Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Darwinian Debating Device #17: “The Black Knight Taunt”

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The essence of the “Black Knight Taunt” is to pretend overwhelming victory after suffering a crushing defeat. Here we have a classic example from a commenter named “keiths.”

In my No Bomb After 10 Years post I noted that after 10 years of debating origins I had never encountered a “science bomb” that would disabuse me of my ID position.

Amusingly, keiths insisted that he had posted just such a bomb over at The Skeptical Zone that proved that Darwinism is “trillions” of times better at explaining the data than ID. His argument failed at many levels. Yet, even more amusingly, he kept on insisting he had debunked ID after his so-called bomb had been defused by numerous commenters. See, e.g., here and here.

Here is the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

In my example, WJM lopped off the Black Knight’s arms and KF took out his legs. Yet days later he was still posting shrill comments announcing his triumph.

In the clip above Arthur gives the only response to “The Black Knight Taunt.” We pick up the scene after Arthur has cut off the knight’s arms and legs:

Black Knight: Right, I’ll do you for that!
King Arthur: You’ll what?
Black Knight: Come here!
King Arthur: What are you gonna do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I’m invincible!
King Arthur: …You’re a loony.

Arthur rides away.

Black Knight: Oh, oh, I see! Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to you! I’ll bite your legs off!

Comments
Is keiths an intellectual fraud or coward? Probably. Just review the exchanges in this thread between keiths and nullasalus.Mung
November 6, 2014
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poor keiths. He can't keep track of the last thing he said so he demands that everyone else keep track of what he said and respond in some other thread. It's annoying trying to follow his evasions from thread to thread.Mung
November 6, 2014
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I'll make future comments regarding my argument on vjtorley's new thread. It gets annoying having to hopscotch from thread to thread.keith s
November 6, 2014
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Isn’t that a problem for design as well? We have no evidence of an intelligent designer creating life either. Until humans can create life how do we rule out an nature being capable of that unknown proceess?
Well, design is not limited to unintelligent causes so there are more resources available in the design model. In other words, design does not have to rely soley on chemical and physical determinants combining by chance. Intelligence can find solutions where natural forces cannot. We have evidence of what human intelligence does. We see things in nature that show signs of having been created by an even greater intelligence.Silver Asiatic
November 6, 2014
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velikovskys: Actually, I think you had it right the first time.
Until humans can create life how do we rule out nature being capable of that unknown process?
But who is looking to rule this out? I'm certainly not. I'm also loathe to rule out that: - Humans may never be able to create life - Nature may never be able to create life Why would I rule any of these out? What truth-seeking scientific purpose would this serve? Can we be honest for just a second? Can we just admit that the motivation for ruling out the possibility that nature might not be capable of creating life is the desire to not let the Divine Foot back in the door? Else, why rule it out?Phinehas
November 6, 2014
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It should be nature being incapable,sorryvelikovskys
November 6, 2014
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SA: velikovskys I believe it’s an OOL question. We’d have to determine first how/why chemicals bonded to create life. Isn't that a problem for design as well? We have no evidence of an intelligent designer creating life either. Until humans can create life how do we rule out an nature being capable of that unknown proceess?velikovskys
November 6, 2014
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Evolutionists claim that bats come from rodents, or, rodent like animals. Try breeding mice, or any other rodent- selectively, without any genetic manipulation, and I guarantee that you will never be able to breed a flying mammal. How could natural selection do what intelligent, guided selection, can't? The genetic blueprint for wings capable of aviation just isn't there, and neither natural selection nor selective breeding will ever be able to create it.mjazzguitar
November 6, 2014
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SA #340, Stephen Talbott put it like this:
Whenever we imagine a biological process aimed at achieving some particular result, we need to keep in mind that every element in that process is likely playing a role in an indeterminate number of other significant, and seemingly goal-directed, activities. The mystery in all this does not lie primarily in isolated “mechanisms” of interaction; the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer? Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
Box
November 6, 2014
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velikovskys I believe it's an OOL question. We'd have to determine first how/why chemicals bonded to create life. Actually, all we see is that they fall apart before ever bonding as a life form.Silver Asiatic
November 6, 2014
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SA: As you ask, why don’t these supposed chemical formations (organisms) just dissipate and fall apart? They do, it even has a name.velikovskys
November 6, 2014
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Box
