Intelligent Design

Denying the Obvious

Spread the love

Living things appear to be designed for a purpose. That statement is entirely non-controversial. Even the world’s most famous materialist admits it: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (New York; Norton, 1986), 1.

I will go one step further and assert that the appearance of design in living things is far from ambiguous or equivocal; it is overwhelming. Honest materialists do not dispute this assertion either. Dawkins again: Living things “overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker . . .” Id., 21.

To be sure, Dawkins attributes the overwhelming appearance of design in living things to the accretion of random errors sorted through a fitness function called “natural selection.” But advances in the study of living systems in recent years (especially at the microscopic level) have made the “accretion of random errors” explanation for the overwhelming appearance of design seem at least dubitable, if not downright facile.

Moreover, as our knowledge of the vast gulf separating living things from non-living matter has increased, the less satisfactory “chance dunnit” explanations have become. It was one thing to attribute the appearance of the first living organisms to chance events occurring in some “warm little pond” 100 years ago when Haeckel was suggesting a cell was a “simple globule of protoplasm.” Haeckel’s glib simplification is amusing now that we know that even the simplest living cells are marvels of staggeringly complex nano-technology.

Better, it seems to me, to admit that living things appear overwhelmingly to be designed because they are in fact designed. Dawkins and his ilk deny design, however, not because the evidence compels them to deny it, but because their a priori metaphysical commitments compel them to do so. In other words, Dawkins denies the obvious because his religious beliefs require him to do so.

When one accepts materialism, in addition to design, one is compelled to deny other glaringly obvious truths. Here are a few:

1. Good and evil exist. Dawkins denies that good and evil exist. Yet he most assuredly knows that they do exist. In fact, like almost everyone else who denies the existence of good and evil, he lives his everyday life as if this most basic truth claim of his is absolutely false.

2. The universe is fine-tuned for the existence of life. No materialist denies that literally dozens of constants rest on a razor’s edge between “too much” and “too little” for the existence of life. They do, however, deny that this finely tuned state of events results from fine tuning. Instead, they resort to glib “it must be that way, because that is the way that it is,” anthropic arguments that are laughable for their lack of curiosity and intellectual rigor.

3. The DNA code is a code. All semiotic codes whose provenance is known have been designed by intelligent agents. Materialists must assert that the most elegant, sophisticated and complex semiotic code in the known universe resulted from . . . Actually, they don’t have a clue how DNA first arose though blind chance and mechanical law; the only thing they know for certain is that intelligence played no role.

4. “I” exist. Materialists, to be logically consistent, must say that consciousness is an illusion. In other words, when a materialist uses the word “I” in a sentence, he must believe that the pronoun has no real antecedent.

5. Free will exists. Materialists must deny the existence of libertarian free will, which requires them to say things like “I [which word has no real antecedent] choose [an illusion of course] not to believe [even though I admit it is absurd to suggest that particles in motion can hold such a thing as a “belief”] in free will.”

6. A man’s body is designed to be complementary  with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

I welcome our readers to add to this list.

[Update]
Since I posted the OP, our readers have suggested the following for the list.

7. Tim writes: “Although not glaringly obvious, one truth that must be denied by the strict materialist is that the world around us can even be understood by us.” In a similar vein, JDH writes: “A corollary to the fact that true materialist must deny that free will exists is that in a truly materialist world, it is impossible to practice science.”

8. Barry:  The world is broken. I’m broken. Everyone knows  the way things are is different from the way things ought to be. Everyone knows the way they are is different from the way they ought to be.

9.  WJM:  “Materialists must deny the fact that when they argue, they are making an appeal to an entity assumed to be unbound/uncaused by physics and chemistry.”

[Update 2]

The sentence in bold has been revised to take into account a valid comment by Mark Frank, for which I thank him.

119 Replies to “Denying the Obvious

  1. 1
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Is a snowflake designed? It certainly looks so.

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 1: Is the international space station designed? It certainly looks so. Now, I will leave it up to you to figure out whether a living cell is more like a snowflake or the international space station. Here’s a hint: The international space station is a tinker toy compared to a living cell. Please don’t feel stupid when you realize your illustration comes nowhere near to illustrating what you intended. Many smart people have made the same mistake

  3. 3
    rich says:

    All good questions! May I suggest employing math, science and experimentation to examine them? Or Denyse can use google alerts to vaguely be upset with science. Its your call.

  4. 4
    awstar says:

    from http://chemistry.about.com/od/.....wflake.htm

    This is because a snowflake’s shape reflects the internal order of the water molecules. Water molecules in the solid state, such as in ice and snow, form weak bonds (called hydrogen bonds) with one another. These ordered arrangements result in the symmetrical, hexagonal shape of the snowflake. During crystallization, the water molecules align themselves to maximize attractive forces and minimize repulsive forces. Consequently, water molecules arrange themselves in predetermined spaces and in a specific arrangement. Water molecules simply arrange themselves to fit the spaces and maintain symmetry.

    Yes Virginia, snow flakes are designed.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As to the cognitive dissonance inherent in the materialist’s ‘no free will’ position, I’m particularly struck by the materialist’s insistence that, when it comes to abortion, the right to choose (i.e. pro-choice) is more important than the right to life (i.e. pro-life), even though materialists deny the reality of their free will in the first place.

    footnote: the body count for abortion is now over 50 million in America since it was legalized, by judicial fiat not by public decree, in 1973 (i.e. legislation from the bench!):

    Abortion Statistics
    http://www.voiceofrevolution.c.....tatistics/

    How Darwin’s Theory Changed the World
    Rejection of Judeo-Christian values
    Excerpt: Weikart explains how accepting Darwinist dogma shifted society’s thinking on human life: “Before Darwinism burst onto the scene in the mid-nineteenth century, the idea of the sanctity of human life was dominant in European thought and law (though, as with all ethical principles, not always followed in practice). Judeo-Christian ethics proscribed the killing of innocent human life, and the Christian churches explicitly forbade murder, infanticide, abortion, and even suicide.
    “The sanctity of human life became enshrined in classical liberal human rights ideology as ‘the right to life,’ which according to John Locke and the United States Declaration of Independence, was one of the supreme rights of every individual” (p. 75).
    Only in the late nineteenth and especially the early twentieth century did significant debate erupt over issues relating to the sanctity of human life, especially infanticide, euthanasia, abortion, and suicide. It was no mere coincidence that these contentious issues emerged at the same time that Darwinism was gaining in influence. Darwinism played an important role in this debate, for it altered many people’s conceptions of the importance and value of human life, as well as the significance of death” (ibid.).
    http://www.gnmagazine.org/issu.....-world.htm

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    Snowflake Design boggles the sapien mind. At least it boggles the mind of those who think about it. If you believe “oops”, no boggle required lol.

  7. 7
    Barry Arrington says:

    rich @ 3: Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down.

  8. 8
    rich says:

    Barry @ 7

    How disappointing.

    If you approached ID as an empirical, scientific exercise you’d be somewhere by now. Instead we have the apologetics (and Republican talking point)you have posted above. Is ID about science or not?

    Do you disagree with my characterization of Denyse’s posts? I’m happy to talk specifics with you. You may find my critique unoriginal, but I stand by it.

    And why would you ask people to “write that down”? Doesn’t that seem pompous to you?

    UD Editors: Rich, you are boring us. It does not appear that you have anything substantive to add to this post. BTW, I suggested that you “write that down” as a way to emphasize my point that spewing snarky banalities is not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Even so, apparently you did not get the message.

  9. 9
    Daniel King says:

    Barry A:

    Living things appear to be designed for a purpose.

    What are the purposes of tapeworms, flesh-eating bacteria, malaria parasites, onchocerciasis, etc.?

  10. 10
    ppolish says:

    Daniel, all those critters you mention have a purpose. You may not like their purpose, but they might like you. Let’s call it a draw:)

  11. 11
    scordova says:

    I welcome our readers to add to this list.

