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The Atheism Delusion: The Destructive Power of Materialist Indoctrination

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I was an atheist, brainwashed by the establishment, into my 40s. I got a triple dose of indoctrination: from the public schools, from the secular environment in which I grew up (a small college town, surrounded by intellectual university types), and from the university itself. There was no doubt in my mind that God was a human fabrication and that we were the product of purposeless Darwinian mechanisms. In retrospect, however, I realize that I accepted these conclusions completely uncritically, which is ironic, because educated intellectual types supposedly take pride in critical thinking.

I was once debating “evolution” with a friend, and I was spouting all the platitudes I had been taught. He said, “Look, rather than debating me, why don’t you read a book, Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, by Michael Denton”? I assumed that it would be some nonsensical religious hogwash, but I was in for a big surprise.

I devoured the book in a couple of days, and when I was finished I slapped myself on the forehead and thought, “I’ve been conned all my life!” My atheism was quickly unraveling.

This is what the hysterical anti-ID folks fear: Once the evidence of modern science is evaluated without the blinders of a passionately materialistic worldview, design screams at us from every corner.

Since 1994 my Christian walk has been the most rewarding experience of my life, and I can’t imagine life without it. Sunday morning is the highlight of my week. Contrary to what Richard Dawkins thinks, our Calvary Chapel ministry has produced nothing but good. I’ve seen nothing but positive influences in people’s lives. I’ve seen marriages and families healed, drug addicts liberated, and people serving and supporting each other in many ways. Safe Harbor, an international relief organization, was founded through our church and pastor Gary Kusunoki. I play keyboards in the praise band, and our worship team has been active in Teen Challenge, a Christian drug-rehab program that has an 85% longterm success rate, unheard of in the secular world. I mention all this in support of my claim in the title of this post, that materialist indoctrination is destructive, and deprives people of all the gifts, opportunities and rewards I’ve listed above.

And the destruction continues. The son of our praise band bass player, a freshman in high school, came home a couple of weeks ago and announced to his dad that science has proved that we are the product of “evolution” and that he no longer believes in God. His dad told me that his son really respects me and asked if I would talk with him. The son, who inherited his dad’s natural musical ability, asked if I would teach him piano, and I said yes. I’ve decided to make it my personal mission to teach him music and attempt to undo some of the damage that has been done by the public schools, which is an absolutely unconscionable travesty.

Last night I took the son to the Case For A Creator conference at Biola university. It was an amazing event with clips from the new Illustra Media DVD, Case For A Creator, and presentations by Lee Strobel, Jay Richards, Steve Meyer, JP Moreland, and more. I think it had a big impact.

The irony is that, especially based on what we now know from modern science, materialism is the irrational and illogical conclusion, yet this is what is promoted in public education. Furthermore, atheism is way too much trouble. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to explain away all the blatant evidence for the existence of God.

92 Replies to “The Atheism Delusion: The Destructive Power of Materialist Indoctrination

  1. 1
    CJYman says:

    GilDodgen:
    “Furthermore, atheism is way too much trouble. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to explain away all the blatant evidence for the existence of God.”

    In addition …

    ”If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C. S. Lewis

    …and…

    “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”
    – Albert Einstein

    Why create meaning if there is none? It seems that we human need it. I wonder what unfortunate system of random mutations provided humankind with this restraining yet liberating illusion. Restraining since we can’t live without it and liberating because even science as an effective method of discovery has meaning (purpose) at its core and provides a sense of meaning (purpose). It’s method is extremely purposeful and its results as discovery provide a sense of achievement which is a sense of purpose and meaning in itself. This sense of achievement then creates in the achiever a hunger for more of that sense of achievement and meaning/purpose. Thus the achiever purposes to continue to discover. Almost sounds like a designed system to cause the accumulation of knowledge by providing the “illusion” of meaning and purpose in a “purposeless” universe.

    But then again, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, if meaning is an illusion created only by purposeless processes, what makes us able to see this illusion and judge it against “un-meaningfulness.” Remember, you only have a concept of darkness if light truly exists and you have “seen” it. A being without eyes has no concept of darkness, even if he lived in darkness (in a sense he does). A person who truly lives in a meaningless universe will never know it.

  2. 2
    kairos says:

    Gil,

    many thanks for your history. It provides KO evidence against any atheists’ claim about religion as the evil of the world. It’s atheism the real danger and it’s a matter of fact that NDE has been too many time one of the reasons people did leave faith. As ID is apparently a very effective cure, this largely explains most of the rage against it.

  3. 3
    Bob OH says:

    I’m curious: what is this “…blatant evidence for the existence of God.”?

    Bob

  4. 4
    Douglas says:

    Gil,

    “I play keyboards in the praise band, and our worship team has been active in Teen Challenge, a Christian drug-rehab program that has an 85% longterm success rate, unheard of in the secular world.”

    I would appreciate it if you would email me, as I have a question about the Christian drug-rehab program you mentioned. (One of my brothers has struggled with a drug problem the past few years.) You can email me at douglasjbender@hotmail.com . (Please just use your name in the subject heading, so I don’t accidentally delete the message.)

    Douglas J. Bender

  5. 5
    shaner74 says:

    “I’m curious: what is this “…blatant evidence for the existence of God.”?”

    Well call me crazy but for starters, a universe that “poofs” into existence with all its laws and time itself is good one. That little bit of scientific evidence caused the good ole’ atheist favorite, the “eternal universe” to go “poof” as well. Oh and I almost forgot, materialism still has no explanation for consciousness, no matter how many times the term is redefined to mean nothing. But never fear, atheists still have Darwin! For now…

  6. 6
    IDist says:

    shaner74

    It seems like you’ve forgotten the atheists’ GOD, I mean .. Infinite MULTIVERSE

  7. 7
    Mats says:

    He said, “Look, rather than debating me, why don’t you read a book, Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, by Michael Denton”?

    Denton’s book, coupled with ReMine’s book “The Biotic Message” are good resources to heal people from the atheism delusion. I recommend both of them.

  8. 8
    shaner74 says:

    IDist,
    No I haven’t forgotten about m-theory, I just don’t believe it holds any water, and I’ve never seen any atheist really try to defend it, at least not like they defend evolutionism. We know for sure of only one universe – the one we live in. Aside from that, even if there are billions of other universes, we have no reason to believe any of them would be different (have different “fine-tuning”) from this one.

  9. 9
    jb says:

    I also recommend a book by Joe Boot (of Ravi Zacharias’ ministries) called “Why I Still Believe.” It does not go into scientific “evidence,” but rather lays out a compelling rational basis for Christian belief and covers the “meaninglessness” aspect of atheism. His target audience is the skeptic. In fact, the book started as a speech he was going to deliver to a group of skeptics; once he started writing, he couldn’t stop until to his surprise he had written a book.

  10. 10
    Bob OH says:

    shaner74 – All you’ve given me is God of the Gaps: we don’t know how the universe came into existence, and we don’t understand consciousness. But neither of these are evidence for the existence of a god: how can you rule out the possibility that there is a materialistic explanation for both? It’s possible that there is a materialistic explanation, but we haven’t worked it out yet.

