Saturday, February 16, 2013

This Week’s Dispute Between Evolutionists Can’t Hide the Religion

Don’t Be Fooled

This week’s squabble between evolution professors might seem like great fun, but it is more likely to mislead than to inform. Austin Hughes at the University of South Carolina criticized the University of Chicago’s Jerry Coyne for linking evolution and atheism and Coyne, in turn, wondered aloud if Hughes is in cognitive dissonance and is up to snuff as a scientist. There is plenty there to criticize but it is all a sidetrack. Don’t pay too much attention to such infighting because where it counts, Hughes and Coyne agree.

Hughes and Coyne are probably an excellent case study of evolutionary thought. They hold to different politics and have different views on religious belief, but they are both evolutionists and that means where it matters, they share the same religion.

Even a Buddhist and Baptist can share common beliefs, and while evolutionists come from all religious backgrounds and beliefs, those differences are all irrelevant. What matters is their shared religious beliefs that mandate evolution. They can argue all they want about peripheral matters, but they share the same core commitments.

Consider, for example, Coyne’s rhetorical statement that biogeography refutes creation:

If animals were specially created, why would the creator produce on different continents fundamentally different animals that nevertheless look and act so much alike?

Or consider Coyne’s metaphysical claims about how organisms would be designed and why this proves evolution:

What I mean by "bad design" is the notion that if organisms were built from scratch by a designer—one who used the biological building blocks of nerves, muscles, bone, and so on—they would not have such imperfections. Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution. ... the particular bad designs that we see make sense only if they evolved

Or again, consider how Coyne’s religious convictions leads him to the certain conclusion that only evolution can explain the appearance of species through time because that pattern is “far from random” and “no theory of special creation, or any theory other than evolution, can explain these patterns.

Coyne’s goes on and on with his religious proofs in his book Why Evolution is True and in his presentations. Biology, Coyne repeats over and over, “makes no sense under the idea of special creation.

These are religious claims not scientific claims. And when Coyne made such points at his recent talk at the University of South Carolina Austin Hughes readily agreed:

Earlier this month, University of Chicago professor Jerry Coyne presented the 2013 A.C. Moore lecture at USC on Evolution and Society, in which he defended the evidence for evolution by describing several well-chosen examples. Particularly effective was his examination of structures such as the vestigial hind limbs of whales, which would be hard to explain under any hypothesis other than the Darwinian theory of descent with modification.

Here Hughes affirms Coyne’s central point. Coyne and Hughes did not learn these truths from science. Such truths come from heartfelt religious beliefs.

We know evolution is a fact not from the science, but from our religion. From a purely scientific perspective evolution is a bust, but from our religious perspective evolution, in one form or another, is a necessary fact. Our theological truths require it.

And so what can we learn from this little spat? First, that the core theoretic of evolution is religious. Even evolutionists with otherwise widely differing religious viewpoints share these beliefs in common.

Second, that infighting amongst evolutionists over their other religious beliefs, such as atheism, is a sidebar. It is not relevant to evolution’s core theoretic.

And finally, that one should not be fooled by atheists who claim they have no religious beliefs. Atheism and religious beliefs are two different things. Coyne is an atheist, but he is quite literally a religious fundamentalist. Coyne does not believe in God, but Coyne holds a great many strong religious convictions about God.

Yes, there is a cognitive dissonance there (if there is no God then there is no basis for religious beliefs about Him) and Coyne’s criticism of Hughes is, as usual with evolutionists, a criticism of the man in the mirror.

And nor are the evolutionist’s religious arguments merely a dispassionate and objective testing of creationism and design ideas, to which otherwise the evolutionist does not hold.

This is the canard that evolutionists always use when confronted with their abuse of science. As Coyne put it:

the argument from imperfection — i.e., organisms show imperfections of “design” that constitute evidence for evolution — is not a theological argument, but a scientific one. The reason why the recurrent laryngeal nerve, for example, makes a big detour around the aorta before attaching to the larynx is perfectly understandable by evolution (the nerve and artery used to line up, but the artery evolved backwards, constraining the nerve to move with it), but makes no sense under the idea of special creation — unless, that is, you believe that the creator designed things to make them look as if they evolved. No form of creationism/intelligent design can explain these imperfections, but they all, as Dobzhansky said, “make sense in the light of evolution.”

Here the evolutionist does us the favor of contradicting himself not in separate talks or papers, but in the very same paragraph. Should we laugh or cry?

According to Coyne the design “makes no sense under the idea of special creation" and this "is not a theological argument, but a scientific one.” Coyne’s misrepresentations and sophistry are astonishing.

There are, in general, two problems with the evolutionist’s canard that their religious fundamentalism is not really religious after all, but merely a test of creationism. First, it is not a test of creationism. Every religious proof they use to refute creation and mandate evolution does not come from biblical creationism, or any other tradition, aside from their own.

You can trace the evolutionist’s arguments about what God would and wouldn’t do back to earlier thinkers. Evolutionary thought is based on a set of religious beliefs, from earlier centuries, that are unique to evolutionary thought. Evolutionists use the bizarre argument that they are merely testing creationism when their religion is all their own.

The second problem with the evolutionist’s canard is that if they are merely testing creationism then they are not helping their cause, as they claim. If creationism is false, then that does not aid evolution. All that is established is that a particular religious theory is wrong. Evolution would still be a scientifically unlikely idea.

