Intelligent Design

On Double Standards

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In the We Won thread someone who calls themselves rvb8 wrote:  “We do not accept the supernatural because we can’t test for that.”

Well.  Consider the following two statements:

  1. Supernatural phenomena exist.
  1. Natural phenomena are all that exist.

The two statements are mirror images are of one another.  If one is true the other is necessarily false.  They are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive.

And neither can be confirmed by test.

Notice the double standard here.  rvb8 rejects statement 1 on the sole ground that it cannot be tested.  But he affirms statement 2 (it is necessarily entailed by his statement) even though it cannot be tested either.  The incoherence of scientism is obvious.  Yet many cling to it in the teeth of its incoherence.  Look, I am not even trying to prove the existence of God or the supernatural.  That is a discussion for another day.  My purpose is modest:  Stop with the double standard already.

UPDATE: rvb8 doubles down

In comment 7 to the thread below this post, rvb8 responds with some doozies:

“And neither can be confirmed by test.” No Barry! One of these can be confirmed by testing, I’ll leave you and BA to figure out which.

Do tell.  OK rvb8, I’ll bite.  Please describe the test in which one would investigate every single phenomenon from the Big Bang to the heat death of the universe to confirm that every one of those phenomena was natural.

“The two statements are miror images of one another.” No Barry! Something that does not exist cannot reflect an image because photons will not bounce off something that is not there.

Umm, the “mirror” was not an actual mirror.  Go to your dictionary and look up the word “metaphor.”

 

96 Replies to “On Double Standards

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The belief that ‘Natural phenomena are all that exist’ leads to all of reality becoming illusory.

    Atheistic Materialism – Where All of Reality Becomes an Illusion – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1213432255336372/?type=2&theater

    Contrary to popular belief, Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a foundation of quicksand that quickly engulfs our conception of reality itself into a quagmire of illusions and fantasy.

    First off, in regards to Darwinian Evolution, atheists hold that the design that we see pervasively throughout life is merely an illusion, i.e. merely an ‘appearance of design’. Richard Dawkins puts the situation this way.

    “Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”
    Richard Dawkins – “The Blind Watchmaker” – 1986 – page 21
    quoted from this video – Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – 2010 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    Richards Dawkins is far from the only prominent atheist who seems to be afflicted with the mental illness of seeing the ‘illusion of design’ pervasively throughout life. The well known atheist Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA, seems to have been particularly haunted by this illusion of seeing design everywhere he looked in molecular biology:

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 138 (1990)

    “Organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit – p. 30

    Yet, despite the fact that, according to many leading atheists themselves, life gives the overwhelming ‘appearance’ of having been designed for a purpose, all the purported scientific evidence, that is suppose to demonstrate for us how this overwhelming appearance of design in life came to be in life by unguided material processes, turns out, itself, to be ‘illusory’.

    Franklin M. Harold, whom I believe is also an atheist, calls Darwinian accounts ‘a variety of wishful speculations’. Specifically he states:

    “,,,we must concede that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”
    Franklin M. Harold,* 2001. The way of the cell: molecules, organisms and the order of life, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 205.
    *Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, USA

    In fact, one of the main themes of many of Michael Behe’s talks is that all ‘grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination’:

    “Grand Darwinian claims rest on undisciplined imagination”
    Dr. Michael Behe – 29:24 mark of this following video
    Evidence of Design from Biology. A Presentation by Dr. Michael Behe – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....fM#t=1762s

    Thus, since atheists themselves are self admittedly seeing the ‘illusion of design’ in life, and yet they have no experimental evidence whatsoever that unguided material processes can produce this ‘illusion of design’ that they are seeing, then of course the ID advocate would be well justified in saying that this ‘illusion of design’ that they are seeing in life not really an illusion after all but the design that they see is indeed real and that these atheists are not really suffering from some sort of a mental illness after all. In fact, I hold that they are ‘naturally detecting design’ because of the inherent ‘image of God’ that they have within themselves.

    Moreover, this illusory nature inherent to the evidence for atheistic naturalism gets worse for the atheist. Much worse! For instance, although reliable ‘observation’ of reality is a necessary cornerstone of the scientific method itself,,,

    Steps of the Scientific Method
    Observation/Research
    Hypothesis
    Prediction
    Experimentation
    Conclusion
    http://www.sciencemadesimple.c.....ethod.html

    ,,, Although reliable ‘observation’ of reality is a necessary cornerstone of the scientific method, the reductive materialistic foundation that Darwinian evolution rests upon undermines this cornerstone.
    That is to say, Given materialistic/atheistic premises, not only are our personal beliefs about reality held to be somewhat flawed, but even our perceptions/observations of reality itself are held to be untrustworthy and thus ‘illusory’ given the materialistic premises of atheism.
    Richard Dawkins puts the situation like this:

    Why Atheism is Nonsense Pt.5 – “Naturalism is a Self-defeating Idea”video
    Excerpt: “Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life.”
    Richard Dawkins – quoted from “The God Delusion”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff-5rsrDRGM

    In this following video, Donald Hoffman has, through many computer simulations, clearly illustrated the self-defeating nature of the naturalistic worldview in regards to undermining the reliability of our observations of reality.

    Donald Hoffman: Do we see reality as it is? – Video – 9:59 minute mark
    Quote: “fitness does depend on reality as it is, yes.,,, Fitness is not the same thing as reality as it is, and it is fitness, and not reality as it is, that figures centrally in the equations of evolution. So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality. Others see just part of the reality. And some see none of the reality. Only fitness. Who wins? Well I hate to break it to you but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality, but are just tuned to fitness, drive to extinction that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those (accurate) perceptions of reality go extinct. Now this is a bit stunning. How can it be that not seeing the world accurately gives us a survival advantage?”
    https://youtu.be/oYp5XuGYqqY?t=601

    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/

    also see Plantinga’s ‘evolutionary argument against naturalism’

    Thus, in what should be needless to say, a worldview that undermines the scientific method itself by holding all our observations of reality are illusory is NOT a worldview that can be firmly grounded within the scientific method!

    Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself – Nancy Pearcey – March 8, 2015
    Excerpt: Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.
    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.
    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.,,,
    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.
    The reason so few atheists and materialists seem to recognize the problem is that, like Darwin, they apply their skepticism selectively. They apply it to undercut only ideas they reject, especially ideas about God. They make a tacit exception for their own worldview commitments.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94171.html

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, completely contrary to materialistic premises, conscious observation, far from being illusory, is experimentally found to be far more integral to reality, i.e. far more reliable, than materialism had ever predicted. In the following experiment, it was found that reality doesn’t exist without an observer.

    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

    Apparently science itself could care less if atheists believe their observations of reality are illusory!

    Moreover, as Nancy Pearcey alluded to in her ‘Why Evolutionary Theory Cannot Survive Itself’ article, given the materialistic/atheistic premises of Darwinian evolution, not only are our observations of reality itself held to be illusory, but even our sense of self, i.e. the belief that we really exist as real persons, which is the most sure thing we can know about reality, becomes illusory too.
    Thus, in what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice, in their claim that God is not really a real person but is merely an illusion, the naturalist also ends up claiming that he himself is not really a real person but is merely an illusion. Here are a few quotes highlighting the ‘you are an illusion’ position of atheistic materialism:

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    Per NY Times

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins
    ”If consciousness is an illusion… what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Thus, given materialistic premises, people become illusions whose observations of reality are illusory.

    And exactly why in blue blazes should anyone trust what illusions having illusions say about reality?

    Finally, this unconstrained ‘illusory’ nature inherent to naturalism/materialism becomes even more acute when atheists try to explain the origin and sustaining of the universe, i.e. try to explain the origin, fine-tuning, and quantum wave collapse of the universe.
    That is to say, every time an atheist postulates a random infinity to try to get around the glaringly obvious Theistic implications of the Big Bang, fine-tuning, and the quantum wave collapse, of the universe, then the math surrounding that random infinity tells us that everything that is possible has a 100% chance of existing somewhere in that random infinity of possibilities that the atheist had postulated. Even an infinite number of Richard Dawkins riding on an infinite number of pink unicorns is assured. Since that absurdity is epistemologically self-defeating, then the atheistic worldview is falsified as a coherent theory of knowledge. Scientific knowledge or otherwise.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Infinity – Max Tegmark – January 2014 and Feb. 2015
    Excerpt: Physics is all about predicting the future from the past, but inflation seems to sabotage this: when we try to predict the probability that something particular will happen, inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity. The problem is that whatever experiment you make, inflation predicts that there will be infinitely many copies of you far away in our infinite space, obtaining each physically possible outcome, and despite years of tooth-grinding in the cosmology community, no consensus has emerged on how to extract sensible answers from these infinities. So strictly speaking, we physicists are no longer able to predict anything at all!
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......OsRyS7cBCA

    Why Most Atheists Believe in Pink Unicorns – May 2014
    Excerpt: Given an infinite amount of time, anything that is logically possible(11) will eventually happen. So, given an infinite number of universes being created in (presumably) an infinite amount of time, you are not only guaranteed to get your universe but every other possible universe. This means that every conceivable universe exists, from ones that consist of nothing but a giant black hole, to ones that are just like ours and where someone just like you is reading a blog post just like this, except it’s titled: “Why most atheists believe in blue unicorns.”
    By now I’m sure you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll say it anyway. Since we know that horses are possible, and that pink animals are possible, and that horned animals are possible, then there is no logical reason why pink unicorns are not possible entities. Ergo, if infinite universes exist, then pink unicorns must necessarily exist. For an atheist to appeal to multiverse theory to deny the need of a designer infers that he believes in that theory more than a theistically suggestive single universe. And to believe in the multiverse means that one is saddled with everything that goes with it, like pink unicorns. In fact, they not only believe in pink unicorns, but that someone just like them is riding on one at this very moment, and who believes that elephants, giraffes, and zebra are merely childish fairytales.
    Postscript
    While it may be amusing to imagine atheists riding pink unicorns, it should be noted that the belief in them does not logically invalidate atheism. There theoretically could be multiple universes and there theoretically could be pink unicorns. However, there is a more substantial problem for the atheist if he wants to believe in them and he wants to remain an atheist. Since, as I said, anything can happen in the realm of infinities, one of those possibilities is the production of a being of vast intelligence and power. Such a being would be as a god to those like us, and could perhaps breach the boundaries of the multiverse to, in fact, be a “god” to this universe. This being might even have the means to create its own universe and embody the very description of the God of Christianity (or any other religion that the atheist otherwise rejects). It seems the atheist, in affirming the multiverse in order to avoid the problem of fine-tuning, finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. The further irony is that somewhere, in the great wide world of infinities, the atheist’s doppelganger is going to war against an army of theists riding on the horns of a great pink beast known to his tribesman as “The Saddlehorn Dilemma.”
    https://pspruett.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/why-most-atheists-believe-in-pink-unicorns/

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

    Too many worlds – Philip Ball – Feb. 17, 2015
    Excerpt:,,, You measure the path of an electron, and in this world it seems to go this way, but in another world it went that way.
    That requires a parallel, identical apparatus for the electron to traverse. More – it requires a parallel you to measure it. Once begun, this process of fabrication has no end: you have to build an entire parallel universe around that one electron, identical in all respects except where the electron went. You avoid the complication of wavefunction collapse, but at the expense of making another universe (and another you).,,,
    http://aeon.co/magazine/scienc.....a-fantasy/

    A Critique of the Many Worlds Interpretation – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_42skzOHjtA&list=UU5qDet6sa6rODi7t6wfpg8g

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Thus, basically, without God, everything within the atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. sense of self. observation of reality, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasies and imagination.