    Of course it’s also possible that there isn’t a materialistic explanation, but my point is that you haven’t given me any evidence either way.

    Bob

  11. 11
    shaner74 says:

    “shaner74 – All you’ve given me is God of the Gaps:”

    Bob,
    Sorry if I’ve misled you but I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. I merely presented some facts as we (humans) know them. We each then make our own decisions about what is true and what is not. I do not see “God of the gaps” I see “atheism of the gaps”. For example, physics point to incredible fine-tuning of our universe (the real one), biology shows incredible, almost incomprehensible complexity at every turn with no explanation as of yet. I see much more evidence for God than not. God of the Bible is a different thing. I can’t think of a lot of evidence in nature for the Christian God per say, but for an eternal intelligence of some kind I do. I personally think atheism requires great faith to believe in it (m-theory, for example).

    “But neither of these are evidence for the existence of a god: how can you rule out the possibility that there is a materialistic explanation for both?”

    Different strokes for different folks. I see evidence for intelligent causation, you do not. You are right I can’t rule out a materialistic explanation, but I do think it is highly, highly, highly improbable – and becomes more improbable every day.

  12. 12
    jpark320 says:

    Awesome testimony Gil 🙂

    You know I have to admit that what you learn about evolution at the 9th grade level, it would be very, very tough not to believe it. I remember in my classes thinking they had ever hominid fossil perfectly fossilized, all the phylogeny charts were filled out, and that no one in their right mind would not believe in evolution.

    I’m glad there are Godly men like you out there fighting for the truth!

  13. 13
    Bob OH says:

    shaner74 – it looks like we’re in agreement: it’s not that there is blatant evidence, but that we choose to interpret it in different ways. And that’s fine.

    I was asking about Gil’s “blatant evidence” because he was saying that there is more than just how the evidence is interpreted: he’s saying that there is actually evidence that has to be interpreted as showing materialism is wrong. I just want to know what it is!

    Bob

  14. 14
    IDist says:

    Bob OH

    I agree that we can’t prove God’s existence by science alone (but there are other ways beside science of course).
    I mean, science is always changing and if one is not willing to believe he can still have hope that there will be materialistic reasons.
    That’s how Dawkins and other darwinists deal with irreducible complexity, we don’t know how this could possibly evovle, however we’ll wait for more research.

    The problem is that atheists are always claiming to be the only intelligent guys over here! that if you are not an atheist (or at least agnostic) then you’re stupid, ignorant bla bla bla.

    As far as I can judge, I see all the evidence pointing towards a Creator(s).

    1- Universe is not eternal
    2- Extreme fine tunning of the universe for life to be possible
    3- Information rich and irreducibly complex biological systems

    and many others.

  15. 15
    shaner74 says:

    “shaner74 – it looks like we’re in agreement: it’s not that there is blatant evidence, but that we choose to interpret it in different ways. And that’s fine.”

    Yes I do agree with you on this. Although I think that an objective view of the evidence, without throwing in philosophy or too many preconceived notions, points very much to a creator now more than any other time in human history, and ironically atheism has become the “long shot” IMHO. But yes I don’t believe there exists evidence that can’t be interpreted anyway you like, if, as the late A. E. Wilder-Smith once said (I’m paraphrasing here), you’ve chosen to “run ball bearings through the grinder that is your thought process” Even if we found a stamp on something that said “made by God” it could still be interpreted to mean many things.

  16. 16
    kairos says:

    #11, 13

    Different strokes for different folks. I see evidence for intelligent causation, you do not. You are right I can’t rule out a materialistic explanation, but I do think it is highly, highly, highly improbable – and becomes more improbable every day.

    Good point. IMHO this is the real asimmetry between the two positions.

    Bob, I agree that atheism isn’t confutable in principle; but is really his position probable?
    If you toss a coin, well balanced and tested for random exits, 10,000 times it is certainly possible “in principle” that the following configuration could arise by chance:

    1111000011110000 … 11110000

    But, be fair, is this really possible?

  17. 17
    crandaddy says:

    Bob,

    I can’t prove that materialism is wrong, but I can offer you one reason why it is unreasonable to believe it. If materialism is true, then rational inference is invalid. A proposition is a meaningful unit of information which has the property of either being true or false. Propositions serve as reasons for rationally inferred beliefs. It appears to be true that beliefs (which, if they exist, must be identical to or merely epiphenominal of brain states given materialism) are causally influenced by the content of propositions (i.e. reasons). But if materialism is true, then reasons-explanations cannot be causes-explanaitons. Thus the belief that materialism is true cannot be causally influenced by any reason. It follows that materialism is an unreasonable belief.

    (hat tip: C. S. Lewis and Victor Reppert)

  18. 18
    jb says:

    Heh. No, I’m not Joe Boot. I just realized my initials are the same as his, and I was plugging his book. But I’m not him. 😀

  19. 19
    dopderbeck says:

    I empathize very much with all of this — even the music stuff, as I play guitar and lead worship often in my church! And of course, I hope and pray this kid will soon find assurance that evolution, whether true or not, doesn’t elide a robust Christian faith.

    Let me ask this, though: why was this kid so easily bent towards atheism merely by hearing evidence for biological evolution? I wonder if our evangelical churches, which often take a culture war stance towards evolution, are failing to innoculate kids against materialism precisely because of that culture war stance.

    Not to knock the Calvary Chapel movement and all the wonderful ministries Gil describes, but my understanding of that movement is that it’s strongly YEC. Was this kid taught anything other than YEC in church, youth group, etc.?What if this kid, for example, had understood early on that Christians can take a variety ofperspectives towards evolution, one of which is a complementary view in which genuine Christian faith isn’t threatened even if it’s true that God created life through natural selection? What if this kid had learned to separate metaphysical claims from empirical claims, such that he could investigate and debate the evidence for deep time and common descent without a threat to the core of his faith?

    I raise these questions because my own faith story is in many ways an opposite image of Gil’s. I grew up in a Christian home, which I appreciate immensely. One downside to that, though, is that the evangelical-leaning-to-fundamentalist culture I grew up in was in many ways anti-intellectual and anti-science. This kind of naive worldview is easily shredded. Thankfully, I went to an evangelical college where I learned about various perspectives on these questions, and learned how to think about them critically for myself.

    I think we miss the point when we spend most of our energy with kids trying to point up flaws in the details of evolutionary theory. The primary point should be that, whatever processes God used to create life, “science” cannot make metaphysical statements about the existence of God. I think that if kids heard this sort of message early on, rather than a message that implies that a scientific claim can falsify belief in God, they would be less liable to crumble when confronted with the complexities of natural history.

  20. 20
    DaveScot says:

    DaveScot
    Positive Atheist
    1971 – 1991

    Many thanks to Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis) for persuading me to reexamine what I thought I knew about the mechanisms behind chemical and organic evolution.

  21. 21
    tribune7 says:

    dopderbeck — I wonder if our evangelical churches, which often take a culture war stance towards evolution, are failing to innoculate kids against materialism precisely because of that culture war stance.

