Wednesday, February 9, 2011

John Lynch on The Voyage that Shook the World

The National Center for Science Education, whose mission is to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools, recently published a review of the film Darwin: The Voyage that Shook the World. The review was written by John Lynch, an evolutionary biologist and historian of science, and Jim Lippard, a student, both at Arizona State University. Aside from misrepresenting science, the review also misrepresents my views and contribution to the film. Lynch and Lippard write:

Near the end of the film, it is stated that in Darwin’s time, science was only beginning to emerge from philosophy, and that Darwin’s project was philosophical and anti-religious as much as it was scientific.

Lynch and Lippard then suggest that this position was probably inspired by me. I was of course surprised to read such a blatant misrepresentation of my view. After all, I have written several books, websites, and blogs on the fact that evolution entails religious and metaphysical premises.

In fact, in the film I made this quite clear. Near the end of the film, I stated that:

150 years later, it is clear that Darwin’s theory of evolution is really not about science, it’s about god.

How could the historian of science Lynch possibly foul this up. Not only did I not say Darwin’s project was anti-religious, I clearly and unambiguously stated the exact opposite. Darwin’s writings are chocked full of religious and metaphysical concerns and arguments. And they build on religious sentiment that had been influencing studies of the nature for two centuries leading up to Darwin. But Lynch is an evolutionist, and for evolutionists the warfare thesis is standard fare. Religion drives science, and it matters.

173 comments:

  1. How could the historian of science Lynch possibly foul this up. Not only did I not say Darwin’s project was anti-religious, I clearly and unambiguously stated the exact opposite.

    Dr Hunter, you are right to complain, but the originality of your message apparently did not come through in the anti-evolutionist context of the film. Guilt by association is enhanced by your Discovery Institute and Biola University affiliations. Moreover, your statement in the film:

    150 years later, it is clear that Darwin’s theory of evolution is really not about science, it’s about god.

    could be interpreted as an affirmation of special creation by a deity. Do you see the ambiguity in that statement?

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  2. "How could the historian of science Lynch possibly foul this up? Not only did I not say Darwin’s project was anti-religious, I clearly and unambiguously stated the exact opposite. Darwin’s writings are chocked full of religious and metaphysical concerns and arguments."

    Quite easily I am afraid. I have taken a course in evolution by a theology professor at the University of Toronto. He did not realize that when evolutionists argue against a designer by critiquing the configuration of biological systems that they were metaphysical arguments. If a theology professor can not differentiate a theological argument argument from a scientific one then it must be a fine distinction. At least too fine for those that accept evolution. The acceptance of evolution must therefore say something about ones mental faculties.
    .

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  3. Wowza! If Lynch really implied that Hunter thinks that Darwin's project was not essentially religious, he not only isn't a good historian of science, he isn't much of a reader or listener either.

    Everyone who follows the story knows that Hunter is the House Bore on this very subject.

    I suspect, however, that years of distorting all kinds of things could play Darwin lobbyists false.

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  5. CH: How could the historian of science Lynch possibly foul this up.

    Cornelius,

    The problem is that, despite your claims to the contrary, your focus on evolution as "religious" correlates with attack on scientific theories that could be interpreted as having anti-fundamental Christian theological views.

    If we take your claims regarding metaphysics seriously, in that we assume it is true in reality and that your position on all scientific theories must conform to it, then science as a whole would be bad. But your not making the same claims about other fields. Something does't add up.

    For example, if gravity is single natural force, it cannot be a direct cause of God. How does this not qualify as a metaphysical claim? Most likely, you consider it a secondary cause of God, but this would still exclude it as a first cause of God. You can't have it both ways. As such, we would expect you to claim gravity is bad science as well; it's impossible for physicists to objectively evaluate the evidence of falling apples and orbiting planets, etc. However, this has yet to occur.

    Since this explanation has failed to explain your actions, in reality, what else could explain your exclusion of evolution, but not gravity?

    The obvious difference is that gravity as non-direct cause of God doesn't conflict with your theological view, while evolution does.

    In other words, the use of metaphysics as your criteria for good science is indefensible as an explanation because if literarily fails to explain your own behavior. It's a bad explanation.

    Adding metaphysics to the mix doesn't explain why the scientific theories you reject as bad science clearly correlate with those that conflict with fundamental Christian theological views on biological complexity.

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  6. The review says: "Near the end of the film, it is stated that in Darwin’s time, science was only beginning to emerge from philosophy, and that Darwin’s project was philosophical and anti-religious as much as it was scientific (a position probably inspired by Cornelius Hunter, who appears in the documentary identified as a “Molecular Biophysicist & Author” rather than as the Fellow of the Discovery Institute that he is)."

    Apparently Lippard and Lynch think that if you are a fellow at the Discovery Institute that you have no degree. Clearly they are in the intellectual bush league.

    .

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  7. "Apparently Lippard and Lynch think that if you are a fellow at the Discovery Institute that you have no degree. Clearly they are in the intellectual bush league."

    I don't think they said that, did they?

    Clearly, this is part of a larger point they are making-that the 'experts' in the film are employees of Creation Ministries International or the Discover Institute, that are never identified as such, and "the film uses on-screen credentials that put recognized experts with well-established reputations on a par with relative unknowns who haven’t established their reputations."

    As for the original post, I can see the confusion. Hunter clearly points out evolution is religiously motivated, for example here:

    "3. Does modern science rely on religious assumptions?

    Yes, it relies on metaphysical assumptions such as uniformity and parsimony. Compared to this evolution's religious assumptions are greater in scope and they are non Christian.

    http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/816

    So if Darwin was motivated by religion, but that religion was anti- or non-Christian, it doesn't take much of a slip to call him motivated by anti-religion. We've argued that parsimony and uniformity aren't really religion here before, but Hunter assures us "evolution's religious assumptions are greater in scope and they are non Christian." Maybe the authors of this review just fail to get what exactly these assumptions are, and why they wouldn't fall into equally well be labeled anti-Christian or anti-religious than religious.

    Curiously, on the same page, we're told "An infinite regress is required only when one assumes there is no God" in response to: "Doesn't ID require an infinite regress? If the existence of complexity requires a designer, then doesn't the designer require yet another designer? "

    Is this a metaphysical/religious assumption? By the way, does moderate empiricism require a Christian to suspend their beliefs, or just acknowledge they exist?

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  8. Permit me to ramble a bit:

    Would it be better to say that the arguments for Darwin's theory are theodicean, that is an attempt to explain the evil in the natural world?

    Then again, bad designs are not necessarily evil designs.

    Maybe all this boils down to how we distinguish religion from metaphysics. I have accepted Dr. Hunter's arguments in my own mind by making metaphysics synonymous with religion.

    So how would one classify arguments that assert that evolution is true because God wouldn't have created the world the way we find it: religious, anti-religious, theodicean, or metaphysical?

    Or maybe non-scientific?

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  9. Doublee said....

    So how would one classify arguments that assert that evolution is true because God wouldn't have created the world the way we find it: religious, anti-religious, theodicean, or metaphysical?


    Best classified as "nonsensical Creationist strawman", because no one in the scientific community makes that argument.

    The actual argument made is that there's no logical reason for an omnipotent God to make barely functioning, kluged together designs that look like they evolved.

    That has quite a different meaning that the strawman Cornelius and the other IDCers keep pushing.

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  10. Clearly, this is part of a larger point they are making-that the 'experts' in the film are employees of Creation Ministries International or the Discover Institute...

    Ironically that only proves what Hunter has been saying all along, Darwinists are more interested in philosophy and theology than science. That's why they have a fetish for seeking it out in others and so on.

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  11. The actual argument made is that there's no logical reason for an omnipotent God to make barely functioning, kluged together designs that look like they evolved.

    There may be no logical reason to make something like you but there certainly are artistic reasons. After all, if I were telling a story I would be sure to include stupidity so one would need some rather useful idiots like Darwinists. And of course one would have to include the material of satire as well, that is simply too good to pass up as well. So it may make sense to evolve something barely functioning, kluged together and ridiculous like you after all.

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  12. oleg:

    ===
    The review makes only a passing reference to you, Cornelius, and it qualifies the connection as "probable."
    ===

    Oleg is probably behind the flat earth movement. No problem right, aftera all I said "probably."


    ===
    I am curious why you have not commented on the salient points of the review. Do you agree with it for the most part and just have one nit to pick?
    ===

    No there are plenty of other problems with the review -- its constant return to the warfare thesis, its misrepresentation of the science, etc -- standard evolutionary fare.

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  13. ...and "the film uses on-screen credentials that put recognized experts with well-established reputations on a par with relative unknowns who haven’t established their reputations."

    No one interested in the truth cares anymore. Darwinists sacrificed their scientific reputations for the sake of their creation myths long ago so it's little wonder that they assume that everyone else must be doing the same thing. This applies to biologists to the point that historians are led to question their scientific "reputation":...amounts to an attack on science (since Darwinism is deemed scientific, at least among biologists)...
    (The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler by Andre Pichot :49)
    Evolutionists have demonstrated that they're willing to bring science into disrepute in order to promote their creation myths and pseudo-science, yet they want act like they're the arbiters of respectability?

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  14. "Clearly, this is part of a larger point they are making-that the 'experts' in the film are employees of Creation Ministries International or the Discover Institute...

    Ironically that only proves what Hunter has been saying all along, Darwinists are more interested in philosophy and theology than science. That's why they have a fetish for seeking it out in others and so on."

    Could you elaborate? I'm not sure I see the irony, or the proof of that point. Is it not relevant to this critique that the actual credentials of many interviewed on the anti-evolution side were obscured? Is is fetishist to point out that they are not nearly the experts in the field as those they are trying to rebut?

    "I have accepted Dr. Hunter's arguments in my own mind by making metaphysics synonymous with religion."

    Ok. I suppose uniformity would assume that Loki, god of mischief, doesn't alter constants mid-experiment, in ways I cannot perceive. Am I anti-Lokian (and in your mind, is this now a religion?) The critique gets reduced to silliness, if we say the assumption that a demon didn't plant evidence in a trial is something we must contemplate, and to ignore it is religious (and so we disregard forensics in law-enforcement?) Is it religious not to present Pat Robertson's view of the formation of Hurricane Katrina in earth sciences.

    Suppose grant metaphysics has religion implications, and therefore all science has religious assumptions. Does this change things? How would you instruct a jury in light of this? Not guilty because of underlying metaphysical assumption?

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  15. Doublee:

    ===
    So how would one classify arguments that assert that evolution is true because God wouldn't have created the world the way we find it: religious, anti-religious, theodicean, or metaphysical?
    ===

    Evolutionary arguments entail premises about the nature of god. You can read this in the 17th and 18th c literature, you can read it in the 19th c. literature including Darwin's writings, you can read it in literature that came after Darwin, right up to today.

    But just as evolutionists want to believe that criticism of evolution derives from religious opposition that cares not for science, so too creationists want to believe that evolution derives from "anti-religious" sentiment.

    Now there is some truth to both these views. But both are mistaken. I discuss this here:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/01/enduring-warfare-thesis-theses.html

    What is interesting is that these warfare theses are strong attractors for both the evolution and creation camps. So they both congregate about their respective myths. If you want to understand the debate you need to take an objective, historical-scientific view. But most commentators (including historians) are too involved and committed to particular views to achieve such objectivity. Lynch is yet another unfortunate example of this.

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  17. I still don't understand how theistically underlined metaphysics can play a roll in convincing or commiting people when the majority of these people (evolutionary biologists) are atheists.

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  18. CH,
    Considering the absurdity of your arguments, and the fact that you are a very poor writer, Lynch's misunderstanding is not surprising.

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  19. Could you elaborate? I'm not sure I see the irony, or the proof of that point.

    I'm not sure you can see anything at this point but the evidence is all around you. Darwinists are generally more interested in philosophy and theology than a rigorously specified scientific theory that can be verified or falsified based on actual empirical evidence. That's why their main blogs are called "the pandas thumb" and so on. And that's why they have a fetish for seeking out the theology of others even as they are blind to their own thanks to their historical, philosophical and theological ignorance. It's interesting that people that often demonstrate their abject ignorance in these matters not only claim to speak for scientia/knowledge but feel that they are the arbiters of credibility and reputation.

    Is it not relevant to this critique that the actual credentials of many interviewed on the anti-evolution side were obscured?

    What scientific critique? When it comes to evolutionary creation myths the only critique there is in general, is one of philosophy and theology. These things are more important than science to be sure, yet when people are ignoramuses with respect to philosophy they tend to become hypocrites. So when they make their philosophical arguments about panda's thumbs and so on they just as quickly say that science, whatever it is, is separate. This is due to their abject ignorance and unfathomable stupidity. Apparently Hunter has been trying for some time now to plumb the depths of stupidity of this sort but it seems to be never ending.

    Is is fetishist to point out that they are not nearly the experts in the field as those they are trying to rebut?

    Apparently the philosophically ignorant Herd has a fetish for sniffing themselves instead of seeking the truth about things. There may be a few in any Herd that rise above it but it's clear from their pseudo-science that biologists are generally more interested in their professional identity, a grant, their status in society, etc.

    Things are become more difficult for charlatans these days, so it's not surprising that Darwinists are having more trouble than others:If you were to assume that many experts use their information to you detriment, you’d be right. Experts depend on the fact that you don’t have the information they do. Or that you are so befuddled by the complexity of their operation that you wouldn’t know what to do with the information if you had it. Or that you are so in awe of their expertise that you wouldn’t dare challenge them. If your doctor suggests that you have angioplasty–even though some current research suggests that angioplasty often does little to prevent heart attacks–you aren’t likely to think that the doctor is using his informational advantage to make a few thousands dollars for himself or his buddy.
    ....
    Armed with information, experts can exert a gigantic, if unspoken leverage: fear.
    (Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner :70-71)

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  20. CH:Evolutionary arguments entail premises about the nature of god.

    But arguments that gravity is a natural force is unrelated to God's nature?

