Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Religious Fundamentalism Among Us

As a general rule, those who are convinced they are free of metaphysics are those who are most beholden to metaphysics. Evolution professor and atheist P.Z. Myers once explained in an LA Times piece that he is “pretty certain that if there were an all-powerful being pulling the strings and shaping history for the benefit of human beings, the universe would look rather different than it does.” Pretty certain God wouldn’t have made this world? Myers is known for his strident views and he probably has never stopped for a moment to ponder the rather awkward question of how he knows of that certainty. For while Myers criticizes others for their religious beliefs, Myers’ notion of how the universe would and would not look if such an all-powerful being created it is, itself, a religious belief. Perhaps Myers’ certainty is at the 99% level. How did he arrive at such a value? You see whether Myer’s certainty is 99%, 98%, 90%, or whatever, does not matter. For in any case, it is a religious claim. There is no scientific experiment or evidence to back up Myers’ belief. There is no logic or rationale to which Myers could appeal. In fact not only is Myers’ criticism of religious beliefs hypocritical, but Myers own position is fallacious as it entails a massive internal contradiction. To wit, Myers concludes with atheism, but his very atheism undermines his religious claim. If atheism were true, then no religious claims could be known to be true. Simply put, religious claims would be meaningless. One could claim there is a 99% chance God would or would not do this or that, but such a claim would be worthless. Hypocrisy and irrationality are signs of the worst side of religion. He was brought up a Lutheran but Myers is now a religious fundamentalist.

And so it is something of a stretch for Myers to claim his high claims for evolution are objective, scientific conclusions. After all, if one is an atheist then evolution is pretty much the only alternative.

In fact Myers irrationality was on further display this week when he wrote that he is certain of evolution because it “occurred” and after all, it hasn’t been falsified:

I am certain that evolution occurred. The evidence is in; the process occurred and is occurring, there are no known barriers to natural processes producing modern life from proto-life/chemistry over the course of 3.8 billion years, and all the evidence we do have shows modern forms being incrementally modified versions of earlier forms. We don’t know all the details, of course, and just maybe someone somewhere could discover a real hurdle that could not have been overcome without intelligent aid, but I know for a fact that no creationist has ever come up with a defensible objection, and that nearly all the creationists who pontificate so ponderously on the impossibility of biology, Plantinga among them, always turn out to be profoundly ignorant of the science. There’s a good inverse correlation between knowledge of biology and certainty that evolution can’t work.

Notice the irrational leap evolutionists always take. In science theories are not true simply because they have not been disproven, but Darwin changed all that. These days Myers and evolutionists operate from a very low burden. Evolution is a fact unless it is falsified to their satisfaction.

So while evolution fails one prediction after another, and while evolutionists are continually surprised by the evidence, and while evolutionists cannot even come close to explaining how evolution occurred, Myers nonetheless is convinced. After all, the process occurred and no creationist has ever falsified it.

Myers is a beholden to his metaphysics. He is a religious fundamentalist and his fundamentalism has led to him to the age-old sophistry that everything must have arisen from nothing, and that’s a fact.

152 comments:

  1. (sorry for my english).
    The world is so well designed (on purpose) that people like Myers can not be compelled for the evidence of beauty everywhere to thank a Big designer. The free will is strong enough to not be "intimidated" for the evidence of design. For example a bacterial flagellum. Things so crazy like "everything is the product of chance" can be convincing for people who want to feel satisfied within the materiality for a while.

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  2. The images you choose to illustrate your blog posts with are not only increasingly bizarre but increasingly offensive.

    What possible justification, moral or intellectual, do you have for illustrating a post on PZ Meyers with a photo of Anders Breivik?

    Shame on you, Cornelius.

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    1. It´s true.
      The darwinist, till now, haven´t gone to a creationist meeting to kill as many as possible to avoid that his anti-science agenda be enforced in public schools.
      They are working, till now, in court rooms and with public funds (in part paid with creationist support).

      Delete
    2. What is "true"?

      Are you alleging that "darwinists" are planning some day to massacre creationists?

      If so, can you support this allegation with evidence?

      Or is your comment just the kind of despicable unsupported innuendo that Cornelius' use of the Breivik image represents?

      Shame on you both.

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    3. "Shame on you both."

      Interesting comment coming from a person who believes in a philosophy which cannot ground objective morality.

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    4. And the assumption that atheists have no grounding for objective morality, and therefore have no right to pass judgement on another person's behaviour is very tiresome, quite apart from being completely fallacious.

      I am as capable of moral judgement as you are, ba77.

      Delete
    5. And so you say, but alas, despite your book long denials of gringingly tedious rationalizations, you are completely, and utterly, wrong, just as with all your other 'evolutionary' thinking. Though you go to great lengths to deny what is plainly obvious, You literally have nothing to ground objective morality on in atheistic materialism

      "But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin - Letter To William Graham - July 3, 1881

      The Great Debate: Does God Exist? - Justin Holcomb - audio of the 1985 debate available on the site
      Excerpt: The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
      http://theresurgence.com/2012/01/17/the-great-debate-does-god-exist

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    6. You are in no position to carp at "book long denials" ba77. I blame the wear on my scroll wheel on your voluminous and tendentious C&Ps.


      You literally have nothing to ground objective morality on in atheistic materialism

      Yes, I have. And, I'd argue, it is religious people who often trade an objective morality for a subjective one, choosing to define good as what is subjectively deemed to be divine, as opposed to discerning the divine in what is objectively deemed to be good.

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    7. Which somewhat ironic when observed in Christians, whose model, Christ, frequently pointed out that what matters is what you do, not what you say, and healing on the Sabbath, or pulling your donkey from a well, or giving your son a fish rather than stone, is objectively right, regardless of what any allegedly "divine" rule might say to the contrary.

      Delete
    8. Perhaps your argument would be more convincing if you did not appeal to Christ as the basis of objective morality.

      warning, more rationalizations from Elizabeth to follow.

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    9. I did not appeal to Christ as the basis of objective morality. I merely pointed out (as you would note if you actually read my post properly) that Christ appeals to our objective sense of morality as a guide to what is divine.

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    10. And while you are pondering that, ba77, perhaps you'd like to give your own, divinely informed objective moral judgement on whether it is morally acceptable to post a photograph of a mass murderer to illustrate a post about a law-abiding scientist.

      Delete
    11. But Elizabeth, you are the one claiming, as a atheist, that it is disgusting! Exactly what is YOUR moral basis? I have no doubt that you are disgusted, but why? It is not about me as a Christian finding mass murderers, or pseudo-scientific evolutionists disgusting, it is about you and your claim!

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    12. For instance Elizabeth, as God would serendipitously have it, this article just came up on my facebook page:

      Infanticide and bestiality advocate given Australia’s highest civic award
      Excerpt: He (Peter Singer - professor of 'bio-ethics' at Princeton)has become infamous for his open promotion of infanticide, bestiality, and experimentation on the mentally disabled.
      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/infanticide-and-bestiality-advocate-given-australias-highest-civic-award

      Now Elizabeth, since Singer, a professor at Princeton, can see nothing disgusting with infanticide, bestiality, and experimentation on the mentally disabled, why should you be disgusted? Exactly where is this objective moral basis that allows one atheist to be offended by a picture and yet allows another atheist to promote experimentation on the mentally ill?

      of note: Princeton's Peter Singer argues that pigs have greater value than intellectually disabled children.

      Delete
    13. Liddle:

      The images you choose to illustrate your blog posts with are not only increasingly bizarre but increasingly offensive.

      Funny, but I don't see you complaining to Myers about the poor taste of his Pharyngula blog.

      I applaud Hunter for having the guts to use illustrations that make an impact. And if he offends the random atheist, that's just too bad. It has not escaped our notice that the most strident atheists and Darwinists out there are those who had a religious upbringing, usually in some fundamentalist Church.

      The reactionary nature of their rhetoric is all the more ironic that those doctrinaire Darwinists engage in the same fundamentalist behavior that they accuse others of being guilty of. Nobody hates God more than an atheist. :D

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    14. You don't? How odd.

      Perhaps you should look harder.

      But it doesn't matter, because one bad deed (should you find an equivalent on Myers' blog) doesn't justify another, does it?

      And it's not so much that the image is likely to give offence (I expect PZ's back is broad enough) but it is a deliberate attempt to poison the well of discourse, and tar a branch of science with the tarbrush of a mass murderer, without even an attempt at justification or explanation (not that one is possible).

      Delete
    15. Liddle:

      Perhaps you should look harder.

      OK. I just did. But I don't see the same zeal on Myers' blog that you show here.

      But it doesn't matter, because one bad deed (should you find an equivalent on Myers' blog) doesn't justify another, does it?

      You know, I personally don't accuse Myers of doing anything wrong. Myers has attacked me personally in the past (twice) and I say, more power to him. He's just defending his religion anyway he can and he has no agreement with anybody on how he should go about it. May the best religion win in the end.

      And it's not so much that the image is likely to give offence (I expect PZ's back is broad enough) but it is a deliberate attempt to poison the well of discourse, and tar a branch of science with the tarbrush of a mass murderer, without even an attempt at justification or explanation (not that one is possible).

      Hunter owes you or Myers nothing and he's on the record for being of the opinion that the theory of evolution is anything but science. And I agree with him. He believes that Darwinists are religious fundamentalists and I agree with him there as well. You're taking offence because he chose to illustrate his piece with a picture of a fundamentalist who so happens to be a mass murderer. So what? Fundamentalism has frequently led to mass murder in the past.

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    16. And so why aren't pieces about Biola University illustrated with pictures of Anders Breivik giving a Nazi salute?

      Why single out one "fundamentalist" for such illustration? Why not Cornelius' employers?

      And Cornelius accuses "evolutionists" of hypocrisy?

      Delete
  3. Children, see what the charlatan has done here: Myers said "IF there were an all-powerful being..."

    But the confidence man's trick was to turn that conditional into a non-conditional statement. Keep you eyes out: It's his chief modus operandi.

    No metaphysics committed here by Myers, once you peek behind the curtain.

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  4. No metaphysics committed here by Myers, once you peek behind the curtain.

    Nor mass murder, whether you peek or not.

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    1. Wow. Myers' sycophants are all over the web.

      The truth is that Myers' rhetoric and that of his followers are so strident and hateful, I would not be surprised to learn that some of them have entertained the mass murder of Christians in their personal fantasies.

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    2. I am no Myers sycophant Louis.

      Not that saying someone isn't a mass murderer is "sycophantic" in my lexicon.

      But clearly evidence doesn't figure largely in your reasoning.

      No

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  5. I don't see why anyone should be surprised at what is published here. It is quite obvious to me that Dr Hunter is on the same mission to "destroy Darwinism" as Jonathan Wells. His weapon of choice is propaganda by blog - perhaps we should call it 'blogaganda' - but is is the strategy that is, how shall we say, interesting.

    This is to frame science - or, more specifically, atheistic science - as just another form of religious belief. Apart from being a blatant equivocation on the meanings of "religious belief", it's also saying something about religion that its practitioners probably don't intend.

    When science is alleged to be a religious belief it is clearly not meant as praise. In this strategy, religion is not being presented as some higher form of knowing. There is no intention to enhance the image of science by raising it to the level of a religion.

    On the contrary, the purpose is clearly to discredit science. Casting science as just another form of religious belief is intended to undermine its authority, to lower it to the status of just another religious belief.

    The problem for those, like Dr Hunter, who have adopted this strategy is that it is a tacit admission that religious belief is a lesser form of knowing. Ir implies that religious knowledge is less certain, less authoritative and less well-founded than that of science, that claims for the superiority of scientific knowledge are unwarranted and that science should be reduced to the status of just another faith.

