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At Skeptical Inquirer: Thinking outside the box is called the “Nobel Disease”

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Here: “The Nobel Disease: When Intelligence Fails To Protect Against Irrationality.” They fret that Nobel Prize-winning scientists ditch critical thinking and embrace unorthodox views.

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor doesn’t agree. In reality, he says, unorthodoxy helped the unorthodox scientists win the Prize.

The “Nobel Disease” isn’t a paradox. Scientists who reject consensus, who think for themselves, are often the ones best prepared to make major scientific discoveries. The top rank of scientists is full of mavericks—Galileo, Newton, Semmelweis, Einstein, and Watson and Crick, to name just a few—who made outstanding contributions not despite their unorthodoxy but because of it…

This is not to say that every “out of the box” idea is right—most are wrong—but a scientific culture that welcomes unorthodox ideas and encourages theories that fall outside of the “consensus” is indispensable for genuinely good science and for major scientific advances.

Michael Egnor, “Thinking outside the box is not a disease” at Mind Matters News

If you enjoy reading about creativity in science, you might also like these informative pieces by Robert J. Marks:

Should AI hold patents? the flash-of-genius answer. Robert J. Marks: To understand why AI cannot independently invent, let’s look at how famous inventors have actually done it. Like Excel, AI assists programmers in their design work. AI can search through trillions of possibilities, using data from a million sources, to find a successful design. But the structure of the search and the source of the data is the choice of the programmer. A look at how famous inventors developed products that changed the world sheds some light on the process.

and

The creativity needed for successful command is beyond the capability of AI. AI sifts enormous amounts of accumulated data. But successful military strategy often depends on creating a new approach to a problem, one that lies outside the historical data available to the opposing forces. Muhammad Ali and Hannibal were famous for using such strategies.

18 Replies to “At Skeptical Inquirer: Thinking outside the box is called the “Nobel Disease”

  1. 1
    ronvanwegen says:

    Would an AI ever respond to a request to surrender with the word “NUTS!”?

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    The article in “skeptical” inquirer has four co-authors. Tells me all I need to know. Tenuritis is the real disease, and Nobels have been Confirmed Cases of Tenuritis for a long time.

  3. 3
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    Galileos and Newtons are few and far between, but cranks are a dime a dozen.

    Weeding out the cranks is where consensus helps.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Not if the mainstream consensus is full of cranks…

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    There’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. It can be good… or bad. Isn’t part of science finding out which is which?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev; “There’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. ”

    Says the man who refuses to ever think outside the box of his Darwinian materialism:

    https://media.istockphoto.com/illustrations/think-inside-the-box-illustration-id97232619?k=6&m=97232619&s=612×612&w=0&h=N2IdcDp-nXxjbt_tAkzFtT5CJRrszkiTTtc2wK40PZI=

  7. 7
    Belfast says:

    Bravo, Ronvanwegen @1.
    There is immense insight in what you write.
    In a real sense, McAuliffe is right there with St. Thomas More and the great roll call of men and women we call heroes who put other considerations beyond materialistic ones into a decision.
    (Hope I spelled his name correctly)

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    I think McAuliffe and the men of the 101st Airborne defending Bastogne also knew that it was going to take something pretty solidly material to stop German tanks.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 6

    Sev; “There’s nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. ”

    Says the man who refuses to ever think outside the box of his Darwinian materialism:

    I’m happy to think outside the box. I’ve no problem considering multiverses, backwards in time causation, a holographic universe or life on Earth seeded by ET (Not our one. That’s a kludge too far) But I’m not going believe any off-the-wall idea just because it comes from some contrarian maverick speculating outside of their area of expertise.

  10. 10
    Belfast says:

    ‘I think McAuliffe and the men of the 101st Airborne defending Bastogne also knew that it was going to take something pretty solidly material to stop German tanks.‘

    You don’t get it, Seversky. You never will. There are things beyond your crackpot materialism.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Belfast at 10,

    You don’t get it, Seversky. You never will. There are things beyond your crackpot materialism.

    Or as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet,

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Minor correction to Seversky’s post at 9,

    Sev: “I’m happy to (imagine) outside (my materialistic) box (if it helps me to avoid thinking about God). I’ve no problem considering multiverses (when they can help me ‘explain away’ the fine-tuning of the universe that unequivocally points to God), backwards in time causation (when I want to avoid the obvious ‘spooky action at a distance’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics that, again, point to God), a holographic universe (because living in an imaginary universe where I’m a fictional 2-dimensional hologram is preferable to living in a real 3-dimensional universe where God really exists), or life on Earth seeded by ET, (because I prefer imaginary green aliens creating life on earth to the real living God who is the source of all life), But I’m not going believe any off-the-wall idea (if it does not help me avoid believing in God), just because it comes from some contrarian maverick speculating outside of their area of expertise.(save of course for unquestionably believing the contrarian maverick Charles Darwin when he was speculating outside of his own area of expertise, (which was theology), in his thoroughly non-scientific, and theologically flawed, book ‘Origin of Species’)”

    There you go Seversky, all better! 🙂 No need to thank me. I’m glad I could help!

