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The rigor mortis of science: The war on measurement itself has commenced

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Donna RileyFrom Notes and Comments at The New Criterion:

If you are thinking of building a bridge, be careful if your engineer went to Purdue University. Donna Riley, the head of the engineering department at Purdue, has put the world on notice that “rigor” is a dirty word. In an article for Engineering Education called “Rigor/Us: Building Boundaries and Disciplining Diversity with Standards of Merit,” Professor Riley, who is also the author of Engineering and Social Justice, argues that academic “rigor” is merely a blind for “white male heterosexual privilege.” Yes, really. “The term,” she writes, “has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular—are undeniable.” There follows a truly surreal meditation on the existential and sexist depredations of slide rules—those hard, straight instruments that have traditionally been deployed by men…

More.

She then goes on to attack scientific knowledge itself as hopelessly sexist and colonial.

Unfortunately, there is no simple way of addressing this science-killer in the post-modern university environment that naturalism has spawned. Women who achieve in science will be portrayed as “selling out” because they are using methods developed by men, as if they were free to just go and invent new methods instead. Women who fail or just decide they aren’t suited to science will be portrayed are heroines or victims, not as people who simply chose to do something else.

Most science boffins so far are simply looking the other way, hoping to be destroyed last, instead of crying Shame! on such things.

But then they can’t, can they? Traditionally, science studied nature but was not naturalist. That is, scientists believed that there was an order of things that were really true. When they believed that, the value of qualities like objectivity and rigor was apparent to all. Tday, most probably believe that their consciousness is an illusion that enables their selfish genes to survive and nothing more. So they really have nothing to defend except their jobs.

See also: Scientific thinking patterns are for men only, say feminist profs

Can science survive long in a post-modern world? It’s not clear.

and

Can the rot of naturalism be stopped? Relating information to matter and energy might help

50 Replies to “The rigor mortis of science: The war on measurement itself has commenced

  1. 1
    tribune7 says:

    We have to recognize is that science is a good thing and these people are its enemies.

    And as hard as it is for some to understand, that makes us — those who believe in absolutes like truth — the pro-science side.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    tribune7 says:

    Very well stated, gp.

  4. 4
    groovamos says:

    I’m a little peeverd at The New Criterion for not getting it more accurately. The woman is the head of the “engineering education” department (whatever that is you might ask), not the dean of the engineering school. The only “engineering departments” I know of are at schools with pre-engineering programs to prepare students to transfer to university.

    Several state universities around the country have established “engineering education” departments where they teach SJW’s who cannot make the grade in engineering. So they accept them into the “engineering education” departments where they teach them that science, math, and engineering are sexist and racist disciplines, and then teach them how to write papers to spew their polemics to the rest of the world.

  5. 5
    groovamos says:

    Correction – there is actually a school of engineering education at Purdue and the woman is the dean. You go to the webpage and it is about as confusing as you would expect. They funnel their 1st year students into engineering but so far as an undergraduate course catalog for the “school” I can’t find it. They do teach some courses for people who want an engineering background but do not want to practice engineering.. Here is the page maybe you guys can figure out what they do: https://engineering.purdue.edu/ENE

    Maybe they only offer advanced degrees in polemics or something:

    https://engineering.purdue.edu/ENE/InfoFor/GraduateStudents

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    She then goes on to attack scientific knowledge itself as hopelessly sexist and colonial.

    Unfortunately, there is no simple way of addressing this science-killer in the post-modern university environment that naturalism has spawned

    Unfortunately, this sort of nonsense is the price you pay for academic freedom. It doesn’t derive from naturalism, though, more like lit-crit and sociology of science perspectives.

  7. 7
    News says:

    Groovamos at 4 and 5, thanks for clarification. So there are still people studying engineering out there who think that engineering matters? Good. we use a lot of roads and bridges here where I live. Seversky at 6, no one is questioning her right to do this; many of us do not wish to fund it at the expense of real engineering or to in any way confuse the two.

    Post-modernism is essential to understanding why she even IS funded. Modernists were often atheists but they have not tended to believe that nonsense is just as valid as any other form of self-expression.

  8. 8
    EvilSnack says:

    While there may be no silver bullet for this variety of idiocy, there is one thing we can do: Don’t enroll at the schools where this nonsense is taught, don’t hire people who list credentials from these schools in their CV’s, and let our children know that if they want us to pay their tuition, they should avoid these schools.

  9. 9
    vividbleau says:

    News

    Many posters besides myself have pointed out that ideas and worldviews have consequences. Postmodernism, philosophical naturalism, the jettisoning of absolutes,etc, will continue to lead to the sawing off the branch upon which science sits.

    I’m not surprised by Riley’s position and I doubt you are as well.

    Vivid

  10. 10
    polistra says:

    This creature destroys its/her/ves/ums/zirs own argument with the bizarre nonsense about “hard rigid” slide rules.

    In fact slide rules are squishy and subjective, requiring several levels of HUMAN interpretation by the user.

    Computers are hard and rigid. Students who learn engineering with computers are more distant from the soft human aspect of the structures or circuits they build. They are less tolerant and less empathetic toward human variation and human error.

