Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

A Majority of One

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1915 was a momentous year for science. That was the year Einstein published The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity, in which he demonstrated that Newton’s theory of gravity was wrong or at least substantially incomplete. Newton’s theory had dominated physics for over 225 years, and, to the great surprise of many, it had fallen. With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to be complacent about the inevitable success of Einstein’s theory, but history shows that general relativity was not accepted immediately by the scientific community. In fact, many scientists clung tenaciously to Newton, and there was fierce resistance to the new theory.

Over the holidays I watched a biography of Einstein (does this mean I’m a nerd?). I learned from that program that the debate over general relatively raged for several years. Why? Because to test the theory empirically scientists needed to take photographs of starlight during a total eclipse of the sun, and at that time there were numerous obstacles to performing that experiment. Total eclipses are rare and often happen in geographically remote areas. Also, World War I was raging, making travel to the eclipse sites difficult. Finally, photographic equipment was still quite primitive. In fact, because of problems with photographic equipment, the first experiment purported to falsify the theory. The theory did not withstand its first empirical test until Lord Eddington’s famous experiment off the coast of Africa in 1919, which was later confirmed by experiments in Australia in 1921.

Newton’s theory was arguably the most successful theory in the history of science. For over 200 years there was not merely a “consensus” that the theory was correct. It was unquestioned received scientific dogma. And it was wrong. But old, widely accepted theories die hard, and many scientists resisted general relatively until Eddington’s experiments made resistance all but futile. Even then there were diehards who believed that Eddington’s calculations were wrong or suffered from confirmation bias. It was not until the 1960’s that it was definitively shown that the deflection of starlight by the sun was the full amount predicted by Einstein.

Maybe 2010 will be another 1915. The scientific consensus over global warming is unraveling if it has not already completely unraveled. On December 8, 2010 a report was released showing that more than 1,000 scientists are now dissenting from the global warming orthodoxy. See here.

What does this have to do with ID? The most successful tactic of the Darwin lobby is to recite the mantra, “The overwhelming consensus among biologists is that Darwinian evolution is an accurate theory.” That is true. Our response is that the overwhelming consensus among physicists in 1915 was that Newtonian gravity was accurate. They were wrong. Until recently the overwhelming consensus among climatologists was that the anthropomorphic global warming theory is accurate. They were wrong too.

The overwhelming consensus of biologists is that Darwin was right. Are they wrong? Obviously, the fact that there is an overwhelming consensus does not mean they are wrong. But as we saw in 1915 and 2010, it does not mean they are necessarily right either, because an overwhelming consensus of scientists can be dead wrong. Finding truth generally and scientific truth in particular is not an activity in nose counting. At the moment he discovered general relatively Albert Einstein was correct, and every other physicist in the world was wrong. The fact that he was in a minority never phased him. Einstein was once asked how he would have felt if Eddington’s experiment had shown his theory was false. He replied, “I would have felt very sorry for the poor Lord, because the theory is correct.”

So to our Darwinist friends I say, go ahead and rely on consensus, received wisdom and authority if that helps you sleep at night or makes you feel better as you whistle past the graveyard. We in the ID community will argue the evidence.

Second opinion. Einstein said newtons conclusions were just a special case. Not me. I don't see these physics as more intelligent then other matters and an not interested. Biology is more complicated. I.D is not a special case of Toe. Its the source of origins. Yet concepts of this or that being special cases are and must be a part of modern biology and geology. Minor speciation can be allowed but not as a origin of kinds. And so on. Robert Byers
Barry, There's some confusion here about the history of physics. Physicists of today distinguish Newtonian and quantum mechanics, regarding Einstein's work as an extension of Newtonian mechanics. I think that the shocker was Einstein's (1905) article on special relativity. As I recall, Einstein published three seminal papers that year, which is sometimes referred to as his annus mirabilis. He rapidly gained quite a reputation as a physicist. It was no secret that he was working on general relativity, and by 1915 there were plenty of physicists anxious to see what he would produce. Your depiction of him as a "majority of one" when he finally managed to work out the general theory does not fit the historical facts. A common objection to relativity was, in essence, that there had to be something wrong with a mechanics that laypeople could not understand. I have often seen ID advocates tell laypeople that anyone whose common sense has not been stripped away by higher education can see that intelligence was required for the design of biological structures. I would say that history is more-or-less repeating itself. Noesis
second opinion: All I am claiming is that the central idea(s) of ID predate Darwin. They predate Paley also. I think I understand your point- ID is not "new" it is just adding on to what others have already said and done. But that isn't new... :) Joseph
Excerpt: Indeed, I will argue that alchemical thinking pervades the fields of chemical and biological evolution. This is not to deny that biological systems evolve. But unless the process by which one organism evolves into another (or by which nonliving chemicals organize into a first living form) is specified, evolution remains an empty word. And given that such specificity is often lacking, much (though not all) of what currently falls under evolutionary theory is alchemy by another name. bornagain77
EVOLUTION AS ALCHEMY By William A. Dembski http://www.designinference.com/documents/2006.06.Evolution_as_Alchemy.pdf bornagain77
If Darwinism and ID are to be compared to any past and present 'theories' they are most similarly compared to the pseudo-science of alchemy for Darwinism and the science of modern chemistry for Intelligent Design. bornagain77
32 tribune7 01/06/2011 8:45 am second opinion, is a designer and a creator commensurable? Yes. Is ID and creationism commensurable? No.
