Uncommon Dissent

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why I don't ruthlessly edit comments on this blog (3 comments)

1. I like self-assured, smug, smarmy opponents. They make me feel righteous.
2. I don't have that many commentators, and they're damned fine people anyhow.
3. I'm a corpse.
4. Something about intellectual honesty, fair play, all points of view, all those other trivial matters.
5. Dembski does. I am the anti-Dembski. When he and I collide, the universe will explode in a blast of energy, most of it heat, very little light.
6. I'm a frickin' corpse.



Filed under: Heat must be gettin' to me.

Leo Kadanoff on Complexity (2 comments)

Thanks, Dembski, for linking to a critique of your life's work in one simple, easily understood slide show--by your former thesis advisor, no less!

Recall that Dembski imagines evolution as a process of searching a long list, without a clue as to the list’s contents or ordering, looking for a possible improvement in one’s species. However, the bag of biochemical compounds that were our remote forebearers were exactly a part of the nature around them. And if nature had a tendency to make things more complex, as does our heat engine, these bags could work in concert with the nature around them--and themselves become more complex.

Our experience with natural things tends to show that they have a tendency to produce complexity. We have even seen how that happens. Physical situations, and the mathematics that describes them, naturally grow structures. Because the structure growing may be chaotic the structures may arrange themselves in complex patterns. Complexification seems to be a natural tendency of nature....

Behe and Dembski start from a different presupposition. They do, I think, believe in a Creator and then find this Creator in their studies. Their main conclusions are not, as I see it, compelling--- but they are possible. However, in my view, as we shall understand more about complexity, Behe’s examples and Dembski’s arguments will become less and less convincing.

I applaud their work: Good skeptics make good science. Behe and Dembski’s work will drive further studies of complexity. However, many of their followers want their work to replace science in the school curriculum. I cannot applaud that.




Filed under: Fair and Balanced--and Devastating

Harvard Crimson on ID (0 comments)

Michael Behe sticks up for the rubes.
"As a democratic country, even evangelical, unsophisticated people have a right to voice their opinions on how governmental institutions should be run," Behe says. "I find it distasteful [how] people look down their noses on people who want to participate in government."
The masses also believe in spooks and ghoulies. No wonder Behe sides with them.


Filed under: With friends like these...

Blaise Pascal on the Intelligent Design Movement (1 comments)

[From a dead fellow-traveler]

Le creationist a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.

[The creationist has reasons reason knows nothing of.]

—Blaise Pascal




Filed under: Comme ci, comme ca.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Designer’s “Skill-Set” (1 comments)

Dembski feels the need to smack down the satirists.
The designer responsible for biological complexity, by contrast, need only be a being capable of arranging finite material objects to display certain patterns. Accordingly, this designer need not even be infinite. Likewise, that designer need not be personal or transcendent (cf. the “designer” in Stoic philosophy).

Bottom line: Jon Stewart & Co. are funny people, but their one-liners are no substitute for clear thinking.


Problem is, neither is Dembski. Instant replay, Mr. Brayton:
But in fact, we don't even need to do this analysis to show that, by Dembski and the DI's reasoning, the designer must be transcendant and supernatural. Dembski himself did the analysis for us in The Act of Creation: Bridging Transcendence and Immanence when he wrote:

"The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design. So too, Michael Behe's irreducibly complex biochemical systems readily yield design. The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life."


This is yet another example of the Janus-like nature of the ID movement, presenting one face to one group when it is convenient to do so, then the opposite face to another group when that is convenient. The thing that astonishes is how brazen Dembski is about it.
It no longer astonishes this reanimated corpse.

Bonus: Dembski is back to his censoring ways.



Filed under: Let your Yes be No and your No be Yes

Software is Eternal (0 comments)

But free tech support expires in a year's time.



Filed under: Zing!

The Scientific and Medical Network (0 comments)

Sez Dembski, "Let me encourage you to think seriously about supporting this organization."

Holy shit. No, really, there's no better description.

Read the member testimonies:
I would call myself a 'sensitive' and where I can, I inform researchers within the Scientific and Medical Network of any experiences which appear to be outside of normal consciousness....

***

I am also keen for a more enlightened approach to research into homoeopathy, focussing not on whether it 'works' but on what is actually happening when a remedy is prepared, when it is added to a biological system and thus understanding how homoeopathic remedies might have an effect....

***

My research area is in the field of non-locality of Consciousness. The emerging new models describing an active Aether can begin to account for many phenomena such as Healing, Synchronicity, Psychometry etc, currently not even considered in mainstream Science. The open mindedness implicit in the SMN philosophy is what Science should truly be about....
Or check out their recommended readings. Includes Al Gore's Earth in the Balance!

Seriously, Mr. Dembski, do you really support this organization, or do you just link to anyone you think is sympathetic, no matter how fringe, "out-there," or plain old loony they are?



Filed under: Cranks of a Feather

Monday, November 28, 2005

"Ode to the Code" (2 comments)

Cambion takes on all comers:

“if something is actively selecting things out of a group, it must have purpose and meaning.”

What do you mean by this? I can take a magnet and pass it over a group of objects, and the magnet will ‘actively select’ those objects that have the opposite charge. Does the magnet have some ‘purpose’ or ‘meaning’ that I am not aware of?
While jay splits into a false dichotomy and asks a loaded question:
Now it’s realized that the genetic code is optimized for error reduction. And it’s all due to Darwinian evolution?

Darwinian evolution is also purported to explain non-optimal “apparent” design in nature, too? Which is it? And why wouldn’t Darwinian evolution make a trade-off between error minimization and some other property, such as overall speed of replication, as is done with error detection and correction codes by humans programmers?
(Of course, jay proffers no evidence that DNA's speed of replication is in fact optimal.)

And jimbo proves that a background in information systems doesn't equate to knowledge of evolutionary processes.
Can someone (Maybe Cambion) explain to me how an organism could survive a “mutation” in it’s genetic code? Wouldn’t that completly scramble every gene in it’s genome? It’s like reading ASCII with an EBCDIC translator - all you’d get is gibberish.




Filed under: Fun With Comments

Molecular Motors at the Limits of Nanotechnology (0 comments)

Mr. Argument-from-Ignorance saith, "Ask yourself, Why do biological systems exhibit molecular machines at the smallest level permissible by the properties of matter? 'Evolution' provides less and less a convincing answer."

I'm going to hazard a guess: it involves energy constraints, especially since, as far as anyone can tell, life began small. A second guess: it's being worked on in a lab somewhere.

(Interested biologists or physicists, feel free to correct me on either point.)



Filed under: Theory? What theory?

The Former President of Cornell — Also a Darwinophile (1 comments)

Amazing, how much the substance of Frank Rhodes's op-ed against "creation science" is completely relevant to its latest incarnation, Intelligent Design.



Filed under: Shaking the Family Tree

Saturday, November 26, 2005

ID on Paula Zahn Now (1 comments)

To pre-empt any whining: notice that the ID discussion was arranged by the Religion / Values reporter.

Notice also the cheery assessment that IDers look like they're having more fun.

If only style points mattered in determining what gets labeled "science." Yowza--that tie!

(added)

CharlesW's comment takes cake, eats it, and regurgitates it.
What really gets to me is the repeated attacks on the honesty of the ID proponents. The accusations that Dembski censors or that Behe ignores evidence are nothing more than lies by people who feel a need to compensate for a lack of any real evidence supporting their side. Behe is an honorable man. Dembski is an honorable man. They are all honorable men.
That Dembski censors isn't an accusation. It's a fact, one that even Dembski admits. That Behe ignores evidence is also irrefutable. What's telling is the use of "honorable men." One doesn't have to be a dead Britisher to recognize the deep Shakespearean irony in the phrase.




Filed under: It's science, promise!

A Crisis in Credibility? (1 comments)

Ought we accept the truth defended by angry scientists, or the hokum purported by "honorable men," or the rantings of a mediocre cartoonist?



Filed under: As if science is a matter of taste

ID T-Shirts (1 comments)





Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Friday, November 25, 2005

IDEA Clubs (2 comments)

To lead a local chapter of an IDEA club, you must be a Christian.

(You know, 'cause it's not about religion.)



Filed under: Shrinking the Big Tent

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Unveiling of New ID Website in Australia (2 comments)

Dembski points us to a new website, Intelligent Design Network Australia. Standard ID boilerplate except for one tiny phrase.

"We are not a religious group and we have no affiliation with any such group."

Not religious I can accept as theoretically possible, if doubtful.

But no affiliation?

Why are they hawking a "fabulous resource," Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, which is being mailed to Australian schools by Campus Crusade for Christ, and produced by a religious organization that has tried to hide behind two different names?

As a reviewer cited on IDNet writes,
UTMOL does not present as a proselytising documentary, but rather as a documentary which raises intriguing questions. For UTMOL to have real credibility however, there needs to be a totally transparent revelation as to who the major agencies were behind the making of UTMOL. If these should be Christian, then I do not believe there should be any attempt to disguise this fact....

If the distribution of UTMOL was to be undertaken by Christian organisations, I think this might compromise its acceptance, for it could be interpreted as proselytising. It would be good to have UTMOL endorsed by a secular organisation such as the Federation of Teachers, MCEETYA, or the Association of Independent Schools (AIS). If they were to endorse it and facilitate its distribution, it would greatly enhance its credibility and acceptance within Australian schools.
Oops--too late.


Filed under: The Thunder Down Under

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

KU’s New Class — Creationism, Intelligent Design and Other Religious Mythologies (1 comments)

Dearest Dr. Dembski,

I note you haven't heeded my advice (after all, costing so little, what can it be worth?), and are still posting emails without spell-checking.

The more interesting parts of the missive--where the writer complains about not having both sides presented fairly (even though you yourself have granted that ID isn't a full-fledged research program), or gripes about the use of the word 'mythology,' or notices the paradox created by years of evangelical "You ask me how I know he lives / he lives within my heart" reason-trashing--are made laughable by some choice misspellings.

State-spoonsored. Relligious Mythologies. Illigical.

A Dawkins "METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL" joke might fit in here somewhere.

All my best,

T.H.

a foolish inconsistency (3 comments)

Poor DaveScot. First he calls another commentator a "conspiracy loving computer illiterate moron."

Then he makes baseless accusations while putting down PZ Myers. "PZ, you're small potatoes compared to Eugenie Scott et al at NCSE for conspiring to ruin Rick Sternberg's career."

Now who's the conspiracy-lover?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Machines That Can Deny Their Maker (0 comments)

A corny little play by a professed former atheist, who has written elsewhere,
I remember being annoyed when I learned that my atheism was also a "religion," and that there is really no such thing as not being religious, unless perhaps you're inanimate or turn off your brain totally when it comes to the great questions in life. Take the question of God's existence. How could I flatly deny it, say God couldn't exist, unless somehow I was omniscient? But omniscience is an attribute only of the God I denied. The non-existence of God could not be proven, and science and logic both fail when one looks closely at these issues. This left either agnosticism or belief in God.
Coming from someone with advanced degrees and a host of publications, this dubious "reasoning" is more than a little disappointing.

(Her evangelistic "talk" isn't much better.)


(added)

DaveScot thinks the play is "above my head" because I didn't deign to offer a point-by-point refutation. If I thought the play were really worth your (or anyone's) time, I might, but I point out the stupidity of its reasoning by citing a typical passage.
Random evolution works in theory, but in practice it is impossibly slow. This is not to say that I cannot shape it to be useful for generating minor variations on my designs.
Picard doesn't only dismiss every bit of genetic and developmental and paleontological research from the last century, and repeat a common creationist canard (micro- versus macro-evolution), but also offers two falsehoods: 1. that evolution is random, and 2. that it isn't fast enough to account for life's variety. The whole play is like this--oversimplification, false analogy, misrepresentation. Blech.




Filed under: Theists of a feather

The Design Filter: A Helpful Illustration (1 comments)

finally noticed (5 comments)

The Amen Chorus at Uncommon Descent has finally noticed my humble efforts.
off topic, but can someone say nutcase stalker?...

this sort of childishness seems to be very common among the NDE side. most people would see that as an indicator of which side of this debate is unhinged…im voting on the stalker site that makes a post for every post bill makes then rants like a 10 yr old about how evil, stupid, moronic, lying, etc. bill supposedly is.

gotta love kids.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 22, 2005 @ 5:59 am
Now, I may call Dembski names every now and then. ("Evil" isn't one of them.) But no one seems to notice that their Grand Poobah is a name-caller, too. According to Dembski, PZ Myers is The Foghorn Leghorn of Evolutionary Thinkers. Mark Perakh is The Boris Yeltsin of Higher Learning. Evolutionary proponents are girly-men or Darwhiners. Need I say more?
You’d think this guy would want to come here and engage in discussion and debate instead of hiding out on some parody site. But then, he’d have to employ some actual argumentation, which probably makes him break out in hives!
Been there, tried that, got kicked off the site without word or warning. If linking every post to the original is "hiding out," then I'm the Invisible Man. Of course, their hypocritical insistence on throwing stones from afar (rather than debating on this site) is duly noted.
Jboze, thanks for sharing that. Wow. I never realized how much time people have on their hands. What a sad existence.

Comment by ajl — November 22, 2005 @ 9:23 am
Ask yourself, ajl, why Bill Dembski has the same amount of time to blog, being such a paradigm-shifter and all. Mostly, I don't post until he does. Is his existence equally pathetic?
it looks as tho this guy links to every single post then comments with childish insults to everything that is said. lets set up a fund to buy him an xboc 360 maybe. :) hell have a hobby then.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 22, 2005 @ 4:21 pm
Sounds good to me.

CNN Xes Cheney — Design or Accident? (2 comments)

It turns out that Dembski's "Design Inference" does have applications: for one, it's useful to "prove" conspiratorial crankpottery.
Let me humbly suggest that CNN puchase a copy of my book The Design Inference (Cambridge University Press, 1998) to determine whether its explanation for the “X” that flashed over the VPs face during his speech holds up. In particular, what are the odds that this program glitch just happened to kick in right as the VP spoke, no sooner or later, with the “X” marking his face having the appropriate size and thickness and occupying just the right position?
And let me humbly suggest that Dembski's design inference won't give us any help in the matter.


Filed under: Delusions of humility

ID will be taught — the only question is how (0 comments)

And the answer is "not as science."

It would seem more suited for a course on epistemology and how religious conservatives have hijacked the language of postmodernism , but I won't complain.


Filed under: Pyrrhic Victory

What Has Evolution Wrought? (0 comments)

"The power of evolution to bring about remarkable biological designs never ceases to amaze me."

Dembski said it.
Quote it liberally. Sprinkle it over your cereal. Toss it in your salad. Tattoo it on your children.

What, you say? It's ripped from context? Balderdash and blatherskite. Piffle. It's called quote-mining, thank you, and we learned it from the master.


Filed under: Down in the quote mines

Corporate America Not Taking Sides in ID-Evo Debate (0 comments)

Au contraire, as my Gallic friends would say. Not taking a side is taking the side of cowardice, ignorance, pseudoscience, and quackery.


Filed under: Darwin's long reach

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mother Jones on ID (1 comments)

Ah, the good old days, when Dembski had dreams of grandeur and the Wedge Document was the Magna Carta of a cultural revolution.

Nostalgia: the flatulence of history.