    Those who’ve made it their purpose in life to oppose design, have no logical reason for doing so in the ultimate sense.

    The irony of Dawkins is that his purpose in life is to prove and convince others there is no purpose!

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    Missing the obvious is one of the simplest mistakes to make. When you’re used to see a certain pattern some times it is just too easy to see everything as following that pattern.

    We have a quality control process in my organization at work and even senior engineers sometimes manager to miss the “obvious” mistake.

    Some professions must be taught how not to miss the obvious.

    Others could use the lessons.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Daniel King you ask:

    “What are the purposes of tapeworms, flesh-eating bacteria, malaria parasites, onchocerciasis, etc.?”

    Let’s take a closer look at your question. There are a few things that you presuppose in you question that undermine it. One flaw is the argument from evil which is a theological argument not a scientific argument. In fact, Charles Darwin used this ‘theological’ argument in his book ‘Origin Of Species’

    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):

    ,,,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

    The theologically based argument of evil fails because the person making the argument from evil must assume the existence of good in the first place. i.e. For evil to even exist there must be some objective standard of good that was departed from. i.e. A departure from the way things ‘ought’ to be! Dr. Hunter puts the dilemma for materialists like this,,,

    “The strength of materialism is that it obviates the problem of evil altogether. God need not be reconciled with evil, because neither exists. Therefore the problem of evil is no problem at all.,,, And of course since there is no evil, the materialist must, ironically, not use evil to justify atheism. The problem of evil presupposes the existence of an objective evil-the very thing the materialist seems to deny. The argument (from Theodicy) that led to materialism is exhausted just when it is needed most. In other words, the problem of evil is only generated by the prior claims that evil exists. One cannot then conclude, with Dawkins, that there is ‘no evil and no good’ in the universe.,,,
    The fact that evolution’s acceptance hinges on a theological position would, for many, be enough to expel it from science. But evolution’s reliance on metaphysics is not its worst failing. Evolution’s real problem is not its metaphysics but its denial of its metaphysics.,,,
    Cornelius Hunter – Darwin’s God – pg. 154 & 159

    But the Christian Theist finds no such self-defeating logic within his rebuttal to the atheist’s argument from evil. For the Christian Theist never held that we were currently in heaven in the first place, but the Christian Theist has always held that we live in a fallen world,,,

    1 Corinthians 15:21
    For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.

    Daniel King, another flaw in your question is found when we push it to extremes. In your ‘dog eat dog’ survival of the fittest view of reality, life should have never progressed beyond bacteria and viruses. The logic of this is nicely summed up here:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    i.e. Since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful reproduction ever be realistically ‘selected’ for? Any other function besides successful reproduction, such as sight, hearing, thinking, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successfully reproducing, and should, on a Darwinian view of things, be discarded as so much excess baggage since it would, sooner of later, slow down successful reproduction. But that is not what we find. Instead of eating us, time after time these different types of microbial life are found to be helping us in essential ways that have nothing to do with their ability to successfully reproduce,,,

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Falkowski 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides. –
    Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers
    http://www.genetics.iastate.edu/delong1.pdf

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    But in the Christian worldview we expect life to be degenerated from its initial pristine state. And indeed that is what we find. For instance, Genetic studies show that the bubonic plague (Black Death) was caused by loss of genes and streamlining (genetic entropy) of a non-pathogenic bacteria:

    The independent evolution of harmful organisms from one bacterial family – April 21, 2014
    Excerpt: “We commonly think bacteria must gain genes to allow them to become pathogens. However, we now know that the loss of genes and the streamlining of the pathogen’s metabolic capabilities are key features in the evolution of these disease-causing bacteria,”
    http://phys.org/news/2014-04-p.....erial.html

    From friend to foe: How benign bacteria evolve to virulent pathogens, December 12, 2013
    Excerpt: “Bacteria can evolve rapidly to adapt to environmental change. When the “environment” is the immune response of an infected host, this evolution can turn harmless bacteria into life-threatening pathogens. …It is thought that many strains of E. coli that cause disease in humans evolved from commensal strains.”
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....volve.html

    Moreover Daniel King, even a non-living virus exhibits design that would rival the engineering found in the Apollo lunar lander;

    Virus – Assembly Of A Nano-Machine – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofd_lgEymto

    The first thought I had when I first saw the bacteriophage virus is that it looks very similar to the lunar lander of the Apollo program. The comparison is not without merit considering some of the relative distances to be traveled and the virus must somehow possess, as of yet unelucidated, orientation, guidance, docking, unloading, loading, etc… mechanisms. And please remember this level of complexity exists in a world that is far too small to be seen with the naked eye.

    Moreover, like bacteria, viruses are, contrary to popular opinion, found to be performing essential, useful, functions for the vast majority of times. For instance:

    (Bacteriophage) Viruses in the gut protect from infection – 20 May 2013
    Excerpt: Barr and his colleagues,, show that animal mucus — whether from humans, fish or corals — is loaded with bacteria-killing viruses called phages. These protect their hosts from infection by destroying incoming bacteria. In return, the phages are exposed to a steady torrent of microbes in which to reproduce. “It’s a unique form of symbiosis, between animals and viruses,” says Rotem Sorek, a microbial geneticist ,,
    “It’s groundbreaking,” adds Frederic Bushman, a microbiologist ,, “The idea that phage can be viewed as part of the innate immune system is original and exciting.
    http://www.nature.com/news/vir.....on-1.13023

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Another flaw in your question Daniel King, as Dr. Craig and ppolish point out, (and as the bacteriophage virus makes clear), even ‘bad design’ is still intelligent design (whether you personally like it or not):

    Refuting The Myth Of ‘Bad Design’ vs. Intelligent Design – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIzdieauxZg

    Thus Daniel King, your question backfires on you on many fronts. 1. It assumes an objective standard of good so as to be able to make the argument from evil in the first place (i.e. it assumes an ‘ought’). 2. It assumes that we live in a perfect world instead of a fallen world. 3. Your argument is also self defeating in that when it is pushed to its logical conclusion, higher life forms should have never come into existence because they/we are far from being the ‘fittest to survive’ when compared to bacteria. and 4. The apparent design in even a potentially harmful viruses, or bacteria, is overwhelmingly obvious whether or not you personally like the design within it or not.

    Verse, Music and Quote:

    Matthew 5:45
    that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

    Creed – Six Feet – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ9GrZ3CEyY

    The Easter Question – Eben Alexander, M.D. – March 2013
    Excerpt: More than ever since my near death experience, I consider myself a Christian -,,,
    Now, I can tell you that if someone had asked me, in the days before my NDE, what I thought of this (Easter) story, I would have said that it was lovely. But it remained just that — a story. To say that the physical body of a man who had been brutally tortured and killed could simply get up and return to the world a few days later is to contradict every fact we know about the universe. It wasn’t simply an unscientific idea. It was a downright anti-scientific one.
    But it is an idea that I now believe. Not in a lip-service way. Not in a dress-up-it’s-Easter kind of way. I believe it with all my heart, and all my soul.,,
    We are, really and truly, made in God’s image. But most of the time we are sadly unaware of this fact. We are unconscious both of our intimate kinship with God, and of His constant presence with us. On the level of our everyday consciousness, this is a world of separation — one where people and objects move about, occasionally interacting with each other, but where essentially we are always alone.
    But this cold dead world of separate objects is an illusion. It’s not the world we actually live in.,,,
    ,,He (God) is right here with each of us right now, seeing what we see, suffering what we suffer… and hoping desperately that we will keep our hope and faith in Him. Because that hope and faith will be triumphant.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....79741.html

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    A belief in design could even be basic, given it’s utter obviousness.

    The deniers of design(notTM) ought therefore to have the burden of proof. Of course, to assert that something IS NOT designed one must be able to say what IS designed.

    There is no scientific design denial.

    In fact, I may have just invented another oxymoron.