So what of someone who supports ID and is also a creationist? Are they engaged in cognitive dissonance, hypocrisy, or what? Heinrich
@ Robert Byers Well if you consider Newton's theory just to be a special case of the theory of relativity the whole analogy breaks down anyway. Or is ID just a special case of the ToE? second opinion
Robert Byers (#47):
Evolutionary biology has little or no dealings with life.
I think many biologists will strongly disagree with that. Neil Rickert
I understand Einstein said Newtons theory was only a special case. So its not wrong in itself but wrong for claiming to be a bigger conclusion. Bioology has little to do with the origins of biological change. Biologists deal with real living life. Not former life represented by casts in stone. A bioligist opinion on evolution is of no relevance unless his ability as a biologist was part of his investigation. Only a few deal with biological processes of the past . Biology is about living beings. Life. Evolutionary biology has little or no dealings with life. Its about ideas of unwitnessed processes leading to unwitnessed results that lead to present results with some extinction in past results to boot. Biological processes are more complicated then physic processes. The Newton and Einstein of biology has simply not arrived yet. Whether claiming a more feasible evolutionary concept of creationist concept. Robert Byers
of related note: Traveling At The Speed Of Light - Optical Effects - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/ Please note the similarity of the effect noted at the 3:22 minute mark, for traveling at the speed of light, with the 'light at the end of the tunnel' effect noted in many Near Death Experiences. The NDE and the Tunnel - Kevin Williams' research conclusions Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn't walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn't really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different - the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven. (Barbara Springer) http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research16.html The NDE and the Tunnel - Kevin Williams' research conclusions Excerpt: I saw a pinpoint of light in the distance. The black mass around me began to take on more of the shape of a tunnel, and I felt myself traveling through it at an even grea...ter speed, rushing toward the light. I was instinctively attracted to it, although again, I felt that others might not. As I approached it, I noticed the figure of a man standing in it, with the light radiating all around him. (Betty Eadie) http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research16.html As well, special relativity (traveling at the speed of light) provides correlation for the 'eternal' effect noted in many Near Death Experiences: ..."I've just developed a new theory of eternity." Albert Einstein http://www.rd.com/your-america...-inspiring-people-and-stories/best-brainac/article37176-2.html "The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass." Richard Swenson - More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12 Light and Quantum Entanglement Reflect Some Characteristics Of God - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4102182 'In the 'spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it's going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.' Mickey Robinson - Near Death Experience testimony 'When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.' Dr. Ken Ring - has extensively studied Near Death Experiences The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences - Dr Jeffery Long - Melvin Morse M.D. - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627 Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, Speed Of Light - Near Death Tunnel - Turin Shroud - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5738986/ bornagain77
second opinion-- “ID is the claim that observations of nature indicate that a particular state is as it is.” . . .If you were a bit more specific I might be able to answer that. ID is the claim that observations of nature indicate life to be designed. ID doesn't say by who if you should be thinking of going there. ID just says it is as it is. tribune7
2nd: Pessimistic induction: across time, major theories have consistently proved inadequate to reality. So, we strive for empirical reliability and provisional warrant, recognising that we cannot be sure at any given stage that we have a final truth in hand. Truth is the conformity of our declarations to reality. Approximate truth is a very troublesome concept. Now, when it comes to the inference to design on signs of intelligence, the point that objectors consistently miss is that he signs in question are empirically reliable per a large base of observations, and we do not have significant counter-instances. For instance, digitally coded, functionally specific complex information is just such, on billions of test cases all over the internet. Similarly, every time your car breaks down for want of the proper working of a key part, it bespeaks the validity of the concept of irreducible complexity. And, the notion of co-option simply fails to address just how complex interfacing of components in a system is: think about how many types of nuts and bolts exist, doing the same job. But to do so in a given case, they had better be well matched or they will not work. The fact that we consistently do not see clear and discinct cases whre we observe the origin process offered as counter-examples, or we see word pretzel definition twisting games, tells us that we have something serious in hand. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