Filed under: Unintelligent Delusion

Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn weighs in against evolutionism Intelligent Design (0 comments)

Quite frankly, I don't give a rodent's arse for the Catholic Church's official stance on evolutionary theory. But I will note that Schoenborn is no friend of Intelligent Design, if this is what Dembski thinks is cozying up to the movement.
Schoenborn agrees with the Intelligent Design theory that the complexity of life clearly points to a superior intelligence that must have devised this system. He based this on reason, not science, as Intelligent Design theorists claim to do.... "Can we reasonably say the origin of man and life can only be explained by material causes?" he asked. "Can matter create intelligence? That is a question we can't answer scientifically, because the scientific method cannot grasp it."
I added emphasis, just in case Dembski can't read without a little help. ID isn't science--even Cardinal Schoenborn knows it.


Filed under: My enemy's enemy

Mark Psiaki responds to Hunter Rawlings (0 comments)

When the entirety of your critique is based on the difference between "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution," you're not going to convince anyone that you're somehow not a "warmed-over creationist."



Filed under: More of the Same

University of Iowa Petition to Unseat Intelligent Design (0 comments)

Basic reading comprehension is apparently not the strong suit of Dembski's sycophants. jboze3131 is perhaps the worst offender of the bunch. Consider:
Advocates of Intelligent Design claim the position of our planet and the complexity of particular life forms and processes are such that they may only be explained by the existence of a creator or designer of the universe.
So, we have this guys on record as saying that there’s no creator of designer of the universe. (Wait, I thought BioEvo never dealt with the origin of life or the origin of the universe.) Also, their claim is clearly atheism- which is clearly not a scientific claim.

They later contradict themselves and say whether you believe in a creator or not…

They just said that they want to suppress thought based on a creator and designer.
Jesus Christ on a pickle farm. They're not saying there's no designer, but that Intelligent Design is bad science. Or is Cardinal Schoenborn an atheist?


Filed under: With friends like these...

The Big Brother of ID thinkers (3 comments)

Any time Dembski talks about preserving quotes "for the record books," remind him of his own deleterious proclivities.

Let the public self-humiliation continue!

(added)

DaveScot says it all: "Other than being wrong, what about astrology is it that everyone thinks makes it not science?"


Filed under: Pot, meet kettle.

“The Golden Record” (1 comments)

Dear Dr. Dembski,

In the future, you might be so good as to remind your "colleagues" that scientists do not automatically discount design in nature; they merely reason that your method of detecting it is fallacious tripe.

Also, you might reconsider posting emails that misspell "its" and "category." After all, you're trying to convince a lot of hard-nosed skeptics that you're not the Grand Marshal of the Moron Parade.

Cheerio,

T.H.


Filed under: With friends like these...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

ID "disses" faith (0 comments)

Quoth Susan Ives:
In my Protestant tradition we recite a creed that declares our faith: "I believe in God the father almighty, maker of heaven and Earth."

There are no footnotes in this creed that refer to William Dembski's "The Design Inference" or references to "The Black Box" by Michael Behe, two of the seminal books in the intelligent design movement.

Don't worry, they're working on it.


Filed under: Word, yo.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Are All Coynes Made of Dross? — First Jerry and Now George! (0 comments)

Recent comments by Catholic representatives have the IDers all up in arms, even going so far as to cry "Omega Point Conspiracy!" Read on (click the timestamp) to discover a mixture of religious paranoia and "but it's science!" hand-waving.

And next, they’ll say that abortion isn’t really so bad. What is happening to the Catholic Church?

Comment by wheadgib — November 18, 2005 @ 10:31 pm

the catholic church is doing a lot of damage with absurd anti-biblical statements such as this (and then claiming that theyre on the side of the bible!): ...

the bible says exactly the opposite of what coyne claims here. im rather confused as to how on earth the catholic church itself continues to even call itselt christian when it throws out the very idea of a designer God! has coyne not read Genesis? of course the bible makes it quite clear that God is, indeed, a designer God and a creator God. not a God of trial and error.


Comment by jboze3131 — November 18, 2005 @ 11:03 pm


I wouldn’t confuse the Rev. George Coyne’s opinion with official Church teaching. When he give his opinion—that’s what it remains: his opinion. When Cardinal Schoenborn speaks, that is much more authoritative (even though he might not have the same level of scientific training).

Comment by PaV — November 18, 2005 @ 11:05 pm


Even worse, in my mind, is the fact that it DOES all boil down to the Pope’s position. Sorry, but I don’t care what the pope (a position not established in the Bible) says, I care about what the word says. And I don’t understand why most Catholics, it seems, think that what the Pope (and the lower hierarchy) says IS more important than what the Bible says. Sadly, the Catholic Church seems to put too much importance in what a man says as opposed to the Word.

Top Vatican scientists saying these sorts of things…it cannot be helping the overall Christian church in general. Doing, it seems, all you can to destroy the word of God to prop up a hierarchy that is anything but biblical seems to be the worst of ideas in this matter.


Comment by jboze3131 — November 18, 2005 @ 11:31 pm


Well since I didn’t know anything about Coyne until just know I did a little googlin and guess what I found:

“A Symposium sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation

Chaired by
Martin J. Rees
Council Chamber
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
The Vatican
Rome, Italy
(7, 8, and 9 November 2000)

The meeting is supported in full by the John Templeton Foundation. The organizers are: John Barrow, George V. Coyne, George Ellis, Michael Heller, Martin J. Rees.

A provisional agenda in four headings:

1. Physics of the universe: scenarios for the long-range future:

(A) Towards asymptopia: evolution of cosmic structure, death of stars, decay of atoms, formation and evaporation of black holes, behaviour near cosmological singularities, etc. What would an eternal cosmos be like at each era between the present and the final ‘omega point’? ”

Interesting. What we have is a convergence of Teilhard De Chardin’s Omega Point philosophy (evolution of the universe to a universal apotheosis), Coyne, and Templeton. What do they all have in common? Teilhard De Chardin was a palentologist who spent his life trying to prove evolution and searching for the “missing link” between ape and man. He was infamously involved with two famous missing link frauds (piltdown man and peking man). Templeton attacks ID and supports evolution, Oyne, ands De Chardin. Coyne attacks ID and supports evolution and also has put forth in his writings and speeches the idea of the “evolving universe”, essentially the same thing as Teilhard De Chardin. He also edited a publication by the Vatican Observatory called ‘Physics, Philosophy, and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding’ with an article by Tipler called “The Omega Point Theory: A Model of an Evolving God”. (Robert J. Russell, William R. Stoeger, S.J., and George V. Coyne, S.J. (eds.),. Vatican City, Vatican Observator)

They all seem to believe in and want to promote the idea presented in the Omega Point philosophy. And at the same time they want to attack people who oppose their views i.e ID, by attack I mean spend lots of money to try and convince the public that ID is wrong.

So the big question is…why?

Why do they feel it is important to fight in the court of public opinion that the omega point doctrine is true and God is not directly controlling the universe and everything in it? What I wonder is why they feel it is important to actually put energy into trying to discredit ID.

Here’s a thought. They have a kind of vision of God where God is a kind of collective unconsciousness who is not an omniscient omnipresent entity. From Coyne:

“But, if we confront what we know of our origins scientifically with religious faith in God the Creator – if, that is, we take the results of modern science seriously – it is difficult to believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient in the sense of many of the scholastic philosophers. For the believer, science tells us of a God who must be very different from God as seen by them.”

“God in his infinite freedom continuously creates a world that reflects that freedom at all levels of the evolutionary process to greater and greater complexity. God lets the world be what it will be in its continuous evolution.”

God in their vision is some kind of impersonal force of nature or impersonal supernatural force which “loves” in some abstract fashion, like how “the womb loves the child”.

Essentially they want to remove the conception of morality based on fear. In other words most religions teach that God will punish you if you “sin” in some way. God is not only the provider of life but also the Law. If you take God out as an active participant on Earth and our lives then you remove the fear of sinning. If God isn’t aware and just some kind of Force then that means you shouldn’t be afraid of sinning. You can be immoral and God is impotent to punish you. This is the kind of philosophy which is greatly admired by tyrants who need a religious ideology to suit their own purposes.

If God doesn’t punish because he doesn’t involve himself directly with us, but is just some kind of loving force, and if evolution is actually the plan of that loving force, then if we aid evolution…we do good.

Hmmm…How do we aid evolution? I know!! Let’s support eugenics, genocide, slavery, exploitation of inferior races, malthusian concepts of aiding the destruction of the less evolved people. Bingo!!! Ya see it’s alright that the white rich guy in his castle in Europe exploits third world countries by empowering dictators. It’s alright if a genocide in Rwanda or Congo or Sudan or West Africa takes place. In fact it’s a good thing and we should help them. It aids evolution in ridding the world of less evolved people. The first humans according to evolution were black people. Therefore they are the least evolved and the least wanted. We should do everything possible to aid “God” in evolving humanity to the “omega point” the apotheosis of evolution. Where we all become Godlike. Don’t worry about “love your brother” or “the meek shall inherit the earth”. God can’t see you, God’s just an impersonal force of love. You can do what you like. God won’t punish you.

These people are not Christians. They are fakes using Christianity for their own agenda. Their philosophy was quite popular from the 17th to the 19th century. The whole “occult revival” period of the late 19th century was greatly influenced by the the same kind of thinking. It’s essentially Rosicrucian dogma. Modernized.


Comment by mentok — November 19, 2005 @ 1:49 am

I’m shocked as to why so many people, such as Coyne, can’t grasp ID. I think the reason why it’s instantaneously down played is because first hand critics automatically conflate it with creationism. When they do that, they pass that around to others. Most second hand critics would say that it’s just philosophy since there’s no science behind it. This assessment couldn’t be farther from the truth. Read ‘Darwin’s Black Box’, ‘The Design Inference’, and ‘No Free Lunch’. I think once critics read this, then, their whole concept will change. If not, then they’re just a bunch of lazy dogmatists.

Comment by Benjii — November 19, 2005 @ 8:50 am
Let them eat their own.



Filed under: The Know-Nothing Party

Krauthammer — The Senescent Years (0 comments)

Krauthammer: Intelligent Design is a phony and a fraud.
Dembski: Yeah, but you're old!

Touché!


Filed under: The art of the non-response

"A Most Intelligently Designed Ale" (0 comments)

"I guess some people are going to get a chuckle out of it. I don't see anything funny about it," Buttarse said. "Anytime someone (tries to) sarcastically exploit issues of morality in those kinds of ways is very unappealing. But it doesn't bother me, whatever they put on there."
Sen. Chris Buttarse, R-West Jordan (Utah)


Filed under: Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. --Ben Franklin

"Science Friction" in Australia (0 comments)

Oh, the difficulty in keeping one's story straight.Side A:
Many more may follow once the $21.95 DVD Unlocking the Mystery of Life: Intelligent Design is sent free to every school by Campus Crusade for Christ.

The DVD promises to reveal “the unmistakeable hallmarks of design - and the Creator’s skill - within our very cells”.

Campus Crusade for Christ’s national director, Bill Hodgson, said the DVD would be sent to all 3000 public and private schools by the end of the year. “We’re making available to schools a copy of the DVD as a resource,” he said. “There is no prescription on what people do with it.” Schools that refused to “re-examine the basis of evolution” were engaging in “reactionary censorship”.
Side B:
Mr Hodgson said it had “nothing to do with creationism”, but there was widespread confusion even in religious circles. However, John Hammond, national director of Adventist Schools Australia, said: “We’ve always taught it but not necessarily under that title... creationism would have been the term used 20 years ago.”
Perhaps Hodgson ought to rename his organization "Campus Crusade for a Yet-to-be-Named Creator Who Definitely, Positively Isn't Jesus."


Filed under: It's science! It's metaphysics! It's scientific metaphysics!

Nothing Personal, We Just Don’t Like ID (0 comments)

Close. Oh, so close.

We don't like ID, William--that much is true--but your persistent buffoonery and fraudulent accusations make it personal.


Filed under: Paradigm Shi(f)t

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How long 'til they're all gone? (1 comments)

In Dembski's putative absence, the comments to the previous post have exploded beyond 150 in number. They're saved on this page. (Click on the timestamp below to read them all, if you're bored to death and have absolutely nothing better to do.)

1.

Isnt it perfectly acceptable to refer to someone’s work even though that person may not enjoy nor validate your work?

If Dr. Shallit performed some research that you found very promising, would you dismiss it due to personal animosity on his part?

Comment by puckSR — November 15, 2005 @ 10:13 pm
2.

What happens when fabulously wealthy old men want to be seen as prophets but don’t have the spiritual wherewithal to accomplish that goal based on their own abilities? Exhibit A: The Templeton Foundation. Templeton doesn’t have to do anything but throw money at willing sycophants who pander to his ego and waste his money on pretentious irrelevant “spirituality”. They end up being somewhat like New Age types without the cute girls, incense, eastern philosophy and cool clothes i.e stuffy boring pretentious boors.

Their pathetic attack on ID is due to their lack of scientific education and lack of spiritual cojones. They would hate to be seen as those “religious” people at their cocktail parties in the Hamptons and at their favorite dining spots in L.A, New York, Paris and London where they mingle with the upper crust. What a sad day when people who claim as their raison d’ etre “syncretism” reject the most obvious and well documented case in their favor.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 1:34 am
3.

wouldnt that comment be better placed in the original story about the Templeton Foundation mentok?

Also i think your characterization that they(members of the Templeton Foundation) do not want to be seen as religious is ridiculous. Arent they at least a pseudo-religious organization. I am fairly sure most people already view them as “religious” people

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 2:41 am
4.

puck I don’t expect everyone to understand what I wrote but some will. The point is that Templeton and his team care more about seeming “mainstream” then they do about integrity. The media goes out of it’s way as does academia in trying to paint ID as being a prong of the fundamentalist attack on secular society. Templeton and associates would sell out the truth and God in their fear of ridicule. If they were actually spiritually in touch with God and working to help other towards God through syncretism as they like to portray themselves as doing, then why did they sell God out and not only join the bandwagon of lies but be major promoters of lies? Their spirituality is worth less then their scientific integrity. They should be ashamed of their utter lack of ethics and should stop pretending to be syncretists when in fact they seek to do nothing but use God to promote themselves and their own power seeking agenda.

They can stab me in the back while telling me to my face how much they love me. The pain betrays their vapid smiles. They are not only selling out God they are selling out the public in general by supporting the attacks against ID. The dogmatic promotion of evolution as an absolute truth is simply an attempt to destroy peoples faith in God. Faith in God is the only thing which gives our lives meaning. Without that there is nothing but the darkness of a nihilistic oblivion leading to eternal death. Faith in God gives heaven and eternity to people’s minds and ontological perception, evolution gives hell and death.

People who foolishly try to lie about ID in order to promote evolution are doing a great disservice to humanity. We bring light and the hope of eternal joy. Evolution and it’s dishonest bigoted promoters bring nothing but darkness and eternal death. People who promote evolution in an attempt to destroy peoples faith in God claim to be on the moral and ethical highground seeking to uphold free thinking and rationality. Nothing could be more simplistic and foolish then that thought. Luckily God is real, large, and in charge, and nothing and no one can dim the illuminating sun of truth. The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 3:39 am
5.

“We bring light and the hope of eternal joy.”

Not me. I’m just going where the evidence leads.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 6:05 am
6.

I would assume the hard-core atheists view the theists who try to curry favor with materialistic-based Darwinian thought as useful idiots.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 16, 2005 @ 9:39 am
7.

“Faith in God is the only thing which gives our lives meaning. Without that there is nothing but the darkness of a nihilistic oblivion leading to eternal death. Faith in God gives heaven and eternity to people’s minds and ontological perception, evolution gives hell and death.”

