Intelligent Design

A Final Word on “Evidence”

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In several posts last month Dr. Torley and I led a spirited discussion on the nature of “evidence.” See here, here, here and here. Those discussions revealed there is a lot of confusion about this topic. This is especially the case when it comes to the purpose of evidence. Many of our materialist friends seem to believe that unless evidence compels belief it does not count as evidence at all. Worse, they seem to believe that merely by advancing an alternative explanation for some proposition, they have caused all of the evidence for the explanation advanced by their opponents to magically turn into non-evidence.  This is simply not the case.

Let’s go back to the dictionary. Evidence is “the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.”

The critical word there is “indicating.” To be evidence a fact need merely indicate that a proposition is true. It need not compel belief in the proposition. As I stated in one of my posts, a jury trial is a good example of this. In every jury trial both sides submit evidence to the jury. But in every jury trial only one side wins. Does that mean the losing side’s evidence was not evidence because the jury did not believe it? Of course not. Again, evidence “indicates.” It does not compel.

Consider Dr. Torley’s example of the evidence for the alleged levitations of St. Joseph of Cupertino in the 1600s. Dr. Torley states:

The records show at least 150 sworn depositions of witnesses of high credentials: cardinals, bishops, surgeons, craftsmen, princes and princesses who personally lived by his word, popes, inquisitors, and countless variety of ordinary citizens and pilgrims. There are letters, diaries and biographies written by his superiors while living with him. Arcangelo di Rosmi recorded 70 incidents of levitation

I had never heard of St. Joseph of Cupertino prior to reading about him in Dr. Torley’s post. I did a little investigation and found out he was a real person and in fact to this day he is the patron saint of air travelers, aviators, astronauts, test takers and poor students.

Frankly, however, I remain incredulous about the reports of levitation. Does that mean I believe Dr. Torley failed to adduce any evidence at all that St. Joseph could levitate? Of course not. All of those reports to which Dr. Torley alluded indicate that belief in the proposition that St. Joseph could fly is valid.  Again, the key word is “indicate.”  To indicate means to point to a possibility.  Sure, there may be other possibilities (for example, the reports might be false).  An indication does not compel belief. It merely supports it. And that is what evidence does; its supports belief.  And that is the case even if that belief turns out to be false.  When a jury is presented with conflicting evidence they weigh all of the evidence and do their best to come to a reasonable conclusion.  If they reject evidence, that does not mean it was not evidence.  It means they found the evidence unpersuasive.

Thus, when I say I am disinclined to believe that St. Joseph could fly, I am not saying there is no evidence he could fly. Of course there is. I am merely saying I am not inclined to believe the evidence.  There is a huge epistemic difference between “there is no evidence” and “I personally find the evidence unpersuasive.”

Some of our atheist friends, on the other hand, seem to think that the word “evidence” means “that which I personally find persuasive.” As astounding at it may seem, they actually believe that if they personally find evidence to be non-persuasive they are justified in claiming it is not evidence in the first place. And of course that is just plain stupid. They are entitled to their own evaluation of the evidence. They are not entitled to change the meaning of words to suit their argument.

A word of advice to our atheist interlocutors. You are entitled logically to say to a theist, “In my judgment your evidence is unpersuasive.” But you cannot logically say “I have defined your evidence as non-evidence merely because I found it unpersuasive.”

Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

Why am I belaboring this point? Because I hope our arguments with atheists on this site will be challenging and interesting. And responding to stupid arguments like “there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of God” is tedious and boring.

319 Replies to “A Final Word on “Evidence”

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    Many times (most times?) evidence is lost, it’s gone, it disappears.

    In a trillion years the Cosmic Microwave Backround will be gone. Evidence of Big Bang will poof. http://m.space.com/11380-big-b.....years.html

    It’s good to write stuff down. Old and New Testaments are great historical documents. A “godsend” if you will;)

  2. 2
    Neil Rickert says:

    Misplace quotes?

    Surely it should be: A “final word” on evidence.

    We all know that there’s no such thing as a final word.

  3. 3
    tabasco says:

    Barry,

    Is the current color of Kim Kardashian’s hair evidence that there are infinitely many prime numbers?

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    It was also more than a word.

    So, shirley it should be: “Final words” on Evidence

    However we all know it is more like: More thoughts on “Evidence”

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    BA,

    thoughtful words on a pivotal issue in both logic and epistemology, with relevance to many situations.

    The fallacy of selective hyperskepticism runs deep.

    And, ironically if you or I find the favoured conclusions, arguments and adduced fact claims etc used by many advocates of evolutionary materialism (or its fellow travelers), they are apt to accuse us of:

    appeals to personal incredulity.

    The irony . . .

    KF

  6. 6
    News says:

    Personally, I have sometimes found it helpful to ask someone, “What evidence would you accept?” If the answer is that he would accept no evidence or else he says something flip, it’s best to just get out of the conversation.

    It is worth remembering that Darwin’s followers probably do not think the human mind is capable of forming correct conclusions anyway (as opposed to those that spread our genes).

    The main use of the conversation would be to help make that clear.

  7. 7
    redwave says:

    Evidence

    evidence (v.) “show clearly, prove, give evidence of,” c.1600, from evidence (n.) c.1300, “appearance from which inferences may be drawn,” from Old French evidence, from Late Latin evidentia “proof,” in classical Latin “distinction, vivid presentation, clearness” in rhetoric, from stem of Latin evidens “obvious, apparent”.

    evident (adj.) late c. 14, from Old French evident and directly from Latin evidentem (nominative evidens) “perceptible, clear, obvious, apparent” from ex- “fully, out of” (see ex-) + videntem (nominative videns), present participle of videre “to see”.

    Reference: http://www.etymonline.com/

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    AmHD:

    ev·i·dence
    (?v??-d?ns)
    n.
    1.
    a. A thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place. Scientists weighed the evidence for and against the hypothesis.

    b. Something indicative; an indication or set of indications: saw no evidence of grief on the mourner’s face.

    2. Law

    a. The means by which an allegation may be proven, such as oral testimony, documents, or physical objects.

    b. The set of legal rules determining what testimony, documents, and objects may be admitted as proof in a trial.
    tr.v. ev·i·denced, ev·i·denc·ing, ev·i·denc·es
    To indicate clearly; exemplify or prove: Her curiosity is evidenced by the number of books she owns.

    Idiom:
    in evidence

    1. Plainly visible; to be seen: It was early, and few pedestrians were in evidence on the city streets.

    2. Law As legal evidence: submitted the photograph in evidence.

    [Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin ?videntia, from Latin ?vid?ns, ?vident-, obvious; see evident.]

    KF

  9. 9
    tabasco says:

    Above, I asked:

    Barry,

    Is the current color of Kim Kardashian’s hair evidence that there are infinitely many prime numbers?

    I hope the reason for my question is obvious. If Barry answers ‘no’, then he is doing exactly what he has accused his “atheist friends” of doing:

    Some of our atheist friends, on the other hand, seem to think that the word “evidence” means “that which I personally find persuasive.” As astounding at it may seem, they actually believe that if they personally find evidence to be non-persuasive they are justified in claiming it is not evidence in the first place. And of course that is just plain stupid. They are entitled to their own evaluation of the evidence.

    Barry, if I tell you that Kim’s hair color is evidence for the infinitude of the primes, will you respond “Yes, you’re right?”

    Or will you follow the atheists’ sensible lead and say “That’s not evidence for the infinitude of primes”?

  10. 10
    Graham2 says:

    The records show at least 150 sworn depositions of witnesses of high credentials ….

    Could someone provide some sort of reference for this ?

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    Some of our atheist friends, on the other hand, seem to think that the word “evidence” means “that which I personally find persuasive.”

    Although the evidence for ID is overwhelming, I would like to point a rather humorous self-defeater to the materialist’s/atheist’s worldview. His worldview entails that his conscious, subjective, sense of self is merely an illusion. This puts our atheistic friend in quite a bind as to trying to persuade us that his judgement of evidence is more trustworthy than ours. Ross Douthat puts the awkward situation like this:

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession 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.)
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    Moreover, as if that were not bad enough, not only does the atheist insist that his sense of self is merely a neuronal illusion, but he goes on to compound the problem by insisting that he really has no free will, but that his free will is also merely an illusion that his neuronal illusion of self is having.
    In other words, his worldview boils down to an illusion of self having an illusion of free will! 🙂
    Moreover, by claiming that his free will is merely an illusion of his illusion of self, the atheist forfeits any and all rights to claim that he is arguing logically from the evidence:

    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

    Thus, if an atheists argues, “I” don’t find the evidence persuasive’, we can simply turn right around and ask him, “Exactly who is this “I that you are talking about, and what made you think that that “I” had a choice in the matter in the first place?”

    In other words, it doesn’t matter that the atheist finds the evidence unpersuasive since his worldview forces him to say that he does not really exist and that his non-existent self had no choice in the matter anyway!

    Of somewhat related interest to the atheist insisting that he is merely a neuronal illusion having an illusion of free will, atheists also claim that Near Death Experiences are merely an illusion, even though the observational evidence for them greatly exceeds the observational evidence for Darwinian evolution:

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    What is interesting with atheists claiming that NDEs are merely an illusion, is that the following study found NDEs to be ‘even 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/

    Thus, playing off Decartes, since the most sure thing I can know about reality is the fact that I exist, and since all judgment of evidence is dependent on our sense of self, and free will, being non-illusory, then, since their sense of self became ‘even more real than real’ in their NDEs, that adds even more weight to the validity of their testimonies. One could even argue, since the sense of self itself is part of what became ‘even more real than real’, that no more sure evidence than that could ever be offered that the Experiences are non-illusory.
    A few supplemental quotes and notes:

    A Doctor’s Near Death Experience Inspires a New Life – video
    Quote: “It’s not like a dream. It’s like the world we are living in is a dream and it’s kind of like waking up from that.”
    Dr. Magrisso
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-a.....31791.html

    Dr. Eben Alexander Says It’s Time for Brain Science to Graduate From Kindergarten – 10/24/2013
    Excerpt: To take the approach of, “Oh it had to be a hallucination of the brain” is just crazy. The simplistic idea that NDEs (Near Death Experiences) are a trick of a dying brain is similar to taking a piece of cardboard out of a pizza delivery box, rolling it down a hill and then claiming that it’s an identical event as rolling a beautiful Ferrari down a hill. They are not the same at all. The problem is the pure materialist scientists can be so closed-minded about it.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....51093.html

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    Rene (I Think Therefore I Am) Decartes – 34 minute lecture
    https://vimeo.com/48210238

    “Descartes said ‘I think, therefore I am.’ My bet is that God replied, ‘I am, therefore think.'”
    Art Battson – Access Research Group

    Verse and Music:

    James 2:26
    As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    Wake Me O Lord! – Inspirational Poem – music video
    Evanescence – Bring Me To Life – Lyric: ‘Only You are the living among the dead”
    http://vimeo.com/38692431

  12. 12
    tabasco says:

    bornagain77:

    His [the atheist’s] worldview entails that his conscious, subjective, sense of self is merely an illusion.

    That depends on how you define the self. Certainly the ‘folk dualist’ conception of the self as nonphysical and independent of the body is false.

    Moreover, as if that were not bad enough, not only does the atheist insist that his sense of self is merely a neuronal illusion, but he goes on to compound the problem by insisting that he really has no free will, but that his free will is also merely an illusion that his neuronal illusion of self is having.

    Not all atheists deny the existence of free will. You need to get out more.

    Moreover, by claiming that his free will is merely an illusion of his illusion of self, the atheist forfeits any and all rights to claim that he is arguing logically from the evidence:

    Why would you think that logic somehow depends on having free will? When a computer proves a mathematical theorem, do you think it is exercising free will?

    Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,

    People say the same of their UFO “abduction” experiences. Do you believe that those stories are true, bornagain77?

    Verse and Music:

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    — Richard Feynman

    Overman — Evolution Rocks:
    http://www.skeptic.com/junior_....._Rocks.mp3

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    The requirements for evidence differ depending on whether one is dealing with repeatable phenomena or non-repeatable historical events. The latter can provide only likelihoods, a preponderance of evidence.

    Faith, whether it’s directed toward a religion, a political party, an institution, a person, or a scientific paradigm often seems to have a strong personal preference involved as well, which determines what someone will accept as evidence. Monty Python’s Dead Parrot skit comes to mind.

    So, how do people change their convictions? The apostle Paul comes to mind. So does Pavlov.

    -Q

  14. 14
    Seversky says:

    When someone claims to have read that there are 150 sworn depositions concerning St Joseph of Cupertino’s alleged levitations, would that be admissible in court as evidence that such depositions exist and attest to what is claimed?

  15. 15
    Silver Asiatic says:

    There’s a movie about the life St Joseph of Cupertino called “The Reluctant Saint”

  16. 16
    Mapou says:

    tabasco:

    That depends on how you define the self. Certainly the ‘folk dualist’ conception of the self as nonphysical and independent of the body is false.

    I agree but that does not prevent the materialist conception of the self as the body/brain from being equally false.

  17. 17
    Robert Byers says:

    For evolutionary biology conclusions the operative words must be biological and scientific.
    Evolutionism has always placed its faith in geology, biogeography, genetics of late, and raw comparison of body parts and all lines of reasoning connections.
    And a little dab of natural selection in minor things.
    They get away with intellectual murder.
    I always have satisfying success asking and paying close attention to WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE, or one, BIO SCI evidencdes for evolution.
    Bang pow. its all not bio sci but other subjects they think back up evolution.
    It works because if evolution was not true it couldn’t possibly have bio sci evidence as the standard for evidence for a sci theory defeats false ideas as big as evolutionism must be.

  18. 18
    Graham2 says:

    I have asked it (several times) before … is there some reference to the existence of the witnesses statements ?

    Cmon BA77 … this is your chance.

  19. 19
    Curly Howard says:

    Robert, your comments are intellectual murder.

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    Neil Rickert: We all know that there’s no such thing as a final word.

    And that, my friends. is the final word on final words!

  21. 21
    vjtorley says:

    Hi Barry,

    A very fair summing up. It’s a pity that many atheists seem incapable of making the distinction you referred to, between a lack of evidence and evidence which one does not find persuasive.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    tabasco at 12 , as to:

    “That depends on how you define the self. Certainly the ‘folk dualist’ conception of the self as nonphysical and independent of the body is false.”

    Pretending there is a ‘you’ instead of a zombie I’m talking to, thanks ‘you’ for your random, not free will, data output,
    Actually the materialist’s view that you are your brain is what is ‘certainly false’:

    “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
    George MacDonald – Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood – 1892

    as to:

    Not all atheists deny the existence of free will. You need to get out more.

    That is why I added ‘materialist’ in front of atheist. All materialistic atheist deny free will. ‘You’, again pretending there is a you reading this, need to read for clarity.

    Why would you think that logic somehow depends on having free will? When a computer proves a mathematical theorem, do you think it is exercising free will?

    Computers don’t prove anything, Mathematicians use computers to do the tedious calculations for them so as to prove theorems for them!

    Your Computer Doesn’t Know Anything – Michael Egnor – January 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich. Your math book doesn’t know algebra. Your Rolodex doesn’t know your cousin’s address. Your watch doesn’t know what time it is. Your car doesn’t know where you’re driving. Your television doesn’t know who won the football game last night. Your cell phone doesn’t know what you said to your girlfriend this morning.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92981.html

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    Atheist’s logic 101 – Intelligent programmers means no Intelligence was needed for computers being Intelligently programmed – cartoon
    http://legacy-cdn-assets.answe.....chance.jpg

    as to:

    Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    People say the same of their UFO “abduction” experiences. Do you believe that those stories are true, bornagain77?

    Never seen any serious evidence for UFOs. Never seen any serious studies done on the vividness of UFO abductee experiences. And I’ve never personally met anyone who claimed to be abducted by UFO’s. Much less have I’ve ever heard of millions of UFO abductees coming back with profoundly changed lives. The few UFO abductees that I have seen on TV were not persuasive in the least and I have written off their testimonies as far fetched as Darwinian explanations for the eye are! 🙂
    Whereas, on the other hand, I have met a very sincere person who had an NDE.
    Plus the experiences are remarkably similar:

    Life After Life – Raymond Moody – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z56u4wMxNlg

    Moreover, their experiences while they were out of their material body, of a timeless dimension and of a tunnel, match exactly what we would expect them to see from a Special Relativity perspective:

    Higher Dimensional Special Relativity, Near Death Experiences, Biophotons, and the Quantum Soul
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XGuV7FWwaDag4T5glstQWjsQNtWHKw3T9qLF14fUHHo/edit

    Of supplemental note, the evidence that mind is not the product of the brain is confirmed by the fact that mind is able to effect the structure of the brain, i.e. brain plasticity:

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz’s work) – Oct. 2014 – video
    The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70

    In fact, not only is the mind able to modify the brain, but the mind has now been shown to also be able to reach all the way down and effect the expression of genes:

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    Then of course there is also quantum mechanics which completely undermines the materialistic worldview:

    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    Excerpt: Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uLcJUgLm1vwFyjwcbwuYP0bK6k8mXy-of990HudzduI/edit

    As to

    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”
    – Richard Feynman

    Perhaps you should take his advice and and stop fooling yourself with ‘naive materialism’ as your worldview?

    Feynman also said this in regards to the double slit experiment with electrons,

    “has in it the heart of quantum mechanics” and “is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way.”

    Verse and Music:

    Matthew 16:26
    What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

    Metallica & San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Nothing Else Matters
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziThYl6B2vw

  23. 23
    tabasco says:

    vjtorley,

    It’s a pity that many atheists seem incapable of making the distinction you [Barry] referred to, between a lack of evidence and evidence which one does not find persuasive.

    We’re quite capable of making the distinction. However, we don’t want to repeat Barry’s mistake.

    If someone hands you a garden-variety (so to speak) tomato, saying “This tomato is evidence that Napoleon was gay”, you would be quite justified in replying “That’s not evidence!”

    ETA: Also, see my earlier comments regarding Kim Kardashian and the infinitude of primes.

  24. 24
    tabasco says:

    bornagain77:

    Computers don’t prove anything, Mathematicians use computers to do the tedious calculations for them so as to prove theorems for them!

    I see. Computers don’t prove anything, but they prove theorems for mathematicians. Makes perfect sense.

  25. 25
    tabasco says:

    tabasco:

    That depends on how you define the self. Certainly the ‘folk dualist’ conception of the self as nonphysical and independent of the body is false.

    Mapou:

    I agree but that does not prevent the materialist conception of the self as the body/brain from being equally false.

    The falsehood of folk dualism does not by itself demonstrate the truth of materialist ideas regarding the self, but there are many other compelling reasons to accept materialism (or more properly, physicalism).

  26. 26
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    tabasco says

    I see. Computers don’t prove anything, but they prove theorems for mathematicians.

    I say,

    of course,
    The same way hammers don’t build anything. Carpenters build things with hammers.

    computers like hammers are just tools.

    use your head man

    peace

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    Vincent, thank you.

    tabasco, you are an idiot, and I don’t banter with idiots for the same reason I don’t try to teach a pig to sing. It is utterly useless and it annoys the pig.

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    tabasco, so does the illusion of you, that is the product of your brain, think that the computer also has an illusion of self? and that it ‘knew’ that it proved a mathematical theorem? and When your computer gives you the weather does it also know that it is raining outside? 🙂

    Does your computer’s illusion of self also know that you are having an illusion of self? Do you and your computer get together and share angst over the nihilistic implications of your materialistic worldview? Does your computer have any choice to feel otherwise? Are you hoping to upload yourself onto your computer someday so as to become semi-immortal? Can I mess with your programming if you do and make the illusion of you think you are a pastrami sandwich? 🙂

    of note: since a computer has no free will so as to be able to create axiomatic information, nor a consciousness so as to take a situation’s overall context into consideration, then one simple way of defeating the Turing test is to simply tell, or to invent, a joke:,,, Such as this joke:

    Turing Test Extra Credit – Convince The Examiner That He’s The Computer – cartoon
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/turing_test.png

    “(a computer) lacks the ability to distinguish between language and meta-language.,,,
    As known, jokes are difficult to understand and even more difficult to invent, given their subtle semantic traps and their complex linguistic squirms. The judge can reliably tell the human (from the computer)”

  29. 29
    tabasco says:

    Barry,

    Your refusal to answer my question is evidence that you can’t do so persuasively. And of course you agree, right? It is evidence for that, according to your own logic.

    LOL.

  30. 30
    tabasco says:

    FMM,

    I say,

    of course,
    The same way hammers don’t build anything. Carpenters build things with hammers.

    There’s a huge difference between “hammers build things for carpenters” and “carpenters build things with hammers”.

    Bornagain contradicted himself. He said that computers don’t prove anything, then he said that they prove theorems for mathematicians. His second statement is the correct one.

    use your head man

    peace

    Think, dude.

    love

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    tabasco stated that I said:

    Bornagain contradicted himself. He said that computers don’t prove anything, then he said that they prove theorems for mathematicians. His second statement is the correct one.

    Yet I never said computers prove theorems, I said “Computers don’t prove anything, Mathematicians use computers to do the tedious calculations for them (i.e. the mathematicians) so as to prove theorems for them (i.e. the mathematicians)!”

    Read carefully what I wrote, the computers are a tool to do the tedious, mechanical, calculations for the mathematicians. The mathematicians are final arbiters of if the theorem is proved true are if the computer needs to be reprogrammed so as to be able to mechanically calculate better. The computer has no clue as to whether it calculated a theorem to a sufficient level of proof or whether it calculated the price of tea in china to a sufficient level of accuracy.

    I would echo the ‘think’ refrain to you as FMM did, but then I would have to grant to the illusion of you that there is really a ‘you’ to think, with a free will to be rational, in the first place! Two premises that are denied in the naturalist’s worldview! i.e. there is no ‘you’ to think in your worldview.

    “Hawking’s entire argument is built upon theism. He is, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.
    Take that part about the “human mind” for example. Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules. Hawking needs God In order to deny Him.”
    – Cornelius Hunter – Photo –
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-H-kj.....0/rob4.jpg

  32. 32
    daveS says:

    BA77,

    The mathematicians are final arbiters of if the theorem is proved true are if the computer needs to be reprogrammed so as to be able to mechanically calculate better. The computer has no clue as to whether it calculated a theorem to a sufficient level of proof or whether it calculated the price of tea in china to a sufficient level of accuracy.

    I’m not even sure what that means. See Automated Theorem Proving.

