "view" it externally, so we have no concept of how an ant experiences the world, it it experiences anything at all.

    You're a zombie. Admit it.

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  27. Steve

    If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane"

    Derick Childress

    Let's apply that thinking in another way:

    "If my computer's computational processes are determined wholly by the motion of electrons in its motherboard, I have no reason to suppose that its calculations are true. They may be sound electronically, but that does not make them sound logically."

    I'm not sure that it holds up very well. But it could be that the analogy falls short for some reason. If so, can anyone explain why it's not a good analogy?


    Your computer is not the result of a blind process. A designer fashioned the circuits to produce useful interaction.

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  28. Hanno:

    You do realize that for NDE to be considered a conclusive proof of the existence of the soul, we need at least to demonstrate that the patients are brain dead, and not just clinically dead?

    Also, are there any claim of a case of NDE "who told details of things they could only have known if they were conscious during the time they were clinically dead" that are not anecdotal?

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  29. Hanno said: "...while the atheist argues, against his entire experience, that awareness does not exist, that experience does not exist, that everything that makes us human except the matter and energy, does not exist."

    Hanno, even though I'm speaking as a Christian and not an atheist, I must say that that statement is so detached from reality it borders on being insane. What atheist argues that awareness doesn't exist? What atheist argues that experience doesn't exist? If you need to put ridiculous words in your opponent's mouth in order to make an argument against them, you seriously need to re-evaluate your argument.

    And can you please elaborate on, or even name, that mysterious third substance besides matter and energy that a human being (or anything else) is made of?

    What makes us human is not what we are made of, for we are made out of exactly the same stuff that everything else in the universe is made of; what makes us human is the way in which that stuff is put together.

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  30. Steve: Your computer is not the result of a blind process. A designer fashioned the circuits to produce useful interaction.

    So do you believe that neural processes can give rise to reliable beliefs if the Designer fashioned them to do so?

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  31. r0b2070 So do you believe that neural processes can give rise to reliable beliefs if the Designer fashioned them to do so?

    The beliefs can be no more reliable than the designer's beliefs. If the designer has reliable beliefs, it is possible for the designer to pass on those beliefs. If the designer does not have reliable beliefs, the object may only be sending unreliable gibberish back to the unitelligent desinger.

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  33. Steve: "Your computer is not the result of a blind process. A designer fashioned the circuits to produce useful interaction."

    In this particular example, the origin of the system is completely irrelevant; the question is whether or not the *current* properties of the system can be explained as a function of the system itself, (consciousness as a function of the brain, computation as a function of the computer.) It could be the case that humans are built by an intelligent designer but that he is still able to endow them with consciousness using only matter and energy, by putting them together in a way such that consciousness is an emergent property of the working brain. So, it's a different question all together than how or why it originated. It's about how it works *now*.

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  34. Gentlemen,
    let's forget about designer for a moment and try to focus on a basic question:

    what material process in the cell creates consciousness or awarenes?

    I would really apreciate logical answer.

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  35. Eugen: ""If my computer's computational processes are determined wholly by the motion of electrons in its motherboard, I (***you have to replace I with IT****) have no reason to suppose that its calculations are true. They may be sound electronically, but that does not make them sound logically."

    So what do you think IT supposes IT'S doing? IT is also mere collection of molecules we have to remember."

    Aside from your use of the word 'mere', the brain is a collection of molecules too, is it not? Now, I'm not convinced that *my* computer, a humble 8-core Mac Pro, is 'conscious' in any way, but that doesn't mean that no computer could be. We all still have to admit that we have no idea what causes consciousness, or even what it really is, so there's no reason to suppose that it couldn't be possible to make an artificial brain that is conscious, at least on some level. (like the the descendants of this one: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/28842.wss)

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  36. Steve, let's back up a little. Haldane's statement, like Hunter's post, contains an apparent fallacy of composition -- that is, he questions the reliability of beliefs that emerge from chemical processes. But logic, both deductive and inductive, is multiply-realizable. As long as the logic is correct, it makes no difference what substrate it's implemented with.

    Derick illustrated that point by bringing up computers. Do we doubt the reliability of computer calculations because they're performed by moving electrons? Of course not.

    You then pointed out that computers are designed. I tried to show that this is irrelevant by stipulating that brains are designed also, thus removing the disanalogy. Now, why should we trust results arising from moving particles in computers, but not trust results arising from moving particles in our brains?

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  37. Eugen asks: what material process in the cell creates consciousness or awareness?

    Active response to stimulus constitutes awareness. Physical or chemical stimulation influences cell physiology and we get a response.

    Consciousness is not a property of single cells but rather an emergent property of brains, particular arrangements of neurons. Just as brilliant fiery luster, unparalleled hardness, and hefty price tag are emergent properties of a particular arrangement and bonding of carbon atoms that are not found in the single atom.

    Needing a deity to explain the wondrous properties of the brain is no different than needing same to explain the splendor of diamonds. That's fine as far as it goes, but you could expect the science community to be just as appalled if theists were to start championing evidence for the Intelligent Crystallographer.

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  39. Eugen asked: "Gentlemen,
    let's forget about designer for a moment and try to focus on a basic question:

    what material process in the cell creates consciousness or awarenes?

    I would really apreciate logical answer."

    Eugen, as far as I know, no one here made any claim that a process *inside* a cell or atom causes consciousness, except Hanno, who said: "The best explanation for this would be that the essence of consciousness is already contained in the atom, perhaps something we are yet to discover in quantum physics." Hanno is clearly a Christian, but you seem to be directing the question to those who are not, or myself, who is but accepts that the mind could be an emergent property of the brain. Perhaps you did mean to direct your question at Hanno, (who didn't seem to be advocating that position,) but if not, then my response is that in a system that produces an emergent property, the features of the emergent property are not necessarily present in the individual components of the system. For example: (from about.com) "The taste of saltiness is a property of salt, but that does not mean that it is also a property of sodium and chlorine, the two elements which make up salt. Thus, saltiness is an emergent or a supervenient property of salt. Claiming that chlorine must be salty because salt is salty would be an example of the fallacy of division."

    In that same way, to claim that 'consciousness' must somehow be a property of the material components that make up a brain in order for it to be an emergent property of the brain as a whole is to make that same fallacy of division.

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  40. Your argument is based on the false assumption that atheism is the same as acceptance of the idea of evolution. They are separate concepts; many biologists are theists.

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  42. r0b2070:

    "Derick illustrated that point by bringing up computers. Do we doubt the reliability of computer calculations because they're performed by moving electrons? Of course not."

    Maybe you should doubt it. Ever heard of "Garbage in, Garbage out"?

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  43. We know that the universe had a start. The cosmological argument states that everything that begins, has a cause.

    Not really. All we know is that our universe was very hot and very dense about 14 bya, and we struggle mightily to integrate our science of the very small and the science of the very large to explain that singularity. There's also the well developing cyclic models of Neil Turok (Perimeter Inst U.Eaterloo) Paul Steinhardt (Einstein professor, Princeton) and of Baum-Frampton (UNC). There's inflation, dark matter and a tonne of other stuff to account for. Cosmology isn't settled as you might think. And what basis do you have to assume that the "cause" of material cannot be material and for time can't be temporal. Anything beyond analogy?

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  44. "What Coyne thinks is knowledge would merely be certain molecular states, not necessarily having any correspondence with truth."

    OK, but so what? What we think we know might be wrong. It's happened before and will happen many times more. No big deal. That's why we test.

    Am I missing something?

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  45. Thank you Cornelius for making this point. Materialism is dead in the water from the get go because it shoots itself in the foot. It cannot prove anything. It has philosophical contradictions I took the following from crev.info website: He makes the same point in a unique way.
    Humans are unique, and everybody knows this. It should be a cinch to stop the secular Darwinists in their tracks. Just arrange a new debate between modern-day counterparts of Huxley and Bishop Butler, and let Butler begin by saying this: “Mr. Huxley, I am a man created in the image of God, and you are an evolved mammal. Everything you do revolves around eating and mating. Tell me, why should I believe anything you say?” A little reflection shows that Huxley is trapped. He wants to reach outside his fur and embrace the conceptual realm, but he can’t. All Butler has to do is smack his fanny every time Huxley tries to talk about reason, truth, and science. “Objection!” Bishop cries out. “Use of Christian presuppositions. No appeals to logic, truth and morals allowed from my opponent!”

    Philosophically, atheism and naturalism don't have a leg to stand on. If these worldviews are true, there is no such thing as absolute truth. Everything is determined, as Cornelius points out here. Why should we be able to make sense out of the world? Why should we trust our senses and thoughts if they are just the thought processes in monkey brains driven by evolutionary goals such as survival and mating? The answer is obvious - we have no logical reason to do so.

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  46. Following up on the previous post, here is another similar argument to what Cornelius is saying taken from crev.info website:

    Could we propose that the Darwin-dogma trait is genetic, and that it emerged from selection pressure? Indeed we could. The evolutionist has no basis to define reality, information, logic, truth or evidence. He’s just doing what selection forces in his animal past are making him do. He cannot stand outside the world of the evolved like some all-wise Yoda on a platform of neutrality and wisdom, observing what the silly humans are doing.(he too is one of them)
    Once you diagnose the Yoda complex in the evolutionist, the argument is over. It becomes obvious his theory is self-refuting. If it refutes itself, guess what! It is refuted – it is necessarily false. The gig is up. Salvation requires repenting of this sin of arbitrariness and inconsistency, and accepting the premise that at least some religious beliefs (certainly not all) might be real. Why? Because meaning requires an ultimate reference point. Reality requires a reality-Maker. Information requires an intelligent Communicator. Logic requires a Thinker who is neither arbitrary nor inconsistent. Truth requires a truth-Teller. Only with those presuppositions can one reason inductively and deductively. Only with those presuppositions is there a standard by which to make sense of the world. The evolutionary world view does not provide a pole star; it wobbles uncontrollably and chaotically. What’s up one moment is down the next.

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  47. r0b2070: "Derick illustrated that point by bringing up computers. Do we doubt the reliability of computer calculations because they're performed by moving electrons? Of course not."

    Charles: "Maybe you should doubt it. Ever heard of "Garbage in, Garbage out"?"

    Charles, that's kind of my point. "Garbage in, Garbage out" is applicable to the human mind as well. But are you telling me that a properly operating computer won't almost always return an answer of '4' when you ask it what '2 + 2' is? Do you have any basis to 'doubt' that properly operating machines can perform their tasks just because they're made out of atoms?

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  48. David vun Kannon said...

    "How could Coyne know it? Test your reading comprehension skills on this paragraph from the Coyne post you linked to:

    And me. As Jeremy Manier wrote a while back in The Chicago Tribune, I was brought up in a Jewish household believing in God, and accepted His existence without question, until, in 1967, I suddenly realized that there was no evidence for any of the claims of faith and became an instant atheist. It literally happened in a few minutes.


    So his knowledge of truth is based on evidence. What is your knowledge of truth based on?"

    His knowledge of the truth is based on evidence? No, his knowledge of the truth is the predetermined result of the chemical reactions in his brain. He can't help himself. My belief in God - if there is no God - is also a predetermined belief that I cannot help. I cannot help myself. I cannot make myself not believe in God until the chemical reactions in my brain allow that and then that belief in atheism will become predetermined. If there is no God, we are all at the mercy of the chemical reactions in our brain.

    If there is a God, then we can account for reason, truth, and logic and we are justified in using them to determine truth - but only if there is a God. To do science, evolutionists have to borrow these things from the Judeo-Christian worldview, because their worldview cannot provide them. This inescapable problem shows that atheism and naturalism are philosophically bankrupt.

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  49. Derrick said:
    "Charles, that's kind of my point. "Garbage in, Garbage out" is applicable to the human mind as well. But are you telling me that a properly operating computer won't almost always return an answer of '4' when you ask it what '2 + 2' is? Do you have any basis to 'doubt' that properly operating machines can perform their tasks just because they're made out of atoms?"

    A computer cannot help itself. It's answers are determined by the software that has been programmed into it. It has no mind of it's own. We're claiming that we do have a mind of our own. If we don't, then your brain and my brain are nothing more than computers and your thought processes that lead you to doubt the existence of a God and my thought processes that lead me to believe in the existence of God both result from the predetermined programming in our brains. We can't help ourselves. The programming and chemical processes that take place in our brain determine our thoughts, actions, and even our feelings.

    See the difference?

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  50. tokyojim,

    In several places in your previous two posts, you make the rookie mistake of using 'evolutionist' and 'atheist' interchangeably. There are many theists who accept evolution, and there were atheists looooong before evolution came along.

    tokyojim: "The evolutionist has no basis to define reality, information, logic, truth or evidence."

    jim, I'm sure that you mean here the 'atheist' has no basis to define reality..... A multitude of Christians accept evolution. To pick one name out of a hat, let's take C.S. Lewis as an example. Would you say that Lewis 'has no basis to define reality, information, logic, truth or evidence'? Even if you believe that a Christian who accepts evolution as a biological fact is deceived, or deluded, or inconsistent, or whatever, it doesn't change the fact that they exist.

