Design inference Intelligent Design Philosophy Psychology Science

At Psychology Today: Opponent asks, does ID have a valid point about agency?

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It goes downhill from there. If I were a Darwinian, I would be embarrassed by this stuff.

From Jeremy E Sherman at Psychology Today:

I’m an atheist with a PhD. in evolutionary theory. I spend much of my time encouraging a new relationship with religion and spirituality modeled on our relationship with fiction.

For example, I wish that Christians believed in Christ the way they believe in Santa Claus, as a fictional character based loosely on a historical one, reconfigured to embody a first-cut simplification of Christian values for kids that remains vivid and valued by nostalgic and conscientious adults.

Most of the world, for whatever reason, continues to distinguish between apparent truth and admitted fiction. Now, as to Sherman’s main point: He thinks that there isn’t yet a valid scientific explanation for agency

What do I mean by agency? Agency is the behavior of agents like you and me though not just of humans. Agency is evident in any living being, any organism making an effort for its own benefit, effort fitted to circumstances. You are an agent but so is a bug, begonia or bacterium. All organisms try to stay alive. Trying is the heart of agency.

Most organisms don’t know they’re trying, don’t feel like trying and aren’t trying to try better. Still, they try to stay alive. That’s agency.

And so?

So how does ID explain agency? Beautifully from a poetic fictional perspective. From a scientific perspective, they offer no explanation at all.

According to ID (and theology and spirituality in general) agency doesn’t need explaining because it’s the fundamental property of the universe, present in God before the origin of the physical universe. More.

Sherman does not source his claims about ID theory to anyone in particular and gives no sense of having read books by ID theorists (who don’t talk this way). By all means, read his column if you wish, but it says something about psychology today in general that – in Psychology Today – unsourced, poetically inspired opinion is welcomed in place of factual analysis and interviews with representative actual subjects.

See also: Psychologist offers a drive-by psychiatric diagnosis of ID guys. Those who cannot deal with a fact base often build an elaborate drama around why it doesn’t really exist or else doesn’t mean what it means, conscripting key players into unfamiliar roles and generalizing about the rest.

and

Facts are shaking the foundations of psychology

31 Replies to “At Psychology Today: Opponent asks, does ID have a valid point about agency?

  1. 1
    Allan Keith says:

    According to ID (and theology and spirituality in general) agency doesn’t need explaining because it’s the fundamental property of the universe, present in God before the origin of the physical universe.

    Maybe ID doesn’t say this specifically, but they certainly practice it. ID attempts to infer design but refuses to address anything about the designer or how the design is made real.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Allan:

    ID attempts to infer design but refuses to address anything about the designer or how the design is made real.

    So what? ID doesn’t prevent anyone from looking into those questions. ID just makes them separate from determining whether or not real design exists.

    That said, evolutionism is supposed to be all about the how and yet evolutionary biologists don’t have a clue the vast majority of the time.

  3. 3
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    So what?

    It’s no skin off my nose. But reputable scientific disciplines keep digging. Archaeologists aren’t satisfied with saying, “yup, that there thingy sure looks like it was designed, our job here is done”. They try to find evidence of who designed it. What tools and mechanisms of construction were used. Where the materials came from. How the tools themselves were manufactured. Who manufactured them. What happened to the beings that designed and made the structure.

    But if ID is satisfied with not doing any of this, I have no problem. But then don’t complain when nobody else takes ID seriously.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Stop quote-mining me, loser.

    But reputable scientific disciplines keep digging.

    Again- ID does not stop anyone from looking into those questions.

    Archaeologists aren’t satisfied with saying, “yup, that there thingy sure looks like it was designed, our job here is done”.

    ID doesn’t say that either. Clearly you are just ignorant of what ID says.

    ID is about the detection and STUDY of intelligent design in nature. We STUDY it so we can come to understand it. We do that so we can maintain or repair it as required. And maybe be able to duplicate it some time in the future.

    They try to find evidence of who designed it. What tools and mechanisms of construction were used. Where the materials came from. How the tools themselves were manufactured. Who manufactured them. What happened to the beings that designed and made the structure.

