# Some Problems Can Be Proved Unsolvable

Here are two mathematical problems for you to work on in your spare time, and one problem from biology:

1. Find positive integers x,y, z and n>2, such that xn+yn=zn.
2. Remove two diagonally opposite corner squares from a chess board, and cover the remaining 62 squares with 31 dominoes, each of which covers two adjacent squares.
3. Explain how life could have originated and evolved into intelligent humans, through entirely natural (unintelligent) processes.

You can spend a lot of time trying different solutions to mathematical problem #1. After a while you might begin to wonder if it can be done, but don’t give up, there are an infinite number of integers you can try for x,y,z and n.

For problem #2, get out your chess board and some dominoes, cut out two diagonally opposite corner squares, and start covering. If your first try doesn’t work, keep working, there are a huge number of ways you can lay out the dominoes.

A number of theories as to how life could have originated through entirely unintelligent processes have been proposed, but none are plausible, and this problem is generally considered to have not yet been solved. But new theories are constantly being proposed, and it would be unscientific to give up and declare the problem to be unsolvable…wouldn’t it? Charles Darwin felt he had explained how intelligent humans evolved from the first living organisms though entirely unintelligent processes. Today his theory is doubted by an increasing number of scientists, and most of those who still support it would probably agree with microbiologist Rene Dubos that “its real strength is that however implausible it may appear to its opponents, they do not have a more plausible one to offer in its place” [The Torch of Life, 1962]. Most of these doubters have proposed modifications to his theory or alternative theories of their own, but there are always serious problems with the alternative theories too. However, scientists should never give up, even if none of the theories proposed so far are plausible…right? French biologist Jean Rostand [A Biologist’s View, 1956] says “However obscure the causes of evolution appear to me to be, I do not doubt for a moment that they are entirely natural. We have ample time to discover them; biology is in its infancy.”

Well, mathematicians sometimes do give up, after we have proved a problem to be impossible to solve. How can you prove a problem is impossible to solve, if you can’t examine every possible solution? Often you say, assume there is a solution, then using that assumption you prove something that is obviously false, or known to be false. Pierre de Fermat claimed in 1637 to have a simple proof that problem #1 has no solution, but the proof was “too large to fit in the margin” of a document he was working with. Did Fermat really have a short, correct proof? Not likely, because no one else could find a rigorous proof until 358 years later, when Andrew Wiles produced a very long, complicated proof of Fermat’s last theorem. Whether or not Fermat’s short proof was valid may never be known, but at least his conclusion was correct.

After trying a long while, you may get the idea that mathematical problem #2 is also impossible to solve, but if you try to prove it is impossible, you may start to think that this one may also take years to prove impossible. But in mathematics, you can often prove an apparently difficult theorem in a surprisingly simple way once you look at it from the right perspective. For this problem, all you have to do is notice that each domino will cover one black and one red square, so if you could solve the problem, you would have to conclude that the board consists of the same number (31) of black and red squares. But this conclusion is false: the original chessboard had an equal number of red and black squares, but the diagonally opposite corners you removed were the same color!

Well, I have a very simple proof that the biological problem #3 posed above is also impossible to solve, that does fit in the margin of this document. All one needs to do is realize that if a solution were found, we would have proved something obviously false, that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones.

Is this really a valid proof? It seems perfectly valid to me, as I cannot think of anything in all of science that can be stated with more confidence than that a few unintelligent forces of physics alone could not have rearranged the basic particles of physics into Apple iPhones. Unfortunately, most biologists and other scientists don’t seem to be impressed by such simple proofs; they don’t believe it is possible to refute all their solutions to problem #3 without looking at the details of each.

For the first mathematical problem, it didn’t take too many years of failed attempts before mathematicians realized their time was better spent proving this problem unsolvable than continuing with attempts to solve it. Maybe after another 358 years of failed attempts to solve problem #3, someone will finally produce a proof that convinces even biologists that they didn’t fail because they just never hit on the right solution, but because the problem doesn’t have a solution.

## 71 Replies to “Some Problems Can Be Proved Unsolvable”

1. 1
polistra says:

A more important problem: How do we make bigger grants available for sane helpful science than insane murderous science?

The current situation is relatively recent. The trend started in 1946 with Vannevar Bush’s NSF, and accelerated in the ’70s as Deepstate took over more science funding. Before 1946 government was a minor contributor, mainly helping in areas like agriculture where industry wasn’t rich enough or organized enough.

We can’t decrease government contributions now, but we can organize to increase money available for sanity.

2. 2
BobRyan says:

Polistra

Rather than looking at grants as the solution, ask a different question. Why are there no Edison’s today? Edison took credit for a lot of work done by others, which those who worked for him agreed when they took the job. He paid better than others and let them, for the most part, invent what they wished. Other than the AC DC arguments he had with Tesla, he generally left people alone. Without bureaucracy to stand in the way, as exists now, more innovation did come out.

Scientists can work for universities, governments or private corporations, but none are free of bureaucracy that comes with each.

3. 3
JVL says:

Well, I have a very simple proof that the biological problem #3 posed above is also impossible to solve, that does fit in the margin of this document. All one needs to do is realize that if a solution were found, we would have proved something obviously false, that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones.

It’s very sad when a person as highly educated as Dr Sewell stoops to this kind of straw man argument. In his own academic history he has had to grapple with many complicated and difficult scenarios that sometimes takes years just to understand let alone solve or even model. Why he chooses to dismiss another field’s research (a field he is not trained in) with a ludicrous parrot of their basic premise is sad indeed.

I’m quite sure that if a Biologist tried to tell Dr Sewell that his use of numerical methods for partial differential equations was clearly flawed and that he was delusional he would not take that person’s criticism comment seriously. Likewise, I don’t think any serious origin of life researcher needs to bother taking Dr Sewell’s ‘proof’ seriously.

4. 4
bornagain77 says:

JVL complains that Dr. Sewell, a professor of mathematics, “dismisses another field’s research (a field he is not trained in)”,,,, (and since Dr. Sewell is not trained in OOL) JVL further comments that, “I don’t think any serious origin of life researcher needs to bother taking Dr Sewell’s ‘proof’ seriously.”

Interesting comment. So is mathematics applicable to OOL research of not?

If mathematics is applicable to OOL research, then the OOL, via naturalistic processes, is proven to be mathematically impossible.

Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance
,,, “The probability of getting a properly folded chain of one-handed amino acids, joined by peptide bonds, is one chance in 10^74+45+45, or one in 10^164” (Meyer, p. 212)

On the other hand, If OOL research, (and Darwin’s theory in general), are not subject to mathematical analysis, (as JVL is implying), then OOL research, (and Darwin’s theory in general), don’t even qualify as rigorous sciences in the first place.

Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
Excerpt: “Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859.” …
http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....emagician/

WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
Excerpt: If evolutionary biologists are really Seekers of the Truth, they need to focus more on finding the mathematical regularities of biology, following in the giant footsteps of Sewall Wright, JBS Haldane, Ronald Fisher and so on.
The messiness of biology has made it relatively hard to discern the mathematical fundamentals of evolution. Perhaps the laws of biology are deductive consequences of the laws of physics and chemistry. Perhaps natural selection is not a statistical consequence of physics, but a new and fundamental physical law. Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.
http://www.edge.org/response-detail/25468

Darwin and the Mathematicians – David Berlinski
“The formation within geological time of a human body by the laws of physics (or any other laws of similar nature), starting from a random distribution of elementary particles and the field, is as unlikely as the separation by chance of the atmosphere into its components.”
Kurt Gödel, – a preeminent mathematician who is considered one of the greatest logicians/mathematicians to have ever lived.
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....cians.html

And since JVL apparently believes that OOL research should not be subject to mathematical analysis, as all other fields of science are subject to mathematical analysis, then perhaps JVL will, at least, listen to Dr. James Tour, one of the top ten synthetic chemists in the world, who is more than qualified to speak in this area of research?

“We have no idea how the molecules that compose living systems could have been devised such that they would work in concert to fulfill biology’s functions. We have no idea how the basic set of molecules, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins, were made and how they could have coupled into the proper sequences, and then transformed into the ordered assemblies until there was the construction of a complex biological system, and eventually to that first cell.
Nobody has any idea how this was done when using our commonly understood mechanisms of chemical science. Those that say they understand are generally wholly uninformed regarding chemical synthesis. Those that say “Oh, this is well worked out,” they know nothing, nothing about chemical synthesis – Nothing!
Further cluelessness – From a synthetic chemical perspective, neither I nor any of my colleagues can fathom a prebiotic molecular route to construction of a complex system. We cannot figure out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. Chemists are collectively bewildered. Hence I say that no chemist understands prebiotic synthesis of the requisite building blocks let alone their assembly into a complex system.
That’s how clueless we are. I’ve asked all of my colleagues – National Academy members, Nobel Prize winners -I sit with them in offices; nobody understands this. So if your professors say it’s all worked out, your teachers say it’s all worked out, they don’t know what they’re talking about. It is not worked out. You cannot just refer this to somebody else; they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
James Tour – one of the top ten leading chemists in the world
– The Origin of Life: An Inside Story – March 2016 Lecture with James Tour

Origin of Life: An Inside Story – 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.“
http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/

Verse and music

John 1:1-4
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

NEEDTOBREATHE – Something Beautiful (Official Video)

5. 5
JVL says:

Bornagain77: On the other hand, If OOL research, (and Darwin’s theory in general), are not subject to mathematical analysis, (as JVL is implying),

That’s not at all what I’m implying or saying.

And since JVL apparently believes that OOL research should not be subject to mathematical analysis, as all other fields of science are subject to mathematical analysis, then perhaps JVL will, at least, listen to Dr. James Tour, one of the top ten synthetic chemists in the world, who is more than qualified to speak in this area of research?

Explain to me why I should bother to respond when you can’t even represent what I said correctly?

6. 6
ET says:

Biology and abiogenesis are two different things. So Sewell isn’t talking to biologists on point #3.

Living organisms are ruled by coded information processing systems. There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems so the assertion can be dismissed. There isn’t even a way to test the claim that nature is up to the task. So again, the assertion can be dismissed.

There is ONE and ONLY one known cause for coded information processing systems and that is via intelligent agency volition (TELIC processes). That means that the only scientific inference to be had with respect to the genetic code is that it arose via intelligent design. JVL’s whining will only continue to expose his scientific illiteracy.

7. 7
bornagain77 says:

JVL, I’m all ears, let me go get my popcorn. Since mathematics is integral to all fields of science that consider themselves to be rigorously established sciences, (i.e. Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, etc..,,,,) then why shouldn’t Dr. Sewell, a professor of mathematics, be able to comment on OOL research and Darwinism in general?

Math simply has not been kind to Darwinian speculations in the least,,,

HISTORY OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY – WISTAR DESTROYS EVOLUTION
Excerpt: A number of mathematicians, familiar with the biological problems, spoke at that 1966 Wistar Institute,, For example, Murray Eden showed that it would be impossible for even a single ordered pair of genes to be produced by DNA mutations in the bacteria, E. coli,—with 5 billion years in which to produce it! His estimate was based on 5 trillion tons of the bacteria covering the planet to a depth of nearly an inch during that 5 billion years. He then explained that the genes of E. coli contain over a trillion (10^12) bits of data. That is the number 10 followed by 12 zeros. *Eden then showed the mathematical impossibility of protein forming by chance.
http://www.pathlights.com/ce_e.....hist12.htm

8. 8
JVL says:

Bornagain77:

Read what Dr Sewell wrote AGAIN as you, typically, seem to want to respond to things you think I said or wanted me to say. Dr Sewell made ZERO mathematical arguments for his ‘proof’. He expressed a lot of disbelief but that’s not even an argument. That’s why I called him on it. It was not representative of what scientists working in the field are saying, it had no substance to it whatsoever. If you think an assertion not even addressing the real research is a ‘proof’ . . . . well . . . that explains a lot.

ET:

Like Bornagain77 you seem determined to respond to things I didn’t say or challenge. Read AGAIN what Dr Sewell actually wrote that I responded to. He did not make the argument you put forth, he did not make any kind of mathematical statement. He just asserted. If you think that’s a sound argument . . . well . . . good luck with that.

9. 9
ET says:

Oh my. What Dr. Sewell said is supported by the total lack of evidence to the contrary. You called his argument a straw man but failed to support that claim.

Get over it. There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems. You have nothing.

10. 10
bornagain77 says:

Well JVL, Dr. Sewell’s argument is quite simple and gets to the heart of the matter quite beautifully

All one needs to do is realize that if a solution were found, we would have proved something obviously false, that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones.

Are you saying the laws of physics are not up to the task of rearranging the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones?

Are you suggesting that intelligent minds might be necessary to do all that? If so, you are not a Darwinist!

According to the reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought, everything that exists on the face of the earth MUST somehow be reducible to physical laws and material particles. Intelligence is NEVER allowed as an explanation.