    You also seem to equate atheism to naturalism by using 'materialism' interchangeably with 'naturalism'. Another rookie mistake. Naturalism is the basis of all science, Christian or not.

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  51. Derick:

    "Charles, that's kind of my point. "Garbage in, Garbage out" is applicable to the human mind as well."

    Well said. That is precisely the problem with theists. Nearly all of them have been brainwashed their entire lives and cannot think straight anymore. It's rare for atheists to become theists, and if they do it's usually because they are substance abusers or otherwise mentally impaired. Not because the arguments or data have convinced them.

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  52. tokyojim:

    "If there is a God, then we can account for reason, truth, and logic and we are justified in using them to determine truth - but only if there is a God. To do science, evolutionists have to borrow these things from the Judeo-Christian worldview, because their worldview cannot provide them."

    Rubbish. Logic and reason are abstractions based on empirical observation. Your handle suggests that you live in Tokyo, so do you believe that Japanese scientists have borrowed their skills from the Judeo-Christian worldview?

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  53. Derrick,

    Point well taken. I even noticed that I used evolutionist and atheist interchangably and I was too lazy to change it. Thanks for calling me out on that. I didn't mean it to come across like that.

    I'm not sure if I agree with the second point though that naturalism is the basis for all science. Can you explain more to me the difference you are making between naturalism and materialism? Perhaps you are meaning methodological naturalism which isn't much different than naturalism because in reality, even if a God exists, it is believed a priori that this God could not be involved in creation because only natural causes are permitted.

    A Christian can do regular science just as well as a non-christian. When I say regular science, I mean science that is done by the scientific method and can be tested and verified over and over.

    When it comes to our origins though, no one witnessed what happened. So there is a lot of interpretation that must take place. It is kind of like CSI - a crime scene investigation. You make observations and then you make guesses as to what might have happened. But it is not something that you can duplicate and do over and over again and verify in the way we do with regular science.

    Origin science is different and in some ways, doesn't really qualify as genuine science because of this. For instance, when it comes to the origin of life, there is still no answer for this mystery. The scientists of old believed in creation and still they did wonderful scientific work and we are still in their debt to this day. But, when it came to origins, they did not restrict themselves to naturalistic causes. This is an arbitrary rule that has relatively recently been enacted.

    But my point is, there is no answer to this question. atheists and evolutionists who limit themselves to naturalism, take it by faith that there is a totally natural cause to life. We just haven't figured it out yet, but they believe that one day we will. And even if we don't, they still believe that it was a natural cause because that is all their worldview allows. A scientist who does not require himself to live within the box of naturalism, is free to think outside the box and be open to supernatural causes as well. You will claim then that these scientists are not true scientists. I disagree with you. This is a worldview problem, not a scientific problem. Intelligent Design scientists make the same observations that materialists do and they have found evidence that points to an intelligent source - ie encoded information, systems in living things that cannot evolve one little gradual step at a time and confer an advantage to the creature because there is no advantage until it is fully formed and functional, consciousness, etc. Not being limited by the worldview of naturalism, these scientists posit an intelligent source for the design, the software in the cell, the machines in the cell, etc.

    So I disagree with your statement that naturalism is the basis of all science. It is the basis of regular science, but when it comes to origin science, there is no valid reason (other than philosophical/worldview) to limit ourselves to purely natural causes. And when you consider where the evidence seems to point, it becomes even more difficult to continue to remain confined in the box of naturalism.

    Jim the "rookie"

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  54. Troy said:
    "Rubbish. Logic and reason are abstractions based on empirical observation. Your handle suggests that you live in Tokyo, so do you believe that Japanese scientists have borrowed their skills from the Judeo-Christian worldview? "

    OK Troy, so that is what the chemical processes in your brain lead you to believe. You have no choice to believe this because of the programming in your machine called a brain. My machine is programmed to spit out different results. We may not like it, but in a naturalistic world, that's the way it is.

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  55. Troy asked:

    Your handle suggests that you live in Tokyo, so do you believe that Japanese scientists have borrowed their skills from the Judeo-Christian worldview?

    Ok, I'll respond to you as if truth, logic, and reason exist.

    Not their skills. These they learned, but when they use their skills to do science and use reason, logic, and assume truth exists, then yes, I do believe that. Whether consciously or unconsciously, all of us have to borrow from that worldview when we speak of truth, reason, logic and morality. Only this worldview can adequately account for these things in my personal opinion.

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  56. tokyojim:

    "OK Troy, so that is what the chemical processes in your brain lead you to believe. You have no choice to believe this because of the programming in your machine called a brain. My machine is programmed to spit out different results. We may not like it, but in a naturalistic world, that's the way it is."

    Your machine has been fed too much religious crap, but it's not too late. Get yourself a decent education and you might yet see the light.

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  57. tokyojim:

    "Not their skills. These they learned, but when they use their skills to do science and use reason, logic, and assume truth exists, then yes, I do believe that. Whether consciously or unconsciously, all of us have to borrow from that worldview when we speak of truth, reason, logic and morality. Only this worldview can adequately account for these things in my personal opinion."

    Nothing but unjustified assertions. Why can't a non-christian worldview do these things?

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  58. tokyojim: "A computer cannot help itself. It's answers are determined by the software that has been programmed into it."

    Of course, but we were discussing the reliability of what it does do, and not its free will (or lack thereof). Different subject entirely. And it's not entirely accurate to say that the answers are determined *only* by what has been programmed into it. The field of artificial intelligence is progressing rapidly. Take IBM's 'Watson', the Jeopardy playing supercomputer. It can comprehend a Jeopardy 'question', process it, and respond in english with the 'answer'. (sure, I know that in Jeopardy, the 'questions' and 'answers' are reversed - you get the picture though.) When presented with the phrase "“The greyhound originated more than 5,000 years ago in this African country, where it was used to hunt gazelles” It can correctly respond in natural language: “What is Egypt?” - even though no programmer ever told it "If question = ("The greyhound....hunt gazelles") then response = ("What is Egypt")"

    tokyojim: "...and your thought processes that lead you to doubt the existence of a God..."

    I don't know if you were referring to me specifically or a more general 'you', But I don't doubt the existence of God at all! I've been a Christian for over 20 years.

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  59. Steve

    If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane"

    Derick Childress

    If my computer's computational processes are determined wholly by the motion of electrons in its motherboard, I have no reason to suppose that its calculations are true. They may be sound electronically

    Steve

    Your computer is not the result of a blind process. A designer fashioned the circuits to produce useful interaction.

    r0b2070

    Derick illustrated that point by bringing up computers. Do we doubt the reliability of computer calculations because they're performed by moving electrons? Of course not.

    Charles

    Maybe you should doubt it. Ever heard of "Garbage in, Garbage out"?

    tokyojim

    A computer cannot help itself. It's answers are determined by the software that has been programmed into it.

    Derick Childress

    Of course, but we were discussing the reliability of what it does do, and not its free will (or lack thereof).

    The problem is not 'free will' or 'material vs immaterial cause'. The problem is whether the computer is giving reliable, meaningful, actual information about the external world. We can not know this. We can observe the computer computing, and note that the computations mimic our computations, but we still do not know whether our computations are reliable, meaningful, actual information about the external world.

    dwwhqtspgta

    Your argument is based on the false assumption that atheism is the same as acceptance of the idea of evolution. They are separate concepts; many biologists are theists.

    True, there are religious scientists and Darwinian churchgoers. But this does not mean that faith and science are compatible, except in the trivial sense that both attitudes can be simultaneously embraced by a single human mind. (It is like saying that marriage and adultery are compatible because some married people are adulterers.) ~ Jerry Coyne

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  60. My point was not that faith and science are compatible, but that your arguments against evolution are not arguments against atheism.

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  61. dwwhqtspgta

    Your argument is based on the false assumption that atheism is the same as acceptance of the idea of evolution. They are separate concepts; many biologists are theists.

    dwwhqtspgta

    My point was not that faith and science are compatible, but that your arguments against evolution are not arguments against atheism.

    Darwin often used deistic language in his publications, but much in his Notebooks indicates that by this time he had become a ‘materialist’ (more or less = atheist). ~ Ernst Mayr

    Any creationist lawyer who got me on the stand could instantly win over the jury simply by asking me: 'Has your knowledge of evolution influenced you in the direction of becoming an atheist?' I would have to answer yes. ~ Richard Dawkins

    Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented. ~ William Provine

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  62. Hunter: For if atheism and materialism are true, then Coyne's brain is nothing more than a set of molecules in motion. Its various configurations are simply a consequence of its beginning, subsequent inputs, and some random motion here and there.

    That's certainly true. All causal chains receding from a given brain state must lead back to an initial property of the brain, or an external influence on the brain, or a spontaneous event. The exhaustivity of that list is a matter of logic, and is independent of atheism or materialism.

    We can replace "brain" with anything we want, and the logic still holds. How then, does substance dualism mitigate the alleged problem of unreliable beliefs?

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  63. Steve said: "The problem is whether the computer is giving reliable, meaningful, actual information about the external world. We can not know this."

    Of course we can! That's why we built the computers in the first place, to give us a reliable way of processing information! If essentially 100% of the time a computer gives an answer of '4' when you ask it what 2+2 is, In what sense is that not reliable? Or, if you mean that we can't know if a computer is collecting reliable information about the outside world (like a remote weather station or something) then of course we could know that as well; we could assign a hundred more computers the same task and see if the results line up, or we could send a group of humans out to double check the results.

    "We can observe the computer computing, and note that the computations mimic our computations,"

    Computers don't mimic our computations so much as outperform them in speed and reliability by many, many orders of magnitude. Accurate, reliable computation is a computer's raison d'ĂȘtre! Perhaps you're talking about the reliability of senses in a more philosophical sense, as in "How do we *know* that the sky is *really* blue?" If that's the case, then we're just arguing epistemology and we're simply at an impasse.

    "(It is like saying that marriage and adultery are compatible because some married people are adulterers.) ~ Jerry Coyne"

    I happen to be one of those 'irrational' people who believes both that marriage exists and that adultery occurs.

    I also happen to believe both that God exists and that evolution occurs.

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  64. Steve said: "The problem is whether the computer is giving reliable, meaningful, actual information about the external world. We can not know this."

    Of course we can! That's why we built the computers in the first place, to give us a reliable way of processing information! If essentially 100% of the time a computer gives an answer of '4' when you ask it what 2+2 is, In what sense is that not reliable? Or, if you mean that we can't know if a computer is collecting reliable information about the outside world (like a remote weather station or something) then of course we could know that as well; we could assign a hundred more computers the same task and see if the results line up, or we could send a group of humans out to double check the results.

    "We can observe the computer computing, and note that the computations mimic our computations,"

    Computers don't mimic our computations so much as outperform them in speed and reliability by many, many orders of magnitude. Accurate, reliable computation is a computer's raison d'ĂȘtre! Perhaps you're talking about the reliability of senses in a more philosophical sense, as in "How do we *know* that the sky is *really* blue?" If that's the case, then we're just arguing epistemology and we're simply at an impasse.

    "(It is like saying that marriage and adultery are compatible because some married people are adulterers.) ~ Jerry Coyne"

    I happen to be one of those 'irrational' people who believes both that marriage exists and that adultery occurs.

    I also happen to believe both that God exists and that evolution occurs.

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  65. Jeff -- I'm not sure I understand your argument, but if you meant that the solution to the problem of self-reference (i.e. of verifying one's own reliability) is that humans are programmed to disregard this problem and presume their own rationality -- then I agree. How else could we get anything done?

    However, the question of what caused that programming remains unanswered -- or at least is answered by other methods, such as Behe's.

    To clarify my position as much as possible:

    1. If entities (perhaps outside our universe) can and did design the human brain, then:

    1a) they might have designed our brains to be capable of discovering that we were designed, or

    1b) they might have designed our brains to be incapable of discovering that — perhaps because they didn't care what we thought about where we came from, only what we can accomplish today.

    2. If mutation-selection evolution can and did generate our brains, then:

    2a) evolution might have generated a human brain that is capable of discovering that it evolved, or
    2b) evolution might have generated a human brain that is incapable of that, because evolution cares only for survival in the present, and only serendipitously (if at all) for ability to decipher events of the distant past.

    In other words, arguments of the form, "If evolution is true then human reason is unreliable, so how can anyone know that evolution is true?" are fallacious, not because they are technically wrong, but because they are more generally applicable to anyone's position on human origins, not just that of evolutionists.

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  66. Steve said: "....{quotes several atheists on the matter of compatibility of faith and science}..."

    Steve, I have to admit I've never understood the logic of quoting atheists on the matter of science and faith compatibility. They're by definition non-religious; how would they know if science is compatible with religion? It would be like asking a blind person if the music and visuals in an opera lined up. If they had been religious previously and left their religion because of its incompatibility with science, how do they know that isn't just their take on religion that is incompatible, instead of everyone else's?

