Intelligent Design

johnnyb, Nail, Head

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All that follows is from johnnyb’s comment to New Books On Consciousness Underscore Naturalism’s Fatal Problem posted by the UD News Desk yesterday.

This plays very nicely into Plantinga’s “Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism”.

The evolutionary argument against naturalism basically states, “if evolution is true and theism is false, we cannot know that evolution is true. The only way to be able to know if evolution is true is for theism (or some other non-naturalistic alternative) to also be true.” The reason for this is the precise theorem that Hoffman states – in evolutionary competition, fitness beats truth. Therefore, if the orientation of our minds is from evolution, then we have no reason to trust it, which would include its thoughts about evolution. The only reason to trust the mind is if the mind were oriented by something that did have truth (and not a substitute like fitness) as a goal.

Interestingly, Darwin got halfway to Plantinga’s EAAN, but stopped short, probably because he didn’t like what it implied.

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Here he is talking about religious convictions, but his reasoning here does not limit the claim to only those types of convictions. Like most naturalistic philosophies, it doesn’t bother to apply its own reasoning to itself. It pretends theism is true long enough to make the naturalistic claim, but the naturalistic claim pretends to show us why theism isn’t true. However, logically followed, the naturalistic claim really just tells us that the naturalistic claim itself is non-sensical.

30 Replies to “johnnyb, Nail, Head

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    “…The reason for this is the precise theorem that Hoffman states – in evolutionary competition, fitness beats truth.

    Unless fitness is truth in which case there is no competition. How does Hoffman – or Plantinga – distinguish between “fitness” and “truth”? Are they comparing like with like?

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    If fitness and truth are one and the same then that barks at Teleology, I would also to point out that this is my main gripe about evolution as a theory, A logic that would invalidate the theory can easily be re-stated and it would then validate theory once more

    It’s way too broad and easily adjusted

    Secondly there are tons of examples in nature of fitness using deception to be more fit then truth

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.
    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.
    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?
    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.
    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.,,,
    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.,,,
    Applied consistently, Darwinism undercuts not only itself but also the entire scientific enterprise. Kenan Malik, a writer trained in neurobiology, writes, “If our cognitive capacities were simply evolved dispositions, there would be no way of knowing which of these capacities lead to true beliefs and which to false ones.” Thus “to view humans as little more than sophisticated animals …undermines confidence in the scientific method.”,,,
    Of course, the atheist pursuing his research has no choice but to rely on rationality, just as everyone else does. The point is that he has no philosophical basis for doing so. Only those who affirm a rational Creator have a basis for trusting human rationality.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/03/why_evolutionar/

  4. 4
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    Unless fitness is truth

    But Sev, you know for a certain fact that according to your own premises fitness and truth are not the same. For 99% of human existence, 99% of humans have believed in a God or gods. Your premises compel you to say that evolutionary forces caused that state of affairs (for the simple reason that, under your premises, there are no other alternatives). You also say that a belief in a God or gods is a false belief. Therefore, simple logic applied to your own factual premises demands the conclusion that evolutionary forces selected for a false belief.

  5. 5
    hazel says:

    In respect to religion, Barry write, “Therefore, simple logic applied to your own factual premises demands the conclusion that evolutionary forces selected for a false belief.”

    On the one hand, my layperson’s understanding is that many things are by-products of other things, and that not everything that exists is because “evolutionary forces” selected for them. As Gould pointed out in his famous paper about about spandrels, we “need to distinguish between the current use of a trait and the reason it evolved.”

    But, as I’ve pointed to in another thread, using Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather” quote as a stimulus,, human beings have to make up stories to create the structures by which they live. So, yes, religions are both factually false and yet essential parts of human society.

  6. 6
    DerekDiMarco says:

    @Hazel: yes. Not every single aspect of any organism is evolutionarily selected. Evolution is neither perfect nor exhaustive.

