25 Replies to “Doing My Duty

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    In two brief sentences… It’s strange what a comfort it was to read that.

  2. 2
    Johnnyfarmer says:

    Brain teasing intentional out of context quote mining …. is also obvious….

    BTW …. Just want to thank you all for participating in this forum. I have been a faithful lurker here since about a year before the Dover trial. I tend to be too much of a lightweight to enter into the discussion much but I thoroughly enjoy it and I do glean talking points to share with others more on my own level intellectually.

    Thanks again to all … for this great debate !!!

  3. 3
    Tim Gardiner says:

    The materialists would add, “the appearance” of design is obvious. How they get away with it is a great mystery.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    Should it matter that it’s taken out of context, if, as it does, it answers to the situation of sane people having to treat with terminally loopy people, who refuse to follow where the logic leads, if it destroys their own world-view?

    And what is it about the term, ‘quote mining’ that impresses you as seriously pejorative, rather than as a vapid cliche of the intellectually-challenged? Not that I believe your own self-assessment. I’m sure you are smarter than that.

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    During an online debate with an atheist, I was asked, “What difference does context make?”

    If the atheists don’t care about it, why should I?

    Oh, wait. That’s right. I am intellectually honest.

  6. 6
    Bilbo I says:

    In the spirit of George Orwell, “Big Brother is watching you.

  7. 7
    Johnnyfarmer says:

    …. which is why I am an intellectually fulfilled materialist at the Panda as well

  8. 8
    Kaz says:

    @Tim:

    “The materialists would add, ‘the appearance’ of design is obvious. How they get away with it is a great mystery.”

    And others, like Michael Shermer, argue that structures and life forms that exhibit a patently purposeful arrangement of exquisitely coordinated parts are “designed,” but that this is a “bottom-up” physical process involving random mutations and natural selection. This clearly incorporates an equivocation, because while mutations that occur without respect to the benefit of an organism might be accurately described as part of a “bottom-up” process, they are not part of a “design” process. The two concepts are antonymous.

    Random (in evolutionary theory) = To occur without respect to the benefit of the organism.

    Design (from the Free Dictionary) = 1. a. To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent: design a good excuse for not attending the conference. b. To formulate a plan for; devise: designed a marketing strategy for the new product. 2. To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form: design a building; design a computer program. 3. To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect: a game designed to appeal to all ages. 4. To have as a goal or purpose; intend. 5. To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner.

  9. 9
    Mark Frank says:

    “It seems rather mean to go to high communion when one doesn’t believe, but I have passed myself off for pious & there is nothing for it but to keep up the deception.”(George Orwell)

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    JF: It seems you have moved from onlooker to active participant, welcome. I do note that intellectually fulfilled materialist appears a tad oxymoronic, cf. here from me at 101 level (we gotta start somewhere . . . NB Haldane) and e.g. here at more sophisticated level. KF

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: It looks to me that BA is right. We have reached a sad pass where going back to self evident first principles and facts is both needed and stoutly resisted — a saw off the branch on which we sit game if there ever was one. My own 101 in response is here on, and as to why it is reasonable to believe as a Christian theist, I think here on is helpful to those open to reflect on this. (Take in the discussion on Perry et al and what they have done to truth and education also. Sobering that what is a draft for a systematics course has to start by defending truth and our ability to apprehend it. That is how deep the dry-rot in our civilisation is, and if it is not rooted out and fixed, I am convinced we are headed for devastating collapse.) KF

  12. 12
    Axel says:

    #4 continued. but perhaps not that much smarter, Johnnyfarmer.

    Didn’t it set alarm bells ringing, when the masthead title, Panda’s Thumb, was shown to have been critically misconceived as a rallying cry for your materialism?

    Or the sad fact that your august organ had to turn to a famous Christian entreaty by Oliver Cromwell? I beseech you in the bowels of Christ…!’

    Reminds me of the interview by Ray Comfort, when the university students were flummoxed to name one famous atheist scientist; while the Skeptics website named eight, all falsely, as pointed out.

  13. 13
    Johnnyfarmer says:

    to clarify….

    My reply @7 was to confuse big brother watching… @6

    But I do lurk at the Panda

    My designer would be the Biblical God and I am fairly fundamental. A fence sitter on age of the earth issues.

    Here is how I discovered ID. I was switching through TV channels and came across a debate between Dr Demski and some Darwinists. I was not PC literate at the time but I realized I needed to access the internet to pursue ID … so I bought a PC and eight years later I am still here (but I do need to soon learn how to use those HTML tags) I have studied creation science since 1993 but I do prefer my science to be free of religious bias. Like I said @ 2 … I am a bit lightweight for this conversation. I earned a BS in horticulture from PSU back in 1983. I have read several Dr Demski and Behe books along with Dr Michael Denton’s books and Franklin Harold’s “The Cell”. And I want to do “Darwin’s Doubt”.