    Well, you have to concede that the evangelicals are doing a bit better than the Unitarians and Epsicopalians but you raise a good point.

  22. 22
    platolives says:

    Flattened-out ’82 Buicks

    Denton’s “Evolution:A Theory in Crisis” is one of my favorite books…frequently I suggest it to Darwinians I meet in my internet travels…I tell them to pay attention to chapter 9 and especially include a paraphrased account of Denton’s take on randomness–Random components will never produce an aerodynamically-feasable structure…its like using flattened-out ’82 Buicks for propellor blades on a ship….

    Eric Peterson, author of “Teleology” at ResearchID.org

  23. 23
    chunkdz says:

    Gil,
    I attended the Biola event also and was struck by Strobel’s message of how he literally turned the corner to atheism upon hearing about the Miller/Urey experiment. An experiment that may have been built upon a false premise, (and ultimately hit a dead end) apparently left in it’s wake a generation that believed God was ‘out of a job’.
    I found the atmosphere at Biola positively electric. I don’t see how that kid could not have been inspired.

  24. 24
    dopderbeck says:

    Denton’s “Evolution:A Theory in Crisis” is one of my favorite books…

    I often hear that Denton’s criticisms have largely been answered. What of that?

  25. 25
    platolives says:

    Lately I’ve been thinking of converting to Judaism, which is almost a herculean task. Many might ask why? A Rabbi I recently met said Jews don’t deal with middlemen, they go right to the manufacturer. Also Jews will bargain with God.

  26. 26
    brad richert says:

    … why don’t you read a book, Evolution, A Theory in Crisis, by Michael Denton”?

    ……
    Denton’s book, coupled with ReMine’s book “The Biotic Message” are good resources to heal people from the atheism delusion. I recommend both of them.

    There are many books out there that are extremely convincing concerning this on-going and ultimately futile debate, but I have to say that (1) referring to anyone as delusional, whether it is the atheist or the theist, really boils down to straw-man name calling rather than any argument of substance. I have thoroughly read the works of Denton, Dawkins, and recently Collins, and find all quite lacking in substantive evidence for any side of the argument. I do not believe this to be the poor argumentation (especially from Denton) or blinding hatred (on Dawkins’ part), but rather the essence of futility.

    Although I hardly find it necessary to oppose Dawkins’ work here, I would stress anyone who finds Denton’s “Evolution. A Theory in Crisis” remotely convincing to check out a Mark Vuletic’s response to the book, just one of the many critiques of Denton’s methodology.

    Remember that in undermining your opponent’s argument with straw-man, ad hominem, false analogies and non sequiter statements only undermine your own side of the debate, ultimately creating your own lie. It is unfortunate that this whole creative/ID versus evolution debate has looks more like the American political system rather than a civilized symposium of concerned truth-seekers.

  27. 27
    brad richert says:

    …add oversimplification to that list of logical fallacies:

    “1111000011110000 … 11110000

    But, be fair, is this really possible? “

  28. 28
    Lurker says:

    Materialist deny thyself !! Because that’s your only option. If everything boils down to matter and energy then the “you” that you know and love really doesn’t exist. You’re nothing but an equation: E=MC^2

  29. 29
    StephenA says:

    “Lately I’ve been thinking of converting to Judaism…”
    From what? Atheism? Christianity? Buddism?

    “A Rabbi I recently met said Jews don’t deal with middlemen, they go right to the manufacturer.”
    If by ‘the manufacturer’ you mean God, then that statement applies to Christianity just as much, if not more so.

  30. 30
    DaveScot says:

    brad

    “1111000011110000 … 11110000″

    Why oversimplified?

  31. 31
    kairos says:

    Agree. What’s the problem with my argument ?

  32. 32
    Bob OH says:

    To pick up on a few pieces of “evidence”:

    IDist:

    1- Universe is not eternal

    Huh? I can’t see how this would be evidence either way.

    2- Extreme fine tunning of the universe for life to be possible

    This is something that a lot of people make a fuss about, but in the weak form is a tautology (i.e. we exist, therefore the universe must have the right tuning for us to have come into existence).

    A stronger form would depend on knowing more about the process of universe formation: it’s possible that the parameters are “chosen” in a way that is biased, or that there are som many universes created that inevitably one will have the conditions for life. It seems to me that we don’t know enough to be able to say one way or the other: there seems to be some speculation by physicists, but I’m not aware of anything more than that. So for me the evidence isn’t compelling, and it’s an open question.

    3- Information rich and irreducibly complex biological systems

    I don’t see why information rich systems are evidence against materialism, and there are plenty of explanations for how IC systems can evolve.

    But even if we were to accept that IC systems were a problem for the theory of evolution, it doesn’t then follow that their cause is anything other than material. Or does Intelligent Design claim differently?

    Lurker – as far as I can parse your argument, it boils down to the problem of consciousness. If you have to provide evidence that a materialist description of consciousness is impossible.

    CranDaddy – I’m aftraid I can’t understand your argument. I hit this and can’t work out where it comes from:

    But if materialism is true, then reasons-explanations cannot be causes-explanaitons.

    Overall, I’m hoping that Gil had something more convincing in mind.

    Bob

  33. 33
    DaveScot says:

    Bob OH

    there are plenty of explanations for how IC systems can evolve

    You mean there are plenty of imagined ways. There’s only one known way. It’s the way the IC system you just used to transmit your comment “evolved”.

  34. 34
    shaner74 says:

    Bob wrote:
    “1- Universe is not eternal
    Huh? I can’t see how this would be evidence either way.”

    Why not? When the universe was thought to be eternal, many atheists said that a universe with a beginning would be proof of a creator, so what’s changed? That would be like me saying an eternal universe is not evidence for atheism.

    “3- Information rich and irreducibly complex biological systems
    I don’t see why information rich systems are evidence against materialism”

    Again, why not? The only place we know of information coming from is a mind, period. It may be shown at some point that the mind itself is a material process, which came about through Darwinian processes. That hasn’t happened yet, and I wouldn’t hold your breath.

    “and there are plenty of explanations for how IC systems can evolve.”

    Sure there are Bob, but they are stories , not proof. In the end there is only one right explanation. I think at some point you need to stop and think about all the things you have to account for by saying: “we don’t have an explanation for this right now, but rest assured materialism will provide it someday” Either you must admit the possibility of a creator, or admit that atheism might not be correct.

  35. 35
    DaveScot says:

    Pop quiz for Bob OH.

    1) The process of random mutation + natural selection is observed and imagined as being capable of creating complex digital code driven machinery. It is inferred this is how the machinery of life came to exist.

    2) The process of intelligent design is observed creating complex digital code driven machinery. It is inferred this is how the machinery of life came to exist.

    Mark the stronger inference.

    [ ] 1
    [ ] 2

  36. 36
    DaveScot says:

    Second question:

    The world today is filled with two classes of complex digital code driven machinery. The origin of one class is known to be the result of natural intelligent agency using understood laws of physics. Does it logically follow that the other class of machinery where the origin is unknown must is confined to one of only two possibilities: devoid of intelligent causation or supernatural?