  7. 7
    DerekDiMarco says:

    My brain has evolved to be able to determine that a bear running at me is bad news, I shouldn’t try to pet great white sharks, and jumping into a fire would not be pleasant. Any of my fellow humans whose brains aren’t capable of figuring out things like that are probably not going to leave a plethora of descendants.

    it’s amazing how many people eventually learn how to tie their own shoes, but can’t figure out that simple bit of logic.

    Wonders never cease. 🙂

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington@ 4

    But Sev, you know for a certain fact that according to your own premises fitness and truth are not the same. For 99% of human existence, 99% of humans have believed in a God or gods. Your premises compel you to say that evolutionary forces caused that state of affairs (for the simple reason that, under your premises, there are no other alternatives). You also say that a belief in a God or gods is a false belief. Therefore, simple logic applied to your own factual premises demands the conclusion that evolutionary forces selected for a false belief.

    I agree that evolution can select for false beliefs, religion being a possible example, but not that it mostly or always does. Human beings survive better in groups than on their own. Religious belief, even if false, can help to bind such groups together more tightly and make them more resilient in face of challenges. At that level, it is advantageous in terms of survival. On the other hand, believing that tigers are big, cuddly pets who just want to play is probably not going to be so advantageous and, over time, those holding such beliefs are less likely to survive and pass on that belief.

    This paper – Evolutionary debunking arguments in three domains: Fact, value, and
    religion
    has an extended discussion of these ideas and the following is an excerpt:

    Why evolution selects for truth-tracking

    If our evolved cognitive mechanisms were not selected for tracking truth, then either they are not adaptations, or they were selected for some other, substantial ecological benefit. The hypothesis that human cognitive mechanisms are not adaptations is highly implausible because they are so expensive. The human brain makes up about 2% of body mass, but accounts for about 20% of oxygen consumption. Beliefs, true or false, come at a high price. If there were no adaptive advantages to having a mass of expensive neural tissue, then there would be strong selection against it. So our evolved cognitive mechanisms are probably adaptations. If they are not adaptations for truth-tracking then they must be adaptations for something else. Once the vacuous
    suggestion that they are ‘adaptations for fitness’ has been dismissed it is hard to see what the basic evolutionary function of cognition could be other than tracking truth. The fact that the fittest belief forming mechanisms are not always those designed to produce the largest proportion of true beliefs can be explained perfectly well once we recognize that, like all evolutionary processes, truth tracking operates under constraints.

    The most fundamental constraint is cost. Organisms have limited resources and truth-tracking is not the only thing they need to do to survive. Resources allocated to forming true beliefs are resources unavailable for making sperm or eggs, or fighting off the effects of ageing by repairing damaged tissues. If the fitness benefits of allocating a unit of energy to one of those activities exceeds the fitness benefits of allocating that energy to improving the accuracy of beliefs, then that is where it will be allocated. The scientists whose work is usually cited to demonstrate how badly human beings track truth have long argued that failures of rationality can be understood as heuristics which sacrifice being right all the time for being right most of the time at a greatly reduced cost
    (Gigerenzer and Todd 1999; Gigerenzer and Selten 2001). A heuristic does not guarantee a correct answer every time, but it is right often enough that there is no point in adopting a more reliable but more costly method. A heuristic is not a method for making mistakes. While our use of simple heuristics does show that truth is being traded off against fitness, what this means is that truth tracking, one component of fitness, is being traded off against other components such as sperm production. So even ‘bounded rationality’ is an adaptation for tracking truth.

  9. 9
    hazel says:

    I think the key point here is that much of what humans are and do was not selected for, but rather a consequence of other capabilities that are part of our more basic and ancient human nature, however one might think that “evolved” Two obvious examples are written language and driving a car. Almost everyone, given the proper opportunity and training, learns to read, write, and drive, but none of those skills are thought to have arisen directly by evolutionary processes.

  10. 10
    hazel says:

    A point that follows from my previous post: not all “truth” arose because it was selected for by evolutionary processes. Certain cognitive skills may have arisen because of their value for survival, but from those skills we have discovered a huge amount that was not because of evolutionary pressures.