    Verse, Video and Music:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    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

    Beatles – Strawberry Fields Forever – Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UQK-UcRezE

  4. 4
    AnimatedDust says:

    BA77, who is Philip Cunningham and what are his bona fides? He sounds like a wheezing old conspiracy theorist who uses supplemental oxygen. I like what he has to say, but it’s very tiresome to plod along that slowly.

    Why do you place such large stock in him?

    Thanks!

  5. 5

    Most atheists are totally oblivious to their own biases and information blindspots.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    That would be me who is ‘a wheezing old conspiracy theorist who uses supplemental oxygen’. And no I do not put large stock in him since I have known him for a really long time and seen him fail miserably at many things. 🙂

  7. 7
    rvb8 says:

    I see Barry put ‘supernatural’ as his first assertion; telling.

    I’m glad you have BA77 blathering for you, he always raises a chuckle, and I think causes most of you to shuffle your feet, coyly holding your hands behind your back, and looking at the ground.

    “The two statements are miror images of one another.” No Barry! Something that does not exist cannot reflect an image because photons will not bounce off something that is not there.

    “And neither can be confirmed by test.” No Barry! One of these can be confirmed by testing, I’ll leave you and BA to figure out which.

    Anything else?

  8. 8
    Andre says:

    Rvb8 using intentional states to deny that they exist……

    Rolls eyes….. Oki doki….

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8, you keep referring to “I” as if you really exist as a real person.

    So as to avoid all confusion, please properly refer to yourself as. ‘the illusion of “I”‘ who thinks such and such so as to accurately reflect your naturalistic worldview. 🙂

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    Per NY Times

  10. 10
    rvb8 says:

    BA, your deep philosophising is too deep for me. I often get the impression when reading you and others here, that you have missed a calling.

    I can not follow your arguments and therefore choose (can I choose if I am an illusion?; according to you, no!) to follow a simpler argument: That which is measurable, testable, physical, that which my (‘illusory’?) senses can determine, are those (‘imaginary’?) things which I will respond to. Actually, you do too!

    As Luther said at Worms, “Here I stand.”

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8,

    So the fact that ‘you’ really exist as a real person is, in fact, a ‘supernatural assumption’, and this fact is too hard for ‘you’ to follow?

    So ‘you’ instead choose to believe in the supposedly simpler argument that ‘you’ are really just an illusion since ‘you’ can’t physically measure the person of ‘you’?

    Thank the illusion of ‘you’ for clearing that up. 🙂

    And why should I believe what an illusion, by no will of its own, said?

    By the way, the ‘physical’ evidence for a ‘supernatural you’ is much stronger than ‘you’ have been misled to believe:

    ‘Brain Plasticity’, the ability to alter the structure of the brain from a person’s focused intention, has now been established by Jeffrey Schwartz, as well as among other researchers.

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz’s work) – Oct. 2014 – video
    The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70

    Moreover, completely contrary to materialistic thought, mind has been now also been shown to be able to reach all the way down and have pronounced, ‘epigenetic’ effects on the gene expression of our bodies:

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    The preceding is simply impossible on a materialistic framework

    Moreover, information itself, which is central to so many debates between Darwinists and IDists, also gives strong ‘physical’ evidence, by the nature of its being, of a transcendent soul

    Scientific (physical) evidence that we do indeed have an eternal soul – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1116313858381546/?type=2&theater

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    also of note:

    Molecular Biology – 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1141908409155424/?type=2&theater

  13. 13
    Florabama says:

    rvb8: “BA, your deep philosophising is too deep for me.”

    Well, that explains a lot.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Dean_from_Ohio, I try to keep my notes organized on Google documents.

  15. 15

    One of the things I’ve noticed about many who come here to argue against the home team is that many appear to share the same inability to recognize and process certain kinds of abstract arguments. It really is as if they are biological automatons processing sequences of words and failing to comprehend the abstract concept those words are referring to.

    Additionally, they appear to be not at all interested in any kind of internal, reflective self-criticism about the nature of their worldview. Such points as are presented here were of keen interest to me when I first visited this site many years ago and I changed many of my views as a result. I’m always on the lookout for problems with my worldview so I can correct or abandon them.

    But, most of our interlocutors here seem only to care about defending their views, not actually examining them, which leads them to say self-contradictory or logically absurd things. They don’t even care if their defense remains logically coherent in itself, or if they portray their views with any consistency at all.

    They appear often to have a single focus: deny theism, deny the supernatural at all costs and with any means necessary, even if it paints you into an irrational, hypocritical position full of obvious double-standards – such as sweeping denials of evidence and requiring “extraordinary” evidence where it suits them, and simply ignoring it when the logical contradictions of your defense are pointed out.

  16. 16

    Dean,

    It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at the universal fine-tuning and cellular code/nanotechnology evidence, couple that scientific evidence with first cause and moral arguments, and realize that the case for at least a classical theism god is really good, and the problems with atheism/materialism/moral subjectivism are really profound and troubling.

    But, it’s like they just don’t care how bad their argument is or how significant the available evidence is; they don’t care that their worldview refutes their capacity to claim knowledge or discern truth; they just shrug it off and keep on trotting out the same denialist tropes, unsupportable assertions and inane strings of words over and over as if they’ve meaningfully rebutted the opposition.

  17. 17
    NeilBJ says:

    As a layman, I find the creation of the universe and our existence impossible to understand.

    The laws of nature say that matter can neither be created or destroyed – only changed in form. Likewise, energy can neither be created or destroyed – only changed in form.

    Yet, those laws had to be violated for our universe to be created. Was the universe and all that exists created by a supernatural being? And out of nothing (whatever “nothing” is)? If so, how did that supernatural being come into existence. Or did that creator exist forever? Neither explanation makes sense to me.

    Am I missing something in my layman’s understanding of the mystery of our existence?

  18. 18
    mike1962 says:

    WJM @18

    +1

  19. 19

    WJM@18 and 21: Excellent points.

  20. 20
    skram says:

    Consider the following two statements:

    1. Invisible pink unicorns exist.
    2. Invisible pink unicorns do not exist.

    The two statements are mirror images are of one another. If one is true the other is necessarily false. They are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive.

    We do science under Assumption 2. A double standard? Discuss.

  21. 21
    Lamont says:

    Skram, pink is a color and there is no such thing as an invisible color. Hence your first sentence is necessarily false and the second is redundant. There is no parallel or analogy to the OP here. Also, science is not based on statements that are necessarily true or false, so you seem to be a more than a little confused as to what science actual is.

  22. 22
    magna charta says:

    Lamont:

    Skram, pink is a color and there is no such thing as an invisible color.

    Technically, there are plenty of colours that are invisible to humans.

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    ok, I just saw a pink unicorn in my mirror.

    Invisible particles exist.

    Invisible particles do not exist.

    Obviously, it is the second that is the scientific consensus.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    Sometimes I tire of saying it, but Barry is right again. I am still waiting for the scientific criteria for distinguishing the natural from the supernatural.

  25. 25

    Magna Charta said:

    Technically, there are plenty of colours that are invisible to humans.

    You see, MC, this is the kind of response that I find baffling. There are no invisible colors, MC. Not “technically” or otherwise.

    From Merriam Webster:

    a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects.

    Electromagnetic radiation is only experienced as having color if it is within the spectrum that generates the sensation of visual color. Invisible color is an oxymoron.

    It is at times like this that I think that some people will simply say anything and argue any point into absurdity just to disagree with theists,

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    Well. Consider the following two statements:

    Supernatural phenomena exist.
    Natural phenomena are all that exist.

    The two statements are mirror images are of one another. If one is true the other is necessarily false. They are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive.

    As stated, no they are not. Supernatural phenomena could be a subset of natural phenomena.

  27. 27
    bill cole says:

    rvb8

    Do tell. OK rvb8, I’ll bite. Please describe the test in which one would investigate every single phenomenon from the Big Bang to the heat death of the universe to confirm that every one of those phenomena was natural.

    After you show Barry this, I would be interested how you would demonstrate test results that man and chimps split from a common ancestor 6 million years ago. If these are too tough show any evolutionary transition where you can test the emergence of any de novo enzyme.

    Do you really think this theory has anything to do with real testable science?

  28. 28
    tjguy says:

    Neil @22

    As a layman, I find the creation of the universe and our existence impossible to understand.

    The laws of nature say that matter can neither be created or destroyed – only changed in form. Likewise, energy can neither be created or destroyed – only changed in form.
    Yet, those laws had to be violated for our universe to be created.

    Neil, if there is a Creator of all things, do you think that Creator is subject to the laws of nature that He created or do you think He would be able to superimpose His will on nature?