    Must be the Earth, Wind and Fire flowing through my brains!

  16. 16
    mrchristo says:

    Hi Barry,

    Could you please explain what you mean by this.

    “I do not exist. Materialists, to be logically consistent, must say that consciousness is an illusion. In other words, when a materialist uses the word “I” in a sentence, he must believe that the pronoun has no real antecedent. ”

    I am not asking to challenge you. If you can explain it then it will be very helpful.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    1. Good and evil exist.

    Insert another famous Dawkins quote here:

    “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    mrchristo,

    What Batty means is that there is no “I” no “self.” There is no knowing subject. IOW, all of science and reason is undermined.

    All the folks who come here to argue against design from the materialist perspective are engaged in cognitive dissonance.

  19. 19
    mrchristo says:

    Hi Mung. Wouldn’t the materialists claim that their body and brain is who they are?

  20. 20
    Charles says:

    Mathematics underlies and illumens physical reality, not the reverse.

    For example, F=G*(m1-m2)r^2 explains and describes a falling apple, but a falling apple neither explains nor describes anything; rather, a falling apple is, at best, evidence of mathematical design. Mathematically coherent and consistent law preceeds and dictates physical manifestation. Mathematical description is design, laws, from and according to which physicality manifests. When we seek to understand how something works, for example the “Standard Model”, we seek to understand the mathematical laws that predict its composition and behavior. When we seek to understand the origin of life, we seek to understand the origin of “information” (a form of mathematical description) that dictates how chemical elements are organized into life, chemical elements whose very existence are also evidence of mathematical design.

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mrchristo @ 18. Mung at 17 is correct. That is what I meant. I hope the “Batty” is a typo or an autocorrect flub.

    You say “Wouldn’t the materialists claim that their body and brain is who they are?” You are not grasping the basic point. The materialist must say that when a person seems to experience subject-object self-awareness it is an illusion. Think of it this way, if you have a bag of rocks and shake it up, the bag of rocks will not have subjective self-awareness. In the same way, the materialist must think of their own body/brain system as nothing more than a more complex (but not fundamentally different) version of the bag of rocks. There is a vast literature on this dating back to the Greeks.

  22. 22
    Tim says:

    Barry,
    Thank you for the invitation. Although not glaringly obvious, one truth that must be denied by the strict materialist is that the world around us can even be understood by us. The strict materialist a la Dawkins must admit that all recourse to “believing that what we experience is somehow true” is nothing more than a evolutionary genetic trope to increase the overall chances of getting our genes into the jeans of . . .

    Following Dawkins/Dennett, that there is consistency in our observations does not mean “it is true” only that we are “evolutionarily honed.” But, even a child can tell that the grass IS green.

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    Daniel King @ 9 writes:

    Barry A:

    Living things appear to be designed for a purpose.

    What are the purposes of tapeworms, flesh-eating bacteria, malaria parasites, onchocerciasis, etc.?

    Daniel, perhaps you should go over to Richard Dawkins’ website and ask him what he meant when he wrote that.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    I hope the “Batty” is a typo or an autocorrect flub.

    oops! that’s what I get for typing in the dark.

  25. 25
    JDH says:

    A corollary to the fact that true materialist must deny that free will exists is that in a truly materialist world, it is impossible to practice science.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    JDH: Or any other rational and/or responsible praxis; also, that Tort — which pivots on willful neglect or defiance of duties of care — cannot exist. Indeed, that criminality — requiring mens rea — does not exist. And more: man is dead, on evolutionary materialist premises. KF

  27. 27
    Graham2 says:

    6. A man’s body is designed to be complimentary with a woman’s body

    Couldn’t resist could you ? Good, healthy Christian homophobia.

  28. 28

    I hope the “Batty” is a typo or an autocorrect flub.

    oops! that’s what I get for typing in the dark.

    Time to die.

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Graham2 you may be interested in this article I read yesterday:

    Former Homosexual Reveals ‘Unmitigated Disaster of Gay Marriage’
    http://www.charismanews.com/op.....tColBottom

    Such Were Some of You – Trailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUXhKbHMGJg

  30. 30
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Graham2: I think the trinitarian (NOT CHRISTIAN!!) homophobia is seen in this statement:

    All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

    He obviously thinks that using a tool for something it was not designed for is somehow illicit. This is faulty thinking.

  31. 31
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @ba77:

    http://www.charismanews.com/op.....tColBottom
    The happiness that they seek can only be found in submitting their sexuality to the Lordship of Christ and allowing Him to bring healing to the broken areas that have caused their homosexual desires. Yes, it’s a slow and sometimes arduous path to take, just as it is for the addict, but the only one that leads to joy, peace and eternal life with God.

    1. There’s no evidence that gays won’t have eternal life with God!
    2. There is evidence, that being homosexual is irrelevant to happiness (see “Money, sex and happiness: An empirical study”).

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    JWTruthInLove, since I profoundly disagree with your Jehovah’s Witness theology in the first place, what makes you think that I will suddenly trust your interpretation of scripture when it comes to sexuality?

    Anyway, though you, and popular media may disagree, I look forward to watching the movie featuring 29 former homosexuals when it comes out:

    Such Were Some of You – Trailer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUXhKbHMGJg

  33. 33
    Acartia_bogart says:

    When the discussion devolves into a debate about homosexuality and same sex marriage, the religious foundation of ID shows through.

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    Acartia_bogart, although it is impossible to do science without presupposing some level of teleology (i.e. theistic presuppositions), you rail against theology in science. In your effort to rid yourself of theological thinking, perhaps you should start in your own back yard and remove the Theological premises from Darwin’s theoretical core????

    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

    The Descent of Darwin – Pastor Joe Boot – (The Theodicy of Darwinism) – article
    http://www.ezrainstitute.ca/ez.....spring.pdf

    Since Darwin’s book ‘Origin of Species’, besides being bad science, is also rife with bad theology, it is not that surprising that liberal clergy have been very eager to jump on the Darwinian bandwagon from the beginning:

    “Religious views were mixed, with the Church of England scientific establishment reacting against the book, while liberal Anglicans strongly supported Darwin’s natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.....of_Species

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    atheists have their theology, which is basically: “God, if he existed, wouldn’t do it this way (because) if I were God, I wouldn’t (do it that way).”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....85691.html

    Dr. Seuss Biology | Origins with Dr. Paul A. Nelson – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVx42Izp1ek

    Here, at about the 55:00 minute mark in the following video, Phillip Johnson sums up his, in my opinion, excellent lecture by noting that the refutation of his book, ‘Darwin On Trial’, in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious science journal in the world, was a theological argument about what God would and would not do and therefore Darwinism must be true, and the critique from Nature was not a refutation based on any substantiating scientific evidence for Darwinism that one would expect to be brought forth in such a prestigious venue:

    Darwinism On Trial (Phillip E. Johnson) – lecture video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwj9h9Zx6Mw

  35. 35
    Joe says:

    Daniel King:

    What are the purposes of tapeworms, flesh-eating bacteria, malaria parasites, onchocerciasis, etc.?

    LoL! Only the designer knows what the original purpose was. What those organisms do today doesn’t have to be that original purpose and could very well be due to genetic entropy.

    That said their purpose could also be for us to investigate- you know be an impetus for our scientific endeavors. That would make sense in a universe designed for scientific discovery.

  36. 36
    Physteach says:

    “May I suggest employing math, science and experimentation to examine them?”

    I have always been puzzled by this response. It seems like biomimetics does just that. It investigates the world, finds design, and imitates it.

    Do we design things by random processes?

    In point of fact, ID, via biomimetics is leading the way to ever better technology. 🙂

  37. 37
    Joe says:

    Biomimetics- humans attempting to copy the designs of the Designer

  38. 38
    Barry Arrington says:

    Graham2 @ 27. Homophobia? Thank you for demonstrating a classic knee-jerk leftist response to any statement about same-sex relations. Shutting down the discussion by suggesting your opponent has some amorphous mental condition is so much easier than thinking for two minutes about what they have to say. After all, thinking is hard work and two minutes is a long time.