@ Collin Is Einstein's theory of relativity more likely to be correct than Newton's theory of gravity because it came later? @ tribune7 “ID is the claim that observations of nature indicate that a particular state is as it is.” If you were a bit more specific I might be able to answer that. @ all I will try to explain what I mean another time. All I am claiming is that the central idea(s) of ID predate Darwin. This is certainly true for the idea that nature is designed and that this design can be detected (see Paley). The concept of irreducible complexity predates Darwin, as well (see Nicolas Malebranche or Kant). The “improbable argument” also known as the junkyard tornado or Hoyle's Fallacy can be traced back at least to Lamarck. So the only concept that is “new” is that of specified complexity or specified information or whatever you want to call the child. But that concept does not establish a new theory. Did I miss something? second opinion
second opinion, Are you saying that because Paley's argument came first, then Darwin's argument is more likely correct? Collin
KF, thanks and dittos w/regard to #33. tribune7
Joseph: WE know. We are dealing with a von Neumann self replicator at molecular scale, as an ADDITIONAL feature of a metabolising entity. With all of the machines as C-chemistry informational macromolecules, constructed connector-block style, and some folding to function on a key-lock basis, based on subtle inter-unit forces! (Gears, cams and escapements were child's play by comparison.) G kairosfocus
Carl if it is general relativity you have a problem with, instead of special relativity, as per your first link, then confirmation is found by 11 separate evidences for general relativity in section 3 of this page: http://www.origins.org/articles/ross_astroevidgodbible.html but though General Relativity is confirmed to at least 14 decimal places, as to how space-time (and the expansion thereof) is related to gravity, it is also now known that general relativity is not a complete description of our reality. a fairly exhaustive examination of the General Relativity equations themselves, acknowledges the insufficiency of General Relativity to account for the 'completeness' of 4D space-time within the sphere of the CMBR from different points of observation in the universe. The Cauchy Problem In General Relativity - Igor Rodnianski Excerpt: 2.2 Large Data Problem In General Relativity - While the result of Choquet-Bruhat and its subsequent refinements guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a (maximal) Cauchy development, they provide no information about its geodesic completeness and thus, in the language of partial differential equations, constitutes a local existence. ,,, More generally, there are a number of conditions that will guarantee the space-time will be geodesically incomplete.,,, In the language of partial differential equations this means an impossibility of a large data global existence result for all initial data in General Relativity. http://www.icm2006.org/proceedings/Vol_III/contents/ICM_Vol_3_22.pdf The following article speaks of a proof developed by legendary mathematician Kurt Gödel, from a thought experiment, in which Gödel showed General Relativity could not be a complete description of the universe: THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS - DAVID P. GOLDMAN - August 2010 Excerpt: Gödel's personal God is under no obligation to behave in a predictable orderly fashion, and Gödel produced what may be the most damaging critique of general relativity. In a Festschrift, (a book honoring Einstein), for Einstein's seventieth birthday in 1949, Gödel demonstrated the possibility of a special case in which, as Palle Yourgrau described the result, "the large-scale geometry of the world is so warped that there exist space-time curves that bend back on themselves so far that they close; that is, they return to their starting point." This means that "a highly accelerated spaceship journey along such a closed path, or world line, could only be described as time travel." In fact, "Gödel worked out the length and time for the journey, as well as the exact speed and fuel requirements." Gödel, of course, did not actually believe in time travel, but he understood his paper to undermine the Einsteinian worldview from within. http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201008/2080027241.html I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its 'uncertain' 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe: Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time 'unifying' into a 'theory of everything'.(Einstein, Penrose). The Physics Of The Large And Small: What Is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose Excerpt: This, (the unification of General Relativity and Quantum Field theory), would also have practical advantages in the application of quantum ideas to subjects like biology - in which one does not have the clean distinction between a quantum system and its classical measuring apparatus that our present formalism requires. In my opinion, moreover, this revolution is needed if we are ever to make significant headway towards a genuine scientific understanding of the mysterious but very fundamental phenomena of conscious mentality. http://www.pul.it/irafs/CD%20IRAFS%2702/texts/Penrose.pdf Quantum Mechanics Not In Jeopardy: Physicists Confirm Decades-Old Key Principle Experimentally - July 2010 Excerpt: the research group led by Prof. Gregor Weihs from the University of Innsbruck and the University of Waterloo has confirmed the accuracy of Born’s law in a triple-slit experiment (as opposed to the double slit experiment). "The existence of third-order interference terms would have tremendous theoretical repercussions - it would shake quantum mechanics to the core," says Weihs. The impetus for this experiment was the suggestion made by physicists to generalize either quantum mechanics or gravitation - the two pillars of modern physics - to achieve unification, thereby arriving at a one all-encompassing theory. "Our experiment thwarts these efforts once again," explains Gregor Weihs. (of note: Born's Law is an axiom that dictates that quantum interference can only occur between pairs of probabilities, not triplet or higher order probabilities. If they would have detected higher order interference patterns this would have potentially allowed a reformulation of quantum mechanics that is compatible with, or even incorporates, gravitation.) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100722142640.htm "There are serious problems with the traditional view that the world is a space-time continuum. Quantum field theory and general relativity contradict each other. The notion of space-time breaks down at very small distances, because extremely massive quantum fluctuations (virtual particle/antiparticle pairs) should provoke black holes and space-time should be torn apart, which doesn’t actually happen." - G J Chaitin http://www.umcs.maine.edu/~chaitin/bookgoedel_6.pdf The following Physicist offers a very interesting insight into this issue of 'reconciling' the mental universe of Quantum Mechanics with the space-time of General Relativity: How the Power of Intention Alters Matter - Dr. William A. Tiller Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein's equation: E=MC2. Here's how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, "almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!" If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations.,,,, In conclusion Tiller states, "despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is." "Matter as we know it," Tiller concludes poetically, "is hardly a fragrance of a whisper." http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/mar2/tiller.htm Yet, this unification, into a 'theory of everything', between what is in essence the 'infinite world of Quantum Mechanics' and the 'finite world of the space-time of General Relativity' seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man: The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355 The End Of Christianity - Finding a Good God in an Evil World - Pg.31 William Dembski PhD. Mathematics Excerpt: "In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity." Philippians 2: 5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature." St. Augustine While I agree with a criticism, from a Christian, that was leveled against the preceding Shroud of Turin video, that God indeed needed no help from the universe in the resurrection event of Christ since all things are possible with God, I am none-the-less very happy to see that what is considered the number one problem of Physicists and Mathematicians in physics today, of a 'unification into a theory of everything' for what is in essence the finite world of General Relativity and the infinite world of Quantum Mechanics, does in fact seem to find a successful resolution for 'unification' within the resurrection event of Jesus Christ Himself. It seems almost overwhelmingly apparent to me from the 'scientific evidence' we now have that Christ literally ripped a hole in the finite entropic space-time of this universe to reunite infinite God with finite man. That modern science would even offer such a almost tangible glimpse into the mechanics of what happened in the tomb of Christ should be a source of great wonder and comfort for the Christian heart. Psalms 16:10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. bornagain77
better link: Carl see the 1 hour 18 minute mark of this video for confirmation: E=mc2 -Einstein and the World's Most Famous Equation (The history behind the equation) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4144497206440839046# bornagain77
Actually, Paley did raise some significant inference to design issues.
Absolutely. However, to Paley, the cell was still a black-box. Just think what he could have done had he known! Joseph
Carl see the 1 hour 18 minute mark of this video for confirmation: E=mc2 -Einstein and the World's Most Famous Equation (The history behind the equation) http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=403816616767098012#docid=4144497206440839046 bornagain77
SEE ALSO!!!! http://www.conservapedia.com/Counterexamples_to_Relativity Carl
EINSTEIN'S "THEORY" OF RELATIVITY IS WRONG! See Andy Schlafly's devastating takedown http://www.conservapedia.com/Relativity#Lack_of_evidence_for_Relativity Carl
Trib: Well said. SB has often said that Creationism reasons forward as faith seeking understanding, but the design inference works backward seeking an explanation of certain natural phenomena that on empirical evidence, are marked by observed, tested, found reliable signs of design. Though the two may have a similar import for a worldview, that does not make them equivalent in method or warranting base. Indeed, we should note on a point of tension: design theory accepts the uniformitarian premise of inferring from the present to explain or suggest conclusions about the past. Creationism, especially biblical creationism, correctly suggests a key limitation of such a method in terms of ability to access the actual truth of the past (as opposed to a plausible model of it on inference to best explanation). Here, Job 38 is a classic:
Job 38:1 . . . the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: 2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone- 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? . . .
