Intelligent Design Peer review

Too hot to handle: Update on the PLoS ONE paper

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The retraction of a PLoS ONE paper on the hand that made repeated reference to a Creator shows that biologists are “very hostile to those who invoke the supernatural in their science,” writes Professor Jerry Coyne. But it turns out that the paper’s authors weren’t referring to God, but Nature. One of the paper’s authors, Ming-Jin Liu, explains:

We are sorry for drawing the debates about creationism. Our study has no relationship with creationism. English is not our native language. Our understanding of the word “Creator” was not actually as a native English speaker expected. Now we realized that we had misunderstood the word “Creator.” What we would like to express is that the biomechanical characteristic of tendi[n]ous connective architecture between muscles and articulations is a proper “design” by the Nature (result of evolution) to perform a multitude of daily grasping tasks. We will change the “Creator” to “nature” in the revised manuscript. We apologize for any troubles may have caused by this misunderstanding.
(Spelling of “tendinous” corrected by me. – VJT.)

Another commenter writes:

The phrase ‘the creator’ has nothing to do with a designer god from the two-party-state, the Afro-Eurasian sky deity, or Mr Paley’s writings, but is a well-known ancient Chinese way of saying something alike “nature” or “evolution”, by way of zaohua zhe 造化者 ‘the Creator, creation’ (or, more literally, “the one who forms and transforms”, or “what forms and transforms”).

The commenter then proceeds to quote from The Encyclopedia of Taoism A-Z (edited by Fabrizio Pregadio, 2008, Routledge; article “creation” by Isabelle Robinet, vol. II, p. 1214):

The term zaohua, which means ” to inform (zao) and transform (hua),” derives from the *Zhuangzi and is generally used as a synonym for the cosmos. Zaohua zhe 造化者, lit., “what informs and transforms [the world],” is the Dao itself or its *qi (pneuma), the energy of life that does not create anything, but, like a potter, gives a determinate and transient form to the indeterminate. The analogy ends here, because the zaohua zhe is neither a person nor an entity, and does everything naturally and spontaneously without working. In this sense, zaohua is a synonym of *ziran (natural or spontaneous).

Zao is the coming of something out of nothing (*wu), and hua is the return to emptiness. Zao is movement, and hua is quiescence (see *dong and jing).
(Emphasis mine – VJT.)

The commenter buttresses his case by quoting a passage from the writings of the Greek physician Galen of Pergamon (129-200 or 216), who expresses sentiments similar to those of the paper’s authors:

It was, then, for the sake of these activities [ἕνεκα μὲν δὴ τούτων] that the
convexities at the ends of the ulna and radius came to be; but nature also makes use of
them to secure another advantage [χρῆται δ’ αὐταῖς καὶ πρὸς ἄλλο τι χρηστόν],
just as she is accustomed frequently to make something that has come to be on account
of one thing serve other uses as well [τῷ δι’ ἕτερόν τι γεγονότι συγχρῆσθαι καὶ
πρὸς ἄλλα]. For she located the heads of the tendons moving the fingers in the
concavity between these eminences, thus establishing as if with a wall or tower a safe
refuge for the tendons. (UP 2.11, 1.97.19-98.2 H, 3.133 K)
(Schiefsky, Mark J. 2007. Galen’s teleology and functional explanation. In Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 33, ed. D. Sedley, 369-400. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

In his paper, Schiefsky acknowledges that Galen “describes the construction of the human body as the result of the effort of a supremely intelligent and powerful divine Craftsman or Demiurge,” but he goes on to argue that this reflects “a highly sophisticated, functional analysis of the organism,” and he suggests that in the foregoing passage, we can think of Galen as referring to “nature’s craftsmanship.”

Skeptical readers might object that in another passage, the authors of the offending article in PLoS ONE also wrote that “Hand coordination should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention,” which suggests a theistic interpretation. But a 2005 article in MIT Technology Review refers to “Nature’s inventions,” and similar phrases can be found in textbooks on evolution.

Retraction Watch has set up a poll inviting readers to weigh in on the issue: Should “the Creator” paper have been retracted? The results are as follows:

Correct it 42.4% (254 votes)
Retract it 26.54% (159 votes)
Issue an expression of concern while it investigates 22.2% (133 votes)
Nothing 8.85% (53 votes)

However, the main issue in this ongoing saga is not whether the authors actually intended to allude to a “Creator,” or but the clear evidence (manifested in readers’ comments) of a bias against publishing ID-friendly views in the mainstream literature. One commenter writes:

Regretfully I have to withdraw my support for the journal as a reviewer. Also to bring this shameful incident to the attention of my academic colleagues and students who might consider submitting their work for publication at PLOS ONE.

Another scientist who is also a PLoS ONE academic editor writes:

As a scientist, as well as a PLoS ONE academic editor and author I feel outraged by the publication of a ms making explicit reference to creationism. This is an extremely serious issue for which the academic editor who handled the paper as well as the journal, besides the authors themselves, should be blamed.

I feel my scientific reputation to be put at risk by this incredible mistake, so should this paper not be retracted as soon as possible I will be compelled to resign from my position of PLoS ONE academic editor. Moreover, I am determined to avoid taking on any further assignment until this issue is fully solved.

That is the kind of mindset we are up against, folks.

For readers who may be interested, here’s a short article by creationist Brian Thomas M.S., titled, Human Hand Capabilities Impossible to Duplicate. And here’s a copy of The Fourth Bridgewater Treatise on the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation: The Hand; Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design (1833), by Sir Charles Bell (1770-1842), K.H., F.R.S., F.R.S.E., F.R.C.S.E., M.W.S. This was science as it used to be done.

Comments are welcome.

145 Replies to “Too hot to handle: Update on the PLoS ONE paper

  1. 1
    DLH says:

    The appeals to Taoism are weak. Few are aware that the Chinese language / character set has embedded in the cultural lore from mankind’s origin.
    See C. K. Kang & Edith Nelson, Discovery of Genesis
    Edith Nelson et al God’s Promise to the Chinese – 1997
    Genesis and the Mystery Confucius Couldn’t Solve – April 1, 1994
    Further articles/books by co-author Richard Broadberry

    Now how will Nature explain such quantitative statistical evidence based on natural processes?

  2. 2
    DLH says:

    dr24hours posted: The “Creator” Paper – Post-pub Peer Review, and Racism among Scientists

    . . .”the mystery of the creator’s design”. Which sounds like an intelligent design argument sneaking into a scientific publication.

    Except it wasn’t. It was a poor translation of a Chinese idiom, which the author states would have been better translated as “nature”. The paper explicitly and accurately referenced evolution and the real timescale on which evolution occurs.

    But that didn’t matter. First the outspoken atheist PZ Myers, without apparently doing any investigation, blogged about it credulously asserting it was creationism in a scientific journal. . . .
    This is an example of being so closed-minded and culturally isolated that it’s got to be intentional. A reflexive disavowal of a reasonable explanation made by the author, and ascribing to malice that which is completely explained by a simple cultural difference. . . .
    Participating in that kind of cultural isolation is racist. . . .We all suffer when we exhibit this kind of reflexive, aggressive stupidity, and allow it to flourish in our midst. It’s simple bigotry, and it’s wrong.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    The rabid mindset of the atheist crowd is a sign of a deep mental disease. Their position has nothing to do with science or knowledge but with totalitarianism and censorship. They remind me of that two-bit dictator in Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He seems possessed by some evil influence, intent on being a total pain in the ass. It is a strange form of evil, almost alien in nature.

  4. 4
    Aleta says:

    Interesting, and yes I can see how the Creative (yang) principle of Taoism might be mistaken in translation for the Creator of Western theology.

    I like the quote from the The Encyclopedia of Tao, and it agrees with what I’ve said about Taoism the couple of times I’ve described Taoism and the way in which it posits design without a designer.

  5. 5
    tjguy says:

    First of all, we should thank these Chinese scientists for bringing to light again the wonders of the human hand!

    Skeptical readers might object that in another passage, the authors of the offending article in PLoS ONE also wrote that “Hand coordination should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention,” which suggests a theistic interpretation. But a 2005 article in MIT Technology Review refers to “Nature’s inventions,” and similar phrases can be found in textbooks on evolution.

    Typical evolutionist sleight of hand, this is. To make their beliefs sound more scientific and rational, they attribute purpose and intentionality to random blind directionless meaningless natural processes.

    Evolutionists cannot help but personify Nature as if it intelligently and purposefully designed the thing in question! Happens all the time and just serves to show the natural common sense interpretation of the origin of the hand is purposeful design.

    No wonder Crick is famous for saying: “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”

    If it weren’t for their worldview that eliminates intelligence and purposeful design from the get go, the idea that the hand actually is intelligently designed could not be easily dismissed.

    Loved the article about the hand that Brian Thomas wrote!

    Here are some highlights: The scientists who wrote the article he is reporting on described the human hand like this:

    In order to mimic the human hand—which is the “single best tool for building, digging, grasping, drawing, writing, and many other tasks”2—the engineers had to design a mechanism with the same proportions, dimensions, and features, including resilience, “dense sensing systems,” touch, and tension sensors.

    Their study quoted creation scientist and 19th-century anatomist Charles Bell, who wrote an entire book on the human hand and extolled its virtues. But while these authors honored “Nature,” even capitalizing the word, as the creator of the hand,1 Bell rightly honored God as its Creator.

    So here again we see the almost impossible to avoid unscientific practice of personifying nature.

    So, on the one hand, the DART designers recognized that “opening doors, reaching objects, typing on a keyboard…are simple tasks for a human to perform but the interaction between the brain, senses and muscle motion in the human body is very difficult to replicate in robotics.” It is so difficult, in fact, that their best efforts only reached 10 percent of the “functional potential” of the human hand.1

    But on the other hand, they presumed that the vastly superior human hand which served as their model just “emerged” in the universe. Without any focused effort, it had somehow evolved “based on the demands placed on it by the environment.”1

    So, which was it, God or “Nature”? The very fact that these engineers had to exert so much brainpower and manpower to build their remarkable yet still [vastly] inferior DART hand ought to make the answer clear.

    If not “clear”, then certainly the Design interpretation should be seen to at least be a possible interpretation that is difficult to rule out – and respectable at that – one would think. But if one thought that, one would be wrong for the simple reason that a design conclusion is not permissible in science because it violates the deductions/principles/beliefs deriving from their sacrosanct worldview.

    And, even if engineers were able to finally after years of study, trial and error, and many mistakes were able to get close to the performance of the human hand – or for the sake of argument – let’s say they were able to copy it and create one just as good – what would that prove?

    Nothing. Only that a lot of intelligence, hard work, purposeful effort and planning and thinking went into that product. If anything, it simply furthers the ID and creationist view of nature.

    Things are NOT simple and explaining how they work let alone how they evolved by chance blind directionless purposeless natural processes is extremely challenging and by no means a given!

  6. 6
    Robert Byers says:

    Can these Chinese researchers cry racism? Just kidding.
    This is pathetic and desperate. SOMEONE is saying mentioning God or genesis as a conclusion in whole or part of some investigation nullify’s it, OUT THE GATE, as a scientific paper???
    Nobody has anything to say about a paper if it includes a creator. its a ancient right to see a creator in nature and in science.
    If some publication has a law against a creator concept then thats a greart claim about truth and science.
    There has been no vote or law to censor god/bible as a part of a researchers conclusions in some subject. case closed.
    If the paper fails or succeeds its based on its merits. nOt a conclusion in the intro.
    Truly it shows , for some, there is a crusade or jihad agains conclusions about god in the universe.
    This would of ended all science up till the 1900’s.
    Immoral, illegal, and laughable dumb.