    I am curious though. Do you in fact deny that men’s and women’s bodies at least appear to have been designed to be complimentary with one another?

  39. 39
    Barry Arrington says:

    JWTruthInLove @ 30: “He obviously thinks that using a tool for something it was not designed for is somehow illicit. This is faulty thinking.”

    You think of your body as a tool? How interesting. I suppose I should not be surprised. Our culture continually pushes the idea that the sole purpose of the sexual act is personal gratification and our bodies are merely tools for accomplishing that purpose. The idea is consistent with the materialist view that there is no ultimate meaning or purpose in the universe; therefore we should eat, drink, fornicate and be merry for tomorrow we die.

    My car is designed. When I bought it I read through the owner’s manual. Idle curiosity? Of course not. The car was designed for a purpose, and I wanted to know what the designers recommended as the optimal way to achieve that purpose.

    What if the overwhelming appearance of design of our bodies is the result of the fact that they are actually, you know, designed for a purpose? Would you not want to know what the designer recommended as the optimal way to achieve that purpose?

  40. 40
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @President Barry:

    You think of your body as a tool? How interesting.

    I’m a dualist. That’s why I think my body is a tool.

    What if the overwhelming appearance of design of our bodies is the result of the fact that they are actually, you know, designed for a purpose? Would you not want to know what the designer recommended as the optimal way to achieve that purpose?

    Yes, I would like to know the purpose and the optimal way. The thing is: What if I don’t have any interest in pursuing that purpose (in that specific way)?
    So here’s the statement I disagree with:

    All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

  41. 41
    Tim says:

    Graham2
    A true/false quiz just for you. I am curious how you would answer.

    1) T/F “A man’s body appears to be designed to be complementary with a woman’s body.
    2) T/F “A man’s body is designed to be complementary with a woman’s body.
    3) T/F “A man’s body appears to be designed to be complementary with a man’s body.”
    4) T/F “A man’s body is designed to be complementary with a man’s body.”
    5)T/F If someone answers True for #2, that is sufficient cause to be labeled a homophobe.
    6)T/F Homosexuality is basically determined by genetics.
    7)T/F Homophobia is basically determined by genetics.
    8)T/F In answering these questions, [I’ve] relied on an epistemology (way of knowing) that not only appears beyond, but, in fact, IS beyond my own genetic make-up.

  42. 42
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Tim: Your quiz provided me with a new idea of our design! Allow me to give my personal opinion on the first four questions:
    1: True
    2: True
    3: True
    4: True
    Our bodies are multifunctional! Such a marvelous design!

  43. 43
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bill @ 28. “Time to die.”

    Not sure what you mean by that. Do you care to elucidate?

  44. 44

    Barry!

    It’s a line from the beautiful soliloquy uttered by dying “replicant” Roy Batty (hence the quip) near the conclusion of Blade Runner, one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time. “Like tears in rain” was improvised by Rutger Hauer during filming.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU7Ga7qTLDU

    If you’ve never seen it, you owe it to yourself to obtain a BluRay copy of the recent Ridley Scott “final cut” and sit yourself down.

  45. 45
    Barry Arrington says:

    Bill, now you and I have something to agree about. Blade Runner is in my top ten all time best. Did not catch the allusion though. Thanks for expanding.

  46. 46
    Mung says:

    Reciprocating Bill:

    It’s a line from the beautiful soliloquy uttered by dying “replicant” Roy Batty (hence the quip) near the conclusion of Blade Runner, one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time.

    I actually did get the reference, and agree with your assessment of the movie.

  47. 47

    Materialists must deny the fact that when they argue, they are making an appeal to an entity assumed to be unbound/uncaused by physics and chemistry.

  48. 48
    mrchristo says:

    Hi barry.

    Please have some patience with my questions.it just would be very helpful to me to get what you are saying with these terms.

    What do you mean by these two statements when you say about no antecedent?

    “In other words, when a materialist uses the word “I” in a sentence, he must believe that the pronoun has no real antecedent.”

    “Free will does not exist. Materialists must deny the existence of libertarian free will, which requires them to say things like “I [which word has no real antecedent] choose [an illusion of course] not to believe [even though I admit it is absurd to suggest that particles in motion can hold such a thing as a “belief”] in free will.”

    btw, i have Moshe Averick’s book which is really good.

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    mrchristo:

    What do you mean by these two statements when you say about no antecedent?

    “In other words, when a materialist uses the word “I” in a sentence, he must believe that the pronoun has no real antecedent.”

    Batty probably meant no real referent.

    I would point out that Batty is human, and therefore makes mistakes, but he isn’t human.

  50. 50
    Mark Frank says:

    I would like to suggest another list. Ideas that have appeared to be obvious to most people and turned out to be false.

    To get us started:

    * The earth is flat
    * The sun moves round the earth
    * Some races are inferior to others
    * Nothing can be in two places at the same time
    * Simultaneity is a transitive relationship (If event A happens at the same time as event B and event C happens at the same time as event A then events B and C must happen at the same time)

  51. 51
    kairosfocus says:

    Re MF (he does not read what I post):

    1 –> From c 300 BC on, educated people in our civilisation understood the earth to be round, on evidence.

    2 –> That the sun moves relative to the earth is still true today; why we speak of sunrise and sunset. The difference is, that we learned after arduous study, that the cumulative evidence shows that it is a more profound insight that the earth and other planets orbit the sun in ellipses consistent with an inverse square gravitational force.

    3 –> But that is not the underlying matter (on years of exchanges): an intended undermining of the concept that there are self evident truths [SETs].

    4 –> On that, it has been long since pointed out to MF et al that obviousness/plausibility to a given person is not the same as self evidence.

    5 –> A SET, is one that is seen as true, and as necessarily so, once one properly understands its meaning, on pain of PATENT absurdity.

    6 –> Understanding, in light of our experience of the world, is pivotal. Many people lack the degree of understanding required, some primary through ignorance. Others, through being locked into ideologies that block them from accepting a SET, even at the cost of clinging to the most absurd positions.

    7 –> For instance, we had quite a debate recently over the impossibility of a square circle. Objections pivoted on redefining what a square is and moving it out of the normal context into a topology based on the surface of a sphere where the square analogue was based on great circle arcs, which are not straight.

    8 –> Similarly, that error undeniably exists was subjected to disputes at length on the subject of how dare you use the singular, and there was no budging when it was pointed out that this can be simply understood as the set that collects errors.

    9 –> Likewise, it is a hot dispute, some wish to inform us, that if we look at a bright red ball A on a table [as an instance of a distinct object], we can then see that this effects a world partition:

    W = { A | NOT_A }

    . . . from which there are immediately and self evidently present the triple cluster: law of identity, law of non-contradiction and law of excluded middle.

    10 –> And also, that if we see that same ball A, we then can ask and seek an answer tot he claim why does A exist, based on analysing modes of being: possible. impossible and necessary/ contingent. Thence, that contingent possible beings are caused as they depend on at least one external enabling factor and so exist in some possible worlds and do not in other possible worlds. (Until 1903, a powered heavier than air craft that flies did not exist, subsequent to, such do.)
    ___________________

    So, let us distinguish the self evident from the merely plausible to us, and in so doing, let us be willing to accept that first principles of right reason are not to be implicitly invidiously compared to imagining that the world is flat or racism etc. (And yes, given context over years, that is unfortunately an appropriate challenge to make in reply to MF’s argument points.)

    KF

    PS: On racism as a fallacy, let us observe the teachings of that despised “Bronze age” theology that is so despised, from Acts 17 c AD 50 . . . firmly Iron Age, BTW: “26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth . . . ” So, all of us are cousins, on the Biblical worldview. Racism, even racism based on twisting Bible texts out of context, has no genuine Judaeo-Christian foundations.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: It is worth noting that there are also self evident moral truths, such as that it is wrong to kidnap, torture, rape and murder a child. (I use this as a yardstick example that surfaces many moral issues.)