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    from your very own link:

    However, shortly after this positive result, Kurt Gödel published On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems (1931), showing that in any sufficiently strong axiomatic system there are true statements which cannot be proved in the system. This topic was further developed in the 1930s by Alonzo Church and Alan Turing, who on the one hand gave two independent but equivalent definitions of computability, and on the other gave concrete examples for undecidable questions.

    also of note:

    The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
    Excerpt: Unlike Gödel’s approach, mine is based on measuring information and showing that some mathematical facts cannot be compressed into a theory because they are too complicated. This new approach suggests that what Gödel discovered was just the tip of the iceberg: an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.
    http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/sciamer3.pdf

    The danger of artificial stupidity – Saturday, 28 February 2015
    “Computers lack mathematical insight: in his book The Emperor’s New Mind, the Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose deployed Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem to argue that, in general, the way mathematicians provide their “unassailable demonstrations” of the truth of certain mathematical assertions is fundamentally non-algorithmic and non-computational”
    http://machineslikeus.com/news.....-stupidity

    Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video
    https://vimeo.com/92387854

    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine”
    Kurt Gödel

    The mathematical world – James Franklin – 7 April 2014
    Excerpt: the intellect (is) immaterial and immortal. If today’s naturalists do not wish to agree with that, there is a challenge for them. ‘Don’t tell me, show me’: build an artificial intelligence system that imitates genuine mathematical insight. There seem to be no promising plans on the drawing board.,,,
    James Franklin is professor of mathematics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/world-.....-be-about/

  34. 34
    daveS says:

    BA77,

    from your very own link:

    Yes, so? That doesn’t mean that there are no proofs that can be carried out mechanically (by a computer, for example).

    Now before you post more links, I acknowledge that the axioms and rules of inference must be provided to the computer.

  35. 35
    Querius says:

    How do scientists treat each other when it comes to surprising evidence?

    I found this documentary both fascinating and instructive–not only regarding the discrimination against women in archaeology in the 1930s, but the institutional mindset that precludes the acceptance of evidence contrary to prevailing theory.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P09HtDdhcFo

    The overwhelming evidence here is never refuted, it’s simply ignored, and the scientists involved are marginalized by the establishment. This is not Science. It is merely the construction of a plausible narrative with carefully selected facts to reinforce it.

    If the scientific establishment can easily suppress rock-solid evidence, how much more will they reject historical events with only eyewitness testimony?

    -Q

  36. 36
    tabasco says:

    bornagain77,

    I know what you were trying to say. I just think it’s funny that you managed to contradict yourself in the space of two sentences.

    In your first sentence, you claimed that computers can’t prove anything. In your second sentence, you said the computers were proving theorems for the mathematicians. You can’t have it both ways.

    And even what you were trying to say is wrong. Suppose a mathematician hands a theorem to a grad student, saying “Prove this for me.” The grad student returns the next day with a proof. Who proved the theorem, the mathematician or the grad student? Obviously it was the grad student.

    Now suppose that the mathematician enters a theorem into a theorem-proving program and clicks on ‘Prove’. When the mathematician wakes up the next morning, there is a proof on the computer screen. Did the mathematician prove the theorem? Obviously not. The computer system did, and the mathematician was sleeping while it happened.

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    you said you are not sure what I wrote means, but, for the sake of argument, I am granting that you might not be a computer and that you have the God given capacity to know what it means, Read slowly if it helps:

    “Read carefully what I wrote, the computers are a tool to do the tedious, mechanical, calculations for the mathematicians. The mathematicians are final arbiters of if the theorem is proved true are if the computer needs to be reprogrammed so as to be able to mechanically calculate better. The computer has no clue as to whether it calculated a theorem to a sufficient level of proof or whether it calculated the price of tea in china to a sufficient level of accuracy.

    The point is not that computers can’t be used to mechanically calculate certain problems FOR MATHEMATICIANS to a sufficient level of proof.
    I never even hinted that they can’t.

    The point I made clear was that computers have no conscious awareness of whether they calculated a mathematical proof or whether they calculated the price of tea in china. Only THE MATHEMATICIANS know what the computer is actually doing, and only they know if the computer has, and is, performing satisfactorily.

    If that is not clear enough for you, I can’t help you.

    I know that you will probably disagree just to disagree, and so I will leave the last word to you.

    I rest my case.

    Goodnight. I’m off to bed.

  38. 38
    Querius says:

    bornagain77,

    Thanks for the reference to Gregory Chaitin–fascinating!

    -Q

  39. 39
    tabasco says:

    bornagain77,

    you said you are not sure what I wrote means…

    No, I didn’t. You’re confusing me with daveS.

    Read carefully what I wrote, the computers are a tool to do the tedious, mechanical, calculations for the mathematicians. The mathematicians are final arbiters of if the theorem is proved true…

    Exactly. The mathematicians aren’t proving the theorem — they’re looking to see whether the computer succeeded in proving it. You’re reinforcing my point. The computer does the proof.

    …are [sic] if the computer needs to be reprogrammed so as to be able to mechanically calculate better. The computer has no clue as to whether it calculated a theorem to a sufficient level of proof or whether it calculated the price of tea in china to a sufficient level of accuracy.

    You don’t seem to understand how proofs work (or computation, for that matter). What is “a sufficient level of proof”, to your mind?

    The point is not that computers can’t be used to mechanically calculate certain problems FOR MATHEMATICIANS to a sufficient level of proof.
    I never even hinted that they can’t.

    Not only can they prove theorems, they can even do it for non-mathematicians like you. If I teach you how to use a theorem-solver, you can enter a theorem and the computer will prove it for you, even if, as seems very likely, you have no idea how to do the proof on your own. In that scenario, you’re certainly not doing the proof — the computer system is.

    The point I made clear was that computers have no conscious awareness of whether they calculated a mathematical proof or whether they calculated the price of tea in china.

    What does consciousness have to do with it? Your garbage disposal isn’t conscious, but the orange peel still gets ground up. The theorem prover isn’t conscious, but the theorem still gets proven.

    Goodnight. I’m off to bed.

    Goodnight. Don’t forget to click on ‘Prove’ before you turn in.

  40. 40
    Box says:

    Bornagain77,

    Thank you for post #11

    Bornagain77:

    In other words, his worldview boils down to an illusion of self having an illusion of free will!

    I have yet to see a cogent response from the side of the materialists. It’s just one of those arguments that makes one wonder why the debate is still ongoing.

  41. 41
    Evolve says:

    Barry and Torley are ridiculously wrong here. The worst part is they never understand their mistakes and keep on repeating the same nonsense. Perhaps one should never expect anything better from creationists.

    According to them, if someone mistakes a meteorite for a UFO, that counts as evidence for UFOs!
    If someone sees God in his dreams, that counts as evidence for God.
    If kids swear that Santa Claus is real, that’s evidence for the existence of Santa Claus.

    Their entire argument is based on some dictionary definition of the word “evidence”.
    But I can show you different dictionary definitions of the same word.

    Cambridge dictionaries say:
    http://dictionary.cambridge.or.....h/evidence

    evidence = anything that helps to prove that something is or is not true

    Merriam-Webster says:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evidence
    evidence = something which shows that something else exists or is true

    These definitions don’t say that evidence is something which “indicates”, but something that “proves” or “shows” that something else is true.

    In short, there’s no consensus on what the word “evidence” actually means.
    But in a scientific context, evidence is something that persuades one to accept a claim. Barry & Torley falsely distinguishes between persuasive evidence and non-persuasive evidence. They’re missing the point that it won’t count as evidence if it is not persuasive in the first place.

  42. 42
    Box says:

    Evolve,

    Your quotations from the dictionaries are no evidence at all for your position, because they don’t persuade me. So you have got nothing to back up your position.

  43. 43
    Barry Arrington says:

    Evolve @ 41

    They’re missing the point that it won’t count as evidence if it is not persuasive in the first place.

    So every lawyer who loses a jury trial must be sued for malpractice for failure to introduce any evidence in support of his client’s case. After all, the jury was not persuaded by what the lawyer submitted. Therefore, it could not have been evidence.

    The conclusion follows logically from your premises. The conclusion is absurd. Therefore, your premises must be false.

  44. 44
    Barry Arrington says:

    Evolve @ 41

    In short, there’s no consensus on what the word “evidence” actually means.

    Yet the word “evolve” has a meaning. And that meaning is what English speakers generally intend when they use the word. And a dictionary is the usual place one goes to determine that. Evolve, when you are reduced to saying words have no meaning you have not only undermined your own argument, you have undermined the concept of argument itself. I know you have a very strong emotional stake in your atheism. But it should give you pause that you are willing to undermine rationality itself to prop up your beliefs. Sadly, I doubt that it will.

  45. 45
    Barry Arrington says:

    Box @ 42.

    Very good. You destroyed Evolve’s argument in one sentence. Neat trick.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    tabasco, you said: “You’re confusing me with daveS.”

    No I did not. I’m ignoring ‘you’.

  47. 47
    daveS says:

    BA77,

    Ok, you’ve clarified your position, but you definitely did muddy the waters when you first stated:

    Computers don’t prove anything, Mathematicians use computers to do the tedious calculations for them so as to prove theorems for them!

    followed by:

    The point is not that computers can’t be used to mechanically calculate certain problems FOR MATHEMATICIANS to a sufficient level of proof. I never even hinted that they can’t.

    I think we’re more or less on the same page regarding this issue now.

  48. 48
    bornagain77 says:

    daveS, by golly its a small miracle, we actually agree on something. 🙂
    The ‘muddying’ was somewhat intentional so as to clearly draw out the ‘agency’ distinction that computers have no clue what they are doing. i.e. Carpenters drive nails using hammers, hammers do not drive nails by themselves and hammers have no clue whether they drove a nail or not.
    Thus, Hammers don’t drive nails. Carpenters do!
    And again, mathematicians ‘prove’ (some) theorems using computers. Computers don’t prove theorems by themselves and have no clue whether they proved a theorem or not.
    Thus my statement: “Computers don’t prove theorems. Mathematicians do”
    The confusion on ‘agent causality’ within materialism goes deep and is profound. Materialists are constantly illegitimately invoking agent causality where they have no right to do so.
    In biology, materialists contantly ascribe ‘agent causality’ where they, if they were to stay consistent within their materialism, ought not.
    Stephen Talbott points out that it is impossible for materialists to describe the complexities of life without illegitimately using terminology that invokes agency,,,

    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

    This working biologist agrees with Talbott:

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    In physics, the confusion is for materialists to invoke agent causality to the universal laws and/or to material objects:
    C.S. Lewis humorously stated the point like this:

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    The following ‘doodle video’ is also excellent for getting this point across:

    “In the whole history of the universe the laws of nature have never produced, (i.e. caused), a single event.”
    C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    Here is an excerpt of an article, (that is well worth reading in full), in which Dr. Gordon exposes Stephen Hawking’s delusion for thinking that mathematical description and agent causality are the same thing.

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Supplemental note:

    What Properties Must the Cause of the Universe Have? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SZWInkDIVI

    Verses and Music:

    Psalm 115:2-3
    Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
    Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

    Romans 11:36
    For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

    Steven Curtis Chapman – God is God (Original Version) – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz94NQ5HRyk

  49. 49
    Evolve says:

    /// So every lawyer who loses a jury trial must be sued for malpractice for failure to introduce any evidence in support of his client’s case ///

    Every lawyer tries to produce evidence; whether that counts as evidence or not depends on how persuasive, rational and explanatory it is. Simple as that. The important point to note is that evidence should rule out competing hypotheses or make them unlikely.

  50. 50
    Evolve says:

    Box,

    /// Your quotations from the dictionaries are no evidence at all for your position, because they don’t persuade me. So you have got nothing to back up your position. ///

    They are persuasive, even if you claim they don’t persuade you, because they show why you should accept the point. Now, any individual can make any claim depending on his personal bias, which is what you just did.

  51. 51
    Box says:

    Evolve: They are persuasive (…)

    No they are not. So you have no evidence whatsoever.

  52. 52
    Evolve says:

    ///Evolve, when you are reduced to saying words have no meaning you have not only undermined your own argument///

    I never said words have no meaning. What I said was that in some cases, there’s no consensus on what exactly a given word means. Different dictionaries can give different meanings for the same word and I showed it to you for the word “evidence”. In such cases, it is pointless to go by one definition. It will be more useful to go by the contextual sense the word makes, instead.

    ///I know you have a very strong emotional stake in your atheism.///

    You’re wrong there too. I don’t have any emotional stake, I just followed the evidence where it led me. New evidence discovered tomorrow could very well change my position. I’m open to everything.

  53. 53
    StephenB says:

    Evolve @41

    They’re missing the point that it won’t count as evidence if it is not persuasive in the first place.

    No. Only high quality evidence of sufficient quantity is persuasive. Low quality or insufficient evidence is not persuasive.

    Your argument is that all evidence is of sufficient quality and quantity to be persuasive. Obviously, you are wrong.

    If all evidence was persuasive, then the terms “preponderance of the evidence” or “enough evidence” or “good evidence” would have no meaning.

  54. 54
    Evolve says:

    ///No they are not. So you have no evidence whatsoever.///

    I now have evidence that creationists can be unwilling to be persuaded.

  55. 55
    Evolve says:

    Stephen,

    It goes without saying that in order to be persuasive, the evidence presented should be qualitatively and quantitatively adequate.

  56. 56
    Box says:

    Evolve:
    I now have evidence that creationists can be unwilling to be persuaded.

    I must admit that I was struggling. You had me seriously doubting my original position. You presented very strong “evidence”. There was even a moment that I thought that you were completely right.
    But then I decided, for some reason, not to be persuaded. It’s hard to say why. Your story didn’t feel right somehow.

    Consequently, you have no evidence whatsoever. Zilch. You have absolutely no case. Nada.

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    Box in his youth 🙂

    no no no not in my house
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtXtOuxBuvQ

  58. 58
    tabasco says:

    Why is this thread dragging on when Barry’s error was already pointed out in comment #3?

    I asked:

    Is the current color of Kim Kardashian’s hair evidence that there are infinitely many prime numbers?

    There is only one sensible answer: no.

    Yet Barry says:

    Some of our atheist friends, on the other hand, seem to think that the word “evidence” means “that which I personally find persuasive.” As astounding at it may seem, they actually believe that if they personally find evidence to be non-persuasive they are justified in claiming it is not evidence in the first place. And of course that is just plain stupid.

    So according to Barry, anyone who gives the sensible answer to my question — anyone who says that Kim Kardashian’s hair color is not evidence for the infinitude of the primes — is “just plain stupid”.

    Which is just plain stupid.

  59. 59
    Barry Arrington says:

    Evolve says evidence is not evidence unless it persuades. Suppose ten men who listen to evidence. They are brought forward one by one. The first one is persuaded. The second not. The third is. The fourth not and so on. According to Evolve the very same thing is evidence. Then it is not. Then it is again and then it is not again. Absurd. Evolve, your argument has been crushed again and again. Yet you cling to it with a mulish obstinacy. That should give you pause. Sadly, I doubt that it will.

  60. 60
    tabasco says:

    It’s quite easy to fix Barry’s mistake.

    Something counts as evidence for a proposition P to the extent that it supports the truth of P.

    If P is “there are infinitely many primes”, then Kim Kardashian’s current hair color is not evidence for P. Euclid’s famous proof is evidence for P.

    Can people disagree over what counts as evidence? Of course!

    Does that mean that the person denying that something is evidence is automatically “just plain stupid”, as Barry puts it? Of course not. They may in fact be correct, as the Kim K example shows.

    They might also be wrong — for example, if they deny that Euclid’s proof constitutes evidence for P.

    You have to evaluate each case on its merits. Barry’s mistake was to issue a blanket dismissal of the “that’s not evidence” side.

  61. 61
    Dr JDD says:

    As a scientist I would use the word evidence with regards to a hypothesis: That is, specific questions.

    For example, something is missing from a house. The hypothesis is it was a burglary. You see a broken windows and that supports the hypothesis therefore it may be used as evidence for a burglary. However that does not prove it was a burglary.

    The atheists claim evidence must be on par with proof yet this is a fallacy as in science nothing is proven especially in biological sciences.

    For example, the hypothesis is that the uniberse was created by a deity. The observations suggest the universe had a beginning (big bang). This is consistent with the question or hypothesis at hand therefore can be considered as evidence. As said it does not have to be considered persuasive evidence but as it fits the hypothesis and is a prediction made by the hypothesis, it may be considered a form of evidence.

    Kim Kardashian’s hair has nothing to do with a prediction of any hypothesis about prime numbers therefore cannot address any specific question relating to prime numbers so cannot be considered as evidence.

    I’m not even sure why someone needs to point that obvious issue out but most can see it is simply a straw man to divert from the point at hand.

    Again, it comes back to the question. – what evidence would you accept for a deity? The answer I know for many is none as modern science excludes that as a possibility but more pertinent you simply do not want to even entertain that idea.

    It’s like people have completely forgot why the steady state model was accepted for so many years. It wasn’t evidence, it was refusal to give theists an inch with their beliefs by accepting a beginning.

    Nothing is new under the sun.

  62. 62
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tabasco finally says something worth responding to. Your definition of evidence is exactly right. Indeed it is merely a restatement of the OP. I did not respond to comments about the relationship between some woman’s hair and prime numbers because they were obviously not germane to the definition we agree to. You say I made a mistake. No you are mistaken when you attack a proposition I never asserted. You say I said any time someone denies something is evidence they are automatically just plain stupid. Read what I said again. This time try to read for comprehension. I said that it is just plain stupid to say evidence is not evidence merely because one does not find the evidence persuasive. I was rebutting the astonishingly stupid argument that Evolve continues to make in this thread. Ironically you and I appear to agree on the basic proposition.

  63. 63
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tabasco, read Dr JDD’s comment. Now apply your own definition of evidence. The universe had a beginning. One logical possibility to explain that fact is that God created the universe. Only that which exists has the capacity to create. Therefore the fact that the universe began to exist is evidence that God exists.

  64. 64
    not_querius says:

    I don’t really understand the point of this OP. if you are arguing that atheists don’t know what evidence is, then you have to extent this lack of knowledge to creationists. I could count the number of times that people here have said that there is no evidence for unguided evolution.

  65. 65
    Querius says:

    Dr JDD in 61 noted

    Again, it comes back to the question. – what evidence would you accept for a deity? The answer I know for many is none as modern science excludes that as a possibility but more pertinent you simply do not want to even entertain that idea.

    Nicely stated post. It seems that this principle appears much earlier than questions about God and the origin of the universe. People with scientific or medical experience often encounter fierce opposition of a political nature when making unsettling discoveries. Often, it would be better for their careers if they destroyed the evidence and simply went along with the consensus.

    I’ve read that perhaps 30% of the science that we think we know will be shown to be erroneous in the next 10-20 years (I doubt the precise number but agree with the principle). Thus, the people here who we see arguing for the sake of arguing in favor of the current narrative are fundamentally anti-science.

    For example, something is missing from a house. The hypothesis is it was a burglary. You see a broken windows and that supports the hypothesis therefore it may be used as evidence for a burglary. However that does not prove it was a burglary.

    To someone in denial of the existence of a burglar, I cannot imagine any evidence that would change their mind. Everything could be explained away using scientific terminology or ad hominem attacks, as is usually the case here.

    I think a more successful approach would be to ask “why” they believe as they do, which will not usually be because they personally collected the data and performed the experiments!

    A Truthful answer to the question would likely seem childish, embarrassing, or shameful.

    -Q

  66. 66
    kairosfocus says:

    NQ:

    It seems confusion, manipulation of language and selective hyperskepticism are an ever growing problem.

    In this case BA has aptly summarised a commonly encountered problem of improper discounting of evidence because of the a priori ideological commitments of evolutionary materialists, joined to the problem they project on others as “personal incredulity.”

    Now, if A is guilty of crime Z, that is so whether or no B is also guilty of Z.

    One suspect at a time please.

    Now, are you willing to acknowledge that there is a problem of incorrectly dismissing evidence one finds unpersuasive for whatever reason, as “no evidence”?

    If you deny such, then you reject a blatant fact.

    (Doubtless, you would be inclined to say “there is no evidence that . . .” save, that it would be an instantiation of adequate evidence that the problem is real.)

    We can safely take it there is a problem of selectively hyperskeptical, often ideologically motivated and closed minded, dismissiveness that likes to assert “there is no evidence” as a lock-out.

    It only shows that selectively hyperskeptical closed mindedness is at work.

    And on observation, it is a commonplace of evolutionary materialism advocates and adherents. We have seen it here at UD.

    Now, on your turnabout attempt.

    It depends on context: what are “Creationists,” what is “evolution” in the relevant sense, what is claimed as evidence.

    First, this is a design theory site, and the position generally defended is the design inference on empirically reliable signs such as FSCO/I. This is distinct from the characteristic appeal to religious traditions and seeking to interpret origins evidence in that light.

    Next, evolution is so broad a term these days that emergence of dog breeds qualifies, even when mutations as such are not significantly involved.

    That sort of selective breeding to true to type varieties is worlds apart from molecules to microbes then microbes to Mozart by claimed incremental chance variations and differential reproductive success of varieties accumulating into novel body plans and some sort of tree of life.

    There simply is no adequate actually observed evidence that the proposed mechanisms for blind watchmaker evo can generate and do generate novel, significant main body plans.

    That is not the same as the dismissiveness above.

    But of course, it is possible for someone to get into the dismissive no evidence assertion bad habit.

    KF

  67. 67
    not_querius says:

    KF, you have just proven that you are guilt of what Barry is accusing atheists of.

    There simply is no adequate actually observed evidence that the proposed mechanisms for blind watchmaker evo can generate and do generate novel, significant main body plans.”

    The fossil record, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, radiometric dating, etc. are all evidence of this. The fact that you are incredulous about it doesn’t mean that these are not evidence. Please do better.

  68. 68
    Barry Arrington says:

    NQ @ 67. You are so eager to dismiss KF, you glance at (rather than actually read) his posts, and that leads you to commit at least two errors.

    1. KF did not say there is no evidence for blind watchmaker evolution. He said there is no “adequate actually observed” evidence.” In other words, there is no direct evidence. All of the evidence is circumstantial, and everyone knows circumstantial evidence is not as persuasive as direct evidence.

    2. Failure of charity. If you say, “I read him to say there is no evidence at all, and I refuted his statement with examples of circumstantial evidence.” If you had read his comment charitably, you would have known readily enough he was not saying what you said he said.

  69. 69
    Silver Asiatic says:

    not_querius

    I could count the number of times that people here have said that there is no evidence for unguided evolution.

    Or you can’t count the number?
    In any case, I’ve never seen any evidence given for that no matter how many times we’ve had to say that there is none.

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    NQ,

    BA is right.

    For convenience, here is what I actually wrote just above:

    Now, on your turnabout attempt.

    It depends on context: what are “Creationists,” what is “evolution” in the relevant sense, what is claimed as evidence.

    First, this is a design theory site, and the position generally defended is the design inference on empirically reliable signs such as FSCO/I. This is distinct from the characteristic appeal to religious traditions and seeking to interpret origins evidence in that light.

    Next, evolution is so broad a term these days that emergence of dog breeds qualifies, even when mutations as such are not significantly involved.

    That sort of selective breeding to true to type varieties is worlds apart from molecules to microbes then microbes to Mozart by claimed incremental chance variations and differential reproductive success of varieties accumulating into novel body plans and some sort of tree of life.

