Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Of and About TEs: How Evolutionists Interpret Transposable Elements

TEs love TEs. That is, theological evolutionists love transposable elements. This is because transposable elements—a type of DNA segment—are powerful evidence for common descent. Transposable elements are often what evolutionists, such as Francis Collins, refer to when they say common descent is compelling. For similar transposable elements are found in similar locations in the genomes of similar species. If they have a common ancestor which also had those transposable elements at those locations in its genome, then would we not expect to see precisely what we are seeing: cousin species with similar transposable elements? This evidence certainly is a successful prediction (or retrodiction) of the theory of common descent. But there’s more.

Transposable elements are not merely a successful prediction of common descent, they are a powerful exhibit of dysteleology—the lack of design. We can hardly imagine that god would have installed these not very useful DNA segments at the same place in cousin species.

As theological evolutionists explain, transposable elements are an example where the design hypothesis fails and there really is no other explanation aside from common descent.

The IFF statement


In other words, this is not the usual case of IF theory X is TRUE, then we should observe Y. Instead, this is a case of IF AND ONLY IF theory X is TRUE, then we should observe Y. Not only does common descent explain transposable elements, but only common descent explains transposable elements.

The IF AND ONLY IF statement, also known as an IFF statement, is different from the usual IF statement in some important ways. First, given IF X THEN Y, it is not true that IF Y THEN X. In other words, a successful prediction does not mean the theory is true. That is the fallacy of affirming the consequent. A successful prediction merely means that the theory has passed a test.

Not so with an IFF statement. Given IFF X THEN Y, it is also true that IF Y THEN X. A successful prediction does mean the theory is true.

Another important difference between the IF statement and the IFF statement is that whereas the IF statement is scientific, the IFF statement is metaphysical. That is, in science a theory can produce predictions. If the theory is true, certain observations are expected. The IF statement is simply a statement about the theory and its predictions.

But the IFF statement is not merely a statement about the theory—it is a statement about all possible theories. The IFF statement is a claim that there does not exist any theory aside from X that can explain observation Y. Such claims are not possible within science.

In the case of transposable elements, evolutionists say god would not allow for the pattern of similarities we observe without common descent being true. This is because the transposable element patterns between species make common descent appear to be true. Therefore if god allowed for this pattern of similarities without common descent being true, it would be deceptive. Since god is not deceptive, only common descent can explain transposable elements. IFF common descent, THEN transposable elements.

IFF statements are common in evolutionary thought. The most famous one comes from one of the twentieth century’s leading evolutionists, Theodosius Dobzhansky, who claimed that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” If it isn’t already obvious, that claim is equivalent to an IFF statement, as the following sequence of equivalent statements demonstrates:

1. Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution
2. Everything in biology makes sense only in the light of evolution
3. Only evolution can make sense of anything in biology
4. IFF evolution THEN biology

Dobzhansky justified his claim with a series of theological arguments that god would never had intended for this world.

The problem of unconceived alternatives

The history of science is littered with theories that were believed to be true and yet later dropped. In many cases a theory was held to be true not so much because it was convincing but because the alternatives were considered to be impossible. The theory was later dropped not because one of those alternatives became more palatable, but because an entirely different explanation was discovered. In other words, this reasoning by process of elimination is susceptible to unconceived alternatives.

The evolutionist’s many IFF statements are another example of this reasoning by process of elimination. They are certain their idea is correct because the alternatives must be wrong. As Ernst Mayr, another leading evolutionist of the twentieth century, once admitted, evolution achieved its predominance “less by the amount of irrefutable proofs it has been able to present than by the default of all the opposing theories.”

Just common sense

Now all this talk of theological premises, IFF statement and unconceived alternatives may seem unnecessary and irrelevant. Isn’t all this just an asterisk on what is obvious? As one evolutionist commented, yes it is a theological claim, but it is really amounts to common sense.

Transposable elements and their patterns obviously are not designed no matter how many technicalities one can raise against the clear conclusion. There is a theological claim there, but it is hardly important. It is nothing more than a teensie, tiny part of the reasoning.

This sentiment is typical and reminds us of Whitehead’s brilliant advise not to question someone on what he feels he needs to defend, but rather on what he takes for granted. The popular version goes like this: It isn’t what a man doesn’t know that scares me, but what he knows for sure.

Evolutionists know for sure that their idea is a fact. And if all the evidence aligned with their claims then we would join with them. After all, there’s nothing wrong with metaphysics.

The rest of the story

But this the rub. While evolutionists are convinced by evidences such as transposable elements, there are monumental problems with evolution and common descent. As for common descent, biology is full of patterns that, unlike the transposable elements, do not align with the expected pattern.

In fact, if this were about following the evidence, then common descent would have been falsified long ago. Even evolutionists are now admitting the venerable evolutionary tree is falling because the species comparisons are yielding similarities and differences that simply do not match the expectations.

Incredible similarities in distant species and incredible differences in similar species abound. No one knows what kind of pattern may emerge, but it isn’t looking like an evolutionary tree.

So while there are evidences, such as transposable elements, that predominantly support common descent, there are plenty of others that do not. If we want to evaluate common descent we would, like an accountant, tally up the gains and losses—the confirmations and contradictions.

But evolutionists don’t do this. Instead of cooly analyzing the various evidences and their implications, evolutionists are busy making unfounded and undefendable truth claims, and ridiculing those who don’t follow along.

This is where the metaphysics and theology come back to bite us. If we apply theology selectively to the evidence of choice, and conclude common descent must be true, then the rest of the evidence no longer matters. It is relegated to the status of a research problem.

Amazingly, evolutionists often are not even cognizant of contradictory evidences. Over and over they claim that all the evidence unequivocally supports common descent and evolution. That’s just bad science.

Evolution’s track record is that the more we learn about the evidence the more it contradicts evolutionary theory. New evidence is interpreted according to evolution and hailed as new proofs, but as more is learned the proofs turn to questions and finally to contradictions.

Today transposable elements are good evidence for common descent and evolution. Whether they remain that way is difficult to say. But what is clear is that evidences such as transposable elements are counter balanced by monumental problems for both common descent and evolution. And the transposable element evidence does nothing to clear up that conflict.

As it stands, common descent and evolution are not very good scientific theories. The fact that they enjoy the support of certain evidences puts them in the class of blood-letting and the flat earth theory.

Confirmed predictions are not hard to come by in science. The difference is that evolutionists apply religious mandates to the evidence. What is merely a confirmed prediction becomes something far more powerful. Religion drives science, and it matters.

300 comments:

  1. Who's paying you to write this unmitigated garbage CH? Was it worth sacrificing your professional career over?

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  2. Cornelius -

    Who exactly is advocating these IFF statements of yours exactly?

    I can understand people saying 'Only evolution makes sense of evidence XYZ', but that is not to say 'No other theory possibly could make sense of XYZ', but 'We don't have any other theory which does make sense of XYZ'.

    Stating that 'a piece of evidence supports only one theory and cannot possibly support any other' is ridiculous, and I simply don't think anyone is seriously making it. It sounds like one of your absurd strawmen.

    "As it stands, common descent and evolution are not very good scientific theories."

    I'm sorry but this not only demonstrates an ignorance of the sheer scale of supporting evidence for ToE, but a determination to remain ignorant. ToE is one of the best supported theories in all of science. And your massively overinflated 'falsifications of ToE' are routinely shot down and shown to be no such thing - often because you take every new biological discovery as a 'falsification'.

    "The fact that they enjoy the support of certain evidences puts them in the class of blood-letting and the flat earth theory."

    The flat Earth Theory has been completely surpassed because we have a theory which completely explains all the evidence (if it deserves the name) we have for the Flat Earth theory, and much, much more besides. We do not have such a theory when it comes to ToE.

    If you want someone to say it is THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE that a theory might one day come along and explain all the evidence ToE does and more, then I will happily do so. For it is indeed the case. But so what? Until there actually IS such a theory, ToE is the best we have to work with. Like the theory of gravity, if you have an alternative, state it. If not, then why are you so obsessed with relentlessly insisting that they are potentially possible?

    "The difference is that evolutionists apply religious mandates to the evidence."

    The only 'religious mandate' is that we assume methodological naturalism - which is an assumption which EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE MAKES!!!!! ASSUMING IT IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!!!!!!

    Seriously, Cornelius, how many times? Do your eyes just switch off every time you read these words?

    Let's try again:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    Got it? Let's go again, just to be sure:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    And let's go for trilogy:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    Just in case you are in doubt of the most important part of my post, here it is once more:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    The fact that you claim 1) only ToE does this, and that 2) assuming methodological naturalism is unscientific, makes you sound like a clown.

    Here's that important point again:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    If you have a theory which does NOT assume methodological naturalism, then it isn't science.

    And here's that sentence again:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    I'd like to think you've absorbed the point, but seeing as your track record here is abysmal I won't hold my breath. But just in case one more try will do the trick:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

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  3. Ritchie

    I think you're being a bit too vague. Here's what I (and I'm sure everyone else) read:

    Seriously, Cornelius, how many times? Do your eyes just switch off every time you read these words?

    Let's try again:

    Got it? Let's go again, just to be sure:

    And let's go for trilogy:

    Just in case you are in doubt of the most important part of my post, here it is once more:

    The fact that you claim 1) only ToE does this, and that 2) assuming methodological naturalism is unscientific, makes you sound like a clown.

    Here's that important point again:

    If you have a theory which does NOT assume methodological naturalism, then it isn't science.

    And here's that sentence again:

    I'd like to think you've absorbed the point, but seeing as your track record here is abysmal I won't hold my breath. But just in case one more try will do the trick:


    It's like you're trying to make some kind of point, but never actually stating what that point is. I'm guessing it's because, being an evolutionist, you assume some kind of methodological naturalism which flies in the face of every other scientific discipline in the world. Strange how you never seem to address that glaring problem with evolution.

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  4. This "The IF AND ONLY IF" stuff is ridiculous. Science isn't mathematics and it does not set out to establish a formal proof.

    Planets obey Newton's laws of dynamics and universal gravity but that does not exclude the possibility that the planets are actually pushed in their orbits by angels. Or maybe it is all (us included) just part of a large-scale numerical simulation. No scientist is particularly worried about these alternative hypotheses, though. Not until someone presents some positive evidence for the angels' involvement.

    Likewise, the hypothesis of common descent works pretty well. There may be alternative explanations out there, but creationists will not be taken seriously until they point out positive evidence for their hypothesis. For now, all they can do is complain.

    And Cornelius, you are not even original in your claims that evolution is religion. This venerable tradition goes back to Henry Morris.

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  5. Lol!

    You've totally called me out, VF.

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  6. Yeah, Dr Hunter thinks science is a process of deductive reasoning. Somehow evidence fits in there, but he hasn't explained how, yet. That sure hamstrings any prospect of having a productive discussion with him about any science, let alone biology.

    It doesn't help that there are no references in this OP to substantiate the sweeping claims within it, so how can a person ascertain whether any of them are adequately supported by evidence?

    At the very least he should provide some specifics from the primary literature about the "homologous transposable elements which don’t fit the common descent pattern" that he claimed previously to be a big problem for common descent.

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  7. oleg said, "There may be alternative explanations out there, but creationists will not be taken seriously until they point out positive evidence for their hypothesis"

    ---

    Spare us from such insincere pontifications. You guys are automatic scorners (not skeptics, but scorners) of anything that is skeptical of evolution.

    We observe the planets orbiting the sun.
    We can make predictions and test against those predictions repeatedly. We don't observe common descent. You have some change and huge huge ungrounded assumptions.

    Its major prediction of a "tree" failed. What you have is an interpretation of a mysterious fossil record that often contradicts the gradualism that evolution supposedly required (before it didn't).

    Evolution is a philosophy of interpreting the fossil record and biology. It makes soft predictions where falsification of those predictions doesn't effect the so-called fact of evolution. Falsification is not allowed to harm evolution, it is just further accommodated to imprecisely retro-fitted to whatever it needs to at the moment.

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  8. Neal,

    The prediction of a tree of life did not fail. I have quoted the Doolittle-Bapteste paper so many times that you should have taken notice. Here it is, once again:

    "To be sure, much of evolution has been tree-like and is captured in hierarchical classifications. Although plant speciation is often effected by reticulation (80) and radical primary and secondary symbioses lie at the base of the eukaryotes and several groups within them (81, 82), it would be perverse to claim that Darwin's TOL hypothesis has been falsified for animals (the taxon to which he primarily addressed himself) or that it is not an appropriate model for many taxa at many levels of analysis. Birds are not bees, and animals are not plants."



    Doolittle is the guy who is pushing the idea of non-tree-like descent patterns for prokaryotes. But even he acknowledges that Darwin's prediction of the tree of life for animals is alive and well.

    Stop using this argument. It is entirely bogus.

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  9. CH: We can hardly imagine that god would have installed these not very useful DNA segments at the same place in cousin species.

    We can imagine such a God, but we have no explanation as to why such a God would do so. Furthermore, one could imagine a God that could have created everything last Thursday with the appearance of age, including false memories, etc. Both of which we discard because, in their current form, they are bad explanations.

    One important thing to note here is that these false memories would also include having conceived of false theories about how things *are*. For example, if God had created the universe, and everything in it, exactly at the point where Darwin or Einstein completed their major discovery (or appeared to have made), then the actually creator of that discovery would had not been Darwin or Einstein, but God. More importantly, the resulting theory created denies the only creation that supposedly did take place during their supposedly false discovery.

    So, I'd suggest the real issue here isn't merely whether we could imagine a God would take specific actions, which merely appear false, but the underlying impact this would have on our underlying theory of the creation of knowledge.

    I'd also note that there could be an infinite number of other factors that could interfere with the creation of knowledge beyond supernatural causes.

    For example, someone could maliciously interfere with test equipment or change variables that should have remained constant. There could be a design flaw in all models of test a particular type of test equipment that results in false results in particular ranges or scenarios, etc.

    And, of course, there is the problem of induction, which can be summarized as the fallacy of assuming the future resembles the past or that we can actually see causes. Observations are theory laden.

    To quote Richard Feynman, Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool..

    However, bias is merely just one way that we could end up fooling ourselves. And if you're a scientist, you should know this. As such, it's unclear how one could apply the IFF statement to any field of science. Anyone who would do so would be grossly ignorant of how science actually works.

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  10. Furthermore, this same argument applies to your objection. How do you know that positive theological belief is the actual cause of scientific acceptance of evolutionary theory? If fact, you have yet to provide a coherent and comprehensive criteria for differentiating between criticizing what appears to be inconsistent application of God's supposed properties with posting theological belief?

    Is this not an example of the same application of IFF? Specifically, your augment appears to take the form of..

    01. Nothing about the scientific acceptance of evolutionary theory makes sense except in the light of scientists holding positive theological beliefs about God.
    02. Everything about the scientific acceptance of evolutionary theory makes sense only in the light of scientists holding positive theological beliefs about God.
    03. Only only in the light of scientists holding positive theological beliefs about God can we make sense out of the scientific acceptance of evolutionary theory
    04. IFF scientists hold positive theological beliefs THEN evolutionary acceptance.

    But, as you point out….

    The IFF statement is a claim that there does not exist any theory aside from X that can explain observation Y. Such claims are not possible within science.

    But you can make them here? Science is problem solving. So, if you're making such a claim here, then it would seem you're not actually interested in solving the problem of explaining what we observe, but attacking a theory that conflict with your religious beliefs.

    For example, I could also point out that as a Christian, you likely accept Apocalyptic theodicy as found in the bible as divine revelation, in that it supposedly reveals heavenly secrets that makes sense out of earthly realities. One of these secrets is that there is a battle raging in this age between cosmic forces of good and evil. Another secret is that everyone takes sides in this battle whether they admit it or even realize it. You've also publicly stated that you consider evolutionary thought to be in the class of though that would result from the corruption by sin.

    Therefore, one might attempt to conclude that ..

    01. Nothing about your objections to evolutionary theory makes sense except in the light of your acceptance of Apocalyptic theodicy
    02. Everything in your objections to evolutionary theory makes sense only in the light of your acceptance of Apocalyptic theodicy
    03. Only your acceptance of Apocalyptic theodicy can make sense of your objections to evolutionary theory.
    04. IFF Apocalyptic theodicy THEN objections to evolutionary theory

    But, clearly, there could be other reasons why you object to evolutionary theory. I can't *know* that you're objections are primarily based on this line of reasoning *any* more than you can know criticism's of theological applications of God's supposed theological properties actually represents positive theological beliefs that are the primary reason for the scientific acceptance of evolutionary theory we observe.

    For example, my actual position is that the primary reason you object to evolutionary theory is that it conflicts with your theory of how knowledge is created. Or, more specifically, that knowledge *isn't* created. Evolution would clearly conflict with such a claim.

    But we do not observe causes. I cannot use IFF to know that this is your reason. However, after further criticism, I could conclude that it's a very good explanation for your objections.

    We start out with conjecture of an underlying cause to create theories then apply criticism in the form of empirical testing to *those theories*. We then seek to discard theories with errors. Both also suffer from the problem of unconceived alternatives, which is really a version of the problem of induction.

    So, again, you seem to be an "inductivist" in that "unconceived alternatives" poses a problem, but strangely only a problem of evolutionary theory.

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  11. oleg:

    The prediction of a tree of life did not fail.

    Of course it did. Unless, that is, you are a protectionist as are most evolutionists and (i) define the "tree of life" as containing only those relationships that look something like a tree, and/or (ii) define "fail" using the random null hypothesis. Protectionism aside, relationships at all levels contradict the tree's predictions, requiring shiny new just-so epicycles to explain.

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  12. I am not impressed with your argument, Cornelius. Darwin's prediction was specifically for animals, whose evolution proceeds vertically, and that still works. Prediction fulfilled.

    If you include organisms that are affected by horizontal gene transfer, of course their evolution will not be tree-like. Somehow this simple point evades you.

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  13. oleg, do not limit yourself to Doolittle, the problem is bigger than what he wrote of a few years ago. The tree does not work for animals either.

