Intelligent Design

Brian Douglas Commits Berra’s Blunder

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UDEditors:  “Berra’s Blunder”is a well known and documented error that Darwinist can’t seem to stop themselves from making.  See our glossary for a definition.  In the thread to a previous post Brian Douglas gave us an example of such a blunder and Eric Anderson provided a corrective.  All that follows (except, obviously, the text provided by Brian) is Eric’s:

 

brian douglas @36:

Joe/Jack/virgil/Frankie/whoever, evolution just proposes the mechanism, not a step by step account of how it occurred. Much in the same way that I can propose the mechanisms involved in the production of a car without knowing the step by step process that is actually used.

You are partially right, so let me see if we can bridge the gap.

You are absolutely correct that you can propose general mechanisms involved in car production without knowing every detail of the process. And, you can know with reasonable certainty that a car (or similar object) was designed, without knowing the precise manufacturing process involved. We do this all the time.

After all, there are many ways an intelligent designer can build a functional machine. And while we can perhaps catch some glimpses of the process by reverse engineering a machine, we cannot necessarily tell with complete certainty the entire process used to bring the machine about.

The reason for this is intimately related to and is precisely because an intelligent designer has the ability to choose between contingent possibilities. Thus, an intelligent designer can choose not only what to build, but can also, within fairly broad parameters, choose when and how to build it. Indeed, there is an entire section of patent law devoted to the improvement of methods and processes, and companies collectively spend billions on efforts to improve manufacturing processes. From solely examining a machine we may not know whether it was created through process A, or B or C.

And this is precisely because it is a designed machine produced by an agent that has the ability to chooseamong several contingent possible modes of construction.

Let’s now contrast this with the mechanistic approach. The blind forces of chemistry and physics have no ability to choose between different manufacturing processes. They have no ability to decide when or how they operate. They will blindly follow whatever interactions come their way and will (either inevitably or at least stochastically) produce whatever those laws dictate.

We know that a designed system can come about through various means, depending on the decision of the designer. In contrast, it makes no sense to say that a purely mechanistic process — one that blindly follows the deterministic and stochastic processes of chemistry and physics — it makes no sense to say we know a mechanistic process brought a machine about, but that we don’t know what the process was.

In the mechanistic context — in sharp contrast to the designed context — the mechanistic process is the issue at hand, it is where the rubber must meet the road. And the absence of a well-understood materialistic process for producing the machine, means that we don’t have a materialistic explanation.

Thus, you have made a category mistake with your example.

Your example of not being able to provide a complete description of the process for manufacture of a car is a good example, but you have it exactly backwards. Your example holds, for a designed system, not for a naturally-occurring one. If you want to provide a mechanistic example, you would essentially be saying that “undesigned machine X came about through a purely material process, but I don’t know what that process is.” Such an approach is nonsense. Thus, you are left to steal examples from the other side of the aisle — designed systems where we know the process can be contingent.

If we are going to claim a mechanistic process, then we at least need to have enough of a detailed understanding of the process to see if such a mechanistic process actually has any chance of producing the machine in the real world. A mechanistic theory is only as good as the mechanism proposed.Otherwise, we are just making up stories.

Thus, regarding the origin of life, we cannot say life came about through purely mechanistic processes, but that we don’t know what those processes are. If materialists are being minimally intellectually honest, the most they can say is that they don’t know whether life could arise through purely natural processes. And if they want to be truly intellectually honest, they will need to admit to and grapple with the many problems of naturalistic abiogenesis, just some of which I listed in the OP. And they would also acknowledge that, in sharp contrast to purely material processes, intelligent beings are known to have the capacity to create, and are regularly observed creating, complex functional machines in three-dimensional space.

 

33 Replies to “Brian Douglas Commits Berra’s Blunder

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    whoever, evolution just proposes the mechanism, not a step by step account of how it occurred.

    Hi, I’m whoever.

    You’re saying all you have to do is assert that there is a mechanism without actually demonstrating it.

    Not science.

  2. 2
    brian douglas says:

    Barry, I feel honoured to have an OP in my name. Notice that I spell honour with a “u”, the way it was intended before you upstart colonials started messing with the language.

