Intelligent Design

Experience, Rational Debate & Science Depend On The Supernatural

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I’m going to lay out three basic arguments for belief in the supernatural. First, science itself would not be possible were it not for the effects of unseen, higher-order supernatural causes. Second, science and rational debate would not be possible unless we all have faith in the supernatural – unseen spirits not bound to material causes. Third, each of us has direct personal experience of the supernatural every waking second of every day.

Let’s first define what “supernatural” means. From Merriam-Webster:

of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.
unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature : of, relating to, or seeming to come from magic, a god, etc.
attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

1: Science depends on measuring supernatural effects

We call these observable, reliable and measurable effects physical laws, forces and universal constants, but those terms are misleading, much like referring to “chance” as a causal agency. Those terms do not represent causal objects or energies we can point at, but are rather descriptions (or models) of observed patterns of behavior of matter and energy for which there is no known or observable cause. The names of these patterns and models are used as if they apply to causal things, but this is a conceptual error. When we say “gravity causes X to fall”, it is not gravity causing it because gravity is the description of the physics of the event. Something “causes it to fall”, but it is not gravity; it is whatever causes the pattern of behavior we call “gravity”.

What is the “natural world”?

The natural world is the set of phenomena that can be described and predicted according to behavioral and interactive constants. However, those laws and constants do not describe where or how such laws and constants exist in the first place, or what they are, or even how they are affecting physical phenomena. These invisible and mysterious causes are supernatural both by definition and logically because they: (1) necessarily relate to an order of existence beyond the observable natural world (since they cause the behavior that defines what we call “the natural world”, (2) are unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature (since science depends upon observing behavioral patterns, and behavioral patterns cannot explain what causes such patterns in the first place), and  (3) these patterns are attributed to invisible, unknown agents (which we erroneously refer to with objectifying terminology –  forces, constants and laws).

The science of the natural world depends upon an unknown, unseen superset of mysterious agencies causing the predictable, reliable, rationally understandable patterns of behavior we observe and describe as the set of natural-occurring phenomena.

2: Science & rational debate depend upon faith in the supernatural

Conducting science requires one to accept that humans have a free will capacity to identify objective facts about the universe and integrate them into theoretical systems that can be properly verified or disproved via true/false statements about experimental outcomes according to abstract principles assumed to be universally valid.  Logically, this means humans must have a capacity that transcends thought as the mere product of happenstance chemical interactions.  IOW, scientists must have faith that humans have the capacity to override whatever thoughts interacting chemicals happen to produce and instead force them down correct, truthful paths from an assumed objective viewpoint. Such a transcendent observational and willful capacity is necessarily supernatural, as the natural is only capable of producing whatever happenstance thoughts and “wilfulness” interacting chemicals happen to produce.

Rational debate depends upon the same assumption; that humans have some kind of non-physical agency which can supervise and override physical thought processes down paths which are correct according to abstract principles which are considered objectively binding. Such an agency is unseen and would necessarily have the power to intervene in the natural patterns producing thoughts and generating conclusions.

It is only by faith in such a supernatural agency and in the supernatural authority of abstract principles accepted as objectively valid that we can expect to be able to overcome the happenstance course of physical cause and effect in the course of our rational and scientific endeavors.

3: Everyone directly experiences the supernatural daily

Each of us experience ourselves as a seat of consciousness with direct, top-down, intentional, prescriptive control (to varying degrees) over the behaviors of many elements of our bodies and thinking processes.  We don’t know how to make various cellular or chemical reactions occur that are necessary for motion and thought. Somehow, without any technical or mechanical knowledge at all, with no understanding of how to initiate or control any of the various chemical and mechanical resources, simple intention can operate what is probably the most highly advanced and complex piece of equipment in the universe with amazing precision. Like a ghost inhabiting a doll out of a movie, our will alone can set physical forces in motion, control them, and stop them on command – no physics, chemistry or mechanical knowledge required whatsoever.  It is precisely like magic.

Furthermore, our will can instantly access any of virtually countless memories without any understanding whatsoever of how the memory process works or how the data retrieval process works.  We can simply intend to write or say something on a subject and gain immediate access to a seemingly never-ending stream of information corresponding to our intent. We can imagine things that do not even exist in the real world, our minds effortlessly rendering a massive virtual reality for us to experience as we daydream or sleep-dream. We cannot see this agency; we cannot explain how it can immediately differentiate from innumerable, variant intents to magically set billions of cellular processes and chemical interactions on a precise course to find memories, find or generate thoughtful, relevant information, or direct our body to precisely achieve a limitless variance of actions.

We experience this self-will as transcending mere physical causation from a higher order of existence, being able to direct the matter and energy of our bodies at will.  We have power over our physical and mental nature exactly like a supernatural ghost in a machine, capable of the most wondrous and amazing feats of physical complexity, creativity and computation without any understanding of how any of it is physically initiated, maintained or controlled.

——————————

That all of these things are considered “mundane” hides their astounding, miraculous, supernatural nature.

133 Replies to “Experience, Rational Debate & Science Depend On The Supernatural

  1. 1
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    [I’m not going to put up with any trolling in this thread, GC – WJM]

  2. 2
    rvb8 says:

    “The science of the natural world depends upon an unknown, unseen superset of mysterious agencies…”

    One sentance out of the whole and it leaves me wondering if the writer means ‘unknowable’ and ‘unseeable’ and ‘mystic’?
    And if so, why bother?

    Again I have no problem with faith, however the question naturally arises; “In what way is this knowledge useful in the betterment of mankind, or the understanding of our universe?”

  3. 3
    evnfrdrcksn says:

    [No trolling will be allowed in this thread, evnfrdrcksn. – WJM]

  4. 4

    rvb8 said:

    One sentance out of the whole and it leaves me wondering if the writer means ‘unknowable’ and ‘unseeable’ and ‘mystic’?

    No, I meant “supernatural”, which should be clear from the context. And, I defined the term in the post.

    And if so, why bother?

    In order to demonstrate the incorrect and absurd framing of a large portion of human experience by atheists/physicalists.

    Again I have no problem with faith, however the question naturally arises; “In what way is this knowledge useful in the betterment of mankind, or the understanding of our universe?”

    It’s a good thing you have no problem with faith, seeing as every waking second of every human’s life relies upon it. But, I don’t expect you to see that any knowledge – useful or not, used for the betterment of mankind or not – ultimately rests upon proper faith and conceptual frameworks.

    If your question were to be posed more intelligibly, it might be: how would an appreciation for the supernatural aspects of our existence better mankind or increase our knowledge of the universe?

    Well, rvb8, the great thing here is that we don’t have to imagine how such a conceptual framework might increase our knowledge or better mankind; we have about three hundred years of evidence to show what kind of difference such a perpsective makes in the world.

    It’s called the Enlightenment, rvb8, and it has generated more betterment of mankind and acquisition of knowledge than any other conceptual framework in the known history of the world.

    Try properly grounding and establishing a working scientific method without fundamental principles understood to be objective and binding, transcending and enforceable in top-down authority over happenstance interactions of brain chemistries. Try using a framework of atheistic materialism to act as the basis for the idea of unalienable, metaphysical rights – you know, those pesky spiritual/supernatural (see definitions) assumptions that have served to greatly increase the betterment and knowledge of mankind.

    All of which is at risk of abandonment and destruction by the conceptually barren, science-destroying, morally numbing acid of atheistic physicalism.

    You cannot derive such ennobling and empowering concepts from a concept of humanity as chemistry-driven effects of interacting matter. It’s a good thing atheists and physicalists live in a civilization built up from the recognition of the supernatural; otherwise, they’d still be leading brutish lives framed by the idea that we’re just amoral, purposeless things doing whatever we do and thinking whatever we happen to think.

  5. 5
    Origenes says:

    Science attempts to restrict itself to what is intersubjectively verifiable; which means that introspection is off-limits.
    Seversky said it exactly right in another thread:

    What science deals with is what we can observe, using “observe” in its broadest sense, …. We started with what was in front of us and have been working our way outward ever since.
    [my emphasis]

    This jumped at me. The mind is left behind.

    WJM: That all of these things are considered “mundane” hides their astounding, miraculous, supernatural nature.

    Not only that. The demand that knowledge must be intersubjective, the implicit prohibition of introspection, lies at the foundation of naturalistic science. Cogito ergo sum is out.

    Science does not want to reflect on what is necessary to do science — the supernatural. WJM is perfectly right to point this out.

  6. 6

    Origenes @5:

    Exactly. Science, rational debate, morality and indeed the self-aware operation of body and thought depend upon the assumption of a supernatural superstructure that provides detachment from and operational authority over the natural. Virtually every aspect of our lives relies upon the assumption (even if unrealized and unspoken) of some supernatural principle, ability or necessary component.

    Blithely ignoring this and repeating the mantra “it is all natural” is blissful ignorance, self-deception or an outright lie. Atheistic naturalism cannot produce a scientific method, morality, a reasoning system or personal responsibility; it can only adopt those concepts after religion/spirituality provides them and then insist they can be purchased via naturalism.

    No, no they cannot.

  7. 7
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    I apologize for my first comment. My only excuse is that I was on opioid pain killers for dental implants.

    With regard to your first point, is this not the same as saying that if the cause is not known that it must be supernatural? My disagreement with this is all through history, the rhealm of the supernatural has gradually shrunk as we gain more knowledge. Given this history, the most likely scenario is that this trend will continue. We may reach a point where we can no longer push back that knowledge barrier but that still doesn’t mean that what remains is supernatural.

  8. 8
    StephenB says:

    WJM, this is a peripheral point, but the theme of your post also serves to expose the Darwinist/TE strategy for discrediting ID. As the story goes, it’s acceptable for the archeologist to detect design in an ancient hunter’s spear because the hunter, described as existing “in” nature, is alleged to be natural cause (as opposed to ID’s designer which is “supernatural). On those grounds, they claim that we are not really using scientific methods similar to archeology. But as you point out, we certainly don’t experience ourselves as natural causes, which means that, as causal agents, we don’t exist in nature. Like our Creator, we can arrange matter for a purpose. Obviously, nature can’t do that.

  9. 9
    StephenB says:

    Gordon Cunningham

    My disagreement with this is all through history, the rhealm of the supernatural has gradually shrunk as we gain more knowledge.

    That we gain more knowledge about how nature works is obvious. The point is that the only way nature can work at all is if a supernatural agent made it work in the first place and keeps it working. In simplest terms, every law requires a lawgiver (and a law sustainer). That logical principle doesn’t “shrink” as we increase our knowledge about nature. It is the very thing that makes such knowledge possible.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    If UD is going to be declared a troll-free zone I may have to leave. 😉

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    I’ve been reading through Feyerabend’s The Tyranny of Science. Recommended reading.

    Atheists often appeal to “science” without truly understanding just what it is they appealing to.

  12. 12
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    StephenB, unless I am misreading WJM, that is not what he is saying. He is saying that whatever is behind the physical laws must be supernatural. I am just pointing out that throughout history there are many things that we attributed to the supernatural that we now know are not.

    It is possible that at the root of everything is the supernatural, but I think that it is premature to make this claim.

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    He is saying that whatever is behind the physical laws must be supernatural.

    No, the laws themselves are supernatural.

  14. 14

    GC:

    The supernatural is a necessary, axiomatic ground both for the existence and maintenance of the natural and for our experiential and explanatory capacities which require transcendence from natural cause and effect sequences and reference to abstract non-physical principles that must be held as binding, prescriptive and universal.

    So no, it is not an argument from ignorance; it is an argument from firsthand experience, knowledge about the universe and logic. The more we know about our existence, the more it is clear that the supernatural must (1) house and support the natural and (2) be accessible from within the natural.

    It’s clear we must be supernatural beings residing within a material, natural world with meantal/informational/spiritual access beyond the physical. Otherwise, we’re just solipsistic biological automatons doing and thinking whatever happenstance material interactions produce.

    There’s no third option. Either the supernatural exists, or we are delusional bits of animated matter, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  15. 15
    StephenB says:

    GC

    StephenB, unless I am misreading WJM, that is not what he is saying.

    We are saying the same thing in a different way.

    He is saying that whatever is behind the physical laws must be supernatural.

    Which is another way of saying that a supernatural lawgiver must exist in order for a natural law to come into existence and remain in existence.

    I am just pointing out that throughout history there are many things that we attributed to the supernatural that we now know are not.

    You are missing the point. There are many things that we once attributed to God’s direct action that were later found to be the product of a natural law, which logically requires a supernatural lawgiver.

    It is possible that at the root of everything is the supernatural, but I think that it is premature to make this claim.

    How can anything come into existence unless a pre-existent being brings it into existence? You were thinking what?–that things bring themselves into existence out of nothingness?

  16. 16
    AnimatedDust says:

    SB @ 15: That brings to mind the great line uttered by Prof. Lennox in conjunction with the assertion by Hawking that, “Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

    Lennox’s priceless retort: “Nonsense, even when spoken by highly credentialed scientists, remains nonsense.”

    Nothing could be truer than in reference to Krauss’ entire book about something from nothing.

    Well said.

  17. 17
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ OP

    Let’s first define what “supernatural” means. From Merriam-Webster:

    of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.
    unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature : of, relating to, or seeming to come from magic, a god, etc.
    attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

    I’ll see your Merriam-Webster and raise you one Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Naturalism

    The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed “naturalists” from that period included John Dewey, Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook and Roy Wood Sellars. These philosophers aimed to ally philosophy more closely with science. They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing “supernatural”, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the “human spirit” (Krikorian 1944; Kim 2003).

    So understood, “naturalism” is not a particularly informative term as applied to contemporary philosophers. The great majority of contemporary philosophers would happily accept naturalism as just characterized—that is, they would both reject “supernatural” entities, and allow that science is a possible route (if not necessarily the only one) to important truths about the “human spirit”.

    [My emphases]

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks,

    Perhaps, it would help to distinguish syllables:

    super-natural,

    i.e. that which

    1: is beyond the natural and in this case

    2: is its causal root, governor (hence, ordering laws) and sustainer.

    Where the issue pivots on the premise that self-origination is not coherent, and spontaneous origin from utter non-being (a true nothing) is equally dubious.

    If a world now is, something always was, something that is a necessary being root of the natural order.

    Which is beyond that order.

    By logic of being.

    KF

    PS: The proposal of an infinite past natural chain of cause is inherently deeply problematic, entailing traversing endless succession in finite, cumulative successive stages — the incoherence of ending the endless in finite steps. It also leaves the issue of coherent, unified ordering law unanswered. So yes, while many are naturalists, they have not answered the question.

    PPS: And particularly as, to reason together we need to be responsibly and rationally free, naturalists — evolutionary materialists — need to cogently ground a mind capable of responsible rationality on blind mechanical necessity and/or chance in computing substrates. The GIGO principle and the inherently non rational [as in not ground-consequent inference], but instead blindly mechanical cause effect chain nature of computational processing leads straight to self referential incoherence, self falsification and explanatory failure.

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    If we accept the premise that something has always existed, then we can ask about the nature of that which can actually always exist.

    If we deny the premise that something has always existed, then we admit that something can come from nothing, an idea that is anathema to science.

    So who are the true science deniers?

  20. 20
    rvb8 says:

    Thank you KF. “beyond the natural“ is good and clear. “is its causal root”, a little less clear, do you mean, “is its own cause”? Because if you do, you are going down the impenetrable ‘what caused the first cause’ maize. Good luck!

    WJM, a little less clear, “abstract non-physical principles” is not a synonym of “supernatural”. You however, seem quite happy to equate justice, fairness, altruism etc, as evidence of supernaturalism? they are not. These “abstract” ideas are much more easily explained in a “natural” argument!

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    …you are going down the impenetrable ‘what caused the first cause’ maize. Good luck!

    What caused the first uncaused cause is a question only a moron could ask.

    Not that there is ever any dearth of morons.

  22. 22
    rvb8 says:

    I don’t know why it’s a moron’s question. Are you not in the slightest bit curious as to? ’where did God come from?‘

    WJM says the supernatural is ‘unknown’ and ‘unseen’. Mung gets angry when I ask ‘what caused the first cause’. This all comes across as mightily incurious.

