Intelligent Design

What Gives?

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In my essay here, paragwinn asks, “You’ve been quite prolific lately with these testimonials. What gives?”

Note the 136 comments at this writing, which eclipses most all recent posts by an order of magnitude. This is not an atypical consequence of my posts at UD.

So, what gives? What gives is a sea change in the history of science. For centuries it was thought by the “scientific” elite that materialism (i.e., chance and necessity) would eventually explain everything, and there was (what turned out to be ephemeral) evidence that this might be the case, as a result of the advancements of science and technology in the 19th and 20th centuries.

But something happened in the latter half of the 20th century. Suddenly, the science upon which a materialistic worldview depended was turned on its head. The fine-tuning of the laws of physics for the eventual production of living systems was elucidated, and the information-based nature of living systems was discovered.

Another commenter on the thread referenced above thought that I was somehow proud of my militant-atheistic past. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am hideously ashamed of it.

The reason for my passion is that reason and science liberated me from the nihilism of materialism. The irony is that a materialistic worldview is not only destructive of the human soul, it is destructive of legitimate scientific investigation.

50 Replies to “What Gives?

  1. 1
    Blue_Savannah says:

    The reason for my passion is that reason and science liberated me from the nihilism of materialism. The irony is that a materialistic worldview is not only destructive of the human soul, it is destructive of legitimate scientific investigation.

    THAT says it all!!! 🙂

  2. 2
    markf says:

    Gildodgen

    The fact remains that your posts are very similar to each other and mostly about Gildodgen . I suspect the reason they often lead to a lot of comments is that they effectively become open threads for anyone to discuss whatever interests them.

  3. 3
    Petrushka says:

    What interest me at the moment is that long threads no longer load to completion. I am not the only one having this problem.

    There is no link for reporting things like this, so I’ll do it here on thread likely to be noticed.

    I, and others, have experienced this on IE, FireFox and Chrome.

  4. 4
    woodford says:

    I have to concur that I find Gil’s posts mostly very repetitive. I wish he would talk more in-depth about the evidence that has persuaded him of his position (and not just that he thinks it “obvious” – obviously many of us don’t).

    And just for the record, not all atheists are wretched creatures living a miserable life. I’m sorry if that was Gil’s experience, but there are a vast number of happy, well-adjusted atheists who live very fulfilled lives.

  5. 5
    Petrushka says:

    I’m afraid I find happiness and unhappiness to be inborn traits unrelated to ideology, theology or politics. I have known chronically unhappy people with all variations of the above. Same with happy people.

    As with most traits, it’s a spectrum rather than all or nothing.

  6. 6
    JDH says:

    markf – I am in somewhat agreement that Gil’s posts have a repetitive nature to them. Yet I still find them entertaining because I hope they will goad people like you into some self-examination.

    It’s not as though compatibilism is this clear explanation that takes away all the inherent contradictions of the materialistic perspective giving Gil a lot of intellectually stimulating areas to attack.

    IMHO compatibilism is merely cloud of obfuscation and vagueness that somehow allows a pseudo-intellectual enough clever words to hide behind. It clarifies nothing, makes no convincing arguments, and only tries to bury the problems of self-consciousness behind a mask of impressive sounding philosophical terms. I can understand you may think his posts a bit irritating. But I think its mostly because you have no clean rebuttal available.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    JDH as to, ‘I hope they will goad people like you into some self-examination.’,,, JDH, Funny you should say precisely that statement because, serendipitously, this award winning mini-documentary, which I JUST WATCHED moments before I read your statement, is precisely about ‘goading’ people into self-examination!!! Cool huh?!?

    “180” Movie – Award winning documentary
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI

  8. 8
    Collin says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Very powerful. I do kind of think its a bait and switch though. But I’d hope everyone would watch it.