    And they aren’t always successful. heck we still don’t know who designed and built Stonehenge. We don’t have anything with respect to the Antikythera mechanism

    But if ID is satisfied with not doing any of this, I have no problem.

    Yes, you have a major problem- ignorance of science

    But then don’t complain when nobody else takes ID seriously.

    The losers who don’t take ID seriously do not have a testable and viable alternative to explain the evidence. That is why the vast majority of people don’t take what tey say seriously.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    According to ID (and theology and spirituality in general) agency doesn’t need explaining because it’s the fundamental property of the universe, present in God before the origin of the physical universe.

    That is completely false. ID is not about the agency. ID is about what the agency did and left behind, ie ID is about the DESIGN.

  6. 6
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Stop quote-mining me, loser.

    You have a strange idea of what a quote mine is.

    Again- ID does not stop anyone from looking into those questions.

    But nobody does. Why?

    ID is about the detection and STUDY of intelligent design in nature. We STUDY it so we can come to understand it. We do that so we can maintain or repair it as required. And maybe be able to duplicate it some time in the future.

    Is this the actual stated purpose of ID? Reference please.

    And they aren’t always successful. heck we still don’t know who designed and built Stonehenge.

    The actual names of the people? No we don’t. But we know a lot about when and the people who built it. Some of them are even buried there.

    http://www.bradshawfoundation......ehenge.php

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Allan:

    You have a strange idea of what a quote mine is.

    No. You only quoted part of what I said and left out the relevant part. That is a quote-mine

    But nobody does. Why?

    Ask yourself- why don’t you look into those questions?

    Is this the actual stated purpose of ID? Reference please.

    Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. Wm. Dembski

    But we know a lot about when and the people who built it. Some of them are even buried there.

    Umm we don’t know if they designed and built it. The people buried there could have been people not even related to the structure.

  8. 8
    tribune7 says:

    Allan ID attempts to infer design but refuses to address anything about the designer or how the design is made real.

    If the thermometer reads 120 degrees does that tell you what caused that thermodynamic state? Should the reading be discounted because it doesn’t?

    If a tape measure reads 203 mm does that tell you why the length of the object is that?

    A methodology does not have to provide complete knowledge to be useful.

  9. 9
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    Ask yourself- why don’t you look into those questions?

    For the same reason that I do not look into astrology claims, bigfoot sightings and claims of alien abduction.

  10. 10
    ET says:

    Allan:

    For the same reason that I do not look into astrology claims, bigfoot sightings and claims of alien abduction.

    And yet all of those have more evidentiary support than evolutionism has.

    Evolutionary biologists don’t even know what makes an organism what it is. They have no idea how nature produced living organisms. They have no idea how nature produced this planet or solar system.

    Your position doesn’t even have a methodology to test its claims.

  11. 11
    LocalMinimum says:

    AK @ 1:

    ID attempts to infer design but refuses to address anything about the designer or how the design is made real.

    Theoretical physicists are often simply messy mathematicians working on models that will never be useful, and pure mathematicians are often disgusted with them for applying their beautiful mathematical forms towards any ugly application at all.

    Science is specialized, guy. If archaeologists (or paleontologists!) find an alien “genesis chamber”, we can crack it open. If SETI or anyone else receives a message from the sky, we can then so hypothesize. Not being able to find the chisel marks and flint dust on DNA makes no case against its design.

    Seeing as a lot of biology amounts to software, it would be more like considering a working executable file of unknown origin on my hard drive. Would the lack of a signature string, or knowledge of an author, or the compiler they used, or their favorite IDE, or the amount of ram on their computer at compile time put its being designed in doubt? Should I then expect it was an artifact of a drive defrag?

    As it is, we can safely expect that any designer capable of producing such systems is also potentially capable of not leaving behind physical evidence beyond the product at issue (biology). And, even if they did, how do you go looking for it on the basis of what you have, separate from the digging we already do?

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    So we should stop believing in Christ when the stockings no longer get stuffed with treats?