    There simply is no adequate actually observed evidence that the proposed mechanisms for blind watchmaker evo can generate and do generate novel, significant main body plans.

    That is not the same as the dismissiveness above.

    I actually spoke to a principle known as vera causa, which was championed by Newton and acknowledged by Lyell and Darwin. Namely that

    a: when one addresses the unobservable due to distance in time and/or space etc,

    b: to try to compose a causal account,

    c: one should first demonstrate in the observed here and now,

    d: that proposed causal factors are seen — observed — to be adequate to account for the traces of that remote entity one seeks to explain.

    The various clusters of claimed factors that can be summed up as chance variation and culling out by differential reproductive success have never actually been observed to be causally adequate for origin of body plan level biodiversity, or even just simply to account for functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I) beyond 500 – 1,000 bits.

    There IS just one, readily observed causal factor that readily accounts for such. Indeed, you manifested it in order to compose your posts of objection.

    Namely, intelligently directed configuration.

    AKA, design.

    Indeed, there is a trillion member observational basis for this, and it is backed up by blind needle in haystack analysis of config spaces. Such, show that the atomic-temporal resources of the sol system or the observed cosmos (at the 1,000 bit end) are grossly inadequate to carry our a search of the relevant configuration space appreciably different from no search.

    But of course, all of this will probably be dismissed (at least quietly) by too many as “no evidence.”

    Yes, we know there is a commonly cited list of claimed icons and lines of evidence that warrant the conclusion that “natural selection” and/or fellow travellers adequately account for the world of life.

    Critical analysis of the usual icons raises troubling questions.

    And, too often, a closer look at the reasoning reveals this notorious framework of thought as was inadvertently highlighted by Lewontin in a 1997 NYRB book review:

    . . . the problem is to get them to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world, the demons that exist only in their imaginations, and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth [[–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]. . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [[–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [[–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [Billions and billions of demons,” NYRB Jan 1997. If you think this is “quote-mined” (warning, loaded accusation) then kindly cf the wider annotated cite here.]

    Philip Johnson’s reply, November that year, in First Things, is apt:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    In short, a priori evolutionary materialist scientism fails the vera causa test, and imposes major ideological blinkers that warp ability to objectively assess adequacy of evidence and warrant.

    Science and science education are in deep but unacknowledged logical trouble in our day.

    KF

  71. 71
    StephenB says:

    Evolve

    It goes without saying that in order to be persuasive, the evidence presented should be qualitatively and quantitatively adequate.

    Don’t you realize that you have completely contradicted yourself:

    [a] Your first claim prior to my corrective: All evidence is persuasive:

    [b] Your second claim after my corrective: All evidence is not persuasive.

  72. 72
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 71: I think your [b] above might better be:

    “Not all evidence is persuasive.”

    Your larger point is certainly correct. Evolve is deeply confused. It is sort of embarrassing really, because he doubtless believes his powerful intellect has led him to reject God. And ironic.

  73. 73
    Box says:

    Ba77 #57

    Not today hahaha 🙂

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    Barry

    SB @ 71: I think your [b] above might better be:

    “Not all evidence is persuasive.”

    Barry–Yes, you are right. In my haste, I transposed the terms.

    The whole point was to juxtapose Evolve’s first claim:

    *All evidence is persuasive

    against his second claim:

    *Not all evidence is persuasive

    Thanks for catching the error.

  75. 75
    not_querius says:

    Barry, I must confess that I stopped reading all of KF’s comments a long time ago. Frankly, his condescension, correcting and telling peoe to do better is annoying. But I will accept that he didn’t say that there was no. Regardless, are you claiming that the UDites do not misuse the word “evidence” just as frequently as the materialists? To jog your memory:

    “Unlike evolution in general, or even universal common descent, there is no evidence for Darwinism, and was propped up simply because it provided a good creation story for materialists.”

  76. 76
    tabasco says:

    Barry #62 and #63,

    You’re still missing the obvious.

    You said this statement of mine was “exactly right”:

    Something counts as evidence for a proposition P to the extent that it supports the truth of P.

    Now consider:

    If Dieter believes that Kim K’s hair color supports the infinitude of the primes [henceforth IoP], then of course he will say that her hair color is evidence for the IoP.

    If Svetlana doesn’t believe that Kim K’s hair color supports the infinitude of the primes, then of course she will deny that it is evidence for the IoP.

    Dieter and Svetlana are both using the word ‘evidence’ correctly, given their respective beliefs about whether Kim K’s hair color supports the truth of the IoP.

    The way forward isn’t to scold either of them for their use of the word ‘evidence’. Your OP therefore misses the mark.

    The way forward is to examine and discuss their reasons for believing what they do, and to determine which position, if either, makes more sense.

    Unless Dieter has a revolutionary, compelling hypothesis linking Kim K’s hair color to the IoP, we will likely side with Svetlana: Kim K’s hair color is not evidence for the IoP.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    > tabasco, you are an idiot…

    Surely, as an attorney at law, you can find a better way to phrase this. Perhaps one that doesn’t insult we true idiots.

  78. 78
    kairosfocus says:

    NQ, there is a basic duty of care of fairness in criticism that you have admitted ignoring. You have then insisted on repeating a corrected misrepresentation. Your credibility just sank to zero. KF

  79. 79
    not_querius says:

    KF, exactly what misrepresentation am i repeating? That UDites misuse the word evidence as much as materialists do? This fact is very easy to confirm. Just read the comments. Is it my statement that there is a serious condescending tone in your comments? Again, the proof is before us all.

  80. 80
    vjtorley says:

    Evolve,

    Any Bayesian will tell you that evidence for a hypothesis is any observation which increases the probability of that hypothesis. Got to run now.

  81. 81
    Joe says:

    not_querious:

    The fossil record, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, radiometric dating, etc. are all evidence of this.

    The fossil record is not evidence for unguided evolution as unguided evolution can’t get beyond populations of prokaryotes and tat is given starting populations of prokaryotes.

    Evos are such pathetic liars.

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    NQ, you already say you do not read what you set out to snip and snipe at. BA has already corrected you on it, and I have confirmed it. You continue to willfully ignore duties of care thus confirming that you have no credibility. KF

  83. 83
    Dr JDD says:

    It is easy to descend into the mindset of “you’re just as bad as us” yet that is diverting away from the point.

    For many years I have personally never said there was no evidence for various aspects of materialism to include darwinism however I personally have always maintained that even similar observations can be deemed as evidence for the design hypothesis and darwinism.

    Yet I have never met a materialist who will even accept and say “OK that also fits your hypothesis I just do not choose to believe it (be persuaded).

    Further, any “evidence” that can near equally support more than 1 competing hypothesis cannot really be used as evidence for either, in a debate between the two.

    For example take our burglary. Say there is a baseball and glove right by the broken window and you know the resident’s son of the property loves to throw baseballs near the house. Further you have a neighbour testifying that 1 week ago in the afternoon they heard the boy playing baseball and heard a crash like glass smashing. Now clearly the windows as evidence for a burglary comes into question as there are 2 competing theories as to how it was broken. Without further information this isn’t really good quality evidence.

    Likewise, take homology. This is often touted as bear proof we evolved from chimps and microbes. Yet equally if chimps microbes and man shared a common designer with a common design plan using common materials would we expect homologous aspects (e.g. phenotype and genotype) or would we expect a single designer to use common features? In fact you could argue it would be poor support for a common designer if we were radically different from other life, eg. Different genetic codes, vastly different mechanical solutions to similar problems. So how can we be expected to accept homology as evidence for common descent when equally it is evidence for a common designer

    How many times has the wheel been invented differently?

    So again my point is that I have never met an atheist who will concede this issue nor do all theists state there is absolutely NO evidence for common ancestry etc. However in the context as stated above, unless it cannot be explained by an alternative hypothesis it is poor evidence for your chosen hypothesis. Homology is a great example of this and I give up arguing that point to naturalists as they fail to even acknowledge it is at least ALSO expected from a common designer. I accept it is expected from common descent – I just do not accept it is convincing as for reasons given above.

    but again I come back to the point of the big bang as evidence for a start and causal agent to bring about the universe. What “evidence” was there for the alternative hypothesis? Ie. For steady state? Infinite always existing universe? Was that driven by evidence or was it driven by the need to exclude a creative type event I.e. A beginning? I think it I was the latter and not much has changed in the bias of science and materialism.

  84. 84

    tabasco said:

    The way forward isn’t to scold either of them for their use of the word ‘evidence’. Your OP therefore misses the mark.

    Actually, it hits that exact mark. In his O.P., Mr. Arrington brings to task those who wish to deny evidence for competing theories exists at all simply because those people are convinced of the truth/validity of their own theory.

    Your example, which is in the form “data X supports theory Y”, is a statement of belief in a conclusion; evidence is not just raw data (Kim K’s hair color, for example), but to be evidence it would also have to entail a description of how the data supports the conclusion, not just an assertion that it does.

    You’ve taken raw data on one hand and have simply associated it with a conclusion without providing the description that in any way elevates that raw data into evidence for your conclusion. It doesn’t have to prove your conclusion and it doesn’t have to be convincing, but to be evidence for your conclusion you at least have to show how your interpretation of the data supports your conclusion.

    Raw data is not by itself evidence for any proposition; it must be interpreted according to some hypothesis that shows how that data supports that proposition.

  85. 85
    Dr JDD says:

    Further I would like to emphasise this point:

    “…any “evidence” that can near equally support more than 1 competing hypothesis cannot really be used as evidence for either, in a debate between the two.”

    More specifically, if 2 competing hypotheses predict the same observation, making that observation does not provide convincing evidence for one of those hypotheses more than the other.

    This is something that I’ve argued blue in the face to materialists and they refuse to accept it. However, their tricks are dirtier as they just change their narrative.

    examples:
    1) convergent evolution. I have tried to argue that the design hypothesis predicts different organisms to have the same solution to similar problems. This is a design prediction. Yet evolutionists will revert to saying that darwinism predicts convergent evolution and then use that as evidence for evolution and even state that they evolved independently the same solution (amazingly to the molecular level even). This cannot be used as proof for evolution at minimum yet evolutionists will assign it as evidence. This is actually an example where the predictions are in my view unequally weighted though. For something independently of another to come to the exact same molecular solution defies probabilistic sense in many cases (unless you argue that is the only available solution) so while at best this means convergent evolution cannot be used as evidence for naturalism, at worst it us more admissible as quality evidence for common design.

    2)Junk DNA. Here is an example of a dirty approach by the naturalist. We all know Dawkins et al’s statements that evolution predicts that 95+% of the genome is junk. Yet at the time theists often predicted it was not ALL junk but unknown function as the design hypothesis may predict. Then we find out more and more of the genome is functional and the dirty tricks is to change the story so that the “prediction” is in line with the observation therefore it can still be used as evidence.

    3) Vestigial organs/poor design prediction.Another great example – the poor design of the eye. Often stated as “evidence for no designer”. The automatic and obvious result of such a prediction is that the opposite would be true. That is, if in fact it was shown to be optimal for its function, it could be used as evidence for a designer. Yet now when we see it is optimal we also see the materialist change their story. Now it is optimal for the restraints of NS etc.Another straw man and refusal to acknowledge this as evidence as it fulfills a design prediction. Vestigial organs are another good example.

    I can fully accept things that look suboptimal may be evidence for no designer but in amd of themselves only. If you believe in degeneration of organisms and loss of function or a type of genetic entropy from an initial superior design this is an alternative hypothesis too. More pertinently though it is better to ascribe to the thought that this appears suboptimal with our current understanding but we may not fully understand how it works so this position could change.

    Materialists never seem to entertain that idea though and as Dawkins proves, jump on the opportunity to boldly claim it as irrefutable evidence in their favour. Theists should also be careful not to fall into that trap as well, as often we do.

  86. 86

    The very notion that anyone can determine a design to be optimal or sub-optimal is predicated upon a false premise – (1) that we know the whole purpose the design is intended to serve and (2) that we know the necessary limitations restricting the design and its physical implementation.

    This is why ID doesn’t make a case about “optimal design”; what we consider to be bad design is still, in many cases, obviously still design.

  87. 87
    Barry Arrington says:

    Tabasco @ 76

    WJM has already corrected your error at 76 in his post at 84.

    I notice that you dodged my 63. Telling. All too telling.

  88. 88
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS @ 88.

    Remind me of the ID predictions about “junk” DNA.

    I assume you are implying there were none. I don’t know if you are a liar or just ignorant. In either case, your comment does not reflect well on you. Do better.

  89. 89
    Dr JDD says:

    AS :

    Did I say all convergence relies on the same molecular mechanisms? No I did not.

    Dawkins’ quotes from the 90s are well established.

    Secondly several of my own predictions of “junk” DNA were said above which you have chosen to ignore or not read.

  90. 90
    Joe says:

    1. Flight has evolved independently at least four times: in insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats. It’s interesting to consider what the transitional steps were for each clade. Certainly doesn’t involve the same “molecular solution”.

    How can we test the claim that flight evolved via blind and undirected chemical processes? What is the evidence that flight can evolve from populations of flightless organisms?

  91. 91
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS @ 94. Then get off your lazy ass and look them up.

  92. 92

    Aurelio Smith challenges:

    Remind me of the ID predictions about “junk” DNA.

    The prediction by Wells, Dembski and Meyer was that most of it would be found to functional.

  93. 93
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS, I am not asking you to look up quotes you claim do not exist. @94 you acknowledged several quotes existed and then asked other people to look them up for you. That’s what my 95 was directed at.

  94. 94

    Leaving pseudogenes aside, it is a remarkable fact that the greater part (95 percent in the case of humans) of the genome might as well not be there, for all the difference it makes.

    Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth

  95. 95
    Dr JDD says:

    AS:

    You want some quotes? Here you go. Again, speaks to my point about twisting something to fit your theory.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....64521.html

  96. 96
    Dr JDD says:

    Ah yes of course. Silly me. Vestigial does not mean lost function. Just means reduced in size or reduced in functionality in comparison to its ancestral function.

    but again that assumes ancestry therefore cannot beused as evidence FOR ancestry. Which is my first point. And the second point is also factual – when evolutionists see no apparent function they attribute vestigility and are happy to use that term. And are more than happy to claim it has no function and this “disproves” a designer. This happens throughout modern scientific history. Yet this goes back to the previous point of just because we do not know function does not mean functionless. E.g. The appendix, once touted as functionless but now has known function.

    The ironic thing is actually many theists would agree with a devolved appendix/caecum as this is what the Christian narrative may actually predict given it claims we were once vegetarian prior to meat eaters.

  97. 97
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS, see 100 and 101. We will be waiting for your apology to Dr. JDD. Sadly, given your track record, the heat death of the universe will probably arrive before you do the right thing.

  98. 98
    HeKS says:

    WJM @100

    Totally off topic here, but do you have any interest in joining me in a CSI discussion over at TSZ? I’ve been having a discussion myself with about 5 people but it’s hard finding the time to keep up and I remember you being involved in a different thread here at UD. Having someone else to share the load could prevent me having to completely put the conversation on hold for another few months.

    Anyway, let me know. And others who are interested to join are welcome.

  99. 99
    HeKS says:

    AS #88

    Scientific endeavour has made great strides in establishing the function of some noncoding DNA sequences any establishing that some (ERVs for example) have no function.

    From Jerry Coyne, “Evolution-of-the-Gaps” and Other Fallacies (about half way down)

    No Spin: Endogenous Retroviral Sequences Are Important for Brain Function, and Aren’t Junk

  100. 100
    HeKS says:

    Barry,

    I completely agree with the thrust of your article. I’ve had to have this discussion with people several times.

    “Evidence”, properly understood, does not mean “proof”, though the two are often conflated. To say that there is evidence for some proposition is to say that there are facts and states of affairs that we are aware of that, on a reasonable interpretation, make the truth of that proposition more probable than it would be if we weren’t aware of those facts and states of affairs, or if they happened to be other than they are.

    The very notion of weighing evidence both for and against some proposition tells us that what we call “evidence” is some bit of data that is consistent with some hypothesis, or perhaps even multiple hypotheses, but is not necessarily conclusive. Otherwise it would be impossible to have evidence both for and against a proposition. When a consideration of the facts consistent with some hypothesis and those inconsistent with it leave us unable to confidently rule on the truth or falsity of the hypothesis, we don’t say that there is simply a complete lack of evidence to either support or refute the hypothesis. Rather, we say that “the evidence is inconclusive“.

    When it comes to the existence of an intelligent designer, whether that be God or someone or something else, the materialists seem to routinely take the position that if we do not have proof of the designer’s existence (e.g. his/her bones, video recording of the design taking place, etc.) then it is inappropriate to identify anything as evidence in favor of the designer’s existence and activity (e.g. spontaneous creation of the universe, fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, the discovery in living organisms of features that are otherwise uniquely associated with the products of intelligent design). With a game-plan like that, it’s pretty much impossible to lose.

  101. 101

    HeKS,

    I have come to the somewhat tragic conclusion that if you have to argue with someone that highly sophisticated semiotic systems and irreducibly complex, highly organized interdependent, highly functional and precise machines can only be reasonably explained by means of a teleological, deliberate intelligence, the person/people you are arguing with is/are well beyond reason.

    Ultimately, the fact that they insist there is no means by which to discern artifice from nature destroys their position that what we find in biology was generated by non-intelligent forces. They admit (even insist) they have no means to support this assertion and ridiculously claim it is our burden to prove otherwise.

    Thus, Darwinism is revealed as non-supportable even by its proponents. Their insistence that it is a “fact” can only be a matter of ideological zealotry; why bother debating with zealots religiously opposed to your views?

    I think a discussion about CSI, probabiity and other means of discerning ID artifacts from the natural would be much better advanced here and would be much more interesting than wading through post after post after post of the nonsense you get at TSZ.

  102. 102
    not_querius says:

    The fossil record is not evidence for unguided evolution as unguided evolution can’t get beyond populations of prokaryotes and tat is given starting populations of prokaryotes.”

    Joe, this is exactly what Barry is talking about in this OP. the improper use by materials of the word “evidence”. I don’t often agree with Barry, but I do in this case. Where a differ from Barry is that he is giving the false perception that only the materialists here are guilty of this. The items I mentioned above are definitely evidence in support of unguided evolution. The fact that you don’t think that the evidence is convincing doesn’t change the fact that it is evidence.

  103. 103
    Joe says:

    not_querious:

    Joe, this is exactly what Barry is talking about in this OP. the improper use by materials of the word “evidence”.

    Right, you improperly used the word.

    The items I mentioned above are definitely evidence in support of unguided evolution.

    Cuz you say so? You can’t provide any evidence that unguided evolution can get beyond populations of prokaryotes.

    The fact that you don’t think that the evidence is convincing doesn’t change the fact that it is evidence.

    It’s evidence, just not for unguided evolution. First you have to specify what unguided evolution entails and why it entails it.

  104. 104
    HeKS says:

    WJM,

    I ultimately agree with you, but in this case the argument is primarily about what people actually mean when they talk about CSI and whether the associated claims are circular. Largely, I’m trying to get them to understand that a lot of people, when they talk about CSI, do not mean it in precisely the way Dembski uses it in his conditional argument (i.e. IF something is highly unlikely AND matches a specification, THEN a design inference is warranted).

    More specifically, I’m trying to get them to understand that many people use the “complex” part of “CSI” to mean “many well-matched parts” rather than “highly improbable”. Thus, generally speaking, when an ID proponent here says something like, ‘it contains CSI and therefore I think it is highly improbable that it arose through unguided evolutionary mechanisms’, they are not typically making the circular claim that because it is improbable it has CSI and because it has CSI it is proved to be improbable, which would be the case if they were using “CSI” in precisely the way Dembski does. Rather, they are referring to an observable feature of a system that they think the available evidence suggests is improbable to be achieved by unguided processes, often in principle, which, though it requires supporting argumentation, is not circular.

  105. 105
    tabasco says:

    tabasco #76:

    The way forward isn’t to scold either of them for their use of the word ‘evidence’. Your OP therefore misses the mark.

    William J Murray:

    Actually, it hits that exact mark. In his O.P., Mr. Arrington brings to task those who wish to deny evidence for competing theories exists at all simply because those people are convinced of the truth/validity of their own theory.

    It misses the mark because he writes this:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

    As my example shows, to say that something isn’t evidence is the correct response if you believe that it doesn’t satisfy the definition.

    Here’s my definition:

    Something counts as evidence for a proposition P to the extent that it supports the truth of P.

    Barry endorsed that definition as “exactly right”.

    Since Svetlana does not believe that Kim K’s hair color supports the infinitude of the primes, she is using the word “evidence” correctly when she says that Kim K’s hair color is not evidence for the IoP.

    Dieter can challenge this, of course, by showing that KK’s hair color does in fact support the IoP.

    Now let’s consider the atheist was who ignited this kerfuffle by saying there was no evidence for God’s existence. Whoever that was, he or she was using the word ‘evidence’ correctly provided that he or she believed that none of the so-called evidence actually supported the proposition that God exists.

    Theists may disagree with this assessment, but that doesn’t mean that the atheist’s use of the phrase “no evidence” was illogical, lazy or dishonest.

    Barry’s OP missed the mark.

  106. 106

    HeKS said:

    Rather, they are referring to an observable feature of a system that they think the available evidence suggests is improbable to be achieved by unguided processes, often in principle, which, though it requires supporting argumentation, is not circular.

    I think the key point for neutral observers lies in the distinction between “unlikely to be generated by known natural processes” and “best explained by intelligent design”. Just because something is highly unlikely by current scientific knowledge about natural forces doesn’t mean it is necessarily best explained by ID.

    For example, pulsars. Natural forces are known for producing regularities, so even though the signal we got from a pulsar was, at the time, highly unlikely and considered unusual by current knowledge at the time, that didn’t necessarily mean it was best explained by intelligence. Mere regularity, even if highly unlikely given current scientific knowledge about nature, is not enough for a design inference.

    It is instead the positive evidence for design – things we only see artificially generated and never (so far, at least) by nature – that precipitate a design inference. If, for example, along with the regularity of the pulsar signal there was an embedded code that could be used to construct a communications device and directions on where to point it, the only known source of that kind of complex, specified, functional information is intelligent agency.

    The conclusion isn’t based on “because known natural forces are unlikely”, but rather it is based on “the only known source of this kind of phenomena is intelligent agency”. The “improbability” of known natural forces in generating the phenomena is not the deciding factor in establishing ID as best explanation.

    Therefore, it is not circular at all.

    Largely, I’m trying to get them to understand..

    You’re trying to get them to understand that which their entire concept of self and reality relies upon not understanding. Good luck with that 🙂

  107. 107
    tabasco says:

    HeKS,

    Keep in mind that William does poorly in debates at TSZ and must rationalize his failures to himself by declaring his opponents “beyond reason”.

    The more he participates at TSZ — particularly when technical topics like CSI are being discussed — the harder it is for him to maintain this rationalization.

    As he has stated many times, he is not concerned with the truth of his beliefs — only with whether they “work for him”.