    Perhaps the strategy should be reviewed.

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  6. Myers is a beholden to his metaphysics. He is a religious fundamentalist and his fundamentalism has led to him to the age-old sophistry that everything must have arisen from nothing, and that’s a fact.

    Putting on my theological thinking cap, I wonder: IF there is a god in the sense of the Abrahamic one, is that god not credited with making everything from scratch? Scratch being nothing, no thing.

    And musing further, that hypothetical god must be nothing, because god is not a thing.

    No response expected. I'm just wondering...

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    1. Herbert McCabe writes very interestingly on this, as I quoted here:

      HM: Again, it is clear that God cannot interfere in the universe, not because he has not the power, but because, so to speak, he has too much; to interfere you have to be an alternative to, or alongside, what you are interfering with. If God is the cause of everything, there is nothing that he is alongside. Obviously God makes no difference ot the universe; I mean by this that we do not appeal specifically to God to explain why the universe is this way rather than that, for this we need only appeal to explanations within the universe. For this reason there can, it seems to me, be no feature of the universe which indicates it is god-made. What God accounts for is that the universe is there instead of nothing.


      (typos in my earlier transcript corrected!)

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  7. Au contraire,

    This is the hidden, controlling metaphysics at work:

    >> . . . to put a correct view of the universe into people's heads we must first get an incorrect view out . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[--> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident [[--> actually, circular reasoning ] that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality . . . .

    we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[--> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[--> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. >>

    (Cf here, especially the notes, for the point by point correctives; including on the following words beyond the end. Atheistical debaters are masters at strawman tactics.)

    KF

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    1. KF, you and I once agreed that making a link between Breivik and evolutionary arguments or atheism was insupportable.

      We don't agree on much, but we did agree on that.

      Will you join me now, as you did once before in a comparable thread on UD, in asking that Cornelius takes down that image of Anders Breivik?

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    2. ...we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

      The door to which Lewontin was referring is the door to the laboratory.

      If there is an oxymoronic Divine Foot, it has its stamping grounds in your houses of worship.

      Delete
  8. I'm always surprised at the depths to which people will sink to discredit their opponents.

    I guess it's naivete on my part, and I suppose I haven't been that surprised at the repetitive denigration of decent scientists and their work that I see on this blog, once I realised that Cornelius rarely responds to any counter-argument.

    But posting that photograph (just as he posted an image of the unabomber in an earlier post for presumably similar effect) is pretty despicable.

    Bad enough to make the association - worse still to leave it to do its subliminal work, un-commented.

    I'm really disgusted.

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    1. 'I'm really disgusted.'

      HMMM I wonder, is it a stimulus response from the gene for disgustedness???

      This following video humorously reveals the bankruptcy that atheists have in trying to ground beliefs within a materialistic worldview;

      John Cleese – The Scientists – humorous video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M-vnmejwXo

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    2. No, it doesn't. It humorously reveals the bankruptcy of ignoring systems-level analysis.

      As you are doing.

      Delete
    3. But 'why' are you disgusted? You, despite your diatribes to the contrary, simply have no basis, in atheism, to appeal to as to 'why' it is disgusting to you. After all death is just natural selection doing its creative work by getting rid of the 'unfit' isn't it?!? For the Christian it is very easy to see why it is disgusting. Christianity teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to be kind to those who are not worthy of our kindness as well as to be kind to those who are worthy, and Breivik grossly violated that morality. It is right that you should be disgusted for it clearly is not the way things ought to be, and indeed you yourself testify that you were created to be disgusted by such insane hatred when you have such a reaction. In fact I hold that death itself to be 'disgusting'. That is why I am very, very, happy that Jesus Christ defeated death, and sin, on the cross and that He freely gives eternal life to all who trust in Him.

      Steven Curtis Chapman - Lord of the Dance (Live)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDXbvMcMbU0

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    4. OK, ba77, let me ignore for now the fact that you are more concerned with my moral capacity than the morality of Cornelius's actions, and take your question seriously, despite the fact that you will almost certain dismiss my answer as a "diatribe" or a "rationalization":

      But 'why' are you disgusted? You, despite your diatribes to the contrary, simply have no basis, in atheism, to appeal to as to 'why' it is disgusting to you.

      You are incorrect on two counts. Firstly my basis is not "in atheism" - I do not base anything in "atheism" - I simply do not base my moral philosophy in theism. Secondly, it is my contention that a sound moral philosophy is not provided by theism, but rather that theism may possibly be grounded in a sound moral philosophy.

      I'd say that our moral capacity, as human beings, which we clearly have, as evidenced by our use, and understanding, of the word "ought", derives from our cognitive capacity to weigh up the immediate benefit to ourselves from a potential action against benefit to a) others and b) ourselves at a later date. In other words, it frees us from the constraints of the immediate - of simple "stimulus-response" behaviour, as you called it. In particular, the capacity to weigh up the consequences of our actions to others, and reject them if they would cause harm, even if they would benefit ourselves, arises from our "theory of mind" capacity, and is what we call "morality" - the constraints on our own behaviour that are placed on us by our capacity to consider the effects of our actions on others.

      In less fancy terms, we can call it our capacity for love, and we can, at its simplest, enshrine it in the Golden Rule: that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. The important point is that this rule can, and is, derived independently, without appealing to divine authority for it. Indeed, and more importantly, if it we merely adhered to it because we thought, a priori, that it had a divine origin, then we'd be stuck in figuring out which of many alleged divine commands were really divine.

      As it is, the Golden Rule can be derived from an understanding of ourselves as social animals, and of our capacity to plan our actions and understand and feel - empathise - their effects on others.

      So I consider a moral philosophy that is grounded independently of a specific religious belief far more firmly and objectively grounded than one grounded in what is a subjective choice of divinity.

      After all death is just natural selection doing its creative work by getting rid of the 'unfit' isn't it?!?

      No. For as start it isn't, even in evolutionary terms. For a second, even if true, it would have nothing to do with morality. Gravity makes things fall. That does not mean we are morally obliged do drop things.

      For the Christian it is very easy to see why it is disgusting.

      Good. In that case, I hope you will join me in asking Cornelius to remove it, and perhaps to apologiseto Professor Myers.

      Christianity teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to be kind to those who are not worthy of our kindness as well as to be kind to those who are worthy,

      Yes. Christ had the right idea. So did Rabbi Hillel, Epicurus, Confucius, and many others. It's not difficult to figure out, and you don't need to read it in some allegedly divine book to understand that it is true.

      and Breivik grossly violated that morality.

      Yes, indeed he did, although interestingly, he seems to have thought he was acting for some greater good, which is always a danger. The rule is fine as far as it goes, but it does not tell us who our neighbours are, which was the point of Christ's parable. It is all too easy for us to consider some people our neighbours and not others, leading to bigotry, whether racist, sexist, sectarian, or whatever.

      Delete
    5. It is right that you should be disgusted for it clearly is not the way things ought to be,

      Quite.

      and indeed you yourself testify that you were created to be disgusted by such insane hatred when you have such a reaction.

      I wouldn't call Cornelius's action "insane hatred" but it is certainly very reprehensible, and shows little concern for the effects of his actions on others. indeed, it seems deliberately designed to increase hatred.

      In fact I hold that death itself to be 'disgusting'.

      I don't, any more than I hold "birth" to be disgusting. They are simply the bookends of our lives.

      That is why I am very, very, happy that Jesus Christ defeated death, and sin, on the cross and that He freely gives eternal life to all who trust in Him.

      Good. I would have liked to believe in eternal life, and did for about half a century, but can find no good reason to do so. However, that makes no difference to my moral capacity, it just means that I am content to accept that my life is finite. In fact, I'd say it makes me value it more, and be even more appalled when someone ends another's life prematurely. Unlike many religious murderers, I cannot justify murder on the principle that heaven lies in wait for the victims. Heaven is what we can make on earth if we love each other.

      It's a shame we aren't better at it.

      Delete
    6. Elizabeth Liddle
      But posting that photograph (just as he posted an image of the unabomber in an earlier post for presumably similar effect) is pretty despicable.

      Bad enough to make the association - worse still to leave it to do its subliminal work, un-commented.

      I'm really disgusted.


      I agree with you, I think a photo of that kind really is out of place.

      And what has happened is that people have discussed the photo rather then what was written about PZ Myers.

      Delete
    7. Eliz to cut to the chase you are using, basically, the 'moral landscape' argument when you posit:

      "I'd say that our moral capacity, as human beings, which we clearly have, as evidenced by our use, and understanding, of the word "ought", derives from our cognitive capacity to weigh up the immediate benefit to ourselves from a potential action against benefit to a) others and b) ourselves at a later date. In other words, it frees us from the constraints of the immediate - of simple "stimulus-response" behaviour, as you called it."

      Even allowing for the dilemma that determinism forces on your materialism with 'weigh up' and 'frees us from constraints' statements, the fact is that the 'moral landscape' argument fails as a objective basis of morality. In fact Dr. William Lane Craig calls the logic against the moral landscape argument a 'knockdown' argument:

      The Knock-Down Argument Against Atheist Sam Harris' moral landscape argument – William Lane Craig – video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL_vAH2NIPc

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    8. to repost a pertinent point:

      For instance Elizabeth, as God would serendipitously have it, this article just came up on my facebook page:

      Infanticide and bestiality advocate given Australia’s highest civic award
      Excerpt: He (Peter Singer - professor of 'bio-ethics' at Princeton)has become infamous for his open promotion of infanticide, bestiality, and experimentation on the mentally disabled.
      http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/infanticide-and-bestiality-advocate-given-australias-highest-civic-award

      Now Elizabeth, since Singer, a professor at Princeton, can see nothing disgusting with infanticide, bestiality, and experimentation on the mentally disabled, why should you be disgusted? Exactly where is this objective moral basis that allows one atheist to be offended by a picture and yet allows another atheist to promote experimentation on the mentally ill?

      of note: Princeton's Peter Singer argues that pigs have greater value than intellectually disabled children.

      Delete
    9. Well I utterly reject William Lane Craig's moral philosophy, which I find profoundly amoral.

      If morality is "Divine Command" then I'll stick with our altruistic instincts, thanks.

      Delete
    10. Moreover Elizabeth, despite your sure to follow denials to the contrary, the fact of the matter is that purely atheistic, totalitarian, countries have been EXTREMELY horrific for the people trapped in them:

      Here's what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

      “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
      I BACKGROUND
      2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
      3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
      II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
      4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
      5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
      6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
      7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
      III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
      8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
      9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
      10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
      11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
      12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
      13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
      14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
      IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
      15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
      16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
      17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

      This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
      http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

      Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
      “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
      http://wadias.in/site/arzan/blog/chairman-mao-genocide-master/

      "for, as we have just seen, the ways of national evolution, both in the past and in the present, are cruel, brutal, ruthless, and without mercy.,,, Meantime let me say that the conclusion I have come to is this: the law of Christ is incompatible with the law of evolution as far as the law of evolution has worked hitherto. Nay, the two laws are at war with each other; the law of Christ can never prevail until the law of evolution is destroyed."
      Sir Arthur Keith, Evolution and Ethics (1947), p. 15. (Note the year that this was written was shortly after the German 'master race' was defeated in World War II)

      How Evolutionary Ethics Influenced Hitler and Why It Matters - Richard Weikart: - January 2012
      http://www.credomag.com/2012/01/05/how-evolutionary-ethics-influenced-hitler-and-why-it-matters/

      Adolf Hitler: A Christian? - Eric Metaxas - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZqycNUvHYo

      At 1,200,000, Abortion is the leading cause of deaths each year in the USA - graph
      http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/544765_158500824274847_129232723868324_100415_1654573487_n.jpg

      Ravi Zacharias on the moral confusion behind abortion - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fgXeLoML7Y

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    11. Of related note, here is a fairly graphic documentary, that was recently loaded on youtube, that gives a small glimpse of the sheer horror visited upon the people trapped in the atheistic Regime of the Soviets:

      The Soviet Union Story - documentary video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j296ubWIRzM

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    12. I have no idea what you are talking about, ba77. It appears to bear no relationship to what I actually posted.