    Also need to say I appreciate the philosophical viewpoints expressed in this forum.

    And BTW….The reason for Johnny in Johnnyfarmer probably has a lot to do with the color of tractors I drive!

    Axel @ 1,4 and 12 …. my brain is still recovering.

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    Take no notice JF. I probably went off half-cocked, misunderstanding your gist.

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    It’s called, ‘second-guessing, Kaz: ‘To criticise or correct, after an outcome is known.’
    – Freedictionary.com

    Leaving the methodical, incremental study and testing of ‘appearances’ proper to empirical science, in favour of reverting to second-guessing a different conjectured reality imagined to exist behind the appearances. Didn’t Groucho Marx make a crack about believing ‘his lying eyes?’

    Come back Aristotle! All is forgiven…

  16. 16
    GilDodgen says:

    ME: Living systems contain computer programs far more sophisticated than anything produced by the most intelligent humans. Living systems are therefore clearly designed.

    DARWINIST: Can you prove that random mutations filtered by natural selection cannot produce those highly sophisticated computer programs found in living systems?

    ME: Please don’t waste my time. That tactic will only work on someone who is ignorant, who has an IQ below room temperature, or who has been so catastrophically indoctrinated with Darwinian orthodoxy that he can no longer employ his reasoning powers to reach a logical conclusion.

    Of course, there is always the possibility that all three criteria listed above are in play.

  17. 17
    Axel says:

    That’s it: empirical science grew ORGANICALLY from Judaeo-Christianity. That’s the word I was looking for.

  18. 18
    Axel says:

    I think we would all be immensely gratified if they at least tried to employ their reasoning powers to reach a logical conclusion, GilDodgen.

    But that’s what makes it so surreal. They don’t want to. They fear – and surely, rightly, with their current world-view – that it would lead to their worst nightmare. Big Father watching over them.

  19. 19
    Tim Gardiner says:

    @Kaz:

    Great point! It appears that when materialists like Dawkins says the “appearance of design” we can infer they don’t literally mean design, obviously right. But isn’t that so interesting…

    I guess another way of saying it is that the actual appearance of living systems infers design SO much that materialists have to concede this observation in order to explain their bottom up process, which is completely unnecessary.

    And that was my point in bringing this up. Design actually IS so obvious, it is a wonder how they get away with explaining it away…

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think Paley has somewhat to say to us, that we need to hear:

    ______

    CH 1 Nat Theol, c 1802 – 6: >> In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer, that for any thing I knew to the contrary it had lain there for ever; nor would it, perhaps, be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer.

    But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that for any thing I knew the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone ; why is it not as admissible in the second case as in the first?

    For this reason, and for no other, namely, that when we come to inspect the watch we perceive—what we could not discover in the stone—that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e. g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, or placed after any other manner or m any other order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it. >>

    Ch 2: >> Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch should after some time discover, that in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself—the thing is conceivable ; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts—a mould, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, files, and other tools—evidently and separately calculated for this purpose; let us inquire what effect ought such a discovery to have upon his former conclusion.

    I. The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done— for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art. If that construction witliout this property, or which is the same thing, before this property had been noticed, proved intention and art to have been employed about it, still more strong would the proof appear when he came to the knowledge of this further property, the crown and perfection of all the rest.

    II. He would reflect, that though the watch before him were in some sense the maker of the watch which was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair—the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use. With respect to these, the first watch was no cause at all to the second: in no such sense as this was it the author of the constitution and order, either of the parts which the new watch contained, or of the parts by the aid and instrumentality of which it was produced. We might possibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn; but no latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder was. What the stream of water does in the affair is neither more nor less than this: by the application of an unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the effect results from the arrangement. The force of the stream cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share which the water has in grinding the corn; yet is this share the same as that which the watch would have contributed to the production of the new watch, upon the supposition assumed in the last section. Therefore,

    III. Though it be now no longer probable that the individual watch which our observer had found was made immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been originally employed and concerned in the production. The argument from design remains as it was. Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat; and these causes may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order, without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechanism we so much admire m it—could be truly said to have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned their office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependency, combined their several motions into one result, and that also a result connected with the utilities of other beings. All these properties, therefore, are as much unaccounted for as they were before.

    IV. Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to have been produced from another watch, that from a former, and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. “We still want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were diminished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which this sort of reasoning applies. “Where there is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be attained ; but where there is no such tendency or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening the series. There is no difference as to the point in question, whatever there may be as to many points, between one series and another—between a series which is finite, and a series which is infinite.