    Anti-Science Irony
    Excerpt: In response to a letter from Asa Gray, professor of biology at Harvard University, Darwin declared: “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.”
    When questioned further by Gray, Darwin confirmed Gray’s suspicions: “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” Darwin had turned against the use of scientific principles in developing his theory of evolution.
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....nce-irony/

    Someone tries telling the truth: Darwin wasn’t that great but he met an elite need – July 29, 2014
    Excerpt: he (Charles Darwin) devoted almost every bit of his magnum opus (Origin Of Species) to tedious examples of artificial selection in domestic animals. He brushed away the glaring advantage of artificial over natural selection with rhetoric along the lines of “I see no reason why” natural selection might not have fashioned the eye or any other organ or living thing. For such schoolboy ineptitude he was roundly criticized by his contemporaries, all of whom are now consigned to history’s dustbin, regardless of their skills and biological competency.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....lite-need/

    Welcome To The Brave New World Of “Science” – Emily Morales – January 1, 2020
    Excerpt: Darwin, in his day was excoriated by Adam Sedgewick (his mentor of the past) for abandoning the tram-road of inductive thinking (Baconian methodology, repeated experimentation) in favor of embracing the methodologies associated with deductive reasoning carried out by the likes of Aristotle.
    Sedgewick was not alone in his criticism of Darwin. Louis Agassiz, at Harvard similarly rebuked Darwin for a thesis having no support in the known fossil record (refer to Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt). Note that neither of these men pushed back against Darwin because they were creationists – it was rather that Darwin drew some conclusions on the diversity of life and origin of species that were presumptuous to say the least. As it turns out, Bacon addressed the dangers of this manner of “logic” and “reasoning,” at length, warning us of its ability to stifle scientific inquiry two hundred and thirty years before Darwin’s published work.
    Bacon today, would not be impressed with where the brave new world of science is heading. Rather than holding on to those facts that are the fruit of repeated experimentation or steadied observation, society is clinging to fallacies that are oftentimes the fruit of a past college professor’s wild imagination.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/welcome-to-the-brave-new-world-of-science/#comment-690388

    Darwin May Have Gotten it Wrong?
    Not the First Time Darwin Suffered Rebuke by the Hallowed Scientific Order
    Excerpt: Louis Agassiz, a Swiss-born scientist of much greater letters (having earned a Ph.D. from Erlangen; an M.D. from Munich), much greater training (studied with French naturalist Georges Cuvier), and distinction (founded Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology) than Darwin, opposed his theory from the very beginning. Darwin, recognizing the stature of this intellectual giant sent him a copy of his famous manuscript, hoping to receive an endorsement. What he got was a rebuke; the elder scientist arguing Darwin’s inferences on the history of life had no support whatsoever in the fossil record – but rather contradicted it, stating that the actual animal remains were the true eye-witnesses as to life’s history (see Meyer, S.C., Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. 2013).
    https://salvomag.com/post/darwin-may-have-gotten-it-wrong

    In fact, in his book ‘Origin”, instead of any actual experimentation or mathematics, (in fact Darwin found mathematics to be ‘repugnant’), Darwin instead relied mainly on flawed theological argumentation in order to try to make his case for evolution

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):
    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 12

    “I’m happy to (imagine) outside (my materialistic) box (if it helps me to avoid thinking about God).

    I’ve thought about God a lot, probably more than you have, and I find the Christian concept has some problems

    ’ve no problem considering multiverses (when they can help me ‘explain away’ the fine-tuning of the universe that unequivocally points to God)

    And you hate the multiverse theory because it undercuts the fine-tuning argument which, you think, points towards your God.

    backwards in time causation (when I want to avoid the obvious ‘spooky action at a distance’

    I’ve never tried to avoid quantum entanglement.