    The belief that his opponents are “beyond reason” “works” for him. It makes him feel good, and it allows him to avoid confronting his failures.

  108. 108
    Barry Arrington says:

    tabasco continues to dodge my question at 63.

  109. 109
    Barry Arrington says:

    tabasco @ 113. Actually, your 111 demonstrates WJM’s point rather nicely. You are beyond reason. All you have is mulish obstinacy when you have been shown to be wrong.

  110. 110
    tabasco says:

    Barry,

    Your #63 is an attempt to change the subject away from the failed thesis of your OP. I’m smart enough not to take the bait.

    My #111 shows why your thesis fails. Do you have an actual counterargument?

    Hint: “tabasco, you are an idiot” is not a counterargument. Neither is “You are beyond reason” or “All you have is mulish obstinacy”.

  111. 111
    Joe says:

    As my example shows, to say that something isn’t evidence is the correct response if you believe that it doesn’t satisfy the definition.

    One person has the responsibility to demonstrate how it is evidence for that claim and the other has to do more than handwave it away. Hitchens applies in all cases.

  112. 112
    tabasco says:

    Joe,

    And if person A fails to offer such a demonstration, or offers a demonstration that person B, after due consideration, considers to be faulty, then person B is not being “lazy” or “dishonest” by saying that what person A is citing is “not evidence”.

    A person who believes that E is not evidence for P is being honest when she states that E is not evidence for P. She might be wrong, but she is not being dishonest.

    Barry’s statement is incorrect:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

  113. 113
    Joe says:

    You have to show why. Just saying it ain’t evidence for X is lazy.

    Hitchens applies.

  114. 114
    Joe says:

    The DA presents evidence and makes a positive case against the defendant. tabasco, the lawyer for the defence, stands up as says “we don’t find that persuasive and neither should you, so we rest”.

    How many defendants would get set free using that tactic?

  115. 115
    Box says:

    Tabasco: And if person A fails to offer such a demonstration, or offers a demonstration that person B, after due consideration, considers to be faulty, then person B is not being “lazy” or “dishonest” by saying that what person A is citing is “not evidence”.

    So an OOL researcher A shows Joe how life forms from simple molecules. It is a perfect demonstration: a little bit of this and that and life forms within 10 minutes. Joe, after due consideration, considers it to be faulty (because “water molecules are designed”), then Joe is not being “lazy” or “dishonest” by saying that what person A is showing is “not evidence”.
    IOW, thanks to Joe, the OOL researcher has absolutely no evidence whatsoever – zilch – to back up his claim that life can arise by natural processes?

  116. 116
    tabasco says:

    Joe,

    You have to show why. Just saying it ain’t evidence for X is lazy.

    That’s absurd. Nothing would ever get done if we had to justify every statement we make, every time we made it.

    Barry agreed with my definition:

    Something counts as evidence for a proposition P to the extent that it supports the truth of P.

    If person A says that something is evidence for P, and person B, after due consideration, decides that it doesn’t satisfy the definition above, then person B is being neither dishonest nor lazy in saying that it isn’t evidence.

    Barry knows this, which is why he’s trying to change the subject.

  117. 117
    tabasco says:

    Box,

    So an OOL researcher A shows Joe how life forms from simple molecules. It is a perfect demonstration: a little bit of this and that and life forms within 10 minutes. Joe, after due consideration, considers it to be faulty (because “water molecules are designed”), then Joe is not being “lazy” or “dishonest” by saying that what person A is showing is “not evidence”.

    If Joe really made an effort to determine the truth, and if he actually believes that the OOL researcher’s argument is faulty, then no, he is not being lazy or dishonest. He’s just wrong.

    IOW, thanks to Joe, the OOL researcher has absolutely no evidence whatsoever – zilch – to back up his claim that life can arise by natural processes?

    No. In your scenario, the OOL researcher has plenty of evidence. It’s just that Joe doesn’t believe that it is evidence.

    Think about this carefully: it is possible for person A to say “this is evidence for P”, and for person B to say “that’s not evidence”, with neither person being lazy or dishonest. One of them must be wrong, but you can be wrong without being lazy or dishonest.

  118. 118
    StephenB says:

    tabasco

    Barry,

    Your #63 is an attempt to change the subject away from the failed thesis of your OP. I’m smart enough not to take the bait.

    Evidence does not have to be persuasive to be evidence. Barry’s example makes the point obvious. Having been refuted, you simply avoid addressing the example.

    A person who believes that E is not evidence for P is being honest when she states that E is not evidence for P. She might be wrong, but she is not being dishonest.

    Like evolve, you contradict yourself at every turn. If she is “wrong” to believe that it is “not” evidence, then it is evidence by virtue of the fact that she is wrong. Your comment refutes itself.

  119. 119
    Box says:

    AS: And it doesn’t flow from Darwinian theory (it’s not, for instance, the prediction that because mutations are random, there will be lots of random junk around, which wouldn’t make a lot of sense, because if it was costly for organisms to maintain “junk”, then it would be rapidly filtered out).

    So the concept of junk-DNA never did make any sense according to Darwinian theory?

  120. 120
    Joe says:

    tabasco:

    Nothing would ever get done if we had to justify every statement we make, every time we made it.

    That’s absurd as science requires that one supports/ justifies what one claims and science makes progress.

    If person A says that something is evidence for P, and person B, after due consideration, decides that it doesn’t satisfy the definition above, then person B is being neither dishonest nor lazy in saying that it isn’t evidence.

    True, once one makes a case that it isn’t evidence then one isn’t being lazy as one has done the due diligence one needs to do.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    HeKS:

    Pardon, but they have twisted WmAD’s actual statements into pretzels, erecting a gross strawman caricature.

    Here he is in NFL, 2002 (as I have recently extended at IOSE) — surely, long enough ago in easily accessible black and white to carry out duties of care to accuracy, fairness and seeking to understand what you are intending to critique:

    p. 148:“The great myth of contemporary evolutionary biology is that the information needed to explain complex biological structures can be purchased without intelligence. My aim throughout this book is to dispel that myth . . . . Eigen and his colleagues must have something else in mind besides information simpliciter when they describe the origin of information as the central problem of biology.

    I submit that what they have in mind is specified complexity [[cf. here below (–> NB: clips from Orgel 1973 and Wicken 1979, the Orgel one now considerably extended relative to what is commonly seen)], or what equivalently we have been calling in this Chapter Complex Specified information or CSI . . . .

    Biological specification always refers to function. An organism is a functional system comprising many functional subsystems. . . . In virtue of their function [[a living organism’s subsystems] embody patterns that are objectively given and can be identified independently of the systems that embody them. Hence these systems are specified in the sense required by the complexity-specificity criterion . . . the specification can be cashed out in any number of ways [[through observing the requisites of functional organisation within the cell, or in organs and tissues or at the level of the organism as a whole. Dembski cites:

    Wouters, p. 148: “globally in terms of the viability of whole organisms,”

    Behe, p. 148: “minimal function of biochemical systems,”

    Dawkins, pp. 148 – 9: “Complicated things have some quality, specifiable in advance, that is highly unlikely to have been acquired by ran-| dom chance alone. In the case of living things, the quality that is specified in advance is . . . the ability to propagate genes in reproduction.”

    On p. 149, he roughly cites Orgel’s famous remark from 1973, which exactly cited reads:

    In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple well-specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures that are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity . . .

    And, p. 149, he highlights Paul Davis in The Fifth Miracle: “Living organisms are mysterious not for their complexity per se, but for their tightly specified complexity.”] . . .”

    p. 144: [[Specified complexity can be more formally defined:] “. . . since a universal probability bound of 1 [[chance] in 10^150 corresponds to a universal complexity bound of 500 bits of information, [[the cluster] (T, E) constitutes CSI because T [[ effectively the target hot zone in the field of possibilities] subsumes E [[ effectively the observed event from that field], T is detachable from E, and and T measures at least 500 bits of information . . . ”

    First, Dembski is deeply concerned about biological cases though he in effect abstracts to an informational configuration space and a definable target zone in it that swamps sol sys or cosmos level blind needle in haystack search resources.

    Inherently, the specific, functional, complex organisation in biological systems is based on wiring diagram arrangements of parts that fit, couple and work together. Something that as Orgel pointed out can be reduced to information by a string of structured y/n q’s constituting a string in a description language. This connects to Kolmogotov.

    So the FSCO/I view is directly connected to Dembski in NFL as well as to Orgel and Wicken.

    And, connecting to this thread, surely, the extended statement by Dembski in a well known book constitutes evidence of what he meant, whether or no one may agree with him.

    There is no excuse for insistently twisting and caricaturing to dismiss.

    KF

  122. 122
    Dr JDD says:

    AS @#122:

    You have missed my point completely. My discussion is not around whether junk DNA serves any purpose or not nor how much of it is junk or not. My point is the dirty little tricks the authoritative figures that drive forward evolution use.

    You can quibble over my use of “et al” to try and convince yourself you were not wrong to question my statement that Dawkins made such a claim but the point remains – Dawkins AND many others made strong inferences that 95% of the genome was leftover from evolution and therefore evidence for evolution. Then instead of admitting their mistake, they claim the new evidence is what evolution would have predicted all along.

    That is my point, not a debate about junk DNA. Which is the point about how people use evidence wrongly and intrpret any evidence according to their own model, rather than where it “leads”. Or at lst accepting they were wrong.

    Further, the function we are now uncovering for the other DNA (non coding) was as you say hypothesised to be “space” – to fit in with the evolutionary theory more. What we actually see are complex gene regulatory RNA coding molecules and other similar functions that must have evolved as well as protein coding genes if (and alongside them likely) if that narrative is true. Conversely, ,the design theorist would claim these were designed alongside.

    In addition your 8% functionality of the genome you state is based on work done by comparing homology. Therefore if something does not share homology in the genome to other genomes it is not included in that 8% essentially. That is a biase and fundamentally flawed analysis of what is “functional” as it assumes that DNA lacking homology must not have function – again, pandering to the evolutionary model alone which excludes any finding that could raise questions with this model.

    Finally, you should read your experts more on this – Lardy Moran has implicitly stated that there MUST be junk DNA otherwises the neutral theory of evolution is not true. A most appear to accept that theory (apparently) this is one of several reasons why if most of the genome is functional it is a huge blow to the evolutionary narrative of UCD.

  123. 123
    Box says:

    AS: It’s undeniable that the human genome appears to contain large amounts of DNA that have no apparent benefit to the organism.

    So now it’s undeniable. Okay, then why are you in high praise of Liddle for saying that lots of random junk doesn’t make sense:
    And it doesn’t flow from Darwinian theory (it’s not, for instance, the prediction that because mutations are random, there will be lots of random junk around, which wouldn’t make a lot of sense, because if it was costly for organisms to maintain “junk”, then it would be rapidly filtered out).

  124. 124
    Dr JDD says:

    “It’s undeniable that the human genome appears to contain large amounts of DNA that have no apparent benefit to the organism.”

    Yes. It’s also (as Dawkins himself states) undeniable that organisms/cells/life has the appearance of having been designed.

    The difference is on statement one you go with the appearance and statement 2 you don’t.

    I know you will say “we have other evidence to the contrary” for 1 but we also do for 2 – the ENCODE project showed biological activity for up to 80% of the genome. Yet all the evo’s threw their toys out of the pram when that was stated as they realised the negative implications for evolution. Yet still you and other commentators on this site seem to not see the issue with a Large proportion of the genome being functional. “biological activity doesn’t mean function” and all that malarkey.

  125. 125
    Dr JDD says:

    I apologise to Barry and others for turning this thread unintentionally into a debate into junk DNA. that was far from the point.

    A people can see, evolutionists disagree on the “sense” of junk DNA with regards to evolution. Some say it is necessary and makes sense, others say it is costly and makes no sense.

    This is not the point. The point is about what is used as evidence or not and how there is often the narrative is simply changed so that the evidence always fits regardless.

    That is all – junk DNA was just an example specifically with Dawkins who changed his narrative. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. What matters is when the observation was “A” Dawkins said it is evidence for evolution and is what evolution would predict. When that observation changed to “B” instead of saying I was wrong, he says that is what we would expect and predict.

    As already said, heads I win tails you lose. That is how these leading evolutionists view their evidence – whatever the observation is it fits their theory.

  126. 126
    tabasco says:

    StephenB:

    Evidence does not have to be persuasive to be evidence.

    Barry has already agreed with my definition:

    Something counts as evidence for a proposition P to the extent that it supports the truth of P.

    tabasco:

    A person who believes that E is not evidence for P is being honest when she states that E is not evidence for P. She might be wrong, but she is not being dishonest.

    StephenB:

    Like evolve, you contradict yourself at every turn. If she is “wrong” to believe that it is “not” evidence, then it is evidence by virtue of the fact that she is wrong. Your comment refutes itself.

    No, because being wrong is not the same thing as being dishonest.

    Think, Stephen.

  127. 127
    wd400 says:

    Box,

    If we use the term “Darwinist” in it’s sceintific sense (those who favour evolutionary theories that emphasise natural selection), then “Darwinist” were in fact largely opposed to the idea of junk DNA when it was first put forward.

    On the other hand, people around here normally take “darwinism” to mean modern evolutionary biology. Junk DNA makes a lot of sense in modern evolutionary biology, and the best evidence still points to most of the human genome being junk.

    JDD,

    Lol.

    Do you seriously think being subject to biological activity is the same as having a biological function? Or that ENCODE proves the earlier claim that 95% of the geonome was “leftover” wrong?

    I’ll give you a clue on the latter. To swallow the ENCODE press release whole (as so many here have…) you’ve have to accept every base of every intron is functional (!), but we’ve known for a long time that this adds up to much more than 5% of the genome.

  128. 128
    tabasco says:

    tabasco:

    Nothing would ever get done if we had to justify every statement we make, every time we made it.

    Joe:

    That’s absurd as science requires that one supports/ justifies what one claims and science makes progress.

    Come on, Joe. It’s important that scientific claims be justified, but it would be idiotic to justify them every single time they were stated.

    tabasco:

    If person A says that something is evidence for P, and person B, after due consideration, decides that it doesn’t satisfy the definition above, then person B is being neither dishonest nor lazy in saying that it isn’t evidence.

    Joe:

    True, once one makes a case that it isn’t evidence then one isn’t being lazy as one has done the due diligence one needs to do.

    I’m glad you agree. Barry doesn’t.

  129. 129
    tabasco says:

    KF, to HeKS:

    Pardon, but they have twisted WmAD’s actual statements into pretzels, erecting a gross strawman caricature.

    KF, why don’t you heed HeKS’s call to arms and join the discussion at TSZ? We’d love to have you.

  130. 130
    Dr JDD says:

    wd400 – of course I don’t believe the two are the same. I never claimed they were. I was merely saying it is a piece of evidence that can support (and instigate further investigation) the notion that more than 5% of the genome is functional. Read what I wrote in the entire context of my comparison.

    besides, most scientists who aren’t evolutionary biologists or hardcore atheists in my experience are quite open to and interested in the idea of a large proportion of the genome serving a useful function.

  131. 131
    wd400 says:

    What’s the point of mentioning the ENCODE 80% number then, which is perfectly compatable with most (and even 95%) of the genome being junk?

    You are right that most molecular biologists don’t know the good arguments for junk DNA,though. That’s one reason the HUGO guessed 100,000 genes when several evolutionary biologists go it about right at 20,000–40,000…

  132. 132
    Joe says:

    It’s important that scientific claims be justified,

    That contradicts what you said.

    but it would be idiotic to justify them every single time they were stated.

    I never made that claim.

    I’m glad you agree. Barry doesn’t.

    The OP says otherwise. Can you read?

  133. 133
    Joe says:

    wd400:

    That’s one reason the HUGO guessed 100,000 genes when several evolutionary biologists go it about right at 20,000–40,000…

    Given that the number of proteins is greater than 40,000, the gene concept needs to be rewritten.

  134. 134
    StephenB says:

    tabasco

    No, because being wrong is not the same thing as being dishonest.

    Irrelevant. If she is, in fact, wrong, then her honesty or lack of it has no bearing on that fact.

    She might be wrong, but she is not being dishonest.

    If she is wrong in her claim (that it is not evidence) then the reverse is true (it is evidence). That should be obvious.

    Barry has already agreed with my definition:

    Apparently, you do not understand the difference between a definition and an example. We are not discussing your definition. Barry’s example, which is consistent with your definition, refutes your claim. You are evading it. I am asking you to address it.

  135. 135
    tabasco says:

    StephenB,

    Irrelevant. If she is, in fact, wrong, then her honesty or lack of it has no bearing on that fact.

    Of course. But Barry says she is lazy or dishonest:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

    He’s wrong about that. She can honestly claim that something is not evidence even if she happens to be wrong about, just as you can honestly claim that the Christian God exists even if you are wrong about it.

  136. 136
    tabasco says:

    StephenB:

    Barry’s example, which is consistent with your definition, refutes your claim.

    Here is Barry’s example:

    Tabasco, read Dr JDD’s comment. Now apply your own definition of evidence. The universe had a beginning. One logical possibility to explain that fact is that God created the universe. Only that which exists has the capacity to create. Therefore the fact that the universe began to exist is evidence that God exists.

    What claim of mine does that refute? Provide a quote, please.

  137. 137
    StephenB says:

    tabasco

    What claim of mine does that refute? Provide a quote, please.

    It is your claim that Barry is wrong in the OP and that your definition differs from it. Evidence does not have to be persuasive to be evidence. We have made that case over and over again.

  138. 138
    tabasco says:

    StephenB,

    I asked you for a quote:

    What claim of mine does that refute? Provide a quote, please.

  139. 139
    StephenB says:

    SB: It is your claim that Barry is wrong in the OP and that your definition differs from it. Evidence does not have to be persuasive to be evidence. We have made that case over and over again.

    tabasco

    I asked you for a quote:

    Here is one of many:

    Why is this thread dragging on when Barry’s error was already pointed out in comment #3?

    Obviously, I am challenging that claim. I am saying that the error is yours. The OP says correctly that evidence does not have to be persuasive to count as evidence? If you agree, then please say so; if not, then please make your case.

  140. 140
    HeKS says:

    @KF #131

    HeKS:

    Pardon, but they have twisted WmAD’s actual statements into pretzels, erecting a gross strawman caricature.

    Hey KF,

    Who is “they” and where have they done this? Are you talking about the discussion I’ve been having over at TSZ?

    I’m trying to figure out what specific claims you’re responding to.

    When it comes to Dembski’s CSI, as I’ve stated a few times here and elsewhere, my understanding comes from my discussions with Winston Ewert. I certainly don’t in any way deny that Dembski is concerned with biology or that he explains the concept of specificity as your quotes indicate. However, what I’ve been talking about over at TSZ is rather the issue of “complexity” and the fact that pro-ID commenters here, when using the term “complex specified information” (or some form of it) are often using the term “complex” in its more common meaning of “many well-matched parts”, referring to an observable feature of a system rather than a probability calculation. As such, they may occasionally make statements that would seem to be circular to someone who misunderstands them to be using the term in precisely the way Dembski does as regards the issue of “complexity”.

    If by “complex specified information” one means “highly improbable specified information”, then a claim that the presence of “complex specified information” in some system makes it improbable on evolutionary mechanisms would indeed be circular. It would be saying, “the highly improbable specified information in this system makes it highly improbable”.

    On the other hand, to claim that the presence of a multi-part system containing functionally specified information suggests it is improbable on evolutionary mechanisms is not to make a circular argument. It is a claim that represents a person’s conclusions based on their understanding of the evidence and what they believe that evidence indicates with respect to the ability of evolutionary mechanisms to build information-rich multi-part functional systems. As a claim, it would require supporting argumentation and presentation of evidence, but it’s not circular. That is what the conversation at TSZ has been about.

    Do you disagree with something I’m saying there?

    HeKS

  141. 141
    HeKS says:

    tabasco @145

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

    He’s wrong about that. She can honestly claim that something is not evidence even if she happens to be wrong about

    I’m trying to understand your attempted rebuttal here. Did you happen to notice that Barry gives more than one option, ranging from “intellectually lazy” to “dishonest”. You respond by saying it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is dishonest, but unless I missed it I didn’t see an explanation for why it would not necessarily mean that person was at least intellectually lazy.

    In any case, look again at what Barry said:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

    If someone is presented with data that, on a reasonable interpretation, is consistent with and suggestive of a particular conclusion but that person claims that the data doesn’t count as evidence because they don’t find the data suggestive enough to compel their belief (or simply because there’s some other logically possible explanation for the data), then Barry is correct in saying that they would be intellectually lazy at best.

    Saying that one is unconvinced by the evidence for some proposition is completely different from claiming that no evidence for the proposition exists at all. In the theism vs. atheism debate in particular, the claim that “there’s no evidence for God’s existence” is a sound bite – a bit of useful propaganda to reinforce the false notion that atheism is based on facts and evidence while belief in God is based on blind faith. And that is precisely why many atheists are so unwilling to correct the way they frame the discussion and say instead that they are simply “unconvinced by the evidence for God’s existence.” To do so would be to give up the rhetorical advantage derived from the widespread illusion that the debate over God’s existence is one of evidence versus faith and to admit instead that it is one based on competing interpretations of the available evidence. The No-God-ISM side of the debate does not actually want to get into a battle over the plausibility of competing interpretations of the same evidence when they can score more points by simply insisting that the other side is out to lunch.

  142. 142
    tabasco says:

    StephenB,

    Why all the squirming? You made a claim:

    Barry’s example, which is consistent with your definition, refutes your claim.

    Here is Barry’s example:

    Tabasco, read Dr JDD’s comment. Now apply your own definition of evidence. The universe had a beginning. One logical possibility to explain that fact is that God created the universe. Only that which exists has the capacity to create. Therefore the fact that the universe began to exist is evidence that God exists.

    That example doesn’t contradict any claim I’ve made here, as you know. That is why you can’t come up with one.

    The one you did quote isn’t refuted by Barry’s example:

    Why is this thread dragging on when Barry’s error was already pointed out in comment #3?

  143. 143
    tabasco says:

    HeKS asks:

    Hey KF,

    Who is “they” and where have they done this?

    Why, the evomat Alinskyite cabal, of course. Plato warned us about them 2350 years ago. They strawmannise Dembski’s argument, and by repeating their drumbeat talking points they soak it in oil of ad hominem and set it alight to cloud, poison, confuse and polarise the atmosphere.

    Also, the sky is falling.

  144. 144
    tabasco says:

    HeKS:

    I’m trying to understand your attempted rebuttal here. Did you happen to notice that Barry gives more than one option, ranging from “intellectually lazy” to “dishonest”.

    I did. Did you happen to notice that I responded to both? Evidently not.

    You respond by saying it doesn’t necessarily mean the person is dishonest, but unless I missed it I didn’t see an explanation for why it would not necessarily mean that person was at least intellectually lazy.