    And, yes, if those laws existed from before the creation of the universe, then the Creator would have had to suspend them for a time to do His creative works. An alternative scenario would be that He set the laws in motion after the initial creation. If the Creator is subject to his own laws, He would not be all powerful. Once He created the universe, He set these laws in motion and He uses these laws to pretty much sustain the universe. However, He Himself, could not be subject to those laws unless it is by His choice.

    Was the universe and all that exists created by a supernatural being? And out of nothing (whatever “nothing” is)?

    We cannot prove that scientifically, but yes. That is what the Bible teaches. The creation of the original elements that became the building blocks for all things along with their design(characteristics/properties) would have been a miraculous creation out of nothing.

    If so, how did that supernatural being come into existence. Or did that creator exist forever? Neither explanation makes sense to me.

    The Bible teaches that the Creator is eternal – you know – the Uncaused First Cause of all things. I’m sure you have heard that before.

    I’m not sure what standards you are using when you say that an Eternal Creator does not make sense to you, but certainly you are free to believe whatever you want or disbelieve whatever you want.

    There are certain things that we do not and simply cannot know. We only know what the Creator has chosen to reveal to us. The rest is speculation based on that knowledge.

  29. 29
    Davem says:

    NeilBJ @ 22-
    The Being who created everything created Time, also, so He exists outside of time. There is no past or future there.

  30. 30
    Seversky says:

    Dean_from_Ohio @ 26

    It’s ironic that materialists think they are dethroning an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity, but when they misuse metaphysics in this way, they enthrone an idol — Science — and ascribe to it these very same qualities. In other words, if there is no God, we humans unfailingly will have to invent one. But we’re notoriously incompetent at doing that, and it never ends well.

    Materialists are no more concerned with “dethroning” an “omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity” than they are with “dethroning” the Dark Lord Sauron or Darth Vader. Nor is science worshipped as some sort of omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity. It is highly prized, however, as a remarkably successful enterprise for discovering how the world in which we find ourselves works. It has enabled us to find out things that no god, omniscient or otherwise, told us anything about. Which is what scares believers, of course.

  31. 31
    rvb8 says:

    WJM very often takes the stance of being ‘surprised’, of being ‘baffled’, of being ‘perplexed’, ‘confounded’, ‘dumbfounded’,”mystifyed’, and downright throat chucklingly ’embarassed’, at the denseness of his opponents. Well, to be honest this attitude is fine within the echo-chamber that is ID.
    But unfrtunately as Seversky has stated time and time again, this certainty of what is right, this rock solid assurance of what the other side, as it were, cannot grasp is the kind of assurity that is anathema to science. It is the scientists who are unsure, who question, who alter their views as new evidence comes to light, it is they who push forward human knowledge. It is WJM’s certainty which causes me to fear for humanity. What if he and his ilk actually did control the scientific endeavour, where would humanity be then, with a man who, “knows what is right!”? Oh that’s right, we would be in a time approxiametly several centuries in the past when men exactly like WJM did control science. The supernatural has had a good run, give it a rest.

  32. 32
    Mung says:

    rvb8: The supernatural has had a good run, give it a rest.

    You’re a fool if you think there is anything about “the natural” that is not supernatural.

    But we do get plenty of fools here.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A remark that bears pondering:

    1 Cor 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.[d]

    14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. [ESV]

    Much of the recent exchange seems to fit this all too well, those locked into a naturalistic, anti- supernaturalistic view are evidently unwilling to even accord meaningfulness and coherence to the view that sees beyond the worldview of physicalist evolutionary materialism . . . from hydrogen to humans by blind chance and/or equally blind mechanical necessity.

    But Leibniz long ago pointed out in Monadology:

    17. It must be confessed, however, that perception, and that which depends upon it, are inexplicable by mechanical causes, that is to say, by figures and motions. Supposing that there were a machine whose structure produced thought, sensation, and perception, we could conceive of it as increased in size with the same proportions until one was able to enter into its interior, as he would into a mill. Now, on going into it he would find only pieces working upon one another, but never would he find anything to explain perception. It is accordingly in the simple substance, and not in the compound nor in a machine that the perception is to be sought. Furthermore, there is nothing besides perceptions and their changes to be found in the simple substance. And it is in these alone that all the internal activities of the simple substance can consist.

    In short, our experience of conscious, en-conscienced mindedness points to an order of reality that can ground these things adequately — and it cannot rest on figures and motions of gears grinding against one another or the like. A capital case in point on the self-referential incoherence of a materialistic approach is found in Crick’s The Astonishing Hypothesis, 1994:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    Seminal ID thinker, Philip Johnson has brought out the incoherence when he rightly replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly but aptly commented: “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    Further to this, Patricia Churchland’s semi-famous remark points to the futility of trying to ground rational, knowing, truth-oriented mind on such evolutionary materialism:

    Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in . . . feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principal chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive . . . . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is [ –> let’s try, from Aristotle in Metaphysics, 1011b: “that which says of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not” . . . ], definitely takes the hindmost. (Plantinga notes this from Darwin, who — amazingly — tried to restrain the devastatingself-referentiality to doubting his evolutionary conclusions: “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?”)

    We could add many more, but the point is plain, we depend on faculties that simply have no evolutionary materialistic foundation.

    Hence, the further force of Reppert’s remark that builds on C S Lewis and J B S Haldne:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    Conscious, en-conscienced mindedness is the first fact and the means by which we access all other facts. It is intellectually irresponsible and futile to cast such further facts self-referentially against the very means we must use to access them.

    So, there is on the face of it an excellent case to consider a realm of reality beyond the physicalist, evolutionary materialist circle of naturalism, as it is often called.

    In accounting for mindedness, a useful point of departure would be Eng Derek Smith’s two-tier controller cybernetic model, with the brain as an i/o front end and store unit for the mind. Perhaps, with informational and quantum state influences accounting for the interface.

    The bottomline is, absent responsible, rational, morally governed freedom, the whole life of rational thought self-eviscerates. So, our worldview must have room for such things as worldviews to exist.

    And, the very act of coming here to object as though we have duties of care to truth, warrant and the right speaks volumes of pretty direct confirmation of such responsible, rational freedom. So the very thesis that such is not subject to investigatory confirmation collapses in self-referential incoherence.

    There are patently more things in reality than are dreamed of in evolutionary materialist ideology.

    Even, the ability to dream speaks to this — an altered state of consciousness even while unconscious to the waking world.

    KF

  34. 34

    rvb8 said:

    WJM very often takes the stance of being ‘surprised’, of being ‘baffled’, of being ‘perplexed’, ‘confounded’, ‘dumbfounded’,”mystifyed’, and downright throat chucklingly ’embarassed’, at the denseness of his opponents. Well, to be honest this attitude is fine within the echo-chamber that is ID.

    But unfrtunately as Seversky has stated time and time again, this certainty of what is right, this rock solid assurance of what the other side, as it were, cannot grasp is the kind of assurity that is anathema to science.

    Like so many others on these pages, rvb8 simply pushes together terms and phrases to fit an emotion-laden, rhetorical narrative that has virtually nothing to do with what has actually been argued or said – or even with reality. I am sure of nothing outside of “I experience”. Beyond that, I utilize logic and evidence to put together a view of self and world that is a best logical/experiential fit for the facts and I hold that view only conditionally. I’ve changed my views about many things over the past several years.

    I see the logical, experiential and evidence-based implication that something acausal/supernatural exists and is in operation in the world. I don’t hold this with certainty; the only thing I hold with relative certainty is the folly of denying that the supernatural may exist on the basis of an a priori commitment to naturalism.

    And “certainty” is certainly no “anathema” to science; many if not most who have conducted science for the past several hundred years carried with them convictions of certainty. Much of science cannot even be conducted without the certainty underlined by hundreds of years of evidence. These are just words rvb8 pushes together to fit in his narrative of attacking those who disagree with him.

    It is the scientists who are unsure, who question, who alter their views as new evidence comes to light, it is they who push forward human knowledge

    Look how his narrative paints out scientists as if they are paragons of human virtue. Oh, certainly no scientists commit fraud, or are “certain” of their views, or would bastardize their profession for money or political power. Oh, it’s not scientists who are responsible for any of the horrors of humanity! It’s not like scientists proclaimed all non-white races inferior under evolutionary theory, or promoted euthanasia for the “unfit”, or created weapons of mass destruction, etc.

    It seems rvb8 has traded one class of robed priesthood for another. It’s just part of his narrative of science = naturalism = knowledge = advancement of mankind and religion = ant-science = blind faith = mankind’s worst horrors. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t fit this narrative. It has been the religiously devout that have been at the center of the advancement of human rights and equality. It has been the religiously devout that has time and again put themselves in danger to feed and help the world’s hungry and helpless.

    It is WJM’s certainty which causes me to fear for humanity.

    See, rvb8 hasn’t established any sort of “certainty” on my part that has any relevance to anything, but that doesn’t stop him from asserting it and then – as I pointed out above – inserting that into his narrative about what might happen to humanity.

    Yes, metaphysical certainty can definitely cause problems for humanity, but that doesn’t make all such certainty bad. The certainty that all humans are created equal and have inherent value, and that all humans have unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is worth having, and uncertainty about those metaphysical qualities is when one should be concerned for humanity.

    When humans are simply considered animated meat and human rights considered nothing more than temporary licenses granted by those in power, then it is an appropriate time to fear for humanity.

    What if he and his ilk actually did control the scientific endeavour, where would humanity be then, with a man who, “knows what is right!”?

    See how rvb8 again attempts to paint a narrative that has little to do with the facts and is very ill-considered. Does rvb8 not know that intervening on the behalf of the weak and the innocent is right? Does he not know that love is right? Does he not know that kindness is right? I fear for humanity the more people that do not know these things with certainty. Not all certainty is equal, rvb8.

    Thankfully, most of the history of scientific progress has been under the care of theists that knew the difference between right and wrong, even if some mistakes were made along the way.

    Oh that’s right, we would be in a time approxiametly several centuries in the past when men exactly like WJM did control science. The supernatural has had a good run, give it a rest.

    rvb8 seems to be badly versed in history. It is only of late – the past 50 years or so – that the control of the institution of science (not particularly the rank and file) has come under the stewardship of atheists and metaphysical materialists/naturalists.