I am a man of no great faith in God yet I see humanity and the universe we live in as a wonderful awe inspiring creations. It is ridiculous to imply that without religion there can be no happiness or joy in the world. I provisionally believe in evolution but it has not brought me hell and death. You would prpobably say that without religion there can be no morality. This is equally untrue.

I want to make it very clear that I am in no way attacking religion or people of faith. I am simply saying that I and many I know do not require faith for a sense of purpose or to experience joy. Practically everyone I know believes Darwin. Yet, I cannot claim to have ever met a nihlist.

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 9:41 am
8.

mentok

correct me if im wrong

but…many people believe in evolution
the idea that evolution is entirely baseless would seem incredibly misleading.
There must exist some evidence for evolution if so many people accept it.

Similiar argument in the world of religion
You obviously think Christianity is the way. But Islam must at least have some something to it if it is so popular. Characterizing a belief as ridiculous simply because you do not share that belief seems prideful and blind.

So perhaps instead of being “sellouts”, they just do not see your point of view?
Ever consider that someone is wrong without condemning them?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 9:42 am
9.

For the record Gould was not a “hardcore atheist.” In the book Dembski mentioned, Rocks of Ages, Gould did say that he had a notion that atheism might be true, but I have never heard him refer to himself as an atheist. He was basically of the mind that the answer to the creation question can never be known so there is little reason to BELIEVE anything. You could say he had suspicions but not beliefs.

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 9:46 am
10.

puckSR

“There must exist some evidence for evolution if so many people accept it.”

By that token there must be some evidence that cows are sacred since so many people believe it, no?

jcmd

“I am simply saying that I and many I know do not require faith for a sense of purpose or to experience joy.”

Joy is just a matter of brain chemistry. What purpose in life do you sense and if it doesn’t require faith then what is the empirical basis for this sense of purpose?

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 10:19 am
11.

“By that token there must be some evidence that cows are sacred since so many people believe it, no?”

Wow, your an idiot
That is absolutely not what i said
A better analogy

Cows are worshipped by many people, perhaps people who worship cows are not crazy whacko’s to believe something if it is that popular. They must have some reason for their beliefs

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 10:27 am
12.

Empirical basis for a sense of purpose? I don’t know where to start with that. I suppose you migt mean from what in the natural world can I draw on for a sense of purpose?

My sense of purpose is based on a kind of faith but not faith in the religious sense. People’s lives matter to me. The quality of life across the globe is something that I care about. The future of the human race is something I care about. Why do I care about such things? I cannot answer that. I just do. I can no more provide empirical evidence for my core beliefs then a religious person can about their faith in God.

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 10:40 am
13.

This thread on the Templeton Foundation reveals a certain amount of disagreement regarding the science-theology relationship. Accordingly, it should be noted that the Templeton Foundation itself appears to be largely responsible for the confusion.

Although ID theory is in principle perfectly consistent with evolution, the Templeton Foundation has helped its enemies characterize it as “anti-evolution”, meanwhile throwing money hand-over-fist at a logically inconsistent and scientifically barren alternative, Theistic Evolution, which - thanks in large measure to Templeton - now takes most of the credit for being a scientifically consistent theological viewpoint. In other words, the negative influence of the Templeton Foundation on ID goes well beyond its self-righteous determination not to fund ID-related projects; the Templeton Foundation has in fact been largely responsible for casting ID as “anti-evolution” and “anti-science”, and thus for placing ID in a defensive, financially disadvantageous position.

It seems that while holding itself up to the media as a constructive influence in developing and strengthening the relationship between science and religion, the Templeton Foundation has actually opposed one of the most promising approaches to elucidating that relationship (ID theory), and instead widened the gap between science and religion by supporting a viewpoint (TE) according to which that gap cannot under any circumstances be eliminated. In the process, the Templeton Foundation has strongly diverted public awareness away from a crucial fact: in denying that God could have any scientifically measurable impact on natural phenomena, and evolutionary phenomena in particular, TE proponents have attempted to render theological insight irrelevant to the conduct and content of science.

It’s as though Sir John Templeton wanted not only to prevent the science-theology relationship from ever being elucidated, but to deny its very existence. The only real question is whether this was as intentional as it appears to be, or whether Templeton’s culpability has been mitigated by honest confusion.

Comment by neurode — November 16, 2005 @ 10:54 am
14.

I have learned very little in my short time on this website

apparently ID is a very broad belief that can be either entirely religious or entirely scientific.

It is both an alternative, and perfectly consistent with Evolution.

It seeks to deny the atheistic tendencies of Darwinism, yet at the same time, makes no social, moral, or religious statements.

Sorry, Im very confused.
I thought ID disproved Evolution
I thought ID was a grand new way of thinking
I thought ID was the revolutionary new theory that could combine theology with science.

?????

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 11:10 am
15.

That is a point of confusion with me as well. I have said that I find no problem with an inference of design in the universe. Such an inference does not change anything in science and such a belief is consistent with evolutionary theory.

The issue that I would take up with ID is the notion that things are too complex to have arisen from natural processes.

I have heard it both ways. ID is simply an inference of design, and ID states that natural processes cannot account for life. Would the real ID please stand up?

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 11:34 am
16.

ID theory is about the inference and empirical detection of design. That is, if God works through mutation and natural selection, as Theistic Evolutionists maintain, and if the influence of God is anything but negligible, then design will be evident in the products of evolution, and detecting this evidence is the focus of ID theory.

Although ID theory must ultimately consider the mechanisms through which the designer impacts evolution, it now consists of probabilistic analysis alone (a set of mathematical techniques heavily employed throughout the sciences in order to discover causal relationships among natural phenomena). Thus, its analytic capacity is still highly generic, and it is not yet ready to conclusively identify the designer.

If ID “disproves evolution”, it does so not by denying the influence of natural selection, such as it may be, but by indicating that genetic mutations and their phenotypic outcomes are not “random” in the neo-Darwinian sense. Since evolutionary phenomena are not necessarily dependent on the randomness of biological mutations, this is entirely consistent with the existence of evolutionary processes.

Even if not “grand” and “revolutionary”, current ID reasoning is at least novel in certain respects, and without the heavy ideological baggage sometimes attached to it, does indeed constitute a promising approach to “combining theology with science”.

If this is inconsistent with what you’ve heard about ID theory, then you may have been listening to the wrong arguments by the wrong people. On the other hand, if these people at any point succeed in nailing their personal ideological baggage to ID theory in any permanent way, then others will no doubt carry the theory forward under a different name.

Comment by neurode — November 16, 2005 @ 11:59 am
17.

I would argue that concepts of randomness, happiness, the laws of logic, design, meaning, etc., etc. require theism. You can’t do science unless you are a theist, or unknowingly borrowing from theism.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 16, 2005 @ 12:26 pm
18.

geoffrobinson

Random is a scientific term. It does not however have the same meaning that we attribute to it in everyday speach. Random simlpy means we cannot conceivably predict what the next outcome will be. When you talk about randomness in quantum mechanics you are not implying a purposelessness, meaningless process. The same is true for evolution. Many people ascribe a theistic meaning to the scientific term random when there is not one at all. This I suspect is an unfortunate source of much unnecessary constrenation.

neurode

If that is true then does irreducible complexity go beyond the realm of ID?

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 12:39 pm
19.

geoff scratch the however in my first sentence

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 12:40 pm
20.

I do not believe that ID is truly a “novel” concept, in any of the incarnations that you have mentioned.

The laws of logic require Theism…wait are we speaking of the laws similiar to those governing Boolean Algebra? I am almost sure that those require NO theism. Please explain what you are talking about.

You then mention design and meaning….how do the concepts borrow from Theism? I assume your referring to the more grandiose terms of design and meaning.

I thought the current argument was over the atheistic nature of Science? So how is Science inherently Theistic? What God do scientists believe in?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 1:18 pm
21.

I don’t think this has to be so complicted. ID is, quite modestly, the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. As opposed to blind purposeless natural mechanisms.

Does it have theistic implications? Sure. But the implications are the byproduct of the science, not the science. Don’t conflate the two.

The implications of ID are no more philosophical/theological than the implications of Darwinian Evolution. Both imply things about our purpose, or lack thereof.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 1:30 pm
22.

Well said, Bombadill!

Comment by Benjii — November 16, 2005 @ 1:33 pm
23.

jmcd: “If that is true then does irreducible complexity go beyond the realm of ID?”

Irreducible complexity is basically a generic concept that long predates ID theory (in which it was originally applied by Michael Behe). Mathematically, it is related to descriptive and algorithmic incompressibility, i.e., Kolmogorov and computational complexity. In the fully generic sense, it applies to any structure or process that cannot be collapsed to a part of itself while holding certain properties invariant. Accordingly, it is ubiquitous in mathematics, engineering, and the empirical sciences, and became unpopular only when incorporated, at the prescient suggestion of Charles Darwin himself, in a challenge to evolutionary theory.

Every structure and system in the universe has an “irreducibly complex” core with respect to any given combination of applicable properties … a core system that cannot be further reduced while maintaining the properties in question. However, the concept must be handled with extreme care; while it is not always true that a system exhibiting IC with respect to a set of functional properties “cannot evolve”, it is often the case that the evolution of an IC system appears vanishingly improbable within the overall evolutionary context. Hence, the obvious improbability of many of the just-so stories concocted for the purpose of explaining how such a system might have evolved “randomly”.

Comment by neurode — November 16, 2005 @ 1:33 pm
24.

jmcd you wrote:

“I am a man of no great faith in God yet I see humanity and the universe we live in as a wonderful awe inspiring creations. It is ridiculous to imply that without religion there can be no happiness or joy in the world. I provisionally believe in evolution but it has not brought me hell and death. You would prpobably say that without religion there can be no morality. This is equally untrue.”

You need to read more carefully. I didn’t say there is no happines nor any joy in the world without religion did I? And I would never say that without religion there can be no morality.

What I did say or mean to convey is that for the atheist they believe they have one short infinitesimal amount of time to live their life and then they enter into eternal death. Their psychological ontological mindset is nihilistic and leads towards death and darkeness. They see no hope for living beyond the death of the body. They live in deep psychological trauma which they have learned (or not) to block out of their mind. That is inevitable if you are sane. If you see nothing but death and darkness for eternity as your future then you will be deeply affected in a negative sense by that even if you don’t realize it. Despair is the only end of that road.

Let’s contrast that with people who have firm faith in God and the eternality of the soul or consciousness. They view life as eternal. They view their future after the death of the body as a continuing existence on into forever. They live in the light of expectation of eternal bliss. That expectation brings joy. Wouldn’t you be joyful if you firmly believed that you will live forever in a heavenly world?

You say evolution has not brought you hell or death. You misunderstood the symbolic language I used. All atheists live in a mindest of knawing despair due to belief that with death comes the end of existence. That is hell my friend. People who have never had firm faith in God don’t understand what a difference a positive ontological outlook has on the human psyche.

I do know. I was born and raised an atheist. When I gained total and absolute faith in God it was like being let out of prison, the prison of my own misconceptions. I went from death row to heaven in a snap of the fingers. I know how atheists view themselves and their relationship with reality. It brings great psychic pain and deep trauma to all atheists and even to a lesser extent agnostics. Because they learn to suppress that pain when they are growing up they don’t realize they have it, it’s become a part of them.

I’m not talking about faith in religion. I’m talking about faith in God, belief in God’s existence. Religion is generally a philosophical-theology school of thought defining a particular concept of God and reality.

The best thing in peoples lives is faith in God. nothing else can give their lives true meaning. Everything in this world for us is temporary and ends in old age and death. Without hope for a brighter future then eternal death, you live in hell even though you may not realize it. Trying to destroy peoples faith in God due to misguided belief that religions are to blame for all the bad things in the world is foolish and ignorant. Atheists need to grow up and be the moral ethical people they so loudly claim to be these days. If you destroy peoples faith in God send them to the dark.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 1:33 pm
25.

And ID can be congruent with common descent, but the ID proponent who embraces common descent will tell you that blind, unintelligent, natural mechanisms are/were insufficient to produce the species changes.

I personally, reject common descent as an ID proponent.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 1:34 pm
26.

I had thought previously that the approach was thus:

Science..patterns exists…that is it
ID….patterns exists…something/someone must have created these patterns.

I had always leaned towards the scientific approach, because the ID approach requires one to justify which patterns are intelligently designed and which are not. This leaves a great deal of subjective interpretation out of the mix.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 1:36 pm
27.

Well, it is glossing things over to simply say that “patterns exist”. It runs a tad bit deeper than that. What we are talking about are things like: digitally coded sequential information at the core of the cell, cellular machinery which requires advanced engineering principles to even begin to understand and which is also purposefully arranged, fine-tuning of the physical laws of our planet and it’s position that are set to an impossibly small tolerance for supporting organic life, etc…

Things that just don’t gel very well with the notion that life and matter were produced by purposeless natural mechanisms.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 1:41 pm
28.

Mentok…you are forgetting something in your mention of religion. But very interesting argument Blaise Pascal

Theism makes no promise of heaven. ID may indicate that a greater being does exist, but since it makes no claims about the greater being, then there is still the very real possibility that the greater being does not have a “heaven” waiting for you when you die.

Christianity in particular introduces 2 concepts to the mix. Heaven and Hell. While an atheist might gain a great deal from believing in Heaven, he would also suffer a great deal psychologically believing in Hell. A true atheist does not believe that he will suffer anything after death. It will end, and he will cease to exist. This may be heaven for some, and hell for others. Therefore he should not be effected by his lack of an afterlife.

As far as his behavior being lesser because he does not believe in Eternal life..i dont know if i trust your logic on this. An atheist believes that this is his only life, therefore he would not want to do anything that could ever possibly come back to hurt him. He would want to have the greatest society possible, in the hope that he would be able to live in that Utopia. A Christian on the other hand, views this existence as temporary. The only concern a Christian would have is how to best please Jesus. Therefore he may commit acts that are harmful to the society, if they help his personal chances of eternal salvation.

Just my thoughts on the subject

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 1:48 pm
29.

My personal belief is that the designer is the God of the Bible. But I arrive at this conclusion based on historical facts + subjective personal experience, not science.

But I know people who are fully agnostic and ID proponents.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 1:51 pm
30.

bombadill:

You are misunderstanding me. Science simply claims that patterns and highly unlikely chances occur.

ID claims that they have a purpose. This is absolutely fine, but now you have to quantify all of the terms like “highly unlikely” and “intelligent patterns”. If a bunch of rocks are laying in a straight line…is that an “intelligent pattern”? Is it “highly unlikely”?

I was not claiming that patterns and chances in the Universe do not exist, and i am fully of the belief that they indicate a Creator. I was simply pointing out the rather difficult problems of definition that arise when trying to consider these beliefs scientifically.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 1:52 pm
31.

mentok,

Just playing devil’s advocate here…

I’m no communist, but your statements remind me of Marx’s “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” It seems you are affirming thesism primarily out of personally pragmatic reasons. The core argument seems to be: ‘theism makes you happy, therefore you should believe in God.” I, myself, think there are much better reasons to believe in God than personal comfort…

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 1:52 pm
32.

puck, please read:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0830823751/qid=1132167656/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-0130323-5794457?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

It will answer all of your questions regarding the design inference, probabilities, etc… Also, read thru the papers at: http://www.designinference.com

cambion,

I believe that theism is rooted in facts. One does not have to check one’s brains at the door before entering the house of faith. Rather, there is compelling evidence which supersedes subjective personal experience and build’s a rather cogent case for the existance of God.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 2:04 pm
33.

puck you wrote:

“correct me if im wrong

but…many people believe in evolutionthe idea that evolution is entirely baseless would seem incredibly misleading.There must exist some evidence for evolution if so many people accept it.”