    If the phenomena we attribute to gravity was the result of God setting up a natural force as a secondary cause then he's removed from playing a direct role in death and destruction on a massive scale. He's simply not playing favorites by allowing nature to take it's course. But if the phenomena we attribute to gravity is a direct cause of God, then he's directly interceding and taking action in each instance.

    Should he actually exist, how exactly would literally pushing and pulling people to their deaths, rather than allowing nature to take it's course NOT be relevant to God's nature?

    How exactly would the implications of God's direct involvement not play a part in evaluating the evidence of falling people, airplanes, cars, etc. in the case of theists such as yourself?

    Again, when we attempt to take your explanation seriously, in that we assume it is true in reality and that your position on all scientific theories must conform to it, then science as a whole would be bad.

    But this clearly isn't the case.

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  21. RobertC,

    ""Apparently Lippard and Lynch think that if you are a fellow at the Discovery Institute that you have no degree. Clearly they are in the intellectual bush league."

    I don't think they said that, did they?"

    That is exactly what they said if one follows their simple logic: A (Discovery fellow) not (rather than) B (Molecular Biophysicist) => no degree.

    They did not say: A (Discovery fellow) and (with a) B (Molecular Biophysicist) => a Discovery fellow who is a Molecular Biophysicist.

    Clearly their bias is overcoming their elementary rational thought, nothing new in this genre.

    .

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  22. Considering the absurdity of your arguments, and the fact that you are a very poor writer...

    ...so says the artifact of random brain events which generally trace back to the mating habits of ancient worm-like creatures. To the extent that nothing can say something...

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  23. Scott,

    "How exactly would the implications of God's direct involvement not play a part in evaluating the evidence of falling people, airplanes, cars, etc. in the case of theists such as yourself?"

    The theory of gravity is a theory to explain how it works, not how it was created. Evolution is a theory of how species were created. That is the difference.

    If you tried to explain how gravity was created then you would have to talk about the cause of matter which is a supernatural event. Then there would be a similarity since God created the universe and He created all living things afterward. The theory of gravity is similar to the theory of antibiotic resistance, both are concerned with things that exist.

    .

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  24. But arguments that gravity is a natural force is unrelated to God's nature?

    Evolutionary hypotheses are far from the theory of gravity. In contrast to specified theories of any sort they are typically based on hypothetical goo which comports with all current empirical observations. It is always verified based on imaginary events in the past or the future. Ironically that is why Darwinism is generally thought to explain every single organism that has been observed.

    Putting that aside, theological arguments about actual scientific theories are different. For example, Newton thought that he had discovered how the universe was designed like a cosmic cryptogram based on language and laws. Therefore we can understand its laws to some degree even in our own degenerate languages like the language of mathematics.

    ....how exactly would literally pushing and pulling people to their deaths...

    What if it's all symbolic and not literal, despite the way it feels to the words used to write a story? It would seem that only one capable of transfiguration would know. It figures. After all, there are stories about a Word and so on but that's theology and religion. Is that the sort of thing that you're talking about?

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  25. CH has brought needed clarity to the metaphysical foundation of Darwinism.

    Darwinism has created its own false god. Like the force in Star Wars. One can imagine it, but Darwinists actually believe natural selection can perform miracles.

    Evolutionists should altogether stop talking about "what God wouldn't do" and just stick to the evidence.

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  26. Peter Wadeck:

    ======
    ""Apparently Lippard and Lynch think that if you are a fellow at the Discovery Institute that you have no degree. Clearly they are in the intellectual bush league."

    I don't think they said that, did they?"

    That is exactly what they said if one follows their simple logic: A (Discovery fellow) not (rather than) B (Molecular Biophysicist) => no degree.

    They did not say: A (Discovery fellow) and (with a) B (Molecular Biophysicist) => a Discovery fellow who is a Molecular Biophysicist.

    Clearly their bias is overcoming their elementary rational thought, nothing new in this genre.
    ======

    It's another pathetic sign. Frankly, I can't recall right now precisely, but I don't think I was a DI Fellow at the time of the interview. I could well be wrong about that, but I don't think I was. I'm not going to waste time trying to figure it out, it is just another canard. It reminds me of when they criticized me for publishing with a Christian publisher (after 5 academic presses turned down what would be an award winning book). They blackball you, and then criticize you for not joining them.

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  27. CH, would you describe yourself as a molecular biophysicist? I mean, I have a degree in neuroscience but I haven't done any work in that field in >10 years, so I wouldn't call myself a neuroscientist.

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  28. "How could the historian of science Lynch possibly foul this up?"

    It wasn't fouled up. Since evolution is elevated to a cult-like status, Lynch feels that it's impossible for anyone to believe evolutionary theory is religious with it's explanations and defenses therefore he invokes his own bias into what you believe. Thus, purposely misrepresenting your viewpoint like he does with others instead of addressing it head on.

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  29. second opinion:

    ===
    I still don't understand how theistically underlined metaphysics can play a roll in convincing or commiting people when the majority of these people (evolutionary biologists) are atheists.
    ===

    Well religious thought can fuel atheism. In fact atheists often hold strong beliefs *about* god. When PZ Myers says god would not have created this world, he is expressing a religious belief, regardless of whether he believes *in* god.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/03/sermon-from-pz-myers.html

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  30. CH,
    "Well religious thought can fuel atheism. In fact atheists often hold strong beliefs *about* god. When PZ Myers says god would not have created this world, he is expressing a religious belief, regardless of whether he believes *in* god."

    Myers is addressing one belief that others have of the nature of god, and saying that it doesn't fit the evidence. he is not describing his own beliefs, any more than someone who said "we are pretty sure that if the gods resided on mount olympus, we would find them on mount olympus" would be. this is just another example of how badly you misrepresent things, and then cry crocodile tears when someone does the same to you.

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  31. From the original post: "The review was written by John Lynch, an evolutionary biologist and historian of science, and Jim Lippard, a student, both at Arizona State University."

    Are you sure a God of mischief didn't write the review, and supernaturally brainwash Lippard and Lynch into thinking they'd done it?

    Assumptions! Metaphysics! Anti-Lokianist Religious presuppositions about what the supernatural would or would not do!

    I guess that 'religion' drives Hunter's blog, logic, the criminal justice system, and all sciences-but does it matter?

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  32. @4afb9302-32ec-11e0-becb-000bcdcb47

    But that is exactly the point. The universe looks a certain way. Now you can claim that this is how God would have created the universe or you could claim the opposite. Either way both of these claims are necessarily based on the metaphysical knowledge of what God would do or would not do.

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  33. second opinion,
    "But that is exactly the point. The universe looks a certain way. Now you can claim that this is how God would have created the universe or you could claim the opposite. Either way both of these claims are necessarily based on the metaphysical knowledge of what God would do or would not do. "

    You are missing the point. some religions make explicit claims about the nature of god and how he/she operates. from those claims we can make predictions about how the universe should look and compare them with how the universe actually looks. for example, fundamentalists explicitly claim the earth is 6000 years old. the scientific evidence does not support this. Have i now made a metaphysical argument? no, i have just addressed the claims made by others. but this is, of course, one vision of the nature of god and beliefs in the nature of god run the gamut. that is one reason why god is just ignored in real science (not LA times op-eds). it is impossible (without limiting yourself to the beliefs of one sect) to make a hypothesis about what she would or would not do, bc she could do anything.

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  34. Much as I'm enjoying all of these hijinks, I plead with

    @4afb9302-32ec-11e0-becb-000bcdcb47

    to get a more mellifluous moniker.

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  35. @4afb9302-32ec-11e0-becb-000bcdcb47

    You are missing the point at - least if you are trying to refute ID. Stephen Meyers does not claim to know anything about God. Well, the only thing that he claims to know is that God would not have created junk DNA. But unfortunately nobody has yet called him up on that.

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  36. ETA: 4afb9302-32ec-11e0-becb-000bcdcb471e

    Whatever.

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  37. LongString,

    Considering the absurdity of your arguments, and the fact that you are a very poor writer...

    You're a meanie!

    CH, would you describe yourself as a molecular biophysicist? I mean, I have a degree in neuroscience but I haven't done any work in that field in <10 years, so I wouldn't call myself a neuroscientist.

    In all fairness, I found 3 real bioinformatics papers authored by Cornelius in 2002-2003. Not sure if he did anything else, but most likely he considers his ID writing to be proper scientific work.

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  38. Are you sure a God of mischief didn't write the review, and supernaturally brainwash Lippard and Lynch into thinking they'd done it?


    I'm sure of that but I wouldn't portray my certainty as being the equivalent of science, mainly because it's superior to the myopic scope typical to science. And I wouldn't play pretend that all scientists agree, mainly because a lot of scientists are stupid and some may even believe in aliens/gods similar to Loki and so on due to being science geeks. You never know with people. Many of the things said in science fiction thought to be reasonable by science geeks are no different than the ancient gods, many worlds hypotheses and so on.

    Assumptions!

    Exactly... and yet there's no need to play pretend about science or organize a Herd of science geeks to say one thing or another while they review and peer at themselves.

    I guess that 'religion' drives Hunter's blog, logic, the criminal justice system, and all sciences-but does it matter?

    Nice try... but Hunter doesn't seem to be playing pretend that his philosophical assumptions are a scientific theory like some imbeciles do. Their philosophy is that of an imbecile mainly because they don't realize that philosophy is superior to science.

    As far as satire goes, consider that it may be that everyone who denies the Mind of God will be made into the material of satire. And why not? Sometimes a scathing intellect needs something to burn...

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  39. You're a meanie!

    More like a crybaby who can't understand the nature of language and is therefore anxious to crawl back into the womb of his metaphorical Mommy Nature.

    That seems to be the psychological dynamics of the typical evolutionists. Note Haeckel's embryos, they seem to be the best symbolic indication of an urge to merge. In fact, congenital imbeciles like PZ Myers seem to be loathe to give them up no matter what is actually observed.

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  40. CH, would you describe yourself as a molecular biophysicist?

    Is it just me or does the language emerging from brain events which reduce to the mating habits of ape-like creatures sound a bit whiny today?

    Perhaps one could look at this as a matter of memes instead and represent them metaphorically as a sentient being using imbeciles as a tool. In ancient times these out of chaos, order memes would have been represented as a feminine god which the ancient Jews condemned as the pattern of Babylon. She seems to like towers, whether pyramids, ivory or that of Babel but the problem is that her language is incomplete and so she must always babble on.

    Metaphorically speaking, of course...

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  41. I guess mynym is trying to fail the Turing test on purpose.

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  42. mynym-

    Although the bulk of your posts are trite insults, threats of hellfire, and unparsable rhetoric one question:

    Me "Are you sure a God of mischief didn't write the review, and supernaturally brainwash Lippard and Lynch into thinking they'd done it?

    mynym: "I'm sure of that but I wouldn't portray my certainty as being the equivalent of science, mainly because it's superior to the myopic scope typical to science ... Their philosophy is that of an imbecile mainly because they don't realize that philosophy is superior to science."

    How are you philosophically sure that Lippard and Lynch are the authors?

    How do you philosophically conclude a defendant is guilty when he claims a demon planted evidence? Science would invoke parsimony and methodological naturalism, but indulge me-especially since science is inferior in your estimation.

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  43. Pedent: Much as I'm enjoying all of these hijinks, I plead with @4afb9302-32ec-11e0-becb-000bcdcb47 to get a more mellifluous moniker.

    You could just call him GUID...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globally_unique_identifier

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  44. Neal: Evolutionists should altogether stop talking about "what God wouldn't do" and just stick to the evidence.

    If a physicist says the phenomena we attribute to gravity is caused by a natural force, this necessarily excludes this very same phenomena from being directly caused by any intelligent designer, including God. As such, it represents a claim about what God wouldn't be doing, if he existed.

    Of course, it's likely that you personally think that God wouldn't push and pull on objects to cause the phenomena we attribute to gravity, so you don't see this exclusion as a problem.

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  45. nanobot:

    ===
    Myers is addressing one belief that others have of the nature of god, and saying that it doesn't fit the evidence. he is not describing his own beliefs, any more than someone who said "we are pretty sure that if the gods resided on mount olympus, we would find them on mount olympus" would be. this is just another example of how badly you misrepresent things, and then cry crocodile tears when someone does the same to you.
    ===

    No, the statement:

    ---
    We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---

    is a religious claim about god. Myers was a Lutheran which very much fits this sentiment.

    What is interesting is the Myers and the evolutionists are in denial of their own religion. Those oblivious to their own metaphysics are those who are the most indebted. This delusion is well illustrated by nanobot here in his erroneous comments. He imagines that evolutionists such as Myers are merely testing the creationist's theology. This is a delusion that evolutionists always must believe. They cannot admit to their own religious mandate. After making their religious pronouncements they then deny making any such pronouncement. It is a fascinating delusion to witness.

    The claim that all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god would not create this world (the classic claim of the problem of evil) is a religious claim. Evolutionists can deny this all day long (and they do), but they merely reveal their own delusion.

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  46. "He imagines that evolutionists such as Myers are merely testing the creationist's theology."

    "The claim that all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god would not create this world (the classic claim of the problem of evil) is a religious claim. Evolutionists can deny this all day long (and they do), but they merely reveal their own delusion."

    Wow, unsurprisingly, Cornelius again conflates atheism and evolution. What words don't appear in the LA Times article by PZ Myers? Evolution. Genes. Darwin. Mutation. Why is that? Could it be that the article is a wholly a defense of his atheism, and not an exposition on evolution? Read it, and judge for yourself.

    Some evolutionary biologists, such as Francis Collins, argue an all-powerful all-knowing all-good god DID create this world. Some evolutionists such as PZ Myers point out that to them, the universe looks uncreated, and efforts to reconcile science with religion "seem to make God a subtle, invisible, undetectable ghost who at best tickles the occasional subatomic particle when no one is looking. It seems rather obvious to us that if his works are undetectable, you have no grounds for telling us what he's been up to."

