Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An Open Letter to Ard Louis

Dear Professor Louis:

You have presented the view that from a theological perspective evolution is not objectionable. You explained, for instance, that we ought not to confuse mechanism with meaning. If the creator used evolution as a creation tool, that need not detract from the meaning of the creation. And you thoughtfully defended Leibniz’s arguments that occasional divine intervention demeans God’s craftsmanship and that God doesn’t do miracles to satisfy the wants of nature, but rather those of grace.

But have you considered what theology has to say about scientific realism? Solomon, for example, wrote that “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” Is there not a theological mandate that science ought to adhere to the evidence and data?

I ask the question because evolution is so often at odds with the scientific evidence. For instance, science suggests that the evolution of even a single protein is highly unlikely. One study concluded that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve a protein is 10^70 while another study concluded that the maximum number of evolutionary experiments possible is only 10^43. So the number of evolutionary experiments required is 27 orders of magnitude greater than the number of evolutionary experiments possible.

By any reasonable measure a 27 order of magnitude shortfall is at least tantamount to “highly unlikely.” In fact, this estimate is conservative for several reasons. First, these studies were performed not by skeptics but by evolutionists.

Second, these studies were not carefully selected to magnify the problem but on the contrary, are optimistic. The conclusion that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve a protein is 10^70 was arrived at using only part of a protein and only part of its function was considered. Also, other pre existing proteins were used in the experiment.

And the conclusion that the number of evolutionary experiments possible is 10^43 was computed by making every assumption as optimistic as possible. The evolutionists computed a range of values, and 10^43 was the upper end of their range. It was computed assuming a four billion year time frame and assuming the preexistence of an earth full of bacteria. The time frame is two to three orders of magnitude too large (proteins must have evolved in a matter of millions, not billions, of years). And bacteria need thousands of, yes, proteins. So even to compute the number of evolutionary experiments available to evolve a protein, it was again necessary to assume the pre existence of proteins.

The evolutionists did provide a more conservative estimate of the number of evolutionary experiments possible, reducing the number from 10^43 to 10^21. This increases the evolutionary shortfall from 27 orders of magnitude to 49 orders of magnitude. But even in this more conservative estimate the evolutionists continued to use the four billion year time frame and the pre existence of bacteria (with their many thousands of pre existing proteins).

Therefore according to today’s science the evolution of even a single protein, by the evolutionist’s own reckoning, is unworkable. This is, of course, one particular example in a consistent trend. Science presents substantial problems with the theory of evolution. Is this not a matter we should search out?

334 comments:

  1. CH: For instance, science suggests that the evolution of even a single protein is highly unlikely.

    I'll again ask, how do you, or anyone else, extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework? Please be specific.

    This naked statement represents yet another case where you imply this is somehow possible, yet you have yet to disclose how, despite being asked directly, multiple times. You've simply ignored it, while continuing to make the very same claim.

    If the question is irrelevant, than you should have no problem pointing out why. But this has yet to occur.

    Perhaps you hope your target audience is too ignorant to realize how this question is relevant to your claims. Or perhaps you think repeating it enough times will somehow make it true? Or maybe you you and your target audience are somehow immune because your explanatory framework is based on "true" divine revelation? Or perhaps you naively assume that we derive theories from mere empirical observations alone?

    In the absence of such an explanation, this sort of claim is irrational.

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  2. Scott:

    I'll again ask, how do you, or anyone else, extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework? Please be specific.

    Why do you think evolution is not an explanatory framework?

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  3. CH: Why do you think evolution is not an explanatory framework?

    Why are you misrepresenting what I wrote?

    I'll again ask, how do you, or anyone else, extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework? Please be specific.

    Since I'm pointing out it's unclear how *anyone* could extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework, I can't imagine how you could possibly reach this conclusion.

    Now that we've closed up that loophole, I'd again ask, how do you, or anyone else, extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework? Please be specific.

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  4. Cornelius,

    One study concluded that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve a protein is 10^70 ...

    That's not what was concluded in the study mentioned.

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  5. Hawks:

    That's not what was concluded in the study mentioned.

    From the paper:

    The question remains regarding how large a population is required to reach the fitness of the wild-type phage. The relative fitness of the wild-type phage, or rather the native D2 domain, is almost equivalent to the global peak of the fitness landscape. By extrapolation, we estimated that adaptive walking requires a library size of 10^70 with 35 substitutions to reach comparable fitness.

    There are no known methods by which such a large number of experiments would be spontaneously performed in a warm little pond, deep sea vent, meteor, etc.

    Nor are there known methods to magically refine the search so that the astronomical number of bad moves shrinks by many, many orders of magnitude, while retaining the good moves.

    The authors make a speculative appeal to homologous recombination, stating that it might suppress negative mutations. They reference a paper which provides no such support. Indeed, the paper suggests that homologous recombination is not sufficient, but that a "complete hierarchy of natural mutation events" is required, including "nonhomologous juxtapositions." The paper admits that neo-Darwinism and neutral evolution fail to explain the generation of diversity.

    Furthermore the paper is from a theoretical study. The reason why the experimentalists found the problem to be so difficult, and computed such a large number of experiments would be needed (10^70), is because the fitness landscape in protein sequence space is rugged and only rarely rises up where there are functional proteins. The theoretical paper, OTH, did not assume functional proteins are so rare. So searching for their unrealistic proteins was not so difficult. So the theoretical paper does not help.

    We know of no pond or other scenario where proteins magically spontaneously evolve.

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  6. Cornelius,

    One study concluded that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve a protein is 10^70 ...

    Again Cornelius, that's not what was concluded in the study mentioned. That's what YOU concluded from the study. The authors of the study didn't. Be honest.

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  8. Cornelius Hunter: The conclusion that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve a protein is 10^70 was arrived at using only part of a protein and only part of its function was considered.

    No, that was not the conclusion of the paper. The 10^70 numbers only applies to adaptive walking.

    Hayashi et al: "By extrapolation, we estimated that adaptive walking requires a library size of 10^70 with 35 substitutions to reach comparable fitness."

    It's easy to show that simple point mutations is not sufficient to explore most landscapes of interest. Simple walks will climb the nearest peak. If the landscape is rugged, meaning there are many local peaks, then simple walks will not usually reach the global maximum, but a typical peak. On the other hand, recombination allows it to explore areas off the local peak. As landscapes of interest often exhibit many degrees of organization, recombination can be very effective. In the case of proteins, recombination mixes and matches motifs.

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  9. An open letter to Cornelius Hunter:

    When addressing arguments of people you disagree with, try addressing arguments that they're actually making. Ard wasn't making a scientific case for evolution, but a theological one.

    Thanks.

    ----------------------------------------------

    The question Ard was asking was essentially: "If evolution were true, what impact does that have on Christian theology?" It is similar to asking the question "If neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light, what impact would that have on the theory of relativity? The question of whether or not neutrinos actually do travel faster than light is irrelevant to that particular question.

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  10. CH: Nor are there known methods to magically refine the search so that the astronomical number of bad moves shrinks by many, many orders of magnitude, while retaining the good moves.

    How do you determine what are good and bad moves?

    You're assuming no other set of proteins could result in life since every form of life we've observed depends on the same 20 proteins. However, it could be that some other combination of proteins could play the same roles. Or it could be that some other form of life could have arose from some completely different set of proteins.

    This would drastically effect any sort of statical calculations. As such, it's unclear how this sort of argument can be use to justify ruling out proteins we observe as having evolved. It's inadequate due to the problem of indiction.

    In other words, you're extrapolating observations under the framework that the organisms we observe today were an intentional goal and the specific 20 proteins in use were intentionally selected as part of that goal. But this isn't evident from mere observations alone.

    Furthermore, you lack an explanation as to why an abstract or omnipotent / omniscient designer would pick this particular set of proteins over some other set. "That's just what God must have wanted" is a bad explanation.

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  11. CH: We know of no pond or other scenario where proteins magically spontaneously evolve.

    Why do you keep misrepresenting evolutionary theory as "magic"? Because you extrapolate observations in a framework that a designer intended specific life forms with specific proteins?

    We do not claim that proteins magically, spontaneously evolve. We explain the knowledge of how to build proteins, as found in the genome, as being created by variation and testing, which is a variant of the same process by which science creates knowledge, via conjecture and testing.

    On the other hand, you have yet to provide a scenario as to how the knowledge of how to build proteins was created, if at all. Rather, all you've done is push the problem into some unexplainable mind that exists in some unexplainable realm.

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  12. Zachriel:

    Cornelius Hunter: The conclusion that the number of evolutionary experiments required to evolve a protein is 10^70 was arrived at using only part of a protein and only part of its function was considered.

    No, that was not the conclusion of the paper.


    Yes, it was the conclusion.


    The 10^70 numbers only applies to adaptive walking.

    Well, the hypothetical 10^70 experiments which would be needed include adaptive walking and do not include recombination or other non local moves, if that is what you mean. These sorts of numbers are not new. For example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15321723 concluded that 10^77 experiments are needed.


    It's easy to show that simple point mutations is not sufficient to explore most landscapes of interest. Simple walks will climb the nearest peak. If the landscape is rugged, meaning there are many local peaks, then simple walks will not usually reach the global maximum, but a typical peak.

    Yes, only if you very luckily get a starting point that is very close to the peak.


    On the other hand, recombination allows it to explore areas off the local peak. As landscapes of interest often exhibit many degrees of organization, recombination can be very effective. In the case of proteins, recombination mixes and matches motifs.

    It would be quite fortunate that in a warm little pond you not only have macro molecules forming sequences and testing out millions of variations, but then you also have complex recombination mechanisms facilitating that search when it is stymied by the rugged fitness landscape. Mechanisms which normally use proteins, btw.

    Beyond such serendipity, the problem is that recombination, even if possible and rampant, doesn’t help. It just changes your starting point. So you have a starting point followed by point mutations and the search is stymied by the rugged landscape. So then you have recombination which switches you to some other trough in the landscape, in which you again are stymied by the rugged landscape.

    The bottom line is this. The evolution narrative requires something like the following, at a minimum:

    1. Spontaneous testing of large numbers of sequences, for no apparent reason.
    2. Sophisticated search mechanisms, that just happen to take place, which facilitate the search in a rugged landscape.
    3. A landscape which, fortuitously and in spite of every evidence, is somehow shaped such that random starting locations will typically find their way to functioning proteins. For example, the functional proteins could have much wider peaks (more like mesas) than what the evidence indicates. Or the entire fitness landscape, in spite of the evidence, could be sloping toward the functional protein peaks.

    This is simply mythology in the guise of science.

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  13. Cornelius Hunter: Well, the hypothetical 10^70 experiments which would be needed include adaptive walking and do not include recombination or other non local moves, if that is what you mean.

    They're local in that they are single moves through the landscape. What confuses people is they like to think of the landscape in terms of two-dimensions, when any interesting landscape exhibits organization across many degrees.

    Cornelius Hunter: It would be quite fortunate that in a warm little pond you not only have macro molecules forming sequences and testing out millions of variations, but then you also have complex recombination mechanisms facilitating that search when it is stymied by the rugged fitness landscape. Mechanisms which normally use proteins, btw.

    Irrelevant to the point, but recombination would be rampant in the less organized and less specific primordial environment.

    Cornelius Hunter: Beyond such serendipity, the problem is that recombination, even if possible and rampant, doesn’t help. It just changes your starting point. So you have a starting point followed by point mutations and the search is stymied by the rugged landscape. So then you have recombination which switches you to some other trough in the landscape, in which you again are stymied by the rugged landscape.

    That assumes that recombination leads to a new random starting point. It doesn't.

    Your statement is very broad, so it should apply to any evolutionary algorithm working in a rugged landscape. Consider word evolution. Words multiply and mutate. If the mutation renders a sequence of letters not found in the dictionary, it dies without issue. But if the mutation renders a valid word, then it enters the population of words.

    Are you saying that such an evolving population with point-mutation alone will behave similarly to an evolving population that has mutation and recombination?

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    am
    lam
    lame
    game
    gamer
    gamers

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  14. Cornelius,
    another point you're missing is that the 10^70 figure is only needed to get a protein with the same functionality as the modern version. Other, less highly functional (but still better than nothing) versions are formed much easier. so it's misleading (if not an outright lie) to say you need 10^70 to get "a protein."

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  15. Zachriel:

    That assumes that recombination leads to a new random starting point. It doesn't.

    Yes, it is random with respect to what counts, that is, a functional protein peak. A random non local jump is astronomically unlikely to move closer to the peak. That’s the curse of dimensionality. A search in a high-dimensional space is unlikely to move anywhere close to the right direction. What you would need is for the adaptive walk within the trough to produce changes that are in the right direction, and then have those changes preserved in the non local jump. Great work if you can get it, but there’s no evidence for such luck. Experiments have shown no significant such move in the right direction within the trough. So as I said above, what the evolution narrative needs is a “just-so” story in which the fitness landscape fortuitously shaped in a very special way.


    Your statement is very broad, so it should apply to any evolutionary algorithm working in a rugged landscape. Consider word evolution. Words multiply and mutate. If the mutation renders a sequence of letters not found in the dictionary, it dies without issue. But if the mutation renders a valid word, then it enters the population of words.

    But proteins are much longer than words.


    Are you saying that such an evolving population with point-mutation alone will behave similarly to an evolving population that has mutation and recombination?

    The former is stuck in a single trough whereas the latter gets stuck in several troughs. Both must deal with the fact that protein peaks are thin and so astronomically rare in sequence space. This is simply what science is telling us now—it is our current level of knowledge. Perhaps this will change in the future, but two very different types of studies, those beginning from scratch, and those beginning at the native protein, both indicate the same conclusion.

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  16. nano:

    another point you're missing is that the 10^70 figure is only needed to get a protein with the same functionality as the modern version. Other, less highly functional (but still better than nothing) versions are formed much easier. so it's misleading (if not an outright lie) to say you need 10^70 to get "a protein."

    No, science is not indicating a sloping landscape with intermediates leading to native sequences. We've covered this many times here. The evidence comes from different types of studies, both from native and from scratch. This is complicated and we certaintly don't have all the answers. Maybe new findings will show differently, but this is what the science says today. It is what it is, we can fight the science or accept it.

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  18. CH: This is simply what science is telling us now—it is our current level of knowledge.

    CH: No, science is not indicating a sloping landscape with intermediates leading to native sequences.

    Again, exactly how can science "tell us" or "indicate" anything about observations without first putting them in to an explanatory framework? Please be specific.

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  19. Cornelius,

    Try to stay focused. You wrote:

    "No, science is not indicating a sloping landscape with intermediates leading to native sequences. We've covered this many times here. The evidence comes from different types of studies, both from native and from scratch. This is complicated and we certaintly don't have all the answers..."

    I was referring to the specific paper you base your 10^70 figure on, which showed that it was easy to get moderate levels of function from non-functional precursors. from the abstract:

    "Based on the landscapes of these two different surfaces, it appears possible for adaptive walks with only random substitutions to climb with relative ease up to the middle region of the fitness landscape from any primordial or random sequence, whereas an enormous range of sequence diversity is required to climb further up the rugged surface above the middle region"

    so, according to the paper you cite, it explicitly does not take 10^70 trials to get "a protein", making your statement that it does false.

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  20. Cornelius Hunter: Yes, it is random with respect to what counts, that is, a functional protein peak.

    Well, no it's not. The motifs that work in one domain may work in other domains.

    Cornelius Hunter: But proteins are much longer than words.

    Your claim was that evolutionary algorithms will perform no better with recombination than without.

    Cornelius Hunter: This is simply what science is telling us now—it is our current level of knowledge.

    Your claim concerned rugged landscapes in general. Your claim was that evolutionary algorithms on rugged landscapes will not perform significantly better with recombination than without. You base this on your belief that recombination is like 'hyperspace' and picks a random location in the fitness landscape. We suggested word evolution as a simple example. Do you stand by your claim?

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  21. Zachriel:

    Cornelius Hunter: Yes, it is random with respect to what counts, that is, a functional protein peak.

    Well, no it's not. The motifs that work in one domain may work in other domains.


    I was referring to the case where you start from scratch. In that case there are no "motifs that work."

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  22. CH,

    I had a read of some of Ard's writings at Biologos. I have never visited the site before. I read his criticism of Behe. I was not impressed. His rational does not fit the facts as well as Behe. No amount of 'deep time' can mitigate against the astronomical number of random chance collisions that would be necessary to create the flagellem, let alone all the apparatus necessary for it to exist.

    So once again ID creationism comes out on top as the best scientific explanation.

    .

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  23. Scott said:

    "You're assuming no other set of proteins could result in life since every form of life we've observed depends on the same 20 proteins. However, it could be that some other combination of proteins could play the same roles. Or it could be that some other form of life could have arose from some completely different set of proteins. "

    Yea, and there might be a Flying Spaghetti Monster out there somewhere too.

    Scott, since that is all we know and can observe, that is the most scientific assumption to make don't you think?

    Are you going to claim that assuming something different simply to come up with more believable numbers is the most scientific assumption in this case? But that would be faith wouldn't it since there is absolutely NO evidence for what you are claiming. Might as well believe in a Creator!

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  24. Scott said:

    "Again, exactly how can science "tell us" or "indicate" anything about observations without first putting them in to an explanatory framework?"

    This is a good point, Scott! Science doesn't "tell" us much of what we believe. It can't even tell us that evolution took place. The idea that evolution from the first life to man by random processes actually happened is simply an interpretation that is forced on the fossil record and other observations that scientists make. The explanatory framework used to make these conclusions is that of naturalism or materialism.

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  25. Scott: “As such, it's unclear how this sort of argument(probability argument) can be use to justify ruling out proteins we observe as having evolved.”

    So, based on what we know, even though the odds against evolution are overwhelming, you think we should just ignore this problem. Why? Because, although there is no evidence whatsoever to back the idea up, you hope there just might be another set of proteins that might make life possible and therefore lower the astronomical odds to something more acceptable? See – you believe in Flying Spaghetti Monsters too!

    Nonsense! I say we should stick with what we know and have evidence for as opposed to what might be. And what we know is that the odds are astronomically in favor of Intelligent Design!

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  26. Scott said: “Furthermore, you lack an explanation as to why an abstract or omnipotent / omniscient designer would pick this particular set of proteins over some other set. "That's just what God must have wanted" is a bad explanation.”

    Scott, why would you ever think that we finite humans could even begin to explain why the infinite and omniscient God designed things the way He did?! I mean, come on, we don’t even understand how life works, how the cell works, what is and what is not junk in the genome, etc etc etc.

    I don’t understand why you think this is a problem. It is a bit arrogant to assume that we humans could ever do such a thing and to reject an Intelligent Designer simply because we cannot explain why things are designed the way they are, is extremely foolish.

    The only thing that we could possibly say in response to that is “He did it this way because it works extremely well!” Sorry, but I’m not at all bothered by the fact that we lack such an explanation. It would be strange if we could answer that. The only way we could answer that is if God told us. He told us many things in His Word, but why He used this particular set of proteins over another set was not one of them. It’s irrelevant.

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  27. Scott said:

    “On the other hand, you have yet to provide a scenario as to how the knowledge of how to build proteins was created, if at all. Rather, all you've done is push the problem into some unexplainable mind that exists in some unexplainable realm.”

    The knowledge of how to build proteins always existed in the Mind of the Designer, the uncaused First Cause. It was not created. A computer programmer studies computer programming to gain knowledge and then he uses that knowledge to write programs. However, God had no need of learning since He is omniscient. Looking at the marvels of his creation, his knowledge is obviously far beyond even all the cumulative knowledge of mankind over the centuries!

    By the way, how do YOU propose that the software in the cell came about? You are going to endorse Chance as the Programmer? Who wrote the codes and the decoding software in the cell? What wrote the codes .... is not an appropriate question. It HAD to be a "who".

    We all know that programs don't write themselves. A Mind is a prerequisite, a given, if we find a code, information, software, etc. You cannot even begin to explain how all this came into existence without a Designer. You are working very hard to avoid the obvious, but in the end, it is a matter of faith for you too.

    In fact, your position requires even more faith than my position. Why? Because you do not have an adequate cause to account for what we see. An Intelligent Designer IS an adequate Cause and hence is much more rational and believable.

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  28. Cornelius Hunter: I was referring to the case where you start from scratch. In that case there are no "motifs that work."

    But you aren't starting from scratch. You have climbed local peaks providing some minimum function. If, for instance, alternating hydrophobic and polar residues are more likely to result in functional proteins, then the process of optimizing along the slope of a local fitness peak will, on average, predispose the sequence to this pattern. Then, when sequences recombine, the resulting recombination will not be randomly positioned on the fitness landscape, but will be likely to exhibit the alternating pattern.

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  29. tjguy: "Scott, since that is all we know and can observe, that is the most scientific assumption to make don't you think?

    Wouldn't that depend on how one justifies conclusions?

    You seem to be unaware of various forms of epistemology and their application in science. Apparently you didn't get the memo that science is no longer based on natural theology.

    tjguy: Are you going to claim that assuming something different simply to come up with more believable numbers is the most scientific assumption in this case?

    No, I'm not. The numbers game isn't worth playing in the first place. Without a solution to the problem of induction, it's inadequate for justifying conclusions. As such, statistical calculations based on inductive assumptions are not adequate either.

    For example, we've given examples of how the framework one uses to extrapolate observations significantly changes the "statistical likelihood" of a protein evolving. We do not assume that proteins evolved directly into modern day proteins. Nor do we assume that these particular proteins were pre-selected. Yet this is the every assumptions that Cornelius is making.

    He's smuggling in teleological assumptions under the guise of being "neutral." Of course, most of his target audience shares these assumptions, so he conveniently doesn't have to disclose them explicitly or subject them to criticism.

    tiguy: But that would be faith wouldn't it since there is absolutely NO evidence for what you are claiming. Might as well believe in a Creator!

    Like most creationists here, you seem to have it backwards.

    Theories are tested by observations, not derived from them. This means we use observations to look for errors in the theory's underlying explanation, rather than to assuming it's impossible because we have or have not experienced it before in a particular range of experiments. Scientific predictions are not prophecy.

    This is why do not look for evidence that positively supports a particular theory. Rather we look for evidence that shows errors in the underlying explanation a theory provides. And we know this is the case because we do this every day in science.

    For example, it's unlikely that anyone has performed research to determine if eating a square meter of grass each day for a week would cure the common cold. Why is this? Is it because it's logically impossible? No. Is it because it's unfalsifiable? No, this would be trivial to test. Is it because it's a non-natural? No.

    Why then is it unlikely to be the subject of research? Because we lack an explanation as to how and why eating a square meter of grass each day for a week would cure the common cold. As such, we discard it, a priori, before we even test it.

    Where is the *evidence* that we used to discard this mere possibility? Is this faith?

    Without an explanation it's a theory-less possibility, which we cannot test for errors using observations. As such we discard it.

    And we do this for a near infinite number of mere possibilities every day across every field of science.

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  30. Tiguy: Scott, why would you ever think that we finite humans could even begin to explain why the infinite and omniscient God designed things the way He did?!

    You're essentially claiming the biosphere was created in a way that makes a theory of biological complexity impossible. This is like claiming that atoms were created in a way that makes atomic theory impossible or that gravity was created in a way that makes gravitational theory impossible. Why is the biosphere isn't any different? Because you think it's been divine revealed in your holy book?

    tiguy: The only thing that we could possibly say in response to that is “He did it this way because it works extremely well!”

    Except when it doesn't. "Extremely well" as compared to what? One doesn't have to be a omnipotent and omniscient being to identify areas were even simple changes would work far better. Again, all you can say is "that's just what God must have wanted" or "there must be some mysterious reason why doing it that way is better"

    tiguy: He told us many things in His Word, but why He used this particular set of proteins over another set was not one of them. It’s irrelevant.

    Again, you've essentially claimed that the biosphere was created in a way that makes a theory of biological complexity impossible. And, apparently, you assume this is the case because it was divinely revealed in your preferred holy book.

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  31. tiguy: The knowledge of how to build proteins always existed in the Mind of the Designer, the uncaused First Cause. It was not created.

    Which does't actually explain the concrete difference between species.