Why? Is that some kind of new axiomatic proof I haven’t heard of. Since when does popular belief equate with actual truth? People who believe in evolution are of two varieites. The first is the person who has studied all of the science which evolution draws upon. The second is those who accept argument from authority. Very few people have studied all the science. 99% of the people who believe in evolution know nothing or next to nothing about the details. Their opinion is invalid. The people who know the science believe in evolution not because there is any actual proof for evolution. There is no proof. It is a theory in search of proof. By proof I mean data that unequivocally proves evolution to be factual, no such proof exists.

So why do people who know the science have such firm faith in evolution? It’s because they summarliy reject the only alternative. They accept evolution in some form or another because they see it as the ONLY possible explanation for our existence. Therefore any problems with evolutionary theory they can ignore quite easily because they believe that it is simply a matter of time and research until the whole theory is proven, or a new variation of it will be proven. They have a mental bloc against a non materialistic potential in the universe. Which is absurd. At every moment they experience a non materialistic reality. Our mind and consciousness are not comprised of matter. Our mind and consciousness is a non materialistic reality which defines our own sense of existence. We are conscious entities residing in human bodies. What is consciousness and mind? Can you weigh them or measure their size? They exist in a different dimension then the three we see all around us. So that simple fact of life should be a something which proves that a purely materialistic ontological paradigm is insufficient to explain all natural phenonema. We are living proof of that.

You then wrote”

“Similiar argument in the world of religionYou obviously think Christianity is the way. But Islam must at least have some something to it if it is so popular. Characterizing a belief as ridiculous simply because you do not share that belief seems prideful and blind.”

I never said I was a Christian. I embrace all religions which free people from their suffering and despair. I believe there is truth to varying degrees in almost all religions. But any theistic religious belief is healthier for you then no faith in God. Some beliefs are ridiculous regardless if I believe in them or not. If I believe that the sun revolves around the earth because that is how it appears, then that is a ridiculous belief. I don’t have that belief because I am prideful or blind, it’s because I know the truth.
Then you wrote:

“So perhaps instead of being “sellouts”, they just do not see your point of view?Ever consider that someone is wrong without condemning them?”

They obviously don’t agree with my point of view. They are “sellouts” because they attack ID in the name of scientific integrity when the fact is there is absolutely no basis for that claim. Therefore their attack on ID is a sellout and a spiritual and ethical fraud.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 2:08 pm
34.

That was somewhat of a blatant plug

I went to the website…and it seemed to have a lot of papers about “attack”
I didnt really see a clear definition of biological ID, nor the biologists algorithm for determining ID.

I have never been a huge fan of statistics in Philosophy, which may explain my distaste for Pascal.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 2:13 pm
35.

Not to beat a dead horse but I am not counting on an afterlife and that really doesn’t bother me. If anything it makes my time on Earth all the more precious.

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 2:18 pm
36.

Bombadill,

I guess wasn’t very clear.

“I believe that theism is rooted in facts. One does not have to check one’s brains at the door before entering the house of faith.”

That’s basically what I was getting at. It seemed to me that mentok was advocating belief in God for mainly reasons of psychological comfort.

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 2:24 pm
37.

“They are “sellouts” because they attack ID in the name of scientific integrity when the fact is there is absolutely no basis for that claim.”

If you believe that a flagellum is irreducibly complex and that said belief is based on science then your brand of ID can indeed be attacked in the name of scientific integrity. If you infer design in the universe then you have not made a scientific claim. Either way it is not something that belongs in science.

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 2:28 pm
38.

My point wasn’t so much about randomness, but the very idea of randomness, etc. Atheists can’t account for immaterial ideas like “red” or the law of non-contradiction, or purpose, or happiness.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 16, 2005 @ 2:36 pm
39.

“If you infer design in the universe then you have not made a scientific claim.”

I disagree. Inferring design is logical in light of the latest scientific data. Therefore the inference is scientific.

What is unscientific is positing who the designer is. Because then you have crossed the line of demarcation between science and theology/philosophy.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 2:36 pm
40.

Actually Bombadill

you crossed that line when you posited that the designer had to be a Who…rather than a What.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 2:39 pm
41.

Templeton’s son is an evangelical Christian who is in the process of completely taking control of the organization. Perhaps the direction will change after Sir John moves on.

Dan

Comment by Dan — November 16, 2005 @ 2:41 pm
42.

Geoff:
Have you ever casually conversed with an Atheist?
I get the distinct impression that the only strong Atheists you met, you immediately accused of horrendous acts of inhumanity.

You are suggesting that an Atheist cannot know happiness. Im sorry, your going to have to clarify this position.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 2:42 pm
43.

Side Note: from the BBC Radio Show “In Our Time” (in Real Audio).

“Chance & Design” w/ Simon Conway Morris. Description reads in part: “Who were the original proponents of the idea of a grand design? Were they deliberately setting out to find a scientific theory that could sit alongside religious faith? On the other hand, can the concept of contingency – or the randomness of evolution - be compatible with a belief in God?”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20030213.shtml

“Lamarck & Natural Selection” w/ Simon Conway Morriss. Description reads in part: “Who was Lamarck? How did Natural Selection escape from his shadow and gain acceptance from the scientific establishment? And has any evidence emerged that might challenge the elegant simplicity of Darwin’s big idea?”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20031226.shtml

“Origins of Life” w/ Richard Dawkins

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20040923.shtml

I haven’t listened to these yet so I apologize if they’re of no use…
lpadron

Comment by lpadron — November 16, 2005 @ 2:49 pm
44.

puck you wrote:

“Christianity in particular introduces 2 concepts to the mix. Heaven and Hell. While an atheist might gain a great deal from believing in Heaven, he would also suffer a great deal psychologically believing in Hell.”

Almost all religions posit a heavenly realm as the final destination. Different varieties of hell are taught as well. By using your logic we should eliminate all laws and punshiment. Why? Threat of prison causes suffering to people psychologically. Hell is here on earth if you break the law and are caught. Does that mean that we should eliminate all laws and punishments because people may fear that? As long as you obey the law you will have no fear. Personally I don’t believe in an eternal hell as some religions teach. I see no value in it from Gods point of view. I reject the idea that humans are more compassionate and loving then God. Humans would not send their own children to hell for eternity if those children made mistakes and broke the law. I see no reason to believe that God would be any less of a compassionate person. But clearly there is a dichotomy when we look at the various lives that people lead. Some people seem to be more favored by God then others. Some people are born into varities of suffering and other may be born into pleasurable and happy circumstances. Some people live lives of security, health, wealth, and love. Others lead lives of misery, and others lead lives of a mixture of the two. What does this imply for a theist? That there must be a reason for the discrepancy in peoples lives. The only logical deduction which doesn’t posit a cruel God is the concept of Karma and reincarnation. Hell is being born again on earth or an earth like planet and then undergoing suffering, the kind we see all around us in the world. That is my belief about hell from a theological viewpoint.

You also wrote:

“Theism makes no promise of heaven. ID may indicate that a greater being does exist, but since it makes no claims about the greater being, then there is still the very real possibility that the greater being does not have a “heaven” waiting for you when you die.”

Theism is a word which describes the belief in God. Therefore it makes no promises because it is simply a word for belief in God. The nature of peoples theology varies. But most people who believe in God believe in an afterlife because it is a logical deduction and almost all religions promise that. ID is not a theological theory. It is a scientific theory solely based on empiricism. Therefore ID makes no doctrine concerning theological beliefs of whatever variety.

Then you wrote:

“As far as his behavior being lesser because he does not believe in Eternal life..i dont know if i trust your logic on this. An atheist believes that this is his only life, therefore he would not want to do anything that could ever possibly come back to hurt him. He would want to have the greatest society possible, in the hope that he would be able to live in that Utopia. A Christian on the other hand, views this existence as temporary. The only concern a Christian would have is how to best please Jesus. Therefore he may commit acts that are harmful to the society, if they help his personal chances of eternal salvation”

I didn’t say anything about behavior. Re read what I wrote. I am not a Christian but I do know that there are numerous religions under the heading of “Christianity”. Each religion has their own unique beliefs. “How best to please Jesus” in almost all Christian religions is done by helping others. Christians generally believe that they are saved by simply having faith in Jesus. “Harmful acts to society” are not the sole province of Christians or believers. You try and make a complex issue into one of black or white. You promote atheists as if they are the example of all that is good. That is a very unrealistic viewpoint. One need look no furthur then the last 100 years with the rise of communism to see the deadly totalitarian road that atheists can take.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 2:51 pm
45.

Every complex system bears the hallmarks of “design.” The economy must surely be designed. A tornado must surely be designed. The fact that random (scientific sense) mechanisms can create complex systems is not controversial. I wonder if Dr. Demski finds the economy to be a matter of specified complexity?

Comment by jmcd — November 16, 2005 @ 2:53 pm
46.

Mentok:

You have severly misunderstood me.

Earlier when i was commenting on Darwinism. The point which i was attempting to make was completely missed. I was simply stating that your characterization of Darwinism as baseless had to be false. There must exist some base for so many people to believe it.
This is the same point i was trying to make on the topic of religion. You may have very strong evidence of why your religion is right and someone else’s religion is wrong, but their religion must at least have some reasoning behind it, or it wouldnt have so many followers.

Theism is not a word for the belief in God. Theism is a word for the belief in some form of divinity.

ID has to make some form of comment on theism, otherwise from what i have read it is no different than Darwinism.

I know..I know The Intelligent Agent could be a human. The fact of the matter is that whoever the Intelligent Agent is, he obviously created us, and helped create the Universe. Therefore, he would be god-like at least from our level of understanding. He may not be the Supreme Being, but he is obviously the superior being. He also still takes an active interest in the workings of the Universe, therefore it would be wise to try and get his favor. Therefore, ID is making at least a weak Theological statement.

You missed my point on Christianity…you could substitute any religion that believes in an after-life for Christianity. The point is still valid, they have no interest in making a “Heaven on Earth”. They are simply preparing for the afterlife.

I am trying to simplify this conversation a great deal. I always try and simplify statements. It makes it easier to understand.

BTW Hell is much different than prison.
Hell, if we believe religious texts, is a place of permanent “torture”. The reasons for going to hell are fairly obscure, and no one is certain of their final destination. This would “idea” would torment the hell outta me.

Oh, and as to your concept of corporeal hell, consider this. You are suggesting that your soul simply is simply kicked back to try again. You retain no memory of your past life, and therefore have no better chance of making the right decision. Therefore, you are suggesting that “being good with God” is a matter of chance. If this is the case, why would God bother to send you back at all? Use the same logic you used earlier to dismiss the existence of a spiritual hell, and you will notice it deducts your concept of hell as well.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 3:22 pm
47.

cambion you wrote:

“It seems you are affirming thesism primarily out of personally pragmatic reasons. The core argument seems to be: ‘theism makes you happy, therefore you should believe in God.” I, myself, think there are much better reasons to believe in God than personal comfort”

That wasn’t my “core argument”. My point was that it is morally indefensible to try to destory peoples faith in God for personal or political or philsophical reasons. People believe in God because they come to that conclusion naturally. You can’t believe in something by choosing to believe in it. You believe in something because you believe in it.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 3:30 pm
48.

Absolutey correct Mentok, that is why the inherent Atheism of Darwinism is irrelevent. You argue, however, that Atheism is bad, therefore people should not believe it.

Are you honestly suggesting that Atheists should drop the “A” to make the world better? Are you suggesting that it is possible for them to do this?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 3:36 pm
49.

Atheists can use the laws of logic, know morality, induction (laws of physics stay the same), understand happiness, etc. But they can’t account for these things because they are either illusions if God doesn’t exist (morality) or are immaterial (laws of logic, numbers, etc.) or in the case of induction, inexplicible.

Atheists getting through life on borrowed theistic capital. Everytime they argue, notice a color, or know the difference between right and wrong (getting upset about ID for example) they showing how they can’t break the bonds of theism.

They aren’t consistent. And that’s my point.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 16, 2005 @ 3:37 pm
50.

Wait wait wait geoff

This is entirely new to me, how is the concept of color a theistic concept?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 3:43 pm
51.

jcmd

“I can no more provide empirical evidence for my core beliefs then a religious person can about their faith in God.”

Fair enough. I’d have to give the same answer you did if asked the same question.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 3:51 pm
52.

puckSR

“Wow, your an idiot”

That should be “you’re” not “your”, genius. LOL

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 3:53 pm
53.

It is theistic because color recognition is indiciative of consciousness. The color blue has no physical mass, it is conceptual. Just like the number 5 cannot have a weight. Since these concepts reflect metaphysical realities and could not possibly be emergent properties of the physical aparatus… it is safe to conclude that something immaterial and intelligent designed our consciousness.

I believe that is expounding upon what geoff wrote.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 3:54 pm
54.

Wouldnt the concept of rationalization completely reject that Geoff?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 3:58 pm
55.

thanks for the grammar help DaveScot
I honestly make more grammatical mistakes when typing on the ‘net than I previously thought possible.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 3:59 pm
56.

neurode

“logically inconsistent and scientifically barren alternative, Theistic Evolution”

I agree with scientifically barren but how is it logically inconsistent? I’m presuming that TE and cosmological ID (the fine tuning argument) are pretty much the same. If they’re not the same in your view how are they different? TE seems to be compatible with biological ID in my view. The only thing incompatible with ID is a total lack of intelligent direction in the origin of life.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 4:05 pm
57.

puck you wrote:

“Earlier when i was commenting on Darwinism. The point which i was attempting to make was completely missed. I was simply stating that your characterization of Darwinism as baseless had to be false. There must exist some base for so many people to believe it.”

Your logic is off. Of course there is a basis for belief in evolution, that wasn’t in question. What was in question was your statement:

“the idea that evolution is entirely baseless would seem incredibly misleading.There must exist some evidence for evolution if so many people accept it.”

I argued saying that popularity is not cognate with truth. It is my position and many others that evolution has no credible science to back it up. Therefore it is a baseless theory in my opinion. It has a basis, but that basis is without merit.

Then you wrote:

“Theism is not a word for the belief in God. Theism is a word for the belief in some form of divinity.”

See http://www.answers.com/theism&r=67

Then you wrote:

“ID has to make some form of comment on theism, otherwise from what i have read it is no different than Darwinism.”

You misread what I wrote. Theism is not the same as theology. I said ID promotes no theological doctrine because it is a purely empirical method. Of course ID is theistic. Intelligent Design means an Intelligent Designer, it’s right there in the title. Umkay?

Then you wrote:

“I know..I know The Intelligent Agent could be a human. The fact of the matter is that whoever the Intelligent Agent is, he obviously created us, and helped create the Universe. Therefore, he would be god-like at least from our level of understanding. He may not be the Supreme Being, but he is obviously the superior being. He also still takes an active interest in the workings of the Universe, therefore it would be wise to try and get his favor. Therefore, ID is making at least a weak Theological statement.”

No the Intelligent agent could not be a human. Humans have short life spans and are incapable of creating any form of life with all of the power of technology. ID makes no theological statement. Theology is the study of God and religious truth. ID is solely about science and empiricism. ID aims to prove that the probability of the natural world existing the way it does inconsistent with a purely materialistic and naturalistic explanation. The probabilities are too great. Many of the worlds most prominent scientists agree.

Professor Harold Morowitz: “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 to 10-340,000,000. This number is 1 to 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering, since there is only supposed to be approximately 10-80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”

Dr. Emile Borel, who discovered the laws of probability: “The occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in ten followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen, no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place.”