    Now, neither personal belief has any impact on the science of evolution, and you know it. That both men can agree on the science is testament to this. Rabble rousing the Christian faithful around outspoken evolutionist atheists, and forcing the linkage between the two is quite the convenient tactic. Not new, quite lazy, but very effective.

    And again, we'll soon again regress to the weak defense of 'metaphysics, religion, uniformity, parsimony,' in some weird attempt to paint science as half as bad as we know the holy christian wedge that ID is designed to be.

    Speaking of metaphysics, only belief in a single, eternal god stops ID from the infinite regress of who designed the designer. And science is bad for starting with parsimony and uniformity?

    ReplyDelete
  47. @RobertC

    Speaking of metaphysics, only belief in a single, eternal god stops ID from the infinite regress of who designed the designer.

    This argument is actually on the graph of metaphysical arguments that Cornelius Hunter presented.

    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/Figure15.jpg

    Since you are using it, it would be nice if you could explain that a little bit. I don't really see how there is anymore of a problem than to ask where the laws of gravity come from. Don't you run into an infinite regress there too?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hunter:

    Well religious thought can fuel atheism. In fact atheists often hold strong beliefs *about* god. When PZ Myers says god would not have created this world, he is expressing a religious belief, regardless of whether he believes *in* god..

    Not at all. This is an equivocation on "religious belief" that is obvious from the highlighted words *about* and *in*. Those two words do not mean the same thing, though Hunter would like us to believe that there is no difference when it comes to what PZ Myers says.

    Given the claims that Christians make about the properties of their God (as if they could know anything about a being that is immaterial and transcendent), there are predictable consequences. For example, if God is good, why do bad things, such as earthquakes, happen (even to good people)? Leibniz and Malebranche posed these questions from within their belief system, but a non-believer can pose such questions from outside the system, given the premises of theologians. Such "what if?" scenarios come under the category of "criticisms." A Buddhist can be such a critic as much as an atheist can, and is innocent of the accusation that she "holds" the belief she is criticizing in the same way that Leibniz and Malebranche held that beleif.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hunter:

    What is interesting is the Myers and the evolutionists are in denial of their own religion.

    This is a claim of clairvoyance, an ability to acquire information by extra-sensory means. I question whether Hunter possesses the art of reading the mind of Myers or of anyone else.

    Those oblivious to their own metaphysics are those who are the most indebted.

    That's a catchy phrase... and an unsupported assertion.

    This delusion is well illustrated by nanobot here in his erroneous comments. He imagines that evolutionists such as Myers are merely testing the creationist's theology. This is a delusion that evolutionists always must believe. They cannot admit to their own religious mandate. After making their religious pronouncements they then deny making any such pronouncement. It is a fascinating delusion to witness.

    Unknowable, Untestable and Unsupportable claims.

    The claim that all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god would not create this world (the classic claim of the problem of evil) is a religious claim. Evolutionists can deny this all day long (and they do), but they merely reveal their own delusion.

    Yes, everyone is crazy but Hunter.

    ReplyDelete
  50. CH,
    "We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---

    is a religious claim about god. Myers was a Lutheran which very much fits this sentiment."

    THen is "We are pretty sure that if the gods reside on mount olympus we would see them when we climbed mount olympus" a statement about religious belief?

    ps i'd still like to know if you consider yourself a molecular biophysicist. most production companies will ask what your on-screen title should be. Did you agree that it should be "molecular biophysicist and author"?

    ReplyDelete
  51. RobertC:

    ===
    Some evolutionary biologists, such as Francis Collins, argue an all-powerful all-knowing all-good god DID create this world. Some evolutionists such as PZ Myers point out that to them, the universe looks uncreated,
    ===

    No, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of evolutionary thought. Evolutionists make various theological and philosophical arguments that god did not intend or create this world. For example:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/10/open-letter-to-karl-giberson.html

    Atheists came along after the fact, but of course they use the same arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Cornelius wrote: No, the statement:

    ---
    We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---

    is a religious claim about god. Myers was a Lutheran which very much fits this sentiment.

    So, explicitly claiming something about God represents metaphysical bias, but explicitly claiming something that necessarily excludes God does not?

    The more you repeat this argument, the more you come across as an instrumentalist and a justificationist.

    Apparently, science explains nothing. A scientific theory is just a collection of predictions which represent either true or false observations about reality. This is analogous to religious prophecy, which also would explain why you evaluate evolutionary predictions as as if they were empirical mandates of reality. Gravitational theory doesn't not exclude God as a direct cause because gravitational theory is nothing more than bunch of observed predictions.

    Is this a fair assessment? If not, then why doesn't gravitational theory represent a claim about what God would or would not do?

    ReplyDelete
  53. Cornelius,

    Has science explained anything, let alone the biological complexity we observe?

    ReplyDelete
  54. In cause anyone is unclear what I mean by a justificationist.

    From wikipedia...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_rationalism#Not_justificationism

    Most justificationists do not know that they are justificationists. Justificationism is what Popper called a "subjectivist" view of truth, in which the question of whether some statement is true, is confused with the question of whether it can be justified (established, proven, verified, warranted, made well-founded, made reliable, grounded, supported, legitimated, based on evidence) in some way.

    According to Bartley, some justificationists are positive about this mistake. They are naive rationalists, and thinking that their knowledge can indeed be founded, in principle, it may be deemed certain to some degree, and rational.

    Other justificationists are negative about these mistakes. They are epistemological relativists, and think (rightly, according to the critical rationalist) that you cannot find knowledge, that there is no source of epistemological absolutism. But they conclude (wrongly, according to the critical rationalist) that there is therefore no rationality, and no objective distinction to be made between the true and the false.

    By dissolving justificationism itself, the critical rationalist regards knowledge and rationality, reason and science, as neither foundational nor infallible, but nevertheless does not think we must therefore all be relativists. Knowledge and truth still exist, just not in the way we thought.


    For example, Cornelius is likely a epistemological relativist in regards to evolutionary theory. Science must be forever undecided regarding an explanation for the biological complexity we observe.

    However, as a theist, it's also likely that Cornelius thinks everything *is* explained by a supernatural cause. But if this is the case, then this is actually a justification, not an explanation, as the supernatural represents a boundary by which human reasoning cannot pass. We simply cannot explain God.

    As such, it's likely that Cornelius search is not for a better explanation of phenomena, but a better justification of phenomena.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Pedant:

    ======
    Hunter:

    Well religious thought can fuel atheism. In fact atheists often hold strong beliefs *about* god. When PZ Myers says god would not have created this world, he is expressing a religious belief, regardless of whether he believes *in* god..

    Not at all. This is an equivocation on "religious belief" that is obvious from the highlighted words *about* and *in*. Those two words do not mean the same thing, though Hunter would like us to believe that there is no difference when it comes to what PZ Myers says.

    Given the claims that Christians make about the properties of their God (as if they could know anything about a being that is immaterial and transcendent), there are predictable consequences. For example, if God is good, why do bad things, such as earthquakes, happen (even to good people)? Leibniz and Malebranche posed these questions from within their belief system, but a non-believer can pose such questions from outside the system, given the premises of theologians. Such "what if?" scenarios come under the category of "criticisms." A Buddhist can be such a critic as much as an atheist can, and is innocent of the accusation that she "holds" the belief she is criticizing in the same way that Leibniz and Malebranche held that beleif.
    ======

    No, you are still missing the point, and this is important so let's try again. The statement:

    ---
    We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---

    is a religious claim about god. Of course it is true that Myers is by no means alone in this view--many other people believe this as well. In fact this is pretty much the formulation of the classic problem of evil. But the fact that other people share Myers' belief does not mean he does not believe this.

    Do you see that your idea that Myers is merely testing someone else's belief is erroneous? The premise that an all-powerful, all-good (and all-knowing to complete the classic POE), would not create this world is a belief *about* god.

    ReplyDelete
  56. "No, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of evolutionary thought."

    What arrogance. I'd perhaps say we have a fundamental disagreement on evolutionary thought.

    "Evolutionists make various theological and philosophical arguments that god did not intend or create this world. For example: (read my other blog post)."

    Of course they do! They are human beings, interested in things like religion. So Collins and Myers have made religious claims! Whoop-de-do!

    What you consistently try to do is act as though these religious claims are the foundations of evolutionary science. The LA Times article by Myers that you keep quoting doesn't mention evolution at all! No genes. No mutation. No Darwin. It is a defense of his atheism, not his career!

    Likewise, the quotes you point me to include Collins' attack on ID: that what we observe has no apparent hallmarks of design, and requires non-parsimonious explanations. He's also stated that it conflicts with his theological beliefs. Does mentioning ID seems inconsistent with any major theology invalidate evolutionary biology?

    And so you fall back on abstract claims of metaphysic.s You say things like: "Likewise, your suggestion that shared genes, including non functional ones, prove common ancestry is equally metaphysical."

    Why metaphysical? Because you think it assumes a deity didn't create genes in a manner that gives the exact appearance of common descent?

    How you've mixed the burdens here! You insert a non-falsifiable, non-parsimonious, metaphysical counter-hypothesis, then fault the scientists for not considering it! This is where your critique loses meaning. It then applies to all science, the demon-did-it defense in the courtroom, and our daily logic and sanity! A deity could always meddle, tamper, change things. Assuming uniformity is then a religious assumption!

    Why is it we're perfectly happy dispensing with these considerations in law, meteorology*, economics, etc. Why is biology special-other than it is the designated 'wedge'? And what form would the courts and the nightly forecast take if we accept your critique?

    *There may be exceptions-Pat Robertson believes God caused Katrina. I don't know how prevalent these beliefs are. Perhaps the US is more demon-haunted than I'd like to admit.

    ReplyDelete
  57. CH,
    "But the fact that other people share Myers' belief does not mean he does not believe this."

    can you bend spoons with your mind, too, or are your powers limited to telepathy?

    ReplyDelete
  58. CH,
    "We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---

    is a religious claim about god. Of course it is true that Myers is by no means alone in this view--many other people believe this as well."

    the relevant point is that many people believe that there is an all-powerful god pulling the strings and shaping history for humans. Myers is saying that the evidence doesn't support this. Again, is "We are pretty sure that if the gods reside on mount olympus we would see them when we climbed mount olympus" a statement about religious belief?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hunter:

    No, you are still missing the point, and this is important so let's try again. The statement:
    ---
    We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---
    is a religious claim about god.


    No, as I pointed out above, it is a "what if?" scenario that takes the possibility of an all-powerful being, etc., and evaluates what consequences might be predicted from that hypothesis. It is a proposition about religion, not a proposition in religion.

    Do you see that your idea that Myers is merely testing someone else's belief is erroneous? The premise that an all-powerful, all-good (and all-knowing to complete the classic POE), would not create this world is a belief *about* god.

    Since a belief *about* a god or anything else is by no means a belief *in* a god or anything else, I see that I have not made an error.

    If an archeologist says that she can't find any evidence for an Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, contradicting the Bible, is that a religious claim or belief? Annoying though it may be to some religious believers, it's an historical claim.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Pedant:

    Since a belief *about* a god or anything else is by no means a belief *in* a god or anything else, I see that I have not made an error.

    Magicians must confuse the hell out of Cornelius.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Pedant:
    Since a belief *about* a god or anything else is by no means a belief *in* a god or anything else, I see that I have not made an error.

    No, of course you haven't made an error. One would have to be willfully obtuse to think otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  62. CH: "Do you see that your idea that Myers is merely testing someone else's belief is erroneous? The premise that an all-powerful, all-good (and all-knowing to complete the classic POE), would not create this world is a belief *about* god"

    I think CH would like to think that his Designer (you-know-who) lives on some untouchable, transcendent plane where "He" is completely immune to criticism. How dare mere heathen mortals make statements about this God would or would not do?

    But actually it is a very reasonable thing to do. After all this God is not only supposed to be an Intelligent Designer but also an Intelligent Communicator (although I alone with others here would argue that this particular entities communication skills are very much lacking). As such, this Intelligent Communicator has given us plenty of information about His modus operandi (including apparently quite a blood-thirsty jealous and vengeful trait). So indeed much is known about this "Intelligent Designer", so we are quite without our rights to postulate what this entity would or would not do...and we can do it all without being labelled as "religious" or having some kind of belief. After all isn't that what literary critics do - take a novel and a bunch of fictitous characters and perform character study and understand motives. It really is the same exercise.

    ReplyDelete
  63. nanobot:

    ===
    i'd still like to know if you consider yourself a molecular biophysicist.
    ===

    Yes, at the time of filming I was working on some things (still do but finding the time is difficult).

    ===
    most production companies will ask what your on-screen title should be. Did you agree that it should be "molecular biophysicist and author"?
    ===

    I don’t recall that interaction.

    ===
    can you bend spoons with your mind, too, or are your powers limited to telepathy?
    ===

    No, I can do something far more powerful. I can read.


    ===
    the relevant point is that many people believe that there is an all-powerful god pulling the strings and shaping history for humans. Myers is saying that the evidence doesn't support this.
    ===

    Right, and the reason why the evidence doesn’t support this, as *explicitly* stated by Myers and evolutionists for centuries, is that such a god would not create this world. All-powerful + all-good ~= This cruddy, evil world.

    ===
    Again, is "We are pretty sure that if the gods reside on mount olympus we would see them when we climbed mount olympus" a statement about religious belief?
    ===

    No. You continue to miss the point. But evolutionists cannot see their own metaphysics, which they are soaking in. They don’t know they are swimming in their own metaphysics anymore than a fish knows it is in an ocean.

    This example of Mt. Olympus is not analogous to the POE religious claim because it logically follows. The POE statementn doesn’t logically follow, it is based on a religious belief.

    If the gods reside on mount olympus, then sure, we would probably see them when we climbed mount olympus. That logically follows. There is no such logic for the POE claim.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Scott:

    ===
    Gravitational theory doesn't not exclude God as a direct cause because gravitational theory is nothing more than bunch of observed predictions.