    A designer that was "just there", complete with the knowledge already present to build each species, serves no explanatory purpose, as one could just as simply state that all organisms "just happened", complete with the knowledge of how to build each species , already present in it's DNA.

    You've merely pushed the problem into some unexplainable mind that exists in some unexplainable realm.

    This is like claiming to have explained the outcome of a magic trick by saying, that's just what the magician must have wanted. Unless you explain the origin of the knowledge of how to perform the trick, you might as well have said this knowledge spontaneously appeared in the magician's mind or claim that it really magic, which cannot be explained.

    tiguy: By the way, how do YOU propose that the software in the cell came about? You are going to endorse Chance as the Programmer? Who wrote the codes and the decoding software in the cell? What wrote the codes .... is not an appropriate question. It HAD to be a "who".

    Evolution falls under a greater umbrella which explains knowledge creation in general. In science, we use conjecture to create theories, test them via observations and discard those with errors. Evolution creates what amounts to "theories" of how to replicate individual genes in a specific environment via genetic variation and tests those "theories" by discarding those with errors via natural selection.

    Of course this analogy is imperfect, otherwise it wouldn't' be an analogy, would it? The key difference is that people can create explanations. Evolution cannot. People can discard a near infinite number of mere possibilities that lack explanations, a priori. However, since it lacks the concept of an explanation, evolution must test every variation.

    Regardless of these differences, both processes still fall under the same explanation of knowledge creation. Neither is "magic."

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  32. Scott,

    "Like most creationists here, you seem to have it backwards. Theories are tested by observations, not derived from them."

    I'm afraid, Scott that it is you who have it backwards. Theories are most definitely derived from observations. Tell me, exactly how would you formulate a theory about something you have not in fact, observed?

    It appears obvious you simply do not even understand the basic pattern of scientific enquiry. It was observations within nature which lead to the theory of evolution. The theory did not lead to the observations.

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  33. scott: However, since it lacks the concept of an explanation, evolution must test every variation.

    It's impossible to test every variation. Rather, evolution can't discard variations before it tests them.

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  34. Scott: Again, exactly how can science "tell us" or "indicate" anything about observations without first putting them in to an explanatory framework?

    tiguy: This is a good point, Scott! Science doesn't "tell" us much of what we believe. It can't even tell us that evolution took place. The idea that evolution from the first life to man by random processes actually happened is simply an interpretation that is forced on the fossil record and other observations that scientists make.

    Exactly how did you reach this conclusion from what I wrote?

    What I asked what how it was possible for anyone to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. What's the alternative?

    How do you respond? You imply that evolutionary theory is "forcing" itself on observations, which doesn't address the question. Apparently my point when completely over your head.

    Specifically, for evolution to be "forcing" itself on the observations, then there must be a way to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. Why don't you enlighten us as to how this is even possible. Please be specific.

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  35. Scott: However, since it lacks the concept of an explanation, evolution must test every variation.

    Last year: It's impossible to test every variation. Rather, evolution can't discard variations before it tests them.

    Within a finite amount of time a finite amount of variations will be generated. Natural section cannot discard any of these variations, a priori, by filtering out explanation-less variations since, among other things, evolutionary process cannot create explanations.

    Specifically, we can say that one of the defining traits of people is that they have the ability to create explanations. It's this trait that allows us to extrapolate observations.

    Of course, I'd welcome other explanation as to how anyone could extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework, but there doesn't seem to be any takers.

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  36. Nic: I'm afraid, Scott that it is you who have it backwards. Theories are most definitely derived from observations. Tell me, exactly how would you formulate a theory about something you have not in fact, observed?

    Scientific theories explain the seen in terms of the unseen. And the unseen doesn't come to us though the senses. Right? We do not see nuclear reactions in stars. Nor do we see the curvature of space-time.

    So, while new observations may lead us to find existing explanations inadequate or to even create entirely new explanations, this doesn't mean that these explanations are *derived* from observations.

    That would imply that it's possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. But, so far, no one has explained how this is possible.

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  37. Editing for clarity...

    So, while new observations may compel us to conclude existing explanations are inadequate and in need of improvement, or even compel us to conjecture entirely new explanations, this doesn't mean that these explanations are *derived* from observations.

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  38. Scott,

    "So, while new observations may compel us to conclude existing explanations are inadequate and in need of improvement, or even compel us to conjecture entirely new explanations, this doesn't mean these explanations are 'derived' from observations."


    Thank you for demonstrating my point that you fail to understand the basic process of enquiry. Such explanations as you describe are simply hypothetical and do not approach the status of theory as they are in fact unobserved.

    You're simply trying to play a semantic game here. If it is 'observed' that existing explanations are inadequate and new explanations are needed, are not these new attempts at explaining the phenomenon the result of what we observed?

    So, it is as I stated before, theories derive from what is observed and our attempts to explain those observations.

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  39. Nic: Thank you for demonstrating my point that you fail to understand the basic process of enquiry. Such explanations as you describe are simply hypothetical and do not approach the status of theory as they are in fact unobserved.

    Are you suggesting explanation for starlight - nuclear reactions - is merely hypothetical? Really? If so, thank you for clearly demonstrating that you're a naive empiricist.

    All observations are theory laden. From the Galilean Library's entry on Theory-ladenness…

    To return to examples, then, even a straightforward statement such as "this lump of coal weighs one kilogram" is riddled with theory. Whether we include inference from prior experience (i.e. that the heaviness from lifting pieces of coal is conserved over time); the apparatus required to derive weights; the physical theories upon which the instruments and concepts like weight and mass are based; other theories that determine the effect (if any) on weight at different locations; and so on; we are very far indeed from a "basic" proposition.

    All of these theories make up the explanatory framework by which the observation (the weight of the lump of coal) is extrapolated. They all represent unseen frameworks which explain the seen.

    That the Bible consist of pages with text is an extrapolation that depend on the theory of photons, optics, biology, neurology and a host of other theories that cannot be proven to be "True" merely by any number of observations. Rather they represent conjectured theories that have yet to be shown to contain errors when tested by observations.

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  41. Nic: You're simply trying to play a semantic game here. If it is 'observed' that existing explanations are inadequate and new explanations are needed, are not these new attempts at explaining the phenomenon the result of what we observed?

    No, I'm playing semantic word games.

    Take Newton's laws of motion, for example. They were widely accepted for centuries. However, observations were made which Newton's laws did not explain, such as the orbit of Mercury, the observed angular deflection of light rays by gravity and the requirement that it would need to be transmitted instantaneously.

    While these observations led to better questions, answers to these questions were not derived from them. We do not directly observe electrons any more than we observe the curvature of space-time. That electrons exist represents the extrapolation of observations in an explanatory framework. These frameworks were created by conjecture and tested for errors by observations.. In fact, in science, we assume that all theories contain errors and omissions. The question is what part of the theory and to what degree.

    However, it's logically possible that demons cloud our mind or tamper with equipment in just the right way that makes us think electrons exist. We cannot prove this is false by any number of experiments. However, we have no explanation as to why demons would collaborate to act in just this particular way, so we discard it.

    While Einstein's theory of general relatively does explain the above issues that Newton's theory did not, it resulted in better questions. For example, GR does not explain observations where both classic and quantum scales interacts. We have no working theory of quantum gravity. However, if we derive new theories from these same observations, then shouldn't we already have a new theory that explains it already?

    Observations that supported Newton's laws of motion have been falling on every square meter of the earth for billions of years. This includes the roughly 100,000 years that hominids have existed. Yet Newton only created his theory roughly 300 years ago. That's 60,000 years after humans with essentially the same brain structures as you and I appeared. Again, if we derive theories from observations, then what took us so long?

    Observations are not scarce. We have plenty of observations. Rather what is scarce is good explanations (explanatory frameworks) for these observations. This is because we form them via conjecture, rather than deriving them from observations.

    Nic: So, it is as I stated before, theories derive from what is observed and our attempts to explain those observations.

    Then you should have no problem showing us how it's even possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. Walk us though it.

    Let me guess, who needs an explanatory frameworks when you have a voice in a whirlwind?

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  42. Nic said:

    "Thank you for demonstrating my point that you fail to understand the basic process of enquiry. Such explanations as you describe are simply hypothetical and do not approach the status of theory as they are in fact unobserved."

    And:

    "So, it is as I stated before, theories derive from what is observed and our attempts to explain those observations."

    So then, your imaginary god, any other so-called god, jesus, all of the stories and characters in the bible and other religious claims, and ID are all simply hypothetical, and do not approach the status of theory as they are in fact unobserved, right?

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  43. tjguy said: "Yea, and there might be a Flying Spaghetti Monster out there somewhere too."

    Can you prove that there isn't, or that a flying spaghetti monster is any less likely than your chosen god?


    tjguy: "So, based on what we know, even though the odds against evolution are overwhelming, you think we should just ignore this problem. Why? Because, although there is no evidence whatsoever to back the idea up, you hope there just might be another set of proteins that might make life possible and therefore lower the astronomical odds to something more acceptable? See – you believe in Flying Spaghetti Monsters too!"

    What do you "know and have evidence for" in regard to your chosen god and ID? How exactly did you calculate the allegedly overwhelming odds against evolution?


    tjguy: "Nonsense! I say we should stick with what we know and have evidence for as opposed to what might be. And what we know is that the odds are astronomically in favor of Intelligent Design!"

    What do "we know and have evidence for" in regard to your chosen god and ID, and who's "we"? How exactly did you calculate the "odds" that you allege "are astronomically in favor of Intelligent Design"?


    tjguy: "Scott, why would you ever think that we finite humans could even begin to explain why the infinite and omniscient God designed things the way He did?! I mean, come on, we don’t even understand how life works, how the cell works, what is and what is not junk in the genome, etc etc etc."

    What "infinite and omniscient God"? Do you have any evidence that verifies its existence and that it is the one and only god? Can you provide any scientifically calculated "odds" that are in favor of its existence? Are the odds any better than for the existence of any other god, including the flying spaghetti monster? How exactly do you know that "God designed things"?

    You say that "we don’t even understand how life works, how the cell works, what is and what is not junk in the genome, etc etc etc" yet you also claim to "know" that your god "designed things" even though you have no evidence to support it and can't explain how "He" allegedly did it. And who's "we"?


    tjguy: "The only way we could answer that is if God told us. He told us many things in His Word,...."

    What "word"? What "God"? Can you provide evidence for any of your claims? How do you know that "God" is a "He"? How do you know that "He" exists? How do you know that "He told us many things in His Word", and how do you know that it is "His word"? And who's "we"?

    See part two.

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  44. Part two.

    tjguy: "The knowledge of how to build proteins always existed in the Mind of the Designer, the uncaused First Cause. It was not created. A computer programmer studies computer programming to gain knowledge and then he uses that knowledge to write programs. However, God had no need of learning since He is omniscient. Looking at the marvels of his creation, his knowledge is obviously far beyond even all the cumulative knowledge of mankind over the centuries!"

    Can you provide any evidence that verifies "The knowledge of how to build proteins always existed in the Mind of the Designer, the uncaused First Cause." and that "It was not created."? Do you have any evidence that verifies that the alleged "Designer" is your chosen god, that the alleged "Designer" has a "Mind", that the alleged "Designer" ("God") actually exists, that the alleged "Designer" is "uncaused" and the "First Cause", that "God had no need of learning since He is omniscient", that anything and/or everything is "his creation", and that "his knowledge is obviously far beyond even all the cumulative knowledge of mankind over the centuries"?


    tjguy: "By the way, how do YOU propose that the software in the cell came about? You are going to endorse Chance as the Programmer? Who wrote the codes and the decoding software in the cell? What wrote the codes .... is not an appropriate question. It HAD to be a "who"."

    What "software in the cell"? Who said that chance is a "Programmer"? What "codes" and "decoding software in the cell"? Why did "It" have to be a "who"? Who is the alleged "who", how do you know it's a "who", why can't it be a "what", as in a natural process (evolution), and how do you know that the alleged "who" is your chosen god and not the FSM, Zeus, Vishnu, Amun, Odin, aliens from another dimension or universe, or something else?

    See this:

    http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_big_list_of_gods_but_nowhere_near_all_of_them

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  45. The Whole Truth,

    Rationalism ends in disaster. It ends in the silliness of spaghetti monster scorn. Scorners can't find truth because they are open only to justify and rationalize what they want. God will reveal Himself to those that are humble and open to ultimate Truth even if it conflicts with their lifestyle.

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  46. Neal, do you have a photograph of your god? I just figure that if he reveals himself to some people, like you, you might have taken a picture of him. If you didn't think to get a photo, maybe you could at least describe what he looks like?

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  47. Isn't it interesting to note that the frequency of miracles seems to be inversely proportional to the technological capability of recording them? For some reason, the Virgin Mary seems to dislike appearing repeatedly to persons in possession of a digital camera. Following Neal's humble suggestion, perhaps possession of a digital camera makes a person not humble enough in the eyes of The Lord and His minions.

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  48. No Truth:

    "Neal, do you have a photograph of your god?"
    =====

    Do you have a photograph of Gravity ???

    Do you have a photograph of Wind ???

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  49. Eocene said, "Do you have a photograph of Gravity ???

    Do you have a photograph of Wind ??? "

    --

    You're right. To expect photographs is an especially silly notion given all of the things in our universe that we know we can't photograph. Not everything can be photographed but we can detect its effects. So it is with the Spirit of God, we can't photograph God, but we can see His effects in the lives of those who humble themselves and truly seek Him with an honest heart.

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  50. Neal: Rationalism ends in disaster.

    It's not even clear you know what rationalism is, let alone that it ends in disaster.

    Apparently, when rationalism ends up discarding mere possibilities that you find "bizarre", such as eating a square meter of grass every day for a week as a cure for the common cold - even before any testing occurs - you're perfectly with rationalism.

    However, when rationalism ends up discarding what you consider to be True divine revelation, suddenly rationalism ends in disaster. Apparently this is because you believe this same divine revelation reveals that not believing said revelation ends in disaster. For example…

    Neal: It ends in the silliness of spaghetti monster scorn

    - Divine revelation supposedly reveals that only fools do not believe that God exists. Therefore anything that shows the arbitrariness of a believing in any particular God leads to disaster.

    Neal: Scorners can't find truth because they are open only to justify and rationalize what they want.

    - Divine revelation supposedly reveals that not believing in God will lead in eternal suffering. Therefore anything that prevents us from finding God ends in disaster.

    In other words, given your supposed criteria, your subjective objections are irrational. They simply do not add up. Rather, every one of your objections indicate you "solve" the problem of induction via placing divine revelation above the traditional hierarchy of deduction, induction and philosophy.

    However, it's not even clear that you're even cognizant as to your own actual criteria is or what the terms you're using actually mean, in practice.

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  51. Scott: "Rather, every one of your objections indicate you "solve" the problem of induction via placing divine revelation above the traditional hierarchy of deduction, induction and philosophy."

    I think you lost him at 'hierarchy'.

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  52. Eocene: "Do you have a photograph of Gravity ??? Do you have a photograph of Wind ???

    Neal Tedford: "You're right. To expect photographs is an especially silly notion given all of the things in our universe that we know we can't photograph.

    As it were, light does not pass through air or gravity waves unscathed. We can take photographs of both atmospheric distortion, (heat waves, mirages, etc) and gravitational distortion. (light bending around stars, etc.) "But that's not taking a picture of air or gravity," you might object, but that would be similar to pointing out that you can't take a picture of a person, merely the light bouncing off of them.

    "Not everything can be photographed but we can detect its effects".

    True, and to say that we can detect something is to say we can measure it in some way. With the aforementioned wind and gravity, we can even represent those measurements as images: http://bit.ly/vZFG0L http://bit.ly/tSsifH Many things that cannot be seen with the naked eye can be measured in very precise and repeatable ways: radiation, sound, micro-oganisms, and subatomic particles, to name a few. Again, to say that we can detect something is to say that we can measure it.

    "So it is with the Spirit of God, we can't photograph God, but we can see His effects in the lives of those who humble themselves and truly seek Him with an honest heart."

    Nope. Name one way you can measure an 'effect' of God. What metric do we even use? Feel-good-i-ness? Forgiven-from-sin-ness? Decibels? Radons? How about efficacy of intercessory prayer? Oh, wait, checked that already. Nothing. Okay then, how about per capita car accident survival rates of those humble christians vs. atheists? Oh, wait. They're the same. I hope to goodness you don't mean something like "we can see goodness in those who seek him," or "we can see compassion in those who seek him." Because the world is chock full of people who are good and compassionate, and they don't need the assistance of your imaginary friend to be that way. Name any positive trait that you have and I'll name a dozen unbelievers who have it to a greater degree. Since you compared this 'effect' to easily quantifiable phenomena like wind and gravity, I assume you mean that we see higher (or lower) x units of x traits in Christians that we find in lower (or higher) quantities in non-Christians. (perhaps it's 'not-doomed-to-hell-ishness'.) Again, you compared this to gravity. Have you ever heard anyone say that measuring gravitational pull was subjective, or that gravity only pulls objects together when you're not looking because it doesn't like to be tested? We'll keep this question separate from the others, but still keep track of how long it takes you to even attempt to answer it:

    [1]
    Neal, you say we can detect the effects of God in the lives of those who seek him. What are those effects? What is the unit of measurement?

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  53. Whole truth said:

    Can you prove that there isn't, or that a flying spaghetti monster is any less likely than your chosen god? "

    Nope. Can't prove it. Can only give evidence that makes that conclusion logical. The Bible tells us that God's existence is clear and plain to all just by looking at the created world. And therefore, we are all without excuse. Logic tells us the universe had to have a cause. We know it had to have a beginning. That Cause had to be greater than the effect. At some point you have to come to the unavoidable conclusion that there had to be an Uncaused First Cause and that would be the Creator of the Bible.

    But it is obvious from the above discussion that evolutionists too are open to "flying spaghetti monsters". You are willing to believe in anything in spite of the fact that it goes against all common sense and common knowledge and human experience and then you claim it is science.

    Why are you asking me to prove God scientifically? Science cannot prove or disprove anything supernatural. You should know that. Science is not the only begetter of truth, if it is one at all. Theories keep changing. Paradigms keep getting upset. I hardly think science is a trustworthy begetter of truth. God's Word is truth and that is evidence(not proof) for His existence in my book.

    "How exactly did you calculate the allegedly overwhelming odds against evolution?"

    Every explanation I have heard of proteins makes it quite obvious for any who are not brainwashed by materialism that these things could not have originated on their own. But you are more than welcome to spend your life trying to figure out how this figment of your imagination took place. At some point, you have to be willing to admit that the odds are too great for chance to have accomplished it. But I know the alternative of recognizing a God to whom you are responsible is a bit too repugnant for many people. They would rather believe in materialism and live in a world with no right/wrong, no free will, etc. In the atheist worldview, all is determined - even your thoughts that make you a materialist - so why should I be persuaded by your argument? Why are the chemical processes in your brain that make you a materialist any more dependable or accurate than the thoughts in my brain that make me believe in God? In the atheist world, there is no "ought" only what is.

    "What "software in the cell"? Who said that chance is a "Programmer"? What "codes" and "decoding software in the cell"? Why did "It" have to be a "who"? Who is the alleged "who", how do you know it's a "who", why can't it be a "what", as in a natural process (evolution), and how do you know that the alleged "who" is your chosen god and not the FSM, Zeus, Vishnu, Amun, Odin, aliens from another dimension or universe, or something else? "

    In DNA is coded the information to create an individual. It is like a software program that the body reads and follows. There are cellular machines that both encode the information to store it in the DNA and cellular machines that decode it so that it can be read by the cell. Encoded specified information is clear evidence of intelligence to anyone with half a brain unless that person restricts the explanations a priori to options in a materialistic worldview. In which case, his a priori commitment to materialism may very well have made it impossible to ever come up with the right answer to the problem.

    God has revealed Himself in His Word. Zeus never claimed to create the world. I don't even know who the other gods are, but there is only one God, the Uncaused First Cause of all.

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  54. tjguy: "But it is obvious from the above discussion that evolutionists too are open to "flying spaghetti monsters". You are willing to believe in anything in spite of the fact that it goes against all common sense and common knowledge and human experience and then you claim it is science.

    You're not the brightest crayon in the box, are you? We don't actually believe in a flying spaghetti monster; it's conceptual tool to demonstrate where the claims of theists break down. You yourself provided the perfect example when you said:

    "The Bible tells us that God's existence is clear and plain to all just by looking at the created world. And therefore, we are all without excuse."

    What if someone said "The Book of the Flying Spaghetti Monster tells us that The Flying Spaghetti Monster's existence is clear and plain to all just by looking at the created world. And therefore, we are all without excuse."

    Isn't it immediately apparent what's wrong with that argument? It is simply asserting that there is obvious evidence, without bothering to mention what that evidence is or why it is so compelling.

    And isn't it also immediately apparent how circular that argument is? "We know that God is right because the Bible says so. We know the Bible is right because God says so."

    Logic tells us the universe had to have a cause."

    But God didn't have to have a cause? That's called Special Pleading. Why did the universe have to have had a cause? Because it's complex? What's more complex: a universe, or a being capable of designing and creating a universe?

    "We know it had to have a beginning."

    And how do we know that? Are you referring to the big bang? How do you know that wasn't the latest in a long series of big bangs? We don't know anything about what happened 'before' there was a big bang, if there even was a 'before' the big bang.

    "That Cause had to be greater than the effect."

    And that greater cause needs no explanation, whereas the lesser cause does? Why is that? You can't 'explain' a mystery with a bigger mystery; that's not what 'explanation' means.

    "At some point you have to come to the unavoidable conclusion that there had to be an Uncaused First Cause and that would be the Creator of the Bible.

    At some point you have to come to the unavoidable conclusion that there had to be an Uncaused First Cause and that would be the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    It's not quite unavoidable. I don't think that word means what you think that it means.

    "Science is not the only begetter of truth, if it is one at all. "

    Ok, name any other "begetter of truth," any other process of finding out things. Then name one thing that that other process has discovered that science could not have, and then tell me how you know that thing is true.

    "Science is not the only begetter of truth, if it is one at all. "

    Says the person typing on a keyboard connected to a global network of computers while sitting in a house lit by electricity. Yeah, what's science ever done for us?

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  55. tjguy, I apologize, but I can't seem to find the post from you that I just replied to on here. Your comment show up in my inbox because I had subscribed to this thread. Yours may have been accidentally removed. (I've had that problem with my posts before.) However, if you thought better of it and deleted it yourself, I'll take down my reply to it since others can't read what you originally wrote.

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  56. Derick: And that greater cause needs no explanation, whereas the lesser cause does? Why is that? You can't 'explain' a mystery with a bigger mystery; that's not what 'explanation' means.

    You're assuming that ID proponents actually want explanations. While they might attempt to portray themselves as such, what they really want is to replace explanations with a theistic understanding.

    It's all right here in black and white...

    Governing Goals

    - To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
    - To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God.


    The distinction being made here between "explanation" and "understanding" is crystal clear.

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  57. Here's a useful link that summaries several studies on prayer.

    Not for scorners, but skeptics and honest truth seekers may find it very interesting.

    http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prayer.html

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  59. Scott, scientific materialism is a very narrow dogma when you consider its silly notion to exclude, by default, the possibility of a creator. They try to justify their extremist view by using strawman arguments that if they do not hold to fanatical scientism then theists will take over the world and throw the scientific method out. What they forget is that the foundation of modern science was built by men of faith who were creationists. Materialists are abusing the gift that these great men gave to mankind. Materialists are very much in denial as they try use rationalism to justify their position.

    A reasonable approach is to keep all possibilities open and let the evidence lead, whereas rationialism seeks to only see what they are looking for to justify a foregone conclusion.
    What evolutionists have been forced to do is overplay their cherry picked evidence.

    Scott, you think you have an explanation, but a half a box of corn flakes is more valuable than your pitiful neo-Darwinist just so stories.

    What of a hypothetical and highly advanced UFO that crashed? If scientists could not determine how it functioned, where it came, how it was made, who made it or its purpose, would they be a reasonable grounds to believe it was intelligently designed or be forced to the narrow and fanatical view that somehow just the right mix of space dust came together?