  7. 7

    A snippet from a commenter at PLoS ONE”
    ” … Changing Creator to Nature will not solve the problem since it still implies a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. That is there is no design process, no outcome is foreseen. Anything that works better tends to have a selective advantage but that is not a product of design it is a product of selection working on random events. The paper clearly needs a substantive rewrite quite apart from the concerns raised about the significance of the results raised by other comments. …”

    Note especially — “That is there is no design process, no outcome is foreseen.”

    What then do I make of the fact that virtually all parts of the human being — from the many machines (such as Kinesin) in each of our cells … through the various organs … through the total connectivity of the human system as a whole — show specific and individual functionality?
    I have more to say at:
    https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/either-modern-evolutionary-biology-is-goal-directed-or-it-is-false/

    Or as that ignorant Palestinian goat herder Paul said better than I some 2000+ years ago:

    ” … since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    After reading some of what has been written about this allegedly “translation failure” (did they use an online translator?) that apparently has caused so much embarrassment out there in some academic circles, I still have not read a detailed step-by-step description on how the editing + peer-review system failed this time. Has anyone seen that information yet?

    BTW, why so much hype about a politically incorrect word inserted in the text several times? That word does not make much difference in the technical interpretation of the described topic. The physiology and functionality of the described system seem unaffected by the presence or absence of such “unwanted” terminology.

    There are cases where incorrect terminology that lead to confusing conceptual errors have gone undetected by the editing/peer-reviewing system, but apparently the issue has not transcended the narrow circles of involved parties.

    Here’s an example:

    Someone I know brought this up to my attention last December. The referenced paper was published over a year ago, but the apparent mistake has not been corrected yet. Maybe it’s not an error after all?

    I have mentioned this in previous posts within other discussion threads tagged under the peer-review category, but apparently no one has commented on this yet.

    Perhaps this is not a high tier journal after all, but still they claim to have reviewed the given paper. They even provide the names and affiliations of the alleged reviewers.

    Here is the link to the paper:

    http://journal.frontiersin.org.....08/full#h1

    (http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2015.00008)

    There seems to be a major terminology error in the conclusion.
    On the first eight pages the term “post-translational modifications (PTMs)” (both plural and singular) seems to appear around 10 times. The term “post-transcriptional modifications” doesn’t seem to be mentioned even once. However, on the ninth page the “Conclusion” refers to “post-transcriptional modifications (PTMs)” instead.
    That seems like an error, doesn’t it?
    If that’s the case, then how did that error pass the review?
    How did it go unnoticed by the reviewers?
    Maybe that’s not an error after all?
    Can someone read it and tell us whether that’s an error or not?
    Thanks.
    BTW, note the article shows who reviewed the given paper and how long it took for the paper to get through peer-review.
    If the pointed observation is confirmed as an error, could a possible explanation for it to have gone under the peer review radar be that the reviewers were experts that could read the given paper fast, without paying attention to details? Then it may take an ignorant outsider to detect the potential mistake, right?

    Any comments on this?

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT:

    That is the kind of mindset we are up against, folks.

    Sadly, yes.

    Let no one who acts like this or approves of it or enables it by passive silence hereafter claim to be acting reasonably, responsibly or objectively. This panic response and exercise in blatant bigotry has laid bare the secrets and intents of many hearts.

    We take due note.

    And recognise the work of a Hand who exposes the hidden plots the better to vex those who rise up in arrogant rebellion against their Maker and Just, Dread Lord.

    Note to a priori evolutionary materialists imposing ideology and agendas on science, education, institutions, culture and community: you started the fight; we will finish it.

    KF

    PS: How is the ankle? (And that is another marvel of FSCO/I)

  10. 10
    Me_Think says:

    It is a good paper. I don’t think National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, Grant No. 2011CB013301), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51335004), which come under Ministry of Science and Technology, would fund the paper to promote God!

  11. 11
    Origenes says:

    According to naturalism, everything is physical or ‘supervenes’ on the physical — full stop. IOWs there exist no entities over and beyond the level of elementary particles, such as “organisms”. A naturalist cannot claim coherently that e.g. a “hand” has a “function” for a “human being”, since such appeals to ‘mystical’ entities and their relations, over and beyond the level of elementary particles.
    It is equally non naturalistic to state that a “Lego horse” has a “function” for a “Lego cowboy”. It should be clear that such a statement springs from a mere naive projection of relationship between “entities” which are in fact nothing but Lego blocks.

    Therefor I suggest that the PLoS ONE paper should be retracted for the use of the term “function”. One clump of matter is not “functional” for another clump of matter. Physics doesn’t accommodate for such a relationship and neither should naturalistic biology.
    Some naturalists may protest and say: “but without the term ‘function’ we can no longer make sense of biology!” and surely they would have a point. But that’s a discussion for another day.

  12. 12
    vjtorley says:

    Hi kairosfocus,

    My ankle seems to be healing up much more rapidly than I had hoped. It seems that I broke a ligament and suffered a minor fracture on Thursday morning while running to get a train (I should have waited 3 more minutes for the next one). The doctor who X-rayed my ankle said it would take about two weeks to heal, but it seems to be healing faster than that. Remarkably, I was able to walk a few kilometers today, without suffering any pain or discomfort. (I have several part-time jobs on Saturday, and walking is the easiest way to get from job A to job B.)

    Re your comments on the ankle being another marvel of FSCO/I: I’ve just been reading about how ligaments heal, and it’s quite an eye-opener:

    Inflammatory Phase

    The inflammatory phase follows trauma to collagen fibres and lasts for 3-5 days, depending on the severity of the injury. Chemicals are released which produce pain, and there is bleeding in the tissues…

    Rehabilitation time can be greatly reduced by appropriate treatment in this acute stage…

    Repair Phase

    The repair phase is mediated by blood clotting over the damaged tissue. Blood platelets form a mesh to initiate healing. Also present in the blood clot are fibroblast cells, which proliferate and begin to lay down Type 3 (immature) collagen tissue, between 3-21 days after the injury…

    Remodelling Phase

    The remodelling phase follows the repair phase and can last for up to a year. It involves maturation of collagen tissue from Type 3 to Type 1 and realignment of collagen tissue. When it is first laid down, the collagen tissue is haphazard and does not possess a lot of tensile strength. The ligament gradually becomes stronger through being subjected to controlled strain in a functional pattern, which aligns the fibres in a longitudinal fashion.

    I cannot help marveling at the fact that ligaments are able to repair themselves at all. Nature, it seems, is a lot nicer than we have any right to expect it to be, and given the extraordinary sequence of events that takes place when the body heals, I can only attribute its astonishing efficacy to the work of a Creator.

    This article on the knee joint is pretty awe-inspiring, too. Enjoy!

  13. 13
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: A naturalist cannot claim coherently that e.g. a “hand” has a “function” for a “human being”, since such appeals to ‘mystical’ entities and their relations, over and beyond the level of elementary particles.

    Of course they can — and do.

  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:

    VJT, In my case I did not know my skin could have such a rainbow of colours and I felt it for more like 2 years but then that unforgettable Christmas day, the doc thought I had broken my ankle. The bad news is, your sprain will likely revert easily from now on . . . mine does 30 years later. A suggestion, you may find ankle boots a useful addition to your shoes collection — though of course the medicos may have their own thoughts. Self-repair is itself a marvel and a whole new class of functionality. KF

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    Z,

    complex, organisation based configuration driven specific function is a strong sign of design.

    Google search tosses up this at head of the results:

    func·tion·al·i·ty
    ?f?NG(k)SH??nal?d?/
    noun
    noun: functionality

    1.
    the quality of being suited to serve a purpose well; practicality.
    “I like the feel and functionality of this bakeware”
    the purpose that something is designed or expected to fulfill.
    plural noun: functionalities
    “manufacturing processes may be affected by the functionality of the product”
    2.
    the range of operations that can be run on a computer or other electronic system.
    “new software with additional functionality”

    The connexion to purpose is suggestive,

    KF

    PS: An adherent of evolutionary materialist scientistic naturalism cannot speak of function, purpose, meaning, value, good vs evil, logic, responsible rational freedom, knowledge and more without self referential incoherence.

  16. 16
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: complex, organisation based configuration driven specific function is a strong sign of design.

    Merriam-Webster
    function: any of a group of related actions contributing to a larger action; especially : the normal and specific contribution of a bodily part to the economy of a living organism

    kairosfocus: PS: An adherent of evolutionary materialist scientistic naturalism cannot speak of function, purpose, meaning, value, good vs evil, logic, responsible rational freedom, knowledge and more without self referential incoherence.

    Of course they can — and do.

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, the system is inescapably self referentially incoherent and adherents routinely stand in that situation when they act in accord with the real human nature. KF

  18. 18
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: the system is inescapably self referentially incoherent

    Your argument presupposes its conclusion. Perhaps you could be more concise.

  19. 19
    harry says:

    When will it be time for an updated release of Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed?

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    Z,

    I do not expect you to acknowledge the point, but there it stands.

    Let me give one form, from Nancy Pearcey:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    KF

  21. 21
    Algorithm Eh says:

    A cave “functions” very well as a shelter. Is it designed? A meteor crater functions very well as a basin for a lake. Is it designed.

    KairosFocus’ examples of function being the result of design are all the result of “human” design. We design things for function. Is that any surprise? But function does not presuppose design. Manure functions well as a fertilizer. Water functions very well at separating sand grains by size.

  22. 22
    Zachriel says:

    kairosfocus: The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    And as humans often believe things which are demonstrably untrue, or see things which aren’t there, this is supported by the evidence.

    kairosfocus: Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Scientific theories are not judged by the standard of logical truth, but their fit to the evidence, which is provisional.

  23. 23
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: A naturalist cannot claim coherently that e.g. a “hand” has a “function” for a “human being”, since such appeals to ‘mystical’ entities and their relations, over and beyond the level of elementary particles.

    Zachriel: Of course they can — and do.

    Nothing new here. Yes, unfortunately many act contrary to their own beliefs. Notions like “function”, “hand” and “human being” are to the naturalist as nonsensical as the naive projection of “function” into a Lego horse wrt a Lego cowboy.

  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:

    AE,

    Function based on specific complex configuration — similar to what is needed for text strings to function in communication in English — would exclude caves. The strawman erected and knocked over fails to represent the actual issue on the table.

    Second, the attempt to suggest that humans can be ring fenced and then dismissed as examples of designers in general fails also.

    For, the existence of human designers shows that design is possible and actual, indeed that it has certain characteristic patterns in a great many cases that render it instantly recognisable and distinguishable from things that emerge from blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.

    Next, there is no good reason to infer that humans exhaust the set of possible designers. We are contingent beings, who happen to have the capacity to design.

    Were someone to go to Pluto and find there an ice temple similar to Stonehenge, such a person would not conclude that it canot be designed, but instead that it was a product of extraterrestrial design.

    There is a whole literature that is based on that possibility, science fiction.

    So, the objection is not serious.

    Instead, from what humans have done and do, e.g. Venter et al with genomes, we know that design of life forms is possible, and a world of technology shows how designs can be made by purposeful, skilled intelligence.

    One of the relevant signs of such, with a trillion member observational base is functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information; FSCO/I. Text such as in your objection is a classic example, and the description strings used to specify design or config of the PC you composed it on or whatever variant thereof, would be equivalent i.e. discussion on strings is WLOG.

    An assessment of configuration spaces will readily show that functionally specific complex organisation comes in deeply isolated islands. For instance not a lot of noise would corrupt this text beyond meaning and there is the case of was it a misplaced comma in a control program for a rocket that forced NASA to destroy it.