  9. 9
    Collin says:

    I would like GilDodgen to go into more detail about what facts lead him to change his mind. I do suspect that he has done so before though.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Collin, I don’t think the video was so much a bait and switch tactic that Comfort used, such as what neo-Darwinists do with the word ‘evolution’, to try to trick people into believing that large scale ‘evolution’ is true from small scale ‘evolution’ events. (Small scale events that are shown to degrade preexisting molecular functions for the vast majority of times (Behe)). No I think Ray Comfort was very wise in showing people the logically inconsistency of their worldview for different situations. Since people intuitively know that the logic of their worldview must hold true for their worldview to actually be true for all situations (unless qualified by a sufficient ‘logical’ warrant of exception), then ‘the tactic’ was not malicious or misleading in the least!

  11. 11
    paragwinn says:

    Note the 136 comments at this writing, which eclipses most all recent posts by an order of magnitude.

    Did you count the comments generated over at AtBC as well? They are also not an atypical consequence.

  12. 12
    Timbo says:

    Yes, you might note that most of your posts are about your atheist father who was a great scientist, your prior empty atheist life, and your conversion due to your determination to follow a life of rationality. Yet you might note that none of those topics get picked up in the threads. Aside from being repetitive, those subjects just don’t really offer anything interesting to talk about.

  13. 13
    GilDodgen says:

    My purpose is to provide encouragement to fellow victims of materialistic philosophy — which is ubiquitous and pervasive in public education and all the popular media — and to demonstrate that legitimate science points in the direction of design and therefore purpose and meaning in life.

    I promise to never again reference my abandonment of militant atheism, since that seems to be out of bounds. I’ll just address the science.

    In pursuit of that goal I’d like to refer UD readers to two of my previous UD posts:

    Writing Computer Programs by Random Mutation and Natural Selection

    The Miracle of Co-option

    The bottom line, as far as I’m concerned, is that the Darwinian thesis of random errors producing biological technology is transparently illogical, mathematically absurd, and clearly ideologically motivated. In my opinion, the claims of Darwinists for the creative power of Darwinian mechanisms have been empirically falsified by people like Michael Behe and Doug Axe.

  14. 14
    Collin says:

    Gil,

    I definitely do NOT mean to criticize. I do not have a problem with your posts, so I’m sorry if I gave that impression. I don’t agree with the detractors here. I was just curious about some of the details and I appreciate the references to your other posts that have some of those details.

  15. 15
    Collin says:

    Kind of interesting to me. Human stories are the most meaningful kind, imo.

  16. 16
    M. Holcumbrink says:

    Gil, I wish you had not promised to never again reference your abandonment of militant atheism. I love to hear it, every time you bring it up. It gives me much hope, and encouragement is one thing that none of us ID types can do without. And as for repetition, who cares? Who knows how many people out there visit this blog only once or twice, and it will be their only chance to hear about your militant atheism gone kaput.

    I say mention your ex-militant atheism as much as you want, detractors be damned (pardon the pun).

  17. 17
    woodford says:

    I honestly don’t really care all that much what Gil talks about really.

    But I guess the question is, is this a site about the science of UD, or a testimonial site about people’s spiritual journeys and a rallying center against the evils of atheism and materialism? Certainly it seems the later theme here appears more than evidence for ID (e.g., when was the last time there was a post about published results from an ID experiment?)

    I’m more interested in the former, and want to hear more about the evidence for ID (and not just arguments from incredulity either). And while we’re on the topic, I wouldn’t mind a bit less of some of the sneers that seem to appear here on a daily basis from “News”. They diminish and detract and do not reflect well on UD or ID.

  18. 18
    StephenB says:

    To celebrate one’s liberation from the slavery of Darwinist materialism is to offend those who choose to remain enslaved. That would explain why Gil’s enemies continually try to discourage him from sharing his story. Fortunately, he is not buying into their strategy. He understands that new readers are finding this site every day and will likely not know about his life-changing experience unless he shares it from time to time. It is a simple truth about the art of persuasion: facts tell, but stories sell.