    Science deals with the manegeable. And by manageable I mean testable, the empirical. Your ‘uncaused cause’ is exactly beyond natural (supernatural) and therefore logically out of bounds. And if it is not ‘out of bounds’ I should be allowed to ask, ‘what caused the first “uncaused” cause?‘

  23. 23
    evnfrdrcksn says:

    careful, rvb8…they’re gonna call you a troll and delete your comments if you keep asking them reasonable questions.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    rvb8 (attn: evnfrdrcksn),

    I spoke to the causal root of the realm we know as nature.

    This raises the issue of modes of being. I note here, A first cause is not the same as THE first cause of the realm of nature. That is we here are looking at fundamental modes of being/ non-being (and by extension, candidate being), possible vs impossible and contingent vs necessary.

    Where, possible beings would exist in at least one possible world, were it instantiated. Impossible beings have such a contradiction of core characteristics (think square circle) that they can be in no possible world. Of possibles, contingent ones depend on external enabling on/off factors [think fire triangle or better, tetrahedron] and so would exist in some possible worlds but not in all possible worlds.

    Necessary beings, by contrast are connected to the framework for a possible world to exist, and are also independent of external enabling factors. If a world is, it will have a cluster of NBs inextricably intertwined in its causal roots. For instance, for a world to exist there must be distinct identity (say of A) and thus, two-ness: W = {A|~A}.

    The context is that CB’s are caused, NBs are NOT CAUSED but are facets of the root of a real world. Thus, the question, what CAUSED THE first cause, is ill formed and incoherent. (Not everything is caused, only contingent beings, which typically tend to have beginnings, composite characters and ends. Hence, the observation, that which begins to exist has a cause.)

    Such used to be well understood, but in our time, has been too often given short shrift.

    In this context, credibly, we live in an actual world, which is therefore possible and may in principle be described comprehensively by a cluster of detailed, accurate assertions that will by being true be compatible with one another. Beyond, these true assertions may be connected by meta-level explanatory frameworks that ideally will allow prediction and influence/control. Such, too must seek to be coherent and to exhibit economy without becoming simplistic. We see here how a world-understanding project will address inter alia both natural and cultural history, science and worldview-analysis. For the last, the methodological key will be comparative difficulties across factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory balance of power and simplicity without becoming simplistic.

    This world unfolds across time in causally connected chains, and so far as we understand credibly had a beginning (often suggested as about 13.7 or 13.8 BYA). Thus our experienced cosmos is credibly contingent and requires an adequate causal root. Even through a multi-verse speculation or a we are part of a simulation the-matrix or Plato’s Cave world, we see the same contingency and need for causal root.

    Multiply this by the premise: non-being (a genuine nothing) has no causal powers, so if there were ever utter non-being, such would forever obtain.

    Consequently, as a world is, something always was, a NB causal root of reality.

    There is no cause of THE first cause, or notion that everything is caused, or assertion of its self-origination per self-cause, but instead an assessment of nature of being and of causal roots of worlds.

    The issue is candidate, world-root level necessary beings.

    Candidate, to focus attention on comparative difficulties and to bring forth a principle of NBs.

    Namely, that a serious candidate NB will either be impossible (as a square circle is impossible) or else actual once any world exists. Likewise, such a NB will not have a beginning nor can it cease to be: ponder, what on/off enabling factor had to be switched on for two-ness to begin to exist, or to turn it off from existing? When did

    | + | –> ||

    and so also, immediately

    W = {A|~A}

    begin to be so, and under what circumstances would it — yes, there is but one inextricably intertwined and fused truth there — ever fail of being so? Did 2 have a beginning? A causal history of its beginning? A growth, life and eventual death?

    In short, once a world is, we are looking straight at something of eternal character.

    The issue is, which serious candidate NB will we have at the root of our world-understandings? And, per comparative difficulties, why? Thus, what is the credible causal root of reality in this world?

    For simple instance, the flying spaghetti monster parody used to mock ethical theism is patently not a serious candidate NB, being composite, material and the like. It only became popular because of widespread ignorance of first principles of modes of being. In a previous world in which educated people understood such ABCs it would never have been more than a joke in a pub where students gather.

    Similarly, the notion of a world popping out of nothing is deeply problematic.

    As I hinted, trying an infinite past chain of causally successive finite stages to reach the present implies spanning a transfinite interval in finite stage cumulative steps and runs into serious trouble. That is, you try to traverse and end the endless in finite steps; landing in serious incoherence. (And yes, I am prepared to defend this point.)

    By contrast, the eternal [–> NB!], immortal [–> NB!], inherently good creator-God, a maximally great and so the supreme being (who inter alia eternally contemplates the world of true abstract principles and propositions etc . . . i.e. an eternal mind), is a serious candidate. The issue, then is, is the God envisioned by ethical theism an impossible or a possible being?

    If the latter, he is actual and in fact would be a very good candidate to be causal root of a reality involving morally governed, responsibly and rationally free creatures such as we are: the inherently good and maximally great creator God.

    But also, those who reject such a God, implicitly imply that he is either a non-serious candidate NB [not a serious option] or else that he is impossible [something that has never been shown in any credible fashion].

    In short, we are back to the natural world being rooted in that which is beyond nature, the super-natural.

    KF

    PS: It should be clear that ethical theism is a responsible, reasonable world-understanding and worldview, with the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being worthy of loyalty and service by doing the good is a serious position to take.

  25. 25

    It is in the right ditection arguing that the supernatural is common. However only subjective statements refer to the supernatural.

    Also, agency is not a cause, but creates a cause with it’s accompany effect, by choosing.

    When somebody decides to shoot a gun, then shooting the gun is the cause, which has all the accompany effects.

    Cause and effect belong together as 1 thing chosen.

  26. 26
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    KF, you did The old verbal, logic two-step but even if we assume that a necessary being is not incoherent with the universe (highly debatable) it’s coherence is not evidence of its truth.

    Your entire argument about A and THE cause is simply an argument over the words A and THE. Not really of much value.

    I still have not been convinced that this isn’t just the long standing argument that if we can’t explain it, it must be supernatural. I’m afraid that I am far too curious a person to accept that at face value.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    GC,

    why do you seem to almost always start from appeal to belittling?

    I suggest you correct that approach.

    Then I suggest you provide a cogent alternative analysis of cause and being if you cannot abide the summary above. I have invited a discussion of world-roots i/l/o the nature of being and cause, which leads to comparative difficulties analysis. What do you have and how is it factually adequate, coherent and explanatorily balanced?

    As for assuming on necessary beings and coherence with the universe, no I did not merely assume but invited a discussion of alternative world roots. All you did is to suggest oh it is really incompatible, without doing any actual grounding of that claim.

    And per inference to best explanation at worldviews level, that here are but few main options and finding which best meets the tests of factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory balance is in fact evidence of truth or falsity. For instance, it is readily seen that evolutionary materialism is self referentially incoherent, and so necessarily false, once it has to address reasonable, responsible freedom a condition of serious discussion. Likewise, when a worldview cannot cover a good slice of credible facts, it is evidence of untruth. And, while there is no worldview option that can be proved as a geometry theorem is proved, we can have that which is a reasonable responsible view and that may even under circumstances such as living encounter with God and life transformation thereby, be morally certain.

    The no evidence gambit — another bad habit– fails.

    I made no argument about a vs the cause, but spoke to cause and contingency vs necessary being. Then placed it in worldviews comparative difficulties context.
    I add, here are my actual words:

    I note here, A first cause is not the same as THE first cause of the realm of nature. That is we here are looking at fundamental modes of being/ non-being (and by extension, candidate being), possible vs impossible and contingent vs necessary . . . [–> notice, mention, distinction and bridge without any elaborate argument]

    As for if we cannot explain it must be supenatural, that is the god of the gaps strawman tactic.

    No, an explanation of modes of being is an explanation that gives a rich understanding. Further, the understanding of the natural order as contingent, credibly, points to a need for what is beyond it, thus a world-root.

    There is a serious candidate on the table.

    Your alternative is: _______________ ?

    It is credible because: ______________ ? (I/l/o comparative difficulties across world view live options.)

    KF

  28. 28

    Seversky @17:

    I don’t see what your point is. Some philosophers wish to get rid of the term “supernatural” by asserting that all which exists is “natural”. So?

    Let me ask you seversky; if god exists and keeps the universe running via divine will, and can alter anything in the universe via that will, would you consider such alterations “natural”?

  29. 29

    GC said:

    I still have not been convinced that this isn’t just the long standing argument that if we can’t explain it, it must be supernatural. I’m afraid that I am far too curious a person to accept that at face value.

    Can you give me an example of something that naturalistic science has explained, GC?

  30. 30

    rvb8 said:

    I don’t know why it’s a moron’s question. Are you not in the slightest bit curious as to? ’where did God come from?

    I don’t think I said anything about god in the OP. If you are asking me “what causes the supernatural”, it’s a categorically improper question. It is the natural world which is characterized by the concept of naturalistic “cause and effect”. Asking where something supernatural “came from” or “what caused it” would likely be a nonsensical question outside of the natural world of cause and effect.

    WJM says the supernatural is ‘unknown’ and ‘unseen’.

    Well, that’s the definition I used to set up the debate.

    Mung gets angry when I ask ‘what caused the first cause’. This all comes across as mightily incurious.

    What it comes across as is an inability on your part to understand certain abstract concepts and arguments. God is classically argued to be the uncaused seat of existence and being itself, beyond our subset universe of temporal cause and effect. Asking “what caused god” is like asking “can god make a rock so heavy god cannot lift it?” – it is a nonsensical question.

    Science deals with the manegeable. And by manageable I mean testable, the empirical. Your ‘uncaused cause’ is exactly beyond natural (supernatural) and therefore logically out of bounds.

    Science and logic are not the same thing. God may be beyond the ability of science to test directly, but science is not limited to directly testing a thing. It can also test for the proposed consequences of the nature of a thing – like looking for perturbations of the orbits of stars to indicate if there is an unobserved gravitational source nearby.

    The concept of god is certainly not outside of the scope of logic to argue for or against, regardless of any available scientific facts or evidence.

    It was a long-standing claim that god created the universe back when science thought that the universe was eternally existing. Then we found scientific evidence that the universe was in fact not eternal; it had a beginning about 15 billion years ago, which supports the theory that god created the universe. It also logically indicates that something before/outside of the space-time causal continuum caused the space-time continuum, which precisely dovetails into theistic arguments that premise god as the supernatural, uncaused causal root (first cause) of the universe.

    It is entirely scientific to make such an inference based on the evidence, especially when you throw in the scientific fine-tuning evidence.

    And if it is not ‘out of bounds’ I should be allowed to ask, ‘what caused the first “uncaused” cause?‘

    You’re allowed to ask it all you want, but if you cannot understand the answer – that the uncaused cause of our space-time universe must itself sit outside of the continuum of causes (the explanation for a thing’s existence must rest outside of the thing itself), then our answers will not satisfy you.

    Please understand this, GC. It’s pretty basic. The explanation for a thing’s existence must rest outside of that thing. A thing cannot cause itself to exist. We live in a space-time continuum – meaning, a continuum of cause and effect through time and space. The causal explanation for the existence of a space-time continuum must reside outside of that space-time continuum. Logically, this indicates an uncaused cause that resides outside of the limitations and properties of a space-time continuum that created (or perhaps more accurately, is creating) the space-time continuum which is the universe.

  31. 31

    You however, seem quite happy to equate justice, fairness, altruism etc, as evidence of supernaturalism? they are not. These “abstract” ideas are much more easily explained in a “natural” argument!

    Then by all means show us this argument, and please restrict yourself to naturalistic terminology, phrasings and meanings when doing so. Please start out with the concept of “justice”. You might begin by showing us where in the natural world justice resides or, at the very least, is demonstrated. By “natural world”, I mean outside of the world of human abstract thought and laws based on that abstract thought because it is the nature of that abstract thought which is under debate.

    So, to start, where in nature does justice reside or where is it demonstrated?

  32. 32
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    WJM: “Can you give me an example of something that naturalistic science has explained, GC?”

    Other than the first few microseconds, it has done a pretty good job explaining the the Big Bang. Can you give me an example of something that the supernatural explains?

  33. 33
    StephenB says:

    GC

    And if it is not ‘out of bounds’ I should be allowed to ask, ‘what caused the first “uncaused” cause?‘

    Uncaused means uncaused and first means first. If a cause could precede the first cause, then the first cause wouldn’t be first; If a cause could cause the uncaused caused, then the uncaused cause wouldn’t be uncaused.

    It will help if you familiarize yourself with three terms:

    Law of Identity: (Ontology) A thing cannot be what it is and also be something else at the same time and in the same sense. (A cause cannot be both caused and uncaused). A cause cannot be both first and not first)

    Law of Non-Contradiction: (Epistemology) A statement cannot be true and false at the same time and in the same sense. (Referring to statements and propositions about ontology)

    Infinite regress: Basically, it means that a chain of causes cannot go on forever. God, the first cause and the uncaused cause, is the point where the chain stops–and must stop.

    If you do not understand these foundational principles, then it is impossible to reason properly or interpret evidence in a rational way. The first order of business is to understand that something cannot come from nothing. Can you comprehend that point?

  34. 34
    StephenB says:

    CG

    Other than the first few microseconds, it has done a pretty good job explaining the the Big Bang.

    Can you summarize that explanation and its implications? If not, I will be happy to do it for you. (I notice now that WJM has already explained it very well @30).

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    Just Uploaded Video:

    Atheistic Materialism – Where All of Reality Becomes an Illusion – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1213432255336372/

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    The equations that describe the universe are certainly nothing that I would consider as being purely ‘natural’.

    The Fine-Tuning of Nature’s Laws – Luke A. Barnes – Fall 2015
    Excerpt: Today, our deepest understanding of the laws of nature is summarized in a set of equations. Using these equations, we can make very precise calculations of the most elementary physical phenomena, calculations that are confirmed by experimental evidence. But to make these predictions, we have to plug in some numbers that cannot themselves be calculated but are derived from measurements of some of the most basic features of the physical universe. These numbers specify such crucial quantities as the masses of fundamental particles and the strengths of their mutual interactions. After extensive experiments under all manner of conditions, physicists have found that these numbers appear not to change in different times and places, so they are called the fundamental constants of nature.
    These constants represent the edge of our knowledge. Richard Feynman called one of them — the fine-structure constant, which characterizes the amount of electromagnetic force between charged elementary particles like electrons — “one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man.” An innovative, elegant physical theory that actually predicts the values of these constants would be among the greatest achievements of twenty-first-century physics.
    Many have tried and failed. ,,,
    Tweaking the Constants
    Let’s consider a few examples of the many and varied consequences of messing with the fundamental constants of nature, the initial conditions of the universe, and the mathematical form of the laws themselves.
    You are made of cells; cells are made of molecules; molecules of atoms; and atoms of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons, in turn, are made of quarks. We have not seen any evidence that electrons and quarks are made of anything more fundamental (though other fundamental particles, like the Higgs boson of recent fame, have also been discovered in addition to quarks and electrons). The results of all our investigations into the fundamental building blocks of matter and energy are summarized in the Standard Model of particle physics, which is essentially one long, imposing equation. Within this equation, there are twenty-six constants, describing the masses of the fifteen fundamental particles, along with values needed for calculating the forces between them, and a few others. We have measured the mass of an electron to be about 9.1 x 10^-28 grams, which is really very small — if each electron in an apple weighed as much as a grain of sand, the apple would weigh more than Mount Everest. The other two fundamental constituents of atoms, the up and down quarks, are a bit bigger, coming in at 4.1 x 10^-27 and 8.6 x 10^-27 grams, respectively. These numbers, relative to each other and to the other constants of the Standard Model, are a mystery to physics. Like the fine-structure constant, we don’t know why they are what they are.
    However, we can calculate all the ways the universe could be disastrously ill-suited for life if the masses of these particles were different. For example, if the down quark’s mass were 2.6 x 10^-26 grams or more, then adios, periodic table! There would be just one chemical element and no chemical compounds, in stark contrast to the approximately 60 million known chemical compounds in our universe.
    With even smaller adjustments to these masses, we can make universes in which the only stable element is hydrogen-like. Once again, kiss your chemistry textbook goodbye, as we would be left with one type of atom and one chemical reaction. If the up quark weighed 2.4 x 10^-26 grams, things would be even worse — a universe of only neutrons, with no elements, no atoms, and no chemistry whatsoever.
    ,,, Compared to the range of possible masses that the particles described by the Standard Model could have, the range that avoids these kinds of complexity-obliterating disasters is extremely small. Imagine a huge chalkboard, with each point on the board representing a possible value for the up and down quark masses. If we wanted to color the parts of the board that support the chemistry that underpins life, and have our handiwork visible to the human eye, the chalkboard would have to be about ten light years (a hundred trillion kilometers) high.,,,
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....tures-laws

  37. 37
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    BA77: “The equations that describe the universe are certainly nothing that I would describe as being purely ‘natural’.”