This objection is quite valid: we were not there so we cannot speak with certainty on what was there in the deep past of origins. We may construct plausible narratives or notice key facts in the present believed to trace to the past or signs and their implications, but we should not delude ourselves that by scientific investigations we are able to reconstruct the actual timeline of the past, and its events, with certainty. No theory of origins is properly to be viewed as a fact. Nor are the unobserved dates we assign based on various dating techniques. Even, the plausibility of the appearance of great age for our cosmos, is because a great many have accepted a certain narrative of the past, presented in the name of a great authority; science. But on this, we cannot, by the nature of the case, directly observe the real facts of the past to check the narrative against. So, we would do well to be humble and explicitly provisional. Just the opposite of the so commonly touted Lewontinian a priori materialism. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
second opinion, is a designer and a creator commensurable? Yes. Is ID and creationism commensurable? No. Creationism is the the claim that a particular state is as it is because a revealed authority said it is as it is. It is dogma, which is fine since religion is supposed to be dogma. ID is the claim that observations of nature indicate that a particular state is as it is. It is not dogma. Issue can, and should, be taken with it. ID is meant to describe nature, not to prove God. Don't forget that all science can do is to find and describe consistencies in nature. If a particular set of contemporaneous observations point to the existence of God, that's allowed. In fact, to reject consideration of the possibility of God is anti-reason and anti-science. tribune7
Joseph: Actually, Paley did raise some significant inference to design issues. These include not only complex organisation adapted to functional purpose, but also the import of having the additional feature of self-replication, in the Ch 2 that is never cited by materialistic or naturalistic objectors. Such points are discussed here. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
second opinion:
ID speaks of a Designer, whereas Creationism speaks of God.
ID doesn't say anything about any designer(s) beyond saying at least one once existed. And seeing that Paley did't know anything about microbiology I don't see how Paley's views and ID are commensurable. Joseph
Since I'm not really after linking Creationism to ID we can drop the whole point. My original argument is still valid since Paley predates Darwin. So what I am actually arguing is that Paley's watchmaker analogy and ID are commensurable. second opinion
@ Tribune7 I obviously need to clarify what I mean by incommensurable. Here is an example: In Newton’s theory of gravity space was absolute, whereas in the Theory of Relativity space is relative. This means that although both objects are called “space” two different things are meant. Both notions of space are incommensurable. ID speaks of a Designer, whereas Creationism speaks of God. So both theories would be incommensurable if in simple terms the Designer could not be God. But as far as I know the Designer can be God or for example space aliens. So the concept of the Designer is an extension of the concept of God. Is this more clear now? second opinion
One kind of sidelight on this whole gravity thing is the theme that the Darwinists are fond of invoking, namely, "Evolution is as much a fact as gravity." As should be clear from all this discussion re Einstein and Newton's theories, just what is meant by the "fact" of gravity is not all that clear cut. To me, the "fact" of gravity is simply that unsupported objects fall to earth. Both Newton's and Einstein's theories are explanations of that fact that allow us to make predictions and which are extended to apply throughout the known Universe. There are physicists currently working to produce a theory of gravity that reconciles with quantum mechanics and which presumably would supersede general relativity, giving us three theories. (Which one is the "fact" of gravity?) The comparable situation with respect to evolution is this, to my thinking: the "fact" of evolution is the observation from the fossil record that living organisms have increased in diversity and complexity since the earth was formed. The neo-Darwinian synthesis is an explanation of this fact (which, unlike either theory of gravity, has a very poor record when it comes to predictions!). ID is is also an explanation of the "fact" of evolution. Since these theories purport to explain events that have already happened, neither one is really testable, at least not in the same way as the theories of gravity are. However, as Stephen Meyer has so eloquently pointed out, accepted scientific practice in the historical sciences is to use the evidence to arrive at what we consider to be the best explanation. And as should be obvious by now, I come down squarely on the side of those who see in ID an explanation far, far more likely to be true than Darwinism. Bruce David