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  60. Neal Tedford: "Here's a useful link that summaries several studies on prayer.

    Useful? Useful for demonstrating how gullible Christians are, maybe.

    "Not for scorners, but skeptics and honest truth seekers may find it very interesting."

    Honest truth seekers will do more than just read the titles and say "well, that sounds like what I already believed, so we can call it a day. No further inquiry necessary." The interesting thing about those papers is that no Christian seems to have read them before trumpeting them as evidence for the efficacy of intercessory prayer.

    We already went over these months ago with natschuster. They do not show the efficacy of intercessory prayer at all. But just for the record, we'll go over it again. You linked to a page with 3 studies, we'll take them one at a time. The first on, "Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Care Unit Population" by Randolph C. Byrd, had a relatively small sample size of 393 patients. Byrd measured 29 health outcomes using three-level (good, intermediate, or bad) scoring, but the prayer group suffered fewer newly diagnosed ailments on only six of them. Six. Out of 29.

    On the second paper, which was a follow up to Byrd's:

    A 1999 follow-up by William S Harris et al. attempted to replicate Byrd's findings under stricter experimental conditions, noting that the original research was not completely blinded and was limited to only "prayer-receptive" individuals (57 of the 450 patients invited to participate in the study refused to give consent “for personal reasons or religious convictions”).[6] Using a different, continuous weighted scoring system – which admittedly was, like Byrd's scoring, "an unvalidated measure of CCU outcomes" – Harris et al. concluded that "supplementary, remote, blinded, intercessory prayer produced a measurable improvement in the medical outcomes of critically ill patients". However, when they applied Byrd’s scores to their data, they could not document an effect of prayer using his scoring method. Critics have suggested that both Byrd's and Harris's results can be explained by chance.[7] Psychiatrist Richard P. Sloan compared the Byrd and Harris studies with the sharpshooter fallacy, "searching through the data until a significant effect is found, then drawing the bull's-eye."[8]

    And last but not least, from Byrd's own paper, next to last paragraph: "Analysis of events after entry into the study showed the prayer group had less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated. Even though for these variables the P values were <.05, they could not be considered statistically significant because of the large number of variables examined." He then goes on to explain how he 'adjusted' the data (the prayer group only scoring higher in 6 of the 29 categories) to get his final results.

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  61. ...And last but not least, number 3, the Pièce de résistance:

    "Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial."

    Now Neal, if you don't know what 'retroactive' means, crack open a dictionary. (It's that other thick brown book.) Yep, you read right, it means 'after the fact'. Now, guess what that means in relation to this study. Yep, they prayed for the patients after they were released from the hospital. And not just a bit after, but FOUR TO TEN YEARS after. Imagine if you heard someone say "My 10 year old son had a terrible bloodstream infection starting a week after he was born. On his tenth birthday, I gave him a homeopathic remedy, and sure enough, when he was 3 weeks old the blood infection went away. What a good cure that was," You'd laugh them out of town. Why should we not do the same to you? And besides, the author of the paper himself says:

    "These results, however, need to be interpreted with caution. There was no significant difference between the two groups with regard to the most clinically important outcome (mortality), and the median values varied little between prayer and non-prayer on both length of stay (seven and eight days) and duration of fever (two days each)."

    The data on the most significant finding, length of stay, seem to be skewed by a few abnormally high results in the control group. This is shown by the fact that the median length of stay is the SAME in both groups but the maximum length of stay in the control group is twice that in the intervention group. This may represent a type I statistical error, despite the large sample size. From a cynical standpoint, it is a shame that God cannot save your life but might get you out of hospital a few days earlier.

    (some quotes pulled from the wikipedia article)

    Neal, if you flip a coin 1,000 times, you're not often going to get exactly 500 heads and 500 tails. If you pray to a milk jug for a generous outpouring of tails, and a friend prays to a toaster for a generous outpouring of heads, and the tosses turn out heads 532 times with tails only showing up 468 times, can your friend rightfully declare that his toaster has the ability to influence coin tosses? What if you notice that he discards the results from other 1,000 flip runs where the results are either more even or skewed in favor of tails?

    Did you post that link in response to my question:

    "Neal, you say we can detect the effects of God in the lives of those who seek him. What are those effects? What is the unit of measurement?"

    If so, try agin with effects that are statistically significant. Neal, If that's the best you've got, it means Children's Tylenol does a better job at demonstrating its efficacy than your god does.

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  62. Derick,

    Your scorn for intercessory prayer only demonstrates a poor grasp of critical thinking.

    On what basis do you claim intercessory prayer is not active or effective? How do you measure the efficacy of prayer? You simply suffer from the delusion that everything in the universe is subject to your materialistic assumptions and is therefore subject to 'scientific' scrutiny. You're wrong.

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  63. Nic said...

    Derick,

    Your scorn for intercessory prayer only demonstrates a poor grasp of critical thinking.


    Ahh, good old Nic is back.

    Nic, have you figured out the difference between 'information' and 'meaning' yet?

    On what basis do you claim intercessory prayer is not active or effective?

    On the basis that every time it's been scientifically tested it's shown no statistically significant effect.

    How do you measure the efficacy of prayer?

    By setting up double-blind tests, exactly as was already done, and publishing the results which show 100% ineffectiveness.

    How does science work in Nic world?

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  64. Tedford the idiot said...

    What they forget is that the foundation of modern science was built by men of faith who were creationists


    What you forget is that they built the foundation by totally putting aside their religious views and dealing only with 100% materialistic reality.

    A reasonable approach is to keep all possibilities open and let the evidence lead,

    Which is exactly what science does. You probably missed it while you were posting your normal anti-science stupidity.

    What of a hypothetical and highly advanced UFO that crashed?

    You have a hard enough time dealing with reality to worry about inane hypotheticals.

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  65. Thorton,

    "On the basis that every time it's scientifically tested..."

    "By setting up double blind tests,..."


    And exactly how does this work in the case of prayer? Tell me exactly how you would test whether or not prayer is effective? Set up the entire process for me, all the parameters which would be involved. What would constitute a double blind test of the effectiveness of prayer?

    You say it can be done scientifically, then prove it.

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  66. Nic: "Derick, Your scorn for intercessory prayer only demonstrates a poor grasp of critical thinking."

    I certainly have no 'scorn' for intercessory prayer, only those who claim that it has been demonstrated without even reading the papers they cite in support of their claim. (papers which are either hack jobs, or don't actually show any statistically significant effect at all or both) Now, of course I'm not saying that I know with 100% certainty that intercessory prayer isn't effective, only that it has never been demonstrated so, to my knowledge. Likewise, as Scott mentioned I don't know that that eating a square meter of grass every day for a week could never cure the common cold, only that hit has never been demonstrated to do so. (So I'd feel comfortable saying I'm pretty sure it doesn't)

    "You simply suffer from the delusion that everything in the universe is subject to your materialistic assumptions and is therefore subject to 'scientific' scrutiny. You're wrong. "

    That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed with out evidence. Interesting that you say that I'm 'wrong'. How would you go about demonstrating that?

    On what basis do you claim intercessory prayer is not active or effective? How do you measure the efficacy of prayer?

    Thorton explained it; the same way you test absolutely any medical claim.

    "And exactly how does this work in the case of prayer? Tell me exactly how you would test whether or not prayer is effective? Set up the entire process for me, all the parameters which would be involved. What would constitute a double blind test of the effectiveness of prayer?

    You say it can be done scientifically, then prove it. "


    Here you go.

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  67. Nic: "Derick, Your scorn for intercessory prayer only demonstrates a poor grasp of critical thinking."

    I'm curious, how does thinking critically about the papers Neal mentioned demonstrate a poor grasp of critical thinking?

    Our do you just not know what 85 percent of the words in that sentence mean?

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  68. Neal said:

    "What of a hypothetical and highly advanced UFO that crashed? If scientists could not determine how it functioned, where it came, how it was made, who made it or its purpose, would they be a reasonable grounds to believe it was intelligently designed or be forced to the narrow and fanatical view that somehow just the right mix of space dust came together?

    Like Thorton said, your hypothetical is inane. Why do you IDiots come up with such stupid stuff? Is your god a UFO, and are you saying that the god you've chosen, and/or its alleged biological and other designs/creations, are comparable to a spacecraft designed/created by beings on another planet?

    Something you IDiots fail to consider is that if you're going to use machines in your hypothetical comparisons, you're also going to have to show that it's just as easy to identify and verify allegedly designed/created biological things in nature as it is to identify machines, whether those machines were designed/created by humans or by aliens.

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  69. There should be a quote mark after the word together and the question mark in my post above.

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  70. Derick,

    "The same way you test absolutely any medical claim."

    "Here you go."


    I knew most of you guys had poor reasoning skills, but I must admit I didn't think it was this bad.

    Tell me, exactly how do you set up a controlled experiment to determine the efficacy of prayer? Can you guarantee that no one is praying for the individual at any time during your experiment?

    Are you aware of every person that is acquainted with the people in your study and do you send out a bulletin which prohibits them from engaging in prayer for those in the study?

    Are only affirmative responses considered answers to prayer or can God say no? After all, no is an answer. So, the question really becomes, what constitutes an answer to prayer?

    Speaking hypothetically, if a god did exist who was capable of answering prayer, do you really suppose they would submit themselves to your pea-brained attempts to determine whether or not prayer is effective? Would they let your experiment influence how they respond? Would they act in the affirmative for those who are receiving prayer and neglect those in the study who are not prayed for, all to satisfy your whims?

    The bottom line on this whole question is that it is simply impossible to conduct such a study. It matters not whether you approach it as one who denies the power of prayer or one who affirms it. You're both equally wasting your time. God does not dance to the tunes of man.

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  71. Neal, and eocene, you apparently missed the part where I said "...maybe you could at least describe what he looks like?"

    So, maybe you could at least describe what your chosen god looks like?

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  72. Neal: Scott, scientific materialism is a very narrow dogma when you consider its silly notion to exclude, by default, the possibility of a creator.

    Neal,

    Why do you keep misrepresenting my positon?

    I've clearly pointed out that materialistic possibilities are discarded, a priori, based on the same criteria. And I've given concrete examples of this in practice. Yet you keep trying to suggest we're making some sort of exception in the case of the supernatural causes. I've clearly illustrated this is not the case, yet you keep repeating this as if you're a broken record.

    Why is this?

    Do you deny you're attempting to replace explanations with theistic understanding? Or perhaps you're denying there is a difference between explanations and theistic understandings?

    It's unclear what your position is, or even if you have one.

    Neal: What they forget is that the foundation of modern science was built by men of faith who were creationists.

    Furthermore, the foundation of modern astronomy was build by astrologists, who were concerned about tracking celestial objects as a means to predict when good or bad things would occur to some people, but not others.

    Does that mean that we should accept astrology as science? Must we remain "open" to astrology?

    Neal: A reasonable approach is to keep all possibilities open and let the evidence lead, whereas rationialism seeks to only see what they are looking for to justify a foregone conclusion.
    What evolutionists have been forced to do is overplay their cherry picked evidence.

    It's still not clear that you know what the term rationalism means. This is because you're using it a way that is inconsistent with how we practically apply it in science every day.

    Again, it's unlikely that anyone has performed research to determine if eating a square meter of grass each day for a week would cure the common cold. Why is this? Is it because it's logically impossible? No. Is it because it's unfalsifiable? No, this would be trivial to test.Is it because it's a non-natural? No.

    Why then is it unlikely to be the subject of research? Because we lack an explanation as to how and why eating a square meter of grass each day for a week would cure the common cold. As such, we discard it as a mere possibility, a priori, before we even test it.

    What does this process represent, if not rationalism? Please be specific.

    Furthermore, before one could "let the evidence lead" this would require a way to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. However, It's unclear how your argument is coherent when you refuse to indicate how this is even possible.

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  73. Neal: What of a hypothetical and highly advanced UFO that crashed? If scientists could not determine how it functioned, where it came, how it was made, who made it or its purpose, would they be a reasonable grounds to believe it was intelligently designed or be forced to the narrow and fanatical view that somehow just the right mix of space dust came together?

    Neal,

    It's unclear if your hypothetical is attempting to address one of my arguments above or if you've merely attempted to jumble them together, along with some sense of incredulity, in an attempt to avoid addressing them, as usual.

    It's as if you're merely continually slinging mud at a theory you find personally objectionable in the hope that anything will stick.

    Please point out which specific argument I presented in this thread this is in reference to.

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  74. Derick: Likewise, as Scott mentioned I don't know that that eating a square meter of grass every day for a week could never cure the common cold, only that hit has never been demonstrated to do so. (So I'd feel comfortable saying I'm pretty sure it doesn't)

    But that would be induction, which is inadequate for justifying feeling "comfortable" about this conclusion. It may seem adequate from an intuitive point of view, but It's not due to the problem of induction, as presented by Hume.

    The key point I'm presenting here is that our criteria for discarding this possibility isn't whether we have or have not experienced demonstrations (observations) of a cold being cured by eating grass during a finite number of experiments. This would be induction in practice.

    Rather, our criteria is that we lack an explanation as to how eating a square foot of grass every day for a week could cure the common cold. Specifically, we've likely discarded this possibility before even attempting to demonstrate it either way. This is rationalism in practice.

    While the distinction can be subtle at first, it's actually quite clear once you stop and think about it in this example.

    We discard it, a priori, despite the fact that…

    - It's not logically impossible
    - It's not unfalsifiable
    - It's not supernatural

    For example, it would be trivial to test, as all you'd need are people with colds and enough grass for each them to eat for a week. Yet it's unlikely that we've actually performed such a test because we lack a explanation as to why it would actually work. It's a mere possibility, which we discard.

    We could say the same about tap-dancing, singing show tunes in the shower or a near infinite number of mere possibilities and yet to be conceived explanations. We cannot rule them out, but we lack explanations for them as well.

    This is what I meant when I earlier said that observations are meaningless in absence of an explanatory framework.

    You seem to have picked up on this to some degree when you pointed out the problem with the papers Neal and Nic referenced.

    Specifically, without an explanation as to how God actual intervened, the observed results are not conclusive as it fails to account for interactions between symptoms and complications, etc. "That's just what God must have wanted" isn't an explanation.

    Nor does it explain why God chose to heal specific patients in the prayed for group, rather than others in the prayed for group.

    For example, God could have already decided to extend or withdraw help for individuals in either group, regardless of whether they were prayed for, because he had some special, mysterious plan or reason that we "just cannot comprehend." They just happened to end up in this study, which would skew the results. We cannot rule this out either.

    Without an explanation as to how and why God intervened in the case of some individuals, but not others, the observations as reported are inconclusive.

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  75. Scott, natural selection and mutation isn't an explanation.

    Specifically, without an explanation as to how all life on earth came to be, the observed neo-darwinian mechanisms are not conclusive as it fails to account for how small change was not bounded in the past. "That's just what natual selection must have wanted" isn't an explanation.

    Without an explanation as to how and why natural selection acted on organisms, the historical assumptions as reported are inconclusive.

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  76. Neal, what is your specific, detailed explanation as to "how all life on earth came to be", what scientifically testable and verifiable evidence do you have to support your explanation, and what are you talking about when you say "not bounded"?

    Also, what scientific evidential support do you have for your assumptions, whether historical or otherwise?

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  77. Scott in response to Derick: You're assuming that ID proponents actually want explanations. While they might attempt to portray themselves as such, what they really want is to replace explanations with a theistic understanding.

    Neal: Scott, natural selection and mutation isn't an explanation.

    Neal, we've already provided explanations so, apparently, there is some kind of significant disconnect going on here.

    You're either bound and determined to be ignorant, and/or when you use the term "explanation" you really mean a "theistic understanding" that could only be revealed though divine revelation. The latter does not meet the criteria of an explanation.

    Evolutionary theory isn't abiogenesis. It's explanations are limited to a finite range of phenomena. Specifically, the explanations created in evolutionary theory have led to better questions about how the earliest proteins appeared. Questions lead to answers, which lead to better questions, etc. This is how knowledge is created.

    There is no one single explanation that explains everything. Rather, we keep building longer and harder to vary chains of explanations that better connect with each other. We do this because our ability to create knowledge is explained in that the truth consists of hard to vary assertions about the physical world.

    Apparently, you think the truth consists of shallow, easily varied assertions, such as " that's just what God must have wanted." But, being itself shallow and easily varied, this doesn't explain how we've managed to create knowledge. Apparently, God just must have wanted us to create knowledge as well, so we magically did.

    Nor do predictions of scientific theories take into account an infinite number of parallel yet unrelated possibilities. In fact, It's not clear how this would even be possible.

    So, again, I'm suggesting that you're not looking for an explanation. What you demand is an theistic understanding that can only be provided by assuming divine communication is even possible and that you'd somehow be able to identify true revelation when you see / experience it.

    Again, this represents solving the problem of induction by placing divine revelation above the traditional hierarchy of deduction, induction and philosophy.

    However, you have yet to explain how you could determine what is true divine revelation without being subject to the problem of induction in the first place.

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  78. Neal: Scott, natural selection and mutation isn't an explanation.

    Why didn't the first appearance of advanced multi-celled life appear along side the least complex single celled organisms? If the designer already had the knowledge of how to build each species, there would be no need to create them in the order of least complex to most complex. In fact, the designer could have created the entire universe last Thursday, complete with the appearance of age, implanted memories, etc. How do you explain this observation?

    Evolutionary theory explains this in that the knowledge of how to build complex multi-celled organisms had yet to be created by evolutionary processes. It's impossible to build something unless you have the know of *how* to build it.

    Why is there so much time between the simplest single celled organisms and the most complex? Again, if the designer already had the knowledge of how to build each specs, they could have been created concurrently, let alone over billions of years. How do you explain this observation?

    Evolutionary theory explains this in that, unlike people, evolutionary processes cannot create explanations. As such, they were unable to discard genetic variations, a priori. Testing each and every variation takes time.

    Why have over 98% of all species that have ever existed gone extinct? How do you explain this?

    Evolution explains it in that, again, evolutionary process cannot discard genetic variations a priori. Nor does it exhibit foreknowledge or "planning".

    How was the knowledge of how to build each species, as found in the genome, created?

    Evolution explains this in that evolutionary processes are a form of knowledge creation similar to the scientific method. Genetic variation creates "theories" of how to build an organism. These "theories" are tested by by natural selection and those with errors are "discarded"

    in the absence of such an explanation, one could more simply state that each species "just appeared", complete with the knowledge of how to build each species, already present in it's genome.

    I could go on, but I think you get my point.

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  79. Scott, saying a designer wouldn't have done it that way is not an explanation for evolution. Using this metaphysical opinion as the basis for your theory and then cherry picking evidence to support your opinion is not an explanation either.

    You said, "Genetic variation creates "theories" of how to build an organism. These "theories" are tested by by natural selection and those with errors are "discarded".

    That's not an explanation, but a just so story. That's rationalism in action. It makes so much logical sense to you that it couldn't possibly be wrong. Find a bit of cherry picked evidence and poof you have a settled fact.

    What the fossil evidence is showing is top down design and bottom up implementation. There is an elegant modularity and synergy to the implementation of the design.

    You should be asking how could evolution have happened in so short a timeframe.

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  80. Neal: Scott, saying a designer wouldn't have done it that way is not an explanation for evolution.

    Why do you keep misrepresenting what I wrote?

    I said you lacked an explanation as to why a designer *would* have done it that way, not that "a designer wouldn't have done it that way"

    Where are your corresponding explanations the questions I raised? I'm guessing you simply do not have any beyond, "That just what the designer must have wanted"

    Neal: That's not an explanation, but a just so story. That's rationalism in action. It makes so much logical sense to you that it couldn't possibly be wrong. Find a bit of cherry picked evidence and poof you have a settled fact.

    I'll point out yet again that you have yet to demonstrate you actually have understanding of what rationalism is and how we use it in science. What was my example above, if not rationalism?

    Nor have you addressed my point regarding explanations vs theistic understandings. Are you suggesting there is no difference between the two?

    Again, how is it possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework? What's the alternative? Please be specific. Apparently, it's "magic", just like everything else that you think divine revelation has revealed as God's handiwork.

    In the absence of such an alternative, then your selective objections to it's use is merely handwaving against a theory your personally find objectionable.

    Divine revelation has revealed that God did it, divine revelation has revealed that God is unexplainable, therefore all we can possibly have is a theistic understanding. Therefore, your goal is to replace explanations with theistic understandings.

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  81. Neal Tedford said...

    Scott, saying a designer wouldn't have done it that way is not an explanation for evolution. Using this metaphysical opinion as the basis for your theory and then cherry picking evidence to support your opinion is not an explanation either.

    You said, "Genetic variation creates "theories" of how to build an organism. These "theories" are tested by by natural selection and those with errors are "discarded".

    That's not an explanation, but a just so story. That's rationalism in action. It makes so much logical sense to you that it couldn't possibly be wrong. Find a bit of cherry picked evidence and poof you have a settled fact.

    What the fossil evidence is showing is top down design and bottom up implementation. There is an elegant modularity and synergy to the implementation of the design.

    You should be asking how could evolution have happened in so short a timeframe.


    -----------------------------------

    Wow Neal, you really need to acquire a mirror. You (and other religious zealots) are the ones using metaphysical opinion as the basis for your beliefs and then cherry picking evidence to support it, and at least science does have actual evidence for you IDiots to cherry pick, unlike religion which has no evidence.

    Religion makes so much emotional sense to you that it couldn't possibly be wrong. Find a bit of cherry picked ancient fairy tales and poof you have a settled fact. That's insanity in action.

    You don't have a clue as to what the fossil evidence shows, and you have no evidence that supports design.

    "You should be asking how could evolution have happened in so short a timeframe."

    So short? Surely you jest? Just how long is your alleged "so short a timeframe", and why couldn't evolution have happened (or happen) in the time frame put forth by evolution scientists?

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  82. Have any of you religious nuts ever watched a child die of cancer or some other disease or injury?

    Since your imaginary god is alleged to be omnipotent, omniscient, perfect, loving, forgiving, and the creator and designer of everything and everyone, maybe you can explain why 'he' would make that happen?

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  83. Neal,

    I'll ask again, what was my example of discarding the mere possibility of eating grass to cure the common cold, a priori, if not rationalism?

    What is your explanation for your refusal to answer this simple question, and the myriad of others I've asked you in this thread alone?

    It's unclear what other conclusion you expect us to reach, other than you do NOT have a firm grasp of what rationalism is or how we use it every day in science.

    Is this a correct assessment? If not, then why don't you provide an alternative explanation for your silence?

    I'm at a loss, as you have the opportunity to set the record straight, yet you've continually failed to take advantage of it.

    What other reason would prevent you from taking advantage of this opportunity, other than...

    (1) You do NOT have a firm grasp of what rationalism is or how we use it every day in science. Rather, you're merely parroting Cornelius' naive and disingenuous version of empiricism.

    (2) You do have a firm grasp, but admitting my example was rationalism, in practice, would concede that we use rationalism all the time to discard a near infinite number of explanation-less possibilities. As such, your objections for discarding "God did it" under the same criteria is merely hand waving.

    What is option number three? Here's your chance.

    Or perhaps you don't have an explanation as you're merely slinging anything you can find in hope that it sticks? All that matters is that you fulfill your duty to attack a theory that conflicts with your theological views.

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  84. Thorton

    ZOOM rocket powered goalpost

    You are GinoB on UD

    :)

    bada bing bada boom

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  85. Thewholetruth said:

    "Neal, and eocene, you apparently missed the part where I said "...maybe you could at least describe what he looks like?"

    So, maybe you could at least describe what your chosen god looks like?"

    Jesus said to his followers: "He who has seen me has seen the Father." So, if you want to know what God looks like, what God is like, then read the gospels and learn about Jesus. That is one of the stated reasons that Jesus came to this earth - to reveal God to us.

    John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known."

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  86. Derrick, you asked me about a post of mine that supposedly disappeared. I don't keep a record of my posts so I don't even know what post you would be referring to and I don't have a copy of it to repost so I guess you can go ahead and remove your reply if you want. Sorry.

