Atheism Culture Naturalism

Do atheists find meaning in life from inventing fairy tales?

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From Richard Weikart at the Federalist:

The 2018 study in question by David Speed, et al, “What Do You Mean, ‘What Does It All Mean?’ Atheism, Nonreligion, and Life Meaning,” used surveys to try to figure out if atheists find meaning in life or are nihilistic. This survey defined someone as nihilistic if he or she upheld the position: “In my opinion, life does not serve any purpose.”

This study found that atheists and non-religious people are not nihilistic, because they claimed that they did have a purpose in life. This is an interesting finding that seems to refute the oft-repeated charge (levied by religious folks) that atheists are nihilistic.

However, there is a problem with this finding. The survey admitted the meaning that atheists and non-religious people found in their lives is entirely self-invented. According to the survey, they embraced the position: “Life is only meaningful if you provide the meaning yourself.”

Thus, when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. More.

Study. (public access)

Didn’t fairy tales used to be Hollywood’s specialty?

See also: Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.

142 Replies to “Do atheists find meaning in life from inventing fairy tales?

  1. 1
    jdk says:

    As opposed to believing in religious myths???

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    jdk,

    In the mind of the atheist, what’s the significant difference between believing a religious myth and believing a local illusion of meaning?

    Andrew

  3. 3
    jdk says:

    Here’s a more serious, non-snarky, reply.

    All meaning system are invented by humans. All religions are collective, cultural creations to provide meaning systems to help provide a common structure for members of the culture.

    The fact that some religions claim to be “true” in some ontological sense is just a feature of their belief system, but that is just one of their invented beliefs, not an actual fact.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    jdk- The materialistic version of how we came to be relies on more faith than any religion known to humans- even scientology. It is a joke to anyone with any sense at all. Noah’s Ark has a better chance of being true than materialism.

  5. 5
    asauber says:

    All meaning system are invented by humans.

    This is bare assertion. Not scientific at all.

    Andrew

  6. 6
    Allan Keith says:

    I derive meaning and purpose from my family and my friends. I decide to do things that make life easier for them as long as it doesn’t harm others. If it happens to make my life easier as well, all the better. And, amazingly, I do this without requiring the motivation that it will please some god. But, if there is a god, I have no problem defending my actions to him/her/them.

  7. 7
    jdk says:

    ET, I am not a materialist.

    Asauber: of course it’s just an assertion. However, as someone with a background in comparative religion, I think it’s backed by quite a bit of empirical evidence.

    Where do you think all the hundreds of human religions have come from, if not the creative imagination of human beings?

  8. 8

    ET @ 4: “The materialistic version of how we came to be relies on more faith than any religion known to humans.”

    True indeed.

  9. 9
    asauber says:

    jdk,

    I think you are shifting the goalposts from meaning systems to religions. I don’t think they are always the same thing.

    Unless you mean everything everyone believes is religion.

    Is that what you mean?

    Andrew

  10. 10

    jdk @ 7: If you are not a materialist, what are you? Please also explain why you reject materialism.

    Also, why are atheist myths better than religious myths? Atheist myths such as abiogenesis, multiverse theory and objective moral standards have no empirical evidence to support them. They are completely faith-based ideas and beliefs.

  11. 11
    jdk says:

    Religions are, or can be for those who believe in one, one component of one’s belief system. Belief system is a broad term that stretches from major beliefs about big questions about the world to beliefs about our society and our place in it to individual beliefs we have about ourselves.

    I certainly don’t think everything one believes is a religion.

    And I am interested in your answer to this question: “Where do you think all the hundreds of human religions have come from, if not the creative imagination of human beings?”

  12. 12
    Origenes says:

    jdk: Where do you think all the hundreds of human religions have come from, if not the creative imagination of human beings?

    There are also hundreds of human philosophical concepts of reality — atheistic, theistic and everything in between. Is that all purely “creative imagination” or do you hold that reality exists nonetheless?

  13. 13
    asauber says:

    jdk,

    I think you pose an interesting question, but it’s not exactly addressing the OP about meaning, which is more fundamental than how religions develop.

    Andrew

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    The cited study in the OP reminds me of this study

    Don’t Believe in God? Maybe You’ll Try U.F.O.s
    By CLAY ROUTLEDGE JULY 21, 2017
    Excerpt: People who do not frequently attend church are twice as likely to believe in ghosts as those who are regular churchgoers. The less religious people are, the more likely they are to endorse empirically unsupported ideas about U.F.O.s, intelligent aliens monitoring the lives of humans and related conspiracies about a government cover-up of these phenomena.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/opinion/sunday/dont-believe-in-god-maybe-youll-try-ufos.html

    These findings should come as no surprise for anyone who has debated Darwinian atheists. Darwinian atheists are notorious for believing in imaginary ‘just so stories’ over empirical evidence.
    That is to say, instead of a person ever receiving any compelling scientific evidence from Darwinists for why a particular facet of life came to be as it is, we are instead treated to an almost endless litany of imaginary ‘just so stories’.
    As Michael Behe observed,, “Some evolutionary biologists–like Richard Dawkins–have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish”

    EVOLUTIONARY JUST-SO STORIES
    Excerpt: ,,,The term “just-so story” was popularized by Rudyard Kipling’s 1902 book by that title which contained fictional stories for children. Kipling says the camel got his hump as a punishment for refusing to work, the leopard’s spots were painted on him by an Ethiopian, and the kangaroo got its powerful hind legs after being chased all day by a dingo.
    Kipling’s just-so stories are as scientific as the Darwinian accounts of how the amoeba became a man.
    Lacking real scientific evidence for their theory, evolutionists have used the just-so story to great effect. Backed by impressive scientific credentials, the Darwinian just-so story has the aura of respectability.
    Biologist Michael Behe observes:
    “Some evolutionary biologists–like Richard Dawkins–have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish” (Michael Behe – Darwin’s Black Box).,,,
    http://www.wayoflife.org/datab.....ories.html

    Stephen Jay Gould himself stated that when Darwinists “try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.”

    Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection.
    Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance.
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530

    Here are a few more references to drive the imaginary ‘just so story’ point home,,,

    “Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science — the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.”
    Ernst Mayr – Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought – Nov. 2009 – Originally published July 2000

    “… another common misuse of evolutionary ideas: namely, the idea that some trait must have evolved merely because we can imagine a scenario under which possession of that trait would have been advantageous to fitness… Such forays into evolutionary explanation amount ultimately to storytelling… it is not enough to construct a story about how the trait might have evolved in response to a given selection pressure; rather, one must provide some sort of evidence that it really did so evolve. This is a very tall order.…”
    — Austin L. Hughes, The Folly of Scientism – The New Atlantis, Fall 2012

    And here is a fitting quote from Adam Sedgwick which he wrote in a letter to Charles Darwin himself. Sedwick stated to Darwin, ‘You have deserted—after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth—the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon.’ and then went on to tell Darwin that he had issued truths that were not likely ever to be found anywhere “but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.”

    SKEPTICS OF DARWINIAN THEORY
    Adam Sedgwick to Charles Darwin
    “…I have read your book (Origin of Species) with more pain than pleasure. Parts of it I admired greatly, parts I laughed at till my sides were almost sore; other parts I read with absolute sorrow, because I think them utterly false and grievously mischievous. You have deserted—after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth—the true method of induction, and started us in machinery as wild, I think, as Bishop Wilkins’s locomotive that was to sail with us to the moon. Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved, why then express them in the language and arrangement of philosophical induction?”
    “But I must in the first place observe that Darwin’s theory is not inductive,—not based on a series of acknowledged facts pointing to a general conclusion,—not a proposition evolved out of the facts, logically, and of course including them. To use an old figure, I look on the theory as a vast pyramid resting on its apex, and that apex a mathematical point.”
    “But I cannot conclude without expressing my detestation of the theory, because of its unflinching materialism;—because it has deserted the inductive track, the only track that leads to physical truth;—because it utterly repudiates final causes, and thereby indicates a demoralized understanding on the part of its advocates.”
    Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) – one of the founders of modern geology. – The Spectator, 1860
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation – Cornelius Hunter – December 22, 2012
    Excerpt: For Darwin, warned Sedgwick, had made claims well beyond the limits of science. Darwin issued truths that were not likely ever to be found anywhere “but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.”
    The fertile womb of man’s imagination. What a cogent summary of evolutionary theory. Sedgwick made more correct predictions in his short letter than all the volumes of evolutionary literature to come.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ed-of.html

    But the descent into unrestrained imagination gets worse for the Darwinian atheist, much worse:

    In what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God does not really exist as a real person but is merely an illusion, the Atheist ends up claiming that he himself does not really exist as a real person but is merely a quote unquote “neuronal illusion”. Here are a few quotes that make this point clear,,,

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004
    https://www.scribd.com/document/183053947/Experience-Meta-consciousness-and-the-Paradox-of-Introspection

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/

    Could Consciousness be an Illusion? June 30, 2014 –
    Excerpt: “I recently participated in a conference which was unusual for a couple of reasons. Firstly it was held in a sailing boat in the Arctic. Secondly the consensus view of the conference was that consciousness is an illusion. This view, ‘illusionism’, is about as far removed from my own perspective in philosophy of mind as it is possible to get. Me the panpsychist, Martine Nida-Rümelin the substance dualist, and David Chalmers who splits his opinion between these two views, formed the official on board opposition to the hard-core reductionist majority. Somehow we managed to avoid being made to walk the plank.”,,
    Illusionism is even less plausible than solipsism: the view that my conscious mind is the only thing that exists.,,,
    http://conscienceandconsciousn.....-illusion/

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    The problem with atheists claiming that consciousness is an illusion is that it takes consciousness to determine whether something is real or imaginary in the first place:

    “I think the idea of (materialists) saying that consciousness is an illusion doesn’t really work because the very notion of an illusion presupposes consciousness. There are no illusions unless there is a conscious experience or (a conscious person) for whom there is an illusion.”
    Evan Thompson, Philosopher – author of Waking, Dreaming, Being

    Given the fact that consciousness is a prerequisite to determining whether some is even real or illusory in the first place,,

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    Given the fact that consciousness is a prerequisite to determining whether some is real or illusory in the first place, then it should be all that surprising to learn that the memories of Near Death Experiences are found to be “more real than real”

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

    Moreover, not only do we ourselves become quote unquote ‘neuronal illusions’ in the Atheist’s materialistic worldview, but all our observations of reality would also become illusory too.
    In the following video and articles, Donald Hoffman has, through numerous computer simulations of population genetics, proven that if Darwinian evolution were actually true then ALL of our perceptions of reality would become illusory.

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “,,,evolution is a mathematically precise theory. We can use the equations of evolution to check this out. We can have various organisms in artificial worlds compete and see which survive and which thrive, which sensory systems or more fit. A key notion in those equations is fitness.,,, fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    Thus in conclusion, in their denial of the reality of their own immaterial minds, atheists end up claiming that they themselves are deterministic robots with no free will,, who are merely neuronal illusions, and also whose observations of reality are illusory.

    And my question is this, “Why in blue blazes should anyone trust what robots having neuronal illusions of personhood, and whose perceptions of reality are illusory, and whose cognitive faculties are untrustworthy, have to say about reality?

    It would be hard to fathom a more unscientific worldview than the Atheist’s materialistic worldview has turned out to be.

    Given the propensity, even dependency, of Atheists to imagine things that are not true, and for them to even ‘find comfort’ in those false imaginations (as the cited study in the OP mentioned), then perhaps it is not too much to assert that perhaps Atheists have started off on the completely wrong foot to begin with and have falsely ‘imagined’ God to be vastly different than what He actually is?

    Study explores whether atheism is rooted in reason or emotion – Jan. 2015
    Excerpt: “A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of this recent study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....or-emotion

    Moreover, many studies have now shown that the atheist’s imagination will not save them from the devastating effects, both bodily and mentally, that are inherent in their ‘objectively real’ nihilistic worldview:

    “ I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PR11#v=onepage&q&f=false
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Thus, although Atheists, via John Lennon, may desperately want to “imagine” a world in which the is no heaven, no hell, and no God, the fact of the matter is that they are living in a self-imposed delusion that is having an all to real and negative impacts on their lives:

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  16. 16
    ET says:

    jdk, I didn’t say that you were a materialist. I was just making a statement

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    I derive meaning and purpose from my family and my friends.

    Mundane, finite and very subjective. Sort of supports the OP.

  18. 18
    JVL says:

    I suspect that most of us believe there is a solid, single reality. Multiversers aside (I’m not one by the way, it sounds a load of codswallop to me).

    If we start with the assumption of a single reality and noting that over the millennia there have been thousands of different interpretations of that reality, including many theological ones (even a multitude within the Christian family of beliefs) then . . . .

    How do we account for such wide and differing version of said reality? What accounts for it? Limited and narrow experiences? That would be part of it. But even if you look at people from the same time and social background you can still get widely varying versions of what’s going on. Especially these days when there’s fewer pressures to conform to certain beliefs.

    Coercion and social pressures aside can we say that some of the variation is due to individual perception and definition of meaning followed by some social mechanisms?

    I’m not trying to be offensive but is it possible that even SOME theological interpretations of reality are arrived at and them imposed by a few folks and eventually propagated? Possible?

    Before you accuse me of trying to argue any of you into a materialistic view of the world then let me reassure you I am merely asking a question that came to mind. If I asked the same question at an atheistic forum I’m pretty sure I can predict exactly what kind of answers I would get. But with you lot . . . I’m not sure. So I really am interested in your views.

  19. 19
    Allan Keith says:

    News, totally off topic. But being Canadian, you might want to post something on this.

    https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/sci-tech/oldest-human-footprints-in-north-america-discovered-in-canada-study-1.3863896

  20. 20
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Mundane, finite and very subjective. Sort of supports the OP.

    So, deciding to derive meaning and purpose from family and friends is a fairy tale? Please tell me that you aren’t my friend. 🙂

  21. 21
    Origenes says:

    This is an interesting finding that seems to refute the oft-repeated charge (levied by religious folks) that atheists are nihilistic.

    The “charge” is that consequent atheists are nihilistic.

  22. 22
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith:

    In another thread Keith defends the idea that life reduces to chemistry, but here he tell us:

    I derive meaning and purpose from my family and my friends.

    … and goes on to say:

    I decide to do things …

    As if chemistry is capable of making decisions.

  23. 23
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    So, deciding to derive meaning and purpose from family and friends is a fairy tale?

    Your very own personal fairy tale.

  24. 24
    LocalMinimum says:

    jdk @ 11:

    Where do you think all the hundreds of human religions have come from, if not the creative imagination of human beings?

    Sure, all developed as scientific extrapolation and sociopolitical ideologies. Often mixed with hero/ancestor worship. As then as is now: Darwin, Dawkins, Hawking…

    Nothing new under the sun.

  25. 25
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Your very own personal fairy tale.

    So, you think that it is a fairy tale to put family and friends above yourself. Again, please tell me that I am not your friend.

    Origenes@27, when you are willing to have an honest discussion, let me know.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    So, you think that it is a fairy tale to put family and friends above yourself.

    Non-sequitur. Try again

  27. 27
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Non-sequitur. Try again.

    Hmm. If I say that I put family and friends above myself because my priest tells me that’s what god wants me to do, it is rationally and logically sound. If I say that i do so because I used my brain to reason it out for myself, it is a no -sequitor. Do you have your cake and eat it too very much?

    And let’s be honest. Is there anyone who couldn’t reason that out for themselves without instruction from some theistic authority?

  28. 28
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith: If I say that i do so because I used my brain to reason it out for myself …

    How can there be an hierarchical relationship between “I” and the brain, in which the “I” uses the brain? Put more generally, what is the difference between “I” and the brain?

  29. 29
    mike1962 says:

    Allen Keith: I used my brain to reason

    What does that mean?

    Is “I” one part of the brain that is using the rest of it?

    Does “I” have any free choice in the matter?

    Or are you saying that the “I” is a non-free part of the brain is using the rest of the non-free brain?

    Just curious.