If, on the other hand, God would never have created this world, as evolutionists claim, then yes, evolution in one form or another is the obvious conclusion. And therein lies the religion.

You see evolutionists are not making claims about creationism, they are making claims about God.

Such religious beliefs are well documented. They laid the foundation for and motivated evolutionary thought. And they are represented today in evolutionists such as Hughes and Coyne.

So don’t be led astray by evolutionary squabbles. And don’t be led astray by those evolutionists who are atheists. It is all a side show for, where it counts, evolutionists are in strong religious agreement.

[Edited for clarity]

75 comments:

  1. After being told many times by Darwinists that the vestigial hind limbs of a whale prove evolution, I was rather amused to find that the vestigial hind limbs of whales are anything but vestigial:

    An Email Exchange Regarding "Vestigial Legs" Pelvic Bones in Whales by Jim Pamplin
    Excerpt: The pelvic bones (supposed Vestigial Legs) of whales serve as attachments for the musculature associated with the penis in males and its homologue, the clitoris, in females. The muscle involved is known as the ischiocavernosus and is quite a powerful muscle in males. It serves as a retractor muscle for the penis in copulation and probably provides the base for lateral movements of the penis. The mechanisms of penile motion are not well understood in whales. The penis seems to be capable of a lot of independent motion, much like the trunk of an elephant. How much of this is mediated by the ischiocavernosus is not known.
    In females the anatomical parts are smaller and more diffuse. I would imagine that there is something homologous to the perineal muscles in man and tetrapods, which affect the entire pelvic area - the clitoris, vagina and anus.
    The pelvic rudiments also serve as origins for the ischiocaudalis muscle, which is a ventral muscle that inserts on the tips of the chevron bones of the spinal column and acts to flex the tail in normal locomotion.
    http://www.darwinisdead.com/an_email_exchange_regarding.htm

    related notes:

    Whale Evolution Vs. Population Genetics - Richard Sternberg PhD. in Evolutionary Biology - video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4165203

    Evolution And Probabilities: A Response to Jason Rosenhouse - August 2011
    Excerpt: The equations of population genetics predict that – assuming an effective population size of 100,000 individuals per generation, and a generation turnover time of 5 years – according to Richard Sternberg’s calculations and based on equations of population genetics applied in the Durrett and Schmidt paper, that one may reasonably expect two specific co-ordinated mutations to achieve fixation in the timeframe of around 43.3 million years. When one considers the magnitude of the engineering fete, such a scenario is found to be devoid of credibility.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/evolution-and-probabilities-a-response-to-jason-rosenhouse/

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    1. For dodge probabilities, they (the fundamentalist atheist) "know now" that science has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt the existence of multiverses

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    2. Gerald hasn't been to confession. I can see that.

      Get it off your chest, Gerald, and, then, when your religion is right, you'll start following the science more carefully.

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    3. Yer can run, Gerald, but yer caint hide. God is watching you, even as you read this.

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  2. Two thoughts occurred to me when reading the OP.

    First, how do you define religion if you include confidence in the explanatory power of a scientific theory?

    Second, it sounds as if classifying belief in evolution as a form of religion is a criticism. You are, in effect, trying to demote it from a scientific theory to a faith, a tacit endorsement of the view that religion is a less reliable, less well-grounded form of knowledge. Was that the intention?

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    1. First, religion can be defined in multiple ways. Since some define theism per se as a religious belief, religious belief, per that definition, can include any causal inference about a non-human designer, independent of religious texts. This is the sense CH is using it.

      Second, religion, per the generic definition above, is used by evolutionists themselves, as he demonstrated above. So they're hypocritical to claim no one should use it. This is the criticism CH is applying to evolutionists who assume they know the possible range of attributes non-human designers could possess.

      The fact is, theism doesn't imply there aren't other non-human designers which could be responsible for certain "designs," in the first place. If I wake up and find the letters "I hate you" scratched into my car door, I infer they were put there by a designer. But I don't assume an employee of the car manufacturer did it. An inferred end IMPLIES a designer of SOME kind. Thus, I must either accept a designer for each end I infer or give up the inference of an end to remain logically coherent.

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    2. Jeff,

      First, religion can be defined in multiple ways. Since some define theism per se as a religious belief, religious belief, per that definition, can include any causal inference about a non-human designer, independent of religious texts


      So by that definition is the lack of causal inference a causal inference? In other words is F = MA a religious statement? A religion of " forcists " .




      . This is the sense CH is using it

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    3. If I say that leaving that last sentence hanging is my error,is that a religious statement ?

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    4. Jeff February 16, 2013 at 5:13 AM

      First, religion can be defined in multiple ways. Since some define theism per se as a religious belief, religious belief, per that definition, can include any causal inference about a non-human designer, independent of religious texts. This is the sense CH is using it.


      The problem with having many different meanings of the word "religion" is the danger of equivocation. Most people, on hearing or reading that word, will think of the world's major faiths. If CH is intending a less common usage but fails to be explicit about it, he can mislead his audience.

      I doubt most people think of evolution as a faith on a par with Christianity or Islam. Antievolutionists may think supporters of the theory have confidence in it beyond what is warranted by the evidence but that is hardly the same thing.

      Where I think equivocation does occur is in the use of the adjective "religious". If I were still Christian I could make an argument defending church doctrine which could be described as religious. As an atheist I could criticize that same doctrine and my argument could also be described as religious, even though I have no particular faith.

      When evolutionists are accused by their opponents of making religious arguments I think the intention is to imply that evolution is as much a faith as Christianity.