    Isn't the hypothesis that "you can't accept both science and religion" immediately falsified the fact that there are both religious scientists and science-accepting clergy & religious practitioners?

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  67. Zachriel: Of course it remains circular, because you are relying upon your intuition which can't be definitively verified.

    Jeff: You're confused, Zachriel. A belief, per se, is not circular. It is ARGUMENTS that can be circular. An intuitive belief (like the belief we are remembering an actual past event) is not an argument, and, therefore, can not be circular. Intuitive beliefs can be wrong, but not circular.

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  68. tokyojim said:

    "OK Troy, so that is what the chemical processes in your brain lead you to believe. You have no choice to believe this because of the programming in your machine called a brain. My machine is programmed to spit out different results. We may not like it, but in a naturalistic world, that's the way it is."

    Troy said: "Your machine has been fed too much religious crap, but it's not too late. Get yourself a decent education and you might yet see the light."

    Tokyojim says:

    Like Cornelius said in the original post:

    Evolutionist Jerry Coyne thinks atheism is true. But if atheism (in addition to evolution) is true, then how could Coyne know it? For if atheism and materialism are true, then Coyne's brain is nothing more than a set of molecules in motion. Its various configurations are simply a consequence of its beginning, subsequent inputs, and some random motion here and there.

    So, what Coyne thinks is knowledge would merely be certain molecular states, not necessarily having any correspondence with truth.

    How do evolutionists reconcile their atheism with their convictions of knowledge and truth?"

    Troy, you can make fun of what I said, but the truth remains that if there is no god, we are all victims of determinism and slaves to the processes of our brains. If that were so, no one could logically be held responsible for anything they say or do. This is a fundamental problem with the worldview of atheism. Of course, we all live our lives as if we do have freedom of choice, as if we are responsible for our actions, so this too is proof that the atheistic worldview doesn't work. You can't live by it.

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  69. Darel: I'm not sure I understand your argument, but if you meant that the solution to the problem of self-reference (i.e. of verifying one's own reliability) is that humans are programmed to disregard this problem and presume their own rationality -- then I agree.

    Jeff: The thing is, there is no way to conceive of the relation of apprehension apart from a DESIGN. Namely, a causally-sequenced FIT of the natural modes of human inference TO the manner in which a real, extra-ego reality behaves. But this implies a DIRECTEDNESS of events.

    Personally, I don't know how to even conceive of DIRECTEDNESS except in terms of teleology. Causality, per se, doesn't entail the idea of DIRECTEDNESS.

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  70. Steve

    If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. ~ J.B.S. Haldane"

    Your computer is not the result of a blind process. A designer fashioned the circuits to produce useful interaction.


    Charles

    Maybe you should doubt it. Ever heard of "Garbage in, Garbage out"?

    Steve

    The problem is not 'free will' or 'material vs immaterial cause'. The problem is whether the computer is giving reliable, meaningful, actual information about the external world. We can not know this. We can observe the computer computing, and note that the computations mimic our computations, but we still do not know whether our computations are reliable, meaningful, actual information about the external world.

    Derick Childress

    Perhaps you're talking about the reliability of senses in a more philosophical sense, as in "How do we *know* that the sky is *really* blue?" If that's the case, then we're just arguing epistemology and we're simply at an impasse.

    60 posts in and you appear close to recognizing the point of the thread. You have worn me out.

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  71. Jeff: You're confused, Zachriel. A belief, per se, is not circular. It is ARGUMENTS that can be circular.

    This is the train of discussion:

    Cornelius Hunter: But if atheism (in addition to evolution) is true, then how could Coyne know it? For if atheism and materialism are true, then Coyne's brain is nothing more than a set of molecules in motion.

    Darel: Regardless of whether it was generated by mutation-selection evolution or had to be designed, there is no way for a human brain to verify its own reliability, for that would be circular logic.

    Jeff: Wrong, Darel. Any particular belief is either derived a posteriori, or not. If there is a non-derived, intuitive, human belief that events have one or more final causes (and the research suggests this is the case), that belief is not circular, but merely intuitive. IOW, a priori does not equal circular.

    Darel was correct. Yes, a priori doesn't equal circular, but that is not what Darel said. Indeed, the implication of his statement is that some notion of reliability has to be accepted a priori. (We can bootstrap induction from a minimal reliability of memory, or that we can make and read a record.)

    Then,

    Jeff: It is ARGUMENTS that can be circular. An intuitive belief (like the belief we are remembering an actual past event) is not an argument, and, therefore, can not be circular. Intuitive beliefs can be wrong, but not circular.

    But an argument *was* being offered by Cornelius, that atheism was different somehow in terms of verifying the reliability of sense and memory. That is what Darel addressed, to which you then responded. Yes, people have an intuition about sense and memory, but it is irrelevant as to whether the person is an atheist or not.

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  72. Jeff: The thing is, there is no way to conceive of the relation of apprehension apart from a DESIGN.

    Assuming by "DESIGN" you mean something manufactured by an external agent, then sure there is.

    Jeff: Namely, a causally-sequenced FIT of the natural modes of human inference TO the manner in which a real, extra-ego reality behaves.

    It's called evolution.

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  73. Excellent post Dr Hunter.

    Atheists fail to understand that for one to say "there is no GOD" one would have to BE God and have knowledge of everything, every realm, etc.

    It's also important to note that atheist William Provine claims we have no free will. If that's true, then he's not making a logical deduction
    or rational decision regarding God's alleged non-existence, he's only doing/thinking what his (random chance) DNA forces him to do...and has no idea if he's right or not.

    DO atheists realize how self-refuting their own arguments are?

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  74. music1028: "Atheists fail to understand that for one to say "there is no GOD" one would have to BE God and have knowledge of everything, every realm, etc."

    I'm an atheist and as such I don't personally say "there is no God". What I do say is that there is no compelling evidence for gods (note the plural). Some would say there is no evidence at all to speak off. In regard to particular gods (e.g., Jehovah, Allah, ) I could say that the evidence for the existence of such entities is so poor and unsubstantiated that we probably can quite confidently say these entities do not exist. If Jehovah exists then it is only in people's heads - we certainly have no reliable recorded appearances now in over 2000 years, and the last accounts are dubious and flawed to say the least. Sure, you can claim Jesus changed your life or whatever, but that really isn't proof of anything except the psychological power of belief. People regularly claim their god has changed their lives all the time, this transformative ability is certainly not the sole domain of Christianity.

    Could there still be a god? Possibly, but only one that remains hidden, secretive and certainly not one that could be identified with any known religion today. And so far there seems little evidence that this god will show up anytime soon, and certainly appears not very interested in helping out mankind.

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  75. Am I correct that this blog post is a simplified version of Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism?

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  76. second opinion,

    I think that this post only implies intuitively what Plantinga's EAAN has covered comprehensively. Too bad that many of the people making comments has never considered Plantinga's work.

    A fundamental flaw to all the materialistic claims is that there is no observed mechanism achieving materialistic consciousness. Without presupposing the act of consciousness any materialistic argument is equivalent to a claim that two rocks on the beach is an algorithm executing 1+1=2. Intuitively we know that it is our minds that look at the rocks and assign algorithmic representation to it, the same with any computer however complex the algorithm being executed.

    This flaw can be overcome by simply observing a purely natural process that achieve consciousness without any prior conscious input. (A perfectly neutral position of the observer would help.)

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  77. Janfeld said...

    "I'm an atheist and as such I don't personally say "there is no God". What I do say is that there is no compelling evidence for gods (note the plural)."

    It is funny that Antony Flew has been exactly where you were and now he is convinced that there is enough evidence to conclude at least deism.

    To what extent are you willing to evaluate and consider the evidence? Are you able to control the emotions while arguing the facts or do you prefer the status quo for personal and emotional reasons?

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  78. @Derick Childress

    Professor Pinker has said that consciousness is an illusion.
    Professor Will Provine has said "No God, No Live after death, no ultimate foundation for ethics, no human free will, are all deeply connected to an evolutionary perspective."

    Though these atheists, and many others, have some disturbing ideas, I can respect them for following their atheistic believes to its logical conclusion - irrational as it may be.

    Most atheists however, never bother to investigate where their believes end up. They're atheists, simply because they can not be bothered to investigate the truth claims of different religions, including their own metaphysical world view. God complicates things, it is easier to just not believe in him. What I have found in my discussions with regular atheists, is that the ideas of materialistic scientism is often the excuse, rather than the reason for their non-believe.

    When you take atheism to its logical conclusion, you find a world view that is completely incompatible with our experience.

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  79. Hanno -

    Whilst I can sympathise that there are indeed atheists who are so because of a total disinterest in philosophical and theological matters/questions, please believe me that there are also many who are atheists precisely because they DO have an interest in these matters - and found the answers given by religion to be wanting.

    Atheism does not necessarily lead to determinism, nihilism, pre-determinism, or an acceptance of evolution. It is merely the lack of belief in gods. Nothing more.

    The image of an atheist is a morally bankrupt, depressed or selfish monster with no basis for morality, knowledge or joy in the world is an outrageous and inaccurrate characture.

    Atheists are united only in one very specific thing in which they do NOT believe. There are a great many things in which atheists MAY believe. Determining the beliefs of a group of atheists is like trying to determine the beliefs of a group of people who do not believe in Santa Claus, or ghosts, or aliens - the beliefs of two people who do NOT believe in UFOs may nevertheless be completely unalike. Two atheists can have vastly different and totally incompatible belief systems.


    When you take atheism to its logical conclusion, you find a world view that is completely incompatible with our experience.


    Such as? Give me an example of such an experience which is incompatible with atheism.

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  80. Michael: A fundamental flaw to all the materialistic claims is that there is no observed mechanism achieving materialistic consciousness.

    That's called an argument from ignorance, a fallacy. Just because we may not have an explanation for a phenomena doesn't mean it is evidence of your preferred metaphysic. Lacking a scientific understanding of the stately movement of planets across the sky is not evidence of angels and crystal spheres.

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  81. Ritchie

    If you do not believe in God, then you must believe in materialism. (Well, technically, you can still believe in spirits and angels and things, but then you're a pagan, or pantheist or monist, not an atheist.

    So, Atheism does NOT just imply a lack of faith in God, it ALSO implies a believe in materialism, that is, that everything can ultimately be reduced to matter and energy. It rejects the existence of immaterial objects, such as the soul.

    As such, consciousness MUST be a product of material processes, or, to put it bluntly, chemistry. This is not a scientific statement, there is no empirical evidence to support it. It is rather a logical conclusion from the atheistic world view. Once you accept that consciousness is some mysterious effect of chemistry, all the logical problems I've mentioned in my previous posts arise.

    Where the theist may be guilty of inserting the "God of the Gaps" (Though I do believe there is sufficient evidence to believe in God on more than just blind faith), the atheist is just as guilty of inserting "Materialism of the gaps". The predictions of this materialism of the gaps has often been wrong.

    That is why I prefer the term "Materialist" rather than "Atheist". "Atheism" is misleading, because it places the emphasis on what the person does NOT believe, and, in so doing, hides what he actually does believe in. This believe in materialism requires just as much faith, if not more, than religion does.

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  82. Michael: A fundamental flaw to all the materialistic claims is that there is no observed mechanism achieving materialistic consciousness.

    Zachriel: That's called an argument from ignorance, a fallacy. Just because we may not have an explanation for a phenomena doesn't mean it is evidence of your preferred metaphysic.

    This is an example of how Atheists not only REJECT believe in God, but also ACCEPT believe in materialism, even though there is not the slightest hint that the problem can be solved within a purely materialistic world view. Though Zachriel is perfectly entitled to his metaphysical believe system, it demonstrates that Atheists DOES NOT ONLY believe what science can show, BUT ALSO ACTIVELY BELIEVE/ASSUME where science should lead. Thats why, even though the logic of ID is rock solid, and its based on empirical evidence, Material scientists reject it because it is not where they expect science to go. Thats why many materialists even becomes angry at the notion of ID: It is a natural response of people to become angry when their metaphysical world view is being challenged.

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  83. Hanno -


    If you do not believe in God, then you must believe in materialism.


    Absolutely not. I can be an atheist and believe in magic! There is no contradiction there.

    Atheism does not commit me to a belief in materialism. The idea that it does is a stupid strawman fallacy.


    As such, consciousness MUST be a product of material processes, or, to put it bluntly, chemistry. This is not a scientific statement, there is no empirical evidence to support it.


    Is there evidence that consciousness is the result of anything else?


    This believe in materialism requires just as much faith, if not more, than religion does.


    Another common and inaccurate mantra. Materialsim has the edge in that every mystery ever solved has indeed turned out to have a materialistic explanation! Materialism has indeed turned out to be right many times before. Religion, on the other hand, has never been proved to be correct. So just playing the odds, materialism is the more reasonable position.

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  84. Hanno: If you do not believe in God, then you must believe in materialism.

    You answer your own claim.