    This is something that goes on rather often on this site – naturalists/atheists/anti-IDists that simply put a bunch of ill-considered words and phrases together for rhetorical value.

  35. 35
    john_a_designer says:

    If some form of Big Bang cosmology is true then the universe had a beginning. Furthermore, if we accept the standard model of the big bang, based on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, not only did the universe have a beginning but so did space and time. Therefore, based on what we presently know there was no time (no before) the origin of the universe. So that empirically rules out any possibility of an infinite regress. In other words, there is no evidence that the universe always existed—yet logically something must have always existed. What is that something?

    Leibnitz argued that there are two kinds of being: (1) contingent being and (2) necessary, or self-existent, being. Contingent beings or things (rocks, trees, books, ink, paper, planets or people etc.) cannot exist without a cause. By contrast, a necessary being does not require a cause. Everything we observe in the universe, including the universe as a whole, appears to be contingent. However, it is logically possible that whatever it is that caused the universe exists necessarily or, in other words, is self-existent. An eternally existing (or self-existing) transcendent being, does not require any other explanation because it is the explanation. To prove this simply ask yourself the question, ‘what caused the always existing something to exist?’ The answer should be obvious to anyone who considers the question honestly. Obviously, since it has always existed, it wasn’t caused by anything else, therefore, doesn’t need to be explained by anything else.

    The evidence from the big bang itself suggests that whatever caused the universe transcends the universe. Furthermore, if it is the cause of the universe it must, in some sense, have always existed. It must be eternal. Transcendence and eternality are attributes of what theists call God. So big bang cosmology gives us two thirds of what we mean by God.

    Theists also believe that God is personal. He has a mind and intelligence, volition and the ability to communicate with other personal beings. I would argue that for God to be the ultimate explanation He must be personal. If the eternally existing, transcendent being is not personal then we are back at an infinite regress. Because whatever it was that caused the universe must have created it freely and intentionally. In other words, there wasn’t anything that caused God to create the universe. He created it simply because he wanted to.

    Does this argument prove that God exists? No it doesn’t. However it does offer a viable, logical and rational alternative to naturalism and materialism, as well as other world views, like pantheism.

    In his book, Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science & Cosmology, R.C. Sproul, outlines the parameters of logic on this question– whether or not the idea of a necessarily existing being is logically valid– as follows:

    “Logic requires that if something exists contingently, it must have a cause. That is merely to say, if it is an effect it must have an antecedent cause. Logic does not require that if something exists, it must exist contingently or it must be an effect. Logic has no quarrel with the idea of self existent reality [an uncaused cause or necessary being]. It is possible for something to exist without an antecedent cause. It remains to be seen if it is logically necessary for something to exist without an antecedent cause. For now it is sufficient to see that self-existence is a logical possibility. The idea is rationally justified in the limited sense that it is not rationally falsified. Something is rationally falsified when it is shown to be formally or logically impossible.” (p172-173)

    Again, I am not claiming that I can prove that God exists. My argument is really very modest. I am only arguing that (1) the concept of God is a logically valid and rational. And, (2) God is the best explanation why anything at all exists. The philosophical arguments for God’s existence are not the only reason Christian theists believe in God. Indeed, many people become Christians without even knowing about them. But is it the best explanation?

    After his famous 1948 BBC debate with sceptic Bertrand Russell, Jesuit priest Fr. Frederick Copleston expressed some frustration. He said that he felt that Russell had come unwilling to really engage him in any of his arguments. However, during the debate the two men had this brief exchange:

    “You say,” Copleston said to Russell, “I think that the universe — or my existence if you prefer, or any other existence — is unintelligible?”

    “I shouldn’t say unintelligible,” Russell replied, “I think it is without explanation.”

    I would say that was a major concession on Russell’s part. It’s true. Non-theists don’t really have a good explanation for the existence of the universe, theists do. For example, scientists believe that the universe had a beginning about 13 billion years ago. Theists have a good explanation for that. What do non-theists have to offer? Again, Russell concedes that they don’t have an explanation. I would say that a viable, logical and rational explanation for our existence is better than no explanation and that is what we as theists have.

  36. 36

    I said:

    I don’t hold this with certainty; the only thing I hold with relative certainty is the folly of denying that the supernatural may exist on the basis of an a priori commitment to naturalism.

    That’s incorrect – too much writer’s license here for a venue frequented by antagonistic literalists.

    The only thing I hold with absolute certainty is “I experience”; there are a few things I am quite certain of (A=A, 1+1=2, cruelty is evil and love is good); many things I am relatively certain of out of necessity (an exterior objective world exists, my mind is sound, other people have minds) … but most things I hold only as functional knowledge and conditional belief that are subject to change with additional information.

  37. 37
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8

    this certainty of what is right, this rock solid assurance of what the other side, as it were, cannot grasp is the kind of assurity that is anathema to science.

    My dictionary does not contain the word “assurity.” I assume you mean “assuredness.”

    And yet you assured us that the supernatural does not exist.

    So which is it rvb8? Is both your and WJM’s assuredness wrong? Or is assuredness wrong only when it is expressed by your opponents?

  38. 38
    magna charta says:

    WIlliam:

    It is at times like this that I think that some people will simply say anything and argue any point into absurdity just to disagree with theists,

    Stick to phylosophy William, because you have a lot to learn about physics and biology. Insects see wavelengths that humans can’t see. Are these not colours that are invisible to humans?

  39. 39
    harry says:

    William J Murray @44

    I do not expect that the following will make any sense to the atheists who frequent this site.

    It seems to me that the Christian possesses, in addition to the certainties that you mentioned, the certain knowledge that comes from spiritual experience. It is received unfiltered by the senses and is received directly by one’s soul. It makes a deeper impression upon us than does that which is received via our senses. This experience of God is very difficult, if not impossible, to convey to others in the same way the color blue could not really be explained to someone blind from birth. One has to experience it. Yet that the Christian has experiences like this should not surprise us:

    He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
    — John 14:21

    Christ’s manifestation of Himself to a believer creates a profound certainty of Him in them that surpasses all other forms of certainty. The reception of pure Logos makes a deeper impression upon a rational soul than does ordinary logic.

  40. 40
    magna charta says:

    1. What can’t Science do?

    It can’t disprove the existance of God.

    it can’t determine how life originated.

    It can’t determine how one species evolved into another.

    It can’t disprove life after death.

    It can’t disprove ID.

    Science, in spite of its power, is very limited in what it can do, regardless of the money and resources thrown at it.

  41. 41
    Barry Arrington says:

    magna charta

    “Are these not colours that are invisible to humans?”

    The example that started this off said “invisible.” It did not say “invisible to humans.” Therefore, you are wrong and WJM is correct. There is, by definition, no such thing as an invisible color.

    In your responses you do not seem to be grasping the distinction between “invisible” and “invisible to humans.” They are not the same thing, and you are treating them as if they were.

  42. 42
    REW says:

    WJM said:

    One of the things I’ve noticed about many who come here to argue against the home team is that many appear to share the same inability to recognize and process certain kinds of abstract arguments. It really is as if they are biological automatons processing sequences of words and failing to comprehend the abstract concept those words are referring to.

    I think the problem is that its very difficult to discuss complex topics like this with brief posts in a free-for-all discussion. There are skilled writers and academics who could do it because they’ve spend a lot more time considering these positions. Moat of the people here,it seems, are considering the topic on the fly. If we were sitting around a big table in a coffee shop there’d be more progress in getting to coherent positions because people could correct or adjust their claims quickly when an opponent made a point

  43. 43
    magna charta says:

    Barry, with respect, my original comment was in response to Lamont who said:

    Skram, pink is a color and there is no such thing as an invisible color.

    And I responded:

    Technically, there are plenty of colours that are invisible to humans.

    Do you see the phrase “invisible to humans that I bolded above?

    William responded to my statement that there are colours invisible to humans as follows:

    There are no invisible colors, MC. Not “technically” or otherwise.

    Since he was responding to my statement that there are plenty of colours invisible to humans, and since thousands of other species can see wavelengths (colours) that humans can’t see, William is categorically and unequivocally wrong.

    But regardless, my original comment was intended as a small correction to a factual error and not intended to try to disprove any argument being made by any side. I really don’t know how it got blown out of proportion.

  44. 44
    harry says:

    john_a_designer @42

    Excellent remarks.

    Does this argument prove that God exists? No it doesn’t. However it does offer a viable, logical and rational alternative to naturalism and materialism, as well as other world views, like pantheism.

    Although there is metaphysical proof for God’s existence, and there is scientific evidence that renders disbelief irrational (see Robert Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy ) there is no strictly “scientific” proof of God’s existence, like “if the litmus paper turns blue then …” Those who demand such proof reveal their ignorance of the limitations of science.

    That God’s existence can be proven metaphysically and that the discoveries of modern science have rendered contemporary atheism more irrational than atheism has ever been before is more than enough to justify theistic belief. It would be enough for atheists, too, if atheism weren’t irrational. There can never be sufficient logical arguments and evidence for the irrational.

  45. 45
    skram says:

    Guys, you are focusing on irrelevant details. If it helps, replace invisible pink unicorn with flying spaghetti monster in my example.

  46. 46
    harry says:

    skram @53

    Such a replacement would change everything. Are you not aware of the profound difference between invisible pink unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters? ;o)

  47. 47
    magna charta says:

    Harry:

    Such a replacement would change everything. Are you not aware of the profound difference between invisible pink unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters? ;o

    And, technically, he’s more of a flying fettuccini monster. 🙂

  48. 48
    groovamos says:

    rvb8

    Oh that’s right, we would be in a time approxiametly several centuries in the past when men exactly like WJM did control science. The supernatural has had a good run, give it a rest.

    boy there’s a doozy for you. Someone at least admitting that philosophy is “too deep” thinks that science needs to be controlled. Guess that’s why whole disciplines like the so-called “climate science”, physics, and evolutionary biology are funded by the U.S. government and other Western governments. And referencing a time when science was relatively free from this control as being “controlled”. Good one.