I use Newton's second law (F=ma, Force = Mass x Acceleration) on a regular basis in my work producing finite-element analysis simulations using LS-DYNA. This equation is critical for calculating such things as mass density. Given units of pounds, feet, and seconds and therefore the acceleration of gravity in feet/second^2, we get: PoundForce = Mass x Feet/Second^2 (or, lbf = Mass x ft. / sec.^2) Solving for mass, we get Mass = lbf x sec.^2 /ft. Mass density is therefore mass divided by volume (ft.^3) which is: lbf x sec.^2 / ft.^4 These equations are spectacularly useful for solving every-day mechanical engineering problems. LS-DYNA is arguably the most powerful FEA program ever devised (it was originally developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the mid-1970s for the development of variable-yield nuclear weapons) and is now used for everything from designing shaped explosive charges to simulating car crashes. It performs these remarkable tasks through the use of explicit time integration, using Newton's laws and solving massive numbers of partial differential equations. It is true that Newton's laws eventually break down at a macro level, but they are very useful within the domain of their applicability, which is low-speed, low-mass physics. The same is true for Darwinian theory (random variation and natural selection). It explains such things as antibiotic resistance in bacteria and finch-beak variation -- micro-evolution. But it clearly breaks down at the macro level, and is inapplicable to such things as the origin of digital biological information and information-processing machinery, and the origin of species within the overall history of life. GilDodgen
Barry at 22 and previous contributors: Barry's point is well taken: Newton's laws of gravity were opposed in their day by people who argued that he did not provide a mechanism for gravity, and all science must have a mechanism. He replied haughtily, "hypotheses non fingo" = I don't "do" hypotheses. People accepted his laws of gravity because they were useful; they led to advances. (He did suggest that there might be a particle that created gravity, and the "graviton" is hypothesized today. But his point was that his theory predicted events more successfully than any previous one. But Newton did not need to be right about everything; only to provide a way for making useful predictions. And so with Ptolemy. His work had been useful for 1200 years or so. Copernicus realized that Ptolemy's approach would also work if the Sun was put at the centre of the solar system instead of the Earth. But Copernicus knew nothing of today's universe. The things about which Newton and Copernicus were wrong could be corrected by later science. That is why it is so damaging when a science gets saddled with useless klunk theories and huge resources are expended to protect them - resources better used elsewhere. O'Leary
EndoplasmicMessenger, actually there is still a overriding 'flatness' to the curvature of the expansion of space-time. A flatness that when found refuted the oscillating universe conjecture and solidified the evidence for 'dark energy': Materialists also use to try to find a place for blind chance to hide by proposing a universe which expands and contracts (recycles) infinitely. Even at first glance, the 'recycling universe' conjecture suffers so many questions from the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) as to render it effectively implausible as a serious theory, but now the recycling universe conjecture has been totally crushed by the hard evidence for a 'flat' universe found by the 'BOOMERANG' experiment. Refutation Of Oscillating Universe - Michael Strauss PhD. - video: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323673 Evidence For Flat Universe - Boomerang Project http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/boomerang-flat.html http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/images1/omegamomegal3.gif Did the Universe Hyperinflate? - Hugh Ross - April 2010 Excerpt: Perfect geometric flatness is where the space-time surface of the universe exhibits zero curvature (see figure 3). Two meaningful measurements of the universe's curvature parameter, ½k, exist. Analysis of the 5-year database from WMAP establishes that -0.0170 < ½k < 0.0068.4 Weak gravitational lensing of distant quasars by intervening galaxies places -0.031 < ½k < 0.009.5 Both measurements confirm the universe indeed manifests zero or very close to zero geometric curvature,,, http://www.reasons.org/did-universe-hyperinflate Einstein's 'Biggest Blunder' Turns Out to Be Right - November 2010 Excerpt: By providing more evidence that the universe is flat, the findings bolster the cosmological constant model for dark energy over competing theories such as the idea that the general relativity equations for gravity are flawed. "We have at this moment the most precise measurements of lambda that a single technique can give," Marinoni said. http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/dark-energy-cosmological-constant-101124.html bornagain77
Barry, There is a difference presuming the creationist understands the source of his belief. The creationist can say that accepting the Bible as absolute truth has caused him benefit in his life so based on that he has faith that it will be found to be true on matters relating to natural history. That's perfectly reasonable. It's not science but it's reasonable. The Darwinian, OTOH, will insist a thing never observed has been observed or insist that it soon will be observed and hence is objectively true. Either, of course, is delusional. tribune7
Graham asks why we go on teaching and using Newtonian physics if it is wrong. Well, Graham even though it is wrong it is still good enough for most practical purposes. But that could be said about the cosmology of Ptolemy. No one believes Ptolemy is correct, but you can still predict an eclipse (as Columbus famously did) with his tables. Barry Arrington