Stephen Hawking: “The universe and the Laws of Physics seem to have been specifically designed for us. If any one of about 40 physical qualities had more than slightly different values, life as we know it could not exist: Either atoms would not be stable, or they wouldn’t combine into molecules, or the stars wouldn’t form heavier elements, or the universe would collapse before life could develop, and so on…”

Albert Einstein: “Everyone who is seriously interested in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe a spirit vastly superior to man, and one in the face of which our modest powers must feel humble.”

Fred Hoyle (British astrophysicist): “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

George Ellis (British astrophysicist): “Amazing fine tuning occurs in the laws that make this [complexity] possible. Realization of the complexity of what is accomplished makes it very difficult not to use the word ‘miraculous’ without taking a stand as to the ontological status of the word.”

Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): “There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all….It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe….The impression of design is overwhelming”.

Paul Davies: “The laws [of physics] … seem to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design… The universe must have a purpose”.

Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy): “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

John O’Keefe (astronomer at NASA): “We are, by astronomical standards, a pampered, cosseted, cherished group of creatures.. .. If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”

George Greenstein (astronomer): “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency - or, rather, Agency - must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”

Arthur Eddington (astrophysicist): “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”

Arno Penzias (Nobel prize in physics): “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ’supernatural’) plan.”

Roger Penrose (mathematician and author): “I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.”

Tony Rothman (physicist): “When confronted with the order and beauty of the universe and the strange coincidences of nature, it’s very tempting to take the leap of faith from science into religion. I am sure many physicists want to. I only wish they would admit it.”

Vera Kistiakowsky (MIT physicist): “The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divine.”
Robert Jastrow (self-proclaimed agnostic): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Frank Tipler (Professor of Mathematical Physics): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”
Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): “We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”

Ed Harrison (cosmologist): “Here is the cosmological proof of the existence of God – the design argument of Paley – updated and refurbished. The fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design. Take your choice: blind chance that requires multitudes of universes or design that requires only one…. Many scientists, when they admit their views, incline toward the teleological or design argument.”

Edward Milne (British cosmologist): “As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”

Barry Parker (cosmologist): “Who created these laws? There is no question but that a God will always be needed.”

Drs. Zehavi, and Dekel (cosmologists): “This type of universe, however, seems to require a degree of fine tuning of the initial conditions that is in apparent conflict with ‘common wisdom’.”

Then you wrote:

“You missed my point on Christianity…you could substitute any religion that believes in an after-life for Christianity. The point is still valid, they have no interest in making a “Heaven on Earth”. They are simply preparing for the afterlife.”

You don’t know what you are talking about. How much charity work is done by atheists and how much is done by religious people? Almost all religions teach charity and relief work etc as vital components of their doctrine.

Then you wrote:

“Oh, and as to your concept of corporeal hell, consider this. You are suggesting that your soul simply is simply kicked back to try again. You retain no memory of your past life, and therefore have no better chance of making the right decision. Therefore, you are suggesting that “being good with God” is a matter of chance. If this is the case, why would God bother to send you back at all? Use the same logic you used earlier to dismiss the existence of a spiritual hell, and you will notice it deducts your concept of hell as well.”

You are not educated on this topic so your comments are coming from a place of speculation. There is an explanation to your comment but I don’t want to get into a theological debate with someone who doesn’t know what he is debating against. What’s the point? But I will give a short summary anyways, but I will not debate the issue with you. The theology of karma and reincarnation teaches that you may forget your past life, but the reason for your not attaining the heavenly realm and being reborn is due to a dysfunction in your ability to make the right choices with your free will. Without free will you would not be an individual person, you would be a robot. It is free will which defines you as a unique person (theologically speaking) as opposed to an automaton. But people can misuse their free will and develop a dysfunctional mentality rooted in their pysche. Through karma a person is healed of self destructive dysfucntional patterns of behavior. For example: If I am callous and throw rocks at people for fun, then by my getting hit with rocks I develop empathy for others and their pain. I become cured of my dysfunctional psyche. That is a simple way to explain karma and reincarnation. Of course it is much more complex and ultimately only God can understand it’s intracacies in full.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 4:09 pm
58.

Wait…DaveScot
TE could definately provide for an intelligent direction in the origin of life
Go back to your whole cosmological ID argument

In cosmological ID, the universe was all setup a long time ago. It still works as a testament to the creator. Therefore, couldnt TE simply be claiming that the physical laws that govern genetics and allow for evolution were all designed by the creator?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 4:11 pm
59.

jcmd & puckSR

“ID is simply an inference of design, and ID states that natural processes cannot account for life.”

The former, at least as far as Dembski and Behe are concerned. ID makes an inference to intelligent agency. It does not characterize the intelligent agent. The intelligent agent can be of perfectly natural origin. If ID claimed only a supernatural agent (i.e. one that violates the laws of physics) then I’d drop it like a hot potato.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 4:15 pm
60.

mentok

“All atheists live in a mindest of knawing despair due to belief that with death comes the end of existence.”

As an agnostic I consider that to be a possible outcome and it doesn’t cause me one iota of despair. Oblivion is bliss. I only have a vague fear of the pain associated with dying. The idea of being dead doesn’t bother me at all except for the grief of loved ones I’ll be leaving behind.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 4:25 pm
61.

Well mentok, that was obviously a well thought out reply

some errors:
1. Im not an atheist
I was simply defending your unchallenged attack on atheism
2. I believe in a Designing God, so why all the quotations? They are not relevant to biological ID
3. God is the proper name for the Judeo-Christian god. He is omniscent and omnipotent. Divinity simply refers to any supernatural being that is worshiped. Theism does not refer to what is being worshipped, therefore my definition was correct. You should have reread your own link.
4. Im sorry i misunderstood your statement about truth=popularity. You are correct, sheer popularity does not make a statement true. Using that logic you are correct to assume that no amount of popularity can grant any validity to an idea.
5. It is odd that you think that Darwinism is completely without scientific evidence, since many of your “friends” tend to think that it has a great deal of scientific evidence. This was, as awkwardly worded as it was, the point i was trying to get across. You are not simply stating that Darwinist are wrong, you are claiming that they are complete morons at the same time.
6. The statement that you have proven Theism is not theological?
7. Well i am glad you are well versed on karma, you will have to forgive me, but i assumed that you were a Christian(you constantly refer to God), just as you assumed I was Atheistic/Agnostic(or in the very least anti-design).

Just as a joke(no one take offense)
If you want to inspire confidence, give plenty of statistics. It does not matter that they should be accurate, or even intelligible, as long as there is enough of them. -Lewis Carroll

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 4:28 pm
62.

wait…DaveScot

so the Intelligent Agent could be purely natural?

Now i am totally lost

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 4:29 pm
63.

If you’re an atheist than life is nothing but a hodge-podge of random molecules that have come together through time. Your dreams, hopes, visions and so forths are nothing but meaningless fantasies. And when you die, your death is the end of everything. You die and there is nothing left. On earth, all you wish you could do is all the things you never got to achieve.

Stinks to be an atheist!

No offense intended

Comment by Benjii — November 16, 2005 @ 4:36 pm
64.

puck you wrote:

“Absolutey correct Mentok, that is why the inherent Atheism of Darwinism is irrelevent. You argue, however, that Atheism is bad, therefore people should not believe it.

Are you honestly suggesting that Atheists should drop the “A” to make the world better? Are you suggesting that it is possible for them to do this?”

That wasn’t my argument. My argument is that atheism is psychologically unhealthy and that atheists shouldn’t try and promote atheism because it’s unhealthy. Ardent evolutionists promote evolution for what reason? Is belief in evolution going to make people’s lives better? There is no practical gain in promoting evolutionary theory as an infallible truth. The reason that almost all people who do that do so is because they want to destroy people’s faith in God. They see themselves as warriors for a good cause, for enlightening the ignorant common folk who believe in fairy tales and who do damage to the world based on fairy tales. That is their motivation in promoting evolution. I have spoken to enough promoters of evolution to know that almost all of them (not all) are inspired by their belief that they should destroy faith in God. Because they are motivated by philosophy and politics they therefore irrationally reject the tenents of ID. They see ID as the enemy, they see ID as a tool of conspiritorial fundamentalists who seek to make everyone throw out their x rated vidoes and wear smocks and eat margarine on white bread. They don’t give ID a chance, they reject it a priori as their political enemy. They are irrational.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 4:39 pm
65.

This thread has become the most lively thread in days. That’s awesome.

Comment by Benjii — November 16, 2005 @ 4:39 pm
66.

Mentok, are you a christian?

Comment by Benjii — November 16, 2005 @ 4:40 pm
67.

mentok

“No the Intelligent agent could not be a human.”

At least not one with complex specified information in its genome as that would present a chicken/egg paradox of the highest order!

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 4:46 pm
68.

“so the Intelligent Agent could be purely natural?”

Yup. Nature allows intelligence to exist. We are living proof of it. While it appears that the carbon based life on earth requires intelligent input it does not follow that all causes which exhibit intelligence require intelligence to become corporeal.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 4:53 pm
69.

Reading some of the viewpoints and comments in this thread - especially #64, I can’t help but reflect on a philosophical reason for my disdain of NeoDarwinian dogma. It’s something I’ve mentioned here before - that is that it seems thoroughly untenable to suggest, as Materialistic Reductionism does, that we are nothing more than molecules in motion. Untenable because we seem so hard-wired to seek our meaning and purpose in life. It’s as if we come programmed out of the womb this way. It just strikes me that if we are merely the product of natural/physical processes, we wouldn’t have the deep longings that we do.

It just doesn’t add up.

Comment by Bombadill — November 16, 2005 @ 4:56 pm
70.

Mentok,

I do not know that i fully agree with you. Evolution is being taught in school. Many children who are taught about evolution do not need to know anything about it to live perfectly healthy lives. They are also taught about Chemistry, Physics, the rest of biology, and mathematics(well they may not need differential equations). Most people will never use any of the knowledge gained from any of these classes again in their lives…well maybe physics, very basic physics.

They are taught all of this for the purpose of exposure. The fact that evolutionary theory is meaningless to most people is irrelevant. Most of the information that children learn in grade school is meaningless.

I just really do not like this argument for the exclusion of Evolution from curriculum, based on usefulness.

Seriously though, isnt your entire argument just a moral version of Pascal’s wager?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 5:00 pm
71.

Alright, so if the Intelligent Agent could be purely natural…then the main difference between ID and current science methodology is that ID accepts the possibility of a supernatural power?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 5:02 pm
72.

DaveScot: “I agree [that Theistic Evolution is] scientifically barren but how is it logically inconsistent?”

If evolution is “theistic”, then by definition, God somehow affects evolutionary processes and outcomes. However, if the associated effects cannot be empirically detected, then theistic evolution is empirically indistinguishable from the negative case, in which God has no bearing on evolution whatsoever (”atheistic evolution”). This renders theistic evolution meaningless. However, TE nevertheless claims logical relevance to the definition of science. This is logically inconsistent.

In particular, TE says that there exists a mechanism by which God can affect reality at critical junctures, e.g., fine-tune the cosmos. Such a mechanism generates information regarding (e.g.) universal laws and constants, and by definition, this information is detectable (”undetectable information” is an oxymoron). But then a mechanism exists through which information might be generated in evolutionary contexts. By explicitly denying this - by stating that such information is impossible to acquire and that ID is therefore scientifically vacuous - TE negates its own supporting mechanism and thus renders itself invalid.

To escape this conclusion, the proponents of TE would have show why its supporting mechanism can only be divinely exploited at key junctures, conclusively demonstrating that at all other times, the universe is totally deterministic. However, Heisenberg uncertainty renders this impossible.

Comment by neurode — November 16, 2005 @ 5:15 pm
73.

jmcd,

Thanks for proving the point that the economy is an example of specified complexity. Intelligent Agents are required to build and develop an economy. Being an economist and money manager, I can assure you that an economy cannot come from nothing. Your example is unimpressive, false and self defeating.

Dan

Comment by Dan — November 16, 2005 @ 5:21 pm
74.

puck you wrote:

“3. God is the proper name for the Judeo-Christian god. He is omniscent and omnipotent. Divinity simply refers to any supernatural being that is worshiped.”

God is not the name for Judeo-Christian God.

Etymology of the Word “God” from The Catholic Encyclopedia

“The root-meaning of the name (from Gothic root gheu; Sanskrit hub or emu, “to invoke or to sacrifice to”) is either “the one invoked” or “the one sacrificed to.” From different Indo-Germanic roots (div, “to shine” or “give light”; thes in thessasthai “to implore”) come the Indo-Iranian deva, Sanskrit dyaus (gen. divas), Latin deus, Greek theos, Irish and Gaelic dia, all of which are generic names; also Greek Zeus (gen. Dios, Latin Jupiter (jovpater), Old Teutonic Tiu or Tiw (surviving in Tuesday), Latin Janus, Diana, and other proper names of pagan deities. The common name most widely used in Semitic occurs as ‘el in Hebrew, ‘ilu in Babylonian, ‘ilah in Arabic, etc.; and though scholars are not agreed on the point, the root-meaning most probably is “the strong or mighty one.”

The Jews call God by either Yahweh or some variant of that, and Christians (Trinitarians) call God the Heavenly Father, the Son of God i.e Jesus Christ sometimes called The Logos, and The Holy Spirit.

Then you wrote:

“Theism does not refer to what is being worshipped, therefore my definition was correct. You should have reread your own link.”

I disagee and stand by what i wrote.

Then you wrote:

“5. It is odd that you think that Darwinism is completely without scientific evidence, since many of your “friends” tend to think that it has a great deal of scientific evidence.”

I don’t know who you refer to as my friends who believe that Darwinism has a “great deal of merit”. Either way I think for myself.

Then you wrote:

“You are not simply stating that Darwinist are wrong, you are claiming that they are complete morons at the same time.

I never said that. Although I’m beginning to wonder about certain Darwinists when people can’t figure out what I said from what I wrote.

Then you wrote:

“The statement that you have proven Theism is not theological?”

You need to understand what the words mean. Theism is belief in God or Gods and theology is about doctrine and philosophy. This point is become tiresome.

Then you wrote:

“Well i am glad you are well versed on karma, you will have to forgive me, but i assumed that you were a Christian(you constantly refer to God), just as you assumed I was Atheistic/Agnostic(or in the very least anti-design).”

The word God is used by english speaking people. In Spanish it’s Dios, Latin Deus, Greek Deos, Roman Zeus, and ultimately Deva (sanskrit) is the origin. Also words like Divine come from Deva as well. Although people who promote PIE or the proto-indo-european theory believe that Deva originated from an unknown language which preceded it.

Comment by mentok — November 16, 2005 @ 5:21 pm
75.

mentok…im not arguing that the word god has common usage
You however ..capitalized.. the word God
If you are referring to a god, you keep it in the lowercase. If you are referring to the one true God…then you capitalize it. Seriously this is a ridiculous argument over semantics.

“friends”…learn about sarcasm

Theism is the worship of any god or gods or godessess

If you are discussing the existence of a god…that isnt theological?
Theology-The rational and systematic study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truth

In reference to Darwinists. Let me try and explain, since you seem to be quite reactive to my statements. The mythological belief that the stars were holes in the sky was not baseless. It had some decent reasoning behind it. It was wrong, and that is ok, but to refer to a belief as baseless would indicate that it was total and absolute fabrication based on nothing.

You should really calm down, and quit trying to assume my position.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 5:35 pm
76.