    [ ] yes
    [ ] no

  37. 37
    DaveScot says:

    Question three.

    There is only one scientifically established class of intelligent agency capable of creating complex digital code driven machinery. That class is humanity. Does it logically follow that no other class of intelligent agency with that capability ever existed?

    [ ] yes
    [ ] no

  38. 38
    DaveScot says:

    Question four.

    Intelligent agency is observed in one instance in the universe. Choose which possibility is better supported by this:

    1) no other instance of intelligent agency yet to be observed is possible

    2) other intelligent agencies yet to be observed are possible

    [ ] 1
    [ ] 2

  39. 39
    devilsadvocate says:

    dopderbeck,

    I strongly agree with your point and to address the problem in my own church I am teaching a Sunday school series called- Interpreting General Revelation: the Relationship between Science and Faith.

    I am on the third part of a five part series. My focus is to present significant scientific theories and discuss their philisophical and theolgical implications. So far it has been well-received but I have only gone over definitions of terms and the heliocentered universe/Galileo trial. Next Sunday’s plan is laws of motion, atomic theory, 2nd law of thermodynamics, relativity, and quantum theory- a lot of material I know but I try to address only the aspects of theories that have philisophical/theological relevance. The last two classes will be cosmology and evolution (I expect to run into more trouble here). Any help with references or expert commentary for all aspects, scientific, philisophical or Biblical, would be appreciated .

    Bob OhH

    A point CranDaddy alludes to is that if explanations created through logical reasoning and observation are merely the product of chemical reactions(and at the same time are produced by those thoughts/ observations) and that beliefs based on faith or anything else for that matter are also the product of chemical reactions then we have no reason to prefer or find superior/more true one chemical reaction over another. Logically, if materialism is true it can not support itself through either logic or empiricism.

  40. 40
    DaveScot says:

    Fifth question:

    Choose the better description.

    1) Explanations given by the scientific method are based upon upon logical connections between bits of empirical evidence.

    2) Explanations given by the scientific method are based upon upon illogical connections between bits of empirical evidence.

    [ ] 1
    [ ] 2

  41. 41
    Srdjan says:

    I am interested to know, what type of evidence would Bob OH accept that will show Materialism as false?

  42. 42
    Lurker says:

    I am interested to know, what type of evidence would Bob OH accept that will show Materialism as false?

    You’d think the evidence that shows Bob OH, the person, doesn’t really exist would do the trick. Matter and energy don’t have personalities – unless you assume that they do just so you, the person, doesn’t cease to exist by the time you reach the end of your materialist argument.

    The god of empirical science has spoken: There is no “you”, only matter and energy. If the materialist wants to include personalities in the material world then let science prove it first.

  43. 43
    crandaddy says:

    Bob wrote in comment #32:

    CranDaddy – I’m aftraid I can’t understand your argument. I hit this and can’t work out where it comes from:

    But if materialism is true, then reasons-explanations cannot be causes-explanaitons.

    Okay, I’ll try to clarify. If materialism is true, then all that exists is physical matter and energy, and no cause can occur unless it is a physical cause. Therefore, if one has two thoughts in succession and the first causes the second, the causation must be by virtue of the physical properties and not the meaningful (propositional) content of the first thought. Reasons (logical and mathematical principles) do not exist and can have no causal influence on mental events if materialism is true.

    BTW, I think I’ll take a stab at this one too:

    If you have to provide evidence that a materialist description of consciousness is impossible.

    A materialist description of consciousness does appear impossible. To see why, let’s consider what consciousness is. Consciousness is first-personhood; it is experience, itself. In order to offer a materialistic account of it, one would have to offer a third-person account which fully encapsulates the concept of first-personhood. But how is this possible in principle? I can see no way that it is. Consciousness is an intentional state which means it possesses the quality of being of or about something. But how can one material state be of or about any other material state? How can any material state have any intrinsic meaning at all? The very notion of meaning, itself, loses its meaning if materialism is true. I fail to see how materialism does anything but completely and utterly implode as a coherent rational belief.

  44. 44
    IDist says:

    It seems like Denton’s book had great effect.
    It was the book that first made Behe suspect evolution too.

    I haven’t read all of the book, however I’ve seen some parts of it.
    The most interesting was about the avian lung and its unique structure, and how it’s impossible to get it by intermidiate forms starting from reptiles ending with birds.
    I didn’t read any response from the darwinist side, so are there any convincing responses to this issue? or only the usual “just-so” story?

  45. 45
    Collin says:

    For consciousness please see David Chalmer’s website. He is a leading philosopher on the subject.

  46. 46
    dopderbeck says:

    devilsadvocate — sounds like a great class! Wish I could be there to take it! On the TE side, I’d suggest the volume edited by Keith Miller, “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation.” I don’t exactly hold the position that book advocates, but it is a good source for understanding it. There also are many excellent articles from a variety of perspectives (including ID) on the ASA website, http://www.asa3.org.

    On the question of materialism, consciousness, and knowledge: I think we need to be careful not to overstate our case here. I agree that the Christian worldview provides a more coherent understanding of the mind and of knowledge than a materialist view (though, honestly, I think Moreland’s dualism isn’t quite the right approach).

    However, it’s certainly not impossible to argue for the existence of mind from a materialist perspective. The idea that mind is an emergent property of the physical structures and chemical messages of the brain and nervous system is a powerful idea. Personally, I lean towards a non-reductive physicalist position, which I think is consistent with this scientific theory of mind as well as more consistent with the Hebrew-Biblical unified view of the person than the strict Greek body / soul dualism that others propose. So, not only is the notion that mind is rooted in physical structures (matter) scientifically grounded, it’s also consistent with Christian theology.

    The strong reductionst view — that mind is entirely reducible to matter — I agree is circular and self-defeating, because it results in an absolute determinism that doesn’t really allow for pondering things like “what is mind.” However, I think that among materialists and atheists, this is not the majority view.

    As to knowledge, I think the argument that evolution couldn’t produce reliable noetic equipment is unpersuasive. Evolution certainly would produce noetic equipment that has enough reliability for the organism to survive. It is true that evolution would not likely produce noetic equipment that would allow an organism to know “perfect” “absolute” truth, but that is merely a statement of the limitations of human perception — limitations that we as Christians grant as a matter of our originally created condition (our thoughts are not God’s thoughts and the extent of our knowledge does not even approach God’s) as well as because of the noetic effects of sin.

    Re: Denton: I think we also need to be careful about relying too much on his early work (including “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.” In later work, Denton has softened some of the criticisms he raised in that book as a result of developments in genetics.

  47. 47
    GilDodgen says:

    Lots of interesting and thought-provoking comments, but here’s my take:

    In the end, one must put feet to his faith (and we all have faith, of one kind or another, in something) or it’s all empty philosophy. I’m certainly no saint. I just appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given through our church to be of service to others.

    This is the kind of thing that gives life ultimate meaning and purpose.