Graham, Flat space is about as similar to curved space as a flat Earth is to a curved Earth. Newton was as wrong as the flat Earthers were. EndoplasmicMessenger
Tribune7 asks: “Now in what ways are Creationism and the faith that random genetic changes fixed by natural selection accounts for all biodiversity incommensurable?” Actually, the more important question in my mind is how the two are in fact commensurable. They are commensurable because both creationism and the belief that all biodiversity is a function of random genetic changes culled by natural selection rest more on a priori faith commitments (one to a particular interpretation of scripture, the other to metaphysical materialism) than on evidence. Barry Arrington
second opinion -- In what way are Creationsm and ID incommensurable? ID is a theory derived from observations of nature. Creationism is a belief derived from an interpretation of Scripture. ID is falsifiable. Creationism is not. See the diff? Now in what ways are Creationsm and the faith that random genetic changes fixed by natural selection accounts for all biodiversity incommensurable? tribune7
In comment 14 second opinion writes: “ID is with respect to what is relevant here the continuation of creationism” In comment 16 second opinion writes: “Well, I haven’t said anything about ID.” Typical Darwinist tactic. Expect us to believe what they say instead of the evidence before our very eyes. Though I have to admit that one rarely sees such a pristine example as this, with the conflicting evidence a mere six inches away (on my computer screen) from the statement. Barry Arrington
Okay, let me ask this: In what way are Creationsm and ID incommensurable? second opinion
Well, I haven't said anything about ID. The only thing I would say is that Paley predates Darwin. second opinion
second opinion, you demonstrate that you are not to be taken seriously when you insist on substituting a straw man of your own creation for ID. You say you don’t want to argue. I can hardly blame you; for you seem to have no argument to offer. Barry Arrington
I would look at the situation differently. Newton’s theory of gravity was superseded by the General Theory of Relativity because in the “end” the empirical evidence came in in favour of the Theory of Relativity. Likewise the notion that human activity does not influence the climate (which is to a large extent the position of the AGW deniers) was superseded by the notion that human green house gas emissions do change the climate also after sufficient evidence was collected. Creationism (ID is with respect to what is relevant here the continuation of creationism) was superseded by the ToE after Darwin gathered the facts and drew a plausible picture. You will certainly disagree at least with the last sentence, but I don't want to argue about it. The point is that I can't think of any example (correct me if I'm wrong) where an obsolete theory has ever been resurrected (once thought obsolete hypothesis have been) so I don't see much help coming from Einstein. second opinion
kylefoley, I think his point is that how does putting manufacturing out of business save those cities? I believe that studies show that even the severest measures would have a miniscule effect on global temperatures. Collin
Though Einstein was certainly a genius, it is very interesting to note where his 'greatest blunders' were: I find it very interesting that the materialistic belief of the universe being stable, and infinite in duration, was so deeply rooted in scientific thought that Albert Einstein (1879-1955), when he was shown his general relativity equation indicated a universe that was unstable and would 'draw together' under its own gravity, added a cosmological constant to his equation to reflect a stable universe rather than entertain the thought that the universe had a beginning. Einstein and The Belgian Priest, George Lemaitre - The "Father" Of The Big Bang Theory - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4279662 of note: This was not the last time Einstein's base materialistic philosophy had severely misled him. He was also severely misled in the Bohr–Einstein debates in which he was repeatedly proven wrong in challenging the 'spooky action at a distance' postulations of the emerging field of quantum mechanics. This following video, which I listed earlier, bears worth repeating since it highlights the Bohr/Einstein debate and the decades long struggle to 'scientifically' resolve the disagreement between them: The Failure Of Local Realism - Materialism - Alain Aspect - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145 When astronomer Edwin Hubble published empirical evidence indicating a beginning for the universe, Einstein ended up calling the cosmological constant, he had added to his equation, the biggest blunder of his life. But then again mathematically speaking, Einstein's 'fudge factor' was not so much of a blunder after all. In the 1990's a highly modified cosmological constant, representing the elusive 'Dark Energy' to account for the accelerated expansion of the universe, was reintroduced into general relativity equations to explain the discrepancy between the ages of the oldest stars in the Milky Way galaxy and the age of the universe. Far from providing a materialistic solution, which would have enabled the universe to be stable and infinite as Einstein had originally envisioned, the finely-tuned cosmological constant, finely-tuned to 1 part in 10^120, has turned into one of the most powerful evidences of design from many finely-tuned universal constants of the universe. bornagain77