    Darwinists, of course, cannot sell anything. If they couldn’t resort to tyrannical intimidation, intellectual dishonesty, and systematic brainwashing, they would be out of business. Typically, they think with their glands, which is another way of saying that the cravings of their appetites shape the content of their minds. If a man does not conform his behavior to a philosophy of life, he will find a philosophy of life that justifies his behavior. Darwinism is nothing more than a rebellious act of the will; hit has no intellectual substance.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Not only do Atheists have deeply held beliefs (instead of just lack of belief as they like to claim), but their beliefs are exactly opposite of the truth!

    From Atheism to Theism In Reverse
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=9C2E1MNU

  20. 20
    woodford says:

    Well, I guess you answered my question from above! Nice polemic though, quite colorful. Obviously many people here think this whole topic has more to do with spiritual warfare than science.

  21. 21
    kellyhomes says:

    StephenB,

    He understands that new readers are finding this site every day and will likely not know about his life-changing experience unless he shares it from time to time.

    Indeed, as a relatively new reader and indeed commenter it’s the first time I’ve read it so I don’t know what the fuss is about.

  22. 22
    Grunty says:

    Absolutely agree. News just comes across as anti-science.

  23. 23
    Grunty says:

    Wrong, as usual. If Gil wants to bang on about his conversion, that’s his prerogative. What I deplore is the lack of evidence from him as to what caused him to convert. For example: Gil has occasionally mentioned that it was “high school math” that convinced him evolution was wrong, yet depsited repeated requests he has never reproduced that math. It ought to be easy enough – it’s only high school math after all.

  24. 24
    StephenB says:

    In fact, UD is “about” anything the author chooses to discuss, including ID science, Darwinistic non-science, TE schizophrenia, current affairs, philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, or political correctness, or personal experiences. This thread happens to be about a personal story. For my part, I would welcome the personal tesimony of any Darwinist, especially one who embraced Darwinism in order to justify a libertine life style.

  25. 25
    woodford says:

    Well I suppose you’re right, why not talk about these other things, after all if we only stuck to ID Science, then we wouldn’t have all the 8-9 postings a day we see on UD nowadays (which I think personally has got a bit too much, the signal to noise ratio has definitely gone down).

    It’s interested though you think people invoke “Darwinism” as a basis for a lifestyle. I guess at least for myself, not only would I not even think of labeling myself a “Darwinist”, I certainly don’t think about it all that much other than occasionally reading blogs like this. In fact even with my atheist friends we rarely talk about it. So here then is a personal story if you like, just about every person I know is an atheist not because of Darwinism, but usually for many other reasons.

    That’s my story too, I became interested in science and evolution long after I had become an atheist (and the reasons for that have really nothing to do with science). And honestly, if Darwinism turned out to be completely wrong, I have no problem with that. Without sounding glib, it’s really not all that important – I’m too busy living my life! I guess my money’s still on a natural explanation, although maybe the Designer may show up one of these days and spill the beans (after all one would hope as an Intelligent Designer it would also be an Intelligent Communicator to, although so far it seems rather a Coy Communicator…)

  26. 26
    StephenB says:

    I just did a quick scan of the latest 20 threads. Based on my interpretation, 15 of them are about science. I suspect that if we checked on the last 500, a similar pattern would emerge. Since we deal in multiple themes, and since one theme (science) is more prevalent than all others combined, it seems evident that we are not getting too far afield from the analysis of ID science vs. Darwinistic non-science.

    With respect to atheism, I hold that most people who embrace that world view do so because they would prefer a universe in which no God exists. There is certainly no intellectual justification for such a position since it entails the illogical notion that something (universe, life etc.) can come from nothing.

    If you spend much time on our site, and I hope you do, you will find that Darwinism has, indeed, turned out to be completely wrong. There is not one shred of evidence to support the notion that Darwininstic mechanisms can generate all biodiversity. At best, such forces as random variation, natural selection, genetic drift etc. can generate small changes, nothing more–certainly nothing like a new bodyplan.

  27. 27
    GilDodgen says:

    Woodford,

    The philosophical implications of design versus the Darwinian thesis that mud turned into Mozart by accident (with the bad accidents thrown out by natural selection, and the good accidents preserved) are obvious. What matters is what is true and what actually happened.