    Is this a fair assessment? If not, then why doesn't gravitational theory represent a claim about what God would or would not do?
    ===

    Evolutionists believe evolution is a fact. They arrive at this conclusion using various metaphysical premises (eg, god would not have intended X). You don't normally find this sort of reasoning in gravitational theory.

    ReplyDelete
  65. RobertC:

    ===
    "No, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of evolutionary thought."

    What arrogance. I'd perhaps say we have a fundamental disagreement on evolutionary thought.
    ===

    Arrogance? If you say 2+2=5 am I not allowed to explain that you have a fundamental misunderstanding? Your characterization of "Some evolutionary biologists, such as Francis Collins" reveals you don't understand evolutionary thought. Would you prefer that I sugar coat it and, when you say 2+2=5, gently respond that you have an interesting view but I have a slightly different perspective?


    ===
    "Evolutionists make various theological and philosophical arguments that god did not intend or create this world. For example: (read my other blog post)."

    Of course they do! They are human beings, interested in things like religion. So Collins and Myers have made religious claims! Whoop-de-do!
    ===

    I'm glad you realize evolutionists are making religious claims. But you deny the significance. This is a common denial. The evolutionist forcefully insists evolution is a fact, and when the religious premises are pointed out, he responds with "Whoop-de-do!"


    ===
    What you consistently try to do is act as though these religious claims are the foundations of evolutionary science.
    ===

    So I point out your misunderstanding, and all you do is become upset and then repeat the same error. Evolution rests on a metaphysical foundation of theological and philosophical claims. Evolutionists argue that evolution is a fact, and their proofs are based on metaphysical assumptions. They then turn around and deny any such metaphysical committment. Well if that's the case, then the proof needs to be withdrawn. You can't have your cake and eat it too.



    ===
    And so you fall back on abstract claims of metaphysics. You say things like: "Likewise, your suggestion that shared genes, including non functional ones, prove common ancestry is equally metaphysical."

    Why metaphysical? Because you think it assumes a deity didn't create genes in a manner that gives the exact appearance of common descent?
    ===

    No, I'm not assuming anything. Again, you are defending something you don't understand. I'm not inserting metaphysics where there are none. The evolutionists have made the metaphysics perfectly clear. Now if you'd like to clear all this up, and explain why claims such as "shared genes, including non functional ones, prove common ancestry" is not metaphysical then I would be delighted to retract my claims. But you never have, and you never will, because it is not possible. You just fill the air with canards.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Pedant

    ======
    Hunter:

    No, you are still missing the point, and this is important so let's try again. The statement:
    ---
    We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    ---
    is a religious claim about god.

    No, as I pointed out above, it is a "what if?" scenario that takes the possibility of an all-powerful being, etc., and evaluates what consequences might be predicted from that hypothesis. It is a proposition about religion, not a proposition in religion.
    ======

    I appreciate these conversations because they bring great clarity. The delusion that evolutionists maintain is clear for all to see. Leading evolutionists routinely make this claim and so do the evolutionists commenting here. They make claims about god, and then turn around and deny having done any such thing. You have to see it to believe it.


    ======
    Do you see that your idea that Myers is merely testing someone else's belief is erroneous? The premise that an all-powerful, all-good (and all-knowing to complete the classic POE), would not create this world is a belief *about* god.

    Since a belief *about* a god or anything else is by no means a belief *in* a god or anything else, I see that I have not made an error.
    ======

    This is an example of how trapped evolutionists are in their delusion. What do you say to the person who denies the mountain that you both are looking at? Here the evolutionist says that religious claims about god don't count because he doesn't believe in that god anyway. So he is free to make whatever religious claims he wants, insist his claims are true, and draw scientifically ludicrous conclusions, all the while claiming to be metaphysically neutral and objective.


    ======
    If an archeologist says that she can't find any evidence for an Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, contradicting the Bible, is that a religious claim or belief?
    ======

    Of course not. This is typical, and what is amazing is that evolutionists think such an analogy is at all relevant.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Janfeld:

    ======
    CH: "Do you see that your idea that Myers is merely testing someone else's belief is erroneous? The premise that an all-powerful, all-good (and all-knowing to complete the classic POE), would not create this world is a belief *about* god"

    I think CH would like to think that his Designer (you-know-who) lives on some untouchable, transcendent plane where "He" is completely immune to criticism. How dare mere heathen mortals make statements about this God would or would not do?
    ======

    Once again the evolutionist is unable to reckon with the issue at hand. To maintain his delusion he must confuse matters. Is it not CH who is making the religious claim here and trying to defend the designer?

    This issue at hand, of course, is not belief about god. The issue at hand is denial of said belief about god.

    ReplyDelete
  68. CH: "This issue at hand, of course, is not belief about god. The issue at hand is denial of said belief about god"

    Actually I think the real issue (at least regarding the main topic of this web site) for me is, is there a natural explanation for origins/evolution or is there a non-natural (supernatural if you like) explanation?

    For the natural one, there is certainly large amounts of data. Of course, many (including CH) will argue about mechanisms and I've no doubt that the current science is not correct probably in many ways (perhaps even important ones). On the other side, we have a non-natural possibility. What do we have here? Well, there's an assumption that some kind of Intelligence is involved. But best we can tell that Intelligence seems rather reticent to speak up or show itself (and if it is the Christian God, has curiously provided a rather contradictory explanation). So if there is an Intelligent Designer it certainly doesn't seem to be also an Intelligent Communicator. As to evidence, well it's all rather obscure - lots of talk about inferences and CSI and IC etc - but really nothing in the way of any physical evidence - and again the Designer seems curiously uninterested in providing much help here. But of course if you are a person of religious faith (which most ID adherents are of course) it all seems highly compelling. But for those who are not, ID really does seem quite vacuous and empty - which is why I personally favor a natural explanation, even though that it may be flawed (and likely to change), it seems the only viable alternative in the light of any compelling non-natural explanation...

    ReplyDelete
  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hunter to Pedant:

    Leading evolutionists routinely make this claim and so do the evolutionists commenting here. They make claims about god, and then turn around and deny having done any such thing. You have to see it to believe it.

    To Janfeld:

    This issue at hand, of course, is not belief about god. The issue at hand is denial of said belief about god.

    (emphasis added)

    I believe that there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that an Abrahamic God exists.

    Is that a statement of belief *in* religion or a statement of belief *about* religion?

    I maintain that there is a difference in meaning between the words *about* and *in.*

    Throughout this discussion, Hunter has ignored this difference, because his equivocation on those meanings is the slender reed upon which his thesis that religion drives evolution rests.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Is everyone nice and warm today? If so, it is due to burning fossil fuels and not because of the pseudo-science of Global warming. We are half-way to what Al Gore predicted was the end of civilization because of global warming. From its failed predictions, to the anything counts as evidence propaganda, the "settled science" mantra, and bullying skeptics, the "warmers" share so many traits with evolutionists it is uncanny. I guess these traits come out in full bloom whenever scientists attempt to pull out all the stops to make the data conform to their preconceived conclusions. Warmers even have their own warfare thesis.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Janfeld said, "But best we can tell that Intelligence seems rather reticent to speak up or show itself (and if it is the Christian God, has curiously provided a rather contradictory explanation). So if there is an Intelligent Designer it certainly doesn't seem to be also an Intelligent Communicator."

    If you are seriously interested in finding God and listening for Him, you will most certainly find Him.

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  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  74. CH: You don't normally find this sort of reasoning in gravitational theory

    It seems that we can distill your argument down to the following…

    If scientists hold a belief that God's nature is such that he would not directly cause phenomena Y, their ability to identify God as an explanation in case of theory of X has been compromised. As a result, conclusions of the theory of X are unscientific. Furthermore, scientists are oblivious to the fact that their belief in regards to phenomena Y has influenced their ability to evaluate evidence in the case of theory of X.

    Is this accurate?

    ReplyDelete
  75. CH,

    "This example of Mt. Olympus is not analogous to the POE religious claim because it logically follows. The POE statementn doesn’t logically follow, it is based on a religious belief.

    If the gods reside on mount olympus, then sure, we would probably see them when we climbed mount olympus. That logically follows. There is no such logic for the POE claim. "

    we can argue (as philosophers have for centuries) about the logic of the problem of evil. that is beside the point. the point is that belief in gods residing on mount olympus and belief in all-good, all powerful gods are both beliefs. and you don't have to believe in them to test the predictions of them.

    ReplyDelete
  76. What is a "POE claim"? Premise Of Evolution?

    ReplyDelete
  77. pedant
    "problem of evil", which CH has unilaterally declared illogical

    ReplyDelete
  78. Scott said, "If scientists hold a belief that God's nature is such that he would not directly cause phenomena Y, their ability to identify God as an explanation in case of theory of X has been compromised."

    Intelligent design theorists see the complex digital information encoded in dna and rna as evidence for a designer. Nature is incapable of originating complex digital information. It is not that they throw their hands up and say its so complicated we don't understand it and therefore God must have done it. Just the opposite, because we know how complex it is and we know the limits of nature to originate complexity, the best explanation is intelligent design.

    Your holding onto the gravity/evolution analogy, but we are not assuming that macro-evolution even took place to begin with. Evolution is incapable of explaining the origination of complex specified information. It is overreaching and overplaying its hand in order to maintain the status quo of scientific material

    ReplyDelete
  79. Nanobot:

    ======
    "This example of Mt. Olympus is not analogous to the POE religious claim because it logically follows. The POE statementn doesn’t logically follow, it is based on a religious belief.

    If the gods reside on mount olympus, then sure, we would probably see them when we climbed mount olympus. That logically follows. There is no such logic for the POE claim. "

    we can argue (as philosophers have for centuries) about the logic of the problem of evil. that is beside the point.
    ======

    Agreed. When I said "POE claim" I was referring to the religious premise.


    ======
    the point is that belief in gods residing on mount olympus and belief in all-good, all powerful gods are both beliefs.
    ======

    Delusions are hard to break. You're still avoiding the point -- you did not express either of these beliefs.


    ======
    and you don't have to believe in them to test the predictions of them.
    ======

    Right, but you do need to believe in the *predictions*. In the POE example, it is a religious belief that you are mandating, and yet you argue you are metaphysically neutral.

    ReplyDelete
  80. CH,
    "the point is that belief in gods residing on mount olympus and belief in all-good, all powerful gods are both beliefs.
    ======

    Delusions are hard to break. You're still avoiding the point -- you did not express either of these beliefs. "

    no idea what you're trying to say here. you can call me deluded, but i can call you a bad writer who could confuse people while trying to explain that the sky is blue.

    "and you don't have to believe in them to test the predictions of them.
    ======

    Right, but you do need to believe in the *predictions*. In the POE example, it is a religious belief that you are mandating, and yet you argue you are metaphysically neutral. "

    so explain what the predictions of the problem of evil are, and why you have to "believe" in them.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Zachriel, Derick and others that say the objective nested hierarchy is strong evidence for evolution:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/02/for_darwin_day_false_facts_and043691.html

    What about the sea squirt? Could it be that Darwinism will be toppled by the sea squirt?

    ReplyDelete
  82. Pedant:

    ===
    What is a "POE claim"? Premise Of Evolution?
    ===

    No, POE = problem of evil. There is also the related problem of dysteleology, where the issue is not so much evil but rather inefficiency. Here are some random examples:

    ###
    We're pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does
    --PZ Myers
    ###


    ###
    Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.
    --SJ Gould
    ###


    ###
    A claim that the human genome was created by God independently rather than being part of descent from a common ancestor would mean God intentionally inserted a nonfunctioning piece of DNA into our genomes to test our faith. Unless you are willing to contemplate the idea of God as a deceiver, this is not a comfortable explanation.
    --Franicis Collins
    ###


    ###
    However, there are some homologies that do look positively disadvantageous. One of the cranial nerves goes from the brain to the larynx via a tube near the heart. In fish this is a direct route. But the same nerve in all species follows the same route, and in the giraffe it results in an absurd detour down and up the neck, so that the giraffe has to grow maybe 3-5 meters more nerve than it would with a direct connection. The “recurrent laryngeal nerve,” as it is called, is surely inefficient. It is easy to explain such an efficiency if giraffes have evolved in small stages from a fish-like ancestor; but why giraffes should have such a nerve if they originated independently … well, we can leave that to others to try to explain.
    --Mark Ridley
    ###



    ###
    The recurrent laryngeal nerve is a remarkable piece of unintelligent design. The nerve starts in the head, with the brain, and the end organ is the larynx, the voice box. But instead of going straight there it goes looping past the voice box. In the case of the giraffe, it goes down the full length of the giraffe’s neck, loops down one of the main arteries in the chest and then comes straight back up again to the voice box, having gone within a couple of inches of the voice box on its way down. No intelligent designer would ever have done that.
    --Richard Dawkins
    ###

    Of course Darwin's writings were full of such metaphysics. Evolutionists have made this claim for centuries, while claiming they are free of any metaphysical committment.

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  83. nano:

    ===
    "Right, but you do need to believe in the *predictions*. In the POE example, it is a religious belief that you are mandating, and yet you argue you are metaphysically neutral. "

    so explain what the predictions of the problem of evil are, and why you have to "believe" in them.
    ===

    OK. In this example:


    ###
    Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce. No one understood this better than Darwin. Ernst Mayr has shown how Darwin, in defending evolution, consistently turned to organic parts and geographic distributions that make the least sense.
    --SJ Gould
    ###

    Here the prediction is that god would not intend or create the organic parts (eg, the orchid design) or the geographic distributions we observe. (did I really have to explain that?)

    ReplyDelete
  84. We have a fine tuning argument for the existence of God, but we do not have a fine manipulation and placement argument for the existence of God.

    God supposedly manipulates the universe when he intervenes in the case of miracles and intelligent design. Furthermore, God's power and knowledge is supposedly infinite, which means there would be no limit to the number of objects, atoms and particles he could simultaneously manipulate and position.

    So how might we explain this absence?