    A chain composed of an infinite number of links can no more support itself than a chain composed of a finite number of links. And of this we are assured, though we never can have tried the experiment; because, by increasing the number of links, from ten, for instance, to a hundred, from a hundred to a thousand, etc., we make not the smallest approach, we observe not the smallest tendency towards self support. There is no difference in this respect—yet there may be a great difference in several respects—between a chain of a greater or less length, between one chain and another, between one that is finite and one that is infinite. This very much resembles the case before us. The machine which we are inspecting demonstrates, by its construction, contrivance and design. Contrivance must have had a contriver, design a designer, whether the machine immediately proceeded from another machine or not. That circumstance alters not the case . . . [Natural Theology, Ch 2, 1806.] >>
    ________

    Serious thing.

    G

  21. 21
    Kaz says:

    @Tim:

    “And that was my point in bringing this up. Design actually IS so obvious, it is a wonder how they get away with explaining it away…”

    Precisely so, which is why I don’t really need ID to recognize that intelligence must be involved in the origin and diversification of life forms. I appreciate the work of the ID community because they are helping people to grapple with the issues, but deep down I think that pretty much everyone knows that life forms exhibit design, or, what I typically refer to as “a patently purposeful arrangement of exquisitely coordinated parts” (for emphasis). There’s really no escaping this reality, however much some may wish they could.

    I had the opportunity to watch an ID critic squirm recently, and all I did to effect this state of uneasiness was ask the sort of simple question that one would assume has entered the mind of everyone whose given more than a moment’s cursory thought to this issue, to wit:

    1) If you had all the necessary parts in front of you, could you build an outboard motor?

    2) If so, what would you depend upon more than anything else to accomplish the task?

    After watching folks squirm over those two simple questions, I pointed out that the oft-quoted words of Dobzhansky are logically equivalent to the following (I owe this observation to Cornelius Hunter):

    “Everything in biology makes sense in light of evolution.”

    So I asked:

    Can anyone here make sense of the bacterial flagellum in light of evolution without resorting to just-so stories or simply restating the power of evolutionary processes, which would be begging the question?

    One person claimed that the flagellum question has been answered, and, amazingly, sent me to a website where someone not only offered nothing more than a just-so story, by who concluded by admitting that we don’t know how the bacterial flagellum came about, and that we may never know!

    See: http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....fcJIY2ThB0

    My point is merely that the design inference is powerfully reasonable, probably inescapable, while the attempts to avoid it reveal the flaccidity of Neo-Darwinism for all to see.

  22. 22
    Alan Fox says:

    Here is the quote in context, taken from “The Road to Wigan Pier”, written in 1937

    If there are certain pages of Mr Bertrand Russell’s book, Power, which seem rather empty, that is merely to say that we have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. It is not merely that at present the rule of naked force obtains almost everywhere. Probably that has always been the case. Where this age differs from those immediately preceding it is that a liberal intelligentsia is lacking. Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion, and such truisms as that a machine-gun is still a machine-gun even when a “good” man is squeezing the trigger — and that in effect is what Mr Russell is saying — have turned into heresies which it is actually becoming dangerous to utter.

    “The Road to Wigan Pier” describes Orwell’s research into working-class conditions in the Midlands and North of England during the depression and is an argument for genuine socialism.

    Interesting Barry should find solace in such a work!

  23. 23
    Tim Gardiner says:

    @Kaz:

    “a patently purposeful arrangement of exquisitely coordinated parts”

    This is Complex specified information (CSI) to ID scientists. I got into an intense debate (unfortunately) with a veteran die hard Darwinist a couple weeks ago. And he was saying that CSI is made up mumbo jumbo because you can’t measure it. In fact, I believe all Darwinists say this. I wasn’t sure how to respond at first – I mean CSI is clearly objective: any system requiring its parts to be specifically arranged for functionality to occur. But how do you explain it is measurable??

    But, then it hit me, I just said that CSI is measurable simply because the parts of a system is quantitative. So, the greater number of parts in a CSI system means the higher quantity of CSI. A 300 amino acid sequence in a protein has greater CSI value than a bicycle with 12 parts to it.

    I know there is another way to measure CSI using fancy probability equations which I’d like to study Dembski’s work.

    But, isn’t my simple explanation good enough for CSI being measurable?? I’d love to hear someone’s thoughts.

  24. 24
    Bilbo I says:

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for finding the context of the Orwell quotation. I don’t know if Barry takes solace in it, but I certainly do.

  25. 25
    Kaz says:

    @Tim:

    It’s funny to hear of a Darwinist who criticizes a theory because it’s supposedly not measurable. I call Darwinism a “higgledy-piggledy theory of Que Sara Sara” because it has all the measurability of nothingness. Darwinists can’t tell us what specific mutations occurred to effect the emergence of any creature from any period, nor can they tell us what mutations will occur in the future to effect future transitions. Heck, Darwinists can’t even tell us how many morphological changes have occurred or will occur, and that’s a much easier question that the one they should be answering if they want to begin to make their theory credible.

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