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  87. Scott said: “Why then is it unlikely to be the subject of research? Because we lack an EXPLANATION as to how and why eating a square meter of grass each day for a week would cure the common cold. As such, we discard it, a priori, before we even test it.”

    Scott, I find it very difficult to believe that observations have nothing to do with the derivation of a theory. Didn’t Darwin observe certain things and use those things as food for thought that led him to the idea of evolution? He didn’t just pick out that idea out of thin air. To come up with the EXPLANATION to justify your theory, don’t you resort to looking at/making guesses at how to interpret the observations you have made?

    Your explanation comes from your observations. There are no observations that would lend credence to the idea that eating a square meter of grass each day for a week would cure the common cold, but what if a scientist was trying to find out what benefits could be derived from this grass – whether by eating it or finding another use for it? He would study the grass, it’s qualities, it’s composition, and make observations. Then he would use those observations and other knowledge he has about chemistry or whatever and say “Hey, maybe this grass has qualities that would help cure such and such a disease!” Then he goes out and tests that idea. The theory/EXPLANATION came from the observations he made about the grass.

    “This is why do not look for evidence that positively supports a particular theory. Rather we look for evidence that shows errors in the underlying explanation a theory provides.”

    So, why do you complain when creationists look for evidence that disqualifies evolution? Isn’t that just doing good science, like you are advocating here?

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  88. tjguy: "Scott, since that is all we know and can observe, that is the most scientific assumption to make don't you think?

    Scott said: Wouldn't that depend on how one justifies conclusions?

    You seem to be unaware of various forms of epistemology and their application in science. Apparently you didn't get the memo that science is no longer based on natural theology. "

    OK, what are your conclusions and how do you justify them? No, I missed the memo, but I already knew that evolutionary science is based on more than just science. That much is obvious.

    What other forms of epistemology are accurate in your opinion? I hear most people claiming that science is the only begetter of truth. I'm encouraged to hear that you are open to other forms of epistemology.

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  89. Scott said: “We do not assume that proteins evolved directly into modern day proteins. Nor do we assume that these particular proteins were pre-selected.”

    Right. You assume the opposite because it would kill your theory if you didn’t. You have no choice but to assume there are other options. Indeed, there had to be for your theory to have any hope of survival. not aware of any evidence for the existence of other types of proteins or of even pre-cursors to the proteins that we see in existence today.

    Anyway, either position – that these precursor proteins exist or do not exist is an assumption. Another word for an assumption is faith. It is not science. Assuming they exist to prop up your worldview doesn't sound too scientific to me.

    You can make a hypothesis and say that there must have been precursor proteins, but how can you test that?

    What we know is that the current proteins that exist work. We do not know if there are other possibilities or not and it is really not testable. So, again, I’ll stick with what we know – that these proteins work and evolving them would be just about impossible.

    You assume there were precursor proteins, simpler proteins that eventually gave rise to the proteins we see in existence today.

    How simple do envision these proteins to be? How many amino acids do think they were composed of? What evidence do you have of their existence? Even if these assumed simpler proteins do exist, there is no guarantee that they were actually the precursors to more complex proteins or that the complex proteins evolved from the simpler ones. The idea that they evolved from the simpler proteins is also an assumption.

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  90. TWT: What do you "know & have evidence for" in regard to your chosen god and ID? 




    Evidence for the existence of God:
    1) There has to be an Uncaused First Cause great enough to account for the vast complex universe that we see.
    2) Morality & spirituality and the existence of “ought”. In a world without God, there can be no such thing as “ought”. What is, is and that's it! Yet, in our hearts, we all know that “ought" truly does exist when we experience something unfair.
    3) Irreducible complexity of hundreds of systems in the body & cell
    4) Testimony of the Bible
    5) Powerful testimony and changed lives of millions of believers.
    6) Meaning and value of life.
    7) Design in nature “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes…. have been clearly perceived….in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:19-20
    8) Laws of nature, Order in nature, math in nature, beauty in nature, ability to appreciate beauty, altruism, etc.
    9) Sexual reproduction
    How could a male and a female of the same species independently of each other simultaneously and in the same geographical location possibly develop completely complementary bodily features and complete reproductive systems that would allow sexual reproduction to begin – by CHANCE!?
    10) Integrity: If integrity evolved, it can evolve into something else. But that’s a self-contradiction. Integrity that evolves is not integrity. Integrity is rooted in the nature of God, who is immutable.
    11) Existence of Mind & free will. In other words, there is a self that controls the brain. Or are you of the view that our thoughts are nothing more than secretions of the brain? When you are thinking about the answer to that question, who is doing the thinking? You? But “you” don’t exist. If thoughts are nothing more than brain secretions, they are all determined by the chemical processes in your brain. Can we trust them? This doesn’t make sense, so there must be a self, apart from the body, a mind, & free will. These things don’t fit with atheism.
    12) Anthropic Principle: so many factors are extremely fine-tuned to allow life to exist on the earth. Isaiah 45:18. “For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens, …..Who FORMED IT TO BE INHABITED: “ I am the LORD, and there is no other.”
    13) The existence of reason, logic, and truth. There is no basis for these things in atheism. For instance, TWT, I am a man created in the image of God, but you view yourself as an evolved mammal. Everything you do revolves around eating and mating.

    So tell me, TWT, why should I believe or take seriously any thought that the chemicals in your animal brain secretes? Why is it valid?

    Some of these are direct evidence for the existence of the God & others are simply evidence for an Intelligent Designer.

    If you are looking for scientific proof, you and I both know we will never find that. However, there is enough evidence for God to hold us all accountable. God runs the universe and He says this: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. Faith will always be necessary. That’s just how God wants it. It’s not a blind faith, but it is still faith. You have faith too! -faith in abiogenesis, faith in countless timely miracles of chance to account for the evolution of life, faith in unseen multiverses, etc etc etc. For me, a wise personal Creator like the Bible teaches is the best and most logical explanation for what we see and experience in this world. I guess for me, faith in God is more logical. It makes more sense than faith in chance.

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  91. TWT: Who's "we"? How exactly did you calculate the "odds" that you allege "are astronomically in favor of Intelligent Design"? 




    TJ: Who is “we”? Most times I use “we” to refer to us humans. Sometimes to believers. We know how specific the proteins are that exist in our bodies now. Here “we” refers to scientists or mankind in general.
    How did I calculate the odds? I didn’t calculate them. Others have. The above article mentions one of many such calculations.


    TWT: What "infinite and omniscient God"? Do you have any evidence that verifies its existence and that it is the one and only god? How exactly do you know that "God designed things"? 

You say that "we don’t even understand how life works, how the cell works, what is and what is not junk in the genome, etc etc etc" yet you also claim to "know" that your god "designed things" even though you have no evidence to support it and can't explain how "He" allegedly did it. And who's "we"? 




    What "word"? What "God"? Can you provide evidence for any of your claims? How do you know that "God" is a "He"? How do you know that "He" exists? How do you know that "He told us many things in His Word", and how do you know that it is "His word"? And who's "we"?

    Tjguy: God is not an it. 100% of human experience tells us that an “it” cannot write software and neither can a “what”. A person with intelligence is needed 100% of the time. So the Creator has to be a person. We have personhood because we were made in His image. (Gen. 1:26) Can you imagine personhood evolving from impersonal matter or even from nothing? My evidence to support God’s work of creation is first of all, His Word. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Secondly, the beauty, design, order, complexity, morality, meaning, and spirituality, self-consciousness, love, etc. For me, a wise personal Creator like the Bible teaches is the best and most logical explanation for what we see and experience in this world.

    Twt: Do you have any evidence that verifies its existence and that it is the one and only god?

    Tjguy: Good question. The Bible is the top evidence. “I am the LORD, and there is no other." Personal experience is a close second, but followers of other religions can also claim subjective experience. Other wise, the God of the Bible is the only one who claims to be omniscient, almighty, the Creator, etc. He is really the only viable option. Even the Muslims believe in Genesis. They just think the God of the Bible is Allah. Their views of a Creator come from Genesis. Jews too of course believe in the Creator God of Genesis as well. Jesus is the only one who rose from the dead. We have a record of prophecies and miracles in His Word – and credible eyewitness accounts. I believe Christianity is the most credible of all the religions, but let’s just start with the fact that God exists and go from there.
    How do we know which one is right of all the gods listed on that site you gave? There is no sure way of knowing for sure unless we have revelation from God Himself. That is what I believe the Bible is.


    TWT: “Can you prove that there isn't, or that a flying spaghetti monster is any less likely than your chosen god?”

    Tjguy: Nope. Can't prove it. But yes sir, there is evidence. We have the Bible and recorded history there that speaks of eyewitnesses and their testimony in interacting with God. That’s a lot more evidence than anyone has for the existence of a flying spaghetti monster – or in your case, for a naturalistic origin for life.

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  92. Sorry for the many posts. Just wanted to follow up on the questions and challenges put to me. This is the last one I think.

    TWT: Can you provide any evidence that verifies "The knowledge of how to build proteins always existed in the Mind of the Designer, the uncaused First Cause." and that "It was not created."?

    TJ: No evidence for that is needed because that is what an Uncaused First Cause means. You can’t go back any further than that! Why is his knowledge is obviously far beyond even all the cumulative knowledge of mankind over the centuries? Because we still can’t understand the world He has created and how it works! 



    TWT: What "software in the cell"? Who said that chance is a "Programmer"? What "codes" and "decoding software in the cell"?

    TJ: Read this article if you really don’t know the answer to these questions: http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/at-last-a-darwinist-mathematician-tells-the-truth-about-evolution/

    How could information encode itself onto the DNA? What good would the code be if there was not a separate machine that could read that very code and follow it’s instructions? How does the encoder and the decoder make and interpret the same code by chance? Are you away of any example of software writing itself? A Programmer is always necessary. This is simply logic. We are not the illogical ones here. It is the atheists here who are trying to get people to throw logic out the window and bow at the altar of Chance. But most of us don't have as much faith as you guys do.

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  93. tjguy,

    So, your chosen god is a programmer?

    Organisms aren't computers.

    The bible is a collection of fairy tales.

    Have you considered getting psychiatric help?

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  94. Scott, contrary evidence should be allowed to trump a hypothesis based on rationalism. For the evolutionists this is not happening.

    According to the evolutionist their theory just has to be true based on logic (rationalism). They believe their logic is so compelling and of course, any alternative unacceptable, that they just couldn't be wrong.

    Throw in some cherry picked evidence to confirm their logic and then ... poof, evolution is a fact. Contradictory data becomes stuff that needs to be accommodated or put on a shelf as a mystery... but because the logic of evolution is so compelling the fact remains. That is why finding a herd of buffalo in the Cambrian would not be allowed to falsified evolution.

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  95. tjguy: Scott, I find it very difficult to believe that observations have nothing to do with the derivation of a theory.

    Tjquy,

    You're being imprecise.

    I'm not saying that observations do not compel us to create new theories. I'm saying the specific details of the theories we create are not actually derived from those same observations. We test explanations with observations, not the other way around. So, while observations lead us to find existing explanations inadequate, the details of how the should be changed or even the contents of replacement theories are created via conjecture and remain because they withstand criticism.

    To use an analogy, does the observation of empty cupboards in my kitchen tell me what I should fill them with? No, it does not. What I put in my kitchen cupboards is not derived from observations of empty cupboards. Observations of the specifications of my cupboard rule out an entire cow as it won't fit and cannot hold the weight, but it doesn't tell me out of what items that do fit or could be supported I *should* fill them with. That's what I'm referring to when I say "derived".

    Tjguy: Didn’t Darwin observe certain things and use those things as food for thought that led him to the idea of evolution? He didn’t just pick out that idea out of thin air. To come up with the EXPLANATION to justify your theory, don’t you resort to looking at/making guesses at how to interpret the observations you have made?

    Again, you're not being precise. The things Darwin observed represent that which is to be explained, not vice versa. Explanations are criticized by observations, not derived from them.

    While Darwin discarded alternate theories he conjectured because he found them to contain errors when tested by observations (exposed to criticism), the particular details of the theory Darwin *did* put forth wasn't derived from these same observations.

    We creation theories via conjecture, which are tested by observations and those with errors are discarded.

    Scott: “This is why [we] do not look for evidence that positively supports a particular theory. Rather we look for evidence that shows errors in the underlying explanation a theory provides.”

    Tjguy: So, why do you complain when creationists look for evidence that disqualifies evolution? Isn’t that just doing good science, like you are advocating here?

    You're not actually criticizing the underlying explanation that evolutionary theory presents. Furthermore, you're assuming that predictions of scientific theories are prophecy.

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  96. Scott: You seem to be unaware of various forms of epistemology and their application in science. Apparently you didn't get the memo that science is no longer based on natural theology. "

    TJguy: What other forms of epistemology are accurate in your opinion? I hear most people claiming that science is the only begetter of truth. I'm encouraged to hear that you are open to other forms of epistemology.

    I specifically referred your awareness of various forms of epistemology and their application in science, in respect to history and in practice.

    Just as science is no longer based on natural theology, it's also no longer based on logical positivism, and a host of other forms of epistemology.

    As for my position, a good place to start would be the entry for Critical rationalism at Wikipedia.

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  97. Scott: Scott said: “We do not assume that proteins evolved directly into modern day proteins. Nor do we assume that these particular proteins were pre-selected.”

    Tjguy: Right. You assume the opposite because it would kill your theory if you didn’t. You have no choice but to assume there are other options. Indeed, there had to be for your theory to have any hope of survival. not aware of any evidence for the existence of other types of proteins or of even pre-cursors to the proteins that we see in existence today.

    Apparently, you didn't read the thread very well. As such, I'll ask you the same question I asked Cornelius and Neal.

    How is it possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory context?

    Specifically, what explanatory framework are you using to determine that not having observed earlier proteins justifies a conclusion they actually do not exist? What explanatory framework are you using to justify concluding that no other proteins beyond the 20 we've observed could not play the same role in some other combination or some other form of life?

    Tjguy: Anyway, either position – that these precursor proteins exist or do not exist is an assumption. Another word for an assumption is faith. It is not science. Assuming they exist to prop up your worldview doesn't sound too scientific to me.

    It's unclear what one's "world view" has to do with such assumptions.

    In other words, you might think you're not employing some sort of explanatory framework, to reach this conclusion, but you are. And it's likely a bad explanation because it's likely shallow and easily varied, such as "if God crated earlier proteins, then he's ensure they were somehow fossilized so we'd know the glory of his work." If God wanted to create specific organisms the with 20 specific proteins, he would also create the entire proteins space so only those 20 proteins could preform those roles.

    But this isn't something that mere observations can reveal. Nor is there even any theistic mandate or "divine revelation" which makes claims about the nonexistence of redundant proteins that can perform the same functions. This simply does not follow.

    Tjguy: What we know is that the current proteins that exist work. We do not know if there are other possibilities or not and it is really not testable. So, again, I’ll stick with what we know – that these proteins work and evolving them would be just about impossible.

    Yet you haven't shown how it's even possible to extrapolate observations without putting them into an explanatory framework. Until this occurs, you're objections are merely hand waving. Nor have you shown that you have a grasp of how various forms of epistemology are used in science.

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  98. Neal: Scott, contrary evidence should be allowed to trump a hypothesis based on rationalism. For the evolutionists this is not happening.

    Neal, you haven't demonstrated that you know what rationalism is, let alone how specific observations are "contrary" to the underlying explanation provides.

    Again, why don't you start by enlightening us as to how is it even possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework?

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  99. Neal said:

    "According to the evolutionist their theory just has to be true based on logic (rationalism). They believe their logic is so compelling and of course, any alternative unacceptable, that they just couldn't be wrong."

    According to the religious zealot their fairy tale belief just has to be true based on illogic (rationalization). They believe their illogic is so compelling and of course, any alternative unacceptable, that they just couldn't be wrong.

    Fixed that for you.

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  100. Scott, your explanatory framework is inadequate. So tell us how do you extrapolate observations to fit into your inadequate and archaic framework???

    Bard from Oxford University summarizes...

    "It is one thing to suggest that this is how evolution can work rapidly in a way that would be
    seen as Lamarckian, but it is another thing to demonstrate that it is so. As of now, we have no
    good theory of how to read networks, how to model them mathematically or how one network
    meshes with another; worse, we have no obvious experimental lines of investigation for
    studying these areas. There is a great deal for systems biology to do in order to produce a full
    explanation of how genotypes generate phenotypes and so provide the basis for a full 21st
    century model of evolution. As T.S. Eliot almost said: “Between the phenotype and the
    genotype falls the shadow”.

    http://www.biosignaling.com/content/pdf/1478-811X-9-30.pdf'

    The bottom line for evolutionists is that their story just sounds so logically compelling that at heart they don't give a hoot about questioning the fact of evolution. That's rationalism. It's a settled fact based on logic. The explanatory framework is accomodated and left incomplete, but the fact of evolution is never questioned.

    When backed into a corner by gaps in their theory, evolutionists always reply that we are asking for every detail and that's not necessary. But the problems with the explanatory framework are not trivial frills but show stoppers. In reality ONE simple insurmountable obstacle in a natural process can render your GOO to YOU story wrong.

    So, how do how genotypes generate phenotypes via evolution? What does your framework say?

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  101. The hole Truth,

    Here's a link to William Craig addressing Dawkins' delusions. This is from Oxford where Richard Dawkins was MIA. It would have been appropriate to have filled his empty debate chair with chicken feathers, but they were a kind and respectful audience that simply dismissed his absence with just a little chuckle.


    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/11/you_can_now_watch_the_craig-da052871.html

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  102. Neal: Scott, your explanatory framework is inadequate. So tell us how do you extrapolate observations to fit into your inadequate and archaic framework???

    Neal,

    You've got it backwards. One extrapolates observations using an explanatory framework, not vice versa.

    Rather than actually address the question I've asked, you've again merely attempted to jumble it together with incredulity and misrepresentations in an attempt to avoid it.

    Do you think we cannot see though this transparent attempt to avoid answering the question? If so, you're quite mistaken.

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  103. Scott, your explanatory framework is inadequate, so using it to extrapolate observations is seriously problematic. Biologists don't have an understanding of how genotypes generate phenotypes, yet evolutionists claim to know how all of life came to be. The gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn't coming.

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  104. Scott, the patterns in the Chinese desert that are viewable via Google Earth and have been in the news lately.... are they natural or designed? What is your explanatory framework and how did you arrive at your conclusion?

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  105. Scott, if nature looks like it evolved, why did Darwin say, "“Nature may almost be said to have guarded against the frequent discovery of her transitional or linking forms.”

    I'm telling you that this idea of nature looking like it evolved only appears so from the mind sucking Darwinian Vortex.

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  106. Scott: "Rather than actually address the question I've asked, you've again merely attempted to jumble it together with incredulity and misrepresentations in an attempt to avoid it.

    Do you think we cannot see though this transparent attempt to avoid answering the question? If so, you're quite mistaken."

    Neal: Scott, your explanatory framework is inadequate, so using it to extrapolate observations is seriously problematic.

    All you've done rearrange the words you originally jumbled together. Still, a transparent attempt to avoid the question.

    Do you really think you're fooling anyone here in thinking you understand what you wrote?

    if you do not understand the question, then why not ask for clarification, rather than just posting what are obvious attempts at deflection?

    Neal: I'm telling you that this idea of nature looking like it evolved only appears so from the mind sucking Darwinian Vortex.

    That's not an explanation. All you've done is stick the words "mind sucking" and "vortex" around a theory you find objectionable.

    Why not the "Mind sucking Einsteinan vortex" of general relativity? Because it doesn't conflict with your personal theological views?

    Again, if explanatory frameworks are so "problematic" then why don't you enlighten us as to how it's possible to extrapolate observations without them? Please be specific.

    Otherwise, you're next move would be to show that all explanatory frameworks are not equal and the frameworks you're using to extrapolate the observations in question are better based on some coherent and comprehensive criteria.

    But you have yet to present a coherent and comprehensive criteria. All we've received is handwaving. As such, I won't be holding my breath.

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  107. Scott, I don't refer to a mind sucking Einsteinan vortex because its proponents don't insist on it being a fact and actually require their theory to pass vigorous and precisely defined scientific testing... Something that evolutionists don't do and for which they detest anyone that suggests that they should do.

    Evolutionists have bever performed the scientific method to actually test whether evolution is a fact or not. Stay with me here... Sure they have followed the scientific method many times in some test of a mechanism of evolution.

    But never will you see a thorough test ever documented that says this is a test to see if evolution is a fact or not, here are the parameters of the test and this is where it will pass and here is how it will fail. Never have, never will. That's the difference been Einsteins theory and your assumed fact.

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  108. Scott, rather than vigorous and precisely defined scientific experiments that are worthy of 21th century science, evolutionists must rely on a mush mountain of cherry picked evidence and be blind and deaf to contradictory data.

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  109. Scott said, "But you have yet to present a coherent and comprehensive criteria."

    Stop playing games. You know as well as I do that by default you will not accept any kind of design argument under any circumstances. Your a clone of the evolutionary potentates. Only when one is open to the possibility of a designer, can one clearly begin to see the gross flaws in the Darwinian argument. Until you do, you are blinded by your fanatical scientism.

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  110. Neal: Scott, I don't refer to a mind sucking Einsteinan vortex because its proponents don't insist on it being a fact and actually require their theory to pass vigorous and precisely defined scientific testing... Something that evolutionists don't do and for which they detest anyone that suggests that they should do.

    Let's see how many typical creationist misrepresentations we have just in this paragraph alone.

    - Attempt to confuse the term theory with hypothesis: Check.
    - Claim the underlying explanation evolution presents not falsifiable: Check.
    - Assume the entirety of science is prophecy and not open to revision: Check.

    Again, all you've done here is wrap "mind sucking" and "vortex" around a theory you personally disagree with. No explanation is provided.

    Neal: Evolutionists have [never] performed the scientific method to actually test whether evolution is a fact or not. Stay with me here... Sure they have followed the scientific method many times in some test of a mechanism of evolution.

    Neal,

    As I've said elsewhere, we cannot have a reasonable discussion on whether evolutionary theory is "science" or not until we define what science is, how we us it to justify conclusions, how predictions are made and evaluated, etc.

    From what I can gather, you're operating under some naive assumptions about science which you refuse to clearly disclose or explain. Apparently, science is unexplainable "magic", just like the rest of God's handwork. When I point this out, you attempt to change the subject by bringing up questions or arguments that themselves also depending on these very same naive assumptions.

    We're simply not getting anywhere. Nor will we until you answer my question.

    So, to repeat, how does one extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework?

    Again if you do not understand my question, then ask for clarification. However, you're refusal to do either suggests that you're not interested in having a discussion on the subject.

    The thing is, we've seen you do this time and time again. We call you on it. You fail to acknowledge it. And then you do it again. We call you on it. Ad nauseum.

    It's as if you think by continually attacking evolution, regardless if you even understand the theory itself or whatever counter argument you present, you've done your duty and somehow gained something. What else are we supposed to conclude?

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  111. Neal: But never will you see a thorough test ever documented that says this is a test to see if evolution is a fact or not, here are the parameters of the test and this is where it will pass and here is how it will fail. Never have, never will. That's the difference been Einsteins theory and your assumed fact.

    Again, you've got it backwards. We cannot positively prove anything via observations, let alone evolution. This is because all observations are theory laden. Apparently, you naively assume science does this, but I've illustrated this is a myth. Nor have you actually explained how this would even possible in the first place. Again, it's just "magic" like everyone else.

    What Einstein did was create a explanation (hypothesis) which explained a specific set of observations. He then went about testing his explanation for errors via observations. But, like all explanations, we explain the seen via the unseen. What was the "evidence" that made Newton's laws of motion untenable? A slight variation in the orbit of a planet, which itself was extrapolated from dozens of other explanatory frameworks - all of which cannot be proven "true" either.

    Apparently, you think the unseen "resembles" the seen, which is why you think we derive theories from observations. But it doesn't. We do not see the curvature of space-time. Nor do we even see atoms, electrons or even photons for what they really are. Rather, we extrapolate their existence via explanatory frameworks, like everything else.

    What we have is a long chain of explanations which have yet to be found in error. None of which can be proven "True" via observations alone either.