    Of course they are. They were all derived by humans. As such, they have a natural cause.

  38. 38
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 28

    I don’t see what your point is. Some philosophers wish to get rid of the term “supernatural” by asserting that all which exists is “natural”. So?

    What purpose does it serve? If everything that exists has a ‘nature’ which makes it itself and not something else and is accessible to scientific scrutiny then that is the natural world. That includes what are popularly thought of as supernatural entities, such as ghosts or spirits or souls, right up to God. I can see no reason for setting aside a domain called the supernatural other than to preserve some of these alleged phenomena from investigation.

    Let me ask you seversky; if god exists and keeps the universe running via divine will, and can alter anything in the universe via that will, would you consider such alterations “natural”?

    Yes, I would and I would consider the god who so acted to be a natural being.

  39. 39
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 33

    Infinite regress: Basically, it means that a chain of causes cannot go on forever. God, the first cause and the uncaused cause, is the point where the chain stops–and must stop.

    Why can’t an infinite regress exist? We probably agree that the concept is both unimaginable and unsatisfying but those are not necessarily reasons why it should not exist.

    Positing an uncaused first cause to block a regress raises more questions than it answers as far as I can see. It also sounds like trying to define the problem out of existence. If the uncaused first cause exists, has it always existed or was it bounded in some way? If the former then we are straight back to an infinity, if the latter then the question of what preceded or caused it is legitimate.

    Personally, I find both an infinite regress or an uncaused first cause to be equally unsatisfactory but, for the moment, I can’t think of any better alternatives.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, for one, it serves notice that the observed natural order is not self explanatory on cause. For two, you are surely aware that here are serious worldviews that are non naturalistic. For three, you must know that there is a class of experience and phenomena that is beyond the usual course of the world and is at minimum candidate supernatural. This sort of 1984 newspeak game to lock out even terms that would allow discussion outside the materialist’s circle, is a big red warning flag. KF

    PS an infinite stepwise finite stage regress cannot traverse an infinite span. Infinite regress is absurd as it would have to end the endless. This is readily seen for two endless tot he RH side punch tapes that are numbered 0, 1, 2 etc. Let the pink one stay at step 0, and advance the RH one any arbitrarily large but finite k in k steps. Then observe the match:

    PINK

    0, 1, 2 . . .

    BLUE:

    k, k+1, k+2 . . .

    THAT IS FROM K ON IS IN FULL ENDLESS 1:1 CORRESPONDENCE WITH FROM 0 ON, AND AS THE COUNTING NUMBERS ARE ENDLESS AND TRANSFINITE OF CARDINALITY ALEPH NULL, THAT WHICH MATCHES THEM 1:1 WILL BE THE SAME. NO FINITE STEPWISE SUCCESSION CAN EVEN BEGIN TO SPAN THE TRANSFINITE. Went caps lock, I will leave it there.

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    Gordon Cunningham, without one shred of physical evidence that natural causes can create any non-trivial information, proclaims:

    “Of course they are. They, (the equations describing the universe), were all derived by humans. As such, they have a natural cause.”

    Regardless of what GC falsely believes, Humans writing mathematical equations to describe the universe is certainly NOT ‘natural’ and is therefore certainly not reducible to a ‘natural cause’.

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – An interview by Harold Begbie printed on page four of The Daily Chronicle (London) issues of 3 November and 4 November 1910.

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind, or the human mind is more than a machine.”
    Kurt Gödel As quoted in Topoi : The Categorial Analysis of Logic (1979) by Robert Goldblatt, p. 13

    Cantor, Gödel, & Turing: Incompleteness of Mathematics – video (excerpted from BBC’s ‘Dangerous Knowledge’ documentary)
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1119397401406525/?type=2&theater

    Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem says:

    “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle – something you have to assume to be true but cannot prove “mathematically” to be true.”

    Further quote by Godel

    “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind.,,,
    Mind is separate from matter.”
    Kurt Gödel – Hao Wang’s supplemental biography of Gödel, A Logical Journey, MIT Press, 1996. [9.4.12]

    Of supplemental note: “There is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”

    “A number of hominid crania are known from sites in eastern and southern Africa in the 400- to 200-thousand-year range, but none of them looks like a close antecedent of the anatomically distinctive Homo sapiens… Even allowing for the poor record we have of our close extinct kin, Homo sapiens appears as distinctive and unprecedented… there is certainly no evidence to support the notion that we gradually became who we inherently are over an extended period, in either the physical or the intellectual sense.”
    Dr. Ian Tattersall: – paleoanthropologist – emeritus curator of the American Museum of Natural History – (Masters of the Planet, 2012)

    “Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.”
    – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009

    Scientists simply have no clue how we acquired our unique mental abilities

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    Moreover, it is this information processing, i.e. reading, writing, and arithmetic, that is unique to man, that is found to be foundational to life:

    Information Enigma (Where did the information come from?) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    As well, as if that was not ‘spooky enough’, information, not material, is found to be foundational to physical reality:

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.

    I guess a more convincing evidence could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.
    But who has ever heard of such overwhelming evidence as that?

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1119619634717635/?pnref=story

    Turin Shroud Quantum Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ on a Solid Oval Object Under The Beard – video
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=J21MECNU

    Verses and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

  42. 42
    StephenB says:

    seversky

    Why can’t an infinite regress exist?

    Infinity cannot be instantiated in time/space/history. The number of physical events that have occurred will always be of a finite quantity.

  43. 43
    rvb8 says:

    WJM ‘justice’, ‘altruism’, ‘love’, are all beautiful and fill me with the same feelings of humanity and togetherness they fill you with, I assume. These feelings evolved in a natural way on the African savannah many tens of thousands of years ago as a more efficient way to survive. Our social existance made us careful, mostly sharing, and highly CURIOUS. Of these emotions I value our natural curiosity as the most satisfying.

    Jesus said that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’. I say they will not, and that it is the ‘curious’ that will inherit the earth. You, and your fellow design advocates come across as inherantly, incurious.

  44. 44
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    BA77: “Regardless of what GC falsely believes, Humans writing mathematical equations to describe the universe is certainly NOT ‘natural’ and is therefore certainly not reducible to a ‘natural cause’.”

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but humans use their physical (natural) brains for abstract reasoning. This allows them to do math and derive equations. All natural. Unless, of course, you have any examples of high level equations being derived without a physical brain, or a computer designed by a human brain.

    And I was able to demonstrate the flaw in your reasoning without 700 words of cut and paste. You should try it.

  45. 45
    StephenB says:

    BA77: “Regardless of what GC falsely believes, Humans writing mathematical equations to describe the universe is certainly NOT ‘natural’ and is therefore certainly not reducible to a ‘natural cause’.”

    GC

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but humans use their physical (natural) brains for abstract reasoning. This allows them to do math and derive equations. All natural.

    I am afraid that you are very confused. It is not “all natural.” Nature cannot “use” itself. A non-natural man, acting as a causal agent, uses his natural brain, which is a physical organ (and his non-natural mind, which is a non-material faculty) to make mathematical calculations and formulate concepts about nature. (abstract principles). Neither the causal agent, the equation, or the concept is natural. Only the physical brain (not the mind) is a part of nature. Even if you ignore the role of mind, the dynamic remains the same.

  46. 46
    bornagain77 says:

    William Speareshake, Or his twin,

    You claim equations are designed by computers? Really??? You are aware of the law of conservation of information that was ultimately derived from Godel’s incompleteness theorem are you not?

    If so, then why do you make such idiotic assertions other than for the purpose of trolling? If not, why not admit your ignorance and ask for help instead of embarrassing yourself like this?

    Note to Mr. Arrington:

    Need help on permanently banning a troll?
    https://www.reddit.com/r/modhelp/comments/45xh92/need_help_on_permanently_banning_a_troll/

    General notes for unbiased readers who are interested:

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    The danger of artificial stupidity – Saturday, 28 February 2015
    “Computers lack mathematical insight: in his book The Emperor’s New Mind, the Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose deployed Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem to argue that, in general, the way mathematicians provide their “unassailable demonstrations” of the truth of certain mathematical assertions is fundamentally non-algorithmic and non-computational”
    http://machineslikeus.com/news.....-stupidity

    The mathematical world – James Franklin – 7 April 2014
    Excerpt: the intellect (is) immaterial and immortal. If today’s naturalists do not wish to agree with that, there is a challenge for them. ‘Don’t tell me, show me’: build an artificial intelligence system that imitates genuine mathematical insight. There seem to be no promising plans on the drawing board.,,,
    James Franklin is professor of mathematics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/world-.....-be-about/

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.,,,
    http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.u.....ution-etc/

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski (mathematically) prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

    What Does “Life’s Conservation Law” Actually Say? – Winston Ewert – December 3, 2015
    Excerpt: All information must eventually derive from a source external to the universe,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01331.html

  47. 47
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    BA77: “You claim equations are designed by computers? Really???

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/st.....bservation

    If Isaac Newton had had access to a supercomputer, he’d have had it watch apples fall and let it figure out what that meant. But the computer would have needed to run an algorithm developed by Cornell researchers that can derive natural laws from observed data.

    The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that represent natural laws — without any prior scientific knowledge on the part of the computer. They have tested their method, or algorithm, on simple mechanical systems and believe it could be applied to more complex systems ranging from biology to cosmology and be useful in analyzing the mountains of data generated by modern experiments that use electronic data collection.

    The research is described in the April 3 issue of the journal Science (Vol. 323, No. 5924) by Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and graduate student Michael Schmidt, a specialist in computational biology.

    Their process begins by taking the derivatives of every variable observed with respect to every other — a mathematical way of measuring how one quantity changes as another changes. Then the computer creates equations at random using various constants and variables from the data. It tests these against the known derivatives, keeps the equations that come closest to predicting correctly, modifies them at random and tests again, repeating until it literally evolves a set of equations that accurately describe the behavior of the real system.

    Technically, the computer does not output equations, but finds “invariants” — mathematical expressions that remain true all the time, from which human insights can derive equations.

    “Even though it looks like it’s changing erratically, there is always something deeper there that is always constant,” Lipson explained. “That’s the hint to the underlying physics. You want something that doesn’t change, but the relationship between the variables in it changes in a way that’s similar to [what we see in] the real system.”

    Once the invariants are found, potentially all equations describing the system are available: “All equations regarding a system must fit into and satisfy the invariants,” Schmidt said. “But of course we still need a human interpreter to take this step.”

    The researchers tested the method with apparatus used in freshman physics courses: a spring-loaded linear oscillator, a single pendulum and a double pendulum. Given data on position and velocity over time, the computer found energy laws, and for the pendulum, the law of conservation of momentum. Given acceleration, it produced Newton’s second law of motion.

    The researchers point out that the computer evolves these laws without any prior knowledge of physics, kinematics or geometry. But evolution takes time. On a parallel computer with 32 processors, simple linear motion could be analyzed in a few minutes, but the complex double pendulum required 30 to 40 hours of computation. The researchers found that seeding the complex pendulum problem with terms from equations for the simple pendulum cut processing time to seven or eight hours. This “bootstrapping,” they said, is similar to the way human scientists build on previous work.

    Computers will not make scientists obsolete, the researchers conclude. Rather, they said, the computer can take over the grunt work, helping scientists focus quickly on the interesting phenomena and interpret their meaning.

    I could get to like this cut and paste approach. It reduces the amount of thought necessary to post a comment.

  48. 48
    bornagain77 says:

    ‘active information’ is inserted by intelligent source in order to ensure a successful search

    i.e. “The researchers have taught a computer to find regularities in the natural world that represent natural laws”

    i.e. “in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.”,,,

    i.e. “So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,”

    all this was referenced but the troll apparently did not even read it before he googled and listed the first thing he saw!

    To further clarify The law of conservation of information.

    Before They’ve Even Seen Stephen Meyer’s New Book, Darwinists Waste No Time in Criticizing Darwin’s Doubt – William A. Dembski – April 4, 2013
    Excerpt: In the newer approach to conservation of information, the focus is not on drawing design inferences but on understanding search in general and how information facilitates successful search. The focus is therefore not so much on individual probabilities as on probability distributions and how they change as searches incorporate information. My universal probability bound of 1 in 10^150 (a perennial sticking point for Shallit and Felsenstein) therefore becomes irrelevant in the new form of conservation of information whereas in the earlier it was essential because there a certain probability threshold had to be attained before conservation of information could be said to apply. The new form is more powerful and conceptually elegant. Rather than lead to a design inference, it shows that accounting for the information required for successful search leads to a regress that only intensifies as one backtracks. It therefore suggests an ultimate source of information, which it can reasonably be argued is a designer. I explain all this in a nontechnical way in an article I posted at ENV a few months back titled “Conservation of Information Made Simple” (go here). ,,,

    ,,, Here are the two seminal papers on conservation of information that I’ve written with Robert Marks:
    “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher-Level Search,” Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics 14(5) (2010): 475-486
    “Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, 5(5) (September 2009): 1051-1061
    For other papers that Marks, his students, and I have done to extend the results in these papers, visit the publications page at http://www.evoinfo.org
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....70821.html

  49. 49
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    BA77: “i.e. “So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active.”

    Even Behe says that there was no intelligence involved in chloroquine resistance.

    Please show me the intelligence involved in the evolution of nylonase.

    But regardless, who is talking about pre-defined targets. Certainly not anyone with even a high school knowledge of evolution.

  50. 50
    bornagain77 says:

    also of note: Of interest to theoretical mathematics that are fruitful to the progress of science, it is said that the best mathematical theories, that are later confirmed empirically to be true, were born out of the mathematicians ‘sense of beauty’. Paul Dirac is said to have mathematically discovered the ‘anti-electron’, before it was empirically confirmed, through his mathematical ‘sense of beauty’:

    Graham Farmelo on Paul Dirac and Mathematical Beauty – video (28:12 minute mark – prediction of the ‘anti-electron’)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfYon2WdR40

    As the preceding video highlighted, Paul Dirac was rather adamant that beauty was integral to finding truth through math:

    ‘it is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them fit experiment’
    Paul Dirac

    Albert Einstein was also a big fan of beauty in math. Einstein stated:

    Truth not equal to Beauty – Philip Ball – May 2014
    Excerpt: ‘the only physical theories that we are willing to accept are the beautiful ones’
    Albert Einstein
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philos.....-equation/

    As well, In January 1933, the Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre traveled with Albert Einstein to California for a series of seminars. After the Belgian detailed his Big Bang theory, Einstein stood up applauded, and said,

    “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”

    In regards to General Relativity, mathematical physicist Clifford Will said

    “Fiddling with general relativity, he believes, would be tantamount to changing the Fifth Symphony. “General relativity is so unbelievably beautiful and simple – it’s in some ways the most perfect gravitational theory that you could possibly imagine,” he says. All of the alternatives he’s seen so far are “horrendously ugly by comparison”.”

    Alex Vilenkin, who mathematically proved that all hypothetical inflationary universes must have also had a beginning, commenting on Euler’s Identity, stated,,,

    “It appears that the Creator shares the mathematicians sense of beauty”
    Alex Vilenkin – Many Worlds in One: (page 201)

    As well, Richard Feynman called Euler’s Identity a ‘jewel’:

    “Richard Feynman was a huge fan and called it a “jewel”.”
    http://www.sciencedump.com/con.....-equations

    ‘Mathematical beauty’ even had a guiding hand in the recent discovery of the Amplituhedron:

    The Amplituhedron (mathematical beauty – 21:12 minute mark) – Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By27M9ommJc#t=1272

    Paul Dirac, when pressed for a definition of mathematical beauty that fostered mathematical discovery, reacted as such:

    Dirac threw up his hands. Mathematical beauty, he said, ‘cannot be defined any more than beauty in art can be defined’ – though he added that it was something ‘people who study mathematics usually have no difficulty in appreciating’.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/philos.....-equation/

    And indeed, just as Dirac held, it is found when mathematicians are shown equations such as Euler’s identity or the Pythagorean identity the same area of the brain used to appreciate fine art or music lights up:

    Mathematics: Why the brain sees maths as beauty – Feb. 12, 2014
    Excerpt: Mathematicians were shown “ugly” and “beautiful” equations while in a brain scanner at University College London.
    The same emotional brain centres used to appreciate art were being activated by “beautiful” maths.,,,
    One of the researchers, Prof Semir Zeki, told the BBC: “A large number of areas of the brain are involved when viewing equations, but when one looks at a formula rated as beautiful it activates the emotional brain – the medial orbito-frontal cortex – like looking at a great painting or listening to a piece of music.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc.....t-26151062

    What is interesting, in this seemingly deep connection between the discovery of new mathematical truth and beauty, is the fact that the ‘argument from beauty’ is a Theistic argument.

    Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God:
    Excerpt: Beauty,,, can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this `idea’ of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form.
    http://www.quodlibet.net/artic.....etic.shtml

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    Since you have not honestly admitted you were wrong in your original claim about computers creating mathematical equations/algorithmic information, I am not going to address any other fallacious/red herring claims you make.

    In fact, I have put a personal request in to admin that you be banned (once again) for trollish behavior.

  52. 52

    @rvb8

    You cannot make what is subjective into something objective.

  53. 53

    rvb8 said:

    You however, seem quite happy to equate justice, fairness, altruism etc, as evidence of supernaturalism? they are not. These “abstract” ideas are much more easily explained in a “natural” argument!

    I challenged him to make his case about “justice”, which he responded thusly:

    WJM ‘justice’, ‘altruism’, ‘love’, are all beautiful and fill me with the same feelings of humanity and togetherness they fill you with, I assume. These feelings evolved in a natural way on the African savannah many tens of thousands of years ago as a more efficient way to survive. Our social existance made us careful, mostly sharing, and highly CURIOUS. Of these emotions I value our natural curiosity as the most satisfying.

    Jesus said that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’. I say they will not, and that it is the ‘curious’ that will inherit the earth. You, and your fellow design advocates come across as inherantly, incurious.

    According to rvb8’s naturalistic narrative, justice is a personal, subjective feeling that evolved. If I feel that I shouldn’t have to pay for things I steal from others, that’s what justice is. If Jack feels like I deserve to be killed for stepping on his lawn, that’s justice.

    Is this how we actually interact with the concept of justice – as if it is a personal, subjective commodity that we believe varies from person to person?

    Of course not. Humans consider justice a universal, and universally binding, concept. We consider proper justice to be a moral obligation – that we are obligated to seek justice not for ourselves, but for others as well. We also hold that justice is a universal human right regardless of unjust governments, laws or majorities.

    This would make our sense of transcendent (above personal preference or law), universal, obligatory justice a delusion, much like our sense of transcendent, universally binding, obligatory morality, logic, and mathematics. rvb8’s explanation for our sense of justice is that, essentially, it is an evolutionary delusion (like morality, free will, sense of and experiences of the divine and the supernatural, etc.).

    Extrapolating this, under the naturalistic narrative, all abstract concepts – like mathematics, truth, logic, etc. – are evolutionary delusions. They do not exist as transcendent, objectively binding absolutes; as evolutionary patterns of thought, they are subject to individual variances that occur as happenstance organic interactions affect, in aggregate, the thought patterns of groups and individuals.

    Unfortunately, this naturalistic narrative of what abstract concepts are defeats itself, since understanding evolution, establishing evolutionary facts, and making arguments about them requires the transcendent nature of the very abstract commodities it undermines as subjective delusions, or else rvb8’s “explanation” here can be nothing more than his/her personal, solipsistic, delusional narrative about whatever “justice” might mean in his personal mix of organic chemistry.

    Perhaps rvb8 was right. It is of course “easier” to “explain” abstract concepts as personal, solipsistic delusions. However, an easier explanation is not necessarily a more valid explanation, and the only means by which a valid explanation can be offered is if there is some universally binding arbiter of validity by which an argument can be assessed for validity.

    Unfortunately, under rvb8’s naturalistic narrative, there is no such universally binding method of validation to be found.

    Yes, rvb8, it is rather easy to explain something when such explanations do not have to meet any sort of objective criteria for validation – when all the explanation has to do is personally satisfy your particular, individual chemistry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make your view valid, and your view denies any sort of objective validation exists.

    Thus, your narrative can only be (under your naturalistic narrative) your personal feeling, and under your naturalistic narrative that is all you can present it as and all I should take it for with the understanding there is no reason whatsoever why anyone should adopt your personal views over their own.

    So, under your narrative, I can dismiss your argument as false because my naturalistic brain chemistry dictates and, according to your narrative, my dismissal of your claim is necessarily every bit as valid as your claim, and you must agree to it or you are denying the principle behind your claim – that abstract concepts are individual, subjective constructs and feelings.

    Your naturalistic narrative may make explanations easy, but it also renders them worthless personal delusions.

  54. 54

    The reason such abstract concepts are better explained via reference to the supernatural, rvb8, is because reference to a binding, obligatory, objective arbiter/methodology of acquiring and discerning truthful statements about anything cannot point to anything naturalism has to offer, as your “easy explanation” so clearly demonstrates.

    Making an argument that abstract commodities are naturalism-produced individual, subjective feelings destroys any potential validity of the argument, because truth and logic – required for the validation of anything – are themselves abstract concepts like justice and naturalism.

    It really is a shame that you and others like you seem to be unable to grasp this rather simple and straightforward logic. If naturalism is true, your argument cannot be held as valid in any sense other than that you personally feel like it is. It is only by an implicit reference to assumed absolute, supernatural commodities (truth, logic, what justice “should” mean, etc.) that your “argument” can be seen as anything more than a purely solipsistic narrative.

  55. 55
    Gordon Cunningham says:

    BA77: “Since you have not honestly admitted you were wrong in your original claim about computers creating mathematical equations/algorithmic information, “

    That paper demonstrated that the computer could derive equations that were not programmed into it. By any rational assessment, they are creating mathematical equations.

    I am not going to address any other fallacious/red herring claims you make.”

    My claim was accurate. You calling it fallacious is, itself, fallacious.

    In fact, I have put a personal request in to admin that you be banned (once again) for trollish behavior.”

    It’s a free country.

  56. 56
    bornagain77 says:

    William Speareshake falsely claimed,,,

    “That paper demonstrated that the computer could derive equations that were not programmed into it”

    Yet from the very paper he cited it states:

    “Technically, the computer does not output equations, but finds “invariants” — mathematical expressions that remain true all the time, from which human insights can derive equations.,,,
    Once the invariants are found, potentially all equations describing the system are available: “All equations regarding a system must fit into and satisfy the invariants,” Schmidt said. “But of course we still need a human interpreter to take this step.”

    Go figure! He will never honestly admit to the fact that he was wrong even though his own paper he cited proves his claim was false. 🙂

    Denial of the real world, thy name is Atheistic Materialism:

    Atheistic Materialism – Where All of Reality Becomes an Illusion – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1213432255336372/

  57. 57

    Seversky asks:

    What purpose does it serve?

    It serves the same purpose as any other definition: identifying a meaningful and significant difference between one thing and another. In this case, it would mark the distinction between that which is uncaused and absolute, and that which is caused and contingent.

    If everything that exists has a ‘nature’ which makes it itself and not something else and is accessible to scientific scrutiny then that is the natural world.

    And therein lies the difference. It may be that not all things which exist are available to scientific modeling.

    That includes what are popularly thought of as supernatural entities, such as ghosts or spirits or souls, right up to God. I can see no reason for setting aside a domain called the supernatural other than to preserve some of these alleged phenomena from investigation.

    Here’s the problem with your view, seversky: it does not allow for the potential real existence of phenomena which cannot be scientifically modeled. If one admits that such phenomena might exist, then there is not only a good use for the term, but a necessary one. If one insists such phenomena do not exist, then they are simply profession their scientism – their faith that science can model all which exists.

    That doesn’t mean one uses the term to prohibit or avoid scientific inquiry; it just means that there may be valid uses for the term. That is the case I make here – that there are indeed valid and even necessary uses of the term “supernatural”: to describe that which, if such things exist, are best categorically described as supernatural – beyond the reach of science to model/predict.

    If science could model or predict free will, then free will doesn’t exist as such, because it is presumed not only acausal, but transcendent to any cause, which would place it vertical to the world of scientific modeling.

    If free will does not exist, then the concept of science and logic as arbiters of objective facts and sound theories are false. For science to be useful as it is conceptualized, the supernatural must exist in the form of a transcendent free will vertical to the realm of cause and effect, and certain abstract concepts must be beyond the reach of science to model or explain as evolutionary byproducts of chemical interactions.

    And that is what we have found in the case of universal constants, forces and laws, morality, logic and mathematics.

    The fact that you are simply uncomfortable using the term is not a good argument against using it to describe certain things that appear both factually and logically beyond the reach of science to explain via naturalism.

  58. 58
    Mung says:

    Gordon Cunningham:

    But regardless, who is talking about pre-defined targets. Certainly not anyone with even a high school knowledge of evolution.

    Lets see now. Richard Dawkins. Joe Felsenstein. Pretty much every IDiot posting at TSZ.

  59. 59
    Mung says:

    The Joe Felsenstein Challenge:

    OK, here’s the proposed “test” of whether Weasel programs do better than random search.

  60. 60
    Axel says:

    An absolutely awesome post, WJM. It’s just ‘blown me away’, it’s so penetrating.

  61. 61
    Artie says:

    Addressing the main post:

    The natural world is the set of phenomena that can be described and predicted according to behavioral and interactive constants.

    In that case, phenomena such the radioactive decay of some particular nucleus is not part of the natural world. Nor is turbulence. That seems odd, to say the least.

    However, those laws and constants do not describe where or how such laws and constants exist in the first place, or what they are, or even how they are affecting physical phenomena.

    Laws and constants are not causal things. Rather, they are descriptions of things we observe. So, it isn’t the law of mass/energy conservation that causes mass/energy to be conserved, but instead mass/energy is observed to be conserved and so we articulate a natural law describing that state of affairs. The physical constant that we have identified as the charge of an electron, expressed in units that we have invented, does not per se cause various electro-magnetic phenomena. Rather, it is our way of describing an aspect of how electrons interact with other entities.

    These invisible and mysterious causes are supernatural both by definition and logically because they: (1) necessarily relate to an order of existence beyond the observable natural world (since they cause the behavior that defines what we call “the natural world”, (2) are unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature (since science depends upon observing behavioral patterns, and behavioral patterns cannot explain what causes such patterns in the first place), and…

    You are saying that nuclear decay and turbulence – and lots of other things that cannot currently be explained and predicted by laws and constants – are supernatural, but that doesn’t really align with what most people consider to be supernatural. As your dictionary definition suggests, when people talk about the supernatural they are usually are talking about things that are supposed to be conscious and sentient but not living – something like a god or a ghost. They are not talking about things that science currently can’t explain or predict, like the nature and properties of dark energy.

    (3) these patterns are attributed to invisible, unknown agents (which we erroneously refer to with objectifying terminology – forces, constants and laws).

    You are saying that forces, constants, and laws are actually agents – conscious, sentient things? Again, we don’t think that laws and constants are things in the world, they are our descriptions of things in the world. A force is a thing in the world, described in terms of laws and constants.

    The science of the natural world depends upon an unknown, unseen superset of mysterious agencies causing the predictable, reliable, rationally understandable patterns of behavior we observe and describe as the set of natural-occurring phenomena.

    Science consists of inducing and testing laws and constants that describe observations.

    Conducting science requires one to accept that humans have a free will capacity to identify objective facts about the universe and integrate them into theoretical systems that can be properly verified or disproved via true/false statements about experimental outcomes according to abstract principles assumed to be universally valid.

    The question of whether our will violates physical causality is another unsolved mystery – it is debated by philosophers, but not settled by experimental science (as yet, anyway). It doesn’t make any difference to scientific inquiry – determinists, super-determinists, compatibilists, metaphysical libertarians, and so on, can all do science perfectly well without ever debating the metaphysics of volition.

  62. 62
    harry says:

    Hello, William J. Murray,

    The most obvious and most self-evident truths are often missed completely and are often the most difficult to bring to the attention of those who have missed them. The so-obvious-and-so-close-to-you-that-you-missed-it existence of non-material realities is such a truth. What you have provided here is one of the best articulations of that truth I have ever read.

    Help me out with something. I have on several occasions I have (apparently unsuccessfully) attempted to explain to someone that the images seen in the mind’s eye are also non-material realities, for reasons I am confident you already grasp, so I won’t explain them here. If you don’t mind, I would like to read your articulation of that fact.

    Thanks

  63. 63
    Origenes says:

    Artie @61,

    WJM: The natural world is the set of phenomena that can be described and predicted according to behavioral and interactive constants.

    Artie: In that case, phenomena such the radioactive decay of some particular nucleus is not part of the natural world. Nor is turbulence.

    You are missing the point. Surely, the claim is not that current science can describe and predict all phenomena.

    Artie: Laws and constants are not causal things. Rather, they are descriptions of things we observe.

    It is as if you did not read the OP. WJM explicitly states that laws and constants “do not represent causal objects”.

    WJM: When we say “gravity causes X to fall”, it is not gravity causing it because gravity is the description of the physics of the event.

    You fail to respond to the main point Murray is making …

    WJM: Something “causes it to fall”, but it is not gravity; it is whatever causes the pattern of behavior we call “gravity”.

    .. this invisible mysterious “something” — which contains causal power —, WJM argues, belongs to the supernatural:

    WJM: These invisible and mysterious causes are supernatural both by definition and logically because they: (1) necessarily relate to an order of existence beyond the observable natural world (since they cause the behavior that defines what we call “the natural world”, (2) are unable to be explained by science or the laws of nature (since science depends upon observing behavioral patterns, and behavioral patterns cannot explain what causes such patterns in the first place), and (3) these patterns are attributed to invisible, unknown agents (which we erroneously refer to with objectifying terminology – forces, constants and laws).

  64. 64
    Origenes says:

    Murray’s “something”, that causes X to fall, is discussed by Berlinski, ‘The Devil’s Delusion’, p.132 & p.133 :

    Joel Primack, a cosmologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, once posed an interesting question to the physicist Neil Turok: “What is it that makes the electrons continue to follow the laws.”
    Turok was surprised by the question; he recognized its force. Something seems to compel physical objects to obey the laws of nature, and what makes this observation odd is just that neither compulsion nor obedience are physical ideas.

    Medieval theologians understood the question, and they appreciated its power. They offered in response the answer that to their way of thinking made intuitive sense: Deus est ubique conservans mumdum. God is everywhere conserving the world.

    It is God that makes the electron follow His laws.

    Albert Einstein understood the question as well. His deepest intellectual urge, he remarked, was to know whether God had any choice in the creation of the universe. If He did, then the laws of nature are as they are in virtue of His choice. If He did not, then the laws of nature must be necessary, their binding sense of obligation imposed on the cosmos in virtue of their form. The electron thus follows the laws of nature because it cannot do anything else.

    It is logic that makes the electron follow its laws.

    And Brandon Carter, Leonard Susskind, and Steven Weinberg understand the question as well. Their answer is the Landscape and the Anthropic Principle [read: ‘multiverse’ — Origenes]. There are universes in which the electron continues to follow some law, and those in which it does not. In a Landscape in which anything is possible, nothing is necessary. In a universe in which nothing is necessary, anything is possible.

    It is nothing that makes the electron follow any laws.

    Which, then, is it to be: God, logic, or nothing?

  65. 65

    Multiverse advocates miss the entire point: the multiverse theory doesn’t explain how electrons would behave according to any predictable pattern in any universe.

  66. 66
    Axel says:

    Origenes @ #64

    ‘Medieval theologians understood the question, and they appreciated its power. They offered in response the answer that to their way of thinking made intuitive sense: Deus est ubique conservans mumdum. God is everywhere conserving the world.’

    It is God that makes the electron follow His laws.’
    ——————–

    Max Planck thought the same as the medieval theologians :

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

    You may well be familiar with the quote, but I thought it worth mentioning here.

  67. 67
    Artie says:

    Origenes @63,

    You are missing the point. Surely, the claim is not that current science can describe and predict all phenomena.