    EDIT: I just noticed Origenes’s question which is essentially the same as mine. Carry on.

  30. 30
    jdk says:

    Origenes asks in 12,

    There are also hundreds of human philosophical concepts of reality — atheistic, theistic and everything in between. Is that all purely “creative imagination” or do you hold that reality exists nonetheless?

    Yes, reality exists, and we can, and do, know lots about it. However, our metaphysical concepts of reality are also products of our creative imagination.

    Saying that notions of meaning and metaphysics are products of our creative imaginations doesn’t mean that they are just whimsical fantasies: we work hard at integrating our empiriical experiences with our belief and meaning systems: I think it is a central factor about human beings that we try to create an integrated, holistic view of our world.

    However, I’ll also point out that the OP was about meaning in life, not about concepts of reality, which is a related but different subject.

  31. 31
    Allan Keith says:

    Origenes,

    How can there be an hierarchical relationship between “I” and the brain, in which the “I” uses the brain? Put more generally, what is the difference between “I” and the brain?

    Wow!

  32. 32
    Origenes says:

    jdk: Saying that notions of meaning and metaphysics are products of our creative imaginations doesn’t mean that they are just whimsical fantasies …

    Thanks for clearing that up. So, when you say: …

    jdk: Where do you think all the hundreds of human religions have come from, if not the creative imagination of human beings?

    … you do not mean to say that these “human religions” are just whimsical fantasies. Good to know.

  33. 33
    jdk says:

    That’s right. They are, and have been, important cultural inventions intended to provide structure and meaning for a society’s answers to all sorts of big questions about the nature of the world, the nature of human beings, and the nature of the society in which they exist. Without such structures, human society could not successfully exist.

    Religion, and associated beliefs systems, are essential unifying aspects of culture. They are not “whimsical fantasies”: they are, to use Santanya’s phrase. “sacred literature.”

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    So, you think that it is a fairy tale to put family and friends above yourself

    No, Allan Keith, it is a fairy tale that it alone gives your life meaning. And it could be a fairy tale convincing yourself that is what you do.

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    AK at 27,,,

    you tell him AK, neuronal illusions having illusions of meaning in their illusory lives is just as real for the neuronal illusions as real people having real meaning in their real lives is real for the real people.

    🙂

    A Dream Within a Dream
    BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow —
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand —
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep — while I weep!
    O God! Can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

  36. 36
    Origenes says:

    jdk: They are not “whimsical fantasies” …

    Indeed, they are descriptions of reality.

  37. 37
    jdk says:

    All religions are descriptions of reality???

    They can’t all be accurate descriptions of reality, because they are so various and not consistent with each other.

    Also, many aspects of religion are about how to act–they are prescriptive, not descriptive–and are very inconsistent with each other in this way also.

    So I don’t know what you mean.

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    snark on,,,

    NO NO NO Origenes,,, they are descriptions of illusions.

    You see Origenes, the “appearance” (illusion) of design in life was designed by the illusory, and impotent, designer of natural selection. Along the way, this illusory, and impotent, designer of natural selection, as an added benefit, also designed the illusion of consciousness and meaning so as to give the body the illusory meaning and purpose it needed to bother getting out of bed each morning:

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.
    (…)
    So, the fiction of the enduring self is almost certainly a side effect of a highly effective way of keeping the human body out of harm’s way. It is a by-product of whatever selected for bodies—human and nonhuman—to take pains now that make things better for themselves later. For a long time now, Mother Nature has been filtering for bodies to postpone consumption in the present as investment for the body’s future. It looks a lot like planning. Even squirrels do it, storing nuts for the winter. Does this require each squirrel to have a single real enduring self through time? No. If not, then why take introspection’s word for it when it has a track record of being wrong about things like this, when the self just looks like part of the same illusions and is supposed to have features that physics tells us nothing real can have.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    Geeze, it is all so easy to understand!,,, Sometimes I think you Christian Theists just don’t want to accept the illusion of reality actually being reality.,,, 🙂

    ,,, snark off!

  39. 39
    Origenes says:

    jdk: All religions are descriptions of reality???

    In the sense that they describe a real higher power, yes.

    jdk: They can’t all be accurate descriptions of reality …

    True jdk. But I did not say “accurate”, now did I?
    – – – –
    Bornagain @ 😉

  40. 40

    BA77 @ 15: “The problem with atheists claiming that consciousness is an illusion is that it takes consciousness to determine whether something is real or imaginary in the first place.”

    Bingo! A/mats simply cannot comprehend this basic fact.

  41. 41

    jdk @ 11: Let’s try this again.

    If you are not a materialist, what are you? Please also explain why you reject materialism.

    Also, why are atheist myths better than religious myths? Atheist myths such as abiogenesis, multiverse theory and objective moral standards have no empirical evidence to support them. They are completely faith-based ideas and beliefs.

  42. 42
    jdk says:

    Hmmm, Truth, I wonder how genuinely interested you might be in my metaphysics, such as they are. I’ve described them here at length one or two times (although I don’t mean to imply that you should know that), and I’m not interested in getting involved in defending them again. But, here are some links:

    Taoism

    https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/fft-seversky-and-the-is-ought-gap/#comment-631072

    My philosophy

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/science-worldview-issues-and-society/fft-the-worldviews-level-challenge-what-the-objectors-to-design-thought-are-running-away-from/#comment-631652

  43. 43
    jdk says:

    Truth writes, “Please also explain why you reject materialism.”

    I neither reject not accept materialism. I am a strong agnostic about metaphysics, and don’t believe we can know much (maybe nothing) about what is beyond, in any way, the universe we experience. I accept as a given that a universe such as ours exists, with all the properties it has to make things happens as they do, but I don’t know why that is so. (I am conversant with lots of speculations about this, but realize that that’s all they are.)

    I accept that consciousness is, to use Chalmers’ phrase, the “hard problem”, so I am agnostic about how it relates to the material world and any possible non-material reality.

    I am open to their being some ineffable and unknowable ground from which the world we experience arises (the Tao in the link above), but I can’t claim at all to say that such a thing exists or not.

    I do accept that we can, and have learned, a lot about the material world, and I think the scientific committment to searching for material explanations for material phenomena is the correct thing for us to be doing, but I think science is limited and can’t address a great many important things in our lives.

    I’m not sure why I felt like laying all this on the table, given the likely reception and my lack of desire to actually argue about any of it.

    But Truth asked, so I answered.

  44. 44

    jdk @ 43: Thank you. I was genuinely interested and you gave me a thoughtful and genuine response. Much appreciated.

  45. 45
    jdk says:

    Thanks, Truth.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk, the great claim of Christianity is that we can know “about what is beyond the universe we experience” i.e. that we can know God:

    Matthew 27:50-54
    And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

    THE EIGHT-FOLD WAY TO KNOWING GOD
    A Study From The Second Epistle of Peter, Chapter One by Lambert Dolphin
    Knowing God Personally and Intimately
    Excerpt: Can a person embark on a journey that leads to knowing God? The overwhelming claim of the Bible is yes! Not only can anyone of us know the Lord and the Creator of everything that exists, we are invited—even urged—each one of us, to know him intimately, personally and deeply.,,,
    Yet God is the ultimate reality in all the universe, and as the Apostle Paul says “from him and for him and to him are all things, to him be the glory forever.” Those who genuinely desire to know him (as he really is) are never disappointed. In one sense knowing God is the easiest thing in the world, easier than falling off a log. Indeed the Bible says simply, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you,” and again, “Ask and it will be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Jesus said, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am gentle and lowly of heart and you will find rest for you souls. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
    In another sense knowing and loving God is a lifetime process that follows that initial introduction we call regeneration or the “new birth.”
    http://ldolphin.org/Eightfld.html

    jdk as to your claim that,,

    “I think the scientific commitment to searching for material explanations for material phenomena is the correct thing for us to be doing”

    Why do you champion methodological naturalism? Firstly, science was not born out methodological naturalism, and/or materialism, but was born out of Christianity.

    Moreover, preferring the ‘mechanical causality’ of naturalism over the ‘agent causality’ Christian Theism is epistemologically self defeating:

    Atheists employ what is termed Methodological Naturalism to try to rule agent causality out of bounds before any scientific investigation has even begun, As Paul Nelson states in the following article, “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.”

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism (MN). If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed (the illusion of) you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,
    some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    Yet this denial of agent causality, as imposed by the artificial imposition of Methodological Naturalism onto science, is completely unwarranted.
    If anything, we understand agent causality much better than we understand mechanical causality. As Professor J. Budziszewsk states in the following article,

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    It is also important to note the catastrophic failure in epistemology that is inherent in the Atheist’s denial of Agent Causality.
    Specifically, In the atheist’s denial of their own free will they forsake any right to the claim they are making a logically coherent argument in the first place.
    As Martin Cothran states in the following article,

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Simply put,

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain (determinism).
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) (Yet) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Moreover, as the following article highlights, even many leading atheists themselves admit that it is impossible for them to live as if they had no free will

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Even Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if determinism were true and that he had no free will.

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Here is a video that goes over several line of evidences that further establish the reality of free will:

    Determinism vs Free Will – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwPER4m2axI

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, besides the catastrophic epistemological failure that is inherent to the atheist’s worldview which excludes immaterial minds from the outset before any scientific investigation has even begun, as the following video makes clear, advances in quantum mechanics have now shown us that the mental attribute of ‘free will’ and also the mental attribute of what is termed ‘the experience of the now’ are both integral parts of Quantum Mechanics. That is to say that key and defining attributes of the immaterial mind are now found to be central to our best scientific understanding of reality in Quantum Mechanics:

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Michael Egnor – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

    In fact, as the following article by Steven Weinberg shows, in quantum mechanics humans are brought into the laws of physics at the most fundamental level instead of humans being the result of the laws of physics as Darwinists falsely imagined us to be.

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

    And as Anton Zeilinger states at the 7:00 minute mark of the following video, “we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement.,,, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in a certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    – Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:57 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/4C5pq7W5yRM?t=500

    Thus, contrary to the claim by atheist’s that immaterial minds are unscientific and only mechanical causality can be allowed in science, it is now found that Agent causality is very much integral to quantum mechanics itself.

    Moreover, quantum mechanics itself also directly falsifies materialism and/or physicalism

    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C5pq7W5yRM

    Minding matter – March 2017
    The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground
    Excerpt: There is, however, a significant weakness hiding in the imposing-looking materialist redoubt. It is as simple as it is undeniable: after more than a century of profound explorations into the subatomic world, our best theory for how matter behaves still tells us very little about what matter is. Materialists appeal to physics to explain the mind, but in modern physics the particles that make up a brain remain, in many ways, as mysterious as consciousness itself.,,,
    A particularly cogent new version of the psi-epistemological position, called Quantum Bayesianism or QBism, raises this perspective to a higher level of specificity by taking the probabilities in quantum mechanics at face value. According to Fuchs, the leading proponent of QBism, the irreducible probabilities in quantum mechanics tell us that it’s really a theory about making bets on the world’s behaviour (via our measurements) and then updating our knowledge after those measurements are done. In this way, QBism points explicitly to our failure to include the observing subject that lies at the root of quantum weirdness. As Mermin wrote in the journal Nature: ‘QBism attributes the muddle at the foundations of quantum mechanics to our unacknowledged removal of the scientist from the science.’
    Putting the perceiving subject back into physics would seem to undermine the whole materialist perspective. A theory of mind that depends on matter that depends on mind could not yield the solid ground so many materialists yearn for.
    https://aeon.co/essays/materialism-alone-cannot-explain-the-riddle-of-consciousness

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

    Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature – Bruce L. Gordon – 2017
    Excerpt page 295: In light of this realization, the rather startling picture that begins to seem plausible is that preserving and explaining the objective structure of appearances in light of quantum theory requires reviving a type of phenomenalism in which our perception of the physical universe is constituted by sense-data conforming to certain structural constraints, but in which there is no substantial material reality causing these sensory perceptions. This leaves us with an ontology of minds (as immaterial substances) experiencing and generating mental events and processes that, when sensory in nature, have a formal character limned by the fundamental symmetries and structures revealed in “physical” theory. That these structured sensory perceptions are not mostly of our own individual or collective human making points to the falsity of any solipsistic or social constructivist conclusion, but it also implies the need for a transcendent source and ground of our experience. As Robert Adams points out, mere formal structure is ontologically incomplete:
    [A] system of spatiotemporal relationships constituted by sizes, shapes, positions, and changes thereof, is too incomplete, too hollow, as it were, to constitute an ultimately real thing or substance. It is a framework that, by its very nature, needs to be filled in by something less purely formal. It can only be a structure of something of some not merely structural sort. Formally, rich as such a structure may be, it lacks too much of the reality of material thinghood. By itself, it participates in the incompleteness of abstractions. . . .
    [T]he reality of a substance must include something intrinsic and qualitativeover and above any formal or structural features it may possess.117
    When we consider the fact that the structure of reality in fundamental physical theory is merely phenomenological and that this structure itself is hollow and non-qualitative, whereas our experience is not, the metaphysical objectivity and epistemic intersubjectivity of the enstructured qualitative reality of our experience can be seen to be best explained by an occasionalist idealism of the sort advocated by George Berkeley (1685-1753) or Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). In the metaphysical context of this kind of theistic immaterialism, the vera causa that brings coherent closure to the phenomenological reality we inhabit is always and only agent causation. The necessity of causal sufficiency is met by divine action, for as Plantinga emphasizes:
    [T]he connection between God’s willing that there be light and there being light is necessary in the broadly logical sense: it is necessary in that sense that if God wills that p, p occurs. Insofar as we have a grasp of necessity (and we do have a grasp of necessity), we also have a grasp of causality when it is divine causality that is at issue. I take it this is a point in favor of occasionalism, and in fact it constitutes a very powerful advantage of occasionalism. 118
    http://jbtsonline.org/wp-conte.....ressed.pdf

    Thus jdk, preferring material explanations in science is, #1, epistemologically self defeating, and #2, material explanations have now been falsified in quantum mechanics.

    jdk If you rightly put the results of repeatable scientific experimentation before your a priori philosophical commitment to materialism, then you should rightly drop your commitment to materialism and/or methodological naturalism:

    The Scientific Method – Richard Feynman – video
    Quote: ‘If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OL6-x0modwY

  48. 48
    JVL says:

    jdk

    Love what you wrote at 43, really nicely put.

  49. 49
    vividbleau says:

    Jdk
    “I am a strong agnostic about metaphysics,”

    Hmmm having a hard time reconciling your strong agnosticism about metaphysics with your your post #1

    Vivid

  50. 50
    vividbleau says:

    jdk
    From another thread
    “And, there are also many people, myself included, who have examined the claims of Christianity and consider them inconceivable.”

    Don’t get the sense of strong agnosticism regarding metaphysics here either Inconceivable really? This is what you consider to be a strong agnosticism concerning metaphysics ?

    Vivid

  51. 51
    ET says:

    jdk:

    I neither reject not accept materialism.

    That sounds irrational given what materialism entails. And the only thing you put on the table seems to be that you are afraid to commit

  52. 52
    Origenes says:

    jdk @
    Why do you link to a post on Taoism when you do not believe in Taoism?

  53. 53
    john_a_designer says:

    Weikart writes:

    Thus, when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. If one can find meaning in life by creating one’s own meaning, then one is only “finding” the product of one’s own imagination. One has complete freedom to invent whatever meaning one wants.

    I would add one word to the first sentence.* Here is the quote again:

    Thus, when religious people say non-religious people have no basis for finding [ultimate] meaning in life, and when non-religious people object, saying they do indeed find meaning in life, they are not talking about the same thing. If one can find meaning in life by creating one’s own meaning, then one is only “finding” the product of one’s own imagination. One has complete freedom to invent whatever meaning one wants…

    I don’t begrudge anyone for finding purpose and meaning in family, friends or a career. Those are the kind of things which provide all of us real meaning but none of those things provide a basis for ultimate meaning or some “greater good.”