    Before I respond, I think that full disclosure is in order. You have banned me under numerous personas (acartia, acartia bogart, tintinnid, stenosemella, William Spearshake, Sleeman Tallcan, and many,many, many others). If you promise not to ban me for disagreeing with you (which is the reason for all of by banninations) I will engage. I will accept being banned for being as abusive as Joe, Mapou, Gordon Mullings, Virgil, Jack, yourself, and others. Well, let’s face it, you will ban me for whatever reason you see fit. But without this documented assurance (which you will give if you are honest), I will just lurk in the background. Your call.

    Actually, if you are serious about an honest discussion, I would appreciate you lifting the ban on my acartia persona. That is the one I prefer.

  3. 3
    cantor says:

    2 brian douglasNovember 17, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Notice that I spell honour with a “u”, the way it was intended before you upstart colonials started messing with the language.

    .

    I suggest you read Bill Bryson’s book Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States

    You will then realize how silly you come off saying such things.

    .

  4. 4
    cantor says:

    Barry,

    Here’s a real howler Berra’s Blunder, written by a Microsoft minion:

    https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms810287.aspx

    .

    Excerpts:

    The Darwinistic evolution from ODBC brought UDA and OLE DB

    The timeless laws of Darwinism are now forcing the OLE DB technology to move one step forward

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    This is hilarious. Things must be incredibly boring at TSZ.

  6. 6
    Andre says:

    Mung

    Agreed… not just at TSZ but at Sandwalk too….

  7. 7
    brian douglas says:

    Colour, flavour, honour, analyse, criticise, the words are endless. All so the US could differentiate themselves from the Canadians.

  8. 8
    cantor says:

    7 brian douglas November 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    All so the US could differentiate themselves from the Canadians.

    .

    Don’t be so ignorant. Read the book and stop making yourself look so foolish.

    .

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Brian,

    If you promise not to ban me for disagreeing with you . . .

    Brian, I’ve never banned anyone for merely disagreeing with me. We’ve had opponents (e.g., Daniel King) who have been posting here for years.

    No, disagreement does not get you banned. Being an asshat internet troll gets you banned.

    Have you ever wondered, even for a moment, why you always get banned. It is not because I know who you are when you take on a new nom de plume. I don’t.

    Sooner or later whatever name you post under you get banned while other opponents, even vociferous opponents, post for years and years.

    Think about that Brian. Why do you think that is?

    I will tell you why it is. Because you just can’t seem to resist being an asshat internet troll, and sooner or later it pops out.

    So you’ve got a deal. I will never ever ban you for merely disagreeing with me. But if you can’t keep a lid on your asshat internet trollery, you will be banned again.

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    brian:

    Before I respond, I think that full disclosure is in order. You have banned me under numerous personas (acartia, acartia bogart, tintinnid, stenosemella, William Spearshake, Sleeman Tallcan, and many,many, many others). If you promise not to ban me for disagreeing with you (which is the reason for all of by banninations) I will engage. I will accept being banned for being as abusive as Joe, Mapou, Gordon Mullings, Virgil, Jack, yourself, and others. Well, let’s face it, you will ban me for whatever reason you see fit. But without this documented assurance (which you will give if you are honest), I will just lurk in the background. Your call.

    What a gutless crybaby. Ban him, Barry. Off with his head. 😀

  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    What bothers me about Darwinist commenters like brian douglas and Zachriel is that they demand civility from others on UD while spilling their twisted and bitter venom against non-Darwinists at antievolution.org.

    Ban them all. LOL

  12. 12
    brian douglas says:

    Barry: “No, disagreement does not get you banned. Being an asshat internet troll gets you banned.”

    Fair enough. If that is the case, could you explain the circumstance behind Acartia, or Acartia_bogart, or Tintinnid, or William Spearshake, or any of my other personas being banned. Please remember, claiming asshatery without supporting text is, well, asshatery.

    If I remember correctly, the last time I was banned was when I refused to respond to a loaded question. Right after you called me a pathetic, snivelling coward for not answering; and then not allowing me to answer. So, what is it? Do you welcome open discussion, or are you more interested in controlling the narrative. I think we all know the answer but I hope that I am wrong. It’s in your court. An open and honest discussion? Or what we have seen too often on UD?

  13. 13
    EvilSnack says:

    We can say that we know that cars are made by people, without knowing the exact steps, because we can find someone who does know these exact steps.

    We cannot say that we know life came into being via unguided processes, because not only do we not know any of these processes, we cannot name even one person who does.

  14. 14
    brian douglas says:

    Louis: “What bothers me about Darwinist commenters like brian douglas and Zachriel is that they demand civility from others on UD while spilling their twisted and bitter venom against non-Darwinists at antievolution.org.”