    Hey rvb8 I guess James Clerk Maxwell, quite a devout man, missed out on your “centuries ago” as did dozens of other religious men of science in the 19th century and I won’t bother to name them here except for Max Planck. Oh and here is Werner Heisenberg, referring to that which cannot exist in a finite universe: The existing scientific concepts cover always only a very limited part of reality, and the other part that has not yet been understood is infinite. Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word `understanding’.

    In case you were wondering, Heisenberg was less than a century ago, and was certain that reality is infinite without any certainty of an infinite universe.

    But here is the real problem for rvb8. Hundreds of millions of living people have experienced inexplicable mind-boggling phenomena, experiences that inoculate them from the attempts at boggling and belittling by the arrogant scientism of rbv8 and his ilk. I will give one example that was experienced by yours truly:

    I was attending a wedding in Austin in the 1980’s at which the couple had arranged a psychic to give a reading in a trance state during the ceremony. (note: as bizarre as this may seem, and as something that repulsed me at the outset, you could say Austin would be one of the few places where it might have seemed OK in that decade) I had been practicing the daily lessons from “A Course in Miracles” where the practitioner repeats mentally an affirmation, once per hour. I was on a review lesson where the last 6 lessons are alternated in order, one per hour. The challenge to myself was to remember each one verbatim without looking at the list. So it happened that the time for the mental exercise came in the middle of the psychic trance performance. After some tens of seconds not remembering which one to visualize, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the short list. Before I could look at the list the trance medium uttered the particular affirmation verbatim: To Give and Receive are one in Truth. Yours truly was quite blown away and with difficulty pondered the seeming miracle just experienced and the original harsh judgement I had nurtured at the beginning of the psychic reading. (continued)

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Pink is a colour-tint of red [c 650 nm light] and would be visible. Colour implies visibility. Just as it implies spatial extension and light by which it may be seen. Invisible and pink are contrary. KF

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Mung says:

    Guys, you are focusing on irrelevant details. If it helps, replace invisible pink unicorn with flying spaghetti monster in my example.

    Try invisible particles.

    Or, when is the last time you saw an atom?

  52. 52

    Magna Charta @46 said:

    Stick to phylosophy William, because you have a lot to learn about physics and biology. Insects see wavelengths that humans can’t see. Are these not colours that are invisible to humans?

    No, those are electromagnetic wavelengths that we do not translate into the experience of color. Unless, of course, you think the EM wavelengths themselves have inherent color?

  53. 53
    magna charta says:

    William:

    No, those are electromagnetic wavelengths that we do not translate into the experience of color. Unless, of course, you think the EM wavelengths themselves have inherent color?

    Well, if you want to insist that other species are incapable of perceiving and distinguishing colours, you are welcome to your delusions. I prefer to accept the science.

  54. 54
    groovamos says:

    OK let’s look at some probabilities here regarding my last post. I will ignore for the moment the dependencies between words in the English language whic will reduce the odds by a few orders of magnitude.

    There are 3×10^5 words in the language. Eight words were uttered. The odds against the selection of those 8 are 3^-8 x 10^-40 or . The permutations of eight words are 8! = 40320 so the previous is reduced by 1/8!, so far we have 3.78 x 10^-49

    Now the event happening at that particular 5 second window would go like this. I am still studying the Course and have been since 1981. Five seconds divided by the number of seconds since 1981 is 5/(1.10376×10^9) = 4.53 x10^-9. With only 12 hours per day allowed for this kind of experience, will make that an even 10^-8

    The product of the last numbers in the last two paragraphs is 3.78 x 10^-59.

    Now if you want to take out 3 powers of ten to allow for dependencies in the English language, we’re still left with the odds of this experience happening is:

    3.78 x 10^-56

    There is no science anywhere, or no brain molecules that can account for this experience, except for possibly one theory by rbv8 brain molecules: that I am a liar.

  55. 55

    Magna Charta said:

    Well, if you want to insist that other species are incapable of perceiving and distinguishing colours, you are welcome to your delusions. I prefer to accept the science.

    Yeah, because that’s what I said. ROFL.

  56. 56
    bill cole says:

    Mung

    Sometimes I tire of saying it, but Barry is right again. I am still waiting for the scientific criteria for distinguishing the natural from the supernatural.

    This is a very good point. We throw out the word supernatural without clear definition. Definition per Wiki:

    (of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.

    I believe that life is not explained by the laws of nature. The behavior of the atom is also not well explained by the laws of nature.

    Are atoms and life supernatural? BTW I realize you have been trying to make this point:-)

  57. 57
    bornagain77 says:

    By studying electromagnetic waves you know for certain that some creature, say a mantis shrimp, experiences the color pink???

    David Chalmers on Qualia – 5:35 minute mark – video
    https://youtu.be/NK1Yo6VbRoo?t=336

    Consciousness: What are some concise ways to convince people that consciousness is not an emergent property?
    Excerpt: How do you explain the subjective experience of “redness”, let’s say. Saying simply that it’s the correlate of the neurophysiological response to certain rods and cones sensitive to certain light waves does not answer the question of why there is a gestalt qualitative experience of red.
    – Marc Ettlinger, Research Neuroscientist, Department of Veterans Affairs
    http://www.quora.com/Conscious.....38;share=1

    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,,,

    Qualia
    Qualia is subjective experience, which is first person ontology. You can describe pain, using science or literature or whatever. But the experience of pain is something qualitatively different. There is nothing in science which infers subjectivity — no “Newton’s Fourth Law” by which objective matter produces subjective experience. No material law or principle invokes subjectivity, yet subjectivity is the hallmark of the mind.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    Supposing a mantis shrimp is not an automaton and is actually having a subjective conscious experience, I hold that we have no clue what colors the mantis shrimp may actually be consciously experiencing

    With ‘biological sunscreen,’ mantis shrimp see the reef in a whole different light – July 3, 2014
    Excerpt: In an unexpected discovery, researchers have found that the complex eyes of mantis shrimp are equipped with optics that generate ultraviolet (UV) color vision. Mantis shrimp’s six UV photoreceptors pick up on different colors within the UV spectrum based on filters made from an ingredient other animals depend on as built-in biological sunscreen, according to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 3.
    “The mantis shrimp visual system contains six types of photoreceptors functioning completely outside the visual range of humans,” says Michael Bok of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “Surprisingly, they produce their six UV photoreceptors using only two types of visual pigments by pairing one visual pigment with one of four UV filters. The UV filters block certain wavelengths of light from reaching the photoreceptors, chromatically shifting their sensitivity.”
    The filters are composed of so-called mycosporine-like amino acids (or MAAs), which are commonly found in the skin or exoskeleton of marine organisms, where they absorb damaging UV rays. They do the same thing in mantis shrimp eyes, but for an entirely novel purpose. ,,,
    Despite the new discovery, the researchers say, it’s still tough to imagine the reef as mantis shrimp see it. “The way their eyes are built and how visual information is processed in their brains is so fundamentally different [from] humans that is very difficult to conceptualize what the world actually looks like to them,” Bok says.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....062614.php

    Mantis Shrimp Eyes Could Show Way To Better DVD And CD players
    “Our work reveals for the first time the unique design and mechanism of the quarter-wave plate in the mantis shrimp’s eye. It really is exceptional — out-performing anything we humans have so far been able to create.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....162459.htm

  59. 59
    magna charta says:

    William:

    Yeah, because that’s what I said. ROFL

    If that is not what you said then you should be more clear in what you write.

    We perceive differences in wavelength over a limit range and label them as variations in colour. Different animals perceive differences in wavelength as well. Other than using labels to describe the perceived differences, are you suggesting that our perceptions are fundamentally different than those of other animals? If not, then why would we think that the colours/hues that are invisible to us do not exist?

    I looked up several definitions for colour and the all say roughly the same thing.

    the property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way the object reflects or emits light.

    Do you notice anything missing? There is no reference to humans.

    If I shine two lights into your eyes at different times, one emitting infra-red and one emitting ultra-violet, could you distinguish the difference? Because a snake and an insect can. They do this because of the property possessed by the two lights producing different sensations on the eye of the snake and insect as a result of the way they emit light. Hmmm, sounds remarkably like the definition of colour.

  60. 60
  61. 61

    Do you notice anything missing? There is no reference to humans.

    MC, there is absolutely nothing in any of my posts that implies that animals cannot see color. It makes no difference if animals can see color, or can see colors humans cannot. Why go to the animal kingdom? Some humans are color blind – in your world, most colors are “invisible” to them.

    Except that’s not what it means. Electromagnetic waves do not possess “color”. Objects do not possess “color”. Color is an interpretation of stimuli – it is not a property of the stimuli itself, but rather in how the stimuli is interpreted, which is why some people smell or hear colors (synesthesia). To say that some colors are invisible to humans is, as they say, “not even wrong”.

    Perhaps what you mean to say is: “there are some wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation which most humans do not translate into color, and which insects apparently do.

    Regardless, “invisible color” is an oxymoron. Would you like to buy a bottle of Dasani “invisible green” paint?

  62. 62
    Seversky says:

    Dean_from_Ohio @ 43

    Seversky @ 36,

    Two questions:

    1. What can’t Science do?
    2. How many of the things identified in question #1, if any, would be resolved by adding additional resources, even infinite resources?

    It is impossible for us to know what science can or cannot do in advance – apart from not being able to achieve the impossible, of course. All we can do is try and see how far we can get.

  63. 63
    rhampton7 says:

    WJM,
    An invisibility cloak would render a pink unicorn, a white person, a green tank, etc. invisible despite those objects retaining their ‘color’ within the cloak. So technically speaking, it is possible for something to be both pink and invisible.

  64. 64
    Seversky says:

    magna charta @ 48

    1. What can’t Science do?

    It can’t disprove the existance of God.

    It doesn’t have to. Burden of proof is borne by those who claim God exists.

    it can’t determine how life originated.

    We don’t know that. We don’t have an explanation yet but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one and that we can’t find it.

    It can’t determine how one species evolved into another.

    There is evidence of speciation. How much detail do you want in your explanation of how?

    It can’t disprove life after death.

    Burden of proof again. If you want to persuade me that life in some form continues after death, show me your evidence.

    It can’t disprove ID.

    See above.

    Science, in spite of its power, is very limited in what it can do, regardless of the money and resources thrown at it.

    It might well be but we don’t know where those limits are until we find them. Until then, it makes sense to keep on looking.