    You’ve missed my point. WJM had said this: “The natural world is the set of phenomena that can be described and predicted according to behavioral and interactive constants.” This clearly implies that the supernatural world consists of the set of phenomena that cannot be described and predicted according to behavioral and interactive constants”. I gave examples of phenomena that cannot be so explained, which by WJM’s definition means that they are supernatural. But nobody thinks of turbulence or dark energy as being supernatural (at least nobody that I know). Thus, I’ve shown that WJM’s definitions of “natural” and “supernatural” are confused.

    Artie: Laws and constants are not causal things. Rather, they are descriptions of things we observe.
    ORI: It is as if you did not read the OP. WJM explicitly states that laws and constants “do not represent causal objects”.

    WJM appears to believe that physicists consider laws and constants and forces to be things in the world, and that these things are considered to be physical causes per se. Against this, WJM argues that they are not actually causes at all (because, apparently, there is some supernatural agency actually causing things to happen). I pointed out that he misunderstands how laws, constants, and forces are understood in modern physics. The first two are not considered to be causes by anyone, while the third (forces) is indeed causal.

    WJM: When we say “gravity causes X to fall”, it is not gravity causing it because gravity is the description of the physics of the event.

    But WJM is wrong about this. Gravity is in fact what causes X to fall (in modern gravitational theory, “gravity” refers to characteristics of spacetime geometry). But the law of gravity doesn’t cause anything, and the gravitational constant doesn’t cause anything – these are descriptions, not things. But gravity per se is not a description, and the electromagnetic force is not a description – they are causes in the world. This is where WJM is confused.

    WJM: Something “causes it to fall”, but it is not gravity; it is whatever causes the pattern of behavior we call “gravity”.

    No, it is gravity. Prior to Einstein, gravity was conceptualized as a force that acted instantaneously between any two masses. Now, it conceptualized as a deformation of a four-dimensional spacetime manifold. These conceptual descriptions change as we learn, but they refer to things that are considered to be actual causes in the world. Gravity causes things to fall, but gravitational theory does not.

  68. 68
    Artie says:

    WJM @65

    Multiverse advocates miss the entire point: the multiverse theory doesn’t explain how electrons would behave according to any predictable pattern in any universe.

    Multiverse theory explains everything – there is nothing that cannot be attributed to an infinite multiverse – and so it explains nothing. Likewise, “intelligent design” explains everything- there is nothing that cannot be attributed to an undefined, unspecified “intelligence” – and so it likewise explains nothing.

  69. 69
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    ““intelligent design” explains everything- there is nothing that cannot be attributed to an undefined, unspecified “intelligence” – and so it likewise explains nothing.”

    Actually ID is falsifiable, it is Darwinian evolution that lacks a falsification criteria and is therefore a pseudo-science:

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution By John Horgan on July 6, 2010
    Excerpt: Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper ,, called evolution via natural selection “almost a tautology” and “not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program.” Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back (in approx 1978). But when I interviewed him in 1992, he blurted out that he still found Darwin’s theory dissatisfying. “One ought to look for alternatives!” Popper exclaimed, banging his kitchen table.
    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....evolution/

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

  70. 70
    Artie says:

    ba77 @ 69:

    Actually ID is falsifiable, it is Darwinian evolution that lacks a falsification criteria and is therefore a pseudo-science

    No, that’s backwards: Evolutionary theory can be falsified – and it has been, by authors such as William Dembski when they show that the mechanisms proposed in evolutionary theory are incapable of generating complex biological systems. ID, however, can’t be falsified, for the reason I gave: There is nothing that cannot be attributed to an unspecified, undefined “intelligence”. (NOTE: Proving some competing theory true is not the same as falsifying a theory, and conversely, falsifying one theory does not show a competing theory to be true).

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Artie, if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information ID, as it is properly understood, would be falsified. Period.

    ID does not have to amend its falsification criteria and say ‘well God may have done it such and such a way to make the design look random’ because no one has ever shown random processes to be capable of the claims made for them. Namely creating the functional information in life.

    Although, I, like you, consider Evolution falsified, Evolutionists avoid falsification by appealing the ‘epicycle’ theories to cover up the embarrassing experimental shortcomings. (C. Hunter; I. Lakatos).

    The reason Darwinists are able to get away with this is because Darwinian evolution lacks a rigid mathematical basis to test against like other overarching theories of science, including ID, have.

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    The Challenge of Adaptational Packages
    William A. Dembski and Jonathan Wells June 22, 2016
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02943.html

  73. 73
    Artie says:

    ba77 @ 70:

    Artie, if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information ID, as it is properly understood, would be falsified. Period.

    I anticipated your response, and tried to explain to you that disproving one theory does not somehow prove another.

    By your logic, one could say that the multiverse theory must be correct, because there is no explanation of how functional complexity arises in a single universe. Mulitiverse theory would be falsifiable according to your logic – all one would need to do is to explain how functional complexity arose in a non-multiverse. But of course that is ludicrous – one can’t pretend to have a falsifiable theory simply by saying it can be falsified if someone else comes up with a better idea. There actually must be a way to test and confirm or falsify the theory in question, without reference to other theories.

    Although, I, like you, consider Evolution falsified…

    In that case you are apparently mistaken to claim that evolutionary theory cannot be falsified. It can – and has been – which means the theory is a scientific theory, albeit one that cannot account for the phenomena in question. ID, in contrast, cannot be tested and falsified, for the reason I’ve been saying (and you’ve been ignoring): There is nothing at all that cannot be attributed to an unspecified “intelligence”, and something that explains everything explains nothing at all.

  74. 74
    bornagain77 says:

    You are (purposely?) confused. That information can be produced by conscious intelligence is a 100% known fact. Evolution claims that random processes can produce information. That is a claim is with 0 observed instances!

    Its not rocket science!

    Multiverse theory is epistemologically self-defeating.

    Fine Tuning, Multiverse Pink Unicorns, and The Triune God – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1145151962164402/?type=2&theater

  75. 75
    Artie says:

    ba77 @ 70:

    That information can be produced by conscious intelligence is a 100% known fact.

    Certainly if there was some conscious organism like those we’re familiar with that existed somewhere before life on Earth, that might explain how life ended up on Earth (perhaps by panspermia or something similar). So that is a reasonable hypothesis. But nobody knows if there are intelligent beings anywhere else. There has been a concerted effort to find evidence of such beings going on for some time (the project is called SETI). The results, thus far, have been negative. Since nobody has found any evidence of intelligent beings besides the ones here on Earth, your hypothesis is thus far unsupported.

    Evolution claims that random processes can produce information.

    Randomness is only part of evolutionary theory, not all of it. No matter though, we agree that evolutionary theory cannot currently account for biological complexity.

    As to my points you’ve ignored:

    I take it you now agree with me that evolutionary theory is falsifiable, which accounts for how it has been falsified.

    I also take it that you now see that ID theory is not falsifiable, because there is nothing that cannot be attributed to an unspecified intelligence, and something that explains everything explains nothing.

  76. 76
    bornagain77 says:

    You think aliens and panspemia are reasonable compared to God? Your trolling now, I call that particular maneuver the Dawkins dodge:

    Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview – aliens seeded life on earth 3:55 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/GlZtEjtlirc?t=234

    That consciousness preceded and precedes material reality is established by quantum mechanics:

    Due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either precedes all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uLcJUgLm1vwFyjwcbwuYP0bK6k8mXy-of990HudzduI/edit

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

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

    Colossians 1:17
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    I certainly do not agree with you that ID is not falsifiable. ID is very open to falsification. IMHO, You are being purposely obtuse. I would even say trollish! Are you Speareshake reincarnated?

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    “The National Academy of Sciences has objected that intelligent design is not falsifiable, and I think that’s just the opposite of the truth. Intelligent design is very open to falsification. I claim, for example, that the bacterial flagellum could not be produced by natural selection; it needed to be deliberately intelligently designed. Well, all a scientist has to do to prove me wrong is to take a bacterium without a flagellum, or knock out the genes for the flagellum in a bacterium, go into his lab and grow that bug for a long time and see if it produces anything resembling a flagellum. If that happened, intelligent design, as I understand it, would be knocked out of the water. I certainly don’t expect it to happen, but it’s easily falsified by a series of such experiments.
    Now let’s turn that around and ask, How do we falsify the contention that natural selection produced the bacterial flagellum? If that same scientist went into the lab and knocked out the bacterial flagellum genes, grew the bacterium for a long time, and nothing much happened, well, he’d say maybe we didn’t start with the right bacterium, maybe we didn’t wait long enough, maybe we need a bigger population, and it would be very much more difficult to falsify the Darwinian hypothesis.
    I think the very opposite is true. I think intelligent design is easily testable, easily falsifiable, although it has not been falsified, and Darwinism is very resistant to being falsified. They can always claim something was not right.”
    – Dr Michael Behe

  77. 77
    Origenes says:

    Artie,

    Artie: I gave examples of phenomena that cannot be so explained, which by WJM’s definition means that they are supernatural. But nobody thinks of turbulence or dark energy as being supernatural (at least nobody that I know). Thus, I’ve shown that WJM’s definitions of “natural” and “supernatural” are confused.

    All you did was provide some examples of things that current science cannot pin down. Unless you can show that these things can never be understood by science on principle — which you cannot — your point is irrelevant and distracts from the main point WJM is making.

    Bornagain: Artie, if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information ID, as it is properly understood, would be falsified. Period.

    Bornagain is perfectly right here — see the Design Inference.

    Also WRT the alleged non-falsifiability of ID. You should familiarize yourself with the Design Inference.

    WRT ‘intelligence explains everything’. Intelligence explains CSI, not the movement of billiard ball B due to its interaction with billiard ball A.

  78. 78
    Artie says:

    ba77 @ 76:

    You think aliens and panspemia are reasonable compared to God?

    God? You’re talking about a god? Sorry, I was under the impression that this site was for discussing scientific theories and evidence, not religion.

    That consciousness preceded and precedes material reality is established by quantum mechanics

    Ah, apparently you are a quantum physics expert …um… aficionado. Anyway, the science of QM doesn’t suggest anything like what you say, but of course you can find people who mistake the myriad different philosophical interpretations of QM for the actual physics. Let’s simply agree to disagree about this.

    I certainly do not agree with you that ID is not falsifiable. ID is very open to falsification.

    Well you don’t seem to be able to make your case, although I’ve given you ample opportunity. I believe this is the third time I’ve explained this, so please read carefully:

    First: There is nothing that cannot be attributed to an unspecified, “intelligence”, and something that explains everything explains nothing. Therefore your theory, which offers “unspecified ‘intelligence'” as the explanation for biological complexity (among other things) is not a useful explanation at all.

    Then: Disproving one theory does not somehow prove another. By your logic, one could say that the multiverse theory must be correct, because there is no explanation of how functional complexity arises in a single universe. Mulitiverse theory would be falsifiable according to your logic – all one would need to do is to explain how functional complexity arose in a non-multiverse. But of course that is ludicrous – one can’t pretend to have a falsifiable theory simply by saying it can be falsified if someone else comes up with a better idea. There actually must be a way to test and confirm or falsify the theory in question, without reference to other theories

  79. 79
    Artie says:

    Origenes @77:

    All you did was provide some examples of things that current science cannot pin down. Unless you can show that these things can never be understood by science on principle — which you cannot — your point is irrelevant and distracts from the main point WJM is making.

    Again, WJM defined “supernatural” as anything that could not be explained by laws and constants. I gave examples of such things which are not typically thought of as “supernatural”. There is no way of knowing, of course, whether or not science will ever be able to explain turbulence, nuclear decay events, and these other things in terms of laws and constants, but it can’t now, and it’s not just a matter of “pinning down” the details of course, these things are deeply mysterious.

    The history of science is a litany of surprises, where new aspects of nature that nobody had any inkling of provided answers to previously unsolved questions. Before field theory, for example, phenomena such as lightning were utterly inexplicable – but those who predicted that science could never in principle explain them without invoking intelligent agency turned out to be wrong. It is my belief that something radically outside of our experience was involved in the appearance of life, and speciation; perhaps we’ll figure it out someday, or perhaps not.

    Bornagain: Artie, if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information ID, as it is properly understood, would be falsified. Period.

    Bornagain is perfectly right here — see the Design Inference.

    No, BA is perfectly wrong – see my argument to him and try to respond if you can.

    Also WRT the alleged non-falsifiability of ID. You should familiarize yourself with the Design Inference.

    You should familiarize yourself with falsifiability.

    WRT ‘intelligence explains everything’. Intelligence explains CSI, not the movement of billiard ball B due to its interaction with billiard ball A.

    Well, you’ve managed here to contradict WJM’s original post, where he claims that such motions are indeed perpetually caused by intelligent agency!

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    Artie, you are trolling and wasting our time with your incoherent rubbish. Are you William Speareshake reincarnate?

  81. 81
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Before field theory, for example, phenomena such as lightning were utterly inexplicable – but those who predicted that science could never in principle explain them without invoking intelligent agency turned out to be wrong.”

    is this

    We Don’t Actually Know What Triggers Lightning Strikes – Aug. 2013
    Excerpt: Lightning is a natural electrical discharge—but scientists are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what triggers it.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....osmic.html

    Physicist finds mysterious anti-electron clouds inside thunderstorm – May 13, 2015
    Excerpt: Says Dwyer, “We really don’t understand how lightning gets started very well because we don’t understand the electrical environment of thunderstorms. This positron phenomenon could be telling us something new about how thunderstorms charge up and make lightning, but our finding definitely complicates things because it doesn’t fit into the picture that was developing.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-p.....storm.html

  82. 82
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “those who predicted that science could never in principle explain them without invoking intelligent agency turned out to be wrong”

    Actually the Christian founders of modern science were right and atheists were wrong

    If anything, as science has advanced, atheists have had to retreat further and further into ‘materialism of the gaps’ arguments whilst Theists have had their predictions confirmed

    Theism compared to Materialism/Naturalism – a comparative overview of the major predictions of each philosophy – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1139512636061668/?type=2&theater

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’(C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

    The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from Death as the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1143437869002478/?type=2&theater

    Special Relativity and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1113745045305094/?type=2&theater

    (Entropic Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead is the correct solution for the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1121720701174195/?pnref=story

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, Artie is severely confusing the ‘explains everything therefore explains nothing’ aspect of the multiverse with the explanatory power of God. They are vastly different:

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff_sNyGNSko

    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

  84. 84
    Artie says:

    ba77, you have now failed four times to respond to my arguments. You were wrong about evolutionary theory not being falsifiable, and you were wrong about ID being falsifiable. Rather than debate, you accuse me of being a troll, of being William Shakepeare (I don’t even know what you mean by that), and then you start copy/pasting who knows what endlessly into the thread.

    We’ll be ending our discussion now. I hope not everyone here is as bizarre as you are.

  85. 85
    bornagain77 says:

    Artie, you are the one wasting our time making incoherent arguments. It is not my fault that you persist in your incoherent logic.

    You were clearly shown that you were wrong in your arguments and instead of acknowledging your blatant error you just repeated your incoherent logic as if that established it as true. Now THAT is truly bizarre. You are a typical atheistic troll since you refuse to listen to sound reason (as if sound reason itself could even be grounded in an atheistic metaphysic in the first place!).

    A DEFENSE OF THE (Divine) REVELATION AGAINST THE OBJECTIONS OF FREETHINKERS, BY MR. EULER
    Excerpt: “The freethinkers (atheists) have yet to produce any objections that have not long been refuted most thoroughly. But since they are not motivated by the love of truth, and since they have an entirely different point of view, we should not be surprised that the best refutations count for nothing and that the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning, which has so often been shown to be baseless, is continuously repeated. If these people maintained the slightest rigor, the slightest taste for the truth, it would be quite easy to steer them away from their errors; but their tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”
    http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/.....2trans.pdf

  86. 86
    Artie says:

    Readers:

    The arguments BA failed to respond to are these:

    1) BA said evolutionary theory was not falsifiable, then proceeded to explain how evolutionary theory has been falsified. I pointed out his comical error, but he never admitted it.

    2) BA said intelligent design theory was falsifiable. I pointed out that since an unspecified “intelligence” can account for any observation whatsoever, it was not falsifiable (and not a useful theory). BA argued that ID could be falsified by showing evolutionary theory (or some other theory) was true. I pointed out that this was nonsense, and provided a reductio ad absurdum that showed by BA’s own reasoning, one could argue that Multiverse theory was falsifiable (which it isn’t). I explained that one cannot claim some theory is falsifiable simply because some better idea might come along; rather, there must be tests that can confirm/falsify the theory. BA failed to respond to that as well.

