Intelligent Design

Philosophical Repugnancy

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For me, despite 43 years of indoctrination in atheistic materialism and Darwinian orthodoxy, it was a very simple logical exercise to conclude that living systems are the product of intelligent design.

The simplest living cell includes highly sophisticated, functionally integrated information-processing machinery, with error-detection-and-repair algorithms and their implementation.

The notion that random errors, whether filtered by natural selection or not, can produce such technology, is a transparently absurd proposition.

It’s really just that simple.

The great Arthur Eddington once said that, philosophically, the notion of an abrupt beginning to the present order of nature was repugnant (referring to the Big Bang). It might have been philosophically repugnant, but it was true.

Only those who find the notion that living systems are designed to be philosophically repugnant can deny the evidence.

I also found the evidence to be philosophically repugnant, but I considered the denial of obvious truth to be even more philosophically repugnant, so I changed my philosophy.

24 Replies to “Philosophical Repugnancy

  1. 1
    JDH says:

    I am with Gil on this one, and I never even believed materialism or atheism. Believe me, it bothers me that I think the existence of an intelligent designer such an obvious and inescapable conclusion. But, I simply do not understand how someone chooses to believe in materialism and atheism. I can’t see the other side of the argument. There are two main ideas that really make the conclusion of ID inescapable for me.

    1. It seems obvious that I have a some kind of autonomous liberty to my will, otherwise, how can I decide to believe or not believe.
    2. The odds of random chance creating the structures necessary for life seem to be just completely improbable no matter how computed.

    My confidence in the correctness of propositions 1 and 2 are encouraged by none other than the community of materialistic scientists by —

    A. The assignment of the term “emergent” to consciousness. This is a garbage term that does not increase any understanding of how consciousness happens. When investigators of a phenomena are so stymied by a problem that they start considering merely assigning a new term and using bad analogies as progress, it seems reasonable that they are asking the wrong question. It seems that proposition 1 is most probably correct.

    B. The promotion of the “multiverse” as a viable scientific theory. This makes me believe that most scientists agree that the odds of random occurrence of life is really as improbable as it seems, and they must do something radical to increase the odds – such as positing something we can never observe even indirectly. In other words, proposition 2 seems most likely correct.

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    For me the following evidence was the game changer.

    1.) Irreducible Complexity, It is not only evident in biology but in everything, Our solar system, the Eco-system, living systems. These things are based on straight forward engineering principles and its not only about the parts but what the sum of the parts accomplish. I I still don’t understand why some people don’t grasp this simple truth, maybe its because they are not from an engineering background? Or they really just don’t like the idea of a creator? Whatever their reason, it does not take away the empirical obvious truth.

  3. 3
    Jerad says:

    Only those who find the notion that living systems are designed to be philosophically repugnant can deny the evidence.

    I disagree. For me, philosophy has nothing to do with it.

  4. 4
    Querius says:

    Until college, I believed in evolution.

    I had no problem with the idea of God setting evolution in motion. I rationalized my belief in the Bible with a day-age approach and noticed that fish and birds (which I speculated might have included the dinosaurs) appeared on day five, while the rest of the animals, including humans appeared on the sixth day.

    Some cracks in my belief in evolution appeared when I noticed that Biology and Geology seemed to depend on each other for dating estimates. Also, I thought the experiment that disproved Lamarck by cutting off the tails of mice for generations was bogus—this was an external intervention that didn’t result from an internal need or drive.

    But when I went to college, there were three things that finally destroyed the credibility of Darwinism for me:

    – I recognized that Von Helmont’s “recipe” for spontaneously generated mice was analogous to what was being proposed as the recipe for life on Earth.

    – The profoundly complicated, interdependent chemical cycles necessary for life (ADP-ATP was one) astonished me. My lab TA told me that they used to have a wall filled with representations of chemical cycles present in a living cell. This was billions and billions of times more complex than than coacervates, protoplasm, tiny organelles such as vacuoles, and magic DNA that I’d been told made evolution such a natural process.