Perhaps the reason Dr. Sewell’s illustration rubs you the wrong way is because it simply, and beautifully, encapsulates just how absurd the claims of Darwinists actually are.

11. 11
ET says:

JVL is confused. There isn’t any substance to origin of life research. There isn’t anything to respond to. Imagination is not science.

Also Dr Sewell did NOT say the the 3rd problem pertained to mathematics. Learn how to read. All he said was it is an unsolvable problem.

12. 12
Bob O'H says:

ba77 –

Since mathematics is integral to all fields of science that consider themselves to be rigorously established sciences, (i.e. Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, etc..,,,,) then why shouldn’t Dr. Sewell, a professor of mathematics, be able to comment on OOL research and Darwinism in general?

The snarky answer is because he’s a mathematician, not a physicist. The more serious answer is that OoL is much more than just mathematics, it’s also chemistry and physics (and, at some point, biology). So there is a large body of non-mathematical knowledge that someone would need to learn before being able to make informed comments on the subject.

13. 13
MikeW says:

Sewell misrepresents the materialists’ view on the origin of life. Materialists do not believe that life originated solely from the four fundamental forces of physics acting on the fundamental particles of physics. They also believe that the initial conditions of the universe played a role. And they may be right. There isn’t any current scientific evidence on whether the information required for life was embedded in the initial conditions, or if the information was injected into the universe at a later date. (The difference between materialists and creationists is the Source of the information.)

14. 14
bornagain77 says:

So Bob, are you saying that Dr. Sewell’s general observation is incorrect? i.e. that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics are incapable of rearranging the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones?

If so, please provide a single counter example of unguided materialistic processes producing a single code. There is a 10 million dollar prize awaiting the first person to prove that unintelligent processes are capable of doing what only intelligence has ever been observed doing.

An incentive prize ten times the size of the Nobel – believed to be the largest single award ever in basic science – is being offered to the person or team solving the largest mystery in history: how genetic code inside cells got there, and how cells intentionally self-organize, communicate, then purposely adapt.
This \$10 million challenge, the Evolution 2.0 Prize can be found at http://www.evo2.org. —
https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/evolution-2-0-prize-unprecedented-10-million-offered-to-replicate-cellular-evolution-875038146.html

15. 15
Bob O'H says:

ba77 – please learn how to read what people write. I wasn’t actually commenting on that.

16. 16
ET says:

Dr Sewell did NOT say the OoL was mathematics. And there isn’t anything in physics nor chemistry that says nature can produce coded information processing systems. There isn’t any knowledge that says nature is capable. All of our knowledge says it takes an intelligent agency to produce a coded information processing system.

So it goes against science to say that nature did it.

17. 17
ET says:

MikeW- do you have any reference to what you say materialists claim?

18. 18
MikeW says:

ET(17), yes materialists readily admit that the universe has finely tuned conditions that are required for life. They offer speculative, unconvincing explanations for this, including the multiverse, quantum many-worlds, etc.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_universe

19. 19
bornagain77 says:

Bob, if you are not saying that his general observation is wrong, then is it safe to assume that you agree with his general observation that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics are incapable of rearranging the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones?

Of note from George Ellis:

Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
Excerpt: Causation: The nature of causation is highly contested territory, and I will take a pragmatic view:
Definition 1: Causal Effect
If making a change in a quantity X results in a reliable demonstrable change in a quantity Y in a given context, then X has a causal effect on Y.?Example: I press the key labelled “A” on my computer keyboard; the letter “A” appears on my computer screen.,,,
Definition 2: Existence
If Y is a physical entity made up of ordinary matter, and X is some kind of entity that has a demonstrable causal effect on Y as per Definition 1, then we must acknowledge that X also exists (even if it is not made up of such matter).
This is clearly a sensible and testable criterion; in the example above, it leads to the conclusion that both the data and the relevant software exist. If we do not adopt this definition, we will have instances of uncaused changes in the world; I presume we wish to avoid that situation.,,,
,,, The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.
http://fqxi.org/data/essay-con.....s_2012.pdf

20. 20
JVL says:

ET: Oh my. What Dr. Sewell said is supported by the total lack of evidence to the contrary. You called his argument a straw man but failed to support that claim.

It’s a straw man because it pretends to repeat an argument but in the stupidest way possible. It’s not what’s being researched so it’s not a fair representation of the work.

Get over it. There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems. You have nothing.

Not the point that I was trying to make.

JVL is confused. There isn’t any substance to origin of life research. There isn’t anything to respond to. Imagination is not science.

Again, not the issue being discussed. What I am talking about is the lack of real argument on Dr Sewell’s part.

Also Dr Sewell did NOT say the the 3rd problem pertained to mathematics. Learn how to read. All he said was it is an unsolvable problem.

I didn’t say it did did I? Why don’t you learn to read what people actually write?

Dr Sewell did NOT say the OoL was mathematics. And there isn’t anything in physics nor chemistry that says nature can produce coded information processing systems. There isn’t any knowledge that says nature is capable. All of our knowledge says it takes an intelligent agency to produce a coded information processing system.

So it goes against science to say that nature did it.

None of which I brought up or said or claimed. You should talk to Bornagain77 about whether or not the question of OoL is mathematical; you two clearly disagree.

21. 21
JVL says:

Bornagain77: Are you saying the laws of physics are not up to the task of rearranging the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones?

Why do you consistently assume I’m arguing a point that I’m not? You seem to have this weird view on the world in that you think you know what point people are making so you don’t even bother to actually read what they’ve written.

I’m saying Dr Sewell did not represent the actual OoL research and hypotheses fairly at all; he used a straw man version. AND I’m saying he had no support for his assertion that the basic laws of physics are insufficient to explain the origin and development of life on Earth. He argued against something that no one is claiming AND he didn’t bother to support his own assertion. Why should anyone take his statement seriously when he can’t even address the issues fairly and thoroughly? Just like he would not take an uneducated and biased statement about numerical methods for PDEs seriously. Nor should he.

22. 22
bornagain77 says:

“I’m saying he had no support for his assertion that the basic laws of physics are insufficient to explain the origin and development of life on Earth.”,,,

So are you saying that you do have evidence that the laws of physics are sufficient, (in and of themselves with no intelligence allowed whatsoever), to explain the origin and development of life on Earth? And hence thereafter to be able to explain via a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics the rearranging of the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones?

You don’t seem to understand the premises of the supposedly scientific worldview of atheistic naturalism that dominates our American universities today.