      The fact is, theism doesn't imply there aren't other non-human designers which could be responsible for certain "designs," in the first place. If I wake up and find the letters "I hate you" scratched into my car door, I infer they were put there by a designer. But I don't assume an employee of the car manufacturer did it. An inferred end IMPLIES a designer of SOME kind. Thus, I must either accept a designer for each end I infer or give up the inference of an end to remain logically coherent.

      The "inferred end" of a river could be to conduct water from high ground down to the sea. Does that imply it was designed?

      A canal does much the same thing, conducts water from one point to another. Of course, we know canals are designed. The word itself implies that. So suppose we are on an archaeological expedition to an alien planet to study water courses. Absent any evidence of a technological civilization, could we reliably distinguish rivers from canals?

      We know there is design in the universe, we do it ourselves. What we don't know yet is whether there is anyone else out there doing it. Without that, it is hard to say whether or not design has universal characteristics that are a reliable signature of the process.

      Personally, as a long time Trekkie, I have no problem with the idea of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. I have no problem with the idea of EID, that aliens may have visited Earth in the past and tampered with the course of evolution, even seeded life itself. Unfortunately, there is no evidence. It would be really exciting to dig up a spent black monolith or the remains of a crashed starship but so far we have nothing.

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    5. I: The problem with having many different meanings of the word "religion" is the danger of equivocation. Most people, on hearing or reading that word, will think of the world's major faiths. If CH is intending a less common usage but fails to be explicit about it, he can mislead his audience.

      J: It's not CH's use of the term. He's using their meaning and showing that it's a straw-man since most theists that posit free creation don't even assume what they're assuming in their syllogisms.

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    6. V: So by that definition is the lack of causal inference a causal inference? In other words is F = MA a religious statement? A religion of " forcists " .

      J: It always gets down to either:

      1) IS there libertarian causality,

      or,

      2) If there is, what beings possess the capacity for it?

      Some people argue as if libertarian causality per se is magic and, therefore, the equivalent of a species of religious belief. In fact, one could look at animism as a species of religious belief.

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    7. I: Absent any evidence of a technological civilization, could we reliably distinguish rivers from canals?

      J: My point was not that inferences to ends are reliable. They can be warranted even when they're unreliable, as is the case for all causal inference. I was only saying that to be consistent, once we infer an end, we are also inferring a designer, whether or not we can identify it specifically.

      I: We know there is design in the universe, we do it ourselves.

      J: By my definition of design, there is only design if there is libertarian causality. Dennett, Harris, Dawkins, Shermer etal don't believe there is libertarian causality. Thus, they deny design as most libertarians conceive of it.

      My contention is that a designer of the fit of my natural modes of inference to the extra-self system of beings and relations is the only way to account for our conception of warranted belief. Subtract away such a designer, and there is no longer such an intelligible thing as warranted belief. Warrant is normative in nature. There is no normativity without design best I can tell.

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    8. All depends on the religion, Spedd. My! My! What a simplistic thinker you are.

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    9. Jeff,

      Some people argue as if libertarian causality per se is magic and, therefore, the equivalent of a species of religious belief.


      Does natural law have libertarian free will? Chooses to make F=MA today,but tomorrow not?

      In fact, one could look at animism as a species of religious belief

      Almost certainly. Are you saying science is animism?

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    10. V: Does natural law have libertarian free will? Chooses to make F=MA today,but tomorrow not?

      J: A law is a description of a specific regularity. Only beings are posited to be free or not, to my knowledge.

      V: Are you saying science is animism?

      J: Did it sound like that's what I was saying? Geesh.

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  4. It also seems to me that Dr. Hunter is using exactly the same criticism against evolutionists that they employ against IDists. Namely, that just because you find errors in one theory it doesn't automatically make the other theory true. The difference, however, is that evolution does have a great deal of scientific evidence. It may not be complete, and some holes may exist, but even IDists acknowledge that evolution works on the micro level. ID, on the other hand, is purely a religion. It has no scientific proof other than negative. Its only argument is 'I can't imagine all this to have been done by evolution.' All that proves is a lack of imagination.

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    1. "some holes may exist"

      Like for instance, the demonstrated origin of a single novel functional protein by purely material processes?

      Now Evolution Must Have Evolved Different Functions Simultaneously in the Same Protein - Cornelius Hunter - Dec. 1, 2012
      Excerpt: In one study evolutionists estimated the number of attempts that evolution could possibly have to construct a new protein. Their upper limit was 10^43. The lower limit was 10^21.
      http://rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/5/25/953.long
      These estimates are optimistic for several reasons, but in any case they fall short of the various estimates of how many attempts would be required to find a small protein. One study concluded that 10^63 attempts would be required for a relatively short protein.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2199970
      And a similar result (10^65 attempts required) was obtained by comparing protein sequences.
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022519377900443
      Another study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15321723
      And another study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required. In that case the protein was only a part of a larger protein which otherwise was intact, thus making the search easier.
      http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000096
      These estimates are roughly in the same ballpark, and compared to the first study giving the number of attempts possible, you have a deficit ranging from 20 to 56 orders of magnitude. Of course it gets much worse for longer proteins.
      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/12/now-evolution-must-have-evolved.html?showComment=1354423575480#c6691708341503051454

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    2. "ID, on the other hand, is purely a religion. It has no scientific proof other than negative."