  48. 48
    Sladjo says:

    Srdjan: “I am interested to know, what type of evidence would Bob OH accept that will show Materialism as false?”

    That’s a very interesting question…

  49. 49
    Sladjo says:

    @Bob
    Bob, what bothers me the most when it comes to ToE, materialism, uniformitarianism & atheism is that those doctrines are promoted and thought in schools all around the globe WITHOUT presenting to the kids that all these have major problems defining life and providing clear, scientific evidence and/or models for the origins of life on this planet.

    As we all know, the origin’s questions are still pending. No scientist has ever been able to:
    – present a scientific, validated model of the primordial earth ground & atmosphere conditions (chemical compounds, pressure, temperature & similar stuff);
    – present an experimentally validated scientific model which will demonstrate that the inorganic “simple” chemicals can create complex organic chemicals (proteins, for example);
    – present a scientific model that would allow for the complex organic molecules (aminoacids) to organize themselves in order to able to code INFORMATION that is used by a cell to feed, function and multiply – by the way, Information would – IMHO – immediately mean PURPOSE;
    – present a scientific model/experiment in which we will be able to observe the INFORMATION came into existence from other source than a MIND.

    You see, all these items are in the core of understanding the life’s origins, yet they are still unresolved by the atheistic scientists. However, materialistic point of view is presented in schools as a fact, which is – at this point – a lie. Going further, if you forbid the criticism of a world view, you attend directly to the human rights and you are destroying the core of the current human civilization: you destroy democracy itself.

  50. 50
    devilsadvocate says:

    dopderbeck,

    Thanks for the link. I have not had time to check out the book yet but plan to.

    I too find the idea of the mind as an emergent property a strong proposition and not inconsistent with the Bible depending on one’s view of the relationship or existence of mind and soul.

    And yes, Christians have historically put themselves in difficult postions by ‘overplaying our hand’ begining with claiming the earth must be the center of the universe based on strict literal interpretations of a few verses.

  51. 51
    Chris Hyland says:

    “The most interesting was about the avian lung and its unique structure, and how it’s impossible to get it by intermidiate forms starting from reptiles ending with birds.”

    There are several extinct reptiles (Im not sure about living reptiles), which appear to have more avian like systems than mammal like systems. This was discovered after Denton wrote his book i think.

    “I am interested to know, what type of evidence would Bob OH accept that will show Materialism as false”

    Personally I don’t think it can be proven false or true, so I am agnostic on the issue. I should point out thought that ID does not necessarily violate materialism in my view.

    “Bob, what bothers me the most when it comes to ToE, materialism, uniformitarianism & atheism is that those doctrines are promoted and thought in schools all around the globe WITHOUT presenting to the kids that all these have major problems defining life and providing clear, scientific evidence and/or models for the origins of life on this planet.”

    I had a fairly typical state school education in the UK and I was taught Christianity as absolute truth up until about age 9, and in high school was taught that we most certainly do not have a good model for the origin of life. However a lack of a natural model for abiogenesis is in no way evidence for a non-natural model.

    Dave.

    Question 1: If you are referring to the origin of transcription itself as far as I am aware neither statement is a particularly strong inference at the moment.

    2. No in my opinion, but a lot of ID supporters as well as ID detractors would disagree with me.

    3 & 4. Sure it’s possible and the who isn’t important. What is important is the how.

    5. 1

  52. 52
    TerryL says:

    At the risk of tooting my own horn just a bit too much, allow me to add my two cents’ worth to the discussion. In my novel, Wonderboy and the Black Hole of Nixvy Veck, the novel’s central figure, a former PhD student in astronomy (identified only as “Tex”), undergoes a personal journey from atheism to theism after considering the Huxleyan argument: an infinite number of monkeys banging randomly upon typewriters, given an infinite amount of time, will eventually produce the entire works of Shakespeare.

    Tex realizes that Huxley’s argument simply doesn’t wash. An infinite number of monkeys will NEVER produce the works of Shakespeare, no matter how long they work at it. (The works of Shakespeare incorporate complex, specified information, which is ALWAYS the product of intelligence.) Additionally, Tex realizes two other important facts:

    1. There is no such thing as an infinite number of monkeys.
    2. There is no such thing as an infinite amount of time, which refutes the materialists’ appeal to an infinite number of chance events (brought about by an infinitely old universe) to explain an ordered universe.

    Ultimately, Tex realizes that it takes far more faith to be an atheist than a theist.

  53. 53
    kvwells says:

    50. Chris Hyland
    However a lack of a natural model for abiogenesis is in no way evidence for a non-natural model.

    You are correct, but it does remove any and all grounds for dogmatism on the subject. This is the point. In the U.S. many of us are concerned that our children are the subjects of dogmatic indoctrination concerning materialism.

    Now the neccessity for the actual occurence (not just the possibilty) of abiogenesis is the root of materialism and NDE. Yet we are told there are such difficulties in OOL that a coherent model may not be worked out for a long time, if ever.

    “We know abiogenesis is possible, because we know it happend, because we know life was not created, but we’re having the deuce of a time coming up with anything at all evidentially. But have no fear, kiddies, we’ll come up with something convincing pretty soon. Remember our motto: ‘Ad Futurum!'”

  54. 54
    Bob OH says:

    Seconds out, round – err – whatever

    shaner74 –

    Bob wrote:
    “1- Universe is not eternal
    Huh? I can’t see how this would be evidence either way.”

    Why not? When the universe was thought to be eternal, many atheists said that a universe with a beginning would be proof of a creator, so what’s changed?

    Nothing? Obviously athiests weren’t of a single opinion then, and perhaps aren’t now. We can disagree amongst each other just as much as Christians can.

    “3- Information rich and irreducibly complex biological systems
    I don’t see why information rich systems are evidence against materialism”

    Again, why not? The only place we know of information coming from is a mind, period.

    Really?

    Crandaddy –

    Therefore, if one has two thoughts in succession and the first causes the second, the causation must be by virtue of the physical properties and not the meaningful (propositional) content of the first thought.

    This is only a problem if it is not possible to represent thoughts materialistically. I offer what I am typing now as a dis-proof of your explanation.

    BTW, I think I’ll take a stab at this one too:

    If you have to provide evidence that a materialist description of consciousness is impossible.

    A materialist description of consciousness does appear impossible. To see why, let’s consider what consciousness is. Consciousness is first-personhood; it is experience, itself. In order to offer a materialistic account of it, one would have to offer a third-person account which fully encapsulates the concept of first-personhood. But how is this possible in principle? I can see no way that it is.

    OK, but that could just be your lack of imagination: you’re only using an argument from incredulity, which ain’t going to work. If you can’t see that something is possible in principle, but you also can’t see any demonstration that it isn’t, then better to leave it as an open question.

    Bob

  55. 55
    Bob OH says:

    Srdjan –

    I am interested to know, what type of evidence would Bob OH accept that will show Materialism as false?

    I thought I’d tackle this in a separate comment: the other one’s too long anyway. And I agree that this is an interesting question.