The number 5 and blue are not materialistic. Hence, the materialist cannot account for these concepts, and others. But they have no choice but to use them because they are real.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 16, 2005 @ 5:39 pm
77.

Wait…are you referring to Naturalism, Materialism, or Atheism? geoff?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 5:52 pm
78.

An atheist simply claims that there exist nothing supernatural in the universe
An Atheist is not bound to materialism or naturalism. He can, of course subscribe to either of these philosophies.

I frequently have read of references to atheists being materialistic on this site…I was under the impression that you were referring to some sort of greedy worldview…not the actual philosophy of Materialism.

I would argue that most Atheists are not Materialists
I would also argue that science is better described as Naturalism.

Interesting arguments against Materialism geoff, but completely irrelevant

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 7:13 pm
79.

Dan,

“Thanks for proving the point that the economy is an example of specified complexity. Intelligent Agents are required to build and develop an economy.”

You should think through this a bit more… The ecoonomy is by no means designed. No one can argue as such. The economy is an emergent property that arises through the interactions of millions of rational individuals pursuing their own self-interested ends. Smith’s “invisible hand” and whatnot.

Interestingly, evolution acts in a very fashion, with untold numbers of individuals competing with one another, each pursuing their own selfish reproductive goals.

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 7:23 pm
80.

the economy isnt a survival of the fittest mentality in any manner. and of course its designed! the system in place that controls it all is surely designed. and as a whole, its comprised of millions of intelligent agents working in a creative fashion to make an entire intelligently caused system to work.

taxes have to be taken…to fund govt projects. these are designed, theyre caused by agents of intelligence, and theyre these govt projects in return make for make capital and more opportunities to spend it. and so on.

the economy isnt just a bunch of random acts together to form a coherent system.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 7:49 pm
81.

using the economy is nowhere near a good justification against desing

but jboze…it does have a survival of the fittest mentality…in the loosest sense of the term

Why do we no longer barter goods? Why do we allow government intervention? All of these systems did evolve into the current system to replace less reliable models of economic success. Also..why did communism fail in Soviet Russia? The best suited survived.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 8:00 pm
82.

“and of course its designed! the system in place that controls it all is surely designed.”

We can try to control it a bit, but really it is for the most part beyond our control. Why do you think we have recessions and so on? Design of economies has actually been tried; witness Soviet Russia. Design in this case is bad, it results in far worse solutions than letting a free-market settle things.

“the economy isnt a survival of the fittest mentality in any manner.”

The finch evolves a beak to eat a particular kind of nut because no one else is utilizing that resource. If another species is already in this ecological niche, the finch will not have any advantage to move into it, and hence, will not evolve. It is the same with free-market economies. If there is a shortage of plumbers in town, supply and demand will dictate that pay for plumbers will increase, thus giving incentive for more people to become plumbers. Do you see how the situatins are analogous?

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 8:11 pm
83.

no one can reasonably argue that the economy is without guidance and not the cause of intelligent agents. everyone involved in the economy is an intelligent agent acting with a purpose and cause and goal. you cannot compare this to evolution.

random changes and a mechanism without purpose- if that was the way the economy worked- wed all be screwed. the economy left to itself, in a sense, is still the result of intelligent agents designing a plan of how things should work, how much govt regulation there should be, how to keep prices in check, inflation under control, interest rates are carefully considered and regulated…tariffs are put into place, import and export regulations are enacted. the economy is no way a system of accidents that reaches some miraculous final point when there was no goal to begin with.

it might run on its own to a certain degree, but you cant compare this to a system in biology where survival of the fittest means killing off the lower evolved life forms and taking over. businesses take over from lower performing competitors, but not in the same sense…

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 8:22 pm
84.

“Alright, so if the Intelligent Agent could be purely natural…then the main difference between ID and current science methodology is that ID accepts the possibility of a supernatural power?”

No, not really. Why are you trying to make it so complicated?

ID posits that design can be detected in nature. Period. That’s it. The rest of it is the mechanics of detecting.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 8:35 pm
85.

puckSR

“Therefore, couldnt TE simply be claiming that the physical laws that govern genetics and allow for evolution were all designed by the creator?”

Yes, but there’s more than that. Virtually impossible odds were defeated in the origin of life - like getting dealt 100 hands of royal flushes in a row. The way TE explains it is God stacked the deck. Evolutionists just ignore the impossible odds. ID says the deck was manipulated in order to defeat the impossible odds but doesn’t say when, how, or what did the manipulation.

Comment by DaveScot — November 16, 2005 @ 8:44 pm
86.

alright, so if all ID does is suggest that design can be detected in nature, why are Evolutionists so up in arms

Couldn’t Darwinian evolution be considered an algorithmic process? Therefore a designer
Why do some people want to teach ID as an alternative to Darwin? They dont seem to be in any competition

If ID makes no claim to the divine nature of the designer, and makes no real claim about evolution, then how is ID different than current science.

The only difference i can see is that current science attributes things to a pattern, while ID claims a designer. The designer however, could be a totally natural phenomenom, such as natural selection, or a newer form of natural selection.

Intelligent Design would not add any Theism into the mix, and we would be stuck with the same atheistic science model that we have always had.

From what i have been able to gather, ID is simply a re-definition of how we interpret patterns in nature. We say that they are designed, then we try and discover the designer, which would wind up being the exact same thing that current scientific methodology would discover by asking..what created this pattern.

I am not seeing the big difference between ID and current science. Sorry

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 8:52 pm
87.

“businesses take over from lower performing competitors, but not in the same sense…”

I fail to see the difference…

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 8:54 pm
88.

Ok wait DaveScot…now im even more confused.

“ID says the deck was manipulated in order to defeat the impossible odds but doesn’t say when, how, or what did the manipulation.”

So how does ID propose conducting research differently than current Evolutionist studies?
Look for the “Designer”? If the designer is natural, wont they stumble upon it eventually, and with roughly the same speed?

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 8:55 pm
89.

Why would evolutionists ignore impossible odds, they could still keep their theory, their immoral worldview, and their atheism, all they would have to do is find the “stacking” mechanism

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 8:57 pm
90.

Puck, this refers to the belief that the material world is all there is. Not that they listen to Madonna albums and are a material girl.

Not irrelevant. If atheists are arguing against ID because it allows for the supernatural, they can’t even argue with us unless they presuppose theism. That’s an important point. They can’t talk about design or randomness or argue using the laws of logic without presupposing theism unknowingly. That’s more than interesting. That’s huge.

As for the economy, it is the result of the actions of intellegent agents. So just because on the macro level it is not controlled by an agent…I’m failing to see the impact. That’s like saying the activity of a flock of birds, because it has patterns above the individual bird, has nothing to do with birds.

Coordination among people produce patterns through individual agents who have intelligence.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 16, 2005 @ 8:58 pm
91.

Geoff Materialism is not Atheism

Materialism is a form of Atheism

Most Atheistic scientists are probably Naturalists.
It is irrelevant because your simply using a form of Atheism to attack all Atheism

Maybe you should explain why you choose Materialism as the basis for your attack first, then i will try to reason out your argument.

Comment by puckSR — November 16, 2005 @ 9:05 pm
92.

jboze3131 and geoffrobinson,

“no one can reasonably argue that the economy is without guidance and not the cause of intelligent agents.”

“As for the economy, it is the result of the actions of intellegent agents. So just because on the macro level it is not controlled by an agent…I’m failing to see the impact. That’s like saying the activity of a flock of birds, because it has patterns above the individual bird, has nothing to do with birds.”

I agree with you completely. The economy is the result of the actions of individual autonomous intelligent agents. I was not trying to argue against this. I was only trying to argue that the economy is not *designed*. It is an emergent property of their behavior of many intelligent agents. No one is trying to create an economy when they go grocery shopping…

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 9:05 pm
93.

One more thing…

“how much govt regulation there should be, how to keep prices in check, inflation under control, interest rates are carefully considered and regulated…tariffs are put into place, import and export regulations are enacted.”

If the libertarians had their way, there would still be an incredibly complex economy, it would just be a different one from our economy with its various regulations.

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 9:10 pm
94.

“I agree with you completely. The economy is the result of the actions of individual autonomous intelligent agents. I was not trying to argue against this. I was only trying to argue that the economy is not *designed*.”

there lies the problem. the fact that the economy is the result of the actions of intelligent agents means it is, in fact, designed. what else do you call it when intelligent agents act in the world to carry out activities? you call it creation. the agents involved here didnt just stumble upon the economy, they actively put the traditions, laws, regulations, customs, etc. into place- which is a creative act.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 9:24 pm
95.

pucksr said:

“alright, so if all ID does is suggest that deisgn can be detected in nature why are evolutionists so up in arms”?

Sorry to jump in, but that’s a great question and here’s the answer, because it drives a stake at the very heart of the evolutionary worldview! Which is:

At the centre of the universe there is no meaning or purpose - the materials is all there is.

So their attack on ID is never based on a serious consideration of the evidence, but on a projection of what they think IDists are up to. Which is of course overturning their beloved naturalism for some sort of theism.

Whether they are right or not, ID should be either accepted or rejected based on its own scientific credentials (specified complexity a hall mark of a designing intelligence is evident in biological systems).

Science has failed if the perceived philosophical and theological implications of ID stop this plane before we can ever see if it can fly!

Comment by petro — November 16, 2005 @ 9:44 pm
96.

jboze3131,

So then, by your logic, if I go to the beach and drop a bunch of rocks into a pile, then that pile of rocks would be *designed* simply becuase it was the result of the actions of an intelligent agent?

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 9:56 pm
97.

of course im not saying EVERY act of an intelligent agent equals design. if someone throws a carton of eggs out their window, theyre not designing anything…but when intelligent agents act together to formulate traditions, regulations, laws and such, as one would with the economy, this is designing and it has the hallmarks of design.

the economy is clearly designed. intelligent agents acting in ways to create things (such an economies) equals design.

so i guess we could say that when intelligent agents think thru issues and form things with goals and purposes in mind, we call THAT design and acts of designing. the economy didnt just evolve from some crude system with no intelligent input into building the system.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 10:23 pm
98.

jboze3131,

You’re being entirely too vague by throwing *design* as being “intelligent agents acting in ways to create things.”

You also say: “the agents involved here didnt just stumble upon the economy, they actively put the traditions, laws, regulations, customs, etc. into place- which is a creative act.”

This is not true. Barter (which created the world’s first economies) was stumbled upon.

“but when intelligent agents act together to formulate traditions, regulations, laws and such, as one would with the economy, this is designing and it has the hallmarks of design.”

I think you missed my point earlier about the libertarians. There can easily exist an amazingly complex economy on which absolutely zero government regulations, laws, or traditions have been placed. One could have a situation where an entire population is in it only for themselves, bartering this service for that product and so on, and a complex economy would devopment stontaneously. You should read Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations.” He discussed all of this over 200 years ago…

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 10:47 pm
99.

” You should read Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations.” He discussed all of this over 200 years ago…”

…like people don’t know about that book…

Comment by Ben Z — November 16, 2005 @ 10:53 pm
100.

how do you gather that the economy isnt designed? its either a bunch of random events and accidents taking place on a daily basis that, by some miracle, overall equals a well run system or its a designed system that took the thought and hard work of many people over the years.

when some person acts to make soemthing of purpose, they are in fact creating. the economy is the result of millions of people working toward goals, with purposes in mind- these are, in the very nature, creative acts. acts of creation are acts of designing. people work to keep the economy going, because people before them have designed the system itself. the system didnt just appear from nothing and it didnt evolve without intelligent input and a lot of hard work from some simple system of trade and barter.

i dont agree at all that a system with zero rules and regulations would serve the same function as we see today in the US, nor would it end in anything but disaster. less govt regulation- were all for that…but, that doesnt mean the system isnt regulated. i dont think libertarians want a free for all- they want the govt out of it. the system will still be regulated by those within the system. it will still have limits and rules and such in place, but they will come from those in the system.

theres no comparion between the subjects here. the economy was clearly a system that was designed. it wasnt just something that happened by accident…it wasnt a fluke, and it wasnt a chance encounter. intelligent agents work daily to put information and purpose and meaning into the system as well.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 11:05 pm
101.

and how was barter stumbled upon? people put thought and purpose into bartering items. they didnt just drop something and their neighbor dropped something at the same time, and they picked up each others items and exchanged. they put thought into how things would be done, they decided on a plan of action, they acted to create a system that would work for all.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 11:06 pm
102.

“it wasnt just something that happened by accident…”

emergent property != accident

“…like people don’t know about that book…”

I wasn’t recommending it to everyone. Given jboze’s statements I thought he might learn something by reading it…

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 11:20 pm
103.

bartering just emerged on its own without any guidance, no purpose, etc? im not sure how you get this.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 11:26 pm
104.

i dont think i need to read anything to learn that the economy is an accidental undesigned system…because such an idea is ridiculous.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 16, 2005 @ 11:27 pm
105.

jboze,

Let me give you another example. In all the clear-cut instances of design, there exists some abstract blueprint apart from the physical substantiation of the object. The ‘form’ of a watch or of a bicycle, detailing their inter-connected parts is conceived of, and then a physical object is made based upon this outside form. Where is the blueprint of the economy? No one sat down and wired it together. The analogy doesn’t even make sense in terms of ID.

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 11:38 pm
106.

“i dont think i need to read anything to learn that the economy is an accidental undesigned system…because such an idea is ridiculous.”

The Wealth of Nations is the foundation of modern economic theory. Do you deny it as well as evolutionary theory?

Comment by cambion — November 16, 2005 @ 11:39 pm
107.

you say that the wealth of nations is the foundation for modern economic theory, but you also say that the economy is in no way designed, has no blueprint, and simply emerged from no system at all. thats somewhat of a contradiction. if the modern economic theory is based on any book, then its clearly a blueprint of sorts. even if we had no book to look to…when people gather to form ideas, put purpose and meaning into something (which is what theyve done with barter and the modern economy), its called design. people had constant input into the system, information flow that has never really stopped. causes, meaning and purpose- theyre all part of any economic system.

my comment was the economy is not an accidental system. you have 2 choices- either it was designed or its an accident. considering its the result of intelligent agents acting on purpose with goals in mind, putting meaning to something…it sure as heck wasnt an accident. so, youre only left with a system that is designed.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 17, 2005 @ 12:02 am
108.

btw. if i sit down and draw a picture, but have no idea what im going to draw…and i finish the drawing and its a big field with a house and some cows, a river in the background. i didnt have a blueprint…abstract or not. yet, no one is going to see my badly drawn picture of a farm scene and think it was undesigned. thered be no doubt. not all designed objects have to start out with a blueprint. it just needs to have some sort of purpose, goal- tho you might not exactly know the details of the end goal, meaning, etc.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 17, 2005 @ 12:22 am
109.

Okay then…

Could you please give me definition of design to which ID subscribes… I would love something from Dr. Dembski…

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 12:30 am
110.

these are two different subjects. comparing biology to an economy is like apples and car engines.

a designer, even in biology, could design something without a blue print…painters do it all the time. but, in regards to biological systems, im sure that the designer used a blueprint. but again, these two things can hardly be compared to each other…a painting or an economy and a cell with all its machines, motors, moving parts, etc.

even in general, i wouldnt say that design, in an overall sense, would have to be defined in 1 short sentence. there are levels of design, there are different types of design, etc.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 17, 2005 @ 12:41 am
111.

PuckSR said:
“Science..patterns exists…that is it
ID….patterns exists…something/someone must have created these patterns.
I had always leaned towards the scientific approach, because the ID approach requires one to justify which patterns are intelligently designed and which are not. This leaves a great deal of subjective interpretation out of the mix.”