    You missed it. In #118, I wrote:’

    And if person A fails to offer such a demonstration, or offers a demonstration that person B, after due consideration, considers to be faulty, then person B is not being “lazy” or “dishonest” by saying that what person A is citing is “not evidence”.

    Barry’s statement is therefore false:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

  145. 145
    HeKS says:

    tabasco @154

    And if person A fails to offer such a demonstration, or offers a demonstration that person B, after due consideration, considers to be faulty, then person B is not being “lazy” or “dishonest” by saying that what person A is citing is “not evidence”.

    Barry’s statement is therefore false:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

    No, you haven’t demonstrated Barry’s statement to be false. You’ve simply changed his conditional statement and substituted some alternate reason for why someone might reject the claim that some data is evidence in support of a particular proposition.

    Sure, someone might decide that there isn’t any kind of reasonable connection between a proposition and some data that has been cited in support of it, such that no reasonable person would consider the proposition more probable on the data than in its absence (as in the case you offered in #3), and therefore decide the data doesn’t actually constitute evidence at all. However, that would be a different scenario than the one Barry presented.

    The form of Barry’s statement was:

    If person A claims data isn’t evidence for reason X, they are intellectually lazy at best, and dishonest at worst.

    You’ve responded by saying:

    No, Barry, you’re wrong, because if person A claims data isn’t evidence for reason Y, they aren’t intellectually lazy or dishonest, though they may be wrong.

    You aren’t responding to what Barry said. You’re just changing the terms of the discussion.

  146. 146
    Piotr says:

    #132 Dr JDD

    Finally, you should read your experts more on this – Lardy [sic] Moran has implicitly stated that there MUST be junk DNA otherwises the neutral theory of evolution is not true.

    Where does he “implicitly state” that? Care to provide a relevant quotation?

  147. 147
    tabasco says:

    HeKS:

    The form of Barry’s statement was:

    If person A claims data isn’t evidence for reason X, they are intellectually lazy at best, and dishonest at worst.

    You’ve responded by saying:

    No, Barry, you’re wrong, because if person A claims data isn’t evidence for reason Y, they aren’t intellectually lazy or dishonest, though they may be wrong.

    You’re misrepresenting my argument. I meant what I wrote:

    If person A says that something is evidence for P, and person B, after due consideration, decides that it doesn’t satisfy the definition above, then person B is being neither dishonest nor lazy in saying that it isn’t evidence.

    It should be obvious. Person B is not being lazy, because he or she gave due consideration to the demonstration being offered. Person B is also not being dishonest, because he or she truly believes that the definition is not being satisfied, and that what person A is adducing is not evidence.

    Therefore Barry’s statement is false:

    Claiming evidence does not exist because you don’t find it persuasive is at best intellectually lazy; at worst it is dishonest.

  148. 148
    Joe says:

    On God’s existence, I’m quite happy for people to believe in the deity of their choice but I reject that it gives them authority to infringe the rights of others.

    Unguided evolution doesn’t have any hypotheses to test.

    On God’s existence, I’m quite happy for people to believe in the deity of their choice but I reject that it gives them authority to infringe the rights of others.

    What rights? If you are correct then there aren’t any.

  149. 149
    Upright BiPed says:

    HEKs: In the theism vs. atheism debate in particular, the claim that “there’s no evidence for God’s existence” is a sound bite – a bit of useful propaganda to reinforce the false notion that atheism is based on facts and evidence while belief in God is based on blind faith. And that is precisely why many atheists are so unwilling to correct the way they frame the discussion and say instead that they are simply “unconvinced by the evidence for God’s existence.”

    AS: I’ve not heard atheists talk about “debate-framing” in this way. Perhaps I don’t spend enough time in huddles with fellow atheists. On God’s existence, I’m quite happy for people to believe in the deity of their choice but I reject that it gives them authority to infringe the rights of others. On the other hand, what evidence for gods is there, other than testimony? Give me an example of evidence for either a particular god or gods in general that is more than someone’s story.

    😐

  150. 150
    Box says:

    Piotr,

    Larry Moran still holds that more than 90% of the human genome is junk.

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    HeKS:

    Pardon, on the side-bar issue, I was pointing out that WmAD’s context of usage embraces the Wicken wiring diagram specific functional organisation view of “complexity.”

    So, no reading of “specified complexity” should be entertained that does not connect closely to this. Indeed, I would argue on the p. 144 definition:

    a: the sense of plausibly highly improbable that is in view is that

    b: precisely because the specificity-complexity nexus puts one in configs E within deeply isolated zones T in a wider field of possibilities W, where

    c: T requires in Dembski’s terms at least 500 bits of descriptive complexity (i.e. a structured chain of Y/N q’s to specify states E in T will run to that sort of length . . . along the lines of Kolmogorov’s complexity metric), then

    d: it becomes maximally implausible [“improbable”] for a blind, needle in haystack search of W to find any cases E from T.

    e: Indeed, it may be further pointed out [this is now me i/l/o a discussion involving EL & May et al, on contributions from VJT and Giem also] that

    f: for 500 – 1,000 bits, taking the Sol system’s ~ 10^57 atoms or the observed cosmos’ ~ 10^80 atoms, and setting each up as an observer that inspects a string of 500 or 1,000 coins (to make “bits” concrete) that have been newly flipped respectively every 10^-14 s,

    g: we can readily see that the number of possible inspected states . . . let’s take the 1,000 coins as OOL is particularly in view . . . the 10^111 observations of configs in 10^17 s (BB timeline) are an exceedingly small fraction of the 10^301 possibilities.

    h: Indeed, if we were to set 10^111 as the size of a straw, the cubical haystack would dwarf the observed cosmos, i.e.

    i: we could not reasonably expect to find even a universe full of needles on such a relatively tiny possible scope of search. And so

    j: as it is reasonable to see that any Wicken wiring diagram configuration that gives an exploded, connected view of correct, properly oriented components that must be correctly arranged and coupled to achieve function can be suitably reduced to an equivalent structured string of Y/N q’s, then

    k: discussion on strings is WLOG, i.e. the utter improbability of blind chance + necessity search success in the coin model extends directly to the Wicken wiring diagram FSCO/I case. That is, again,

    l: the improbability summary view and the functionally specific organisation views of “complexity” are inextricably mutually linked. Therefore,

    m: the now common attempt to project question-begging circularity unto the specificity-complexity criterion (which we saw in recent threads here at UD) is rooted in a distortion that results in a strawman caricature.

    I trust this will help.

    On the main topic for this thread, I think

    1: the issue of strawmannish caricatures of a case, and of

    2: broader issues such as the problem of not just bias but the ideologised, closed mind and

    3: the linked problem of using red herrings led away to such strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and rhetorically set alight to confuse, poison, cloud and polarise the atmosphere for discussion, brings out

    4: the wisdom in the well established distinction between

    [A] WARRANT, on evidence and linked logical reasoning that properly grounds a case, vs

    [B] PERSUASION that induces a particular person or group to accept that the case is warranted.

    5: Where, evidence is a component of A, and must compete with many influences — some of them utterly fallacious — for B. So,

    6: in understanding EVIDENCE, per AmHD cf 8 above:

    “a. A thing or set of things helpful in forming a conclusion or judgment: The broken window was evidence that a burglary had taken place. Scientists weighed the evidence for and against the hypothesis.

    b. Something indicative; an indication or set of indications: saw no evidence of grief on the mourner’s face”

    . . . we must realise that evidence e1, e2, e3 . . . en may well support or even warrant a conclusion C1, but other factors may well lead a particular individual or group to reject C1 and cling instead to C2. Where also

    7: Each ei contributes something to the warrant and may do so without being decisive standing by itself. Indeed,

    8: we must recall that unlike a deductive chain of argument that is no stronger than its weakest link, a cumulative case may be much more like a rope. That is

    9: short, seemingly weak strands when twisted together gain length and strength through their complex interaction, and strands may be braided or counter-twisted to form a stable, long, strong rope that can bear the weight we need it to carry.

    10: So, to dismiss e1, e2, e3 . . . en separately as “weak” or unpersuasive may miss the cumulative force they collectively impose as they interact.

    Of course, if we are up against the fallacy of the ideologised, closed mind, only utter collapse of the ideological system may have persuasive effect. As, happened with Marxism.

    KF

    PS: As policy, I will not try to get into debates at sites where abusive commenters are common and especially where — under false colours of free expression — they are allowed or even encouraged to get away with slander, abuse etc. UD is plainly sufficient. I doubly apologise for a potential side-track, and for not having time just now to mount a separate thread.

  152. 152
    Piotr says:

    #161 Box,

    So what? He’s very probably right (give or take a small margin of error). I wasn’t, however, asking about Larry Moran’s opinion on the existence of junk DNA, but about arguments allegedly used by him. According to Dr JDD, Larry “implicitly” argues that

    [T]here MUST be junk DNA otherwises the neutral theory of evolution is not true.

    I don’t believe Larry has ever said anything that could be construed in this way, hence my request for Dr JDD to provide a reference.

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    AS: Evidence and linked argument regarding the reality of God needs to be assessed in light of worldview foundations and comparative difficulties. In that context, to blanket-dismiss the experience of millions across the world and across the ages of life-transforming encounter with the living God, is tantamount to implying general delusion of the human mind. This leads straight to self-referential incoherence. I suggest, you may find it relevant to contrast the chain and the rope. KF

    PS: I point out that evolutionary materialism credibly does entail general delusion by way of self-referential incoherence, e.g. as the well known evolutionary theorist Haldane noted:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

  154. 154
    Upright BiPed says:

    Yes, yes. Who knows what the world’s materialists might think if one day it was demonstrated that life was the result of encoded information, recorded by iterative representations inside the cell.

  155. 155
    Joe says:

    Frankly Aurelio, I think materialism has an emotional appeal that some people are more susceptible to than others. For those that succumb to that emotional need, evidence is superfluous.

  156. 156
    Piotr says:

    LOL, KF,

    Have you ever quoted anything else by Haldane?

    Anyway, beliefs don’t have to be true. Few things are as common in the world of humans (and this site is by no means an exception) as false beliefs.

  157. 157
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AS

    If it’s the same God, why are Muslims, Jews and Christians fighting each other?

    If the physical universe is the same for everyone, why do scientists disagree among themselves in what they find in it?

  158. 158
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AS

    Religious evidence isn’t like that, though.

    Ok, you didn’t want to address my question so I’ll try another … what kind of research on religious evidence have you done?

  159. 159
    Barry Arrington says:

    HeKS @ 150:

    I responded to what you are saying here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rk-for-me/

  160. 160
    kairosfocus says:

    AS, that you start with “religion” instead of worldviews foundation analysis — what was pointed to — is itself a symptom of the problem of refusing to address relevant evidence on its strength because of where it points. And BTW, testimony of actual witnesses is evidence that can carry great weight, which extends to reasonable record of such that is fair on the face and coming from adequate chain of custody. Blanket sweeping away of categories of evidence is a sign of selective hyperskepticism. I again point you to the rope vs the chain; short, weak fibres combined and working together make a long rope that is vastly stronger than its individual components. Such, is cumulative evidence. As just one example in the 9th Bridgewater Treatise, Babbage showed how the combined evidence of multiple witnesses can overwhelm any reasonable view that perhaps witnesses may have been mistaken or the like, on miracles: beyond a certain point, too many convergent lines of evidence would have to be wrong and wrong in a consistent way, for such dismissals as are common to be reasonable. But, well do I recall having to deal with Marxists convinced they had the grasp on the scientific view of the world . . . only the collapse of the ideological system sufficed to show them otherwise. KF

    PS: Haldane’s note as cited is enough force in and of itself to avoid red herring side tracks and the like and reckon with it, in light of further materials (here just a 101) that can start with say Reppert:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

  161. 161
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AS

    What I would suggest is for you to start with your strongest interest and/or point of opposition. It seems, for example, you’re totally opposed to testimonial evidence. Is that true for every field of study, or just religion? If just religion, then it would be good to know why. So, you could research the best arguments in favor of testimonial evidence and build your strongest case against them. History, sociology, psychology — among other fields, rely on testimonial evidence.

    You’d need some confidence in that to analyze the validity of eyewitness accounts of miracles, for example. It also helps with conversion stories or claims of various sorts of spiritual experiences that people have had.

    Beyond that, there’s philosophical evidence which you can research and test logically. (For example, does every aspect of reality require some conditions to be fulfilled in order for it to exist?).

    If you want an experiential test of religion, you could give any number of them a try (as many people do) – through immersion in the experience and analysis of observed results.

    My religion is Catholicism, so naturally I would suggest that you research the evidence in support of that and then experiment by trying the recommended beginning steps.

    One means of discovering evidence in support of religion is to undertake the exercise of prayer, fasting, spiritual awareness and moral improvement. Lots of religious evidence can be observed through spiritual insight. Since we’re not talking about empirical sources, the use of physical science as the only means of awareness is obviously inappropriate.

    Those are a few ideas anyway.

  162. 162
    Joe says:

    Aurelio Smith:

    If it’s the same God, why are Muslims, Jews and Christians fighting each other?

    It is the same God, ie the God of Abraham, and people fight each other for many reasons. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all worship the same God in different ways. Those different ways are cause of conflict in some cases.

  163. 163
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Few things are as common in the world of humans (and this site is by no means an exception) as false beliefs.

    Evolutionism and materialism are two such false beliefs.

  164. 164
    not_querius says:

    KF responding to a request to debate at TSZ:
    “PS: As policy, I will not try to get into debates at sites where abusive commenters are common and especially where — under false colours of free expression — they are allowed or even encouraged to get away with slander, abuse etc. UD is plainly sufficient. I doubly apologise for a potential side-track, and for not having time just now to mount a separate thread.”

    IOW, he is brave enough to dish out abuse at UD knowing that anyone who responds with abuse will be banned, but too cowardly to comment at TSZ where only one person has been banned. And, I might add, where there is far less abuse than at UD.

  165. 165
    Joe says:

    TSZ is a losing cause. Nothing will ever sway that ilk into anything other than their pseudo-science panderings. If the TSZ ilk could ante up and support their position that would be different but they don’t because they can’t. All they can do is attack ID with their belligerent ignorance. The place is run by liars and has liars for regular posters.

    Who needs to deal with that?

  166. 166
    kairosfocus says:

    NQ: Have you had your name “outed,” and your uninvolved wife and children [with hinted at mafioso style threats], with attempts to publish street address and more? Not to mention general nastiness, etc? Or, had someone make false accusations to your boss to try to get you in job trouble? If you have not, then go take a long walk to a reflection pool and think again about what you are enabling. Shame on you. KF

  167. 167
    StephenB says:

    tabasco

    That example doesn’t contradict any claim I’ve made here, as you know. That is why you can’t come up with one.

    I can provide quotes all day long.

    Here is another:

    Is the current color of Kim Kardashian’s hair evidence that there are infinitely many prime numbers?

    The relationship between Kam Kardashian’s hair and mathematics does not relate in any way to the relationship between a hypothesis and its supporting evidence. It certainly does not refute the theme of the OP. Why would you think that it does?

    The one you did quote isn’t refuted by Barry’s example:

    Yes, it is. That would explain why you refuse to address it? Don’t you think it is time that you did?

  168. 168
    StephenB says:

    tabasco

    If person A says that something is evidence for P, and person B, after due consideration, decides that it doesn’t satisfy the definition above, then person B is being neither dishonest nor lazy in saying that it isn’t evidence.

    You want to live or die with this claim, but it simply isn’t true. Evidence either supports a proposition or it does not. In order to support a proposition, it must first be relevant to the proposition. Anyone who cannot or will not discern its relevance or lack of it is either being dishonest or lazy.

    Kim Kardashian’s hair color is not relevant to mathematics. Anyone who believes otherwise is either dishonest, lazy, or stupid. The beginning of the universe is relevant to arguments for the existence of God. Anyone who believes otherwise is either dishonest, lazy, or stupid.

  169. 169
    HeKS says:

    @Barry #175

    HeKS @ 150:

    I responded to what you are saying here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....rk-for-me/

    Hi Barry,

    I’m a little confused here.

    First, when you say you responded there, do you mean you wrote in disagreement of something I’ve said or some point I’m making, or merely that you wrote on the same subject?

    Second, the post you linked to is one where you quote me at length, citing my argument in agreement.

    So I’m not entirely sure what you’re responding to or what you’re saying.

  170. 170
    HeKS says:

    @AS #164

    Frankly Biped, I think religions have an emotional appeal that some people are more susceptible to than others. For those that succumb to that emotional need, evidence is superfluous. Those that lack that need aren’t swayed by testimony. Whether they might be impressed by evidence other than testimony is yet to be tested.

    No, it is not yet to be tested.

    Do you seriously think that all people who sincerely hold religious beliefs do so because it fills an emotional need and makes them feel good, and so they’ve chosen to accept the beliefs for that reason, in the absence of any evidence, or merely on the basis of emotional conversion stories and personal testimony?

    If so, you’re mistaken. I’m not an emotional person. My friends have sometimes joked about me being “dead inside” as a way to reference the fact that I’m not swayed by emotional arguments, I don’t get overly worked up about things, I very rarely take things personally (even when they are meant personally), and I pretty consistently look at things objectively, even when it’s not necessarily to my benefit to do so. But I’m also a theist. My theism doesn’t derive from any kind of emotional need, and I don’t particularly draw any emotional comfort from it. It doesn’t stem from desiring to be part of a community, because I also don’t much like being around large groups of people, especially when I know those people as acquaintances, since that tends to lead to a lot of chit-chat, which I hate like few other things on earth. I believe in God because I think God’s existence is the most plausible explanation of the available evidence from a variety of arenas. That is, I consider the existence of God to have both significant explanatory power and scope. I find the philosophical arguments for his existence, which make use of scientific evidence in support of their premises, to be highly compelling. However, even if I didn’t ultimately find the evidence and arguments sufficiently compelling to bring about my belief, I would find it utterly foolish to claim that no such evidence existed, or to insist that it didn’t actually constitute evidence simply because it didn’t compel my belief. It would be equally foolish to insist that it couldn’t be counted as evidence simply because I could come up with an array of other logically possible explanations to try to account for the various lines of evidence that are claimed to point to God’s existence, which is exactly what many people in the theism vs atheism debate try to do.

  171. 171
    kairosfocus says:

    AS:

    I have a budget headache to deal with (metaphorical, with foreshadowings of the literal one . . . ), but I snatch a moment.

    Here on is your problem:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [[There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. “It works” does not warrant the inference to “it is true.”] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [[“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [[“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [[i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [[How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [[and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    >> . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [[But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [[so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions. [[Emphases added. Also cf. Reppert’s summary of Barefoot’s argument here.]>>

    i: The famous geneticist and evolutionary biologist (as well as Socialist) J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:

    >> “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (Highlight and emphases added.)] >>

    . . . DI Fellow, Nancey Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth:

    >> A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . .

    An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.”>>

    . . . also tellingly highlighting Darwin’s selective skepticism:

    >> People are sometimes under the impression that Darwin himself recognized the problem. They typically cite Darwin’s famous “horrid doubt” passage where he questions whether the human mind can be trustworthy if it is a product of evolution: “With me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy.”

    But, of course, Darwin’s theory itself was a “conviction of man’s mind.” So why should it be “at all trustworthy”?

    Surprisingly, however, Darwin never confronted this internal contradiction in this theory. Why not? Because he expressed his “horrid doubt” selectively — only when considering the case for a Creator.

    From time to time, Darwin admitted that he still found the idea of God persuasive. He once confessed his “inward conviction … that the Universe is not the result of chance.” It was in the next sentence that he expressed his “horrid doubt.” So the “conviction” he mistrusted was his lingering conviction that the universe is not the result of chance.

    In another passage Darwin admitted, “I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man.” Again, however, he immediately veered off into skepticism: “But then arises the doubt — can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

    That is, can it be trusted when it draws “grand conclusions” about a First Cause? Perhaps the concept of God is merely an instinct programmed into us by natural selection, Darwin added, like a monkey’s “instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.”

    In short, it was on occasions when Darwin’s mind led him to a theistic conclusion that he dismissed the mind as untrustworthy. He failed to recognize that, to be logically consistent, he needed to apply the same skepticism to his own theory . . . .

    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”

    Just so. Science itself is at stake. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, writes that according to atheism, “the mind that does science … is the end product of a mindless unguided process. Now, if you knew your computer was the product of a mindless unguided process, you wouldn’t trust it. So, to me atheism undermines the rationality I need to do science.”

    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.

    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively . . . >>

    j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity.

    m: Moreover, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us all in his infamous January 29, 1997 New York Review of Books article, “Billions and billions of demons,” it is now notorious that:

    >> . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel [[materialistic scientists] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [[And if you have been led to imagine that the immediately following words justify the above, kindly cf. the more complete clip and notes here.]>>

    n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious.

    o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists’ theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited.

    p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.”

    q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic.

    r: So, while materialists — just like the rest of us — in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.)

    Sauce for the goose works for the gander too.

    Nimitz the treecat is bleeking with laughter.

    KF

  172. 172
    kairosfocus says:

    Heks, yup. And if you think I would believe in God out of needing an emotional crutch, that does not pass the giggle test. BTW, the day I nigh broke my ankle, I learned the value of a crutch when it is really needed. KF

    PS: Cf my recent discussion on matters ontological at UD here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....eat-being/

    . . . this, I find pivotal on the issue of necessary being and God as serious candidate such that he is either impossible or actual; and there simply is no good reason to either doubt that God is a serious candidate NB or to think his existence is impossible like how a square circle is impossible. If you doubt that necessary beings exist, try coming up with a world where two-ness does not exist.

  173. 173
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I find the modal ontological context a rich vein for understanding how to think about God and our world. It turns out that given our evident life under moral government, the context leads to a vision of the eternal, ininite-personal inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being, ground of reality, well worthy of worship. Before you get anywhere near a work on theology much less a religious tradition. This context puts some meat and colour on the skeleton of the God of the philosophers. And, it clearly indicates that ethical theism is on to something really powerful. Oh, how a priori evolutionary materialist scientism and its fellow travellers have robbed us of insight even as they have puffed us up with a sneering dismissal of those who see what we have blinded ourselves to. KF

  174. 174
    kairosfocus says:

    Ponder, and tremble:

    William Blake. 1757–1827

    The Tyger

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172943

    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies.
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger Tyger burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

    KF

  175. 175
    not_querius says:

    KF@184:“NQ: Have you had your name “outed,” and your uninvolved wife and children [with hinted at mafioso style threats], with attempts to publish street address and more? Not to mention general nastiness, etc? Or, had someone make false accusations to your boss to try to get you in job trouble? If you have not, then go take a long walk to a reflection pool and think again about what you are enabling. Shame on you. KF”

    KF, I have heard you make these claims yet you have never provided any concrete examples when requested. I don’t know anybody who would condone the behaviour you describe but you expect us to simply take your word for it. Given that this is an OP about evidence, maybe you should provide some. Feel free to remove your name or the names of your family from the incriminating evidence.