    So the dichotomy between knowledge related to fitness and some other kind of theistically available truth is false dichotomy that excludes all the truths we can and have discovered using our senses and cognitive abilities.

    But, and this to me is critical, there may be no “higher” truths than the ones that we have discovered in that manner, so contrasting and downgrading such truths in respect to theistically oriented truths might be pointless if those theistically oriented truths are in fact just supportive stories we have created.

  11. 11
    ET says:

    Derek:

    Not every single aspect of any organism is evolutionarily selected.

    Natural selection is a process of elimination. Your side doesn’t have a selecting mechanism. Only ID does

    Evolution is neither perfect nor exhaustive.


    And according to ID, organisms were intelligently designed with the ability to adapt and evolve.

    My brain has evolved to be able to determine that a bear running at me is bad news, I shouldn’t try to pet great white sharks, and jumping into a fire would not be pleasant.

    Your brain was designed with that capability- the capability to learn

  12. 12
    Tom Robbins says:

    “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life”.

    I find Plantinga’s argument pretty weak. Let me say though that I by nature intellectually very curious and I crave (and find) other facts and philosophical arguments that do support my trust in an all knowing creative, and loving GOD. But “truth” is a very open ended word and Plantinga’s own argument puts our TRUTH on he same level with “true in my current environment”, and so he deals his own argument an inescapable blow. Believer or not, I don’t know Truth with the capital T only God holds it. Truth is something you have, and is a gift, beyond our ability to comprehend. It is bad to Kill? True or False – this certainly can be argued to be selected for depending on your environment. By the way, I find Evolution as presented to us in school, is laughably and utterly false, if I did not make that clear:

    I think its kind of ironic as Plantinga’s argument, to me anyway, puts truth on par with survival with certain ways of thinking. Now TRUTH with the capital T to me is something completely different, but the Capital T truth I speak of, is not obtainable with our filtered minds here on earth. TRUTH is an idea to me, a abstract but also concrete thing, but I believe only GOD knows what is true with a capital T. I can however, find Darwinism FALSE here on earth or in any other multiverse ( sarc).

    “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life”. It is revealed to us and we can receive it, BUT we can’t know TRUTH without it being given to us,and even then I think it would be arrogant of me to think God has revealed all Truth to me. I think Plantinga’s statement forces TRUTH to be something obtainable by some form of human understanding, and thus I think he refutes himself. I believe and TRUST in God for both the longing for him, and the very exciting scientific/rational evidence, but the longing for there to be meaning and truth is revealed through my life by God in bits and pieces… “seek and ye shall find” – that is what I believe….but even then, my truth is like a child’s truth without knowing God.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Darwinian evolution is based upon the presumption of reductive materialism. The fatal flaw in this materialistic presupposition of Darwinists is that many aspects of mind are immaterial in their basic essence and cannot possibly be reduced to any possible materialistic explanation.

    Our conscious minds are profoundly immaterial in many of their attributes

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Michael Egnor – 2008
    Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: –
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

    Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds – 01/30/2014
    1) First-person access to mental properties
    2) Our experience of consciousness implies that we are not our bodies
    3) Persistent self-identity through time
    4) Mental properties cannot be measured like physical objects
    5) Intentionality or About-ness
    6) Free will and personal responsibility
    http://winteryknight.com/2014/.....cal-minds/

    Likewise, logic itself, (the very means by which we determine whether something is true or not), is also immaterial,

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    As well, mathematics, the backbone of science itself, is also immaterial

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Since mind, logic, and mathematics, (the very means by which we determine whether things are true or not), are all immaterial in their basic essence, then it should not be surprising for us to learn number one, it is impossible for Darwinian evolution to produce true beliefs and/or true perceptions about the world (Platinga, Hoffman), and number 2, to learn that truth itself is also immaterial in its basic essence,

    Truth in general, and absolute truth in particular, are abstract immaterial entities that simply can never be grounded within the Darwinist’s materialistic worldview. In fact, as much as it may irk atheists to know, “Truth” can only ever be properly grounded within the Mind of God:

    Twenty Arguments For The Existence Of God – Peter Kreeft
    11. The Argument from Truth
    This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
    1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
    2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
    3. But the human mind is not eternal.
    4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.
    https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11

    Thus again, given that mind, logic, math, and even truth itself, are immaterial in their basic essence, then it should not be all that surprising for us to learn that Darwinian materialism, (via extensive analysis of population genetics), cannot possibly produce true beliefs and perceptions about the world,

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Reality – April 2016
    The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.
    Excerpt: “The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we’re the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it’s about fitness functions — mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.”
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

    The Case Against Reality – May 13, 2016
    Excerpt: Hoffman seems to come to a conclusion similar to the one Alvin Plantinga argues in ch. 10 of Where the Conflict Really Lies: we should not expect — in the absence of further argument — that creatures formed by a naturalistic evolutionary process would have veridical perceptions.,,,
    First, even if Hoffman’s argument were restricted to visual perception, and not to our cognitive faculties more generally (e.g., memory, introspection, a priori rational insight, testimonial belief, inferential reasoning, etc.), the conclusion that our visual perceptions would be wholly unreliable given natural selection would be sufficient for Plantinga’s conclusion of self-defeat. After all, reliance upon the veridicality of our visual perceptions was and always will be crucial for any scientific argument for the truth of evolution. So if these perceptions cannot be trusted, we have little reason to think evolutionary theory is true.
    Second, it’s not clear that Hoffman’s application of evolutionary game theory is only specially applicable to visual perception, rather than being relevant for our cognitive faculties generally. If “we find that veridical perceptions can be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality” (2010, p. 504, my emphasis), then why wouldn’t veridical cognitive faculties (more generally) be driven to extinction by non-veridical strategies that are tuned to utility rather than objective reality? After all, evolutionary theory purports to be the true account of the formation of all of our cognitive faculties, not just our faculty of visual perception. If evolutionary game theory proves that “true perception generally goes extinct” when “animals that perceive the truth compete with others that sacrifice truth for speed and energy-efficiency” (2008), why wouldn’t there be a similar sacrifice with respect to other cognitive faculties? In fact, Hoffman regards the following theorem as now proven: “According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness” (Atlantic interview). But then wouldn’t it also be the case that an organism that cognizes reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that cognizes none of reality but is just tuned to fitness? On the evolutionary story, every cognitive faculty we have was produced by a process that was tuned to fitness (rather than tuned to some other value, such as truth).
    http://www.gregwelty.com/2016/.....t-reality/

    Verse

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    I agree that evolution can select for false beliefs

    Then you have given away the store. If evolution can select for false beliefs, who is to say when it has selected for a false belief as opposed to a true one. You advance a candidate for what you believe to be a true belief (human beings survive better in groups). Yet, you admit that evolution may have caused you to believe that even though it is false.

    It never ceases to astound me that seemingly intelligent people (and I count Sev among such), can’t seem to grasp the glaringly obvious end of the logic. If our beliefs are the product of blind material forces, we can NEVER know whether we believe them because they are actually true or because those blind material forces caused us to believe them even though they are false.

  15. 15
    hazel says:

    Barry, I addressed some of this in posts 9 and 10. We have skills that can find lots of truth, but we also have beliefs that are factually false but are necessary narratives for us as social creatures dependent on cognitive understanding rather than instinct.

    And, as I explained there, evolution selected for broad cognitive skills, including language, not for particular beliefs.

    And last, yes, our truths are always possibly wrong, but many are quite clear and we have ways of testing whether others are true.

    And, FWIW, the truths given to us by our senses and cognitive understandings are the only truths we are going to get, so I think your believing we are going to get, or can get, the kind of certain truth that you think exists is in fact a false belief.