      I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to be "denying", unless you are alleging that all atheists are potential mass murderers.

      Delete
    13. Elizabeth Liddle

      I have no idea what you are talking about, ba77.


      You and virtually every other poor reader who has attempted to penetrate the tangled, confused ramblings in batspit77's C&Ped monstrosities.

      He seems to react almost like Pavlov's dog. BA77 is set of by a particular word or phrase, so he searches for the term in his huge archive of C&Ped Creationist blither. Then he drools out these massive unreadable posts that at best are only tangentially connected to the original topic.

      It's not just you Dr. Liddle. BA77 owes us all a new scroll wheel.

      Delete
    14. I see an opportunity for a class action suit.

      Delete
    15. Luckily in your case ,Oleg,you have a secret weapon, " local realism"

      Delete
    16. Actually, for some reason, BA77's regurgitations remind me of Neo from The Matrix movies.

      You remember the scene from the first movie, just after Neo has been sprung from the Matrix and taken on board the Nebuchadnezzar, where he's first jacked in to the ship's onboard training simulations? There's a rapid-fire sequence of martial arts images then he opens his eyes in amazement and exclaims "I know kung-fu!"

      I imagine BA77 sitting at his computer, rapidly scanning through a few pop-sci articles and a couple of YouTube videos, until suddenly his eyes pop wide-open and he breathes, "I know quantum physics!"

      Delete
    17. It is a undeniable fact of history that Atheistic regimes have been absolutely horrific to their very own people and the response from Liz was to plead ignorance of what I was talking about and then lean towards denial that this had anything to do with the fact that Atheists can't ground objective morality. Thorton then, as usual, issues ad hominem instead of addressing the argument, oleq and Vel put their useless two cents in as well instead of addressing the argument. Ian as well adds his ad hominem instead of searching for truth! And yet the unaddressed fact remains, as is soberingly stressed by the 'communist experiments' that the heart of man is desperately wicked, and orders of magnitude more so when God is declared illegal as it was in the Soviet atheistic 'utopia'. Liz has the audacity to think man is good enough be his own god, to make up his own morality as he goes along, and yet in this thought of hers echos the refraining lie that has been sewn throughout the history of man:

      "Did God really say,???'

      Kingdom Of God Vs. Kingdom Of Darkness
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4060606

      Further note: Please note in the life review of a NDE that every word ever spoken by a person is gone over in the presence of God. Just as Jesus had said:

      Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

      Matthew 12:36
      But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

      Music:

      Third Day - Trust In Jesus
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BtaCeJYqZA

      +++++++++++++++

      The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences - Dr Jeffery Long - Melvin Morse M.D. - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

      Delete
    18. Japan,Turkey, Poland, Mexico,Feudal Russia were not atheistic. You can put them in the God Fearing slot

      Delete
    19. "the heart of man is desperately wicked, and orders of magnitude more so when God is declared illegal as it was in the Soviet atheistic 'utopia'."

      Hmmm Vel, its seems you argue that since any evil at all exist then God cannot possibly exist and yet you ignore the fact that when knowledge of God is forcefully suppressed then evil multiplies exponentially. Vel, please be honest, tell me why are you so biased as to look at the evidence from only one angle as to exclude God no matter what? Surely there is nothing 'surprising' for Christian Theology in these numbers for Democide.

      Delete
    20. bornagain77 June 16, 2012 7:34 AM

      Moreover Elizabeth, despite your sure to follow denials to the contrary, the fact of the matter is that purely atheistic, totalitarian, countries have been EXTREMELY horrific for the people trapped in them:

      Here's what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

      “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]... etc


      Oh, well if you're going just repeat old posts, let's see what happens when God is supposedly in charge':



      Ian H Spedding May 27, 2012 9:54 AM

      bornagain77 May 27, 2012 9:02 AM

      "I think to a certain extent, the instability of the last

      decade has seen the growth of fundamentalism, which

      worries me for political reasons. It worries me for social

      reasons."

      The Soviet Union Story - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j296ubWIRzM

      The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state

      sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here's

      what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians

      take control of Government:

      “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th

      Century Democide]


      Those are terrible numbers but so is the accusation that

      it was all done in the name of atheism, which I deny, still

      less that it was done in the name of evolution.

      If you want to trade dubious statistics, however, we do

      have evidence from the Old Testament of the numbers

      killed by God or the human armies acting in his name

      Who has killed more, Satan or God?

      [...]

      In a previous post, I counted the number of people that

      were killed by God in the Bible. I came up with 2,476,633,

      which, of course, greatly underestimates God's total

      death toll, since it only includes those killings for which

      specific numbers are given. No attempt was made to

      include the victims of Noah's flood, Sodom and Gomorrah,

      or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc., with

      which the good book is filled. Still, 2 million is a

      respectable number even for world class killers.

      [...]

      In a previous post, I've listed and counted God's killings in

      the Bible. But I only included those that said exactly how

      many were killed by God. I came up with 2,476,633.

      But that didn't include some of God's most impressive

      slaughters. How many did God drown in the flood or burn

      to death in Sodom and Gomorrah? How many first-born

      Egyptians did he kill? The Bible doesn't say, so there's no

      way to know for sure. But it's possible to provide rough

      estimates in order to get a grand total, and that's what

      I'm attempting here.

      Total with estimates: 25 million.


      Now, those numbers seem small compared with the 20th

      century until you put them into context.

      Firstly, five thousand years ago or more, the world's total

      population was far, far smaller than it was in the last

      century. There were simply a lot fewer people around to

      kill.

      Secondly, apart from God's super powers, the weapons

      and technology available to do the killing with were a lot

      more primitive than their twentieth century equivalents.

      There just weren't the means then to kill people in the

      quantities they could in the last century.

      Thirdly, I suspect that, if you took the body counts as a

      percentage of the total populations at the various times,

      you would find the God and the Israelites actually did

      better than Stalin, Hitler and Mao. After all, in the Great

      Flood, God wiped out almost all life on Earth apart from

      the chosen few. Even if you lump them all together the

      twentieth century tyrants didn't even come close to that

      impressive achievement.

      Delete
    21. bornagain77 June 16, 2012 12:33 PM

      "the heart of man is desperately wicked, and orders of magnitude more so when God is declared illegal as it was in the Soviet atheistic 'utopia'."


      If tyou want wicked, you need look no further than the Old Testament. The heart of man is desperately wicked and orders of magnitude more so when his wickedness as justified as being the will of God. Is there any difference in kind between what Stalin did to his own people and what God and the Israelites did to the other peoples in the Middle East at that time?

      Delete
    22. Elizabeth,

      "Well I utterly reject William Lane Craig's moral philosophy, which I find profoundly amoral."

      "If morality is "Divine Command" then I'll stick with our altruistic instincts, thanks."

      Tell me, what would be the source of your altruistic instincts?

      Delete
    23. I would say that they have evolved.

      Delete
    24. BA77: It is a undeniable fact of history that Atheistic regimes have been absolutely horrific to their very own people

      It is also an undeniable fact of history that theistic regimes have been absolutely horrific to not only their "very own people" but to others as well.

      And while I don't consider the bible a reliable historical source, if it is to be believed, the alleged deity featured actually ordered horrific acts to be perpetrated by "his" people in "his" name.

      And your own William Lane Craig has written that a act that would normally be a sin becomes not a sin if you believe that it was ordered by god. Presumably only if your belief happens to be right. How you tell, he doesn't say.

      You don't have a moral leg to stand on here, ba77.

      Delete
    25. Elizabeth,

      "I would say that they have evolved."

      How would altruistic instincts evolve through a blind, purposeless and goalless process? The basis of evolution is strictly survival. Why do you suppose an instinct such as altruism, which puts others before self, would arise in such a system?

      Do you really not see how bankrupt evolutionary thinking is?

      Delete
    26. Nic,

      There is a pretty extensive body of work on the evolution of altruism. In a nutshell, it can evolve just like other traits do. There are mathematical models demonstrating how it works out. Before you express your astonishment at how this is possible, do a quick internet search next time.

      Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a good article on the subject. I am sure Liz will point you to other sources.

      Delete
    27. Nic

      How would altruistic instincts evolve through a blind, purposeless and goalless process? The basis of evolution is strictly survival. Why do you suppose an instinct such as altruism, which puts others before self, would arise in such a system?


      Through known mechanisms like kin selection. As oleg points out, there is extensive and easily accessible research on the phenomenon:

      A Quantitative Test of Hamilton's Rule for the Evolution of Altruism

      But first one has to be interested in learning.

      Do you really not see how bankrupt evolutionary thinking is?

      We can all really see how lazy you are when it comes to researching before spouting off.

      Delete
    28. Oleg,

      "There is a pretty extensive body of work on the evolution of altruism. In a nutshell, it can evolve just like other traits do."

      I have a long held degree in Sociology and I am fully aware of and have read an array of articles which attempt to explain the origin of altruism and similar traits through evolutionary processes. Such arguments have been around for decades. In the course of my studies such topics were discussed to a great extent. The only problem with them is that they all fail miserably in their task.

      They all consists of 'just so' stories of the need of altruism for the survival of the species. Too bad such stories cannot be demonstrated outside of pure anecdote.

      Delete
    29. Thorton,

      "But first one has to be interested in learning."

      "We can all really see how lazy you are when it comes to researching before spouting off."

      See my reply to Oleg.

      Delete
    30. Nic

      They all consists of 'just so' stories of the need of altruism for the survival of the species. Too bad such stories cannot be demonstrated outside of pure anecdote.


      Wow. I post a new 2011 paper with quantitative evidence for kin selection as a mechanism for the evolution of altruism and you're too lazy to even look at it.

      Just like Tedford, there's no cure for willful ignorance.

      Delete
    31. Nic

      Thorton :"But first one has to be interested in learning."

      "We can all really see how lazy you are when it comes to researching before spouting off."

      See my reply to Oleg.


      You mean the one where you hand waved away decades' worth of research with no explanation other than your ignorance based personal incredulity?

      Yeah, that was a real peach.

      Delete
    32. Nic,

      I am a theoretical physicist by trade. When I hear a sociologist compare a mathematical model to a just-so story, I am a little underwhelmed. :)

      Nothing personal.

      Delete
    33. Thorton,

      "Wow. I post a new 2011 paper with quantitative evidence for kin selection as a mechanism for the evolution of altruism and you're too lazy to even look at it."

      You seem to be of the impression that because it was written 2011 that it will somehow overwhelm me. As I said, I have read numerous articles on this subject and not one of them came even close to presenting a case.

      Delete
    34. Thorton,

      "You mean the one where you hand waved away decades' worth of research with no explanation other than your ignorance based personal incredulity?"

      Exactly how is it 'hand waving' to say I've read extensively on the subject and am not convinced? If I had not read anything and dismissed it, then you could accuse me of hand waving. But, as is typical with you, you cannot present a case so you simply accuse of others of your own faults. Quite sad really.