    The sort of evidence would be something that materialism couldn’t explain. One example would be a miracle (e.g. someone walking on water) that was repeatable enough that it could be tested and prodded around from all sorts of perspectives, until it was confirmed that it couldn’t be explained (and even then I might hold out hope!). Of course, if the miracle was a large guy with a long beard popping up throwing round either thunderbolts or presents, I might ask for a little less precision in the experiments…

    The other thing that might work would be with consciousness: having that two identical processes, one conscious (i.e. a person), and one not conscious (e.g. a computer) giving different results. How you would set the experiment up, I don’t know. I’ll leave that as a challenge to you lot.

    Bob

  56. 56
    Srdjan says:

    Oh dear. Bob OH, every student of Informatics will tell you that it is nonsense you are linking to at talkorigins. You’d be better off reading and contemplating this book:

    “In The Beginning Was Information” by Werner Gitt provides a rigorously formal presentation of most of the information concepts , and his book is well worth reading.
    Gitt’s argument is summarized in the following 8 theorems:

    (1) No information can exist without a code.
    (2) No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention.
    (3) No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and apobetics [note: apobetics is Gitt’s term, referring to the fact that there can be shown to be a will and a larger objective behind all instances of intent].
    (4) No information can exist in purely statistical processes.
    (5) No information can exist without a transmitter.
    (6) No information chain can exist without a mental origin.
    (7) No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is, by its nature, a mental and not a material quantity.
    (8) No information can exist without a will.

    These theorems are similar to the laws of gravity and the laws of thermodynamics, in that no
    counterexample has ever been found. No one has ever been able to point out an exception. Numerous rebuttals to Gitt’s theorems have been made, but in each instance, every one ignores or dismisses semantics and intent, properties that are essential to all forms of communication.

    Unless / until a contradictory example can be found, these theorems are taken to be universally true.

  57. 57
    tribune7 says:

    Bob OH –The sort of evidence would be something that materialism couldn’t explain.

    The existence of energy/matter.

  58. 58
    mike1962 says:

    “Emergence” is just a Darwinian faith term that means nothing more than “we don’t know” just like “randomness.” It is explains precisely nothing and you may as well substitute the word “miracle” when you see it.

    When people don’t know something, why can’t they just say “I don’t know.”

  59. 59
    Jaz says:

    Bob, OH said, The sort of evidence would be something that materialism couldn’t explain.The problem is that materialism offers the hope that everything will, in time, be explained by materialism. Thus anything offered as evidence will be explained one day by materialism.

  60. 60
    kvwells says:

    55. Bob OH

    The sort of evidence would be something that materialism couldn’t explain.

    There is the problem here of the necessity of overthrowing the ad futurum loophole which is a major doctrine of materialism. This argument is a non-sequitur as well: “materialist science has answered many questions, therfore it will answer all questions.”

    But, alas we are required to make our decisions based on the information available, not what we have on request–it may never arrive.

    BTW- How is it the materialist model for what a God-created cosmos would look like seems often less than childish?
    “It seems the world is not a flannelboard church school lesson, therfore God doesn’t exist!”

  61. 61
    kvwells says:

    58. mike1962

    I don’t know.

    Not very good for keeping the discussion alive, huh? 😉

  62. 62
    shaner74 says:

    Bob,
    I will not respond to a link to the TalkOrigins propaganda site. However, if you want to discuss your own theory or opinions of how information can be produced without a mind I’ll do my best to respond to it. A question for you: Do you believe it is possible there may be a God?

  63. 63
    crandaddy says:

    This is only a problem if it is not possible to represent thoughts materialistically. I offer what I am typing now as a dis-proof of your explanation.

    I don’t see how this helps you. Representations of mental states in the external world are irrelevant. My argument addresses the causation of mental events. Logical and mathematical principles do not exist if physicalism (materialism) is true. Even if they do exist but the human mind has a physical ontology, they can play no causal role in thought. Physicalism cannot countenance unreduced rationality, but a rational inference that has been reduced to nonrational causes loses its rationality altogether. For reason to be present at all, it must occupy an irreducible ontologial category.

    OK, but that could just be your lack of imagination: you’re only using an argument from incredulity, which ain’t going to work. If you can’t see that something is possible in principle, but you also can’t see any demonstration that it isn’t, then better to leave it as an open question.

    I never claimed to offer proof, but think about what we’re talking about here: objective, third-person observation and explanation of material states which are intrinsically (as opposed to derivatively) of or about something. There are even materialists who question the possibility of doing this. The impossibiliy of a materialist description of consciousness does not entail the impossibility of a materialist ontology of consciousness, but it does at least provide ammunition to the nonmaterialist.

  64. 64
    Bob OH says:

    Srdjan –

    This is easy to disprove:

    (4) No information can exist in purely statistical processes.

    Define a state space which includes information. Then create a Markov chain in which all states communicate with all other states.

    Of course, you managed not to define information, and I was assuming that you were using the usual scientific definitions, so we might be talking past each other.

    Bob

    Bob

  65. 65
    Bob OH says:

    Crandaddy –

    Even if they do exist but the human mind has a physical ontology, they can play no causal role in thought.

    If the human mind has a physical ontology, and if it can affect actions, then thought can affect actions (e.g. I think “I want a beer”, and I wander off to the bar). That looks pretty causal to me.

    Your other argument is still an argument from incredulity. I’m very much with mike1962 on this:

    When people don’t know something, why can’t they just say “I don’t know.”

    I challenged Gil to provide his “blatant evidence” against materialism, and all I’m getting back is arguments from incredulity. At one level I don’t mind that: we all have to make a commitment at some point, but making that commitment based on faith is not the same thing as having evidence for what you’ve committed to.

    Bob

  66. 66
    avocationist says:

    [i]Well call me crazy but for starters, a universe that “poofs” into existence with all its laws and time itself is good one. That little bit of scientific evidence caused the good ole’ atheist favorite, the “eternal universe” to go “poof” as well.[/i]

    Personally, I think the Big Bang theory may be in trouble, but I am just layperson so I can’t argue much. But I do not see why an eternal or steady state universe in any way supports atheism. It mayappear to be less dramatic, but causelessness is a divine characteristic.

  67. 67
    Sladjo says:

    Sladjo’s post: “Bob, what bothers me the most when it comes to ToE, materialism, uniformitarianism & atheism is that those doctrines are promoted and thought in schools all around the globe WITHOUT presenting to the kids that all these have major problems defining life and providing clear, scientific evidence and/or models for the origins of life on this planet.”
    Chris’s comment: “I had a fairly typical state school education in the UK and I was taught Christianity as absolute truth up until about age 9, and in high school was taught that we most certainly do not have a good model for the origin of life. However a lack of a natural model for abiogenesis is in no way evidence for a non-natural model.”

    Well, I don’t know your age, but I was thought in high school that the origin of life is abiotic… I’m 33, by the way…
    Of course, they showed us some Miller-Urey stuff, “worm little pond” theory, some phylogeny and so on. Off course, no laboratory validated experiment that would generate a living being from simple chemicals was presented.