      Actually it is exactly where Darwinists have failed to demonstrate the origination of even a single novel functional protein by purely material processes, is exactly where ID does have scientific evidence,,

      Viral-Binding Protein Design Makes the Case for Intelligent Design Sick! (as in cool) - Fazale Rana - June 2011
      Excerpt: When considering this study, it is remarkable to note how much effort it took to design a protein that binds to a specific location on the hemagglutinin molecule. As biochemists Bryan Der and Brian Kuhlman point out while commenting on this work, the design of these proteins required:
      "...cutting-edge software developed by ~20 groups worldwide and 100,000 hours of highly parallel computing time. It also involved using a technique known as yeast display to screen candidate proteins and select those with high binding affinities, as well as x-ray crystallography to validate designs.2"
      If it takes this much work and intellectual input to create a single protein from scratch, is it really reasonable to think that undirected evolutionary processes could accomplish this task routinely?
      In other words, the researchers from the University of Washington and The Scripps Institute have unwittingly provided empirical evidence that the high-precision interactions required for PPIs requires intelligent agency to arise. Sick!
      http://www.reasons.org/viral-binding-protein-design-makes-case-intelligent-design-sick-cool

      Computer-designed proteins programmed to disarm variety of flu viruses - June 1, 2012
      Excerpt: The research efforts, akin to docking a space station but on a molecular level, are made possible by computers that can describe the landscapes of forces involved on the submicroscopic scale.,, These maps were used to reprogram the design to achieve a more precise interaction between the inhibitor protein and the virus molecule. It also enabled the scientists, they said, "to leapfrog over bottlenecks" to improve the activity of the binder.
      http://phys.org/news/2012-06-computer-designed-proteins-variety-flu-viruses.html

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    3. Basically, evidence is a relation, not an entity. To corroborate is to show an evidentiary relation. Analogousness is a relation.

      There is no naturalistic theory for UCA that can be corroborated. So analogy is what's left. And all the analogies are ID analogies. UCA is the positing of NON-analogical variation over time (because of the necessitated branching patterns) that is yet unexplained by any naturalistic theory.

      Outside of positive evidence, there is the minimization of negative factors, like ad-hoc hypotheses. I have yet to hear anyone explain how positing naturalistic UCA requires less ad-hoc hypotheses than ID/SA.

      Then there is the teleological approach to UCA. Cladistic tree-generation is a species of that kind of Platonic-teleological approach. But it doesn't have more utilitarian value to the tax-payers subsidizing that approach than does standard ID. Indeed, I'm not aware of ANY utilitarian value of that Platonic-teleological approach.

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    4. Bill:

      It also seems to me that Dr. Hunter is using exactly the same criticism against evolutionists that they employ against IDists. Namely, that just because you find errors in one theory it doesn't automatically make the other theory true.

      Where did I say anything like that? You are putting words in my mouth.

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    5. Don't go blinding Bill with science, BA, there's a good chap.

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  5. Bill, I don't see how the micro-level of evolution helps much. That leaves the vast majority of what is posited in UCA as yet unexplained.

    Moreover, CH isn't saying UCA is false. He's merely saying that evolutionists' certainty of UCA is religious in nature. And it's irrational religious thought at that. If a woman finds a bunch of Valentine gifts in her office on Valentines day, she infers more attributes of the source of the gifts THAN the mere intelligence to get them in the office, etc. Other emotional attributes are likewise inferred.

    What the evolutionists CH is talking about above do is limit the number of non-human designers to one being and then try to show that the emotional and competency attributes that seem indicated by the designs attributed to the one designer seem mutually exclusive. But we don't need to assume there is only one non-human designer. That's why that whole approach is just bogus.

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    1. In fact, not only does one not need to posit only one non-human designer, I know of no religion that does.

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    2. Jeff,
      In fact, not only does one not need to posit only one non-human designer, I know of no religion that does.


      Is a creator the same as a designer?

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    3. V: Is a creator the same as a designer?

      J: If they conceive of the creator as freely creating, yes.

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    5. Multiple intelligent non human designers?

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    6. Right. What religions are you aware of, that posit free agents at all (including God), which also posit that only humans and one divine agent are free? I can't think of any off the top of my head.

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    7. V: Is a creator the same as a designer?

      J1: If they conceive of the creator as freely creating, yes.

      J2: If the creator is conceived of as non-free, then you have the same problem with the infinitude of ad-hoc hypotheses as atheism, deism, etc. It's only if creation is a FREE act that naturally-produced, divine mental states that occurred prior to and independent of God's choice/intentions to/for creation are of NO causal relevance to THIS creation.

      In short, we need two things to get ad-hoc hypotheses finite:

      1) The inferred rational order of extra-self beings and their relations must have been freely created (to get finitude in explanation), and

      2) The creator must be sympathetic such that the natural (and therefore SATISFYING, since we are naturally pain-averse and pleasure oriented) modes of causal inference can be believed with warrant to correspond TO an inferred, extra-self world. Otherwise, belief can't be warranted in any conceivable sense.

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    8. I've been meaning to ask,what exactly is the proof that there is an infinity of ad hoc assumptions,for anything?

      Jeff,

      It's only if creation is a FREE act that naturally-produced, divine mental states that occurred prior to and independent of God's choice/intentions to/for creation are of NO causal relevance to THIS creation.