    Hanno: Well, technically, you can still believe in spirits and angels and things, but then you're a pagan, or pantheist or monist, not an atheist.

    One can believe in spirits and reject the existence of gods. Animism a common, traditional belief. Zen Buddhism is an atheistic religion.

    Hanno: So, Atheism does NOT just imply a lack of faith in God, it ALSO implies a believe in materialism, that is, that everything can ultimately be reduced to matter and energy.

    As you yourself said, no it doesn't *imply* any such thing.

    Hanno: That is why I prefer the term "Materialist" rather than "Atheist".

    You need both terms, because they mean different things.

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  85. Ritchie

    You are arguing semantics.

    If you believe in magic, then you're a monist/pantheist, not an atheist. (I covered that in my post) (By the way, magic is perfectly explainable within a monist worldview.)

    Also, Materialism is WRONG in psychology. It is UNABLE to explain the origin of the universe (The origin of matter HAS TO BE immaterial), and despite all the objections of atheist, abiogenesis is PROVING how important the interference of an intelligent agent is in the creation of live. Also, materialism does not even REMOTELY explain consciousness.

    Materialism HAS limits. The atheist just refuse to acknowledge it. Materialism goes BEYOND what science can prove, and sometimes even goes AGAINST empirical evidence.

    Debating this point is useless, though, as the debate over ID has shown. All it shows is that "sufficient evidence" is a subjective concept, determined by your metaphysical worldview.

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  86. Hanno: Though Zachriel is perfectly entitled to his metaphysical believe system, it demonstrates that Atheists DOES NOT ONLY believe what science can show, BUT ALSO ACTIVELY BELIEVE/ASSUME where science should lead.

    That's a very odd statement, as Zachriel is not an atheist.

    Hanno: Thats why, even though the logic of ID is rock solid, and its based on empirical evidence, Material scientists reject it because it is not where they expect science to go.

    Sorry, but ID has no scientific validity. There is no scientific theory of ID, no testable hypotheses, no research program, nothing but rhetoric.

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  87. Zach:
    Sorry, but ID has no scientific validity.

    ID is based on observations and experiences.

    It can be objectively tested.

    OTOH you cannot produce a testable hypothesis for your position...

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hanno -


    If you believe in magic, then you're a monist/pantheist, not an atheist.


    Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. It is not a lack of belief in magic. This is not mere semantics. It is a salient point. The picture you paint of an atheist as an absolute unavoidable materialist is incorrect.


    Also, Materialism is WRONG in psychology. It is UNABLE to explain the origin of the universe (The origin of matter HAS TO BE immaterial),


    This has not been proved at all.


    and despite all the objections of atheist, abiogenesis is PROVING how important the interference of an intelligent agent is in the creation of live.


    It is doing no such thing. Abiogenesis is a progressive field of biology, and it is showing how easily life may have come about from non-living matter.


    Also, materialism does not even REMOTELY explain consciousness.


    ... to your satisfaction, perhaps.


    Debating this point is useless, though, as the debate over ID has shown. All it shows is that "sufficient evidence" is a subjective concept, determined by your metaphysical worldview.


    It would help if you, or any ID proponent were able to provide ANY evidence at all that showed deliberate design from a conscious agent in biology, since that is the key claim of ID. Seriously, something, anything at all. Something you could justifiably call 'sufficient evidence'.

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  89. Joe G -


    ID is based on observations and experiences.

    It can be objectively tested.


    Prove it. When has ID ever been put to the test?


    OTOH you cannot produce a testable hypothesis for your position...


    If you mean evolution, there are entire journals which full of scientific experiments on the subject. Why exactly do you think ID is scientifically barren?

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  90. Ritchie:
    Prove it. When has ID ever been put to the test?

    Every day.

    Ya see any day you and your ilk have the opportunity to produce positive evidence for your position and every day you fail.

    OTOH you cannot produce a testable hypothesis for your position...

    Ritchie:
    If you mean evolution,

    Nope- evolution is not being debated.

    ID is not anti-evolution and neither is YEC.

    That said there isn't any peer-reviewed article which demonstrates blind, undirected chemical processes can build complex protein machinery from scratch.

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  91. Ritchie:
    Abiogenesis is a progressive field of biology, and it is showing how easily life may have come about from non-living matter.

    That is false.

    The more we know the less likely your position is.

    You can't even get nucleotides with agency involvement...

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  92. Ritchie:
    It would help if you, or any ID proponent were able to provide ANY evidence at all that showed deliberate design from a conscious agent in biology, since that is the key claim of ID.

    For starters:

    Intelligent Design in Biology Textbooks

    Intelligent Design In Biology Textbooks Continued

    More Evidence for Intelligent Design- Wet Electricity

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  93. "Abiogenesis is a progressive field of biology, and it is showing how easily life may have come about from non-living matter."

    Easily?

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  94. Joe G -


    Every day.

    Ya see any day you and your ilk have the opportunity to produce positive evidence for your position and every day you fail.


    Empty rhetoric and a shameless evasion of my request.


    That said there isn't any peer-reviewed article which demonstrates blind, undirected chemical processes can build complex protein machinery from scratch.


    Abiogenesis is not a solved problem, it is true. Even if scientists showed that life COULD arise from non-living organic chemicals, how would we ever show it was THE way life took on Earth billions of years ago?

    But what is the ID answer here, if not to just give up and cry 'miracle'? Because THAT would we profoundly unscientific...

    And as for the link you provided, none of them show deliberate design in biology. You are merely taking (what you think are) problems with evolution, and then boldly concluding that if evolutionists can't explain it, it must have been design! That's not positive evidence.

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  95. Fil -

    Omit that word in your reading of my post if you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  96. "Omit that word in your reading of my post if you wish."

    It's not what I wish it's what you meant. Was that a typo or did you actually meant it, and if so why?

    Welcome back after several days btw, I enjoy our dialogue much more than Smokeys even if we don't'agree ;)

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  97. Joe: "ID is not anti-evolution and neither is YEC."

    Joe, I'm having a hard time deciding if you're a real human or a random word generator.

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  98. fil -

    Thankyou for that. Nice to be missed. :)

    I wrote that passage you cited in respince to hanno's apparent belief that current research in the field of abiogenesis supports the ID hypothesis. With every experiment done we learn more about how organic chemicals behave under certain circumstances, and what they can and cannot do. Our path here, as ideally with every field of science, is from ignorance to knowledge. And as we learn that more and more is possible, we discover more and more ways life may have come about.

    I wrote 'easily' to stress that the more we learn, the liklier it seems that it is possible for organic chemicals to become living self-replicators. I did not mean to suggest that this process, or the fine work done by scientists in this fieds, was easy.

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  99. So let me get this straight...

    The big problem with atheism is it that ahteists consider objectively verified observations to correspond to an actual reality. And the reason Cornelius thinks this is unjustifiable is because he doesn't know why "a collection of atoms" should be expected to correspond to any objective truth value.

    Leaving aside the obvious explanations for his confusion (collections of atoms that didn't... which instead for example had a tendency to perceive a pool of lethal burning hot magma as a refreshing swimming pool or a meadow of pretty flowers or something... would tend to run afoul of that reality rather than thriving and reproducing in it)... a collection of atoms plus "magical superbeing X" of your chosen theology is somehow claimed to solve this supposed conundrum?

    How?

    Does this magical superbeing actively regulate your perceptions? Does it interfere in visual processing to make sure that what you are seeing is something that is really there? Can you provide ANY explanation of the means by which introducing a diety into the equation solves the problem of consciousness?

    Or is "just add magic" a sufficient resolution to any philosophical quandary as far as you are concerned?

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  100. Zachriel said...

    " Michael: A fundamental flaw to all the materialistic claims is that there is no observed mechanism achieving materialistic consciousness.

    That's called an argument from ignorance, a fallacy. Just because we may not have an explanation for a phenomena doesn't mean it is evidence of your preferred metaphysic. Lacking a scientific understanding of the stately movement of planets across the sky is not evidence of angels and crystal spheres. "


    You actually have to misrepresent my argument to come to any form of fallacy. My statement is pure materialistic logic. If you want to present materialism without mechanisms causing material effects then you undermine the entire materialistic view of reality.

    I was simply stating the obvious... materialism needs a mechanism... and I stated that should such a mechanism be observed materialism would be vindicated.

    I must admit that I am very lenient on materialism by agreeing that a mechanism for consciousness would count as support for the position. The reason is that materialism has to overcome a vast mountain of logical inconsistencies thrown up by the possibility of an infinite causal regress. This problem is exposed by all forms of actual infinities. My favorite is the paradoxes of time traveling... branching realities etc.

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  101. Michael: "It is funny that Antony Flew has been exactly where you were and now he is convinced that there is enough evidence to conclude at least deism.

    To what extent are you willing to evaluate and consider the evidence? Are you able to control the emotions while arguing the facts or do you prefer the status quo for personal and emotional reasons?

    Well, I'm not sure that Anthony Flew is "now" convinced of anything since he recently passed away.

    Yes, I've considered Deism and looked into a little. Seems more of a philosophical stance obtained through reasoning than anything with any actual tangible evidence. On the other hand why go to any trouble 'looking' for a deity who doesn't seem to want to be found?

    The case of Anthony Flew is a curious one though - I was puzzled how so many Christian believers were so besides himself that he had apparently "converted" to Deism, given that Deism is almost as far from Christianity as Atheism is.

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  102. Grant's attempt to an argument ends with,

    "Or is "just add magic" a sufficient resolution to any philosophical quandary as far as you are concerned?"

    The problem is that there is no argument in your prose. You just make a claim that the theistic position is based on "...just add magic". You don't even attempt to substantiate your claim which boils down to an argument like... "Why do you belief in Santa we all know he does not exist?"

    If you want to call that an argument then you have to enjoy your make belief world where you create realities on behalf of any other conscious being that might want to interact with you. The problem with this should be obvious to you, but I am afraid you might not get it, because classic post modern reality does not care about logic and reality as long as it sound cool.

    If you like to attack the Theistic position have a go at The Kalam Cosmological Argument

    There are more Theistic arguments that require successful counter arguments and none of them relies on any form of magic... just pure logic.

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  103. Michael: A fundamental flaw to all the materialistic claims is that there is no observed mechanism achieving materialistic consciousness.

    Zachriel: That's called an argument from ignorance, a fallacy.

    Michael: You actually have to misrepresent my argument to come to any form of fallacy. My statement is pure materialistic logic. If you want to present materialism without mechanisms causing material effects then you undermine the entire materialistic view of reality.

    You didn't say that no mechanism existed. You said there is no *observed* mechanism. Your statement was quite clearly an argument from ignorance.

    Michael: I was simply stating the obvious... materialism needs a mechanism... and I stated that should such a mechanism be observed materialism would be vindicated.

    That's not what you stated. You stated that not knowing of such a mechanism, then materialism is flawed. Your new statement is that if such a mechanism is found, then materialism would be vindicated. This new statement may be overstated somewhat, but finding such a mechanism would tend to undermine the antimaterialist position.

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  104. Janfeld,

    If this statement is a sample of your commitment to reality;

    "Yes, I've considered Deism and looked into a little. Seems more of a philosophical stance obtained through reasoning than anything with any actual tangible evidence. On the other hand why go to any trouble 'looking' for a deity who doesn't seem to want to be found?"

    ...then I know that I don't need to take anything you say serious, for the simple reason that my prediction that you prefer the "...status quo for personal and emotional reasons."... is true.

    Since I like reality I have to include. The arguments that was put on the table by Antony Flew are all substantiated by evidence. Anyone that is aware of Antony Flew's original atheistic argument knows that it was all about evidence and his change of mind was again all about the evidence. Therefore... your dismissal sounds like a mentally lazy "bla bla bla, I like atheism because I say so."

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  105. Zachriel,

    I am going to give you the opportunity to read my words again. Maybe the highlighted text will help your flawed insight:

    A fundamental flaw to all the materialistic claims is that there is no observed mechanism achieving materialistic consciousness. Without presupposing the act of consciousness any materialistic argument is equivalent to a claim that two rocks on the beach is an algorithm executing 1+1=2. Intuitively we know that it is our minds that look at the rocks and assign algorithmic representation to it, the same with any computer however complex the algorithm being executed.

    This flaw can be overcome by simply observing a purely natural process that achieve consciousness without any prior conscious input. (A perfectly neutral position of the observer would help.)

    Would you be able to run your interpretation past me again? I really cannot take responsibility for what you made of my words.

    You actually have to buckle up and propose an experiment that might help us to observe matter turning into consciousness.

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  106. Micheal: You might care to notice that I asked for the provision of a mechanism for how adding God to the mix somehow solved the problem, and concluded with "OR does 'just add magic'..." as the alternative if no such mechanism is presented.

    Now would you care to do the presenting? OR... are you going to limit the theistic argument to "just add magic" solves the problem?

    As for Kalam... first premise is "Whatever begins to exist has a cause"

    Begging the question. The argument is supposed to be establishing that the universe required a cause and that that cause was God. You can't start by simply declaring it required one... therefore it had one.