    Theistic implications of quantum mechanics that, again, point to God),

    You know, it’s a tad ironic that you castigate Darwin for his theological references in Origins while you spend much of your time trying to twist quantum theory and phenomena into providing support for your personal religious beliefs.

    a holographic universe (because living in an imaginary universe where I’m a fictional 2-dimensional hologram is preferable to living in a real 3-dimensional universe where God really exists),

    How do you know you aren’t? Your God could quite easily have created you yesterday complete with false memories of your life and you would have no way of knowing any different.

    or life on Earth seeded by ET, (because I prefer imaginary green aliens creating life on earth to the real living God who is the source of all life),

    I’m not saying I would prefer them but they’re slightly more plausible than your God.

    But I’m not going believe any off-the-wall idea (if it does not help me avoid believing in God),

    I’m not avoiding belief in God, I’m just not seeing any good reason to believe in such a being.

    just because it comes from some contrarian maverick speculating outside of their area of expertise.(save of course for unquestionably believing the contrarian maverick Charles Darwin when he was speculating outside of his own area of expertise, (which was theology), in his thoroughly non-scientific, and theologically flawed, book ‘Origin of Species’)”

    Darwin studied theology at university. He read – and admired – William Paley. His comments on theology carry greater weight than a wedding photographer’s or an English teacher and journalist’s critiques of Darwinian evolution.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev responds:

    I’ve thought about God a lot, probably more than you have, and I find the Christian concept has some problems

    I, and others on UD, have interacted with you for years, KF and StephenB in particular have done an excellent job over the years of refuting, in detail, all your theological objections to Christianity. You have not raised any ‘theological problems’ with Christianity that I am aware of that are in the least bit fatal to Christianity. Moreover, as far as I can tell, all your so called ‘problems’ with Christianity are of a personal, emotional, even angry, nature, rather than of a scientific nature. Whereas the problems I have with Darwinian evolution, which are indeed fatal to the theory, are overwhelmingly of a scientific nature.
    In fact, ‘science’ was born out of Christianity in medieval Christian Europe. Whereas, on the other hand, atheistic materialism is about as antagonistic to modern science as any philosophy can possibly be to science. (i.e. denial of free will, denial of self, denial of reliable cognitive faculties, denial of etc.. etc…)

    Sev goes on:

    And you hate the multiverse theory because it undercuts the fine-tuning argument which, you think, points towards your God.

    Actually, I‘ve come to really like the multiverse theory since it completely concedes the necessary premise to the Ontological argument for God, (the premise that it is possible for God to exist in some possible world), in order for the argument to be successful. As I stated the other day,,,

    Where this gets VERY interesting is that atheists, in their appeal to an infinity of other possible worlds to try to ‘explain away’ the fine tuning of this universe, have, basically, completely conceded the necessary premise, i.e. that it is possible that God exists, to the ontological argument in order for the ontological argument to work.
    Simply put, you cannot argue that it is possible that an infinity of other universes exist in which an infinity of other possibilities are playing out, while at the same time holding that it is impossible for a maximally great being to exist in one of those infinity of other universes:,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/godels-proof-of-the-existence-of-god/#comment-701364

    Sev goes on:

    I’ve never tried to avoid quantum entanglement.

    Well actually, ‘backwards causation in time’. like hidden variables, is a (materialistic) attempt (however far fetched) to avoid the ‘spooky’ non-locality present within Quantum Entanglement, So yes, whether you realize it or not, you actually were trying to avoid ‘spooky’ quantum entanglement.

    The idea of using backward causation to explain the non-locality of the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox has been around1 since the year the EPR paper2 was published. The idea that future events have a causal effect on past events was introduced by Grete Hermann in 1935 and further explored by Costa de Beauregard in 1953 and later3, but has been commonly ignored by almost everyone including books devoted to the EPR paradox.4,5,6
    https://arxiv.org/html/quant-ph/9810060

    Sev goes on,

    You know, it’s a tad ironic that you castigate Darwin for his theological references in Origins while you spend much of your time trying to twist quantum theory and phenomena into providing support for your personal religious beliefs.

    LOL, the theistic implications from quantum theory literally scream at you from every experimental confirmation of quantum theory, and certainly require no ‘twisting’ of quantum theory on my, or anyone else’s, part in order for the Theistic implications of God to be readily apparent to anyone. For instance, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    New Mind-blowing Experiment Confirms That Reality Doesn’t Exist If You Are Not Looking at It – June 3, 2015
    Excerpt: The results of the Australian scientists’ experiment, which were published in the journal Nature Physics, show that this choice is determined by the way the object is measured, which is in accordance with what quantum theory predicts.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Truscott in a press release.,,,
    “The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behavior was brought into existence,” he said.
    Thus, this experiment adds to the validity of the quantum theory and provides new evidence to the idea that reality doesn’t exist without an observer
    http://themindunleashed.org/20.....at-it.html

    Scott Aaronson, of MIT, put the obvious theistic implications of such experiments this way, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec11.html

    Sev goes on:

    How do you know you aren’t (a fictional 2 dimensional hologram instead of a real 3-dimensional being)? Your God could quite easily have created you yesterday complete with false memories of your life and you would have no way of knowing any different.