      Delete
    35. Oleg,

      "I am a theoretical physicist by trade. When I hear a sociologist compare a mathematical model to a just-so story, I am a little underwhelmed. :)"

      I don't quite understand. Is your profession supposed to overwhelm me and make me feel inferior? If so, I'm sorry, it simply doesn't. Simply being a theoretical physicist does not make you right.

      You seem to be under the false delusion that mathematical models are the be all and end all of scientific proof. The fact is, you can make a mathematical model say whatever you wish it to say. I would suggest you ply your bluster elsewhere, it doesn't fly here.

      Delete
    36. Nic

      Thorton: "Wow. I post a new 2011 paper with quantitative evidence for kin selection as a mechanism for the evolution of altruism and you're too lazy to even look at it."

      You seem to be of the impression that because it was written 2011 that it will somehow overwhelm me. As I said, I have read numerous articles on this subject and not one of them came even close to presenting a case


      So you admit you're too lazy or too scared to read the paper. You're one of those clairvoyant Creationists who just *knows* there's no evidence without even looking.

      That's another reason why your scientific credibility is zero.

      Exactly how is it 'hand waving' to say I've read extensively on the subject and am not convinced?

      Because you haven't demonstrated even the slightest bit of knowledge on the topic, or offered any technical reasons why leading hypotheses like kin selection (the subject of the paper you refuse to read) are wrong.

      It's just flapity-flapity-flapity those hands, and pray the mean old scientific data goes away.

      Delete
    37. Nic: You seem to be under the false delusion that mathematical models are the be all and end all of scientific proof. The fact is, you can make a mathematical model say whatever you wish it to say. I would suggest you ply your bluster elsewhere, it doesn't fly here.

      They aren't. But neither are they "just-so stories." I can point you to the Ising model of the ferromagnet as an example. This is a theoretical model that hah had a profound effect on statistical physics. Its early studies turned up an early proof of concept that statistical mechanics is capable of describing continuous phase transitions. Its exact solution in two dimensions was instrumental in developing the modern theory of critical phenomena (1982 Nobel prize in physics).

      As to bluster, look in the mirror, son. Dismissing mathematical models as "just-so stories" is bluster. Saying "I have read numerous articles on this subject and not one of them came even close to presenting a case" is bluster. Be a little specific, Nic, and people will treat you nicely.

      Delete
    38. Oleg,

      "They aren't. But neither are they "just-so stories." I can point you to the Ising model of the ferromagnet as an example."

      So you're admitting mathematical models are not infallible and can be manipulated, is that right?

      Did I say mathematical models were always wrong or of no use whatsoever? No, I did not, so I really don't know why you believe referring me to this article would help your case in regards to the evolution of altruism. If you have a pertinent paper on that subject let me know. I did read your referred article by the way.

      "Dismissing mathematical models as "just-so stories" is bluster. Saying "I have read numerous articles on this subject and not one of them came even close to presenting a case" is bluster."

      No sir,it is not. As I said, reference a mathematical model regarding evidence for the evolution of an abstract such as altruism and I will read it. To state I've read many articles on the subject of altruism is not bluster, it's simply stating a fact. Bluster is the idea you can intimidate someone by throwing about your credentials and thinking that is all that's necessary.

      Delete
    39. Thorton,

      "So you admit you're too lazy or too scared to read the paper. You're one of those clairvoyant Creationists who just *knows* there's no evidence without even looking."

      Sorry to burst your little balloon, but I did read the article and much to my surprise it contained the same old information that has appeared in numerous previous articles.

      It starts with assumption that altruism did in fact evolve and then proceeded to set up a test which would demonstrate that fact.

      All the factors in the test required programming so the concept of altruistic actions had to be present from the start. A robot would not have such a concept unless it was put there. That alone invalidates the whole process.

      Now tell me, can you provide some type of evidence which can demonstrate the evolution from nothing of an abstract concept such as altruism? I'll be waiting. It's time to put up or shut up my friend.

      Delete
    40. Nic: So you're admitting mathematical models are not infallible and can be manipulated, is that right?

      These words make me doubt that you are familiar with any mathematical models. No scientist thinks mathematical models are "infallible." They are models, human guesses about how reality works. Most are not even wrong, but some are pretty good.

      At any rate, Nic, you asked "How would altruistic instincts evolve through a blind, purposeless and goalless process?" I pointed out the models that do show how altruism can evolve. They do not necessarily reflect how altruism actually evolved in animals, but they certainly demonstrate how it can arise through "a blind, purposeless and goalless process." That's a proof of principle. You can't dismiss it with a wave of hand as you did.

      In fact, your dismissal rings pretty hollow as you have not presented any arguments why, in your opinion, these models fail. I suspect that you are not familiar with them.

      Delete
    41. Nic

      All the factors in the test required programming so the concept of altruistic actions had to be present from the start. A robot would not have such a concept unless it was put there. That alone invalidates the whole process.


      LOL! More flapity hand waving. From the paper

      "Because the 33 genes were initially set to random values, the robots' behaviors were completely arbitrary in the first generation. However, the robots' performance rapidly increased over the 500 generations of selection (Figure 2). The level of altruism also rapidly changed over generations with the final stable level of altruism varying greatly depending on the within-group relatedness and c/b ratio".

      As expected, you didn't read the paper. At best you skimmed it and didn't understand it. You still have no idea what you're talking about, you just *know* without reading that "evolution couldn't do it".

      There's no cure for willful ignorance.

      Delete
    42. Thorton,

      "Because the 33 genes were initially set to random values, the robots' behaviors were completely arbitrary in the first generation."

      Thorton, You're always good for a laugh. Any programmer will tell you cannot program true randomness. I have a close friend who is an incredible programmer whose work spreads worldwide. He outright laughs at the notion true randomness can be programmed.

      As for a cure for willful ignorance, I think it is you who needs to seek a cure as you seem to never catch on that hurling insults accomplishes nothing.

      Delete
    43. Not as much of a laugh as you Nic. You lied about reading the paper, which became blatantly obvious when you got caught in a demonstrably false claim about how the experiment was run. I seriously doubt you've ever read any research on the evolution of altruism anywhere, at any time.

      Why do you think lying for Jesus will get you into heaven?

      Delete
    44. Oleg,

      "They do not necessarily reflect how altruism actually evolved in animals, but they certainly demonstrate how it can arise through "a blind, purposeless and goalless process." That's a proof of principle. You can't dismiss it with a wave of hand as you did."

      As mathematical models are formulas which require an intelligent source they actually do very little to support, blind, purposeless and mindless events such as evolution. Mathematical models are not blind or purposeless, they are designed to show results.

      Delete
    45. Thorton,

      "Not as much of a laugh as you Nic. You lied about reading the paper, which became blatantly obvious when you got caught in a demonstrably false claim about how the experiment was run. I seriously doubt you've ever read any research on the evolution of altruism anywhere, at any time."

      As I said you're always good for a laugh. I made no comment about how the experiment was run. My comment was solely directed to the fact that the robots had to be programmed and that invalidates the randomness aspect of the experiment. Or are you going to claim the robots were not programmed? If so, you're funnier than I thought.

      Delete
    46. Nic

      As mathematical models are formulas which require an intelligent source they actually do very little to support, blind, purposeless and mindless events such as evolution. Mathematical models are not blind or purposeless, they are designed to show results.


      The last resort of the willfully ignorant IDiot: "the computer simulation you ran was designed, so the natural process you're simulating must be designed too!!"

      I suppose since meteorologists can make models of hurricanes, that means hurricanes must be intelligently designed too, right Nic?

      What a maroon.

      Delete
    47. Nic

      My comment was solely directed to the fact that the robots had to be programmed and that invalidates the randomness aspect of the experiment.


      You claimed the robots were pre-programmed with altruistic behavior. They weren't. The altruistic behavior through kin selection was an emergent property of the system.

      You'd know that if you had actually read the paper instead of just lying about reading it.

      How long have you been lying for jesus?

      Delete
    48. Nic

      Exactly how is it 'hand waving' to say I've read extensively on the subject and am not convinced?


      I don't believe even a little bit that you've read extensively on the subject of the evolution of altruism.

      Please list the top 3 research papers you've read on the topic, and the specifics you think each paper got wrong.

      If you've really read extensively you should be able to easily reference half a dozen papers. Go ahead Nic, impress the lurkers. Show them you're not lying again.

      Delete
    49. Thorton,

      "Please list the top 3 research papers you've read on the topic, and the specifics you think each paper got wrong."

      I'll get the references, but somehow I think you will still call me a liar. So be it.

      Delete
    50. Thorton,

      "You claimed the robots were pre-programmed with altruistic behavior. They weren't. The altruistic behavior through kin selection was an emergent property of the system."

      Yes, they were. If altruistic ideas were not in the program to start with they will not show up on their own.

      I'll await the usual ridicule I'm sure is coming.

      Maybe you should look at some of the recent news regards the idea of kin selection.

      Delete
    51. Nic: As mathematical models are formulas which require an intelligent source they actually do very little to support, blind, purposeless and mindless events such as evolution. Mathematical models are not blind or purposeless, they are designed to show results.

      Nic, I am not trying to talk down to you or something, but what you wrote reveals a complete lack of understanding of what mathematical modeling does.

      Thorton may be a bit abrasive, but he is 100% right. The robots in that study were not pre-programmed to behave altruistically. The initial population of robots behaved according to entirely random sets of rules. Here is an excerpt from the article that Thorton has previously quoted:

      The specifications of the robots' neural controllers, which process sensory information and produce motor actions, were encoded in artificial genomes, each consisting of 33 “genes” (14). The genomes of the 20% of robots with the highest individual performance in the population were selected, subjected to mutation and recombination (i.e., sexual reproduction), and randomly assorted into groups of 10 robots to form the next generation (see Materials and Methods). Because the 33 genes were initially set to random values, the behavior of robots was random in the first generations. However, because of selection, the behavior of robots rapidly evolved and their performance greatly increased over the 500 generations of selection that were repeated in 20 independent selection lines [supporting information (SI) Fig. S1].

      [End of quote]

      You should read the paper before further embarrassing yourself with comments like that.

      Delete
    52. Oleg,

      I appreciate your desire not to speak down to me or others. It is an inherent problem of these types of discussions where inflection and tone of a comment are inserted by the reader and not necessarily meant by the writer.

      "The robots in that study were not pre-programmed to behave altruistically. The initial population of robots behaved according to entirely random sets of rules."

      I understand that you and others truly believe in the results of such studies and that is fine. However, it is you, Thortton, et al who are 100% wrong. The robots are definitely programmed to function in a certain manner. Nothing they do is 100% random. No computer program can be entirely random as it would not function properly.

      "The genomes of the 20% of robots with the highest individual performance in the population were selected, subjected to mutation and recombination (i.e., sexual reproduction), and randomly assorted into groups of 10 robots to form the next generation..."

      By choosing only the top 20% of the robots with the best performance, the process is manipulated to produce the results wanted. In a truly random process the robots would not be chosen in such a manner. This type of selection would not occur naturally. These actions by the researchers totally invalidate the process, but those committed to evolution refuse to see it. It is obvious intelligent people such as yourself and myriads of others, are so committed to the reality of evolutionary theory that you blindly overlook the massive problems permeating the research.

      The researchers in this case and in every other study I have read, do not start with the intent of discovering whether evolution of altruism occurred, it is assumed it did. Therein lies the problem. The research begins with the evolutionary origin of altruism and only looks for results which support that assumption. That is not sound science and one need not hold scientific degrees to see that, common sense makes it obvious.