    Historical research into very early religious beliefs indicate a number of phenomena were originally believed to be caused by the direct actions of one or more gods as a means to explain why bad things could happen to good people. (the POE)

    To quote from The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright…

    For example, Karie, thunder God of the Semang hunter-gathers of Southeast Asia, would get irate if he saw people combing their hair during a storm or watching dogs mate. On the Andaman Islands, the storm god Biliku could fly into a rage if someone melted beeswax or made loud noise while cicadas were sining. The British anthropologist A. R. Radciffe-Brown, while studying the Andaman Islanders a century a go, noticed they did in fact melt beeswax, hoping Biliku wouldn't notice.

    In these examples, gods represent direct actions which lack a moral component. it wasn't that melting beeswax and the act of dogs mating was immoral, but these gods reacted negatively to it none the less.

    However, as gods gradually gained a moral aspect and began to consolidate their reach and abilities eventually resulting in the birth of monotheism, they began to transition from a direct cause to an occasional intervention in the form of creation, punishment or reward. This was not driven by discoveries in science, but by a change in God's nature.

    We do not see a fine manipulation and placement argument for the existence of God not because it conflicts with God's infinite knowledge and ability, but because it conflicts with his nature as a moral agent.

    As such, It's unclear how God directly pushing and pulling people to their deaths, rather than creating gravity as a secondary cause, is unrelated to the problem of evil.

    ReplyDelete
  85. @Scott
    ... you have yet to extend to the entirety of science.

    If I read Cornelius Hunter's book “Science's Blind Spot” correctly then he has extended it to other topics like cosmology, in particular the formation of planetary systems. From what I could read, somebody correct me if I'm misrepresenting something, Cornelius Hunter questions the reliability of a good chunk of the historical sciences.

    Interestingly this puts him in direct disagreement with Stephen Meyer's view expressed in “Signature in the Cell” that historical sciences are nearly as reliable as normal sciences.

    ReplyDelete
  86. CH,
    you are changing topics again. geographic distributions of animals are generally not considered evil.

    here is the hypothesis: there is an all-good, and all-powerful god that created the world (as you agreed, you don't need to believe this to make the hypothesis)

    a logical prediction of this hypothesis is that the world god created would be all good.

    now why does one have to "believe" in this prediction, even though one doesn't have to "believe" in the hypothesis?

    ReplyDelete
  87. Dr Hunter, I admire your persistence in responding to all of these critical posts. That said, back to business:

    You said:

    Here are some random examples:

    Random examples, my foot! I've seen those quotes too many times to think that they're not at the top of your Rolodex.

    Anyway, I note that none of those quotes come from the primary scientific literature, which is where the scientific rubber hits the epistemological road. And I remember that you consider that irrelevant, because your psychic power has revealed that God-bashing is implicit in the minds of every author, reviewer, editor and publisher of all primary papers touching in any way on evolution.

    And you wonder how John Lynch could possibly have misunderstood you.

    ReplyDelete
  88. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Scott said, "However, as gods gradually gained a moral aspect and began to consolidate their reach and abilities eventually resulting in the birth of monotheism"

    Are you sure? You a story, but are you sure? How do you know that montheism wasn't first?

    Consolidate their reach? Christianity didn't spread into the Greek and Roman world in that way at all. Period.

    ReplyDelete
  90. nano:

    ===
    you are changing topics again. geographic distributions of animals are generally not considered evil.
    ===

    Religious arguments for evolution are by no means restricted to designs that we view as evil. Inefficiencies are often used.



    ===
    here is the hypothesis: there is an all-good, and all-powerful god that created the world (as you agreed, you don't need to believe this to make the hypothesis)

    a logical prediction of this hypothesis is that the world god created would be all good.
    ===

    No, that is a religious belief. It is *not* a logical prediction. You cannot get there with mere logical reasoning.


    ===
    now why does one have to "believe" in this prediction, even though one doesn't have to "believe" in the hypothesis?
    ===

    Because it is a religious belief. Leibniz, Kant, Hume, Darwin, Collins, Myers, Coyne, Dawkins, Gould, etc, etc, are all making religious pronouncements in the name of science.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Pedant:

    ===
    Anyway, I note that none of those quotes come from the primary scientific literature, which is where the scientific rubber hits the epistemological road.
    ===

    No, journal papers is not generally where the scientific rubber hits the epistemological road. Journal papers generally report on scientific research, and the research results are cast into the evolutionary framework. But the framework itself is not critically examined, and allowed to fail. The epistemological road, as you put it, was laid down long before.

    ReplyDelete
  92. nano:

    ===
    here is the hypothesis: there is an all-good, and all-powerful god that created the world (as you agreed, you don't need to believe this to make the hypothesis)

    a logical prediction of this hypothesis is that the world god created would be all good.
    ===

    No, that is a religious belief. It is *not* a logical prediction. You cannot get there with mere logical reasoning.

    You cannot get there anymore than you can get to the conclusion that god would not have designed the orchid the way it is, or created elephants in the distributions we find. Whether the classic POE or the many other evolutionary arguments, it is all the same fundamental religious reasoning.

    Evolution is a religious theory. It is steeped in theological and philosophical committments that have nothing to do with science. You cannot argue with evolutionists because you cannot question their claims. Their claims do not come from scientific experiments, they are not falsifiable.

    And because evolutionists believe so strongly in their religious claims, they do not even view them are religious. For evolutionists, these claims are simply true. They can simply assert them as brute facts. For we all know that god would or would not do this or that. As Whitehead put it, our most crucial assumptions "appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them.”

    And then they blame you for being the one who brought in the religion. It's a two-fer: they make the religious claims, and you get the blame for it. Nice work if you can get it.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Hunter:

    Journal papers generally report on scientific research, and the research results are cast into the evolutionary framework. But the framework itself is not critically examined, and allowed to fail.

    Psychic power at work again. On the contrary, the framework (theory) is continually tested and critically examined by the research. If the data don't support the theory, the theory will fail.

    The epistemological road, as you put it, was laid down long before.

    Yes, the epistemology that I was referring to is inductive reasoning, and it has a long history.

    ReplyDelete
  94. CH,
    "a logical prediction of this hypothesis is that the world god created would be all good.
    ===

    No, that is a religious belief. It is *not* a logical prediction. You cannot get there with mere logical reasoning."

    sorry, cornelius, blanket statements that contradict centuries of philosophical thought are not convincing. perhaps you can explain why it is not logical that a perfectly good, all powerful god would not want and be able to prevent all evils.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Cornelius,

    The phenomena I'm trying to explain here is your objection to evolutionary theory.

    On one hand, you keep presenting an explanation which I've attempted to summarize above. This is one possible explanation for your objection. On the other hand, we can't help but notice that the theories you object to correlate with those that conflict with fundamental Christian theological views. This is a second completing explanation for your objection.

    However, just as we currently lack the technology to travel back in time and observe the development of natural biological complexity, we cannot read the thoughts in your head. Your mind is essentially a black box we cannot open. As such, it represents a near infinite number of possible states of affairs, in reality.

    In light of this limitation, does this mean we must accept your explanation? No, it does not.

    As I've indicated above, when we attempt to take your explanation seriously, in that we assume it is true in reality and that your position on all scientific theories must conform to it, then science as a whole would be rendered unscientific.

    So, I'm suggesting that we either we do no not understand your explanation or that your expiation is indefensible as an explanation since it fails to actually explain your objections, and lack there of.

    What do I mean by this?

    It's possible that, in reality, your thoughts on the matter could represent a near infinite number of possibilities. However, regardless which is true, I'm suggesting that it's really possible know your explanation of metaphysical bias, as we understand it, fails to explain your objections. As such a conflict with fundamental Christian theological views is the best expiation. And we can know this as a fact.

    This is because any explanation of your objections, or lack their of, is independent of your actual thoughts or views in reality. Furthermore, it's independent of any sort of hierarchy, such as mathematical deduction, induction or philosophy.

    This is also analogous to how we can know that gravitational theory explains the phenomena we attribute to gravity better than any competing theory; and evolutionary theory explains the biological complexity we observe better than any other theory. And we can know these things a facts.

    ReplyDelete
  96. second opinion: If I read Cornelius Hunter's book “Science's Blind Spot” correctly then he has extended it to other topics like cosmology, in particular the formation of planetary systems. From what I could read, somebody correct me if I'm misrepresenting something, Cornelius Hunter questions the reliability of a good chunk of the historical sciences.

    Right,

    But this extension appears to coincide with fields of science that conflict with traditional fundamental Christian theological views about the special creation of the earth, etc.

    Again, I'm attempting to determine the best explanation of Hunter's objections.

    Part of this process includes not only which theories he objects to but which theories he does not. These objections, or lack there of, represent evidence, not in the sense of induction, but in observations to be explained.

    ReplyDelete
  97. nano:

    ===
    "No, that is a religious belief. It is *not* a logical prediction. You cannot get there with mere logical reasoning."

    sorry, cornelius, blanket statements that contradict centuries of philosophical thought are not convincing.
    ===

    No, you seem to be confused about the POE. Yes, it is true that many philosophers have addressed the POE, but the religious premise is just that, a religious premise. It is not as though philosophers have taken the religion out of the POE.


    ===
    perhaps you can explain why it is not logical that a perfectly good, all powerful god would not want and be able to prevent all evils.
    ===

    Logical reasoning has clear cut rules. We cannot just make up conclusions because they sound good to us. In particular, the conclusion must *follow* from the premises -- it must be a necessary consequence. Given the premises, the conclusion must be true.

    You and evolutionists assert the religious POE claim as a brute fact. You give no logical reasoning to support your assertion because there is none. Someone else could just as easily make a counter claim that contradicts your claim. These are all religious claims.

    You claim that if god is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then there would be no evil. Someone else could just as easily say that if god is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then there would be evil.

    The problem is you are simply making religious assertions. Nothing wrong with that, in itself, but then you claim objectivity.

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  98. nano:

    ===
    perhaps you can explain why it is not logical that a perfectly good, all powerful god would not want and be able to prevent all evils.
    ===

    Logical reasoning has clear cut rules. We cannot just make up conclusions because they sound good to us. In particular, the conclusion must *follow* from the premises -- it must be a necessary consequence. Given the premises, the conclusion must be true.

    Try asking yourself this question: How do I know that an all good, all knowing, and all powerful being would not create or allow evil? You will see that the reason you "know" that is that you hold some hidden premises. Someone else could just as easily say that if god is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then there would be evil. That claim is just as legitimate as your claim.

    That conclusion does not follow from the premises. It is not a necessary consequence. The premises do not force that conclusion. In order to get there you need to add, one way or another, some metaphysical premise. This is what evolution is all about, unspoken metaphysics doing the heavy lifting in the background while the frontman shouts that science has given us new truths.

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  99. Neal wrote: Are you sure? You a story, but are you sure? How do you know that montheism wasn't first?

    Neal, in an effort to stay on topic, I'd suggest you watch the following interview with Robert Wright. This, among other issues, are expanded on in great detail from a historical perspective in his book The Evolution of God.

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07172009/watch2.html

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  100. CH,

    "You claim that if god is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then there would be no evil. Someone else could just as easily say that if god is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then there would be evil."

    they could also say up is down, but that doesn't mean it makes sense. all-good beings by definition only do good things. all-powerful beings by definition can do anything. preventing evil is a good thing that the being can do. therefore, there should be no evil. even though the hypothesis is based on a religious belief, the predictions are just logical consequences of the hypothesis. sure, there are counter-arguments (free will defense, etc.) but that doesn't mean the predictions themselves aren't logical.

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  101. "If I read Cornelius Hunter's book “Science's Blind Spot” correctly then he has extended it to other topics like cosmology, in particular the formation of planetary systems."

    I wonder why just Cosmology? Perhaps origins of the universe and planets is of some particular importance to his intended readers.

    Why not forensics? We must exclude the possibility a demon supernaturally planted evidence for a trial to proceed. The non-falsifiable supernatural proposal is outside the realm of forensic science. When an FBI agent testifies that there is no evidence a demon did it, that planting evidence is not a behavior recorded in any of the mythologies of demons, and we have no reason to accept the defense, do we dispense with forensic science and create theological forensics? Was the FBI agent's testimony religious, or about a religious claim? If the FBI agent later writes an op-ed stating he personally doesn't believe in Demons, does this invalidate his testimony, and cause an acquittal?

    Do we trust Pat Robertson, and modify meteorology and seismology courses to include the potential God has created hurricanes and earthquakes? I'd rather not. Is it religious to say there is no proof of this claim and proceed with a discussion of tectonics, wind and currents?

    And why stick with historical sciences? Even a direct observation requires the scientist to accept a power has not secretly altered the data or changed universal constants.

    Hunter inserts religion into science, and faults the scientists for continuing to do science. This is not a critique of any merit, it is just a restatement of what science is, and what the limits of science are.

    And it certainly is no support for ID.

    Or is ID assumption-free? Is it science?

    ReplyDelete
  102. nano:

    ===
    they could also say up is down, but that doesn't mean it makes sense. all-good beings by definition only do good things. all-powerful beings by definition can do anything. preventing evil is a good thing that the being can do. therefore, there should be no evil. even though the hypothesis is based on a religious belief, the predictions are just logical consequences of the hypothesis. sure, there are counter-arguments (free will defense, etc.) but that doesn't mean the predictions themselves aren't logical.
    ===

    No, your reasoning is soaking in metaphysics. You are adding premises that are not contained within the starting premises:

    "all-good beings by definition only do good things"

    No, that isn't by definition.

    "preventing evil is a good thing"

    That is hidden premise.

    "the predictions are just logical consequences of the hypothesis"

    No, they are not logical consequences of the original premises.

    ReplyDelete
  103. CH,
    "No, your reasoning is soaking in metaphysics. You are adding premises that are not contained within the starting premises:

    "all-good beings by definition only do good things"

    No, that isn't by definition."

    then what do all-good beings do?

    ""preventing evil is a good thing"

    That is hidden premise"

    do you disagree that preventing evil is a good thing?