    Any other easily disposed of logical fallacies you'd like me to look at?

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  107. Grant,

    You should be careful to create your own fallacies because it might put your own position on the horns of the false dilemma you created.

    It (...the universe began to exist etc.) is not simply a declaration it is a supported premise. The support for the premise is ...materialism. It should be clear to you if you were not so lazy. By supposing the alternative ...the universe had no cause... you successfully destroys materialism... is that what you want to do with your position?

    Try again and maybe try to use your God given intellect this time.

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  108. Kannon: I was brought up in a Jewish household believing in God, and accepted His existence without question, until, in 1967, I suddenly realized that there was no evidence for any of the claims of faith and became an instant atheist. It literally happened in a few minutes. … So his knowledge of truth is based on evidence. What is your knowledge of truth based on?

    First being religious is not the same as faith in God. Without giving you a theology lesson which you sorely lacked, I will just say that faith in God means that you “know” what you believe in and “why” you believe it. A few quick examples would be people like Simon Greenleaf, Lee Strobel and Hugh Ross, who became Christians after investigating the evidence.

    Second, you’ve completely missed the point of the OP. The point is not why atheists are so irrational as to believe in atheism. The point is that if Coyne is right then human beings are nothing more than a collection of atoms and chemical interactions then there is no such thing as consciousness and free will, the ultimate form of determinism. Every thought and action is the random result of chemical interactions inside a mindless skull. In essence he has no option but to say exactly what he said and I have no option but to say what I say. It is nothing more than a random set of chemical reaction between all mindless chimps.

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  109. Michael: I assure you I am in no danger from any dimemna's horns, but thank you for your concern.

    1. We were discussing the first, not the second, premise. And the first premise is blatantly begging the question. A detail you simply ignored in your response.

    2. If you want to discuss the second premise as well, that IS simply a totally unsupported declaration. I suggest you familiarize yourself with what the word "begin" means before continuing any further down this path. A beginning in this context must, by definition, occur *within* a span of time. Since the thing we are discussing (the universe) IS space/time, not simply some stuff floating around IN space/time... the claim that it began requires either re-defining what "begin" means to suit your own purposes... or claiming the existence of some kind of "supertime" within which the space/time of the universe we live in had a beginning. Which only creates an infinite regression of having to answer the question of the origins of the "supertime" and the "super supertime". And no, materialism does not in any way support the "the universe began to exist" claim.

    FYI: The act of assigning the "everything that begins has a cause" observed property of things inside the universe to the universe itself is also called the "Fallacy of Composition".

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  110. Childress: And can you please elaborate on, or even name, that mysterious third substance besides matter and energy that a human being (or anything else) is made of?

    Yes. It is called a mind. Read Beauregard and O’leary’s book on The Spiritual Brain.


    Childress: the question is whether or not the *current* properties of the system can be explained as a function of the system itself, (consciousness as a function of the brain, computation as a function of the computer.) … It's about how it works *now*.

    What consciousness? According to Coyne that is no such thing as consciousness. Can you put it in a test tube? Can we measure its molecular mass? Yes, how does it work, do you know?


    Childress: Now, I'm not convinced that *my* computer, a humble 8-core Mac Pro, is 'conscious' in any way, but that doesn't mean that no computer could be. We all still have to admit that we have no idea what causes consciousness, or even what it really is, so there's no reason to suppose that it couldn't be possible to make an artificial brain that is conscious, at least on some level.

    That is correct. From a materialist perspective you have no idea of how consciousness work or where it came from and yet it is there. The human mind and brain for that matter is more than just a collection of atoms. If we are no more than the sum of all our atoms then what makes each of our thoughts distinct. Shouldn’t the same configuration of chemical reaction produce the same thought? What are those sets of conditions? And most importantly if you were able to quantify a specific set of chemical reactions for a particular conscious thought, why should that particular collection of molecules produce that particular thought? The complete irrationality of material atheist is mind-boggling.

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  111. Grant,

    Your dilemma IS about the first premise (I did not intend the second)

    And materialism (i.e. a material view of everything, including space/time) is still the support for the first premise and if you bother to read the argument your follow up objections are also solved, including notions of "supertime" or "absolute time" like I would call it (Even though "absolute time" would be only tenable as a property of God being eternal).

    It is clear that you are so caught up in materialistic bounds that you might not be able to break free and see the logical dilemma that the Kalam argument solves.

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  112. It looks like tokyojim made many of the same points already. That’s what I get for coming into a conversation late. Ditto Jim.

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  113. Zachriel: Consciousness is not an illusion, but a sensation. Self-awareness has been shown to exist in several mammalian taxa, including primates, elephants and cetaceans.

    Zacho my buddy, consciousness is a sensation? What is a sensation? Is it an excitation of nerve cells? Self-awareness, is that some sort of molecular function? This is ridiculous you are using non-material description to describe another non-material phenomenon and attributing it to a material cause.

    Consciousness is more than just being self-aware and self-preservation. Consciousness has value, ethics, morality, creativity and abstract thinking as in mathematics. Ultimately we have no idea of what self-awareness really mean as far as these animals are concerned. Passing a mirror test does not necessarily mean that they have the same concept of self-awareness and value that we have. It is entirely possible that we are anthropomorphizing attributes to these animals that does not exist.

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  114. Grant,

    I almost forgot. You are very good at creating your own dilemmas. This one ends with you again destroying materialism:

    FYI: The act of assigning the "everything that begins has a cause" observed property of things inside the universe to the universe itself is also called the "Fallacy of Composition".

    What is your materialistic alternative to an infinite causal regress? You have to have something up your sleeve because you consistently deny materialistic options to explain reality.

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  115. John: Consciousness is not a property of single cells but rather an emergent property of brains, particular arrangements of neurons. Just as brilliant fiery luster, unparalleled hardness, and hefty price tag are emergent properties of a particular arrangement and bonding of carbon atoms that are not found in the single atom.

    Wow, and you said all that with a straight face? This is why atheists and Darwinists are so good at making up just so stories. The truth is that atheists have tiny Tinker Bells running in their blood stream so they are preprogrammed to come up with fairytales like this instead of working with real science.

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  116. Michael: "The arguments that was put on the table by Antony Flew are all substantiated by evidence. "

    OK, what evidence? Sure, you can make some inferences, but in terms of tangible quantifiable evidence is there really any? ID certainly has none other than a half-baked hypothesis.

    No, there's nothing to "like" or "dislike" about atheism. It is what it is. But I'd rather be honest about the evidence for gods or not, rather than subscribe to some dogma about something "out there" which has no really solid evidence. In the end I'd rather say "I don't know".

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  117. teleological blog,

    The thing is clever people can't see that "emergence" explains anything and is the perfect science stopper.

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  118. Janfeld,

    I am not going to copy Antony Flew's book in this blog. Get reading and tell me why you think his arguments are not based on hard evidence.

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  119. "ID is not anti-evolution and neither is YEC."

    Derick Childress:
    Joe, I'm having a hard time deciding if you're a real human or a random word generator.

    That must be because you are really ignorant.

    IOW you don't know what is being debated and you don't seem to understand the theory of evolution.

    Ya see Derick "evolution" is defined as the change in allele frequency over time- and both ID and YEC accept that.

    Here I will help you:

    Biological Evolution, what is being debated

    However it is a given that you will not understand it...

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  120. Janfeld:
    OK, what evidence? Sure, you can make some inferences, but in terms of tangible quantifiable evidence is there really any? ID certainly has none other than a half-baked hypothesis.

    And what does your position have?

    I bet you can't even produce a half-baked hypothesis...

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  121. Ritchie:
    And as for the link you provided, none of them show deliberate design in biology.

    Yes they do and the explanation/ reasoning was provided.

    Ritchie:
    You are merely taking (what you think are) problems with evolution, and then boldly concluding that if evolutionists can't explain it, it must have been design!

    That is false.

    ID is not anti-evolution.

    IOW you don't know what you are talking about.

    As I said each one- transcription, translation, alternative splicing, wet electricity, require knowledge.

    And the only thing we know capable of knowledge are intelligent agencies.

    Every observation and experience confirms that.

    Ritchie:
    That's not positive evidence.

    You wouldn't know what positive evidence was if it was right in front of you...

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  122. Joe G/ID gay, did you ever read a textbook on evolutionary biology? If so, which one?

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  123. tb wrote:
    "That is correct. From a materialist perspective you have no idea of how consciousness work or where it came from and yet it is there."

    You might want to take a gander at the books of Oliver Sacks, written from a materialist perspective.

    But I suspect you won't.

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  124. troy: gay, did you ever read a textbook on evolutionary biology? If so, which one?

    What do you being gay have anything to do with evo? But it might explain why you pulled a Katie Couric.

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  125. Smokey,

    I am going to guess, does Oliver Sacks's arguments rely on emergent properties of material systems because he can extrapolate... over extrapolate from some other claim about emergence being a property of nature... another "it explains everything and nothing at once" argument. Just guessing...

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  126. Smoker, make a case why I should read more fairytales from a guy with an overactive imagination.

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  127. No Micheal, the first premise of Kalam presents me with absolutely no dilemma. At all.

    Nothing in my worldview requires that the statement "whatever begins to exist has a cause" be true. It only requires that things that exist temporarily within the universe, with the observed laws of physics which pertain *within* that universe, have causes for their beginnings.

    And you have still not even attempted to address the simple and plain fact that Kalam is question begging by simply using it's premises to define the universe as possessing the attribute it is supposed to be trying to prove the universe posesses. Instead you just keep throwing up this smoke screen warning me of dire consequences for materialism if the first premise is rejected, which would be irrelevent to the argument being logically invalid in its construction even if your claim were true.

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  128. Grant,

    I have shown that both your claims of fallacies are incoherent and now you said exactly why it does not make sense. You clearly don't belief materialism needs an infinite causal regress, but you simply offer causality as a fuzzy temporal property popping out of nothing... that absolute kind of nothing.

    In that case I suppose you have created a "reality" for yourself where you will be right all the time because the cause pop out of no where at your bidding.

    For any of your supposed fallacies to stick you need to make an argument to support your lala claim about causality in a materialistic reality.

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  129. P.S. All self respecting materialists propose a causal regress to account for the cause of our universe... space time every thing. Think multi verse, quantum foam bla bla, all of which aim to maintain an illusion of a possible infinite causal regress. But you have out witted them all! Or you are just ignorant and arrogant.

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  130. teleological blog: consciousness is a sensation?

    As distinct from an illusion, as per the previous discussion.

    Michael: The thing is clever people can't see that "emergence" explains anything and is the perfect science stopper.

    Just saying "emergence" is not a scientific explanation. However, in response to the strawman that nerves don't think, it is reasonable to point out that the mind may be an emergent property of the brain.

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  131. diaper boy troy,

    I have read several books on biology, evolution and evoltionary biology.

    If you have any problems with me by all means come by my blog and we can have at it.

    I am more than ready, willing and able to put my knowledge of biology and evolution up against yours any and every day.

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  132. Micheal, you haven't even attempted to address the fallacy claims, let alone shown they are incoherent. You have simply avoided dealing with them at all while declaring that I shouldn't challenge the truth of the premises.

    And I didn;t offer causality as any type of anything. I simply pointed out a plain and simple fact. That things beginning require causes is an observed property of things that exist inside the universe. Extrapolating that to be a property of the universe itself is committing a fallacy of composition. And you haven't said a thing that changes that.

    And excuse me if I don't take you as an authority on what all "self respecting" materialists propose on the matter.

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  133. The way I undertand emergent properties is something along the lines of how the properties of a lot of molecules or atoms can be explained by the known properties of individual atoms or molecules. It is the shape of the individual molecules, for example, that lead to the shape of a crystal. To the best pf my knowledge, nothing sbout the properties of an individual neuron can explain some of the properties of the mind.

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  134. Grant,

    I have done my job in showing that you hold a foolish/irrational point of view regarding causality ...simply being a property of our universe. Both your alleged fallacies ("Begging the question" and "Composition") requires your premise about causality to be true, if it is NOT true both your fallacies disappear. Let us look at it again:

    Grant said and sticks to:

    "Nothing in my worldview requires that the statement "whatever begins to exist has a cause" be true. It only requires that things that exist temporarily within the universe, with the observed laws of physics which pertain *within* that universe, have causes for their beginnings.

    1. Causality is not the property being explained by the first premise of the Kalam Argument and therefore NOT begging the question. Your position simply deny the axiom that anything that begin has to have a cause, nothing you said supports your denial.

    2. Causality is not a property bounded by entities in our or any universe and therefore the Kalam Argument is not dependent on any property that is isolated to our universe... NO fallacy of composition exist.

    Since you are unable to defend your premise about causality and the fact that there is wide spread agreement among materialists that our universe, like any possible universe, requires a cause. I have to conclude that none of your objections against the Kalam Cosmological argument stand.