    I find the Darwinian thesis to be hyper-irrational and even anti-scientific.

    As far as logical arguments in favor of my position are concerned, you might like to visit the links I provided above.

  28. 28
    Timbo says:

    In those 15 are you including the sarcastic and mocking reviews of stories in the science media by “News” that mostly attract 0 to 1 comments?

  29. 29
    GilDodgen says:

    Who knows how many people out there visit this blog only once or twice, and it will be their only chance to hear about your militant atheism gone kaput.

    Good point. I’ll give it consideration, with discernment.

  30. 30
    GilDodgen says:

    …this whole topic has more to do with spiritual warfare than science.

    In my opinion it obviously has to do with both. That’s why passions run high. I think what really inspires my detractors to go into fits of rage and irrationality is that I apostatized from their religion of atheism, to a great extent on the basis of science and rationality, which they presume to be the foundation of their faith, and which I found to falsify it.

  31. 31
    junkdnaforlife says:

    Gil: “I’ll give it consideration, with discernment.”

    naw, keep swinging. Your words resonate.

  32. 32
    StephenB says:

    –Timbo: “In those 15 are you including the sarcastic and mocking reviews of stories in the science media by “News” that mostly attract 0 to 1 comments?”

    Recently, I have noticed that the latest news about ID science and Darwinistic non-science has taken center stage as the most prominently displayed theme. However, I don’t think that this new development can, by any stretch of the imagination, justify the claim that UD’s main theme is about “spiritual warfare.”

    Since we have more posts per day (and more viewers) than we once did, it follows that each post would generate fewer comments. As an ID supporter, I would be interested in a sociological study that could measure the relative influence of more threads with a short life span vs. fewer threads with a long life span.

  33. 33
    GilDodgen says:

    markf:

    I suspect the reason they often lead to a lot of comments is that they effectively become open threads for anyone to discuss whatever interests them.

    Holy mackerel! (How a mackerel could be holy I’ve not yet discerned, but that’s how the saying goes.) I just noticed that comments at my post

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ethinking/

    are up to 260.

    I have a different explanation for this phenomenon than yours, Mark. I think I put pebbles in shoes.

  34. 34
    junkdnaforlife says:

    There are times and places that require debate and philosophical speeches. And others to flip a table.

  35. 35
    markf says:

    I have a suggestion. Rather than repeat your life story every couple of weeks why not put it under “resources” as a constantly available inspiration to fellow UDers? Then you would be free to use your posts to supply information and arguments about ID.

  36. 36
    StephenB says:

    For an ID proponent to follow the “helpful” advice of a Darwinist is similar to a Republican following the helpful advice of a Democrat. Partisans do not make suggestions in order to provide aid to their adversary but rather to gain an advantage, evade the issue, blunt the point of an argument, or shut down discussion.

  37. 37
    Petrushka says:

    Partisans do not make suggestions in order to provide aid to their adversary but rather to gain an advantage, evade the issue, blunt the point of an argument, or shut down discussion.

    Either side has the ability voluntarily to engage in a search for common ground. Since no one “wins” these discussions, it makes sense to leave a trail of honest effort to define terms and reach agreement at least at the level of definitions.

  38. 38
    woodford says:

    There’s that obvious word again…

    I can see there are many mysteries about evolution that aren’t not understood. And maybe it is completely wrong. Don’t know. But to make this huge leap that because we have such gaps in our knowledge that somehow a designer is involved, is really very speculative. Interesting, but ultimately speculative. I think it makes an interesting hypothesis, but not one I could attach too much certainty too (although many here seem to have an extremely high degree of certainty, don’t they?). I know I’m going to get jumped on all over the place here – but the main issue for me, is if there is Intelligent Design, there’s an Intelligent Designer, so it’s reasonable to ask, well, what are the possibilities. Most here have settled that question; I have not and find those particular options untenable for a variety of reasons. That then leads us to an “Alien” designer – possible I suppose, but is there really the slightest bit of evidence for that?