      Let me try to parse this, nope can't do it. Are the divine mental states naturally produced? Mental states are of no causal relevance? Why mention them then ? Can a divine being have a particular mental state? Isn't that finite in an infinite being? Sorry for the questions but that proof that free will somehow limits the number of assumptions is ,to put it mildly, unclear. Unless that is your goal, in which case kudos.

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    10. V: I've been meaning to ask,what exactly is the proof that there is an infinity of ad hoc assumptions,for anything?

      J: An explanation is deductive and therefore involves the positing of initial conditions that either result in a non-mediated effect or a mediated effect. In the latter case, the mediation is conceived to involve other causal properties of other beings that act deterministically such that subsequent event sequences are REGULAR.

      Now, it's obvious that deductive causal arguments can never explain anything beyond some earliest posited initial conditions. But that leaves the posited initial conditions unexplained. So you have two CAUSAL choices. You can posit that somehow the infinite past of events prior to those initial conditions just happened to conspire upon producing the initial conditions you posit (which renders each event of that conceivably infinite event set possessive of that ad-hoc, unexplained property), or you can posit a libertarian cause (and, therefore, being) that created or played a decisive role in the instantiation of those initial conditions.

      In the latter case, we can still hold to the principle of causality without needing to posit an infinite set of ad-hoc hypotheses to account for any event whatsoever. Because libertarian causality just does alter the future logical possibilities by playing a decisive role in instantiating initial conditions FREELY. And there is no explaining the libertarianly chosen posture itself. Thus, such explanation has finality (finitude) to it.

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    11. V, consider the possibility that an inital condition can exist from eternity past without change (and, therefore, cause) of any kind. If you claim that there is all of a sudden a change in the state of affairs, are you not necessarily claiming the change is uncaused? I don't see how you could claim otherwise.

      But positing uncaused events renders just adds another infinite set of logically possible event sequences to the past.

      And probability was already irrelevant to the a-teleologist as a plausibility criteria for the very reason Hume claimed. Namely, you can't use probability to establish the uniformity of nature. And without the uniformity of nature, you can't do frequency probability. And yet there is an infinite set of logically possible scenarios for which your experience seems indicative of a uniform, extra-self system of beings and events by pure coincidence, even if it's not uniform at all.

      In short, you have to have axioms that involve plausibility criteria that both work and are satisfying. But to apply these normatively in a non-relativistic way, you have to posit axioms that ground the intelligibility of non-relativistic normativity as well. Atheism can't non-arbitrarily do the latter because it can't non-arbitrarily rule out solipsism, even.

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    12. J1: In short, you have to have axioms that involve plausibility criteria that both work and are satisfying.

      J2: IOW, the plausibility criteria have to be intuitive in the sense that our mind gets some immediate satisfaction (or alleviation from dissatisfaction) from them. But they have to seem to work in the sense that they seem to keep us on a long-term path that gains us long-term satisfaction.

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    13. The real problem with modern science and it's neutrality to sympathetic/competent theism is that it's based on a false assumption: Namely, the assumption that one can do probability in a relative-plausibility-determining way without accepting the necessary and sufficient conditions for that. On analysis, it can be shown that no approach that rules out sympathetic/competent theism has such axioms. This means probability ends up being non-frequency probability (as Hume admitted). And this means that all merely logically possible event sequences are seemingly equally probable. And this means that probability ends up having NOTHING to do with plausibility. And that is a complete show-stopper for science.

      As soon as you admit sympathetic/competent theism back in as the ground of the inferred order we call the "world," probability takes on its natural frequency probability role, etc. Because then, long-term human satisfaction is restored to its proper role as a necessary condition of the plausible. And it's only human satisfaction that ultimately explains why humans infer regularity contra the mere non-frequency odds.

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    14. So, back to the religion question. Religion, as defined as adherence to religious texts, ought not constrain publicly-funded scientific hypothesizing and research. But religion, as defined as any world-view that posits libertarian causality for the universe, is not only consistent with science, but is required for non-arbitrary, non-relativistic, normative plausibility criteria.

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    15. Jeff, I tend to agree with Velikovskys in that I find it hard to understand what you're trying to say. Research suggests that jargon works best within a discipline. When talking to outsiders it's better to use a more common vocabulary if you want to be understood.

      For example, I think I know what you're getting at when referring to "libertarian causality" but for terms like "natural frequency probability role" and "non-arbitrary, non-relativistic, normative plausibility criteria." it would be helpful if you could expand a little on what they mean.

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    16. OK. To start off, libertarian causality is truly free causality. It is typically contrasted with compatibilistic causality which is deterministic causality. Apart from these deterministic causality and libertarian causality, there is the other logical possibility of uncaused events.

      Now, to probability. Probability can be frequency based of possibility based. With the flipping of coins, we use possibility based probability calculations because there are no determinable frequencies. It seems that for some large quantity of flips the 50-50 average pans out. But further tosses may cause additional fluctuations from that average for all I know.

      Frequency based probability is based on observed frequencies AND the assumption that analogical extrapolation from sufficient enumeration of observations of the frequency is warranted. But analogical inference is precisely what causes us to believe nature is uniform/regular in the first place. Thus, we can never get to frequency probability apart from induction.

      Thus, inductive plasibility criteria (e.g., degree and aspect of analogy, parsimony, number of ad-hoc hypotheses posited, etc) are the real plausibility criteria, not probability per se. Probability ends up being a species of inductive plausibility criteria when observed frequencies are inferred to be analogically-extrapolatable with sufficient inductive warrant.