  13. 13
    Allan Keith says:

    LM,

    Not being able to find the chisel marks and flint dust on DNA makes no case against its design.

    I agree. But making no attempt to look for them does.

    Seeing as a lot of biology amounts to software, it would be more like considering a working executable file of unknown origin on my hard drive. Would the lack of a signature string, or knowledge of an author, or the compiler they used, or their favorite IDE, or the amount of ram on their computer at compile time put its being designed in doubt?

    No. We know that computer code is designed.

    As it is, we can safely expect that any designer capable of producing such systems is also potentially capable of not leaving behind physical evidence beyond the product at issue (biology).

    But why would we assume this. If we are using human design to infer design in biology, shouldn’t we expect to see physical evidence of how it was manufactured. We see physical evidence with human made artifacts.

    And, even if they did, how do you go looking for it on the basis of what you have, separate from the digging we already do?

    The same way that science progresses in all other fields. You develop hypotheses and then you test them. Even failed hypotheses are important. Every failed hypothesis points to another way that it wasn’t made. If it was truly designed, the process of elimination will eventually identify the most likely process.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    It is laughable that an atheist would want God to be considered imaginary. If God is not real, then nothing else can be real. PERIOD!

    Here is a recent post on Agent causality and the catastrophic epistemological failure that is inherent to the Atheist’s worldview in his denial of his own agency:

    Many people may object that, due to methodological naturalism, we cannot allow agent causality into physics.,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/does-the-beginning-of-the-universe-require-a-cause/#comment-658696

    Of related note:

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf
    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – 2012 lecture
    University of Wyoming J. Budziszewski – above quote taken at the 34:30 minute mark
    http://veritas.org/talks/profe.....er_id=2231

    of related note to evidence for the Mind of God as the cause for the universe.

    The Quantum Zeno Effect is particularly interesting to look at.
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/does-the-beginning-of-the-universe-require-a-cause/#comment-658717

  15. 15
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 14

    It is laughable that an atheist would want God to be considered imaginary. If God is not real, then nothing else can be real. PERIOD!

    Says who?

    Have you considered what that claim entails? If nothing is real unless God is real then God is necessary for the existence of anything – which includes evil and human suffering. If all the wonders of this world only exist because God wills and sustains them then so too does slavery, disease, famine, the Holocaust and all the suffering and death from all the diseases to which humanity is prone. By your own claim anything you have suffered in your life was willed and sustained by your God. Is such a being really worthy of your worship?

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Seversky, you may rely on the self-refuting, theologically based, ‘argument from evil’ to try to make your point,,,

    Where Do Good and Evil Come From? – Peter Kreft
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    “The strength of materialism is that it obviates the problem of evil altogether. God need not be reconciled with evil, because neither exists. Therefore the problem of evil is no problem at all.,,, And of course since there is no evil, the materialist must, ironically, not use evil to justify atheism. The problem of evil presupposes the existence of an objective evil-the very thing the materialist seems to deny. The argument (from Theodicy) that led to materialism is exhausted just when it is needed most. In other words, the problem of evil is only generated by the prior claims that evil exists. One cannot then conclude, with Dawkins, that there is ‘no evil and no good’ in the universe.,,,
    The fact that evolution’s acceptance hinges on a theological position would, for many, be enough to expel it from science. But evolution’s reliance on metaphysics is not its worst failing. Evolution’s real problem is not its metaphysics but its denial of its metaphysics.,,,
    Cornelius Hunter – Darwin’s God – pg. 154 & 159

    ,,, but I will rely on scientific evidence.,,,

    Materialists hold that material particles are the ultimate reality and, more specifically, materialists hold that atomic particles can exist independently of any conscious observers (after all conscious observers are nothing but material particles according to Darwinian materialists). This view of reality is called ‘realism’. Yet Quantum Mechanics has falsified ‘realism’:

    An experimental test of non-local realism – 2007
    Simon Gröblacher, Tomasz Paterek, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Caslav Brukner, Marek Zukowski, Markus Aspelmeyer & Anton Zeilinger
    Abstract: Most working scientists hold fast to the concept of ‘realism’—a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation. But quantum physics has shattered some of our cornerstone beliefs. According to Bell’s theorem, any theory that is based on the joint assumption of realism and locality (meaning that local events cannot be affected by actions in space-like separated regions) is at variance with certain quantum predictions. Experiments with entangled pairs of particles have amply confirmed these quantum predictions, thus rendering local realistic theories untenable. Maintaining realism as a fundamental concept would therefore necessitate the introduction of ‘spooky’ actions that defy locality. Here we show by both theory and experiment that a broad and rather reasonable class of such non-local realistic theories is incompatible with experimentally observable quantum correlations. In the experiment, we measure previously untested correlations between two entangled photons, and show that these correlations violate an inequality proposed by Leggett for non-local realistic theories. Our result suggests that giving up the concept of locality is not sufficient to be consistent with quantum experiments, unless certain intuitive features of realism are abandoned.
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....05677.html

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    And to put it more clearly, in the following experiment that was done with atoms instead of photons, the researcher remarked, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    So thus Seversky, as an atheistic materialist your whole foundational materialistic premise is experimentally taken completely out from under you.

    If you really cared about science (and truth), these experiments from quantum mechanics should make you completely reject your entire materialistic worldview.

    But even if you were to disregard the experimental evidence that falsifies your materialistic worldview, just from a practical standpoint, you should completely abandon atheistic materialism since it is a completely insane worldview,,,

    Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387
    Excerpt: Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God.
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Paper with references for each claim page; Page 34:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pAYmZpUWFEi3hu45FbQZEvGKsZ9GULzh8KM0CpqdePk/edit

    Thus, although the Darwinist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    ,,, it is a completely insane worldview that is impossible to live consistently by as if it were actually true,,,

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if atheistic materialism were actually true

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    And not so surprisingly, this delusional thinking that is inherent to atheistic materialism is found to have significant detrimental mental and physical effects on atheists

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    So thus Seversky, just from a practical and pragmatic standpoint, you should reject atheism since it is robbing you of life, health and happiness.

    Verse:

    John 10:10
    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

  18. 18
    LocalMinimum says:

    Not being able to find the chisel marks and flint dust on DNA makes no case against its design

    I agree. But making no attempt to look for them does.

    If I don’t have to find them, I don’t have to look for them. The only case I have to continue examining against is falsification via replication of the artifact by naturalistic processes.

    No. We know that computer code is designed.

    Should we expect it to be so? Why can’t a weird intersection between deleted data after a hard drive defragging yield a properly working and useful program? It’s no different than neutral theory popping out useful functions out of sight of selective pressure.

    But why would we assume this. If we are using human design to infer design in biology, shouldn’t we expect to see physical evidence of how it was manufactured. We see physical evidence with human made artifacts.

    We need not assume this. We need not prove it, either. If the designer had remote means of manufacture and transport, we need not assume that we’ll see evidence of how it was manufactured, either.

    Also, once humans can manufacture systems on par with biology, our current expectations of human manufacturing could very well be meaningless.

    The same way that science progresses in all other fields. You develop hypotheses and then you test them. Even failed hypotheses are important. Every failed hypothesis points to another way that it wasn’t made. If it was truly designed, the process of elimination will eventually identify the most likely process.

    Ok, we identify all means of manufacture, via the separate fields of biology/bioengineering. Then what? We already assume it can be manufactured, so design was always deemed possible. If it can’t be, ever, then we’ve effectively ruled out any naturalistic origin as well.

    ID already defers to demonstrable naturalistic processes; so if they remain insufficient, they remain insufficient. The inference towards an intelligent origin doesn’t change. What are we going to say? “Aw, jeez guys, these things are REALLY hard to make. I wouldn’t have bothered at all if I were some other designer. Must’ve started as a weird rock.”

    This is all just a red herring.

  19. 19
    blip says:

    Sev, for you to be killed, you have to first exist. So God makes your existence possible. Then you are killed. It doesn’t mean God killed you. Nor does it even mean God wanted you dead. Maybe you did. Or someone else. But between you and God, frankly, you’re the likely candidate.