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  14. Neal,

    It would be nice to see the details.

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  15. ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    It's ironic that you think repeating a vacuous statement over and over again makes it mean something. It's also ironic that one of the main assumptions that gave rise to science as we know it is that our intellects are capable of comprehending nature in a systematic and methodical way due to being created in the image of a God separate from nature. This led to the end of many nature based or pagan superstitions. Yet now our new pseudo-scientific magicians have arisen to make claims like the alchemists and astrologers of old, promising to know all and cure all ills if we would just grant them more prestige, power and money. Another irony, magic is a now stigma word...

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  16. Planets obey Newton's laws of dynamics and universal gravity but that does not exclude the possibility that the planets are actually pushed in their orbits by angels. ....
    Likewise, the hypothesis of common descent works pretty well.


    Lol... I think it's funny that you think you can put common descent on the same epistemic level as the theory of gravity just because you mentioned angels. I guess if that doesn't work you can try magic. I mean, at least it's not like magic. And if the only alternative to all organisms being united in common descent is angels or magic, well then common descent is pretty much proven... Lol...

    One thing you probably won't try is systematically and methodically weighing all the evidence in the pursuit of the truth. After all, as Ritchie keeps repeating, science is a method of verifying naturalism. Whatever naturalism is...

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  17. ...clearly, there could be other reasons why you object to evolutionary theory. I can't *know* that you're objections are primarily based on this line of reasoning *any* more than you can know criticism's of theological applications of God's supposed theological properties actually represents positive theological beliefs that are the primary reason for the scientific acceptance of evolutionary theory we observe.

    Everyone is a mix of motives but it has been my experience that those who are "half aware" or half-witted about their theology are most subject to being motivated by it. On the one hand there are the avowed creationists who seem to be well aware of their theology and its impact on them. On the other are the evolutionists who make many half-witted theological claims while pretending that it doesn't motivate them. Ironically it may be more likely that a creationist will keep their theology separate. Indeed, the whole notion of a separate or sacred place for the conscience (as well as separation of church and state) is generally Jewish and Christian in its origins. There is no such separation in nature based paganism. So there will be a more total or totalitarian view and less liberty as paganism becomes more common.

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  18. oleg:

    I am not impressed with your argument, Cornelius.

    Of course you aren’t. You believe the world spontaneously arose by itself, in spite of the facts.

    Darwin's prediction was specifically for animals, whose evolution proceeds vertically, and that still works. Prediction fulfilled.

    Incredible example of protectionism. The evolutionary tree is (or should I say “was”) a prediction of evolution. It was not merely for animals. This is not about Darwin, per se. Darwin never predicted protein evolution either. So what, it is nonetheless a contradiction of evolutionary expectations.

    If you include organisms that are affected by horizontal gene transfer, of course their evolution will not be tree-like. Somehow this simple point evades you.

    Biology is full of examples, both at morphological and molecular levels, that contradict the evolutionary tree, most of which cannot be resolved with horizontal gene transfer (HGT). This is to say nothing of the problem of how and why HGT would have evolved anyway.

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  19. mynym said, "It's also ironic that one of the main assumptions that gave rise to science as we know it is that our intellects are capable of comprehending nature in a systematic and methodical way due to being created in the image of a God separate from nature. This led to the end of many nature based or pagan superstitions."

    ---

    Yes, but the wise founders of modern science weren't nervous about the existence of God or his creative abilities regarding origins either. Evolutionists are extremists in that they have taken naturalism to apoplectic extremes. Like rebellious children they have left the household of scientific sanity built by their wise forefathers and have built a repackaged form of superstition (i.e. ascribing to nature what is scientifically unlikely). They have turned to willy nilly explanations and given them a higher status than the general theory of relativity. They must rely on hand-waving explanations of unrepeatable and improbable events. Spinning a wheel in Vegas offers more predictability than their theories.

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  20. Tedford the Idiot said...

    oleg, do not limit yourself to Doolittle, the problem is bigger than what he wrote of a few years ago. The tree does not work for animals either.


    You creationists are so predictable. Take any little piece of new scientific knowledge and scream "ToE is dead!! falsified!! kaput!!" like delirious mental midgets.

    The simple fact is, HGT does not kill or even damage the main tree of life. All HGT does is introduce another mechanism for genetic variation, one that happens almost exclusively at the single-celled organism level and very rarely in multi-cellular animals. At the multi-cellular animal level the 'tree' structure of common descent is still a profound and easily recognizable pattern from the data. At worst HGT adds a small amount of 'noise' to the tree signal, noise that can easily be identified and accounted for.

    To use an analogy (shamelessly swiped from Elizabeth Liddle at TalkRational), common descent is like a giant jigsaw puzzle with plenty of pieces in place to ascertain the picture. HGT is like discovering a few additional pieces mixed in from another smaller puzzle - they do nothing to invalidate the strong evidence for the big main picture.

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  21. mynym -

    "It's ironic that you think repeating a vacuous statement over and over again makes it mean something."

    Vacuous? It is an extremely salient point - one that I have pointed out time and time again, and yet which Cornelius STILL appears totally oblivious. He keeps on insisting that 1) ToE alone is 'guilty' of assuming methodological naturalism, and 2) that assuming it is unscientific. Both of which are categorically wrong, and are at the heart of Cornelius' misrepresentations of evolution.

    And it seems he is STILL determined to ignore it.

    "It's also ironic that one of the main assumptions that gave rise to science as we know it is that our intellects are capable of comprehending nature in a systematic and methodical way due to being created in the image of a God separate from nature."

    Was it? Where did you get that idea from?

    "This led to the end of many nature based or pagan superstitions."

    Errr, no. Christianity largely put an end to them (at least in the west). By the inspired method of insisting pagans convert and killing them if they didn't. Religious empiricism, we might call it.

    "Yet now our new pseudo-scientific magicians have arisen to make claims like the alchemists and astrologers of old, promising to know all and cure all ills if we would just grant them more prestige, power and money."

    You clearly have no idea what science is, or how it is practiced. Scientists have to EARN their stripes by doing research and publishing papers for their peers to critically evaluate.

    They do not just stand around high and mighty, blindly claiming authority on everything and demanding money, power and prestige, promising a payoff which is dangled just beyond the reach of us mere mortals. However this description does nicely fit many religious leaders, particularly the Christian ones.

    Ironic, wouldn't you say?

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  22. Neal -

    You are suffering from the same inane ramblings that Cornelius is prone to. If I might remind you of a small, but, I feel, important point:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    I may have neglected to mention it earlier. Silly me. Allow me to rectify this now and repeat for added emphasis.

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    Scientists were assuming methodological naturalism long before the theory of evolution was thought up.

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    It is simply not scientific to allow God or miracles into the lab. Not in biology, not in chemistry, not in physics. And this is not the 'pernicious influence of the evolutionists' - it was in place long before the theory of evolution was drawn up. It is simply how it must be.

    Because if you allow that miracles are possible, then you have no reason to trust the result of any experiment you do - it might have been the result of a miracle. In which case it demonstrates nothing. All tests and observations are meaningless and science grinds to a halt.

    In short:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    Do you really need me to say it again?

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  23. Ritchie said...

    Neal -

    You are suffering from the same inane ramblings that Cornelius is prone to. If I might remind you of a small, but, I feel, important point:

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!


    But obviously to Tedford the other sciences don't count, because they don't threaten his narcissistic "GAWD made me SPECIAL! I ain't related to no smelly animals!" world view. Which of course makes him a big fat hypocrite, but hey - what else is new?

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  24. Thorton -

    It seems so. They take a trait common to every scientific theory, claim it is 'religiously biased' and 'unscientific' through a tortured rationale, and then use it to attack SPECIFIC theories which suit them.

    I wonder, do you think they're actually AWARE they're doing it? Mistakenly spreading a fallacous argument they haven't really thought through but believe because they refuse to accept their conclusions are wrong, or deliberately spreading something they KNOW to be false simply because it serves their agenda?

    Personally, having explicitly pointed out the error so many times I'm having a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt any more.

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Ritchie said...

    I wonder, do you think they're actually AWARE they're doing it? Mistakenly spreading a fallacous argument they haven't really thought through but believe because they refuse to accept their conclusions are wrong, or deliberately spreading something they KNOW to be false simply because it serves their agenda?


    I imagine there are some of both. Ones like Ken Ham, Jonathan Wells, Behe, Dembski, etc. know quite well they are lying and just doing if for the money. Others are just too simple minded or lack the self-awareness to comprehend they can be wrong, even when it is demonstrated to them dozens of times. I put Tedford, Gary, natschuster into the non-self-aware, room temperature IQ (Celsius) category. With CH I have my suspicions about his motives.

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  27. CH: This is to say nothing of the problem of how and why HGT would have evolved anyway.

    Cornelious,

    I'd again suggest the real issue here theory of knowledge creation. So we could rephrase this as…

    This is to say nothing of the problem of how and why the knowledge (found in the replicator's DNA) used to perform HGT was created anyway.

    Specifically, would we agree, at a minimum, that the specific bacteria that are capable of transferring DNA due to because "knowledge" of how to do so that is present in their own DNA?

    If so, the question becomes: if it wasn't via the process of darwinin evolution, then how was this knowledge, which is replicated in DNA though subsequent generations, created?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oleg:I am not impressed with your argument, Cornelius.

    CH: Of course you aren’t. You believe the world spontaneously arose by itself, in spite of the facts.


    What facts are those?

    (I'll be traveling for a few days, so I'll take my answer off the air. Thanks.)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hunter: Of course you aren’t. You believe the world spontaneously arose by itself, in spite of the facts.

    This is a pretty vague statement that you keep repeating and I am not sure what exactly you mean by that. Are you referring to the origin of the Universe? I hope not because (1) you cannot possibly know what I think about that and (2) this topic is completely irrelevant to the subject of biological evolution. Or are you referring to the origin of the Earth? Again, it is not relevant to biological evolution, which started much later. And what the heck does "spontaneously" supposed to mean? "Out of nowhere?"

    Hunter: Incredible example of protectionism. The evolutionary tree is (or should I say “was”) a prediction of evolution. It was not merely for animals. This is not about Darwin, per se. Darwin never predicted protein evolution either. So what, it is nonetheless a contradiction of evolutionary expectations.

    That's pretty funny, Cornelius. Here is what your logic is like. Democritus thought that atoms were uncuttable. Modern physics shows that we can divide atoms into smaller pieces. Ergo atomism has failed. Is this conclusion justified? Of course not. Atomic theory has moved way beyond Democritus and one should compare the current theory, not its snapshot at some point in the past, with experiments. And in fact, Democritus is still right: atoms are the smallest units to which one can assign chemical identity.

    So it is with evolutionary biology. Of course we know a lot more than people knew at Darwin's time! Natural selection turned out to be just one of the major evolutionary processes. Evolution is tree-like when it comes to animals and more like a network when one looks at early prokaryotes. You should argue about the validity of the current models of evolution, not some 100-year-old versions of the theory. And just like Democritus, Darwin was right: animal evolution is very much tree-like.

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  30. Neal, will you please regale us with your documented account of a medical miracle you mentioned in the previous thread? I'm genuinely interested in hearing it. (I'm particularly interested in what you consider 'documentation')

    Don't worry, I have no intention of asking you to track down medical records, photographs, or videos not in your possession and send them to me. I just want to know that they (or whatever kind of documentation you have) exists, so that the story could be verified in principle, if one were so inclined.

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  31. CH: Of course you aren’t. You believe the world spontaneously arose by itself, in spite of the facts.

    Again, I'd suggest you're asking the wrong question. To translate this into an evolutionary theory of knowledge creation…

    Of course you aren’t. You believe the knowledge of how to make stars, planets and everything else in the universe was created via evolutionary processes, in spite of the facts.

    Would you you say, "In spite of the facts" would still apply in this context?

    For example, "the facts" strongly suggests that stars, planets and people did not exist right after the big bang, Rather the conditions were near infinite heat and density. These things only appeared over a vast timespan.

    If the knowledge of how to create planets, stars and people wasn't created via evolutionary processes, then how was it created? Did this knowledge spontaneously arise out of nothing? Would you say "the facts" support this spontaneous hypothesis instead?

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  32. Once again, Dr. Hunter, science is about processes, it is not about entity identification. Only after the ID community stops talking about "design" and starts talking about "processes of origin" then that community will have begun doing science, not before.

    There is not a single process that has been proposed by the ID community. There is no science in ID.

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  33. John Stockwell:

    Once again, Dr. Hunter, science is about processes, it is not about entity identification.

    So given that the "fact" of evolution entails religious claims and there are no plausible processes, do you reject evolution?

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  34. Scott:

    if it wasn't via the process of darwinin evolution, then how was this knowledge, which is replicated in DNA though subsequent generations, created?

    Clearly our current knowledge is insufficient to know.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Cornelius Hunter said...

    John Stockwell: "Once again, Dr. Hunter, science is about processes, it is not about entity identification."

    So given that the "fact" of evolution entails religious claims and there are no plausible processes, do you reject evolution?


    Given that your 'givens' above have not the slightest connection to factual reality, and given that your religious confirmation bias is big enough to sink an aircraft carrier, do you expect anyone outside of your little crowd of Fundy sycophants to take you seriously?

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  36. oleg:

    This is a pretty vague statement that you keep repeating and I am not sure what exactly you mean by that. Are you referring to the origin of the Universe? I hope not because (1) you cannot possibly know what I think about that and (2) this topic is completely irrelevant to the subject of biological evolution. Or are you referring to the origin of the Earth? Again, it is not relevant to biological evolution, which started much later. And what the heck does "spontaneously" supposed to mean? "Out of nowhere?"

    Evolutionary thought says natural laws are sufficient to explain origins. There may be a creator causing things to evolve, but such actions are not distinguishable from natural means. There is no need to invoke external influences (hence the word “spontaneously”). Such explanations are superfluous, according to evolutionists. This thinking applies at the cosmological level as well as the biological level.

    It would be difficult to imagine a more absurd belief. Evolutionists literally believe that everything arose spontaneously. You can read through all the evolutionary literature. When the coast is clear this belief is stated, in so many ways, over and over. Furthermore, just in case there was any question about the absurdity, they claim all this is a fact.

    But when questioned evolutionists suddenly lose clarity. They no longer flatly state that they believe the world arose spontaneously and they are certain about it. They use a great many just-so stories which work to cover over the core belief. So they generally will deny their core beliefs when questioned.

    I questioned one professor and he suddenly became quite open minded. Oh no, he assured me, he doesn’t think evolution is a fact. Of course when not being questioned in quiet side discussions he never says anything of the sort.


    You should argue about the validity of the current models of evolution, not some 100-year-old versions of the theory.

    The evolutionary tree is not a 100-year-old the theory. Nor are there plausible explanations for its many failures.

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  37. Hunter frames a definition:

    There may be a creator causing things to evolve, but such actions are not distinguishable from natural means. There is no need to invoke external influences (hence the word “spontaneously”).

    So, after all this time, we are finally informed that *spontaneously* means *uncreated by a God*. Who woulda thunk it?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hunter: Evolutionary thought says natural laws are sufficient to explain origins. There may be a creator causing things to evolve, but such actions are not distinguishable from natural means. There is no need to invoke external influences (hence the word “spontaneously”). Such explanations are superfluous, according to evolutionists. This thinking applies at the cosmological level as well as the biological level.

    It would be difficult to imagine a more absurd belief.


    You're still pretty vague on which origins you are discussing. The origin of the Universe? The origin of the solar system? The origin of life? The origin of species? All of the above?

    Four centuries ago, Newton found it absurd that the solar system could have formed without God's involvement. Times change, however. We have a pretty good idea about the formation of the sun and the solar system. We have observed other stars forming out of molecular clouds. There is nothing there that requires intervention of a deity. It is a natural process. So this is not an absurd belief.

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  39. The only good explanation for the origin of universe is creation by a rational God. A purely materialistic explanation for its origin fails.

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    2. The universe had a beginning. This is contrary to what the prevailing scientific theory was up until less than a hundred years ago. Not contrary, however, to Genesis written 3500 years ago... "In the beginning..." Genesis 1:1

    3. That the universe was caused by "nothing" is completely illogical, without precedent, and nonsense.

    4. That the universe came from some kind of multiverse scenario still begs the question as to what caused the multiverse.

    5. An oscillating universe also implies a beginning, so we're back to the same question, what caused the first universe.

    6. Other materialistic scenarios also fail due to the same problem or similar issues.

    Materialistic explanations at best fail, at worst are absurd nonsense.

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  40. Pedant:

    So, after all this time, we are finally informed that *spontaneously* means *uncreated by a God*. Who woulda thunk it?

    Only an evolutionist could have come up with that. I guess you forgot your chemistry.

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  41. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Pedant:

    So, after all this time, we are finally informed that *spontaneously* means *uncreated by a God*. Who woulda thunk it?

    Only an evolutionist could have come up with that. I guess you forgot your chemistry.


    Uh CH, that was your assertion, not his. I guess since you're making up codswallop as you go you forgot what you previously wrote.

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  42. Scott: if it wasn't via the process of darwinin evolution, then how was this knowledge, which is replicated in DNA though subsequent generations, created?

    CH: Clearly our current knowledge is insufficient to know.

    Clearly? Yet, in the next comment you wrote…

    CH: So given that the "fact" of evolution entails religious claims and there are no plausible processes, do you reject evolution?

    ... which is riddled with misrepresentations and assumptions.

    First, to reiterate, you appear to be making the same sort of IFF claim regarding the interpretation of religious claims. Specifically, that they reprint positive belief, rather than criticism of inconsistent application by others and that they are *the* primary cause of scientific acceptance. I'm still waiting for the coherent and comprehensive criteria you used to reach this conclusion.

    I could make the same claim regarding your selective objection to evolution and acceptance of Apocalyptic theodicy and it's revealed secret that every take sides in the cosmic battle of good and evil that supposedly rages in this age.

    Are we any more required to accept this as truth?