    The bottom line was that I simply couldn’t see how something this incredibly complex could possibly ratchet itself up from some chemicals in solution, a weird atmosphere, electrical discharges, and the sunlight needed to bake the goo on the rocks. I don’t care how many billions of years it might have taken. You’re not going to ever get DNA (or RNA), for one thing.

    I also learned at the time that every human generation has about 150 new genetic errors in their DNA–if anything, we were going backwards!

    – Finally, I read an article that demolished the warm pond origin of life, proposing a clay matrix instead.
    The guy’s arguments made a lot of sense to me, but his theory was pretty much rejected, at least partly due to the similarity to what was written in Genesis about Adam being formed from clay. Too bad.

    Anyway, I now consider Darwinism a relic of 19th century Science and neo-Darwinism as a less-dogmatic rehash. Stupid assumptions such as made regarding “junk” DNA have only reinforced my skepticism.

  5. 5

    Only those who find the notion that living systems are designed to be philosophically repugnant can deny the evidence.

    Not true for me either.

    Nor for the very large number of people who believe that the world came into being at the will of a divine creator, and yet accept the idea that living things are a result of consistent laws within that world, not of special intervention.

    Gil, I understand that you don’t understand how an intelligent person not philosophically opposed to the idea of a designer could accept any alternative to interventionist design, but the fact is a large number of those people do.

  6. 6
    gpuccio says:

    Gil, I am with you as always.

    Elizabeth,

    I do know that “a large number of those people do”. And, like Gil, I don’t understand. Not all facts can be easily explained, as darwinists should well know 🙂

    However, as I get great satisfaction from being part of a minority, I can’t complain!

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    GilDodgen, whose qualifications are not insubstantial in regards to recognizing superior design when he sees it:,,

    World Championship Checkers
    http://www.worldchampionshipcheckers.com/

    ,, is referencing this quote which gildodgen has in its entirety here,,,

    Arthur Stanley Eddington, Darwinists, and Repugnant Notions – gildodgen – 2007
    Excerpt: I have no “philosophical axe to grind” in this discussion. Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant to me. I am simply stating the dilemma to which our present fundamental conception of physical law leads us. I see no way round it;,,,
    Eddington AS. 1931. The end of the world: from the standpoint of mathematical physics. Nature 127:447-453.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....t-notions/

    For me the most telling part of the entire quote is this part,,,

    ,,Accordingly, we sweep anti-chance out of the laws of physics–out of the differential equations. Naturally, therefore, it reappears in the boundary conditions, for it must be got into the scheme somewhere. By sweeping it far enough away from the sphere of our current physical problems, we fancy we have got rid of it. It is only when some of us are so misguided as to try to get back billions of years into the past that we find the sweepings all piled up like a high wall and forming a boundary–a beginning of time–which we cannot climb over.”
    – Arthur Eddington

    And indeed, at the beginning of time, this ‘anti-chance’ comes back in a big way to bite the atheists in the rear end philosophically, and scientifically, speaking. Dr. Bruce Gordon touches on that high wall that comes crashing down on atheists here:

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale. For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    In fact, the appeal of atheists to a virtual infinity of possible universes to explain away the fine tuning of this universe, i.e. the untestable multiverse, much to the consternation of atheists, guarantees the success of the ontological argument for God’s existence:

    God Is Not Dead Yet – William Lane Craig – Page 4
    The ontological argument. Anselm’s famous argument has been reformulated and defended by Alvin Plantinga, Robert Maydole, Brian Leftow, and others. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being, a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and he would exist in every logically possible world. But then we can argue:

    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.
    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
    7. Therefore, God exists.

    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=4

    i.e. In the materialist/atheist appeal to the multiverse (an infinity of possible worlds) to try to ‘explain away’ the extreme fine tuning we find for this universe. The materialist/atheist, without realizing it, ends up conceding the necessary premise to the ontological argument and thus guarantees the success of the argument and thus insures the 100% probability of God’s existence!

    I like the concluding comment by Alvin Plantinga about the ontological argument from the following video:

    “God then is the Being that couldn’t possibly not exit.”