    PPPS: On the example of relativity, the issue is, that two things obtain. First, until Einstein thought the matter through, we did not sufficiently understand it. Linked to that, the common sense large slow moving objects familiar case, is contingently true not necessarily so — as is so for most empirical matters of the type investigated by science. Einstein brought out a case for fast moving objects constrained by speed of light signals and observers that are in frames of reference that are linked by such.

  53. 53
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    Ideas that have appeared to be obvious to most people and turned out to be false.

    Unfortunately Mark has no idea what most people hundreds to thousands of years ago thought appeared to be obvious.

  54. 54
    Mark Frank says:

    Joe

    So – do you think that everything that was widely considered to be obvious and has turned out to be true?

  55. 55
    Joe says:

    Mark- examples please. Include how you know they were widely considered to be obvious. Then we can have a discussion about it.

    Thanks.

  56. 56
    Mark Frank says:

    #55 Joe

    If I give you examples you may not be convinced and I would still not know the answer to the question. I will rephrase it a bit more precisely.

    Has it always been the case that if most people thought that something was obviously true then it was true?

    Something tells me you will avoid answering the question.

  57. 57
    Joe says:

    In the realm of anything is possible, I guess that is possible, Mark. However since you cannot provide any specifics then it is impossible to say for sure.

    So are you saying that since most biologists do not see design in biology that there is design in biology?

  58. 58
    Mark Frank says:

    #57

    Stunned by your answer – but all credit at least you answered it! For a specific let’s take the transitivity of simultaneity. Prior to Einstein I would have thought most people would have thought it was obvious that if A happens at the same time as B and B happens at the same time as C then A happens at the same time as C. In fact don’t you think most people would still think it obvious? Yet its false.

    So are you saying that since most biologists do not see design in biology that there is design in biology?

    I think there may a typo. Were you trying to say:

    So are you saying that since most biologists do not see design in biology that there is not design in biology?

    If that is the case then the answer is that this is one reason I believe there is no design in biology. I have other reasons.

  59. 59
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks: See the effect of the studious ignoring of contributions in-thread by MF? KF

  60. 60
    jstanley01 says:

    That it makes him look like the ass that he, in all probability, is in real life? You betcha.

  61. 61
    velikovskys says:

    Mark Frank,
    If that is the case then the answer is that this is one reason I believe there is no design in biology. I have other reasons.

    Perhaps you could define meaning of design you are using, for me the shape of a Bristlecone Pine is designed by both its genetic parameters and environmental factors. The result is design in biology.

  62. 62
    Mark Frank says:

    #61 velikovskys

    I don’t want to go over the design debate all over again. I was interested in validity of Barry’s argument.

    Sorry if that is frustrating.

  63. 63
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark Frank, the first example you use to support your argument is simply false. As KF points out, the ancients knew the earth was round and even calculated its circumference. You are guilty of subscribing to one of the more pernicious modern conceits.

  64. 64
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:
    Prior to Einstein I would have thought most people would have thought it was obvious that if A happens at the same time as B and B happens at the same time as C then A happens at the same time as C. In fact don’t you think most people would still think it obvious? Yet its false.

    Evidence please.

    If that is the case then the answer is that this is one reason I believe there is no design in biology.

    You are not a biologist nor have you given any indication you can properly assess evidence.

    And I meant what I said:

    So are you saying that since most biologists do not see design in biology that there is design in biology? We are dealing with opposites here, Mark.

  65. 65
    Barry Arrington says:

    “The sun moves round the earth”

    Yes, this idea was once widely held. Here’s the difference between your example and mine with respect to design: As science advanced the idea that the sun moved around the earth became less and less defensible until it was finally abandoned. Conversely, as science advances the idea that the first life could have been generated spontaneously in some warm little pond has become less and less plausible and the “obvious” explanation (i.e., design) has become more and more plausible.

    You don’t get it do you? When you invoke Galileo and Copernicus you are condemning those, like yourself, who cling to the old orthodoxy in the face of new developments that make that orthodoxy all but untenable. As you know, I am a connoisseur of fine irony, and this particular dish is especially delicious.

    Finally, the logic underlying your argument is fallacious. Your argument appears to be:

    1. Some propositions once held to be obviously true were not.
    2. Therefore, propositions that appear to us to be obviously true are not.

    2 does not follow from 1.

    You might respond that you do not mean 2, but instead you mean “Therefore, propositions that appear to us to be obviously true are not NECESSARILY true.”

    I will grant that. But if that is what you meant the conclusion is irrelevant to my post and in no rebuts its internal logic.

  66. 66
    Mark Frank says:

    #65

    Barry – of course I meant 2. It would be nuts to pretend that every statement that appears to be obviously true is false!

    As I understand it, the argument of your OP is:

    1) Denying that life has bee designed entails various statements.

    2) These statements are obviously true.

    3) Therefore denying design is false.

    If this is your argument (and I am sure you will correct me if I am wrong) it seems highly relevant that just because something seems obviously true it is not necessarily true. Indeed I believe several of them to be false.

  67. 67
    jerry says:

    I have not been following this thread in any depth but it seems to be that most people accept as true that species evolve through some process associated with the term “natural selection.” We now know that there is no known basis for such a claim while it still seems reasonable to the average person and to the dedicated scientist. Which means that scientific consensus is nonsense.

    Also it was almost 200 years after the death of Galileo that science solved two problems with the earth revolving around the sun, the parallax problem and the wind problem. So what seems reasonable to Galileo took a long time to gain support with science.

  68. 68
    kairosfocus says:

    BA:

    The trajectory of observations is indeed different for the diverse cases.

    In addition, the attempt to undermine self evidence that also lurks runs into difficulties of order:

    || + ||| –> |||||

    is obvious, so it must be untrustworthy.

    There is a missing factor.

    There are self evident truths, which must be respected.

    And, on the design inference, the specific context at work (though the objections to logic of cause and effect etc also lurk), we can identify and even measure a quantity, functionally specific complex information [FSCI], which routinely turns out to be produced by design. On inspecting the mathematics of blind search of config spaces,we can see that it is maximally unlikely that a solar system or even cosmos scale search that is not intelligently directed, will succeed.

    So, while this is not a case of self evidence, it is a case where we have a widespread phenomenon, a known cause and analysis that gives good reason for those observations.

    But, when we turn to cases in the world of life such as the genome or proteins in amino acid space, we see that there is a resistance to the idea that blind chance is inadequate, a plainly ideologically motivated resistance in many cases that are notorious.

    There is indeed an irony, of ideological lock-in while imagining one self to be the vanguard of progress. But then, if one can tell oneself that those design thinkers are nothing but Creationists in cheap tuxedos, one can imagine one is Galileo all over again confronting the Inquisition.

    We need to correctly understand the past and ourselves if we are to draw sensible lessons from it.

    KF

  69. 69
    Joe says:

    I believe Einstein was talking about perception- as in it is perceived that A occurs at the same time as B and B occurs the same time as C. However if it is a fact that A does occur the same time as B and B occurs the same time as C then A occurs the same time as C.

  70. 70
    Mark Frank says:

    #69

    Joe – I fear you have your science is wrong. It is not just a perception. It is actually true that simultaneity is not transitive. Actually there is much more to it than that – simultaneity is relative to the observer’s frame of reference and there is no absolute concept of “at the same time”. But it follows from that the simultaneity is not necessarily transitive.

    Your reaction rather proves the point that what appears obvious may not be true – a point which Barry conceded in #65.

  71. 71
    Barry Arrington says:

    MF @ 66. I take your point and it is a valid one. My argument was not clear and it could have been mistaken for the one you suggest. I have revised the OP. Thank you.

