Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Theism/Atheism Discussions

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The primary objective of this site is to discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of ID and materialist Darwinism. That is our focus, and we intend to keep the posts on topic. For example, there is some terrific news on today’s Drudge Report once again debunking global warming, and I was tempted to write a post linking to it. But we have decided that global warming discussions are not within our mission, and we will no longer post on that topic.

Where does theism/atheism fit within this mix? On the one hand, our mission goes beyond discussing only the empirical science, and posters and commenters should feel free to discuss the metaphysical/philosophical (including within that term “theological”) implications of both ID and materialist Darwinism. On the other hand, any theological discussion absolutely must remain abstract. Personal attacks of (and even personal allusions to) other commenters/posters are out of bounds. As long as the discussion is intellectual and not a personal “slugfest,” an analysis of the implications of ID and materialist Darwinism for theism/atheism will not only be allowed but encouraged.

There is another critical aspect of this discussion that has not yet been raised. That is the aspect of where Symbols and Symbolic Form fit in on the Darwin side of things. I present great detail in this area on my Website of www.assertiveatheistmoments.com. The summary is this. During the evolutionary process from proto-Homo Sapiens to Homo Sapiens, beginning roughly 3 Million years ago, the physical scull size and the physical brain mass increases three-fold - through the use of tools and Symbols. Thus, Symbols and Symbolic Form evolve right along with Homo Sapiens. A key is that the Symbols for Atheism and the Symbols for Theism have been evolving for the past 3 Million years. With the written word being around for not more than 100,000 years - there is a lost 2.9 Million years wherein the “origins” of Symbols for Atheism and the Symbols for Theism, have been lost forever. Bob boba123
Ted: Good to see you back. And if this post makes it through, I'm back, too. Timaeus. Timaeus
I applaud the new approach here. IMO, it was not germane to this blog to venture into the controversy about global warming Maybe there was a little overkill about GW, but there are aspects of the issue that involves anti-scientific intolerance of dissenters that is very much germane to ID. tribune7
I, too, would like to see more dialogue between members of ASA and UD. Perhaps we could also invite Steve Matheson back. That way he will feel no need to create a special website in which he recounts his debate with me at UD ---except for the fact that he deleted all my comments so that the reader cannot read the part where I refuted his arguments. StephenB
Ted Davis, I have read a large percentage of what you and Timaeus have generated at ASA on ID and TE and think there should be a similar discussion of the ideas expressed there on this site. I think it would be best for both groups to have a clear understanding of what each thinks and why. Maybe some how we can get a few threads started in the near future on what has taken place at ASA concerning ID. Hope you come here often. jerry
I applaud the new approach here. IMO, it was not germane to this blog to venture into the controversy about global warming, the presidential election, and other such topics that really do not bear on ID in any direct way, but only reflected the political opinions of certain individuals. On the other hand, discussion of theological topics (in the impersonal manner called for) has always been appropriate, IMO, and I'm glad that the way is now clear for that when it comes up. Let me also say "thank you" to those who have expressed displeasure over my sudden disappearance some time back. I don't plan to be a regular, but the new climate makes it more likely that I may drop in from time to time. The older approach, if I may be blunt, was not winning ID any friends among those who weren't already convinced. Quite the contrary. I'm glad that some strong coffee has been served. Ted Davis
sxussd13: I agree with you. I don't want to criticize anything, but concentration on the specifics of ID and openmindedness can only do good to all. gpuccio
I am glad someone finally straightens out UD in direction that it should have gone long time ago. The entire political mess wreaked havoc here, and I am glad to see it cleaned up. I also am grateful to see global warming banned. I am already loving the new fresh breeze blowing from UD. Thanks Barry sxussd13
This is a wise goal and directive, because, eventually, all discussions, be they casual, political, economic, etc., including strictly scientific ones, need to be resolved at the philosophical, ideological, theological, and also the basic personal religion level, without which they lack meaning and substance. Thus all arguments and discussions will eventually lead to a theism vs. atheism distinction, where belief, ideology or bias plays a crucial role. This has been my personal experience during the arguments I had over the last three decades or so. I am not saying that science is unimportant — it is very important, because it supplies us with raw material, or fodder, for our discussions. However, with modern science becoming so complex and unintelligible to many non-specialists and most ordinary folk, such as the science of genetics or physics or astronomy has become, strictly scientific arguing back and forth about some perhaps important but otherwise obscure facts will not capture the imagination and interest of most ordinary people who simply don't know what this is all about and why it should be important. Thus we need smart and science-savvy people who can translate or distill these strictly scientific problems into the domain of non-specialists. And it is during this process that philosophy, ideology, and theology become essential. Only then can we capture the imagination and understanding of most people. This is what the atheistic and evolutionary popularizers of science have been doing for at least a century, and this is why so many ordinary people have been fooled and tricked into believing all such nonsense we have to deal with today. rockyr
Gil, the evidence is accumulating at ever growing rate. That's the consequence of the improvement of molecular technology, for which we have to be grateful to biologists. Genomes are being sequenced daily. Each of them harbors surprises. The technology of micro-arrays is accumulating huge data about transcriptomes which, at present, nobody can still really analyze. The elusive proteome is being investigated ever more. Transcription regulation is still a big mystery, but a mystery to be seriously investigated, at last. Non coding DNA is only now starting to show its treasures. The discovery of complexity in biology grows at an exponential rate. I don't think that is going to slow down, not for a very long time. Someone will have to look at the growing body of facts, sooner or later, and start to make the right questions. We live exciting times. gpuccio
Let's face it, the reason ID and materialist Darwinism are so controversial is that they both have philosophical and theological implications. The same thing applied to the debate a century ago between advocates of an eternal universe and a universe with a beginning, and it applies to the current debate concerning a purposely fine-tuned universe and one that came about by chance. The big question is, Where will the evidence finally lead? The eternal universe advocates finally lost on the evidence. It will be interesting to see how the ID/materialist Darwinism debate plays out on the evidence. A clue can be had from the trajectory of the evidence. The more we learn the more implausible the Darwinian thesis becomes and the more convincing the design thesis becomes. In my view, eventually there will be a tipping point, just as there was concerning evidence that the universe had a beginning. As this process plays out, expect the philosophical and theological debate to intensify. GilDodgen
Great blog! Let the debate go on. Our “Fine-Tuned” Kosmos http://www.thoughtsongod.com/?p=369 madcap

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