    Actually, I have never heard Zachriel demand civility.

  15. 15
    brian douglas says:

    Evilsnack: “We can say that we know that cars are made by people, without knowing the exact steps, because we can find someone who does know these exact steps.

    We cannot say that we know life came into being via unguided processes, because not only do we not know any of these processes, we cannot name even one person who does.”

    And you and I wouldn’t disagree on this.

  16. 16
    brian douglas says:

    Cantor: “Don’t be so ignorant. Read the book and stop making yourself look so foolish.”

    Franklin re-wrote the US dictionary to make it different from the English. Much in the same way that the US made the decision to drive on the right side of the road. But don’t get me wrong. I think that Franklin was a genius, well ahead of his time. Much like Graham Bell.

  17. 17
    Mapou says:

    douglas:

    Actually, I have never heard Zachriel demand civility.

    It just goes to show that Zachriel is a bigger and more experienced jackass troll than you are. That’s all.

    ahahaha…AHAHAHA…

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    By the way, why are you dumb Darwinists so addicted to UD? Why don’t you people go play in your own sandbox?

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    BA, I see that the latest incarnation of a troll has started out by trying the outing game and the projective accusation game. While actual substance goes abegging. And after Umpqua, such do in fact need to seriously consider what their insistent- polarisation- and- Alinsky-ite- personalisation- and- targetting (yes a standard tactic literally from a rulebook) is doing as it pollutes the atmosphere for discussion through the notion that anyone who challenges their evolutionary materialistic scientism and/or fellow traveller notions is inevitably ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked. Does anyone seriously think that we would ever hear the end of it if the madman were shooting atheists or Muslims etc on sight? But, it’s only Christians . . . KF

    PS: Meanwhile, they also have yet to cogently address the imposition of materialism on science or its self-referential incoherence.

  20. 20
    Andre says:

    Brian

    So if we are to have an open discussion lets define terms…..

    When you speak of evolution, please state from start to finish exactly what you mean.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung and Andre, the game is message dominance by sheer weight of pushing the evolutionary materialist scientism and fellow traveller agenda everywhere; remember as Rational Wiki so-called puts it, letting the cat out of the bag: “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method.” So, triggers for the programmed dismissive ideological reaction and deeply embedded assumptions and assertions — how this reminds me of dealings with Communist activists a few decades back — will be everywhere as the indoctrinated are induced to lock out and resist correction, also becoming increasingly hostile to anyone who dares to walk away from the lab coat clad magisterium’s partyline. After all, if you understand the partyline and are a decent sort, you must accept it saith Big Brother . . . if you don’t it is only because you are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, Mr Smith. And BTW, 2 + 2 = ??? KF

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let us remember on that assumption of lab coat clad materialism, HT Martin Cothran at ENV answering Sam Harris:

    The materialist, said Chesterton, “is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle.” Materialists like Harris keep asking why we make the decisions we do, and what explanation there could be other than the physiological. The answer, of course, is the psychological, the philosophical, the whimsical, and about a thousand others.

    But these violate the central tenets of his narrow dogma, and so are automatically rejected.

    There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.

    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.

    And this is not only a mortal consequence for Harris as the one trying to prove his point, it is also problematic from the reader’s perspective: If we are convinced by Harris’s logic, we would have to consider this conviction as something determined not by the rational strength of his logic, but by the entirely irrational arrangement of the chemicals in our brains. They might, as Harris would have to say, coincide, but their relation would be completely arbitrary. If prior physical states are all that determine our beliefs, any one physical state is no more rational than any other. It isn’t rational or irrational, it just is.

    If what Harris says is true, then our assent to what we view as the rational strength of his position may appear to us to involve our choice to assent or not to assent to his ostensibly rational argument, but (again, if it is true) in truth it cannot be any such thing, since we do not have that choice — or any other.

    Indeed, it is hard to see how, if free will is an illusion, we could ever know it. [“The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It: Sam Harris’s Free Will” by Martin Cothran at ENV (echoing C S Lewis and J B S Haldane etc) on November 9, 2012, HT the too often underestimated BA77, cf. here.]

    As in, self-referential absurdity.

    Compounding the clear case of Berra’s blunder.

    Prediction: there will be no cogent comeback to this, only a further resort to the ideological polarisation game.

    However, it is the onlooker who can begin to spot the problems and break the Magickal spell.