  72. 72
    Barry Arrington says:

    MF, do not run too far with my statement in 65. Yes, some propositions that at first appear to be “obviously” true, are not necessarily true. However, there is a subset of obviously true propositions – which we call “self-evident truths” – that are not so limited. Self evident truths are both obviously true and necessarily true on pain of descent into patent absurdity, as KF has aptly elucidated above. The law of identity (A=A) is one such “obvious truth” that is also a self-evident truth.

  73. 73
    Mung says:

    It is obvious that people deny the obvious, but I deny that it is obvious that people deny the obvious.

  74. 74
    velikovskys says:

    MF,
    I don’t want to go over the design debate all over again. I was interested in validity of Barry’s argument.

    Sorry if that is frustrating.

    Not at all, I am interested in the same thing. For me while design may be obvious the causes of the design are anything but.

  75. 75
    Mark Frank says:

    #72 BA

    The problem being how to tell a self-evident truth from one that just seems obviously true – not by noting that it seems obviously true!

    But I am not going to go over all that again.

    Thanks for accepting my point so graciously. While you are at it you might want correct “truths” 5 and 6.

    In 5 I think you mean “Free will does exist”.

    In 6 I think you mean “complementary” not “complimentary”. I have no doubt many men have been complimentary about other men’s bodies – probably including yourself. Whether they are complementary is a different issue.

  76. 76
    StephenB says:

    Mark

    The problem being how to tell a self-evident truth from one that just seems obviously true – not by noting that it seems obviously true!

    That isn’t a problem. Aquinas explained it 800 years ago:

    A thing can be self-evident in either of two ways: on the one hand, self-evident in itself, though not to us; on the other, self-evident in itself, and to us. A proposition is self-evident because the predicate is included in the essence of the subject, as “Man is an animal,” for animal is contained in the essence of man. If, therefore the essence of the predicate and subject be known to all, the proposition will be self-evident to all; as is clear with regard to the first principles of demonstration, the terms of which are common things that no one is ignorant of, such as being and non-being, whole and part, and such like. If, however, there are some to whom the essence of the predicate and subject is unknown, the proposition will be self-evident in itself, but not to those who do not know the meaning of the predicate and subject of the proposition. Therefore, it happens, as Boethius says (Hebdom., the title of which is: “Whether all that is, is good”), “that there are some mental concepts self-evident only to the learned, as that incorporeal substances are not in space.”

    The first principles of right reason, LOI, LNC, LEM, the whole/part relationship, are self-evident to all, not just to the learned. Included in “all” would be you. Of course, you can say that first principles are not self-evident to you, and no one can stop you from saying it, but insofar as you do that, your credibility goes out the window.

  77. 77
    Mark Frank says:

    #76 Stephenb

    I am not going to get into a debate with you about self-evident truths but I should clarify my position. I don’t dispute the logical laws – I just think we should not be dogmatic about their nature. I do dispute that the law of causality is self-evident – in fact I think it is false.

  78. 78
    Acartia_bogart says:

    “Self-evident truth” is a great phrase, but what does it mean? For example, it seems self-evident that a rock is solid. But we now know that it is mostly empty space; definitely not solid.

  79. 79
    Eric Anderson says:

    or example, it seems self-evident that a rock is solid. But we now know that it is mostly empty space; definitely not solid.

    Don’t trick yourself into thinking that evidentiary scientific statements are on the same plane as basic principles of logic. Whether a rock is solid depends on how we define “solid,” the capability of our instruments, our observational prowess, etc. That is a very different situation from, say, the question of whether something can be both true and not true at the same time.

    It is a trivial matter to come up with examples of scientific advancements that have overturned prior understandings of particular physical phenomena. However, to date no discovery has ever overturned (nor even provided a rational basis for overturning) basic principles of right reason and logic.

    The basic principles of logic that inevitably undergird scientific investigation must not be conflated with our temporary limited understanding and application of our scientific investigative efforts. They are two very different things.

    Mark Frank’s examples @50 suffer from the same flaw.

  80. 80
    Mung says:

    If Israel today put down its arms, the country’s Palestinian Muslim neighbors who support Hamas would immediately seek to commit genocide against Israel’s Jewish citizens. So says the Hamas charter. If the Palestinians put down their arms, Israel would immediately seek to do business with them, forming a relationship like America has with Canada and Mexico.

    Turn your neighbors into corpses or turn them into trading partners. That’s the yawning moral difference between the ultimate goals of Hamas and the ultimate hopes of Israel.

    In a sane world this would be blindingly obvious. As Ann Gauger observes in her current cover article for us, there are some things that really shouldn’t need to be said. This is one. Harris’s article merits attention because he feels that in his community of aggressive materialists and atheists, the obvious isn’t obvious at all.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....88301.html

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    A_b: Please, scroll up to 51 above, from yesterday morning:

    4 –> On that, it has been long since pointed out to MF et al that obviousness/plausibility to a given person is not the same as self evidence.

    5 –> A SET, is one that is seen as true, and as necessarily so, once one properly understands its meaning, on pain of PATENT absurdity.

    6 –> Understanding, in light of our experience of the world, is pivotal. Many people lack the degree of understanding required, some primary through ignorance. Others, through being locked into ideologies that block them from accepting a SET, even at the cost of clinging to the most absurd positions . . .

    The comment gives more context, and specific relevant examples.

    KF

  82. 82
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: SB’s clip from the Angelic doctor is also bang on.

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    Re MF (who studiously ignores what I write):

    To object to the self evident nature of causality is misplaced, a strawman error. For, strictly, it is a corollary to another principle under certain conditions of being. That principle is self evident and unobjectionable, but one needs to understand modes of being to see the corollary status of causality regarding possible, contingent beings.

    I will only argue for a weak form of the principle of sufficient reason, which is unobjectionable. Considering an entity A, we may ask, why A. Then we may expect, hope or simply seek a good and sufficient reason.

    On so doing, we will see possible vs impossible beings . . . in effect if there is a possible world in which A would exist were it instantiated, A is a possible being. If there is no world in which A can exist — because core attributes stand in mutual contradiction [e.g. in the ordinary sense of square and circle, a square circle] — then A is an impossible being.

    Of possible beings, we have necessary beings where A must exist in any possible world.

    Beings, where there are possible worlds in which they do not exist and those in which they do, are contingent. How this obtains, is that at least one enabling factor exists, that must be present for A to begin, or to continue. An excellent case in point is the dependence of a fire on oxidiser, heat, fuel and a heat-generating chain reaction.

    Such factors are necessary, enabling causal factors.

    And, cause-effect relationships simply tell us the ways in which such dependencies obtain. Necessary factors, if absent, block emergence. Sufficient clusters of factors will be adequate for A to occur or continue, and must include all necessary, enabling factors. However, as ever so many are unfamiliar with modes of being or possible worlds analyses, or the like, there will often be a primary failure of understanding, and perhaps even a pons asinorum. (Well do I remember how hard it was to make sense of Calculus at first.)

    Quantum effects are often presented as causeless, but we can readily identify enabling factors, some even trivial. Such as no unstable atoms, no RA decay. And where we do not know factors beyond being sufficient for a stochastic process to work with some probability, that is still not causeless.

    Likewise, I note that nothing, properly denotes non-being. As such, it has no causal capacity whatsoever. Recent attempts to call something (a quantum vacuum) nothing are self-evidently ill informed.

    Of course, all of this was recently pointed out to MF at length, but when ideology intervenes, it blocks ability to assent to what is genuinely self-evident.

    KF

  84. 84
    StephenB says:

    Mark

    I am not going to get into a debate with you about self-evident truths but I should clarify my position. I don’t dispute the logical laws – I just think we should not be dogmatic about their nature.

    Oh please! The point is not that you don’t dispute logical laws. The point is that you think they are disputable. For you, any claim in support of a self-evident truth is “dogmatic,” which means that you don’t think that such laws are really laws at all. Thus, you contradict yourself when you say that you don’t dispute the law of non-contradiction. It’s hardly a law of it is open for debate.