      But even positing 3-D entities is an inductive inference. For it minimizes the number of ad-hoc hypotheses required to account for explanation. This is the true reason why people reject solipsism. This is so because people naturally assign quales/properties to beings.

      Try believing that all the beings you naturally believe in are not beings at all but just illusory mental states. It takes effort, because you are essentially forcing your self to ad-hoc'ly and volitionally assume that those natural beliefs are false. This is why those who try to intentionally believe Eastern views of monism, etc have to work at it. It's totally unnatural. Thus, it requires self-discipline (i.e., volition).

      So much for frequency probability vs. possibility probability (possibilities, by the way, are typically limited by induction for most of us, not mere logical possibilities of which there is always an infinite set once you posit the existence of illusions and false "memories").

      Now for normativity. Normativity has to do with oughts, which imply free-will. No one ought to do anything whatsoever if no one is free. In fact, if no one is free, thought is not free, and warranted belief is then inconceivable since free thought is a necessary condition of distinguishing between warranted and unwarranted belief.

      But you could be a simulation like Neo and still have normativity so long as there was value to freely acting in specific ways. You could be forced to believe in 3-D entities by the programmers of that aspect of your illusion and yet be free to affect how the illusion played out.

      But that still doesn't get us to non-relativistic normativity. Non-relativistic normativity requires that there are other selves you can affect and that can affect you who are obligated to freely act, as is possible, with regard to each other's long-term interests in terms of the SAME rules. This implies that we have a warranted inference to the analogousness of those other selves TO our self, in terms of interests (i.e., long-term satisfaction). This, again, requires induction/analogy.

      In short, probability alone can't do plausibility for us. Induction has to. But inductive plausibility criteria, to be valid, must be believed NON-arbitrarily. If humans are both sentiently-motivated and teleologically-thinking NATURALLY, this is explicable, even if not proveable. Otherwise, it isn't even explicable.

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    17. ... No naturalistic theory explains (i.e., implies) the origin (and, therefore, existence) of consciousness, much less conscious deductive/inductive thought, and even much less the correspondence of deductive/inductive thought to other beings and their properities. Only teleological explanation can do this in any causal sense whatsoever. And when evolutionists "explain" consciousness, etc, they are actually doing teleological explanation, even though most of them don't realize it. Naturalistic explanation is exactly one thing--the application of event regularities to initial conditions such that the event to be explained is IMPLIED.

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    18. Thanks for going to the time and trouble to explain all that, Jeff. I'll post a few comments soon.

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    19. Jeff,
      You can posit that somehow the infinite past of events prior to those initial conditions just happened to conspire upon producing the initial conditions you posit (which renders each event of that conceivably infinite event set possessive of that ad-hoc, unexplained property),


      Is it an infinite series of events or a conceivably infinite set? Can there be an infinite amount of events in less than an infinite amount of time? Do you believe evolution of the organisms on earth has been occurring for an eternity?

      I only ask because you seem to be making an argument based on parsimony
      the latter case, we can still hold to the principle of causality without needing to posit an infinite set of ad-hoc hypotheses to account for any event whatsoever

      This also seems a bit of bait and switch
      each event of that conceivably infinite event set possessive of that ad-hoc, then it morphs to infinite set of ad-hoc hypotheses to account for any event

      That was my question, if it is only conceivably infinite that means it is conceivably finite. If it is finite, your argument of parsimony is in peril. Unless you can determine actual numbers of adhoc for each causal choice.

      Can you prove it is infinite? Or just conceivably infinite? Thanks

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    20. V: Can you prove it is infinite? Or just conceivably infinite? Thanks

      J: OK, V. Would you not agree that the only way that there isn't a infinite set of past events (where an event is a change of state) is if there was a first event that was uncaused? I don't see how you can deny this and argue coherently and or intelligibly. But I'm all ears.

      But if I'm right, you're stuck with an infinite set of logical possibilities involving uncaused events. How do you rule these out non-arbitrarily without doing so ad-hoc'ly?

      My thoughts have properties. If one of them is their correspondence to realities beyond themselves, then that property is an accidental attribute that has an explanation if events are caused.

      And explaining it is BETTER than not explaining it. So if the only way to explain it is teleological, then that's just the way it is. And if that simultaneously buys us finitude for ad-hoc hypotheses, all the better. But how, pray tell, could premises void of attributes of conscious beings ever IMPLY conscious beings would arise? Deduction isn't magic. And explanation is deductive.

      If some events aren't caused, nothing is knowably explicable in the first place. For all events might be uncaused if any are. How could you know the difference?

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  6. I think Coyne is totally wrong when he says that "no theory of special creation, or any theory other than evolution, can explain these patterns." In fact, a special creation theory can explain everything and anything.

    God may have created the world as is 6,000 years ago and added all those fossils, moving continents, and distant stars and galaxies just to play a joke on us.

    Even more radically, God could have created the world 5 minutes ago and populated our minds with fake memories. Cornelius did not really write this post yesterday. God created it fully ex nihilo and added comments. I am the first real commentator here.

    See, we evolutionists can have genuine disagreements.

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    1. This is all nonsense. There are things that are mathematically intractable, i.e., they cannot be known unless they are played out in full. The concept of an omniscient God was invented by brain-dead evolutionists and equally brain-dead Christians. And I say this as a Christian.

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    2. Hey Louis,

      Nobody gives a shit what you think, because you're a lunatic. So shut up and go blow your brains out or something.

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    3. LOL. I sure pissed you off, didn't I, troy?