    As such, our current best theories are not ones that we positivity proved "True" via observations, but theories with underlying explanations which we did not find in error.

    What you're demanding is a form of justifcationism. However, to quote from the Not Justificationism section from the Wikipedia entry on critical rationalism… [Emphasis mine]

    William Warren Bartley compared critical rationalism to the very general philosophical approach to knowledge which he called "justificationism". Most justificationists do not know that they are justificationists. Justificationism is what Popper called a "subjectivist" view of truth, in which the question of whether some statement is true, is confused with the question of whether it can be justified (established, proven, verified, warranted, made well-founded, made reliable, grounded, supported, legitimated, based on evidence) in some way.

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

    [...]

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


    So then how to we explain our ability to create knowledge? The truth about the physical world consists of deep chains of hard to vary assertions about reality. This explanation is open to revision, just like all other explanations, and is itself an explanation that is impossible to vary. As such, it's NOT justificationism.

    How do you explain our relatively recent and rapid ability to create knowledge? You don't. Apparently, it's magic like every thing else. God must have wanted us to discover his handwork, so we did. This is a bad explanation as I've outlined elsewhere.

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  112. Scott: Scott said, "But you have yet to present a coherent and comprehensive criteria."

    Neal: Stop playing games. You know as well as I do that by default you will not accept any kind of design argument under any circumstances.

    As I've pointed out several times, a designer that "just was", complete with all of the knowledge required to build each species provides no explanatory purpose. This is because one could more simple state that each organism "just appeared", complete with the knowledge of how to build each species in it's DNA, already present.

    Of course, it's not even clear that you actually want an explanation. Rather, what you're trying to get me to accept is a theistic understanding. Apparently, you think divine revelation has revealed that explanations for the biosphere are impossible since God created it, so a theistic understanding is all we could possibly have.

    So, let me fix that for you..

    You know as well as I do that by default you will not accept the replacement of an explanation with any kind of mere theistic understanding under any circumstances.

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  113. Scott said, "- Attempt to confuse the term theory with hypothesis: Check.
    - Claim the underlying explanation evolution presents not falsifiable: Check.
    - Assume the entirety of science is prophecy and not open to revision: Check."

    --

    - Evolutionists are skillful at rhetoric and play games with definitions of hypothesis, theory and fact without actually following the scientific method.

    - The Fact of Evolution is not allowed to be falsified. Many of its explanations have been falsified and are grossly trivial. The Fact of Evolution has NEVER been seriously tested nor documented in accordance with scientific methodology. All evolutionists have is a mush mountain of cherry picked evidence.

    - The Fact of Evolution is not open to revision. Logic alone is so compelling to evolutionists and alternatives not allowed by default, so that the Fact of Evolution is not allowed to be falsified.

    Your evolutionary Model should yield accurate predictions and allow for very precise testing. What you have is an assumed fact that is supported by cherry picking evidence. It is an agenda driven and not scientific method driven enterprise.

    My desire is to return to the perspective of Isaac Newton and the founding fathers of modern science. Let's be open about all possibilities and not straightjacket our minds by the fanatical view of scientism.

    Bottom line is that your evolutionary model has failed as CH has specifically called out repeatedly. Your model doesn't explain how genotypes generate phenotypes. Simple logic then dictates that your model is grossly trivial in it's details and claims much more than it actually explains. It would be like Isaac Newton having ignored his research on how to measure the effects of gravity and instead insist that he had the theory of everything. Some evolutionists are like cavemen thrusting spears and claiming they are close to traveling to the stars. Like Darwin's cell is goo biology. Bake for 20 minutes, freeze and then hit with a lightning bolt and poof we have a single cell bacteria with 1,700 proteins that can perform photosynethesis. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but at its core this is your mindset. Why? Because logic alone dictates that some simple natural process MUST have done it something like that.

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  114. Neal,

    We're not getting any where…

    Specifically….

    From what I can gather, you're operating under some naive assumptions about science which you refuse to clearly disclose or explain. Apparently, science is unexplainable "magic", just like the rest of God's handwork. When I point this out, you attempt to change the subject by bringing up questions or arguments that themselves also depending on these very same naive assumptions.

    Here you are, yet again, trying to avoid the question by bringing up arguments that depend on these very assumptions. It's unclear how we can make progress given that you refuse to answer question which underlies the assumptions behind the arguments you keep making.

    Again, it's unclear how we can have a reasonable discussion on whether evolutionary theory is "science" or not until we define what science is, how we us it to justify conclusions, how predictions are made and evaluated, etc.

    Yet, you refuse to do this. Rather, you continue to proceed as if no explanation or definition is necessary.

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  115. Neal: Bottom line is that your evolutionary model has failed as CH has specifically called out repeatedly.

    Neal, you have two options here...

    A. Explain how Cornelius managed to extrapolate observations to reach this conclusion without first putting them into an explanatory framework. Please be specific.

    B. Concede that, in concluding that "evolutionary theory has failed", an explanatory framework was used, disclose which specific explanatory framework used and give a coherent and comprehensive criteria as to why that framework was used.

    Here's a few hints:

    An example of A would be...

    Cornelius doesn't need to extrapolate observations using an explanatory framework because he puts divine revelation above the traditional hierarchy of deduction, induction and philosophy. God revealed the truth about the observations though special communication, so no extrapolation is necessary.

    An example of B would look something similar to what I assessed in my comment to TJguy…

    A framework was used which assumed "if God crated earlier proteins, then he's ensure they were somehow fossilized so we'd know the glory of his work." [or] "If God wanted to create specific organisms the with 20 specific proteins, he would also create the entire proteins space so only those 20 proteins could preform those roles. "

    However, you'd need to give a coherent and comprehensive criteria as to why this framework was used, rather than some other framework.

    Again, I'm not holding my breath.

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  116. Scott, according to your view, a theory can not be tested and shown to be false unless one has a different model to interpret the failed results. I know it is difficult for evolutionists to actually conceive of performing a good quality test of their theory, but surely you do understand the testing process.

    When CH does an article showing how the claims of evolution don't stand up to reality you turn it into a religious argument. Have you actually read his survey on failed evolutionary predictions. I mean your model would be a joke if it weren't a tragedy of reason and science.

    Natural processes do not do what you say they can and evolutionists have not shown otherwise. While evolutionists are charmed and get chills up their spine when finch beaks are measured, most people aren't impressed. The failure of your model is not a religious view. It has uncomfortable implications for the materialist, but failure of your model is not any more religious than the failure of using spontaneous generation to explain the birth of maggots. Believing that nature can do what it is not capable of doing is the stuff of superstition.


    I think that the evolutionary model has as much validity as spontaneous generation.

    What about the Chinese desert patterns? Is it reasonable to contemplate that they probably had an intelligent designer or is that out of bounds because we don't know why or how the patterns were formed?

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  117. Tedford the Idiot said...

    blah blah blah


    I see Tedford the Idiot is still blithering away with his misunderstanding and misrepresentations of actual evolutionary theory.

    Dementia like yours is a common symptom in advanced stages of syphilis Tedford. Maybe you should get yourself checked.

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  118. Tjguy:

    (Just because it's too easy)

    "Evidence for the existence of God:
    1) There has to be an Uncaused First Cause great enough to account for the vast complex universe that we see."

    Even if we accept there was a first cause (which many don't, by the way) then why not say the universe itself is this uncaused first cause? You implicitly acknowledge that you don't think EVERYTHING needs a cause since you are willing to accept that God doesn't.

    "2) Morality & spirituality and the existence of “ought”. In a world without God, there can be no such thing as “ought”. What is, is and that's it! Yet, in our hearts, we all know that “ought" truly does exist when we experience something unfair."

    Totally untrue. 'ought' is a human construct. Collectively and individually, we construct for ourselves what we think 'ought' to be. Morality requires no supernatural agent/source. In fact, one could argue that it is MORE moral to do good things for their own sake rather than out of hope of reward for obedience (Heaven) and fear of punishment for defiance (Hell).

    "3) Irreducible complexity of hundreds of systems in the body & cell"

    I hope you can back this up, because many apparently irreducibly complex biological features have turned out in fact to be nothing of the sort, including Behe's precious bacterial flagellum.

    "4) Testimony of the Bible"

    Worthless. Unless you can explain why 'testimony of the Quran' is not evidence for Allah without using circular logic...?

    "5) Powerful testimony and changed lives of millions of believers."

    Again, worthless. Talk to magicians and psychologists and they will tell you how impressionable human minds are and how easily we are duped. If I were a hardened thug, I might suddenly come to believe in the magic fairy watching over me and want to correct my ways to please her. That doesn't count as evidence of the fairy's existence. It only counts as evidence that I believe in her. Which is a completely different prospect - it is entirely possible to be mistaken in a sincere, treasured belief.

    "6) Meaning and value of life."

    What do you mean? Have you objectively ascertained that life has measurable, verifiable meaning and value? How? And so what? Why can't life have meaning/value without God?

    "7) Design in nature"

    Have you come up with a way to detect design in nature? If so, how? Because all the ID crowd seem to have come up with is 'It LOOKS designed' which cuts as much ice as a chocolate knife.

    "8) Laws of nature, Order in nature, math in nature, beauty in nature, ability to appreciate beauty, altruism, etc."

    None of these things require a God.

    "9) Sexual reproduction
    How could a male and a female of the same species independently of each other simultaneously and in the same geographical location possibly develop completely complementary bodily features and complete reproductive systems that would allow sexual reproduction to begin – by CHANCE!?"

    Ha ha ha!! You clearly don't understand the theory of evolution in the slightest. This is a ridiculous strawman of a theory you clearly have no grasp of. Here's a hint - evolution is not random chance.

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  119. (cont)

    "10) Integrity: If integrity evolved, it can evolve into something else. But that’s a self-contradiction. Integrity that evolves is not integrity. Integrity is rooted in the nature of God, who is immutable."

    Again with the strawmen. The theory of evolution via natural selection applies to living biological organisms only. Inanimate objects, concepts or any non-living matter do not evolve (in this biological sense).

    "11) Existence of Mind & free will."

    Indeed, there is considerable evidence that 'you' are nothing more than the product of your 'brain secretions'. People who suffer damage to their brain, for example, can undergo huge shifts in their personalities. There is no evidence at all that there is any kind of mind which can exist seperately from the brain. And can you prove we have free will? Determinist philosophers have been arguing that we do not for hundreds of years.

    "12) Anthropic Principle: so many factors are extremely fine-tuned to allow life to exist on the earth."

    This fallacy is one of perspective. The odds of winning the lotto are absolutely staggering. And yet each week someone usually does win. This does not mean the lotto was rigged in their favour, or 'fine-tuned' to make their win inevitable from the start.

    "13) The existence of reason, logic, and truth. There is no basis for these things in atheism. For instance, TWT, I am a man created in the image of God, but you view yourself as an evolved mammal. Everything you do revolves around eating and mating."

    I have no idea where you are going with this. Why should the existence of reason, logic and truth imply the existence of a God? What do these things have to do with our beliefs about our origins? (And, just for the record, we find many examples of animals displaying intelligent thought, logical reasoning, and honest communication, as well as affection, generosity and cooperation.)

    So all in all, a whole lot of nothing there really.

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  120. Thorton,

    "Dementia like yours is a common symptom in advanced stages of syphilis Tedford. Maybe you should get yourself checked."

    This comment crosses the line Thorton. It is totally unacceptable to make such childish and ignorant comments in this type of forum. It only demonstrates your complete lack of character and intelligence. You should be ashamed to even consider yourself a mature individual after a comment like that. You're disgraceful!

    However, having seen your past performances I'm sure you will continue to act in such a disgraceful and disgusting manner. You haven't got the brains to provide a decent answer so you think insults and rude comments will carry the day. You're a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  121. Hi Nic!

    Have you figured out the difference between 'information' and 'meaning' yet?

    Tell us Nic, why is it that Creationists think it's perfectly acceptable to lie through their teeth as long as they do it politely?

    ReplyDelete
  122. Scott, your understanding of the scientific method is muddled. You may find the following link helpful to get some clarification...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method#Experiments

    --

    You said, "if God crated earlier proteins, then he's ensure they were somehow fossilized so we'd know the glory of his work." [or] "If God wanted to create specific organisms the with 20 specific proteins, he would also create the entire proteins space so only those 20 proteins could preform those roles. "

    Perhaps you could clarify what your trying to say here.

    --

    Since biologists don't yet know many things about biosystems including how genotypes generator phenotypes an explanation of how a cell was created by a designer would be only trivial speculation.

    Seeing design in living organisms is not built on specific steps of how the first cell could have been manufactured, but rather on identifying properties and characteristics of living organisms that are best explained by design.

    Darwin popularized evolution in a time of complete ignorance of the living cell. The concept of "biosystems" would have been as alien to him as the Space Shuttle.

    The human brain is remarkably strong for being able to quickly distinguish between designed objects and natural objects if we have some past experiences of observation. It starts when we are babies and toddlers. Early on we begin to see the differences between a rock in a field and a Hot Wheels car. By the time we are adults we can go anywhere in the world and distinguish between whether an object is designed or something that is naturally formed.

    Because the living cell and DNA and biosystem networks are so tiny we don't get that experience like we do with larger objects. But that is changing because of the power of the microscope and better tools for studying the most intricate functions of the living cell. We're not there yet, but we're gaining. As intricate biosystems become opened to us, our familarity with what is designed and what is a natural process will grow just like it does in our everyday larger world experiences. I'm speaking of biogenesis specifically here. What we know now is not pointing towards chemical evolution but special design. Had Darwin's recipe of goo and a warm pond or something like it actually panned out we would not be debating this.

    So, criticisms of the claims of evolution is just part of honestly getting at what natural processes are actually capable of doing or not. It is part of the very human quest to be able to distinguish between the designed or not designed. Better tools have opened our eyes to help us see what we couldn't see before.

    It certainly would be refreshing for evolutionists to at least be honest enough to be straightforward about how little they know and be open rather than trying to straightjacket everyone into their "evolution is a fact" dogma.

    While it may be difficult for the average person to tell what generic and specific scientific properties of Mount Rushmore indicate it was designed, there is no question that they could accurately judge such a structure as designed even without any clue as to the history or artist who formed it.

    Evolutionists want to shutdown the human quest to understand whether life was designed or not. In that endeavor they cheat science to make their goal.

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  123. Ritchie, Lotto's are intelligently designed. Thanks for making a good illustration of intelligent design even if it wasn't intentional.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Neal -

    If you think so then you are mistaken. Yes, lottos are designed - but designed to ensure that the winning numbers are generated entirely by random chance. That's the whole point.

    If I buy a ticket choosing 6 numbers, and those numbers come up in the lotto, it is a pure coincidence - a staggeringly unlikely event which nevertheless occurred due to random chance and nothing else. The fact that the lotto was designed in the first place does not change that.

    Statistically unlikely things DO sometimes happen, and the fact that they do is not any reason at all to suppose there are magical beings bringing these events about. That was my point.

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  125. Thorton,

    "Hi, Nic."

    "Have you figured out the difference between 'information' and 'meaning' yet?"

    As I recall it was you who argued that there was no difference between information and its meaning by your claim that context was irrelevant to the information's content. It was also you who totally failed to understand the information pattern I presented to you because you did not know and could not figure out the context.

    Perhaps you should spend some time in attempting to develop even rudimentary critical thinking skills rather than spewing childish invectives at others.

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  126. Ritchie said, "Statistically unlikely things DO sometimes happen, and the fact that they do is not any reason at all to suppose there are magical beings bringing these events about. That was my point. "

    I'm not arguing that the lottery commission nor the creator of the universe are magical beings.

    That you agree that lotto was designed illustrates the design point of view. It takes intelligence, logistics and high level math to run a lottery properly.


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2023514/Joan-R-Ginther-won-lottery-4-times-Stanford-University-statistics-PhD.html

    ReplyDelete
  127. Nic said...

    Thorton: "Have you figured out the difference between 'information' and 'meaning' yet?"

    Nic: (lie) (bluster) (handwave) (lie again)


    I see the answer is a resounding no.

    So Nic, I'm really curious: why do you think it's OK to lie as long as you do it politely?

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  128. Scott: Neal, you have two options here...

    A. Explain how Cornelius managed to extrapolate observations to reach this conclusion without first putting them into an explanatory framework. Please be specific.

    "B. Concede that, in concluding that "evolutionary theory has failed", an explanatory framework was used, disclose which specific explanatory framework used and give a coherent and comprehensive criteria as to why that framework was used.

    [For example, a] framework was used which assumed "if God crated earlier proteins, then he's ensure they were somehow fossilized so we'd know the glory of his work." [or] "If God wanted to create specific organisms the with 20 specific proteins, he would also create the entire proteins space so only those 20 proteins could preform those roles. "

    Neal: Perhaps you could clarify what your trying to say here.

    Neal, unless you can explain how it's possible to extrapolate observations *without* an explanatory framework (A), then we're left with determining which framework *was* used (B) to conclude that the "evolutionary model has failed as CH has specifically called out repeatedly."

    The example I provided was a potential framework by which a lack of observations of earlier proteins could be extrapolated to conclude said proteins do not exist.

    In the absence of either (A) or (B), then it's unclear why we should take any of your objections remotely seriously.

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  129. Thorton,

    Nic: (lie) (bluster) (handwave) (lie again)

    "So Nic, I'm really curious: why do you think it's OK to lie as long as you do it politely?"

    Wherein lays the lie, the bluster and the hand waving? Or is this just one of your typically inane responses brought about by your complete lack of knowledge and character? I think the latter.

    ReplyDelete
  130. I wrote: Neal, unless you can explain how it's possible to extrapolate observations *without* an explanatory framework (A), then we're left with determining which framework *was* used (B) to conclude that the "evolutionary model has failed as CH has specifically called out repeatedly."

    What do I mean by this? Bertrand Russell illustrated this point well with his story of the farmer and the chicken. He's an expanded version which elaborates on this further.

    A flock of anthropomorphic chickens has observed a farmer feeding them every day like clockwork since they were chicks. As such, they extrapolate these observations to conclude the farmer will continue to feed them in the future. One day the farmer starts feeding them even more corn that usual. This observation further reinforces their conclusion they will continue to be fed. However, not long after, the farmer puts them in cages and sends them off to slaughter.

    In other words, mere observations alone are inadequate to justify conclusions. This is the problem of induction.

    However, if we're not careful we'll miss (or knowingly accept) a more fundamental misconception illustrated in this story. Specifically, that it's even possible extrapolate observations without first placing them in a explanatory framework.

    Before these chickens could have induced a false prediction, they must first had in mind a false explanatory framework of the farmers behavior, such as thinking he had benevolent feelings towards chickens. However, had the chickens guessed a different explanation, such as the farmer was fattening them up for slaughter, they would have extrapolated observations of his actions differently. In other words, how we form predictions depends on our underlying explanation. According to the benevolent-farmer theory, observations of being fed even more corn suggested the chickens were more likely to continue being fed, while the fattening-up theory suggested this same observation was an omen of imminent slaughter.


    So, again, unless you can explain how Cornelius could have extrapolated observations to conclude the "evolutionary model has failed as CH has specifically called out repeatedly" without first placing observations in an explanatory framework, then we're left with the fact that he indeed used an explanatory framework.

    The question is, which explanatory framework was it?

    Again, the mere lack of observations of earlier proteins cannot be extrapolated to conclude earlier proteins do not exist without a framework, such as "if God crated earlier proteins, then he's ensure they were somehow fossilized so we'd know the glory of his work."

    In the absence of such a framework, then a lack of observations of earlier proteins doesn't tell us anything in particular. This is what I meant when I said that observations are meaningless without an explanatory framework by which to extrapolate them with.

    Yet, here Cornelius is, implicitly claiming to have "debunked" evolution by mere observations alone - free of any sort explanatory framework.

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  131. Scott, CH said, "Therefore according to today’s science the evolution of even a single protein, by the evolutionist’s own reckoning, is unworkable."

    Scott, it's the evolutionists own framework that is unworkable according to their own reckoning.

    Either you

    A. Don't agree with how CH relayed the study, or
    B. You disagree with the evolutionary study itself.

    In this case the evolutionists are your Chickens. The day the chickens were put in cages, by their own reckoning they figured out that the food stopped and their previous theory of continuing food supply failed. They extrapolated the end of the food supply from the framework of their own cages.

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  132. Nic said...

    Wherein lays the lie, the bluster and the hand waving?


    Read any one of your posts, or any one of Tedford the Idiot's. You scientifically illiterate clowns do nothing but lie and bluster and hand-wave your way through every technical topic that comes up.

    Your empty rhetoric may get you brownie points with your pastor in vacation Bible school, but they're worth jack point squat in a scientific discussion.

    If I seem harsh it's because I've spent too many years trying to patiently correct self-righteous Bible humpers like you and Tedford when you start spreading your anti-science propaganda. My patient meter has bottomed out at zero.

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  133. Tedford the Idiot said...

    Either you

    A. Don't agree with how CH relayed the study, or
    B. You disagree with the evolutionary study itself.


    CH absolutely butchered his "understanding" of the study, and what the data means. Despite being corrected dozens of times, he still clings to his "10^70 make ToE impossible!" meme as blindly and as stupidly as you cling to your "sea squirts disprove evolution" one.

    The desperation in the two of you stinks up the whole room.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Thorton

    "Read any one of your posts, or any one of Tedford the Idiot's. You scientifically illiterate clowns do nothing but lie and bluster and hand-wave your way through every technical topic that comes up."

    I repeat my question, where be the lie?

    In your little world of delusion anyone who disagrees with you is a liar, is that how this works? If I'm lying, demonstrate it.

    There is only one person here who is nothing but hand waving and empty bluster - you.

    "If I seem harsh it's because I've spent too many years trying to patiently correct self-righteous Bible humpers like you and Tedford when you start spreading your anti-science propaganda. My patient meter has bottomed out at zero."

    You have spent nothing. You're posts are nothing but juvenile drivel and vacuous babble. If our posts are anti-science, demonstrate that fact. You can't, as all your little mind is capable of is name calling and insults. You're not harsh, you're just ignorant.

    And that would be patience meter, not patient.

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  135. Hahaha! Nic, you're a funny little clown!

    Is Tedford the Idiot paying you to be a yappy attack Chihuahua to distract from his own incompetence? Not working there puppy-boy. Try harder. Maybe answer a few questions about Intelligent Design:

    When was the original design done?

    Where was the design done?

    Was there more than one designer? If so, were they working at cross purposes?

    How was the manufacture / assembly of the product accomplished?

    Was the design and manufacture done separately or at the same time by the same entity?

    Where did the raw materials for the first design come from, and how were they gathered?

    Go ahead Nic, overwhelm us with your ID knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Neal -

    "I'm not arguing that the lottery commission nor the creator of the universe are magical beings."

    Let's be honest here: yes you are.

    Tjguy pointed to the Fine Tuning argument as supporting evidence for God. I was pointing out that it is no such thing.

    Incredibly unlikely things do happen. They happen every day. That does not give us reason to suppose there was a God who made such events inevitable. The fine-tuning argument is, basically, inherantly flawed.

    And what is essentially ironic is that it is used to prop up the most unlikely explanation of all - a God.

    "That you agree that lotto was designed illustrates the design point of view."

    No it doesn't.

    If I build a machine to generate numbers entirely randomly then (as long as I have built the machine correctly) the numbers will be the result of random chance.

    The design point of view advocates direct, deliberate intervention from a conscious agent. That would be the equivalent of a being (let's say an invisible fairy) directly picking the winning numbers. Whereas in reality, lottos are specifically designed to demonstrate the exact opposite influence - that of random chance alone.

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  137. Ritchie, said, "If I BUILD a machine to generate numbers entirely randomly then (as long as I have BUILT the machine correctly) the numbers will be the result of random chance...lottos are specifically DESIGNED to demonstrate the exact opposite influence - that of random chance alone"

    --

    You just can't get away from design in your examples. Your random systems aren't a free lunch that just pop into existence from non-existence. The generated random numbers are not a free gift from non-existence. It takes work, design and building to get your simple number generator running.

    How a random generator operates is a different discussion than the origin of the generator itself. So to with the origin of the universe and life.

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  138. Tedford the Idiot said...