    The famous, now deceased, Cambridge University physicist Stephen Hawking once observed,

    “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies.”
    (STEPHEN HAWKING, Reality on the Rocks: Beyond Our Ken, 1995)

    It appears to me that a lot of atheists agree that when you honestly look at man’s place in the universe it’s really rather pointless. For example, in his book, The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe, Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg writes:

    “It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that we are somehow built in from the beginning… It is very hard to realize that this is all just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly hostile universe. It is even harder to realize that this present universe has evolved from an unspeakably unfamiliar early condition, and faces a future extinction of endless cold or intolerable heat. The more the universe seems comprehensible the more it seems pointless.” (p.144)

    I would suggest that Weinberg was trying to play, perhaps unwittingly, a subtle bait and switch game here. This paragraph appears at the end of a book which is purportedly a book about following the chain of scientific evidence back to the very first few minutes of the universe. I have no problem with that. Weinberg is a Nobel Prize winning physicist. By vocation he has the credentials, the knowledge and expertise to explain how the universe evolved. He is not, however, any more qualified than anybody else to tell us what it all means. And, at least in academia, such questions are the province of philosophers and theologians not physicists.

    The paragraph did not go unnoticed and Weinberg soon became aware that he had crossed an invisible boundary line into disputed territory. Fifteen years later in another book, Dreams of a Final Theory, he admits that phrase “the more the universe seems comprehensible the more it seems pointless,” had dogged him ever since. He then vainly tries to explain what he really meant.

    “I did not mean,” he writes, “that science teaches us that the universe is pointless, but that the universe itself suggests no point.” He then adds that he doesn’t see life as pointless or meaningless but that as scientists and people we can “invent a point for our lives, including trying to understand the universe.”

    He then goes on to describe the reaction of some of his colleagues to his infamous little phrase. For example, Harvard astronomer Margaret Geller, opines, “Why should it have a point? What point? It is just a physical system, what point is there?”

    Princeton astrophysicist Jim Peebles was willing to take the implications a bit further. He says, “I am willing to believe that we are flotsam and jetsam.”

    However, Weinberg writes that his favorite response came from University of Texas astronomer Gerard de Vaucouleurs who remarked that Weinberg’s phrase was actually “nostalgic.” “Indeed it was,” Weinberg concedes, “nostalgic for a world in which the heavens declared the glory of God.”

    He then goes on to explain.

    “It would be wonderful to find in the laws of nature a plan prepared by a concerned creator in which human beings played some special role. I find sadness in doubting that we will. There are some among my scientific colleagues who say that the contemplation of nature gives them all the spiritual satisfaction that others have traditionally found in a belief in an interested God. Some of them may even really feel that way. I do not. And it does not seem to me to be helpful to identify the laws of nature as Einstein did with some sort of remote and disinterested God. The more we refine our understanding of God to make the concept plausible, the more it seems to be pointless.”

    Weinberg’s sentiment is obviously atheistic. But is his atheism the result of what he has discovered out there in the universe? Or, does he see the universe the way he does because of the preconceptions that he has as an atheist? I would argue that it is the latter.

    Einstein also wrote something about the meaning of life that I think is pertinent here.

    “What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know the answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.”

    My conclusion here is very straight forward. If God created the universe it has a purpose and meaning. On the other hand, if something mindless and impersonal is the cause the universe, it is hard to say, as Hawking and Weinberg have conceded, that there is any real meaning for the universe or our existence.

    *PS I would also substitute theism for religious and atheist/non-theist for non-religious

  54. 54
    Charles Birch says:

    jdk:

    <>

    Religions may indeed be a product of pure imagination with no basis in reality.

    OTOH they may be a product of the human apprehension of a very real divine Ground of Being – an apprehension sometimes referred to as the ‘senses divinitatis’ or (tellingly) as the ‘semen religionis’, the seed of religion.

    As memorably expressed by William Wordsworth:

    ” Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
    The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting. And cometh from afar;
    Not in entire forgetfulness,
    And not in utter nakedness,
    But trailing clouds of glory do we come
    From God, who is our home. “

  55. 55
    jdk says:

    Quick responses to short comments

    to jvl at 48: Thanks.

    to Origenes at 52: Did you read my post about Taoism, or just reply without reading it?

    Perhaps you read this, and still have your question, in which case I can’t add anything. On the other hand, if you didn’t read it, perhaps it will explain a bit (even if it isn’t a satisfactory answer for you.)

    I find that Taoism, in the non-scholarly way in which I understand it, resonates with me more than any other metaphysical or religious perspective.

    A disclaimer: On the other hand, I am a strong agnostic. I don’t think that human beings, individually or collectively, can actually know what is behind/beyond the material world. Therefore, when I describe, and even advocate for, a Taoist perspective, I’m not saying that I “believe” Taoism is true, because (and this is a tenet of Taoism), I don’t think we can know whether it is true or not.

    But as a metaphor of what might be true, it seems to fit the world as I see it. My beliefs about Taoism are a framework for metaphysically understanding our experience of, and in, this world, but they are not provable, logically necessary, or even testable in the empirical sense.

    However, as a metaphysical belief system it makes the most sense to me of all the religious and philosophical perspectives I have studied, and it has provided me with many meaningful principles about what the universe and human beings are, and how to live effectively in the world.

    But ultimately, I believe in Feynman’s statement (paraphrased) that I would rather live with uncertainty than believe things that are not true. Since there is no way to know whether Taoism, or any other metaphysical/religious belief is true, I believe that my “belief in Taoism” is a useful metaphorical story, but not a literal belief about truth. However, “living with uncertainty”–knowing when you can’t know–fits in well with Taoist principles anyway, so there is a certain resonance between Feynman’s principle and the ineffable nature of Taoism, with its emphasis on right action rather than on dogmatic belief.

    At 50, vivid writes,

    From another thread, [he quotes me], “And, there are also many people, myself included, who have examined the claims of Christianity and consider them inconceivable.”

    Don’t get the sense of strong agnosticism regarding metaphysics here either Inconceivable really? This is what you consider to be a strong agnosticism concerning metaphysics?

    Being strongly agnostic about metaphysics doesn’t mean I think all metaphysical ideas that people have had are equally likely. As my quote above about Taoism implies, I tentatively entertain and evaluate metaphysical beliefs based on some practical concerns. Both solipsism and Last Thursdayism are logical metaphysical possibilities, but they seem so extremely unlikely that I don’t waste a moment taking them seriously as a useful viewpoint.

    As to Christianity, I differentiate between two points. I think it’s possible that some type of universal cosmic mind exists as the ground and source of material reality. (In some ways, the Tao would qualify, perhaps.) In addition, I think it’s possible that that Mind is an active, conscious divine being who created our universe so that life would arise and evolve. In that sense, I think theism is a reasonable possibility, although not the one I prefer.

    However, the particularities of Christian theism (God’s special interest with a very small group of people on earth 2000 years ago, the existence and role of Christ, the idea that only those who believe in Jesus are saved and all the rest are damned for eternity, etc. ) are obviously, to me, just one of hundreds of religious cultural inventions, and are extremely unlikely. I can’t imagine that a universal ground of being would have these characteristics.

    Thus, I spend no emotional or intellectual time or energy considering Christianity a possibility worth considering.

    (Note: as I said in a response to Barry in the other thread, I used the word “inconceivable” because he used the concept in the OP. It is more accurate to say that Christianity is conceivable: just extremely unlikely.)

  56. 56

    Do atheists find meaning in life from inventing fairy tales?

    Yes.

  57. 57

    jdk @ 54: “Thus, I spend no emotional or intellectual time or energy considering Christianity a possibility worth considering.”

    I feel the same way about a/mat mythologies such as abiogenesis, multiverse theory, objective moral standards, and Darwinian evolution. It is a complete waste of time to take such things seriously.

  58. 58
    ET says:

    Materialism is inconceivable and so is evolutionism. Yet I doubt we will ever see jdk say anything negative about those.

  59. 59
    Allan Keith says:

    Bornagain77,

    jdk, the great claim of Christianity is that we can know “about what is beyond the universe we experience” i.e. that we can know God:

    I have no problem with this as the ultimate goal of Christians. The problem always arises when people claim that they do know God.

    What if I made the claim that I know what is in God’s heart? And further claimed that his ultimate purpose with respect to humans is to see how many disparate (and desperate) beliefs He can get them to accept, and how many wars he can get them to fight over these beliefs? You could no more prove that I am wrong than I could prove that you were.

    Another what if: Christian belief is that we are all sinners and that God challenges us and tests us. That he provides us with the proper path but that we often waver from this path. Is it not possible that reality is the exact opposite? That we are naturally good and that God keeps trying to get us to waiver from that path? Just a thought experiment.

  60. 60
    jdk says:

    Truth says in 55:

    Do atheists find meaning in life from inventing fairy tales?

    Yes.

    And as I have explained, all religions also “invent fairy tales” in the same way, although I don’t call them fairy tales.

    But that’s starting the discussion all over again, so no need to say more.

  61. 61
    bornagain77 says:

    Allan Keith, as to people claiming to hear from God and yet being fraudulent in that claim,, Well, Jesus also warned us to beware of false prophets and even tells us how to discern false prophets.

    Matthew 7:15-20
    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    And Darwinian atheism has certainly brought forth much evil fruit in this world,

    Origins: The Darwin Effect – Jerry Bergman – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWQT8l_VfuQ
    Join Origins host Donn Chapman as he welcomes professor, author and speaker, Dr. Jerry Bergman for, The Darwin Effect. Darwinism had a major influence on many evil cultures during the last century. It affected not only Nazism, but also eugenics, racism, communism, and much more. Darwin’s worldview is explained using historical facts that tell the death, suffering and evil unparalleled throughout history.

    How Darwin’s Theory Changed the World
    Rejection of Judeo-Christian values
    Excerpt: Weikart explains how accepting Darwinist dogma shifted society’s thinking on human life: “Before Darwinism burst onto the scene in the mid-nineteenth century, the idea of the sanctity of human life was dominant in European thought and law (though, as with all ethical principles, not always followed in practice). Judeo-Christian ethics proscribed the killing of innocent human life, and the Christian churches explicitly forbade murder, infanticide, abortion, and even suicide.
    “The sanctity of human life became enshrined in classical liberal human rights ideology as ‘the right to life,’ which according to John Locke and the United States Declaration of Independence, was one of the supreme rights of every individual” (p. 75).
    Only in the late nineteenth and especially the early twentieth century did significant debate erupt over issues relating to the sanctity of human life, especially infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, and suicide. It was no mere coincidence that these contentious issues emerged at the same time that Darwinism was gaining in influence. Darwinism played an important role in this debate, for it altered many people’s conceptions of the importance and value of human life, as well as the significance of death” (ibid.).
    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issu.....-world.htm

    And Christianity, although atheists like to falsely claim that Christianity is the source of all sorts of evil in the world, has certainly brought forth much ‘good fruit’ in the world that other worldviews have failed to produce and have, in many instances, even tried to destroy..

    5 Ridiculous Myths You Probably Believe About the Dark Ages – 2013
    Excerpt: Almost immediately after the church gained a foothold in Europe, they started introducing a widespread system of charity that distributed food, clothing, and money to those in need. Perhaps not by coincidence, the concepts of goodwill hospices, hospitals (mid fourth century), and shelters for the poor were also invented during the “dark” ages, paving the way for the public health care system.
    http://www.cracked.com/article.....-ages.html

    21 Positive Contributions Christianity Has Made Through the Centuries By D. James Kennedy (excerpted from “What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?”)
    (1) Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
    (2) Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started for Christian purposes.
    (3) Literacy and education for the masses.
    (4) Capitalism and free enterprise.
    (5) Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
    (6) The separation of political powers.
    (7) Civil liberties.
    (8) The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
    (9) Modern science.
    (10) The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
    (11) The elevation of women.
    (12) Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
    (13) Higher standards of justice.
    (14) The elevation of common man.
    (15) The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and it has spared many from heartache.
    (16) High regard for human life.
    (17) The civilizing of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
    (18) The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
    (19) Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
    (20) The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
    (21) The eternal salvation of countless souls.
    https://verticallivingministries.com/tag/benefits-of-christianity-to-society/

    Furthermore AK, I am VERY comfortable with the truth claims inherent in Christianity. I find the other worldviews to be deeply flawed. Particularly so with atheistic materialism which I find to be completely ludicrous.

    In fact, besides my own personal ‘spiritual experience’ that let me personally know that Christianity is absolutely true, I find that science itself finds its ultimate resolution for the so called ‘Theory of Everything” in Christ’s resurrection from the dead:

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NziDraiPiOw

    This really should not be all that surprising since it was, in fact, the Christian worldview that gave birth to modern science in the first place.

    Christians – Not the Enlightenment – Invented Modern Science – Chuck Colson – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: Rodney Stark’s,,, book, “For the Glory of God,,,,
    In Stark’s words, “Christian theology was necessary for the rise of science.” Science only happened in areas whose worldview was shaped by Christianity, that is, Europe. Many civilizations had alchemy; only Europe developed chemistry. Likewise, astrology was practiced everywhere, but only in Europe did it become astronomy.
    That’s because Christianity depicted God as a “rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being” who created a universe with a “rational, lawful, stable” structure. These beliefs uniquely led to “faith in the possibility of science.”
    So why the Columbus myth? Because, as Stark writes, “the claim of an inevitable and bitter warfare between religion and science has, for more than three centuries, been the primary polemical device used in the atheist attack of faith.” Opponents of Christianity have used bogus accounts like the ones I’ve mentioned to not only discredit Christianity, but also position themselves as “liberators” of the human mind and spirit.
    Well, it’s up to us to set the record straight, and Stark’s book is a great place to start. And I think it’s time to tell our neighbors that what everyone thinks they know about Christianity and science is just plain wrong.
    http://www.cnsnews.com/comment.....rn-science

    Simply put AK, no other worldview comes close to substantiating such a claim as to being the ultimate truth, i.e. as to being the ‘theory of everything’. Yet Jesus always claimed that he was “The Truth”! So once again, it should not be surprising that science finds its ultimate resolution in Christ’s resurrection from the dead.(especially since Christianity gave birth to modern science in the first place)

    Thus in conclusion, I find Christianity to be head and shoulders above all the other worldviews, and am, to repeat myself, VERY comfortable in my core Christian beliefs.

    By the way, Happy Easter:

    Verse and Videos

    Mark 9:31
    For he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ

  62. 62

    jdk @ 59: “And as I have explained, all religions also “invent fairy tales” in the same way…”

    Got it. I know your views about religious fairy tales. You have made that clear in your numerous comments throughout this website. What am I not sure of, however, is how you view a/mat fairy tales. Do you argue against them as well? Do you frequent a/mat websites to argue against their “fairy tales?”

  63. 63
    jdk says:

    Truth, I think I have made it clear that I see materialism as a metaphysical speculation: a philosophical position that cannot be proven.

    I’ve also clearly distinguished, I think, between a very broad belief in theism as being about the ground of reality and specific religions (such as Christianity or most other religions) which posits specific Gods who interact who interact with human beings. I think the former is possible, and my preferred metaphysical ground, the Tao of Taoism, is closer to that kind of theism than it is to materialism. I think the latter are creative inventions that have very, very little likelihood of being true.

    Therefore, I am agnostic as to the materialism/broad theism dichotomy, although perhaps strongly inclined to believe that whatever is beyond/behind our universe is not more material substance identical to what we have in our universe.

    However, since I believe all particular human religions are false, I am an atheist in regards to any and all particular religions.

    I am not the one, by the way, calling these “fairy tales.” I understand and appreciate the very important role religion has played throughout human history over a broad range of cultures, with both significant strengths and weaknesses as far as its effect on human beings. I am not denigrating belief systems by calling them fairy tales.

    Many things that are not ontologically true are still important to people. For instance, many people credit novels they have read or movies they have seen as enlightening and inspiring them even though the novels are obviously fiction. It does a disservice to both the creators and the audience of such works to dismiss them as “fairy tales”

    (FWIW, religions and belief systems was my major interest as an anthropology major many years ago: an interest which is still alive in me and a reason why I am taking the time to have this discussion.)