    I do dispute that the law of causality is self-evident – in fact I think it is false.

    Well, of course you do. If no law is self evident, it would follow that law x is not self evident.

    By the way, it is ironic that you choose to remind Barry of the unbridgeable gap between “is” and “seems” after assiduously trying to bridge that gap on another thread in support of subjectivism.

  85. 85
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank @#70- If simultaneity is relative to the observer’s frame of reference, that means it is a case of perception, as I said in 69.

    there is no absolute concept of “at the same time”

    Then guess what, “Einstein”, A and B didn’t happen at the same time and neither did B and C. So no way would A and C happen at the same time.

    As I said: However if it is a fact that A does occur the same time as B and B occurs the same time as C then A occurs the same time as C.

    That still stands, regardless of your inability to understand it.

  86. 86
    Joe says:

    vel @ 74

    For me while design may be obvious the causes of the design are anything but.

    Unless you want to redefine the word, intelligent agency is the only known cause of design. That is why the Dawkins’ invented the word “designoid” for the which appears designed but wasn’t.

  87. 87

    I may have put myself out on a limb with this post to the NCSE blog
    (Thanks to Cornelius Hunter for the list plus a few of my own)

    ———————–

    The insults, ridicule and mocking proliferates here at NCSE, with little actual content.
    So I propose we tackle this “mountain of Evidence” and proceed to mine this mountain for the treasures it supposedly contains. Let’s get the explosives and obliterate the rocks and dirt; let’s bring in the big shovels and fill the big trucks with the raw ore and take it to the Concentrators for separation and refinement; let’s separate the junk from the copper, silver, gold and load the ore cars with the concentrate and send it off to the smelters. From the smelters we expect the finished and refined copper, silver, gold and more.

    So lets begin this mining of the “Mountain of Evidence” beginning with the following questions concerning the precious evidence contained therein. Let’s mine and concentrate and refine and answer the following:

    We don’t know how the laws of nature evolved,
    we don’t know how the 240+ physical and natural constants evolved,
    We don’t know how the first cell evolved
    we don’t know how the DNA code evolved,
    we don’t know how replication evolved,
    we don’t know how RNA polymerase evolved,
    we don’t know how transcription evolved,
    we don’t know how genes evolved,
    we don’t know how translation evolved,
    we don’t know how hemoglobin evolved,
    we don’t know how the electron transport chain evolved,
    we don’t know how ATPase evolved,
    we don’t know how eukaryotes evolved,
    we don’t know how multicellular organisms evolved,
    we don’t know how the vision cascade evolved,
    we don’t know how visual pattern recognition evolved,
    we don’t know how hearing evolved,
    we don’t know how audio pattern recognition evolved,
    we don’t know how the kidney evolved,
    we don’t know how the liver evolved,
    we don’t know how the circularity system evolved,
    we don’t know how mammals evolved,
    we don’t know how male/female anatomical sexuality evolved,
    we don’t know how bio sonar evolved,
    we don’t know how the hummingbird tongue evolved,
    we don’t know how the whale evolved,
    we don’t know how photosynthesis evolved,
    we don’t know how the butterfly evolved,
    we don’t know how flight feathers evolved.
    we don’t know how flight evolved
    we don’t know how turtles evolved,
    we don’t know how consciousness evolved,
    we don’t know how biological information (i.e. DNA) evolved,
    We don’t know how the various machines within the cell evolved,
    we don’t know how altruism evolved,
    we don’t know how bees evolved,
    we don’t know how all of the body organs, including skin co-evolved to their present form,
    we don’t know how human intellect evolved (i.e. music, art, literature etc.)

    … and more I’m sure

    Carl Sagan once said “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary answers.” I disagree, … I believe extraordinary claims demand ordinary answers.

    So let’s begin. And in this mining operation I would expect concrete definitive and easy to understand and follow answers, and not a bunch of dross in the form of insults and mockery. Begin wherever you wish, the easy ones first would be fine.

    We have a mountain of questions … do we have a mountain of evidence?

    Cheers,

    don

  88. 88
    Axel says:

    Picking up on your #80, esteemed Mung and hoping to develop it a little, such blind hatred as is being evidenced by the attitude and actions of Israels’ many enemies seems to me to have glaringly demonic dimension to it.

    The cold, calculated cynicism of Hamas (and apparently, Hesbollah before them) in using the Palestinian civilians as human shields, reminds me of those hideous ‘tug-of-hate’ cases, where one parent will kill their own children, simply to spite their spouse or partner.

    Of course, the parallel is not exact by any means, the players and dynamics being quite different, but the pitch of the hatred so exceeding the strength of any love, is so characteristically human, in the worst sense, and not all that uncommon within families.

    And who is ultimately responsible for so many Palestinian deaths? Who else but the so-called ‘international community’ ceaselessly fanning the anti-Jewish hatred and the most unrealistic expectations of the Palestinians.

    Never in the history of the world has a weaker people vanquished a stronger people by very definition; while history and common sense should tell us that, even with the backing of Qatar, Iran and others, Israel are not going to break the pattern of the stronger triumphing, and be beaten by the Palestinians and their allies.

    Geopolitics is normally the most wickedly hard-headed theatre of human endeavour, but the Palestinians have continually been used almost literally as cannon fodder, by Hamas, aided and abetted by the ‘international community’ (of Israel’s enemies [and vacillating friends]), surely in the certain knowledge that they themselves are the prime culprits in causing the countless deaths of Palestinians over the years and the demolishing of their homes.

    They have prevented the Palestinians from arriving at a realistic and even fruitful modus vivendi with Israel, as good neighbours.

    Typical of the ‘international community’ were their ‘pious’ and totally unrealistic, admonitions to Israel to show proportionality in response to the rocket attacks from Gaza.

    Instead of fighting a war, you’d think it was a mixed- doubles tennis match they were playing. All that was missing were the fruity tones of the late Dan Maskell: ‘Oh, I say! What a rocket of a volley that was, and a wonder cross court lob by Mortar in return!’

    Blinded by their hatred, it’s all crocodile tears from Israel’s enemies. If they really cared about the Palestinians, they would stop encouraging the wars and intifadas they wage against the Jews, and all start to face the reality and permanence of Israel in their midst, as potential brothers.

    It is beginning to have an Armaggedonish look about it, now, as if Israel goes the ME will likely be incinerated with her.

  89. 89
    Barry Arrington says:

    MF @ 75. Thank you yet again.

  90. 90
    Mark Frank says:

    Now that all the clarifications are out of the way – it is interesting to lay out the logic of Barry’s argument as I see it.

    A few abbreviations:

    Let:
    D be the proposition that life was designed.
    M be the proposition that materialism is true.
    X be the set of statements of “obviously true” propositions.

    Then I believe Barry’s argument is:

    1) If (~D & M) then ~X

    2) X seems obviously true

    3) Therefore X is true

    4) Therefore ~(~D & M)

    5) Therefore D OR ~M (inclusive OR)

    Clearly step 3 is still key to the argument. I have provided examples of propositions that seem obviously true but in fact are false. Some people have disputed some of them but Barry has accepted that in general you cannot conclude that something is true because it appears to be obviously true. So the jump from 2 to 3 needs a bit more justification than just noting X appears to be obviously true.

    Of course the argument holds if any member of X is true. And I accept that some of the members of X are true – particularly 4,5 and 7. However, in these cases I would deny that (~D & M) entails they are false.

  91. 91
    Joe says:

    It is a given that the way Mark Frank sees Barry’s argument and Barry’s actual argument, are not the same thing.

  92. 92
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark, you have failed to understand the thrust of my argument. It is really quite simple: If your basic metaphysical commitment requires you to explain away glaringly obvious things over and over and over and over and over and over, maybe the problem is with your metaphysical commitment.