      You obviously think I and others who reject evolution are rather ignorant. Think what you like. The idea of evolution is bankrupt and being shown as such with increasing frequency.

      Delete
    53. Nic

      By choosing only the top 20% of the robots with the best performance, the process is manipulated to produce the results wanted. In a truly random process the robots would not be chosen in such a manner.


      Good gravy but you're a clueless git.

      The experiment is simulating empirically observed evolutionary processes in which the selection is not purely random. Real world selection does NOT have a uniform probability distribution but has a definite bias in favor of the more evolutionary fit, just as the simulation modeled.

      Your willful ignorance on this topic is truly staggering.

      Delete
    54. Nic

      The researchers in this case and in every other study I have read, do not start with the intent of discovering whether evolution of altruism occurred, it is assumed it did.


      That's the hypothesis being tested you illiterate boob.

      Therein lies the problem. The research begins with the evolutionary origin of altruism and only looks for results which support that assumption. That is not sound science and one need not hold scientific degrees to see that, common sense makes it obvious.

      See Nic, that's exactly why you get responded to harshly. You're woefully ignorant on this topic, haven't been within 1000 yards of a working science lab in your life, yet you've just accused the researchers of being either hopelessly incompetent or deliberate frauds. By claiming they deliberately ignore non-supporting data you're accusing them of reprehensible acts that if true would get them fired and probably blackballed from any reputable science lab.

      How would you feel if some untrained jerk had come to your office and proclaimed with zero support "That Nic, he's a liar and a fraud! For all his work in sociology he made up bogus results and ignored things he didn't like! He's an incompetent crook just producing dishonest results to steal money from the taxpayers!"

      I guarantee you'd be hacked off, which is what working scientists feel every time a Creationist jerk like you spits in their face by insulting their integrity.

      Delete
    55. Thorton,

      "The experiment is simulating empirically observed evolutionary processes in which the selection is not purely random. Real world selection does NOT have a uniform probability distribution but has a definite bias in favor of the more evolutionary fit, just as the simulation modeled."

      It's not I demonstrating staggering ignorance here.

      You and others just don't get it. Altruism is not a concrete entity which natural selection can 'see'. If you don't put it into the equation from the start it is not going to show up on its own. And choosing the top 20% of the best performers in no way even remotely resembles what would happen naturally. It's cherry picking of the highest order. It renders the whole exercise useless as science, except to the evolutionary mind which seeks only to confirm its presumptions.

      As for 'empirically observed evolutionary processes', this is only a further display of presumptuous evolutionary thinking. I never fail to be amazed at how willfully blind evolutionists are to the horrendous flaws in their reasoning processes. There are no 'empirically observed evolutionary processes', only minor adaptations within species which are then erroneously extrapolated.

      Call me a clueless git, idiot, whatever you want. It only demonstrates your lack of skill in presenting your case.

      Delete
    56. Nic

      You and others just don't get it. Altruism is not a concrete entity which natural selection can 'see'. If you don't put it into the equation from the start it is not going to show up on its own.


      Nic, even I am starting to feel embarrassed for just how much of a fool you're making of yourself here.

      Altruism is a genetically based behavior which can and does provide a selectable evolutionary advantage for those with the genetic disposition to it. That's what the evidence shows.

      Altruistic behavior wasn't pre-loaded into the simulation in any way, shape, or form. It wasn't deliberately selected for by dishonest scientists. The group behavior emerged as a direct result of selectable beneficial mutations in the test population.

      You can wallow in your willful ignorance all you like, insult honest scientists, lie about reading the papers, loudly crow your happy little Creationist denials, but you won't affect reality even one little bit.

      Delete
    57. Nic,

      No offense, but these things are way over your head. Or maybe you don't have the required reading comprehension. Maybe both. AT any rate, when Thorton and I try to convey to you some really elementary things you don't seem able to comprehend them. Either you need to double your efforts or you should give up and enjoy life.

      You wrote: However, it is you, Thortton, et al who are 100% wrong. The robots are definitely programmed to function in a certain manner. Nothing they do is 100% random. No computer program can be entirely random as it would not function properly.

      There is a mind-boggling amount of misunderstanding in this short passage, with an unhealthy dose of arrogance. This combination does not bode well for learning. Let me explain.

      1. You are mudding the waters by switching the subject to ontological issues (true randomness vs pseudorandom numbers). This is a rabbit trail that is not worth chasing. It does not matter whether the code governing the behavior of a particular robot was obtained from a truly random sequence of numbers. (Yes, you can have those. And if that source does not satisfy your needs, feel free to build or buy your own true random-number generator based on quantum measurements. But I digress.) You can take the digits of the number π or use telephone numbers of your mom and dad or even use the sequence 11111111...1111. It is very, very unlikely that those numbers will encode highly altruistic behavior in those particular robots. In other words, the numbers need not be truly random, they should just not accidentally make the robots very altruistic. Most number sequences will suffice. (If that were not the case then the problem of generating altruism from scratch would not be difficult. Are you still with me?)

      2. The robots in this study were emphatically not programmed to function in a certain manner. Both Thorton and I quoted the same bloody passage that states unequivocally that "because the 33 genes were initially set to random values, the behavior of robots was random in the first generations." (In case you already forgot what was going on in Part 1, we aren't talking true randomness. Random here means "not specifically set to generate altruistic behavior.") So the robots behaved pretty much incoherently at the beginning.

      3. Although the robots behaved in a silly way, some behaved less silly than others because their programs encoding their behavior turned out to be slightly more advantageous than others. The top 20% were allowed to "procreate." Their descendants had a small amount of mutational changes in their genomes. These mutations were again random (in the aforementioned sense) and some mutations improved the robot performance in getting "food," while others were detrimental.

      3. After a number of generations, the robots became sophisticated enough to hang out near the source of food. That was in itself interesting, but that was not the most novel aspect of this study. They evolved traits that were beneficial to the survival of themselves and their kin. Under certain circumstances (e.g., food shortages), altruistic behavior is a beneficial trait. SO it is no surprise that under such circumstances altruism arose in robot populations.

      4. Lastly, you state, with hilarious certainty, that Thorton and I are 100% wrong. What makes you think so? You don't know squat about evolution and simulations and can't comprehend a fairly short and simple paper, yet you feel sure that people who have had some experience with these subjects are even more clueless than you are. With this kind of attitude, you just won't be able to learn. If you want to get something of out this, you should change your attitude and try to learn new things instead of regurgitating tired creationist points.

      All the best,

      OT

      Delete
    58. Oleg,

      "They evolved traits that were beneficial to the survival of themselves and their kin. Under certain circumstances (e.g., food shortages), altruistic behavior is a beneficial trait. SO it is no surprise that under such circumstances altruism arose in robot populations."

      The robots did not evolve, they reacted based on their programming. The researchers then carefully chose the few which functioned to their satisfaction and created the next generation. Nothing happened independent of the programmers. This process continued until they got the results they wanted.

      "you state, with hilarious certainty, that Thorton and I are 100% wrong. What makes you think so?"

      What makes you think I'm 100% wrong? Nothing but your adherence to the firm belief you're more knowledgeable than anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of things. Nothing more. I only used the phrase '100% wrong' in response to Thorton's arrogance when he said I was 100% wrong.

      "You don't know squat about evolution and simulations and can't comprehend a fairly short and simple paper, yet you feel sure that people who have had some experience with these subjects are even more clueless than you are."

      Ah yes, the old 'you don't understand evolution' canard. You guys are so predictable. You can't present a cogent case so you dismiss the critic as an ignorant buffoon. Very intellectual of you.

      I do understand evolution, that's why I reject it. However, you and others are so convinced of the truth of evolution it's impossible for you to see another point of view as valid. The loss is yours.

      I did not say you were clueless. I did say you are blinded by your complete adherence to the presupposition of evolution, and you are.

      Read the introduction of the paper again. For that matter read the introduction of virtually every paper on this subject or any other subject pertaining to evolution. It's clearly presented that evolution is a fact from the beginning. The only question the papers are concerned with is 'how' it evolved. There is never any consideration given to the question 'did' it evolve. When your premise is also your conclusion you will go nowhere in the pursuit of knowledge.

      "With this kind of attitude, you just won't be able to learn. If you want to get something of out this, you should change your attitude and try to learn new things instead of regurgitating tired creationist points."

      Isn't it strange how evolutionists always see themselves as teachers and everyone who disagrees with them as possessing lesser knowledge. You've convinced yourselves you are the only ones who really know the truth. Really funny how that works. I'm of the opinion we should all be open to learning. That attitude resulted in me turning from my former adherence to evolution. I'm sure if I still thought that way you would consider me a fine fellow.

      The only arrogance being displayed here is by those who insist they know the truth, that being evolution, and have the duty to teach those of us who are ignorant.

      No Oleg, these things are not over my head, I just don't agree with you, Thorton, et al, and as with all evolutionists you simply can't understand that. You have all failed in presenting your case and the fault is not mine, or yours for that matter. It stems from the fact that you have a very weak case and it's getting weaker by the day.

      I sincerely wish you all the best as well. We can disagree, but disagreement does not need to lead to hostility.


      Take care,

      Nic

      Delete
    59. Nic

      The robots did not evolve, they reacted based on their programming.


      The programming evolved you moron. Read the damned paper.

      The researchers then carefully chose the few which functioned to their satisfaction and created the next generation. Nothing happened independent of the programmers. This process continued until they got the results they wanted.

      Jeez, here we go again:

      "You intelligently designed that gravity simulator program, so that proves gravity is DESIGNED!!"

      Clueless Nic determined to stay clueless.

      I only used the phrase '100% wrong' in response to Thorton's arrogance when he said I was 100% wrong.

      Nic resorts to outright lying once again. Go ahead Nic, point to the place on this thread where I wrote you were "100% wrong".

      You can't present a cogent case so you dismiss the critic as an ignorant buffoon.

      We did present a quite cogent case well supported by evidence. You hand waved it away without even bothering to read the references supplied. In your case you've demonstrated nothing but ignorant buffoonery.

      Read the introduction of the paper again. For that matter read the introduction of virtually every paper on this subject or any other subject pertaining to evolution. It's clearly presented that evolution is a fact from the beginning. The only question the papers are concerned with is 'how' it evolved. There is never any consideration given to the question 'did' it evolve.

      Evolution *is* a well established scientific fact, has been for over a century. New papers on the details are no more required to "reinvent the wheel" and re-verify evolution than new papers on aeronautics are required to re-verify heavier-than-air flight. Science, ALL of science, builds off of what has been demonstrated before.

      When your premise is also your conclusion you will go nowhere in the pursuit of knowledge.

      No paper for the last 100 years has had as its conclusion "...therefore evolution is true". New research investigates the details, not rehashes already demonstrated facts for clueless Creationists.

      I'm sure if I still thought that way you would consider me a fine fellow.

      If you still refused to read the scientific literature and instead just lied about and insulted professional researchers as you do now, I'd think you were a clueless arrogant jerk no matter what you believed.

      We can disagree, but disagreement does not need to lead to hostility.

      Says the guy who for the last two weeks has been calling myself and my fellow scientists incompetent lying frauds. Go take a flying leap at a rolling donut you disgusting hypocrite.

      Delete
    60. Nic: The robots did not evolve, they reacted based on their programming. The researchers then carefully chose the few which functioned to their satisfaction and created the next generation. Nothing happened independent of the programmers. This process continued until they got the results they wanted.