    Actually, only if Theism is true, and God is really real, can such catastrophic epistemological failure be avoided and we can believe our cognitive faculties to be reliable.

    Multiverse and the Design Argument – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Roger Penrose of Oxford University has calculated that the odds of our universe’s low entropy condition obtaining by chance alone are on the order of 1 in 10^10(123), an inconceivable number. If our universe were but one member of a multiverse of randomly ordered worlds, then it is vastly more probable that we should be observing a much smaller universe. For example, the odds of our solar system’s being formed instantly by the random collision of particles is about 1 in 10^10(60), a vast number, but inconceivably smaller than 1 in 10^10(123). (Penrose calls it “utter chicken feed” by comparison [The Road to Reality (Knopf, 2005), pp. 762-5]). Or again, if our universe is but one member of a multiverse, then we ought to be observing highly extraordinary events, like horses’ popping into and out of existence by random collisions, or perpetual motion machines, since these are vastly more probable than all of nature’s constants and quantities’ falling by chance into the virtually infinitesimal life-permitting range. Observable universes like those strange worlds are simply much more plenteous in the ensemble of universes than worlds like ours and, therefore, ought to be observed by us if the universe were but a random member of a multiverse of worlds. Since we do not have such observations, that fact strongly disconfirms the multiverse hypothesis. On naturalism, at least, it is therefore highly probable that there is no multiverse. — Penrose puts it bluntly “these world ensemble hypothesis are worse than useless in explaining the anthropic fine-tuning of the universe”.
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....n-argument

    Does a Multiverse Explain the Fine Tuning of the Universe? – Dr. Craig (observer selection effect vs. Boltzmann Brains) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9aXduPfuA

    Moreover Sev, your argument that we cannot trust what we are seeing because you believe that (your conception of) god could be fooling us of reminds me very much of Descartes’s ‘argument from doubt’ for the existence of God, in which he held that an evil demon could be deceiving him about what he was seeing:

    “Descartes imagines that an evil demon, of “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me.” This evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world, so that Descartes can say, “I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which he has devised to ensnare my judgement. I shall consider myself as not having hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as falsely believing that I have all these things.”
    – per wikipedia

    Might I remark, (since your conception of god is that He is no better than Descartes’s fictional evil demon who is out to deceive you by any means possible), then that goes a VERY long way towards explaining why you fight tooth and nail against God?

    Might I further suggest that your conception of God, (as an evil demon who is out to ‘get you’), is a completely wrong conception of God? After all, what demon would possibly die for your sins so that you might inherit eternal life? Indeed, as you yourself conceded, demons would much rather deceive you into sinning than delivering from your sins.

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

    John 8:31-32
    So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    Moreover Descates’, following his ‘method of doubt’ to its logical end, Descartes then concluded that he was able to doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that he himself existed to do the doubting. i.e. “I think, therefore I am”

    Cogito, ergo sum is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”
    – per wikipedia

    From Descartes’s conclusion that he could only be absolutely certain of the fact that he himself exists, Descartes then went on to use that conclusion as a starting assumption to then argue for the existence of God,

    René Descartes (1596—1650)
    Excerpt:
    5. God
    a. The Causal Arguments
    At the beginning of the Third Meditation only “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing” are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God.
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/#SH4a

    Thus your argument that god could be deceiving you Seversky actually backfires on you in that Descartes has turned that entire line of reasoning into an argument for God. (the ‘argument from doubt’)

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev. then goes on

    I’m not saying I would prefer them (little green men from outer space creating life on earth) but they’re slightly more plausible than your God.

    “Slightly” more plausible? Really??? I would like to see your math!

    “In another book I wrote with Fuz (Rana), Who Was Adam?, we describe calculations done by evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala and by astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler for the probability that a bacterium would evolve under ideal natural conditions—given the presumption that the mechanisms for natural biological evolution are both effective and rapid. They determine that probability to be no more than 10-24,000,000.
    The bottom line is that rather than the probability for extraterrestrial intelligent life being 1 as Aczel claims, very conservatively from a naturalistic perspective it is much less than 10^500 + 22 -1054 -100,000,000,000 -24,000,000. That is, it is less than 10-100,024,000,532. In longhand notation it would be 0.00 … 001 with 100,024,000,531 zeros (100 billion, 24 million, 5 hundred and thirty-one zeros) between the decimal point and the 1. That longhand notation of the probability would fill over 20,000 complete Bibles.
    – Hugh Ross- Does the Probability for ETI = 1?