    And you are the one troubled by an imaginary "just add God" argument... when you live in the lala land where causality is a property of space-time. Wake up and realize that causality is a property of any type of reality that starts to exist in any possible universe.

    P.S. You are the first fool I came across that argue causality to be a bounded property of our physical universe.

    AND

    If you want to come back into the argument you have to defend your position on causality, because I have dealt with both your alleged fallacies.

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  135. AAARG!!!! THIS IS THE THIRD TIME I HAD TO WRITE THIS, SO I'LL DO IT SHORTLY!!!

    ZAC. YES, Buddhism may be atheistic, but we don't refer to Buddhists as Atheists, we refer to them as Buddhists. Why? because Atheism is an insufficient description of the Buddhist world view. "Buddhism" is more accurate. The same can be said for other forms of atheistic metaphysics.

    The only people who actually refer to themselves as atheists, are Materialists. (Ok ok, in a world of 6 billion, there might be exceptions, but I'm dealing with the rule here) They call themselves atheists, because they like the illusion it creates: They present themselves as more rational than those religious superstitious lot: They believe only what science can show .... and of cause what it will eventually show someday .... according to them. That is the whole problem: Because they cannot distinguish between science and materialism, they cannot accept that they too have a metaphysical believe system that is influencing their reasoning. Not only that, their metaphysical believe system has taken science prisoner, forcing it, sometimes even against empirical evidence, into the materialist box. ID is a perfect example. ID is growing, NOT because their case is rock solid - which it is - but because the counter arguments is so poor, and sometimes downright childish. Some people, if not most who criticize it, have never even read any ID books, they simply regurgitate the misrepresentations given to them by Darwinists. There are a handful of Darwinists that have made an honest attempt to refute ID, like Kenneth Miller, but their refutations fail.
    There is a lot of literature available on the internet to elaborate on this, but that is not the topic of this post.

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  136. Joe:

    "I have read several books on biology, evolution and evoltionary biology"

    I asked if you have read any textbooks on the subject. You know, of of them book-larnin books used at universities; not propaganda from the cdesign proponentsist crowd.

    Just name one you have read.

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  137. The thing is clever people can't see that "emergence" explains anything and is the perfect science stopper.


    Michael, I noticed that,too.

    when materialists can't explain something logically they call on Mr Emergence and Mrs Natural Selection.

    Lovely couple BTW

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  138. Hi,

    Sorry. I haven't had a chance to check all posts but would appreciate some thought on this point:

    'But if atheism (in addition to evolution) is true, then how could Coyne know it? For if atheism and materialism are true, then Coyne's brain is nothing more than a set of molecules in motion. Its various configurations are simply a consequence of its beginning, subsequent inputs, and some random motion here and there.'

    I don't know if anyone has addressed this issue, is there a fundamental logical flaw in this argument??
    For the purposes of rebutting Coyne you accept evolution as true. You then say this makes all facts, statements, knowledge of the world etc unreliable/untrue, yes?
    However, you then fail to apply that argument to your own view (all facts, statements, knowledge of the world etc unreliable/untrue), so your argument, whilst kinda of sound (I guess), fails to accept that your opinion is equally invalid under the circumstances you set out, therefore you cannot actually make an argument against? Very circular I know, but a valid point I think.. any thoughts?

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
  139. natschuster: To the best pf my knowledge, nothing sbout the properties of an individual neuron can explain some of the properties of the mind.

    That's right. There is no complete theory of mind. So? To say that because there is no such theory, there can't be such a theory, and to then insert a preferred metaphysic, is an argument from ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Hanno: YES, Buddhism may be atheistic, but we don't refer to Buddhists as Atheists, we refer to them as Buddhists. Why? because Atheism is an insufficient description of the Buddhist world view. "Buddhism" is more accurate.

    It's accurate, but not as precise.

    Hanno: The only people who actually refer to themselves as atheists, are Materialists.

    That is simply not true. You had tried to draw this inference.

    Hanno: So, Atheism does NOT just imply a lack of faith in God, it ALSO implies a believe in materialism, that is, that everything can ultimately be reduced to matter and energy.

    The inference only holds if all atheists are materialists. Just because your limited experience is such doesn't make it universal, so your claim doesn't hold. Instead of quibbling over category distinctions, just make your meaning clear in other words.

    Hanno: They present themselves as more rational than those religious superstitious lot: They believe only what science can show ...

    Not all atheists are stuck in scientism either. Perhaps you should argue against particular viewpoints. It may be more fruitful.

    Hanno: ID is a perfect example. ID is growing, NOT because their case is rock solid - which it is - but because the counter arguments is so poor, and sometimes downright childish.

    ID is not growing as a scientific enterprise. It never took root. As a political and social phenomena, it waxes and wanes.

    ReplyDelete
  141. troy,

    I have taken courses on evolutionary biology at a university.

    I received the highest grade in each of those courses.

    And who are you to ask questions of me?

    You have yet to demonstrate any knowledge whatsoever...

    ReplyDelete
  142. diaper boy troy:

    If you have any problems with me by all means come by my blog and we can have at it.

    I am more than ready, willing and able to put my knowledge of biology and evolution up against yours any and every day.


    What's wrong troy-boy- too chicken to take the challenge?

    ReplyDelete
  143. Joe G said...

    troy,

    I have taken courses on evolutionary biology at a university.


    Specifically what courses Joe, and at what university? What was the textbook used?

    I'm certain you're lying, but I'll give you a chance to prove me wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Joe G said...

    diaper boy troy:

    If you have any problems with me by all means come by my blog and we can have at it.

    I am more than ready, willing and able to put my knowledge of biology and evolution up against yours any and every day.

    What's wrong troy-boy- too chicken to take the challenge?


    Why do you insist it happen at that cesspool you call a blog, where you censor and have to approve every post before it even appears?

    Joe, why don't you defend your ideas at a neutral venue with no censorship, like TalkRational.org?

    We all know how badly you got your butt handed to you at ATBC the last time you had a tardgasm there.

    ReplyDelete
  145. @ Thornton... lmao... 'Tardgasm'!! I am so writing that down for future use...

    You have really brightened up my afternoon, thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  146. I have taken courses on evolutionary biology at a university.

    diaper boy:
    Specifically what courses Joe, and at what university? What was the textbook used?

    diaper boy I think it is funny that you think I have to answer to a dolt like you.

    And obviously I know more about this subject than you do.

    So I should be asking what is your training...

    ReplyDelete
  147. diaper boy:
    Why do you insist it happen at that cesspool you call a blog, where you censor and have to approve every post before it even appears?

    If my blog is a cesspool then it is that way because of you and your ilk.

    I allow all posts that are on-topic, and even your posts which are barely ever on-topic.

    And just how did I get my butt handed to me?

    Not one evotard has ever substantiated their claims...

    ReplyDelete
  148. As for tardgasms- that is all evotards are good for.

    IOW once again your projection is duly noted...

    ReplyDelete
  149. TBH Joe, if you have stated that you have been to university then it shouldn't be any problem to state which one. Evasiveness on that point just 'appears' sus, even if it is not.

    ReplyDelete
  150. evotard iantracy-

    I am not answerable to any anonymous internet evotard.

    Especially when they have been proven to be lying lowlifes.

    Also I do not want people checking up on me.

    I have already had evotards find where I work and send lie-filled emails to my employer.

    So if someone wants to know about me then they have to meet me.

    And if they don't want to do that then they have other reasons for prying.

    And in the end all you have to do is start substantiating the claims of your position. and diaper thorton has already been shown to not even understand the current theory of evolution.

    So his(?) motives are questionable at best...

    ReplyDelete
  151. @ Joe,

    I was just making a polite point, I'm sorry if you feel that I have any interest in your real life, I assure you I don't, I'm busy enough thanks.

    I do, however, take exception to you using the 'tard' reference at me. I haven't badgered you, heckled you or been rude. You have no reason to start making slights at me, thank you. I commented at Thornton merely because I thought 'tardgasm' was a funny euphemism in general.

    To reiterate, I am quite annoyed that you feel the need to be rude to me when you have not had any discourse with me. Nor do you have any idea how I feel on these subjects or know anything about me.

    Not a good way to engage with the public... any chance of a 'sorry' for that, Joe?

    ReplyDelete
  152. Haha, poor old Joe is worried we will track him down when he tells us what evolution textbook he read at university. Must be a rather unique book then.

    ReplyDelete
  153. diaper boy troy,

    If you have any issues with anything I have said about evolution or biology then please bring them up.

    If you think that I am wrong about something then by all means correct me with valid references.

    As for what evolutionary biology textbooks I have read- sorry but I didn't memorize the titles.

    However it is obvious that you don't have anything to say and can only badger people from the safety of your mother's house.

    ReplyDelete
  154. iantracy,

    What does TBH stand for?

    And if you are not an evotard then my apologies...

    ReplyDelete
  155. Still waiting for an apology Joe......lol
    Ian

    ReplyDelete
  156. TBH = To Be Honest...

    I don't want an apology that is dependant on my views. I was offended that you called names when you know nothing about me, please apologise for the use of evotard without caveats.
    I have no wish to be pigeonholed in this debate, the use of 'tard was out of order whatever my beliefs are. My views are based upon what I know and what logic I can draw from the world around. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  157. ian603: Still waiting for an apology Joe......lol

    I think you are the one that should apologize to Joe. The whole textbook and university line of questions were started as a disparaging attack on Joe’s intellectual integrity. When you jumped into the fray on the side of the “evotards” you have conjoin yourself with their attacks. Joe has no obligation to answer inquiries that was meant as disparaging attacks rather than productive inquiries.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Sorry TBlog, but I wasn't taking sides. I was pointing out that being secretive may appear suspicious.
    Joe gave his reasons for this in his reply to me and I don't have a problem with that; if he gets real life strife because of his views then I respect his, or anybody's right to be somewhat secretive in a public forum, however that may flavour other peoples views. What I took exception to was the language used and its direction at me when unwarrented. I have nothing to apologise for and I don't think Joe needs you to wade into this on his behalf. Anyway, end of discussion, Joe we can drop it there.

    ReplyDelete
  159. teleological blog -

    The university and textbook questions were reasonable and relevant in response to evaluate Joe G's professed expertise on the topic of evolutionary biology, given the fact that he himself made the claim to have taken a course in it. If he chooses not to answer them, that is his business, but he must live with the fact that his refusal throws a cloud over his boasts of familiarity with the issues in hand. But no-one should have to apologise for asking the questions in the first place.

    Name-calling, on the other hand, is childish, unhelpful, antagonistic, offensive and should have no place in adult debate. iantracy is indeed due an apology. His views on this, or any topic, and who these views align with, are irrelevant. If he debates with politeness then he should be shown the same curtesy.

    I am not throwing out accusations at anyone in particular, but I for one have noticed a recent trend for threads here to dissolve into name-calling and abuse, such as '-tard' and 'daiperboy'. It is off-putting for people who want a mature discussion, and should frankly be embarrassing for all concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Ritchie,

    You are completely wrong about the relevance of the textbook and university line of questioning. Only arguments on the table count and Joe's arguments are powerful and succinct.

    This line of questioning is equivalent to the fallacy of appeal to authority.

    The movie "Good Will Hunting" comes to mind including all the scenes where a self taught mathematician outsmarted arrogant scholars. The anti-ID bunch's reactions seems to be the same as the scorned "scholars" in that movie.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Michael -

    The point you seem to be making is that it was irrelevant for Joe G to bring up the fact that he'd taken a course in evolutionary biology in the first place - not necessarily a point I would argue with.

    If he has relevant points to add to the debate then all to the good, regardless of his background and education. But there is no excuse for simply being rude.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Ritchie,

    Why would you ignore the fact that he was asked about his scholarly background, upon which he mentioned his study? Which in my mind he should not have done.

    The anti-ID conduct is pure argumentative cowardice.

    On being rude or not... It is irrelevant to the argument even though it has rhetoric relevance and all sides makes use of this. For instance, I will call someone that consistently expose irrational arguments a fool. Should I be proven wrong I would apologize.

    ReplyDelete
  163. ian603: I wasn't taking sides.

    Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. You jumped in the middle of an attack on Joe’s intellectual integrity making the same demand of Joe as his attackers. It was no longer as simple as answering your question. You’ve allied yourself with Joe’s detractor whether it was your intention or not. If that really was not your intention then you need to be more careful next time.


    Ritch: The university and textbook questions were reasonable and relevant in response to evaluate Joe G's professed expertise on the topic of evolutionary biology, … Name-calling, on the other hand, is childish, unhelpful, antagonistic, offensive and should have no place in adult debate.

    Relevant? That’s rich. It was meant as an insult. Joe was already gracious enough to even answer the first question. Whatever Joe’s expertise is in the merits of his arguments. I don’t see any need for Joe to justify himself with his detractors.