    You just can't get away from design in your examples. Your random systems aren't a free lunch that just pop into existence from non-existence. The generated random numbers are not a free gift from non-existence. It takes work, design and building to get your simple number generator running.


    See Nic, that's a perfect example of why Tedford is an idiot.

    You show him a natural process like evolution with a random component and he screams "NOT RANDOM!! GAWD SET UP THE PROCESS WITH INTELLIGENCE!!". So you design an experiment to demonstrate the random part and he screams "NOT RANDOM!! MAN SET UP THE EXPERIMENT WITH INTELLIGENCE!!" Which is just as stupid as claiming if I write a hurricane simulation program on my computer, that shows that real hurricanes must be designed.

    Tedford is an idiot. He's impervious to reason, or logic, or scientific evidence.

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  139. Neal: Scott, CH said, "Therefore according to today’s science the evolution of even a single protein, by the evolutionist’s own reckoning, is unworkable."

    I know what Cornelius "said", Neal. However presenting anything but a misrepresentation of "evolutionist’s own reckoning" does not suit his agenda. That you can't tell the difference is exactly what Cornelius is depending on.

    Specifically, What I'm referring to is the "therefore" part, which represents Cornelius having extrapolated observations to conclude that evolution is unworkable.

    To reach this conclusion, Cornelius either had to (A) somehow manage to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework or (B) use some other explanatory framework which he has yet to disclose.

    Neal: Scott, it's the evolutionists own framework that is unworkable according to their own reckoning.

    But, as we've pointed out several times in this thread alone, he's NOT using the same framework.

    Again, evolutionary theory does not assume proteins evolved directly into modern day proteins. Nor do we assume that these particular proteins were pre-selected or the only ones capable of playing this role as a whole. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    Given that you've time and time again revealed that you do not understand evolutionary theory in the first place, it's no surprise that you cannot tell the difference.

    Cornelius is smuggling in his own explanatory framework. However, he does not explicitly disclose it because he thinks his target audience shares this same framework. As such, he thinks he can portray himself as "neutral". You might be buying it, but we're not.

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  140. Neal: A. Don't agree with how CH relayed the study, or
    B. You disagree with the evolutionary study itself.

    First, why do you keep trying to jumble up my arguments as if it's some sort of coherent response? Again, do you think we cannot see though this transparent attempt to avoid answering my question?

    Second, any observations found in the papers are meaningless unless they are extrapolated using an explanatory framework. So, before we even need to dive into the details of the paper, what's key here is determining what framework Cornelius used to extrapolate them.

    However, It's clear that Cornelius isn't using the underlying explanatory framework presented by evolutionary theory. Furthermore, whatever explanatory framework Cornelius *is* using, he's unwilling to disclose it.

    So, again, the question is, what explanatory framework did he use and what is his comprehensive and coherent criteria of using it?

    Until we resolve these issues we're not getting anywhere. All of the arguments you keep bringing up lead us back to this us back to these same questions. In their absence, we're again left with hand waving over a theory which he (and you) personally find objectionable.

    Neal: In this case the evolutionists are your Chickens. The day the chickens were put in cages, by their own reckoning they figured out that the food stopped and their previous theory of continuing food supply failed. They extrapolated the end of the food supply from the framework of their own cages.

    Gee Neal, if it wasn't obvious before, you've made it clear with your "reply" that you simply do not have a clue.

    Again, the point of the story is to illustrate it's a misconception that one could extrapolate observations without putting them into an explanatory framework. It's yet another myth.

    Without first employing an explanatory framework, such as the farmer held benevolent feelings for chickens, observations of being fed every day couldn't have lead them to any conclusions, let alone the false conclusion the farmer *would* continue to feed them in the future.

    Apparently, this went right over your head, you're bound and determine to remain ignorant or some combination of both.

    Of course, I again invite you to enlighten us as to how it's possible to extrapolate observations without first putting them into an explanatory framework. Let me guess, special communication from an supernatural being?

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  141. Neal: You just can't get away from design in your examples.

    No, Neal. It's you can't get away from yourself (a human being that exhibits intent and intelligence). This represents a significant lack of problem solving skills and self awareness. Furthermore, it's a perfect example of how observations are meaningless without an explanatory framework.

    What's the observation? Every time you've experienced something complex being created it was accompanied by the experience of intent and intelligence. Right?

    And what conclusion did you reach based on this observation? All complex things were created by intentional and intelligent agents.

    But observations of having experienced intelligence or intent, or lack there of, are meaningless without first putting them into an explanatory framework. Nor have you provided one. You've merely assumed this is the case based on induction.

    And as I've pointed out, induction is inadequate. As such, you conclusion is irrational.

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  142. For example, we lack observations of black holes. However, in the absence of a significant number of explanatory frameworks by which to extrapolate the lack of said observations, they are, in of themselves, meaningless with respect to determining if black holes exist.

    They tell us nothing, one way or the other.

    We explain our ability to see objects in that they either emit light or reflect light, which is made of photons. However, we do not see photons for what they really are. Rather we explain our ability to perceive things in that emitted or reflected photons are converted into electrical crackles by our retina, which we do not observe directly either, as these crackles are covered into our field of vision by our brains.

    We cannot prove any of these things are "True" with a capital T, by mere observations alone, because we do not observe anything directly. All observations are theory laden.

    Our current, best theories conclude that photons have momentum but not what we would normally consider mass. As such, you might ask, why would photons be effected by a black hole? One of these same theories (general relativity) indicates that mass warps the fabric of space-time itself. Due to its great mass, inside the event horizon of a back hole space-time is warped to the extreme that all paths lead to it's center.

    So, despite photons not having mass, they cannot escape the black hole. And if they cannot escape, then they cannot be detected by our eyes or other devices. As such, we do not conclude black holes do not exist merely because we have not observed one. Our explanatory frameworks lead us to concede we would not expect to see them.

    In other words, it's only though this long chain of explanations that observations of a black hole, or lack there of, have any meaning. Without them, observations tell us nothing either way. As such, mere observations alone are inadequate to determine if black holes exist.

    Anyone claiming the presence or lack of observations of anything, per se, is "scientific proof" that said thing does or does not exists is mistaken. They are actually employing some sort of explanatory framework to reach this conclusion, whether they realize it or not.

    Bringing this back around to the subject at hand, how could anyone have NOT experienced intent and intelligence when observing the creation of complex things? What framework are you using to reach this conclusion?

    Obviously, human beings are intelligent agents that exhibits intent. As such, we cannot experience anything without the accompaniment of intelligence or intent. It's inescapable, right? We cannot choose to observe anything without exhibiting intent. Nor could anyone choose to setup an experiment without exhibiting intent.

    So, under what circumstance would you expect to ever observe something complex being created *without* the accompaniment of intelligence or intent? What framework are you using?

    Specifically, if our explanatory frameworks lead us to conclude the presence of such an experience is unavoidable because we ourselves are intelligent agents, then the presence intelligence and intent, or lack there of, is inadequate to determine whether complex things can be created in their absence.

    Just as our frameworks lead us to conclude we could never expect to observe a black hole, so the absence of observing one does not mean black holes do not exist, our frameworks lead us to conclude we could never experience anything having been created without the accompaniment of intent or intelligence, because we ourselves are intelligent and intuitional beings. As such, the fact that we always experience intelligence and intent does not mean the creation of complex things is impossible without them.

    This simply does not follow.

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  143. Ritchie,

    "Incredibly unlikely things do happen. They happen every day. That does not give us reason to suppose there was a God who made such events inevitable. The fine-tuning argument is, basically, inherantly (sic) flawed."

    You're right, incredibly unlikely things do happen. However, the fact that they do on occasion happen, is not sufficient to explain entities as massive and complex as the universe. To build such entities as the universe would require incredibly unlikely occurrences to take on the status of extremely likely occurrences.

    Incredibly unlikely occurrences will not result in extremely fine tuned universes, no matter how much wishful thinking is applied. And make no mistake, relying on this as an explanation for the existence of the universe and all it contains is wishful thinking in the extreme.

    It is true a machine may be designed to produce numbers at random, but Tedford is right, it must be designed to do so. The irony here is that the production of a random sequence of numbers for a lottery draw requires the nonrandom design of a machine to facilitate that randomness. That being the case, it is indeed a perversion of logic to argue fine tuning can come about by random forces.

    The fact is the production of random sequences will never build anything, as randomness has a nasty habit of destroying anything it might have produced as quickly as it produced it.

    So, on the contrary, the fine tuning argument for the existence of intelligent involvement in the origin of the universe is not as flawed as you would believe. It is in fact, a sound logical conclusion reached through the observation of the evidence before us.

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  144. Nic said...

    The fact is the production of random sequences will never build anything, as randomness has a nasty habit of destroying anything it might have produced as quickly as it produced it.


    Good thing then that no one in science says or thinks that random sequences alone build anything.

    What builds things is the iterative process of random genetic changes (random with respect to the effect on reproductive fitness) in each generation, filtered by selection, and present in a population carrying forward heritable traits that accumulate the favorable changes.

    The process alone following the simple feedback rules has been empirically demonstrated to create novel complex features. There's a whole productive field of technology - genetic algorithms - based on it.

    Nic, if the best you can do is the stupid Creationist argument "randomness can't create stuff" you might as well put on Tedford's 'IDIOT' cap right now.

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  145. Nic: It is true a machine may be designed to produce numbers at random, but Tedford is right, it must be designed to do so.

    No, Nic, you must experience intent and intelligence because human beings have the attributes of intelligence and intent.

    More specifically, why would you expect to NOT experience intent and intelligence when deciding to observe anything in particular or set up any particular sort of experiment? How could you possibly avoid doing so?

    To use another example, every time I've experience observing something that exists, it's was accompanied with having experiencing breathing at some regular interval. However, mere observations of me breathing while observing something tells us nothing about the existence of other things without putting those observations into an explanatory framework.

    Why would anyone NOT expect to experience breathing while observing something? How could you do otherwise? Human beings need air to live. And if we're not alive, we cannot observe anything. Right?

    Yet, we do not conclude that objects would suddenly cease to exists if everyone stopped
    breathing, do we?

    Why not? Because we've extrapolated the observations in question using a long chain of explanatory frameworks. Among others, while breathing is necessary for us to be alive, and it's necessary for us to be alive to observe things that exist, this doesn't necessarily mean that breathing is necessary for anything to exist.

    We cannot choose to setup an experiment without using intent and intelligent any more than we could somehow setup an experiment without breathing at regular intervals. Just because they are necessary for *us* as sentient beings that require air, this doesn't mean ether intent and intelligent or breathing are necessary for the creation of complex things.

    Again, this simply does not follow.

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  146. I haven't been reading the comments here lately but I have a question for the ID pushers.

    According to ScottAndrews2, on UD:

    "ID does not even require a miracle."

    Other IDiots have claimed that at times too. So, can any of you IDiots explain how ID has occurred or can occur in nature without a miracle or a series of miracles?

    And since IDiots claim that a god is the creator and designer of the universe and everything in it (at least when they're not contradicting themselves) let's stick with these for a definition of miracle:

    An effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.

    Such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.

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  147. Neal -

    "You just can't get away from design in your examples. Your random systems aren't a free lunch that just pop into existence from non-existence. The generated random numbers are not a free gift from non-existence. It takes work, design and building to get your simple number generator running."

    Such is the necessity of experimentation!

    The outcome of a lotto draw is a sequence of numbers? What forces selected those numbers out of all the possible ones? Random chance. No intelligent agents interfering, no conscious beings making the end result inevitable, no fine-tuning to even the odds.

    A lotto win is the result of chance. Not interference. If it were otherwise then I'm sure the people that set up the lotto would rig it so that they won all the time!

    "How a random generator operates is a different discussion than the origin of the generator itself. So to with the origin of the universe and life."

    It was not me who introduced this topic, it was Tjguy who claimed the fine-tuning argument was evidence for the existence of God. A position which you seem to be defending. But as I am trying o explain, it is entirely fallacious.

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  148. Richie
    Because all the ID crowd seem to have come up with is 'It LOOKS designed' which cuts as much ice as a chocolate knife.


    Sorry for the off topic but Is it the lack of ice cutting ability of the chocolate knife or just the inability of a chocolate knife to cut anything?

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  149. Nic -

    "You're right, incredibly unlikely things do happen. However, the fact that they do on occasion happen, is not sufficient to explain entities as massive and complex as the universe."

    Yes it is. You can put absolutely anything at all down to blind random chance. It is known in science as a null hypothesis, and it is against this scientists test their hypotheses to see if they can discover causes.

    "To build such entities as the universe would require incredibly unlikely occurrences to take on the status of extremely likely occurrences."

    No it wouldn't. That is nonsensical. Why would it rely on unlikely events becoming likely? All would require is unlikely events happening! And unlikely events DO happen - they happen all the time!

    On a related note, how do you calculate the likelihood of the universe, I wonder? Stephen Hawking, one of the world's most eminent living astrophysicists, believes the universe was an inevitable product given the laws of physics (as he argues in The Grand Design).

    "Incredibly unlikely occurrences will not result in extremely fine tuned universes,"

    Why not?

    "And make no mistake, relying on this as an explanation for the existence of the universe and all it contains is wishful thinking in the extreme."

    You seem to be confused. I am not the one who claims to know the cause of the universe. As far as I am concerned the origin of the universe is a mystery, and that is all an honest person can claim about it until more evidence surfaces which sheds light on it.

    Tjguy is the one claiming that he has an explanation for the universe, and it is an entirely hypothetical one at that. He is merely using God of the Gaps logic: taking a mystery and claiming that because random chance is 'unlikely', God is therefore a more likely answer.

    Which is a position I find deliciously ironic, considering God, as a proposed explanation, must be even LESS likely than random chance.

    "It is true a machine may be designed to produce numbers at random, but Tedford is right, it must be designed to do so. The irony here is that the production of a random sequence of numbers for a lottery draw requires the nonrandom design of a machine to facilitate that randomness. That being the case, it is indeed a perversion of logic to argue fine tuning can come about by random forces."

    It is not. You simply don't understand it - I suspect because you don't want to. You choose your lotto numbers. The machine selects several random numbers. If those numbers match up, it is not the result of anything other than random chance.

    You choose your (in the UK) 6 numbers. 6 numbers then get selected by the machine as this week's official winning numbers. All numbers stand an equal chance of being a winning number. Therefore any selection of 6 numbers stands as good a chance of being the winning numbers as any other. And since all sequences are equally likely, it is random chance alone if your numbers match the winning numbers. The odds of that actually happening are staggeringly small. And yet, most weeks, someone beats those odds. For someone, an incredibly unlikely event comes to pass. And the fact that it does does not give that winner sound reason to attribute their win to the intervention of luck, God, or any other divine or magic forces. Random chance alone is absolutely enough to justify events as unlikely as a lotto win - and much more so.

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  150. velikovskys -

    "Sorry for the off topic but Is it the lack of ice cutting ability of the chocolate knife or just the inability of a chocolate knife to cut anything?"

    I would say the former, since I imagine a chocolate knife would be able to cut SOME things. Warm butter, for instance...

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  151. Ritchie, velikovsky

    Now totaly off topic.

    We would never know if chocolate knife can cut ice. It wouldn't do anything because I would eat it.

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  152. Ritchie, the lottery number generator is an intelligently designed system (fine tuned). The "system" was designed for generating random numbers based on an algorithm. What you illustrated repeatedly is that you need a designed system to generate random numbers. Our universe is inomparably more complex than a simple number generator. To use a designed number generator to make your argument for an undesigned universe is illogical.

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  153. Tedford said...

    Ritchie, the lottery number generator is an intelligently designed system (fine tuned). The "system" was designed for generating random numbers based on an algorithm. What you illustrated repeatedly is that you need a designed system to generate random numbers.


    No you don't you idiot. There are any number of naturally occurring processes that occur completely randomly, such as the decay of individual atoms from a decaying radioactive source, or the noise spikes in an electrical signal. You can even use things as simple as the occurrence of bubbles in a pool of molten lava.

    The above instances have all been used as sources of random numbers BTW. All you need to do for true randomness is record the phenomena, not generate them.

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  154. The numbers on lottery cards that people buy may be generated by an "algorithm" but the winning numbers are often (if not always, for big money prizes) arrived at by blowing a bunch of balls with numbers on them around and around in a chamber and one at a time is randomly pushed up a chute.

    Also, think of how a lot of drawings/raffles are done. All the entries are put in a hat or a bowl and someone blindly reaches in and pulls one of the entries out. NO algorithms are used to draw the winning entry.

    Winning scratch off tickets are also random. Even though the person scratching off the tickets deliberately chooses which parts to scratch off, the chances of them scratching off the winning numbers are random.

    And why do IDiots keep using the totally lame argument about the so-called fine tuning of the universe? What is so fine tuned about the universe?

    You IDiots make it sound as though absolutely everything in the entire universe is fine tuned for human life. The Earth isn't even fine tuned for human life or any other life forms. Pretty much everything is killing or trying to kill pretty much everything else, and nothing lives forever.

    If you IDiots really believe that the universe, or even just the Earth, is fine tuned for human life, why don't you jump into an active volcano, or go deep sea diving without an air tank, or hike the Rockies naked in mid-winter, or stand naked in the middle of a raging forest fire, or walk across the Sahara without supplies, or fly to Jupiter by flapping your arms and walk around there without a space suit, or go to another galaxy without a space ship, and see how long you survive?

    If anything in nature was fine tuned for humans, we would never get sick, never be injured, would live forever, and would be able to go anywhere in the universe or on Earth, and easily survive, without anything but our naked bodies.

    We, and every other life form on this planet, are organisms that have ADAPTED to SOME environments, and like many other organisms we have, in some cases, modified (fine tuned) SOME environments to suit our needs or desires. Unfortunately, we humans are also really adept at destroying the environment, for us and everything else.

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  155. Evolutionists site lottery scratch off tickets, raffles and power ball lottos (all of which are intelligently designed) to argue for a universe that's not designed. Even the agents doing the selecting are intelligent beings and the process of receiving the winnings are an intelligent process.

    Whole truth said, "If anything in nature was fine tuned for humans, we would never get sick..."

    Using that logic computers would never fail and million dollar sports cars would never break down or need an oil change. For the evolutionist the only test for design is if something functions perfectly and forever... however, they would probably find fault with that too.

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  156. Excellent points, the whole truth. The vast (and I do mean VAST) majority of the universe is NOT suitable for life (as we know it, anyway). We humans cannot even survive in all environments on this indescribably tiny spec of a planet in an ocean of inhospitable space.

    Moreover, the fine-tuning argument reminds me of an analogy made by Douglas Adams of the sentient puddle, who reflects that the hole in which it sits exactly fits its shape. This is far too much of a coincidence to have been brought about by random chance, so it concluded the hole must have been deliberately, consciously made with the puddle in mind.

    The point the puddle obviously misses is that the world was not crafted to suit him - instead it is he that has been shaped by the world. And the same logic escapes those who use the fine-tuning argument. The river was not designed to accommodate the fish; the fish became suited to life in the river. The wood was not designed to accommodate the badger; the badger became suited to life in the wood. The world/universe was not created to accommodate we Earthlings/humans; we Earthlings/humans became suited to living in this world/universe.

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  157. Neal -

    "Evolutionists site lottery scratch off tickets, raffles and power ball lottos (all of which are intelligently designed) to argue for a universe that's not designed."

    No, we are using them as examples of hugely unlikely events which nevertheless happen guided by nothing but random chance. Which they are.

    Let me ask you this question - imagine one week you play a lotto and you win. I don't know if the US lotto is different from the UK one, but in the UK you choose 6 numbers between 1 and 49. This means the chances of winning the jackpot are just under 1 in 14 million.

    To what do you attribute your win? How do you account for the fact that an event occurred with odds of 14,000,000 to 1?

    "Whole truth said, "If anything in nature was fine tuned for humans, we would never get sick..."

    Using that logic computers would never fail and million dollar sports cars would never break down or need an oil change."

    Not true. A crucial point here is that cars are built by fallible and limited beings. Yet religious types generally insist their God does not possess these qualities.

    With this is mind, how can it be argued that the universe displays evidence of being 'finely tuned to suit life' when the phenomenally vast majority of it is not?

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  158. Ritchie,

    "No it wouldn't. That is nonsensical. Why would it rely on unlikely events becoming likely? All would require is unlikely events happening! And unlikely events DO happen - they happen all the time!"

    Ritchie, think this argument through. Unlikely occurrences do happen, but not all the time and they are not sequential in nature or even related to one another. If they did and they were they would not be considered unlikely occurrences.

    Some of the most simple things in the world such as a brick wall or a paved road or Thorton for that matter (couldn't resist), don't come about as a result of a sequence of unlikely events. They must be designed and constructed. To argue for the existence of a finely tuned universe from a random sequence of unrelated and highly unlikely events is simply nonsensical in the extreme.


    "It is not. You simply don't understand it - I suspect because you don't want to. You choose your lotto numbers. The machine selects several random numbers. If those numbers match up, it is not the result of anything other than random chance."

    You're right as far as your argument goes. However, in a lottery parameters are set which control the events which occur, such as a limited numbers of numbers to choose from and a limited numbers required to be drawn, and those not in sequence. These factors are in truth designed parameters controlling the 'randomness' of the event.


    "On a related note, how do you calculate the likelihood of the universe, I wonder? Stephen Hawking, one of the world's most eminent living astrophysicists, believes the universe was an inevitable product given the laws of physics (as he argues in The Grand Design)."

    I'm afraid I'm not a big fan of Hawking. Many of his arguments are more philosophical than scientific and as a philosopher he is a total dud. It's all fine and well to claim the universe would come about because of the laws of physics if you don't intend to explain the origin of these laws outside the universe. Hawking is not the genius he's made out to be.


    "Tjguy..., He is merely using God of the Gaps logic:"

    The 'God of the gaps' argument is probably the most pathetic response anyone has ever come up with. It presumes an explanation of a phenomenon; ie, how it occurs; is equal to an explanation of the source of that phenomenon. That is simply not the case. So, explaining how something works does not remove God from the equation.


    "Which is a position I find deliciously ironic, considering God, as a proposed explanation, must be even LESS likely than random chance."

    Only if you're working from the assumption that God must have a source, and that source must also have a source, ad infinitum.

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  159. Scott,

    "No, Nic, you must experience intent and intelligence because human beings have the attributes of intelligence and intent.

    More specifically, why would you expect to NOT experience intent and intelligence when deciding to observe anything in particular or set up any particular sort of experiment? How could you possibly avoid doing so?

    To use another example, every time I've experience observing something that exists, it's was accompanied with having experiencing breathing at some regular interval. However, mere observations of me breathing while observing something tells us nothing about the existence of other things without putting those observations into an explanatory framework.

    Why would anyone NOT expect to experience breathing while observing something? How could you do otherwise? Human beings need air to live. And if we're not alive, we cannot observe anything. Right?

    Yet, we do not conclude that objects would suddenly cease to exists if everyone stopped
    breathing, do we?

    Why not? Because we've extrapolated the observations in question using a long chain of explanatory frameworks. Among others, while breathing is necessary for us to be alive, and it's necessary for us to be alive to observe things that exist, this doesn't necessarily mean that breathing is necessary for anything to exist.

    We cannot choose to setup an experiment without using intent and intelligent any more than we could somehow setup an experiment without breathing at regular intervals. Just because they are necessary for *us* as sentient beings that require air, this doesn't mean ether intent and intelligent or breathing are necessary for the creation of complex things.

    Again, this simply does not follow."


    And this rant proves a machine to generate random numbers need not be designed how?

    How about you provide us with an example of a created, complex entity of any kind which is not the result of intent or intelligence. It is simply not sufficient to assert this could happen, you must have some form of evidence to support the claim.

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  160. Nic -

    "Unlikely occurrences do happen, but not all the time and they are not sequential in nature or even related to one another."

    Okay. But I'm not claiming that they are.

    "To argue for the existence of a finely tuned universe from a random sequence of unrelated and highly unlikely events is simply nonsensical in the extreme."

    For one thing, I do not think the universe is finely-tuned at all. Finely tuned for what? Life? How can you think it is when the VAST (and I cannot overemphasise the VAST here) majority of it is totally inhospitable to life?