    These are commonplace matters and the conflation of oh a cave functions and a pile of manure can function as fertiliser are themselves inadvertent indicators of the strength of the original point. If the point has to be caricatured into a simplistic strawman to object to it, it is stronger than the objectors are willing to admit.

    Going further, the physics and parameters of the observed cosmos show strong evidence of fine tuning that sets up the framework for C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life.

    Even through a speculative multiverse, the sort of local fine tuning this points to is a strong indicator of design of the cosmos we inhabit.

    KF

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Z,

    the mere fact that you are unwilling to acknowledge the author of the remarks I cited, Nancy Pearcey, speaks volumes.

    In response I suggest that you have provided no good reason to think that you have succeeded in grounding responsible freedom and rationality on blind chance and/or mechanisms, which is utterly unsurprising. And if you think that you can dismiss incoherence as a serious issue, that itself speaks volumes and not in your favour.

    Just for one instance, let me pick up:

    Scientific theories are not judged by the standard of logical truth, but their fit to the evidence, which is provisional.

    No one disputes the provisionality of scientific findings.

    Fit of scientific findings and theorising to observed evidence is an appeal to . . . coherence. That is, our theories should comport well with empirically grounded facts.

    And the issue on logic would not be truth but coherence.

    KF

  26. 26
    Virgil Cain says:

    Algorithm EH:

    A cave “functions” very well as a shelter.

    No, not very well and not without work.

    A meteor crater functions very well as a basin for a lake.

    And yet not all such craters have lakes. And without constant resupply any water at the bottom of such a crater would just evaporate.

    You didn’t think this through.

  27. 27
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Scientific theories are not judged by the standard of logical truth, but their fit to the evidence, which is provisional.

    Yours isn’t a scientific theory and it doesn’t fit the evidence.

    Two own goals in one. Nice job, Zachriel.

  28. 28
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Yes, unfortunately many act contrary to their own beliefs.

    There’s nothing in naturalism that means objects can’t be recognized as distinct entities. Naturalism is not the same as atomism, and even for an atomist, there’s nothing to prevent them from recognizing how atoms clump.

    kairosfocus: Fit of scientific findings and theorising to observed evidence is an appeal to . . . coherence.

    Sure, but the measure still isn’t the same as for logical truth.

    kairosfocus: And the issue on logic would not be truth but coherence.

    What you posted previously concerned truth.

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: There’s nothing in naturalism that means objects can’t be recognized as distinct entities.

    Surely you are mistaken. A naturalist cannot coherently hold that a “Lego horse” is a “distinct entity”, especially not when she is in scientific mode. The naturalist holds that a Lego horse is nothing over and beyond Lego blocks. Similarly a naturalist holds that a human being is nothing over and beyond elementary particles.

    Zachriel: (…) even for an atomist, there’s nothing to prevent them from recognizing how atoms clump.

    Recognizing how atoms clump is scientifically ok. However naive projections of personhood are not.

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    Z, logic relates to coherence. You are erecting an irrelevancy and arguing as if it should then control discussion. Meanwhile you have no good answer to the self-referential incoherence of evolutionary materialist scientism. Which does have a connexion to truth — that which says of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not. Namely as a cluster of self referentially incoherent claims C asserts or implies that some X is so AND is not so, C cannot be true. It self-falsifies, stumbling fatally in the starting gates. It does not even make it far enough to assert a fact claim left standing to check against empirical observation. Evolutionary materialism is necessarily false by force of the logic of self contradiction. Mix in ex falso quodlibet and we see it undermines ability to discern true from false. KF

  31. 31
    J-Mac says:

    “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    I really like this bible scripture…

    Sometimes I wonder what excuse would the hostile biologist have toward God?

    My personal experience is that most atheists are angry toward God, for something that happened to them or their loved ones.

    I think that the movie “God is not dead” revealed some of those angry tendencies.

    But there has to be more to the story than that.

    My personal view is that Jerry Coyne could be blaming God for “making him overly liking cats and talking to them too much. (I think you all know what I mean by that)

    How about Larry Moran? He lost his father when he was a toddler. Could he be blaming God for not protecting his father’s life in the so called “just war”?

    I would sympathize with Larry if his grief is just that…
    No kid wants to be adopted and raised by his adopted father. What if he is abusive? Who do you turn to?

    On the other hand we have Nick Mitzke who is a clear cut opportunists who would most likely disown his mother if he could get a grand even if it involve writing letters that cost the tax payers thousands of dollars…

    I always wondered what PZ Myers and R. Dawkins reasons were. I’m pretty clear about Dawkins though…

    I Don’t know about PZ Myers’ reasons…but I’m bound to find out….

  32. 32
    Aleta says:

    Baloney. Atheists are not angry at God. Among other things, why would one be angry at a being that one does not believe exists? There are things atheists, and others, are angry about in respect to people who believe in God and who want those beliefs to be reflected in public policy and or personal relationships, but that’s different.

    For instance, I can have some negative emotions and judgments (although anger would be too strong a word for them) towards people who believe I am essentially amoral, irrational, and damned to hell just because I don’t believe all the Christian stories about Jesus. I can also have some negative emotions and judgments towards people who think the laws of our land should reflect their Christian beliefs to the exclusion of other’s beliefs.

    But these emotions and judgments are directed towards real people, not towards something that I consider fictional.

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    Even worse.

  34. 34
    steveh says:

    Nature, it seems, is a lot nicer than we have any right to expect it to be, and given the extraordinary sequence of events that takes place when the body heals, I can only attribute its astonishing efficacy to the work of a Creator.

    What do you mean by “Creator” in that last sentence? “Nature” and/or “evolution” as in the PLoS paper discussed in the OP or *the Designer” (nudge nudge wink wink) of ID? It can get very confusing when you switch from one to the other.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Origenes says:

    Victor Reppert on materialism and its logical conclusions .

    If the mind is just a complex interaction of the brain, then I could only be the same person I was when I was in the fourth grade if the physical content of my brain was the same as the physical content of my fourth-grade brain. But I would be surprised to learn if there was a single molecule in my brain today that was in my brain when I was in the fourth grade. So I am, from the standpoint of physics (the true standpoint according to physicalism) a different person from the person who heard in the lunch line the Kennedy had been assassinated, or even who received a Ph.D in 1989, or the one who got married in 1991, or whose shower was interrupted one Tuesday in 2001 to be told the that the World Trade Center buildings had been knocked down by airplanes.

    [Victor Reppert; february 16, 2016]

  37. 37
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 40
    If the synapses in his brain hadn’t grown from few millions to trillions, he would be mentally challenged!!
    The brain has to keep rewiring its physical structure (the amplitude of the post-synaptic neuron’s response increases) with every new experience. If neurotranmitters (glutamate ,GABA,acetylcholine, dopamine, adrenaline, histamine, serotonin and melatonin) don’t keep crossing into synaptic gaps between neurons few times every second, you will be brain dead !It is constant physical change at both electrical and electro-chemical level that keeps the body’s involuntary systems- including heart- running and keeps you alive.

  38. 38
    tjguy says:

    Aleta @ 36

    Baloney. Atheists are not angry at God. Among other things, why would one be angry at a being that one does not believe exists?

    Aleta, this is how it works at times. Something bad or painful happens to a person. If that person was someone who did believe in God, perhaps they might become angry at him. After a while, they decide that since this terrible thing happened, God could not possibly exist or He would have not let this happen to them. So, they simply decide that He doesn’t exist and reject Him. So, true, they no longer believe that He exists, but for many people, there was a time when they did believe that He existed. And, as a result, more often than not, there was a time when they were angry at Him.

    There are things atheists, and others, are angry about in respect to people who believe in God and who want those beliefs to be reflected in public policy and or personal relationships, but that’s different.

    Funny how Christians are not allowed to desire that their beliefs be reflected in public policy, but when an atheist seeks to have public policy reflect his beliefs, that is totally fine. The two worldviews clash and that is why we have a voting process. Everyone is permitted to have their opinion and vote according to their beliefs. Atheists do it and there is nothing wrong with Christians doing it. We live in a democratic society.

    Christians feel the same way you do when immoral things are reflected in public policy. We don’t happen to think that it is a good idea to kill babies still in the womb – nor do we think that there is any difference between a baby 5 minutes before it is born and 5 minutes after it is born.

    We do not believe that men should be able to use women’s locker rooms if they identify as a woman and traumatizing all the women in the facility. This kind of thing makes us angry so we can certainly identify with what you are saying!

    I can also have some negative emotions and judgments towards people who think the laws of our land should reflect their Christian beliefs to the exclusion of other’s beliefs.

    You that’s really interesting. I find the same thing is true!! I can also have negative emotions and judgments toward people who think the laws of the land should reflect their chosen atheistic worldview in exclusion of my beliefs. ie – when a Christian baker refuses to bake a cake for a gay wedding, is fined, and threatened by the radical gay movement and sometimes even attacked for their beliefs, – well sometimes that causes me to have negative feelings. How dare they think their morals should be forced on others? In there worldview, there is no absolute right and wrong anyway, so why can’t they allow for a difference of opinion? Obviously, from these actions, it is clear that they really do believe in real right and wrong and in doing so violate their own worldview.

  39. 39
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think @41,

    How is that a response to what Victor Reppert @40 has said?

  40. 40
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 43,

    How is that a response to what Victor Reppert @40 has said?

    If the mind is just a complex interaction of the brain, then I could only be the same person – Reppert

    He wouldn’t have a mind without all the interactions of brain synapses and physical rewiring every time he had a new experience from fourth grade till the time he made the statement. Every time his synapses grew in numbers, there were more connections, more processing power – his mind is proportional to his brain’s synapses. His ability to process language – which forms the basis of his thinking mind – is directly proportional to physical changes in brain synapse network. He is a different person precisely because the complexity of brain increased with every experience he had, and brain’s ability to process both language and inputs from changing environment over a long period of time

  41. 41
    vjtorley says:

    Hi steveh,

    In answer to your query in #38 above, I was referring to the Intelligent Designer of Nature when I wrote of the Creator in reference to my ankle healing up.

  42. 42
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think @44,

    Your incorrect quotation of Reppert reveals that you don’t grasp his argument.

  43. 43
    Aleta says:

    Hi tj, re:42

    I think it is true that some people who once believed in God, but changed that belief in part due to bad things happening to them, are angry. However, at that point it wouldn’t be God they were angry at, but rather the people and social environment in which their former belief in God was fostered.

    Also, I imagine it is true that believers sometimes are angry at God when bad things happen, and that they sometimes reconcile that anger by passing into disbelief. However, there is a great deal of religious support for reconciling with that anger and returning to belief with a different sense of acceptance and understanding.

    Also, you write,

    Funny how Christians are not allowed to desire that their beliefs be reflected in public policy, but when an atheist seeks to have public policy reflect his beliefs, that is totally fine. The two worldviews clash and that is why we have a voting process. Everyone is permitted to have their opinion and vote according to their beliefs. Atheists do it and there is nothing wrong with Christians doing it. We live in a democratic society.

    I absolutely agree with what you say about the role of voting and our place in a democratic society.

    On the other hand, I, at least, certainly said nothing about Christians “not [being] allowed to desire that their beliefs be reflected in public policy, but when an atheist seeks to have public policy reflect his beliefs, that is totally fine.”

    Everyone has a right to desire that their beliefs be reflected in public policy, and to work for that in the democratic process. Also, everyone has a right to draw their motivations for their desires from whatever source they wish: for one to say that they are against same-sex marriage, to take an example, because it goes against their Christian beliefs is just fine. They can then take that argument into the public square and use it as part of their effort to persuade others, as part of the political process to get others to think and vote likewise. Again, democracy at work.