    "the predictions are just logical consequences of the hypothesis"

    No, they are not logical consequences of the original premises.

    yes, they are. see, i can do a CH "argument" too

    ReplyDelete
  104. nano:

    ===
    "all-good beings by definition only do good things"

    No, that isn't by definition."

    then what do all-good beings do?
    ===

    I'm afraid I am not an all-good being.


    ===
    ""preventing evil is a good thing"

    That is hidden premise"

    do you disagree that preventing evil is a good thing?
    ===

    No, I do not disagree. But my agreeing (or disagreeing) with your religious premises does not make them not religious. This is classic rationalism.

    Folks this is the sort of reasoning that underwrites the evolutionary claims that god would not have created the orchid, mosquito, lion, pseudogenes, retro viruses, etc, etc. Evolution is a fact because no designer would have created such a world.

    Now it's fine for evolutionists to hold fast to their religious views. But let's not fools ourselves that this is science.

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  105. NT: "If you are seriously interested in finding God and listening for Him, you will most certainly find Him."

    I have done this already. Yes, I did "find" something, but now I realize it wasn't "Him". And from what I've seen I don't see any evidence that others have found "Him" either, although I don't deny that they may have had some kind of religious experience or other.

    Besides, how is this relevant? Unless you think that being a Christian is the only way that ID makes any sense...which, apart from a few notable exceptions, does seem to be rather the case doesn't it?

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  106. "Folks this is the sort of reasoning that underwrites the evolutionary claims that god would not have created the orchid, mosquito, lion, pseudogenes, retro viruses, etc, etc. Evolution is a fact because no designer would have created such a world."

    Your Honor, this is the sort of reasoning that underwrites the prosecutor's claims that god would not interfere with a shoplifting case by creating a tape showing the defendant stealing the item. We cannot convict on the belief that the tape shows reality based on the unprovable claim no god would interfere in a shoplifting conviction.

    What's the difference?

    See the issues with moving away from methodological naturalism, and then faulting the other side for trying to counter supernatural arguments within a MN framework?

    ReplyDelete
  107. CH,
    "
    then what do all-good beings do?
    ===

    I'm afraid I am not an all-good being."

    you don't have to be. do good people do good things or bad things?

    ReplyDelete
  108. Evolution is a fact. With this I mean: evolution can be directly observed and the fossil record demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that the composition of the biosphere has changed dramatically over billions of years.

    What religious assumptions did I make?

    ReplyDelete
  109. One follow up-

    Countering supernatural arguments within a MN framework is not impossible, provided the advocate of the religion has provided some hallmark of the supernatural that is falsifiable-

    Demons leave tracks when they create videotapes.
    The creator has created a geocentric world.
    The creator has created a unchanging world where species are not arising or perishing.
    Nature bears apparent hallmarks of intelligent design.

    Cornelius argues that we can't know about God (despite claims of Christians and ID advocates to the contrary). Apparently nothing is beyond what God might design, create, or do. Fine. His insistence that we can't know what an intelligent designer would or wouldn't do conveniently places ID outside of not only science, but all logic!

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  110. Janfeld, design is the best explanation for life based on scientific observation. It was this evidence design that motivated me to seek for the designer. I'm not sure what you actually found or what (or who) discouraged you, but why give up trying?

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  111. troy:

    ===
    Evolution is a fact. With this I mean: evolution can be directly observed and the fossil record demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that the composition of the biosphere has changed dramatically over billions of years.

    What religious assumptions did I make?
    ===

    None. You equivocated on evolution.

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  112. RobertC, I would suggest a book to you by Stephen Meyer called "Signature in the Cell". It clarifies the design argument.

    You may not know what the next book a great author might write, but you can know that the book will be written by an intelligent being. There will be specific characteristics of the book that can be identified that would make you think this. People may think a book should have been written with a different style, ending or whatever, but that does not take away from the traits that make it a work of an intelligent author. Some people will not like a best seller.

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  113. nano:

    ===
    do good people do good things or bad things?
    ===

    Both.

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  114. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  115. Troy said, "Evolution is a fact. With this I mean: evolution can be directly observed and the fossil record demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that the composition of the biosphere has changed dramatically over billions of years.

    What religious assumptions did I make?"

    ---

    None... Back to the slippery word game again? Let's cut to the chase and just point out that change is not the controversy, universal common descent is. Evolutionists often get metaphysical about UCD, because that isn't a fact. The leap from your "fact" definition to UCD is a shell game that evolutionists love to play. It's not science. It's deceptive at worst and a ungrounded assumption at best.

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  116. Scott, what is your definition of "good"???

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  117. "You may not know what the next book a great author might write, but you can know that the book will be written by an intelligent being. There will be specific characteristics of the book that can be identified that would make you think this."

    Perfect example. Lets take some traits: grammar and meaning. Perhaps we find a pile of 100 pages with words. There is some grammar and meaning, but a lot of gibberish. I say, "I think this isn't a product of a author at all. Some computer science student has hooked up a random word generator to a printer. No author would write like this!"

    Cornelius argues I can't say that, because I do not know what an author would or would not do. It is an assumption. When applied to biology, he argues these assumptions are metaphysical and religious.

    But curiously, only when I apply them. When ID invokes them, they are hallmarks of design. When evolutionist counter with things that appear wholly undesigned, Hunter opines that we cannot infer the will of the designer, and have inserted religious sentiment.

    A curious catch-22 for biologists.

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  118. I wrote:

    If scientists hold a belief that God's nature is such that he would not directly cause phenomena Y, their ability to identify God as an explanation in case of theory of X has been compromised. As a result, conclusions of the theory of X are unscientific. Furthermore, scientists are oblivious to the fact that their belief in regards to phenomena Y has influenced their ability to evaluate evidence in the case of theory of X.

    Cornelius,

    Not wanting to put words in your mouth, I'll ask again.

    Is this an accurate depiction of your criteria?

    What I'm looking for is a detailed explanation as to how holding a belief about God's nature actually results in you labeling any particular field of science being deemed unscientific and therefore 'bad'.

    In other words, something that suggests this is more than hand waving on your part in regards to theories that conflict with your particular theological views.

    For example, you've quoted people who's statements you interpret as *representing* a religious belief about God's nature. But, surely, you're not suggesting the act of writing or verbalization represents your real criteria? A person who holds any view need not necessarily express it publicly, yet it can still influence their interpretation of evidence.

    If fact, you've suggesting that these people are unaware of how they hold metaphysical claims. If this is indeed the case, they may not publicly express them if not challenged.

    As such, if everyone agreed that God designed human beings, then apparently holding metaphysical beliefs wouldn't be an indication of bad science; just as everyone agreeing that gravity is a natural cause doesn't result any public claims about God not pushing and pulling people to their deaths, etc.

    Even then, we lack an explanation as to how holding a metaphysical belief about any phenomena necessarily causes any theory that explains that theory to become unscientific.

    Of course, it's not even clear that you think science as explained anything, so it's difficult to understand your position.

    As I've mentioned before, the conflict I see between science and the supernatural is that any supernatural claim draws a boundary where human reason and problem solving cannot pass. The supernatural is unexplainable as God cannot be explained. As such, disagreements in regards to the specifics of God's nature merely represent disagreements as to where this boundary is drawn. This is in contrast to whether such a boundary exists at all.

    This is the conflict I'm referring to. This is the warfare thesis.

    Galileo's contribution to science was the idea that realty is fundamentally comprehensible. I'm suggesting this is an important fact about reality itself. We may not be able to directly observe any part of a theory in nature, as that would be an inductivist mistake. However, what is really out there is evidence, or more specifically, a reality that will respond with evidence if we appropriately prod and poke it. Given fragments of two or more rival theories, we can find evidence that allows us to distinguish between them.

    We can continue to ask better questions.

    But as soon as you claim any supernatural cause did it, this puts an end to this process. It's not an explanation, but a justification. It's a claim that no better questions can be asked.

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  119. Scott:

    However, just as we currently lack the technology to travel back in time and observe the development of natural biological complexity, we cannot read the thoughts in your head. Your mind is essentially a black box we cannot open.

    Sadly, Scott, you are one of the mass of humanity that lacks the Psychic Power possessed by Professor Hunter. You can't read the thoughts in his head, but he has read the thoughts in my head and the heads of every author, reviewer, editor and publisher of all primary papers in the scientific literature touching in any way on evolution. He has discovered that our delusion is produced by the subversive power of evolutionary thinking.

    Take care; you are a prime target.

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  120. It occurred to me that Dr Hunter could perform an act of (Christian) charity by sharing the source of his ability to read minds with his buddies here on the blog.

    But maybe he had to sign some kind of agreement that he would keep the secret under wraps.

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  121. Neal: Scott, what is your definition of "good"???

    Neal,

    Assuming this question is directed at me, rather than Robert, you'll need to be more specific. I think strawberry ice-cream tastes good, but It's very high in sugar, etc.

    Beyond that, I'd suggest there really is such a thing as objective moral values in that we can reduce all moral systems into fact claims about changes in the state of conscious beings. This includes Christianity and other religious moral systems.

    For example, Christianity claims a belief that Jesus is has died for your sins will result in a positive change in your conscious state after you die: eternal joy, bliss, etc. If you do not believe that Jesus died for your sins, you will experience a negative change in conscious state: eternal torment, isolation, etc.

    These are fact claims about what causes changes in the states of conscious beings.

    Again, in an effort to stay on topic, I'd recommend you watch the following TED talk by Sam Harris, which explains this in more detail.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html

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  122. Cornelius:

    "troy:

    ===
    Evolution is a fact. With this I mean: evolution can be directly observed and the fossil record demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that the composition of the biosphere has changed dramatically over billions of years.

    What religious assumptions did I make?
    ===

    None. You equivocated on evolution."

    No, I don't think I did. You seem to believe that I (and most other "evolutionists") consider the theory of evolution to be a fact, but that would be mistaken. I take evolution as change for granted, but not the underlying mechanisms, and so do nearly all of my colleagues that I have spoken to about this.

    Why don't you write an email to a dozen or so prominent professional evolutionary biologists and ask them if they agree with the statement "evolution is a fact", and if so what they mean by that? Publish the results here and let's discuss them.

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  123. Neal: None... Back to the slippery word game again? Let's cut to the chase and just point out that change is not the controversy, universal common descent is.

    Neal,

    Must I remind you of our discussion on Hopkins / Rose thread?

    Specifically, evolutionary theory explains at least part of the biological complexity we observe. This is due to the fact that you acknowledge that mutations can cause, at a minimum, the degradation of loss of function in a species, while also simultaneously claiming this same biological complexity we observe is designed.

    Furthermore, you accept that the fossil record does indicate a change in species over time in that over 98% of the species represented there no longer exists.

    Is the fact that human beings are part of the less than 2% that survived an undirected, natural outcome or does it represent an intentional outcome planed by an intelligent designer?

    This question is open to Cornelius as well.

    If the latter, then this designer would need to either manipulate or compensate for evolutionary processes to ensure the particular species we still observe today retained it's original features and did not go extinct. If the former than evolutionary processes, at least in part, played a direct part in determining when a species lost features or ended up going extinct since they were not compensated for.

    So, again, if you claim that the biological complexity we observe really is designed then, in either case, evolutionary theory explains at least part of the biological complexity we observe.

    Can we at least agree on this?

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  125. NT: "Janfeld, design is the best explanation for life based on scientific observation. It was this evidence design that motivated me to seek for the designer. I'm not sure what you actually found or what (or who) discouraged you, but why give up trying?"

    Who said I've given up? Based on my experiences and searching I've ruled out the Christian God as a viable source of truth. But there are plenty of other places to look. Of course to you searching means agreeing with your spiritual conclusions, which for a lot of people have not only not worked but have caused considerable misery and confusion.

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  126. troy:

    ===
    Why don't you write an email to a dozen or so prominent professional evolutionary biologists and ask them if they agree with the statement "evolution is a fact", and if so what they mean by that? Publish the results here and let's discuss them.
    ===

    I don't need to, I can read. It is no secret what evolutionists claim, they have been quite clear about that. It is only when questioned, and they are asked to defend their non scientific claims, that the backpedeling begins.

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  128. CH: "Now it's fine for evolutionists to hold fast to their religious views. But let's not fools ourselves that this is science."

    So there we have it, evolutionists are influenced by metaphysics and religion, but CH and his cohorts - nearly all self-confessed Christians (fundamentalists in some cases) all claim that their religious views do not influence or provide any confirmation bias to their scientific viewpoint. Incredible isn't it? Of course this is the point that CH gets huff and declares his "objectivity" and how "neutral" he is. Why do I not find his assertions at all convincing? (maybe because I know a little about how confirmation bias works and CH is in denial about it?)

    So Cornelius Hunter is the world's only true objective scientist!! Somebody should call Stockholm right away!!!

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  129. Janfeld:

    ===
    Incredible isn't it? Of course this is the point that CH gets huff and declares his "objectivity" and how "neutral" he is.
    ===

    What is incredible is how evolutionists insist on their religious ideas, and then blame the other guy for it. After they make their religious claims, and insist their religious theory is a fact, then suddenly I'm the one to blame. It's all my fault.

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  130. CH: "What is incredible is how evolutionists insist on their religious ideas, and then blame the other guy for it. After they make their religious claims, and insist their religious theory is a fact, then suddenly I'm the one to blame. It's all my fault."

    I appreciate that we all have "metaphysical" baggage. Everybody also has confirmation biases. You apparently do not think you do and refuse to acknowledge them.

    You believe there is a supernatural designer. You have said so. You believe it is the Christian God. So somehow we are supposed to believe that you can still have a neutral and objective perspective to your science? Do you also believe the Emperor is clothed in fine garments?

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  131. Janfeld:

    ===
    I appreciate that we all have "metaphysical" baggage. Everybody also has confirmation biases. You apparently do not think you do and refuse to acknowledge them.