    Reason doesn’t seem to be your strong point. But then, materialism invariably damages reason. Just look at your comrade AK, the failed hypothesis.

  20. 20
    Origenes says:

    Why do organisms value life? Why do they try to stay alive? Science has no answer, according to Sherman.
    There is a serious problem.

    (0:45) “A doorknob, a car, a super computer, a galaxy, what do they try to achieve? Nothing. They are totally indifferent to what happens. But Living beings are not indifferent. We care. We try to achieve valued states; first and foremost staying alive.”
    video

    But, hooray, now there is finally a scientific explanation developed by Berkeley scientist Terrence Deacon.

    (4:28)Now here is a new alternative scientific explanation developed by Berkeley scientist Terrence Deacon …
    Reality is all physical. Value isn’t the result of something added to physical reality; rather it results from the way that living beings prevent possible work. And as a result valuable work becomes more likely to occur.
    The secret of value lies in the special way that living beings constrain or limit possibilities. … You focus your work. And on what primarily? On staying alive — on maintaining your ability to focus your work.
    video

    So, why do organisms value life? Why is there such a thing as value at all? What is the scientific explanation for this fact? … wait for it …

    Organisms focus on valuable activity.

    This is brilliant stuff by a brilliant mind. These are great times to be alive.
    [/snarc]

  21. 21
    Origenes says:

    // follow up #20 //

    The fact that organisms try to stay alive (and, thus, value being alive) is “explained” by the fact that organisms focus on staying alive …

    This is a brazen example of circular reasoning.

  22. 22
    LocalMinimum says:

    Seversky @ 15:

    By your own claim anything you have suffered in your life was willed and sustained by your God. Is such a being really worthy of your worship?

    Good, evil, life, death, love, hate. If we were to just nakedly ascribe everything to God, the stark beauty, detail, and grandeur of it all should demand worship.

    Plenty of atheists are worshipful of nature on this basis. They’ll wax poetic about dumb nature and “her” often terrible, often magnificent beauty; but put a mind behind it (other than theirs) and suddenly it’s hideous and worthless.

    Now, if that God acts to tip the balance for the better, that only makes Them even more worthy of worship.

  23. 23
    jdk says:

    I am late to the party, but I want to reply to this quote from the OP.

    According to ID (and theology and spirituality in general) agency doesn’t need explaining because it’s the fundamental property of the universe, present in God before the origin of the physical universe.

    I understand that this doesn’t apply to everyone’s thoughts on ID, but it is a very accurate statement about the metaphysics of most of the UD participants about the nature of mind, consciousness, and the nature of the universe in general.

  24. 24
    Origenes says:

    Sherman: (0:45) “We try to achieve valued states; first and foremost staying alive.”

    ‘Staying alive’ is an abstract idea, since, depending on circumstances, it can mean countless of different things. For an organism, attacking may be required for staying alive in scenario A, but can mean instant death in scenario W.

    My simple point is that ‘staying alive’ is an abstract catch-all-term for a wide range of distinct behaviors on many different levels of the organism.

    Sherman presents ‘staying alive’ as something that organisms can be focused on. But how can a bacterium focus on such an abstraction? Such a focus can only be achieved when an organism has the ability to understand the generic concept of ‘staying alive’, which, under Sherman’s preferred world view materialism, is absurd.

  25. 25
    Belfast says:

    Surely I am not alone in despairing when I see over and over the same banal objections to design mixed with illogical mantras and truly awful attempts at philosophy.
    Could the editor hold or somehow compartmentalise the likes of AK and Seversky and their jejune notions – they have been answered in length and depth and breadth for YEARS now.
    That way we can read comments relevant to the article.
    I fear I miss intelligent commentary trying to skip past blether.

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 20

    Here is my previous reply to Seversky that went unanswered:

    Well Seversky, you may rely on the self-refuting, theologically based, ‘argument from evil’ to try to make your point,,,,,, but I will rely on scientific evidence.,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/at-psychology-today-opponent-asks-does-id-have-a-valid-point-about-agency/#comment-658894

    I’m pretty sure I’ve answered the key points in those posts on at least two previous occasions at length.