    If you can’t take it then don’t dish it out. When you start demanding troy and thorton to apologize to Joe then maybe you have some merit in your demand. Ian603 as I said, if his true intention was not to insult then he should have made that clear and pointed out the questions were insulting to Joe, and in that context should not have even asked the question because he would have been a tool for Joe’s attackers. As it is Ian603 should apologize to Joe for intentionally/unintentionally for participating in attacking Joe’s intellectual integrity. And it wouldn’t hurt for you to apologize to Joe either for putting all the blame on Joe.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Michael -


    Why would you ignore the fact that he was asked about his scholarly background, upon which he mentioned his study?


    Because it is irrelevant to whether or not he is being rude. Being asked a personal question, Joe has every right to refuse, and that's fair enough. But not to hurl insults.


    On being rude or not... It is irrelevant to the argument even though it has rhetoric relevance and all sides makes use of this.


    Being rude makes for a tasteless and hostile discussion.


    For instance, I will call someone that consistently expose irrational arguments a fool. Should I be proven wrong I would apologize.


    I would endeavor not to do such a thing. I would merely try to show such a person the error of their own logic. Frankly, it baffles me that you are defending a choice to be abusive and rude. I thought being civil (at least in an ideal world) was a given in an adult discussion, and it troubles me that you apparently do not agree.

    teleological blog -


    Relevant? That’s rich. It was meant as an insult.


    That is how you have taken it. But even if you are correct, do two wrongs make a right?


    I don’t see any need for Joe to justify himself with his detractors.


    Do you see a need for him to be accountable for his insults?


    If you can’t take it then don’t dish it out.


    I certainly try to steer away from personal comments and I expect the same curtesy from those conversing with me. I would consider it shameful if I slipped on this.


    When you start demanding troy and thorton to apologize to Joe then maybe you have some merit in your demand.


    Perhaps Joe would like to ask for one? To my knoweldge he has not.


    Ian603 as I said, if his true intention was not to insult then he should have made that clear and pointed out the questions were insulting to Joe, and in that context should not have even asked the question because he would have been a tool for Joe’s attackers. As it is Ian603 should apologize to Joe for intentionally/unintentionally for participating in attacking Joe’s intellectual integrity.


    If Joe has taken offence, then let him speak up. iantracy did. He asked for an apology, and is in fact due one.


    And it wouldn’t hurt for you to apologize to Joe either for putting all the blame on Joe.


    I did no such thing. I agreed that Joe has been abusive to iantracy and as such should apologize for it. I then said threads on here are becoming abusive and hostile in general (which I believe they are) but did not heap all the blame for this on Joe.

    It honestly puzzles me that I am having to point out to appartant adults that name-calling and offensive remarks have no place in a civil discussion. Am I really alone in this? Does everyone else think it is perfectly acceptable to go around throwing such words as 'tard' at people they don't agree with? The mind boggles.

    ReplyDelete
  165. Ritchie.... see what you miss when you leave for a while?

    I think that's the first time I've agreed with everything you said....wow.... I'd better go have a beer.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Ritchie,

    Could you give me some pointers on what level of veiled insults and insinuations of stupidity would not count as being "abusive and rude"?

    Concluding that my example is condoning being "abusive and rude" does not compute. This is just another example of how not giving a person a favorable hearing also undermine any civil discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  167. Michael -

    Whilst there is no clear-cut line between what is abusive and rude and what is not, I hope we could all agree that pointless name-calling has crossed it.


    Concluding that my example is condoning being "abusive and rude" does not compute.


    Calling someone a fool, no matter how illogical their reasoning seems to be to you, is doing just that. If you are not making a point and simply want to insult someone, then the civil thing would be to say nothing at all.

    ReplyDelete
  168. I find it instructive that the anti-evolutionists here are defending a character who uses the epithet "diaper boy." when issuing content-free insult-laden posts.

    Evidently, they don't have anything constructive to offer in the way of discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  169. Ritch: That is how you have taken it. But even if you are correct, do two wrongs make a right?

    I’ve never said that, neither have I said hurling insults are acceptable. You’ve completely missed the point. What I am saying is that if you are going to insult someone and they insult you back, you have no standing to demand an apology. And that is why you should apologize to Joe for this unreasonable request.

    Let me just say Zachriel should be a model for you Darwinists to emulate. I’ve debated with Zach many times and he has always been civil, always wrong but always civil. It is sometimes even fun.

    ReplyDelete
  170. teleological blog -



    I’ve never said that, neither have I said hurling insults are acceptable.


    Then it is odd that you defend Joe G's name-calling.


    You’ve completely missed the point. What I am saying is that if you are going to insult someone and they insult you back, you have no standing to demand an apology.


    iantracy did not insult Joe, so this point is moot.


    And that is why you should apologize to Joe for this unreasonable request.


    I demand you apologize to me for demanding I apologise to him when iantracy asked for an apology. Are you going to demand an apology now from me for demandsing an apology from you for demanding an apology...

    I think you're letting your high horse run away with you on this whole 'demanding an apology' thing.


    Let me just say Zachriel should be a model for you Darwinists to emulate.


    Whilst I agree Zach is indeed a model of civility, why is he only a model for us? Do you imagine anti-evolutionists to be immune from impolite remarks? Is every individual ID advocate a paragon of politeness and civility?

    ReplyDelete
  171. Ritch: Then it is odd that you defend Joe G's name-calling.

    Can you point to the sentence where I said it was appropriate to name calling?


    Ritch: iantracy did not insult Joe, so this point is moot.

    Intentional or not, iant reinforced the insults of Joe’s detractors. You can turn a blind eye to that reality but that is what happened.


    Ritch: Are you going to demand an apology now from me for demandsing an apology from you for demanding an apology...

    Sure, are you apologizing? I’ll take it. :) The point is that you have a double standard.


    Ritch: Whilst I agree Zach is indeed a model of civility, why is he only a model for us? Do you imagine anti-evolutionists to be immune from impolite remarks?

    I take your point but I would not be able to consider Zach a model, he is so horribly wrong all the time. Can I/we have our own model on our side?

    ReplyDelete
  172. teleological blog -


    Can you point to the sentence where I said it was appropriate to name calling?


    You are defending Joe G, insisting he has nothing to apologise for and that it is he that is due apologies from iantracy and now me, apparently.


    Intentional or not, iant reinforced the insults of Joe’s detractors. You can turn a blind eye to that reality but that is what happened.


    And that make it appropriate for Joe to throw personal insults? Yes or no? If no, then iantracy is owed the apology he asked for.


    Sure, are you apologizing? I’ll take it.


    I am not.


    The point is that you have a double standard.


    It seems to me that you do.


    I take your point but I would not be able to consider Zach a model, he is so horribly wrong all the time. Can I/we have our own model on our side?


    You don't need to agree with what Zach says to observe and learn from the cool, rational and polite way Zach speaks.

    ReplyDelete
  173. Ritch: You are defending Joe G, insisting he has nothing to apologise for and that it is he that is due apologies from iantracy and now me, apparently.

    This is getting tiresome. This is your third time accusing me for something I have not said. I will give you one more chance to demonstrate in which comment and sentence where I said this. If you can’t then you owe me an apology for your despicable character assassination or you are just a despicable liar.


    Ritch: And that make it appropriate for Joe to throw personal insults? Yes or no? If no, then iantracy is owed the apology he asked for.

    Oh you want to setup a yes or no question. I will answer yours when you answer this one. Is it appropriate for iant603 to pile on with those who are insulting Joe and then demand that he apologizes for doing exactly what they are doing? Yes or no?


    Ritch: You don't need to agree with what Zach says to observe and learn from the cool, rational and polite way Zach speaks.

    Who do you think you are? You have no right to demand whom I choose to be my model.

    ReplyDelete
  174. Ritchie,

    My arguments stand or fall on the data and evidence, not on what my education is.

    The reason I brought it up is because some anonymous evo!@#$ asked me about it.

    ReplyDelete
  175. Joe -


    My arguments stand or fall on the data and evidence, not on what my education is.


    Yes, that's true. I didn't claim otherwise. I was chastising you for being rude to iantracy, not for not answering the questions about your course.


    The reason I brought it up is because some anonymous evo!@#$ asked me about it.


    *sigh* Can you just try NOT hurling insults for once? Abusing others is counter-productive to adult discussion, makes for a hostile thread, and though you may not see it, reflects extremely poorly on you as a person.

    People who accept evolution are not beneath you. You are not intrinsically better than them. They are your equals and just as deserving of curtesy as you are.

    ReplyDelete
  176. teleological blog -


    This is getting tiresome.


    On that we are agreed.


    I will give you one more chance to demonstrate in which comment and sentence where I said this.


    Count back to your fifth previous post:

    You quoted iantracy as saying: "Still waiting for an apology Joe......lol"

    And then responded with: "I think you are the one that should apologize to Joe."

    Why should ian be THE ONE that should apologise?


    If you can’t then you owe me an apology for your despicable character assassination or you are just a despicable liar.


    See previous remarks re. running away with this whole demanding an apology thing.


    Oh you want to setup a yes or no question. I will answer yours when you answer this one. Is it appropriate for iant603 to pile on with those who are insulting Joe and then demand that he apologizes for doing exactly what they are doing? Yes or no?


    That is not what happened. Asking a personal question is not nearly the same as just lobbing insults and names.


    Who do you think you are? You have no right to demand whom I choose to be my model.


    I am not demanding anything. And I fail to see what led you to take my comment as such, unless it was a wilful desire to take offense at whatever I say...

    ReplyDelete
  177. Ritch: Count back to your fifth previous post:

    You quoted iantracy as saying: "Still waiting for an apology Joe......lol"

    And then responded with: "I think you are the one that should apologize to Joe."

    Why should ian be THE ONE that should apologise?


    Are you being deliberately obtuse? I’ve explained more than once why ian should apologize.

    But this is not the point is it? You accused me 3 times of saying things that I have not said.
    1. “you defend Joe G's name-calling”
    2. “tb: As it is Ian603 should apologize to Joe for intentionally/unintentionally for participating in attacking Joe’s intellectual integrity.” , rit: “That is how you have taken it. But even if you are correct, do two wrongs make a right?”
    3. “You are defending Joe G, insisting he has nothing to apologise”

    1. I never defended anyone’s name calling.
    2. I never said two wrongs make a right.
    3. I never said Joe has nothing to apologize for.

    Since you have not produce any evidence for your despicable character assassination and you have not apologized to me then I have to conclude that you are just a despicable liar.

    Until you apologize for your despicable behavior I will not waste anymore time with you.

    ReplyDelete
  178. What was this thread about again?

    ReplyDelete
  179. teleological blog -


    Are you being deliberately obtuse? I’ve explained more than once why ian should apologize.


    I meant why should he be THE ONE to apologise - ie, not joe?


    1. “you defend Joe G's name-calling”


    Which is what you are doing.


    2. “tb: As it is Ian603 should apologize to Joe for intentionally/unintentionally for participating in attacking Joe’s intellectual integrity.” , rit: “That is how you have taken it. But even if you are correct, do two wrongs make a right?”


    What? Where's the character assassination in that?!?!


    3. “You are defending Joe G, insisting he has nothing to apologise”


    Again, you are.


    Since you have not produce any evidence for your despicable character assassination and you have not apologized to me then I have to conclude that you are just a despicable liar.


    I appreciate this game of yours of taking offense and playing the victim to obfuscate who is in the right or wrong here is fun for you, but it is getting ever-so boring.

    This childish name-calling and blind insulting is spoiling this blog. Can't we as adults just agree to be civil whatever our views and try to work through our differences of opinion rather than just digging in our heels and playing the blame game?

    Because when we don't this happens!


    Until you apologize for your despicable behavior I will not waste anymore time with you.


    Whistle for it.

    ReplyDelete
  180. Ritchie,

    I treat people as they treat me and others.

    So if you see me being rude to someone it is because they deserve it.

    I am not a christian and do not turn so that I can have my other cheek whacked.

    I hit back.

    And BTW I accept evolution.

    You seem to have an issue with accepting that ID is not anti-evolution...

    ReplyDelete
  181. Joe G -

    Your conduct is your own. I have said my piece, and there's only so many times I can bang my head against a wall before even I get tired, so I think I'll leave it there for now.

    On your last point, believe me I do understand that ID is not necessarily anti-evolution. But it does seem to me that there are many here who have varying levels of acceptance of evolution. Has life evolved at all? Has all of life evolved from a single common ancestor? Can different sub-species evolve from a single ancestor? Can different species? Can different genera? Can different families, orders, classes, phylum, kingdoms...? Where do you draw the line?

    Or is it that certain FEATURES may be the product of evolution, and some absolutely cannot be?

    These matters I do not know the official ID position on - or even if there is one. To me it more seems like the God of the Gaps logic of: 'Everything that evolution can explain is fine, but the bits it hasn't yet we'll say are the work of an intelligent intervening agent.'

    Perhaps you could enlighten me here?

    ReplyDelete
  182. Ritchie,

    You are correct.

    My conduct is my own and I have always been a counter-puncher.

    That's me.

    You ay:
    But it does seem to me that there are many here who have varying levels of acceptance of evolution.

    What does that mean?

    How are you defining evolution?