To supposedly be scientific today, you’ve got to get from point A, (i.e. the laws of physics and the fundamental particles), to point B, (i.e. libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones,).

Again, In order to supposedly stay scientific today, in today’s American universities, an appeal to an Immaterial intelligent Mind at any point along the way from point A to point B is simply forbidden as an explanation.

Are you beginning to get a clue just absurd the worldview of atheistic naturalism actually is?

23. 23
JVL says:

Bornagain77: So are you saying that you do have evidence that the laws of physics are sufficient, (in and of themselves with no intelligence allowed whatsoever), to explain the origin and development of life on Earth?

At the moment all I am doing is critiquing Dr Sewell’s argument, or lack thereof. I find it sad that a highly educated and intelligent person such as him can’t come up with a better ‘proof’ (his word not mine) than what he offers. And that he is railing against a false version of unguided evolutionary theory.

That’s it.

You don’t seem to understand the premises of the supposedly scientific worldview of atheistic naturalism that dominates our American universities today.

That’s not the topic I was discussing or the point I was trying to make.

Are you beginning to get a clue just absurd the worldview of atheistic naturalism actually is?

Again, that’s not the topic I was discussing or the point I was trying to make.

If you want to have an argument about that stuff then fine. But that’s not what I was trying to do.

Do you think Dr Sewell is arguing against a straw man version of the unguided evolutionary view? Yes or no?

Do you think, in this article, Dr Sewell adequately defended his view that if a solution for his problem 3 were found that that would prove something false (his words)?

Do you think Dr Sewell has presented a ‘proof’? He says he has, is it a proof or not?

24. 24
bornagain77 says:

JVL, so you don’t have to provide any proof for your position but you can criticize Dr. Sewell for his supposed lack of evidence?

And you see no problem with that?

The point you are trying to make, whatever point that may be other than being nonsensical, seems rather vacuous if you don’t ever provide evidence for your position.

I think Dr. Sewell’s example is crystal clear and beautiful. And gets the sheer absurdity of atheistic naturalism across quite clearly!

25. 25
john_a_designer says:

Here is something I have written about before:

The origin of life is like the origin of the universe. It appears to be a singular, non-repeating, highly improbable event which occurred very early in earth’s history. Furthermore all the clues of how and why it occurred have been lost. But then added to that problem are other problems: how does chemistry create code? What is required to create an autonomously self-replicating system which has the possibility of evolving into something more complex? The naturalist/ materialist then compounds the problem by demanding a priori that the origin of life must be completely natural– undirected without an intelligent plan or purpose.

That seems like it was a miracle… Well, maybe it was. But a completely “naturalistic miracle” seems to be an absurd self-defeating claim for the naturalist/materialist to make.

One of my pipe dreams as a real life (now retired) machine designer is to design a self-replicating machine or automata– the kind that was first envisioned by mathematician John von Neumann. My vision is not a machine that could replicate itself from already existing “off the shelf” parts but a machine– well actually machines– which could replicate themselves from raw materials they would find on a rocky planet in some distant star system.

One practical advantage of such machines is they could be sent out in advance some far-in-the-distant-future expedition to terraform a suitable planet in another star system preparing it for colonist who might arrive centuries or millennia later.

By analogy, that is what the first living cells which originated on the early earth had to do.

Even the simplest prokaryote cell is on the sub-cellular level a collection of machines networked together to replicate the whole system. To suggest that somehow the first cell emerged by some fortuitous accident is betray an ignorance how really complex primitive cells are.

Try thinking this through on a more macro level, as I have described above, and I think you will begin to appreciate how really daunting the problem is.

If you are a naturalist/materialist and you can’t explain that– where the first “natural” self-replicating machines came from– then all bets are off and ID wins– game, set, match!

26. 26
Seversky says:

John_a_designer/25

If you are a naturalist/materialist and you can’t explain that– where the first “natural” self-replicating machines came from– then all bets are off and ID wins– game, set, match!

I am a naturalist/materialist and I know of no well-supported, well-established nat/mat explanation for the origin of the Universe or the origins of life. There is speculation, hypotheses, even mathematical models but the honest – and unsatisfactory – answer is that we just don’t know. They are both open questions.

Does our ignorance at this point in time mean that there are no nat/mat explanations? No, of course not. We are not omniscient. There is a whole lot we don’t know. And, when we say we don’t know, it means that we don’t know. It doesn’t mean ID/creationism wins by default. It can’t be ruled out but it is far from being a credible or coherent explanation,

27. 27
Bob O'H says:

ba77 @ 19 –

Bob, if you are not saying that his general observation is wrong, then is it safe to assume that you agree with his general observation that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics are incapable of rearranging the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones?

No, I wasn1’t commenting either way.

I also didn’t comment on whether you are a total idiot. It’s not safe to assume my opinion on that, either.

28. 28
JVL says:

Bornagain77: JVL, so you don’t have to provide any proof for your position but you can criticize Dr. Sewell for his supposed lack of evidence?

You’re really having problems grasping what I’m saying: I’m critiquing Dr Sewell’s poorly supported straw man attack. I’m NOT arguing against his position; I’m only saying he made his case badly against a false version of the opposition.

If you read a testimony by someone who said they believe in Jesus because they saw a picture of him on their morning toast you might very well be critical of their reason without disagreeing with their conclusion.

And you see no problem with that?

There is no problem because I am CLEARLY not doing what you seem to want me to do.

The point you are trying to make, whatever point that may be other than being nonsensical, seems rather vacuous if you don’t ever provide evidence for your position.

I’m not arguing my position, I’m saying Dr Sewell supported his position poorly in this post AND he attacked a straw man version of the ‘opposition’.

I think Dr. Sewell’s example is crystal clear and beautiful. And gets the sheer absurdity of atheistic naturalism across quite clearly!

Do you think it’s a ‘proof’? His word. Do you think he provided enough supporting evidence or arguments for his ‘proof’?

Let me put it another way: if you were trying to convince a dyed-in-the-wool materialist of the correctness of your view would you use Dr Sewell’s ‘proof’ alone with the evidence presented in this post only?

29. 29
bornagain77 says:

Bob states, “I also didn’t comment on whether you are a total idiot.”

And there you go, when you have to defend a completely indefensible position, just use ad hominem.

But then again, ad hominem, i.e. attacking the man instead of addressing the argument., will tend to get you banned from UD.

30. 30
bornagain77 says:

JVL, it is not a ‘straw man’ argument. Darwinists do indeed hold to the reductive materialistic framework.