      Nic,

      What you say is rather silly. I do not mean to sound discouraging, but there is no other way to put it. Let's review what you wrote up close.

      Nic: The robots did not evolve, they reacted based on their programming.

      That is precisely what happens with living organisms. An animal does not evolve, either. It develops according to the genetic information in its chromosomes and acts in accordance with its neuron wirings. The term evolution does not refer to a single organism. Evolution happens when mutations change the genetic program and that, in turn, affects the wirings and the behavior of the next generation. So your first sentence, is not even wrong.

      Nic: The researchers then carefully chose the few which functioned to their satisfaction and created the next generation.

      Great improvement this time! You are now wrong. Congrats! With a little more effort you can start getting things right. The researchers did not select the robots whom they liked. They selected the robots who were objectively more successful at getting "food." Here is how the authors describe it: "At the end of each generation, the 1,000 individuals in the population were ranked according to their performance and the best 20% were selected." This is actually important, so pay attention. It's not like the researchers looked for those robots who displayed specific behavior. No. The robots were selected on the basis of their fitness. In effect, those robots who couldn't get enough "food" died without leaving offspring. That's how selection works in nature.

      Nic: Nothing happened independent of the programmers.

      Drat, we're back again to not even wrong. The programmers played the same role nature plays. They selected the best-fit (but not necessarily well-behaved!) robots. In fact, the ranking of the robots mentioned above could be automated and done without any active involvement of the programmers. Same with natural selection. If there is no natural selection there is no evolution. So complaining that there was a selecting factor present in this experiment is kinda pointless.

      This process continued until they got the results they wanted.

      Wrong again. The researchers conducted the experiments until the robot population reached an equilibrium.

      Nic, you aren't even tying to understand the paper. All you want to do is dismiss it with the lamest excuse possible. It looks hilarious.

      Delete
    61. Oleg,

      "What you say is rather silly. I do not mean to sound discouraging, but there is no other way to put it."

      Again we have the attitude of, me, the ignoramus, who must be taught by, you, the intelligent evolutionist. Your condescending attitude is becoming tiresome.

      "That is precisely what happens with living organisms. An animal does not evolve, either. It develops according to the genetic information in its chromosomes and acts in accordance with its neuron wirings."

      Come on! You're going to equate a robot's programming with the genetic code of an organic being. Give me a break!

      "The researchers did not select the robots whom they liked. They selected the robots who were objectively more successful at getting "food."'

      They wanted the ones who found food, ergo, they picked the ones they liked. You're simply playing semantics here, but to be honest, I don't think you're even aware of it.

      It has been my experience that many evolutionists, many of whom are very intelligent people like yourself, are, unfortunately very poor in the area of philosophical disciplines, such as semantics.

      "The programmers played the same role nature plays. They selected the best-fit (but not necessarily well-behaved!) robots. In fact, the ranking of the robots mentioned above could be automated and done without any active involvement of the programmers."

      And just how would the automated ranking occur? By programmers setting up the parameters. So exactly how would the programmers not be involved? You simply don't see that intelligence is involved in the entire process, which reduces any results to little more than anecdote in terms of demonstrating the evolution of altruistic behaviour.

      "If there is no natural selection there is no evolution."

      There is certainly much discussion regards the whole concept of natural selection. I accept its existence, but I don't give it the power that evolutionists tend to give it. Certainly not the power to develop all life from a common ancestor. In fact there is growing evidence that natural selection has very little, if any power at all. It would seem most creatures have built-in adaptation systems. As a result a species does not pin its survival on fortunate mutations which are then selected.

      I think it might be time to look at some of the new findings in biology.

      "All you want to do is dismiss it with the lamest excuse possible. It looks hilarious."

      Pointing out the flaws in the entire logic of the study is not a lame excuse. The researchers assume what they are trying to demonstrate and set up the entire study to arrive at the results they want. When they start their paper by asserting the evolutionary origin of altruism their eventual conclusions are already stated.

      What looks hilarious is otherwise intelligent people accepting such nonsense as legitimate research. As I said before, when you state your conclusion in your preamble you're going nowhere. They state altruism evolved and low-and-behold that's the conclusion they come to. It's simply amazing science.

      Delete
    62. Thorton,

      "I only used the phrase '100% wrong' in response to Thorton's arrogance when he said I was 100% wrong."

      I must ask your forgiveness once more Thorton, I was accused of being 100% wrong by someone else on another thread. You must be enjoying this. I'm supplying you with lots of ammo to shoot at me. Again I apologize.

      "The programming evolved you moron. Read the damned paper."

      The programming IS the robot. You call me a moron?

      "Evolution *is* a well established scientific fact, has been for over a century."

      So you say, others disagree and not just ignorant fools such as I.

      "No paper for the last 100 years has had as its conclusion "...therefore evolution is true"."

      I can believe that completely. Why bother concluding with what you've already asserted in your preamble?

      "I'd think you were a clueless arrogant jerk no matter what you believed."

      You think anyone who doesn't agree with you is 'a clueless arrogant jerk.' Oh well, I'm in good company.

      "Says the guy who for the last two weeks has been calling myself and my fellow scientists incompetent lying frauds. Go take a flying leap at a rolling donut you disgusting hypocrite."

      So says the guy who likes to call me a liar on a regular basis. Why don't you point out to me where I called anyone on any thread an incompetent, lying fraud." If you can't do so I think an apology should be forthcoming in keeping with the one I just supplied to you. I won't hold my breath.

      Delete
    63. Nic

      Again we have the attitude of, me, the ignoramus, who must be taught by, you, the intelligent evolutionist. Your condescending attitude is becoming tiresome.


      True, you might be an amazingly intelligent guy just pretending to be a complete ignoramus on the web. Thing is, all we have to go on is your demonstrated complete ignorance of the topic despite claiming to be an expert, your preachy hand-waving denials of the evidence, your baseless attacks on honest scientists, and the lies you've been caught in. Can you blame us for thinking you're a clueless buffoon?

      They wanted the ones who found food, ergo, they picked the ones they liked. You're simply playing semantics here, but to be honest, I don't think you're even aware of it.

      PROJECTION

      And just how would the automated ranking occur? By programmers setting up the parameters. So exactly how would the programmers not be involved? You simply don't see that intelligence is involved in the entire process, which reduces any results to little more than anecdote in terms of demonstrating the evolution of altruistic behaviour.

      ...and the same repeated stupidity:

      "You intelligently designed that gravity simulator program, so that proves gravity is DESIGNED!!"

      The researchers assume what they are trying to demonstrate and set up the entire study to arrive at the results they want.

      Telling the same lie over and over won't make it come true Nic. Let's see - you lied about being well read on the topic, can't produce a single paper you read. You lied about having read this latest paper. You even lied about me saying you're "100% wrong".

      Should we start referring to you as Pinocchio Nic?

      As I said before, when you state your conclusion in your preamble you're going nowhere.

      Aah, one last lie just for good measure. You're a real credit to Christians everywhere.

      Delete
    64. Nic

      T:"The programming evolved you moron. Read the damned paper."

      The programming IS the robot. You call me a moron?


      Read the damned paper you moron.

      T: "No paper for the last 100 years has had as its conclusion "...therefore evolution is true"."

      I can believe that completely. Why bother concluding with what you've already asserted in your preamble?


      I explained why, you quote-mined my answer and cut out the reasons. How honest of you.

      T: "I'd think you were a clueless arrogant jerk no matter what you believed."

      You think anyone who doesn't agree with you is 'a clueless arrogant jerk.' Oh well, I'm in good company.


      Another dishonest quote-mining of my words, cutting out the context and changing the meaning.

      How does being so dishonest work out for you in real life?

      Why don't you point out to me where I called anyone on any thread an incompetent, lying fraud."

      You do it every time you accuse scientists of fudging results and deliberately omitting contrary data they don't like, like you did here and here.

      If you dared make those insulting accusations to the face of many research scientists I know you'd be walking home spitting out teeth. But on the web you're just another anonymous big mouthed Creationist.

      Delete
    65. Thorton,

      "Thing is, all we have to go on is your demonstrated complete ignorance of the topic despite claiming to be an expert,..."

      Again we have Thorton who loves to call me a liar at the drop of a hat making more false accusations. Please show us where I ever claimed to be an 'expert'. I do have a degree in Sociology,and have read much on the subject of altruism. Neither comment can be construed as claiming I'm an expert. Except perhaps in your mind.

      "your baseless attacks on honest scientists,..."

      Please show me where I made an attack on an honest scientist. Questioning results does not constitute an attack on a scientist by the way. If it did scientists would be each others worst enemy.

      "Aah, one last lie just for good measure. You're a real credit to Christians everywhere."

      You say I don't read any papers. If you think I'm wrong about the assertion of the fact of evolution at the beginning of virtually every research paper on the subject, it would only go to show it is you who is not reading the papers.

      "Read the damned paper you moron."

      That's a great rebuttal I must say. Are the robots functioning entities aside from their programming? If you think so please explain the nature of that existence.

      Nic: "Why don't you point out to me where I called anyone on any thread an incompetent, lying fraud."

      "You do it every time you accuse scientists of fudging results and deliberately omitting contrary data they don't like, like you did here and here."

      So the bottom line is evolution and those who promote it are beyond criticism? Show me where I say scientists fudged results. I really don't remember doing so. On the other hand it is a common accusation between scientists themselves, so I guess that would mean you see each other as incompetent, lying frauds. That being the case, why are you upset with me?

      "If you dared make those insulting accusations to the face of many research scientists I know you'd be walking home spitting out teeth. But on the web you're just another anonymous big mouthed Creationist."

      I doubt I would lose any teeth. My experience has been that actual scientists are quite civil, take criticism in a mature manner, and welcome intelligent discussion. However, that's not you. You're more interested in being a boor and elevating your low esteem by attacking others.

      Don't bother responding about my comment regards intelligent discussion, I'll supply your usual insults regards my ignorance and inability to say anything intelligent myself and save you the trouble.

      Delete
    66. Nic: It has been my experience that many evolutionists, many of whom are very intelligent people like yourself, are, unfortunately very poor in the area of philosophical disciplines, such as semantics.

      [...]

      Pointing out the flaws in the entire logic of the study is not a lame excuse.


      Thorton, I think we're dealing here with one of those specimens who haven't a slightest idea about a scientific field but think that they can take it apart by relying on pure logic. In the process they usually accuse scientists of being poorly educated in formal logic. (The two excerpts above confirm the diagnosis.)

      When confronted with concrete examples from the scientific field in question, they pronounce that this cannot be right. Because why? Because they know it can't be right. They refuse to go into any specifics because they do not have enough technical knowledge and they lack patience to learn it. They already have a worldview and the details don't matter.

      Gil Dodgen (at Uncommon Descent) and Thoedore Beale (a.k.a. Vox Day) are known to be afflicted by this disease. Attempts to engage them in discussions often result in hilarious claims revealing their total lack of understanding. At some point, Gil suggested that realistic simulations of evolution require subjecting the entire computer (including the OS and hardware) to random errors. Not just the simulated organisms. For some reason, he did not appreciate the counter offer that his own computers (simulating aerodynamics of parachutes) ought to be thrown out of a plane for added realism.

      I think fun can be had here as well, but with much less bang for the buck. Nic lacks the pomposity of Gil, so the fireworks won't be as spectacular.

      Delete
    67. Ian you stated a few days earlier:

      "If tyou want wicked, you need look no further than the Old Testament. The heart of man is desperately wicked and orders of magnitude more so when his wickedness as justified as being the will of God. Is there any difference in kind between what Stalin did to his own people and what God and the Israelites did to the other peoples in the Middle East at that time?"