    Maybe Christianity point of view is true. There are (scientific) evidence that at least some parts of the Bible are according to historical/archeological findings.

    When you talk about OOL, you have two versions: a christian/religious view based on the Holly Book, that is not scientific, and a you have a theory that is calling itself scientific, but it’s also not scientific. Why ? Because it fails to demonstrated by scientific standard the abiotic origin of life. In other words, we have two ideas, two hypothesis that are both based on faith and that are both non-scientific.

    So, in other words, lack of a natural model means literally WE DON’T KNOW. I personally would forbid teaching ToE in schools, because in my personal opinion it has a lot of imoral implications. But first, none would ask ME what we have to teach in schools 🙂 , ’cause I’m not an authority in the filed, and second, it’s not democratic to forbid this kind of things… BUT if we teach a theory that has no clues about OOL – by scientific standards – we MUST present this to the kids, otherwise, we are talking about indoctrination, about (scientific) ignorance and about totalitarianism. Do you agree, Chris ?

  68. 68
    Srdjan says:

    Bob OH, the dictionary definition (computer science case in particular) will suffice: “Processed, stored or transmitted data.” or you can use definition at Wikipedia.

    What’s important here: 1) information always involves a sender and a receiver; 2) an encoding / decoding mechanism; 3) a convention of symbols (“code”) which represent something distinct from what those symbols are made of.

    My posting of Prof. Dr. Gitt’s theorems had a purpose of showing you that nonsense at TalkOrigins site is just that, nonsense.

    The true issue, that of what coded information, such as found in DNA, human speech and the bee dance, is and how it could have arisen by chance, is simply ignored.

    We continue to wait on the Darwinist or Materialist theoreticians to propose a workable model and show convincing evidence for how coded information can arise by chance!

  69. 69
    shaner74 says:

    “We continue to wait on the Darwinist or Materialist theoreticians to propose a workable model and show convincing evidence for how coded information can arise by chance!”

    A swept sidewalk can’t arise by chance, nevermind self-replicating machines. Oh yeah, now someone will complain about me using the word “machine” because machines are designed.

  70. 70
    Sladjo says:

    The problem of defining information is quite interesting. Information – according to Wiki – can be viewed from different angles and may have different (sometimes, apparently, antagonist) meanings.

    Thus, you can read there: “Information is any represented pattern. This view assumes neither accuracy nor directly communicating parties, but instead assumes a separation between an object and its representation, as well as the involvement of someone capable of understanding this relationship. This view seems therefore to require a conscious mind.”

    However, if you scroll down a little bit, you can read: “Information is any type of pattern that influences the formation or transformation of other patterns. In this sense, there is no need for a conscious mind to perceive, much less appreciate, the pattern. Consider, for example, DNA. The sequence of nucleotides is a pattern that influences the formation and development of an organism without any need for a conscious mind.”

    The second definition I think can be applied to SW/HW systems. They have patterns built in (memory cells, databases, instructions) and they react to the inputs by applying the pre-loaded patterns. And they are highly designed structures, products of minds…

  71. 71
    shaner74 says:

    avocationist wrote:
    “Personally, I think the Big Bang theory may be in trouble, but I am just layperson so I can’t argue much. But I do not see why an eternal or steady state universe in any way supports atheism. It mayappear to be less dramatic, but causelessness is a divine characteristic.”

    From what I’ve seen the evidence for the big bang continues to grow. I think the BB is stronger now than it’s ever been. But anyway, an eternal material universe in which intelligence is an emergent property does not need a God to sustain it or create it. Now, by “causelessness” are you referring to action outside of time or no action at all? The latter would describe an eternal universe as more of an “emanation” or “manifestation” of God, existing with Him as Him from all eternity. In that case we could only imagine an eternal universe as being perfect. But that’s just my $.02.

  72. 72
    Sladjo says:

    “But anyway, an eternal material universe in which intelligence is an emergent property does not need a God to sustain it or create it.”

    Explain, please…

  73. 73
    Chris Hyland says:

    “When you talk about OOL, you have two versions: a christian/religious view based on the Holly Book, that is not scientific, and a you have a theory that is calling itself scientific, but it’s also not scientific. Why ? Because it fails to demonstrated by scientific standard the abiotic origin of life. In other words, we have two ideas, two hypothesis that are both based on faith and that are both non-scientific.”

    I consider OOL research to be a protoscience, and know many scientists that think it’s a waste of time. However it’s proponents do actually come up with hypothesis (however stupid some people may think they are), and perform experiments to test them. Having said that I do not agree with people who say it’s a done deal so my own personal opinion at the moment is ‘we don’t know’.

    “I personally would forbid teaching ToE in schools, because in my personal opinion it has a lot of imoral implications.”

    I think what is needed is to teach the scientific method properly from an early age so no one can make philosophical conclusions and claim that thats what the theory says. If someone wants to interpret it as saying that there is no God and we all should turn into Nazis thery’re free to but a scientific theory can say no such thing. Comment 19 is very similar to my views about the relationship between evolution and religion. I would be very interested to know what imoral implications you think evolution has.

    “BUT if we teach a theory that has no clues about OOL – by scientific standards – we MUST present this to the kids, otherwise, we are talking about indoctrination, about (scientific) ignorance and about totalitarianism. Do you agree, Chris ?”

    I wouldnt say that we has no clue about OOL, and I also think its important to stress that evolution is not a theory of the origin of life. But yes if it is mentioned it should be mentioned as an unsolved problem.

  74. 74
    Bob OH says:

    Srdjan –

    (on the definition of information)

    What’s important here: 1) information always involves a sender and a receiver; 2) an encoding / decoding mechanism; 3) a convention of symbols (”code”) which represent something distinct from what those symbols are made of.

    On this basis, there seems to be no necessity for intelligence to be involved: the internet is an example where all of these processes are involved, without any necessity for conscious intervention.

    Bob

  75. 75
    Bob OH says:

    When you talk about OOL, you have two versions: a christian/religious view based on the Holly Book, …

    Ah, that would be the Christmas edition then.

    Bob

  76. 76
    Sladjo says:

    “Ah, that would be the Christmas edition then.”

    Irony is not a scientific argument, I suppose… 🙂

  77. 77
    Sladjo says:

    Bob: “On this basis, there seems to be no necessity for intelligence to be involved: the internet is an example where all of these processes are involved, without any necessity for conscious intervention.”

    Bob, no offence, but this argument/comparison is hilarious… Internet is designed, is it not ?… 🙂

  78. 78
    kvwells says:

    The BBT made it possible for the atheist to have a view of cosmology that was not (at least in this respect) essentially impossible. We now have an escape from the problem of infinite regress of cause and effect along an infinite timeline.

    This solves the problem for the infinite regress fallacy concerning the existence of God, as well.

  79. 79
    shaner74 says:

    Hi Sladjo, you wrote:
    “Explain, please…”

    In reference to my comment:
    “But anyway, an eternal material universe in which intelligence is an emergent property does not need a God to sustain it or create it.”