    Ontological Argument – Dr. Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ

    Alvin Plantinga has also shown the epistemological failure of naturalism inherent within Naturalism with his formulation of the argument from reason (CS Lewis) in his ‘Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism’:

    Alvin Plantinga – Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r34AIo-xBh8

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    “One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [the popular scientific philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears… unless Reason is an absolute, all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based.”
    —C.S. Lewis, Is Theology Poetry (aka the Argument from Reason)

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter”.
    J. B. S. Haldane [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” –
    Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

    Perhaps some may say ‘Oh, that’s just philosophy, that has nothing to do with science’, but I would beg to differ:

    Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Wolfgang Pauli on the Empirical Problems with Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin – February 27, 2012
    Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.'” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) –
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56771.html

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    How this random postulate plays out in science can be traced out further. This following quote is very informative in that regards:

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.”
    In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....randomness

    And when we try to ‘be a little more explicit’ in regards to randomness we find:

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

    Moreover, in our attempt to ‘be a little more explicit’ in regards to randomness, it is interesting to note that if one wants to build a better random number generator for a computer program then a better source of entropy is required to be found to drive the increased randomness of the program:

    Cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator
    Excerpt: From an information theoretic point of view, the amount of randomness, the entropy that can be generated is equal to the entropy provided by the system. But sometimes, in practical situations, more random numbers are needed than there is entropy available.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C....._generator

    Moreover:

    Entropy
    Excerpt: It is often said that entropy is an expression of the disorder, or randomness of a system, or of our lack of information about it (which on some views of probability, amounts to the same thing as randomness).
    per wikipedia

    Interestingly, the maximum source of entropic randomness, i.e. disorder, in the universe is found to be where gravity is greatest in the universe,,,

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    – per reasons to believe

    It is also interesting to note the explanatory reach of entropy, i.e. ‘randomness’

    Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012
    Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,
    Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,,
    The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,,
    http://crev.info/2012/10/shini.....rk-energy/

    But what is devastating for the atheist who wants ‘Randomness’ to be the source for all creativity in the universe, is that randomness, (i.e. the entropic processes of the universe), are now shown, scientifically, to be vastly more likely to destroy functional information within the cell rather than ever building it up’

    “Is there a real connection between entropy in physics and the entropy of information? …. The equations of information theory and the second law are the same, suggesting that the idea of entropy is something fundamental…”
    Tom Siegfried, Dallas Morning News, 5/14/90 – Quotes attributed to Robert W. Lucky, Ex. Director of Research, AT&T, Bell Laboratories & John A. Wheeler, of Princeton & Univ. of TX, Austin in the article

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    ,,having a empirically demonstrated direct connection between entropy of the universe and the information inherent within a cell is extremely problematic for Darwinists because of the following principle,,,

    “Gain in entropy always means loss of information, and nothing more.”
    Gilbert Newton Lewis – preeminent Chemist of the first half of last century

    “Bertalanffy (1968) called the relation between irreversible thermodynamics and information theory one of the most fundamental unsolved problems in biology.”
    Charles J. Smith – Biosystems, Vol.1, p259.

    and is also extremely problematic because this principle is born out empirically:

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.
    http://behe.uncommondescent.co.....evolution/

    Thus, Darwinists are found to be postulating that entropic events, which consistently destroy information, are what are creating information in the cell. ,,, It is the equivalent in science of someone (in this case a ‘consensus of scientists’) claiming that Gravity makes things fall up instead of down, and that is not overstating the bizarre situation we find ourselves in in the least with atheistic Darwinists.