      Well then,,,

      Romans 11:22
      Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

      ,, Guess that should sober you right up as to how severe God can be on people! Prediction, it won't.

      note:

      This following recent video upload is excellent:

      The Moral Impact Of Darwinism On Society - Dr. Phil Fernandes - video
      http://www.nwcreation.net/videos/Impact_Of_Darwinism_On_Society.html

      The following video is downright eye-opening with its archeological evidence for authenticity of the Bible:

      The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y

      Delete
    68. Nic: Again we have the attitude of, me, the ignoramus, who must be taught by, you, the intelligent evolutionist. Your condescending attitude is becoming tiresome.

      This is only half right, Nic. You are definitely ignorant of evolutionary science. We have established that you do not know anything about the field except for the broad notion that it is wrong. I am not an evolutionist. I am a theoretical physicist, something that has already been pointed out and you seem to have noticed that.

      Nic: Come on! You're going to equate a robot's programming with the genetic code of an organic being. Give me a break!

      No analogy is perfect, Nic. However, this is how science works. It aims to apply general principles to a number of different phenomena. In the 17th century one could ridicule Newton's attempts to develop a theory of gravity: "Come on! You're going to equate a falling apple with the motion of a heavenly body. Give me a break."

      Likewise, evolutionary notions found applications beyond biology. Have you heard about genetic algorithms? John Holland had the smart idea to harness the power of evolution to solve optimization problems. Do genetic algorithms work in the exact the same as nature? No, of course not, but the core principles are the same.

      Nic: They wanted the ones who found food, ergo, they picked the ones they liked. You're simply playing semantics here, but to be honest, I don't think you're even aware of it.

      That isn't semantics, Nic. That is a crucial point that you misunderstand badly. Any evolutionary process has two main components: heritable variations (genetic mutations) and selection. Something, or someone, must discriminate organisms by their fitness. It could be cold weather, which selects foxes with thicker fur, or birds who miss better camouflaged insects, or a graduate student who compares the scores of different robots and selects the top 20 percent. These are all examples of selection as part of the evolutionary process.

      It does not matter whether the selection pressure is applied by an intelligent being or by cold air. The graduate student did not pick the robots who minimized the time to his or her PhD defense. He or she provided selection pressure required for the evolution to happen. You seem fixated on the the involvement of a human being here and you miss the point that selection, natural or artificial, is a necessary component of evolution.

      Nic: It has been my experience that many evolutionists, many of whom are very intelligent people like yourself, are, unfortunately very poor in the area of philosophical disciplines, such as semantics.

      As you can see from a preceding comment, this was not an unexpected charge. People like you invariably accuse scientists of being generally dense. But we're not dense, Nic. We merely refuse to accept your flawed broad conclusions based on vague philosophical musings.

      (continued)

      Delete
    69. (continued)

      Nic: And just how would the automated ranking occur? By programmers setting up the parameters. So exactly how would the programmers not be involved? You simply don't see that intelligence is involved in the entire process, which reduces any results to little more than anecdote in terms of demonstrating the evolution of altruistic behaviour.

      Nic, you are like a young spaniel chasing squirrels. As soon as you see a human being involved, you cry "Design!" Of course human beings set up the parameters! This is why it's called a simulation. You are like Gil Dodgen whom I mentioned above. You don't object when human beings set up parameters in a weather simulation, do you? (Bonus points if you think that the weather computers should be set outside in the rain and without airconditioning to more accurately predict the weather.)

      Nic: There is certainly much discussion regards the whole concept of natural selection. I accept its existence, but I don't give it the power that evolutionists tend to give it. Certainly not the power to develop all life from a common ancestor. In fact there is growing evidence that natural selection has very little, if any power at all. It would seem most creatures have built-in adaptation systems. As a result a species does not pin its survival on fortunate mutations which are then selected. I think it might be time to look at some of the new findings in biology.

      Nic, this is a pattern that repeats itself: you make lots of claims, but you do not back them up with any references to the literature. Why? Because you haven't read any scientific studies that you allude to. You heard from other creationists about them. Did I get that right?

      Nic: Pointing out the flaws in the entire logic of the study is not a lame excuse. The researchers assume what they are trying to demonstrate and set up the entire study to arrive at the results they want. When they start their paper by asserting the evolutionary origin of altruism their eventual conclusions are already stated.

      I know that this is the general model of evolutionary science you have in mind. But here is the damn thing: if you actually read this specific paper then you will see that in this particular instance it wasn't the case. So this particular instance should rock your general model a little.

      These researchers did not know in advance what they would find. They mention a "somewhat surprising result" in the abstract, which you have presumably read, and they looked into its possible origins (see the body of the paper). I am not sure how we can square this surprise finding with your claim that the scientists "arrived at the results they wanted." I can see three distinct possibilities: (1) You have not read the paper. (2) You have read the paper but you do not comprehend it. (3) You comprehend the paper but you intentionally mischaracterize it. Feel free to suggest your own interpretation as none of these possibilities reflects well on you.

      Delete
    70. Nic

      Questioning results does not constitute an attack on a scientist by the way.

      So the bottom line is evolution and those who promote it are beyond criticism?


      You aren't just questioning results or criticizing evolutionary theory Nic. You're making accusations of willful dishonesty against the researchers. When you claim they purposely skew results to what they like and throw out contradictory data you are accusing them of deliberate fraud.

      It's a repugnant, reprehensible tactic you can't support of course and shows just how low into the slime you'll sink to defend your Creationist nonsense.

      Simple fact is, you're way too ignorant on this topic in specific and science in general to carry on an intelligent discussion. You lie about what you've read, twist and misrepresent the responses of others, hand wave away data for the flimsiest of reasons, attack the integrity of honest scientists when the evidence gets to be too much for you to deny. You stay ignorant because you want to stay ignorant. It's not a question of merely having a different opinion as you like to falsely portray. It's a question of your refusal to honestly deal with what's been presented.

      So keep lying for Jesus Nic. Lots of better people than you have tried it to get into heaven.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. How many times has Lisbeth written 'shame on you' over on pz's blog?

    I've seen some truly horrific statements and comments over there...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve,

      It works both ways, how can you complain about horrific comments elsewhere and give CH a pass?

      Delete
    2. Yeah, tu quoque isn't much of an argument.

      And, indeed, as my link shows, steve2007a's assumption that I don't express my disgust at PZ Myers on occasion is unfounded.

      I'm an equal-opportunities high-horse rider.

      Delete
    3. LOL at your linked quote Elizabeth - you couldn't bring yourself to speak against that appalling den without throwing in a swipe at Uncommon Descent at the same time.

      (least they forget whose side you're really on?)

      And you ended your post with some "stern" advice and a gratuitous suck-up about pz's wonderful scientific writing.

      Thanks for that - I'm still smiling!

      Delete
    4. Oh, yes, I could, and frequently did. But that link was apposite to my point.

      And I don't "suck-up". I used to be a fan of PZ's posts on biology, and I still enjoy them - and lament their rarity.

      Oddly enough, steve, I don't take sides - I say what I think, and if someone I normally agree with says something I disagree with, and vice versa, I say so.

      If that amuses you, I'm glad to have made your day. Your lamp, Diogenes, has led you to an honest woman.

      Delete
    5. Still waiting for you to weigh in on Dr Hunter since you seem so concerned about other's tone. Lest someone might think your sensitivities only depend on who's ox is gored. Relativism bad.

      Delete
    6. PZ incites hatred to a vile degree. I've seen posts on his blog that were so utterly disgusting that I stopped going there. And I don't consider myself someone who's easily shocked.

      To draw some equivalence between PZ and CH you would have to be truly blinkered.

      The photo does not suggest to me that CH is warning of PZ's impending murder spree. I don't think PZ is physically capable of harming anyone but himself. (Still obese? I don't know.)

      Militant ideology and hatred can have terrible consequences. That's what the picture symbolizes to me.

      By the way, "I used to be a fan" should rightfully be considered a very weak criticism of pz from anyone who considers themselves well-rounded and honest.

      Delete
    7. Whatever you think of PZ, how does it justify posting the image of a mass murderer making a Nazi salute to illustrate an post about him?

      Does it not feed the very hatred you condemn?

      Delete
    8. Not much for equivalence, and CH doesn't allow the range of language here.Certainly Louis is capable vile with the best of them.

      In fact that little gratuitous slam about PZ's weight shows you are willing to play the game.

      Militant biologists,terrifying. Religious extremists only in the most tortured way of defining religion. And since many scientists are theists it is hard to see much danger to organized religion.

      I marvel again what a difference the belief in objective morality vs subjective makes in people's actual behavior

      Delete
    9. Again we see the tactic of attempting to draw some dubious equivalence between what we all know goes on over in pz land and even the mildest jab - me referring to him as harmless and chubby.

      It's one of the tactics used by all the fashionable atheists these days but is a cartoonish simplification.

      Delete
    10. Illustrating a post about PZ Myers with a photograph of a mass murderer giving a nazi salute is not "the mildest jab".

      I can scarcely think of a more vicious one.

      Delete
    11. Elizabeth - you seem to be offering knee-jerk responses to posts you are either not reading or deliberately misrepresenting. I clearly stated that by mildest jab I meant me referring to PZ as er somewhat heroically proportioned and appearing personally to be more frumpy than fatal.

      Delete
    12. Yes, I know, but I asked you:

      Whatever you think of PZ, how does it justify posting the image of a mass murderer making a Nazi salute to illustrate an post about him?

      Does it not feed the very hatred you condemn?


      All you have done is pointed out that your "mildest jab" is justifiable. I agree. I am asking you to comment on what I see as a spectacularly vicious one.

      Delete
    13. I thought I did respond to that!

      My interpretation of the photo is like a graphic warning or image on a carton of cigarettes. It's not there to incite hatred. It stands as a warning to the dangers of smoking.

      Why don't you ventilate the air around you Elizabeth by offering some unequivocal condemnation of PZ's malicious writings?

      Delete
    14. My interpretation of the photo is like a graphic warning or image on a carton of cigarettes. It's not there to incite hatred. It stands as a warning to the dangers of smoking.

      Well, that's lame.

      Delete
    15. Ah thanks Liz. I must improve my thinking so.

      I'll study hard on some topic today.

      Now let's see... Can A and (Not A) co-exist somehow. I'll give that one a try.

      Oh and ignoring the second part of my post? Noted.

      Delete
    16. Now let's see... Can A and (Not A) co-exist somehow. I'll give that one a try.

      ?

      Oh and ignoring the second part of my post? Noted.

      If you search around the web, you'll find plenty of criticism by me of PZ Myers.

      Delete
  11. I find it funny that Hunter uses the expression religious fundamentalism in a pejorative sense. Let's not even mention the inconvenient fact that he applies it to an entirely non-religious person (P. Z. Myers).

    In case the irony is still lost on you, recall that he term Christian fundamentalism refers to 12 volumes of The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth published in the early 20th century by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. This is an institution of higher education now known as Biola University. Where Cornelius Hunter happens to teach.

    Here is a brief excerpt from a New York Times article All God's Children:

    Biola's history is entwined with that of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Almost a hundred years ago, the school sponsored a series of pamphlets called ''The Fundamentals,'' which laid out the principles of the fundamentalist movement. ''The Fundamentals'' were a reaction against Darwinism, modernism and liberal strains in Protestantism, all of which were seen as challenges to the authority of the Bible as a literal historic account of reality. Biola, then called the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, saw its mission as training laypeople to preach the Gospel, and later began providing them with tools -- like ''scientific'' arguments that proved the existence of a creator -- to do battle with other faiths and with secular ideas.