    Second, one could just as easily point out there are no plausible process for the spontaneous creation of knowledge, that it clearly and "empirically" conflicts with "the facts" and that the whole idea is just "silly".

    How could the knowledge of how to build something as complex as a protein have spontaneously been created? "It would be difficult to imagine a more absurd belief."

    In other words, why is that when you frame the argument as You believe the world spontaneously arose by itself, in spite of the facts. it's somehow obvious that evolution is silly. However, should one point out that spontaneous knowledge creation could be framed as even more "silly" given "the facts", suddenly your response is that "our current knowledge is insufficient to know."?

    ReplyDelete
  43. Of course, it's likely the assumption "that you think the knowledge of how to build proteins spontaneously created", is just as much of a misrepresentation as "you believe the world spontaneously arose by itself"

    If there was a designer of all life on our planet, this designer must have also created the knowledge of how each species works. However this presents itself as a dilemma, as the question becomes: where did this knowledge come from in the first place?

    Was the designer a supernatural being, which just happened to exist with all that knowledge, or not?

    A supernatural being who was "just there" doesn't actually explain the concrete biological complexity we observe. This is because one could more simply state that the concrete biological complexity we observe "just happened.", complete with that knowledge included in its DNA.

    How is this "less absurd?"

    Furthermore, to the degree of which any creationist theory appeals to an explanation of how supernatural beings designed and created the biological complexity we observe, those beings become merely unseen, rather than supernatural.

    For example, they might actually represent an ancient, technologically advanced alien race. However, this isn't creationism unless this this race was itself created by supernatural being.

    So, I'd suggest that creationism is actually a misnomer, since doesn't actually present a theory of now knowledge is created, but rather denies that creation happened, in reality. And it does so by placing the origin of that knowledge in some unexplainable realm.

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  44. Uh CH, that was your assertion, not his. I guess since you're making up codswallop as you go you forgot what you previously wrote.

    Thorton, sometimes I think that the good professor is not serious.

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  45. Neal -

    Can't you see the glaring flaw in your logic?

    If the universe needs a creator, then what created the creator?

    If you claim God needs no creator, then you are admitting that some things are eternal. Why not suppose the universe is therefore eternal?

    You are therefore simply adding an extraneous and, what's more, hypothetical link in a chain of causes.

    It's like observing that everything rests on something else. My computer rests on my desk, which rests on my bedroom floor, which rests on my houses's foundations, which rest on the Earth. Follow back a chain of 'what something rests on' and it will ultimately rest on the Earth. Which might lead an astrologically ignorant person to ask 'Then what does the Earth rest on?'

    Following your logic, they might then postulate an extra being - a giant turtle who swims through space with the Earth in it's back. This giant turtle doesn't need to rest on anything however. But it's presence is inferred by the above logic.

    Supposing a God to explain how the universe came to be is as logically sound as supposing a giant turtle for the Earth to rest on.

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  46. Cornelius -

    I see you've been responding to comments, but am disappointed (though not at all surprised) to see you have neglected me (again).

    ASSUMING METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM IS A NECESSITY OF PERFORMING SCIENCE!!! EVERY THEORY IN EVERY FIELD OF SCIENCE ASSUMES IT!!!

    Would you care to comment on this point? It seems to me it undermines your entire rationale. I would very much appreciate it if you didn't merely ignore me whenever I raise this point. It is absolutely imperative that you grasp this to understand why your objections to evolution are so scientifically bankrupt.

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  47. Ritchie:

    We know the Universe had a beginning from empirical observations.

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  48. nat -

    We also know about a state call the Quantum Vacuum. This chaotic and timeless state is constantly spawning new universes through statistical fluctuation. We know it exists, and we know several of its properties, so it is an excellent candidate for the 'cause' of the universe.

    Where do we go from here? Are we to (without merit) assume the quantum vacuum had a cause? And then to tack on an entirely hypothetical entity as this cause? And claim this entity solves the conundrum because it exists without ever beginning to exist?

    If you can allow for God being eternal, why not allow for the quantum vacuum being eternal?

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  49. Ritchie:

    We don't know the vacuum is constantly spawning new universes. That's a theory. And aren't things like quantum fluctuations a function of the vacuum, which is empty space? But space itself didn't exist before the Big Bang. And aren't things like virtual particles time dependent? Time didn't exist before the Big Bang either.

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  50. And isn't the idea of quantum fluctuations spawning new universes derived from the inflationary scenario, which describes what happens after the Big Bang? Please correct me if I'm wrong. And don't things like vurtual particels have to disappear before they are detected? But the Universe is here being detected. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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  51. Didn't Stephen Hawking say that there is no point in talking about what happened before the Big Bang, because since time started at the Big Bang, there is no before the Big Bang?

    And how do quantum flcutuating universes get around the problem of the singularity? If you have all the mass of a uninverse in a small space, I, for one, would expect it to collapse into a black hole.

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  52. nat -

    "And isn't the idea of quantum fluctuations spawning new universes derived from the inflationary scenario, which describes what happens after the Big Bang?"

    I admit my knowledge is rather limited here, but I believe so. But so what? Isn't this the same scenario which you are using to show the universe 'had a beginning'?

    "And don't things like vurtual particels have to disappear before they are detected? But the Universe is here being detected."

    Do they? Possibly.

    Are you saying it disappears AS A CONSEQUENCE of being observed?

    Even if they do, why should that apply to the universe. It clearly is no longer a mere virtual particle anymore - if indeed it ever was. You hold far more, and different properties to an individual egg from your mother fertilised with a sperm from your father, and yet you are the product of nothing more.

    Virtual particles do appear apparently randomly and uncaused from the quantum vacuum. All we need is for one virtual particle to become the anomaly that was the Big Bang, or for the quantum vacuum to produce such, and there we have the universe.

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  53. "Didn't Stephen Hawking say that there is no point in talking about what happened before the Big Bang, because since time started at the Big Bang, there is no before the Big Bang?"

    True. He also said the universe was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, and there is no need to invoke a God to explain the universe's origins.

    "And how do quantum flcutuating universes get around the problem of the singularity? If you have all the mass of a uninverse in a small space, I, for one, would expect it to collapse into a black hole."

    Would you? Why? A black hole is caused by a dying star collapsing in on itself...

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  54. Virtual particles, as I undertand them, are a consequence of the uncertainty principle. The uncertainty principle cannot violate first thermodynamics. This problem is solved by having the virtual particles disappear by annihilating each other before they are detected.

    And a black hole is caused by having a lot of mass in one place so it causes space to bend into a singularity. I would that the entire universe is sufficient mass. And I do recall reading that cosmologists do attempt to find ways around the singularity.

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  55. Nat: We know the Universe had a beginning from empirical observations.

    And these empirical observations are also consistent with our existing in a greater cosmos where multiple universes are spawned.

    While we cannot see beyond the boundary of our expanding universe, as it's expanding at or greater than the speed of light, we could have empirical observations of other universes should they be spawned in close proximity to ours and eventually expand into each other.

    In over words, the fact that we cannot observe beyond the boundary of our own expanding universe wouldn't necessarily prevent us from concluding we exist in a greater cosmos with multiple universes.

    In a more theoretical sense, there are a number of other theories, including that black holes are actually counterparts of a big bang like singularities in other universes.

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  56. SCOTT:

    "if it wasn't via the process of darwinin evolution, then how was this knowledge, which is replicated in DNA though subsequent generations, created?"

    CORNELIUS HUNTER:

    "Clearly our current knowledge is insufficient to know."
    ====

    According to the Law of naturalistic explanations ONLY for science rule, perfect answer. Though they won't accept it. Yet this is exactly what Hubert Yockey(Physicist & Information Theorist) and James A Shapiro(Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago) have likewise expressed it.

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  57. nat -

    Wouldn't the singularity require time to collapse in on itself? Which apparently did not exist within the universe before the Big Bang?

    In any case, while I feel I've got a good grasp on the Cosmological Argument, astrophysics really is not my field and this is starting to feel like the blind leading the blind. However most academics who do understand this stuff see no reason that this suggests a creator God. If you think you have seen/realised something they have not, then by all means, publish.

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  58. Cornelius Hunter:

    "This thinking applies at the cosmological level as well as the biological level."
    ====

    Absolutely. Just today there is just this bold title and info on NASA's latest money wasting mission in our times of economic crisis.

    NASA to Launch Juno Mission to Jupiter Today"

    The first sentence was key.
    "NASA's Juno spacecraft is set to launch today (Aug. 5) on a mission to study the origin and evolution of Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet."

    When ever a discussion of evolution and origins comes up, we often get righteous indignation from the elitists that we are talking about "ABIOGENESIS". Evolution ONLY starts after life began.

    Yet low and behold here we see that the true meaning of the word/term 'evolution' wreaks all over the place with the stench of blind, indifferent, meaningless undirected and purposeless evolutionary nature of nothing more than chemicals and forces physics without rhyme or reason creating planets, solar systems, galaxies, etc. Always remember, "NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED" is what evolution means. The above NASA Mission is a prime example where evolutionary thought has actually infected the other sciences outside of Biology.

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  59. Pedant:

    "So, after all this time, we are finally informed that *spontaneously* means *uncreated by a God*. Who woulda thunk it?"

    Cornelius Hunter:

    "Only an evolutionist could have come up with that. I guess you forgot your chemistry."
    ====

    No, he forgot his dentures back at home and had to gum his food at the luncheon break in front of all those important dignitaries at the National Shuffleboard Tournament in Sun City,AZ. Needless to say it is his reason for the more than usual disturbed mood.

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  60. Neal Tedford: "1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    2. The universe had a beginning. This is contrary to what the prevailing scientific theory was up until less than a hundred years ago. Not contrary, however, to Genesis written 3500 years ago... "In the beginning..." Genesis 1:1

    3. That the universe was caused by "nothing" is completely illogical, without precedent, and nonsense.

    4. That the universe came from some kind of multiverse scenario still begs the question as to what caused the multiverse.

    5. An oscillating universe also implies a beginning, so we're back to the same question, what caused the first universe.

    6. Other materialistic scenarios also fail due to the same problem or similar issues.

    Materialistic explanations at best fail, at worst are absurd nonsense."


    Neal, it's like you started typing the cosmological argument, but forgot how it ended, and instead just started writing out assertions.

    So instead of writing something like 1. All owls are birds. 2. All barn owls are owls. 3. Therefore, all barn owls are birds.--- you instead wrote something like: 1. All owls are birds. 2. All barn owls are owls. 3. Birds cannot ride bicycles. 4. Cardinals are not blue. 5. Screech owls are owls as well. 6. It is absurd to think that dolphins are birds.

    Did you mean to write:

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.

    2. The universe began to exist.

    3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

    Now, we'll discuss that in a moment, if that's what you intended to convey. However, it brings up another question: If you're positing that God caused the universe, can we then ask: What caused God?

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  61. Eocene -

    You misunderstand the meaning of the word 'evolution' in this context.

    Evolution simply means progressive change. One may study the evolution of the bicycle - but it has no bearing of the scientific Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection.

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  62. Nat:

    We know the Universe had a beginning from empirical observations.

    Has anyone ever seen the universe start in the lab? That is full of metaphysical assumptions. Why have any confidence in any scientific proofs or even observations? Fruits of a poisoned tree.

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  63. Oleg:

    "You're still pretty vague on which origins you are discussing. The origin of the Universe? The origin of the solar system? The origin of life? The origin of species? All of the above?"
    ====

    Isn't the word "Evolution" the catch all phraze for explaining everything that had NO PURPOSE ???
    ----

    Oleg:

    "Newton found it absurd that the solar system could have formed without God's involvement. Times change, however."
    ====

    Newton actually wrote more things with regards to the absurd teachings of Churches of his day. Have you researched that ??? Of course not.

    So did his good friend William Whiston who was stripped of his Cambridge Professorship for going against the Religious Orthodoxy. Newton believed for the same reason, but refused to come to Whiston's aid at the court trial. Why ??? Newton caved into what is often common to all imperfect human beings, "Fear of Man". Newton didn't want to lose his position and be an outcast.

    See, today's Scientifism Orthodoxy picked up where Christendom Orthoxy(who actually ruled Academia with an iron fist like today's Atheist gang) left off when they were replaced by your side.

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  64. Ritchie:

    The Big Bang theory says that there was nothing, then there was a primeval atom that had all the mass that became the universe, but had no size. This is basically a black hole, or singularity. Snce gravity in a black hole is infinite, getting the balck hole to expand is problematic.

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  65. Derrick :

    However, it brings up another question: If you're positing that God caused the universe, can we then ask: What caused God?

    Simple, by definition,

    1) everything that exists has a cause
    2) except god
    3) god has no cause

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  66. Ritchie:

    "You misunderstand the meaning of the word 'evolution' in this context.

    Evolution simply means progressive change. One may study the evolution of the bicycle - but it has no bearing of the scientific Theory of Evolution via Natural Selection."
    ====

    I understand perfectly. We're not talking about the intelligent evolution of politics in America or development of a bicycle. The context when it comes to all that is politically correct in worldview and ideological in just such a discussion as this is evolution with no purpose or intent, just chemcials and physics with regards to the natural world. Yet "ABIOGENESIS" does qualify as evolution in the sense that molecules via undirected physics and chemicals would qualify it as evolution as it is also being refered to in that article with regards blind and undirected formation of planets and solar systems, etc.

    Especially since the number one article of FAITH in all of these discussions is "No Intelligence Allowed".

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  67. Nat:

    Snce gravity in a black hole is infinite, getting the balck hole to expand is problematic

    One theory postulates a unified force of gravity, strong and weak, and electromagnetic . No gravity as an independent force. To see it as a black( if they exist,never created in lab) hole is oversimplifying .

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  68. Ritchie said, "If the universe needs a creator, then what created the creator?

    If you claim God needs no creator, then you are admitting that some things are eternal. Why not suppose the universe is therefore eternal?"

    --

    Yes, that God is not created and is eternal is what the the Jews and Christians have taught for thousands of years. God existed prior to universe. God does dwell in our space-time universe, but he is timeless and not confined to it.

    So then your next question is "Why not suppose the universe is therefore eternal"

    The answer to that depends on what you mean by "universe". Do you mean our present universe? If so, then do you want to talk about the evidence for it's beginning or do you accept that our universe had a beginning? I'm thinking that you accept that, but please clarify. If you mean that some kind of eternal superuniverse formed our universe, then that fails also. But before I get into that, please clarify what you mean by universe.

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  69. velikovskys; "
    Simple, by definition,

    1) everything that exists has a cause
    2) except god
    3) god has no cause
    "

    Hmm. Neal, is that argument flawless, or can you improve upon it?

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  70. Neal -

    "Yes, that God is not created and is eternal is what the the Jews and Christians have taught for thousands of years. God existed prior to universe. God does dwell in our space-time universe, but he is timeless and not confined to it."

    Indeed. And have you any other reason to think this is objectively true? 'People have believed it for a long time' doesn't really make a good argument. After all, there are other religion, such as Hinduism which stretch even further back through history. Are their beliefs even more likely to be true just because they have been held for an even longer stretch of time?

    "please clarify what you mean by universe."

    For the purposes of this argument, I suppose I mean 'As far back as our scientific knowledge can take us'. If you wrote out a list of causes, it would be the last one we know to exist. Perhaps you would put that at the Big Bang. Perhaps you would put that at the quantum vacuum.

    Whatever the case, it seems to me your point hinges on claiming this first identified cause MUST have also had a cause, and then proposing God as this cause.

    It's the turtle with the Earth on it's back logic.

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  71. Vel....

    I understand that all the theories trying to unite gravity with the other forces encounter problems whn we get to dimensions the size of the black hole. One of the problems is that we keep on getting these singularities and infinties. Even string theory had problems, and it looks like string theory has had its day. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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  72. Eocene: According to the Law of naturalistic explanations ONLY for science rule, perfect answer. Though they won't accept it.

    Eocene, are you suggesting that God created the knowledge of how to build proteins, as found in DNA? Are you sure this is your position?

    To be clear, I'm *not* asking who put the knowledge of how to build proteins in the DNA of organisms. Instead, I'm asking how that knowledge was created.

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  73. Nat:

    I understand that all the theories trying to unite gravity with the other forces encounter problems whn we get to dimensions the size of the black hole

    I think the notion that the theoretical singularity at time=0 is the same as the black hole inferred at the heart of the Milky Way is incorrect. I have never heard the theory that the four forces unify in a black hole. Theoretically high temps and energy levels are necessary. I also think Lemaitre's concept of a primeval atom has been superseded.

    If by size you mean mass then since black holes seem to come in various weights to talk about the dimensions of a black hole as if was a single value also seems incorrect or at least misleading. Of course this is just a layman's explanation

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  74. Without doubt the IFF argument is your weakest, unconvincing argument ever. The TE's are, as you said, very compelling. So how can they be explained in light of the mountain of evidence that disproves evolution? It is hubris to say the least to critique the creator with our feeble understanding. Perhaps this will be another junk DNA episode where the truth in the final analysis shows the genius of the creator. History has shown that the tape of life is rewound many times, i.e. the creation of the eye and other useful functions. Perhaps this is just another example of optimally re-using functional designs.

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  75. Ritchie said, "For the purposes of this argument, I suppose I mean 'As far back as our scientific knowledge can take us'. If you wrote out a list of causes, it would be the last one we know to exist. Perhaps you would put that at the Big Bang. Perhaps you would put that at the quantum vacuum."


    So, you believe our universe had a beginning, and I agree with that.

    --

    You said, "Whatever the case, it seems to me your point hinges on claiming this first identified cause MUST have also had a cause, and then proposing God as this cause."

    --

    Whatever begins to exist, MUST have a cause. As we both agree, the universe began to exist. My point is that that since it began to exist, it must have a cause.

    Asking who or what created God misses the point completely, because God did not begin to exist. He is eternal.

    A turtle is material and bound to space-time and had a cause. God has existence without our space-time universe.

    The first cause must have been eternal. Do you agree with that or do we need to discuss problems relating to infinity?