    And eventually, critical mass will be reached and a snowballing cascade of reformation will be triggered.

    Which is exactly what eventually happened to Marxism.

    A classic essay that helped trigger that tipping point is The Power of the Powerless by Havel.

    Notice the message dominance game with the green grocer posting the “I’m a good boy please leave me alone” slogan in the window.

  23. 23
    StephenB says:

    Let me try to follow this:

    I [Brian Douglass] resent Barry’s observation that my trollish behavior is so well established that it can be detected under various names, therefore Eric’s argument has been refuted.

    It appears that the Douglass Delusion has displaced the Berra Blunder. So far, BD has made six accusatory comments, none of which even begin to address the topic under discussion.

    Isn’t it inevitable that he will get banned over and over again no matter which name he uses if he continues to behave that way?

  24. 24
    Virgil Cain says:

    Irony alert!

    Do you welcome open discussion, or are you more interested in controlling the narrative.

    Evos cannot survive an open discussion and they need to control the narrative.

  25. 25
    Jack Jones says:

    @13 “We cannot say that we know life came into being via unguided processes, because not only do we not know any of these processes, we cannot name even one person who does.”

    Brian Douglas who likes to troll with various sock accounts (he has more socks than a sock factory) is more than welcome to believe that chemistry in the present acted differently in the far different past.

    However, a strict naturalist cannot appeal to a living organism arising spontaneously in nature and hold to the idea that chemistry was different in the past and then say they are sticking to natural explanations, they are being inconsistent with their own rule for explaining things naturally when they step outside of what is observed and repeated for how nature operates.

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    brian douglas:

    If I remember correctly, the last time I was banned was when I refused to respond to a loaded question.

    So now you think Barry banned you for keeping your mouth shut?

  27. 27
    brian douglas says:

    Mung: “So now you think Barry banned you for keeping your mouth shut?”

    You certainly don’t have to take my word for it. Check out the comment thread from Sorry Tin, Nature Does Not Do CSI. Follow the comments by Tintinnid. You have always been fair in our discussions. Please read that and let me know if anything I said as Tintinnid was banworthy. If you say yes, I will accept your judgment.

  28. 28
    Eric Anderson says:

    Thanks, Barry. I was musing on this the other day before you posted this. Ironically, not only was brian’s comment reminiscent of Berra’s Blunder (if not quite identical), it even used an example of a car!

    Berra’s Blunder-type claims are actually quite common in debates regarding the creative power of blind materialistic evolutionary mechanisms. This is because the materialistic proponent, when casting about for examples in the real world, can only find examples that involved design. There simply are no known examples of complex specified information or complex functional machines ever having been produced by purely material forces. Thus, whenever an example is found, on closer inspection it turns out to have been an example of design.

    There is an analogous issue that arises when intelligent design critics argue that we cannot infer design because improbable things happen all the time. Again, when they cast about for good examples, they tend to point to examples of design, inadvertently underscoring the validity of the design inference. I discussed this here (starting at about the 6:45 mark):

    http://www.discovery.org/multi.....ty-design/

  29. 29
    brian douglas says:

    Erik. Barry conveniently picked one analogy that involved a designed artifact and completely ignored the couple natural ones I provided. You also have to keep in mind the context under which I made this analogy. It was about the absurd demand that materialists provide a step by step process by which biological structures arose. Under this context, the car analogy is reasonable

    I argued that we had a good (but not complete) understanding of the mechanisms underlying evolution. Much like we have a good (but not complete) understanding of the mechanisms behind mountain building and nuclear physics. But, in spite of this, nobody is pressuring geologists or physicists the provide a step by step explanation of how Mount Everest was formed, or to predict when a specific radioactive atom will decay.

  30. 30
    Jack Jones says:

    “I argued that we had a good (but not complete) understanding of the mechanisms underlying evolution”

    The evolutionary community is divided over how evolution is meant to occur. Furthermore There is no agreement over a theory of evolution.

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    brian douglas:

    If I remember correctly, the last time I was banned was when I refused to respond to a loaded question.

    Help me out here. What name were you using the last time you were banned? It hardly seems possible that you were both tintinnid and Acartia_bogart in that thread.

  32. 32
    brian douglas says:

    I was Tintinnid.

  33. 33
    brian douglas says:

    And Acartia Bogart. And Stenosemella. And William Spearshake. And Sleeman Tallcan. And a few others that I have forgotten.

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