  65. 65
    harry says:

    Seversky @72

    We don’t know that [How life originated]. We don’t have an explanation yet but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one and that we can’t find it. … it makes sense to keep on looking.

    We don’t yet know that one can’t drop tons of Scrabble pieces out of jumbo jet as it flies over an empty parking lot and have them accidentally land such that they neatly spell out Gone With the Wind.

    Life is Gone With the Wind neatly spelled out on the parking lot. One could be rational and just admit that it is most likely the case that an intelligent agent arranged the Scrabble pieces. Or one could insist that eventually the Scrabble pieces/jumbo jet method (or any mindless and accidental method) will be proven to be how that happened. Does that really make sense?

  66. 66
    rvb8 says:

    WJM, “The certainty that all humanity are created equal and have inherent value.”

    Perhaps in your Disney imagination. Your accusations against me are ludicrous. I have three older brothers in happy marriages, a younger sister likewise, several nieces and nephewa I dote upon, and a partner whom I think, loves me. All, apparently human emotions, and all without the obnoxious God you seem so hell bent on venerating: No thank you!

    WJM, “It seems rvb8 has traded one class of robed priesthood for another.”
    Is this mockery of Catholacism? If it is, be aware I was indeed Catholic up until the age of ‘childhood’, then I grew up. Your metaphor again, is telling. That you immediately look for a religious association in a scientific discussion tells me that the supernatural is never far from your thoughts. When I see a beautiful sunset it makes me glow and appreciate my fragile existance, to treasure it, when you see the same sunset you have a desire to prostrate yourself.
    I prefer the knowable.

  67. 67
    Seversky says:

    harry @ 73

    We don’t yet know that one can’t drop tons of Scrabble pieces out of jumbo jet as it flies over an empty parking lot and have them accidentally land such that they neatly spell out Gone With the Wind.

    Life is Gone With the Wind neatly spelled out on the parking lot. One could be rational and just admit that it is most likely the case that an intelligent agent arranged the Scrabble pieces. Or one could insist that eventually the Scrabble pieces/jumbo jet method (or any mindless and accidental method) will be proven to be how that happened. Does that really make sense?

    Not that way. But that’s just another version of the Hoyle Fallacy.

    No one is suggesting that complex creatures sprang into existence fully-formed. If anything, that’s the creationist belief, that God created living things fully-formed out of…out of what? And how? Or isn’t that important?

    If it happened naturalistically then it would have started from very simple beginnings and slowly built up incrementally over millions of years.

  68. 68
    bill cole says:

    Seversky

    Not that way. But that’s just another version of the Hoyle Fallacy.

    By labeling an argument a fallacy up front your argument becomes circular.

    No one is suggesting that complex creatures sprang into existence fully-formed. If anything, that’s the creationist belief, that God created living things fully-formed out of…out of what? And how? Or isn’t that important?

    If it happened naturalistically then it would have started from very simple beginnings and slowly built up incrementally over millions of years.

    All arguments have strengths and weaknesses. To understand the weaknesses of your argument you need to understand the strengths of Hoyle’s argument. Its a difficult argument for evolution so I understand the attempt to discount it through the art of spin.

  69. 69

    WJM said:

    “The certainty that all humanity are created equal and have inherent value.”

    rvb8 said:

    Perhaps in your Disney imagination.

    Well, okay, so you are disagreeing with the premise that everyone is equal? Not sure what this means.

    Your accusations against me are ludicrous. I have three older brothers in happy marriages, a younger sister likewise, several nieces and nephewa I dote upon, and a partner whom I think, loves me. All, apparently human emotions, and all without the obnoxious God you seem so hell bent on venerating: No thank you!

    Uh, okay. What was all this in reference to? Did I claim you don’t have emotions somewhere? What god do you think I’m “hellbent” on venerating?

    Is this mockery of Catholacism?

    No, it’s a comparison that has to do with placing too much trust in any human institution and putting any group of humans up on pedestals.

    If it is, be aware I was indeed Catholic up until the age of ‘childhood’, then I grew up. Your metaphor again, is telling. That you immediately look for a religious association in a scientific discussion tells me that the supernatural is never far from your thoughts. When I see a beautiful sunset it makes me glow and appreciate my fragile existance, to treasure it, when you see the same sunset you have a desire to prostrate yourself.
    I prefer the knowable.

    We’re not having a scientific discussion, rvb8. We’re having a discussion about science, the supernatural, beliefs, and other things.

    I’m not a religious person, rvb8. I’m not of any organized faith. I think that it is likely that your rather odd, off-kilter and overwrought reactions to what I write stem from some rather crude stereotype you imagine my beliefs to be like.

  70. 70
    magna charta says:

    Seversky at 72, my point was that science could never determine how life originated or how one species evolved into another. Which is a fact. Science may, and probably will, be able to determine the most likely causes and processes for each, but it will never be able to conclusively determine if that is what actually happened. Science can’t do that. And has never claimed that it could. And, unfortunately. Some IDist use that limitation as a doorway for their proposal.

    Even if science could replicate the origin of life in a laboratory following hypothesized natural processes, IDist would simply argue that this was proof of ID.

  71. 71
    harry says:

    Seversky @75

    But that’s just another version of the Hoyle Fallacy.
    Seversky

    Hoyle’s thinking regarding the likelihood of mindless and accidental abiogenesis was not fallacious. He famously compared it to the likelihood of a tornado constructing a Boeing 747 as follows:


    A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.
    Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe, 1983

    He also saw that the most likely explanation was intelligent agency:

    Would you not say to yourself, “Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly miniscule?” Of course you would… A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.
    Fred Hoyle, The Universe: Past and Present Reflections. Engineering and Science, November, 1981

    Hoyle was honest about what common sense and mathematics dictated.

    No one is suggesting that complex creatures sprang into existence fully-formed.
    Seversky

    The simplest reproducing, single-celled life form known to us IS a complex creature. Think about all that was required for the first one to emerge:

    1) Roger Penrose famously calculated the odds of the Big Bang mindlessly and accidentally producing a Universe where life was even a possibility to be 1 in 10^10^123.

    2) Mechanisms to constructively harness energy were required.

    3) A memory device to contain the assembly instructions for the cellular machinery required for metabolism and reproduction along with the assembly instructions for the cellular machinery necessary to utilize the assembly instructions were required.

    4) That memory device had to somehow be populated with the correct assembly instructions for all of that.

    5) The very first life form had to somehow assemble the cellular machinery necessary to utilize the assembly instructions without using the assembly instructions for the process to get started.

    6) All of the above had to be arrived at without the aid of natural selection because natural selection couldn’t begin until metabolism and replication got started.

    7) An environment that facilitated life being assembled and provided the necessary resources for life to sustain its metabolism and replication had to be arrived at.

    We can decide that Boeing 747s just might get assembled accidentally, and that Gone With the Wind just might get composed accidentally, and that all that was required for life to come about accidentally just might have accidentally happened. Or we can be rational and conclude that since there are no instances whatsoever of significant functional complexity coming about mindlessly and accidentally that such phenomena only come about via intelligent agency.

  72. 72
    rvb8 says:

    You say you you’re not a, ‘religious person’, that you are not of any ‘organized faith’. Hmmmm! OK, I don’t think you are lying, that is something I think is obvious from your writing, you appear, as do most posters here, to have strong convictions, but do not compromise on what they believe to be the truth; I think I am similar.

    I am an atheist, and have been probably since Sunday school stories, and the unflinching biblical literalists I had teaching me, became angry and unstuck at the mildest queries: what did all the animals eat? Was Babel taller than the World Trade Center? Who did Adam’s children marry? etc

    This post was a defense of the ‘supernatural’. Now you say you are not religious, but I assume you have faith in a ‘higher power’? Is it a He, She, or an It?

  73. 73
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8 you state:

    I am an atheist, and have been probably since Sunday school stories, and the unflinching biblical literalists I had teaching me, became angry and unstuck at the mildest queries: what did all the animals eat? Was Babel taller than the World Trade Center? Who did Adam’s children marry? etc

    So you became an atheist because some Sunday school teachers could not answer your questions about the Bible? And on the flip side of that, what about the leading atheist philosopher of the world, the late Anthony Flew, becoming a Theist because science itself led him to that conclusion and Atheism could not answer the big questions?

    “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that the universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.”
    Antony Flew – world’s leading atheist philosopher for most of his adult life until a few years shortly before his death
    The Case for a Creator – Lee Strobel – video (26:00 minute mark)
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/ee32d/

    Antony Flew on God and Atheism – Lee Strobel interview – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHUtMEru4pQ

    Thus rvb8, since the leading Atheist philosopher in the world became a Theist after some very deep thought on these ‘scientific’ issues, and Atheism’s failure to adequately answer his questions, it appears that Theism is not so easily dismissed as your unanswered questions in Sunday school indicated.

    The basis of your non-belief in God reminds me on this quote:

    “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
    Werner Heisenberg

  74. 74
    Barry Arrington says:

    Magna,

    “Even if science could replicate the origin of life in a laboratory following hypothesized natural processes, IDist would simply argue that this was proof of ID.”

    Because it indubitably would be. I’m glad you understand that.

  75. 75

    rvb8 @80 said:

    I am an atheist, and have been probably since Sunday school stories, and the unflinching biblical literalists I had teaching me, became angry and unstuck at the mildest queries: what did all the animals eat? Was Babel taller than the World Trade Center? Who did Adam’s children marry? etc

    Yes, I rejected mainstream religion when I was a young man for much the same reasons I would suppose, at one point becoming a rather hardcore atheist for many years.

    This post was a defense of the ‘supernatural’. Now you say you are not religious, but I assume you have faith in a ‘higher power’? Is it a He, She, or an It?

    The problem is, rvb8, is that you’re likely going to take my answer and interpret it according to a sort of stereotypical template and not really understand what I mean.

    So let me try it this way. In my spiritual worldview:

    1: Atheists can be every bit as moral and good as theists; many are more so because many people become atheists out of a sense of outrage against what they see as a capricious and even evil god. IOW, atheists are willing to defy and reject god if they perceive that god as doing something evil. This, IMO, is a commendable and entirely righteous behavior. Any god that, say, orders the slaughter of innocent children deserves to be rejected. Any religious teacher or doctrine that doesn’t encourage honest questioning and in-depth examination deserves suspicion at the least.