It is their argument not his!

Dr. Sewell merely draws their reductive materialistic argument out to its logical conclusion and exposes it in its full blown absurdity for all to see.

i.e. Libraries full of books etc,, etc,, should be fully explicable to reductive materialistic explanations if atheistic naturalism were actually true.

Of related note is Paul Nelson’s article on SETI

Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
Excerpt: Assessing the Damage MN Does to Freedom of Inquiry

Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.

MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.

“That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?

You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.,,,

,,,some feature of “intelligence” must be irreducible to physics, because otherwise we’re back to physics versus physics, and there’s nothing for SETI to look for.,,,,
https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

31. 31
john_a_designer says:

In his book, The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins tried to argue that biology was “the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” Notice that to explain away design he has to concede that there is the appearance or intuition of design. But is it merely just all appearance– just an illusion? How does he know that? Or is it just what he believes?

Science itself rests on a number of empirically unprovable or metaphysical (philosophical) assumptions. For example:

That we exist in a real special-temporal world– that the world (the cosmos) is not an illusion and we are not “brains in a vat” in some kind of Matrix like virtual reality. Or, like Descartes suggested we’re unembodied spirit minds who are being deceived by an unembodied demon so that we have bodies and are living in a physical world.

That the laws of nature are universal throughout space and time.

Or that there are really causal connections between things and things or people and things etc. David Hume famously argued that that wasn’t self-evidently true. Indeed, in some cases it isn’t. Sometimes there is correlation without causation or “just coincidence.”

Again, notice the logic Dawkins wants us to accept. He wants us to implicitly accept his premise that that living things only have the appearance of being designed. But how do we know that premise is true? Is it self-evidently true? I think not. Why can’t it be true that living things appear to be designed for a purpose because they really have been designed for a purpose? Is that logically impossible? Metaphysically impossible? Scientifically impossible? If one cannot answer those questions then design cannot be eliminated from consideration or the discussion. Therefore, it is a legitimate inference from the empirical (scientific) evidence.

I have said this here before, the burden of proof is on those who believe that some mindless, purposeless process can “create” a planned and purposeful (teleological) self-replicating system capable of evolving further through purposeless mindless process (at least until it “creates” something purposeful, because, according to Dawkins, living things appear to be purposeful.) Frankly, this is something our regular interlocutors consistently and persistently fail to do.

As a theist I do not claim I can prove (at least in an absolute sense) that my world view is true. Can naturalists/ materialists prove that their world view is true? Personally I believe that all worldviews rest on unprovable assumptions. No one can prove that their world view is true. Is that true of naturalism/ materialism? If it can someone with that world view needs to step forward and provide the proof.

32. 32
Bob O'H says:

ba77 @ 29 – eh? What ad hominen? I explicitly stated “[i]t’s not safe to assume my opinion on that, either.”

33. 33
ET says:

seversky:

I am a naturalist/materialist and I know of no well-supported, well-established nat/mat explanation for the origin of the Universe or the origins of life. There is speculation, hypotheses, even mathematical models but the honest – and unsatisfactory – answer is that we just don’t know. They are both open questions.

Wrong. Everything that we do know says materialism is total nonsense.

34. 34
bornagain77 says:

Bob, whatever, you can play your games elsewhere if you want to have the admin decide what you meant.

I’m OK with that if you are.

35. 35
ET says:

JVL:

It’s a straw man because it pretends to repeat an argument but in the stupidest way possible. It’s not what’s being researched so it’s not a fair representation of the work.

Your position has the stupidest arguments possible.

What I am talking about is the lack of real argument on Dr Sewell’s part.

And what he is talking about is the total lack of a real argument from your side.

36. 36
ET says:

Also Dr Sewell did NOT say the the 3rd problem pertained to mathematics. Learn how to read. All he said was it is an unsolvable problem.

JVL:

I didn’t say it did did I? Why don’t you learn to read what people actually write?

You can’t even follow your own statements: “…he did not make any kind of mathematical statement.”

Clearly you thought his third point was supposed to be mathematical.

37. 37
JVL says:

Bornagain77: JVL, it is not a ‘straw man’ argument. Darwinists do indeed hold to the reductive materialistic framework.

It is because he reduces a complicated and lengthy argument based on multiple threads of evidence down to a pithy, brief statement which doesn’t acknowledge any of the evidence, arguments or research. And why does he do that? To make the stance appear completely stupid. That’s making a straw man rebuttal. And coming from a highly intelligent and educated individual I think that’s sad.

I guess you agree with me that he didn’t really make a ‘proof’ then.

38. 38
JVL says:

ET: You can’t even follow your own statements: “…he did not make any kind of mathematical statement.” Clearly you thought his third point was supposed to be mathematical.

No, I said that just to note that he didn’t use his expertise and background. Why are you so completely antagonistic all the time?

If he had chosen to make a mathematical argument then I would have given him some credit for supporting his argument. But he didn’t. He didn’t support his ‘proof’ at all, he just asserted it.

Your position has the stupidest arguments possible.

Look, my point was Dr Sewell attacked a straw man version of the lengthy, complicated, involved unguided evolutionary theory and its support by reducing it to a silly statement which did not even acknowledge the evidence, the arguments or the research. Why? Because he wants people to dismiss it out of hand instead of engaging with the reasoning. And for someone as educated and as intelligent as he clearly is I find that very sad indeed.

And what he is talking about is the total lack of a real argument from your side.

Uh huh. Why didn’t he support his ‘proof’ with more intelligent reasoning? Ask yourself that.

39. 39
bornagain77 says:

JVL claims that “he reduces a complicated and lengthy argument based on multiple threads of evidence”,,

LOL, here is that claim for “multiple threads of evidence” again.

Funny how that scientific evidence for Darwinian claims never seems to actually materialize when push comes to shove!

i.e. to repeat, please provide a single counter example of unguided materialistic processes producing a single code. There is a 10 million dollar prize awaiting the first person to prove that unintelligent processes are capable of doing what only intelligence has ever been observed doing.

An incentive prize ten times the size of the Nobel – believed to be the largest single award ever in basic science – is being offered to the person or team solving the largest mystery in history: how genetic code inside cells got there, and how cells intentionally self-organize, communicate, then purposely adapt.
This \$10 million challenge, the Evolution 2.0 Prize can be found at http://www.evo2.org. —
https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/evolution-2-0-prize-unprecedented-10-million-offered-to-replicate-cellular-evolution-875038146.html

40. 40
ET says:

JVL:

It is because he reduces a complicated and lengthy argument based on multiple threads of evidence down to a pithy, brief statement which doesn’t acknowledge any of the evidence, arguments or research.