    Very briefly:

    The origin of good and evil have to be God if you are a Christian, since nothing exists except by His will. If you are agnostic or atheist then good and evil are judgments we make of purposeful acts.

    In spite of Cornelius Hunter’s Paleyist propaganda, the theory of evolution does not depend in any way on a theological position for its acceptance although it can account for its rejection.

    Quantum mechanics is a materialist theory in that it describes what happens at the very smallest scales of matter and energy. It has revealed many counter-intuitive phenomena at that level but it does not change the fact that of you kick a rock you can still hurt your toe.

    Furthermore the Copenhagen Interpretation and the measurement problem do not necessarily imply that the existence of reality at all scales depends on an observer. If nothing exists before an observation, what was being observed in the first place? Are you arguing that you do not exist unless you are being observed by someone else? If nothing exists unless it is being observed then you are opening the prospect of an infinite chain of observer and observed. How can there have been a first observer if such could not have existed without being observed? If you admit there was an unobserved first observer then you are denying that nothing can exist without being observed.

    Quantum mechanics does not undermine my materialist view it simply expands it.

  27. 27
    Seversky says:

    blip @ 19

    Sev, for you to be killed, you have to first exist. So God makes your existence possible. Then you are killed. It doesn’t mean God killed you. Nor does it even mean God wanted you dead. Maybe you did. Or someone else. But between you and God, frankly, you’re the likely candidate.

    If God, being omniscient, knew I was about to be killed and, being omnipotent, had the absolute power to prevent it but did nothing, then my death would certainly have been by His will even if He did not actually pull the trigger. Who is the more guilty, the hit-man or the man who hired him?

  28. 28
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “The origin of good and evil have to be God if you are a Christian, since nothing exists except by His will. If you are agnostic or atheist then good and evil are judgments we make of purposeful acts.”

    There are no purposeful acts in atheistic materialism. There is no good and evil in atheistic materialism. There is no “I”, i.e. agent causality, in atheistic materialism. i.e. There can be no ‘judgment’ in atheistic materialism.

    “In spite of Cornelius Hunter’s Paleyist propaganda, the theory of evolution does not depend in any way on a theological position for its acceptance although it can account for its rejection.”

    Then tell present day Darwinists to stop making theologically based arguments for Darwinian evolution and finally, once and for all, present, some, ANY, real time empirical evidence for their sweeping claims.

    “Quantum mechanics is a materialist theory in that it describes what happens at the very smallest scales of matter and energy. It has revealed many counter-intuitive phenomena at that level but it does not change the fact that of you kick a rock you can still hurt your toe.”

    Quantum Mechanics is about as far away from materialistic presuppositions as can be had. Denying it does not make Quantum Mechanics friendly to materialistic concerns.

    The Death of Materialism
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM0IKLv7KrE

    Your simplistic dodge of the measurement problem has also been answered by InspiringPhilosophy.

    The Measurement Problem
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE&list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TViAqtowpvZy5PZpn-MoSK_&index=4

  29. 29
    Axel says:

    Seversky really ‘lowered the boom, on you, ‘bornagain77’, pointing out to you that lots of nasty things happen in the world, so God must be cruel and horrible. And… and.. if He’s such a cruel rotter, we won’t let him be God. Really, Seversky, are you interested in the truth or only finding a God you approve of ?

    Strangely enough – I’m not saying they are necessarily wrong – I believe Christian apologists consider that God must be good, though I can’t remember the reason adduced. I tend to favour Aldous Huxley’s view, i.e. that a creator god does not have to be good. It just happens that He is.

    The repeated lack of logic shown, the irrelevancies thrown out, by you and Keith Allan should make an academically-educated person feel ashamed.

  30. 30
    Axel says:

    I messed up that last sentence, BA77, meaning to address Seversky and Keith Allan, not you, not you and Keith.

  31. 31
    kairosfocus says:

    On the problem of evil, i/l/o Plantinga’s response — and, long before that, Boethius: http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_gdvsevl

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