  16. 16
    AaronS1978 says:

    If evolution can select for any type of a belief and it is that black and white, then there is no point in arguing with anybody who has an opposing view

    Evolution has programed you to believe one way or another which doesn’t seem possible given the fact that these types of believes (for example Darwin’s great idea) have only been around for a very short period of time in comparison to humans

    So if evolution is capable of programming false believes you can’t pick or choose what belief you believe to be false, there’s no way for you to tell,
    I believe Hoffman tested this involving colors and shapes in a computer simulation

    Now I know this is an old logic but it is a true logic………Unless you and validate me and think that I evolved with a false logic which I don’t know how you can do that, i’ll simply claim the same of you

    But if all you see is the color blue, that is the only color you evolved to see, than that is the only color you will ever know and you know no other color.

    Might be able to discover a physical wavelength but you will never know it’s color

    It is not programmed into you by evolution to do that
    It’s simply not possible especially if the universe is deterministic

  17. 17
    AaronS1978 says:

    And how did evolution have the power to select for broad cognitive functions? how did it specifically select that? Why not incredibly specific function and cognitive ability? I hear comments like this it just feels like people are giving evolution the excuse for something that normally can’t be explained, in other words it’s creating a narrative, you’re dictating what evolution can or cannot do, Not what it has actually done.

    But anyways the whole point of this is that everybody’s believes and truths are completely invalid in the eyes of evolution including your opinions, that’s the whole point, you can come up with every excuse in the book to try to validate your belief but if it has a foundation of something that you could not control and it was selected for you by something that didn’t have a clue what it was selecting Then there is honestly no way for you to truly be able to determine who’s believes are correct.

    Will it be science?! Nope!! Science is only as good as the people doing it. And if you’re an insane maniac that doesn’t know what you’re doing but it’s doing science then you’re going to produce bad science but all science is still based off of the perception of the people doing it and everybody’s perception if the idea of evolution is correct is based off of affectively something that through a bunch of darts at a board and hoped for the best

    Another words everybody’s an idiot scientists are just educated idiots

    All this is trying to do is point out the absurdity of holding a strictly naturalistic position and turning evolution into the ultimate god of gaps argument

  18. 18
    Barry Arrington says:

    Hazel

    Barry, I addressed some of this

    Well if you call special pleading “addressing,” then you most certainly did.

  19. 19
    hazel says:

    I made pertinent points, Barry, concerning the OP and your comments. Whether you want to address them or dismiss them is, of course, your choice.

  20. 20
    Marfin says:

    Hazel- Please explain in detail how the ability to drive a car is not a product of evolution.

  21. 21
    Marfin says:

    Derek di Marco- Please show list of aspects of organisms that have not been brought into being by evolution , and how these aspects, traits, came into being if not by evolutionary forces.

  22. 22
    ET says:

    hazel:

    And, as I explained there, evolution selected for broad cognitive skills, including language, not for particular beliefs.

    Except for the fact that evolution does NOT work that way. There isn’t any selecting going on.

    It’s as if you are oblivious to what the mainstream says about evolution.

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    Hazel

    I made pertinent points, Barry

    If one believes hand waving and special pleading is the same as making “pertinent points,” then you most certainly did.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Hazel in 15 tries to dodge Hoffman and Plantinga’s finding, i.e. that evolution will produce false perceptions and false beliefs, by claiming that,,,

    “evolution selected for broad cognitive skills, including language, not for particular beliefs.”

    Alrighty, we are finally getting somewhere. Perhaps Hazel can now provide us with some, (any?), scientific evidence for how the ‘broad cognitive skill’ of language evolved? Well actually she can’t. Not even close. In fact, despite 4 decades of extensive research by many brilliant minds, no evidence for the evolutionary origin of language has come forth. In fact, leading evolutionary researchers, Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, honestly confessed that they have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,”

    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, the supposed evolution of language and/or functional information lies at the heart of the debate between ID advocates and Darwinists. As has been repeatedly pointed out to Darwinists, unguided evolutionary processes are grossly inadequate for explaining the origin of even small words, i.e. genes, within the genome, much less explaining the origin of the human mind which can create an almost endless amount of information at will.

    As the following paper states “When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five (letters) is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.”