    2. There are far, far more religious/spiritual perspectives, ideas and concepts than you or I were privy to in one particular sect’s Sunday School or church services. There are some very good philosophical & logical examinations of theism, morality and spirituality beyond the particular, probably rather cartoonish version you and I were subjected to as children and young men.

    3. It is one thing to rightfully reject a ridiculous viewpoint (and please note, I’m not calling Christianity or mainstream religion ridiculous viewpoints; I’m saying that the characterization of such that we were presented with as children was (at least for me) ridiculous and worthy of rejection); it is quite another to use that particular experience and a very limited knowledge of spiritual and religious perspectives in the world to justify a wholesale rejection of all things spiritual and religious.

    Now, do I have faith in a higher power? Yes, but it is not the cartoonish, blind and unexamined faith of a zealot, nor is that faith in the kind of “god” that the template I’m assuming you operate from portrays it to be. There are sound reasons I believe in the kind of god I believe in, and I have sound reasons for the kind of faith I put in that god.

    My perspective of what god is very different from the kind of god I was taught about in Sunday school – categorically different. I don’t see god as a he or a she, but fundamental source of existence, the root cause that creates all experience, more like a unified, fundamental force than what some might envision as a personifed, human like being sitting on some throne. Sentient, but not conscious like we experience consciousness, a sort of super-subconscious.

    I liken it to the analogy of being in a dream, but instead of dreaming that you are one person, you are simultaneously dreaming that you are billions of people. The dreamer (god) creates the world, the personalities in the world, and all the “rules” of the world, but the dreamt avatars are not aware of this. Please remember this is just an analogy to provide you with some insight in how I see god, and this analogy has its limitations.

    In my view, there is no need to “worship” god or throw oneself “prostrate” before god; however, correctly understanding or modeling the situation is useful, much in the same way that understanding that one is in a dream is useful while one is in the dream.

    Now, I could correlate all of this to various extrapolations of quantum theory and list a few quotes by Wheeler or Planck or others that support this view, but I’m not trying to sell you on it; I’m trying to get you to realized that whomever you think you’re talking to, I’m not that guy. Many others here, even though Christians, are not that guy either. There are deeper, more sophisticated and more reasonable understandings of Christianity than you or I were ever offered growing up.

    Once I dropped my anti-theistic blinders, I have come to greatly appreciate the Christians here and what they have done, on the whole, throughout history, and the insights they offer here. They have proved invaluable to me and my search to find a rational, intellectually satisfying model of the world and my existence.

    Now, as far as “the supernatural”; my argument here about it is based on logic. However, beyond that, I know the supernatural exists because I experience it, much like the lucid dreamer can experience things in the dream that would defy any attempt at rational explanation, other than “I am in a dream”.

  76. 76
    harry says:

    William J Murray @ 83

    There are deeper, more sophisticated and more reasonable understandings of Christianity than you or I were ever offered growing up.

    If you haven’t already, read some of Augustine’s works. He had a massive intellect you would enjoy. I would recommend that you start with his Confessions, then the The City of God, and then his exegetical works. If you are already a student of Augustine, excuse the ring. ;o)

  77. 77

    MC said:

    Even if science could replicate the origin of life in a laboratory following hypothesized natural processes, IDist would simply argue that this was proof of ID.

    Anyone have that video link to the biomolecular engineer who explained what was necessary to build a simple molecular wagon that moved across the surface of gold?

  78. 78
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM, this one?

    The Origin of Life: An Inside Story – March 2016 Lecture with James Tour
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQXgJ-dXM4

    Origin of Life: Professor James Tour – May 1, 2016
    Excerpt: “All right, now let’s assemble the Dream Team. We’ve got good professors here, so let’s assemble the Dream Team. Let’s further assume that the world’s top 100 synthetic chemists, top 100 biochemists and top 100 evolutionary biologists combined forces into a limitlessly funded Dream Team. The Dream Team has all the carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleic acids stored in freezers in their laboratories… All of them are in 100% enantiomer purity. [Let’s] even give the team all the reagents they wish, the most advanced laboratories, and the analytical facilities, and complete scientific literature, and synthetic and natural non-living coupling agents. Mobilize the Dream Team to assemble the building blocks into a living system – nothing complex, just a single cell. The members scratch their heads and walk away, frustrated…
    So let’s help the Dream Team out by providing the polymerized forms: polypeptides, all the enzymes they desire, the polysaccharides, DNA and RNA in any sequence they desire, cleanly assembled. The level of sophistication in even the simplest of possible living cells is so chemically complex that we are even more clueless now than with anything discussed regarding prebiotic chemistry or macroevolution. The Dream Team will not know where to start. Moving all this off Earth does not solve the problem, because our physical laws are universal.
    You see the problem for the chemists? Welcome to my world. This is what I’m confronted with, every day.“
    James Tour – leading Chemist
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

  79. 79
    harry says:

    bornagain77 @ 86

    Somehow I am not surprised that you came up with that so quickly. ;o)

    And it makes the point much more powerfully than did my poor attempt to make it in harry@79.

    God bless you, BA77!

  80. 80
    magna charta says:

    William:

    Anyone have that video link to the biomolecular engineer who explained what was necessary to build a simple molecular wagon that moved across the surface of gold?

    But I wasn’t talking about building anything. I was talking about manipulation conditions in a laboratory, none containing materials not naturally available, or under conditions that are, or were, not found naturally.

  81. 81
    magna charta says:

    William @83, very good summary. Given what you have said, is it fair to say that you have developed your world view based on what works best for you and not necessarily on what is true?

  82. 82

    Yeah that’s the one, BA. Thanks!

  83. 83
    Seversky says:

    bill cole @ 76

    All arguments have strengths and weaknesses. To understand the weaknesses of your argument you need to understand the strengths of Hoyle’s argument. Its a difficult argument for evolution so I understand the attempt to discount it through the art of spin.

    Hoyle’s argument is a strawman, which is a fallacy. It misrepresents how biology hypothesizes life may have begun. Again, there is no claim that relatively complex organisms sprang into existence fully-formed in one step. And neither a 747 nor its components are self-replicating organisms. It’s a bad analogy.

  84. 84

    MC said:

    But I wasn’t talking about building anything. I was talking about manipulation conditions in a laboratory, none containing materials not naturally available, or under conditions that are, or were, not found naturally.

    Generating a living organism is “building” something, MC, whether nature or humans do it. It is the building of what amounts to a self-contained, fully functional self-replicating 3D printer.

    The problem, as Tour painstakingly describes, is that uninformed nonexperts (including evolutionary biologists) who claim undirected, happenstance nature can produce such nanotechnology are promoting a naturalist myth. He exposes the reality that this myth just lazily glosses over.

    The video can be boring at times as he describes in detail what it takes to build a very, very simple molecular machine, but it is quite profoundly eye-opening wrt the expectation that nature could have possibly, by itself, generated the nanotechnological and code-bearing marvel that is a living cell.

    It is literally like expecting that over any amount of time, haphazard collections of interacting chemicals in uncontrolled environments could spontaneously produce a self-replicating 3D robotic printer that can also acquire energy resources and building materials from the environment and functionally process such resources by itself.

    Can you even for a second step outside of your ideology and look at that idea objectively?

  85. 85
    Seversky says:

    magna charta @ 78

    Seversky at 72, my point was that science could never determine how life originated or how one species evolved into another. Which is a fact. Science may, and probably will, be able to determine the most likely causes and processes for each, but it will never be able to conclusively determine if that is what actually happened. Science can’t do that. And has never claimed that it could. And, unfortunately. Some IDist use that limitation as a doorway for their proposal.

    I agree that current science can’t do that. But I’d remind you of Clarke’s Third Law. Imagine how our science and technology might look to someone from the year 1016. What we now take for granted would be beyond their wildest dreams. Now imagine that the science and technology of 3016 might also be capable of things beyond our wildest dreams. We have no way of knowing. Maybe science will never be able to explain exactly how life on earth came about but we don’t know that either.

    Even if science could replicate the origin of life in a laboratory following hypothesized natural processes, IDist would simply argue that this was proof of ID.

    That goes without saying.

  86. 86

    Seversky @91:

    Hoyle’s argument is a strawman, which is a fallacy. It misrepresents how biology hypothesizes life may have begun. Again, there is no claim that relatively complex organisms sprang into existence fully-formed in one step. And neither a 747 nor its components are self-replicating organisms. It’s a bad analogy.

    Well, it’s a good analogy if you’re actually able to understand the basic concept. It’s clear that you do not. The tornado is analogous to nature forces and environments over any duration of time. The junkyard, IMO, gives far too much credit to the naturalist position because at least a junkyard might have some already manufactured parts that might be useful in building a 747; given a landscape of parts and natural forces over any period of time, the tornado (of natural forces/processes) will never produce a fully functioning 747 or anything categorically similar over any period of time, no matter how many “steps” are available.

    Tour’s video is a good resource for understanding this. Building molecular machines successfully means protecting the development from natural forces and tendencies as much as possible, otherwise you just end up with molecular sludge.

  87. 87
    harry says:

    Seversky @91

    There shouldn’t be a claim that complex organisms (like the simplest, reproducing single celled life form known to us) mindlessly and accidentally sprang into existence fully-formed in one step because that is virtually impossible. Nor should there be a claim that self-replicating robotic equipment could come have come about that way because that, too, is virtually impossible.

    What chance does science perverted by atheism have of eventually explaining how such robotic equipment might mindlessly, accidentally and gradually emerge? No better than you do of ever explaining how that first life form might have done so.

    As long as science perverted by atheism insists on arbitrarily ruling out the only known reality that is capable of bringing about significant functional complexity — intelligent agency — it is doomed to persist in the alchemy of our times: abiogenesis. This will be a black eye and an embarrassment to science for centuries to come. It gives science a very bad name when it is so obviously irrational for the sake of unbelievably far-fetched, blind faith-based atheism. (It can’t be proven that God isn’t there. That belief must be taken on irrational, blind faith.)