    Then, he said my errors were blatant (what errors?), that he showed me to be wrong (where?), that my logic was incoherent (where?), and that I am an atheist (wrong!).

    Would anyone else care to discuss the issues here?

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    Artie falsely claimed that the pseudo-science of Darwinian evolution is falsifiable as a scientific theory. Was shown, because of the way it is constructed with no testable mathematical basis, Darwinian evolution avoids falsification by the addition of ‘epicycle’ theories.

    Darwinian Evolution is a Unfalsifiable Pseudo-Science – Mathematics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1132659110080354/?type=2&theater

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    And while I agree with Artie that none-the-less, Darwinian evolution, in spite of its lack of a rigid and testable mathematical basis, is empirically falsified (Behe 1 in 10^20 Edge of Evolution per malaria, and Quantum Information in DNA)), Artie pretends that I did not make this distinction clear. Moreover, no one but Artie truly believes that Darwinian evolution is properly falsified as a scientific theory. How do you really falsify tea-leaf reading? Artie either has a reading comprehension issue or is playing trollish games.

    Artie claimed that ID was not falsifiable and has repeatedly been shown that it is falsifiable:

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    He blatantly refuses to acknowledge his errors and that his logic is completely incoherent.

    Moreover, Artie (purposely) confuses the unfalsifiable nature of the multiverse with the coherence of Theism

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff_sNyGNSko

    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as an explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    Moreover, if Artie is not an atheist but is instead a Theist, then by his argumentation style alone, he might as well actually be an atheist for all practical purposes. He certainly is no apologist that I would ever look up to!

    The only point that Artie has made clear is that he is a troll.

  88. 88
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, you may appreciate this debate:

    The Rowe-Grayling Debate – Michael Egnor – June 23, 2016
    Excerpt: Grayling’s problem is not merely his frank incompetence in open debate (you can understand his penchant for censorship). Grayling’s problem is that atheism is indefensible in open debate.

    Rabbi Rowe is to be congratulated for his superb defense of the obvious truth of God’s existence.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02945.html

  89. 89
    magna charta says:

    BA77:

    Artie, if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information ID, as it is properly understood, would be falsified. Period.

    I am afraid that Artie is correct. Even if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information, this does not falsify ID because this wouldn’t preclude ID from also producing complexity and information. In some respects, ID has already been proven as fact. Humans can genetically modify organisms to produce new functions. The big question is whether or not it can be demonstrated to occur by non-humAn or non physical means.

  90. 90
    bornagain77 says:

    magna charta, and I also noted that ID has not had to amend its falsification criteria by the addition of epicycles, (i.e. if-then ID explains x), since no one has ever witnessed chance and necessity producing non-trivial functional information and/or complexity. In fact that was the exact point I made in post 71 directly below the comment you cited.

    “ID does not have to amend its falsification criteria and say ‘well God may have done it such and such a way to make the design look random’ because no one has ever shown random processes to be capable of the claims made for them. Namely creating the functional information in life.”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-611275

    A few notes on falsification:

    The primary reason that Darwinism is not falsifiable and that it is able to get away with all the additional ‘epicycles’ that it does is because Darwinian evolution does not really have a rigidly defined mathematical basis to test against as other overarching theories of science have:

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    Darwinians Try to Usurp Biomimetics Popularity – October 9, 2014
    Excerpt: “it is remarkable, therefore, that formal mathematical, rather than verbal, proof of the fact that natural selection has an optimizing tendency was still lacking after a century and a half later.”,,,
    More importantly, its proponents are still struggling, a century and a half after Darwin, to provide evidence and the mathematical formalism to demonstrate that random natural processes have the creative power that Darwin, Dawkins, and others claim it has. Everyone already knows that intelligent causes have such creative power.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90231.html

    Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting – 02/08/2016
    Suzan Mazur: Peter Saunders in his interview comments to me said that neo-Darwinism is not a theory, it’s a paradigm and the reason it’s not a theory is that it’s not falsifiable.
    – huffington post
    Peter Saunders
    Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London; Emeritus professor of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London.
    Peter Saunders has been applying mathematics in biology for over 40 years, in microbiology and physiology as well as in development and evolution. He has been a critic of neo-Darwinism for almost as long.
    http://www.thethirdwayofevolut.....r-saunders

    “For many years I thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have a proof that Darwinian evolution works.”
    Gregory Chaitin – Proving Darwin 2012 – Highly Respected Mathematician
    Chaitin is quoted at 10:00 minute mark of following video in regards to Darwinism lack of a mathematical proof – Dr. Marks also comments on the honesty of Chaitin in personally admitting that his long sought after mathematical proof for Darwinian evolution failed to deliver the goods.
    On Algorithmic Specified Complexity by Robert J. Marks II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No3LZmPcwyg&feature=player_detailpage#t=600

    Evolution is Missing a Mathematical Formula
    Excerpt: Virtually all scientists acknowledge that mathematics is the real language of science. Every theory uses words to describe and postulate the theory, but the true test of a theory is numbers and mathematics. It is numbers and mathematical formulae that distinguish true science from hocus-pocus.,,,
    Every scientific theory that has been promoted to the status of being a scientific law has been quantified and/or embodied into one or more mathematical formulae that make accurate predictions.
    But no scientist has been able to derive any working formula from the Theory of Evolution and no one has been able to quantify its dictums. Millions of scientists have tried to quantify the Theory of Evolution and they have all failed to do so.
    http://darwinconspiracy.com/article_1_rev2.php

    The reason mathematicians are unable to develop a rigid mathematical basis for Darwinian evolution that we are able to test against is because there are no known laws in the physical universe for them to base their math upon:

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.
    ,,, in this book. I show that the theoretical basis, you might call it, or I prefer to call it the philosophy of biology, has a totally different basis than the theories of physics.
    http://www.scientificamerican......-ernst-in/

    In other words, there is no known ‘law of evolution’ in the known physical universe.

    In fact, besides there being no known ‘law of evolution’ for Darwinists to build there math upon in order to make their theory truly scientific, the second law of thermodynamics, which is one of the most rigorously established laws in all of physics, almost directly contradicts the claims of Darwinian evolution (Granville Sewell).

  91. 91
    bornagain77 says:

    On the other hand, Intelligent Design does not suffer from such an embarrassment of having no rigid mathematical basis to test against and of having no known law in the universe to appeal to. The math of Intelligent Design is based on the ‘law of conservation of information’ which finds its mathematical roots in Godel’s incompleteness theorem:

    Conservation of information, evolution, etc – Sept. 30, 2014
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel’s logical objection to Darwinian evolution:
    “The formation in geological time of the human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field is as unlikely as the separation of the atmosphere into its components. The complexity of the living things has to be present within the material [from which they are derived] or in the laws [governing their formation].”
    Gödel – As quoted in H. Wang. “On `computabilism’ and physicalism: Some Problems.” in Nature’s Imagination, J. Cornwall, Ed, pp.161-189, Oxford University Press (1995).
    Gödel’s argument is that if evolution is unfolding from an initial state by mathematical laws of physics, it cannot generate any information not inherent from the start – and in his view, neither the primaeval environment nor the laws are information-rich enough.,,,
    More recently this led him (Dembski) to postulate a Law of Conservation of Information, or actually to consolidate the idea, first put forward by Nobel-prizewinner Peter Medawar in the 1980s. Medawar had shown, as others before him, that in mathematical and computational operations, no new information can be created, but new findings are always implicit in the original starting points – laws and axioms.,,,
    http://potiphar.jongarvey.co.u.....ution-etc/

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski (mathematically) prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

    What Does “Life’s Conservation Law” Actually Say? – Winston Ewert – December 3, 2015
    Excerpt: All information must eventually derive from a source external to the universe,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01331.html

  92. 92

    Magna Charta said:

    Even if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information, this does not falsify ID because this wouldn’t preclude ID from also producing complexity and information.

    It would falsify ID as the best explanation (which is the actual claim of ID) for certain phenomena because if unintelligent causes can be demonstrated sufficient, that would by default be the better explanation.

    In some respects, ID has already been proven as fact. Humans can genetically modify organisms to produce new functions. The big question is whether or not it can be demonstrated to occur by non-humAn or non physical means.

    No, the big question is that since we have already demonstrated ID methodologies up to the task in principle, can naturalist demonstrate non-ID methodologies up to the task in principle?

    If not, ID is the better explanatory system.

  93. 93
    magna charta says:

    William:

    It would falsify ID as the best explanation (which is the actual claim of ID) for certain phenomena because if unintelligent causes can be demonstrated sufficient, that would by default be the better explanation.

    This may be true, but it still would not falsify ID. for example, if it were shown that the flagellum arose by all natural processes, this would only falsify ID as its direct cause. But it would still be on the table for all other complex biological structures. And even if it were falsified as the cause of all complex biological structures, it would still be on the table for the cause of the conditions that allowed for biological evolution.

    I think that is what Archie is getting at with saying that ID is not falsifiable.

  94. 94
    rhampton7 says:

    FYI
    About memories being part of a supernatural system, there is now a demonstrable method identify individual memories and remove them as well as inject false memories (in mice). The Maestro of Memory Manipulation In regards to this portion of consciousness, we can say it is a material phenomena.

    In any event, even if consciousness was 100% proven to be material it would not change the ID theory in the least, since it is only concerned with detection of intelligence, and not the differentiation of the natural/supernatural.

  95. 95
    Artie says:

    WJM @92,

    magna charta is right (and so am I): While evolutionary theory is scientific and falsifiable, it is not possible to falsify ID, because there is nothing that an unspecified, undefined “intelligence” cannot do.

    But it is much worse than that, I’m afraid. Notwithstanding the religious/anthropomorphic intuitions that lie behind ID, there is actually no similarity between human mentality and what ID actually warrants. Just as Hume argued, there is an analogy between human minds and the cause of living things, but the analogy is abstract and tells us nothing at all of the nature of this cause.

    William Dembski fully understands this, and to the consternation of the rest of the ID community, admits that ID cannot support an inference to the characteristics that ID proponents want so much to claim scientific support for. For example, Dembski makes it quite clear that even an inference to a conscious mind cannot be supported by the scientific evidence: He has repeatedly explained that “whether, for instance, the designer is a conscious personal agent or an impersonal telic process lie outside the scope of intelligent design”.

    [Inflammatory personal material removed]-WJM] ID provides no scientific support for the notion of a god with a general intellect, beliefs and desires, free will, or any other human characteristic that people normally and informally associate with the term “intelligence”. And yet William Dembski – a devoted theist – does in fact readily admit that this is the case.

    The failure of science to come up with an explanation of how complex biological mechanisms – and life itself – does nothing whatsoever to support ID. As so many people have explained to the deaf ears of IDers, it is a false dichotomy. There is no abductive competition between “natural processes” and “conscious mind”, so it is impossible to claim that by amassing evidence against the former we build support for the latter.

  96. 96
    Origenes says:

    Rhampton7,

    As far as I can see correlation has been established between mouse brain cells and ‘mouse memories’ — whatever that may be.

    What is an engram?
    SHEENA JOSSELYN: It’s the physical manifestation of a memory in the brain, a collection of cells that, if we activate them, express a memory. It changes when we learn something and fires again when we recall something.
    How does the brain create an engram?
    We believe that the synaptic connections between neurons chosen to be part of an engram get stronger, thereby creating a mini-network.

    A mouse memory is a mini-network of a collection of neurons? What creates an engram? The synaptic connections between neurons “get stronger”. What is doing that? And how? How does such a process store information of the memory event? Which neurons? The “neurons chosen to be part of the engram”. What is doing the choosing here?
    Many questions left unanswered.

    rhampton7: In regards to this portion of consciousness, we can say it [memory] is a material phenomena.

    All we can say that in mice there is a correlation. Maybe a mouse memory is not comparable to a human memory.

    Moreover correlation is compatible with dualism.

    Craig: A dualist-interactionist does not take the soul to operate independently of the brain like a ghost in a machine. Rather, as the Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Sir John Eccles emphasizes, the soul uses the brain as an instrument to think, just as a musician uses a piano as an instrument to make music. If his piano is out of tune or damaged, then the pianist’s ability to produce music will be impaired or even nullified. In the same way, says Eccles, if the soul’s instrument of thought, the brain, is damaged or adversely affected, then the soul’s ability to think will be impaired or nullified.

    Similarly, if the neuronal network is removed or altered the (mouse) soul’s ability to remember will be impaired or nullified.

  97. 97
    bornagain77 says:

    “While evolutionary theory is scientific and falsifiable,”

    You keep saying this as if you have a clue what you are talking about. Perhaps you would care to lay out the exact demarcation criteria that delineates Darwinian evolution as a testable, falsifiable, scientific theory instead of the pseudo-science that it is that invokes ‘epicycles’ at the turn of a hat?

    A Philosophical Question…Does Evolution have a Hard Core ?
    Some Concluding Food for Thought
    In my research on the demarcation problem, I have noticed philosophers of science attempting to balance (usually unconsciously) a consistent demarcation criteria against the disruptive effects that its application might have with regard to the academic status quo (and evolution in particular)… Few philosophers of science will even touch such matters, but (perhaps unintentionally) Imre Lakatos does offer us a peek at how one might go about balancing these schizophrenic demands (in Motterlini1999: 24)

    “Let us call the first school militant positivism; you will understand why later on. The problem of this school was to find certain demarcation criteria similar to those I have outlined, but these also had to satisfy certain boundary conditions, as a mathematician would say. I am referring to a definite set of people to which most scientists as well as Popper and Carnap would belong. These people think that there are goodies and baddies among scientific theories, and once you have defined a demarcation criterion. you should divide all your theories between the two groups. You would end up. for example, with a goodies list including Copernicus’s (Theory1), Galileo’s (T2), Kepler’s (T3), Newton’s (T4) … and Einstein’s (T5), along with (but this is just my supposition) Darwin’s (T6). Let me just anticipate that nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific, but this is exactly what we are looking for.”

    So basically, the demarcation problem is a fun game philosophers enjoy playing, but when they realize the implications regarding the theory of evolution, they quickly back off…
    http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/cosm.....ore_pg.htm

    In his 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture 1[12] he (Lakatos) also claimed that “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific”.
    Almost 20 years after Lakatos’s 1973 challenge to the scientificity of Darwin, in her 1991 The Ant and the Peacock, LSE lecturer and ex-colleague of Lakatos, Helena Cronin, attempted to establish that Darwinian theory was empirically scientific in respect of at least being supported by evidence of likeness in the diversity of life forms in the world, explained by descent with modification. She wrote that

    “our usual idea of corroboration as requiring the successful prediction of novel facts…Darwinian theory was not strong on temporally novel predictions.” …
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.....27s_theory

    Dubitable Darwin? Why Some Smart, Nonreligious People Doubt the Theory of Evolution By John Horgan on July 6, 2010
    Excerpt: Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper ,, called evolution via natural selection “almost a tautology” and “not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program.” Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back (in approx 1978). But when I interviewed him in 1992, he blurted out that he still found Darwin’s theory dissatisfying. “One ought to look for alternatives!” Popper exclaimed, banging his kitchen table.
    http://blogs.scientificamerica.....evolution/

  98. 98
    magna charta says:

    BA77:

    You keep saying this as if you have a clue what you are talking about.

    Actually it is. Or, at least, each one of its components is. If it can be shown that variation cannot increase in a reproductively isolated population, it would be falsified. If mutations cannot be passed on and proliferate in a population, it would be falsified. If new functions could not be shown to arise in a population, it would be falsified. If mutations never were beneficial, under the current or future environment, it would be falsified. If there was no means of inheritance, it would be falsified.

    But, as Artie said, I can’t think of anything that could falsify ID. But, maybe I am missing something that is obvious to you. Can you think of anything that could falsify ID other that a step-by-step explanation, with physical evidence, of every change made in every lineage, regardless of how small, including the formation of the universe we live in, with an explanation with evidence of every atomic reaction?

  99. 99
    Artie says:

    Evolutionary theory can be falsified in lots of ways, just as magna charta’s examples show. And of course people like Dembski have falsified it in terms of probability analyses – something evolutionary theorists were incredibly remiss to not have done in first place.