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  7. What Coyne is probably saying is that one can't believe in the validity of induction AND be a theist. But he's wrong. Because theism doesn't imply that only God and humans are the only free agents.

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    1. Actually, not only is naturalistic UCA anti-inductive (as even Darwin admitted), but it's the atheist that renders inductive criteria just another arbitrary foundationalist approach that can't be falsified. Indeed, they argue that foundationalist approaches are arbitrary BECAUSE they are, in principle, unfalsifiable--as if there IS an approach that has axioms which are in principle unfalsifiable. Unfalsifiable axioms are necessary to any methodology that falsifies as scientists do.

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  9. I wonder why evolution is even a debate topic when you consider the probability studies that have been done. Seems the best reason to continue the debate is because it's a religion.

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    1. Yes, Marcus, and, though sometimes it's difficult to bother, it's important that atheists shouldn't mistake their theology for its very poor relation, empirical science.

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    2. Correction: 'theology'.. not, 'their theology' - which is half-baked, of course.

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    3. I agree that atheism is half baked. We have be careful what we accept as empirical science.

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  10. Great article, Cornelius. Evolution is a religion of cretins, created by cretins for cretins. Evolutionists are the biggest religious jackasses of them all. That religious crap must not be taught in school.

    ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

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  11. How do morons like Jerry Coyne become professors at a major institution of learning?

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    1. It's the hairs on his arms, Louis.

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  12. By the way, does Coyne look like a neanderthal, or is it my imagination? LOL.

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  14. It occurred to me that, in a democracy, what is and what is not religious should not be decided by biased school board members and educators but by a popular referendum. Anything else is censorship enforced by a dictatorship of a few assholes. ahahaha...

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  15. This is too good to pass up. LOL.

    Professor Jerry Coyne, atheist bozo extraodinaire:

    What I mean by "bad design" is the notion that if organisms were built from scratch by a designer—one who used the biological building blocks of nerves, muscles, bone, and so on—they would not have such imperfections. Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer. Imperfect design is the mark of evolution. ... the particular bad designs that we see make sense only if they evolved.

    ahahaha... Wow. This is so pathetic I don't know where to begin. First off, the Christian Elohim (literally masters but always translated God) never claimed that their creation was perfect. This is a ridiculous strawman for a learned professor at a major university. It shows laughable ignorance. Genesis specifically claims that, after the six creation periods were over, the masters looked back and said to themselves "it is very good". They did not say it was perfect. But it was very good indeed and I agree. Living organisms on this planet are breathtaking. Whoever designed them are worthy of worship, in my opinion.

    Coyne's beef is with Christianity. So he needs to show us where he got the religious notion that the creators/designers (God) were perfect and created perfect designs. He also needs to explain why he believes that the designers had to have been perfect in order to create life on earth.

    Perfect design would truly be the sign of a skilled and intelligent designer.

    Woah! Does this idiot really want us to believe that a designer who created life on earth is neither intelligent nor skilled, just because he found a few things that, in his infinite personal wisdom, know them to be design flaws? Excuse me while I ROTFLMAO.

    ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

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    1. Let me add that the fact that the designers in Genesis needed to take a look back at their creation in order to decide whether or not it was a good creation is very telling. It implies that their previous tries at creating life on earth were not really all that good. So they destroyed the previous creations and started over. Which is what the geological record shows: many planet-wide extinction events.

      This is what designers and artists do all the time. They try different designs until they get something that they like.

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    2. LS: "Let me add that the fact that the designers in Genesis needed to take a look back at their creation in order to decide whether or not it was a good creation is very telling. It implies that their previous tries at creating life on earth were not really all that good. So they destroyed the previous creations and started over. Which is what the geological record shows: many planet-wide extinction events."

      Which verses in Genesis do you think support this idea?

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    3. Well, the second verse of Genesis, which is usually translated as "And the earth was without form and void", should literally say "And the earth became devastated and empty." This obviously implies some kind of planet-wide cataclysm.

      But Genesis 1:31 is where I got my main inspiration for the above. It is usually given as:

      And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

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    4. Louis,

      "But Genesis 1:31 is where I got my main inspiration for the above. It is usually given as: And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold, it was very good."

      You can't make this verse say what you claim no matter how much you torture it. It in no way implies God looked back in judgment on his creation. It clearly says God looked at his creation and saw that it was very good. There is no implication of doubt or questioning involved. Instead of exegesis you're applying eisigesis. Not a good habit to get into with any form of literature or history.

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  16. This is a great case in point of how to press home that evolutionary biology has never had biological scientific evidence behind it,
    these things about leggy whales and biogeography are not conclusions from biological research.
    They are instead lines of reasoning based on biological data points.
    This is what ID/YEC folks should strike out against evolutionism.

    I agree marine mammals came from the land but mechanism is not proved by the results of this change.
    Anyways these are the best points of evolutionists and they are not biological scientific evidence for a biological theory.

    Creationists are missing a chance here.

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    1. Robert, CH has dealt with the very issues you mention. Positing over-simplistic, unverified, high-level properties to whole sets of events is the logical equivalent of positing ad-hoc properties TO those events. This in turn is the equivalent of positing the same number of ad-hoc hypotheses as there are events in those sets.

      Positing separate ancestry requires positing ad-hoc hypotheses in this way as well. But it doesn't require those necessary for all the additional variation posited by UCA'ists which are not yet known to be logically possible in terms of any set of event regularities.