Why doesn’t an organism just fall apart? What force is keeping it together? If it is just chemistry all the way down, what is this delicate balancing act we observe? These are the questions that are always ignored by materialists.
Exactly. Materialists start with incredibly complex highly functioning organisms that populate an immense biosphere with huge variations of process and design features. Then, after the fact, they fit all of that into an artificial construct. Then they claim that evolution is the cause. But they ignore the origins of this -- and that's the grand claim, it all started with chemistry and physics alone. As you ask, why don't these supposed chemical formations (organisms) just dissipate and fall apart? Why do they "want to live"? They were perfectly fine as inanimate chemistry, why not return to that state? I've seen a few brave evolutionists try to answer those questions and it was pathetic and totally confused at best.Silver Asiatic
November 6, 2014
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Gary 332
But I must add that: if lifepsy is strictly talking philosophy (as opposed to believing scientific Theory of Intelligent Design depends on a given result) then at least Keith just found the right person to argue with, outside of the scientific arena.
Evolution "theory" usually does not even get to the level where it can be argued scientifically, because its proponents case for universal common descent is a shapeless mish-mash that is perpetually contradicting itself and accommodating the opposite to any given outcome offered as "evidence".lifepsy
November 6, 2014
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In #336 , "It’s pretty obvious why, except for William, ID supporters are afraid to take up my challenge." is a quote attributed to keith.William J Murray
November 5, 2014
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Keith said:
Sure I have. There are 10^38 possible trees of the 30 major taxa, which means there are 10^38 possible ways for one tree (derived from morphology, say) to mismatch another tree (derived from molecular data, say).
WJM asked:
“Are you saying that it is impossible for natural forces to generate a mismatched set of trees?”
I’m still waiting for an answer to that question. I've also reiterated another unanswered question:
Can you point to any examples of natural forces/processes creating an ONH (excluding the phenomena under debate)?
You answer those questions, and I'll respond to your following request: WJM said:
Your own source states plainly that no other process (besides design) is known to create ONH’s…
Keiths requests:
Quote, please.
William J Murray
November 5, 2014
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It’s pretty obvious why, except for William, ID supporters are afraid to take up my challenge. I'm sure it is, given your self-serving internal dialogue that insists on characterizing your opponents as "desperate", "scrambling", "afraid", etc. IMO, they aren't responding to it because they don't consider it worth responding to. But, I guess that doesn't fit your preferred narrative.William J Murray
November 5, 2014
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keiths said:
William tried the “it’s circular!” argument, but that doesn’t work because we have observed microevolution producing ONHs, and it doesn’t require a design explanation.
How do you know it doesn't require a design explanation? Can you point to any natural force or process (outside of that which is being debated) that produces ONH's?William J Murray
November 5, 2014
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keith said:
It’s not circular. As Theobald’s examples show, you do get an ONH when microevolution is in operation. Microevolution does not require Designer intervention.
Who said anything about designer "intervention"? IDists assert that microevolution only exists within the framework of a highly designed supersystem; IOW, even if part of microevolution proceeds according to natural forces, it was set up within a designed context, a designed set of parameters, operating system, internal regulatory system, organizational infrastructure, etc. that uses natural laws and molecular tendencies in order to achieve a goal. It is entirely another matter to assert that the entire supersystem that enables the development of a biological ONH is unguided and was constructed via unguided processes. Whether intervention is required or not, there is a gaping chasm between what you are claiming as "non-controversial unguided microevolution that most IDists agree to" and what IDists actually agree to. They do not agree to your premise that microevolution can succeed at all without a deep infrastructure of design that enables/utilizes it.
Therefore, unguided evolution can produce an ONH.
Microevolution produces ONH's, therefore unguided microevoltion produces ONH's? Until you produce the science that quantifies microevolution as "unguided", you don't get to just tack that on because you say so. You can reiterate this as often as you like; it doesn't change the fact that that it is circular reasoning. You cannot demonstrate that effect X can be produced by unguided forces by using effect X as an example of what can be produced by unguided forces. Effect X is what is being challenged in the first place.
This is not controversial.
I would beg to differ; I think that your characterization of "unguided microevolution" and virtually every IDist's characterization substantively differs in that you are assuming that unguided evolution outside of a guided framework can achieve microevolutionary successes and ONH's, and IDists most certainly do not think this is true because they do not believe that life itself can exist outside of designed framework, much less generate ONH's. In any event, lack of controversy is irrelevant to the argument and the challenges I've raised.
Vjtorley understands it,
What possible difference does that make? Are you referring to Vjtorely as an expert? Do you agree to every view vjtorley expresses?