  39. 39
    GilDodgen says:

    Grunty,

    I reproduced the math in my link above about combinatorial mathematics. Please read it. This is junior high school stuff.

  40. 40
    paragwinn says:

    And here I forsook religion and superstition on the basis of science and rationality, which I have found to falsify religion and superstition. I am neither outaraged nor irrational regarding your ‘apostsy’. Go figure.

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    Paragwinn states:

    And here I forsook religion and superstition on the basis of science and rationality,

    and You used the transcendent logic of the mind to prove that you don’t have a transcendent mind that can use logic rationally??? And the irony is missed by you how???

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition
    Michael Egnor – Neurosurgeon and Professor
    Excerpt: Matter has third person objective existence. The mind, as experienced, has first person subjective existence.

    Superstition is “a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary.” The foundation of the scientific revolution is the repudiation of the inference that matter has will, emotions and desires. If there is anything that modern science has demonstrated beyond dispute it is the gulf between objective and subjective ontology — between matter and mind. Yet the materialist superstition isn’t completely gone. It persists in its modern scientific manifestation — the inference that the mind is entirely caused by the brain — which is a superstition.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....13961.html

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    W:

    Are you aware that the heart of “spiritual warfare” as described by the Apostle Paul, in one of the key classic texts in which he actually speaks of warfare, 2 Cor 10:4 – 5, was about addressing critical [but often cosmetically plastered over] cracks in worldview foundations, misleading rhetorical tactics and resulting destructive socio-cultural agendas that hinder people from sound knowledge?

    GEM of TKI

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    Sadly, an all too common tactic here at UD on the part of Darwinist objectors: distract, distort, demonise & dismiss. Observe how this thread has largely been side tracked and where that too often ends up.

  44. 44
    markf says:

    kellyholmes

    Would my suggestion in 3.1.2.3.2 above have worked for you? It seems a bit of a waste effort for Gildodgen to have to repeat his life story regularly – although presumably he likes writing about himself.

  45. 45
    kairosfocus says:

    Stephen:

    My own thought is that UD probably needs to move to a situation where current debates are tied to major references and foundational discussions so that currency and substantiality are balanced. (That is in part why I have developed the IOSE.)

    GEM of TKI

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    KF, Yes. In keeping with your point,

    I hope that Gil ignores the Darwinist pretext that he relates his story too often or that “he presumably likes writing about himself.”

    –just as VJT ignores the Darwinst pretext that his posts are too long

    –just as you ignore the Darwinist pretext that you quote Lewontin too often.

    Notice that in every case, the complaint is calculated to provide a special advantage to our adversaries. Sincerity are fairmindedness are not nearly so one sided.

  47. 47
    markf says:

    I hope that Gil ignores the Darwinist pretext that he relates his story too often or that “he presumably likes writing about himself.”

    It is a matter of opinion as to whether repeating the same story every few weeks is interesting or not. But do you think that Gil does not like writing about himself?

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    I think Gil shares is story to serve a noble purpose, not, as was suggested, to call attention to himself. Notice, though, how the motive mongering shifts the discussion from a spiritual rags to riches story to the perceived predelictions of the story teller. Some of us are on to that game. That is why I encourage him to continue on as if nothing had been said on the matter.

  49. 49
    kairosfocus says:

    Steve:

    The ever so predictable trifecta fallacy pattern so beloved of darwinist objectors to design theory is getting well past sell-by date.

    What I find REALLY interesting, is that a pattern like that — distract, distort, denigrate — that has no redeeming features whatsoever, is resorted to in thread after thread after thread, regardless of pleas to stop. And meanwhile, the really serious matters on the merits on design theory issues, are seldom cogently addressed by objectors.

    Telling.

    Looks like we know who has a serious case on the merits [try here for a summary start . . . and I will forever draw attention back there . . . ], and who is habitually resorting to distractive rhetoric that spews out a cloud of squid ink to escape behind.

    Ever so telling.

    GEM of TKI

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    BA:

    This is one of the most significant things you have ever shared at UD.

    I intend to use this.

    Thank you.

    GEM of TKI

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