    Also of important note, as to the subject at hand of more precisely defining the word random, as Darwinists would wish to use it as being separate it from God’s will, it is interesting to note that Ludwig Boltzmann, an atheist, when he linked entropy and probability, did not, as Max Planck a Christian Theist points out in the following link, think to look for a constant to entropy:

    The Austrian physicist Ludwig Boltzmann first linked entropy and probability in 1877. However, the equation as shown, involving a specific constant, was first written down by Max Planck, the father of quantum mechanics in 1900. In his 1918 Nobel Prize lecture, Planck said: “This constant is often referred to as Boltzmann’s constant, although, to my knowledge, Boltzmann himself never introduced it – a peculiar state of affairs, which can be explained by the fact that Boltzmann, as appears from his occasional utterances, never gave thought to the possibility of carrying out an exact measurement of the constant.”
    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....ation.html

    I hold that the primary reason why Boltzmann, an atheist, never thought to carry out, or propose, a precise measurement for the constant on entropy is that he, as an atheist, had thought he had arrived at the ultimate explanation for how everything in the universe operates when he had link probability with entropy. i.e. In linking entropy with probability, Boltzmann, again an atheist, thought he had explained everything that happens in the universe to a ‘random’ chance basis. To him, as an atheist, it would simply be unfathomable that the ‘random chance’ (probabilistic) events of entropy in the universe should ever be constrained by a constant that would limit the effects of entropy in the universe. Whereas on the contrary, to a Christian Theist, it is expected that even the seemingly random chance events of entropy in the universe should be bounded by a constant, i.e. that ‘randomness’ would have its ultimate cause based in God!:

    ‘Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it. Two significant developments have already appeared—the hypothesis of a lawless sub-nature, and the surrender of the claim that science is true.’
    Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.

    Romans 8:20-21
    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    Also of interest to ‘randomness’, here is a piece of evidence that solidly demarcates the randomness, i.e. entropy, of the material particles of the universe from the randomness that would be necessarily inherent within ‘conscious’ creatures with mental attribute of free will:

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-445840

    Since material particles are held to ‘randomly’ decay, why in blue blazes is conscious observation putting a freeze on ‘random’ entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than ‘random’ entropic decay is? This point is really driven home when we realize that the initial entropy of the universe was 1 in 10^10^123, which is, by far, the most finely tuned of initial conditions of the universe.

    Of supplemental note, I think that Dr. Antoine Suarez does an excellent job in the following article of associating the randomness inherent in quantum mechanics with the mental aspect of ‘free will’ (and thus separating it from entropy)

    What Does Quantum Physics Have to Do with Free Will? – By Antoine Suarez – July 22, 2013
    Excerpt: What is more, recent experiments are bringing to light that the experimenter’s free will and consciousness should be considered axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory. So for instance, in experiments involving “entanglement” (the phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), to conclude that quantum correlations of two particles are nonlocal (i.e. cannot be explained by signals traveling at velocity less than or equal to the speed of light), it is crucial to assume that the experimenter can make free choices, and is not constrained in what orientation he/she sets the measuring devices.
    To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time.,,,
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/what-does-quantum-physics-have-do-free-will

    Verse and Music:

    Joshua 24:15
    And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

    4 Year Old Boy Plays Piano Beautifully – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wW7cy4dVzA

  9. 9

    Gpuccio, Gil

    I think part of the answer is that what seems “obvious” ain’t necessarily so.

    Intuition just isn’t a reliable guide.

    However, I will make it plain, as I regularly do, that I don’t think it is “obvious” that life was not designed either. Nor do I think that science has demonstrated (nor could demonstrate) that it was not.

    All science can do is flag up possible alternative mechanisms that can be operationalised as testable hypotheses.

  10. 10
    Axel says:

    ‘… but the fact is a large number of those people do.’

    Wrong. Elizabeth. Plain wrong. It would be a relatively minuscule number – unless of course, you discount people who use their common sense and believe their lying eyes, but are not academically-educated. Rather like belief in ghosts.

    The educated experts, by the way, have a record of madness second to none; bizarrely in inverse proportion to the obvious of the truth concerned.

    I think my favourite is possibly, the good doctor who coined the term, ‘drapetomania’, for the cruel pathology driving certain slaves so out of their minds that they sought to escape their captors.

  11. 11
    Axel says:

    Look at your post #9, Elizabeth.

    Your primary m.o seems to be equivocation. Have you ever conceded a point without equivocation. Or indeed MADE one? Shifting your ground a little, shifting it a little there.