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    Half a billion years for a 5 letter word? That gives the term snail-mail an entirely new meaning!

    Likewise, Darwinists have never demonstrated to the origin of a single protein, (which can be likened to the creation of a small sentence).

    Here Are Those Two Protein Evolution Falsifications That Have Evolutionists Rewriting Their Script – Cornelius Hunter – March 2012
    Excerpt: Several different studies indicate that, at a minimum, about 10^70 (a one followed by 70 zeros) evolutionary experiments would be needed to get close enough to a workable protein design before evolutionary mechanisms could take over and establish the protein in a population. For instance, one study concluded that 10^63 attempts would be required for a relatively short protein. And a similar result (10^65 attempts required) was obtained by comparing protein sequences. Another study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and another study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required. This requirement for 10^70 evolutionary experiments is far greater than what evolution could accomplish. Even evolutionists have had to admit that evolution could only have a maximum of 10^43 such experiments. It is important to understand how tiny this number is compared to 10^70. 10^43 is not more than half of 10^70. It is not even close to half. 10^43 is an astronomically tiny sliver of 10^70. Furthermore, the estimate of 10^43 is, itself, entirely unrealistic. For instance, it assumes the entire history of the Earth is available, rather than the limited time window that evolution actually would have had. Even more importantly, it assumes the pre existence of bacteria and, yes, proteins.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ution.html

    Thus, although Hazel felt no qualms in claiming that evolution produced the ‘broad cognitive skill’ of language in humans, the fact of the matter is that leading Darwinists themselves admit they have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,”. Moreover, to make matters even worse, evolution can’t even explain the origin of small words and sentences, i.e. proteins, much less the human mind which can produce a virtually endless amount of information at will.

    Hazel at post 19, falsely thinking that she had something of substance in post 9 and 10, stated to Barry..

    I made pertinent points (in posts 9 and 10), Barry, concerning the OP and your comments. Whether you want to address them or dismiss them is, of course, your choice.

    And the fatal flaw in Hazel’s reasoning here is that, IF Darwinian materialism were actually true, then, of course, Barry has no choice whether to accept or reject her arguments since he has no free will in which to do so. As neo-Darwinist Jerry Coyne stated, “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”

    THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    I wish Coyne would please try to explain how it is even possible for anyone to possibly choose to believe that they don’t have free will without the ability to freely choose between options in the first place. As Coyne himself has made clear in his claim that “people simply refuse to believe”, in their denial of the reality of free will, Darwinists forsake any claim that they are making rationally coherent arguments in the first place,

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Thus, although Hazel wants to claim that we have, via evolution, ‘cognitive skills’ that can overcome false beliefs, the fact of the matter is Darwinian materialism denies the reality of free will which is the crucial linchpin that allows us to, logically, discern between true beliefs and false beliefs.

    Moreover, empirical science itself could care less that atheists are forced into the logically self-refuting position of denying the reality of their own free will. As Dr. Egnor pointed out, “an objective review of the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will.”

    Michael Egnor: Is free will a dangerous myth? – October 6, 2018
    Excerpt: 4. ,,, an objective review of the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will. The first neuroscientist to map the brains of conscious subjects, Wilder Penfield, noted that there is an immaterial power of volition in the human mind that he could not stimulate with electrodes. The pioneer in the neuroscience of free will was Benjamin Libet, who demonstrated clearly that, while there is an unconscious material predisposition to acts as shown by electrical brain activity, we retain an immaterial “free won’t,” which is the ability to veto an unconscious urge to act. Many experiments have followed on Libet’s work, most of which use fMRI imaging of brain activity. They all confirm Libet’s observations by showing what is at most a loose correlation between brain activity and volition (for example, nearly half the time the brain activity that precedes the act is on the wrong side of the brain for the activity to determine the will)—the looseness of correlation being best explained as evidence for libertarian free will. Modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates an immaterial component to volition.
    Harari is wrong about free will. It is not a myth. Free will is a real and fundamental aspect of being human, and the denial of free will is junk science and self-refuting logical nonsense.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/michael-egnor-is-free-will-a-dangerous-myth/

    Of supplemental note, free will is crucial for the creation of new information, i.e. a crucial linchpin for the ‘cognitive skill’ of human language

    Douglas S. Robertson has shown, “Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.”