kylefoley76, if AGW was really happening would the guy leading the crusade to stop it be buying homes with 9 bathrooms and 6 fire places? tribune7
barry i mentioned the flood of large cities because you said we should think about our economy. if we allow oceans to destroy our infrastructure that will do much to destroy our economy. re your second point hysteria is not evidence n neither is your disbelief. i presented facts re agw u have ignored them. kylefoley76
Personally, I'm not committed to or even convinced by either side of the AGW debate, but I always cringe when an ID advocate seems to hitch the ID horse to the same wagon as AGW denial, young Earth creationism, or even 9/11 conspiracy (which I've seen on another blog). Even though there may be some analogous aspects, as far as scientific dissent , usually the comparison doesn't end there, but rather with the declaration that, like ID, the dissenting position is correct. Even without this conclusion, the main problem I have is that I think ID has a very convincing argument (for anyone who honestly engages it) to make on a completely unrelated scientific topic, much more convincing than AGW denial/affirmation. If AGW is eventually proven to be true, this will weaken the stance of ID even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the science. I truly believe that honest discourse on ID/natural evolution will eventually win out, even if it's not in our lifetimes. We're nowhere near the end of the rabbit hole of biological complexity - we still describe conscious activities in terms of neurological chemical levels and brain section sizes/thicknesses. If consciousness does end up being describable in purely physical terms, our current understanding will be like an ancient Greek describing different computers: "Well this one has a shinier finish and a larger bundle of cables inside, which obviously causes its unique function." It will only become more and more obvious through the coming decades and centuries how unnatural our origin truly is, and they will have decades of comedic/sobering reading material that was originally scientific "fact". uoflcard
Barry: Newton’s theory was the most successful theory in the history of science ... And it was wrong Then why is it still taught, unchanged, in schools and universities, and why do we go on using it, unchanged, in Science & industry ? Graham
I think Barry brings up a good point. I'm not a particular global-warming skeptic. I'm more skeptical of the forecasts of the effects than I am of the general assertion that 'the climate is changing, man probably plays some role in this'. But people seem to think that if GW, even AGW is real, that there is a single, obvious, clear policy solution that the entire world not only should, but could enact immediately. Of that, I am ridiculously skeptical. Just look at Al Gore's recent confession about corn ethanol for a great, obvious example about how the policies aren't automatically great ideas just 'because... the environment!' nullasalus
kylefoley76, there is no doubt that it would be bad for big cities to flood. What does that have to do with whether the AGW hypothesis is correct in the first place? Does apocalyptic hysteria count as evidence? Or is your point that we should ignore the evidence and just do something? Do you think we should “just do something” even if that something will have no effect on the problem and bankrupts to boot? Barry Arrington
I have posted a comment on my blog about the Newton vs. Darwin comparison: The Model T and the Cadillac. On the global warming question, I don't see that the scientific consensus is unraveling. Many of those 1,000 dissidents are not climatologists. There's no doubt that the CO2 increase is anthropogenic. Even if there are other causes for the apparent warming, the CO2 increase should already be reason for serious concern. Neil Rickert
barry 7 of the 18 largest cities are next to watr. if they become disfunctional we will have zero economy. as for man being the cause for 400 k years co2 never went above 280 ppm now man starts to use fossil fuels n look what happens kylefoley76
kylefoley76, yes the earth has warmed up, but you are missing the larger point. The issue, which Collin hinted at, is whether man is the main cause (or even “a” cause) of the warming and whether the massive cuts in carbon output advocated by the global warming crowd (for everyone except themselves, of course) will have any effect except to ruin our economy. Barry Arrington
Kylefoley76, Do the scientists that show that Mars is warming also receive money from exxon? Barry, Newton's theory was a very good approximate of what really happens. I don't know if it would be a victory for ID or anti-climate change people to say that Darwinism is a really good approximation or that Global Warming science is almost right. Collin
i passionately support id but the view that the earth is not warming up is wrong. for the last 400k years co2 has vascillated between 180 and 280 ppm. now in the last 100 years it has shot up to 380. if these facts are wrong then what evidence do you have that theyre wrong. the scientists who deny global warming receive money from exxon kylefoley76

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