    You know that’s how the security services obfuscate the truth, when the government’s been up to no good; misleading the public with equivocal, planted ‘evidence’. Putative evidence to contradict such real evidence as exists.

    There was one famous case decades ago, and an actuary calculated that the odds against the occurrence of certain events within a certain time span ensuing from different causes, (but which actually happened), without large-scale interventions under a vast conspiracy, were astronomical. It would have pointed to a massive government conspiracy.

    Statistics is usually the way they nail fraud, as it is very hard to prove in the courts. The falsity of materialism and all the evolutionary nonsense that goes with it, has been proved statistically, in spades, and is routinely reiterated here, but alas the courts that have any bearing on these scientific battles are politically motivated, as was the one involving the massive conspiracy I very sketchily adverted to above.

  12. 12
    Brent says:

    EL,

    I think part of the answer is that what seems “obvious” ain’t necessarily so.

    Well, Lizzie, I guess that means you are in a world of (rude word), cuz everything we know is based on what is obvious.

    For example, things like A being superior to B necessarily meaning that B cannot be superior to A come to mind, although, strangely, I have found many people who don’t believe that on a blog called TSZ. But trust me, most people really do believe that because, well, it’s obvious.

  13. 13
    Kantian Naturalist says:

    “Obvious” is a bit problematic — a better term would be “intuitive,” though that’s not without its own pitfalls.

    The right way of putting the point — though not pithy — would be that not everything that we ordinarily or intuitively take to be case, with regard to the empirical world of causal regularities, is actually the case.

    That distinguishes our discourse about causal regularities from our discourse about logical necessities. In some cases, logical necessities are ‘obvious’.

    (Quine famously defended the notion that logic is a theory of the obvious, and a professor of mine in grad school once claimed that if a student cannot just see that modus ponens is valid, there is nothing you can do for them. I still ponder whether that’s right or not.)

    On the other hand, there are cases where our intuitions are not even reliable guides to logical possibility and necessity — for example, when it comes to zombies and Swampman. In those cases we have to sit down and think about whether what our intuitions seem to indicate really stands up to logical scrutiny; one person’s a priori limitation is another person’s failure of imagination.

  14. 14
    Querius says:

    When you know the answer to something, then it becomes “obvious.”

    – One of my chemistry profs used to paraphrase Mencken like this: “For every problem, there is a solution. Neat. Plausible. And wrong.”

    – I seem to remember that the concept of a ring structure for benzine was inspired by a dream.

    – Somebody once said that the greatest discoveries aren’t accompanied with “Eureka, I found it,” but rather with “Hmmm, that’s funny.”

  15. 15
    Box says:

    Gil Dodgen: “Only those who find the notion that living systems are designed to be philosophically repugnant can deny the evidence.”

    Thomas Nagel: “In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.

    I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)

  16. 16
    Querius says:

    Verify that you are human by answering the question below.

    Besides practicing my arithmetic, I think I stumbled onto a great new test for Homo sapiens. 😉

    In defense of Elizabeth, I’d say that “equivocation” is too harsh. I very much prefer responsive, non-dogmatic, qualified statements to rigid, dogmatic ones.

    I’d point out that a common courtroom technique is to demand non-qualified yes/no answers from a witness to force them into extremes. An academic application is the observation that all non-trivial, true-false questions are false at some level.

    That God might have used agencies and natural mechanisms is more likely than not. For example . . .

    – Why is it written that God said, “Let the land produce vegetation”? Why didn’t God simply create plants ex nihilo?

    – Why is it written that God created Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve out of Adam rather than from the dust of the ground or ex nihilo?

    Incidentally, Elizabeth might appreciate noticing in the crescendo of creation, the result of God’s final act of creation.

    I’m not saying that any of this supports evolution, which in my opinion strains credibility to the point of giggling. I do believe in ultimate ID, but the ID likely involved efficient, previously designed natural processes, and that those designs also included mechanisms for adaptability.