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  76. Neal -

    "So, you believe our universe had a beginning, and I agree with that."

    Yes, I suppose I do.

    "Whatever begins to exist, MUST have a cause. As we both agree, the universe began to exist. My point is that that since it began to exist, it must have a cause."

    I suppose that's logical. My problem is that you are taking a complete guess as to what this cause is.

    I could do the same thing - claim the universe was created by the Great Eternal Unicorn - or any of the infinite 'causes' for the universe I can invent. Any such claim is hollow until I provide proof that any of these causes actually exist.

    "Asking who or what created God misses the point completely, because God did not begin to exist. He is eternal."

    That is not a fact you have established. It is something you are taking on faith - much like God's existence at all.

    "The first cause must have been eternal. Do you agree with that or do we need to discuss problems relating to infinity?"

    I'm not committed to a position here. Maybe there was a First, Eternal Cause. Maybe there really is an infinite string of causes. Maybe the truth is too complicated for our feeble brains to even comprehend. Who knows?

    But one thing I can see is that INVENTING what this First Cause is is a fallacous move. The only rational, honest answer to 'What caused the universe' is: 'We don't know (yet)'. Crediting it to God is a God of the Gaps move.

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  77. Ritchie said, "Maybe there really is an infinite string of causes."

    I'd like to look at this first, before going further with your other comments. Mathematically "infinity" is something that can only be dealt with conceptually. It is not something that happens in real life.

    If I had an infinite number of pencils and I gave you my entire pile of an infinite number of pencils, I would be left with zero pencils. Here, infinity minus infinity equals zero.

    Or, I could give you just the odd numbered pencils. We both would have an infinite number of pencils. We would have the same. Here, infinity minus infinity equals infinity.

    Or, if I gave you all the pencils numbered 5 and higher. I would have 4 pencils and you would have an infinity of pencils. Remember, I started with infinity. Here infinity minus infinity equals 4.

    You can use infinity in mathematics but it is a conceptual thing only.

    Back to your point about infinite causes. You can't have an infinite number of past causes in reality because no matter how many new causes you add, you can always add another before you get to infinity. Thus, infinity argument fails in reality.

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  78. Neal,

    This is silly argument. You can't have a negative number of pencils, either. Or even an irrational number of pencils. So what?

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  79. Neal -

    "Mathematically "infinity" is something that can only be dealt with conceptually. It is not something that happens in real life."

    I do agree that infinity has some very unusual - perhaps seemingly illogical - properties. But this does not automatically rule it out as impossible. It may be hard for us to imagine, and we may never have witness a true infinite, but that is just an inductive argument.

    However, even if I allow that you are right about infinites (and I may; I'm not firmly fixed on this) then what does this say about God? The number of things He knows is supposed to be infinite. The number of things He is capable of doing is supposed to be infinite. If true infinites cannot exist, then God either does not exist, or is not truly omnipotent/omnicognisant/His other infinite properties.

    Also, notice that you are tied to the idea of a 'before' the Big Bang. I believe it is commonly thought that time itself (as least as far as we think of it) began at the Big Bang. So maybe there does not need to be an infinite chain of causes. Maybe the Big Bang can be the first cause, since there was no 'before' in which a cause could be. Time is, after all, a relative concept - like distance. It might be like asking what is north of the North Pole.

    In any case, my main point is that even if I were to agree with you that there needs to be a cause of the universe, that does not justify inventing one. That's the God of the Gaps fallacy.

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  80. oleg said, "This is silly argument. You can't have a negative number of pencils, either. Or even an irrational number of pencils. So what?"


    Kant (and others) have said (substitute universe for world), "If we assume that the world has no beginning in time, then up to every given moment an eternity has elapsed and there has passed away in the world an infinite series of successive states of things. Now the infinity of a series consists in the fact it can never be completed through successive synthesis. It thus follows that it is impossible for an infinite world–series to have passed away, and that a beginning of the world is therefore a necessary condition of the world's existence."

    From this argument we are left with two possibilities:

    1. The universe was brought into being by some kind of eternal mechanical set of sufficient conditions.

    2. An intelligent, free creator

    The first fails because if the sufficient conditions of the mechanical cause were eternal, then its creating effect would also be eternal. Our universe would be equally co–present with the timeless physical cause.

    Since our universe is a temporal creation with a definite beginning it's creator is an eternal intelligent being who can create it at will.

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  81. Ritchie said, "Maybe the Big Bang can be the first cause, since there was no 'before' in which a cause could be"

    No, everything that begins to exist has a cause.

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  82. Neal -

    Compare time with distance. There is a 'here' just as there is a 'now'. There are near and far distances in both time and space.

    But both concepts are relative. If we walk forwards, what was once far away becomes closer. What was 'the future' for us yesterday will be 'the past' tomorrow.

    Yet all distances exist simultaneously. If is only by moving through space that things appear to approach and pass behind us. The same could be true of time - that it all exists and it is only our perspective of travelling through it at as we do which gives us a sense of past and future.

    The conundrum proposed by Kant sounds like the old riddle of the race between two men - the one behind is gaining on his opponent. Every time he closes the gap between where he is and where his opponent is, his opponent has moved on. But since his opponent is constantly moving forward, there will be an infinite number of gaps for the man behind to close before he can actually draw level. And since the man behind cannot run an infinte distance, he can never draw level.

    It is a paradox, but ultimately a fallacy. We see it broken every day.

    "No, everything that begins to exist has a cause."

    That is just an inductive argument. Unless you can show otherwise...?

    Besides, if time truly did begin with the Big Bang, then perhaps the universe did not BEGIN to exist, since there was no time in which it did not.

    Back later.

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  83. Ritchie said, That is just an inductive argument. Unless you can show otherwise...?"

    Seriously? Are you entertaining the possibility that our universe began to exist without a cause?



    You said, "But both concepts are relative. If we walk forwards, what was once far away becomes closer. What was 'the future' for us yesterday will be 'the past' tomorrow."

    A potential infinite can exist, but an actual infinite does not exist in reality. The absurdity of an actual infinite goes back to my first example of doing math with infinity and winding up with contradicting answers.

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  84. Scott:

    "To be clear, I'm *not* asking who put the knowledge of how to build proteins in the DNA of organisms. Instead, I'm asking how that knowledge was created."
    ====

    How is ANY knowledge created ???

    It's called a mind.

    All informational codes we know the origin of in the real world we relate to comes from a mind. We therefore have 100% inference that the information found in DNA came from a mind. We have 0% inference that blind undirected physics and chemicals lacking purpose or intent accomplished any of these things.

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  85. Neal -

    "Seriously? Are you entertaining the possibility that our universe began to exist without a cause?"

    Yes. I see no reason to dismiss the idea out of hand. You are the one making the statement of faith.

    In actual fact we do have evidence of such things. Virtual particles do pop into and out of existence from the quantum vacuum randomly and uncaused. So I do not see that it is unreasonable to suppose the singularity which ignited the Big Bang did the same.

    "A potential infinite can exist, but an actual infinite does not exist in reality. The absurdity of an actual infinite goes back to my first example of doing math with infinity and winding up with contradicting answers."

    Then I reiterate that this undermines the notion of a God whose capabilities are infinite.

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  86. Neal -

    "Kant (and others) have said (substitute universe for world), "If we assume that the world has no beginning in time, then up to every given moment an eternity has elapsed and there has passed away in the world an infinite series of successive states of things. Now the infinity of a series consists in the fact it can never be completed through successive synthesis. It thus follows that it is impossible for an infinite world–series to have passed away, and that a beginning of the world is therefore a necessary condition of the world's existence.""

    This is the basis of what is known as the Kalam Cosmological Argument - the idea that the universe cannot be infinite because that means an infinite number of events would have had to have occurred before we get to 'now', which is impossible.

    However, though it seems to make intuitive sense, this argument is wrong, and what's more, we can show it.

    Imagine a train on an infinitely long track. The train travels forever, never making any significant progress relative to the track. But it does make progress relative to other fixed locations. Suppose it passes through your town. Occording to kalam, the train would never actually reach your town because it would have to have passed an infinite length of track first. But we can make the same argument about ANY point along the track. The train would have had to have traversed an infinite distance to reach ANY given spot on the track. The argument seems to indicate the train wouldn't be on the track at all. Which is ridiculous. The track might be infinitely long, but it doesn't follow that the distance between any two fixed points on it would also be infinite.

    The problem is to view time as a train on a track, or a projector illuminating one frame of film at a time, a single point of 'now' travelling into the future and leaving the past behind. This may be how time feels to us, but we can show it is wrong.

    Einstein's Theory of General Relativity outlines exactly that. Imagine a train car. In the middle is a light emitter, which, at a particular moment will simultaneously fire two photons - one at the front wall, one at the back wall, each of which has a detector on. Which detector will trigger first?

    A person inside the carriage will say they will trigger simulataneously, since the two photons have an equal distance to travel. But a person standing stationary on the platform will witness the back detector trigger first, since the back detector is travelling towards the light source, and the front one away from it.

    And the thing is, both people will be right. There is no single correct answer to 'Which detector will trigger first?' Time itself relative. Observers in relative motion will ALWAYS disagree on what is happening in the 'now'.

    This is a killer blow to the kalam argument, since there is no single, objective moment of 'now' experienced by everyone which traverses through time. Time cannot be neatly divided into past, present and future, and there simply is no single, universal present. So the impossibility of traversing an infinite length of time to reach the now simply evaporates, since nothing is really traversing anything. The term 'now' is, like the term 'here' in the space dimension: merely relative to the person uttering the word. You don't need to traverse anything to reach 'here'. And you do not need to traverse anything to reach 'now'.

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  87. Eocene: All informational codes we know the origin of in the real world we relate to comes from a mind

    First, how do you know this is the case? Seems to me you're merely asserting it is so, without an explanation, based on what you think is pure empiricism.

    Second, when someone is born, their mind does not contain the knowledge to do much of anything. They either learn knowledge from someone else or they create that knowledge via the scientific method.

    Darwinian evolution is an explation of how the "knowledge" to create proteins, that we observe in DNA, was created: random mutation and natural selection.

    However, we can say that evolutionary theory, as a whole, is a theory of how knowldge is created in general. This includes how those minds you're appealing to create knowledge via the scientific method. We start out with conjecture to create theories, test those theories via observations and discard those with errors.

    So, again, I'm not asking where the knowledge was located before it was copied into the genome, I'm asking how that knowledge was created.

    Did it just spontaneously appear out of nothing? What theory of knowledge creation are you referring to?

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  88. Ritchie, proudly showing his 80 IQ:

    The argument seems to indicate the train wouldn't be on the track at all. Which is ridiculous.

    No. Getting a contradiction disproves the assumption you started with, namely, the infinitely long track (and the train traveling forever). You just disproved your own argument, but are too dumb to understand it.

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  89. Marcel,

    While I'd agree that getting a contradiction indicates a false assumption, you're assuming that the part that was false is an infinate series of past events, rather than our current conception of time, which Richie clearly indicated in his comment.

    Did you intententionally ignore this part or, as you so kindely put it, are you just "too dumb to understand it"?

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  90. Ritchie said, "Imagine a train on an infinitely long track. The train travels forever, never making any significant progress relative to the track. "

    The track is infinity past, so you never arrive at a present locations A real train traveling forward on track from infinity will not past your town. Your assuming progress from a finite point. Like counting down from negative infinity to zero or -1 or whatever. Infinity past has no real starting point. Infinity is just conceptual.

    The general theory of relativity doesn't support an eternal universe of infinitely past events and causes. Just the opposite. It lead 20th century physicists to the singularity and beginning of the universe.

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  91. Vel:

    I guess I wasn't clear. My undertanding is that they are having big problems uniting the four forces, because gravity refuses to cooperate. It always winds up in infinities and singularties when you get to the big masses in small spaces. The other three forces can stay quantized.

    And most accounts I've read about the Big Bang starts with a singularity, a primeval atom. One exception is the Banging Branes acenario as described in "The Endless Universe." But the authors in that one admitted to fudging the math to avoid the singularity.

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  92. Scott, the reductio ad absurdum method of arguing is used to show that an assumption is false. Our "current conception of time" is not an explicit assumption in that argument, so it can't be falsified by it. Let him make it explicit if he can.

    Seriously, I would be embarrassed if I got everything wrong as regularly as you guys do.

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  93. Neal -

    "The track is infinity past, so you never arrive at a present locations A real train traveling forward on track from infinity will not past your town."

    Precisely the paradox.

    Yet again, let me compare this to the two runners. The man behind must close an infinite number of gaps to draw level. And since no-one can run an infinite distance, the man can never draw level. Which is obviously nonsense.

    "The general theory of relativity doesn't support an eternal universe of infinitely past events and causes. Just the opposite. It lead 20th century physicists to the singularity and beginning of the universe."

    You missed my point. The Theory of General Relativity shows there is no 'now'. There is nothing which traverses anything. Time does not have to travel along an infinite past to arrive at the present.

    Consider this example from Physicist Brian Greene: an observer 10 billion light years from you, who moved just 10 miles per hour away from you would see a 'now' consisting of events 150 years in your past. And if they moved towards you at the same speed, they would witness events 150 years in your future.

    So the concept of 'now' is not objective, but relative. So an infinite past IS possible, since all moments can exist together, as all distances do in the space dimension. Nothing needs to traverse anything to reach the 'now' just as nothing needs to traverse anything to reach 'here'.

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  94. Marcel -

    I think I've made myself fairly clear. Time, we can show, is not a single objective point, traversing into the future and leaving behind the past.

    Neal seems to assume tthe present is like the train on the track - a single point travelling through time. It is only in light of this assumption that the kalam argument makes sense.

    But this argument is wrong. The present is not a single, universal experience shared by all. People in relative motion will always disagree about what is happening 'now'. And they will all be correct. Like various people at various locations disagreeing about what is happening 'here'.

    And once we accept this, the kalam cosmological argument breaks down.

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  95. It was discvered early on that the General Theory does not allow an eternal universe. The universe would collapse under its own weight. Einstein had to introduce a fudge factor to get around this problem. The discovery of an expanding uninverse made this fudge factor unnecessary. But an expanding universe means the universe had an origin. The recently discovered dark energy showed that the fudge factor actually exists, but it also mens no eternal universe.

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  96. EOCENE:

    "All informational codes we know the origin of in the real world we relate to comes from a mind."

    SCOTT:

    "First, how do you know this is the case? Seems to me you're merely asserting it is so, without an explanation, based on what you think is pure empiricism."
    =====

    Did you even read what I wrote ??? Is it not true that all informational codes we KNOW the origin of do come from a mind ??? Why not gives us an example of an informational code YOU KNOW the origin of that did NOT comes from a mind ??? Do tell!
    -----

    SCOTT:

    "Second, when someone is born, their mind does not contain the knowledge to do much of anything. They either learn knowledge from someone else or they create that knowledge via the scientific method."
    =====

    I believe you've just answer your own question, but the f/dogma prevents you from knowing what you just wrote. Let's see here.

    Life comes from life, and knowledge comes from a mind containing previous knowledge to imput on the clean slate of an infants mind. Only one mistake though. An infant baby is incapable of knowing let alone employing the "Scientific Method".
    -----

    SCOTT:

    "Darwinian evolution is an explation of how the "knowledge" to create proteins, that we observe in DNA, was created: random mutation and natural selection."
    =====

    This is humorous. Darwinian Evolution is incapable of explaining just how unpurposed without guidance or undirected copying errors can accomplish anything. We keep pressing for such info, but receive nothing more than side stepping and burden shifting when asking for proof.
    -----

    SCOTT:

    "So, again, I'm not asking where the knowledge was located before it was copied into the genome, I'm asking how that knowledge was created."
    ====

    Again you just answered your question above. The knowledge came from a previous intelligence, just as your baby/parent example proves. But you are asking me to prove your OWN religious beliefs and faith to you and that is NOT my responsibility, it's YOURS!
    -----

    SCOTT:

    "Did it just spontaneously appear out of nothing?"
    =====

    Again, I'm not here to prove your religious worldview and FAITH to YOU. That's your responsibility.
    -----

    SCOTT:

    "What theory of knowledge creation are you referring to?"
    =====

    I'm not dealing with any theory. I'm dealing with the real world experience regarding the facts of life itself when it comes to origins of information and knowledge. I ONLY understand and relate to an intelligence that begets intelligence. YOU people have the burden of proof that from nothing more than blind undirected forces of physics and chemicals the emergence of brilliant informational codes came about by magic-luck-chance=faith. Those are your religious beliefs and FAITH and not mine. STOP BURDEN SHIFTING for me to prove your religion to you. I simply don't have your "EYE of FAITH" to qualify me to do that.

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  97. Thank you very much for the article: My cross

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  98. Consider this example from Physicist Brian Greene: an observer 10 billion light years from you, who moved just 10 miles per hour away from you would see a 'now' consisting of events 150 years in your past. And if they moved towards you at the same speed, they would witness events 150 years in your future.

    While I have no high esteem for physicists, I doubt one could use this example, given that someone 10 billion LY away would by necessity see stuff 10 billion years in your past. (Duh.) Incidentally, I found the same claim here - http://www.daylightatheism.org/2007/09/the-moving-light-of-time.html - so I guess you're not the only atheist who doesn't think.

    [Correction] I found Brian Greene's book at http://thx009.free.fr/P2P/eBook/Brian%20Green%20-%20The%20Elegant%20Universe%20-%20w%20Figs%20(1).pdf - my apologies, he IS as stupid as you claim. Here's the relevant portion:

    To make this concrete, imagine that Chewie is on a planet in a galaxy far, far away—10 billion light-years from earth —idly sitting in his living room. Imagine further that you (sitting still, reading these words) and Chewie are not moving relative to each other (for simplicity, ignore the motion of the planets, the expansion of the universe, gravitational effects, and so on). Since you are at rest relative to each other, you and Chewie agree fully on issues of space and time: you would slice up spacetime in an identical manner, and so your now-lists would coincide exactly.

    Apparently we're also ignoring the speed of light, for some reason. Ok. Since he's been discussing Newtonian physics, maybe that's an ok assumption at this stage.