But we’re not talking about patterns implying ID. Patterns can be found throughout nature that do not imply ID. Crystal structures, for example. Highly patterned, but zero information. It is information in a pattern that implies intelligence as the source.

So don’t just look for patterns. Look for patterns that carry information with them. Then ask yourself where the information came from. Information creation and transfer removes all subjectivity from the process and can be measured and calculated.

The point is, if you stick to science and mathematics, ID makes perfect sense. Leave subjective judgment where it belongs. You’ll soon see it is darwinism that makes no sense except in very limited scope.

Comment by dougmoran — November 17, 2005 @ 1:49 am
112.

puckSR

“Why would evolutionists ignore impossible odds, they could still keep their theory, their immoral worldview, and their atheism, all they would have to do is find the “stacking” mechanism”

They’re desperately trying to find that stacking mechanism. Darwin believed it was primarily Lamarckian (inheritance of aquired characters) but that didn’t pan out. Random mutation + natural selection has been the prime mover of choice for the last 50 years or so but that’s under considerable and growing doubt now. Lamarckian inheritance has been given a new lease on life by finding it operating in prokaryotes.

Dembski calls these natural means of deck stacking mechanisms “probabilistic resources”. His design inference methodology is in my opinion reasonably criticized by pointing out that not all probabilistic resources are well characterized and some may be undiscovered. I call this type of criticism “Darwin of the Gaps” as the Darwinists, when confronted with these impossible odds being beaten, claim there must be some natural explanation that doesn’t include intelligent agency of any sort.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 5:56 am
113.

“So how does ID propose conducting research differently than current Evolutionist studies?”

It doesn’t. Modern biology is the study of living tissue through observation and experiment. Clearly all living tissue is related in some manner, either by common design or common ancestry or both. How these relationships were established in the distant past is pretty much irrelevant as the relationships are the same either way and are subject to empirical study either way.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 6:04 am
114.

“when confronted with these impossible odds being beaten, claim there must be some natural explanation that doesn’t include intelligent agency of any sort.”

i love how the solution to such a failed paradigm is- wait, wait, wait…give us more time, well surely find the mechanism working the way we claim it does somewhere, somehow, sometime. just give us more time and well figure it out…just as long as we rule out any chance of design being the cause of the changes. we must rule out design from the start and keep holding onto hope that one day, ONE DAY, well find out the solution.

100 yrs later well still be hearing the same thing…we just need more time! a few more yrs, and well have it solved. trust us.

too bad traits you pick up dont transfer over to your offspring. before i had any kids, id learn like 10 languages, get advanced degrees in 10 different fields, become a grandmaster at chess, and set a few world records. only then would i have kids. :)

then again, even genetics in general related to behavior is pretty much a failed theory. (and dont even get me started on that psychobabble about talking thru your emotions and seeing what happened in your childhood to make you the screwed up person you are today! or more precisely- what was it that your evil evil parents did that caused you to be who you are today) ive seen brilliant kids with the biggest lowlife bums for parents, and geniuses have kids who turn out to be drug dealing gang bangers. my brothers and i…except for our similar physical appearance in our faces- youd never know we had ever met let alone were brothers. both of my brothers are totally different than each other…and even more different than i am. its amazing considering we grew up in the same home, stable family with the same parents (still married), same schools, etc.

Comment by jboze3131 — November 17, 2005 @ 6:23 am
115.

puckSR

“Couldn’t Darwinian evolution be considered an algorithmic process? Therefore a designer”

Possibly, but it’s not sufficient as described today. The insufficiencies are affectionately called “gaps” and few argue that there are no gaps.

“If ID makes no claim to the divine nature of the designer, and makes no real claim about evolution, then how is ID different than current science.

That’s the whole point we’re trying to make. ID IS science. You’re starting to get it now.

You ask why evolutionists are in such an uproar about it. The uproar is totally due to ID being embraced by theists as a cause celebre and anything that theists embrace atheists reject a priori. The National Academy of Science membership is composed of about 70% positive atheists, 20% agnostics (sometimes called weak atheists), and 10% theists. Richard Dawkins said “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Atheists see their “intellectual fulfillment” threatened by intelligent design. It’s just that simple. Objections have never been about science because ID has always been science - maybe not correct science but science nonetheless. The objections are based upon a threatened metaphysical worldview held by atheists.

“The designer however, could be a totally natural phenomenom, such as natural selection, or a newer form of natural selection.”

Yes. In fact I’ve advanced the idea that nanometer scale neural networks (computing machinery capable of learning from experience) are operating within and around the DNA molecule and their aggregate output (many small intelligences working over long periods of time) can mimic large intelligences acting over short periods of time when only the end result is under consideration. This is just one possibility and seems to comfortably fit into an atheist’s worldview. Greg Bear, a popular hard science fiction author, explores the concept in depth in his novel “Darwin’s Radio” which I very much enjoyed and highly recommend.

“I am not seeing the big difference between ID and current science. Sorry”

I don’t see the big difference either. But I’m not at all sorry about it. I follow the evidence whereever it leads and have no regrets about doing that. That’s what science is all about - following the evidence.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 6:35 am
116.

“So don’t just look for patterns. Look for patterns that carry information with them. Then ask yourself where the information came from. Information creation and transfer removes all subjectivity from the process and can be measured and calculated.

The point is, if you stick to science and mathematics, ID makes perfect sense. Leave subjective judgment where it belongs. You’ll soon see it is darwinism that makes no sense except in very limited scope.”

Perfectly put, dougorman.

DaveScot, though the nanometer scale neural networks is interesting, doesn’t it sort of fall into the Free Lunch fallacy, as these networks require an intelligent designer, ultimately? And one objection I would make to this notion is that this machinery could never develop things like a first-person perspective and altruistic judgements. Hallmarks of human consciousness.

Comment by Bombadill — November 17, 2005 @ 8:27 am
117.

jboze3131,

“even in general, i wouldnt say that design, in an overall sense, would have to be defined in 1 short sentence. there are levels of design, there are different types of design, etc.”

In science it is very important to have definitions. You can’t just go around calling things whatever you’d like. You set criteria and then check to see if a certain phenomenon or objects meets those criteria. In this case, the economy may be an “apple” and the cell may be an “orange”, but by saying they are both *designed*, you are saying that they are both “fruit.”

Here though, we really only have your assertion that they have been designed. There is no objective criteria to compare things against.

Also, it seems your reasoning here goes against the standard ID inferrence. When applied to biology it goes:

* We see things (proteins, cells, organisms, etc…) that appear designed to perform some specific function. The only way that we can get such designed objects is through outside intervention by a designer.

However, for economics you’re saying it goes like this:

* We see the economy appears to be designed for the purpose of distributing resources among our those in our population in a efficient manner. This system was designed from within, by those inside of it.

The inferrences work in opposite directions. If an economy can create itself from within, why can’t biological systems?

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 9:26 am
118.

Please, does anyone have a definition of design as used by ID. It seems important…

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 9:30 am
119.

Cambion,

Thanks for the response and you opinion, but I disagree. The economy is a perfect example of specified complexity. It is not a result of emergent property, but an organized process of transaction. An economy can and will change over time, but to get an economy started, you must have a market (can be two individuals), a currency, a need and a moral foundation based upon what is a fair value. Without these, you cannot have an economy. You would only view this as emergent if your philosophy dictates this view.

Dan

Comment by Dan — November 17, 2005 @ 10:24 am
120.

cambion says: “The inferrences work in opposite directions. If an economy can create itself from within, why can’t biological systems?”

This just seems to be a matter of perspective. Think of the economic process as analogous to the game of Monopoly. It was designed by a designer for people to participate in. Even the designer can participate in the game. And the game was designed such that the participants actually determine the outcome. But the game did not create itself. And the game is distinctly separate from the participants.

Likewise, an economy is not created from within. Rather, the underlying process is designed by a few elites and the rest of us get to operate within that design to determine the outcome. For individuals who choose not to participate in the process the way it’s designed, there is always the street corner and a cardboard sign, or the jail cell. Oddly enough, the process seems designed to accomodate both.

Comment by dougmoran — November 17, 2005 @ 10:59 am
121.

Dan,

I think we’re getting hung up here on the term ‘emergent’. I don’t want this to end up in semantics…

Here why I use the term:

Let’s say we have a hypothetical scenario of a village market 2000 years ago in a place with no money. I’m a hunter and I come to the market with fresh killed game, others will come to the market with vegetables that they’ve farmed, or baskets which they’ve weaved. I can trade my what I have brought for what others have brought. In this simple trading a very very basic economy is created. If baskets are in short supply this day, then the weavers can demand more for them. An emergent distribution of values is created, yet no one came to the market thinking “I’m going to create an economy today.”

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 11:05 am
122.

Some (slightly) gratuitous quotations from the Wealth of Nations entry in Wikipedia:

“The Invisible Hand is an oft-referenced concept from the book. The idea behind the “invisible hand” is, on one level, that people benefit the community around them simply by acting solely in their own self interest, without conscious regard to community service. In other words, self interest equates with general interest:

‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.’ (Book One, Chapter 2)”

“On another level, though, the “invisible hand” also refers to the ability of the market to correct for seemingly disastrous situations with no intervention on the part of government or other organizations. For example, Smith says, if a product shortage were to occur, that product’s price in the market would rise, creating incentive for its production and a reduction in its consumption, eventually curing the shortage. The increased competition among manufacturers and increased supply would also lower the price of the product to its production cost plus a small profit, the “natural price.”

” ‘….by preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.’ (Book Four, Chapter 2)”

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 11:09 am
123.

“Likewise, an economy is not created from within. Rather, the underlying process is designed by a few elites and the rest of us get to operate within that design to determine the outcome. ”

I think I see what’s hanging us up so much. I completely agree that *our* particular economy is heavily influenced by a few controlling entities. However, my point is that, economies can exist without such outside control. Farmers in the market square create an economy from within…

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 11:13 am
124.

“So don’t just look for patterns. Look for patterns that carry information with them. Then ask yourself where the information came from. Information creation and transfer removes all subjectivity from the process and can be measured and calculated.

Dougorman, et al, I don’t think it’s quite this simple. After all, knowedge is not about “information,” but about how to make sense of that information, in some meaningful way. And that, by its very nature is subjective — unless you’re going to adhere to some form of Platonic realism (which is itself, I would argue, just a way of giving universal underpinnings to again subjective judgments). After all, data doesn’t interpret itself. Laws do not interpret themselves (otherwise we would have no need for courts). This all quickly relates to someone like J. Scalia claiming that “originalism” is a way of reading that is “natural” or returning to an original meaning, when that again is simply a guise behind which to mask the (always) subjective work of interpretation. I call bogus the idea that *all* subjecitivity can be removed from any process.

Comment by Neal — November 17, 2005 @ 11:30 am
125.

Thread drift: I was eating some Stonyfield rasperry yogurt this morning and noticed the following promotion for a contest to win an ecotourism trip to the Galapagos Islands. “…Explore the enchanted islands where the theory of evolution comes alive!”

http://www.stonyfield.com/SpecialOffers/Ecotourism/Index.cfm

Comment by russ — November 17, 2005 @ 11:39 am
126.

um… propaganda? sheeeesh.

Comment by Bombadill — November 17, 2005 @ 11:47 am
127.

russ, shouldn’t that ad read something like, “…Explore the enchanted islands where, if you wait long enough, you’ll see a finch’s beak adapt to it’s environment, but it will still be a finch.”

?

Comment by Bombadill — November 17, 2005 @ 11:49 am
128.

The economy operates within the bounds of certain rules with an intended outcome, but the millions of daily ransactions are essentially random. Dan, as an economist, I am sure you can appreciate the difficulty in forecasting the economy. My point is that it is a highly complex system governed by essentially random decisions that are guided by the rules we create. It is designed in a manner of speaking, but that does not mean that the transactions that form it are directly governed by any laws. If they were I would be making a killing in the market.

Comment by jmcd — November 17, 2005 @ 12:02 pm
129.

Materialism and Naturalism are the same thing. The universe is the only thing that exists, i.e. the material world, i.e. nature.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 17, 2005 @ 12:42 pm
130.

cambion

Adam Smith was wrong in his efficient market theory which posits that the optimal solution is obtained when each player acts in his own self interest. It was superceded by John Nash’s “Equilibrium Points in N-Person Games” which posits that the optimal solution is obtained when each player acts in his own self interest plus the interest of the group.

I’m not sure who said there are no laws bounding the actions of the stock market. Laws governing the stock market are legion - get caught breaking them and the SEC comes down on you like a ton of bricks. Intelligent design is everywhere about it. The reason the stock market defies prediction is not because it is truly random but because the participants are neither fully rational nor fully informed. Nash Equilibria depends on all players being perfectly rational and perfectly informed. In practice that isn’t really possible in complex games with many players but in certain situations like FCC auctions for radio frequency spectrums it is practical.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 12:45 pm
131.

Hmmm…sorry it looks like i missed a lot of the fun of the conversation

Let me interject some points

Conspiracy Theory…..
Apparently ID has just as much Atheism involved as Evolution.
ID posits that the designer could be a natural process
Evolution posits that the designer could be a natural process

Theists claim that both could be compatible with Theism

So why exactly are Evolutionists and the media actively trying to suppress this theory? It doesnt make any sense that they are trying to protect their Atheistic worldview…so dont feed me that junk

Difference in the Theory
ID tells us that a “designer” caused evolution….but that the designer is a natural process
Evolution tells us that a process caused evolution….that process is natural

Basically ID is replacing the word process with Designer to better reflect the complexity of the “design”
They still are both making the same claim….unless

The designer could be another intelligent entity…or a supernatural force
In which case, either alien intelligence has been visiting earth on a regular basis…which would shake up everything
or, a supernatural force has been shaping evolution.

Basically the big difference between ID and Evolution is:
ID does not believe that current Evolutionary theory is process behind biological evolution. You do not have to alter the definition of evolution to explain a new mechanism.

“It doesn’t. Modern biology is the study of living tissue through observation and experiment. Clearly all living tissue is related in some manner, either by common design or common ancestry or both. How these relationships were established in the distant past is pretty much irrelevant as the relationships are the same either way and are subject to empirical study either way.”

Ok…by the same token, lets quite discussing the accuracy of historical information. It doesnt really matter to the modern world. No more history in school, or at least only the really important parts.

For the sake of learning…will you people please learn the difference between Materialism and Naturalism
Every other attack on here about Atheism refers to Materialism, and completely ignores all other forms of atheism

Comment by puckSR — November 17, 2005 @ 12:46 pm
132.

“Please, does anyone have a definition of design as used by ID. It seems important…”

Okay then… I guess I’ll answer my own question and see what people think…

American Heritage: “The purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details.”
Michael Behe: “Well, again, the argument is that, there is — that when you see a purposeful arrangement of parts, that bespeaks design, so, yes.”

So we have something like: Design = The purposeful arrangement of parts.

However, I think I would object to the use of purposeful here. When we make observations of the outside world, it becomes very difficult to ascribe ‘purpose’ and much easier to ascribe ‘function.’ So for pragmatic scientific reasons, I would propose:

Design = The functional arrangement of parts, or an arrangement of parts that achieves some function.

With this sort of definition one could indeed say the economy is ‘designed.’ It’s arrangement of parts achieves the function of distributing wealth. Agree? Disagree?

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 12:51 pm
133.