All the research supports the claim that nature didn’t do it. All of the evidence supports the claim that nature didn’t do it. The argument is complicated and lengthy only because it is filled with BS, lies and promissory notes.

41. 41
JVL says:

Bornagain77: JVL claims that “he reduces a complicated and lengthy argument based on multiple threads of evidence”

Yup, and you seemed to have stopped arguing that he didn’t do that or that he provided a real ‘proof’. Thanks. Looks I made my point.

42. 42
JVL says:

ET: All the research supports the claim that nature didn’t do it. All of the evidence supports the claim that nature didn’t do it. The argument is complicated and lengthy only because it is filled with BS, lies and promissory notes.

Since you’ve stopped saying that Dr Sewell didn’t make a straw man attack or that he provided a real ‘proof’ I guess I got my point across.

How do you know what he used?

He didn’t use any of his expertise in his stated argument.

Every bit of research and evidence supports what Dr Sewell said. Unguided evolution is total nonsense. Abiogenesis is also total nonsense.

According to Hitchens it should be dismissed out of hand because there isn’t anything but lies to support it.

Christopher Hitchens supported unguided evolution. Try again.

There isn’t any intelligence nor reasoning to respond to.

You must be bored then because you keep responding. Got to have the last word?

43. 43
ET says:

JVL:

No, I said that just to note that he didn’t use his expertise and background.

How do you know what he used?

Look, my point was Dr Sewell attacked a straw man version of the lengthy, complicated, involved unguided evolutionary theory and its support by reducing it to a silly statement which did not even acknowledge the evidence, the arguments or the research.

Every bit of research and evidence supports what Dr Sewell said. Unguided evolution is total nonsense. Abiogenesis is also total nonsense.

Because he wants people to dismiss it out of hand instead of engaging with the reasoning.

According to Hitchens it should be dismissed out of hand because there isn’t anything but lies to support it.

Why didn’t he support his ‘proof’ with more intelligent reasoning?

There isn’t any intelligence nor reasoning to respond to.

44. 44
bornagain77 says:

JVL, and you have evidence that unguided material processes can produce information where exactly?

You claimed that you had “multiple threads of evidence” refuting Dr. Sewell’s claim. I asked for just a single example. Shoot, there is a 10 million dollar prize associated with such evidence if it ever came forward. You provided no evidence and only reiterated your fallacious claim that Dr. Sewell provide no proof all the while failing to provide ANY proof for your claims, i.e. that unintelligent processes can build computers etc…

The logical hypocrisy on your part is dripping off every word you write.

45. 45
Bob O'H says:

ba77 – do you mean “Bob, whatever, you can play your games elsewhere unless you want to have the admin decide what you meant.”? I assume you’re not saying that if I don’t continue to discuss on this thread, I might be banned!

46. 46
ET says:

No, JVL, it isn’t my opinion. It is a fact that all OoL research has been a bust. No one even knows how to test the claim that nature can produce a coded information processing system.

And no, Dr Sewell did not state a straw man. And you don’t know what Dr Sewell used to make his statement. Clearly he used his knowledge on the subject.

How did Hitchens support unguided evolution? He didn’t provide any science nor evidence.

And again you prove that you cannot follow along. There isn’t any intelligence nor reasoning to respond to with respect to the OoL research. The best they have is the production of biologically relevant molecules. It’s like saying nature can produce Stonehenge cuz nature produces stones.

47. 47
bornagain77 says:

Bob at 45,,, HUH???, ,, struggling to comprehend a simple sentence with a clear meaning is not a good sign for a college professor Bob,,, perhaps you should take an extended sabbatical (from UD and your college) so as to refocus your thoughts towards more important matters? I hear scenic tours of beautiful countrysides are pretty good for refocusing your mind towards things which are more important in life.

🙂

Experiencing Awe Increases Belief in the Supernatural – November 25, 2013
Excerpt: Valdesolo and his colleague Jesse Graham of the University of Southern California tested this prediction by having participants watch awe-inspiring scenes from BBC’s Planet Earth documentary series or neutral video clips from a news interview. Afterward, the participants were asked how much awe they felt while watching the video, and whether they believed that worldly events unfold according to some god’s or other non-human entity’s plan.
Overall, participants who had watched the awe-inspiring video tended to believe more in supernatural control, and were more likely to believe in God when compared with the news-watching group.,,,
https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/experiencing-awe-increases-belief-in-the-supernatural.html

Beauty and the Imagination – Aaron Ames – July 16th, 2017
Excerpt: Beauty… can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this ‘idea’ of beauty were not found in the Mind in a more perfect form…. This consideration has readily persuaded men of ability and learning… that the original “idea” is not to be found in this sphere
(Augustine, City of God).
https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2017/07/beauty-imagination-aaron-ames.html

The beauty revealed in nature and biology goes far beyond what can be explained by Darwinian evolution.

The Biology of the Baroque – video

BEAUTY, DARWIN & DESIGN – video – 2019

In fact Darwin himself stated that “They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”

“The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately made by some naturalists, against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man, or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to my theory.”
(Charles Darwin – 1859, p. 199)

And there you have it, the existence of beauty itself falsifies Darwinian evolution!

48. 48
Bob O'H says:

ba77 – sorry, are you saying that I should or should not continue on this thread if I don’t want to be banned? Your comment @ 34 had a clear meaning to me, but seemed an odd thing to write in context, which is why I asked for clarification. Please, simply clarify what you meant.

49. 49
JVL says:

Bornagain77: JVL, and you have evidence that unguided material processes can produce information where exactly?

Not the point I was trying to make. And since you’ve changed the subject from the point I was trying to make I just might stop with the conversation.

You claimed that you had “multiple threads of evidence” refuting Dr. Sewell’s claim. I asked for just a single example. Shoot, there is a 10 million dollar prize associated with such evidence if it ever came forward. You provided no evidence and only reiterated your fallacious claim that Dr. Sewell provide no proof all the while failing to provide ANY proof for your claims, i.e. that unintelligent processes can build computers etc…

No, I said the full and complete argument for unguided evolution incorporates multiple lines of evidence . . . according to those supporting that point of view. I wasn’t, in this instance, making an argument in support of that point of view.

The logical hypocrisy on your part is dripping off every word you write.

Since you seem to have stopped trying to argue about what I actually said initially I guess we’ve finished with that. So, no ‘proof’ by Dr Sewell.