    After a little while, Chewie stands up and goes for a walk —a gentle, relaxing amble —in a direction that turns out to be directly away from you. This change in Chewie's state of motion means that his conception of now, his slicing up of spacetime, will rotate slightly (see Figure 5.3). This tiny-angular change has no noticeable effect in Chewie's vicinity: the difference between his new now and that of anyone still sitting in his living room is minuscule. But over the enormous distance of 10 billion light-years, this tiny shift in Chewie's notion of now is amplified... If Chewie walks away from you at about 10 miles per hour (Chewie has quite a stride) the events on earth that belong on his new now-list are events that happened about 150 years ago, according to you!

    Damn, this imbecility must be a general problem with all atheists. (Well, duh, they wouldn't be atheists otherwise.) Let's recap: we have Chewie at 10 billion LY seeing the same thing as you at the same time, ignoring the speed of light delays. However, when he moves away from you, he suddenly sees things 150 years in your past, even though "this tiny-angular change has no noticeable effect in Chewie's vicinity: the difference between his new now and that of anyone still sitting in his living room is minuscule" and even though the one still sitting in his living room sees the same thing as you (as per the initial claim).

    THIS is the best you guys can do?

    (A bit later on in the book he realizes that the speed of light is not infinite: At such an enormous distance, it takes an enormous amount of time for messages to be received and exchanged, so only Chewie's descendants, billions of years later, will actually receive the light from that fateful night in Washington. And yet, until now it was Chewie himself seeing all that. Is this what it means to keep two contradicting thoughts in one's head at the same time?)

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  100. Ritchie, again:

    It is only in light of this assumption that the kalam argument makes sense.

    No. The Kalaam argument is actually very simple, and does not depend on Newtonian time. That one was another argument, on the impossibility of infinite time.

    This is the Kalaam argument:

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The Universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause.

    Try to keep up.

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  101. Marcel -

    "Brian Greene's book at... my apologies, he IS as stupid as you claim. Here's the relevant portion:"

    The arrogance of the religious mind - one that is convinced it knows everything and everyone who disagrees MUST have it wrong never ceases to amaze and trouble me.

    Here's a tip in humility: if the argument of an esteemed expert waxing lyrical about his particular field seems strange to you, it is probably because you don't understand it properly, not that they have made some elemental and obvious mistake.

    "I doubt one could use this example, given that someone 10 billion LY away would by necessity see stuff 10 billion years in your past. (Duh.)"

    Brian Greene is demonstrating his point using the well-attested scientific method of tweaking only the relevant variable. Yes, someone 10billion light-years away would see events 10billion light-years in your past. But that is not the relevant point he is making. The point is that, at such a distance, moving away from you at a mere 10 miles per hour will cause Chewie to see 150 years into your past (or FURTHER into the past, if you insist on factoring in the 10billion years), and walking towards you at that speed will cause him to see 150 years into your future (minus the 10billion years). If that seems odd to you, try reading the whole thing. It really isn't all that complicated.

    "THIS is the best you guys can do?"

    Mockery is no rebuttal. If the claim makes no sense to you, then the most likely conclusion is that you just don't understand it thoroughly.

    "(A bit later on in the book he realizes that the speed of light is not infinite: At such an enormous distance, it takes an enormous amount of time for messages to be received and exchanged...)"

    Yes, that's Brian Greene factoring the speed of light back into the model! First you complained when he left it out, now you're complaining that he factors it back in...

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  102. Marcel (cont) -

    "This is the Kalaam argument:

    1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause.
    2. The Universe began to exist.
    3. Therefore, the Universe has a cause."

    Yes, I know. This is the argument Neal has been advancing.

    Try to keep up.

    And put so succinctly the flaws in it are glaring obvious.

    1) Premise 1 is false. There ARE things which begin to exist which have no cause. Virtual particles, for example, pop into existence momentarily before disappearing again. We know they exist because they produce detectable effects, such as the Casimir force.

    2) Premise 2 is hypothetical. You assume the universe began to exist, but the argument Neal has put forward fails to support it. Why can't the universe be infinite? You do, after all, apparently believe such a quality can exist in reality - because God possesses it. If you want to argue that infinites are impossible in the real world then you must concede that a God infinite in any capacity is impossible too.

    3) Special pleading. The argument hinges on 'everything began to exist except God'. But how can this be maintained? If you accept God had no 'start', no 'beginning', then you accept that this is in practice possible - there can exist something eternal. So why not ascribe these qualities to the universe instead? The idea that the universe is eternal has all the explanatory power as the idea of an eternal God, but is the simpler argument too (that is, has the fewer redundant components), and so is to be preferred under the principle of Occam's Razor.

    4) Even if we grant the Kalam Argument is true (which for the above reasons, I do not) then all it actually shows is the universe had a cause. It does not identify this cause in any way as a god, let alone Christianity's Yahweh. It is AS LIKELY to be the magic fairy, or the eternal unicorn, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or some impersonal natural force.

    Please note I am not saying these practically infinte other possibilities are ALSO POSSIBLE - to assume that would be to underestimate the strength of my point. I am saying any one of these alternative identifications of the First Cause is AS LIKELY as it being Yahweh.

    So Kalam does not really stand up. It's key premises are flawed (either outright false or just not established), it is guilty of special pleading, and in any case only establishes the universe as having a totally annonymous 'cause'. Hardly a watertight proof of God, is it?

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  103. Ritchie, defending a moron who spent a lot of time being lazy on his parents' money:

    ... if the argument of an esteemed expert waxing lyrical about his particular field seems strange to you, it is probably because you don't understand it properly, not that they have made some elemental and obvious mistake.

    And yet...

    Let's try it your way. I see events at time t; Chewie sees events at time t minus 10 billion years. With me so far?

    Ok. Chewie has a friend sitting in the same room; he necessarily sees events at t minus 10 billion years too. Agreed?

    Now Chewie starts moving away at 10 miles an hour. According to Greene, he sees events at t minus 10 billion years minus an extra 150 years. HOWEVER, also according to Greene, the difference between what Chewie sees and what his friend sees is insignificant:

    Page 135: the difference between his new now and that of anyone still sitting in his living room is minuscule.

    So, the "expert" manages to hold two contradictory claims in his head at the same time: the difference between what Chewie and his friend is AT ONCE both minuscule and 150 years. Good job. Who is this moron again? Ah, I remember - he's a scientist, which means he has to live on stolen money, since he's unable to make a living in the real world.

    As for the rest of your post:

    1. You have to show that virtual particles are uncaused. I am unaware of even scientists claiming that.

    2. This is the accepted *scientific* claim - that the Universe began to exist. I am, again, unaware of an accepted scientific theory having an eternal universe.

    3. Of course something can be eternal. The Universe is just not such a something. The idea of an eternal universe contradicts a lot of things we know about it, so it's not simpler (except in the heads of 80-IQ apologists).

    4. Sure. The Kalaam argument only tries to show that the Universe has a cause. Let me know when you managed to "grok" that. We can continue on from there afterwards.

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  104. Marcel,

    You are making a fool of yourself. That passage from Brian Greene's book discusses well-understood physics* that we teach to freshman and sophomore physics majors. Read some textbooks on special relativity before spewing nonsense.

    *That would be Lorentz transformations, or rotations in Minkowski's space.

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  105. Eocene: Is it not true that all informational codes we KNOW the origin of do come from a mind ???

    Isn't this part of the problem we're trying to solve?

    If DNA is a physical storage system which holds information, then DNA contains the knowledge of, say, how to create proteins. Right? The problem we're trying to address is: how was this knowledge created?

    Evolutionary theory suggests the current four bases used in DNA evolved from a simpler system, similar to RNA. Just as our current system of "codes" we created evolved to become universal in reach.

    For example early languages were iconic in nature. If you wanted to add a new word, you added a new pictogram. Nor did we always have a number system that could represent an infinite number or support arithmetic.

    We started out with tallying, then moved to number systems with limited, but increasing maximum values. The ancient Roman system maxed out at 1,000. Archimedes extended the Greek numbering system from 240,000 to 10^100,000,000. It was only as early as the 9th century that our modern day numeric system was created in India, and was eventually adopted by the Arabs over a thousand years later (hence the misnomer of Arabic numerals)

    In other words, our systems of language and numbers evolved in reach until they became universal.

    Eocene: Life comes from life, and knowledge comes from a mind containing previous knowledge to imput on the clean slate of an infants mind.

    No one was born with the knowledge of how to create a nuclear-fission explosion. Rather, this knowledge created.

    Specifically, this appears to be yet another example of the myth that we create theories by generalizing observations. For example, before 1945, no human being had observed a nuclear-fission (atomic-bomb) explosion, so we didn't assume that atomic-bombs would explode because they exploded yesterday, and the day before that, etc.

    So, did this knowledge spontaneously appear from nowhere?

    We explain the knowledge of how to create a nuclear nuclear-fission explosion via the scientific method. We start with conjecture to create theories, test those theories with observations and discard those with errors. We explain our recent explosion in knowledge creation by starting out with better explanations, which are deep and hard to vary. This represents a process by which knowledge was created.

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  106. - Continued -

    Scott: Darwinian evolution is an [explanation] of how the "knowledge" to create proteins, that we observe in DNA, was created: random mutation and natural selection.

    Eocene: This is humorous. Darwinian Evolution is incapable of explaining just how unpurposed without guidance or undirected copying errors can accomplish anything.

    Eocene, I just gave an explanation for the *creation* of knowledge. This is in contrast to where it was previously located before being copied into the DNA of living organisms. You seem to be having difficultly making this distinction.

    Ecocene: Again, I'm not here to prove your religious worldview and FAITH to YOU. That's your responsibility.

    To reiterate, I'm asking YOU if the knowledge of how to create proteins spontaneously appears in minds. Is this not your responsibility? Are you suggesting you have provided an explanation, while I have not?

    Eocene: STOP BURDEN SHIFTING for me to prove your religion to you. I simply don't have your "EYE of FAITH" to qualify me to do that.

    Ecoence, If there was a designer of all life on our planet, this designer must posses the knowledge of how each species works. Right? However this presents itself as a dilemma, as the question becomes: how was this knowledge created in the first place? Did it spontaneously appear in the designer's mind out of nothing?

    A mind that was "just there", complete with the knowledge already present to create each species, doesn't actually explain the concrete biological complexity we observe. This is because one could more economically state that the concrete biological complexity we observe "just happened", complete with the knowledge to create each species its DNA.

    So, again, what is ID's explanation for how this knowledge was created? No explniation has been provided at all, let alone a plausible alternative.

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  107. Marcel -

    "the difference between what Chewie and his friend is AT ONCE both minuscule and 150 years."

    And thus you demonstrate that you do, in fact, totally misunderstand Greene.

    When talking about Chewie's 'now', he is NOT talking about YOUR now from Chewie's perspective. As would probably be clearer if you had quoted just a little more:

    "Chewie stands up and goes for a walk —a gentle, relaxing amble —in a direction that turns out to be directly away from you. This change in Chewie's state of motion means that his conception of now, his slicing up of spacetime, will rotate slightly (see Figure 5.3). This tiny-angular change has no noticeable effect in Chewie's vicinity: the difference between his new now and that of anyone still sitting in his living room is minuscule. But over the enormous distance of 10 billion light- years, this tiny shift in Chewie's notion of now is amplified (as in the passage from Figure 5.3a to 5.3b, but with the protagonists now being a huge distance apart, significantly accentuating the shift in their nows). His now and your now, which were one and the same while he was sitting still, jump apart because of his modest motion." (p134-136)

    "1. You have to show that virtual particles are uncaused. I am unaware of even scientists claiming that."

    That statement just reveals your ignorance on the subject, I'm afraid. Try reading up on the subject. I refer you back to Oleg's post.

    "2. This is the accepted *scientific* claim - that the Universe began to exist. I am, again, unaware of an accepted scientific theory having an eternal universe."

    "Hubble's observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what happens at the present time. Their existence can be ignored because it would have no onservational consequences. One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined." [Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, pp. 8-9.]

    In other words, it's pointless to consider a 'before trhe Big Bang' because of sheer practicality. The problem is in our inability to look back further than the Big Bang, which we (presently) cannot do. The Big Bang was the beginning of time AS FAR AS WE ARE CONCERNED.

    "3. Of course something can be eternal. The Universe is just not such a something."

    Why not? What makes you so sure?

    "The idea of an eternal universe contradicts a lot of things we know about it"

    Such as what?

    "4. Sure. The Kalaam argument only tries to show that the Universe has a cause. Let me know when you managed to "grok" that. We can continue on from there afterwards."

    Well I'm not sure what 'grok' means, but since the Kalam argument fails in showing the universe has a cause then I don't imagine I'll be doing any of it anytime soon.

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  108. Oleg and Ritchie - I *know* that this is physics (Greene is, after all, a physicist). I am calling it CRAP for reason - it is CRAP. Physicists, like a lot of other scientists, are so in love with their mathematical models that they don't realize their theories stopped making sense a while ago.

    Ritchie, I'll try to point out the contradiction again:

    This tiny-angular change has no noticeable effect in Chewie's vicinity: the difference between his new now and that of anyone still sitting in his living room is minuscule.

    So delta (Chewie, friend) is very close to zero. Agreed?

    But over the enormous distance of 10 billion light- years, this tiny shift in Chewie's notion of now is amplified

    So delta (Chewie, me) is 150 years. Agreed?

    But at the same time,

    delta (friend, me) is zero, because the friend is still sitting in the room. Agreed?

    We thus have

    t(Chewie) - t(me) = 150
    t(Chewie) - t(friend) = (almost) zero
    t(friend) - t(me) = zero

    I don't care how many credentials you have, the above does not make sense. It is stupid, period. Relativity has no chance of making it not stupid. If you think it does, point out how. Do not retreat back to "well, a scientist said it, so it's true" argument, that just makes you looking doubly stupid.

    "1. You have to show that virtual particles are uncaused. I am unaware of even scientists claiming that."

    That statement just reveals your ignorance on the subject, I'm afraid. Try reading up on the subject. I refer you back to Oleg's post.


    Better yet, point out someone who said it, since you claim to know about it. So far, I can only find apologists repeating this claim on Google, but no actual scientist saying it.

    This "chicken experiment" explains the problem with this claim.

    The Big Bang was the beginning of time AS FAR AS WE ARE CONCERNED.

    That was a very complicated way of restating what I said - WE KNOW that the universe had a beginning. Now you're pulling a Scott.

    3. Such as entropy.

    4. Try harder :)

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  109. Trying to emphasize on what I said above: a standard principle in philosophy was, for a long while, this: when you reached something clearly absurd, stop and go back to see where you went wrong. (As Ayn Rand would say, check your premises.) Einstein was appealing to this principle when he claimed "God does not play dice with the Universe" - the QM conclusions did not make sense, so something had to be wrong somewhere.

    Unfortunately, for at least a century now, scientists have lost that principle. It doesn't matter how absurd your conclusions are, if the math is correct they are accepted. We live in a Murphy universe: if the theories are contradicted by the facts, too bad for the facts.

    Did I use the words "insane" and "atheists" in the same statement lately?

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  110. Marcel,

    Oh, sorry, I forgot. You are the local idiot who thinks all of physics is "CRAP."

    There is no point in arguing with him, Ritchie. Let him blather all he wants.

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  111. LOL. Oleg, I already said not to retreat back to "well, a scientist said it, so it's true" argument, that just makes you looking doubly stupid. I know you're a scientist (from TT), so I didn't really expect any better to be honest, but this is ridiculous.

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  112. Marcel: That was a very complicated way of restating what I said - WE KNOW that the universe had a beginning. Now you're pulling a Scott.

    Marcel,

    As I've already pointed out, you were merely appealing to a particular level of abstraction. For example, one could say that, 'ultimately, "you" are just a complicated way of restating that atoms move and interact with each other', right?

    While this might be true, it's a form of reductionism that ignores emergence and the explinations it entails.

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  113. More from what Oleg considers to be sane, and why that is not normally shared by others :P On page 67, Greene explains:

    Einstein would argue that it was Newton's head that rushed up to meet the apple, not the other way around.

    QED.

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  114. Scott - no. As C.S.Lewis said, I do not have a soul; I am a soul. I have a body. In other words, "I" am not just a complicated way to say that; "my body" is.

    With that caveat, yes; "my body" is a shortcut for atoms moving and interacting in a particular way. Your point being?

    ("Emergence" is a synonym of "magic", but the last one fell out of use. It generally means "we have no clue how, but the sum is greater than the total of its parts". I tend to dislike it.)

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  115. Marcel -

    "Physicists, like a lot of other scientists, are so in love with their mathematical models that they don't realize their theories stopped making sense a while ago."

    You blanket dismissal of an entire field of science speaks volumes about your determination to dismiss anything that challenges your religious preconceptions.

    "a standard principle in philosophy was, for a long while, this: when you reached something clearly absurd, stop and go back to see where you went wrong."

    The problem with that is that our perception of what is absurd is not an accurate standard. Many thinks which are counter-intuitive, even seemingly illogical, are nevertheles true. I'm sure many people struggle with the idea that light operates both as a wave and as a particle, yet it's true and we can show it.

    And yes, much of Quantum Mechanics is complicated and knotty in the extreme. But just because it's hard to understand, that does not justify dismissing it all with a wave of your hand. Physicists have reasons to believe what they believe. They don't just make up random shizzle for a laugh.

    "I don't care how many credentials you have, the above does not make sense. It is stupid, period. Relativity has no chance of making it not stupid. If you think it does, point out how."

    The key difference is motion. You and (friend) are at rest relative to each other. Chewie is now in motion, putting his perspective of 'now' at odds with both you and (friend). Being in the vicinity of (friend) the difference between him and Chewie is negligable. Being billions of light years away from you the difference with CHewie is much more marked.

    "Better yet, point out someone who said it, since you claim to know about it. So far, I can only find apologists repeating this claim on Google, but no actual scientist saying it."