  64. 64
    ET says:

    jdk:

    Truth, I think I have made it clear that I see materialism as a metaphysical speculation:

    And yet it is.

  65. 65
    LocalMinimum says:

    All religions are descriptions of reality???

    They can’t all be accurate descriptions of reality, because they are so various and not consistent with each other.

    Happens elsewhere, too.

  66. 66
    john_a_designer says:

    Let me restate a couple premises I made at the conclusion of my post @ 53.

    (1) If an eternally existing, transcendent mind (God) created the universe it has a purpose and meaning.

    On the other hand, (2) if something mindless and impersonal is the cause the universe, it is hard to say, as Hawking and Weinberg have conceded, that there is any real meaning for the universe or our existence.

    Those are two premises which are self-evidently true, if you are honest and take the time to think them through.

    So what is the point of all our interlocutors the talking points?

    Also @ 53 I stipulated, “I don’t begrudge anyone for finding purpose and meaning in family, friends or a career. Those are the kind of things which provide all of us real meaning but none of those things provide a basis for ultimate meaning or some ‘greater good.’”

    In other words, if you’re an atheist I don’t see that you have an argument. So, what are you arguing about?

  67. 67
    jdk says:

    JAD writes,

    Let me restate a couple premises I made at the conclusion of my post @ 53.

    (1) If an eternally existing, transcendent mind (God) created the universe it has a purpose and meaning.

    This is not “self-evidently true”. It is an assumption of Christian theism. It also includes other unstated assumptions that we are creations which are the focus of, and somehow privy to, that purpose and meaning.

    If our only assumption is that “an eternally existing, transcendent mind created the universe”, we have no idea why it did so, nor any reason to think that the unstated assumptions above are true.

    I can think of a number of alternative hypotheses.

    It might very well be that it “wanted” (to anthropomorphize) to create a world that would then develop on its own according to the rules of that universe, and that the universal mind had/has no attachment to any particular result, but rather had/has a dispassionate interest in how the rules play out.

    It might be that the “purpose” of the creation was for a creature to evolve with astounding capabilities, which is now playing out on some other planet(s) throughout the universe, but that we are nothing more than a little sidetrack not related to the fulfillment of that purpose at all. (Or perhaps the fulfillment of the purpose here on earth will take place some millions of years from now, and we will just be a fossil remnant of a primitive creature along the way.)

    It might be that the mind in fact wanted for truly free creatures to evolve that would take responsibility for making their own meaning.

    All of these are possibilities.

    JAD writes,

    On the other hand, (2) if something mindless and impersonal is the cause the universe, it is hard to say, as Hawking and Weinberg have conceded, that there is any real meaning for the universe or our existence.

    Now I personally don’t adhere to the idea that “something mindless and impersonal is the cause the universe” (as I don’t adhere to any definite idea about the cause of the universe), and have no interest in representing or defending Hawking or Weinberg, but I will point out that by inserting the word “real” in front of the word “meaning” JAD elevates his theistic assumption to being the arbiter of where meaning comes from.

    It may very well be, for various reasons arising from one of the hypotheses above, that “real meaning” is precisely what each of us have to create for ourself: that no overriding, universal meaning exists that applies to human beings.

  68. 68
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk, first off, science would be impossible if teleology, i.e. goal directed purpose, was not presupposed on some deep level. For instance, it is impossible to describe the intricate complexities of life without using words that reflect goal directed behavior

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    Evolution and the Purposes of Life – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2017
    Excerpt: The idea of teleological (end-directed) behavior within a world of meaning is rather uncomfortable for scientists committed — as contemporary biologists overwhelmingly are — to what they call “materialism” or “naturalism.” The discomfort has to do with the apparent inward aspect of the goal-directed behavior described above — behavior that depends upon the apprehension of a meaningful world and that is easily associated with our own conscious and apparently immaterial perceptions, reasonings, and motivations to act.
    But,,, the issues extend beyond our own sort of conscious, intentional behavior. All biological activity, even at the molecular level, can be characterized as purposive and goal-directed. As a cell grows and divides, it marshals its molecular and structural resources with a remarkably skillful “wisdom.” It also demonstrates a well-directed, “willful” persistence in adjusting to disturbances. Everything leads toward fulfillment of the organism’s evident “purposes.”,,,
    The second source of confusion about teleology and inwardness lies in the failure to realize how weak and lamed our conscious human purposiveness and intelligence are in relation to biological activity. We struggle even to follow with our abstract understanding the unsurveyably complex goings-on in our own organs and cells,,,
    We need to reject conscious human performance as a model for organic activity in general, not because it reads too much wisdom and effective striving into the organism, but rather because it reads far too little.,,,
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....es-of-life

    The same ‘presupposed teleology’ can be found for physics. Especially in the presupposition that there should be just one overarching ‘theory of everything,,, As Professor Steve Fuller puts it,, “ it would be perfectly easy,, to stop the pursuit of science at much lower levels. You know understand a certain range of phenomena in a way that is appropriate to deal with that phenomena and just stop there and not go any deeper or any farther.”,,, You see, there is a sense in which there is design at the ultimate level, the ultimate teleology you might say, which provides the ultimate closure,,”

    “So you think of physics in search of a “Grand Unified Theory of Everything”, Why should we even think there is such a thing? Why should we think there is some ultimate level of resolution? Right? It is part, it is a consequence of believing in some kind of design. Right? And there is some sense in which that however multifarious and diverse the phenomena of nature are, they are ultimately unified by the minimal set of laws and principles possible. In so far as science continues to operate with that assumption, there is a presupposition of design that is motivating the scientific process. Because it would be perfectly easy,, to stop the pursuit of science at much lower levels. You know understand a certain range of phenomena in a way that is appropriate to deal with that phenomena and just stop there and not go any deeper or any farther.”,,, You see, there is a sense in which there is design at the ultimate level, the ultimate teleology you might say, which provides the ultimate closure,,”
    Professor of philosophy Steve Fuller discusses intelligent design in Cambridge – Video – quoted at the 17:34 minute mark
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nd-others/

    Atheists simply have no coherent reason for presupposing that there should even be ‘one unifying rational form to all things’ or a ‘theory of everything’. According to atheistic presuppositions Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless?

    Stephen Hawking’s “God-Haunted” Quest – David Klinghoffer – December 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?
    I would argue that the only finally reasonable ground for that assumption is the belief in an intelligent Creator, who has already thought into the world the very mathematics that the patient scientist discovers.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92351.html

    As Einstein himself stated, “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way,,,” and further stated that, “There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists,,,”

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein

    Therefore, the very success of science itself is dependent on, and testifies to, the fact that both the universe and life itself are infused with meaning and purpose i.e. teleology.

    You may want to claim that most scientists, regardless of teleology being essential for science, do not presuppose purpose and meaning in this universe, but you would be wrong. Studies have now found that scientists do in fact presuppose purpose and meaning in this universe:

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    In fact, as much as atheists may claim that they do not believe in God, the fact of the matter is that studies have now found that Atheists cannot escape a deep seeded, ‘knee jerk’. belief in God:

    Richard Dawkins take heed: Even atheists instinctively believe in a creator says study – Mary Papenfuss – June 12, 2015
    Excerpt: Three studies at Boston University found that even among atheists, the “knee jerk” reaction to natural phenomenon is the belief that they’re purposefully designed by some intelligence, according to a report on the research in Cognition entitled the “Divided Mind of a disbeliever.”
    The findings “suggest that there is a deeply rooted natural tendency to view nature as designed,” writes a research team led by Elisa Järnefelt of Newman University. They also provide evidence that, in the researchers’ words, “religious non-belief is cognitively effortful.”
    Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or “default” human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether “any being purposefully made the thing in the picture,” notes Pacific-Standard.
    “Religious participants’ baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher” than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants “increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made” when “they did not have time to censor their thinking,” wrote the researchers.
    The results suggest that “the tendency to construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made derives from automatic cognitive processes, not just practised explicit beliefs,” the report concluded.
    The results were similar even among subjects from Finland, where atheism is not a controversial issue as it can be in the US.
    “Design-based intuitions run deep,” the researchers conclude, “persisting even in those with no explicit religious commitment and, indeed, even among those with an active aversion to them.”
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/richa.....dy-1505712

    Studies establish that the design inference is ‘knee jerk’ inference that is built into everyone, especially including atheists, and that atheists have to mentally suppress the design inference!
    Is Atheism a Delusion?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ii-bsrHB0o

    i.e. It is not that Atheists do not see purpose and/or Design in nature, it is that Atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of the purpose and/or Design that they themselves see in nature.
    I hold the preceding studies to be confirming evidence for Romans1:19-20

    Romans 1:19-20
    For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

    jdk, you also claimed that we cannot discern ‘ultimate purpose’ for the universe, but alas, Christianity and science also blows a hole in that false presupposition of yours.

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NziDraiPiOw

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    One final note jdk, I hold that you are basically just trying to throw anything you can on the wall to see if it will stick, not because, as you yourself admit, you believe atheistic materialism to be true, but because, I firmly believe, you personally find Christianity in particular to be distasteful.

    That is the only reasonable conclusion I can come to after seeing just how weak, pathetic, and self-contradictory, your argumentation has actually been.

    You may protest that you are being ‘fair’, but I certainly don’t see it. Your bias against Christianity literally oozes out of each of your posts,

    I can only hope and pray that this changes for you.

  69. 69
    ET says:

    jdk:

    It is an assumption of Christian theism.

    No, Jack. It is an inference based on observations and experiences. Any intelligent designer who designs things so intricate does so for a purpose. It has nothing to do with any religion.

    It must be nice to be a waffler who gets to criticize other people but never has to defend anything. Those are the worst type of “critics”,

  70. 70
    Origenes says:

    jdk @

    JAD: (1) If an eternally existing, transcendent mind (God) created the universe it has a purpose and meaning.

    jdk: This is not “self-evidently true”.

    You are mistaken, (1) is as clear as day.

    jdk: If our only assumption is that “an eternally existing, transcendent mind created the universe”, we have no idea why it did so …

    Only the willfully obtuse have “no idea.” Given a universe uniquely suitable for intelligent life, it makes perfect sense to foster the idea that the universe was created to harbor intelligent life.

    jdk: I can think of a number of alternative hypotheses.

    As anyone can see, all your three “alternative hypotheses” are no alternatives to JAD’s ‘purpose and meaning’, since all three include purpose and meaning.

    JAD: (2) if something mindless and impersonal is the cause the universe, it is hard to say, as Hawking and Weinberg have conceded, that there is any real meaning for the universe or our existence.

    jdk: … I will point out that by inserting the word “real” in front of the word “meaning” JAD elevates his theistic assumption to being the arbiter of where meaning comes from.

    Wrong. Meaning and purpose presupposes an agent. A mindless impersonal rock does not have plans. Even materialists would agree. Calling this a “theistic assumption” doesn’t make sense.

    It may very well be, for various reasons arising from one of the hypotheses above, that “real meaning” is precisely what each of us have to create for ourself: that no overriding, universal meaning exists that applies to human beings.

    What do you mean by “real meaning” which “each of us have to create for ourself”? I do not understand. Can you provide one single example of “real meaning” that someone has created by and for her/himself?

  71. 71
    Allan Keith says:

    JAD,

    (1) If an eternally existing, transcendent mind (God) created the universe it has a purpose and meaning.

    The one does not necessitate the other. The creating being would have a purpose in doing so, but that doesn’t mean that the creation has a purpose of its own. Life itself may have no other purpose than to amuse a twisted creator who has no more feeling towards that life than we do for the grains of sand on a beach.

  72. 72
    ET says:

    Oh my. All of our experience says that when a designer designs something intricate and complex it has a purpose. No one would think that the Antikythera mechanism was made for nothing.

  73. 73
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Oh my. All of our experience says that when a designer designs something intricate and complex it has a purpose. No one would think that the Antikythera mechanism was made for nothing.

    The purpose of any design is only what the designer put into it. The object itself has no inherent purpose or meaning.

    If the purpose of the creator was to create the conditions for life to arise and then to see what happened after that, with no intervention, then we would have no more inherent purpose or meaning than E. coli. We would exist for the sole purpose of amusing the creator. Satisfying his creator.

  74. 74
    tribune7 says:

    Allan Keith

    Life itself may have no other purpose than to amuse a twisted creator who has no more feeling towards that life than we do for the grains of sand on a beach.

    Well, OK. Why would we think it’s not?

  75. 75
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    The purpose of any design is only what the designer put into it. The object itself has no inherent purpose or meaning.

    Total nonsense. The Antikythera mechanism had a purpose and meaning.

    If the purpose of the creator was to create the conditions for life to arise and then to see what happened after that, with no intervention, then we would have no more inherent purpose or meaning than E. coli.

    Question begging. Only ignorance says E coli don’t have a purpose

  76. 76
    jdk says:

    To make us sick?

  77. 77
    ET says:

    Yeah cuz all E coli make us sick.

  78. 78
    jdk says:

    But some does. Is that their purpose?

  79. 79
    ET says:

    What? Why can’t it be the purpose is the other helpful E coli and the bad E coli is due to random mutations?

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    And here is another prime example of evolutionary thinking hampering science.

    Whereas, Darwinists presuppose Bacteria to serve no purpose, it is now known that bacteria (and other microbes) have served a vital purpose in preparing the primordial earth for more advanced life forms to appear on earth.

    “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”
    – Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers

    Microbial Mat Ecology – Image on page 92 (third page down)
    http://www.dsls.usra.edu/biolo.....nit2.2.pdf

    Biologically mediated cycles for hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and iron – image of interdependent ‘biogeochemical’ web
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cont......large.jpg

    As well, it is now known that bacteria are also essential, both ecologically and biologically, for higher life forms to continue living,,,

    Engineering and Science Magazine – Caltech – March 2010
    Excerpt: “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth. One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.” Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles. Dr. Orphan added, “…every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100316a

    How Microbes Make Earth Habitable – February 10, 2016
    Excerpt: Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterium Does Solo Performance,,,
    Plankton Maintain Carbon Cycle,,,
    Diatoms Promote Diatomic Oxygen,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02600.html

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    Moreover, Darwinian presuppositions have proven to be useless in understanding the behavior of microbes:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    Darwin vs. Microbes – video
    https://youtu.be/ntxc4X9Zt-I

    Bottom line, Darwinism is not science but pseudoscience, and in so far as Darwinism is taken seriously, it hampers real science.

  81. 81
    jdk says:

    FYI: I am aware that the conversation with ET is silly! 🙂 Also, his sentence in 78 doesn’t make sense.

  82. 82
    ET says:

    FYI: I am aware that any conversation with jdk is bound to be silly. 😛

    Helping jdk with 78:

    Why can’t it be the purpose is the other helpful E coli

    E coli live inside of us helping us digest food- the helpful E coli- see benefits of E. coli– so that would be the purpose I was talking about

    the bad E coli is due to random mutations

    The E coli that makes us sick arose via random mutations. And now that I think of it it’s purpose would be an impetus to study life at the cellular level so we can figure why it may be harmful and how to properly prevent future harm.

  83. 83
    jdk says:

    I believe this is called ergo pst hoc reasoning, which is a logical fallacy.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    If that is what you believe then make your case. Just saying so is meaningless.

    I believe making unsupported accusations is trollish behavior.

  85. 85
    ET says:

    Final Jeopardy muzak is playing…

  86. 86
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Why can’t it be the purpose is the other helpful E. coli…

    the bad E coli is due to random mutations

    I’ll take ‘Anthropocentruc Reasoning’ for $2000, Alex.

  87. 87
    ET says:

    And I’ll take “trollish behaviors” for 200

  88. 88
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    And I’ll take “trollish behaviors” for 200

    If your response to anyone who criticizes one of your comments is to call them trolls, your discussions must be very short.

    Your argument is completely anthropocentric. E. coli 0157 can kill people. However, it is just part of the normal (and helpful) bacterial assemblage in ruminents. So, what is E. coli 0157’s inherent purpose?