and if you simply think about gradual, unguided evolution with primarily vertical inheritance, you can see that it must be true.
Insisting that I should be able to see it is not a demonstration or a significant argument. Tell me where your "unguided" assertion about the nature of microevolution and what it produces has been quantitatively verified. Otherwise, you're making an unsupported assumption.
Are you really not seeing this? Do I need to provide a detailed example?
No, what you need to provide is the science where microevolutionary forces and what they produce have been quantitatively verified as being "unguided", including verification that their success doesn't depend upon a guided infrastrcture and system. Otherwise, you have no grounds to support such an assertion.
You can use phylogenetic analysis in court cases, fercrissakes. Do you think the judges are idiots for allowing that kind of evidence? Or do they, and the experts they rely on, understand something that you don’t?
You must have me confused with someone who is arguing that a biological ONH doesn't exist, or that ONH's aren't a necessary product of evolutionary systems. My argument is not and has never been about whether or not the ONH exists because I have agreed to that arguendo. My argument here is about your assumption that unguided forces can generate a ONH in the first place. Please refer me to some process other than biological evolution (since it is the thing being contested), and other than a system created/designed by man (designed), that generates an ONH, to provide evidence that natural forces in principle can actually generate an ONH.William J Murray
November 5, 2014
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Now, I’m waiting for the science – the peer reviewed scientific experiment – that tested for not just God, but intelligent design, guidance, period in nature.
http://theoryofid.blogspot.com/ http://www.planetsourcecode.com/vb/scripts/ShowCode.asp?txtCodeId=74175Gary S. Gaulin
November 5, 2014
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But I must add that: if lifepsy is strictly talking philosophy (as opposed to believing scientific Theory of Intelligent Design depends on a given result) then at least Keith just found the right person to argue with, outside of the scientific arena.Gary S. Gaulin
November 5, 2014
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Keiths,
Anything can be explained by saying “God did it.”
And anything can be explained by saying "chance did it" or "it's a brute fact". Now, I'm waiting for the science - the peer reviewed scientific experiment - that tested for not just God, but intelligent design, guidance, period in nature. Why aren't you delivering?
IDers are looking for something better than that. They want to demonstrate that the pattern of life actually requires a designer, not merely that it could be explained by design.
Wrong. ID proponents believe that they can infer, provisionally, design in nature, that this inference is scientific and better supported (currently) than alternate explanations. They're not looking for 'requires' to the exclusivity of all other possibilities.
The Rain Fairy could be responsible for the weather, but every normally functioning adult can see that it is a poor explanation when compared to modern meteorology.
See, you say 'The Rain Fairy', but I just gave you the atheist version of the Rain Fairy. And guided or unguided are not in competition with modern meteorology, because guidedness claims - or claims of a lack of guidance - are not scientific claims. Why are you running away from my questions, Keiths? I asked you for the scientific papers - the peer reviewed experiments - that detect or rule out design in nature, or demonstrate that a given natural act X occurred entirely blind and without guidance, as opposed to guided. Why won't you answer? I have a feeling I know why. See, you don't have those papers. You don't actually have scientific evidence for your position, and you know it. You also don't care that you are, even according to Eugenie Scott, violating science and misleading others about it. Because you don't care about science, and possibly don't understand it. Prove me wrong, Keiths. Answer my questions, or admit you've got nothing.nullasalus
November 5, 2014
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keith s, 325 Thank you for responding. Now let's examine your response. I don't have to ponder it too long because I already knew what you would say.
If evolution were fast enough, or if there was enough horizontal transfer going on, then yes, of course the ONH signal would become unidentifiable.
Here you have admitted that unguided evolution predicts both an identifiable and non-identifiable objective nested hierarchy. Either patterns could be accommodated.
But we know that hasn’t happened. There is an ONH. The consensus phylogeny of the 30 major taxa is just that: a consensus phylogeny. The ONH signal is strong, unlike what you would get if evolution were too fast or there was too much horizontal transfer.
But the signal strength of the ONH no longer helps you and I'm sure you realize why. The reasoning you've employed for inferring that the ONH was produced by unguided evolution to begin with is the claim that the ONH is the only pattern unguided evolution is capable of producing... to recall your earlier double-sided coin metaphor:
Keith s #231 Suppose you have two objects: 1. A coin with ONH stamped on both sides. 2. A trillion-sided die with ONH engraved on one and only one side.