    Sev states,

    I’m not avoiding belief in God, I’m just not seeing any good reason to believe in such a being.

    Actually, studies now indicate that atheists, (directly contrary to their claims that they see no evidence for design), actually do see ‘good evidence” for design and have to constantly mentally work against their innate design inference,

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

    I hold the preceding studies to be confirming evidence for Romans 1:19-20

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

    Sev finishes with this

    Darwin studied theology at university. He read – and admired – William Paley. His comments on theology carry greater weight than a wedding photographer’s or an English teacher and journalist’s critiques of Darwinian evolution.

    Well actually, I find Darwin’s theology to be severely convoluted. Moreover, to repeat what I pointed out at the end of post 12, Darwin used his convoluted theological argumentation in place of any mathematics and/or experimentation in his book ‘Origin’. And as I further pointed out in post 12, besides being castigated by leading scientists of his day, Darwin himself admitted that his theory was unscientific:

    Anti-Science Irony
    Excerpt: In response to a letter from Asa Gray, professor of biology at Harvard University, Darwin declared: “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.”
    When questioned further by Gray, Darwin confirmed Gray’s suspicions: “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” Darwin had turned against the use of scientific principles in developing his theory of evolution.
    http://www.darwinthenandnow.co.....nce-irony/

    Thus Sev, you are basically left with a unscientific theory that is based primarily on bad, indeed convoluted, theological argumentation.

    Basically, at the foundational level, your argument for Darwinian evolution turns out to be something like this. “I don’t like the false conception of God that I have constructed in my imagination, so I prefer Darwinian evolution to be true to what I have falsely imagined about God no matter what the scientific evidence may say to the contrary”.

    Hardly an enviable position for you to be in Sev!

    Verse:

    John 15:25
    But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

  16. 16
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 14

    I, and others on UD, have interacted with you for years, KF and StephenB in particular have done an excellent job over the years of refuting, in detail, all your theological objections to Christianity.

    No, you have provided rebuttals but not refutations.

    You have not raised any ‘theological problems’ with Christianity that I am aware of that are in the least bit fatal to Christianity. Moreover, as far as I can tell, all your so called ‘problems’ with Christianity are of a personal, emotional, even angry, nature, rather than of a scientific nature.

    Science can only deal with any claims about the observable nature of the Universe.

    Science is not necessary, however, to undermine Christianity. The faith’s own internal inconsistencies and contradictions, as they stand, are sufficient to threaten it with catastrophic theological failure.

    In fact, ‘science’ was born out of Christianity in medieval Christian Europe.

    What we now call science branched out from natural philosophy a couple centuries back but natural philosophy can be traced back at least to the ancient Greeks. What we would now recognize as science was also practiced in ancient Egypt, India and China. It is only un-Christian hubris that tries to arrogate the origins of science to itself.

    Actually, I‘ve come to really like the multiverse theory since it completely concedes the necessary premise to the Ontological argument for God, (the premise that it is possible for God to exist in some possible world), in order for the argument to be successful.

    The ontological argument founders from the outset on equivocation on the meaning of ‘greatness’. Attributes such as weight, height, speed or strength, for example, are measurable so it’s possible, at least in principle, to find an individual in any population who is the heaviest or tallest or strongest or fastest. Even considering those attributes, however, it is highly unlikely you will find one individual who is, at one time, the heaviest, tallest, strongest and fastest.

    ‘Greatness’, however, is not an objective and measurable property. Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. It is possible that in every universe in a multiverse, there is one being that the entire population of that universe agrees is the greatest but that would be just a collective opinion and there’s no reason to think that it will be the same individual in each universe.

    Well actually, ‘backwards causation in time’. like hidden variables, is a (materialistic) attempt (however far fetched) to avoid the ‘spooky’ non-locality present within Quantum Entanglement, So yes, whether you realize it or not, you actually were trying to avoid ‘spooky’ quantum entanglement.

    Again, I accept that quantum entanglement is a demonstrated phenomenon of the quantum domain but not that it has any necessary theological implications.

    LOL, the theistic implications from quantum theory literally scream at you from every experimental confirmation of quantum theory, and certainly require no ‘twisting’ of quantum theory on my, or anyone else’s, part in order for the Theistic implications of God to be readily apparent to anyone.

    The only theistic implications that arise come from cherry-picking quotes or passages from the literature that can be twisted into supporting your a priori theological assumptions. For example:

    For instance, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Even at the quantum level, the claim is not that nothing exists until it is observed. That would be absurd. If nothing exists until you observe it then what are you observing in the first place?