    But that doesn’t mean that everyone will agree with them. It also doesn’t mean that the fact that the motivation for belief is religious will be seen by everyone as being relevant. We all have negative emotions (and unfortunately anger is one of the more common ones these days) towards the ideas of people, and often the people themselves, who disagree with us. Learning to try to reconcile differences without dichotomizing and demonizing people with different perspectives is one of the main tasks facing our culture today.

    But, on the other hand, the fact that a political position is motivated and based on a religious belief is not going to be a relevant argument to someone who doesn’t hold those religious beliefs. I’m not going to support a law just because a Christian says it’s Biblically based anymore than I’d support a law because it was based on Jewish, Hindu, Native American, or Islamic belief. Laws need to be such that people of all those persuasions see some common need, based on common values.

    (And please note, this whole discussion is not about “Christians vs atheists”: there is a very broad spectrum of differing beliefs between various religions, and between different Christian denominations.)

    I’ll also note that there is a large difference between making choices based on one’s religious beliefs for oneself and having us, as a society, pass laws that are primarily intended to embody particular religious beliefs. For instance, there is a difference between religious denominations and their associated churches saying that, in respect to our religion, marriage is between a man and a woman, on the one hand, and the laws of the land saying that a same-sex couple can enter into a civil marriage contract, just like any other two people, outside of any religious context. In short, if you object to same-sex marriages, don’t have one. And if you and a set of like-minded people in a church object, don’t marry same-sex couples.

    And, if you wish, work to persuade people through our democratic process to deny same-sex couples the right to a civil marriage (as opposed to religious). However, in this later case, I think you should expect some negative emotions, and even anger, because why should people who don’t have your religious beliefs be kept from marriage just because you do have those beliefs?

    Now I know there are further complexities here, and that probably getting drawn into a long discussion about this (such as by writing this post) would be a mistake on my part. There are many issues concerning the role of law and the courts in balancing religious neutrality and making room in society for specific religious beliefs.

    But in general my belief is that religious belief doesn’t have some special status. Obviously you can make religious arguments as part of engaging in political persuasion, but the fact that an argument has a religious basis isn’t going to mean anything to those who don’t share those beliefs, and shouldn’t have any special weight in the eyes of the law.

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: A naturalist cannot coherently hold that a “Lego horse” is a “distinct entity”, especially not when she is in scientific mode.

    Of course they can. They say, “Look at that arrangement of Lego blocks. It looks like a horse!”

    Origenes: The naturalist holds that a Lego horse is nothing over and beyond Lego blocks.

    “It’s an arrangement of Lego blocks that looks like a horse!”

    Origenes: Similarly a naturalist holds that a human being is nothing over and beyond elementary particles.

    “It’s an arrangement of organic molecules (which are arrangements of atoms which are arrangements of quarks) that reproduces itself. Let’s call these arrangements ‘life’, and this particular arrangement ‘human’.”

    kairosfocus: It self-falsifies, stumbling fatally in the starting gates.

    That’s your claim, but one you haven’t been able to support.

    kairosfocus: Evolutionary materialism is necessarily false by force of the logic of self contradiction.

    Saying it again doesn’t strengthen the claim. Let’s define a scientific claim as one which is based on its fit to objective empirical evidence. This limits many sources of error that are implicit in the individual and imperfect evolved brains. The combined efforts of humans, especially written abstraction, are not subject to the same evolutionary limitations as individual evolved brains. We can even use this process to study the limitations of those evolved brains.

    Does this mean that science is infallible? Indeed not. In the words of Douglas Adams, “The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” However, the process of science allows humans to extend beyond the evolved limitations of the individual brain.

  45. 45
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: So I am, from the standpoint of physics (the true standpoint according to physicalism) a different person

    “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” — Heroclitus

  46. 46
    Zachriel says:

    tjguy: ie – when a Christian baker refuses to bake a cake for a gay wedding, is fined,

    Do you think the baker should be able to refuse to sell a cake to blacks, to Jews, to a mixed couple, claiming a religious exemption?

    tjguy: and threatened by the radical gay movement and sometimes even attacked for their beliefs, – well sometimes that causes me to have negative feelings.

    This shows your ignorance of the actual source of the vast majority of violence, which has been directed against gays, often by Christians.

  47. 47

    My wife and I attended a yearly gathering of about 500 middle school musicians and singers from around the state of Connecticut — our 13 year old granddaughter was among the 500.

    My attention was especially drawn to the hands of the many participants and of the conductors. Watching the conductors leading the several choirs with many body queues, especially with hand and finger gestures was fascinating — as was watching the many hands and fingers producing amazing music as many fingers danced across the whole range of orchestral instruments.
    Truly an amazing day and demonstration of the wonders of the human hand.

    I find it entirely appropriate, and even commendable, that a group of researchers studying the intricacies of the human hand should (intentionally or not) credit the design they are trying to capture to a “Creator” and to ascribe the language of design to their model – the human hand … even in a so called “scientific” journal.

    As far as I could tell, the end purpose of this study was for robotic or prosthetic purposes, and not to prove the existence of a “Creator.”

    I read through many of the on-line comments to the PLoS ONE paper, and was appalled at the bigotry and small/closed mindedness of many of those professing to be the gate-keepers of this journal. It’s as if they have their heads inside a barrel with their fingers firmly stuck in their ears lest they hear the incessant drum beat of design coming from outside the barrel.

    What I would suggest to these gate-keepers is to avail themselves of the many opportunities within their own campus and city to study first hand the beauty, adaptability and intricacies of the human hand. Get out of the laboratory … get out of the lecture hall … get out of the book you are writing. Go to an orchestral and choir event. Go to a baseball game and witness the execution of that perfect double play. Go to a football game and watch that amazing throw and fingertip catch that wins the game in the final seconds. Go to a fine art museum and gaze at the fine paintings and sculptures created by those many human hands. Go to the surgical unit at a local hospital and watch the skilled and trained hands at work on needy patients. Go to you library and scan through some of the hand written manuscripts you might find there – and carefully look at and read the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence written carefully by human hands.

    Then I would suggest a retreat back to the office, lab and lecture hall to ponder a bit:

    1) Did I perhaps witness just a bit of that “divine foot in the door” in any of what I’ve seen around campus?

    2) How many generations of folks like me before we stumble on the origin of the hand by evolutionary means? Will we ever even approach it?

    3) About that report – it’s been retracted with seemingly little concern over the validity and/or use of the data and insights collected. Is it possible that some young enthusiastic researcher/engineer could have made use of the study in providing a somewhat useful hand to that wounded soldier? Guess that doesn’t matter as long as the feelings, yes feelings, of the Atheists is protected.

    And I would ask this exercise to be repeated with a focus on differing parts of the human anatomy.

  48. 48
    Me_Think says:

    ayearningforpublius @ 51
    A Scientific Journal is supposed to draw a scientific conclusion, not a philosophical conclusion. There are Philosophy Journals for Philosophy.
    However, as I said in an earlier comment,the paper is good and should be published. I don’t think National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, Grant No. 2011CB013301), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51335004), which come under Ministry of Science and Technology, would fund the paper to promote God!

  49. 49
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Let’s define a scientific claim as one which is based on its fit to objective empirical evidence.

    That means chimps and humans sharing a common ancestor is not a scientific claim as it is not based on objective empirical evidence. Heck most of the claims from evolutionism are not scientific claims.

    However, the process of science allows humans to extend beyond the evolved limitations of the individual brain.

    Except if one is an evolutionist. Then you are pretty much stuck in a very small box with no hope to extend beyond its confines.

  50. 50
    Virgil Cain says:

    This topic is too funny. It is bad to attribute something to a Creator but it is OK to attribute it to mother nature even though that claim is totally untestable.

  51. 51

    I didn’t read into the report any attempt to promote God … but to acknowledge the Creator for what was created … the human hand … and again I view this as entirely appropriate. The conclusions of the report lie in the data produced. References to “the Creator” were not a conclusion, but more along the lines of an acknowledgment.

    And to repeat …has there been damage in suppressing the report?

  52. 52
    Algorithm Eh says:

    KairosFocus: “For, the existence of human designers shows that design is possible and actual, “

    Agreed.

    “…indeed that it has certain characteristic patterns in a great many cases that render it instantly recognisable and distinguishable from things that emerge from blind chance and/or mechanical necessity.”

    We agree that humans are very good at identifying things build by other humans. Is that so surprising? Dogs can also identify the feces of other dogs.

    “Next, there is no good reason to infer that humans exhaust the set of possible designers. We are contingent beings, who happen to have the capacity to design.”

    Again, we agree.

    “Were someone to go to Pluto and find there an ice temple similar to Stonehenge, such a person would not conclude that it canot be designed, but instead that it was a product of extraterrestrial design.”

    There we disagree. A thinking person would conclude that it “MAY” be the product of extraterrestrial design. I would look for supporting evidence, as we see with the real Stonehenge, before claiming anything more concrete.

    “There is a whole literature that is based on that possibility, science fiction.

    Operative word being “fiction”.

    “So, the objection is not serious.”

    Your unsubstantiated opinion has been duly noted.

    “Instead, from what humans have done and do, e.g. Venter et al with genomes, we know that design of life forms is possible,…”

    I must have missed the groundbreaking paper about humans designing life from scratch. I think the term you were looking for is that the “modification”‘of life forms is possible. Darwin wrote extensively in a little book he wrote. Maybe you have heard about it.

    “One of the relevant signs of such, with a trillion member observational base is functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information; FSCO/I.

    No, we have only demonstrated that it may be used to identify human design.

    “Text such as in your objection is a classic example, and the description strings used to specify design or config of the PC you composed it on or whatever variant thereof, would be equivalent i.e. discussion on strings is WLOG.”

    If your comment was encrypted, it would still retain the same label of FSCO/I (possibly more because of the encryption). How would you know this if you didn’t have the decryption key?

    “Going further, the physics and parameters of the observed cosmos show strong evidence of fine tuning that sets up the framework for C-chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based life.”

    All this shows is that things in our universe must obey the physical constraints of our universe. How is that surprising?

    “Even through a speculative multiverse, the sort of local fine tuning this points to is a strong indicator of design of the cosmos we inhabit.”

    Again, your unsubstantiated opinion has been duly noted.

  53. 53
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: A naturalist cannot coherently hold that a “Lego horse” is a “distinct entity”, especially not when she is in scientific mode.

    Zachriel: Of course they can. They say, “Look at that arrangement of Lego blocks. It looks like a horse!”

    Nonresponsive. In the midst of a mountain range a pile of rocks can look like a horse but that fact doesn’t extend a “distinct entity” to this pile of rocks. Looking like something is not the same as having that identity — not under naturalism or any other ‘—ism’ that I’m aware of.

    Origenes: The naturalist holds that a Lego horse is nothing over and beyond Lego blocks.

    Zachriel: “It’s an arrangement of Lego blocks that looks like a horse!”

    Does it make you an airplane when (with the help of some theatrical props) you look like an airplane?

    Origenes: Similarly a naturalist holds that a human being is nothing over and beyond elementary particles.

    Zachriel: “It’s an arrangement of organic molecules (which are arrangements of atoms which are arrangements of quarks) that reproduces itself.

    Sure, like I said nothing over and beyond elementary particles.

    Zachriel: Let’s call these arrangements ‘life’, and this particular arrangement ‘human’.”

    These theistic terms are meaningless under naturalism and unscientific if they refer to anything over and beyond elementary particles.

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    AE,

    Let’s pick a sample as the slice of the cake showing key ingredients:

    [KF:] “Were someone to go to Pluto and find there an ice temple similar to Stonehenge, such a person would not conclude that it canot be designed, but instead that it was a product of extraterrestrial design.”