Now you have clearly contradicted yourself by admitting that unguided evolution also predicts a pattern that does not result in an identifiable objective nested hierarchy. In fact, unguided evolution could produce "a trillion" different patterns that are not recognizable as an objective nested hierarchy. Keith S, your argument has imploded and has now turned against you. We are left wondering, of all the countless different non-hierarchical signal patterns unguided evolution could have potentially produced, why did it coincidentally result in such a distinct and recognizable objective nested hierarchy? What are the chances? To repeat Denton again: "...surely no purely random process of extinction would have eliminated so effectively all ancestral and transitional forms, all evidence of the trunk and branches of the supposed tree, and left all remaining groups... How much easier it would be to argue the case for evolution if nature’s divisions were blurred and indistinct, if the systema naturae was largely made up of overlapping classes indicative of sequence and continuity… "lifepsy
November 5, 2014
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Arguing whether "evolution" is "guided" or "unguided" is currently a philosophical question for philosophers to ponder NOT a scientific question that matters to the Theory of Intelligent Design. It is best for ID theory to do away with "evolution" generalizations. Just let them become sales pitches for selling cars and such, by ignoring them. Just once using the word (or other used by Darwinian theory) muddles you by your then being scientifically obliged to operationally define Darwinian words not even Darwinian theory has operationally defined in a way all scientists can agree on and accept. After the theory explains how "intelligent cause" works the who/what is "guiding" is then known, but NOT before. It is thus a total waste of time to argue. The most successful strategy is to completely refuse to endlessly go in circles over something that does not even matter to ID.Gary S. Gaulin
November 5, 2014
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keith s, your "challenge", like your "argument", is total meaningless garbage. The sad part is your willfully ignorant lying cowardice is right up there with the best evolutionism has to offer.Joe
November 5, 2014
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It's pretty obvious why, except for William, ID supporters are afraid to take up my challenge. You would have to explain why the Rain Fairy, the Streambed Designer, the Explosion Designer and the angels pushing the planets around are all bad explanations, but the ONH Fairy -- aka God the Designer -- is a good one. Good luck to anyone willing to try that. William tried the "it's circular!" argument, but that doesn't work because we have observed microevolution producing ONHs, and it doesn't require a design explanation. Anyone else willing to take a stab? Or is William the only IDer who will actually try to defend ID?keith s
November 5, 2014
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But alas, all the black knight is left with is a 'challenge' since he has no arms and legs to 'argue' with anymore! :) "come back here and take what's coming to ya, I'll bite your legs off!" :)bornagain77
November 5, 2014
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lifepsy:
Does the production of an objective nested hierarchy via unguided evolution necessitate that this objective nested hierarchy will become identifiable?
Yes, because actual unguided evolution is gradual, with predominantly vertical inheritance. That kind of evolution produces an ONH. Guided evolution, on the other hand, need not produce a recoverable ONH, because it doesn't have to be gradual, and it isn't limited primarily to vertical inheritance. That is why my argument is powerful not only against creationism and common design, but also against guided evolution.
Or could the signal of common descent via unguided evolution potentially become masked to the extent that all or major portions of the objective nested hierarchy become unidentifiable?
If evolution were fast enough, or if there was enough horizontal transfer going on, then yes, of course the ONH signal would become unidentifiable. But we know that hasn't happened. There is an ONH. The consensus phylogeny of the 30 major taxa is just that: a consensus phylogeny. The ONH signal is strong, unlike what you would get if evolution were too fast or there was too much horizontal transfer. Now, before dashing off another hasty and ill-thought-out reply, stop and ponder this for a while.keith s
November 5, 2014
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PLEASE STOP giving your enemy the advantage by their misleading you into believing that a hypothesis is anything other than a TESTABLE (true or false) idea. An idea you can TEST: See: Buddy has a hypothesis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0CGhy6cNJE The definition for a HYPOTHESIS is now all very preschool simple. The only thing to be DEMONSTRATED is how something "intelligent" works then from that THEORY base (which operationally defines that one word) explain how "intelligent cause" works (as required by the THEORY of Intelligent Design) so that (technology willing) intelligent cause can be modeled. Thank you.Gary S. Gaulin
November 5, 2014
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Keith seems to be more comfortable arguing about his "challenge", than defending his "argument".Box
November 5, 2014
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nullasalus, Anything can be explained by saying "God did it." IDers are looking for something better than that. They want to demonstrate that the pattern of life actually requires a designer, not merely that it could be explained by design. The Rain Fairy could be responsible for the weather, but every normally functioning adult can see that it is a poor explanation when compared to modern meteorology. What about you? Do you understand why the Rain Fairy is a poor explanation? Are you brave enough to take the challenge? Share your answers with us. Did your answers to the four questions differ? If so, please explain exactly why.keith s
November 5, 2014
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