  89. 89
    tribune7 says:

    Allan

    So, what is E. coli 0157’s inherent purpose?

    What if ET (or I) can’t give you the answer?

    What exactly does that prove?

    Did you see Stephan Hawking’s final message to humanity:

    The theoretical physicist, who died on March 14, wrote how our universe will fade into nothingness as the stars rapidly lose their energy. https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/692841/stephen-hawking-funeral-today-Cambridge-professor-final-message

    So — if you are a materialist — what is the purpose of anything?

  90. 90
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    If your response to anyone who criticizes one of your comments is to call them trolls, your discussions must be very short.

    You didn’t criticize anything, Allan. You just spewed some unsupported trope.

    Your argument is completely anthropocentric.

    Just saying it doesn’t make it so.

    E. coli 0157 can kill people. However, it is just part of the normal (and helpful) bacterial assemblage in ruminents. So, what is E. coli 0157’s inherent purpose?

    To help ruminants digest their food- if what you say is true.

  91. 91
    bornagain77 says:

    AK, asks

    Your argument is completely anthropocentric. E. coli 0157 can kill people. However, it is just part of the normal (and helpful) bacterial assemblage in ruminents. So, what is E. coli 0157’s inherent purpose?

    Yet AK himself gave the answer. A major part of e. coli 0157’s inherent (and original) purpose is to help ruminant animals, (i.e. animals that chew their cud), digest their food.

    A Guide to E. coli O157 in Cattle
    Excerpt: E. coli O157 is one particular serotype in the enterohemorrhagic category that has become a major concern for cattle producers and their customers because it sometimes causes human illness when introduced into the human intestine (but colonized cattle do not get sick).
    The feature that makes enterohemorrhagic bacteria like E. coli O157 so problematic is the fact that they produce poisons called Shiga toxins that can damage the lining of the human intestine and other tissues.1
    https://www.zoetisus.com/_locale-assets/mcm-portal-assets/services/documents/srpecoli/e_coli_tech_manual_final.pdf

    Where AK can see no purpose is where Darwinian processes have corrupted the original purpose of E. coli O157 and have turned e. coli 0157 into a pathogen that is harmful and sometimes even fatal for humans.

    There are many other examples of usually helpful microbes becoming pathogenic that AK could have chosen to highlight:

    For instance AK could have chosen the bubonic plague. Yet a genetic study has now shown that the bubonic plague (Black Death) was caused by loss of genes and streamlining (genetic entropy) of a non-pathogenic bacteria:

    The independent evolution of harmful organisms from one bacterial family – April 21, 2014
    Excerpt: “Before this study, there was uncertainty about what path these species took to become pathogenic: had they split from a shared common pathogenic ancestor? Or had they evolved independently”,,,
    By examining the whole genomes of both the pathogenic and non-pathogenic species, they were able to determine that many of the metabolic functions, lost by the pathogenic species, were ancestral. These functions were probably important for growth in a range of niches, and have been lost rather than gained in specific family lines in the Yersinia family.
    “We commonly think bacteria must gain genes to allow them to become pathogens. However, we now know that the loss of genes and the streamlining of the pathogen’s metabolic capabilities are key features in the evolution of these disease-causing bacteria,”
    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-p.....erial.html

    How small genetic change in Yersinia pestis changed human history – June 30, 2015
    Excerpt: In the most ancestral of all currently existing Y. pestis strains, they showed how the bacteria could successfully colonize the lungs but could not cause the severe disease associated with pneumonic plague. The biggest difference they found between this strain and closely related strains that could cause pneumonic plague was a gene for the surface protein Pla.
    Lathem proposed that the bacteria’s acquisition of the gene Pla enhanced its ability to cause infection in the lungs and was all that this ancestral strain of Y. pestis needed to produce a fatal lung infection.
    So Lathem and his team inserted the Pla gene into this strain to observe changes in the health of the lungs. They found the newly mutated strain had gained the ability to cause respiratory infection identically to modern strains of Y. pestis that cause disease today, demonstrating that the Pla gene was necessary for Y. pestis to infect the lungs. In addition, they found that no other changes to Y. pestis were required, even though the bacteria has continued to gain and lose genes over the last several thousand years.
    The lab also looked at variations of the gene Pla and discovered that a single modification only found in modern strains of Y. pestis was a critical adaptation for the bacteria to spread in the body and infect the lymph nodes, a form of the infection that causes bubonic plague.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-06-s.....human.html

    That is not exactly what AK needs to prove Darwinian evolution true is it?

    Or AK could have chosen MRSA (superbug) bacteria to try to provide evidence for (purposeless) Darwinian processes being true. Yet MRSA (superbug) bacteria “are actually rather ‘wimpy’ compared to their close cousins.”

    (MRSA) Superbugs not super after all
    Excerpt: It is precisely because the mutations which give rise to resistance are in some form or another defects, that so-called supergerms are not really ‘super’ at all—they are actually rather ‘wimpy’ compared to their close cousins.
    http://creation.com/superbugs-not-super-after-all

    French Volcanic Clay Kills Antibiotic-Resistant MRSA Superbug
    Excerpt: I’ve heard of some people being told to “go roll around in the dirt” to get rid of their MRSA, and I’ve heard some reports of that working. I believe the effect was in “normalizing” their resident bacteria living on their skin. Just like in our digestive system, bacteria live in balance. Put more of the “good” guys in, and that will support your body being in balance.
    http://staph-infection-resourc.....iotic.html

    MRSA – Supergerms Do they prove evolution?
    In places that are exposed to dirt from the street—such as your house—the supergerms are kept in their place not by powerful drugs and poisons but by competition with other germs. And their resistance genes are diluted by genes of the susceptible or non-resistant germs of the same species rather than being concentrated by selective breeding. That is why most non-hospital infections respond readily to antibiotics—the drug kills most of the germs, the body takes care of the rest. If it were not so, the so called supergerms would escape from hospitals and sweep the world.
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....rgerms.asp

    Are You Too Clean? – New Studies Suggest Getting A Little Dirty May Be Just What The Doctor Ordered – December 2010
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20101208a

    The same type of degradation can be found in the malaria pathogen.

    Setting a Molecular Clock for Malaria Parasites – July 8, 2010
    Excerpt: “Malaria parasites undoubtedly were relatively benign for most of that history (in humans), becoming a major disease only after the origins of agriculture and dense human populations,” said Ricklefs.
    http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_s....._id=117259

    Genome sequencing of chimpanzee malaria parasites reveals possible pathways of adaptation to human hosts – 18 July 2014
    In summary,,, homologues are found in all Plasmodium species, implying a universal and ancient role in the relationship between Plasmodium parasites and their vertebrate hosts.
    There are 568 rif genes in P. reichenowi and only 185 in P. falciparum, with the number of pseudogenes differing by a similar ratio (49 and 27, respectively; Table 2 and Fig. 2b). The number of stevor genes is also higher in P. reichenowi (66) than in P. falciparum (42). Successful colonization of humans is therefore clearly possible with a much reduced repertoire of these two important multigene families.
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2.....s5754.html

  92. 92
    bornagain77 says:

    As well, in the following study the researchers speculate that Ebola plays a beneficial role in its original host

    Bats and Viruses: Friend or Foe? – 2013
    Viral RNA specific to both Ebola and Marburg has been identified in a number of fruit bat species from Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo,,,
    ,,,bats generally harbour viruses with no clinical signs of disease.,,,
    it seems unlikely that bats’ ability to asymptomatically carry viruses is a recently acquired trait.,,,
    Do Viruses Benefit the Host?
    The fact that bats harbour such a large number of viruses poses an important question: do these viruses provide any benefit to the host?,,,
    It seems plausible that some of the viruses that bats harbour may have oncolytic properties that confer antitumor activity to the host.,,,
    http://www.plospathogens.org/a.....at.1003651

    As well the AIDS virus is found to be non-pathogenetic in its original host.

    “the AIDS virus originated relatively recently, as a mutation from SIV, the simian immuno-deficiency virus. According to Wikipedia, this virus was also benign in its original form:.. Unlike HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections in humans, SIV infections in their natural hosts appear in many cases to be non-pathogenic. Extensive studies in sooty mangabeys have established that SIVsmm infection does not cause any disease in these animals, despite high levels of circulating virus.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-448372

    The history of smallpox is much less well understood, but it appears that smallpox has also been benign for most of its history, like all the other diseases listed, and only recently became pathogenic:

    On the origins of smallpox – where and when did variola virus emerge? – March 2011
    Excerpt: Smallpox-like skin lesions have been observed on Egyptian mummies dating from as far back as 1580 B.C yet there is no mention of the disease at all in the Old or New testaments nor even the Hippocratic texts. There was some mention of a smallpox-like disease in China and India as early as 1500 B.C but the only unmistakable description can be found from the 4th century A.D in China. Interestingly there was no mention of smallpox in the American continents nor in sub-Saharan Africa prior to European exploration.,,,
    http://ruleof6ix.fieldofscienc.....-when.html

    Thus contrary to the claims of a ‘evil designer’, the fact of the matter is that there is strong evidence to believe that the pathogens were originally benign, even beneficial, and only fairly recently became pathogenic due to genetic entropy.

    And it is also very good that genetic entropy is true. Sanford has shown that the destructive effects of pathogens on humans are fairly quickly modulated by information loss.

    Evolution and the Ebola Virus: Pacing a Small Cage – Michael Behe – October 24, 2014
    Excerpt: The high rate of mutation of Ebola is similar to what John Sanford has demonstrated for the H1N1 virus that caused the influenza pandemic after World War I. He makes a compelling case that the accumulating mutations there were degradatory could not be eliminated easily by selection, and eventually caused the virus’s extinction in 2009.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90621.html

    Moreover, historians tell us that Malaria death tolls are nothing like what they used to be,

    “The Portuguese… had imported so many African slaves into Portugal by the late fifteenth century that their falciparum malaria ignited a series of epidemics so intense that the Tagus valley was almost depopulated (Desowitz, 77).”
    Accounts of European settlements in the tropics and other populations report greater than 90% death toll from malaria and other tropical diseases.,,,
    http://rdparasites.blogspot.co.....-have.html
    Malaria death tolls are nothing like what they used to be,
    http://factmyth.com/factoids/m.....ver-lived/
    No pathogen, including influenza virus (1918 pandemic), caused more deaths than malaria during 1905–1945. Early malaria epidemics had mortality rates of 60–70 deaths/1,000 persons;
    (and) rates were as high as 531 and 1,125 deaths/100,000 persons in Carabobo and Cojedes States in 1941 (2).
    http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/artic.....17_article
    In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 207 million clinical episodes, and 627,000 deaths. An estimated 91% of deaths in 2010 were in the African Region.
    2015 malaria caused 214 million clinical episodes, and 438,000 deaths.
    http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/

    None of the preceding evidence is what AK needs to prove Darwinian evolution true. In fact, if AK were ever to become honest towards the evidence, he would have to admit that these findings directly contradict Darwinian presuppositions.

    In fact, if evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around should be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’, would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this Richard Dawkins’ video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for? Any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, thinking, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by bacteria, as so much excess baggage.

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    Yet, AK and other Darwinists are apparently completely oblivious to this clear falsification of Darwinian theory and instead concentrate on the theologically based ‘argument from evil’, i.e. ‘God would never allow pathogens to exist’.

    Yet, much like their extremely naive science that collapses upon inspection, the atheist’s ‘argument from evil’ also reflects an extremely naive theology that collapses upon only cursory inspection.

    As Dr. Michael Egnor states “Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,”

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

    Feser also does an excellent job dismantling the ‘argument from evil’ in the following article.

    This Theologian Has An Answer To Atheists’ Claims That Evil Disproves God – Jan, 2018
    Excerpt: In “The Last Superstition: A Refutation Of The New Atheism,” Feser, echoing Thomas Aquinas, notes that the first premise of the problem of evil is “simply false, or at least unjustifiable.” According to Feser, there is no reason to believe that the Christian God, being all-good and all-powerful, would prevent suffering on this earth if out of suffering he could bring about a good that is far greater than any that would have existed otherwise. If God is infinite in power, knowledge, goodness, etc., then of course he could bring about such a good.
    Feser demonstrates his reasoning with an analogy. A parent may allow his child a small amount of suffering in frustration, sacrifice of time, and minor pain when learning to play the violin, in order to bring about the good of establishing proficiency. This is not to say that such minimal suffering is in any way comparable to the horrors that have gone on in this world. But the joy of establishing proficiency with a violin is not in any way comparable to the good that God promises to bring to the world.
    In Christian theology, this good is referred to as the Beatific Vision: the ultimate, direct self-communication of God to the individual. In other words, perfect salvation or Heaven. Feser describes the Beatific Vision as a joy so great that even the most terrible horror imaginable “pales in insignificance before the beatific vision.” As Saint Paul once said, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
    Your Argument Assumes Its Conclusion
    I can already see the disciples of the Four Horsemen readying their keyboards, opening a copy of Dawkins’ “The God Delusion,” and preparing their response. An atheist may claim that he cannot possibly imagine anything in the next life that could possibly outweigh the Holocaust, children’s suffering, or any other instance of significant suffering in this world. According to Feser, this response is precisely the reason he states that the problem of evil is “worthless” as an objection to arguments in favor of the existence of the Christian God.
    The problem is that the only way the atheist can claim that nothing could outweigh the most significant suffering on earth is if he supposes that God does not exist and therefore there is no Beatific Vision. But he cannot presume that God does not exist in the premise of an argument that aims to prove the conclusion that God does not exist. By doing so, he is begging the question, or arguing in a circle, and therefore does not prove anything at all.
    As Feser goes on to demonstrate, the atheist is essentially stating: “There is no God, because look at all this suffering that no good could possibly outweigh. How do I know there’s no good that could outweigh it? Oh, because there is no God.”
    http://thefederalist.com/2018/.....oves-gods/

    Christianity itself certainly does not shy away from the Darwinist’s theologically based ‘argument from evil’:

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

    Verses and video:

    John 20:1-2
    The Empty Tomb
    Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

    1 Corinthians 15:55-57
    O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
    The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
    But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tmka1l8GAQ
    Solid Oval Object Under The Beard
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/s.....-the-beard

  94. 94
    tribune7 says:

    BA77 — Very good posts.

  95. 95
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77, you have just used ET’s flawed reasoning with the only difference being that you have gone from anthropocentric to mammalcentric. Your examples are of human pathogens whose ancestral form were non-pathogenic and, sometimes, beneficial to other mammals.

    But this discussion is about. ET and yourself are still cantering on the purpose of bacteria and viruses with respect to humans. Why are we not talking about the purpose of the bacteria? When we talk about the purpose and meaning of human life, we never talk about existing for the purpose of spreading the cold virus, or that we exist to press rats, cats and pigs throughout the world. Yet when we talk about the purpose and meaning of other life forms it is often in respect to how they benefit humans, either directly or indirectly. Humans could be wiped off the face of the earth and the rest of the biosphere would hardly notice.

    And for extra points, if the purpose of E. coli is to aid in digestion, why do we test for it in drinking water and issue boil water orders when it is found?

  96. 96
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith @

    AK: ET and yourself are still cantering on the purpose of bacteria and viruses with respect to humans.

    Like “function”, “purpose” is always with respect to something else. Baking bread has no purpose on its own, it has purpose (to feed) with respect to something else (e.g. hungry people).

    AK: Why are we not talking about the purpose of the bacteria?

    Relative to what? Again, “purpose” does not exist in isolation. When you ask about the purpose of something you should also specify the thing to which purpose relates.

  97. 97
    bornagain77 says:

    AK, the only flawed reasoning is your Darwinian reasoning (as if materialism, in its denial of free will, could even provide a coherent basis for reasoning in the first place).

    The Darwinian presupposition is that there is no purpose for anything, i.e. no teleology. As Provine himself admitted:

    “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind.”
    – William Provine

    Yet, as I have already shown in post 67, science itself is dependent on teleology. Moreover, biology itself is replete with teleological language,,,,

    https://uncommondescent.com/culture/do-atheists-find-meaning-in-life-from-inventing-fairy-tales/#comment-655236

    … and thus falsifies the primary Darwinian presupposition of “no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind.”