    You believe there is a supernatural designer. You have said so. You believe it is the Christian God. So somehow we are supposed to believe that you can still have a neutral and objective perspective to your science? Do you also believe the Emperor is clothed in fine garments?
    ===

    So when evolutionists say "Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread" and I point out that this is a religious claim, it is really just my confirmation bias at work. There really is no religion at work here, I'm just making this up. After all, we all have our biases. So relax knowing that evolutionists are always right, and skeptics are just acting out their biases.

    All of biology is a fluke as the world just happened to spontaneously arise. We don't know how, but we know it must be. After all god never would have created this world. That's just good science at work and if you doubt it then you must be biased.

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  132. Janfeld, not sure why you turned away from Christ. Would you mind saying what led to this? Some people get turned off by other people, some by teaching that they do not agree with and other reasons, some by a prayer that they feel wasn't answered, etc.

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  133. CH: "All of biology is a fluke as the world just happened to spontaneously arise. We don't know how, but we know it must be. After all god never would have created this world. That's just good science at work and if you doubt it then you must be biased. "

    Who said it spontaneously arose?

    True we don't know how exactly, but believing there must be a non-natural explanation for which there is no evidence for except some vague "design inference" and the Designer itself seems decidedly uncommunicative, seems quite a leap. But CH is a person of faith so I guess it comes naturally. Again, one must weigh the evidence between natural and non-natural. Until there is some positive evidence for the non-natural, the natural explanation still seems the most likely- even if we don't yet understand the details.

    Ironically, in the same way CH criticizes evolutionists for religious claims on "what God would or would not do", CH's whole support for ID seems to rest solely on the weaknesses of evolution, and no actual positive evidence.

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  134. Scott, there was never any controversy over small changes or "micro-evolution". This is a strawman argument.

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  135. NT: "Janfeld, not sure why you turned away from Christ. Would you mind saying what led to this? Some people get turned off by other people, some by teaching that they do not agree with and other reasons, some by a prayer that they feel wasn't answered, etc."

    Thought this was supposed to be a science blog? Considering that CH seems to accuse evolutionists of 'religious claims' it doesn't take much for ID's supporters here to veer into talking about Christianity or even proselytizing does it?

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  136. Evolutionary explanations should never talk about what God should have or shouldn't have done. Any such talk is metaphysical. What other scientific theory does this? Evolutionists know they have overplayed their hand and need all the rhetoric they can muster to keep their theory alive.

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  137. NT: "Evolutionary explanations should never talk about what God should have or shouldn't have done. Any such talk is metaphysical. What other scientific theory does this? "

    I think when you have people like Ken Ham claiming that the entire Universe was created in a literal 6 days and that unfortunately some people are taking him seriously, it is quite understandable that scientists will want to step in and rebut such claims (and point out that in fact what is observed and measured does not match the literal Genesis account whatsoever). Most other scientific theories do not have Ken Ham's making crazy claims that need this kind of rebuttal.

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  138. NT: "Evolutionary explanations should never talk about what God should have or shouldn't have done"


    Again, they only do so in response to the Ken Ham's of this world...

    But more to the point - could ID provide a complete explanatory framework for origins and species change over time that stands on its own without reference to current evolutionary theory and at least acknowledging that some of evolution's insights are correct? I doubt it.

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  139. Tedford the Idiot said...

    Janfeld, not sure why you turned away from Christ. Would you mind saying what led to this? Some people get turned off by other people, some by teaching that they do not agree with and other reasons, some by a prayer that they feel wasn't answered, etc.


    Many get turned off by holier-than-thou yet woefully ignorant idiot pastors who, along with their equally ignorant flock, try to push their anti-science religious fantasies into science classrooms in lieu of teaching actual science.

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  140. Cornelius: So when evolutionists say "Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution—paths that a sensible God would never tread" and I point out that this is a religious claim, it is really just my confirmation bias at work.

    Cornelius,

    You seem to have forgotten that we already have a working explanation for your objection to evolutionary theory, some aspects of cosmology, etc. They correlate with fields of science that could be interpreted to conflict with core fundamental Christian theology.

    Do you deny this?

    Better yet, simply list one or more scientific fields you do NOT object to, but could be interpreted to conflict with core fundamental Christian theology.

    Again, It's possible that, in reality, your thoughts on the matter could represent a near infinite number of possibilities.

    For example, your objections might represent one of many disingenuous arguments orchestrated by the Discovery Institute's wedge strategy. It could be your own personal disingenuous argument unrelated to the DI. Or perhaps you hold an irrational position which you use to rationalize your objections.

    However, we do not need to read your mind to know a conflict with fundamental Christian theological views is the best explanation of your objections. And we can know this as a fact based on the explanation you give for your objections, observing which fields you do or do not object to and which fields could be interpreted as conflicting with core fundamental Christian theology.

    This is because any explanation of your objections, or lack their of, is independent of your actual thoughts or views in reality. Furthermore, it's independent of any sort of hierarchy, such as mathematical deduction, induction or philosophy.

    Furthermore, you have yet to answer several key questions that could shed much needed light on your position. To repeat..

    Has science explained anything, let alone the biological complexity we observe?

    It's unclear why you continue to avoid answering this question.

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  142. @RobertC

    "But curiously, only when I apply them. When ID invokes them, they are hallmarks of design. When evolutionist counter with things that appear wholly undesigned, Hunter opines that we cannot infer the will of the designer, and have inserted religious sentiment.

    A curious catch-22 for biologists."

    The ID big shots are very cautious to not declare what the designer would have done or would not have done. But even Stephen Meyer finds the problem of evil and the problem of dysteleology nagging enough that he thinks he needs to reply to that. Thus he for example claims that the pathogenicity of bacteria is due to mutational decay of previously benign design. Or he claims that junk DNA actually has functions. So his underlying metaphysics are not that different.

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  143. @Neal Tedford

    If you claim that God designed everything you have to live with the question why God designed malaria for example. But because you are so deeply entangled in your own metaphysics you can't do what a real scientist would do and say "I don't know" you feel uncomfortable and you start to make up excuses and by doing so you leave the scientific turf.

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  144. I wrote: For example, your objections might represent one of many disingenuous arguments orchestrated by the Discovery Institute's wedge strategy. It could be your own personal disingenuous argument unrelated to the DI. Or perhaps you hold an irrational position which you use to rationalize your objections.

    To be perfectly clear, this is NOT to say there might not be a better explanation for Cornelius' selective objections, but we have yet to hear it. Nor can we evaluate un-conceived explanations as they cannot be defended as an explanation for anything.

    My point is that, regardless if Cornelius is being truthful to us, or even to himself, we can still determine if a conflict with fundamental Christian theological views is the best explanation of his selective objections.

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  145. Second opinion: The ID big shots are very cautious to not declare what the designer would have done or would not have done.

    The real question is what explains this cautiousness better:

    A. Lack of metaphysical bias on their part

    B. A desire / need for the designer to remain abstract

    Just because they do not express their views publicly doesn't exclude them from having views that effect their interpretation of the evidence. Perhaps they simply are unaware of their bias as Cornelius suggest evolutionist are unaware of theirs?

    However, I'd also note they cannot explain anything we observe in terms of a constraint or limitation of this designer as this would exclude God. Nor can they actually explain the means or method the designer used because this would exclude the designer from being supernatural. God cannot be explained.

    Furthermore, if they conclude that that biological complexity represents a boundary where human reason and problem solving cannot pass (or that science has explained nothing), then it would come to no surprise they would refrain from commenting on what what the designer would or would not have done.

    To do so would be to concede that we could use reason and problem solving to determine what God would or would not do.

    So, yes. It's a catch 22 situation. They must be careful as they could paint themselves into a corner.

    However, I'd suggest they already have painted themselves into a corner. Not by what the've said but what they refuse to say.

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  146. Janfeld says:
    Based on my experiences and searching I've ruled out the Christian God as a viable source of truth.

    Neal Tedford replies:
    Janfeld, not sure why you turned away from Christ.

    Is an example of the Christian mindset where "I don't see any evidence that god exists" is interpreted as "I hate Jesus".

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  147. I wrote: To be perfectly clear, this is NOT to say there might not be a better explanation for Cornelius' selective objections, but we have yet to hear it.

    What do I mean by this?

    Cornelius acts as if we cannot conclude what a perfectly good God would or would not do. This is the equlivent of claiming we cannot use human reason and problem solving to conclude what a perfectly good God would or would not do.

    He's taken it off the table. This is the conflict. This is the warfare thesis.

    Furthermore, if this were the case, in reality, it would seem we cannot conclude if the phenomena we attribute to gravity wasn't directly caused by a perfectly God pushing and pulling on objects.

    Of course, it's likely that Cornelius thinks there is no evidence that God is pushing and pulling on objects. But this assumes that Cornelius's ability to evaluate evidence has not be compromised because this would necessitate a perfectly good God was directly pushing and pulling people to their deaths.

    In addition, we can also note that the scientific theory of Gravity as a natural force, which Cornelius has yet to object to, does not conflict with core fundamental Christian theology in that gravity is a secondary cause of God.

    This is what I mean in that we have yet to hear a better explanation for Cornelius's selective objections of science.

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  148. Scott: "Cornelius acts as if we cannot conclude what a perfectly good God would or would not do. This is the equlivent of claiming we cannot use human reason and problem solving to conclude what a perfectly good God would or would not do."

    Yes, it implies that God is God and can do whatever He pleases. Which of course is extremely convenient when what we observe in nature really make no sense - for example, on the one hand we have the extreme intricate and precise of DNA and on the other we have some really sloppy head-scratching examples of "design" that certainly could have been better engineered (e.g., putting food and air intakes within close proximity).

    But as I've said before (and CH ignores of course) is that this God is not completely unknowable - in the case of the Christian variety we have the Bible which putatively describes the character, doings and methods of this God (some of which of course are really unpleasant and probably not suitable for children). So we do indeed have a basis to say "What would God do or not do" (in fact Christians spend quite lot of their time asking this very question - what would God/Jesus do?)

    And again this God, although it may be an Intelligent Designer certainly seems to be a very poor Intelligent Communicator, given that it has provided a detailed origins story that now seems to be completely at odds with what we know (sure, it's allegorical, right - but when does Genesis stop being allegorical and become history - chapter 4, chapter 7????). If this God wanted to deliberately confuse us about origins and evolution it is hard to imagine it doing a better job....

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  149. Pedant:

    ===
    Anyway, I note that none of those quotes come from the primary scientific literature, which is where the scientific rubber hits the epistemological road.
    ===

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/01/hierarchy-of-evolutionary-apologetics.html

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  150. Scott:

    ===
    What I'm looking for is a detailed explanation as to how holding a belief about God's nature actually results in you labeling any particular field of science being deemed unscientific and therefore 'bad'.
    ===

    Re 'bad': I don't think we should misrepresent science. I also don't think we should deny making the religious claims we are making (and then blame the other guy for having the religious ax to grind).

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  151. Essentially, Corn

    Jainsfield: But as I've said before (and CH ignores of course) is that this God is not completely unknowable - in the case of the Christian variety we have the Bible which putatively describes the character, doings and methods of this God (some of which of course are really unpleasant and probably not suitable for children). So we do indeed have a basis to say "What would God do or not do" (in fact Christians spend quite lot of their time asking this very question - what would God/Jesus do?)

    Right,

    But it's likely that, as a theist, Cornelius attributes this knowledge to revelation, not human reasoning and problem solving. If so, Cornelius 'solves' the problem of induction via communication from an omniscient and omnipotent being.

    For example, Cornelius has made reference to levels of certainty based on a hierarchy of philosophy, induction and mathematical deduction, but he has yet to divulge where divine revelation fits in this on this hierarchy, despite repeated requests for clarification.

    However, just as I'm suggesting that explanations are independent from this hierarchy of philosophy, induction, mathematical deduction, they are also independent of divine revelation, regardless where he thinks it fits in this hierarchy.

    And again this God, although it may be an Intelligent Designer certainly seems to be a very poor Intelligent Communicator, given that it has provided a detailed origins story that now seems to be completely at odds with what we know (sure, it's allegorical, right - but when does Genesis stop being allegorical and become history - chapter 4, chapter 7????). If this God wanted to deliberately confuse us about origins and evolution it is hard to imagine it doing a better job….

    That's because revelation about the factual state of affairs, in reality, can be divorced from an underlying explanation of those states of affairs. God can supposedly reveal facts about reality to us, but he cannot include an explanation of these facts because they must remain unexplainable. This would violate the boundary. God cannot be explained as he is non-natural. As such, God isn't an explanation, he's a justification. He represents the final answer and no better questions can be asked.

    For example, despite repeated requests for clarification, Cornelius has yet to divulge if he thinks science has explained anything at all, let alone the biological complexity we observe in nature.

    Of course, were still left with the problem of how to differentiate between false revelation from true revelation - or even if there is such a thing as true revelation at all. How we can do this without using human reasoning and problem solving is unclear.

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  152. Scott: What I'm looking for is a detailed explanation as to how holding a belief about God's nature actually results in you labeling any particular field of science being deemed unscientific and therefore 'bad'.

    CH: Re 'bad': I don't think we should misrepresent science. I also don't think we should deny making the religious claims we are making (and then blame the other guy for having the religious ax to grind).

    Cornelius,

    This is not an explanation. It's a general statement about we ought not do.

    I'm asking you to connect the dots. I've even attempted to summarize an implied theory, which you have yet to confirm or deny.

    In case it's not clear, I'm suggesting your objections of metaphysical bias can be distilled down to the assertion of a boundary where human reason and problem solving cannot pass. Furthermore, this boundary coincides with areas that could be interpreted to conflict with core fundamental Christian theology.

    Why are you the arbiter of where this boundary falls? Why should we think this boundary exists were you claim it does, let alone that it exists at all?