  93. 93
    Mark Frank says:

    #92 BA

    It seems to me that you have just summarised what I was laying out in more detail. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe you can help by explaining which steps in my analysis are wrong?

    Mark

  94. 94
    Joe says:

    Well Mark, for one there are more than two different positions to consider. Your contrived dualism is your first mistake.

  95. 95
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark, we have reached clarity. Our disagreement is profound and I think further discourse will not increase that clarity.

    My position: If your metaphysical commitment requires you to deny numerous obviously true propositions including but not limited to the primordial datum that you have subjective self-awareness, then just maybe there is a problem with your metaphysical commitment.

    Your position: In the past some people thought some things were obvious that turned out not to be true. So I can feel OK about continuing to deny numerous obvious truths like subjective self-awareness.

    Mark, we all make our bets and take our chances. If that makes you feel better about your bet, good for you. Good luck with that.

  96. 96
    JWTruthInLove says:

    Over at TSZ people are confused by President Barry’s 6th statement. And here’s another one:

    Silly Barry
    Barry thinks “A man’s body is designed to be complimentary [sic] with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.” Well, no, it’s not “an obvious truth”, even if uses the correct word “complementary”. And even if it were, what does that have to do with whether same-sex relations are “licit” (…)

  97. 97
    Mung says:

    Barry:

    Mark, we all make our bets and take our chances. If that makes you feel better about your bet, good for you. Good luck with that.

    I’m starting my own casino, one where the house has to play by my rules.

  98. 98
    Mark Frank says:

    Barry

    I think there is scope for further clarity. I believe this is the first time you have used the phrase “subjective self-awareness”. Is that the same as 4 in the OP? I explicitly said I believed 4 was true in #90. Of course, I also think it is compatible with materialism – but that is another long story.

  99. 99
    Joe says:

    Yes, JWT, the TSZ ilk are confused-> another obvious truth.

    Also Darwinian evolution should eliminate same sex relationships as they are biologically unfit. Perhaps this is a relatively recent phenomena and NS hasn’t had the time. And if we are the product of Darwinian evolution why do we then not only tolerate, but seem to promote, this unfit behavior? Why elevate this obvious unfit behavior to the same status as fit behavior?

    It’s as if Darwinists are just love to live in denial of many obvious truths.

  100. 100
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Joe: Barry is not a Darwinist.

  101. 101
    Joe says:

    And Barry is against same-sex relationships. The TSZ ilk, ie the Darwinists, are for them.

  102. 102
    Joe says:

    JWT- A reason I have heard for the male/ female complementary form is natural and sexual selection. IOW it is an obvious truth regardless of what side you are on, just the designer is different (although NS has never been known to design anything).

  103. 103
    Joe says:

    On another note:

    6. A man’s body is designed to be complementary with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

    Free will trumps obvious truths, Barry. 😉

  104. 104
    Joe says:

    Joe’s test for the existence of free will:

    If you can deny an obvious truth and believe it, then you might just be a redneck have free will.

  105. 105
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Joe:

    A reason I have heard for the male/ female complementary form is natural and sexual selection.

    I believe God created humans. The human body as a multifunctional interface supports both hetero- and homosexual relationship-types.
    Btw. What is your religion, if I may ask?

    All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

    And that to me is the most interesting part. The conclusion doesn’t seem to follow from the statement about “complementarity” (see Barry’s car-example).

  106. 106

    It’s as if Darwinists are just love to live in denial of many obvious truths.

    Hyper-Anti-Authoritarianism. There’s nothing that screams out “authority” that must be rebelled against more than self-evident truths and necessary conclusions. It’s the same thing that is at the root of their extreme anti-theism.

  107. 107
    Joe says:

    JWTruthInLove- I don’t have a religion.

  108. 108
    velikovskys says:

    Joe,
    Unless you want to redefine the word, intelligent agency is the only known cause of design. That is why the Dawkins’ invented the word “designoid” for the which appears designed but wasn’t

    What designed the Grand Canyon?

  109. 109
    velikovskys says:

    Design …6
    : the arrangement of elements or details in a product or work of art

  110. 110
    Mung says:

    Mark, you’re hilarious.

    You’ve accused Barry of a non-sequitur.

    But instead of calling him on it, you want to argue over whether the conclusion follows by offering counter-examples.

    Truly rich.

    MF: Let X be the set of statements of “obviously true” propositions.

    2) X seems obviously true

    Therefore X is in the set of X. Correct?

    Clarity? Really?

  111. 111
    Joe says:

    The Grand Canyon is designed? Works of art require artists- and work is a sign of an intelligent agency, even one acting stupidly. The presence of work is how archaeologists determine artifact from rock. It is how forensic science determines intelligent agency involvement.

    Geez vel, just print your own dictionary and be done with it.

  112. 112
    Joe says:

    My reference: Artifact

  113. 113
    Mark Frank says:

    #110 Mung

    You’ve accused Barry of a non-sequitur.

    But instead of calling him on it, you want to argue over whether the conclusion follows by offering counter-examples.

    It appeared to me that Barry was arguing because some things appeared to be obviously true therefore they were true. I provided counter-examples. What’s the problem?

    As a matter of interest how do you accuse someone of something without calling them on it?

    MF: Let X be the set of statements of “obviously true” propositions.

    2) X seems obviously true

    Therefore X is in the set of X. Correct?

    Clarity? Really?

    To be pedantic I should have written – 2) the members of X are obviously true. I am a bit surprised you were unable to grasp that, others seemed to get the point OK.

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM:

    Hyper-Anti-Authoritarianism. There’s nothing that screams out “authority” that must be rebelled against more than self-evident truths and necessary conclusions. It’s the same thing that is at the root of their extreme anti-theism.

    Sadly, dead on target.

    The challenge of SETs is, they are undeniably true, not just axioms taken up to play a game, and they can have pretty sharp consequences for worldviews that deny them.

    KF

    KF

  115. 115
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank was also called on his alleged counter-examples and promptly choked. That would be the problem, Mark. And what point did others get OK, Mark? That you are out of your depth and in way over your head- that point?

  116. 116
    Mung says:

    Mark Frank:

    To be pedantic I should have written – 2) the members of X are obviously true.

    But then your “3) Therefore X is true” doesn’t make sense.

    As a matter of interest how do you accuse someone of something without calling them on it?

    1.) You were engaged in all those alleged counter-examples before the post to which I was responding in which you laid out your form of his argument.

    2.) “You accused him of a non sequitur” was a figure of speech. Apparently you weren’t aware of the non sequitur until I pointed it out to you.

  117. 117
    Mung says:

    : Moral Experience

    Philosophers who reflect on our moral experience see no more reason to distrust that moral experience than the experience of our five senses. My senses are not infallible, but that doesn’t lead me to think that there is no external world around me. Similarly, in the absence of some reason to distrust my moral experience, I should accept what it tells me, namely, that some things are objectively good or evil, right or wrong.

    Most of us would agree that in moral experience we do apprehend objective values and duties. … Most of us recognize that sexual abuse of another person is wrong. Actions like rape, torture and child abuse aren’t just socially unacceptable behavior – they’re moral abominations. By the same token love, generosity, and self-sacrifice are really good. People who fail to see this are just handicapped, the moral equivalent of someone who is physically blind, and there’s no reason to let their impairment call into question what we see clearly.

    On Guard, pp. 140-141

    Love that last sentence.

  118. 118
    Mark Frank says:

    Most of us would agree that in moral experience we do apprehend objective values and duties. …

    Rubbish. Almost everyone I talks to recognises that ethical views are in the end subjective (albeit important) and that you cannot deduce values from facts.

    Most of us recognize that sexual abuse of another person is wrong.

    Completely true. WLC’s problem is that he is too blinkered to see the difference.

     

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    Re MF: Apparently he will not acknowledge the implications of subjectivism, as in might and manipulation make ‘right.’ This is of course yet another well why not have the cake and eat it error. KF

Leave a Reply