    Moreover, if I wanted to establish the anthropocentric view of reality as correct, I wouldn’t mess around with bacteria, but I would go straight to the heart of the matter and show that General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, (our best theories in science by far), have both now overturned the Copernican principle and/or the ‘principle of mediocrity’.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/astronomer-the-star-wars-we-grew-up-with-are-over-the-real-universe-is-lonelier/#comment-654880

    ,,, As well I would have referenced the fact that human beings alone, among all creatures on earth, possess a unique ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’, not through brute force as Darwinists would presuppose, but through this unique ability to infuse information into material substrates. Moreover, both the universe and life itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    Humanity – Chemical Scum or Made in the Image of God? – video
    https://youtu.be/ElBWAwjPzyM

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ than finding both the universe, and life itself, are both ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and, moreover, have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our unique ability infuse information into material substrates.

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Perhaps a more convincing evidence that we are made in the image of God and that our lives have meaning and purpose could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was indeed God.

    But who has ever heard of such a thing as that?

    “Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth — truth about the whole of reality.”
    – Francis Schaeffer –

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NziDraiPiOw

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Matthew 28:18
    Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth!

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis&list=PLtAP1KN7ahia8hmDlCYEKifQ8n65oNpQ5&index=5

    Thus in conclusion, far from what atheists profess to believe,,,, that they are basically just chemical scum whose lives have no more meaning than slime mold, the fact of the matter is that multiple lines of evidence from science itself attest to the fact that each of us have far more significance and meaning in this universe than what Darwinists have presupposed.

  98. 98
    ET says:

    Allan Keith- The only flaw is you.

    And for extra points, if the purpose of E. coli is to aid in digestion, why do we test for it in drinking water and issue boil water orders when it is found?

    Already covered- random mutations to a once good design.

  99. 99
    LocalMinimum says:

    AK @ 94:

    Humans could be wiped off the face of the earth and the rest of the biosphere would hardly notice.

    I think proponents of artificial global warming would strongly disagree.

    You seem to be demanding that BA77 and ET justify your metaphysical axiom, the Copernican principle, when it’s absolutely unnecessary, even contradictory, to their point.

    If you were Bugs Bunny, perhaps you could have them hold that slingshot while you pull it away from them and load a rhetorical rock ala “Rabbit Punch”.

    AS ET says, there are commensal and pathogenic strains of E.Coli that are genetically distinct.

    Bacterial infections can be “opportunistic”, i.e. beneficial or even necessary but harmful in the wrong place. Similarly, formaldehyde is a necessary metabolic agent, and we have enzymes in the very necessary lysosomes of every cell that could melt us right down and become an issue when penetrated by insoluble asbestos fibers.

    If the block cracks in the car engine, water can enter the oil circuit, causing destructive corrosion.

    Necessary operating configuration and system failure doesn’t contradict meaning; in fact, it’s only through purpose ascribed to function, that necessary operating configurations and system failure can even be considered.

  100. 100
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Allan Keith- The only flaw is you.

    I will take that with the respect it is due.

    Already covered- random mutations to a once good design.

    How is that an answer to why we test drinking warer for E. coli? The test that is used doesn’t even detect E. coli 0157.

  101. 101
    bornagain77 says:

    AK, respect is primarily earned from others, respecting oneself over and above others is called conceit.

    You have certainly not earned my respect!

    Moreover, there is no ‘you’ to respect under the premises of reductive materialism, Only a neuronal illusion that seeks to have some sort of illusory respect that is gained from upholding some illusory standards of righteousness.

    Quit being a coward and embrace your nihilism man! Anything you do, say, or think is completely meaningless under atheistic materialism.

    When you die, you’re not going to be surprised, because you’re going to be completely dead. Now if I find myself aware after I’m dead, I’m going to be really surprised! But at least I’m going to go to hell, where I won’t have all of those grinning preachers from Sunday morning listening.

    Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.”
    William Provine
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/09/william_provine/

    Unfortunately for Provine and other atheists. There most certainly is a heaven and hell, and there most certainly is life after death:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKggH8jO0pk

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

  102. 102
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    How is that an answer to why we test drinking warer for E. coli?

    The reason we test water is because someone or some people got sick and/ or died by drinking that which we need to live. It’s a cause and effect thing that you seem to have trouble with. In this case the cause was most likely one or more bad strains of E coli- bad for us

    The test that is used doesn’t even detect E. coli 0157.

    And? We don’t want to take any chances so we eradicate E coli from the water. Ya see, we know what tests OK now can- wait for it- mutate and become harmful. Then there is our genetic entropy to consider also.

  103. 103
    ET says:

    Bacteria are required for healthy soil. They are required to make cheese- there that’s anthropocentric for ya. They help us digest our food. They help other organisms digest their food.

  104. 104
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    The reason we test water is because someone or some people got sick and/ or died by drinking that which we need to live. It’s a cause and effect thing that you seem to have trouble with. In this case the cause was most likely one or more bad strains of E coli- bad for us.

    Nice guess. Would you like to try for double or nothing?

  105. 105
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    You have certainly not earned my respect!

    You will never know how little that affects me.

  106. 106
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Bacteria are required for healthy soil. They are required to make cheese- there that’s anthropocentric for ya. They help us digest our food. They help other organisms digest their food.

    All very true. But is that their purpose, or a consequence of their existence and proliferation?

  107. 107
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Nice guess.

    Wow, for a guess it is spot on!

    But is that their purpose, or a consequence of their existence and proliferation?

    Purpose.

  108. 108
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Wow, for a guess it is spot on!

    Not even close. E.coli is tested because it’s presence is an indication of faecal contamination. And if there is faecal contamination, there may be the presence of pathogens associated with faecal matter. The test is not even capable of detecting the pathogenic strains of E. coli.

    Purpose.

    So, the purpose of bacteria is to allow other things to live and to thrive. Thanks for clarifying what your opinion is.

  109. 109
    bornagain77 says:

    “You will never know how little that affects me.”

    Alas, I do know. Conceit rarely allows one a true measure of ones true stature among his peers.

    Regardless of how enamored you are by your own opinions, I find them to be utterly void of anything resembling a solid foundation., i.e. They are worthless.

    And I am sure you will continue lying to yourself that your opinions are above reproach. Which I find to be pathetic!

    Thus since you are hopeless, my goal, and purpose, has been to expose you for the fraud you are. Thanks for cooperating so magnanimously in this endeavor! 🙂

  110. 110
    Seversky says:

    Do we agree there is a difference between ‘purpose’ and ‘function’?

    As I see it, put simply, ‘function’ is just what something does whereas as ‘purpose’ is an end or objective conceived in the mind of an intelligent agent capable of such thought. You could say that the function of both a river and a canal is to move water from one place to another. That is what they do. But one of them – the canal – was designed to perform that function by human engineers, so that is also its purpose. The river does much the same thing but – so far as we can tell – it was not designed.

    There are a huge number of bacteria on this planet, some of which are harmful or even lethal to human beings but other of which are beneficial or even essential to human life and other living things. Do we have any reason for believing that the beneficial ones were designed for the good of humanity whereas the harmful ones were not designed?

    And talking of design in biology, what designer in his, her or its right mind would employ materials or systems that were bound to mutate away from their original purpose within the foreseeable future? Would Boeing or Airbus engineers designing the next generation of airliner build it using a metal that they knew could mutate into rubber within the lifetime of the design? I doubt that would be very good for business.

  111. 111
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    E.coli is tested because it’s presence is an indication of faecal contamination. And if there is faecal contamination, there may be the presence of pathogens associated with faecal matter.

    Right, rogue E coli is such a pathogen.

    So, the purpose of bacteria is to allow other things to live and to thrive

    It’s part of the design. Inert dirt isn’t any good.

  112. 112
    ET says:

    Seversky- If you read “The Privileged Planet” the evidence points to a universe designed for scientific discovery. The evidence says the earth was intelligently designed. The purpose of the rivers is to move and dissolve minerals and nutrients. To irrigate the lands.

    Lightning produces nitrates which then rain down and become fertilizer. Those details.

    The bad bacteria could have been designed it is just that it is harmful to us. Cars aren’t designed to harm us but they do. But we know that mutations happen.

    And talking of design in biology, what designer in his, her or its right mind would employ materials or systems that were bound to mutate away from their original purpose within the foreseeable future?

    It cannot be helped in the physical world-> entropy and all.

    Would Boeing or Airbus engineers designing the next generation of airliner build it using a metal that they knew could mutate into rubber within the lifetime of the design? I doubt that would be very good for business.

    When they can grow a jet from a single cell let us know. When they can just design that cell and have it produce a fleet of jets, let us know. Otherwise you are just talking out of your bottom.

  113. 113
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Right, rogue E coli is such a pathogen.

    Except that the drinking water testing methods can’t detect it when it is present.

    It’s part of the design. Inert dirt isn’t any good.

    Any good for what? Why would bacteria care if their waste products can be used by something else?

  114. 114
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    Thus since you are hopeless, my goal, and purpose, has been to expose you for the fraud you are. Thanks for cooperating so magnanimously in this endeavor! ????

    That seems like an awfully small and meaningless goal and purpose to have in life. But if my existence is required to bring meaning to your life, I am more than happy to serve that purpose. 🙂

  115. 115
    bornagain77 says:

    Just today’s purpose. And just a squirrel cracking a Darwinian NUT! But purpose it is!

    But anyways, please do elaborate on how one derives real meaning and purpose from a worldview that denies any real meaning and purpose exists.

    Perhaps you can go back to the beginning of your worldview, i.e. of you being a neuronal illusion with illusory free will, and then work out from there to derive ‘real’ meaning and purpose.

    This should be interesting.

    I’ll go get the popcorn:

    https://gifer.com/en/5gq

  116. 116
    bornagain77 says:

    The same question is for you Seversky, might as well crack to nuts with one stone.

  117. 117
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Except that the drinking water testing methods can’t detect it when it is present.

    Right, they detect for E coli and then clean it all up. The bad E coli is part of that.

    Any good for what?

    The intelligent design of the earth.

    Why would bacteria care if their waste products can be used by something else?

    What does it matter what they care about?

  118. 118
    bornagain77 says:

    To elaborate on ET’s ‘Privileged Planet’ comment at 111,,

    The purpose of the rivers is to move and dissolve minerals and nutrients. To irrigate the lands.

    If any molecule ever gave evidence of being designed, it is the water molecule:

    When we look at water, the most common substance on earth (covering 71% of the surface) and in our bodies, (averaging around 57-60% for adults), we find many odd characteristics which clearly appear to be designed. These oddities are absolutely essential for life on earth. Some simple life can exist without the direct energy of sunlight, some simple life can exist without oxygen; but no life can exist without water. Water is called a universal solvent because it has the unique ability to dissolve a far wider range of substances than any other solvent. This ‘universal solvent’ ability of water is essential to dissolve minerals and nutrients in the first place and also for the cells of living organisms to process the wide range of substances necessary for life. Another oddity is water expands as it becomes ice, by an increase of about 9% in volume. Thus, water floats when it becomes a solid instead of sinking. This is an exceedingly rare ability. Water is the only non-metallic substance on Earth with this property. Yet if it were not for this fact, lakes and oceans would freeze from the bottom up. The earth would be a frozen wasteland, and human life would not be possible. Water also has the unusual ability to pull itself into very fine tubes and small spaces, defying gravity. This is called capillary action. This action is essential for the breakup of mineral bearing rocks into soil. Water pulls itself into tiny spaces on the surface of a rock and freezes; it expands and breaks the rock into tinier pieces, thus producing soil. Capillary action is also essential for the movement of water through soil to the roots of plants. It is also essential for the movement of water from the roots to the tops of the plants, even to the tops of the mighty redwood trees,,,

    Prometheus Unbound: The Fitness of Nature for Large Trees – Michael Denton March 27, 2015
    Excerpt: Many conditions must be met if large woody trees are to be possible.,,,
    (evaporative cooling, slow breakdown of lignin, and viscosity of water, are discussed),,,
    Concluding paragraph: Without the ensemble of unique fitness that raises water in trees there would be no wood, fire, metallurgy, or modern technology. Nor would you be reading these paragraphs; nature would not be properly fit for mankind to utilize his cognitive powers to understand the world. It is wonderfully fitting that this unique and stunningly elegant mechanism is intimately related to our role as explorers and manipulators of the world, providing a further indicator supportive of the anthropocentric notion of a world order focused on our being.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94751.html

    ,,,Capillary action is also essential for the circulation of the blood in our very own capillary blood vessels. Water’s melting and boiling point are not where common sense would indicate they should be when we look at its molecular weight. The three sister compounds of water all behave as would be predicted by their molecular weight. Oddly, water just happens to have melting and boiling points that are of optimal biological utility. The other properties of water we measure, like its specific slipperiness (viscosity) and its ability to absorb and release more heat than any other natural substance, have to be as they are in order for life to be possible on earth. Even the oceans have to be the size they are in order to stabilize the temperature of the earth so human life may be possible.

    Oceans vital for possibility for alien life – July 20, 2014
    Excerpt: “Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....203459.htm

    Water-Land Ratio of Habitable Planets – 2015
    Excerpt: In addition, recent studies on habitability of planets suggest that the water-land ratio must be similar to the Earth. That is, the water mass fraction should not be far from that of the Earth’s (~0.01wt%): planets with too much water (> 1 wt%)-“ocean planets”-lead to an unstable climate and lack of nutrient supply; and water-poor planets like Venus -“dune planets”-become too arid for inhabiting.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-planets/

    Study: Deep beneath the earth, more water than in all the oceans combined – June 16, 2014
    Excerpt: And its a good thing, too, Jacobsen told New Scientist: “We should be grateful for this deep reservoir. If it wasn’t there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountain tops would be the only land poking out.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/16/study-deep-beneath-north-america-theres-more-water-than-in-all-the-oceans-combined/

    On and on through each characteristic we can possibly measure water with, it turns out to be required to be exactly or almost exactly as it is for complex life on this earth to be possible. No other liquid in the universe comes anywhere near matching water in its fitness for life (Denton: Nature’s Destiny).

    Here are more notes on the wondrous life enabling properties of water:

    Multiple ‘anomalous’ life enabling properties of water
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/anmlies.html

    Water, Ultimate Giver of Life, Points to Intelligent Design – (Michael Denton 2017) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2i0g1sL-X4

    The Wonder of Water at the Nanoscale – December 21, 2017
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/12/the-wonder-of-water-at-the-nanoscale/

    Water’s remarkable capabilities – December 2010 – Peer Reviewed
    Excerpt: All these traits are contained in a simple molecule of only three atoms. One of the most difficult tasks for an engineer is to design for multiple criteria at once. … Satisfying all these criteria in one simple design is an engineering marvel. Also, the design process goes very deep since many characteristics would necessarily be changed if one were to alter fundamental physical properties such as the strong nuclear force or the size of the electron.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....42211.html

    Water’s quantum weirdness makes life possible – October 2011
    Excerpt: WATER’S life-giving properties exist on a knife-edge. It turns out that life as we know it relies on a fortuitous, but incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces.,,, They found that the hydrogen-oxygen bonds were slightly longer than the deuterium-oxygen ones, which is what you would expect if quantum uncertainty was affecting water’s structure. “No one has ever really measured that before,” says Benmore.
    We are used to the idea that the cosmos’s physical constants are fine-tuned for life. Now it seems water’s quantum forces can be added to this “just right” list.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....sible.html

  119. 119
    bornagain77 says:

    Water Is ‘Designer Fluid’ That Helps Proteins Change Shape – 2008
    Excerpt: “When bound to proteins, water molecules participate in a carefully choreographed ballet that permits the proteins to fold into their functional, native states. This delicate dance is essential to life.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....113314.htm

    Scientists glimpse why life can’t happen without water – June 20, 2016
    Water molecules control protein motion, study finds
    Excerpt: Water molecules typically flow around each other at picosecond speeds, while proteins fold at nanosecond speeds–1,000 times slower. Previously, Zhong’s group demonstrated that water molecules slow down when they encounter a protein. Water molecules are still moving 100 times faster than a protein when they connect with it, however.
    In the new study, the researchers were able to determine that the water molecules directly touched the protein’s “side chains,” the portions of the protein molecule that bind and unbind with each other to enable folding and function. The researchers were also able to note the timing of movement in the molecules.
    Computer simulations at the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) helped the researchers visualize what was going on: where the water moved a certain way, the protein folded nanoseconds later, as if the water molecules were nudging the protein into shape.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160620160214.htm

    “If the earth were slightly larger, it of course would have slightly larger gravity, which has interesting implications. It’s not just that a person who weighs 150 pounds would weigh more. It’s that if the earth had slightly more gravity than it now has, methane and ammonia gas, which have molecular weights of sixteen and seventeen, respectfully, would remain close to our surface. Since we cannot breathe methane and ammonia, which are toxic, we would die. More to the point, we would have never come into existence in the first place.,,,
    On the other hand, if earth were just a tiny bit smaller and had a bit less gravity, water vapor, which has a molecular weight of 18, would not stay down here close to the planet’s surface but would instead dissipate into the planets atmosphere. Obviously, without water we could not exist.”
    Eric Metaxas – Miracles – pages 38-39

    Rains On Different Worlds – info graphic (sulfuric acid rain, glass rain, diamond rain, iron rain, methane rain)
    http://tehgeektive.com/wp-cont.....lanets.jpg

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    Privileged Species – Michael Denton – video (2015)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoI2ms5UHWg

    Thus contrary to what Seversky and AK would prefer to believe, water gives every indication of being designed for a purpose. And that purpose, according to research done by Michael Denton, especially includes us!