50. 50
john_a_designer says:

A few years ago here at UD one of our regular interlocutors who was arguing with me about the ID explanation for origin of life pointed out:

the inference from that evidence to intelligence being involved is really indirect. You don’t have any other evidence for the existence of an intelligence during the times it would need to be around.

I responded,

“We have absolutely no evidence as to how the first self-replicating living cell originated abiogenetically (from non-life). So following your arbitrarily made-up standard that’s not a logical possibility, so we shouldn’t even consider it.

As the saying goes, ‘sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.’”

When you argue that life originated by some “mindless natural process,” that is not an explanation how. Life is not presently coming into existence abiogenetically, so if such process existed in the past it no longer exists in the present. Therefore you are committing the same error which you accuse ID’ists of committing. That’s a double standard, is it not?

This kind of reasoning on the part of some of our interlocutors reveals that you don’t really have any strong arguments based on reason, logic and the evidence. If you do, why are you holding back?

51. 51
JVL says:

ET: No, JVL, it isn’t my opinion. It is a fact that all OoL research has been a bust. No one even knows how to test the claim that nature can produce a coded information processing system.

In your opinion. And, not the topic I was discussing.

And no, Dr Sewell did not state a straw man. And you don’t know what Dr Sewell used to make his statement. Clearly he used his knowledge on the subject.

All I can judge is what he actually published at the beginning of this thread. He did not offer much, if any, support for his ‘proof’ and he argued against an extremely dumbed-down and misrepresentative version of what the unguided evolutionary argument and work and research actually say.

How did Hitchens support unguided evolution? He didn’t provide any science nor evidence.

“Support” as in believed it to be true and argued against those who attacked it.

And again you prove that you cannot follow along. There isn’t any intelligence nor reasoning to respond to with respect to the OoL research. The best they have is the production of biologically relevant molecules. It’s like saying nature can produce Stonehenge cuz nature produces stones.

Since you haven’t actually agreed that Dr Sewell produced and supported a ‘proof’ I guess you’ve conceded that he didn’t. You do keep trying to change subjects however.

52. 52
bornagain77 says:

JVL, YOU claimed ‘multiple threads of evidence’ that contradicted Dr. Sewell’s claim!

You failed to provide a single example!

You failed to provide the ‘proof’ that Dr. Sewell’s claim is false that YOU claimed that you had.

53. 53
JVL says:

John_a_designer: When you argue that life originated by some “mindless natural process,” that is not an explanation how.

Could you not make the same criticism of ID, i.e. when you argue that life originated by design that is not an explanation how? That is, there is a big gap between a design and the implementation of that design that ID does not address.

Therefore you are committing the same error which you accuse ID’ists of committing. That’s a double standard, is it not?

What do you think? Are both sides guilty of the same thing?

54. 54
bornagain77 says:

Whatever Bob,,, I would leave playing dumb to your students. You’ve been here for years, You know how to behave. And certainly don’t need me to remind you.

55. 55
JVL says:

Bornagain77: JVL, YOU claimed ‘multiple threads of evidence’ that contradicted Dr. Sewell’s claim! You failed to provide a single example!

That’s because I’m not trying to do that. I’m merely commenting on Dr Sewell’s arguments (or lack thereof) and his ‘proof’.

You failed to provide the ‘proof’ that Dr. Sewell’s claim is false that YOU claimed that you had.

I claimed no such thing. Dr Sewell claimed he had a proof but he didn’t support or ‘prove’ his proof. As a mathematician Dr Sewell knows very well that it ain’t a proof until you prove it. There’s no need for someone to disprove something that hasn’t been proved. He didn’t even try.

56. 56
Bob O'H says:

ba77 – please, can you simply clarify what you meant. That’s all I’m asking.

57. 57
ET says:

No, JVL, it is not my opinion.

“Support” as in believed it to be true and argued against those who attacked it.

Again, unguided evolution is absent evidence. And according to Hitchens that means it can be dismissed out of hand. Even the best evidence for macroevolution is absent a mechanism.

And Dr Sewell offered a simple proof. Just because you are too stupid to understand it doesn’t mean anything.

58. 58
JVL says:

ET: Again, unguided evolution is absent evidence. And according to Hitchens that means it can be dismissed out of hand. Even the best evidence for macroevolution is absent a mechanism.

Christopher Hitchens disagreed with you. His brother probably would agree with you however.

And Dr Sewell offered a simple proof. Just because you are too stupid to understand it doesn’t mean anything.

It wasn’t anything like a ‘proof’. A proof is a series of arguments starting with known facts and following logically to the conclusion. Dr Sewell didn’t even try to do that. He just made an assertion and he KNOWS what a proof entails.

59. 59
bornagain77 says:

JVL and Bob,,, I have much better things to do with my time than playing games of semantics with you guys.,,, Waiting for you guys to be reasonable.

https://tenor.com/view/ihave-better-things-to-do-with-my-time-lily-tomlin-frankie-bergstein-grace-and-frankie-igot-better-things-to-do-gif-17593894

60. 60
Bob O'H says:

ba77 – well stop playing games, then, and simply answer my question @45. This is the 4th time I’ve asked you to simply clarify what you meant. If you can do that we can move on.

61. 61
ET says:

Oh my. Christopher Hitchens never provided any evidence that supports unguided evolution. No one has, unless you think that deformities and genetic diseases help your case.

And seeing there aren’t any known facts that support abiogenesis there doesn’t need to be anything beyond what Dr Sewell presented.

62. 62
JVL says:

Bornagain77: JVL and Bob,,, I have much better things to do with my time than playing games of semantics with you guys.,,, Waiting for you guys to be reasonable.

I can’t speak for Bob O’H but I’m happy to let it stand that Dr Sewell didn’t actually ‘prove’ anything or even attempt to. And I’m happy to continue thinking he attacked a straw man version of unguided evolution.

63. 63
JVL says:

ET: Oh my. Christopher Hitchens never provided any evidence that supports unguided evolution. No one has, unless you think that deformities and genetic diseases help your case.

I didn’t say he did. I said he believed it to be true.

And seeing there aren’t any known facts that support abiogenesis there doesn’t need to be anything beyond what Dr Sewell presented.

As long as it’s accepted that Dr Sewell did not present a ‘proof’ and that he argued against a straw man version of unguided evolution I’m good.

64. 64
JVL says:

Bob O’H: ba77 – well stop playing games, then, and simply answer my question @45. This is the 4th time I’ve asked you to simply clarify what you meant. If you can do that we can move on.