    [End of quote]

    So, Cornelius, how does your use of fundamentalism in a pejorative sense mesh with your own gainful employment at a fundamentalist college? Is this not a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fundamentalism of doctrinaire Darwinists like Myers puts Christian fundamentalists to shame.

      Delete
    2. That may be so, Louis, but I still see no reason why Cornelius Hunter, an adjunct professor at Biola, should think that fundamentalism is somehow a bad thing. It's pretty ironic when you pause to think about it. He should warmly embrace his fellow fundamentalists.

      Delete
  12. I think the Golden Rule is not enough. How would masochist apply Golden Rule?

    (Golden Rule=treat others as you would like to be treated)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well the only tweak it needs is: "treat others as you would want to be treated in their place".

    It doesn't take a whole lot of nouse to figure out that you give people what they'd like, not what you'd like.

    Even my cats have finally twigged that I don't want dead mice.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Can people tweak it as needed? Is Golden Rule like open source software? Imagine how comrade Stalin would tweak it.

    These are simple common sense remarks. I’m sure philosophers could talk about it for days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stalin was closer in my opinion to the authoritarian mode of morality, the state,in this case himself,was the ultimate objective morality. Part of morality involves maintaining the authority, institutional survival becomes a morality. Ironic Cardinal Dolan on the previous post.

      Whereas the golden rule is a bottom up. The two greatest commandments weren't "love God, and do exactly as the priests tell you". Each system has flaws

      Delete
  15. Well, people can express it differently, I guess. It would seem a little odd to express it as meaning you should treat everyone as you would like to be treated, not as they would.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @bornagain77 and Cornelius:
    Isn´t EL, the evolutionary ehicist, the one that was expelled from UDescent because she is compelled that A and (not A) can co-exist somehow?.
    Isn´t she contending that the free will is an ilusion?
    If that is true I don´t understand how people (intelligent people like you who are ID advocates)try to argue something logic to such people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is because ID folks are so tolerant of others beliefs, after all, they wouldn't compare someone who they disagree with as a religious mass murder in a creepy Fox News way. How do you say irony in your native language?

      Delete
  17. E Liddle: forget us, the creationists, and enjoy your life with the wise of this world because in blogs like this one, your self- defeating arguments reinforce our "foolish", making us laugh

    ReplyDelete
  18. Isn´t EL, the evolutionary ehicist, the one that was expelled from UDescent because she is compelled that A and (not A) can co-exist somehow?.

    I have no idea why I was expelled from UD.


    Isn´t she contending that the free will is an ilusion?

    No.

    If that is true I don´t understand how people (intelligent people like you who are ID advocates)try to argue something logic to such people.

    So you think it's just fine that Cornelius should illustrate his post on PZ Myers with the image of a mass murderer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Jaun she is one and the same. Cleliziopatra, Queen of da Nile

      Delete
    2. Except that I was not expelled "because she is compelled that A and (not A) can co-exist somehow", and I do not contend that free will is an illusion.

      Delete
  19. CH: For while Myers criticizes others for their religious beliefs, Myers’ notion of how the universe would and would not look if such an all-powerful being created it is, itself, a religious belief.

    That any monotheistic God created the world we observe in any particular way is a religious idea conjectured by theists. We make process by criticizing conjectured ideas. Those ideas that do not withstand criticism are discarded. Ideas that cannot be criticized because they could explain anything, an therefore nothing, are merely logical possibilities, which we discard as well.

    This is how we make progress and evolutionary theory is represents one such example.

    Given that you appear to object to this process being applied, what part of the above do you disagree with? What is you're alternative explanation as to how we make progress. Please be specific.

    CH: There is no scientific experiment or evidence to back up Myers’ belief. There is no logic or rationale to which Myers could appeal.

    Which assumes we can somehow mechanically derive theories from evidence, rather than conjecture. The problem is, no one has formulated a "principle of induction" that actually works in practice. This is the same problem that plagues ID, in that no ID proponent has formulated a "principle of design" that actually works in practice either.

    Theories are tested by observations, not derived from them. We start out with conjectures, which we test for internal consistency and run empirical experiments to see if all observations conform to them, if we assume they are true, in reality.

    As such, there are plenty of empirical experiments and logical rational that Myers can appeal to. You're just confused about the role that evidence and scientific experiments play in the process.

    Of course, feel free to enlighten us as to how it's possible to mechanically derive theories from evidence. Please be specific. However, I do not expect such an explanation to be forthcoming as I do not think you recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that is subject to criticism. As such, you think no such explanation would be necessary.

    For example, the idea that monarchs should rule is a form of this same conception of human knowledge. While it took us centuries to recognize it would be subject to criticism, today, we see this for what it is: an idea. Anyone that still holds it, at least in the sense of human beings, is seen as dogmatic or ignorant by nearly everyone. God's presence in the world and his "right" to rule is an extension of this same conception.

    CH: If atheism were true, then no religious claims could be known to be true. Simply put, religious claims would be meaningless.

    Given the existence of contradictory religious claims, how do differentiate between human ideas and divinely revealed truths? For example, Islam claims it has been divinely revealed that Mohammed is the true prophet, rather than Jesus. Do you consider this claim of Islam to be meaningful statement in the sense you're implying?

    The claim that Jesus died for our sins is meaningful in that it indicates that people want eternal life, but I don't think this is context you're referring to.

    ReplyDelete
  20. CH: One could claim there is a 99% chance God would or would not do this or that, but such a claim would be worthless. Hypocrisy and irrationality are signs of the worst side of religion.

    First, please point out where Myers made this specific argument.

    Second, you seem to think that, since we couldn't know what God would or would not choose to do, probability would be invalid because we could not know all possible outcomes. However, probability in the case of evolution would also be worthless unless you know the particular biological adaptations we observe were pre-selected or represent the only possible forms of life, making them the only possible outcomes.

    How do you know this is indeed the case? Let me guess, you know because God is depicted as always knowing exactly what he's going to get? But that presumes that God designed organisms in the first place.

    So, yes, hypocrisy and irrationality are signs of the worst side of religion.

    In regards to Myers' quote, what part do you disagree with, in particular?

    Do you deny that evolution is occurring? Do you deny that forms of life represent incremental modified versions of other forms? Or do you think both of these things did and are occurring because "that's just what God must have wanted"

    In other words, which version of evolution are you referring to?

    CH: So while evolution fails one prediction after another, and while evolutionists are continually surprised by the evidence, and while evolutionists cannot even come close to explaining how evolution occurred, Myers nonetheless is convinced. After all, the process occurred and no creationist has ever falsified it.

    Of course, this assumes you actually have a firm grasp of what evolution is, how science works, etc. This post alone strongly suggest otherwise.

    CH: He is a religious fundamentalist and his fundamentalism has led to him to the age-old sophistry that everything must have arisen from nothing, and that’s a fact.

    Is it really a fact? But, surely, you realize this is a religious claim, right? After all, this assumes some abstract designer, with no defined limitations, wouldn't decide to directly and completely create this world last Thursday. In doing so, this abstract designer would be the author of all of Myers' work, rather than Myers himself. An we can say the same for all of the religious ideas that supposedly influenced Myers as well.

    Again, creationism is misleadingly named as it's a general purpose means of denying that creation took place. This would even include denying that you authored the book "Darwin's God".

    ReplyDelete
  21. Cornelius, you do know that there is a difference between not believing in god or gods and believing that there are no god or gods?

    And that both are sometimes referred to as "atheism"?

    If not, you know now.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Elizabeth, how sure are you there is no God (percentage wise please)?

    ReplyDelete
  23. How do you expect me to calculate such a percentage?

    And which of the many postulated gods did you have in mind?

    ReplyDelete
  24. You are right, it’s impossible to calculate.

    Just wondering, I did see Larry Moran posting guess once. I think it was 6 months or more ago. If I remember right, he was giving the range from 99 to 99.9%.
    Would you have a guess? (even that is pretty hard)

    As for which god, I mean the one we say is the Creator of our universe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larry is not much of a philosopher, but he's an excellent biochemist. You should read his posts on translation!

      Delete
    2. Would you have a link,please?

      Delete
    3. Gee, you're lazy!

      http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/search?q=translation

      Delete
    4. Ahh, the search box! Who'd have thunk it?
      :) Thanks.

      Delete
  25. All I can say, Eugen, is what I consider to be reasonable. I don't see any reason or persuasive evidence to think that intelligence/awareness can be unembodied, so I put that probability as low. For that reason I put a low prior on an intelligent/aware "outside" agent as the creator of the universe, and also for intelligent/aware life after death.

    On the other hand, I do find the fact that not just intelligent/aware life, but altruistic, loving, life, has emerged from this universe to be an awesome thing, and I'd probably, if pushed, call myself a "pantheist". That comes closest to my "worldview". But it's a philosophical position, rather than a belief-system. I have a "God-model" that works. I just don't regard my God as some external creator, but rather the name we give to what we aspire to be when we put ego aside, and consider ourselves as a moving point-of-view within a vast whole.

    This passage by Einstein pretty well sums up my position:

    A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  26. First of all, I followed your challenges to ID on Uncommon Descent. You sparked many great discussions; so many that I couldn’t keep up with comments, let alone participate.

    Unfortunately, it is much quieter there now.

    Thanks for explaining your worldview. You seem moderate as opposed to “hard liners” like Dawkins, PZ, Larry Moran.... They like to mock theists and naturally we don’t appreciate that.

    About percentages, I tried to engage Moran on that but he ignored me. I had a little “catch” setup for him but I had no chance to deliver it.

    Please tell me what is your favorite soccer (football) team?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I don't have one! I'm afraid I am very unsporty :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oleg & Thorton,

    I feel I can no longer spend time here for the next while. I have Leukemia and I must attend to more important issues for a while. I have suffered a minor setback which is going to take me a while to deal with. I hope you understand.

    I know you both think I'm ill informed on the whole question of evolution and make unfounded accusations against scientists. This is simply not true. Questioning the results of various studies is not attacking science or scientists. We owe much to both. I and others simply reject many of the presumptions of many in the scientific community. To question their methods and their results is all part of the process. Scientists go after each other more viciously than do I or others on this blog, so I think your accusations against me and others are definitely overblown.

    Anyway, I hope to be able to participate again in the future. I sincerely wish you both the best and hope all goes well for both of you.

    Take care,
    Nic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nic,

      Very sorry to hear about your illness. Hope things get on the mend.

      Take care.

      Delete
    2. Nic I just ran across this video that might interest you in this time you are going through:

      The Science Behind the Healing Power of Love - video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t1p-PwGgE4

      And this one might interest you as well:

      Testing Prayer: Science and Miraculous Healing - Candy Gunther Brown at Boston College - video
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRfLooh3ZOk

      Delete
    3. Nic,

      Sorry to hear about your setback. I hope it is only temporary and sincerely wish you the best for a speedy recovery.

      Two stubborn guys banging heads on the interwebs is way insignificant when compared to real life health issues.

      Take care and good luck

      Delete
    4. Best wishes, Nic! Leukemia is a heck of a diagnosis but fortunately treatments are improving all the time. My brother-in-law is alive and well 10 years after diagnosis, owing to treatment not even available at the time of his diagnosis!

      Good to talk to you despite disagreements!

      Lizzie

      Lizzie

      Delete
  29. Good luck Nic. Let us know how it goes. If conventional treatment fails consider Burzynski Clinic.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Safe journeys, Nic. Keep a strong mind about you.

    ReplyDelete