  120. 120
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    But anyways, please do elaborate on how one derives real meaning and purpose from a worldview that denies any real meaning and purpose exists.

    No. I would rather not waste my time explaining something that you have already made up your mind about.

  121. 121
    ET says:

    Translation- Allan Keith doesn’t have a clue and doesn’t want people to see it is a poseur

  122. 122
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Translation- Allan Keith doesn’t have a clue and doesn’t want people to see it is a poseur.

    Says the person who doesn’t post under his real name. Meh.

  123. 123
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually Allan Keith it is not a matter of me ‘making up my mind’ as to whether or not real meaning and purpose can be derived from a worldview that denies real meaning and purpose exists in the first place. It simply follows straightforwardly from the law of non-contradiction. The law of non-contradiction is pretty much like breathing for humans. No thinking is required. It happens automatically, even for infants.

    Babies have logical reasoning before age one
    Deductive problem solving was previously thought to be beyond the reach of infants – November 18, 2015
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151118131813.htm

    Deductive_Logic
    – The most certain of all basic principles is that contradictory propositions are not true simultaneously. … This principle forms the foundation of reason, and especially of deductive logic. The goal of deductive logic is to derive the most powerful claims possible within the law of non-contradiction.
    https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Deductive_Logic

    Here is a hint to your fundamental problem with logic AK, something cannot be both real and unreal at the same time.

    Think about that. Take as long as you need. 🙂

  124. 124
    ET says:

    Wow, Allan Keith really told me! I am devastated

  125. 125
    Allan Keith says:

    BA77,

    Here is a hint to your fundamental problem with logic AK, something cannot be both real and unreal at the same time.

    Think about that. Take as long as you need.

    I don’t need to think about it. Whatever meaning and purpose my life has is what I chose it to have. It’s easy to do if you are capable of reasoning. But if you need someone else to tell you the purpose and meaning of your life, go for it.

  126. 126
    jdk says:

    ba77 writes,

    Actually Allan Keith it is not a matter of me ‘making up my mind’ as to whether or not real meaning and purpose can be derived from a worldview that denies real meaning and purpose exists in the first place.

    As I have said before, in different ways, ba77 and others who believe as he does do not get to define unilaterally what “real” meaning is. The quoted sentence is a tautology wherein the premise includes the conclusion. It says that a worldview that doesn’t agree with him about what “real” meaning is can’t have any “real”” meaning, because the only kind of “real” meaning that exists is “real” meaning as ba77 defines it.

    Totally circular.

  127. 127
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Whatever meaning and purpose my life has is what I chose it to have.

    Right, the small-minded kind unable to grasp the larger purpose.

    It’s easy to do if you are capable of reasoning.

    Simplicity for the simple minded

    But if you need someone else to tell you the purpose and meaning of your life, go for it.

    Strawman. No one is telling us. The mere fact that we are part of a grand intelligent design says it all.

  128. 128
    ET says:

    jdk:

    As I have said before, in different ways, ba77 and others who believe as he does do not get to define unilaterally what “real” meaning is.

    You do not get to tell us what we can define. 😛

    The quoted sentence is a tautology wherein the premise includes the conclusion.

    That doesn’t make it false or untrue.

  129. 129
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Right, the small-minded kind unable to grasp the larger purpose.

    More small minded than those who rely on others to tell them what meaning and purpose their lives have?

    Simplicity for the simple minded.

    Then it should be perfect for you. 🙂

    Strawman. No one is telling us. The mere fact that we are part of a grand intelligent design says it all.

    So, the purpose and meaning that your life has comes from a grand designer, but he doesn’t tell you what it is. Your designer is a jerk.

  130. 130
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    More small minded than those who rely on others to tell them what meaning and purpose their lives have?

    Small minded enough to make up stupid stuff like that

    Then it should be perfect for you

    Fortunately I am too smart to accept materialism as anything but a failed philosophy

    So, the purpose and meaning that your life has comes from a grand designer, but he doesn’t tell you what it is.

    Wrong again. That seems to be your specialty.

    Your designer is a jerk.

    Not when compared to you

  131. 131
    Origenes says:

    jdk @

    jdk: As I have said before, in different ways, ba77 and others who believe as he does do not get to define unilaterally what “real” meaning is.

    You were wrong then and you are wrong now. As per usual jdk, you do not understand. Nowhere does BA77 define what real meaning is — nor does he need to. Read the sentences you quoted again, this time with understanding:

    BA77: … it is not a matter of me ‘making up my mind’ as to whether or not real meaning and purpose can be derived from a worldview that denies real meaning and purpose exists in the first place. It simply follows straightforwardly from the law of non-contradiction.

    jdk: The quoted sentence is a tautology wherein the premise includes the conclusion.

    No, it is not. It does not say what you think it says.

    jdk: It says that a worldview that doesn’t agree with him about what “real” meaning is can’t have any “real”” meaning …

    Not at all, jdk. Not at all. It says that one (obviously) cannot derive real meaning and purpose from a worldview (materialism) that denies the existence of real meaning and purpose.

  132. 132
    bornagain77 says:

    “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit.,,,”
    – Stephen Hawking – 1995 TV show, Reality on the Rocks: Beyond Our Ken,

    “human life has no more meaning than that of slime mould.”
    John Gray – Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals – page 33 – 2002

    “If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful. Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live happily and consistently.”
    – William Lane Craig

    The Absurdity of Life Without God – William Lane Craig
    Conclusion
    Now I want to make it clear that I have not yet shown biblical Christianity to be true. But what I have done is clearly spell out the alternatives. If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful. Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live happily and consistently. Therefore, it seems to me that even if the evidence for these two options were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose biblical Christianity. It seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and destruction to life, meaningfulness, and happiness. As Pascal said, we have nothing to lose and infinity to gain.
    https://www.bethinking.org/is-there-meaning-to-life/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god

    Moreover, science itself now refutes the atheistic claim that “human life has no more meaning than that of slime mould.”

    Contrary to what is believed by the vast majority of people today about the Copernican Principle, apparently by both Christians and atheists alike, recent advances in science have restored the earth and humanity to a special, even central, position within the universe.

    First off, in the 4 dimensional spacetime of Einstein’s General Relativity, we find that each 3-Dimensional point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe,,,

    Where is the centre of the universe?:
    Excerpt: There is no centre of the universe! According to the standard theories of cosmology, the universe started with a “Big Bang” about 14 thousand million years ago and has been expanding ever since. Yet there is no centre to the expansion; it is the same everywhere. The Big Bang should not be visualized as an ordinary explosion. The universe is not expanding out from a centre into space; rather, the whole universe is expanding and it is doing so equally at all places, as far as we can tell.
    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/.....entre.html

    ,,, and since any 3-Dimensional point can be considered central in the 4-Dimensional space time of General Relativity, then it is now left completely open to whomever is making a model of the universe to decide for themselves what is to be considered central in the universe,,,

    How Einstein Revealed the Universe’s Strange “Nonlocality” – George Musser | Oct 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Under most circumstances, we can ignore this nonlocality. You can designate some available chunk of matter as a reference point and use it to anchor a coordinate grid. You can, to the chagrin of Santa Barbarans, take Los Angeles as the center of the universe and define every other place with respect to it. In this framework, you can go about your business in blissful ignorance of space’s fundamental inability to demarcate locations.,,
    In short, Einstein’s theory is nonlocal in a more subtle and insidious way than Newton’s theory of gravity was. Newtonian gravity acted at a distance, but at least it operated within a framework of absolute space. Einsteinian gravity has no such element of wizardry; its effects ripple through the universe at the speed of light. Yet it demolishes the framework, violating locality in what was, for Einstein, its most basic sense: the stipulation that all things have a location. General relativity confounds our intuitive picture of space as a kind of container in which material objects reside and forces us to search for an entirely new conception of place.
    http://www.scientificamerican......nlocality/

    Einstein himself stated, The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS [coordinate systems].”

    “Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS.”
    Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);

    Fred Hoyle and George Ellis add their considerable weight here in these following two quotes:

    “The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.”
    Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973.

    “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations… For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations… You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds… What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.”
    – George Ellis – W. Wayt Gibbs, “Profile: George F. R. Ellis,” Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55

    As Einstein himself notes, there simply is no test that can be performed that can prove the earth is not the center of the universe:

    “One need not view the existence of such centrifugal forces as originating from the motion of K’ [the Earth]; one could just as well account for them as resulting from the average rotational effect of distant, detectable masses as evidenced in the vicinity of K’ [the Earth], whereby K’ [the Earth] is treated as being at rest.”
    –Albert Einstein, quoted in Hans Thirring, “On the Effect of Distant Rotating Masses in Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation”, Physikalische Zeitschrift 22, 29, 1921

    “If one rotates the shell *relative to the fixed stars* about an axis going through its center, a Coriolis force arises in the interior of the shell, *that is, the plane of a Foucault pendulum is dragged around*”
    –Albert Einstein, cited in “Gravitation”, Misner Thorne and Wheeler pp. 544-545.

    Here are a few more references that drives this point home:

    “We can’t feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.,,,
    If all the objects in space were removed save one, then no one could say whether that one remaining object was at rest or hurtling through the void at 100,000 miles per second”
    Historian Lincoln Barnett – “The Universe and Dr. Einstein” – pg 73 (contains a foreword by Albert Einstein)

    “…Thus we may return to Ptolemy’s point of view of a ‘motionless earth’… One has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein’s field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space. Thus from Einstein’s point of view, Ptolemy and Copernicus are equally right.”
    Born, Max. “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity”, Dover Publications,1962, pgs 344 & 345:

    Even Stephen Hawking himself, who claimed that we are just chemical scum on an insignificant planet, stated that it is not true that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong,,, the real advantage of the Copernican system is simply that the equations of motion are much simpler in the frame of reference in which the sun is at rest.”

    “So which is real, the Ptolemaic or Copernican system? Although it is not uncommon for people to say that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true. As in the case of our normal view versus that of the goldfish, one can use either picture as a model of the universe, for our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the earth or the sun to be at rest.
    Despite its role in philosophical debates over the nature of our universe, the real advantage of the Copernican system is simply that the equations of motion are much simpler in the frame of reference in which the sun is at rest.”
    Stephen Hawking – The Grand Design – pages 39 – 2010

    Even individual people can be considered to be central in the universe according to the four-dimensional space-time of General Relativity,,,

    You Technically Are the Center of the Universe – May 2016
    Excerpt: (due to the 1 in 10^120 finely tuned expansion of the 4-D space-time of General Relativity) no matter where you stand, it will appear that everything in the universe is expanding around you. So the center of the universe is technically — everywhere.
    The moment you pick a frame of reference, that point becomes the center of the universe.
    Here’s another way to think about it: The sphere of space we can see around us is the visible universe. We’re looking at the light from stars that’s traveled millions or billions of years to reach us. When we reach the 13.8 billion-light-year point, we’re seeing the universe just moments after the Big Bang happened.
    But someone standing on another planet, a few light-years to the right, would see a different sphere of the universe. It’s sort of like lighting a match in the middle of a dark room: Your observable universe is the sphere of the room that the light illuminates.
    But someone standing in a different spot in the room will be able to see a different sphere. So technically, we are all standing at the center of our own observable universes.
    https://mic.com/articles/144214/you-technically-are-the-center-of-the-universe-thanks-to-a-wacky-physics-quirk

    ,,, In fact, when Einstein’s formulated both Special and General relativity, he gave a hypothetical observer a privileged frame of reference in which to make measurements in the universe.

    Introduction to special relativity
    Excerpt: Einstein’s approach was based on thought experiments, calculations, and the principle of relativity, which is the notion that all physical laws should appear the same (that is, take the same basic form) to all inertial observers.,,,
    Each observer has a distinct “frame of reference” in which velocities are measured,,,,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....relativity

    The happiest thought of my life.
    Excerpt: In 1920 Einstein commented that a thought came into his mind when writing the above-mentioned paper he called it “the happiest thought of my life”:
    “The gravitational field has only a relative existence… Because for an observer freely falling from the roof of a house – at least in his immediate surroundings – there exists no gravitational field.”
    http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/.....ode85.html

    Whereas, on the other hand, in Quantum Mechanics it is the measurement itself that gives each observer a privileged frame of reference in the universe.

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    In fact, in quantum mechanics humans are brought into the laws of physics at the most fundamental level instead of humans being a result of the laws of physics as Darwinists had falsely imagined us to be.

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

    Richard Conn Henry who is Professor of Physics at John Hopkins University states “It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.”

    “It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial, and have fears and agonies that are very similar to the fears and agonies that Copernicus and Galileo went through with their perturbations of society.”
    Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/quantum.enigma.html

  133. 133
    jdk says:

    Just FYI and FTR: Your last sentence, Origenes, makes the same mistake that ba77 does.

  134. 134
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, there are Anomalies in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation that strangely line up with the solar system and earth.

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf

    Here is the graph of the alignment of the CMB with the plane of the earth’s orbit from the Huterer 2007 paper:

    Here is the actual graph of the alignment from the Huterer 2007 paper (worth a thousand words):
    http://i44.servimg.com/u/f44/1.....is_o10.jpg

    The following study indicated that the observed alignments are with the ecliptic plane, with the equinox, or with the CMB dipole, and not with the Galactic plane:

    Large-Angle Anomalies in the CMB – 2010
    Excerpt Our studies (see [14]) indicate that the observed alignments are with the ecliptic plane, with the equinox, or with the CMB dipole, and not with the Galactic plane: the alignments of the quadrupole and octopole planes with the equinox/ecliptic/dipole directions are much more significant than those for the Galactic plane. Moreover, it is remarkably curious that it is precisely the ecliptic alignment that has been found on somewhat smaller scales using the power spectrum analyses of statistical isotropy,
    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aa/2010/847541/

    Here is a 2013 Planck papers which further confirmed Huterer’s 2007 paper:

    Large-scale alignments from WMAP and Planck – 2013
    We revisit the alignments of the largest structures observed in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using the seven and nine-year WMAP and first-year Planck data releases. The observed alignments — the quadrupole with the octopole and their joint alignment with the direction of our motion with respect to the CMB (the dipole direction) and the geometry of the Solar System (defined by the Ecliptic plane) — are generally in good agreement with results from the previous WMAP data releases.,,, both the WMAP and Planck data confirm the alignments of the largest observable CMB modes in the Universe.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.4562

    The Anomalies in the CMB that correlate back to the solar system and the earth were dubbed the Axis of Evil because of the damage it does to current theories

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    Excerpt: The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    And at the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMB anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    Moreover besides the earth and solar system lining up with the anomalies in the Cosmic Background Radiation, Radio Astronomy now reveals a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4134.pdf

    Moreover, in the following paper, Robin Collins found that photons coming from the CMB are ‘such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.’