You’re not playing the game right Bob O’H. You should assume that Bornagain77 is saying something you think is wrong and stupid and then go from there. That way you can avoid answering simple, direct questions. You can direct the conversation whichever way you wish because you can always make an unfounded assumption about what the other person asked or wrote. It’s simple really; I can’t believe you don’t get it.

65. 65
ET says:

JVL:

I said he believed it to be true.

And he said that absent evidence it can be dismissed. Believing isn’t evidence.

I am not sure Dr Sewell argued against a straw man

66. 66
john_a_designer says:

The typical anti-ID troll, many of whom unfortunately, show up here appears to be someone who is motivated by an extreme antireligious prejudice. However, the problem with any kind of prejudice is that taken to the extreme it turns its advocate into the a bad reflection of what he (or she) hates: an incorrigible, irrational dogmatist– in other words, a fundamentalist.

No one summed it up better than theoretical physicist and Nobel Laureate Peter Higgs, who himself is an atheist. He said this about Richard Dawkins:

“What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists,” Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind.”

He agreed with some of Dawkins’ thoughts on the unfortunate consequences that have resulted from religious belief, but he was unhappy with the evolutionary biologist’s approach to dealing with believers and said he agreed with those who found Dawkins’ approach “embarrassing”.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/dec/26/peter-higgs-richard-dawkins-fundamentalism

Some have suggested that so-called new atheism is a dying trend. I don’t think so. I think after having done its damage it’s simply stopped propagating as fast. However, it’s still alive a well on-line with a lot of little Richard Dawkins clones. It’s been so successful that people of good will and good faith, whether they be atheist, agnostic or theist, do not want to be involved in the so-called discussion. Personally, it has limited my participation. I have better things to do than waste my time with self-centered pseudo intellectual trolls who have no interest in talking about fact based evidence– who think whatever they think and believe is true, because that’s what enlightened people like them think and believe.

67. 67
JVL says:

ET: And he said that absent evidence it can be dismissed. Believing isn’t evidence.

I didn’t say it was. Christopher Hitchens didn’t create or present the evidence but he looked at it and that led him to believe unguided evolutionary theory to be true.

I am not sure Dr Sewell argued against a straw man

Your opinion. Other opinions are available.

68. 68
john_a_designer says:

Even though I think I.D. provokes some interesting questions I am actually not an I.D. proponent in the same sense that several other commenters here are. I don’t think I.D. is “science” (the empirical study of the natural world) any more than naturalism/materialism is science. So questions from materialists, like “who designed the designer,” are not scientific questions; they are philosophical and/or theological questions. However, many of the questions have philosophical/theological answers. For example, the theist would answer the question, “who designed the designer,” by arguing that the designer (God) always existed. The materialist can’t honestly reject that explanation because historically materialism has believed that the universe has always existed. Presently they are trying to shoehorn the multiverse into the discussion to get around the problem of the Big-Bang. Of course, this is a problem because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for the existence of a multiverse. In other words, it just an arbitrary ad hoc explanation used in an attempt to try to wiggle out of a legitimate philosophical question.

However, this is not to say that science can’t provoke some important philosophical and theological questions– questions which at present those questions can’t be answered scientifically.

For example:

Scientifically it appears the universe is about 14.5 billion years old. Who or what caused the universe to come into existence? If it was “a what”– just natural causes– how do we know that?

Why does the universe appear to exhibit teleology, or design and purpose? In other words, what is the explanation for the universes so-called fine tuning?

How did chemistry create the code in DNA or RNA?

How dose mindless matter “create” consciousness and mind? If consciousness and mind are “just an appearance” how do we know that?

There are many questions that arise out of science which are philosophical and/or theological questions. Is it possible that they could have scientific explanations? Possibly. But even if someday some of them could be answered scientifically that doesn’t make them at present illegitimate philosophical/theological questions, because we don’t know if they have, or ever could have, scientific answers.

69. 69
ET says:

JVL:

Christopher Hitchens didn’t create or present the evidence but he looked at it and that led him to believe unguided evolutionary theory to be true.

That is a lie as there isn’t any evidence that supports unguided evolution. And there isn’t any such thing as “unguided evolutionary theory”.

And all you have is your opinion with respect to Dr Sewell presenting a straw man

70. 70
JVL says:

ET: That is a lie as there isn’t any evidence that supports unguided evolution. And there isn’t any such thing as “unguided evolutionary theory”.

Other opinions are available.

And all you have is your opinion with respect to Dr Sewell presenting a straw man

He did neglect to discuss or mention many of the arguments, supporting data and multiple threads of evidence. He intentionally tried to dumb-down the basic unguided evolutionary thesis.

71. 71
john_a_designer says:

Why are naturalists/materialist so closed-minded philosophically when it comes to the concept of intelligent design? Why do they reject it a priori without even considering the arguments?

ID’ists do not reject the idea of natural causation a priori. Indeed, much of what we perceive in the natural world can be (indeed should be) explained “naturally.” What we do reject is that natural causes are the only kind of causes that must be used to explain the origin and evolution of life.

For example, in his book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe asks,

“Might there be an as yet undiscovered natural process that would explain biochemical complexity? No one would be foolish enough to categorically deny the possibility. Nonetheless we can say that if there is such a process, no one has a clue how it would work. Further it would go against all human experience, like postulating that a natural process might explain computers… In the face of the massive evidence we do have for biochemical design, ignoring the evidence in the name of a phantom process would be to play the role of detective who ignore the elephant.” (p. 203-204)

Basically Behe is asking, if biochemical complexity (irreducible complexity) evolved by some natural process x, how did it evolve? That is a perfectly legitimate scientific question. Notice that even though in DBB Behe was criticizing Neo-Darwinism he is not ruling out a priori some other mindless natural evolutionary process, “x”, might be able to explain IC.

Behe is simply claiming that at the present there is no known natural process that can explain how irreducibly complex mechanisms and processes originated. If he and other ID’ist are categorically wrong then our critics need to provide the step-by-step-by-step empirical explanation of how they originated, not just speculation and wishful thinking. Unfortunately our regular interlocutors seem to only be able to provide the latter not the former.

Behe made another point which is worth keeping in mind.

“In the abstract, it might be tempting to imagine that irreducible complexity simply requires multiple simultaneous mutations – that evolution might be far chancier than we thought, but still possible. Such an appeal to brute luck can never be refuted… Luck is metaphysical speculation; scientific explanations invoke causes.”

In other words, a strongly held metaphysical belief is not a scientific explanation.