  88. 88

    MC said:

    William @83, very good summary. Given what you have said, is it fair to say that you have developed your world view based on what works best for you and not necessarily on what is true?

    Depends on what you mean. There are some things I know are true (with varying degrees of certainty). I don’t allow any belief to contradict what I know to be true. I value truthful debate and always strive to tell the truth as I know it.

    As long as my beliefs do not contradict what I know (such as experiential facts, logical facts, self-evident truths), I choose them based on how well they help me acquire my goals of (1) being a good person and (2) enjoying life. It’s not important to me that my beliefs be about true things because the way I hold them is entirely conditional and doesn’t require them to be about true things; I only require them to be functional.

  89. 89
    Mung says:

    If an entire universe can pop into existence out of nothing I don’t see why the first living cell could not pop into existence out of nothing fully formed.

    Double standard indeed.

  90. 90
    bill cole says:

    Seversky

    Hoyle’s argument is a strawman, which is a fallacy. It misrepresents how biology hypothesizes life may have begun. Again, there is no claim that relatively complex organisms sprang into existence fully-formed in one step. And neither a 747 nor its components are self-replicating organisms. It’s a bad analogy.

    A strawman is taking someone else’s argument and changing it and arguing against that change.

    Published in his 1982/1984 books Evolution from Space (co-authored with Chandra Wickramasinghe), Hoyle calculated that the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for even the simplest living cell without panspermia was one in 10^40,000. Since the number of atoms in the known universe is infinitesimally tiny by comparison (1080), he argued that Earth as life’s place of origin could be ruled out.

    Hoyle’s argument is that the origin of life by stochastic processes is highly unlikely due to the sequential structure of DNA and Proteins. You have created a straw man to Hoyle’s argument by saying that it requires life to arrive spontaneously. Time is not an issue with sequences. This was originally argued by Herbert Yockey in his 1977 paper. Calling this argument a fallacy is scientism. Dozens of papers have been written to try to over come the problem Hoyle mentioned. The reason all evolutionary simulators need a target to finish is based on the mathematics that Hoyle and Yockey introduced.

  91. 91
    bill cole says:

    Mung

    If an entire universe can pop into existence out of nothing I don’t see why the first living cell could not pop into existence out of nothing fully formed. Double standard indeed.

    Priceless 🙂

  92. 92
    john_a_designer says:

    Harry @ #52,

    Although there is metaphysical proof for God’s existence, and there is scientific evidence that renders disbelief irrational (see Robert Spitzer’s New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy ) there is no strictly “scientific” proof of God’s existence, like “if the litmus paper turns blue then …” Those who demand such proof reveal their ignorance of the limitations of science.

    That God’s existence can be proven metaphysically and that the discoveries of modern science have rendered contemporary atheism more irrational than atheism has ever been before is more than enough to justify theistic belief. It would be enough for atheists, too, if atheism weren’t irrational. There can never be sufficient logical arguments and evidence for the irrational.

    I am hesitant to jump on the metaphysical proof for God’s existence band wagon. Nevertheless, there are a few arguments that I find to be logically compelling. For example, Alvin Pantinga’s version of the ontological argument. However, I don’t think even Plantiga views it as “a proof.”

    Here is a version of Plantiga’s argument offered by William Lane Craig:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.

    2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world. (Why? Because that is just what it means to be possible.)

    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world. (Why? Because that is the way maximal greatness is defined. Maximal greatness means you have maximal excellence in every possible world.)

    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world. (Why? Remember we said earlier that the actual world is one of the possible worlds, namely, it is the one possible world that is actual. So if he exists in every possible world, then he exists in the actual world.)

    5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.

    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

    Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org.....z4ChWSmnKE

    Here is a brief Youtube clip where Craig explains the argument.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0poy7jcbm8

    In other words, if it’s even logically possible for a greatest possible being (God) to exist, He must exist… A proof?

    However notice, even though Craig thinks that the argument is logically sound he admits that he has been hesitant to use it. Why? Well, he says, it’s too abstract for a lot of people. And furthermore, there is the suspicion on the part of some that there is some kind of trick involved.

    That is why personally I prefer to keep my arguments as modest as possible. It’s not what I find to be compelling or convincing that matters, it comes down to what the skeptic is willing to accept. Unfortunately, when dealing with the typical skeptic (especially on-line,) one has to dumb his arguments down– actually way down– to the lowest common denominator.

  93. 93
    goodusername says:

    #82:

    “Even if science could replicate the origin of life in a laboratory following hypothesized natural processes, IDist would simply argue that this was proof of ID.”

    Because it indubitably would be. I’m glad you understand that.

    Wait, even if we replicated the conditions believed to be representative of those in which life originated, and life formed as a result – not only would that not falsify ID, but it would actually be proof of ID?

    I’ve always been told that ID proposes intelligent intervention, not merely the set-up of initial conditions, and it’s that that allows for the falsifiability of ID. An ID proponent can’t merely use the retort of “get your own dirt”. Thus all one has to do is show a sufficient increase in complexity under plausible natural conditions, and ID is falsified. It’s why Behe could say this:

    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.

    But now Barry is saying that, far from a flagellum, that even the formation of life wouldn’t suffice. I wonder if Behe would consider Barry as an ID proponent since, as Behe “understands” ID, such things would disprove ID.

  94. 94
    rvb8 says:

    WJM, your view of God is complex indeed. (I always use upper case when referring to God and religions, just seems polite.) However this spiritualist approach would leave you, at best on the margins of mainstream Christianity, or any faith, and at worst openly vilified. (No one likes wishy washy faith, in fact many Christians I know prefer my open atheism to your ephemeral dabbling.)

    You say you rejected the cartoonish portrayal of the bible as a youth, good for you! Brought up a Catholic I still prefer, and read my King James. I recall the raisings, the multiplyings, the floatings, the casting outs, the partings, and many other tales and still love them. However in what way have they become less ‘cartoonish’ for you?

  95. 95

    However this spiritualist approach would leave you, at best on the margins of mainstream Christianity, or any faith, and at worst openly vilified. (No one likes wishy washy faith, in fact many Christians I know prefer my open atheism to your ephemeral dabbling.)

    Our experience of Christians, then, is very different.

    You say you rejected the cartoonish portrayal of the bible as a youth, good for you! Brought up a Catholic I still prefer, and read my King James. I recall the raisings, the multiplyings, the floatings, the casting outs, the partings, and many other tales and still love them. However in what way have they become less ‘cartoonish’ for you?

    There are much better presentations of Christianity to be offered by Augustine or C.S. Lewis. On the whole, IMO Christian faith for the masses is a good thing because I just don’t think everyone is capable of such rational and introspective analysis; for many, traditions, catechism and fellowship can guide most down a good, fulfilling life, even if some of that refers to irrationally held beliefs and hard-to-believe stories.

    I think such traditions foster faith, and faith in right and good principles is, in my worldview, extremely important. Prayer, visualization and focus are all terms in my worldview that refer to a communion with the divine that creates the world we experience, and I’ve seen the power of faith realize astounding results many, many times in my life.

    Let’s not forget that there are also some very cartoonish depictions of atheism, as offered by Hitchins or Dawkins, which come off as no more than the anti-Christian-god rants of pre-teens. There are also much more profound atheistic authors who carry atheistic thought through to logical conclusions even they are loathe to admit – but which they steadfastedly do admit.

    That’s one of the reasons I decided to reject atheism – there’s no hope in it. There’s literally nothing in it for me. Why spend my life believing something that doesn’t gain me anything to believe? It doesn’t make me smarter or braver or superior or less likely to die or get a disease.

    When I was an atheist, I held the view that I was smarter and braver than the masses who “needed god as a crutch”, but really that was just a rather hamfisted way of trying to make myself feel superior. If atheism is true, what did my “bravery” or “superiority” matter? All it did was separate me from those I might love or be friends with because of a condescending attitude.

    I realized that the fact was that even though I didn’t give the god I understood as a child any credit, I didn’t know if there was a god of some sort or not. I realized I wanted to believe in god, if I could understand one worth believing in which didn’t require me to suspend my reason or conscience. In my time as an atheist I ran across many atheists with the same attitude – they wished a god existed, one worth believing in.

    So, I’ve found a way of understanding a god that, for me, is well worth believing in, doesn’t contradict my experience (and explains much of it), fits in with known facts and serves soundly as the premised basis for a contingent universe, an objective morality, miracles, stands well against the argument from evil, and also fits in well for the may and varied experiences people have of god and the supernatural.

    When it was all said and done, I looked back on my time as an atheist and wondered, why was I fighting these people? They’re just like me, trying to understand their existence and make their way in world as best they can with the tools they have available. We’re all brothers and sisters in this world trying to find our way. It’s far better for me and my heart to find a way to embrace, love and find friendship than to commit to a negative portrayal of most people in the world.

    It’s far better for me to have a view that fosters the hope that we are all spiritual equals in this world serving a purpose, where love and kindness serve a greater good beyond the corrupt machinations of governments and institutions; where I can feel confident that doing good is more important than anything else, even my own comfort and life.

    To have that, I require something more than mere evolution and happenstance culture. It may be a self-delusion, but if atheistic naturalism is true, so what? At the end of the ride, I’d rather have experienced a life of self-deluded purpose and hope in a existential good than see myself and actions in the world as nothing more than the happenstance interactions of purposeless chemistry.

    I just can’t live under that sort of nihilistic framework – believe me, I’ve tried.

  96. 96
    Origenes says:

    WJM: That’s one of the reasons I decided to reject atheism – there’s no hope in it. There’s literally nothing in it for me.

    For the exact same reason I rejected Buddhism at some point. “What’s in it for me?” I asked my professor 36 years ago, who lectured about ‘nirvana’ and made it clear that in this state there is no personhood. He had no answer and I quickly lost interest.
    I still don’t understand people who are drawn to philosophical concepts without hope of continued personal existence. Should such a philosophy not be the very last option to adopt — with great reluctance I may add?
    Do we not owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to strive for a philosophy that accommodates our deepest desire for happiness? Should that not be the first possibility to be explored, with extreme determination if need be? What is more contemptible than the philosopher who has skipped such an attempt and freely devotes his life to the opposite: promoting some half-baked nihilistic story which boils down to death, despair and no hope?

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