    It also seems to me that in Genesis, God is issuing orders.

    Perhaps, the preincarnate Messiah, oversaw a creative effort involving other beings. As evidence of this, I’d draw your attention to the genome of the platypus, which bears all the earmarks of a class project, together with some plagiarism. 😉

    Wouldn’t it be totally cool to try to design a stable ecosystem with feedback and adaptation features?

    I tried this once programatically. Even with liberal hacking, all my results quickly and inevitably crashed, destroying my virtual organisms together with the carrying capacity of the mini-biome. This is another dynamic that remains poorly addressed by Darwinism. There’s nothing that I can think of in evolution that prevents organisms from becoming too successful and *quickly* destroying their ecosystem.

  17. 17
    Freelurker_ says:

    From Andre:

    Irreducible Complexity, It is not only evident in biology but in everything, Our solar system, the Eco-system, living systems. These things are based on straight forward engineering principles and its not only about the parts but what the sum of the parts accomplish. I I still don’t understand why some people don’t grasp this simple truth, maybe its because they are not from an engineering background?

    If we are talking about the practices of science and engineering then what’s important here is not what individuals personally believe, what’s important is what assumptions have been found to be useful in doing the work.

    We engineers, when doing engineering, do not assume that the universe was engineered (not any more than scientists do when they are doing science.) In other words, the engineering sciences do not contain design hypotheses. (See an earlier UD post, Design Inference vs. Design Hypothesis which is here: http://tinyurl.com/lpzrx6n .)

    Since we don’t use these hypotheses in our work, do you think therefore that engineers are ideologically biased? Do you think we don’t like the idea of a creator, that we even find it to be philosophically repugnant?

    -Freelurker_

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    In other words, the engineering sciences do not contain design hypotheses.

    Sure they do. Unless you’re engineering things that won’t be used.

  19. 19
    Freelurker_ says:

    From Mung:

    Sure they do.

    Please tell me of an engineering science that postulates, as Dr. Demski says, “an intelligence operating in nature.”

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    RE #19:

    Any engineering discipline postulates an intelligence operating in nature. You know of one that doesn’t?

    I’d hate to think that I was trusting in non-intelligent engineers.

    But as to a specific engineering discipline, software engineering.

    Anytime I write a program, I try to keep in mind the users. They may not be as intelligent as I’d like, but they are still assumed to be intelligent. And they are assumed to be “in nature.”

  21. 21
    Freelurker_ says:

    Re: #20

    Clearly, the central claim of Dr. Dembski, Gil Dodgen, Andre, and the rest of the ID movement is not that human intelligence is operating in nature. They are not calling for engineers to be intelligent or for programmers to keep their users in mind.

    IDist are calling for people to believe that certain features of the universe and of living things are attributable to a [non-human] intelligent cause. Many people do believe this, including people who are scientists and engineers.

    As he described in the linked articles, Dr. Dembski’s beef is that such beliefs don’t appear as hypotheses in the natural sciences. He also makes reference to the engineering sciences, and my reading of it is that he understands that the engineering sciences (such as engineering physics) don’t use such hypotheses either. (That is the most charitable reading.)

    Then the interesting questions are, I think:
    (1) Do IDists attribute the lack of design hypotheses in engineering to an ideological bias on the part of engineers?
    (2) Do IDists think we could do a better job of engineering if we were to assume that a non-human intelligence was acting in nature?
    (3) Do IDists think that that it is detrimental to our general culture for engineers to be neglecting design hypotheses in their work?

  22. 22
    Andre says:

    Why would you assume that alien intelligence, non-human intelligence or our own intelligence, might not be intelligible to any type of intelligence? Is the ability to understand not the precise Hallmark of intelligence? Why then bother with SETI are they only scan for human intelligent signals?

  23. 23
    Freelurker_ says:

    Andre, perhaps your comment is not addressed to me, but I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

  24. 24
    Freelurker_ says:

    Andre, you seem to be talking about design inferences. I’ve been talking about design hypotheses. Dr. Dembski explains the difference in the linked article.

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