    Scott Aaronson, of MIT, put the obvious theistic implications of such experiments this way, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    … which is what I argued previously. And, if you concede that your Creator could be that deceitful, that has catastrophic implications for your faith.

    Actually, only if Theism is true, and God is really real, can such catastrophic epistemological failure be avoided and we can believe our cognitive faculties to be reliable

    Actually, if some of the Old Testament accounts are true then you worship a deceitful and untrustworthy God and have no reason to believe that He endowed you with reliable cognitive abilities.

    Moreover Sev, your argument that we cannot trust what we are seeing because you believe that (your conception of) god could be fooling us of reminds me very much of Descartes’s ‘argument from doubt’ for the existence of God, in which he held that an evil demon could be deceiving him about what he was seeing

    Personally, I believe we have evolved sensory and cognitive faculties which, while not perfect, are good enough for navigating this world and have proven to be highly adaptable to studying and trying to explain its nature.

    Might I remark, (since your conception of god is that He is no better than Descartes’s fictional evil demon who is out to deceive you by any means possible), then that goes a VERY long way towards explaining why you fight tooth and nail against God?

    I see no reason to think your God exists so there is nothing for me to struggle against – except the purblind denial of the obvious implications of the Genesis accounts. For example:

    1) Adam and Eve were created by God. If they were capable of acting sinfully then that is how God – who is omniscient and omnipotent – created them. Since God does not make mistakes, He designed them with the capacity for sin built in. He could have done otherwise but He didn’t so the only alternative is that He intentionally designed them with the capacity for sin.

    2) God feigns outrage on learning, apparently for the first time, that A&E have been tempted into eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet, God is omniscient according to Christian tradition which means He must have known in advance what A&E were going to do. So either God was being deceitful when He pretended to be surprised by what had happened or He genuinely did not know, in which case we are no longer entitled to assume He is omniscient.

    3) In light of the above, in what way is it just for Him to punish A&E for behaving exactly as He designed them to behave.?

    4) In light of the above, even if you concede that A&E deserve to be punished for their alleged transgressions, by what standard of justice is it warranted that their descendants should be punished in perpetuity?

    Might I further suggest that your conception of God, (as an evil demon who is out to ‘get you’), is a completely wrong conception of God? After all, what demon would possibly die for your sins so that you might inherit eternal life?

    Why should I be denied eternal life for a sin committed by my distant forebears, not by me?

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 15

    Actually, studies now indicate that atheists, (directly contrary to their claims that they see no evidence for design), actually do see ‘good evidence” for design and have to constantly mentally work against their innate design inference,

    We the same appearance of design as you do but we also know that appearances can be deceptive. It’s unwise to take them at face value.

    Well actually, I find Darwin’s theology to be severely convoluted.

    Not as convoluted as the contortions forced upon theologians trying explain the inconsistencies and contradictions in the Biblical accounts.

    Moreover, to repeat what I pointed out at the end of post 12, Darwin used his convoluted theological argumentation in place of any mathematics and/or experimentation in his book ‘Origin’.

    Primary requirements of a scientific explanation are that it accounts for what is observed and that it is <I<testable at least in principle. There is plenty of observational and experimental evidence to support evolution, including mathematical modeling.

    And as I further pointed out in post 12, besides being castigated by leading scientists of his day, Darwin himself admitted that his theory was unscientific:

    Darwin would not have spent 20 years of his life working on such a major project if he really thought it was unscientific. He was being typically modest in his correspondences with other eminent scientific figures of the period whether or not, with hindsight, they deserved such respect. Agassiz, for example, espoused what we now call creationism and scientific racism.

    Thus Sev, you are basically left with a unscientific theory that is based primarily on bad, indeed convoluted, theological argumentation.

    No, you can strip out all the theology from Origins and still be left with a perfectly serviceable scientific theory. That you have such a strong need to undermine evolution says more about your faith than any weaknesses of the theory.

    Basically, at the foundational level, your argument for Darwinian evolution turns out to be something like this. “I don’t like the false conception of God that I have constructed in my imagination, so I prefer Darwinian evolution to be true to what I have falsely imagined about God no matter what the scientific evidence may say to the contrary”.

    I don’t like that Christianity continues to promote a conception of their God that is so much at odds with the image that emerges from the Old Testament accounts. I think the faith needs to either revise their understanding of the nature of God to be more consistent with the OT accounts or it needs to discard the OT accounts as unreliable.

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev 16 and 17,

    No, you have provided rebuttals but not refutations.