    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

    And as William Dembski and others have shown, the universal limit for the creation of new information, via all the probabilistic resources of the entire universe, is 500 bits,

    To clarify how the 500 bit universal limit is found for the creation of ‘structured, functional information’:

    Dembski’s original value for the universal probability bound is 1 in 10^150,

    10^80, the number of elementary particles in the observable universe.
    10^45, the maximum rate per second at which transitions in physical states can occur.
    10^25, a billion times longer than the typical estimated age of the universe in seconds.

    Thus, 10^150 = 10^80 × 10^45 × 10^25. Hence, this value corresponds to an upper limit on the number of physical events that could possibly have occurred since the big bang.

    How many bits would that be:

    Pu = 10-150, so, -log2 Pu = 498.29 bits

    Call it 500 bits (The 500 bits is further specified as a specific type of information. It is specified as Complex Specified Information by Dembski or as Functional Information by Abel to separate it from merely Ordered Sequence Complexity or Random Sequence Complexity; (See Three subsets of sequence complexity, Abel))

    Thus, every ‘new’ sentence that has ever been written, and/or ‘created’ by humans, that contains over 500 bits of information, (since the entire probabilistic resources of the entire universe are exhausted), is literally proof of a ‘miracle’ and in fact confirms the reality and necessity of free will.

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, (i.e. functional information), and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. Dembski

    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    Thus every sentence ever created by man that contains over 500 bits of information, such as “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is literally proof of a miracle in that it is proof that man has exercised his free will, and created new information, over and above what the entire physical universe, given all of its resources, is capable of ever explaining.

    One final note, since our own personal free will figures so centrally in our ability to create new information, that is why God will hold each of us personally responsible for every ‘careless word’ that we may utter.

    Matthew 12:36-37
    “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    I don’t know about you guys, but I certainly have said many things in my life that I regret and am very thankful for the forgiveness and grace that I have in Jesus Christ. I mean really, who could stand to have EVERY WORD that they have ever uttered scrutinized for integrity?

    Psalm 130:3
    LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?

    Around the 20 minute mark of the following Near Death Experience documentary, the Life Review portion of the Near Death Experience is highlighted, with several testimonies relating how every word, thought, deed, and action, of a person’s life (all the ‘information’ of a person’s life) is gone over in the presence of God:

    Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uDA4RgHolw

    Thus in conclusion, Hazel’s claim that “evolution selected for broad cognitive skills, including language, not for particular beliefs”, is a false claim for which she has less than zero substantiating evidence. If fact, as has been shown, human language, as far as as our best empirical evidence can now tell us, must be a God given ability that we exercise via our own free will.

  25. 25
    hazel says:

    Three quick points:

    To Marfin, who writes, “Please explain in detail how the ability to drive a car is not a product of evolution”:

    Huh? Our physical abilities to perceive and coordinate our bodies as we do evolved thousands of years ago, but driving a car was not part of the environment which helped select for those skills. Driving a car is a “derived skill”, so to speak: we put to use the skills that had evolved much earlier and have applied them to situations that were not at all present at that time.

    The general point, as I made above, is that not everything that humans do were “selected for”: once we became able to use such things as language, abstract thinking, and tools, and became more flexibly dependent on learning and socially communicated knowledge, all of which were in part “selected for”, we’ve been able to expand beyond purely physical evolutionary processes and develop large amounts of knowledge and skills.

    To ba: I am not a “Darwinist” and I’m not talking about how such things as language evolved. But I accept the conclusion that there has been a progression of creatures over the last some hundreds of thousands of years that slowly acquired what we now consider fully human capabilities.

    About (but not to) Barry: all he can do in response to my posts is claim “hand waving” and “special pleading” without any further explanation, so I’ll not bother to expect any more from him.