DaveScot,

“It was superceded by John Nash’s “Equilibrium Points in N-Person Games” which posits that the optimal solution is obtained when each player acts in his own self interest plus the interest of the group.”

There are situations that permit no Nash equilibria, and hence no optimal solution for rational agents. See: Prisoner’s Dilemma

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 12:53 pm
134.

Bombadill (116)

“though the nanometer scale neural networks is interesting, doesn’t it sort of fall into the Free Lunch fallacy, as these networks require an intelligent designer, ultimately?”

Possibly but I’m not convinced of it. There’s always a logical necessity for a first cause in any case. Demanding that a hypothesis account for it is a red herring. Nanoscale neural networks in and around the DNA molecule are physically possible and sufficient to explain all irreducible complexity in living things beyond the simplest living cell. Ostensibly “evolution” isn’t about the origin of life itself but rather its diversification after the LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor).

“And one objection I would make to this notion is that this machinery could never develop things like a first-person perspective and altruistic judgements. Hallmarks of human consciousness.”

That is a baseless objection. What empircal evidence causes you to believe it? As far as I can tell human consciousness emerges from carbon based nanoscale machinery and this is easily demonstrated by disabling the machinery and seeing the consciousness disabled at the same time. I’ve seen no rigorous scientific experiment that show consciousness continues after the organic machinery which contains it stops working.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 1:03 pm
135.

cambion

The dictionary was correct. Design implies purpose.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 1:10 pm
136.

I don’t know i still have a disconnect with grasping the idea of emergent consciousness. The number 5 and the color blue do not physically reside anywhere. They are immaterial. I’m struggling to grasp how something purely physical could produce propositions and concepts which cannot be reduced to physical matter.

Comment by Bombadill — November 17, 2005 @ 1:17 pm
137.

cambion

However, you do bring up an important point I’ve tried to make about ID and that is the importance of function. A candidate for a design inference must have what Dembski refers to as conformation with an independently defined pattern. I (possibly reducing it to a subset of what Dembski intended) call that independently defined pattern a function. Thus if we analyze a gene for a design inference we must first know that it is a coding gene with an independently defined function - i.e. hemoglobin gene has the function of describing a protein used to transport gases. This I suppose could be called a purpose. The key thing to keep in mind is whether it’s an independently defined purpose and it is what distinguishes a hemoglobin gene from a random string of codons.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 1:25 pm
138.

Well, why must you restrict yourself to the purely physical Bombadill?

Comment by puckSR — November 17, 2005 @ 1:25 pm
139.

DaveScot,

“The dictionary was correct. Design implies purpose.”

I’m talking about identifying ‘design’ in the world around us. I can see how one can go about ascertaining an object’s ‘function,’ but I can’t really see how one can go about ascertaining an object’s ‘purpose.’

For example, say we’re anthropologists and we find an artifact, a piece of (what appears to be) jewelry say. From examining it, we can pretty easily infer a function (it is meant to be tied around one’s neck - we can tell this from the ‘arrangement of parts’), but it is much more difficult to ascribe a purpose. Was it made for purely aesthetic reasons, or does it have primarily religious significance? Or is there some other possibility? We know there was some purpose involved, but identifying that purpose is very difficult, and in many probably impossible. Thus, we cannot pick up this artifact and say it was ‘designed,’ if our sole criteria is ‘purpose’ for the obvious reason that don’t know of its purpose.

As a pragmatic definition then, we use function instead of purpose (for identification only).

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 1:27 pm
140.

Sorry, wrote my last response before seeing this:

“Thus if we analyze a gene for a design inference we must first know that it is a coding gene with an independently defined function - i.e. hemoglobin gene has the function of describing a protein used to transport gases. This I suppose could be called a purpose.”

I agree with you (almost) completely. I just think ‘purpose’ is too vague a term here, i.e. the hemoglobin gene could have been created by a higher power for an aesthetic sort of purpose, with the particular function of the gene being secondary. The point is that we can identify function, but not purpose.

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 1:32 pm
141.

JMCD,

Thanks for the response, but it is either designed or it is not designed…saying that it is designed in a sense violates the Law of the Excluded Middle. Economies are designed period. The transactions can only take place with the supporting systems that are structured to underpin the transactions. All economies must have certain conditions met before they become economies. Transactions assume value and all transactions therefore are designed because they are preceeded by this concept of value or else a transaction would never take place. You also must have two parties willing to engage in the transaction that exchanges value. You also must have something of value to exchange. You also must have intelligent agents that understand the value of the exchange. Economies do not come from nothing.

Dan

Comment by Dan — November 17, 2005 @ 1:32 pm
142.

“A candidate for a design inference must have what Dembski refers to as conformation with an independently defined pattern. I (possibly reducing it to a subset of what Dembski intended) call that independently defined pattern a function.”

As I understand this, within the gene there is a *complex* set of information that *specifies* some independetly defined pattern, in this case, the gene’s function.

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 1:37 pm
143.

geoff:
sorry i did not see your post earlier about Naturalism=Materialism

You are very wrong if you assume that both Naturalism and Materialism are the same thing.
It gets even worse when you assume that all Atheists are Materialists, and therefore intangible things must be theistic.

Your logic is so completely flawed…I do not know where to begin to correct it

Comment by puckSR — November 17, 2005 @ 1:38 pm
144.

bombadill

“I’m struggling to grasp how something purely physical could produce propositions and concepts which cannot be reduced to physical matter.”

Sounds like you’re making an argument from ignorance. Consciousness can be observed. It can be observed having a focal point around a physical object. Destroy the physical object and consciousness can no longer be observed. This has been tested countless times and, anecdotal reports to the contrary aside, never fails.

While it’s possible that the physical object merely serves as a conduit for consciousness that resides outside that physical object there is no empirical data to support the external origin conjecture while there are countless observations which support a physical origin.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 1:39 pm
145.

Well, 99% of atheists are materialists/naturalists. Those who don’t believe in God but believe in the spiritual world (Budhists, etc.) we can continue with the argument later.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 17, 2005 @ 1:42 pm
146.

Neal,

I see your points. But I wasn’t really addressing the issue of knowledge - I thought the thread was about recognizing the distinction between patterns that contain information and patterns that do not. But I do agree with your distinction between knowledge and information, and I agree also that not all information can be understood without some subjective judgment. However, would you agree that *some* information can be understood without subjective interpretation? If so, then the question comes down to what defines information that can be understood based on purely objective measures vs. not. Perhaps that will lead to what is at the heart of this matter: scientific evidence relative to life (and many other aspects of the universe) is subject to interpretation. And the reason for that is…. we don’t have *all* of the information we need to render the interpretation completely objective. So we rely on inference and smart people to make those inferences meaningful. And we also rely on smart people to continue building the knowledge we need to find more of the information we need to make the inference less subjective. That process (of building the knowledge we need…) is called science. And thank God for making the universe so filled with information for us to find. I think we’d all go crazy without the intellectual pursuit.

But either way you look at it, the discussion sure is interesting.

Comment by dougmoran — November 17, 2005 @ 2:05 pm
147.

geoff

A buddist who is an atheist…its been done before, but only as a buddist who follows the teachings of Buddha, not an actual worshipper of Buddha.

By your same reasoning you could have an Atheist who believes in Christianity

An Atheist simply denies the existence of any supernatural being. I do not know where you get the idea that by denying a supernatural being, they also have to deny all things that are not materialistic. That would clearly be materialism.

99%…???? I would agree that a good number of Atheists are Naturalists, but i have not met many people who profess Materialism.

Remember…Atheists just deny God, and any other deity. All other assumptions you are making about inherent philosophy are false

Comment by puckSR — November 17, 2005 @ 2:22 pm
148.

DaveScot

“…while there are countless observations which support a physical origin.”

If you have some link(s) I’d be interested in reading about those observations. I, too, have a hard time understanding how non-physical consciousness could arise from physical matter.

Comment by Brian — November 17, 2005 @ 2:22 pm
149.

Cambion,

Yes, I see your point. But then again, even bartering farmers have a process they’ve established. Meet at the square, find what you need, negotiate a trade, etc. It isn’t terribly sophistocated, but it is a process and it is less chaotic (and less painful) than the process designed by Attila the Hun.

So the point is… what? I guess that the economic process was still designed and agreed upon by society as the one they would use. Even just deciding to meet at the town square at a given time is a design of a process, and somebody had to suggest it as an intelligent and reasonable approach. The point is that it didn’t just come into being by chance. People didn’t just wake up one day and randomly think they’d stroll to the village square and when they got there with their bushel of corn (where did that come from?) found all the other villagers with the fruit of their labor looking to trade it. At some point, somebody had to propose it be done that way and everyone who wanted to participate had to agree.

As for Attila - that’s just an example of a very influencial, very elite person with a “unique” design for economic activity.

Comment by dougmoran — November 17, 2005 @ 2:27 pm
150.

dougmoran,

I think we are pretty close to the same page. I completely agree that the economic process (i.e. bring goods to the market…) was designed. However, the information *within* the economy (i.e. values of objects) most certainly was not. That information was created by market forces that were in turn created by the interactions of rational agents.

Comment by cambion — November 17, 2005 @ 3:27 pm
151.

Pretty much every atheist denies anything exists beyond this universe. That’s just my experience. There are arguments to be made once you allow for the immaterial world.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 17, 2005 @ 3:37 pm
152.

Brian

The countless observations may be found in the obituaries. In every case consciousness could no longer be observed after the body associated with it died.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 4:18 pm
153.

DaveScot, I think it comes down to how one interprets the evidence. Stimulating or damaging parts of the brain certainly affects consciousness, but this does not necessarily indicate that the physical aparatus is the source of consciousness. It may be that the brain simply channels consciousness. And I have cited scientific studies here, in another thread, which demonstrated that people, who were declared brain dead and later revived, related lucid conscious experiences that occured while they were dead. Could they have just thought they experienced those things while they were dead, but they really were experienced after being revived? Perhaps. Although the researchers seemed to confidently indicate that this was somehow ruled out as an option, along with oxygen deprivation. And as for the obituaries… again, this would just indicate physical death. Who’s to say that there is not a spirit (”mind”) which continues to exist.

I’ve been doing some research on this in my copious spare time and I found it interesting that, the latest evidence has Neuroscientists very much divided. The latest research does not in any way necessitate that consciousness has it’s source in the brain. Needless to say, I’m going to keep following this issue.

Comment by Bombadill — November 17, 2005 @ 4:53 pm
154.

Cambion,

Yes, yes. I see where you’re headed now. Thank you for your patience.

First, I would question how rational the average person is about valuation. But let’s table that one for now. :)

Then the question is, I think, is the market price of a good or service “information” in the same way that assembly instructions for an airplane is “information”? Or are these different kinds of information that have distinct charactaristics? In some ways they are quite different, but it seems to me that in the end they are both the same, and both the result if an intelligent agent’s design.

In the case of the airplane, the connection seems obvious: engineers design the airplane and generate a set of specifications and assembly instructions. That seems clear, right? But is it not also true that an engineer could design an airplane that changes specifications in response to environmental conditions? An adaptive system, so to speak. That, too, would clearly be the result of designers intent. And if the airplane changed shape or speed or efficiency in response to some stimulous it’s designer anticipated, you would not say that the change was the result of the airplane creating information about itself, would you? So the shape of the airplane is variable by design, right? It isn’t creating new information, just changing the values of existing information that the designer, well, designed in from the beginning.

In the case of an economic system, one could be designed in an infinite variety of forms and functions. You could design an economic system in which the value of every good and service is set by government edict. That economy would end up behaving in a certain way. Or you could design a silly economic process in which the value of goods and services are determined by the color of the hair of the purchaser. Or, perhaps more sensibly, you could design an economic process that allows valuations to vary depending on environmental factors, such as supply and demand. Bearing in mind, of course, that many governments have found ways to control things such as supply and demand in a variety of ways.

In that sense, valuation is an adaptive feature of the design of the economic process. By design, it was intended to vary in response to a variety of forces. It could have been just as easy to hold the value static by design, in which case a different set of social and political environments would likely prevail as well.

So I guess I analogize the price of a good or it’s value as a charactaristic of the overall design of the economic system in which it exists. It is simply a part of the information making up the instructions for assembling the economic process and it is designed to be set by adaptation to the environment in which the process must operate. In other words, using a free market as an example, the system was designed such that each good and service would have a value, or price. The designer created the “variable” called “value” and doesn’t really care what number gets put there as he designed it to be filled in by users of the process. So the rational agents interacting over the value of an object are working with a concept that pre-existed as a part of the original design of the economic system. All they are doing is changing the contents of the information box, not creating new information at all.

Comment by dougmoran — November 17, 2005 @ 5:48 pm
155.

Bombadill:

The term “dead” has never been clearly defined. In fact, many times during your “living” you will meet seperate criteria for “death”.

I am aware of several incidents of “near-death” experiences, however, I was under the impression that almost every case of “near-death” experience used the lack of a pulse to determine death. There probably is a case of someone actually becoming “brain-dead”, and the recovering, but I am not aware of it.

My question to you would be in regards to how damage to the brain can effect the actions and thoughts of a person. Many people in old age become mean-spirited and cruel, while in their younger years they were kind people. If we have a soul, and that soul does exhibit some control over our minds, then why do people behave in such an opposite way to their previous nature?

I am going to assume that this particular group of people reject the idea that genetics has any influence over behavior.

I do have to ask a question though, why do you all constantly refer to Evolution as a totally random process. While the input to Evolution would be considered to be random, the output seems to be far less random. Wouldnt a closer analogy of the Evolutionary system be a radio?

Comment by puckSR — November 17, 2005 @ 7:29 pm
156.

I’ve heard someone refer to the brain as hardware and the spirit as software. Regardless, yes God created us as physical beings with a spiritual dimension. So trying to find a clear distinction between what happens in the mental realm due to the brain vs. other stuff is intriguing, but whatever.

Comment by geoffrobinson — November 17, 2005 @ 7:42 pm
157.

“but this does not necessarily indicate that the physical aparatus is the source of consciousness”

Yeah right. And just because things always fall toward the center of the earth doesn’t mean the earth is attracting them. There could be angels pushing things in that direction.

Spare me.

Comment by DaveScot — November 17, 2005 @ 8:01 pm
158.

RE: “If we have a soul, and that soul does exhibit some control over our minds, then why do people behave in such an opposite way to their previous nature?”

Easy explanation: frustration. The physical limitations of age cause us to become frustrated. Frustration breeds all types of other emotions and behaviors. It’s already been scientifically proven that, unless affected by some brain related disease, the elderly preserve their “youthful” mental capacities. It’s just much more difficult to communicate at an elderly age. So, it seems as though the “mind” continues to exist as it was while young while the biological “body suit” withers away into the earth as fossil fuels!!

Comment by mtgcsharpguy — November 17, 2005 @ 8:02 pm
159.

Re discussion of soul and mind, someone who has done some hard thinking on the matter, eminent philosopher of the mind Jaegwon Kim, has moved from a strict materialist view to a form of dualism (you can check this out in his latest book ‘physicalism or something near enough’). Others who have also moved from a strict materialist view are Terry Horgan and stephen White.

It seems from those in the know there has been a notable shift away from a belief that consciousness can merely be reduced down and explained by our physical makeup.

Comment by petro — November 17, 2005 @ 8:36 pm
160.

“Yeah right. And just because things always fall toward the center of the earth doesn’t mean the earth is attracting them. There could be angels pushing things in that direction.

Spare me.”

No need to get cheeky, DaveScot. I’m just discussing this issue and trying to understand it better myself.

Comment by Bombadill — November 17, 2005 @ 8:50 pm