    I considered StephenB and KF’s responses to your theological arguments to be informed refutations, not merely rebuttals. You disagree. I don’t care that you disagree.

    Sev goes on:

    Science can only deal with any claims about the observable nature of the Universe.

    If atheistic materialism were true then ALL of our observations of reality would be illusory, (See Donald Hoffman), and therefore atheistic materialism undermines science itself and therefore cannot be considered scientific in any meaningful sense of the word.

    Sev goes on:

    Science is not necessary, however, to undermine Christianity. The faith’s own internal inconsistencies and contradictions, as they stand, are sufficient to threaten it with catastrophic theological failure.

    First, Christianity gave us modern science. Second, Atheists have tried to undermine Christianity since its inception. Yet, Christianity is still very much alive and well and has a very rich apologetic history that is unrivaled among all of the great religions of the world.

    Sev goes on:

    What we now call science branched out from natural philosophy a couple centuries back but natural philosophy can be traced back at least to the ancient Greeks. What we would now recognize as science was also practiced in ancient Egypt, India and China. It is only un-Christian hubris that tries to arrogate the origins of science to itself.

    That is pure unmitigated poppycock:

    How Christianity Gave Rise to Modern Science – Stephen Meyer
    https://www.crossway.org/articles/how-christianity-gave-rise-to-modern-science/

    Sev goes on,

    The ontological argument founders from the outset on equivocation on the meaning of ‘greatness’.

    Nope, they predicated the argument on the fact that ‘contingent being’ is a lesser ‘great making property’ than ‘necessary being’ is, not on any equivocation. Moreover, you go on about properties being measurable yet you have not one measurement for your imaginary multiverse.

    Moreover, what is to prevent a heavenly paradise or a hellish eternity from existing in your ensemble of an infinity of imaginary universes?

    Sev goes on:

    Again, I accept that quantum entanglement is a demonstrated phenomenon of the quantum domain but not that it has any necessary theological implications.

    Glad to see you finally reject ‘hidden variables’. Instantaneous, beyond space and time, actions have no possible explanation within your materialistic worldview, yet fits hand in glove with Christian presuppositions of a beyond space and time God who is ‘holding’ this universe together:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    Sev goes on:

    The only theistic implications that arise come from cherry-picking quotes or passages from the literature that can be twisted into supporting your a priori theological assumptions.

    The experiments are what they are. The experiments themselves require a cause that is beyond space and time. For crying out loud, that is what the fight over quantum non-locality has been about for all these decades:

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    Sev goes on:

    Even at the quantum level, the claim is not that nothing exists until it is observed. That would be absurd. If nothing exists until you observe it then what are you observing in the first place?

    Prior to measurement and/or being observed, the particle exists in a quantum wave state that is mathematically defined as a infinite dimensional Hilbert space. A infinite dimensional Hilbert space that mathematically requires an infinite amount of information to define properly. As should be needless to say, this ‘infinite dimensional/infinite information’ mathematical definition fits hand in glove with the Christian’s presupposition of omnipresent and omniscient God sustaining this universe in its existence.

    Sev goes on:

    … which is what I argued previously. And, if you concede that your Creator could be that deceitful, that has catastrophic implications for your faith.

    That statement makes no sense from the Scott Aaronson quote that you cited immediately prior to it. Moreover, I answered your ‘deceitful god’ objection by referencing the Boltzmann brain paradox as well as referencing Descartes’s ‘method of doubt’ which he ultimately used as an argument for God.

    Sev goes on:

    Actually, if some of the Old Testament accounts are true then you worship a deceitful and untrustworthy God and have no reason to believe that He endowed you with reliable cognitive abilities.

    Again, your theological arguments have been addressed and refuted in detail by StephenB and KF. You disagree. I don’t care that you disagree. Moreover, to try to argue theology in face of the scientific fact that, if atheistic materialism were actually true, then our cognitive faculties would necessarily be unreliable, is, to put it mildly, disingenuous to the evidence at hand. Again, only if Theism is true can we trust our cognitive faculties to be reliable

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: 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.,,,
    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.”,,,
    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.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar/

    Sev goes on:

    Personally, I believe we have evolved sensory and cognitive faculties which, while not perfect, are good enough for navigating this world and have proven to be highly adaptable to studying and trying to explain its nature.

    You may ‘believe’, (i.e. imagine), that with all your heart, but you have not one shred of real time empirical evidence that such a scenario is even remotely feasible.

    Sev goes on

    I see no reason to think your God exists so there is nothing for me to struggle against –

    LOL, 🙂 , LOL,
    Says the man who has been ‘struggling’ against God for years right here on UD. LOL 🙂 You just can’t make this stuff up.