    Well I'm not sure what good it will do since you are so adamant that all physics is crap, all physicists are self-deluded, and that I am not to hide behind 'a scientist said so', but in response to a direct request, here is a published article by Taner Edis, an Assistant Professor of Physics at Truman State University:

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/edis_22_4.htm

    "This "chicken experiment" explains the problem with this claim."

    From the link:

    "Detractors of the kalam argument point to these virtual particles as examples of entities that come into being without a cause. But this conclusion is unjustified given the evidence. While we may not be able to observe the cause, that does not mean there is no cause."

    The article is quite right that proving something as 'definitely uncaused' is akin to proving a negative. It cannot really be done. But that misses the problem. It is a premise of the Kalam Argument that 'Anything that begins to exist requires a cause', and that is a premise which cannot be maintained. It is an absolute statement, an inductive conclusion, and one which cannot stand while some things even merely 'appear to be uncaused as far as we can tell'.

    "3. Such as entropy."

    Elaborate please.

    "4. Try harder :)"

    Somehow we've drifted from my point here. But I would like to see it honestly addressed. How exactly do identify this 'cause of the universe' as the Christian Yahweh? The Kalam Argument seems to me to be, if anything, a deist argument, not a theistic one.

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  116. Isn't the false vacuum the cause of virtual particles? And don't they have to disappear before they are detected, or the violate First Thermodynamics?

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  117. Marcel,

    Should I repeat myself, ignoring your supposed caveats as you did previously, ad nauseum? For example....

    "Are you an idiot? Perhaps you're unaware that bodies are physical objects, which are made of atoms. Apparently, you're unaware that you're just restating what I said"

    Sound familiar?

    Marcel: ("Emergence" is a synonym of "magic", but the last one fell out of use. It generally means "we have no clue how, but the sum is greater than the total of its parts". I tend to dislike it.)

    Apparently, you define magic as knowledge that is not ultimately justified by a foundationalist epistemology. But, as I've pointed out above, you appear to lack an explanation as to how this foundational knowledge was created in the first place.

    Apparently, it's created by magic?

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  118. Marcel: "Physicists, like a lot of other scientists, are so in love with their mathematical models that they don't realize their theories stopped making sense a while ago."

    Marcel,

    Are you really that ignorant?

    For example, can the angles of a triangle add up to greater than 180 degrees? Yes, they can.

    In fact, this assumption is an interregnal part of any GPS system, which is based on Einstein's mathematical models of general relatively. So, if you've ever directly used a GPS feature in a phone or indirectly by flying in a plane, etc. it would seem they either operate on magic or that Einstein's theory isn't nonsense after all.

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  119. nat -

    "Isn't the false vacuum the cause of virtual particles?"

    If by 'false vacuum' you are referring to the quantum vacuum, then no. They do appear FROM the quantum vaccum, but that is merely their location. That would be like saying water causes fish.

    "And don't they have to disappear before they are detected"

    I believe so, but we infer their existence by detecting and measuring their effects, such as the Casimir Force.

    "or the violate First Thermodynamics?"

    Being so short lived, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle affords them enough wriggle-room to exist without violating the First Law of Thermodynamics.

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  120. Actually I'd like to make one further point by way of a parody that I found in the comments section of the blog post Marcel linked to:

    1) Every sentient being has a cause.
    2) God is a sentient being.
    3) Therefore, God has a cause.

    Note that premise 1 is an inductive conclusion. As is premise 1 in the kalam argument.

    Notice also that I may tweak premise 1 if I wished to propose a possible cause of God, as in:

    1) Every sentient non-unicorn being has a cause...

    I can thus propose a unicorn as a cause for God without having my conclusion violate one of my own premises.

    Surely, when viewed like this, we can see the problems. Not only is premise 1 an inductive conclusion, but the addition of 'non-unicorn' is a completely arbitrary maneuver added (rather transparently) simply so I can propose a unicorn as the cause for God without violating one of my own premises.

    But the same has in fact been done in the kalam argument. In the version of this argument proposed by Thomas Aquinas, the first premise was merely 'Everything has a cause.' When theists proposed that (an entirely hypothetical, but whatever) God was the cause of the universe, this revealed an obvious rebuttal: what caused God? This puts pay to the argument somewhat, since the conclusion violates one of its initial premises.

    The answer: tweak the first premise with an entirely arbitrary addition which merely serves to exclude God from falling under the umbrella of 'everything'.

    I mean, compare the following potential initial premises:

    1) Everything has a cause
    1) Everything that begins to exist has a cause

    What is the difference between the two? Can we identify something which 'begins to exist' and something which never 'began to exist' and conclude it is only the former which is relevant? Clearly not. The idea is ludicrous. Even people who advance the Kalam argument reason everything falls into the category of 'begins to exist' - except one thing. The very thing which this argument is supposed to prove: God.

    In other words, we have a premise which is making room for it's own conclusion.

    This is special pleading.

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  121. Cornelius,

    In many cases a theory was held to be true not so much because it was convincing but because the alternatives were considered to be impossible.

    Kind of like how creationists insist that evolution is impossible, so pray to Jesus?

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  122. I'm wasting too much time on this crap, so I give up. You guys believe that you just have to repeat the same thing to make it true, like in this exchange:

    "Physicists, like a lot of other scientists, are so in love with their mathematical models that they don't realize their theories stopped making sense a while ago."

    The problem with that is that our perception of what is absurd is not an accurate standard. Many thinks which are counter-intuitive, even seemingly illogical, are nevertheles true.


    Oh well, if you just said it for the fifth time, that definitely makes it true. Or:

    You and (friend) are at rest relative to each other. Chewie is now in motion, putting his perspective of 'now' at odds with both you and (friend). Being in the vicinity of (friend) the difference between him and Chewie is negligable. Being billions of light years away from you the difference with CHewie is much more marked.

    This still ignores the fact that there is ZERO difference between me and (friend). None of you managed to show how that is possible, given the above, so you just ignore it.

    Have fun with your faith in scientists :)

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  123. Marcel -

    "Oh well, if you just said it for the fifth time, that definitely makes it true."

    It's true because it's true. Repetition does nothing to alter the case.

    "This still ignores the fact that there is ZERO difference between me and (friend). None of you managed to show how that is possible, given the above, so you just ignore it."

    I have not ignored a single point you've made. You just don't understand my reply. Not the same thing.

    "Have fun with your faith in scientists"

    Thanks. We will, since it's reasonable, well-founded and rewarded with concrete progress. Have fun with your faith in bronze age mythology.

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  124. Ritchie:

    Since the universe is detected, the existance of the universe can't eb atributed to the same process that makes virtual paeticles. And the quantum vacuum had to exist before the universe did for the universe to pop imto existance as a virtual particle.

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  125. marcel, I see that you're still using a computer, controlled electricity, and the internet, which would not exist if it weren't for science. And unless you're posting your retarded comments from a cave that you happened to find, that has wall plugs and an internet connection, you're also still using and enjoying many other things that science made possible and available.

    Your selfish ungratefulness to science is noted, as is your delusional and arrogant adherence to religious fairy tales.

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  126. nat -

    "Since the universe is detected, the existance of the universe can't eb atributed to the same process that makes virtual paeticles."

    Both sperm and egg will die almost immediately when exposed to salt water, but your body will not. Yet you are the product of practically nothing else.

    I think it's safe to assume that from the moment of the Big Bang, the universe no longer held the properties it held as a mere singularity.

    "And the quantum vacuum had to exist before the universe did for the universe to pop imto existance as a virtual particle."

    Okay. And what exactly is the problem with proposing this?

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  127. Guys,

    Don't waste your time on the likes of Marcel. It is pointless to discuss relativity with someone who is unaware of basic scientific facts (e.g., the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment).

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  128. A fetus has to attached to the uterus in ordert o gett all the nutrients it needs that were not in the sperm and egg. Since my birth I had to eat a lot of food that wasn't in the egg to reach my present mass. And sperm and egg cells cme from parents.

    My understanding is that the quantum vacuum did not exist before the big bang. The quantum vacuum is empty space. But space, empty or otherwise did not exist before the Big Bang.

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  129. nat -

    "A fetus has to attached to the uterus in ordert o gett all the nutrients it needs that were not in the sperm and egg. Since my birth I had to eat a lot of food that wasn't in the egg to reach my present mass. And sperm and egg cells cme from parents."

    Feeding, however you achieve it, fuels your growth, daily exertions and recuperation. Your body is made up of cells which can be traced back to the fused egg which was the union between your mother and father.

    My point was that as something develops, it takes on different properties. Your body no longer has the properties of an individual sperm or egg cell, yet you are the product of such. Similarly, why expect the universe to retain the properties of a virtual particle? If it ever was one, it isn't one any more.

    "My understanding is that the quantum vacuum did not exist before the big bang. The quantum vacuum is empty space. But space, empty or otherwise did not exist before the Big Bang."

    We just don't KNOW what was there before the Big Bang, or even if this concept makes sense at all. Our field of knowledge is restricted to the edges of the universe, and date back to the Big Bang. Beyond these boundaries in space and time our knowledge simply runs out.

    So if you are insistent that the universe needs a cause, then why not allow for a quantum vacuum (something which we do, in fact, KNOW exists) as that cause, rather than a God (which we do NOT, in fact, know exists).

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  130. The properties of a an adult are can be explained by the known propertis of physics and chemistry. The laws than govern an egg still govern an adult. We assume that the laws that govern the universe have always applied. Those laws indicate that there was no space before the Big Bang, due to singularities and such. Saying it might have been different is going outside the laws of naure that we know of. It's why is that better than God did it? It's like multiverse, only based on time and not space. It's goes outside the laws of nature we are familiar with. Why is it better than God?

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  131. The properties of a an adult are can be explained by the known propertis of physics and chemistry. The laws than govern an egg still govern an adult. We assume that the laws that govern the universe have always applied. Those laws indicate that there was no space before the Big Bang, due to singularities and such.

    Who ordered this word salad?

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  132. oleg said...

    "The properties of a an adult are can be explained by the known propertis of physics and chemistry. The laws than govern an egg still govern an adult. We assume that the laws that govern the universe have always applied. Those laws indicate that there was no space before the Big Bang, due to singularities and such."

    Who ordered this word salad?


    Box of rocks schuster knows all about cosmology. He read the abstract of a paper on it once.

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  133. nat -

    "The properties of a an adult are can be explained by the known propertis of physics and chemistry. The laws than govern an egg still govern an adult"

    The properties of things change as they develop. An egg and sperm, for example, will die when exposed to salt water. However, somehwere along the line the developing feotus LOSES this property as it grows.

    The universe is the same. Maybe it was once a tiny virtual particle, but if it was then we have no reason to suppose it retains all the properties of virtual particles, since it is no longer one itself.

    "We assume that the laws that govern the universe have always applied. Those laws indicate that there was no space before the Big Bang, due to singularities and such."

    Ummm, no. Big knot in your logic there.

    We use science to discover physical laws, but we cannot know whether these laws apply outside of the universe and before the Big Bang.

    Being sure that there was no space before the Big Bang is different from merely not being sure there was any. Can you grasp the difference?

    "It's why is that better than God did it? It's like multiverse, only based on time and not space. It's goes outside the laws of nature we are familiar with. Why is it better than God?"

    Well, a multiverse theory merely postulates the existence of lots of universes. We know for a fact that at least one universe exists - this one. So universes are demonstrably viable.

    God is not. We have no direct evidence of a god at all. We do not know whether such a being is viable at all.

    Once you know for a fact that a horse exists, it is more probable that a million other horses also exist than that a single unicorn does.

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  134. Ritchie:

    Who exactly is advocating these IFF statements of yours exactly?

    Evolutionists

    I can understand people saying 'Only evolution makes sense of evidence XYZ', but that is not to say 'No other theory possibly could make sense of XYZ', but 'We don't have any other theory which does make sense of XYZ'.

    Stating that 'a piece of evidence supports only one theory and cannot possibly support any other' is ridiculous, and I simply don't think anyone is seriously making it. It sounds like one of your absurd strawmen.


    No, evolutionists say Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

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  135. Cornelius,

    No, evolutionists say Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

    In answer to this, let me reiterate what Ritchie wrote that made you write what you wrote:

    I can understand people saying 'Only evolution makes sense of evidence XYZ', but that is not to say 'No other theory possibly could make sense of XYZ', but 'We don't have any other theory which does make sense of XYZ'.

    In the same vein, the creation of water when hydrogen and oxygen are combined only makes sense in the light of chemistry. This does not mean that it is impossible that there are other theories that could offer alternative explanations. It just means that those theories are either not proposed or simply make no sense.

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  136. I said previously, "Whatever begins to exist, MUST have a cause. As we both agree, the universe began to exist. My point is that that since it began to exist, it must have a cause."

    In response Ritchie said, "I suppose that's logical. My problem is that you are taking a complete guess as to what this cause is."

    I said later in response to another post by Ritchie, "Seriously? Are you entertaining the possibility that our universe began to exist without a cause?"

    Ritchie replied, "Yes. I see no reason to dismiss the idea out of hand. You are the one making the statement of faith."

    Ritchie also said, "Premise 2 is hypothetical. You assume the universe began to exist, but the argument Neal has put forward fails to support it. Why can't the universe be infinite?"
    --

    Your argument lacks a clear coherence or consistency.

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  137. Cornelius -

    "Evolutionists"

    Please cite a direct example. A name and a linked or referenced quote would be nice.

    "No, evolutionists say Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

    Hawks understands my point.

    You are interpreting this sentence to mean: "No other theory of biology could ever possibly make sense of the evidence other than ToE."

    But can't you see this sentence can also be read: "ToE is the only theory we currently have which makes sense of biology?"

    You are simply assuming the worst.

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  138. Neal -

    "Your argument lacks a clear coherence or consistency."

    I am not the one with the argument. You are.

    I'm not actually terribly committed to a position on the origin of the universe. That's not to say that I'm not interested - merely that I don't think we have enough evidence to say with a reasonable degree of certainty.

    Is the universe infinite? Maybe. I don't know. Did it have an origin? Possibly. I understand the arguments for and against, but I wouldn't like to say.

    YOU are the one who is advancing an argument - the Kalam argument. You are the one who is making the claims and the assertions. I am merely attacking those claims and assertions - showing (i hope) that they cannot be maintained.

    And to do that, my objections do not need to be consistent.

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  139. Ritchie said, " am not the one with the argument.
    --

    I'll go along with that.

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  140. CH: No, evolutionists say Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

    Let's unpack that, shall we?

    Would you say it's possible to make sense out of God's supposed actions in designing the biosphere? More specifically, can we explain why God would do X rather than Y based on any of his supposed properties?

    Could one make sense out of a intelligent designer's choice to give the ability to regenerate entire limbs, including bone, muscle and nerves, to specific variants of salamanders, but not human beings?

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that you've made you position clear that it's impossible for us to make sense out of these observations. Would you agree?

    If so, it would seem that you're among those who has excluded God or ID from making sense out of biology, not science.

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  141. Neal -

    "I'll go along with that."

    Cute.

    But that doesn't save your kalam argument from having more holes in it than Swiss cheese in front of a firing squad.

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  142. SCOTT:

    "No one was born with the knowledge of how to create a nuclear-fission explosion. Rather, this knowledge created."
    ===

    You keep bringing this up without a point or deliberately avoiding the point brought up before which is usually your continued way of deflecting attention off your blind undirected forces worldview. I've already acknowledged that an infant's mind is a clean slate and any knowledge and communication comes from the imput of it's parents who have an educated mind, and yes we all know that knowledge comes from previous knowledge. Everyone gets that.
    ----

    SCOTT:

    "So, did this knowledge spontaneously appear from nowhere?"
    ====

    Once again, it's NOT my responsibility to teach you the supposed truths behind your religious worldview and your FAITH. If you believe that extremely complex codes come from dirt, chemcials and blind undirected unpurposed physics then that is what freewill is all about Scott. You have the freedom as a free moral agent to believe any way you see fit.
    ----

    SCOTT:

    "To reiterate, I'm asking YOU if the knowledge of how to create proteins spontaneously appears in minds. Is this not your responsibility? Are you suggesting you have provided an explanation, while I have not?"
    ====

    More burden shifting and refusing to show how blind undirected forces of physics and chemcials develope information. Nice try Scott and again if you want to play a game, go for it with someone else. I've already emphatically stated and actually USED the word INFERENCE which an average standard dictionary definition in this world(as opposed to other universes) should suffice without the mind games. We have 100% inference that codes in DNA come from a mind and 0% inference that blind undirected random unpurposed mistakes accomplished anything remotely sophisticated when it comes to information.
    ----

    SCOTT:

    "So, again, what is ID's explanation for how this knowledge was created? No explniation has been provided at all, let alone a plausible alternative."
    ====

    Well, I'm not an Intelligent Design proponant and I couldn't care less if the politics of your rightwing ideological counterparts get their version of origins into the scientific textbook door. The issue for someone who believes in the biblical version is they are not privy to the actual mechanics of just how a creator actually accomplished what he did. This is again why I used inference, but you already knew that and pimped this game playing further. Take it up with someone who has first hand knowledge of how it was done. Job chapters 38-41 show the impossibility of explaining such a process. Like your gang, if IDer's actually knew the process which was used, they'd replicate it, but like your side they have NO CLUE as to the actual processes.

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  143. Ritchie:

    Before the Big Bang space that conforms to the laws of nature we are familiar with did not exist. We have to go outside the laws of nature to say something did exist, be it some form of space, or God. Multiverse is an attempt to explain why our universe appears to be designd to accomodate life. It says that there are infinite universes out there, all with different laws of nature. So in both cases we have to go outside nature as we know it. Some sort of space created our universe, and infinite universes exist that are all different, we just live in the one that has life. Or we can say God did it.

    multiverse holds that all the universes are different, so its like saying that since I know a horse exists, I know a unicorn, a dragon, a gryphin exist, too.


    To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct evidence for multiverse. And to the best of my knowledge there is no direct evidence for abiogenesis. It hasn't been demonstrated that abiogenesis is possible. Yet not only do scientists say it can happen, they say it did happen.