    In thinking about this more, I think there may be a little wiggle room to claim God is still required; for example, as an eternal reflection of His Being. However, *if* the universe was eternal, existing as it does now forever and ever, and everything we see in it including mind could be explained as epiphenomena of matter, then there would be no reason to believe in a God, or to throw God into the mix. The universe would not need a creator, since it wasn’t created, and since it wasn’t created it wouldn’t depend on anything for its existence. Unfortunately for atheism science tells us an eternal universe just isn’t the case.

  80. 80
    shaner74 says:

    “the internet is an example where all of these processes are involved”

    I don’t see how the internet can be an example of anything but intelligence designing and implementing a method of information sharing.

  81. 81
    Srdjan says:

    Is this air I am breathing?

  82. 82
    Bob OH says:

    Bob, no offence, but this argument/comparison is hilarious… Internet is designed, is it not ?… 🙂

    Yes, so? You didn’t specify that the designer was important.

    If you want to talk about designers of information bearing contents, feel free. But that wasn’t what we were discussing: the problem of what consciousness is is separate from how it arose.

    Bob
    P.S. There has been some discussion about this thread at “the other place”, including (Shock, horror!) some serious comments. Alan Fox has set up a page on his blog for anyone who wishes to engage the other side on neutral territory.

  83. 83
    crandaddy says:

    If the human mind has a physical ontology, and if it can affect actions, then thought can affect actions (e.g. I think “I want a beer”, and I wander off to the bar). That looks pretty causal to me.

    Yes, I agree, but I don’t see how this has any relevance to my argument. It seems that at least one of us isn’t understanding something.

    Your other argument is still an argument from incredulity. I’m very much with mike1962 on this:

    When people don’t know something, why can’t they just say “I don’t know.”

    The whole point that I’m trying to make with this consciousness/intentionality stuff is not only do i not know, but the concept itself seems nonsensical. Concepts such as objects materializing out of nothingness and spontaneously levitating in the air may or may not be physically possible, but at least I can conceptualize them in my mind and describe them in my language. Trying to describe first-personhood in the third-person seems to be like trying to describe a square circle. Come up with a coherent third-person account of an intentional state, and then we’ll talk about evidence and arguments from incredulity.

    (BTW, it’s finals week, and I’m blogging on time that I don’t have. Any further comments that I may make here will have to wait ’till Friday.)

  84. 84
    Bob OH says:

    crandaddy –

    I think you’ve shown my point very well: you can’t see how to imagine describing first-personhood. Given that, I don’t see how you can assert that there therefore can’t be a material cause for consciousness. Better to just admit ignorance.

    Oh, hang on, am I arguing from incredulity now?

    Bob

  85. 85
    Sladjo says:

    Hi shaner74,
    RE your post #79…

    Of course, discussing this topic (regarding the infinity of space & tame, with or without origin) may go on and on almost forever…And it is an interesting topic, no mistakes about that. And yes, I would acknowledge that the question of life origins is related to Universe’s origin, so we normally cannot split them…

    But, IMHO, if I would to solve the OOL problem, I would take a closer look on the things which are going on on this planet… I would take a closer look on living cells/organisms. And what we can see there? We can see information…

    As I have stated above, information appears to be a “controversial” entity, with a lots of meanings and definitions that sometimes contradicts each other… But, as we are living in an information era, I think we can agree that what we understand as information is always a product of a mind. For example, if we compare processes that are going on in complex or simple electronic control devices used in automations for all kind of applications, and processes that are going on in a living cell or organism, we simply must admit there are a lot of similarities. And I think that’s the key that opens the secret room of life origin: information theory and “process control” within the cell/organism… Here Darwinists don’t have a single chance, no matter how much time we suppose they might have available…

    Do you agree ?

    BR,
    Sladjo.

  86. 86
    Sladjo says:

    Hi Bob,
    re your post #82

    Sorry, but I can’t follow… I believe we were talking about information, not about consciousness…
    Your reply (#74) was related to Srdjan’s post (#68)… No consciousness related issues discussed there…

  87. 87
    shaner74 says:

    Sladjo wrote:
    “Do you agree ?”

    In short, yes I do. I too believe information only comes from a mind, and life (the physical side of it at least) is overflowing with information.

  88. 88
    Michaels7 says:

    Gil,

    I neglected to thank you for this post. God Bless your efforts with the kid.

    I went thru a similar path starting in 7th grade down a path of materialist delusion. It is an atheist interpretation only that is allowed. Haeckels drawings were utilized as well as Artistic conceptions of monkey to man, etc., and it was never challenged that evolution had any problems. Miller-Urey experiments were discussed as if they gave fact to abiogensis being fact.

    This continued thru high school and into college where Christians were looked down upon, mocked and scoffed at by Professors and students alike, including myself joining in at times.

    This explains much about people like PZ, Krause and the like. Or course their entire life worth is tied up in scientism.

    It was not until my late 30’s that I started questioning these larger “facts” in life at a cursury level. Finally, early 40’s I began serious inquiry.

    The more I searched for truth, the more it led me to Christ. Looking closer at evolution opened my eyes that there were severe problems of molecules to man theory.

    It appears to be falling apart now.

    All of this was a result of curiosity both for truth in meaning and truth in science. I’ve continued to grow in knowledge and wisdom as a result of accepting Christ. It was prior to this, that I was blind.

    And our public school systems during my time were nothing but indoctrination to materialistic teachings of evolution.

    And it does not matter how well you teach your children outside of school. When they are told by authority figures God is dead, then it impacts young minds severely.

    And not everyone has the ability to attend an evangelical university. Nor does every parent have the time to provide rebuttals to science teachers when their child comes home and tells them we don’t need God. Look at the book.

    This is changing somewhat now thanks to the internet and sites like these getting the word out that not all is kosher in evolution theory. But parents are still ruled against by erroneous decisions like that of Judge Jones who copied an ACLU(Communist inspired) document.

  89. 89
    IDist says:

    “There are several extinct reptiles (Im not sure about living reptiles), which appear to have more avian like systems than mammal like systems. This was discovered after Denton wrote his book i think.”

    Is this the only response available?
    because that’s exactly what I call just-so stories.

  90. 90
    GilDodgen says:

    The question is not the uniqueness of the avian lung, but how you get from a bellows-type breathing system to a circulatory breathing system in small, incremental steps without fatally flawed, nonfunctional intermediates.

  91. 91
    GilDodgen says:

    Over at teleological.org it has been questioned whether or not Denton later repudiated much of Theory in Crisis, in particular with the publication of Nature’s Destiny. As far as Denton’s current thoughts, check out the video interview below. I believe it is reasonably up to date, and I know for sure that it took place after the publication of Nature’s Destiny since this is mentioned in the abstract. As near as I can tell Denton does not repudiate anything significant in his original critique of Darwinian theory.

    The main page is:
    http://uctv.tv/library-human.asp?seriesnumber=28

    The Denton interview is here:
    http://webcast.ucsd.edu:8080/r.....rIntWit.rm

  92. 92
    Srdjan says:

    Gil, you incorrigible creationist! Didn’t you know that MET explains everything? It all happened one day in a far, far away land…

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