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  153. NT: "Evolutionary explanations should never talk about what God should have or shouldn't have done"

    Out of curiosity I went to the UC Berkeley site on evolution: http://evolution.berkeley.edu

    It's possible to do a search on the entire site. A search on "God" reveals just 5 entries - and each of these is only in reference to some historical figure (e.g., Linnaeus, Cuvier etc). So seems that UC Berkeley is quite able to talk about evolution without any reference to God. I daresay CH would no doubt find metaphysics all over the place, but then if you are deliberately looking for something you're usually going to find something.

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  154. Scott:

    ===
    I'm suggesting your objections of metaphysical bias can be distilled down to the assertion of a boundary where human reason and problem solving cannot pass.
    ===

    No, I'm not saying metaphysics is not allowed. It seems to me that evolutionary metaphysics are all over the map, with some that are downright lousy and others that are quite reasonable and good.

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  155. Janfeld:

    re: http://evolution.berkeley.edu

    with just a couple of clicks you see this:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/lines_04

    which gives the centuries-old metaphysical argument that homologies demonstrate common descent. It is an obvious case of affirming the consequent. From a scientific perspective this is absurd. The two examples they give are just silly, but the argument has never been from science.

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  156. Cornelius states:
    The two examples they give are just silly

    Why are those examples "silly"?

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  157. CH: "which gives the centuries-old metaphysical argument that homologies demonstrate common descent"...

    ...which is now also confirmed through the DNA record....

    But I guess DNA is also just "silly" too.

    So if homologies aren't indicative of common descent, what other choices could there be CH? The creative whim of a designer? As far as I can tell it's the most likely explanation.

    What evidence then do you have that homologies are the result of a non-natural agency at work? (the supernatural agent that you favor and have admitted to). Unless you can provide some, I think the current explanation is a good one (and of course is backed up by more than one line of evidence).

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  158. Cornelius Hunter: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/lines_04

    which gives the centuries-old metaphysical argument that homologies demonstrate common descent. It is an obvious case of affirming the consequent. From a scientific perspective this is absurd.


    Affirming the consequent is a fallacy of the form if P then Q, Q, therefore P. The scientific method is similar, but not identical, and is of the form if P then Q, Q, P is supported. For example, if Newtonian Mechanics then a comet will appear, Halley's Comet, Newtonian Mechanics is supported.

    No single support can usually be considered definitive, and theories are tested by differing methodologies, by different observers, under differing circumstances.

    In this case, common descent is so strongly supported; by homologies, by the nested hierarchy, by intermediate fossils; that it is perverse to withhold provisional assent.

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  159. Norm Olsen:

    ===
    Why are those examples "silly"?
    ===

    The evolution website, giving evidences why evolution is a fact, discusses homologies at this page:

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/lines_04

    It uses the leaves of plants as its first example. It gives four plants as examples: the pitcher plant, the venus flytrap, the poinsettia, and the cactus. It states:

    ###
    In the following photos of plants, the leaves are quite different from the "normal" leaves we envision. Each leaf has a very different shape and function, yet all are homologous structures, derived from a common ancestral form. The pitcher plant and Venus' flytrap use leaves to trap and digest insects. The bright red leaves of the poinsettia look like flower petals. The cactus leaves are modified into small spines which reduce water loss and can protect the cactus from herbivory.
    ###

    This is the height of absurdity. Evolutionists seriously want us to believe that the pitcher plant, the venus flytrap, the poinsettia, and the cactus are demonstrations of common descent because, ..., because, because they all have leaves? In the hands of evolutionists, these radically different plants become evidence *for* common descent because what? Because they all have leaves.

    The pitcher plant, the venus flytrap, the poinsettia, and the cactus have very different morphologies. For those unfamiliar with these plants, go to the page and look at the pictures. Cactus leaves are like spines, poinsettia leaves are like flower petals, the venus flytrap leaves are like jaws that close to catch insects, and the pitcher plant leaves form a pitcher to catch insects. This is not suggestive of common descent, unless of course you are desparate to convince students of something that makes no sense.

    The next example, the tetrapod forlimb, is equally silly. Look at the eusthenopteron forelimb and the rabbit forelimb, for instance. Like the plant leaves, these designs are radically different.

    Yet we are told this "demonstrates their common ancestry." Demonstrates their common ancestry? How are these demonstrations their common ancestry? There is no demonstration of common ancestry here. Not even close. The evolutionists show some nice illustrations of radically different plants and animals. And it is simply asserted that this is a of common ancestry. This is the height of absurdity.

    The evolutionary argument is that evolution is restricted to certain designs. And while such designs morph this way and that, the underlying design framework is unchangeable. Evolution is stuck with it.

    There are two problems here. First, it is affirming the consequent. Second, it is false. Evolutionists routinely ascribe complete redesigns to evolution. Evolution is supposedly capable of complete makeovers. But then when a pattern is observed, we are told evolution is stuck with it. Evolutionists just make up whatever suits the moment. In fact if evolution is so stuck with designs, then it would clearly be falsified, as it wouldn't be able to come up with all those new designs it is always devising.

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  160. Hunter, quoting Pedant:

    ===
    Anyway, I note that none of those quotes come from the primary scientific literature, which is where the scientific rubber hits the epistemological road.
    ===

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/01/hierarchy-of-evolutionary-apologetics.html


    So? What am I to make of that link? Are you the Delphic Oracle? If you have something to say, would it break your back to say it directly and clearly?

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  161. Zachriel:

    Affirming the consequent is a fallacy of the form if P then Q, Q, therefore P. The scientific method is similar, but not identical, and is of the form if P then Q, Q, P is supported. For example, if Newtonian Mechanics then a comet will appear, Halley's Comet, Newtonian Mechanics is supported.

    A critical distinction, worth pasting on your bathroom mirror. (Deductive vs inductive reasoning.)

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  162. CH,
    "The evolution website, giving evidences why evolution is a fact, discusses homologies at this page:"

    that's interesting. the only claim of "fact" hood I see is this:
    "At the heart of evolutionary theory is the basic idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time."
    guess you must have confronted them already, and they've already started backpedaling (ha).

    "This is the height of absurdity. Evolutionists seriously want us to believe that the pitcher plant, the venus flytrap, the poinsettia, and the cactus are demonstrations of common descent because, ..., because, because they all have leaves? In the hands of evolutionists, these radically different plants become evidence *for* common descent because what? Because they all have leaves."

    stop sputtering.. while there are obvious differences between them, the structures on these different plants all have underlying similarities in development and form that indicate that, yes, they are all leaves. now there are two possibilities for how these forms originated: through separate ancestry or common ancestry. through simple parsimony, convergence on these underlying similarities (i.e. separate ancestry) is less likely than sharing through inheritance (i.e. common ancestry). thus, the hypothesis of common ancestry is supported. now, there may be other alternatives besides these two alternatives, but until they emerge from the ether and are articulated, we can only consider these two.

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  163. PS, note that above I made a statement about what I believe to be true. It would be very refreshing for a change to hear what critics of evolution *actually* believe, as apposed to what they don't believe.

    I'm starting to think that IDers are a bit like food critics who really just hate food, period.

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  164. Cornelius:
    The next example, the tetrapod forlimb, is equally silly. Look at the eusthenopteron forelimb and the rabbit forelimb, for instance. Like the plant leaves, these designs are radically different.

    Not different enough to stop us from recognising an underlying pattern. This observation was fundamental even in pre-evolutionary thought of comparative anatomists like Richard Owen. It led him to the development of his Archetypes theory (i.e. modifications from general plans). Similarly, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe noted how many organs of vascular plants could be explained as modifications of a generalised leaf. What evolution added to that base work was the notion that those transformations can happen between generations of real organisms.

    Also, the increasingly detailed fossil record of the evolution of the tetrapod limb renders your argument from incredulity shamefully blatant.

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  165. Pedant,
    So? What am I to make of that link? Are you the Delphic Oracle? If you have something to say, would it break your back to say it directly and clearly?

    While drunk, read it again and ignore the comments that tear apart the text.

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  166. CH:It is an obvious case of affirming the consequent. From a scientific perspective this is absurd.

    Zachriel :Affirming the consequent is a fallacy of the form if P then Q, Q, therefore P. The scientific method is similar, but not identical, and is of the form if P then Q, Q, P is supported. For example, if Newtonian Mechanics then a comet will appear, Halley's Comet, Newtonian Mechanics is supported.

    Right,

    However, one of Galileo's key contribution to science was the idea that realty is fundamentally comprehensible. This is an important fact about reality itself.

    We may not be able to directly observe any part of a theory in nature, as that would be an inductivist mistake. However, what is really out there is evidence, or more specifically, a reality that will respond with evidence if we appropriately prod and poke it. Given even a fragment of two or more rival theories, we can find evidence that allows us to distinguish between them.

    So, if Newtonian Mechanics then a comet will appear, Halley's Comet, Newtonian Mechanics is collaborated

    Out of all theories collaborated by observations, we can then compare them to determine which represents a superior explanation of these observations. This is because any explanation of phenomena is independent of any particular state of affairs in reality. Furthermore, it's independent of any sort of hierarchy, such as mathematical deduction, induction or philosophy. In other words, we can know one theory is the best explanation, as a fact.

    As such, we tentatively accept this explanation. If a new theory provides a better explanation for existing observations or new observations made in the future we replace it.

    How do we determine which explanation is superior?

    In case it's not clear, I'm attempting to illustrate this very same process in determining the best explanation of Cornelius selective objections to scientific theories.

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  167. Scott: I'm suggesting your objections of metaphysical bias can be distilled down to the assertion of a boundary where human reason and problem solving cannot pass.

    CH:No, I'm not saying metaphysics is not allowed.

    Cornelius,

    Again, I'm comparing explanations for your selective objections to various fields of science.

    So when I say I'm suggesting your objections of metaphysical bias can be distilled down to the assertion of a boundary where human reason and problem solving cannot pass. I'm not suggesting you're saying metaphysics is not allowed.

    I'm presenting another explanation for your selective objections: you've drawn a boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot pass, which is a reflection of your theological views. For example, we cannot explain biological complexity because it exists outside this boundary. Regardless of what we observe you've taken it off the table.

    To reiterate ..

    To be perfectly clear, this is NOT to say there might not be a better explanation for Cornelius' selective objections, but we have yet to hear it. Nor can we evaluate un-conceived explanations as they cannot be defended as an explanation for anything.

    My point is that, regardless if Cornelius is being truthful to us, or even to himself, we can still determine if a conflict with fundamental Christian theological views is the best explanation of his selective objections.


    CH: It seems to me that evolutionary metaphysics are all over the map, with some that are downright lousy and others that are quite reasonable and good.

    Again, I'm not just focused on your objection to evolution. That's only part of the picture.

    If we take your claims regarding metaphysics of evolutionary thery seriously, in that we assume it is true in reality and that your position on all scientific theories must conform to it, then it would seem that science as a whole would be bad. But your not making the same claims about other fields. Something does't add up.

    On one hand, your explanation for your selective objections is that you think some of their metaphysics is lousy and silly. But, on the other hand, this can also be explained by you having drawn a boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot pass.

    Example?

    CH:Try asking yourself this question: How do I know that an all good, all knowing, and all powerful being would not create or allow evil? You will see that the reason you "know" that is that you hold some hidden premises. Someone else could just as easily say that if god is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, then there would be evil. That claim is just as legitimate as your claim.

    You can explain your objection by whatever name you like. But we can also explain it as the assertion of a boundary where human reasoning and problem solving cannot pass.

    To reiterate ..

    This is because any explanation of your objections, or lack their of, is independent of your actual thoughts or views in reality. Furthermore, it's independent of any sort of hierarchy, such as mathematical deduction, induction or philosophy.

    Essentially, we must throw up our hands. We can't move one jot closer. There are no more better questions we can ask. Again, I'm suggesting this is the conflict. The assertion that this boundary exists at all, let alone anywhere in particular, is the warfare thesis.

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  168. Geoxus to Pedant:

    While drunk, read it again and ignore the comments that tear apart the text.

    I tried that, repeatedly, but it didn't help.

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  169. CH: Re 'bad': I don't think we should misrepresent science. I also don't think we should deny making the religious claims we are making (and then blame the other guy for having the religious ax to grind).

    In comparing explanations for your selective objections, I'm not blaming anyone for anything. Blame need not enter the picture to say one theory provides a superior explanation for the particular phenomena it encompasses.

    However, saying "I don't think we should misrepresent science." is a poor explanation of your selective objections because…

    A. It lacks a coherent criteria as to how you determine if any theory misrepresents science. (not just selected theories)

    B. You have yet to disclose how you define science, which is relevant to your conclusion that any theory in particular misrepresents it.

    For example if you're an instrumentalist, then it would come to no surprise that you reject evolutionary theory as an explanation of the biological complexity we observe, as science as a whole explains nothing. Theories are merely a collection of predictions that are either observed to be true or false.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumentalism

    So, without a comprehensive and coherent criteria to determine if any theory misrepresents science, saying "I don't think we should misrepresent science isn't very helpful. More importantly, it's a bad explanation of your selective objections.

    I've asked several questions that could shed much needed light on this areas, but they remain unanswered. For your convenience…

    01. Has science explained anything at all?

    02. Is the biological complexity we observe beyond explanation by human reason and problem solving?

    03. Do you think there is an answer to the problem of induction? If so, what is it?

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  170. second opinion, with the increasing knowledge of of dna and rna, more than just a few folks need to move beyond all the subjective and metaphysical talk. Genetic sequencing of more and more species is tearing Darwins tree of life to shreds...http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/02/for_darwin_day_false_facts_and043691.html

    The digital nature of the genetic code is a distinct feature of intelligent authorship.

    I think the question as to why Malaria exists is an entirely different discussion. One can detect design without knowing why.

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  171. I think the question as to why Malaria exists is an entirely different discussion. One can detect design without knowing why.

    Such is the explanatory power of miracles.

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  172. Neal,

    So, to summarize, we can use human reasoning and problem solving to determine if Malaria is designed, but we cannot use human reasoning and problem solving to explain why it exists?

    Is this really your position? Really?

    If not, then please enlighten us to your real position.

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