    By the way, it took all of 30 seconds and Google to discover your true name. It doesn’t help that when I click on your name in one of your comments, it links me to sites with your real name.

    With regard to the comment about trying to get someone in trouble with their boss, I assume that the victim you are referring to is the only one to be banned from TSZ. Whenever you bring this issue up, you conveniently neglect to mention that the complaint to the boss was that this person was using a work computer to make threats. And we both know that threatening physical violence is something that this person has done on numerous occasions.

  176. 176
    kairosfocus says:

    NQ, you have proved my point, exemplifying the problem. Your attempt to divert the thread will not be further entertained. KF

  177. 177
    not_querius says:

    NQ, you have proved my point, exemplifying the problem. Your attempt to divert the thread will not be further entertained. KF”

    Really? All I did was ask for evidence to support your claims about victimization. Isn’t this threat about the concept about what evidence is?

  178. 178
    tabasco says:

    StephenB,

    You’re not making sense.

    You wrote:

    I can provide quotes all day long.

    Here is another:

    Is the current color of Kim Kardashian’s hair evidence that there are infinitely many prime numbers?

    That isn’t a claim, it’s a question — though there is an argument behind it that I explain throughout the thread.

    But how is that argument refuted by Barry’s example?

    Tabasco, read Dr JDD’s comment. Now apply your own definition of evidence. The universe had a beginning. One logical possibility to explain that fact is that God created the universe. Only that which exists has the capacity to create. Therefore the fact that the universe began to exist is evidence that God exists.

    Barry isn’t addressing the argument. He’s trying to change the subject.

  179. 179
    tabasco says:

    KF’s real reason for avoiding TSZ is obvious to everyone.

    Bydand!

  180. 180
    not_querius says:

    I have a daughter who tries to convince me of the benefits of yoga and meditation. I’m sure it benefits her and many others. I seem to have a blind spot.”

    Yes. It is in the centre of each of your perfectly “designed” eyes. Sorry. Could pass up the low hanging fruit.

  181. 181
    kairosfocus says:

    Tabasco,

    I will be frank [as my lawyer advised me just yesterday], just once, and will ignore you afterwards: never get into a mud wrestling match with a pig — especially in a fever swamp; and try Matt 7:6 for the biblical version, from Serm Mt: “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

    I am interested in real substance such as the ontological issues you are busily diverting attention from by trying the red-herring, strawman, ad hominem trick in hopes of pretending to martyrdom if your trollish conduct leads to loss of commenting privilige — and for cause it is a privilege conditioned on good conduct — at UD.

    Game over, I have a serious budget issue to deal with with a multidimensional strategic chess game tied to it RW, goodbye.

    Let’s see if AS at least will take up a serious matter. He asked about evidence and argument, here’s one on the table. And it patently is not about emotional crutches.

    KF

    PS: On substance re CSI, I have put on the table a substantial citation and articulation of what WmAD meant when he defined and contextualised CSI, generalising from what on Orgel & Wicken can be summarised as FSCO/I. Let’s see if sufficient numbers of objectors have enough sense of duty to balance, accuracy and fairness to change their tune from the circular argument strawman caricature. And, the predictable answer — no — shows yet another pattern of unresponsiveness to evidence by too many objectors to design theory.

  182. 182
    not_querius says:

    I see that KF insist on refusing to provide evidence to support his claims of criminal activity. If someone made threats against my wife and children, I would certainly retain the evidence.

    If anyone made threats (Mafiosa style) against any of my family, I certainly would be providing that evidence to anyone who asked. That is completely unacceptable (and criminal) behaviour. When did you report it to the police? What is the case number? Who is the investigating officer?

    Or, is it possible, that you may be exaggerating this claim?

    Feel free to correct me. All it will take is evidence. Until then, I can only conclude that you are blowing smoke.

    If you can provide anything that I have requested, I will apologize to you publicly here at UD, using my real name, address and phone number. Are you willing to do the same if you can’t provide any of this?

    Yours truly
    Not_querius.

  183. 183
    not_querius says:

    As a follow-on from my comment above, does anybody find it hypocritical that KF would defend someone who has made threats of physical violence against others (the only person banned from TSZ) yet decry unsupported claims of threats against himself?

  184. 184
    HeKS says:

    LOL.

    During my brief discussion with Tabasco earlier in this thread I had thought to myself, “I thought only keiths could so determinedly insist on making a silly argument by consistently misrepresenting the argument he’s responding to.” I figured dealing with one keiths is enough so I ignored him.

    Now, as it turns out, it was keiths. At least he’s consistent.

  185. 185
    Andre says:

    To: Tabasco, WD400, not_querius, Aurelio Smith

    We can settle this by asking you a direct question, I ask only thoughtful responses, don’t deflect and please don’t try and side the issue simple yes or no is good enough are the following below evidence for a Creator?

    1.) Information and Language
    2.) Beginning of the universe
    3.) Cause and Effect
    4.) Design and Purpose
    5.) Natural Laws
    6.) Logic & Reason
    7.) Human Conscience
    8.) Fine Tuning
    9.) Human yearning for Justice (good and evil)
    10.) The uniqueness of planet earth in the cosmos

    There are of course many more, but these will do for now, so again do these 10 points not count as evidence for a Creator?

  186. 186
    kairosfocus says:

    AS et al:

    I have long since suggested that we start with the foundations of worldviews and then overnight, that we focus on a pivotal issue, root of being in a necessary being and of what character. Cf here for an outline i/l/o modes of being and ontology:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....eat-being/

    I must assume that you have not simply ignored a linked discussion, in haste to drum out talking points in disregard of there being another side to the story.

    If you all are unable to recognise this as addressing a body of evidence on the general approaches of inference to best explanation, comparative difficulties and particularly grand sense-making, in light of evidence accessible to all who would inquire, then it shows logical, epistemological and broader philosophical impoverishment.

    Which, is unsurprising.

    Let me do a basic outline of key points:

    1: A world, patently exists.

    2: Nothing, denotes just that, non-being.

    3: A genuine nothing, can have no causal capacity.

    4: If ever there were an utter nothing, that is exactly what would forever obtain.

    5: But, per 1, we and a world exist, so there was always something.

    6: This raises the issue of modes of being, first possible vs impossible.

    7: A possible being would exist if a relevant state of affairs were realised, e.g. heat + fuel + oxidiser + chain rxn –> fire (a causal process, showing fire to depend on external enabling factors)

    8: An impossible being such as a square circle has contradictory core characteristics an cannot be in any possible world. (Worlds being patently possible as one is actual.)

    9: Of possible beings, we see contingent ones, e.g. fires. This also highlights that if something begins, there are circumstances under which it may not be, and so, it is contingent and is caused as the fire illustrates.

    10: Our observed cosmos had a beginning and is caused. This implies a deeper root of being, as necessarily, something always was.

    11: Another possible mode of being is a necessary being. To see such, consider a candidate being that has no dependence on external, on/off enabling factors.

    12: Such (if actual) has no beginning and cannot end, it is either impossible or actual and would exist in any possible world. For instance, a square circle is impossible, but there is no possible world in which twoness does not exist.

    13: To see such, begin with the set that collects nothing and proceed:

    { } –> 0

    {0} –> 1

    {0, 1} –> 2

    Etc.

    14: We thus see on analysis of being, that we have possible vs impossible and of possible beings, contingent vs necessary.

    15: Also, that of serious candidate necessary beings, they will either be impossible or actual in any possible world. That’s the only way they can be, they have to be in the substructure in some way so that once a world can exist they are there necessarily.

    16: Something like a flying spaghetti monster or the like, is contingent [here, not least as composed of parts and materials], and is not a serious candidate. (Cf also the discussions in the linked thread for other parodies and why they fail.)

    17: By contrast, God is a serious candidate necessary being, The Eternal Root of being. Where, a necessary being root of reality is the best class of candidates to always have been.

    18: The choice, as discussed in the already linked, is between God as impossible or as actual. Where, there is no good reason to see God as impossible, or not a serious candidate to be a necessary being, or to be contingent, etc.

    19: So, to deny God is to imply and to need to shoulder the burden of showing God impossible.

    20: Moreover, we find ourselves under moral government, to be under OUGHT.

    21: This, post the valid part of Hume’s guillotine argument (on pain of the absurdity of ultimate amorality and might/manipulation makes ‘right’) implies that there is a world foundational IS that properly bears the weight of OUGHT.

    22: Across many centuries of debates, there is only one serious candidate: the inherently good, eternal creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty, respect, service through doing the good and even worship.

    23: Where in this course of argument, no recourse has been had to specifically religious experiences or testimony of same, or to religious traditions; we here have what has been called the God of the philosophers, with more than adequate reason to accept his reality such that it is not delusional or immature to be a theist or to adhere to ethical theism.

    24: Where, ironically, we here see exposed, precisely the emotional appeal and hostility of too many who reject and dismiss the reality of God (and of our being under moral government) without adequate reason.

    So, it would seem the shoe is rather on the other foot.

    KF

    PS: For those who do not understand the meaning of the motto of the House of Gordon and the saying that one should not get into a mud wrestling match with a pig especially in a fever swamp, I bring you a stanza of a certain song drawn from the battle that secured Scotland’s freedom these many centuries past:

    O Flouer o Scotland,
    Whan will we see,
    Yer like again,
    That focht and dee’d for,
    Yer wee bit Hill an Glenn,
    An stuid agin him,
    Prood Edward’s Airmie,
    An sent him hamewart,
    Tae think again.

    video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMJS8s89hgU

    Such, would be well advised to do much as proud Edward did at length.

    (And yes, it is right there in that highlighted line. Where rule 1 of standing is do not fight on ground of a ruthless enemy’s choosing.)

  187. 187
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Another relevant Anthem:

    Eternal Father bless our land
    Guard us with Thy mighty hand
    Keep us free from evil powers
    Be our light through countless hours
    To our leaders, Great Defender,
    Grant true wisdom from above
    Justice, truth be ours forever
    Jamaica, land we love
    Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love.

    Teach us true respect for all
    Stir response to duty’s call
    Strengthen us the weak to cherish
    Give us vision lest we perish
    Knowledge send us, Heavenly Father,
    Grant true wisdom from above
    Justice, truth be ours forever
    Jamaica, land we love
    Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love.

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIIhvOBQB_M

    (Hint: ask yourselves why the J’can Flag simply changes the colours on another one of relevance . . . )

  188. 188
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: While I am at it, the song of innocence that matches Tyger, tyger . . .

    The Lamb
    By William Blake

    Little Lamb who made thee
    Dost thou know who made thee
    Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
    By the stream & o’er the mead;
    Gave thee clothing of delight,
    Softest clothing wooly bright;
    Gave thee such a tender voice,
    Making all the vales rejoice!
    Little Lamb who made thee
    Dost thou know who made thee

    Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,
    Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!
    He is called by thy name,
    For he calls himself a Lamb:
    He is meek & he is mild,
    He became a little child:
    I a child & thou a lamb,
    We are called by his name.
    Little Lamb God bless thee.
    Little Lamb God bless thee.

    Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PI2RAZzoc4

  189. 189
    Piotr says:

    KF

    And so the whole purpose of this anthology of mystical and patriotic verse is to justify your rather unheroic refusal to accept a kind invitation to discuss things outside your cozy echo chamber?

    Clutch your pearls lest they be trampled by pigs.

    Another relevant ballad:

    Bravely bold Sir Robin
    Rode forth from Camelot.
    He was not afraid to die,
    Oh brave Sir Robin.
    He was not at all afraid
    To be killed in nasty ways.
    Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin.

  190. 190
    Mark Frank says:

    Andre #206 – if I may join the game. Of course it all depends what you mean by a Creator. But let’s assume something on the lines of the Christian God – then none of those are evidence as they can be explained equally well without invoking a divine intelligence. What would count as evidence would be repeatable perception of God. If this happened then he/she/it becomes a plausible explanation for some of these phenomena.

  191. 191
    Andre says:

    Mark Frank

    You’re deflecting, nobody said anything about the Christian God….. What’s up with this unhealthy obsession the average materialist has with the Christian God anyway?

    The question is does the following count as evidence for a creator?

    1.) Information and Language
    2.) Beginning of the universe
    3.) Cause and Effect
    4.) Design and Purpose
    5.) Natural Laws
    6.) Logic & Reason
    7.) Human Conscience
    8.) Fine Tuning
    9.) Human yearning for Justice (good and evil)
    10.) The uniqueness of planet earth in the cosmos

    Mark I’m not asking for proof….. you are looking for that, I’m asking does the above 10 points count as evidence?

  192. 192
    Joe says:

    Piotr, What is there to discuss? We have already established that your position has nothing, not even a testable hypothesis. It can’t be modeled. It can’t be tested, so what is there to discuss?

    That ballad of Sir Robin fits evos to a tee. Now run away and pretend that you understand nested hierarchies

  193. 193
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    You are a professor of Linguistics right? So can you please give us a model of how such a process as speech could have come about by a small incremental, random and unguided way?

    http://www.ovari.biz/wp-conten.....cation.jpg

    I would be most impressed and even more convinced if you could spell out and show with something testable how such a system came together haphazardly.

    Your expertise thoughtful knowledge are awaited with great anticipation.

  194. 194
    Andre says:

    Mark Frank

    I can’t help but wonder how do you live with yourself? I need not enquire if God will one day punish you for your intellectual laziness, you’ll punish yourself……

    You say;

    What would count as evidence would be repeatable perception of God. If this happened then he/she/it becomes a plausible explanation for some of these phenomena.

    So all those people that have a repeatable perception of God is discounted from having to give any evidence because they must be crazy? Is that right?

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, I repeat; never get into a mud wrestling match with a pig, & especially not in a fever swamp. If you are interested in substance, there is something on the table since yesterday at 191, and outlined today at 207. If you are looking for running away from a fair substantial challenge, that evasion manifested via resort to red herrings, strawmen and ad hominems seen above from denizens of said fever swamps, speaks volumes. As does enabling behaviour. KF

  196. 196
    Piotr says:

    Andre,

    We don’t know the details. Speech developed hundreds of millennia ago. I would argue that some sort of spoken communication (presumably less developed than human language as we know it) was already used by Homo ergaster. On the other hand, the oldest documented languages (such as Old Egyptian and Sumerian) are known from barely mote than 5000 years ago, which means that the direct historical evidence of language history is just the tip of the tip of a huge iceberg, mostly hidden from sight.

    None of it gives any validity to arguments from ignorance (there’s no data, therefore goddidit).

  197. 197
    Joe says:

    “We don’t know the details” but we “know” unguided evolution didit.

  198. 198
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    You are just being dishonest now…… I’m not saying God did it I’m saying to you….. how does a communication system with information, encoder, medium, decoder, output come about by a haphazard happy go lucky chance process? Do you honestly believe it is even possible? If you claim its done that way then show how its done that way…… no more no less. If you can’t then it means you have nothing and your entire hope that it could be so rests on blind faith.

  199. 199
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, start with the presence of code, thus language and algorithms, in D/RNA. Kindly provide a good, empirically, observationally anchored account of how codes, algorithms and linked language used to implement step by step processes arises from blind needle in haystack search in Darwin’s pond or the like environment. Where, we have a vast, easily accessible body of experience and analysis of the origin of such. Design, i.e. intelligently directed configuration — and that is an appeal to empirically and analytically grounded knowledge not ignorance and your god of gaps loaded strawman caricature just now. Refusal to acknowledge and face evidence, again duly noted. KF

  200. 200
    Andre says:

    Pitor

    You accuse me of that that you are guilty of……..

    None of it gives any validity to arguments from ignorance (there’s no data, therefore evolutiondidit)

    Fixed it for you…. You have nothing you don’t even know how a simple cell came about so an entire communication system with inputs, outputs, receivers, encoders decoders…. what do you have? Nothing?

    What the evidence actually shows is this……. Humans are much younger than we think, and even I’m scared of that idea.

  201. 201
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    Homo Ergaster was homo sapiens, have you been missing the literature that human evolution needs a rewrite?

  202. 202
    Andre says:

    Piotr

    When you say speech developed millennia ago do you mean that it emerged? How does something that can’t work if a single piece is not in place develop? No encoder no comms, no decoder no comms, no input no comms, no output no comms, no medium no comms if any single piece of this IC system is unavailable the system breaks down and fails…. Don’t believe me?

    Ask one of your students to talk to you while you have your back turned to them and your ears are blocked….. (Did it work?) An experiment with proof how critical a single component is.

    When the receiver is broken the system fails. Sure you can say hey we can read lips! Of course we can we have a visual encoder/decoder system as well and these systems are even integrated! So now you’re screwed because you can’t explain a single component of this messaging system and now your confronted with at least 2 such systems working in tandem as backups when one fails…. In engineering we call this redundancy…..

    All these systems with redundancy,haphazardly assembled itself over millennia of time?

    I can say this with confidence, your are an ignoramus.

  203. 203

    KF:

    PPS: While I am at it, the song of innocence that matches Tyger, tyger . . .

    But don’t forget this, from Songs of Experience:

    The Fly
    By William Blake

    Little Fly
    Thy summer’s play,
    My thoughtless hand
    Has brush’d away.

    Am not I
    A fly like thee?
    Or art not thou
    A man like me?

    For I dance
    And drink & sing;
    Till some blind hand
    Shall brush my wing.

    If thought is life
    And strength & breath;
    And the want
    Of thought is death;

    Then am I
    A happy fly,
    If I live,
    Or if I die.

  204. 204
    Andre says:

    RB

    Except you’re not a fly because you don’t know what its like to be one!

  205. 205
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: So can you please give us a model of how such a process as speech could have come about by a small incremental, random and unguided way?

    Do you think dogs can distinguish different barks?

    Can people learn language without already knowing language?

  206. 206
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Andre

    No encoder no comms, no decoder no comms, no input no comms, no output no comms, no medium no comms if any single piece of this IC system is unavailable the system breaks down and fails….

    From my research I’ve never found an evolutionary explanation for the origin of language-communication. It’s not just “we don’t know the details” – it’s a problem even trying to explain the concept.

    There has to be an intent to communicate meaning and also a feedback-loop from receiver so sender knows that meaning was correctly received and decoded.

    Evolution has no explanation for that necessary intent – except that it supposedly enhances survival/reproduction.

    Language communication requires some freedom – to choose from a symbol set, at specific times, to an audience – for a reason.

    If it is done by chance or by a deterministic cause, there’s no choice of symbols and no meaning or intention involved.

  207. 207
    Piotr says:

    #223 Andre,

    When you say speech developed millennia ago do you mean that it emerged? How does something that can’t work if a single piece is not in place develop?

    What? Animal communication had existed for many million years before the appearance of language. Language did not evolve in a vacuum. Animals (especially social species) also encode, send, receive and decode signals, and we humans also use non-linguistic and paralinguistic channels of information much more often than most of us realise. Our linguistic codes (and the associated mental representations) are more complex than other forms of communication, but the sender/medium/receiver system is hundreds of millions years old, and we share it with other animals.

    All these systems with redundancy,haphazardly assembled itself over millennia of time?

    “Evolve” does not mean “assemble itself haphazardly”. There are numerous scenarios for the origin of language. The problem is that they remain speculative for lack of direct evidence, so it’s hard to choose between possibilities. Anyway, even some animals have vocal communication with rudiments of morphosyntax.

    I can say this with confidence, your are an ignoramus.

    Whatever. I don’t care what you “can say”.

  208. 208
    Andre says:

    Silver

    It is absurd to even think that such a system is capable of building itself. Any materialist that contemplates it as possibly true is not acting in a way that is consistent with this universe.

  209. 209
    Andre says:

    Poitr

    Now you’re just being daft. Even if animal communication is older than human language it is still the same system. Input, encoder, medium, decoder, output and feedback. It is an IC system all the way. What good is a mating call without any of the communication critical parts in place?

  210. 210
    Piotr says:

    Shall we go back to chemical signals a few billion years ago? I thought you asked about the origin of human language, not about communication in general. You’re shifting the goalposts now.

  211. 211
    Andre says:

    Poitr

    Go back as far as you like. You are welcome to start right there if you like. Show us how chemical reactions organizational themselves to build IC communication systems all by themselves. If you hold this position then yr chemical signals are broken. These systems cannot build themselves no matter what.

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    Piotr, nope, I am speaking of origin of digital (discrete state) computer code, here encoded in prong height using molecular nanotech in D/RNA strings; 4-state per digit is no different in principle from 2, 10 or 60. Which, has been headlined for decades. Code that is used in algorithms, with execution machinery — also, molecular nanotech. Codes, algorithms, and more. Where do/can such come from? Why is blind needle in haystack search even entertained? KF

  213. 213
    Andre says:

    Poitr

    I suspect that you don’t actually understand the problem any code is useless without some very specific prerequisites at the hardware level. If they are not in the exact layout and order of sequence there is no communications at all.

  214. 214
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: It is an IC system all the way. What good is a mating call without any of the communication critical parts in place?

    An undifferentiated dog bark will make you look up to see either predatory or prey.

  215. 215
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    So what are you trying to say? If there was no decoder it would be meaningless what is your point out with it.

  216. 216
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Unguided evolution did not produce modern languages. Languages evolved via intelligent design.

  217. 217
    velikovskys says:

    Andre:
    I suspect that you don’t actually understand the problem any code is useless without some very specific prerequisites at the hardware level.
    If they are not in the exact layout and order of sequence there is no communications at all.

    What would those prerequisites be for human language?

  218. 218
    Joe says:

    vel:

    What would those prerequisites be for human language?

    Humans, ie intelligent agencies.

  219. 219
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: So what are you trying to say? If there was no decoder it would be meaningless what is your point out with it.

    Animals react to noises. A bark is a noise. It could start as a simple reaction, and evolve into a simple symbol. Bark! Bark! means Look! Look!

  220. 220
    Joe says:

    Animals react to noises.

    They were intelligently designed to do so.

  221. 221
    velikovskys says:

    How? When? By whom? Let’s see if communication is possible

  222. 222
    Joe says:

    How? When? By whom?

    Science doesn’t require those to be answered before we can determine intelligent design is present. But then again the anti-ID mob doesn’t seem to be able to grasp science.

  223. 223
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    Science doesn’t require those to be answered before we can determine intelligent design is present.

    Then prove animals were intelligently designed to communicate without those parameters .Scientifically.

  224. 224
    Piotr says:

    #237 Joe,

    Please, design a new tense or a new set of personal endings for English, or a brand-new accent unlike anything heard before. Then let’s see how other English-speaking people will react to your innovations and whether they’ll adopt them. Hey, d’you know what? Let’s make English more rational and more learnable by replacing all irregular forms by regular ones: I taked my childs to the zoo. We seed an old lion that haved losed its tooths.

  225. 225
    Joe says:

    Piotr, Please, tell us what your proposal has to do with what I said. If my design is is not accepted it is due to intelligent agencies rejecting it.

  226. 226
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Then prove animals were intelligently designed to communicate without those parameters .Scientifically.