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    2. Robert Byers February 16, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      This is a great case in point of how to press home that evolutionary biology has never had biological scientific evidence behind it,
      these things about leggy whales and biogeography are not conclusions from biological research.
      They are instead lines of reasoning based on biological data points.


      That's right. Science is almost invariably working with incomplete data, certainly at the beginning. It takes what it has and tries to generate explanations which tie it all together. It's called induction and all the sciences use it, not just biology, so why pick on evolution?

      This is what ID/YEC folks should strike out against evolutionism.

      And they will continue to fail when they do it. Why? Because not everyone is an evangelical Christian and/or creationist. So, for those who are not, the EID/YEC campaign against evolution is seen as a sectarian attack on science, an attempt to force evangelical Christian values on everyone else.

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    3. Sectarianism is, indeed, the issue. Only sects say UCA is known to be logically impossible in terms of natural causality. And only sects say there is evidence for the belief that naturalistic UCA is logically possible. Both are false.

      What is not false is that the straw-men arguments against design that CH quotes so often are valid IF their simplistic view of theism were held by theists. But theists almost invariably hold more complex views of the universe than those characterized by the straw-men arguments. That's why virtually no theist gives a rip about them. They have no relevance to most theistic belief.

      Theists have to posit ad-hoc hypotheses just like atheists. But theists who posit a sympathetic/competent designer of the universe can coherently posit a finite number of ad-hoc hypotheses and do so in a way such that a distinction between warranted and unwarranted belief is intelligible.

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    4. Ian, it would be nice if the scientists were searching for the truth.

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    5. Marcus February 17, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      Ian, it would be nice if the scientists were searching for the truth.


      Truth is a tricky concept which scientists often say is best left to the philosophers.

      What science assumes is that there is an objective reality out there about which get limited information through our senses. The best we can do is to collect what data we can and then try to create explanations which tie it all together. Ideally, these explanations include a means of testing them to see how closely they match to what we observe. It's known as the correspondence theory of truth so to that extent science is searching for the truth or, at least, as close as we are likely to get to the truth.

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  18. Determinism means that every condition (state of affairs) is sufficient to produce a subsequent condition, ad infinitum. Mental states are conditions. Conscious belief of a proposition is a mental state.

    Thus, if determinism is true, the total explanation of every belief is some antecedent condition (state of affairs) that is sufficient for the belief's production. It is obvious that without freedom, no voluntary hypothesis rejection ever occurs. Thus, it is inconceivable how to account for warranted belief. And once you can't distinguish between warranted and unwarranted belief, you can't distinguish between blind and non-blind belief. Determinism is epistemologically bankrupt.

    The atheist that allows for free-will will still typically say that evidence is a necessary condition of WARRANTED belief. But believing something is evidence is another belief. What makes THAT belief warranted, per the atheist? How do you get around the infinite regress?

    The sympathetic/competent theist infers that we are designed to be voluntarily pain-averse and pleasure-oriented. If we are free, we can volitionally learn by trial and error which conditions are conducive to our greatest long-term satisfaction and CHOOSE them. Entailed in these conditions are beliefs. Beliefs, per this approach, are warranted if they are seen to be conducive to our greatest long-term satisfaction. Beliefs that seem contrary to this end are voluntarily rejected.

    The a-teleologist, on the other hand, contends that our greatest long-term satisfaction is not an end of our existence. Thus, the a-teleologist has no reason to believe that there are MEANS unto that end. This in turn means the a-teleologist has to conceive of warranted belief INDEPENDENT of its correlation with our satisfaction. This is what seems impossible to do non-arbitrarily. But arbitrary belief is the opposite of warranted belief.

    In short, the teleologist that posits sympathetic/competent theism (because it's doable in terms of intuition) can at least account for the intelligibility of warranted belief. I can't see how any other approach can do it. What all other approaches seem to do is smuggle in beliefs that have no other conceivable ground than sympathetic/competent theism (because of their relation to human satisfaction) and then deny that ground. But by denying that ground, they render the correlation of their beliefs to human satisfaction irrelevant to the warrant of the belief. And in turn, the render the belief arbitrary.

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  19. Jeff.
    Your a case in point.
    One does not need to present the issue in complicated ways that miss the glory of scientific methodology.

    I do not see that creationists attack evolutionism on their methodology but instead attack their conclusions and evidence.

    Yet if evolutionary biology is false then it couldn't have scientific biological evidfence supporting it.
    Yet evolutionists strive to say they do.
    Both sides fail to make the knock out blow because the methodology should be the focus.
    Both sides miss the biological scientific investigation must be about scientific methodology examining biological processes and results.

    I think this can be fixed by simply demanding evolutionists present biological scientific evidence to justify evolution as a bioilogical theory and not just a hypothesis.

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  20. Ian Sledding
    Oh no. Evolution etc is not like actual sciences!
    its not the beginning but the whole thing.
    Evolutionary biology does not makes its case on biological evidence from the scientific method.
    Instead it makes hypothesis and then lines of reasoning using data points of biology and other subjects.
    Where is the top three evidences for evolution?
    No one could tell you or say the same three.
    This is unlike actual sciences.

    Evolutionists don't make their case persuasive because they don't have biological evidence for their biological conclusions.

    Creationists don't make their criticisms persuasive because they don't attack the lack of scientific biological evidence.
    Instead they attack the evidences presented.

    So evolution is saying longer then it should be if its a hypothesis without supporting evidence worth the confidence it proclaims.

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