    [AE:] There we disagree. A thinking person would conclude that it “MAY” be the product of extraterrestrial design. I would look for supporting evidence, as we see with the real Stonehenge, before claiming anything more concrete.

    AE, of course the context is of imagined future Sol system exploration and in fact it comes from a Sci Fi work I ran across somewhere.

    Extraterrestrial means of course from beyond Earth.

    In this case, humans would not be available candidates for an icehenge on the Dwarf Planet known as Pluto. But the specification, temple similar to Stonehenge at Salisbury in the UK is joined to, of patently high complexity.

    The obvious conclusion any archaeologist would make with moral certainty is, design.

    By extra terrestrial designers would arise from the context that human designers are ruled out.

    In short, the confinement of design inferences to humans as an objection is a strawman tactic.

    KF

    PS: The design inference process is not a universal decoder algorithm, nor does it need to be. The issue is not a claim to recognise all instances of design but to with high confidence recognise some cases on empirical signs. Of which FSCO/I is one. Where as a practical matter, decoding encrypted strings shows a further level of FSCO/I. But the patterns are often recognised as signal not noise on characteristics long before decoding. Indeed the very metric signal to noise ratio in t/comms is itself an indicator of how routinely design detection occurs in some fields of science and technology.

  55. 55
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Nonresponsive. In the midst of a mountain range a pile of rocks can look like a horse but that fact doesn’t extend a “distinct entity” to this pile of rocks.

    Of course it can.

    Naturalist: Do you see yonder pile of rocks that’s almost in the shape of a horse?

    Origenes: Looking like something is not the same as having that identity — not under naturalism or any other ‘—ism’ that I’m aware of.

    A pile of rocks in the shape of a horse isn’t a horse — of course. However, most naturalists can easily recognize a large solid-hoofed herbivorous ungulate domesticated mammal of the genus Equus as a horse, even though it is made up of atoms.

    Origenes: Sure, like I said nothing over and beyond elementary particles.

    Again, naturalism doesn’t imply atomism, but given atomism, an object is the observed clump of atoms that has its own distinguishing properties. There’s nothing inconsistent in naturalism with this view.

  56. 56
    J-Mac says:

    “Baloney. Atheists are not angry at God. Among other things, why would one be angry at a being that one does not believe exists?”

    Well Aleta, ideally, the atheists would have to prove that there is no God by proving that the universe and life came into existence without a need for God or ID. Most respected atheists I know are actually agnostic due to the issues mentioned by me.

    Unless you have some evidence to prove your atheistic view one way or another, you can only claim to be an atheist. You can’t prove your stand as to why you are an atheist, scientifically speaking. You can only say that it is your choice but that would not stand any argument here though….

  57. 57
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: Nonresponsive. In the midst of a mountain range a pile of rocks can look like a horse but that fact doesn’t extend a “distinct entity” to this pile of rocks.

    Zachriel: Of course it can.
    Naturalist: Do you see yonder pile of rocks that’s almost in the shape of a horse?

    Again, does a certain shape endow something with the status “distinct entity”? What are you talking about?

    Entity (noun)

    Something that exists apart from other things, having its own independent existence.
    [Cambridge Dictionaries Online]

    Zachriel: A pile of rocks in the shape of a horse isn’t a horse — of course.

    However, most naturalists can easily recognize a large solid-hoofed herbivorous ungulate domesticated mammal of the genus Equus as a horse, even though it is made up of atoms.

    This recognition is unrelated to their philosophy and its logical consequences, which is being discussed here. Naturalists can do all sorts of things (e.g. being moral), which according to their philosophy doesn’t make sense or should not even be possible. That’s not being discussed here.

    Zachriel: Again, naturalism doesn’t imply atomism,

    Naturalism, physicalism, materialism and atomism have roughly the same meaning.

    Zachriel: (…) but given atomism, an object is the observed clump of atoms that has its own distinguishing properties.

    First, be careful of your wording here. There is no “it” which “possesses” (or uses) “its own” properties. An attentive naturalist rejects these projections of personhood.
    Second, it’s important to notice that, those properties you speak of, are fully dependent on the atoms. As philosophers say these properties supervene on the atoms. And by this is meant that that given the state of the atoms, there is only one way that any structure, property or “mental property” can be. IOWs there is zero wiggle room — zero “distance” if you will — for the conglomerate wrt to the level of elementary particles. Or yet IOWs the conglomerate is no “distinct entity” wrt to the elementary particles, but is instead produced by it for 100%.
    Just like a Lego horse consists of nothing over and beyond Lego blocks.

  58. 58
    Aleta says:

    j-mac writes, in reply to my statement that “Atheists are not angry at God. Among other things, why would one be angry at a being that one does not believe exists?

    Well Aleta, ideally, the atheists would have to prove that there is no God by proving that the universe and life came into existence without a need for God or ID. Most respected atheists I know are actually agnostic due to the issues mentioned by me.

    Unless you have some evidence to prove your atheistic view one way or another, you can only claim to be an atheist. You can’t prove your stand as to why you are an atheist, scientifically speaking. You can only say that it is your choice but that would not stand any argument here though….

    Hmmmm. You are changing the subject. I have what I consider good reasons for being an atheist (and especially in not believing in any of the gods invented by mankind), and I’ve been in discussions here at UD about that.

    But the original statement was that atheists were angry at God, and that was what I was replying to. I’m not an atheist (of the form that I am) because of any anger, any more than I think you are a believer out of fear of there not be an imposed purpose in your life. It’s not appropriate or constructive to ascribe beliefs to people based on your thoughts of what their motivations ought to be, rather then being willing to learn what they themselves see as the foundation of their beliefs.

  59. 59
    Algorithm Eh says:

    KairosFocus: “In this case, humans would not be available candidates for an icehenge on the Dwarf Planet known as Pluto.”

    Agreed.

    “The obvious conclusion any archaeologist would make with moral certainty is, design.”

    No, there is not a credible archaeologist who would jump to this conclusion. Archaeologists study human history. We have already agreed that your Plutonian Stonehenge is not of human manufacture.

    “In short, the confinement of design inferences to humans as an objection is a strawman tactic.”

    Your unsubstantiated opinion is duly noted. Unless, of course, you have some real example to present.

    And, your propensity to falsely label the arguments made by anyone who disagrees with you (eg. falsely labelling it a strawman) is also duly noted.

  60. 60
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Again, does a certain shape endow something with the status “distinct entity”?

    What part of “yonder pile of rocks” do you not understand?

    Origenes: This recognition is unrelated to their philosophy and its logical consequences, which is being discussed here.

    You seem to want to ascribe views to naturalists when a cursory examination of the literature shows that nearly all naturalists hold a contrary view.

    Origenes: Naturalism, physicalism, materialism and atomism have roughly the same meaning.

    No. Naturalism is independent of atomism. Someone doesn’t have to believe that things are made up of atoms to think that everything supervenes on the natural.

    Origenes: There is no “it” which “possesses” (or uses) “its own” properties. An attentive naturalist rejects these projections of personhood.

    We’re not talking about personhood, but a pile of rocks.

    N: Do you see yonder pile of rocks?

    O: You mean the one that’s almost in the shape of a horse?

    N: Yes, that’s the one.

    O: You can’t mean that pile of rocks, because you reject that rocks can form a separate object.

    N: Huh? I’m talking about that pile of rocks right there {pointing}.

    O: Your philosophy means you can’t point with your finger, which is made up of atoms.

    N: You’re as silly as Hamlet looking at clouds.

    Origenes: it’s important to notice that, those properties you speak of, are fully dependent on the atoms.

    An emergentist would claim the properties are emergent, and in many cases, we can show how properties emerge from the collective physical behavior of the components.

    Origenes: Just like a Lego horse consists of nothing over and beyond Lego blocks.

    To most naturalists, a Lego horse is a specific configuration of Legos, one which can be pointed to, named, and considered as an object.

  61. 61
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Zachriel: To most naturalists, a Lego horse is a specific configuration of Legos, one which can be pointed to, named, and considered as an object.

    You seem unable to make a distinction between ascribed identity and intrinsic identity. Yes we can ascribe [“point to”, “name” and “consider”] “horse” to a Lego structure. However there is nothing intrinsic to that Lego structure that is a “horse”. IOWs “horse” would be a “derived” identity (from an external source, namely us) and not an “original” identity.
    If there is no original identity, then the Lego horse is in fact nothing over and beyond Lego blocks — simply because there is no identity that makes it one thing. IOWs there is no horse in reality, we can only ascribe (project) oneness (“horse”) to what is in fact nothing over and beyond a conglomerate of Lego blocks.
    Similarly naturalism cannot ground (intrinsic/original) identity wrt a conglomerate of atoms — like “human being”.

  62. 62
    Virgil Cain says:

    Algorithm Eh:

    Archaeologists study human history

    Dolt. They do that by finding artifacts and other evidences left behind. But first they have to make a determination if artifacts indeed exist. They do so by finding signs of work or manufacture.

    The henge on Pluto would also be evidence of manufacture

    We agree that humans are very good at identifying things build by other humans.

    We are also good at identifying things built by other intentional agencies. We do that because we have a good understanding of cause and effect relationships. We know what mother nature is capable of and we know what intentional agencies can do with nature.

  63. 63
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: However there is nothing intrinsic to that Lego structure that is a “horse”.

    Well, that’s probably because a Lego horse is not a horse in fact. However, a particular arrangement of organic molecules is a horse in fact, as most naturalists would agree.

  64. 64
    Virgil Cain says:

    Algorithm Eh:

    I must have missed the groundbreaking paper about humans designing life from scratch.

    I must have missed the groundbreaking paper about mother nature designing life from scratch. The concept can’t even be tested. However we can test the concept that life was intelligently designed.

    I think the term you were looking for is that the “modification”‘of life forms is possible. Darwin wrote extensively in a little book he wrote. Maybe you have heard about it.

    Darwin’s ideas cannot be tested. However, thanks to genetic algorithms we can directly observe the power of evolution via intelligent design.

  65. 65
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    However, a particular arrangement of organic molecules is a horse in fact, as most naturalists would agree.

    And yet those same naturalists cannot explain the existence of a horse.

  66. 66
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Origenes: However there is nothing intrinsic to that Lego structure that is a “horse”.

    Zachriel: Well, that’s probably because a Lego horse is not a horse in fact.

    No, that’s not the reason at all. The reason is that there is no intrinsic “horse” identity to a collection of Lego blocks. Just like there is no intrinsic “human” identity to a conglomerate of atoms.

    Zachriel:However, a particular arrangement of organic molecules is a horse in fact, as most naturalists would agree.

    Given naturalism, such an agreement would constitute a clear example of naively ascribed identity. Lego blocks or atoms, under naturalism, there is in fact no horse ….

  67. 67
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: The reason is that there is no intrinsic “horse” identity to a collection of Lego blocks.

    Um, a Lego horse is not a horse. It is an object, however, even to a naturalist. It is a specific ordering of Legos into the shape of a horse.

    Origenes: Just like there is no intrinsic “human” identity to a conglomerate of atoms.

    Have no idea what that means. However, specific conglomerations of atoms do make a horse.

    Baby naturalist: Horsey! {after making a Lego horse}

    O: No. You can’t say that.

    Baby naturalist: Horsey! {pointing}

    O: Quit saying that!

    Baby naturalist: Horsey! Horsey!

  68. 68
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    However, specific conglomerations of atoms do make a horse.