    Science isn’t about proof. And the evidence organisms are intelligently designed has been presented. Your position could counter but it is limp and can’t.

    Did you have a point?

  227. 227
    Joe says:

    Piotr, I am pretty sure myself and college roommates formed a new word that is used today- “kak”- “kakked”- some use kack and kacked- It is the noise made when a component blew – A system that is kakked is broken.

  228. 228
    not_querius says:

    Joe, we were using the word “kakked” when I was at college. And since I am much older than you, and from a different country, I think that we can put your claim to rest.

  229. 229
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:

    Science isn’t about proof. And the evidence organisms are intelligently designed has been presented

    Maybe but you made a specific claim:
    Animals react to noises.

    They were intelligently designed to do so.

    Any specific scientific evidence to support your claim?

  230. 230
    Joe says:

    not_querious:

    Joe, we were using the word “kakked” when I was at college.

    Sure you were.

    And since I am much older than you, and from a different country, I think that we can put your claim to rest.

    Well we used it without any knowledge of it. And we spread its use throughout this country.

  231. 231
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Any specific scientific evidence to support your claim?

    The definition of a living organism- ie the ability to respond to external stimulation.

  232. 232
    Piotr says:

    Every word (or a word ancestral to it) was coined by someone at some time in the past. Some may have been coined more than once, independently, by different people. The coiners are almost always anonymous. They may not even have been aware that they had contributed an innovation. Anyway, English has tens of thousands of general-currency words (not to count technical jargon), and having coined one of them (even if it doesn’t go out of use quickly) is hardly a big feat. A language belongs to the whole speech community it serves, not to individual users. No particular person “designs” it. Whatever design is visible is the collective product of processes taking place mostly below the level of individual awareness.

    The complex English tenses like the present continuous (I am working), the present perfect (I have worked), or the future (I shall/will work) did not yet exist in early Old English, though the language had some gramatical constructions which can be regarded as their precursors. They later became reanalysed and co-opted as verb tenses, changing their function. Constructions like I’m going to work are still more recent. The original interpretation of I’m going to was literal: ‘I’m on my way to do something’. It’s going to rain would have been absurd at that time. No person “invented” any of these constructions or controlled their development. They emerged slowly over centuries when ambiguous or “promiscuous” constructions were reinterpreted by new generations of speakers, completely unaware of what they were doing. They appeared independently of one another, in different parts of the English-speaking population. Language change is the sum of innumerable parallel processes, not one grand act of innovative design.

    Nobody decided that he cometh should be replaced by he comes. The younger form coexisted with the older for several centuries, gradually becoming more common and gaining social prestige, first in some regional dialects, then in others. Nobody “designed” a new pronuciation for postvocalic /r/ in standard British English — “kahd” for card. It started popping up in and round London after 1700 and did not become fashionable until a century later. For most of the 18th century grammarians regarded it as a sloppy vulgar corruption and insisted that all r‘s should be clearly pronounced. Do you call such things “design”?

  233. 233
    Silver Asiatic says:

    New words are intelligently designed all the time.

    Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neologism

  234. 234
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Nobody decided that he cometh should be replaced by he comes.

    Obviously someone did

    Do you call such things “design”?

    If intelligent agencies had a hand in it, yes.

  235. 235
    Piotr says:

    #255

    Obviously someone did

    The shift took place at a time when English was a well-developed literary language. There are lots of texts attesting the use of both forms. Please, identify the “someone” who “obviously did”.

  236. 236
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    The shift took place at a time when English was a well-developed literary language.

    PEOPLE caused the shift to happen It was an INTELLIGENT decision.

    Please, identify the “someone” who “obviously did”.

    The short guy with a bald spot. He’s dead now.

  237. 237
    Piotr says:

    Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person …

    It’s often true of technical jargon, but generally not true of popular vocabulary and colloquial slang. Many of the words listed in the Wikipedia article are old items with an extended meaning (troll, for example). Others are attested before the date given there (e.g. meritocracy already existed in 1956; the Oxford English Dictionary has a citation from that year). Friend has sporadically been used as a verb since the 13th century (by Malory and Shakespeare, among others).

    P.S. Coining a word and designing a language system are two different things.

  238. 238
    Piotr says:

    PEOPLE caused the shift to happen It was an INTELLIGENT decision.

    Is that why it took several hundred years to reach completion?

  239. 239
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The use and development of language is a process formed by intelligence. Even if changes take many years, they’re the result of intelligent choices by the people who use the language. There are various influences on those choices that make some words more popular than others. But there are also gatekeepers for the language — like dictionary editors, who accept or reject new words and usages.

    Coining a word and designing a language system are two different things.

    We’re talking about designing a language in general. Coining words is a part of that process. The rules of syntax and grammar are another part. The entire process is intelligently designed – as software languages are designed.

  240. 240
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Neologisms are often directly attributable to a specific person …

    Language usually changes due to local adaptions without regard to its global structure. So monks invented the j to make the double-i more readable. It solved a specific problem, but without regard to the global structure of the language.

  241. 241
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Is that why it took several hundred years to reach completion?

    Yes, due to other intelligent agencies resisting the change.

  242. 242
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    The example you gave is a purposeful, design-change within the language. The intention may not have been to change the structure or that there was a conscious decision for that kind of modification – but the decision to invent the letter was done through intelligence. The later, more frequent use of the letter was through intelligent choices also. The fact that j became part of the language later could have had some accidental influences, but the process was shaped by intelligent design. Multiple intelligences working over a period of time.

  243. 243
    velikovskys says:

    Joe:
    The definition of a living organism- ie the ability to respond to external stimulation.

    all living organisms respond to stimulation?

  244. 244
    Joe says:

    vel:

    all living organisms respond to stimulation?

    That is one of the characteristics of a living organism. Not all have to respond to all stimuli- that’s a no black swans fallacy.

    7 characteristics of life:

    4. Living Things Respond To Their Environment:
    Living things will make changes in response to a stimulus in their environment.
    A behavior is a complex set of responses.

  245. 245
    Piotr says:

    We’re talking about designing a language in general.

    Not everything that an intelligent agent does is designed (unless you are prepared to dilute the meaning of “design” homeopathetically). Children are exposed to the linguistic performance of people around them, and they naturally acquire their first language, usually with more success than an adult learning a foreing language consciously. They don’t have to know anything about tenses, moods, cases and parts of speech. We don’t “design” our pronunciation. Most people have no idea how they articulate a given consonant, or how many vowels their dialect has. Most sound changes result from things like articulatory overlap between neighbouring speech segments, without any conscious control. If changes affecting a language result from things done independly and usualy unconsciously by millions of speakers, connected by a network of communicative interactions but without any overall control, calling it “design” makes little sense to me. It’s designed the way termites “design” their mounds.

  246. 246
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: The example you gave is a purposeful, design-change within the language. The intention may not have been to change the structure or that there was a conscious decision for that kind of modification – but the decision to invent the letter was done through intelligence.

    That’s right. The global structure wasn’t designed.

  247. 247
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Not everything that an intelligent agent does is designed

    True, accidents do happen

    Children are exposed to the linguistic performance of people around them, and they naturally acquire their first language,

    Children are exposed to the linguistic performance of people around them, and they artificially acquire their first language,

    And termites do design their mounds. Do you think it’s just an accident that they are engineering marvels?

  248. 248
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The global structure wasn’t designed.

    The global structure is an information network with symbols which convey meaning. We infer that all languages, therefore, are the products of intelligent design because there’s no evidence to show that they can be created randomly or deterministically, and we know that intelligence can design specific languages (Morse Code).

  249. 249
    not_querius says:

    Piotr, you are wasting your time trying to have an honest discussion with Joe or Barry or Gordon (don’t expose me as Kairosfocus) Mullings. They are not interested. Several of the others are worth talking to. Not because you will change their minds, but because they actually can have a discussion without insults and condescension. And they often have things to contribute.

  250. 250
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Piotr

    Not everything that an intelligent agent does is designed

    True, but a specific set of symbols used to communicate meaning is an example of a purposeful system. It’s created, shaped and developed by an intelligent process — where choices over time create meaning and rules. Grammar, spelling, definitions and pronunciation are debated and agreed-upon. These things are not the product of random chance. There are no physical or chemical laws that determine that ‘dog’ should equal le chien in French or canis in Latin. There is no empirical evidence to show that a word should mean what it does. That is all developed through intelligent processes.

    Children are exposed to the linguistic performance of people around them, and they naturally acquire their first language, usually with more success than an adult learning a foreing language consciously.

    That’s strong evidence against materialism. What is this this ‘natural acquisition’ of language? What is its origin? We can ask the same thing of education itself.

    They don’t have to know anything about tenses, moods, cases and parts of speech. We don’t “design” our pronunciation.

    Any adult learner of a new language needs to design his or her pronunciation. It’s an intelligent process. For children, it’s the process of education – listening, repeating and practicing. The language process and education itself show evidence of having been designed for a purpose. There is no reason for chemical compounds to learn anything. Chemicals do what they’ve done for billions of years – no education is required.

    Most people have no idea how they articulate a given consonant, or how many vowels their dialect has.

    You spoke about children and every educator knows that children have to be corrected in their pronunciation. It’s an intelligently designed process. Once the child becomes proficient, there’s no reason to question how you articulate consonants. But again, try a new language and you have to become aware of how you pronounce words.

    If changes affecting a language result from things done independly and usualy unconsciously by millions of speakers, connected by a network of communicative interactions but without any overall control, calling it “design” makes little sense to me.

    It’s the literate part of society that establishes design rules within the language — and written communications offers the widest range of vocabulary and styles. If most people are unconscious of language, it’s because they’re speaking from a limited educational perspective. There are many dialects and accents and adjustments in word forms in different languages — but they will fade away unless they’re captured and fostered in the written word. We see that in the U.S. where southern regional dialects – especially for African Americans are fading away and becoming more normalized, because there there is very little written in that style. Television plays a huge role also — and the language used there is very much controlled and designed, including the accent TV broadcasters are told to use (American midwest).

    It’s designed the way termites “design” their mounds.

    A termite’s mound is clear evidence of something designed. That’s how we tell the difference between a termite’s mound and a randomly assembled pile of dirt.

    A beaver dam is designed by animal intelligence. It is different from a pile of logs that randomly collected in a stream.

    That’s the design inference you’re talking about.

    Language is evidence something that was designed by intelligence – and not a random assemblage.

  251. 251
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: The global structure is an information network with symbols which convey meaning. We infer that all languages, therefore, are the products of intelligent design because there’s no evidence to show that they can be created randomly or deterministically, and we know that intelligence can design specific languages (Morse Code).

    Then your “inference” is wrong. The global structure is not designed. The monks didn’t mean to invent a new letter. The English didn’t mean to shift their vowels. No one meant to wed the Frankish and Latin languages.

    Silver Asiatic: Grammar, spelling, definitions and pronunciation are debated and agreed-upon.

    Not usually through human history, and then often contrary to the normal evolution of languages.

    Silver Asiatic: A termite’s mound is clear evidence of something designed.

    The global pattern is not designed by termites, but a result of individual activities.

  252. 252
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I notice, how after boldly demanding non-testimonial evidence and being pointed to the implications of ontological analysis — cf 207 above, AS has gone silent; and the thread has gone everywhere else but discuss that, which is in fact pivotal. Interesting. KF

    PS: NQ has proved himself the troll. Don’t feed da trolls.

  253. 253
    Joe says:

    Zachriel is still confused:

    The global structure is not designed. The monks didn’t mean to invent a new letter.

    Monks are intelligent agencies and they did invent a new letter. Zachriel has no idea if intent was there or not.

  254. 254
    Joe says:

    And not querious chimes in with its usual substance-free drivel.

  255. 255
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Then your “inference” is wrong.

    I observe that language is complex, it driives functions and is highly specified for meaning. I infer design – no need for the double quotes.

    The global structure is not designed. The monks didn’t mean to invent a new letter.

    The global structure is the product of countless intelligent acts. A blind, unintelligent process cannot create languages. Languages are designed to be used by intelligent agents for an intellectual process (sending, listening, interpreting, responding to symbols).

    No one meant to wed the Frankish and Latin languages.

    Through individual, purposeful, design choices, the two languages merged. The global structure is the product of design.

    The global pattern is not designed by termites, but a result of individual activities.

    Termite mounds show evidence of having been designed. If you agree with that and yet you don’t know who designed them, then that should put to rest that common criticism of ID.

    Termite mounds are the product of coordinated, purposeful activity. They don’t arise randomly or through any physical law. If you don’t think termite mounds show evidence of having been designed, then that’s a different conversation.

    We normally can tell the difference in organizational complexity and function between a termite mound and a rock, for example.

  256. 256
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The monks invented the new letter and it was consciously used to communicate meaning.

  257. 257
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: I observe that language is complex, it driives functions and is highly specified for meaning. I infer design – no need for the double quotes.

    No one doubts that the use of language is intelligent. The question concerns whether its global structure was designed.

    Silver Asiatic: The global structure is the product of countless intelligent acts.

    Some were intelligent, and some were unconscious, such as the Great Vowel Shift. In either case, the global structure was not designed, but the result of all these individual actions taken for parochial purposes.

    Silver Asiatic: Through individual, purposeful, design choices, the two languages merged. The global structure is the product of design.

    The new language wasn’t created on purpose. It was the result of slow changes over a long period of time. Linguists refer to the history of language evolution. Languages are still evolving today without regard to its global structure.

    Silver Asiatic: Termite mounds show evidence of having been designed.

    We can show that the patterns found in termite mounds are the result of simple activities of the individual insects, but that the individual insects have no conception of the global pattern.

    Silver Asiatic: The monks invented the new letter and it was consciously used to communicate meaning.

    No. They invented a swash for making the letter-i. It didn’t become a distinct letter until later.

  258. 258
    Piotr says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Through individual, purposeful, design choices, the two languages merged. The global structure is the product of design.

    Those individual choices were not purposeful and did not result in any kind of “design”. It wasn’t the purpose of Gallo-Latin speakers and the Franks to merge their languages. It was the uncontrolled outcome of their interaction, presumably not quite welcome to the Franks, who lost their separate linguistic identity altogether and became absorbed into the Romance-speaking majority. All that remains of Frankish today is a layer of Germanic loanwords in Modern French.

    Likewise, the Anglo-Norman elite in England switched to English despite their best efforts to remain linguistically distinct (they employed French tutors for their children to prevent them from growing up as English-speakers). And Anglo-Norman French was the more prestigious language of the two. The only real strength of English was in numbers: it had a much wider population basis. It was strongly affected by language contact (“horizontal transfer”): hundreds of Anglo-Saxon words, even in the basic vocabulary, were replaced by loans from French, and the morphosyntactic system became dramatically restructured, but English survived. It was all spontaneous. Nobody had plans to eliminate French and transform English almost beyond recognition.

    Irish Gaelic was marginalised by English in its own homeland during the 19th century. It wasn’t linguistic design that did for it but the low socioeconomic status of its users combined with extremely bad luck (the Great Famine). Enough to drive a formerly flourishing language to the brink of extinction. The Irish never wanted it to happen, and of course hadn’t planned the decline of their own mother tongue.

    As we correct schoolchildren’s “grammatical errors” or “mispronunciations”, we are actually trying to prevent them from being little linguistic engineers making the structure of their language more transparent. “Why do I have to say mice and not mouses?” — “Uh… well… BECAUSE. Because you have to speak correct English like your mum and dad, and mice is CORRECT.” (Of course adults never know WHY their language is the way it is and WHY mouse has an irregular plural.) This is active anti-design, social selection against innovations.

    You are now using the word “design” for what Dawkins would term “the appearance of design”, resulting from a great number of local activities and interactions. In other words, design without a central plan, without a pre-specified target, and without a designer who controls the whole thing. Such “design” is of course common both in nature and in human culture, but “self-organisation” is a more accurate term for it.

  259. 259
    Box says:

    Anyone who states that language arose without the input of intelligent agents is either a liar or a fool.

  260. 260
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Anyone who states that language arose without the input of intelligent agents is either a liar or a fool.

    No one is making that claim. No one doubts that the use of language is intelligent. The question concerns whether its global structure was designed.

  261. 261
    Box says:

    Zachriel: No one doubts that the use of language is intelligent.

    Unresponsive. I have made no claims concerning the use of language.

  262. 262
    Zachriel says:

    Box: I have made no claims concerning the use of language.

    No one doubts “that language arose without the input of intelligent agents.” That’s not the same as saying whether its global structure was designed. There’s an entire field of network theory concerning how local decisions self-organize into global structures.


    Comment edited by patented (not really) DeSnark® desnarkification algorithm.

  263. 263
    Piotr says:

    Very simple local decisions of starlings, bees, or sardines in a school lead to complex, dynamic and highly coordinated swarm behaviour. Nobody could dream of achieving a remotely similar effect by means of central planning.

  264. 264
    velikovskys says:

    Box:

    Anyone who states that language arose without the input of intelligent agents is either a liar or a fool.

    I don’t believe anyone is saying there was no input. Rather you can change one pixel( input) of a picture without changing the pattern, but change enough and a new pattern emerges.

  265. 265
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel #278

    True, individual termites have no idea about the global pattern. However, this type of collective behaviour is only possible given the right starting conditions. I.e. each termite must be intelligent enough in that it must be capable of making certain type of decisions. Then and only then, do agents like termites collectively produce the result they produce.

    Evolution is a secondary phenomenon to intelligently selecting for/in pursuit of future function. It can only select from among existing functions. True, it does select from already existing functions. However effects of this type of selection are generally heavily overstated.

    Without intelligence put in the system in the form of rules of behaviour, in the first place, evolution can never produce novel function (pragmatic utility).

    All discussions about probabilities, information, entropy, patterns or absence of patterns are beside the point. Mere complexity does not equal functional organization that achieves high levels of pragmatic utility.

  266. 266
    velikovskys says:

    SA:
    Termite mounds are the product of coordinated, purposeful activity. They don’t arise randomly or through any physical law. If you don’t think termite mounds show evidence of having been designed.

    Who designed the termite mound? Are all termite mounds identical?

  267. 267
    Box says:

    Language is simply a joint design project – like many others.

  268. 268
    Joe says:

    Termites designed the termite mound. Do you think it’s just an accident that termite mounds are engineering marvels?

  269. 269
    Joe says:

    Piotr:

    Those individual choices were not purposeful and did not result in any kind of “design”.

    You have no idea if it was on purpose on not, Piotr. However even that is moot as we are intelligent agencies and we act accordingly. WE controlled the whole thing, Piotr. Blind and unguided processes had nothing to do with our language.

  270. 270
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: However, this type of collective behaviour is only possible given the right starting conditions. I.e. each termite must be intelligent enough in that it must be capable of making certain type of decisions.

    That’s right, very simple behaviors that could easily evolve.

    EugeneS: Evolution is a secondary phenomenon to intelligently selecting for/in pursuit of future function. It can only select from among existing functions.

    Think that’s right, at least the second part. Evolution generally (not precisely*) selects only for current gain.

    *Some looks forward are possible, such as mistakes during protein synthesis, adjusting the mutation rate, inherent flexibility in a changeable environment, etc.

    EugeneS: Without intelligence put in the system in the form of rules of behaviour, in the first place, evolution can never produce novel function (pragmatic utility).

    That’s the claim, but one rejected by the vast majority of biologists, and contradicted by evidence from many fields of research.

    Box: Language is simply a joint design project – like many others.

    One without a global designer.

  271. 271
    Joe says:

    That’s right, very simple behaviors that could easily evolve.

    Evolve by design.

    Evolution generally (not precisely*) selects only for current gain.

    Only intelligence selects.

    That’s the claim, but one rejected by the vast majority of biologists, and contradicted by evidence from many fields of research.

    Zachriel will never present any of that alleged evidence.

    One without a designer.

    Humans are designers. That means you are wrong, again, as usual.

  272. 272
    Silver Asiatic says:

    velikovskys

    I don’t believe anyone is saying there was no input [from intelligent agents].

    If that’s the critique of the ID argument then it could go something like this.

    Language = Not Designed. But nobody is saying there was no input from intelligent agents.

    Cosmos = Not Designed. But nobody is saying there was no input from intelligent agents.

    First Life on Earth = Not Designed. But there could have been input from intelligent agents.

    Ok, “input from intelligent agents” is necessary for the thing to exist. It’s part of it’s origin. That’s design.

    “Not Designed” means its origin can be explained without reference to intelligent agents. Not Designed means that there was no input from intelligent agents.

    Software can produce unexpected results. The results would not exist unless they came from the designed system called software.

    Were the unexpected results planned? Designed?

    The unexpected results are evidence that they emerged from a designed system. Design explains the origin of the results.

    Another example would be an improvisational jazz solo. It is the product of an intelligent agent. It cannot be produced without the design-input of intelligence.
    Your guys objection seems to be “but the jazz-player’s notes weren’t by design – he was improvising”.

    There’s your quandry: Either the jazz solo shows evidence of having been designed by intelligence, or not.

    If not, then show how an improvised jazz solo can be produced “without the input of intelligent agents”.

    If you think it does show evidence of design, then explain how the artist planned every note (which is not what improvisation is).

    That’s what you have to reconcile here.

  273. 273
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Language = Not Designed. But nobody is saying there was no input from intelligent agents.

    Just to clarify, it’s the global structure of language that is not designed. Some local events are designed, while others are happenstance.

    Silver Asiatic: Cosmos = Not Designed. But nobody is saying there was no input from intelligent agents. First Life on Earth = Not Designed. But there could have been input from intelligent agents.

    There’s no evidence of intelligent agents involved in either of those examples.

    Silver Asiatic: Ok, “input from intelligent agents” is necessary for the thing to exist. It’s part of it’s origin. That’s design.

    The global structure is not designed if the global structure is not due to efforts by intelligent agents. With language, you can point to design in particular cases, but the overall structure is still not designed. No one decided to merge Anglo-Saxon and French to create modern English. It was the result of the many individual interactions between two cultures.

    Silver Asiatic: Your guys objection seems to be “but the jazz-player’s notes weren’t by design – he was improvising”.

    The global structure, as well as the individual notes, are the result of design decisions by the musician, even if those decisions are made on the fly.

    There is a branch of network mathematics that concerns these sorts of interactions. Networks will grow by preferential attachment without regard to the global structure. A global structure can still emerge through self-organization.

  274. 274
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    There’s no evidence of intelligent agents involved in either of those examples.

    How would you know? You don’t seem to know what evidence is.

    No one decided to merge Anglo-Saxon and French to create modern English.

    You don’t know that zachriel, so please shut up.

  275. 275
    Mung says:

    Neil Rickert: We all know that there’s no such thing as a final word.

    Mung: And that, my friends. is the final word on final words!

    After which Neil remained silent, having had the final word.

    Hilarious!

    And this is the height of the quality of dissent here at UD. You won’t find better.

  276. 276
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: The global structure, as well as the individual notes, are the result of design decisions by the musician, even if those decisions are made on the fly.