    Ya see that is part of the problem- "evolution" has several meanings.

    And people have exploited that with the propaganda that ID and Creation do not allow any change at all.

    I have tried to captue what is being debated:

    Biological Evolution, what is being debated

    When Dr Hunter speaks of "evolution" he is referring to #6.

    However when people hear that they think/ infer that no change takes place.

    So read my blog on the subject and you will have a very good idea...

    ReplyDelete
  183. Joe -


    My conduct is my own and I have always been a counter-puncher.

    That's me.


    And on your head be it.


    Ya see that is part of the problem- "evolution" has several meanings.


    Yes, that is true. Though I have a few problems with the list you present in your link:

    For one thing, the word 'evolution' has many meanings outside biology. From Wiki: 'There are also evolutionary economics, evolution of languages, evolution of networks, and many other fields of science where systems evolve by quasi-random generation and selection of individuals within a population.'

    When talking about biology, however, it is 'the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations.' (wiki again)

    Several scientists postulated ways on excatly how organisms changed their inherited traits. Darwin was such a man. His idea was evolution through natural selection. This particular theory has grown and become so synonymous with biological evolution that it is often shortened to just 'evolution'.

    So yes, the word 'evolution' may refer to several things. But your list appears to be drawing rather odd distinctions.

    For example the distinction between universal common ancestors and limited common ancestors. These are not equally scientifically legitimate. Universal common ancestry is backed by a lot of evidence. Limited common ancestry is not.

    But my main gripe is with point 6. The entire point seems to hinge on evolution happening via 'undirected, materialistic processes'.

    Now here's a key point I really cannot stress enough - all science is built on the principle that the universe operates on natural, materialistic processes. The whole of science is materialistic. The theory of gravity is built on materialistic principles. Germ theory is built on materialistic principles. Every theory in every field is built on materialistic principles. The theory of evolution through natural selection is also built on materialistic principles too... because it is a scientific theory!

    Any theory which was NOT materialistic would not be a scientific theory. It's that simple.

    That said, I do accept that ID-ers can accept points 1-5 and still be ID-ers. But, correct me if I'm wrong here, ID is utterly dependant on the intervention of an intelligent designer. The extent of this intervention can of course vary from accounting for practically nothing to practically everything. And since we have absolutely no evidence of such intervention, we cannot narrow this down any further. So I still see this as God of the Gaps logic.


    And people have exploited that with the propaganda that ID and Creation do not allow any change at all.


    Some ID-ers and creationists will allow a great deal of change through evolution. Some will allow virtually none. We cannot state how much this 'intelligent designer' has intervened in biology because we have absolutely no evidence of such intervention.

    By the way, who is Rich Hughes?

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  184. Went away for the weekend.,.. back now.

    Look Zach, it is fairly clear you don't understand how the logical fallacies in question work, since neither one of them relies in even the slightest way on the premises involved being true or false. That is a seperate consideration. These fallacies are faults in the construction of an argument, not in the truth value of the premises. It DOES NOT MATTER if the premises are true or false, the argument is still constructed in such a way that it both begs the question it is attempting to prove and commits the fallacy of composition by applying a property of objects within the universe to the universe itself without providing justification for doing so.

    If you cannot understand that then this discussion is futile.

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  185. Grant: Look Zach, it is fairly clear you don't understand how the logical fallacies in question work ...

    You may want to be a bit more specific.

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  186. Ritchie:
    Yes, that is true. Though I have a few problems with the list you present in your link:

    For one thing, the word 'evolution' has many meanings outside biology.


    Two points:

    1- The list was approved by evolutionary biologists

    2- We are talking about biology

    Ritchie:
    For example the distinction between universal common ancestors and limited common ancestors. These are not equally scientifically legitimate. Universal common ancestry is backed by a lot of evidence. Limited common ancestry is not.

    That is laughable.

    Universal common ancestry doesn't have any support at all beyond imagination.

    Ritchie:
    But my main gripe is with point 6. The entire point seems to hinge on evolution happening via 'undirected, materialistic processes'.

    And I have supported that:

    blind, undirected chemical processes

    As for materialism- that is te principle that evevrything is reducible to matter and energy.

    And science just cares about reality, nothing more.

    And ID does not require any intervention beyond setting up the initial conditions and providing the targeted search algorithms and resources.

    And there is evidence for such a thing...

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  187. Joe G:

    "And ID does not require any intervention beyond setting up the initial conditions and providing the targeted search algorithms and resources.

    And there is evidence for such a thing... "

    The suspense is almost unbearable. Please Joe, show us the evidence.

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  188. troy,

    Why don't you produce the positive evidence for your position?

    Talking about unbearable suspense...

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  189. Joe G:

    "troy,

    Why don't you produce the positive evidence for your position?"

    Among other places, it's in that evolution textbook you read in uni, remember? What was the title again...please help me out here. What part of that textbook do you disagree with, and why?

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  190. troy,

    There isn't any evidence in any textbook supporting blind, undirected chemical processes.

    There isn't even a testable hypothesis for such a position.

    That is the whole problem- if it was in textbooks you should be able to present it here.

    But all you have are ignorance filled negative attacks on ID.

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  191. Joe G -


    That is laughable.

    Universal common ancestry doesn't have any support at all beyond imagination.


    ... and the fact that all life on Earth is built out of the same statistically improbable genetic code - DNA?


    ...And I have supported that:


    No, my point was not that evolution is unguided, it was that ALL SCIENCE is materialistic. If you're theory's not materialistic, it's not science.


    As for materialism- that is te principle that evevrything is reducible to matter and energy.

    And science just cares about reality, nothing more.


    The first is true, the second is not. There are assumptions it is necessary to make in order to perform science. And materialism is one of them.


    And ID does not require any intervention beyond setting up the initial conditions and providing the targeted search algorithms and resources.


    So you don't oppose the prospect that from that initial point onwards, the whole of life on Earth evolution via natural selection without intervention from some Intelligent Designer?


    And there is evidence for such a thing...


    Such as...?

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  192. Ritchie:
    ... and the fact that all life on Earth is built out of the same statistically improbable genetic code - DNA?

    Common design and convergence can explain it.

    No, my point was not that evolution is unguided, it was that ALL SCIENCE is materialistic. If you're theory's not materialistic, it's not science.

    You are not in any position to make that declaration.

    As for materialism- that is te principle that evevrything is reducible to matter and energy.

    And science just cares about reality, nothing more.



    The first is true, the second is not.

    They are both true. And again you are not in any position to say otherwise.

    There are assumptions it is necessary to make in order to perform science. And materialism is one of them.

    That is false.

    So you don't oppose the prospect that from that initial point onwards, the whole of life on Earth evolution via natural selection without intervention from some Intelligent Designer?

    Natural selection is only a minor player.

    Targeted searches would be the norm in a design scenario.

    And the evidence is the same evidence I have linked to.

    It doesn't go away because you ignore it.

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  193. Joe G -


    Common design and convergence can explain it.


    Not scientifically it couldn't. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't common design suffer from the same problem as Intelligent Design - the lack of a designer?


    You are not in any position to make that declaration.


    What an odd thing to say. My statement is true whether you like it or not - all of science is materialistic. If you do not want to hear it from me, would you hear it from such eminent and respected scientists/philosophers as Daniel Dennett, Willard Van Orman Quine, Donald Davidson, John Rogers Searle or Jerry Fodor?


    They are both true. And again you are not in any position to say otherwise.


    Stop telling me I'm in no position to say otherwise. It's like you're telling me I have no right to an opinion. My opinion is just as valid as yours, thank you!

    Science does not just care about 'reality, nothing more'. There are certain methods of acquiring knowledge that are scientific and ones that are not.

    Imagine I have a mystery. I write each possible explanation down on a piece of paper and put them all into a big bag. I blindly draw a piece of paper. Basically, I have randomly chosen an answer. This answer just happens to be the correct one. Now, have I just performed science? I have arrived at a truth about the world, but is my method of getting there scientific? Clearly not.


    That is false.


    It is not.

    Perhaps you would care to show me. I am a scientist doing my experiments. Now, let's imagine I allow for the occurrence of miracles. How do I know that a miracle hasn't occurred in the course of my experiment? How can I trust the result of my own experiment? You tell me.


    Natural selection is only a minor player.


    What would be a bigger player?


    Targeted searches would be the norm in a design scenario.


    Pardon?


    And the evidence is the same evidence I have linked to.

    It doesn't go away because you ignore it.


    Where have you linked to it? Link to it again, please.

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  194. Common design and convergence can explain it.

    Ritchie:
    Not scientifically it couldn't.

    Of course it could, scientifically.

    Ritchie:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't com
    mon design suffer from the same problem as Intelligent Design - the lack of a designer?


    The way to the designer is through the design.

    That is how it works.

    You are not in any position to make that declaration.

    Ritchie:
    What an odd thing to say. My statement is true whether you like it or not - all of science is materialistic.

    How are you defining "materialistic"?

    The way the wrod is generally used means evevrything can be reduced to matter and enegy.

    And that is philosphy, not science.

    They are both true. And again you are not in any position to say otherwise.

    Ritchie:
    Stop telling me I'm in no position to say otherwise. It's like you're telling me I have no right to an opinion. My opinion is just as valid as yours, thank you!

    Science does not just care about 'reality, nothing more'. There are certain methods of acquiring knowledge that are scientific and ones that are not.


    As long as you understand it is only your opinion.

    I have had plenty of scientists tell me that science is about reality.

    Ya see if it isn't reality then it is science-fiction.

    Perhaps you would care to show me. I am a scientist doing my experiments. Now, let's imagine I allow for the occurrence of miracles. How do I know that a miracle hasn't occurred in the course of my experiment? How can I trust the result of my own experiment? You tell me.

    Again this all depends on how YOU define materialism.

    Natural selection is only a minor player.


    What would be a bigger player?

    NS is only a minor player now.


    Targeted searches would be the norm in a design scenario.


    Pardon?

    You have never heard of a targeted search?

    Do you have any idea what ID is all about?

    And the evidence is the same evidence I have linked to.

    It doesn't go away because you ignore it.



    Where have you linked to it? Link to it again, please.

    Intelligent Design in Biology Textbooks

    Intelligent Design In Biology Textbooks Continued

    More evidence for ID in Biology- The ribosome is a genetic compiler

    More Evidence for Intelligent Design- Wet Electricity

    "The Privileged Planet"- revisited

    Factors required for Complex Life

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  195. The 2004 Encyclopedia Britannica says science is “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws.”

    “A healthy science is a science that seeks the truth.” Paul Nelson, Ph. D., philosophy of biology.

    Linus Pauling, winner of 2 Nobel prizes wrote, “Science is the search for the truth.”

    “But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding.” Albert Einstein

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  196. Joe G -



    The way to the designer is through the design.

    That is how it works.


    It is how ID works... ie, not scientifically.

    You need to be able to propose a possible designer for ID and common design to fly.


    How are you defining "materialistic"?

    The way the wrod is generally used means evevrything can be reduced to matter and enegy.


    That seems a serivceable definiton - though I was stressing the 'rejection of the supernatural' element. Supernatural claims, such as disease being the result of demonic possession, or thunder being the anger of Zeus, or life being kick-started by God, are unscientific. Not necessarily wrong, but unscientific.


    And that is philosphy, not science.


    It is philosophy OF science.


    Again this all depends on how YOU define materialism.


    I don't think it does. I am a scientist. I have just done an experiment. How do I know if a miracle occurred in the course of my experiment? That is my question to you. A question no-one who actually advocates allowing miracle-claims into science seems to be able to answer.


    NS is only a minor player now.


    So what would be a bigger player now?


    You have never heard of a targeted search?


    I can't say I'm sure what one is. It sounds like something you'd put into a search engine. What does it mean in the context of ID?


    Do you have any idea what ID is all about?


    The faceteous side of me wants to say: 'making Creationism seem more palatable'. Are you about to tell me it is all about target searches?

    As for your links, well they seem to be just your own personal blogs misunderatanding various aspects of biology and inferring the God of the Gaps logic to drive your preferred interpretation. Can you link me directly to a scientific journal which supports the claim you made that there is evidence of and intelligent designer 'setting up the initial conditions and providing the targeted search algorithms and resources' of life?

    As for your last quotes, well the first one flatly contradicts your interpretation of science which it says 'unbiased observations and systematic experimentation'. Again experimentation is useless if miracles happen. As for the others, well it is true, science IS about the search for truth, of course, but not, as you seem to take it, by ANY means. There are scientific means and there are non-scientific ones.

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  197. @Zach: "You may want to be a bit more specific. "

    How could I possibly be more specific? We've discussed exactly two fallacies. I said you didn't understand how they worked and explained the nature of your misunderstanding. Where does that leave any room for ambiguity in what I'm referring to?

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  198. Grant: How could I possibly be more specific?

    Perhaps by quoting or linking to the comment at issue. A review of your posts seems to indicate you were having a conversation with Michael.

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  199. This comment has been removed by the author.

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