  26. 26
    ET says:

    hazel:

    Our physical abilities to perceive and coordinate our bodies as we do evolved thousands of years ago…

    That is your opinion and you can’t support it with anything but your words.

    The general point, as I made above, is that not everything that humans do were “selected for”

    That isn’t how it works, anyway.

    But I accept the conclusion that there has been a progression of creatures over the last some hundreds of thousands of years that slowly acquired what we now consider fully human capabilities.

    Why do you accept that which is untestable and doesn’t have any scientific support?

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    “I am not a “Darwinist”,,,

    Walks like a duck,,, Yawn!

  28. 28
    Marfin says:

    Hazel.If you believe in evolution then We as humans designed and built cars around our evolved abilities,the ability to dive a car was not the reason we evolved these abilities we were just well evolved enough to be able to build machines to take advantage of our evolved abilities . But if you believe in evolution which I DONT , plesase tell me how any ability came about if it was not by evolution as evolution takes place at the level of the cell and any ability we have are only the abilities our combination of cells/genes/DNA etc give us. So if you believe in evolution and not design what mechanism apart from evolution accounts for anything we can think , do, or say

  29. 29
    john_a_designer says:

    This comment by Barry @ #4 got me thinking about some related issues.

    But Sev, you know for a certain fact that according to your own premises fitness and truth are not the same. For 99% of human existence, 99% of humans have believed in a God or gods. Your premises compel you to say that evolutionary forces caused that state of affairs (for the simple reason that, under your premises, there are no other alternatives). You also say that a belief in a God or gods is a false belief. Therefore, simple logic applied to your own factual premises demands the conclusion that evolutionary forces selected for a false belief.

    A few years ago on another site an atheist by the name of Scott posed this question to me.

    With so many religions in the world, how could anyone ever determine which one is true?

    To which I replied:

    “Skeptics typically have argued that with so many religions how could any of them possibly be true? But that doesn’t follow logically. Yes, it may be true that with so many none are true; nevertheless, there is nothing logically impossible that one religion could be true. So the “argument” is fallacious.

    In other words, if belief systems a, b, c, and d… (etc.) make mutually exclusive truth claims then…

    A. they cannot all be true. (That follows logically.)

    B. It is logically possible that none could be true.

    However,

    C. It is also logically possible that one could be true.

    Furthermore, the same standard applies to different versions of atheism, materialism, naturalism, humanism and dozens, if not hundreds, of other non-theistic “isms.” Does it not?” (end quote)

    On the other hand, if logic itself is the product of mindless Darwinian evolutionary process how can we even be sure the logical argument that I have given above is true. In other words, if Darwinian evolution has given us so many false beliefs why should we trust anything else that is the result of a mindless process? Or, if Darwinian evolution is the ubiquitous explanation for everything that makes us human it is also the cause of our minds including the rules of logic which govern our thinking. Is logic then trustworthy?

  30. 30
    tjguy says:

    @Hazel Post #5
    “As Gould pointed out in his famous paper about about spandrels, we “need to distinguish between the current use of a trait and the reason it evolved.”

    Hazel, please tell me how we can ever know THE REASON SOMETHING EVOLVED. That’s foolishness because in the end, it is all conjecture. And how in the world could you ever know if the current use of the trait is different from the reason it evolved? There is so much space here in the evolutionary paradigm to tell stories that it’s ridiculous. This is NOT science. It is story-telling.

    And the great thing for evolutionists is that if one story becomes untenable, then you just think up a new one or tweak the old one a little bit here and there to rescue it from falsification and just keep going.

    But how do you ever know if the story is true? You don’t! And therein lies the problem with evolution.

    Oh right. I forgot. Science is self-correcting, blah blah blah! Let’s just say that science changes the story when one story is shown to be untenable, but self-correcting? How would you ever know if you have the correct answer? So, perhaps instead of self-correcting, let’s say that evolutionary science is changeable and tentative to the point that it can accommodate any new unexpected fact, even ones that seemingly invalidate the theory.

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