    Those detailed improvisational decisions are typically made without much “look ahead” except for the general framework of the song. The end product can vary in details quite a bit from one performance to the next, but the agreed upon framework is what gives constraints to the improvisation and yields a song (regardless of any improvisational differences between performances) that still “sound like song XYZ” to anyone who has heard song XYZ played before.

    While fine details of termite mounds vary, the overall production is obviously a termite mound. There are choice constraints programmed into their neurology that shape the entire production, govern what individuals can do, yielding an overall result that has predictable properties.

    Front-loaded constraints govern both to a result with predetermined properties.

  277. 277
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Those detailed improvisational decisions are typically made without much “look ahead” except for the general framework of the song.

    In some jazz, that is certainly the case, which is why many people think jazz tends to meander. However, the best jazz performances have an overall structure.

    mike1962: While fine details of termite mounds vary, the overall production is obviously a termite mound.

    Sure. Hive intelligence shows how complex global solutions can result from very simple decisions at the local level.

  278. 278
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    However, the best jazz performances have an overall structure.

    Do you have some empirical evidence to support that claim? We’d just need to see, scientifically, what the ‘best jazz’ is, and how to produce it. Or perhaps you’re offering an assertion just based on your personal authority about such matters? If so, what is that authority and how did you determine what ‘the best jazz’ is? There are many jazz artists who improvise the structure of each piece with absolutely no written or pre-ordained plan.

  279. 279
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Do you have some empirical evidence to support that claim?

    You introduced jazz as an example with the statement, “Your guys objection seems to be ‘but the jazz-player’s notes weren’t by design – he was improvising’. You don’t have to adopt our preferences to understand that we reject your characterization of our position.

    If you don’t agree that the best performances have structure, then we can just disregard your example.

  280. 280
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    There’s no evidence of intelligent agents involved in either of those examples.

    Then it is strange that evidence for intelligent agency involvement has been presented for both examples, start with Newton’s Principia.

  281. 281
    mike1962 says:

    Silver Asiatic: There are many jazz artists who improvise the structure of each piece with absolutely no written or pre-ordained plan.

    This is true, as I know by personal experience as a jazz musician who improvises a great deal. Of course, there are always going to be underlying factors controlling the chaos, such as the training, taste and mood of the individual players. It is certainly an intelligent process.

    Zachriel: However, the best jazz performances have an overall structure.

    Entirely subjective viewpoint. I would probably agree that the best performances do have an overall structure, but that structure may or may not be worked out in advance. In any case, it’s an intelligent process of creation.

  282. 282
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: I would probably agree that the best performances do have an overall structure, but that structure may or may not be worked out in advance.

    Then we are in agreement. However, because the topic is largely subjective, Silver Asiatic should probably abandon the analogy.

  283. 283
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SA: Do you have some empirical evidence to support that claim?

    Zachriel: … [nothing]

    mike1962: Entirely subjective viewpoint.

    Yes. That’s what’s informative here.

    I got my answers to the following questions:

    SA: Or perhaps you’re offering an assertion just based on your personal authority about such matters? [Yes, correct – a subjective opinion stated as if it is a fact.]

    SA: If so, what is that authority and how did you determine what ‘the best jazz’ is? [No authority supporting that assertion and no means offered (scientific or otherwise) to determine what the ‘best jazz’ is].

    I’ll apply that understanding to unsupported assertions about evolution and other aspects of science when I hear them from Zachriel in the future.

    Unsupported opinions stated as if they are fact, are merely a subjective viewpoint and have no real value.

  284. 284
    Silver Asiatic says:

    As for what ‘the best jazz’ is — it’s a question of taste.

    Beyond that, it’s not a question of whether the jazz ‘has an overall structure’ but whether the structure “was designed”

    Zachriel:
    The global structure wasn’t designed.

    Jazz artists can improvise the structure. That is, the piece has a structure, but it wasn’t designed – it came into existence as the piece was being played, without a plan.

    Does that piece of music show evidence of having been designed?

    According to Zach – no, because “the global structure wasn’t designed”.

    It’s the same with language. It shows evidence of having been designed, even if the structure was improvised without intent or plan on having that specific structure.

    It’s the same with an improvised jazz piece (I can suggest some of Keith Jarrett’s work) where the entire structure is a one-time event, unplanned by the artist.

  285. 285
    Silver Asiatic says:

    mike1962

    Of course, there are always going to be underlying factors controlling the chaos, such as the training, taste and mood of the individual players. It is certainly an intelligent process.

    Exactly right. That’s the analogy with language. There are factors that shape the design through intelligent decisions.

    but that structure may or may not be worked out in advance. In any case, it’s an intelligent process of creation.

    That’s it. The overall shape of the language comes about from the influence of many intelligent decisions. The language formation is an intelligent (not physically determined) process – in the same way the jazz piece is not worked out in advance, but it’s an intelligent process that created it.

    In the end, we see evidence of design in the jazz improvisation. We even see ‘intent’, although the specific notes weren’t intended or planned. The artists might even be suprised to hear back a recording of what they played, not knowing what they did.

    How could that be intent? It’s the overall piece, feeling, and purpose of the music that shows design intent – not the individual notes.

    Language is the same – there’s an obvious intention to use symbols to communicate meaning, even if the individual symbols came about in an improvised manner.

  286. 286
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: I’ll apply that to unsupported assertions about evolution and other apsects of science when I hear them.

    Feel free to ask for support at any time. Keep in mind that jazz was your example, not ours.

    Silver Asiatic: Jazz artists can improvise the structure.

    And do.

    Silver Asiatic: That is, the piece has a structure, but it wasn’t designed – it came into existence as the piece was being played, without a plan.

    It wasn’t preplanned. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t designed.

    Silver Asiatic: It’s the same with language.

    Um, no.

    Silver Asiatic: It shows evidence of having been designed, even if the structure was improvised without intent or plan on having that specific structure.

    Gee whiz. You made a big point of being argumentative about whether the best jazz performances have an overall structure, even though you apparently accept that they do.

    The global structure of a jazz tune is designed. The artist and audience are on a journey, and virtually all jazz tunes have a final cadence. They may take many detours, but the artist, like a wagon master, always keeps the final destination in mind.

    Language does not have this aspect of a destination, nor do the vast majority of changes to the language occur due to some vision of the future course of the language.

  287. 287
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zach

    Feel free to ask for support at any time.

    I note you giving me permission for this – but I don’t need that. I’m already free. In this case, I asked and you didn’t provide.

    The global structure of a jazz tune is designed.

    Yes, it is designed but as I explained, in some cases, it is not pre-planned. The structure is not planned- it is improvised.

    The artist and audience are on a journey, and virtually all jazz tunes have a final cadence. They may take many detours, but the artist, like a wagon master, always keeps the final destination in mind.

    The ‘final destination’ is the communication of emotion and beauty through the medium of music. It’s not to create a structure.

    The ‘final destination’ of language is the communication of meaning through the medium of symbol. It’s not to create a structure. In many cases, the improvised piece is gone after it is played – never to be repeated. The ‘destination’ was the communication of music to the audience.

    Language does not have this aspect of a destination,

    It does have this aspect. The global structure is an after-effect of the purpose of the language. It’s the same as an improvised jazz piece. The structure is the after-effect of the intent to communicate music. The structure is designed by choices of the individual chords and notes — even not knowing what the structure will be or intending to create a structure. The global structure of the language is designed by individual choices of words and sounds — even not knowing what the structure will be or intending to create a structure.

    nor do the vast majority of changes to the language occur due to some vision of the future course of the language.

    As with an improvised piece – it is played ‘in the moment’, in the present tense, based on what the artists feel, without plan. The end result is a work of intelligent design. The same is true with language.

    The language is created through intelligent design – not through blind, unintelligent, unguided material processes.

  288. 288
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: I asked and you didn’t provide.

    With regards to jazz music, you agreed that there is structure, that there’s a subjective element, but we pointed out that nearly all jazz songs lead towards a final cadence.

    Silver Asiatic: The structure is not planned- it is improvised.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t designed.

    Silver Asiatic: The ‘final destination’ is the communication of emotion and beauty through the medium of music. It’s not to create a structure.

    The structure is what is used to communicate the emotion and beauty. The global structure is what gives a song the feeling of movement.

    Silver Asiatic: In many cases, the improvised piece is gone after it is played – never to be repeated.

    Sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a design or global structure. For instance, most jazz is based on a chord progression, and includes a final cadence.

  289. 289
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: They may take many detours, but the artist, like a wagon master, always keeps the final destination in mind.

    Probably more often than not, but not always. Sometimes the destination is a surprise. As with everything else, endings can be improvised as well.

    Sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a design or global structure. For instance, most jazz is based on a chord progression, and includes a final cadence.

    To generalize even more, musicians will come together and have a “jam session”, where someone will begin with some riff or rhythm and the whole thing takes off as an improvised experiment without any predetermined destination whatsoever in mind. Some results are (subjectively) better than others, but the whole thing is improvised. Great music is often created from such improvised “jams”, all under the control of intelligent agents choosing within certain constraints of their talent, training, taste and mood. I know. I’ve been there. Many times.

  290. 290
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Probably more often than not, but not always. Sometimes the destination is a surprise. As with everything else, endings can be improvised as well.

    Sure they can, but generally not. As already pointed out, most jazz songs include a basic chord progression, as well as defined cadences.

    mike1962: To generalize even more, musicians will come together and have a “jam session”, where someone will begin with some riff or rhythm and the whole thing takes off as an improvised experiment without any predetermined destination whatsoever in mind.

    Sure. But even though the jazz musicians may have no preplanned design, the musicians are aware of and purposefully attempt to create a global structure as it unfolds.

    With language, no one decided to change the global structure of English during the Great Vowel Shift.

  291. 291
    Joe says:

    As already pointed out, most jazz songs include a basic chord progression, as well as defined cadences.

    Al;l by design.

    With language, no one decided to change the global structure of English during the Great Vowel Shift.

    You don’t know that so please shut it.

    All human languages are intelligently designed as humans are designing agencies and we created the languages. Blind and undirected processes did not produce our languages.

  292. 292
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Joe

    Blind and undirected processes did not produce our languages.

    I think Zachriel is saying:

    1. Languages show no evidence of intelligent design
    2. Blind, unintelligent, undirected processes produced languages

    We know that intelligence can and does produce languages (software, Morse code, Esperanto.

  293. 293
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: With language, no one decided to change the global structure of English during the Great Vowel Shift.

    Among experts this is controversial. There may have been some conscious influence on the phenomenon. Nobody knows for sure.

    Adapted from Wikipedia:

    Experts in linguistics and cultural history continue to debate possible reasons for the vowel shift.[8]

    1. Some theories emphasise the mass migration after the Black Death in the mid-14th century to southeast England, where differences in accents led to some groups modifying their speech [consciously perhaps?] to allow for a standard pronunciation of vowel sounds.

    2. Another theory posits a sudden social mobility after the Black Death, with people from lower levels in society moving to higher levels (the pandemic also having hit the aristocracy) [with the lower levels consciously attempting to mimic the higher classes? Listen to Madonna these days. She moved to England a while back now tries to sound English].

    3. Another explanation attributes great influence to the language of the ruling class: the medieval aristocracy spoke French, but by the early 15th century they had come to use English. This may have caused a change to the “prestige accent” of English, either by making pronunciation more French in style [by conscious choice] or by changing it in some other way, perhaps by hyper-correction [conscious choice] to something thought of as “more English” (England being at war with France for much of this period). But there is just as much evidence for the hyper-correction to have been “more English” as there is for it to have been “more French”[citation needed] (with French still the slightly favored [by conscious choice] language of the upper class).

    4. Another possible influence, the great political and social upheaval of the 15th century, was largely contemporaneous with the vowel shift.

    5. The fact that vowel shifts occurred in other Germanic languages as well may indicate that there was some inherent instability in the English vowels used before the Great Vowel Shift. The change could have occurred spontaneously in one dialect and then spread outwards as others who heard it thought that the diphthongs were less ambiguous [and thus made a conscious shift] than the long vowels they supplanted.

    No doubt some people switched their vowels unconsciously during the Great Shift. It it plausible that a lot of people had cause to do it consciously. The fact that the USA has largely shifted toward the “midwest broadcast standard” is no accident either.

  294. 294
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Z

    But even though the jazz musicians may have no preplanned design, the musicians are aware of and purposefully attempt to create a global structure as it unfolds.

    No, they don’t attempt to create a global structure. In fact, there may be moments that do not contribute to a unified structure. Instead of creating a structure, they’re communicating something through music, the structure is the effect of multiple intelligent choices on notes and chords.

    It’s the same with language. Creating the structure is not the purpose of it — it is used to communicate meaning. The structure of the language is the effect of many intelligent choices on words and sounds and sentences.

  295. 295
    Silver Asiatic says:

    mike1962

    To generalize even more, musicians will come together and have a “jam session”, where someone will begin with some riff or rhythm and the whole thing takes off as an improvised experiment without any predetermined destination whatsoever in mind.

    To review – this refutes Zachriel’s claim that all jazz structures are designed with a destination in mind.

    He is proven false here.

    Great music is often created from such improvised “jams”, all under the control of intelligent agents choosing within certain constraints of their talent, training, taste and mood. I know. I’ve been there. Many times.

    It’s the same with language. The goal is not to create a structure, but through intelligent choices, a structure results.

    The alternative view is that languages show no evidence of intelligent design.

  296. 296
    mike1962 says:

    Silver Asiatic: It’s the same with language. The goal is not to create a structure, but through intelligent choices, a structure results.

    Right. I believe writers call this “stream of consciousness” composition.

    We’ve got it in jazz too, baby.

    Yeaaaaahhhh.

    There’s a helluva lot of intelligence at the font of the stream.

  297. 297
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Blind, unintelligent, undirected processes produced languages

    Blind and undirected. Intelligent is generally directed to parochial concerns.

    We know that intelligence can and does produce languages Silver Asiatic: (software, Morse code, Esperanto.

    That’s right. Humans have invented languages. English was not invented, however, but evolved from predecessor languages, primarily Germanic and Latin derivatives.

    mike1962: There may have been some conscious influence on the phenomenon.

    Sure, but for parochial purposes.

    Silver Asiatic: No, they don’t attempt to create a global structure.

    We attempted to work with your example, even pointing to certain objective characteristics, such as that nearly all jazz tunes have a final cadence, with musicians cuing by, for example, by moving towards a dominant relationship in the key to signal a cadence. However, as the example is fraught with subjectivity, you should probably abandon it.

    mike1962: I believe writers call this “stream of consciousness” composition.

    And the best stream of consciousness in literature advances the global structure of the work, whether thematic or dramatic. Or do you really think Faulkner’s or Joyce’s or Woolf’s use of stream of consciousness is just a bunch of words strung together with no relationship to the rest of the work?

  298. 298
    Joe says:

    Zachriel thinks that blind and undirected processes produced human languages. Clearly it is beyond reason.

  299. 299
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: Sure, but for parochial purposes.

    A parochial reason is still an intelligent reason affecting outcome. The individual actions of termites are “parochial” in that sense, but always leading to results with recognizable characteristic.

    And the best stream of consciousness in literature advances the global structure of the work, whether thematic or dramatic. Or do you really think Faulkner’s or Joyce’s or Woolf’s use of stream of consciousness is just a bunch of words strung together with no relationship to the rest of the work?

    Of course, there’s always a relationship. Nobody said otherwise. The question is whether there is a pre-existing “global structure.” Not being a writer, I have no personal experience with writing in a stream of consciousness mode. Having thought about it a little more, I suspect writers have a “story to tell” that forms the guiding criteron for whatever may come in the “stream.” Music, particularly jazz and other improvisational forms, not necessarily so. So I will happily withdraw any reference to literary composition.

    The human invention and “evolution” of language might be analogous on a larger scale to a free-form jazz jam improvisation session. Some elements are “random”, some are deliberate, locally and globally, all within certain recognizable constraints. Again, the fact that the philology of the various dialects of the USA have “evolved” toward the “midwest broadcast standard” is an example of a “global” design decision, if you will, by the news media and entertainment industry over the last several decades.

  300. 300
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: The question is whether there is a pre-existing “global structure.”

    It doesn’t have to preexist to represent a design. It just requires an agent or agents who can see and influence the result, in this case, the global structure.

    mike1962: Music, particularly jazz and other improvisational forms, not necessarily so.

    A jazz piece may not have a clear narrative arc, but might be unified based on thematic characteristics, such as an emotional state or unique voice of the artist. This is expressed in terms of motifs, such as rhythm or tonal quality.

  301. 301
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: A parochial reason is still an intelligent reason affecting outcome.

    Of course, but blind and undirected towards that outcome.

    mike1962: The individual actions of termites are “parochial” in that sense, but always leading to results with recognizable characteristic.

    That’s correct. While termite activity always results in mounds, the structure of a particular mound is not due to an intelligent agent making decisions. So human decisions about how they use words will always result in a language, the particular structure of that language is the result of evolutionary forces, not design.

  302. 302
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Joe

    Zachriel thinks that blind and undirected processes produced human languages. Clearly it is beyond reason.

    In the difference between the sound of raindrops hitting the ground and the English language … Zachriel cannot see any evidence of intelligent design in English.

    At some point, it’s not possible to continue the discussion.

  303. 303
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: In the difference between the sound of raindrops hitting the ground and the English language … Zachriel cannot see any evidence of intelligent design in English.

    As pointed out, intelligence is involved to solve local problems of communication, but without regard to the global structure of the language. That’s why linguists often talk about the evolution of language.

  304. 304
    Silver Asiatic says:

    mike1962

    Again, the fact that the philology of the various dialects of the USA have “evolved” toward the “midwest broadcast standard” is an example of a “global” design decision, if you will, by the news media and entertainment industry over the last several decades.

    Exactly, through intelligent design-decision the shape of the language changes. It’s not a blind, undirected process. The use of the midwest standard is actually reducing regional dialects.

    Other examples would be government control of language.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....escription
    Linguistic prescriptivism may aim to establish a standard language, teach what a particular society perceives as a correct form, or advise on effective communication.

    The entire structure of the language is therefore intelligently designed through the use or forbidding of varieties of the language.

    Government control of language – or linguistic purity laws, have been used in Germany, France, Italy, China and elsewhere.

    To claim that there is no evidence of intelligent design in human language, as Zachriel does is … I can’t think of the right word for it. 🙂

  305. 305
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: Other examples would be government control of language.

    Those would, indeed, be examples of at least an attempt to impose design on language! However, government control is modern, and usually only touches the surface of languages, which continue to evolve despite the best efforts of the purists, proving the point.

  306. 306
    Joe says:

    Our opponents are so dull. All words have a meaning, they are defined. Defining words is what gives them their design, not the pronunciation or spelling.

  307. 307
    mike1962 says:

    Silver Asiatic: Exactly, through intelligent design-decision the shape of the language changes. It’s not a blind, undirected process. The use of the midwest standard is actually reducing regional dialects.

    Indeed. I think one of the take-aways here is that humans can (if we choose) indeed control language at the global level, and at the micro “parochial” level, as Zachriel puts it, and various degrees in between.

    As a musician and engineer, the evolution of biological entities on this planet appears to be, as far as I can tell so far, strangely along the lines of an entity or entities doing just that.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  308. 308
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: However, government control [of language] is modern

    Are you saying when the Romans invaded Spain during the Punish war in 218 AD and imposed their language on them that this was a “modern” event?

  309. 309
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Are you saying when the Romans invaded Spain during the Punish war in 218 AD and imposed their language on them that this was a “modern” event?

    Perhaps you are referring to the 2nd Punic War in 218 BCE; or to the 3rd Punic War in 148 BCE, which led to the destruction of Carthage; presumably the latter.

    How old do you think language is? Language is tens-of-thousands, if not hundreds-of-thousands of years old.

    The Punic language lasted for several centuries after the Punic Wars, and continued to evolve, though it finally did die out.

    Latin evolved into the Romance languages, Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, among others. No one decided to break Latin apart. When Rome fell, the provinces lost contact, and through the normal meandering process of evolution, the languages diverged.

    The English language is a composite of Germanic and Latin languages. Again, this is not something anyone intended.

  310. 310
    Joe says:

    Human language is the result of intelligent design. The PROOF is in the definitions of the words used.

    Zachriel and Piotr are too simple to grasp that reality.

    Please stop feeding the insipid trolls

  311. 311
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel: How old do you think language is? Language is tens-of-thousands, if not hundreds-of-thousands of years old.

    You said, “government control [of language] is modern”

    Evidently you think Punic war of 218 was “modern.”

    Okay

    At any rate, you are essentially non-responsive to my post #314

  312. 312
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Evidently you think Punic war of 218 was “modern.”

    Modern in terms of the history of human language. If language is 40,000 years old, then the Punic War took place in the last 5% of that history.

    mike1962: At any rate, you are essentially non-responsive to my post #314

    The use of language as a social identifier or for clarity is parochial.

  313. 313
    Silver Asiatic says:

    mike1962

    As a musician and engineer, the evolution of biological entities on this planet appears to be, as far as I can tell so far, strangely along the lines of an entity or entities doing just that.

    Interesing insight. Some people miss the artistic aspect of design where global effects are the result of micro (parochial) changes.

    In the fantasy world of materialism, language originated from a blind, unintelligent source.

    Ask them to create a new language, however simple, from the very same source and they walk away.

    Music is a form of language, in a sense. Symbolic sounds create meaning and feeling in the listener. Supposedly, music also came from a blind, unintelligent, unguided origin. But again, let’s see an attempt to create music without intelligent input … Even John Cage’s 4.33 is conditioned on intelligent design.

  314. 314
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Joe

    Human language is the result of intelligent design. The PROOF is in the definitions of the words used.

    Good point. A blind, unintelligent force cannot create and maintain definitions of words.

    Please stop feeding the insipid trolls

    Agreed. When someone claims they cannot see any evidence of intelligent design in human language there’s no sense in continuing.

  315. 315
    Box says:

    Once I showed a good friend the door when he persistently made the argument that language was created by blind forces. Which may very well be indicative of my low tolerance towards nonsense.

  316. 316
    mike1962 says:

    Zachriel,

    Still essentially non-responsive to #314

  317. 317
    Zachriel says:

    Silver Asiatic: In the fantasy world of materialism, language originated from a blind, unintelligent source.

    Blind and undirected, not unintelligent.

    mike1962: Still essentially non-responsive to #314

    Try rephrasing your question.

  318. 318
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Box

    Once I showed a good friend the door when he persistently made the argument that language was created by blind forces. Which may very well be indicative of my low tolerance towards nonsense.

    If a person contributes something worthwhile, even if mistaken – or at least there is some sincerity/good faith evident in the questions and responses – I’d be glad to continue a discussion. When it’s just manipulative nonsense then it’s a waste of time for anybody reading and responding. It also lowers the standards – we’re not that desperate for conversation.

  319. 319
    Joe says:

    Zachriel is an imbecile as blind and undirected processes cannot produce definitions.

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