    And another unsubstantiated claim by Zachriel. We love how Zachriel always cries when others do so and yet all Zachriel ever does is spew unsubstantiated claims. Talk about not knowing one’s place…

  69. 69
    velikovskys says:

    However, specific conglomerations of atoms do make a horse.

    Virgil:
    And another unsubstantiated claim by Zachriel. We love how Zachriel always cries when others do so and yet all Zachriel ever does is spew unsubstantiated claims. Talk about not knowing one’s place…

    If the pattern of atoms does not make a horse what did the designer design? An abstract idea of horsieness?

  70. 70
    Virgil Cain says:

    velikovskys:

    If the pattern of atoms does not make a horse what did the designer design?

    Obviously more than just the pattern.

  71. 71
    ellazimm says:

    #66 VC

    Dolt. They do that by finding artifacts and other evidences left behind. But first they have to make a determination if artifacts indeed exist. They do so by finding signs of work or manufacture.

    What? They don’t attempt to detect design first using Dr Dembski’s metric?

    Actually, looking for signs of a worked surface for objects like hand axes or abrader stones is done and can be a bit tricky. I’ve found such objects on sites and had them evaluated. Sometimes the experienced archaeologist disagree which makes sense if, say, an stone really is a hand axe but was only used once or twice on soft objects.

  72. 72
    Virgil Cain says:

    EZ Jerad:

    They don’t attempt to detect design first using Dr Dembski’s metric?

    They use the EF or something very, very similar to it. Science mandates that approach but you wouldn’t know that because you don’t understand science.

  73. 73
    velikovskys says:

    Virgil:
    Obviously more than just the pattern.

    So a intelligent designer must create both the pattern of atoms of a thing and something else which is obvious. Can ID detect this obvious something?

  74. 74
    Virgil Cain says:

    velikovskys:

    So a intelligent designer must create both the pattern of atoms of a thing and something else which is obvious. Can ID detect this obvious something?

    Yes.

  75. 75
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Zachriel: It is a specific ordering of Legos into the shape of a horse.

    As explained, the naturalist cannot ground the concept “horse”.

    Zachriel:

    Baby naturalist: Horsey! {after making a Lego horse}
    O: No. You can’t say that.
    Baby naturalist: Horsey! {pointing}

    In what way does the naive opinion of a nescient baby naturalist count as an argument?

    Daddy naturalist: (… ) and therefor the universe that we observe has no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
    Baby naturalist: Daddy bad!
    Daddy naturalist: I have just explained to you that there is no such thing as “bad”.
    Baby naturalist: Daddy bad!

    Question to Zachriel: how is that an argument?

  76. 76
    Algorithm Eh says:

    velikovskys: “So a intelligent designer must create both the pattern of atoms of a thing and something else which is obvious. Can ID detect this obvious something?”

    VC: “Yes.”

    Well, now that this has been decided, we can get right on discarding evolution and teaching creation Intelligent Design in the schools.

  77. 77
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: As explained, the naturalist cannot ground the concept “horse”.

    Rather, a typical naturalists observes the world, finds similarities and differences between various objects there, and gives them names. You seem to think there is some sort of “ideal” horse that exists outside human experience, when, as it turns out, unless you have seen or heard about horses, you have no notion of them.

  78. 78
    velikovskys says:

    Virgil:
    Yes

    Just as I thought, all hat, no cattle.

  79. 79
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Zachriel: Rather, a typical naturalists observes the world, finds similarities and differences between various objects there, and gives them names.

    Sure. You keep bringing up this trite observation as if it is relevant. But what is your point? Giving object names falls into the category “ascribed identity” — see #65 — which is in reality no identity at all.
    You are having a great deal of trouble grasping the difference between ascribed and intrinsic identity, haven’t you?

    Zachriel: You seem to think there is some sort of “ideal” horse that exists outside human experience, when, as it turns out (….).

    We are not discussing my position. We are discussing naturalism and its logical consequences.

  80. 80
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: You are having a great deal of trouble grasping the difference between ascribed and intrinsic identity, haven’t you?

    Free free to explain how you view the distinction.

  81. 81

    I find it very creepy that evolution scientists try to leave subjectivity out of their view of reality.

    It conjures up images of scientists performing gruesome experiments on animals in the laboratory, coldly noting the facts of what happens, their emotions shut down.

  82. 82
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Feel free to reread post #65 and #70. In there you will find a brief explanation of the difference between intrinsic and ascribed identity.
    Also here (B.Vallicella) you can find a highly relevant article, which deals with original (intrinsic) vs derived (ascribed) intentionality.

  83. 83
    Origenes says:

    Question designed for Zachriel: How many things do we have, given that a Lego horse consists of 30 Lego blocks?

    A. 30 things, namely 30 Lego blocks
    B. 31 things, namely 30 Lego blocks + the sum of it (“Lego horse”).
    C. Other

  84. 84
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes @86: Feel free to reread post #65 and #70

    @60 you have simply substituted “original identity” for “intrinsic identity”. @70 doesn’t give an explanation at all. @86 your link doesn’t work; however, a cache copy seems to point to a discussion of intentionality, not objects.

    Origenes: How many things do we have, given that a Lego horse consists of 30 Lego blocks?

    There is one Lego horse.

    If we take the Lebo horse apart, we have 30 Lego blocks. If we look more closely, we have about 2*10^23 atoms. Each atom is composed of even smaller particles. Still, there is only one Lego horse.

  85. 85
    Virgil Cain says:

    Algorithm Eh:

    Well, now that this has been decided, we can get right on discarding evolution and teaching creation Intelligent Design in the schools.

    ID is not anti-evolution. Obviously you have no clue as to what is being debated.

  86. 86
    Virgil Cain says:

    Earth to velikovskys- I answered your question. So why are you acting like an infant?

    Yes ID and all scientists can tell a living organism from an inanimate object. That is what biology is all about. Or do you think that biologists do not know what to study and they spend their days with archaeologists going over artifacts?

  87. 87
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel @88,

    So, what is your answer to my question (see post 87)? How many things do we have? 30, 31 or other?

    p.s. please ignore the atom-level for now.

  88. 88
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: So, what is your answer to my question?

    There is one Lego horse — as most naturalists would agree.

  89. 89
    velikovskys says:

    Virgil:
    Earth to velikovskys- I answered your question. So why are you acting like an infant?

    I accepted your answer and provided my assessment of its informational value or would you have preferred a gratuitous insult instead?

    Yes ID and all scientists can tell a living organism from an inanimate object. That is what biology is all about. Or do you think that biologists do not know what to study and they spend their days with archaeologists going over artifacts?

    So intelligent design detection in a living organism is different than with an inanimate object like Stonehenge or a computer code?

  90. 90
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel #92,

    So, according to you, the total amount of things is 1? If so, why are there no 30 Lego blocks?

  91. 91
    Virgil Cain says:

    velikovskys:

    I accepted your answer and provided my assessment of its informational value

    LoL! The informational value followed directly from your question. Perhaps you should learn how to ask questions in order to get informational value from the answers.

    So intelligent design detection in a living organism is different than with an inanimate object like Stonehenge or a computer code?

    Not necessarily. It’s just that living organisms have something else, something that inanimate objects do not.

    And again if your position had something you wouldn’t have to needle IDists…

  92. 92
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: So, according to you, the total amount of things is 1? If so, why are there no 30 Lego blocks?

    There is one Lego horse. There are thirty Lego blocks. There are about 2*10^23 atoms.

    There is a beach at Porto-Vecchio. There are many grains of sand that make up that beach, and many atoms that make up each grain of sand. Knowing the beach is made up of grains of sands doesn’t mean there isn’t a beach at Porto-Vecchi.

  93. 93
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: There is one Lego horse. There are thirty Lego blocks.

    Slowly but surely we are making progress! Now tell me, how many things are there in total?

  94. 94
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Maybe it’s helpful if I present you with a simple, straightforward ‘Yes or No’ question:
    Suppose that you proceed with six bottles of beer to the supermarket’s ‘six items or fewer’ checkout line. The attendant protests your use of the line on the ground that you have seven items: six bottles of beer plus one mereological sum.

    Question: is the attendant correct?
    Yes or no?

  95. 95
    J-Mac says:

    Aleta wrote in response to my post that atheists can’t prove that God doesn’t exit by explaining that origins of universe and life on earth:

    Hmmmm. You are changing the subject.

    I’m not. Those are good reasons to make claims either way but your way has no evidence so far. So, how could it be better than mine?

    I have what I consider good reasons for being an atheist (and especially in not believing in any of the gods invented by mankind), and I’ve been in discussions here at UD about that.

    This claim would not pass among teenagers 13 and up. My sons would laugh and send you home packing…

    But the original statement was that atheists were angry at God, and that was what I was replying to. I’m not an atheist (of the form that I am) because of any anger, any more than I think you are a believer out of fear of there not be an imposed purpose in your life. It’s not appropriate or constructive to ascribe beliefs to people based on your thoughts of what their motivations ought to be, rather then being willing to learn what they themselves see as the foundation of their beliefs.

    This is your personal view, which is fine but who cares about it besides you?

    Leading new atheists like Dawkins are agnostic. So is Larry Moran and many others….

    Being an atheists requires more than just saying: I don’t believe in God/gods.

    One has the right to ask; why do you believe that the universe didn’t require an external, transcendent agent.

    Give me only 3 pieces of evidence why you believe that the universe and life on earth came to be on their own and I will leave you alone….

  96. 96
    Aleta says:

    J-mac says in response to my pointing out that I, and atheists in general, are not angry at God, by writing,

    This is your personal view, which is fine but who cares about it besides you?

    OK. I won’t say any more about it, then.

  97. 97
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Now tell me, how many things are there in total?

    Asked and answered. There is one Lego horse, thirty Lego pieces, and about 2*10^23 atoms.

    Origenes: The attendant protests your use of the line on the ground that you have seven items: six bottles of beer plus one mereological sum.

    A six-pack is normally one item at the checkout.

  98. 98
    Zachriel says:

    Z: A six-pack is normally one item at the checkout.

    Can you determine the philosophical vantage of the cashier based on their treating a six-pack as a single item?

  99. 99
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    @101. Can you provide me with a number? Perhaps “30” or “31”? Please, kindly ignore the atom-level.

    Zachriel: A six-pack is normally one item at the checkout.

    That may be so. However we are discussing “six bottles of beer”. In post 98 is no mention of a six-pack.

  100. 100
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: However we are discussing “six bottles of beer”.

    http://rkta.com.au/media/Image.....3-26_1.jpg

    To move us forward, try to answer this question. Can you determine whether the cashier is a naturalist based on their treating a six-pack as a single item?

  101. 101
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    You remain unresponsive to both questions. I take it that this is your way of conceding the argument.

    Thank you for your time

  102. 102
    Daniel King says:

    Origines, what’s your thinking about body and soul?

    Two items at checkout, or one?

    Please show your calculations.

  103. 103
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: You remain unresponsive to both questions.

    We answered the question several times. There is one Lego horse.

    Now, can you determine whether the cashier is a naturalist based on their treating a six-pack as a single item?

  104. 104
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    If the total amount of things is 1 to my question in post #87, then explain why. Don’t leave out what happened to 30 Lego blocks.

    Again, in my other question in #98 there is NO six-pack. There are 6 bottles of beer. If that’s confusing to you, replace them with 6 bottles of milk or even better: 3 bottles of milk and 3 bottles of beer.

    The cashier is an adherent of ‘unrestricted composition’, who are often, but not necessarily, of the naive naturalistic persuasion.

    ——
    Dear onlooker, if you are still there, you must have noticed that Zachriel dodges my questions.