    ID cannot be falsified at all. Even if we had the step-by-step explanation that magna alludes to, theists would still claim that God is the one who “commands all the particles to follow all the laws” or some such thing – just as WJM’s silly opening post does. There is nothing that can’t be attributed to an unspecified (or omnipotent) intelligence, which means unspecified intelligence can’t explain anything.

    [Inflammatory personal material removed]-WJM] Evolutionary theory is falsifiable, and ID is not.

  100. 100
    Origenes says:

    Artie: ID cannot be falsified at all. Even if we had the step-by-step explanation that magna alludes to, theists would still claim that God is the one who “commands all the particles to follow all the laws” or some such thing …

    You are conflating ID with theism. Indeed theism cannot be falsified. However ID has committed itself to the design inference and therefor can be falsified.

    Dembski:
    “Whenever explaining an event, we must choose from three competing modes of explanation. These are regularity [i.e., natural law], chance, and design.” When attempting to explain something, “regularities are always the first line of defense. If we can explain by means of a regularity, chance and design are automatically precluded. Similarly, chance is always the second line of defense. If we can’t explain by means of a regularity, but we can explain by means of chance, then design is automatically precluded. There is thus an order of priority to explanation. Within this order regularity has top priority, chance second, and design last”

  101. 101
    bornagain77 says:

    Artie and Magna Charta are both wrong. To repeat for the umpteenth time, ID has a rigid falsification criteria whereas Darwinian evolution does not. In fact there is up to a 3 million dollar prize awaiting the first person to give an JUST ONE example of information that does not come from a mind

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery (up to 3 million dollars). We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.
    http://cosmicfingerprints.com/solve/

    Your fame and fortune awaits! Something tells me that Three million dollars is safe and secure!

    Now, on to the un-falsifiable nature of Darwinism

    The main point is that no matter what evidence is presented against Darwinian evolution, no matter how crushing, evolutionists deny that the evidence has falsified the theory.

    Most of the time Darwinists construct elaborate ‘epicycle’ theories that are added on to the core framework of Darwinism so as to prevent falsification. NEVER, in the minds of Darwinists, are the falsifying evidences allowed to question the core of the Theory.

    And while I agree with them that the empirical evidence falsifies Darwinism, and also hold that the ‘epicycle’ theories that Darwinists add on to prevent falsification are a joke, once again, the primary problem is not that the empirical evidence disagrees with Darwinian evolution, it certainly does, the primary problem is that Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis to test against, as other theories of science, including Intelligent Design, have.

    Without such a rigid mathematical basis to test against, Darwinian evolution is forever plastic in the minds of Darwinists, able to morph itself into whatever shape it needs to in order to prevent falsification.

    If you doubt what I’m saying, here is a challenge for you. Go over to Larry Moran’s or P.Z. Myer’s blog and present the best falsifying evidence you can think of against evolution. How much money do you want to bet that all the falsifying evidence you present against evolution will count for naught?

    And Moran knows the mathematics of population genetics like the back of his hand and yet he will still spit out neutral theory so quick, just so as to prevent falsification of evolution, that it will make your heads spin.

    Your preaching to the choir if you are trying to convince me Darwinism is false. I know it is. Go convince him and Myer (and the litany of other Darwinists and Theistic evolutionists teaching in colleges and universities).

  102. 102
    Artie says:

    BA @101,

    To repeat for the umpteenth time, ID has a rigid falsification criteria whereas Darwinian evolution does not.

    Repeating something stupid does not make it smart. I have told you why this “falsification criteria” is ludicrous, but you are unable to respond, so you just keep saying the same thing. I have explained this over and over again. You cannot say one theory is falsifiable but not false, simply by saying one could prove some other false theory true. It doesn’t work that way. If it did, you could say any theory is falsifiable and not false, just as the example I provided. (edit – Multiverse theory is falsifiable but not false; simply show how life arose in a single universe in order to falsify it!)

    Proving evolutionary theory false, or showing that no other theory accounts for living things, does not tell us what does account for them.

    Proving evolutionary theory true does not falsify ID, because there is nothing that could be inconsistent with ID. This is because everything without exception can be attributed to an unspecified “intelligence”.

    The main point is that no matter what evidence is presented against Darwinian evolution, no matter how crushing, evolutionists deny that the evidence has falsified the theory.

    We all know that evolutionary biologists do not think evolutionary theory has been falsified. If you agree with them, fine. The rest of us know full well that evolutionary is falsifiable, and that it has indeed been falsified (as you yourself previously admitted).

    Even if one doesn’t accept the work so far that has shown evolutionary theory to be unable to account for living systems, the examples magna gave certainly would falsify the theory for everyone – even the most steadfast Darwinists.

    Evolutionary theory is scientific, falsifiable, and false. ID is unscientific, and unfalsifiable.

  103. 103
    Artie says:

    Origines@ 100,

    You are conflating ID with theism. Indeed theism cannot be falsified.

    I was just following BA77’s lead here.

    However ID has committed itself to the design inference and therefor can be falsified.

    No it can’t. Name one thing that an unspecified “intelligence” is incapable of doing. (you can’t)

  104. 104

    Magna Charta @93:

    This may be true, but it still would not falsify ID. for example, if it were shown that the flagellum arose by all natural processes, this would only falsify ID as its direct cause. But it would still be on the table for all other complex biological structures. And even if it were falsified as the cause of all complex biological structures, it would still be on the table for the cause of the conditions that allowed for biological evolution.

    You cannot “falsify” ID because we know ID exists in the universe at least in human beings, and we know ID can produce things that nature without ID cannot with any reasonable probability.

    The question is only if ID is the best explanation for some particular phenomena, such as various biological features. No, we cannot disprove that ID had anything whatsoever to do with the origination of the feature, but that is not what ID theory claims nor how it is stated. ID theory claims it is the best explanation for certain features, and offers falsification for that claim (that it is the best explanation for a feature or phenomena) if any natural cause can be shown sufficient as cause within reasonable parameters of probability. ID theory holds natural causes to be the default best explanation if natural processes are shown sufficient.

    For example, it may indeed be a bare possibility that descent with random mutation & natural selection could have generated complex, functional, novel genes, but a bare possibility may not enough to make RM+NS the best explanation.

  105. 105
    Origenes says:

    Artie: You cannot say one theory is falsifiable but not false, simply by saying one could prove some other false theory true.

    Where does Bornagain claim that? Certainly not here:

    Artie:

    Bornagain: Artie, if chance and necessity could produce functional complexity and/or information ID, as it is properly understood, would be falsified. Period.

    I anticipated your response, and tried to explain to you that disproving one theory does not somehow prove another.

    Bornagain is talking about the design inference, to which ID has committed itself — see #100. In short: if we can explain by means of a regularity or chance, then design is automatically precluded.
    Your response to Bornagain doesn’t make any sense. There is no “disproving one theory” which “somehow proves another”. That’s not what the design inference is about.

  106. 106

    Artie, keep your commentary respectful and in the interests of civil discussion.

  107. 107
    Origenes says:

    Artie:

    Origenes: …. ID has committed itself to the design inference and therefor can be falsified.

    No it can’t. Name one thing that an unspecified “intelligence” is incapable of doing. (you can’t)

    Non responsive. To answer your question: no I cannot. What you fail to appreciate is that, by committing itself to the design inference, ID has made itself falsifiable as best explanation. It modestly takes the third seat as a mode of explanation, granting regularity [natural law] and chance, first and second seat, respectively.

  108. 108

    Magna Charta asks:

    Can you think of anything that could falsify ID other that a step-by-step explanation, with physical evidence, of every change made in every lineage, regardless of how small, including the formation of the universe we live in, with an explanation with evidence of every atomic reaction?

    You have an erroneous conception about what ID claims, as I have pointed out. All that is required for ID to be falsified as the best explanation for a phenomena under question is to show natural processes up to the task in principle and within the bounds of scientific probability.

    For example, one doesn’t need to prove natural processes capable of generating every snowflake or every crystal formation. biologists have shown that many evolutionary traits are indeed well within the probability bounds of known natural processes to generate, mostly by breaking or disabling currently functional genes.

    Sure, an intelligence might have been involved, but that is not the best explanation (as per ID theory and it’s falsifiability) considering such hereditary mutations are well within the probabilistic bounds of known, natural evolutionary processes.

    Please try to understand this; ID falsifiability and justification is already used, when scientists examine things to see if nature or ID is the best explanation for some object/artifact, such as in archaeology.

    There are aspects of biology which ID theorists challenge. They argue that ID is the better explanation – not merely because nature has not been shown sufficient, but because such features show positive signs of intelligent design, such as features arranged in a specified, pattern not determined by the physical nature of that medium that transmits specified information towards an exterior function or apparent purpose.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with the “omnipotent god” theological argument Artie is substituting for what ID theory actually claims.

  109. 109
    Artie says:

    WJM @104,

    You cannot “falsify” ID

    Ah, we agree on something! Excellent. [Repeat this kind of trolling commentary and I’ll remove your comments from this thread. – WJM.]

    …because we know ID exists in the universe at least in human beings, and we know ID can produce things that nature without ID cannot with any reasonable probability.

    Here you make the mistake of reifying “ID”. As far as empirical science goes, “intelligence” is not a thing per se. Rather, it is invariably a property of living things. You may speculate that other, non-living things (gods, ghosts, etc) exist that also exhibit this property of intelligence, but these things are not presently accessible to empirical inquiry. So it is confused to say “ID” does this or that. “ID” doesn’t produce things, human beings (and other animals) do.

    The question is only if ID is the best explanation for some particular phenomena…

    Abduction is not, as you seem to think, simply a contest among unsupported hypotheses to see which is the least unsupported. In science, there must actually be confirming evidence. There is no confirming evidence of intelligent life forms (much less intelligent non-life forms!) existing anywhere else but on Earth, and so there is no confirming evidence for ID.

    Artie, keep your commentary respectful and in the interests of civil discussion.

    I’d be most happy to, but …

    [You participate in my threads at my pleasure, Artie. Conduct yourself accordingly. Life isn’t fair. Try and keep that in mind.- WJM]

  110. 110
    Artie says:

    Origines @ 105,

    Artie: You cannot say one theory is falsifiable but not false, simply by saying one could prove some other false theory true.
    Ori: Where does Bornagain claim that?

    BA says that ID can be falsified by showing some non-intelligent process can produce complex form and function. That is not a falsification, as I’ve explained repeatedly. If that was considered a falsification, we could support multiverse theory by saying it is falsifiable but has never been falsified. How can multiverse theory be falsified? By demonstrating how how life arose in a single universe! This is perfectly analogous to what BA proposes to show ID is falsifiable – it’s nonsense.

    In short: if we can explain by means of a regularity or chance, then design is automatically precluded.

    This assumes that intelligence – including human intelligence – does not proceed according to regularity and chance, which is a philosophical rather than a scientific position. As far as empirical science goes, “design” (conscious thought) vs. “regularity/chance” is a false dichotomy.

    Your response to Bornagain doesn’t make any sense. There is no “disproving one theory” which “somehow proves another”. That’s not what the design inference is about.

    I was using shorthand here; you are correct that these theories are not “proven” but only supported (or not) by empirical evidence. The point here is that the idea that ID is falsifiable because one could show some other theory to be better is not what “falsifiable” refers to at all. What is required is some entailment or prediction that can be compared to the world.

    For evolution, if we put a population of dogs in an environment where food was only available 5′ off the ground, and immediately successive generations of this population were born with long necks, that would be a falsification of evolutionary theory. It would be consistent with ID, however. If new species arose in a single generation it would falsify evolutionary theory, but not ID. If new species arose over millions of years it would be consistent with evolution – and it would still be consistent with ID. Nothing can, in principle, be inconsistent with ID, because ID says nothing whatsoever about what this unspecified designer cannot do. That is why ID is not scientific.

  111. 111

    For onlookers:

    Artie is simply regurgitating anti-ID tropes, misinformation and mischaracterizations long since addressed in depth for the record in the UD faq page here.

    Before making arguments concerning ID, one might first acquaint themselves with what ID theory actually asserts and what it does not, and with already addressed common – if erroneous – arguments against ID.

  112. 112
    Artie says:

    Not one of the arguments I’ve made here are considered or refuted in the UD FAQ page.

    Here is what I’ve said:

    ID is not supported as “the best explanation” for the origin of life, biological complexity, etc, for two reasons.

    First, there is no confirming evidence that intelligent life forms (or intelligent non-life forms) existed before life on Earth.

    Second, there is no way to disconfirm any entailment or prediction of ID, because the hypothesis of an unspecified “intelligence” is compatible with any possible observation.

    Finally, even William Dembski has repeatedly denied that ID can support the inference to a conscious mind as the designer of life.

    What are your responses, WJM?

  113. 113
    Mung says:

    First, there is no confirming evidence that intelligent life forms (or intelligent non-life forms) existed before life on Earth.

    So?

    Second, there is no way to disconfirm any entailment or prediction of ID, because the hypothesis of an unspecified “intelligence” is compatible with any possible observation.

    So?

  114. 114

    Artie said:

    Not one of the arguments I’ve made here are considered or refuted in the UD FAQ page.

    This proves you haven’t read it – or at least, have failed to understand any of it.

    ID is not supported as “the best explanation” for the origin of life, biological complexity, etc, for two reasons.

    First, there is no confirming evidence that intelligent life forms (or intelligent non-life forms) existed before life on Earth.

    From the FAQ, @22:

    22] Who Designed the Designer?

    Intelligent design theory seeks only to determine whether or not an object was designed. Since it studies only the empirically evident effects of design, it cannot directly detect the identity of the designer; much less, can it detect the identity of the “designer’s designer.” Science, per se, can only discern the evidence-based implication that a designer was once present.

    Had you read the FAQ, you would have understood that ID theory is not about finding or even postulating any particular “designer”, nor about showing that any designer was present at the time. ID is only about determining if an object or phenomena itself shows qualitative signs of having been designed.

    Second, there is no way to disconfirm any entailment or prediction of ID, because the hypothesis of an unspecified “intelligence” is compatible with any possible observation.

    ID theory doesn’t have a hypothesis of an unspecified intelligence. An unspecified intelligence would be an implication of a positive finding of “best explanation via ID” wrt some object or phenomena, but it is not (as answered above) an intrinsic part of the theory itself.

    Archaeologists, forensic investigators and cryptologists use a basic ID filter all the time to determine whether or not something is best explained via natural or happenstance causes, or are best explained via some deliberate, unspecified intelligent agent. After there is a determination of best explanation, then a different sort of investigation goes on from there in order to find the identity of the intelligent agent responsible for the thing in question.

    ID theory is like the methodology a forensic investigator uses to determine if a fire was deliberately set or if a death was a murder. It is not the forensic investigator that must then find the identity of the arsonist or the murderer; that is a separate investigation conducted by other people using other techniques.

    I’ve already outlined how the actual claim that ID is the best explanation for a thing can be disconfirmed; by showing natural processes up to the task even in principle, or by showing how the claim of ID evidence is conceptually mistaken – IOW, showing how the effect is not comparable in principle to the known effects of human ID but is more comparable to naturalistic effects.

    ID is really a very modest claim and is relatively easily disconfirmed as best explanation. For example, many photographs of the surface of Mars have been claimed to show the effects if ID – like the so-called face or pyramids. Examining the structures from different light angles was really all it took to disconfirm the apparent specificity of the patterns that originally may have indicated ID.

    Finally, even William Dembski has repeatedly denied that ID can support the inference to a conscious mind as the designer of life.

    Even if true, what difference does it make what William Dembski said?

  115. 115
    Artie says:

    WJM @ 114,

    Thank you for the replies.

    1) Of course I understand that ID never says what it means by “intelligent designer” or “design” – that is why I have been referring to an “unspecified ‘intelligence'”. Most people mean “a being that is conscious, sentient, has free will, and has a general intellect” (rather than something that merely produces CSI without conscious intent or understanding). If that is what is meant, then ID has no evidence that such a thing exists, which is why Dembski makes it plain that ID can support no such inference. But if that is not what is meant, then there is no specified meaning at all, and saying something is “designed” is scientifically meaningless.