    For another, I am not imagining a huge chain of connected unlikely events. I don't really understand why you think that I am. What are these unlikely events you think I am proposing?

    "However, in a lottery parameters are set which control the events which occur, such as a limited numbers of numbers to choose from and a limited numbers required to be drawn, and those not in sequence."

    True. And that is why winning the lotto only has odds of 14,000,000 to 1. If the parameters of the lotto were not controlled then a jackpot would be even MORE unlikely.

    But don't let that distract you from my point. Within the confines of the lotto, random chance alone is enough to account for an event with odds of 14,000,000 to 1. And yet according to the fine-tuning argument, that is unacceptable. Such highly unlikely odds surely mean there must have been some sort of force at work making a win more likely/inevitable.

    "I'm afraid I'm not a big fan of Hawking."

    I'm shocked.

    "Many of his arguments are more philosophical than scientific..."

    Are they?

    "...and as a philosopher he is a total dud."

    Is he? This wouldn't have anything at all to do with him not seeing the necessity of a creator, would it?

    "It's all fine and well to claim the universe would come about because of the laws of physics if you don't intend to explain the origin of these laws outside the universe."

    Have you actually read The Grand Design?

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  161. Nic (cont)

    "The 'God of the gaps' argument is probably the most pathetic response anyone has ever come up with."

    Well, we agree there then.

    "It presumes an explanation of a phenomenon; ie, how it occurs; is equal to an explanation of the source of that phenomenon. That is simply not the case. So, explaining how something works does not remove God from the equation."

    Let me get this straight: you are saying that just because we find an explanation for a phenomenon, that doesn't mean the SOURCE of that phenomenon wasn't God? In other words, even if we discover the answer, that still doesn't stop you claiming that God is the answer anyway...?

    Allow me to present the fallacy of the God of the Gaps argument: when you are faced with a mystery, the only rational, reasonable, scientific thing you can say about it is that it is a mystery. You can then work to gather data and evidence and try to solve that mystery. But at the moment you just don't know enough about it to solve it.

    Now imagine someone merely guesses. "The answer is the magic fairy. She did it," they say. And when asked to back up that claim, they merely reply "You can't prove she DIDN'T..."

    While the person is technically correct, they are being irrational. If something is a mystery then there is an almost infinite number of POSSIBLE explanations that we cannot DISPROVE. That does not rationally justify us merely picking one we WANT to believe and using it as a default explanation.

    This is often the case we face with religious believers insisting that God is the creator of the universe. There is absolutely no evidence of this - and in fact absolutely no evidence that such a being exists at all. When asked for evidence what we usually get is "Well how ELSE could it have happened?" Well if we are happy to accept totally unevidenced hypotheses then there is a limitless number of possible explanations: maybe a fairy did it, or the Devil, or maybe the universe was blasted out of the bottom of the giant space-elephant... Who knows?

    No-one does! Because it's a mystery! That's all a reasonable person can say. And using God as a catch-all default answer is just lazy and illogical wishful thinking.

    "Only if you're working from the assumption that God must have a source, and that source must also have a source, ad infinitum."

    No, I assume nothing about God's 'source'. I merely assume His existence - a proposal you yourself are advocating.

    Consider this: this universe is very complex. Therefore it's existence is very unlikely. God - or any being capable of deliberately, consciously designing and creating the universe - must be even MORE complex. Therefore His existence is even more unlikely. Therefore, for absolutely any mystery, the likelihood of God being the answer MUST ALWAYS be less than that of any natural explanation - including random chance.

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  162. Ritchie

    "Consider this: this universe is very complex. Therefore it's existence is very unlikely. God - or any being capable of deliberately, consciously designing and creating the universe - must be even MORE complex. Therefore His existence is even more unlikely"

    You got my attention there for a while and then you pull Dawkins ex machina!
    I wonder if he would present that idea in front of Craig if he didn't chicken out. bok bok

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  163. Nic said...

    Some of the most simple things in the world such as a brick wall or a paved road or Thorton for that matter (couldn't resist), don't come about as a result of a sequence of unlikely events. They must be designed and constructed.


    Wow Nic, that's deep. Designed things must be designed. Bet it took you the better part of a year to figure out that one.

    To argue for the existence of a finely tuned universe from a random sequence of unrelated and highly unlikely events is simply nonsensical in the extreme.

    Er Nic, life as we know it evolved to fit the parameters of one infinitesimally small corner of this universe, not the other way around. That Tedford IDIOT cap fits you far too well buddy.

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  164. Ritchie,

    "For another, I am not imagining a huge chain of connected unlikely events. I don't really understand why you think that I am. What are these unlikely events you think I am proposing?"

    Well you're not going to get an entity as complex as a universe from a series of highly unlikely events unless the are somehow connected.


    "True. And that is why winning the lotto only has odds of 14,000,000 to 1. If the parameters of the lotto were not controlled then a jackpot would be even MORE unlikely."

    Which only supports our argument, not yours.


    "Is he? This wouldn't have anything at all to do with him not seeing the necessity of a creator, would it?"

    No, it would have to do with him presenting lousy philosophical arguments.


    "Let me get this straight: you are saying that just because we find an explanation for a phenomenon, that doesn't mean the SOURCE of that phenomenon wasn't God? In other words, even if we discover the answer, that still doesn't stop you claiming that God is the answer anyway...?"

    It's obvious you do not understand what I said. Discovering HOW some phenomenon works does NOT explain the origin of said phenomenon. Why is it assumed that God wishes to keep everything a secret? HOW something works is not an explanation of its origin. Those are totally different questions.


    "Consider this: this universe is very complex. Therefore it's existence is very unlikely. God - or any being capable of deliberately, consciously designing and creating the universe - must be even MORE complex. Therefore His existence is even more unlikely. Therefore, for absolutely any mystery, the likelihood of God being the answer MUST ALWAYS be less than that of any natural explanation - including random chance."

    This is simply Dawkins argument and Dawkins is even more of a failure at philosophical thought than is Hawking.

    Why must God be more complex than his creation?

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  165. Nic: So, explaining how something works does not remove God from the equation.

    The lack of an explanation of how something works does not *put* God into the equation by default.

    Nic: And this rant proves a machine to generate random numbers need not be designed how?

    My comment was designed to illustrate the sort of underlying fallacious reasoning you're using.

    The symbols we use for number are designed. The specific number system used in lotteries, base 10, was designed. The balls used in mechanism was designed, etc. However, all of these things adapt a randomness we did not design to suit our particular intentionally selected goals. In their absence, the existing randomness is not well adapted to identify a specific winner out of a pool of lottery players.

    Anytime we get involved, at all, then we will experience the accompaniment of intelligence and intent because we are intentional and intelligent beings. This is unescapable as intent and intelligence are the "lens" by which we observe everything.

    As such, it's unclear how you'd expect anything we observe to not be accompanied somehow by intelligence and intent.

    And if intelligence and intent is always present, then it's inadequate to be used as a indicator if something was intentionally and intelligently designed.

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  166. Neal: What you illustrated repeatedly is that you need a designed system to generate random numbers.

    For the sake of argument, let's assume the method you claim to justify this conclusion (induction) is adequate, in that intelligence and intent is necessary to create complex things, such as random number generators, merely because every time we've observed the creation of complex things, it was accompanied by intelligence and intent.

    However, I'd also point out that every time we've observed intelligence and intent, it's also been accompanied by some sort of material nervous system. And in the case of the creation of extremely complex things, like computers, it's always accompanied by the complex nervous system of a material human brain.

    As such, if you assume that mere observations alone are adequate to justify conclusions, as you claim, you should also conclude a complex material brain is necessary to design complex things, like living cells. After all, the accompaniment of a complex nervous system is precisely what we observed over and over again, right?

    Yet, I'm guessing this isn't the case. If you did, this would exclude God as a creator of complex things as he supposedly has always existed, even before the entire material universe, let alone brains, ever existed. And this would conflict with your personal theological views.

    As such, it would seem your merely think you use induction to justify conclusions, or disingenuously portray yourself as doing so. However, this is yet another misconception you hold or present, as you do not actually use induction in practice.

    Of course, if you're not using induction, as you claim, the question becomes, exactly how *do* you justify conclusions in practice? Or do you think it's just "magic" like the rest of God's handwork, so the details are irrelevant?

    Again, unless you conclude that God couldn't have created complex things because he lacks a material brain, you yourself have provided a concrete example of how induction is inadequate to justify conclusions. All I've done here is bring it to your attention.

    This leads us back to the question of how it's even possible to extrapolate observations without placing them into an explanatory framework. On one had you suggest this is indeed possible, yet your own response to observations indicates otherwise.

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  167. Nic,

    Perhaps you can enlighten us as to how the knowledge of how to build each species, as found in the genome, was created?

    Saying a being was "just there", complete with the knowledge of how to build each species already present serves no explanatory purpose. This is because one could more simply state each species "just appeared", complete with this same knowledge already present in it's DNA.

    All you've done is push the problem into some unexplainable "mind" that exists in some unexplainable realm.

    It's as if you've pushed the food around on your plate, then claimed to have ate it. Yet it's still sitting there, staring you in the face.

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  168. Eugen -

    "You got my attention there for a while and then you pull Dawkins ex machina!
    I wonder if he would present that idea in front of Craig if he didn't chicken out. bok bok"

    Please! Dawkins picks five bigger people than Craig out of his teeth for breakfast!

    If your refutation is 'Dawkins say it, therefore it's wrong', then that is still a logic-fail. If you think it is flawed, explain how.

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  169. Nic, I had a bit of a laugh reading the comments from evolutionists here saying "How can you think it is when the VAST (and I cannot overemphasise the VAST here) majority of it is totally inhospitable to life?"

    --

    It's just par for the course as far as accommodating whatever is found to their agenda. Evolutionists in the past have loved the term "mediocrity principle" because the earth just orbits an average star and isn't special... so life should exist in many places elsewhere because of evolution doing its thing repeatedly.

    So it's funny that evolutionists here use a rare earth to argue against fine tuning.

    For the evolutionist it sounds like they will only accept an all powerful creator that is only allowed to create things that never fail or break or become unhappy. That other purposes may be a work is not allowed by default. Their narrow thinking would give a cockroach claustrophobia.

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  170. Ritchie said, "Please! Dawkins picks five bigger people than Craig out of his teeth for breakfast!"

    Yes he prefers to argue with the people on the back of a cereal box than actually debate Craig at Oxford.

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  171. Scott perhaps you would like to enlighten us on "how the knowledge of how to build each species, as found in the genome, was created", given that evolutionists and biologists in general do not know how genotypes generate phenotypes. Lay it out for the world to see and you may get a Nobel prize.

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  172. Nic -

    "Well you're not going to get an entity as complex as a universe from a series of highly unlikely events unless the are somehow connected."

    You are missing my question. I asked what highly unlikely events. You are being evasive.

    I am merely postulating the Big Bang which, if we are honest, is just a mystery. From then on, the formation of the features inside the universe (planets, stars, etc) is not unlikely at all.

    Unless, as I suspect, you are talking about the odds of the universe panning out to be exactly the way it is. But that is fallacious too.

    Consider your birth. The contribution of seamen which contained you as a sperm contained 600,000,000 other sperms. So from the moment of your parents' union the odds of your being born were 600,000,000 to 1. Less actually, since there was no guarantee that ANY of those sperms would reach the egg. But let's go with 600,000,000 to 1.

    Of course, this relies on both your parents being exactly the people that they were. And each of them has odds of 600,000,000 to 1 odds of being born too. Add in the odds of them meeting and having sex at exactly the right time to concieve you and the odds against your birth are beyond staggering. And it relies on a string of highly unlikely events. And that is only going as far back as your parents. We can go further with grandparents, great-grandparents, etc, each making your birth many orders of magnitude less likely.

    The error is to think you are an inevitable end product. The odds that your parents would grow up to meet and have children with ANYONE AT ALL - not necessarily each other - are not bad. They are perfectly reasonable. It just so happened that you were the result.

    In the same way, the universe did not have to turn out the way it did. The current state of the universe was never inevitable. It's just that it has happened to turn out this way. It had to turn out SOME way.

    Unless, of course, you imagine that God/angels intervened to make your birth inevitable...?

    "Which only supports our argument, not yours."

    I really don't see how. Pointing out that the lotto is a construct does not less the 14,000,000 to 1 odds. You still need to account for a 14,000,000 to 1 event happening as a result of nothing other than random chance.

    "No, it would have to do with him presenting lousy philosophical arguments."

    Such as...?

    "It's obvious you do not understand what I said. Discovering HOW some phenomenon works does NOT explain the origin of said phenomenon."

    You mean the ULTIMATE origin? You are talking about everything being a chain of causes right back to the Big Bang? Or in a more immediate sense? Perhaps an example would help...

    "This is simply Dawkins argument and Dawkins is even more of a failure at philosophical thought than is Hawking."

    Same logic-fail as Eugen. You do not point out an argument is wrong simply by pointing out someone you disapprove of advocates it. That is the expert fallacy in reverse. If you think an argument is wrong you need to show how is it so.

    "Why must God be more complex than his creation?"

    Because any mind capable of designing something must be capable of concieving it and then constructing it. The product must be within the limits of its imagination to concieve of.

    Besides, are you genuinely arguing that God is NOT more complex than the universe? Is He not infinite in every way?

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  173. Neal -

    "...so life should exist in many places elsewhere because of evolution doing its thing repeatedly."

    Who here has honestly actually said so? Stop using strawmen!

    "For the evolutionist it sounds like they will only accept an all powerful creator that is only allowed to create things that never fail or break or become unhappy. That other purposes may be a work is not allowed by default."

    The fine-tuning argument rests on the universe showing signs of fine-tuning. Yet quite clearly it does not.

    "Yes he prefers to argue with the people on the back of a cereal box than actually debate Craig at Oxford."

    Dawkins has publically debated an archbishop of York, two archbishops of Canterbury, many bishops and the chief rabbi. He has been a professor at Oxford for several decades and continues to be a prolific academic with credentials coming out of his ears. He has nothing to prove. Craig, meanwhile, is a philosopher whose output has been rather pointedly small. He seems to do little more than preach, and try to work out (flawed) arguments for a belief in God. That is, when he isn't making a song and dance about how Dawkins won't debate him or saying it's absolutely fine to murder babies!

    I'm sure Stephen Hawking would turn down in invitation to debate me on astrophysics. Doesn't mean he's scared of me.

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  174. Ritchie,

    "My comment was designed to illustrate the sort of underlying fallacious reasoning you're using."

    To accomplish that you must somehow prove my reasoning was fallacious. That rant didn't even come close. Demonstrate a complex entity which came about independent from intent and intelligence and you may start to get somewhere. Until then you're only spewing vacuous assertions.



    "The symbols we use for number (sic) are designed. The specific number system used in lotteries, base 10, was designed. The balls used in mechanism was designed (sic), etc. However, all of these things adapt a randomness we did not design to suit our particular intentionally selected goals. In their absence, the existing randomness is not well adapted to identify a specific winner out of a pool of lottery players."

    The components which make up the mechanism adapt nothing as it has no way by which to adapt. The randomness of the mechanism is exactly what the designer intended, its random nature could not exist unless it was programmed into the mechanism. The set goal WAS randomness and therefore a specific intent was realized in the design. The selection of a specific winner of the lottery is not a requirement of the design argument. Where do you come up with this nonsense?



    "Anytime we get involved, at all, then we will experience the accompaniment of intelligence and intent because we are intentional and intelligent beings. This is unescapable (sic) as intent and intelligence are the "lens" by which we observe everything."


    It is not our involvement which results in the existence of intent and intelligence, those factors are there independent of our involvement. It is because we possess intent and intelligence that we are able to perceive it. As such we are also capable of determining when something is not the result of intent and intelligence. Following your line of reasoning we should perceive intent and intelligence in everything we experience including a landslide. That is palpable nonsense.

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  175. Neal: Scott perhaps you would like to enlighten us on "how the knowledge of how to build each species, as found in the genome, was created", given that evolutionists and biologists in general do not know how genotypes generate phenotypes. Lay it out for the world to see and you may get a Nobel prize.

    Neal,

    You're confusing exhaustive knowledge of how genotypes generate phenotypes with an explanation of how the knowledge found in the genome was was created.

    For example, computers contain the knowledge of how to process program instructions. We explain the creation of this knowledge in that we used conjecture to form theories, which were then tested by observations. Those theories with errors were then discarded. What remained was embedded into CPUs.

    You do not need to have exhaustive knowledge of how computers actually execute instructions to have an explanation for how this knowledge, now found in computers, was originally created by scientists.

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  176. Ritchie,


    "I am merely postulating the Big Bang which, if we are honest, is just a mystery. From then on, the formation of the features inside the universe (planets, stars, etc) is not unlikely at all."

    Not only is the bang a mystery, it's pure speculation. As for the formation of planets, stars, etc., being not unlikely after the speculative big bang, this too is purely speculative. On what basis can you argue for the likelihood of order coming out of chaos? To me the only way you can do this is by adopting Hawking's philosophy which assumes the laws of physics existing independently of the universe, which they must if they are to be used to explain the origin of the universe. This is a position which you cannot possibly demonstrate and as such is nothing more than a faith based belief.


    "Consider your birth."

    I think you had better do a little more research on conception and statistical analysis. I'm sorry, this example is simply laughable. It bears no relationship at all to the formation of the universe.


    "Such as...?"

    Such as the universe being inevitable due to the laws of physics. This is a philosophical argument, not a scientific argument as observation, testability and repeatability are not possible as required to qualify as science.


    "You mean the ULTIMATE origin? You are talking about everything being a chain of causes right back to the Big Bang? Or in a more immediate sense? Perhaps an example would help..."

    No, I am not talking about the ultimate origin of everything or a continual chain of receding events. I'm talking about understanding things as simple as thunder and lightning. Understanding what causes these phenomena does not tell us how the factors which create them came into existence.



    "If you think an argument is wrong you need to show how is it so."

    For example, Dawkins often uses the infinite regression argument by arguing that God must have a cause, and that cause must have its own cause, ad infinitum. Such nonsense is seen as such by anyone with even a basic grasp of logic. The fact that Dawkins continually uses this argument demonstrates his incredibly poor grasp of philosophical constructs.

    University of Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga said of Dawkins;

    "You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class."


    The bottom line on Dawkins is simple, he is a painfully poor logician and philosopher and he is deathly afraid to confront someone like Craig as he knows he would be thoroughly humiliated. His cowardice is being noted even by fellow atheists, Daniel Came, to name one.



    "Because any mind capable of designing something must be capable of concieving it and then constructing it. The product must be within the limits of its imagination to concieve of.

    Besides, are you genuinely arguing that God is NOT more complex than the universe? Is He not infinite in every way?"

    You're functioning on the assumption God is a material being, why? I believe God is pure spirit and therefore is not complex in the same nature as his creation is complex.

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  177. Nic: The components which make up the mechanism adapt nothing as it has no way by which to adapt.

    Huh? We perform the adaptation. We created the knowledge of how to adapt the existing randomness to our goals. And we have an explanation as to how that knowledge was created.

    To provide another example, atomic clocks use the microwave signal emitted from electrons in atoms when they change energy levels.

    By themselves, this microwave signal is poorly adapted to keep and present time for human beings as we cannot detect microwave signals, measure them accurately, keep track of their count, etc.

    It's only when we adapt these microwave signals do they become useful for our specific goals. Again, the knowledge of how to adapt these signals to meet our goals is in the device. And we have an explanation as to how that knowledge was created.

    We do not claim it spontaneously appeared. Nor do we claim it's always existed.

    Nic: The randomness of the mechanism is exactly what the designer intended, its random nature could not exist unless it was programmed into the mechanism. The set goal WAS randomness and therefore a specific intent was realized in the design. The selection of a specific winner of the lottery is not a requirement of the design argument.

    We justify the output was actually random based on underlying theories of unstable dynamic systems and chaos theory. These are adapted by the device to suit our particular goal. See the Hardware Random Number Generator entry at Wikipedia.

    Scott: "Anytime we get involved, at all, then we will experience the accompaniment of intelligence and intent because we are intentional and intelligent beings. This is unescapable (sic) as intent and intelligence are the "lens" by which we observe everything.

    As such, it's unclear how you'd expect anything we observe to not be accompanied somehow by intelligence and intent."

    Nic: Following your line of reasoning we should perceive intent and intelligence in everything we experience including a landslide. That is palpable nonsense.

    You're the one claiming induction is a valid means of justifying conclusions, not me. However, if induction was valid, then you'd also claim a landslide was "designed". But you do not. As such, your argument that all complex things must be designed because every complex thing we've observe being designed was accompanied by intent and intelligence is fallacious.

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  178. Neal,


    "For the evolutionist it sounds like they will only accept an all powerful creator that is only allowed to create things that never fail or break or become unhappy."

    These people do not accept the concept of God whether fallible or infallible. Consider their argument from homology. As there are homologous similarities among some creatures they point to this as proof of a common ancestry, claiming an all powerful God would create each creature in a completely unique way. However, if homology was not present they would argue that was proof that each creature evolved in its own unique fashion. Either way God is excluded from the equation as evolution explains all.

    Evolution works with a rubber ruler. Everything is explained by evolution. If things are similar, it's evolution. If they differ, it's because of evolution. Evolution explains why people are altruistic, except when it's used to explain why they are not. Evolution explains why man is social, except when it explains why he is anti-social.

    Why do they hold so tightly to the concept of evolution? It's not because it's scientific, because it certainly isn't. They hold to it because they do not want to accept the idea of an omnipotent God who puts demands on their lives and to whom they are ultimately accountable. They are so desperate to do away with this possibility that they will resort to any form of argumentation, no matter how illogical, to placate this desire.

    Will any of them admit to this fact? Not very likely. They have so deluded themselves with the line of reasoning found in the philosophy of evolution, that they can stare contrary evidence in the face and deny it is there. I dare say you will not find one person who holds to the philosophy of evolution who would admit it is purely a faith position. They are totally convinced they adhere only to sound science in their beliefs.

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  179. Scott,


    "Huh? We perform the adaptation."

    I guess it's necessary to refresh your memory. You said; "However, all of these things (the mechanism) adapt a randomness we did not design to suit our particular intentionally selected goals."

    You were not talking at all about an intelligent agent making the adaptation, you were talking about the elements which made up the mechanism adapting. It would help your case if you at least understood what you were saying.


    "As such, your argument that all complex things must be designed because every complex thing we've observe being designed was accompanied by intent and intelligence is fallacious."

    Please show me where I claimed a landslide was a complex entity. I said your line of reasoning would result in our having to see intent and intelligence in a landslide and as a result complexity. You seem to have a hard time comprehending your own arguments, let alone those of others. My point was clearly a response to your claim that our intent and intelligence project themselves onto everything we observe and thereby those entities take on the qualities of intent and intelligence. I clearly stated our ability to see intent and intelligence in an entity also allow us to detect when intent and intelligence is NOT involved.

    I think you're in over your head here. You clearly cannot follow the the argument. I'm sure however, you will throw the responsibility for your failure on me.

    Scott: "Anytime we get involved, at all, then we will experience the accompaniment of intelligence and intent because we are intentional and intelligent beings. This is unescapable (sic) as intent and intelligence are the "lens" by which we observe everything."

    As I said, this line of reasoning would require us to see intent and intelligence in places it does not actually exist, such as a landslide.

    Again, this is palpable nonsense.

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  180. Nic -

    "Not only is the bang a mystery, it's pure speculation."

    No, it is extrapolation. There is evidence that it was a real event.

    "As for the formation of planets, stars, etc., being not unlikely after the speculative big bang, this too is purely speculative. On what basis can you argue for the likelihood of order coming out of chaos?"

    Order out of chaos? All I am saying is that gravity exists - a proposition which is far from speculative. Given gravity, the formation of planets, stars etc., of some description is not at all unlikely.

    "To me the only way you can do this is by adopting Hawking's philosophy which assumes the laws of physics existing independently of the universe, which they must if they are to be used to explain the origin of the universe. This is a position which you cannot possibly demonstrate and as such is nothing more than a faith based belief."