  105. 105
    Aleta says:

    Jumping in here on this issue, I think this insistence on reductionism sort of odd. Things are made of parts, but they also cohere in ways we recognize, and we’re capable of looking at things from different points of view and at different scales. That a tree is made, ultimately, of quantum particles doesn’t negate my human experience of it as a tree – as a separate object in relationship to its environment, nor of me abstracting that and similar experience to that of “tree”. I don’t see how this has anything to do with whether one is a “naturalist” or not.

    My apologies if there are points I’ve missed in the first 100 posts.

  106. 106
    Aleta says:

    Suppose I consider a rock – think baseball size. Modern physics, which I accept, tells me that at the smallest, most basic level it’s made of elementary particles interacting in quantum ways. However, I don’t experience it that way at all. I experience it as a distinct object, with a clear boundary between it the rest of the world, I see it has color and other visual features, has weight, etc.

    How does the experience of this rock to a naturalist differ from that of a non-naturalist? Why, as Origenes says at 15, can there by, for the naturalist, “no entities over and beyond the level of elementary particles?’

    That makes no sense to me.

  107. 107
    Origenes says:

    Greetings Aleta,

    I hold that naturalists and theists can agree on that 6 bottles of beer are 6 items total — and not 7. The same with 3 bottles of milk and 3 bottles of beer: 6 items total and not 7.
    In both these examples it is absurd to refer to an additional “mereological sum” and thus arrive at a total of 7 items. If so, in both cases the mereological sum can be said not to exist — all that exists are 6 items.
    I hope we are in agreement so far — see also my question to Zachriel in post #98.

    Now the question arises if the same is true for an organism (e.g. a human being). IOWs: is an organism nothing over and beyond its parts? If we count all the parts of an organism do we arrive at the correct number of all things that exist? And “is” there — similar to the six beer bottles — no “mereological sum”? “Is” there in fact no organism? “Are” there only parts?

    Naturalism holds that there is nothing over and beyond the level of elementary particles. The logical consequence of this position is that there “is” in fact no organism.

    Aleta: That makes no sense to me.

    Same here.

  108. 108
    Aleta says:

    Hi Origenes – just a small amount of time:

    What if I show up to buy one bottle of beer, and the clerk says. “Sorry, that is actually 10^30 elementary particles. You’ll have to get in the other line”?

    And, when I said “That doesn’t make sense to me”, I meant it doesn’t make sense that you think a naturalist would have to deny the existence of the organism.

    It seems to be that we always see the parts of things from different perspectives: the wheel is part of the bike, the spoke is part of the wheel, the nut connecting the spoke to the rim is part of the spoke, the jillions of molecules of steel are part of the nut. And yet there is also a bike.

    Parts and wholes are products of our perception, cognition, and symbolic abstraction.

    So, can I, as a naturalist, see the bike, or am I obligated to say that that we don’t have a bike, we just have jillions of elementary particles?

  109. 109
    daveS says:

    Aleta,

    What if I show up to buy one bottle of beer, and the clerk says. “Sorry, that is actually 10^30 elementary particles. You’ll have to get in the other line”?

    I haven’t been following this thread closely, but that’s a great line.

    Your rock example leads me to wonder if some would claim that naturalism holds that there are no triangles, just sets of points (or perhaps, just points).

  110. 110
    Aleta says:

    To be clearer, why does the theist see the bike, or six-pack, or rock, differently than the naturalist? I’d like some explanation of that.

  111. 111
    Virgil Cain says:

    A naturalist can’t even explain his/ her own existence…

  112. 112
    Virgil Cain says:

    Aleta:

    What if I show up to buy one bottle of beer, and the clerk says. “Sorry, that is actually 10^30 elementary particles. You’ll have to get in the other line”?

    Then you are obviously on a different planet. 😎

  113. 113
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: The cashier is an adherent of ‘unrestricted composition’, …

    That doesn’t follow. A typical cashier, in the 12-items or less line, will count the six-pack as an item, and a bunch of bananas as an item, but not both together as an item.

    Origenes: who are often, but not necessarily, of the naive naturalistic persuasion.

    So at least some naturalists understand that a single object may be formed of constituent parts.

    Aleta: What if I show up to buy one bottle of beer, and the clerk says. “Sorry, that is actually 10^30 elementary particles. You’ll have to get in the other line”?

    Heh.

    Origenes: Naturalism holds that there is nothing over and beyond the level of elementary particles.

    Naturalism holds that everything arises from natural forces, including the clumping of matter called life. Naturalism doesn’t take an explicit position on mereology, and there are naturalists who take a pragmatic approach, and others who take a formal approach. For instance, most everyone agrees we can group items arbitrarily, but a naturalist mereologist might claim that only some sets represent the so-called real world. In any case, there is nothing about naturalism that prevents the recognition of objects in the world.

  114. 114
    Virgil Cain says:

    Naturalism holds that everything arises from natural forces, including the clumping of matter called life.

    They don’t have any support for the claim about life. And there isn’t any way to test the claim.

  115. 115
    Me_Think says:

    Origens @ 111

    In both these examples it is absurd to refer to an additional “mereological sum” and thus arrive at a total of 7 items. If so, in both cases the mereological sum can be said not to exist — all that exists are 6 items…….And “is” there — similar to the six beer bottles — no “mereological sum”? “Is” there in fact no organism? “Are” there only parts?

    Just curious – what is the ‘mereological sum’ of a human being?

  116. 116
    Aleta says:

    Aachriel writes,

    In any case, there is nothing about naturalism that prevents the recognition of objects in the world.

    I agree. I would like Origenes to explain why he thinks otherwise.

  117. 117
    Origenes says:

    Aleta, Me_think & Zachriel,

    Aleta: What if I show up to buy one bottle of beer, and the clerk says. “Sorry, that is actually 10^30 elementary particles. You’ll have to get in the other line”?

    He would have a point. However, for the sake of this discussion please pretend that the level of elementary particles does not exist and that one bottle of beer is one item.

    Zachriel: In any case, there is nothing about naturalism that prevents the recognition of objects in the world.

    Aleta: I agree. I would like Origenes to explain why he thinks otherwise.

    Under naturalism, “objects” don’t exist as distinct entities but are instead nothing over and beyond the parts — they “exist” in the same way as a mereological sum of six bottles of beer “exist”. I have spelled out my reasoning as clearly as I can in post #111. Which part of my reasoning is in need of explanation?

    Me_Think: Just curious – what is the ‘mereological sum’ of a human being?

    A ‘human being’ is the ‘mereological sum’ of the parts that constitute a human being. More generally formulated, the term “mereological sum” is used to appeal to the intuition that a human being, contrary to 6 bottles of beer, is more than his (physical) parts.

  118. 118
    Zachriel says:

    Aleta: What if I show up to buy one bottle of beer, and the clerk says. “Sorry, that is actually 10^30 elementary particles. You’ll have to get in the other line”

    Origenes: He would have a point.

    But no job as a cashier.

    Origenes: In both these examples it is absurd to refer to an additional “mereological sum” and thus arrive at a total of 7 items.

    No, but six items can be treated as a single object, and most naturalists agree that this corporate object may have a natural existence with its own emergent properties. There is nothing inconsistent about treating each beer in a six-pack as an object, and treating the six-pack as an object. You don’t end up with seven objects. You end up with either six objects or one object depending on the level of analysis. It’s no different than any other set, formal or naturalistic.

    You’ve already indicated that there is at least one naturalist, working as a cashier, that has no problem making this distinction.

  119. 119
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel @122,

    Origenes: In both these examples it is absurd to refer to an additional “mereological sum” and thus arrive at a total of 7 items.

    Zachriel: No, but six items can be treated as a single object, and most naturalists agree that this corporate object may have a natural existence with its own emergent properties.

    For the record, is it your argument that six bottles of beer are one object because “it” has “its” “own” “emergent properties”? If so, why do you not arrive at a total of 7 items? How about two bottles of beer, does “it” have “its” “own” “emergent properties” as well?

    Zachriel: There is nothing inconsistent about treating each beer in a six-pack as an object, and treating the six-pack as an object. You don’t end up with seven objects.

    For the umpteenth time: there is no six-pack, there never was. There are six bottles of beer.
    Allow me to rephrase what you just said:

    Zachriel: There is nothing inconsistent about treating each beer in a six-pack of six bottles of beer as an object, and treating the six-pack six bottles of beer as an object. You don’t end up with seven objects.

    If there is “nothing inconsistent” about treating six bottles of beer as one object, why don’t you arrive at a total of 7 items? And while we are at it, why not treat (whatever that means) three bottles of beer as one object and add two more items?

  120. 120
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: For the record, is it your argument that six bottles of beer are one object because “it” has “its” “own” “emergent properties”?

    Sure it does. A six-pack has it’s own container, for instance.

    Origenes: If so, why do you not arrive at a total of 7 items?

    It’s no different than treating a set as a whole, except that in formalism, sets can be arbitrary, while in nature, there are often good reasons to treat multiple components as a single object, particularly if they exhibit properties that are not exhibited by the components.

    Origenes: For the umpteenth time: there is no six-pack, there never was. There are six bottles of beer.

    Then it’s six items in the checkout lane. Perhaps you aren’t suited for the job of a cashier.

  121. 121
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Zachriel: (…) treating a set as a whole, (…)

    You don’t seem to grasp the argument …. at all. I’m interested in what is. What I’m not interested in is in “treating” six bottles of beer as if they are one item. Treating things as if they are something that they are not is not an argument. Your ‘treating-argument’ does not make sense at all. Why not “treat” two bottles of beer as one item and “treat” the other four bottles of beer as one item, so you have two items total?
    Stop it.

    Origenes: There are six bottles of beer.

    Zachriel: Then it’s six items in the checkout lane.

    Ok. So, I take it that the “mereological sum” is out – does not exist.
    Reread #111. If you still have questions, do let me know.

  122. 122
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: What I’m not interested in is in “treating” six bottles of beer as if they are one item.

    A formalist view is that we can treat any arbitrary grouping as a set. The naturalist view is that there are good reasons to treat certain groupings as objects, for instance, matter clumps into distinct objects called stars.

  123. 123
    Daniel King says:

    Origenes: What I’m not interested in is in “treating” six bottles of beer as if they are one item.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Budw.....k/10984460

    “$6.47 at Portland”

  124. 124
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    When a naturalist “treats” six bottles of beer as one, two or three items, does he seriously hold that such a treatment is related to reality? Or is such an arbitrary “treating” activity some sort of thought exercise? Like … “suppose for a moment that we don’t have six items, but have one item instead”? or “no, let’s make that two items!”.
    I mean, a naturalist would still understand that there is a difference between reality and fiction, right?
    Right?

  125. 125
    Aleta says:

    Origenes, please explain how the problems of identifying what is an object is different for a theist than it is for a naturalist. How does a theistic perspective make these issues not a problem for the theist that you describe as a problem for the naturalist?

    I would like to ask some more questions about the general philosophical issue of wholes and parts, but I first need to understand why the issues are different for the theist than the naturalist.

  126. 126
    Origenes says:

    Aleta,

    Tell me what you find unclear about post #111. I believe the answer to your question is in there. “Naturalism holds that there is nothing over and beyond the level of elementary particles.” As we all know a theist does not agree. According to theism a human being is more than his (physical) parts. Therefor theism can ground the term “human being” — under theism “human being” refers to an actual existing entity — and the naturalist cannot.

  127. 127
    Aleta says:

    re 130: But what about a six pack of beer, or a bicycle, or a rock

    I understand that a theist believes there is more to life than the material world.

    But you are making claims about inanimate objects, and I think we need to understand that first. You seem to be making blanket claims about differences between theists and naturalists in being able to recognize parts and wholes in general. That’s what I would like to understand.