    2) The allusion to sciences that infer human activities, such as forensics and archeology, are irrelevant unless ID proposes that a human being somehow created life on Earth. We know that human beings can produce CSI – the question is, what else can? ID makes up the term “intelligent designer” to include human beings (and perhaps other animals), and also and other thing(s), but fails to suggest what that/those other thing(s) are or what characteristics they may share aside from the assumed ability to produce the phenomena in question. Because ID fails to specifically characterize what “intelligence” is and fails to say what is supposed to have been responsible, it cannot be evaluated against evidence – there is no phenomenon that cannot be “explained” by invoking an unspecified intelligence.

    3) ID rests on the claim that intelligence is somehow fundamentally outside of the rest of physical processes (that is, that “law+chance” and “intelligence” are mututally exclusive). This is tantamount to a claim of mind/body dualism. So, either ID is claiming to have somehow solved the ancient philosophical mind/body problem (which it hasn’t), or ID is based on an unsupported metaphysical assumption.

    4) You are apparently unaware that Dembski’s position is that ID cannot infer a conscious mind as the cause of living things. He makes this point very clearly in several of his books and papers. Since Dembski is one of the founding and most widely-read authors of the ID movement, I’d think his views would have been known here. In any case, if you are interested in the truth of what can and cannot be validly inferred by ID, it would behoove you to read Dembski. You may also want to read Thomas Nagel, James Shapiro, Stuart Kauffman, and other authors who, like me, think that evolutionary theory is fundamentally incomplete and suggest something else was primarily responsible for the origin of complex biological systems. These authors – including Dembski – take the evidence as far as it goes, which tells us that evolutionary theory fails. But unlike people here, apparently, we take it no farther.

  116. 116
    Origenes says:

    Artie: But if that is not what is meant, then there is no specified meaning at all, and saying something is “designed” is scientifically meaningless.

    Why don’t you join the SETI forum and explain to them that it is “scientifically meaningless” when SETI detects a designed radio signal from outer space?

  117. 117
    magna charta says:

    William at 108, I think we are stguing at cross purposes here. I am talking about whether ID as a whole is falsifiable, which it clearly is not, and you are arguing that ID on a structure by structure basis is falsifiable, which it clearly is. I am just saying that ID as a concept is ultimately unfalsifiable.

    For example, if the idea of the soul (mind/conciousness) by ID is falsified, this does not falsify the proposal of the brain by ID. If the brain by ID is falsified, this does not falsify the idea that the neurons are the result of ID. And so on, all the way back to the origin of the universe.

    But, to be completely honest, the same applies to natural evolution.
    Even if we can falsify ID involvement in everything from the big bangs to the evolution of the most advanced organism, the cat, we still could not falsify ID as the trigger for it all.

  118. 118
    Artie says:

    Origenes @116,

    Why don’t you join the SETI forum and explain to them that it is “scientifically meaningless” when SETI detects a designed radio signal from outer space?

    SETI scientists make abundantly clear that they seek alien life forms – technologically advanced civilisations – and if they ever find a signal, will infer something similar to us. This is why they employ astrobiologists rather than philosophers and theologians – because they are extrapolating from life on earth, and not inventing a category of beings that extend beyond what we know.

    But SETI is not a scientific discipline, it is a search. So far they have found no signs of alien life forms at all.

  119. 119

    Magna Charta said:

    William at 108, I think we are stguing at cross purposes here. I am talking about whether ID as a whole is falsifiable, which it clearly is not, and you are arguing that ID on a structure by structure basis is falsifiable, which it clearly is. I am just saying that ID as a concept is ultimately unfalsifiable.

    ID “as a whole” is not falsifiable because we directly know it to be a fact – we, as humans, intelligently design things that otherwise cannot be accounted for by nature. Evolution “as a whole” is not falsifiable because we know for an experiential fact that things change over time and that species pass variances down to their offspring.

    There is no reason to argue against either concept – they are both trivially true. The only question worth debating is if certain phenomena are best explained as the result of naturalistic evolution or if they require ID as part of the explanation.

    For example, if the idea of the soul (mind/conciousness) by ID is falsified, this does not falsify the proposal of the brain by ID. If the brain by ID is falsified, this does not falsify the idea that the neurons are the result of ID. And so on, all the way back to the origin of the universe.

    Similarly, if it is shown that ID is required to explain certain biological features, that doesn’t mean that natural evolutionary processes cannot fully account for many other features. There have been several genetic variations shown to be entirely within the probabilistic range of naturalistic evolution to acquire.

    Similarly, some rock formations are well within the range of nature to produce; others, like stonehenge, fall outside of that range and the particular arrangements and structure and placement of the stones points to an intelligent design.

    But, to be completely honest, the same applies to natural evolution.

    It’s good to see that you understand this about your argument.

    Even if we can falsify ID involvement in everything from the big bangs to the evolution of the most advanced organism, the cat, we still could not falsify ID as the trigger for it all.

    Sure you could, by showing that natural processes are up to the task or that the features do not bear the hallmarks of ID.

  120. 120

    Artie @115:

    1. You are confusing what IDists say wrt the implications of ID theory with ID theory itself. ID theory itself says nothing about the identity or nature of any supposed designer; it only about recognizing patterns that signify that some form of intelligence was involved in the design/configuration of the phenomena.

    2. Human design is posited as the only known example of ID and the effects ID produces, so examples of human ID are hardly “irrelevant” when it comes to potentially identifying the hallmark traits of intelligent activity. I’ve already explained to you that you have an incorrect understanding of the claims of ID theory; it fully understands that ID could be considered an “explanation for everything” – even that which appears natural, which is why it formally takes a back seat to natural explanations and only advances itself when observed phenomena bear the hallmark qualities of known, human ID which differentiate it in principle from all other known naturally occurring phenomena.

    3. Categorically false. ID theory makes no such claim.

    4. You’ll excuse me if I don’t accept you as Dembski’s proxy, and if I dismiss your appeal to various authorities as nothing more than a diversionary tactic. Make your own case here as best you can.

  121. 121
    Origenes says:

    Artie: SETI scientists make abundantly clear that they seek alien life forms – technologically advanced civilisations – and if they ever find a signal, will infer something similar to us.

    Even if true, these expectations are expectations and nothing more. That’s not rigorous science. Alien life forms could be anything — “unspecified ‘intelligence’”.

    Artie: But SETI is not a scientific discipline, it is a search.

    SETI is the science that searches for evidence that directly tests a hypothesis. Science is a search.

  122. 122

    One wonders if Artie knows what the letters in SETI stands for?

  123. 123
    bornagain77 says:

    To go beyond the bounds of ID proper, beyond the falsifiable design inference, and to speculate as to what that prior Intelligence that created life on earth (and created the universe for that matter), and what our relationship to that prior intelligence might be, I hold that the evidence from Big Bang cosmology, Quantum Mechanics, Biological Life, and Paleontology gives very strong indication that we, of all creatures on earth, are uniquely made ‘in the image’ of that Creator of life and the universe.

    Basically, I hold, from the scientific evidence itself, that the Theist is more than justified for his belief that he is ‘made in the image’ of God and that the atheist is, once again, left with deep unanswered questions that go contrary to his materialistic assumptions.

    First off, if a person believes the Big Bang does not give at least some indication of the existence of a ‘prior’ Intelligence that existed before man came onto the scene, then that person is clearly holding onto some very unreasonable biases against God:

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    To accentuate the evidence for a beginning of the universe, there is also the evidence from fine-tuning of the universe that further bolsters the Theistic claim that a ‘prior’ Intelligence was required for the Big Bang:

    “Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here. Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate — it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially.”
    Nobel Prize winning Physicist Charles Townes

    “If the Universe had not been made with the most exacting precision we could never have come into existence. It is my view that these circumstances indicate the universe was created for man to live in.”
    John O’Keefe (astronomer at NASA)

    “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”
    Alan Sandage (preeminent Astronomer)

    Moreover, in a finding that is very suggestive that the Intelligence behind creating the universe is the Christian God in particular, and not some other god, Quantum mechanics has revealed that we do not live in a universe that is, at its foundational basis, made of material particles, (as the materialists believe), but that we instead live in a universe that is ‘information theoretic’ in its foundational basis.

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    This ‘information theoretic’ finding is very supportive of the Christian claim of the ‘Word’, of the ‘Logos’, of John 1:1 being at the root of all reality:

    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    No less than Anton Zeilinger himself pointed out this ‘coincidence’:

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: “In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw

    As well, besides the universe, life itself is found to be ‘information theoretic’ in its foundational basis:

    Information Enigma (Where did the information in life come from?) – Stephen Meyer – Doug Axe – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA-FcnLsF1g

    Complex grammar of the genomic language – November 9, 2015
    Excerpt: The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher –,,,
    – per science daily

    Moreover, to solidify the inference that the Christian God created all life on earth, besides classical information, ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, quantum information/entanglement is now found along the entire length of DNA, (and proteins):

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    It is important to emphasize that quantum non-locality simply refuses to be reduced to within space and time causes:

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

    And again, like the ‘information theoretic’ foundation found for the universe by Quantum Mechanics, the finding of non-local quantum information at the most foundational level of life, in DNA, is very supportive of the “Logos” theology of John 1. Particularly the claim in John 1:4

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Moreover, despite an ‘explosion of research’ trying to explain the origins of human intelligence, it is found that human beings alone “mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities”

    Evolution of the Genus Homo – Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, May 2009
    Excerpt: “Unusual though Homo sapiens may be morphologically, it is undoubtedly our remarkable cognitive qualities that most strikingly demarcate us from all other extant species. They are certainly what give us our strong subjective sense of being qualitatively different. And they are all ultimately traceable to our symbolic capacity. Human beings alone, it seems, mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities. When exactly Homo sapiens acquired this unusual ability is the subject of debate.”
    http://www.annualreviews.org/d.....208.100202

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing ‘scientific’ proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information.

    I guess a more convincing ‘scientific’ evidence for the claim that we were ‘made in the image’ of God’ could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God.

    But who has ever heard of any compelling ‘scientific’ evidence supporting a claim that is as outlandish as that claim?

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1119619634717635/?pnref=story

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    Natalie Grant – Alive (Mary Magdalene)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AFpgzjRD44

  124. 124
    AnimatedDust says:

    Artie, Magna Charta, Arcartia Bogart.

    Methinks I smell a weasel.

  125. 125
    Artie says:

    WJM @ 120:

    Human design is posited as the only known example of ID and the effects ID produces, so examples of human ID are hardly “irrelevant” when it comes to potentially identifying the hallmark traits of intelligent activity.

    The problem is that one example cannot define an abstract class, unless all members of the class are the same as your example (and obviously humans cannot be the Designer of Life). It is unscientific to speak of some set of entities that are said to be “intelligent” without providing some specific inclusion criteria for that set.

    In other words: Whatever caused first life shares at least one trait with human beings: they both can produce CSI (obviously). But what other characteristics do humans share with the cause of first life? Can we infer the cause of first life had conscious intentions, beliefs and desires? Or that it had a general intellect, learned new abilities over time, used mental imagery, made plans in advance of implementation, and so on? No, there is no empirical justification to infer any of these things.

    3. Categorically false. ID theory makes no such claim.

    ID makes the claim implicitly every time it contrasts “law+chance” with “intelligent cause”. If mind/body dualism is false (which it may or may not be) then this dichotomy is false.

    4. You’ll excuse me if I don’t accept you as Dembski’s proxy, and if I dismiss your appeal to various authorities as nothing more than a diversionary tactic. Make your own case here as best you can.

    I’d be more than happy to provide his quotes; I was just surprised you weren’t familiar with his ideas. But no matter, I am indeed making the argument myself.

    and @122:

    One wonders if Artie knows what the letters in SETI stands for?

    SETI scientists are searching for civilizations of biological entities on temperate, water-containing planets with high encephalization quotients and that have existed long enough to have developed advanced technology like ours. Have you ever read anything about SETI (besides reading the “I” in their acronym)?

  126. 126
    bornagain77 says:

    as to

    “Artie, Magna Charta, Arcartia Bogart.

    Methinks I smell a weasel.”

    Yep

    for whom the bell tolls

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bahqIFf4i8Y

  127. 127

    Artie @125:

    You seem to be immune to the fact that ID theory is only about pattern recognition and not about any supposed designer. Even if human design is the only intelligent design we know, it still affords us an example to work with and extrapolate from. ID theory doesn’t claim to be able to identify all cases of ID.

    If you’re going to insist that ID is about the designer, then you are arguing a straw man.

    BTW, there is a theory by a rather prominent physicist (John Wheeler) that humans did design life and actually the universe.

    SETI scientists are searching for civilizations of biological entities on temperate, water-containing planets with high encephalization quotients and that have existed long enough to have developed advanced technology like ours. Have you ever read anything about SETI (besides reading the “I” in their acronym)

    Yeah, Artie. But I don’t ignore the “I” in their acronym because it is inconvenient. Everything you have said above means, in short, that SETI is looking for an ET species intelligent enough to have developed technology we could discern as such via a narrow-band frequency transmission.

    Let’s say that there is a non-physical intelligence that communicates via mind (not brain)-produced narrow-band frequencies, Artie. Let’s say that SETI finds the frequency and decodes the message. What is SETI going to do, disqualify the signal and code as non-intelligent because it doesn’t come from a physically embodied entity with measurable encephalization quotients?

    There’s a reason it’s not SETL, Artie. They cannot actually look for and find physical ET life out there (not yet, anyway); all they can actually hope to find is a signal that indicates intelligence – whatever form that intelligence may take.

    The rest of that is simply cover against SETI being labeled an ID enterprise, which it clearly is.

  128. 128
    Origenes says:

    Artie: ID rests on the claim that intelligence is somehow fundamentally outside of the rest of physical processes (that is, that “law+chance” and “intelligence” are mututally exclusive). This is tantamount to a claim of mind/body dualism. So, either ID is claiming to have somehow solved the ancient philosophical mind/body problem (which it hasn’t), or ID is based on an unsupported metaphysical assumption.

    ID makes the claim implicitly every time it contrasts “law+chance” with “intelligent cause”. If mind/body dualism is false (which it may or may not be) then this dichotomy is false.

    Let’s assume that the intelligence ID refers to stems from a material brain. Would it not be proper to distinguish between what a material brain can produce and what raw materials can produce? As in, a material brain can intelligently design an IPhone but raw materials and chance cannot? As in, a material brain can produce CSI, but raw materials and chance cannot?
    This distinction looks perfectly scientific to me.

    So, if life on earth can only be explained by intelligent design, then one must conclude that somehow a material brain has produced it. And if the universe is shown to be intelligently designed, then one must conclude that somehow a material brain has produced it.

  129. 129
    Axel says:

    William J Murray’s celestially-magisterial exposition seems so insightful to me, I find myself laughing all the time as I read it.

    I don’t say/ask this profanely : God help any atheist who tries to take on William J Murray. Please. rvb8just received a taster for his pains, towards the top of the thread !

  130. 130
    Axel says:

    William J Murray’s celestially-magisterial exposition seems so insightful to me, I find myself laughing all the time as I read it.

    The three headings, especially the first and third, are like hammer-blows to the heads of our muddle-headed, meathead friends, did they but wish to understand the pellucidly obvious and unequivocal falsity of materialism.

    I don’t say/ask this profanely : God help any atheist who tries to take on William J Murray. Please. rvb8 just received a ‘taster’ for his pains, towards the top of the thread !

    ‘Each of us experience ourselves as a seat of consciousness with direct, top-down, intentional, prescriptive control (to varying degrees) over the behaviors of many elements of our bodies and thinking processes.’

    As a matter of interest, perhaps, I believe Aldous Huxley, in his essay, The Perennial Philosophy, referred to this phenomenon – like the rest of us, without quite realising its supernatural causation – as the ‘autonomic intelligence’.

  131. 131
    Axel says:

    I see you’re on top form again in your post, #21, esteemed Mung.

  132. 132
    Axel says:

    rvb8, it wouldn’t be first cause if it too had a first cause. A most concordant oxymoron, esteemed Mung.

  133. 133
    Axel says:

    @rvb8 your #22

    ‘Science deals with the manegeable. And by manageable I mean testable, the empirical. Your ‘uncaused cause’ is exactly beyond natural (supernatural) and therefore logically out of bounds. And if it is not ‘out of bounds’ I should be allowed to ask, ‘what caused the first “uncaused” cause?‘’

    Of course, it’s ‘out of bounds’ to your scientism, rvb8. As is the transcendent nature of thought, itself, in relation to matter.

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