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  144. I have been told repeatedly by people that the fact that the evidence that evolution did happen, or even can happen is based on inference, not direct observation. But that's okay because all of science is based on inference. So why can't we infer God?

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  145. If multiverse is true, then every conceivable universe exists otu there somewhere. That means that there must be a universe with an all knowing transcendent God. Why can't it be ours?

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  146. Scott:

    "Would you say it's possible to make sense out of God's supposed actions in designing the biosphere? More specifically, can we explain why God would do X rather than Y based on any of his supposed properties?

    Could one make sense out of a intelligent designer's choice to give the ability to regenerate entire limbs, including bone, muscle and nerves, to specific variants of salamanders, but not human beings?

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that you've made you position clear that it's impossible for us to make sense out of these observations. Would you agree?

    If so, it would seem that you're among those who has excluded God or ID from making sense out of biology, not science."
    ====

    More Off Topic Deflection. Cornelius said nothing of an Intelligent Designer or God, yet in your usual deflective completely off target manner you refuse to respond to the accusations he gives against the flaws of evolutionary thinking which offer the world nothing more than cheating, lying, stealing and plagerizing of Intelligent Design movement concepts in their experimentation and then proceed to lable these with Evolutionary Signage and baggage.

    It's funny how you guys continually without let up badger him into bring up his OWN PERSONAL viéws in the hopes he actually does bring word/term God into the discussion and when he does, you can almost here-sense-feel a collective sigh of relief from among the EVO-propnants who've waited for a legit excuse all along to not explain the obvious religiosity of their own Holy Men's FAITH-BASED statement making.

    Keep it up Scott, however keep in mind that the hour glass has just about run out in this court case.

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  147. Natchuster:

    "I have been told repeatedly by people that the fact that the evidence that evolution did happen, or even can happen is based on inference, not direct observation. But that's okay because all of science is based on inference. So why can't we infer God?"
    ====

    In these debates there has always been this double standard and "Pot Calling Kettle Black" crap and nothing in the whole history of debating with these people indicates it will change anytime soon.
    ----

    Natchuster:

    "If multiverse is true, then every conceivable universe exists otu there somewhere. That means that there must be a universe with an all knowing transcendent God. Why can't it be ours?"
    ====

    What do you wanna bet one of their favourite Sci-Fi flicks was the show "Sliders" ??? Seriously, movie series like Matrix are gold to these people who find good fodder for spewing out in every post. When real world common sense logic no longer exists in the life of an online cyber gamer, then "Praised Be Hollywood."

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  148. Don't waste your time on the likes of Marcel. It is pointless to discuss relativity with someone who is unaware of basic scientific facts (e.g., the negative result of the Michelson-Morley experiment).

    Ah, the supreme confidence of ignorance. I'm betting that Marcel is even now crowing to his creationist friends about how he tied the evolutionists up in logical knots until they just refused to even engage with him anymore.

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  149. Venture Free:

    "Ah, the supreme confidence of ignorance. I'm betting that Marcel is even now crowing to his creationist friends about how he tied the evolutionists up in logical knots until they just refused to even engage with him anymore."
    ====

    No doubt that probably could be true. I certainly wouldn't doubt it, however the above hardcore ideologue you've just referenced pulls the same stupid childish stunt over at one of the neanderthal forums where he officiates over a "Cornelius is a Stupid IDiot" thread where he claims an imaginative victory of sorts using his superior brain outlasted against Cornelius's inferior reasonings.

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  150. Eocence: More Off Topic Deflection.

    So, we can make sense out of God's actions? Or are you doing exactly what you're just accused me of?

    Eocence: Cornelius said nothing of an Intelligent Designer or God…

    Perhaps you missed that part where Cornelius specifically mentions God as a possible explanation?

    CH: If it isn’t already obvious, that claim is equivalent to an IFF statement, as the following sequence of equivalent statements demonstrates:

    1. Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution
    2. Everything in biology makes sense only in the light of evolution
    3. Only evolution can make sense of anything in biology
    4. IFF evolution THEN biology

    Dobzhansky justified his claim with a series of theological arguments that god would never had intended for this world..


    Eocence: It's funny how you guys continually without let up badger him into bring up his OWN PERSONAL views….

    So, one's personal views are irrelevant to how they interpret observations? Can we move on now?

    Eocence: Keep it up Scott, however keep in mind that the hour glass has just about run out in this court case.

    And which court case might that be? The last time I checked, I wasn't on trial. This wouldn't be another one of those "personal beliefs" you were referring to, would it?

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  151. Neal: "Your argument lacks a clear coherence or consistency."

    What many of us are pointing out here is that ….

    - induction isn't a valid means of justifying theories.
    - A claim that "God did it" only superficially appears to explain things.

    So it's not that we claim to have all the answers. Rather, we're pointing out that you've merely pushed the problem into some unexplainable realm.

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  152. Nat: If multiverse is true, then every conceivable universe exists otu there somewhere. That means that there must be a universe with an all knowing transcendent God. Why can't it be ours?

    Nat, do you understand what you're appealing to here?

    If the multiverse is true, then there are universes where a single person exists as a "brain in jar". Nothing they observe exist outside this jar, rather it is manufactured as facets their brain's internal self. In fact, If the multiverse is true, there are a great many universes with slight variations of just this, which could look similar to what you observe every day.

    Why couldn't this just as well be your universe, and we're all just elaborate figments of your internal self? How could you tell it's not?

    My point is, even if this was your universe, why should you assume it's true, rather than some other universe? Why is your criteria for reality?

    Again, despite the fact that we cannot know that we exist in a universe where bad explanations are true, in reality, bad explanations are still bad explanations none the less. This is what we mean by tentatively accepting something is true.

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  153. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  154. nat -

    "Multiverse is an attempt to explain why our universe appears to be designd to accomodate life."

    Just a small, rather tangental point here - multiuniverse was actually drawn up to explain a paradox to do with black holes - Hawking's Information Paradox.

    For our purposes, this is a minor point, as the idea of parellel universes and multi universes is a fairly common idea throughout philosophy, theology, etc., but if you are talking about the scientific multiverse theory, then it is a theory of physics, not biology.

    "To the best of my knowledge, there is no direct evidence for multiverse."

    To mine, evidence is scant, and inconclusive. But it is growing. And that is an important point. The theory generates testable hypotheses and allows for certain predictions. It's hard, but work can be done to try to work out if it's true. Note this is note the case for 'Goddidit'.

    "I have been told repeatedly by people that the fact that the evidence that evolution did happen, or even can happen is based on inference, not direct observation. But that's okay because all of science is based on inference."

    Microevolution is based on direct observation. Macroevolution is inferred, though seeing as the distinction between the two is one of scale only, the difference barely exists. This is not two different methods; this is the same method on different scales.

    "So why can't we infer God?"

    Now that is an excellent question!

    Theoretically at least, we could. But it would involve drawing up ways of testing for God. It would involve hypothesising on the methods God would use to create life/the universe/anything and testing to see whether such methods are viable, and then probable.

    But here's the rub - no religious person I know is willing to go to such lengths. They all describe God as omnipotent, capable of doing literally ANYTHING, inlcuding violating the laws of the universe itself. We cannot say "If God made life then we would expect X result from Y experiment, but if He did not then we would expect Z result" because no-one is willing to accept that any evidence could possibly falsify God. We cannot test for the influence of God because there is no evidence which would falsify it.

    In this way, postulating a God as a cause of anything is absolutely useless. It tells us nothing useful. If we want to know the cause of A, saying God brought A about tells us absolutely nothing. HOW did God bring A about?

    Thus the claim that 'God did it' is not a scientific one. It cannot be tested, it is a science-stopper in that it generates no new research to be done, and it is utterly empty as an explanation. The claim that 'God did it' is a theological (perhaps philosophical) one, but not a scientific one.

    "If multiverse is true, then every conceivable universe exists otu there somewhere. That means that there must be a universe with an all knowing transcendent God. Why can't it be ours?"

    If multiverse is true then somewhere there exists a universe with no God. Why can't it be ours?

    Besides, doesn't the idea that 'some universes have gods and others don't' violate your concept of God? Wouldn't God be God of all universes?

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  155. That the universe had a beginning is strongly supported by scientific evidence. Pretending that an infinite universe is a possibility or virtual particles formed the universe, or virtual particles have no cause is hogwash. In discussing this, I wrongly assumed that there would be at least a baseline agreement on elementary cosmology.

    Two observations from recent posting: Atheist's here have a muddled view of elementary cosmology. That the universe had a beginning drives them nuts. How comforted they were in the good old days of ignorance when the steady state theory was popularly accepted.

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  156. "Why is it better than God?"

    Which god?


    "So why can't we infer God?"

    Which god?


    "That means that there must be a universe with an all knowing transcendent God. Why can't it be ours?"

    That means that there must be a universe with an all knowing (transcendent or otherwise) flying spaghetti monster god, or a dog turd god, or a Donald Trump god, or a fish god, or a virus god, or a scientist god, or a pumpkin pie god. Why can't it be ours?

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  157. Neal -

    That's just empty chest-thumping.

    What you wrongly assumed is that your logic was sound, and your argument was watertight and well-evidenced.

    It may in fact be that the universe did have a beginning, but you have far less reason to think so than you imagine. To just take it as a brute fact is foolhardy and irrational before first addressing the contradicting evidence.

    There is a famous quote in science that there is nothing so tragic as a beautiful theory brought low by one inconvenient fact. How we deal with these inconvenient facts says much about us.

    What do you imagine simply waving it all away as 'hogwash' instead of actually facing it says about you?

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  158. Neal:
    virtual particles have no cause is hogwash.

    Why is this hogwash? What then, as simply as possible ,is their cause?

    Why would the default cause of the universe be a deity? Perhaps the multiverse is without beginning .

    1)all things the began to exist have a cause
    2) the multiverse has no beginning
    3) the multiverse has no cause

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  159. Whole truth:
    or a fish god, or a virus god, or a scientist god, or a pumpkin pie god.

    Sign me up for the pumpkin pie universe . That would truly be fine tuning

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  160. SCOTT again deflected:

    "So, we can make sense out of God's actions? Or are you doing exactly what you're just accused me of?"
    ====

    No, once again you are deflecting. Cornelius didn't bring up the subject of what God would or wouldn't do. YOU DID! Clearly you are incapable of a discussion of Cornelius criticisms of the "just so" evolutionary story telling which plagues this dogma and where lack of response is missing, the "God Deflection" is nothing more than your favourite default button response and the pertinant subject matter is never once addressed and becomes buried in the destructive aftermath of definition shell gaming. Like the bloated example below.
    ---

    SCOTT further deflected:

    "Perhaps you missed that part where Cornelius specifically mentions God as a possible explanation?

    CH: If it isn’t already obvious, that claim is equivalent to an IFF statement, as the following sequence of equivalent statements demonstrates:

    1. Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution
    2. Everything in biology makes sense only in the light of evolution
    3. Only evolution can make sense of anything in biology
    4. IFF evolution THEN biology

    Dobzhansky justified his claim with a series of theological arguments that god would never had intended for this world."
    ====

    Incredible. Cornelius didn't mention God, he was giving yet another bogus unscientific reasoning of an Evo-justification of "God wouldn't do it this way, therefore evolution is true" and you deliberately allow it to blow over your head. The true fact is - You do get it, but will never publically admit it.
    ====

    SCOTT:

    "Eocence: It's funny how you guys continually without let up badger him into bring up his OWN PERSONAL views . . . "
    ====

    Here let me help you out there Scott. You deliberately left off the most important part of that sentence.

    " . . in the hopes he actually does bring word/term God into the discussion, "

    That's better.
    -----

    SCOTT:
    "So, one's personal views are irrelevant to how they interpret observations? Can we move on now?"
    ====

    Having spent(wasted) much time in the historical past with you on this subject, I highly doubt it.
    -----

    SCOTT:

    "And which court case might that be? The last time I checked, I wasn't on trial."
    ====

    No, but the issue of worldview is on trial. In the end it does involve each and every one of us.
    ----

    SCOTT:

    "This wouldn't be another one of those "personal beliefs" you were referring to, would it? "
    ====

    No, it's actually universal. Have you watched the news lately Scott ??? Have you observed how successful humankind is at finance/economy, politics, world peace making, big business(science), custodialship of earth and it's resources, the superior way in which they problem solve sickness, pestilence, famines, etc, etc, etc. How successful are they Scott ???

    I know, I know, = "Please define success."

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  161. velikovskys said...

    Whole truth:
    or a fish god, or a virus god, or a scientist god, or a pumpkin pie god.

    Sign me up for the pumpkin pie universe . That would truly be fine tuning


    I'll join you there.

    Mmm, pumpkin pie. :)

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  162. Ritchie,et al:

    if multiverseis ture, then there is a universe somehwere where there is a tanscendent God who can also transcend the4 barriers to other unverses and be the God of those universes, also. So multiverse brings us back to God.

    And we could test for God by looking for things for whicg GOd is the only explanation. Archeaologists do this all the time when they find a flint knife and infer from there that a protohuman made it. It woudl go simething like this, "We found A. The only explanation for A is God. Therefore God exists."

    What I don't get is how people say God is not falsifiable, then say that God has been falsified.

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  163. Why do9 we have ot nknow how somethign was done to know it was done? I don't know how to make sushi. We don't know how the Great Pyramid was made, but there it is. The construction of Stonehenge is still a mystery.

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  164. As for the problem of why God wold do it this way and not that way, well Ithink the same question cold be asked of any person who creates things. Why di Picasso paint a person with three eyes, and not four? Why did Egyptians paint people in profile, but the eyes are front view?
    Why dose a Sonnet have 14 lines, and not 15?

    Andf multiverse is ture, then God did create uninverses it that wy and no this way in another universe.

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  165. box of rocks schuster said...

    Ritchie,et al:

    if multiverseis ture, then there is a universe somehwere where there is a tanscendent God who can also transcend the4 barriers to other unverses and be the God of those universes, also. So multiverse brings us back to God.

    And we could test for God by looking for things for whicg GOd is the only explanation. Archeaologists do this all the time when they find a flint knife and infer from there that a protohuman made it. It woudl go simething like this, "We found A. The only explanation for A is God. Therefore God exists."


    You're just described the 'God of the gaps' argument to a T. Big problem with that reasoning is, how do you determine that the only explanation for A is God? Determining that would require you to have perfect knowledge of every possible physical process in the universe.

    That's why science requires positive evidence and doesn't accept negative arguments. If you think God is the explanation for A, provide some positive evidence that God did A. In science if there is no evidence as to what caused a phenomenon the answer isn't "GAWDDIDIT!". The answer is "We don't know yet". Your particular Deity doesn't win by default.

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  166. box of rocks schuster said...

    Why do9 we have ot nknow how somethign was done to know it was done? I don't know how to make sushi. We don't know how the Great Pyramid was made, but there it is. The construction of Stonehenge is still a mystery.


    Do you think that means sushi is *poofed* into existence by God? That the pyramids were *poofed* into existence by God? That Stonehenge was *poofed* into existence by God?

    Or do we still have lots of positive evidence that humans were responsible even if we don't know every last detail?

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  167. Thorton:

    To the of my knowledge, there is no positive evidence that abiogenesis actually happened. And if it happened, we don't know how it happened. But that's okay.

    So not knowing the how of something isn't a big problem

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  168. And I'm trying to think of some psotive evidence fro Stonehnge being made humans that doesn't involve some sort of gaps reasoning. How do we know for sure it wasn't a freak tornado? Do we know all the possible phemomenon in the universe, so we can say for sure it wasn't made by humans? Or we go with what we know know.

    Coudl you give me an exampke of acceptable positive evidence. Remember, be patient with me, I'm just a simple guy.

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  169. Thorton:

    Are you feeling okay? It usually doesn't take this long for you to jump on me. Is everything okay? I'm concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  170. box of schuster said...

    And I'm trying to think of some psotive evidence fro Stonehnge being made humans that doesn't involve some sort of gaps reasoning. How do we know for sure it wasn't a freak tornado? Do we know all the possible phemomenon in the universe, so we can say for sure it wasn't made by humans? Or we go with what we know know.

    Coudl you give me an exampke of acceptable positive evidence. Remember, be patient with me, I'm just a simple guy.


    I forget you're the lazy turd who can't / won't do a simple Google search to save his life.

    Stonehenge construction

    We've got humans living in the area at the time of construction, we know the approximate construction range of dates, we've identified the source for the stones and the likely transportation method, we've identified tool marks on the stones consistent with known human marks, we know other human produced paleo-monuments with similar features.

    But if you want to believe they were *poofed* into existence by the Great Green Blarglesnorf be my guest. Believing stupid things seems to be your major hobby.

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  171. velikovskys said, "Neal:virtual particles have no cause is hogwash.

    Why is this hogwash? What then, as simply as possible ,is their cause?

    ---

    Virtual particles are irrelevant to the discussion of causality or acausality of absolute beginnings. Using vacuum fluctuations as evidence of getting something from absolutely nothing is way off and misleading.

    Virtual particles do not LITERALLY come into existence spontaneously out of nothing (in the absolute sense), BECAUSE the energy locked in a vacuum fluctuates spontaneously in such a way as to convert into particles that return almost immediately to the vacuum.

    The structure of the quantum vacuum is a sea of continually forming and dissolving particles which borrow energy from the vacuum for their brief existence. A quantum vacuum is something and far from nothing. Therefore, vacuum fluctuations are not an exception to the principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause.

    To summarize, the appearance of a virtual particle in a quantum vacuum has many physically necessary conditions. To be truly uncaused at an absolute beginning, it must lack any necessary or sufficient conditions.

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  172. box of rocks schuster said...

    Thorton:

    Are you feeling okay? It usually doesn't take this long for you to jump on me. Is everything okay? I'm concerned.


    I am not jumping on you, I'm jumping on your amazingly stupid and ignorant claims. Quite the difference there.

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  173. Eocone: No, once again you are deflecting.