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Predictive and Explanatory Power of Discoverability – Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    ,,, The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    ,,, The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

  135. 135
    bornagain77 says:

    In relation to photons from the CMB being ‘such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.’, in the Privileged Planet video and book we find that “The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.”

    “The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.”
    – Jay Richards – The Privileged Planet – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ohuG3Vj_48&list=PLbzQ4aXdqWD-9kjFsSm-cxNlzgrkJuko7

    Moreover, in the following video, astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross reveals that We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History to see the Cosmic Background Radiation, or as he put it in the video, we live at the right time to see ‘God creating the universe’:

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History to see the Cosmic Background Radiation – Hugh Ross – video (7:12 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/MxOGeqVOsvc?t=431

    As well, in relation to living at the right time in cosmic history to see God creating the universe, in the following article Dr. Hugh Ross, via Brandon Carter and the anthropic inequality, reveals that we also just so happen live in the narrow window of what he termed to be the human habitability time

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    Moreover, although atheists assume that planets that are able to support intelligent life are fairly common in the universe, the fact of the matter is the probability of finding another planet that is able to support life in this universe is virtually impossible. These following videos and article drive this point home:

    The Probability of Life’s Existence Elsewhere in the Universe – Dr. Hugh Ross – (1 in 10^239) – (19:16 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/B3TghMIVjvc?t=1156

    On the Origin and Design of the Universe – Dr. Michael Strauss – video (privileged planet 37:30 minute mark)
    https://vimeo.com/9031779

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt: Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    In further establishing our centrality in this vast universe, in the following video, physicist Neil Turok states that we live in the middle, or at the geometric mean, between the largest scale in physics and the smallest scale in physics:

    “So we can go from 10 to the plus 25 to 10 to the minus 35. Now where are we? Well the size of a living cell is about 10 to the minus 5. Which is halfway between the two. In mathematical terms, we say it is the geometric mean. We live in the middle between the largest scale in physics,,, and the tiniest scale [in physics].”
    – Neil Turok as quoted at the 14:40 minute mark
    The Astonishing Simplicity of Everything – Neil Turok Public Lecture – video (12:00 minute mark, we live in the geometric mean, i.e. the middle, of the universe)
    https://youtu.be/f1x9lgX8GaE?t=715

    Here is a picture that gets his point across very clearly:

    The Scale: 10^-35m to 10^-5m to 10^25m – picture
    http://www.timeone.ca/wp-conte.....-scale.jpg

    The following interactive graph is also very interesting to the topic of geometric ‘centrality in the universe’:

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph (updated in 2012 with cool features)
    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale.....olor=white

    As you can see, the preceding interactive graph pegs the geometric mean at 10^-4 meters , which just so happens to correspond to the limits to human vision as well as the size of the human egg.
    This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision as well as the size of the human egg could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly at the geometric mean.

  136. 136
    Origenes says:

    jdk: Just FYI and FTR: Your last sentence, Origenes, makes the same mistake that ba77 does.

    Just FYI and FTR: There is no mistake, jdk.

  137. 137
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, in 2013 Michael Denton’s wrote a paper detailing the fact that chemistry itself is of maximum benefit ‘for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves’.

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    In 2015, a video was made which highlighted Michael Denton’s preceding paper

    Privileged Species – How the cosmos is designed for human life – video (2015)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoI2ms5UHWg

    And again in 2016, Michael Denton’s work was further highlighted in another video entitled ‘Fire Maker”

    Fire-Maker – Michael Denton – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an98jVCyApo

    A Reasonable, but Incomplete, Account of How Humans Mastered Fire – Michael Denton – August 4, 2016
    In short, the discovery of fire, our subsequent mastery of it, and the road it opened up to an advanced technology were only possible because of our inhabiting a world almost exactly like planet earth, complete with atmospheric conditions exactly as they are, along with the properties of carbon and oxygen atoms (and indeed many of the other atoms of the periodic table), and because we possessed a unique anatomical design (including the hand) uniquely fit for fire-making.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03048.html

    In this 2017 video, Michael Denton further elucidated that water has some properties that are of maximum benefit for humans in particular:

    Water, Ultimate Giver of Life, Points to Intelligent Design
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2i0g1sL-X4

    And although the purported evidence for human evolution is far weaker and illusory than most people realize, as this following video and papers briefly highlight,,,

    “Contested Bones” (Part 1 – Prologue and Chapter 1 “Power of the Paradigm”) 1-27-2018 by Paul Giem
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ZOKj-YaHA&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNU_twNBjopIqyFOwo_bTkXm

    (March 2018)
    1. The DNA similarity (between chimps and humans) is not nearly as close to 99% as Darwinists have falsely portrayed it to be.
    2. Even if DNA were as similar as Darwinists have falsely portrayed it to be, the basic ‘form’ that any organism may take is not reducible to DNA, (nor is the basic ‘form’ reducible to any other material particulars in molecular biology, (proteins, RNAs, etc.. etc.. ,,), that Darwinists may wish to invoke. That is to say, ‘you can mutate DNA til the cows come home’ and you will still not achieve a fundamental change in the basic form of an organism. And since the basic ‘form’ of an organism is forever beyond the explanatory power of Darwinian mechanisms, then any belief that Darwinism explains the ‘transformation of forms’ for all of life on earth is purely a pipe dream that has no experimental basis in reality.
    3. To further drive this point home, Dolphins and Kangaroos, although being very different morphologically from humans, are found to have very similar DNA sequences.
    4. Where differences are greatest between chimps and humans are in alternative splicing patterns. In fact ., due to alternative slicing, “Alternatively spliced isoforms,,, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,,” and “As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms,,”
    5. Although the behavioral differences between man and apes are far greater than many Darwinists are willing to concede, the one difference that most dramatically separates man from apes, i.e. our ability to speak, is the one unique attribute that leading Darwinists themselves admit that they have no clue how it could have possibly evolved, and is also the one attribute that most distinctly indicates that we are indeed ‘made in the image of God’.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/comparing-human-and-chimp-dna-using-a-software-analogy/#comment-654633

    Although the purported evidence for human evolution is far weaker and illusory than most people realize, it is interesting to note that leading Darwinists themselves admit that they have no clue how evolution could have produced the particular trait of language in humans.

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    In other words, although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, and sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and, more specifically, infuse information into material substrates,,

    What is more interesting still, besides the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information and have become ‘masters of the planet’ through the ‘top-down’ infusion of information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ than finding both the universe, and life itself, are both ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and, moreover, have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our unique ability infuse information into material substrates.

    Verses:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Moreover, since the ability to assign meaning must preexist the creation of functional information, then finding functional information to be foundational to life is almost directly equivalent to finding that there must be a far deeper meaning for life

    What Does “Life’s Conservation Law” Actually Say? – Winston Ewert – December 3, 2015
    Excerpt: All information must eventually derive from a source external to the universe,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01331.html

  138. 138
    ET says:

    “Thick as a brick” JT

    Anywho- the point is under the ID scenario there is a reason for our existence. That means there is a greater purpose than just our own personal, mundane world. Some of that has been teased out in “The Privileged Planet” and subsequent work (Denton). And guess what? We get to have that personal purpose too!

    Under materialism we are nothing more than lucky accidents (SJ Gould). Anything we do and feel is OK. That we can do and feel is a miracle beyond miracles that we are unable to comprehend. So of course we would be forced to focus on the limited and mundane (never mind the fact that we wouldn’t exist)

  139. 139
    bornagain77 says:

    Besides physics and chemistry revealing purpose for humanity, and to further drive the point home that Atheists, (i.e. neuronal illusions), are deluding themselves with their claim that “our self-admitted made up and imaginary purposes for our lives are just as real as the real purposes Christian’s hold that they have for their lives”,,, in regards to that false claim from atheists, it is good to note that psychology itself reveals that atheists are deluding themselves with their belief that their ‘made up and imaginary purposes’ are just as good, and ‘real’, as the Christian’s purposes. The destructive effects of the hopeless nihilism inherent in the atheistic worldview is not to be warded off by such made up ‘imaginary purposes’ of atheists: Specifically,,,

    “ I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PR11#v=onepage&q&f=false
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Is Christianity Evil? (Mental Benefits of Christianity – Meta-analysis, 8:24 minute mark) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dgESPmh-TxY#t=504

    Lack of ultimate meaning in life associated with alcohol abuse, drug addiction and other mental health problems – August 2015
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092911.htm

    Of snakebites and suicide – February 18, 2014
    RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-suicide/

    Knowledge of the afterlife deters suicide. Lessons From the Light by Kenneth Ring and Evelyn Elsaesser p.257-258:
    As far as I know, the first clinician to make use of NDE material in this context was a New York psychologist named John McDonagh. In 1979, he presented a paper at a psychological convention that described his success with several suicidal patients using a device he called “NDE bibliotherapy.” His “technique” was actually little more than having his patients read some relevant passages from Raymond Moody’s book, Reflections on Life after Life, after which the therapist and his patient would discuss its implications for the latter’s own situation. McDonagh reports that such an approach was generally quite successful not only in reducing suicidal thoughts but also in preventing the deed altogether.

    Since McDonagh’s pioneering efforts, other clinicians knowledgeable about the NDE who have had the opportunity to counsel suicidal patients have also reported similar success. Perhaps the most notable of these therapists is Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist now at the University of Virginia, whose specialty as a clinician has been suicidology. He is also the author of a classic paper on NDEs and suicide which the specialist may wish to consult for its therapeutic implications. (14)
    Quite apart from the clinicians who have developed this form of what we might call “NDE-assisted therapy,” I can draw upon my own personal experience here to provide additional evidence of how the NDE has helped to deter suicide. The following case,,,
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/201.....lains.html

    One final note, choosing to believe in imaginary purposes so as to avoid dealing forthrightly with the devastating nihilistic implications inherent in their chosen worldview, is called ‘living in denial’. Denialism is a mental illness in itself.

    But alas, atheists have a long history of choosing to believe in imaginary things rather than ever believing in God who is the source of all of reality: i.e. Atheists have a long history of ‘living in denial’.

    Basically the atheist claims he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (atheists in present thread).
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-ubiquitin-system-functional-complexity-and-semiosis-joined-together/#comment-655355

    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheists worldview, least of all, meaning and purposes for life.

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  140. 140
    LocalMinimum says:

    I’m going to risk a rock to the head to say this: given consciousness, the experience is sufficiently enjoyable even if it’s ultimately meaningless to just appreciate it. Additionally, I could still please myself with utterly pointless morality; my personal experience would remain unharmed in my ignorance.

    But, I would find that prohibitively difficult with Nietzsche; who pretty well pegged what materialism offers. Even reduced to felicific calculus, Christianity clearly has more utility than materialism.

    However, to consider my pursuit of morality I either have to deny materialism, or consider conscious experience and the emergence of creatures capable of chasing even imaginary morality possible within it; I can’t support the latter. I mean, such mental function operates an uncounted number of degrees past the the immediate options that natural selection could punish less against.

    Never mind that materialism readily eats itself with its simultaneous demands of both the Copernican principle and the incredibly anthropocentric reduction of reality to human understanding.

  141. 141
    bornagain77 says:

    LocalMinimum as to this claim you made:

    “Additionally, I could still please myself with utterly pointless morality; my personal experience would remain unharmed in my ignorance.”

    And you would be wrong in your belief that you would ‘remain unharmed’ if you ‘please myself with utterly pointless morality’ i.e. with hedonism

    The genetic responses of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic and ‘noble’ moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    Thus, it is simply untrue that you would ‘remain unharmed’ by ‘completely pointless morality’.

    And again as mentioned in post 139, the harmful effect of living a life of ‘completely pointless morality’, i.e. hedonism, is revealed in psychology:

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Is Christianity Evil? (Mental Benefits of Christianity – Meta-analysis, 8:24 minute mark) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dgESPmh-TxY#t=504

    Humans simply are moral creatures through and through,,,

    The Moral Life of Babies – May 2010
    Excerpt: From Sigmund Freud to Jean Piaget to Lawrence Kohlberg, psychologists have long argued that we begin life as amoral animals.,,,
    A growing body of evidence, though, suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life. With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life. Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone.,,,
    Despite their overall preference for good actors over bad, then, babies are drawn to bad actors when those actors are punishing bad behavior.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05.....&_r=0

    Moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional, brain study shows – November 29, 2012
    Excerpt: People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows.
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....brain.html

    Moreover, the following studies actually show that our moral intuition itself transcends space and time:

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    Can Your Body Sense Future Events Without Any External Clue? (meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010) – (Oct. 22, 2012)
    Excerpt: “But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand,,,
    This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.
    “I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,'” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”
    – per science daily

    Also of interest, social isolation is also found to be harmful:

    Social isolation and its health implications January 2012
    Excerpt: Studies show that social isolation and/or loneliness predict morbidity and mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a host of other diseases. In fact, the body perceives loneliness as a threat. Research from the University of California suggests that loneliness or lack of social support could triple the odds of being diagnosed with a heart condition. Redford Williams and his colleagues at Duke University directed a study in 1992 on heart patients and their relationships. They discovered that 50% of patients with heart disease who did not have a spouse or someone to confide in died within five years, while only 17% of those who did have a confidante died in the same time period.12
    http://www.how-to-be-healthy.o.....lications/

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

    As well, solitary confinement is considered to be an ‘extra’ punishment in prison!

    Thus, apparently the Christian ethic of ‘loving others as you love yourself’ is also built into us at a very fundamental level.

    Thus in conclusion, the belief that one can just make up ones own meaning and morality for life as one goes along, or the belief that one can ‘please myself with utterly pointless morality’, i.e. with hedonism, is simply untrue. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated, ‘we live in a moral universe’

    “The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”
    – Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    To claim you can live a life of ‘pointless morality’ is to ignore the fact we live in a ‘moral universe’!

    Also of note, since atheists deny they have a soul, it is simply impossible for atheists to derive any true meaning and value for human life in the first place.

    Just how do you derive true meaning and value for a person from a materialistic philosophy that maintains transcendent values are illusory? Under materialism, your resale value is about one dollar?

    How much is my body worth?
    Excerpt: The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils invested many a hard-earned tax dollar in calculating the chemical and mineral composition of the human body,,,,Together, all of the above (chemicals and minerals) amounts to less than one dollar!
    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia...../worth.asp

    I would like to think, despite the atheistic atrocities of abortion, euthanasia, Nazism and Communism, that most people intuitively know that they are worth far more value than a dollar?!? Atheists simply have no way to derive any true meaning or value for human life.

    Whereas in Theism, particularly in Christianity, there is no trouble whatsoever figuring out how much humans are really worth, since infinite Almighty God himself, through Jesus Christ, redeemed our souls: Thus our souls, i.e. our very lives, are of infinite worth!

    1 Corinthians 6:20
    For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

    Matthew 16:26
    And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    But as it is written:
    “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
    Nor have entered into the heart of man
    The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

  142. 142
    LocalMinimum says:

    Ahhh, well, I wouldn’t even consider Cyrenaic hedonism: it’s clearly as blind and dumb a heuristic as Dawkin’s blind watchmaker. Easy, cheap pleasure that ultimately ruins experience, even of itself.

    I would chase a refined ethical and utilitarian hedonism that considers the happiness of the community and quality of transcendent pleasure in beauty, sophistication of artifice, and mutually beneficial industry; rather than whatever I can filch from my immediate vicinity.

    However, it would seem that my ability to value such would be in line with having a designer with a view for the greater scale of things; and the Cyrenaic school would be quite a befitting result to a blind, purposeless, “kill, eat, breed!” contingency.

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