    Why? Even if the laws of physics came into existence along with the Big Bang, the universe would still be subject to them.

    "I think you had better do a little more research on conception and statistical analysis. I'm sorry, this example is simply laughable. It bears no relationship at all to the formation of the universe."

    A dodge. You are being evasive. The comparison is, I thought, rather clear. Your birth depended on a very long string of extremely unlikely events. Yet you are claiming that a long string of unlikely events is a good reason to think there was a divine hand bringing the end result about.

    Imagine I flip a coin a hundred times. I note down whether it comes down heads or tails. Now WHATEVER COMBINATION OF HEADS v TAILS I GET, that sequence would have odds of 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,375 to 1. Is it logical to then say "Wow, those are big odds. There must have been a God/angel/divine force making the coin come down in that sequence! This is evidence for God! After all, the odds of it happening by random chance alone are absolutely tiny. It can't have been that."?

    Because that is, effectively, the fine-tuning argument. I hope the logical fallacy is easier to see?

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  181. (cont)

    "Such as the universe being inevitable due to the laws of physics. This is a philosophical argument, not a scientific argument as observation, testability and repeatability are not possible as required to qualify as science."

    As I thought, your sore point with Hawking (or, I suspect, anyone) rests on their position about God. Hawking thinks God isn't necessary to explain the universe, therefore he must be an idiot and anything he says can be dismissed.

    "I'm talking about understanding things as simple as thunder and lightning. Understanding what causes these phenomena does not tell us how the factors which create them came into existence."

    Understanding what causes thunder and lightning tells us what causes thunder and lightning - electric discharge and rapid air expansion. We then have no further need to explain thunder and lightning.

    How do we account for the electic discharge and rapid air expansion? Well, there's an electric build-up as rain and ice develop inside the cloud. This static build-up grows until lightning strikes to balance the electrical build, rapidly heating and cooling the air as it does so, causing the rapid air expansion for thunder.

    I'm still not seeing where God comes in.

    "For example, Dawkins often uses the infinite regression argument by arguing that God must have a cause, and that cause must have its own cause, ad infinitum. Such nonsense is seen as such by anyone with even a basic grasp of logic. The fact that Dawkins continually uses this argument demonstrates his incredibly poor grasp of philosophical constructs."

    You are confused. This is the Cosmological Argument - which is an argument for God. Briefly, it says everything was caused by something else, and to avoid an infinite regression, posits a First Cause (namely God), which itself is an exception to the rule that 'everything needs a cause'.

    As Dawkins correctly points out, this logic is thoroughly flawed. The fallacy is special pleading. If everything has a cause, then God needs a cause too. On the other hand, if there can be an exception this is rule, then why not just assume the universe was this Uncaused First Cause? It explains just as much as the God hypothesis does, and it requires fewer additional assumptions. So, all things being equal, it is to be preferred.

    "The bottom line on Dawkins is simple, he is a painfully poor logician and philosopher and he is deathly afraid to confront someone like Craig as he knows he would be thoroughly humiliated."

    A ludicrous interpretation. Dawkins is a world-renowned academic and speaker. Craig is a pretenous preacher with delusions of grandeur.

    "You're functioning on the assumption God is a material being, why? I believe God is pure spirit and therefore is not complex in the same nature as his creation is complex."

    What has being a material being got to do with it? What IS spirit anyway? What are it's properties? How does it function? How is a spirit's complexity different to a material object's complexity? Seriously, with all due respect, you might as well have just said 'I believe God is pure magic and therefore not complex in the same nature as his creation is complex' for all the explanation you have given.

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  182. Ritchie

    So you want me to use logic?OK.

    On one side we have world-renowned academic, a noble British knight and on the other side we have pretentious preacher, actually American cowboy.
    Why wouldn't British knight take on this pretentious cowboy and prove him wrong once for all? Wouldn't it be logical for Dawkins to show up for debate and take an opportunity to destroy the highest profile Christian apologetic?
    I expected debate of the century but instead got to hear some lame excuse from Dawkins.
    bok bok

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  183. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  184. Eugen -

    "Why wouldn't British knight take on this pretentious cowboy and prove him wrong once for all? Wouldn't it be logical for Dawkins to show up for debate and take an opportunity to destroy the highest profile Christian apologetic?"

    How about because British knight has real work to do? Maybe he's busy doing the sort of work which made him a world-renowned academic. Or debating with people who actually hold a position of prestige within theistic circles. You make it sound like Dawkins refuses to debate ANYONE on the topic of religion, and that simply isn't true. He has debated many times and against figures far more important than Craig.

    Craig a non-entity who has done none of the legwork to make him into respectable academic figure worth debating. He makes philosophy-based arguments for God, whines that Dawkins won't debate him, and makes excuses for child murder.

    A debate with Dawkins would look great on Craig's CV. He cannot lose. Just by having the debate he gains credibility. Dawkins, on the other hand, has nothing to gain.

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  185. Nic said...

    Demonstrate a complex entity which came about independent from intent and intelligence and you may start to get somewhere.


    OK, how about the Rocky Mountains? They're pretty darn complex, made up of countless thousands of peaks and valleys. Show me how they were created with intent and intelligence.

    Consider their argument from homology. As there are homologous similarities among some creatures they point to this as proof of a common ancestry, claiming an all powerful God would create each creature in a completely unique way.

    LOL! Another dim-bulb Creationist who doesn't understand the difference between proof and evidence. The fossil and genetic data we have is all consistent with common descent and is evidence, not proof, of common descent.

    No one in science has ever said "an all powerful God would create each creature in a completely unique way." You pulled that right out of your orifice. What is said is that there's no reason an omnipotent Designer would create things looking exactly as if they had evolved over time.

    That's why we keep asking you IDiots why do we occasionally find atavistic legs on cetaceans? Why do we occasionally find atavistic legs on snakes? Why do we occasionally find atavistic tails on human babies?

    You clowns never have any answers or explanations for the empirical data. Never.

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  186. Eugen said...

    Why wouldn't British knight take on this pretentious cowboy and prove him wrong once for all? Wouldn't it be logical for Dawkins to show up for debate and take an opportunity to destroy the highest profile Christian apologetic?


    There's a girls 10-12 year old soccer team that plays at a field near where I live. They sent a challenge to Manchester United to play a match. To date Manchester United has avoided responding to them.

    Why wouldn't a Premier League British soccer club take on this pretentious band of pre-teen girls and prove them wrong once for all? Wouldn't it be logical for Manchester to show up for a match and take an opportunity to destroy the highest profile band of 10-12 year old challengers?

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  187. Scott: The symbols we use for [numbers] are designed. The specific number system used in lotteries, base 10, was designed. The balls used in [the] mechanism was designed, etc. However, all of these things adapt a randomness we did not design to suit our particular intentionally selected goals.

    Nic: The components which make up the mechanism adapt nothing as it has no way by which to adapt.

    Scott: Huh? We perform the adaptation. We created the knowledge of how to adapt the existing randomness to our goals. And we have an explanation as to how that knowledge was created.

    Nic: You were not talking at all about an intelligent agent making the adaptation, you were talking about the elements which made up the mechanism adapting. It would help your case if you at least understood what you were saying.

    Wasn't I? Balls in a lottery machine were not designed by intelligent agents?

    Nic: Please show me where I claimed a landslide was a complex entity. I said your line of reasoning would result in our having to see intent and intelligence in a landslide and as a result complexity.

    You might want to actually read what I've written in this thread, rather than assuming I'm making the argument you think I'm making.

    Again, Neal wrote…

    Ritchie, the lottery number generator is an intelligently designed system (fine tuned). The "system" was designed for generating random numbers based on an algorithm. What you illustrated repeatedly is that you need a designed system to generate random numbers. Our universe is [incomparably] more complex than a simple number generator.


    Also…

    You just can't get away from design in your examples. Your random systems aren't a free lunch that just pop into existence from non-existence. The generated random numbers are not a free gift from non-existence. It takes work, design and building to get your simple number generator running."

    Here, Neal is appealing to repeated illustrations that we just cannot get away from.

    Specifically, every time we've observed something complex being created, that observation was accompanied by intelligence and intent. Therefore, Neal claims he's justified in concluding all complex things are intelligently and intentionally designed. This is clearly an appeal to naive inductivism to justify his conclusion. Furthermore, If he really did think naive inductivism was a valid means of justifying conclusions, this would lead to the sort of "palatable nonsense" you're referring to across the board. However, we've only seen this sort of "palatable nonsense" in regards to arguments designed to prop up his theological beliefs.

    So, I'd again, suggest that Neal is NOT actually using induction to justify his conclusions. Rather, he's using some sort of explanatory framework to reach this conclusion which he either refuses to disclose or he merely thinks he's using induction, but is confused.

    Again, we extrapolate observations though explanatory frameworks. As such, before Neal could extrapolate repeated observations of intelligence and intent that have accompanied observed acts of creating complex things, he must first put those observations in an explanatory framework.

    Why would we NOT expect to experience intent and intelligence under the conditions he's referring to, given that we ourselves are intelligent agents that exhibit intent? What framework is he using to determine what we would or would not expect and how that relates to whether all complex things are intelligently designed?

    In the absence of such a framework, the observed accompaniment he's referring to is meaningless in regards to whether all complex things are designed by intelligent agents. It tells us nothing one way or the other.

    See my comments on back holes and complex nervous systems, which are concrete illustrations of explanatory frameworks and Neal's inconstant appeal to inductive reasoning.

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  188. I wrote: See my comments on back holes and complex nervous systems, which are concrete illustrations of explanatory frameworks and Neal's inconstant appeal to inductive reasoning.

    Specifically, the latter can be found here.

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  189. eugen
    On one side we have world-renowned academic, a noble British knight and on the other side we have pretentious preacher, actually American cowboy


    Dawkins is not a knight, and how do you know the pretentious preacher is a cowboy? I find no reference to him growing up in approprate cowboy territory. Perhaps you were thinking of Daniel Craig who played a cowboy.

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  190. velikovsky

    I was just exaggerating.. I know Dawkins is not knighted and (apologetic) Craig is not a cowboy. I pulled that from the orifice like Thorton would say. This about Dawkins is getting childish.
    I'm sure he was advised not to participate. Everybody knows he would lose debate with Craig.

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  191. I tried to read through all of the recent responses from IDiots like Tedford, Nic, etc., but I can only take so much hypocrisy, dishonesty, bald assertion, and insanity. So, I'm just going to respond to a few things.

    Tedford drooled:

    "What you illustrated repeatedly is that you need a designed system to generate random numbers."

    That is funny, really. If the numbers are "random", they aren't "designed". Now, for those of you who don't understand that, let me try talking to you as though you're in 3rd grade (I'm feeling generous):

    In the context (look up the definition of the word 'context') of the points I and others have made, numbers (numeric symbols) are designed, but the WINNING batch of numbers drawn in a lottery are RANDOM and NOT designed. Even if only one number were drawn it would still be RANDOM. NO ONE knows what the winning number or numbers will be until they're drawn, unless the lottery is rigged, and rigging the lottery to produce certain winning numbers WOULD BE by design.

    ANY objects that are recognizably different from each other could be used to draw a winning object or objects. Numbered balls or tickets, etc., are used for convenience in lotteries, raffles, etc.

    Since you IDiots think that you're such good little xtians, and that your god is all knowing and all powerful, why don't you pray to your god and ask it to tell you the winning numbers for the next big lottery, or just ask it to rig the lottery so that you will win?

    Nic said without thinking:

    "Such as the universe being inevitable due to the laws of physics. This is a philosophical argument, not a scientific argument as observation, testability and repeatability are not possible as required to qualify as science."

    How about a more pertinent rewrite
    of the first sentence?

    'Such as the universe, life, and humans existing due to the alleged creative knowledge and power of the imaginary god that many delusional people need for a crutch.'

    As to the second sentence:

    Thanks Nic, for admitting that gods and religious beliefs (including the ID agenda) are not a scientific argument, as observation, testability, and repeatability are not possible as required to qualify as science.

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  192. Eugen
    I was just exaggerating.. I know Dawkins is not knighted and (apologetic) Craig is not a cowboy. I pulled that from the orifice like Thorton would say. This about Dawkins is getting childish.


    Ok, so you were acting like you imagine Dawkins was acting . Very convincing,but one should never exaggerate about someone who is not a cowboy being a cowboy. Much blood has been lost in such a manner.FYI

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  193. Eugen -

    "I'm sure he was advised not to participate. Everybody knows he would lose debate with Craig."

    You sincerely think Dawkins secretly thinks deep down that his own arguments are flawed?

    Why then does he get up and debate other important figures on the topic of religion - bishops, archbishops, chief rabbis, etc.?

    The difference between them and Craig is that they hold genuine positions of merit and standing. Craig would vanish as a public figure without the oxygen of publicity.

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  194. The whole truth,

    I guess because you tend not to think you assume others don't as well. Sorry to disappoint you.



    "I tried to read through all of the recent responses from IDiots like Tedford, Nic, etc., but I can only take so much hypocrisy, dishonesty, bald assertion, and insanity. So, I'm just going to respond to a few things."

    Perhaps you would like to point out a few examples of the hypocrisy, et., you're accusing us of committing. It's my feeling you're responding to 'a few things' because you cannot follow the arguments presented and have no real answers, but simply feel the need to hurl some insults.

    You're good at spewing insults, I'll give you that. But really, what good is that talent? Maybe you should go out on a limb and try presenting a cogent argument for a change. However, the tendency to spew personal invectives is usually a cover for overwhelming ignorance.


    "Nic said without thinking:

    "Such as the universe being inevitable due to the laws of physics. This is a philosophical argument, not a scientific argument as observation, testability and repeatability are not possible as required to qualify as science."

    How about a more pertinent rewrite
    of the first sentence?

    'Such as the universe, life, and humans existing due to the alleged creative knowledge and power of the imaginary god that many delusional people need for a crutch.'

    As to the second sentence:

    Thanks Nic, for admitting that gods and religious beliefs (including the ID agenda) are not a scientific argument, as observation, testability, and repeatability are not possible as required to qualify as science."


    First, I never claimed my beliefs were based on science. You would know this if you could comprehend what you read. I believe they are true and science does not contradict them, but I never claimed we can put God in the test tube. On the contrary, I believe God to be beyond the realm of science.

    Second, my faith is not a crutch, it's an entire foundation.

    Perhaps it would be wise for you to learn a little bit about those things and people you so quickly attack as IDiots. Your lack of intellect is palpable and would be laughable if it was not so pathetic.

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  195. Ritchie,


    "No, it is extrapolation. There is evidence that it was a real event."

    I agree, there is reason to believe some event such as the big bang did occur. But it could not have come from nothing. It must have had an origin. Problems arise when science tries to use this event as an explanation for all that exists. It may be logical to extrapolate the big bang form the knowledge we presently have, but it is not logical to go beyond that point and attribute all physical laws and all that exists to that event.


    "Order out of chaos? All I am saying is that gravity exists - a proposition which is far from speculative. Given gravity, the formation of planets, stars etc., of some description is not at all unlikely."

    Gravity does indeed exists. Can you demonstrate it came about because of the big bang? Can you demonstrate any of what are referred to as natural laws have their origin in that event?

    As for the formation of planets and stars, the 'evidence' for this process consists of nothing more than speculative just-so stories.


    "A dodge. You are being evasive. The comparison is, I thought, rather clear. Your birth depended on a very long string of extremely unlikely events. Yet you are claiming that a long string of unlikely events is a good reason to think there was a divine hand bringing the end result about."

    It's not a dodge at all, the analogy is not sound. The union of an egg and sperm is going to result in a human being, nothing else. The only real variable involved is whether it will be male or female. The other factors such as hair and eye colour, etc., are incidental. How is this analogous to the formation of a universe which would involve variables numbering in the hundreds of billions?


    "Imagine I flip a coin a hundred times."

    Again this is a poor analogy. When flipping a coin you're guaranteed a concrete result, either heads or tails. Again you're only working with two variables. It's true the various sequences number in the multiple millions, but they will all consist of heads and tails, nothing more.

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  196. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  197. My position is not based on weak inductive reasoning.

    Here is a sample of intelligent design subjected to the scientific method:

    http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1154

    Evolution is based on false premises. Remove these premises and the fact and theory collapse. Darwinism can't stand by impartial empirical investigation and testing because the results are often at odds with Darwinism.

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  198. Ritchie,

    "As I thought, your sore point with Hawking (or, I suspect, anyone) rests on their position about God. Hawking thinks God isn't necessary to explain the universe, therefore he must be an idiot and anything he says can be dismissed."

    I never said Hawking was an idiot. He is obviously a very intelligent man. But he is just a man, nothing more. His writings such as the Grand Design are not in his area of expertise, they are philosophical, and as a philosopher he is poorly equipped.

    Because Hawking says God is unnecessary that means God indeed does not exist? You must be aware his opinions are of a metaphysical nature and not scientific. Hawking is doing nothing more than expressing a faith position by claiming there is no need for God as he cannot provide 'scientific' evidence for his claims, only speculation. As such why is he right and I and other Christians are wrong when we state our belief in a different faith position?



    "Understanding what causes thunder and lightning tells us what causes thunder and lightning - electric discharge and rapid air expansion. We then have no further need to explain thunder and lightning."

    You're missing the point. Understanding HOW thunder and lightening are produced does NOT
    explain the origin of the factors which produce them.

    I find it strange for one who claims that science is the pursuit of knowledge and truth would say he is satisfied only with knowing how thunder and lightening occur, when further knowledge is waiting to be uncovered in understanding the origin of the factors which produce them.



    "You are confused. This is the Cosmological Argument - which is an argument for God. Briefly, it says everything was caused by something else, and to avoid an infinite regression, posits a First Cause (namely God), which itself is an exception to the rule that 'everything needs a cause'."

    My friend, it is you who is confused. The Cosmological Argument is as follows: All that BEGINS to exist must have a cause. The universe BEGAN to exist. Therefore, the universe must have a cause. Dawkins falls into the infinite regression fallacy by arguing the cause of the universe must itself have a cause.

    "As Dawkins correctly points out, this logic is thoroughly flawed. The fallacy is special pleading. If everything has a cause, then God needs a cause too. On the other hand, if there can be an exception this is rule, then why not just assume the universe was this Uncaused First Cause? It explains just as much as the God hypothesis does, and it requires fewer additional assumptions. So, all things being equal, it is to be preferred."

    The Cosmological Argument specifies things which BEGIN to exist must have a cause, not that everything which exists must have a cause. This is the necessary distinction which Dawkins seems unable to grasp. Or perhaps he is being intellectually dishonest and purposely misstating the argument. Either way it does not look good for Dawkins.

    As for assuming the universe just exists and does not need a cause, and therefore could be seen as the first cause in place of God, you yourself argue for a beginning to the universe with the occurrence of the big bang. You can't have it both ways. Stake your claim. Did the universe begin to exist with the big bang or did it always exist and is the cause of itself?

    If one has even the most basic grasp of logical reasoning they are aware that if A explains B, it is not necessary that A have an explanation. This is in fact Dawkins' argument, if A explains B, you must then explain A, and so on, ad infinitum.
    As such, Dawkins does not even possess the basic understanding of logical constructs.

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  199. Nic -

    "I agree, there is reason to believe some event such as the big bang did occur. But it could not have come from nothing. It must have had an origin."

    Perhaps. But we know nothing about that origin (as yet).

    "It may be logical to extrapolate the big bang form the knowledge we presently have, but it is not logical to go beyond that point and attribute all physical laws and all that exists to that event."

    Fine. Take all physical laws as brute facts. Problem solved.

    The only honest thing we can say about the origin of the Big Bang is that it is a mystery. Positing a God adds precisely nothing in terms of an explanation.

    "Gravity does indeed exists. Can you demonstrate it came about because of the big bang? Can you demonstrate any of what are referred to as natural laws have their origin in that event?"

    Nope. I'm not saying they did have their origins at the Big Bang. Maybe they are just brute facts.

    "It's not a dodge at all, the analogy is not sound. The union of an egg and sperm is going to result in a human being, nothing else. The only real variable involved is whether it will be male or female. The other factors such as hair and eye colour, etc., are incidental. How is this analogous to the formation of a universe which would involve variables numbering in the hundreds of billions?"

    You totally missed my point. Your father's contribution contained 600,000,000 sperms. But only one would create the person you are today. If another sperm had fertilised your egg, you would have been a different person. So the birth of you, as you are, was extremely unlikely - and relied upon a chain of unlikely events. Does that give us reason to consider your birth the result of divine intervention?

    "Again this is a poor analogy. When flipping a coin you're guaranteed a concrete result, either heads or tails. Again you're only working with two variables. It's true the various sequences number in the multiple millions, but they will all consist of heads and tails, nothing more."

    That doesn't matter in the slightest. The only relevant point is that any particular, preordained sequence of Heads/Tails has stupidly small odds. The coin will come down in SOME order - and whatever order it is will, looking back, have been fantastically unlikely on random chance alone.

    The same is true of the universe. From the moment of the Big Bang, the universe must have turned out SOME way. And any way that it did turn out will, looking back, be fantastically unlikely on random chance alone.

    And yet the fine-tuning argument claims this gives us reason to think there must have been a divine, designing hand at work. If it is true for the universe, why is it not true for the coin, or for your birth? The logic is the same.

    "I never said Hawking was an idiot. He is obviously a very intelligent man. But he is just a man, nothing more. His writings such as the Grand Design are not in his area of expertise, they are philosophical, and as a philosopher he is poorly equipped."

    Astrophysics IS his field of expertise. He understands the forces that shape our universe better than most. Of course he can be wrong, but his IS an expert opinion here.

    "Because Hawking says God is unnecessary that means God indeed does not exist?"

    Absolutely not. Nothing could prove that. Just as nothing could prove unicorns don't exist. You cannot prove a negative.

    Tjguy provided the fine-tuning argument as evidence that God DOES exist. But, as I'm trying to show, that argument is flawed. And without any good evidence that God does exist, He is just a concept, a baseless claim, a fanciful story, and belief in him is unfounded. I cannot show your faith is wrong, but I may be able to show you it is groundless and irrational. If you have no problem with holding an unfounded belief, then maybe our discussion is pointless. Be my guest. But you cannot expect others to treat such a whimsical notion as anything other than fantasy.

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  200. (cont)

    "You're missing the point. Understanding HOW thunder and lightening are produced does NOT
    explain the origin of the factors which produce them."

    I did explain the origin of the factors that produced them. Rain and ice creating an electric charge as they form in the cloud. That is the origin of the electric charge which creates lightning and thunder.

    "The Cosmological Argument specifies things which BEGIN to exist must have a cause, not that everything which exists must have a cause. This is the necessary distinction which Dawkins seems unable to grasp."

    How can you justify this amendment? Can you show me something which began to exist and something which did not, and demonstrate it is only the things which BEGAN to exist, and not the things which did not BEGIN to exist, which need a cause?

    No. The only reason this stipulation ("things that BEGAN to exist") is commonly used is to give a get-out clause to the First Cause: "It doesn't need a cause because it never BEGAN to exist".

    It's a shrewd dodge, but a dodge nonetheless. I can only trace it back as far as William Lane Craig, but maybe that's unfair? Maybe it does predate him? In any case, the argument remains just as flawed. It still does not disqualify the universe as this Uncaused First Cause. How can we be sure the universe BEGAN to exist?

    "You yourself argue for a beginning to the universe with the occurrence of the big bang. You can't have it both ways. Stake your claim."

    I do agree that the Big Bang happened, but all we know about the Big Bang is, at that time, the universe was extremely dense and extremely hot. I do not claim that the Big Bang was the ultimate origin of the universe - it could very easily have existed in another form before the Big Bang. We simply know nothing of what the universe was like before it.

    "if A explains B, it is not necessary that A have an explanation. This is in fact Dawkins' argument, if A explains B, you must then explain A, and so on, ad infinitum."

    No, not quite. Dawkins' point is that God adds nothing in terms of an explanation. Positing the universe as the Uncaused First Cause (assuming one is necessary) explains just as much as positing a God as a cause of the universe. God is entirely superfluous and unnecessary in this argument, and therefore, according to the princliple of Occam's Razor, should be sliced away. That is entirely logical.

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