    I'm deflecting? How is this not relative?

    I'm pointing out that attempts to use God to "make sense" anything simply pushes the problem into some unexplainable realm which we cannot make sense off.

    So, I'll ask again, can we make sense of God's supposed actions or not? Which is it?

    Eocone: Cornelius didn't bring up the subject of what God would or wouldn't do. YOU DID!

    CH: Dobzhansky justified his claim with a series of theological arguments that god would never had intended for this world."

    This not a reference to whether God would or would not create this world?

    Eocene: Cornelius didn't mention God, he was giving yet another bogus unscientific reasoning of an Evo-justification of "God wouldn't do it this way, therefore evolution is true" and you deliberately allow it to blow over your head.

    Cornelius, didn't bring up the subject of what God would or would not do? Of course he did.

    What you're attempting to conflate here is bringing up the subject of "what God would or would not do" with whether Cornelius disclosed his personal belief of what God would or would not do *in this particular instance*. Which is also what Cornelius is attempting to conflate in regards to Dobzhansky.

    However, Cornelius has clearly implied that "evolution" would be contrary to what God would do, based on his particular interpretation of scripture.

    Ecocene: Have you observed how successful humankind is at ….

    This is yet example of an attempt to use God to "make sense" out of why good things happens rather than bad.

    Have you seem how powerful we are? We must be on trial. Have you seen how weak we are? We must be on trial. Have you seen how knowable we are? We must be on trial. Have you seem how ignorant we are? We must be on trial. Have you seem how many opportunities we have? We must be on trial. Have you seen how few opportunities we have? We must be on trial. Ad nauseam….

    But, again, this just pushes the problem into some unexplainable realm which we supposedly cannot make sense off.

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  174. Velikovskys said, "Why would the default cause of the universe be a deity? Perhaps the multiverse is without beginning .

    1)all things the began to exist have a cause
    2) the multiverse has no beginning
    3) the multiverse has no cause "


    I began to address that in a previous post back on August 5th.

    Since something from absolute nothing and infinity in reality are absurd nonsense, we are ultimately left with two choices (both eternal in nature, without beginning):

    1. The universe (or multiverse) was brought into being by some kind of eternal mechanical set of sufficient conditions.

    2. An eternal intelligent, free creator

    The first fails because if the sufficient conditions of the mechanical cause were eternal, then its creating effect would also be eternal. Our universe would be equally co–present with the timeless physical cause.

    Since our universe is a temporal creation with a definite beginning its creator is an eternal intelligent being who can create at will.

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  175. Neal:

    1. The universe (or multiverse) was brought into being by some kind of eternal mechanical set of sufficient conditions.

    Don't you remember? 2) the multiverse had no beginning, 3) the multiverse had no cause.

    The first fails because if the sufficient conditions of the mechanical cause were eternal, then its creating effect would also be eternal. Our universe would be equally co–present with the timeless physical cause.

    Not sure why ,if I understand your argument, why our universe would be co-present with timeless physical cause if it had a beginning. The multiverse from our view of time starting with the big bang would be essentially timeless,outside of time.

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  176. Neal:

    Since something from absolute nothing and infinity in reality are absurd nonsense,

    Well god did it,are you saying

    1)Since something from absolute nothing and infinity in reality are absurd
    nonsense
    2) god is something from absolute nothing and infinity
    3) god is absurd nonsense

    I can actually think of a couple more, Neal I don't know if god exists but from my forced spiritual training I recall the whole point of the doubting Thomas story is believing without physical proof. That is why this whole syllogism stuff seems like trying to put your hand in wound.

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  177. nat -

    "if multiverseis ture, then there is a universe somehwere where there is a tanscendent God who can also transcend the4 barriers to other unverses and be the God of those universes, also. So multiverse brings us back to God."

    You are just repeating your same flawed argument.

    If this aspect of multiverse is true, then somewhere there is a universe with no God. In fact, for every god-being, there will be a universe out there where the being actually exists?

    So which, if any, is ruling this one? We are absolutely no closer to establishing.

    ""We found A. The only explanation for A is God. Therefore God exists.""

    Except that 'God' is no explanation at all. If we find something and have no idea where it came from, say 'God' is like saying 'magic'. It has no explanatory property. It is not describing any kind of recognisable process.

    "What I don't get is how people say God is not falsifiable, then say that God has been falsified."

    No-one is saying God has been falsified. We ARE saying the arguments that are advanced to show He does exist are flawed, but that's not the same thing.

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  178. Neal -

    I never claimed virtual particles literally came OUT OF nothing - I said they appeared uncaused. Why would they have to appear out of literally nothing? We don't know that that was the case for the universe.

    From there you merely re-state your argument, seemingly totally oblivious to all the objections which have come before. Mere repetition does not make you more likely to be right.

    The Kalam argument is made up of false and unproven premises and bleats for special pleading. It also does not lead us to the conclusion of God as a cause, which is where your final 'two options' come in.

    You cannot advance this until you make the Kalam argument stand up. And it doesn't.

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  179. Beam Me Up Scotty:

    "So, I'll ask again, can we make sense of God's supposed actions or not? Which is it?"
    ====

    Okay kool. I think I now know how to play the game here. I'll ask the same question over and over and unless I get the answer I want, I'll go for another round.

    Are information and codes something that come from intelligent minds or does nothing more than blind undirected forces of physics and chemcials with no purpose and no intent make intelligent informational codes ???
    ====

    Beam Me Up Scotty:

    "What you're attempting to conflate here is bringing up the subject of "what God would or would not do" with whether Cornelius disclosed his personal belief of what God would or would not do *in this particular instance*. Which is also what Cornelius is attempting to conflate in regards to Dobzhansky."
    ====

    It was a legit reference. Cornelius was not the one bringing up God, he quoted the Metaphysical reasonings of an evolutionary philosopher who went against second law of your side's articles of faith - "NATURALISTIC EXPLANATIONS ONLY". So that begs a couple of questions.

    Is it okay for evolutionists to bring God(actually any god) into their research and teach people what a God would or wouldn't do and declare evolution to be true as a result ???

    And if so, then what are "Scientific Method" experiments that these Evolutionists perform and carry out to be able to get inside the mind and heart of an enity they insist doesn't exist and arrive at such Metaphysical conclusions as being hardcore FACTS ???
    -----

    Beam Me Up Scotty:

    "This is yet example of an attempt to use God to "make sense" out of why good things happens rather than bad."
    =====

    No, off hand I'd say this is an attempt to promote a conspiracy theory and declare all News Reports and their Reporters as bogus frauds. I'd keep watching those News if I were you and act cautiously.

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  180. velikovskys said, "Don't you remember? 2) the multiverse had no beginning, 3) the multiverse had no cause. "

    --

    Yes, when I said, "1. The universe (or multiverse) was brought into being by some kind of eternal mechanical set of sufficient conditions. "

    The "eternal mechanical set of sufficient conditions" includes any kind of non-rational eternal cause, another multiverse included.

    This explanation fails because the conditions required for the creation of our universe would be eternally met and our universe would exist co-eternally. An eternal multiverse or set of purely naturalistic conditions can't rationally decide when to create a finite universe. However, a rational and eternal God can.

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  181. Ritchie said, " never claimed virtual particles literally came OUT OF nothing - I said they appeared uncaused. "

    --

    That was only part of my reply. I also said, "To summarize, the appearance of a virtual particle in a quantum vacuum has many physically necessary conditions. To be truly uncaused at an absolute beginning, it must lack any necessary or sufficient conditions."

    These virtual particles that you claim are "uncaused" are part of an elegantly designed universe that operates under very tight and strict parameters. So you haven't demonstrated that they would exist without these conditions, so until you do, the principle of 'whatever begins to exist has a cause' still stands.

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  182. Thorton:

    How do yuo know all the things that evidence for human construction of stonehenge don't have another explanation?

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  183. Ritchie:

    Why do we have to no how something was done to know that it was done?

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  184. If a universe can pop out of nothing, why don't I see one popping out of nothing in my backyard?

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  185. Neal -

    You are still, I believe, clinging to the misconception that I think the universe came from ABSOLUTE NOTHING.

    That is not necessarily true. We simply cannot see outside our universe, or further back than the Big Bang. It's not that we are positively sure there was Nothing, but we just down know what there was. Maybe the universe did come from a pre-existing something. You believe this too - you just call it God.

    In the words of Stephen Hawking:

    "Hubble's observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what happens at the present time. Their existence can be ignored because it would have no observational consequences. One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined."

    And again, why are you adding 'begins to exist' to your premise? What else does not fall within this category other than (in your opinion, apparently) God? If nothing else does, then you are shaping your premise to suit your conclusion. This is special pleading.

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  186. nat -

    "Why do we have to no how something was done to know that it was done?"

    Because if you take away the how, all you are left with is blind (I and do mean blind) faith.

    Say I notice a new feature/artifact/whatever. To say 'God put it there' is a statement of faith. It cannot be tested. And if it cannot be tested, how do we know if it is true?

    "If a universe can pop out of nothing, why don't I see one popping out of nothing in my backyard?"

    Well the obvious retort is to say your backyard is not nothing. There is air and solid materials in your backyard - unless you have a genuine vacuum in your shed...?

    Taking your question less literally, we don't know why universes spring up, or how they do, or much about their origin at all really. That's why we do experiments to try to find out. That's science.

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  187. I understand that virtual particles pop up all the time, even if there is no vacuum. Then they disappear as before they can be detected. If a universe popping out of nowhere is the same thing, then we a universe could pop up in my basement.

    And lot of evidence for evolution is based on the assumption that God wouldn't put something like junk DNA there. So it is falsifiable.

    And what's wrong with faith? Lots of people have blind faith in science, scientists, peer reviewed publications, etc. etc.

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  188. Ritchie,

    We have two absurd and nonsense choices for the universe.

    1. It came from absolutely nothing
    2. It came from an infinite chain of past events

    I've explained my position on those two and I'll not beat that dead horse again. If you disagree that their not absurd, then I'll only agree to disagree.

    I hear the question often as to 'if God created the universe, then who created God?'

    That's a good question. But ultimately we are left with something or someone that is eternal as the first cause. This is the reason for adding "what begins" to the principle. Unless someone accepts the above absurd choices, you're limited to an eternal answer.

    So the two choices we are left with is:

    1. The universe was brought into being by some kind of eternal mechanical set of sufficient conditions (eternal multiverse or whatever).

    2. An eternal intelligent, free creator

    The first fails because if the sufficient conditions of the mechanical cause were eternal, then its creating effect would also be eternal. Our universe would be equally co–present with the timeless physical cause.

    Since our universe is a temporal creation with a definite beginning its creator is an eternal and rational being who can create at will.

    That's starting point. From there I can show signs of evidence for a creator.

    Interestingly, your quote from Hawking reveals something interesting. "Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down."

    Yet, out of such a singularity where all laws of science are all broken, we have an elegant universe of tight parameters and laws. Who/what directed the chaos?

    That's why there is no excuse to not believe in a creator. Honest observation always leads back to a Creator.

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  189. natschuster said, "And what's wrong with faith? Lots of people have blind faith in science, scientists, peer reviewed publications, etc. "

    --
    Isn't it ironic that the atheists were comforted by the concept of an 'eternal' universe? They don't have a problem with something being eternal as long as you don't mention God.

    Then Genesis 1:1 knocked on their door and they went nuts. One little verse from the scripture written 3,500 years ago stands. Fred Hoyle's steady state theory that atheists adored is left in the dust heap of history.

    It takes a lot of work kicking against truth and the findings of modern science for an atheist to maintain their belief system.

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  190. natschuster,

    And lot of evidence for evolution is based on the assumption that God wouldn't put something like junk DNA there.

    No.

    And what's wrong with faith? Lots of people have blind faith in science, scientists, peer reviewed publications, etc. etc.

    Trust, not faith. Trust can be a useful guide for your every day behaviour, but it is of no use for argumentation. And that trust is hardly blind, you experience the results of scientific knowledge every day.

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  191. So the two choices we are left with is:

    2. An eternal intelligent, free creator

    Why "intelligent"? Why "free"? Why "creator"? You're assuming a sentient entity of something you can only identify as a cause. There's no excuse for painting a smiley face on it.

    we have an elegant universe of tight parameters and laws. Who/what directed the chaos?

    "Elegant" is meaningless here. The "tightness" of parameters depends on how you evaluate them.

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  192. Sorry, quotes in my previous post from N. Tedford.

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  193. nat -

    "I understand that virtual particles pop up all the time, even if there is no vacuum. Then they disappear as before they can be detected. If a universe popping out of nowhere is the same thing, then we a universe could pop up in my basement."

    Okay. Even so, the answer is, 'We don't know'. And that alone does not give us the green light to make up answers. We should investigate the mystery instead.

    "And lot of evidence for evolution is based on the assumption that God wouldn't put something like junk DNA there."

    Absolutely untrue. That's Cornelius' strawman. The theory of Evolution makes no assumption about what God would or wouldn't do. It assumes methodological naturalism - that is, it only accepts natural explanations for things. But that's not the same thing.

    "So it is falsifiable."

    Running the risk of sounding rather patronising, are you sure you fully understand what this term means?

    "And what's wrong with faith? Lots of people have blind faith in science, scientists, peer reviewed publications, etc. etc."

    If you had blind faith in me, and I told you something was true, you would just accept it to be so. On my say-so alone. Blind faith is wholly indiscriminate. If you accept something on blind faith then you actually have no reason to think it is really true.

    This should not be confused with the trust people put in experts, however. I don't know much about chemistry, for example, so I put faith in the opinion of experts. If all chemists agree something is true, then, as far as I am concerned, it probably is. If I happen to disagree, then it is likely that I just don't understand it properly. They are experts, while I am not, and therefore faith in their opinions over my own on this topic is justified.

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  194. box of rocks schuster said...

    Thorton:

    How do yuo know all the things that evidence for human construction of stonehenge don't have another explanation?


    Are you demanding 100% certainty? Because no one on the planet can guarantee that. We know with virtual certainty (>99%) because of the consilience and cross-corroboration of dozens of independent lines of evidence. That still leaves a teeny weeny chance the Great Green Blarglesnorf *poofed* everything into existence last Tuesday. Is that what you want to believe?

    How do you know space aliens didn't suck out your brains last night and replace them with rancid cottage cheese?

    If a universe can pop out of nothing, why don't I see one popping out of nothing in my backyard?

    Now that's the kind of mindless stupidity which brings the lurkers back for more!

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  195. natschuster: I understand that virtual particles pop up all the time, even if there is no vacuum.

    This meaningless sentence tells me that you actually don't.

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  196. Neal -

    "I've explained my position on those two and I'll not beat that dead horse again. If you disagree that their not absurd, then I'll only agree to disagree."

    I do indeed disagree. If you do not wish to have this argument again, then fair enough. But it is the basis of your argument, and it is fatally flawed. Ignore this if you wish. But it invalidates the rest of your argument.

    "I hear the question often as to 'if God created the universe, then who created God?'

    That's a good question. But ultimately we are left with something or someone that is eternal as the first cause. This is the reason for adding "what begins" to the principle."

    You have just admitted to special pleading! One of your argument's premises is tailored in anticipation of it's conclusion!

    "Yet, out of such a singularity where all laws of science are all broken, we have an elegant universe of tight parameters and laws. Who/what directed the chaos?"

    How do you know there was any direction?

    Chaos makes its own patterns. You do not need direction to find patterns of a swirl of oil on water, or in the flames of a fire, or in sand randomly tossed onto a tabletop. Why do you insist the big bang was directed?

    "Honest observation always leads back to a Creator."

    No, BIASED observation leads back to a Creator.

    "Isn't it ironic that the atheists were comforted by the concept of an 'eternal' universe? They don't have a problem with something being eternal as long as you don't mention God."

    It isn't necessarily the 'eternal' bit which is the problem with God. It's mostly the magic bit. And the 'totally unevidenced' thing is a bit of a spanner in the works too.

    "Then Genesis 1:1 knocked on their door and they went nuts."

    Ummm, do you really need it pointing out that the Genesis account of creation is totally inaccurate?

    "It takes a lot of work kicking against truth and the findings of modern science for an atheist to maintain their belief system."

    Modern science finds time is a relative concept. Modern science finds all life on Earth to be descended from a common ancestor. Modern science finds the universe to be inevitable, thus requiring no creator.

    Now who's kicking against science?

    Your powers of projection are truly a thing to behold.

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  197. Ecocine,

    Why does it feel like I'm pulling teeth here?

    You can wave your hands all you want, but Cornelius did bring *up* God in context of making sense out of biology, or lack there of. In fact, he specifically pointed out that Dobzhansky discarded God as such a means. It's right there in the original post.

    CG: Dobzhansky justified his claim with a series of theological arguments that god would never had intended for this world.

    That "that god would never had intended for this world" is clearly a reference to God having created this world, which would be an action on God's part.

    However, *for the sake of discussion only*, let's assume that Dobzhansky was theologically ignorant, which lead him to discard God as a means to "make sense" out of biology based on some misconception about God's actions or properties.

    WIth me so far? If so, this leads me back to my original question. Can we "make sense" out of God's actions, or lack there of?

    In other words, If Dobzhansky discarded God based on false or invalid theological views, I'm asking if it's even possible to have any valid theological views about what God would or would not do.

    Furthermore, has't it Cornelius' mantra on this blog that we cannot know what God would or would not do, and that an attempt to do so isn't science?

    So, to repeat the question, how could we possibly "make sense" out of biology with a being we cannot possibility "make sense" out of?

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  198. Geoxus: "Trust, not faith. Trust can be a useful guide for your every day behaviour, but it is of no use for argumentation. And that trust is hardly blind, you experience the results of scientific knowledge every day."

    and this my friend, is where you misunderstand. Technology, as a by-product of scientific inquiry is not evidence for science' superiority in providing an explanatory framework for the existence of life and the universe.

    Technology simply shows that Man knows how to ticker with the elements, nothing more.

    BTW, please explain the difference (iyow) between trust and faith.

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