    Sev goes into the Theology of Adam and Eve. Might I suggest you take theology up with StephenB and KF since they are much more qualified than I am in that area?

    Now if you want to argue the scientific evidence for a real Adam and Eve, I’ll try my best to help you out.

    Sev goes on:

    Why should I be denied eternal life for a sin committed by my distant forebears, not by me?

    Are you saying that you have not sinned yourself personally? Moreover, if atheistic materialism were true, then Adolf Hitler himself did not ‘sin’ when he killed millions of people since there would be no objective moral standard to judge by. So you got a couple of issues that are fatal to your supposed objection.

    Sev goes on:

    We the same appearance of design as you do but we also know that appearances can be deceptive. It’s unwise to take them at face value.

    You have no real time evidence to support your claim that it is merely an appearance of Design and that it is not really design.,,, It is ‘unwise’ for you to live in constant denial of what your own eyes are telling you. In fact, ‘denialism’ is classified as a mental illness’

    Sev goes on:

    Not as convoluted as the contortions forced upon theologians trying explain the inconsistencies and contradictions in the Biblical accounts.

    Not in my opinion. And again, I refer you to KF and StephenB if you want to get into theological details.

    Sev goes on

    There is plenty of observational and experimental evidence to support evolution, including mathematical modeling.

    LOL, you can’t even produce any real time evidence for one protein being transformed into another brand new protein, much less do you have any evidence for one species transforming into a brand new species,

    Your claim that mathematics supports evolution is a joke. Among a endless litany of examples that I could supply, I simply I refer you the Wistar symposium where MIT mathematicians told Darwinists that their theory wasn’t even scientific. See Murray Eden – “Inadequacies of neo-Darwinian evolution as a scientific theory.”

    Sev goes on:

    Darwin would not have spent 20 years of his life working on such a major project if he really thought it was unscientific. He was being typically modest in his correspondences with other eminent scientific figures of the period whether or not, with hindsight, they deserved such respect. Agassiz, for example, espoused what we now call creationism and scientific racism.

    I don’t care what you think about what Darwin thought about his own theory. I only care that he used no mathematics, nor experimentation in his book, Thus, by definition, his theory, as he presented it, was not scientific, And as I pointed out, even by his own admission he honestly admitted that his theory is not scientific.

    Sev goes on:

    No, you can strip out all the theology from Origins and still be left with a perfectly serviceable scientific theory. That you have such a strong need to undermine evolution says more about your faith than any weaknesses of the theory.

    Well actually this ‘experiment’ of stripping out the theology from Darwinian literature has been done and, contrary to what you claim, the supposed ‘science’ for Darwinism suffers dramatically:

    Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t – Steve Dilley- 2019-06-02
    The Problem of God-talk in Biology Textbooks
    Abstract: We argue that a number of biology (and evolution) textbooks face a crippling dilemma.
    On the one hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks include theological claims in their case for evolution.
    (Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’) On the other hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution. So, whether textbooks include or exclude theological claims, they face debilitating problems. We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses). In Section 2 of our article, we analyze three specific types of theology these texts use to justify evolutionary theory. We argue that all face significant difficulties. In Section 3, we step back from concrete cases and, instead, explore broader problems created by having theology in general in biology textbooks. We argue that the presence of theology—of whatever kind—comes at a significant cost, one that some textbook authors are likely unwilling to pay. In Section 4, we consider the alternative: Why not simply get rid of theology? Why not just ignore it? In reply, we marshal a range of arguments why avoiding God-talk raises troubles of its own. Finally, in Section 5, we bring together the collective arguments in Sections 2-4 to argue that biology textbooks face an intractable dilemma. We underscore this difficulty by examining a common approach that some textbooks use to solve this predicament. We argue that this approach turns out to be incoherent and self-serving. The poor performance of textbooks on this point highlights just how deep the difficulty is. In the end, the overall dilemma remains.
    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/article/view/44

    Sev finishes with,

    I don’t like that Christianity continues to promote a conception of their God that is so much at odds with the image that emerges from the Old Testament accounts. I think the faith needs to either revise their understanding of the nature of God to be more consistent with the OT accounts or it needs to discard the OT accounts as unreliable.

    In terms of archaeological evidence. I find the OT to be reliable, For instance,

    A Christian Apologetics Ministry Dedicated to Demonstrating the Historical Reliability of the Bible through Archaeological and Biblical Research.
    https://biblearchaeology.org/

    And again, if you want to argue Theological details, I refer you to KF and StephenB who have been masterful over the years in addressing your theological arguments.

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