    In 121, you wrote,

    Under naturalism, “objects” don’t exist as distinct entities but are instead nothing over and beyond the parts — they “exist” in the same way as a mereological sum of six bottles of beer “exist”.

    That statement is about all objects, not just organisms. Post 111 doesn’t explain why you think this is true.

    So back to my original question: what is the difference between a theist and a naturalist in recognizing a bottle of beer as an object?

  128. 128
    Aleta says:

    Aha. Reading more carefully, I see that part of the problem is Origene’s definition of naturalism.

    “Naturalism holds that there is nothing over and beyond the level of elementary particles.”

    and in 13, he wrote,

    There exist no entities over and beyond the level of elementary particles.

    These are not accurate statements. In fact they load the definition with the exact conclusion that is being contested.

    A more accurate definition of would be that naturalism holds that all things that exist are composed of the basic constituents (elementary particles and forces) of the material world. Assuming we subsume all the complexities of quantum particles, fundamental forces, and other elements of modern physics into the phrase “elementary particles'”, this can be shortened to

    Naturalism holds that all things that exist are composed of elementary particles.

    This definition accurately reflect the fact that the properties of these elementary particles are such that they combine to make discernable wholes of which they (the particles) are the most elementary parts.

    A really simple example. Sodium is an element with 11 electrons, 11 protons, and 12 neutrons (34 parts), and chlorine is an element with 17 electrons, 17 protons, and 18 neutrons (52 parts).

    Together they make one molecule of salt.

    Salt is something that exists in the world and it is composed of elementary particles.

    Neither the theist or the naturalist would disagree about this, I don’t think.

    P.S. Let me make it clear that I know that the theist will say that naturalism is false, but that is not the topic of the discussion. We are discussing an accurate description of how people, both theists and naturalists, perceive and think about inanimate wholes and their parts.

  129. 129
    Origenes says:

    Aleta,

    Aleta: What is the difference between a theist and a naturalist in recognizing a bottle of beer as an object?

    I argue continually that there is no difference. Theists and naturalists have the same view on inanimate objects.

    Origenes: I hold that naturalists and theists can agree on that 6 bottles of beer are 6 items total — and not 7.

    It’s surprisingly important to my argument to stress that 6 bottles of beer are 6 items. My point is that it’s not an accurate description of reality when we, theists and naturalists alike, speak of “one set of beer” and refer to 6 bottles of beer. Since there exists no actual distinct entity, which is one thing and is called “one set of beer”. What actually does exist are six bottles of beer.

    Aleta: A really simple example. Sodium is an element with 11 electrons, 11 protons, and 12 neutrons (34 parts), and chlorine is an element with 17 electrons, 17 protons, and 18 neutrons (52 parts).
    Together they make one molecule of salt. Salt is something that exists in the world and it is composed of elementary particles. Neither the theist or the naturalist would disagree about this, I don’t think.

    “Salt” is in fact not one thing, just like “one set of beer” is not one thing. Sure, we may treat a salt molecule as if it is one thing, but in reality it is 52 things. Similarly we may treat “one set of beer” as if it is one thing, but in reality it is 6 things.

    Aleta: Aha. Reading more carefully, I see that part of the problem is Origene’s definition of naturalism.
    A more accurate definition of would be that naturalism holds that all things that exist are composed of the basic constituents (elementary particles and forces) of the material world.

    There is an inaccuracy loaded into this definition. “Things that exist are composed of [parts]”. IOWs there is one thing that is many things. There is the inaccuracy. Right there. Upon reflection it doesn’t make sense.
    There is “one set of beer” that is composed of “six bottles of beer”.

    1 = 6

    Is there in reality a distinct entity, which is one thing and is called “one set of beer”? No, there is not. In reality there are six bottles of beer.

  130. 130
    Me_Think says:

    Origenes @ 133
    Let me add one more dimension to this:
    The number of parts an object is made of would depend on what you use to see the object/person. With your eyes, you can see 1 human being, with a microscope you see more parts, with electron microscope, you may see even more parts.
    similarly, if you are far off, you can see a group , with binoculars you can see 3 persons in the group, with a better binocular you may see 1 person, with an even better binocular you may see the face of one person. IOW the parts someone sees depends on the instrument he/she uses to see it. Ofcourse, there is also the intention of the person – a decent guy may see all the parts, while some guys may concentrate on only some parts.

  131. 131
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: When a naturalist “treats” six bottles of beer as one, two or three items, does he seriously hold that such a treatment is related to reality?

    The naturalist cashier treats a six-pack as a single item, while treating six separate bottles as six items. She may even suggest you get a better deal buying a six-pack rather than six separate bottles of beer.

    Origenes: I mean, a naturalist would still understand that there is a difference between reality and fiction, right?

    Sure. And perhaps you could argue with the cashier that your six separate items should be treated as one item, while everyone waiting in line is treated to the spectacle.

    However, some collections of items have real existence to (most) naturalists, including the collection of atoms that make up a rock, a star, or a rock star.

    Origenes: “Naturalism holds that there is nothing over and beyond the level of elementary particles.”

    That is incorrect. A naturalist recognizes that there are collections, which often have properties emergent from the collection.

    (Technically, naturalism is independent of atomism. Someone doesn’t have to believe that things are made up of atoms, or even know what atoms are, to think that everything supervenes on the natural.)

  132. 132
    Origenes says:

    Me_Think,

    Your observation points to a related problem: infinite regress. If parts consist of parts, which in turn consists of parts, which in turn … and so forth. Rosenberg puts it like this:

    The multiverse theory seems to provide an opportunity seized upon by wishful thinkers, theologians, and their fellow travelers among the physicists and philosophers. First they ask, “If our universe is just one of many in a multiverse, where did the multiverse come from? And where did the multiverse’s cause come from, and where did its cause come from?” And so on, ad infinitum. Once they have convinced themselves and others that this series of questions has no stopping point in physics, they play what they imagine is a trump card, a question whose only answer they think has to be the God hypothesis.
    It is certainly true that if physics has to move back farther and farther in the regress from universe to multiverse to something that gave rise to the multiverse, to something even more basic than that, it will never reach any point labeled “last stop, all off” (or rather “starting point” for all destinations). By the same token, if it has to move down to smaller and more fundamental components of reality than even fermions or bosons, it won’t ever know whether it has reached the “basement level” of reality.

    —-
    Zachriel, you have become more and more unresponsive. Glancing up through your last posts, I see nothing that merits a response.

  133. 133
    algorithm A says:

    All this talk of beer is making me thirsty.

  134. 134
    Aleta says:

    Well, I dropped into this discussion, but think I’ll drop back out. I can’t make much sense out of Origenes’ points. Treating salt as if were one thing when it’s really 52 elementary particles but each bottle of beer is a bottle of beer, not 10^30 elementary particles, isn’t consistent, and I don’t see him putting forth any consistent set of principles in play here.

    I do agree with this, though:

    it will never reach any point labeled “last stop, all off” (or rather “starting point” for all destinations). By the same token, if it has to move down to smaller and more fundamental components of reality than even fermions or bosons, it won’t ever know whether it has reached the “basement level” of reality.

    I think that will forever be the case for our most fundamental level of reality. But that seems to be an entirely different subject.

  135. 135
    Me_Think says:

    Origene @ 136

    Your observation points to a related problem: infinite regress. If parts consist of parts, which in turn consists of parts, which in turn … and so forth.

    But the infinite regress of parts stops at fundamental particle level, because there are no more particles (parts) to discern.

  136. 136
    Origenes says:

    Aleta,

    Aleta: Treating salt as if were one thing when it’s really 52 elementary particles but each bottle of beer is a bottle of beer, not 10^30 elementary particles, isn’t consistent, (…)

    Obviously I agree. However in order to discuss this topic we have to pretend that there is a basic level somewhere — we either stop with a bottle of beer, with elementary particles or with fermions and bosons. Obviously we have to draw the line somewhere and obviously it’s a matter of agreement between reasonable people. By the same token someone may object to your assessment that salt consists of 52 elementary particles, and proposes 10^300 fermions (not to mention even more ‘strings’) instead. It’s utterly irrelevant to my argument, which you fail to address.

    Aleta: I can’t make much sense out of Origenes’ points.

    How is this trivial matter related to the points I make?

    Aleta: and I don’t see him putting forth any consistent set of principles in play here.

    What kind of consistent set of principles do you have in mind regarding this ‘what-is-the-basic-level-issue’?

    Aleta: Well, I dropped into this discussion, but think I’ll drop back out.

    Well good for you! However, I do hope that you understand that your semantic point does not in any way undermine the substantive points I have made.

  137. 137
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Obviously we have to draw the line somewhere and obviously it’s a matter of agreement between reasonable people.

    Obviously, reasonable people, naturalist and otherwise, agree we can observe that matter clumps into things we call objects, and that these objects have properties that are emergent, that is, properties that can only be found in the clump, and not in the components. Everyone agrees that ordinary table salt is sodium chloride, but table salt has properties that are quite distinct from those of sodium and chlorine.

  138. 138
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Six bottles of beer have properties that are quite distinct from one bottle of beer. However that doesn’t make six bottles of beer one single item.

  139. 139
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Six bottles of beer have properties that are quite distinct from one bottle of beer. However that doesn’t make six bottles of beer one single item.

    Perhaps. However, a six-pack has only a single barcode, while sodium and chlorine have distinctly different properties than sodium chloride.

  140. 140
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel,

    Six bottles of beer have another shape, weight, impact, structure and what not, than one bottle of beer. That still doesn’t mean that 6 equals 1.

  141. 141
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: Six bottles of beer have another shape, weight, impact, structure and what not, than one bottle of beer.

    Gee whiz, Origenes. We’ve already agreed that many groupings are strictly formal. What about sodium and chlorine? Are you really claiming that a naturalist doesn’t see sodium chloride as a distinct object, or a cake for that matter.

  142. 142
    Origenes says:

    Zachriel: Are you really claiming that a naturalist doesn’t see sodium chloride as a distinct object, or a cake for that matter.

    No, that’s not what I’m claiming.
    It’s rather disappointing to notice that you still don’t understand my argument. I’m not interested in what the average dime-a-dozen naturalist does and doesn’t do. Nor am I interested in the activities of “baby naturalists” {#71, #79}. What interests me is what the ideal naturalist — who acts in perfect accord with the logical consequences of naturalism — does.

  143. 143
    Zachriel says:

    Origenes: What interests me is what the ideal naturalist — who acts in perfect accord with the logical consequences of naturalism — does.

    The use of the term “ideal” and “perfect” are probably ill-chosen, however, we understand that you think logically consistent naturalism can’t treat conglomerates as real objects.

    A naturalist can see clumping of matter as a real phenomenon, and consider it as an object. A simple example is a molecule of sodium chloride, which has an existence, in most naturalist philosophies, above and beyond that of the individual sodium and chlorine atoms. That’s because there is a relationship between the atoms when in molecular form that is not there when in atomic form.

    You’re actually arguing that a logical naturalist can’t recognize a cake as an object independent of the sugar and flour of which it is made.

  144. 144
    Daniel King says:

    What interests me is what the ideal naturalist — who acts in perfect accord with the logical consequences of naturalism — does.

    Ah, the “logical consequences of naturalism” shibboleth.

    Please show the logic.

  145. 145
    Aleta says:

    Yes, inevitably the non-naturalist makes assumptions about naturalism based on his own belief about what naturalism lacks because it’s not theistic: all seems a bit circular to me. “Logical consequences” are only as good as their premises, and if the premises in fact reject major parts of a naturalists own viewpoint, then the “logical consequences” are going to be faulty.

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