  11. 11
    rvb8 says:

    News,

    you do realise that being, ‘outraged’, by every stupidly outrageous claim, or belief, leaves you open to the accusation of being, ‘thin skinned’, or a, ‘snow flake’.

    Be like us atheist materialists, and look upon all stupidity with a shrug, and a, ‘meh!’

    You see, being an atheist materialist, puts you in the wonderful position of knowing how little you actually know. Thus we embrace our evolved stupidity, and are not, ‘offended’ by every little stupid person.

    It also enables us to humbly accept new discoveries, that time, and time again, disprove the, “supernatural”.

  12. 12

    Really?

    Which discovery disproves “the supernatural” rv, and how did it do it? It seems like someone in science and/or philosophy might have heard of it.

  13. 13
    johnnyb says:

    I understand that academics has a tenure aspect. Even given that, the reason that you shouldn’t enroll in Purdue for engineering is that they don’t hang a sign on the window the way that Lehigh does about Mike Behe. Their website should say, “this professor is free to express her views, but the university does not endorse them in any way whatsoever.”

    Any “pro-science” group that dishes it out harder to other schools and programs teaching creationism than they do to Purdue is simply full of crap.

    I should preface the previous that this assumes that “The New Criterion” is presenting her views accurately. I don’t know that this is the case, and, given our own position, we shouldn’t assume that to be the case.

  14. 14
    rvb8 says:

    Thermodynamics, Gravity, Chemical Reaction, Atomic Force, Electro-Magnetism, and the utter undeniable fact, that these forces, and processes can not be breached, or gain said.

    Your turn to waffle about beauty, redemption, Ephesians, salvation, and the Devil.

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:

    johnnyb @13,

    good well made point. If Behe must carry a banner around his neck for holding absurd views, then the professors who hold views such as those shown here, should also be held up for ridicule:

    I’m with you on this!

  16. 16
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8

    You see, being an atheist materialist, puts you in the wonderful position of knowing how little you actually know.

    What color is the sky in the alternate universe where you live rv? A-Mats are the most cocksure and hidebound people I have ever dealt with. You should get out more.

  17. 17

    rv, I wouldn’t ask you about beauty or salvation even if you had something to say. I’m asking what discovery disproves “the supernatural”, and why no one has ever heard of it.

  18. 18
    rvb8 says:

    Barry,

    the sky has no particular colour. That is, if you are expecting the answer, ‘blue’. This is the same kind of silly tautological phrase we used to get from the once great Bill O’Reilly, when explaining his indisputable philosophical approach to epistemology: “Sun comes up, sun goes down!”

    No Bill! The earth rotates.

    So Barry, as to your folksy, “What’s the sky colour…” Try to be a little more nuanced in your observations, questions, and answers. The, ‘one size fits all answer’, is no answer.

    I revel in knowing little, (very, very, little), it enables me to, ‘imagine’, have ‘curiosity’.

    I pity ID folk, because they already know everything. What a tiny universe you inhabit.

  19. 19
    rvb8 says:

    Upright BiPed @17,

    what I consider beautiful is probably similar to you; an ocean sunset, a mountain setting, cats playing, children laughing, old people holding hands, music, art, etc etc..

    We are probably very similar here.

    Salvation!? If you mean physical, or mental salvation, for a heroine addict, drunk, wife beater, former communist, religious person, then I would say yes! Difficult but possible.

    But I suspect you are talking about, ‘Spiritual Salvation’, are you not? There unfortunately you leave the realm of the possible, and enter the land of, ‘Nod’.

  20. 20
    Barry Arrington says:

    RV
    “I revel in knowing little, (very, very, little)”

    And yet you can’t seem to resist the urge to pontificate on practically every subject that gets raised in these pages. Odd that.

  21. 21

    rv, I didn’t bring up the topic of “salvation”, you did. I’m asking you what discovery disproves (what you term as) “the supernatural”, and why no one has ever heard of it.

  22. 22
    Barry Arrington says:

    RV:

    [Materialism] also enables us to humbly accept new discoveries, that time, and time again, disprove the, “supernatural”.

    UB:

    Which discovery disproves “the supernatural” rv, and how did it do it?

    RV:

    [incoherent rant]

    UB:

    rv, I wouldn’t ask you about beauty or salvation even if you had something to say. I’m asking what discovery disproves “the supernatural”, and why no one has ever heard of it

    RV:

    I revel in knowing little, (very, very, little)

    I am detecting a pattern here.

  23. 23
    rvb8 says:

    You are Barry, it’s called quote mining, the main source of ID research; cut and paste.

  24. 24
    Barry Arrington says:

    RV @ 23,

    Perhaps you will answer UB’s question. Which discovery disproves “the supernatural” rv, and how did it do it?

    By my count this is the third time you’ve been asked.

  25. 25
    Bob O'H says:

    It’s ironic that an article attacking someone for writing an article about rigour not only manages to the job of the person they’re attacking wrong, they even managed to get the name of the journal wrong. Engineering Education hasn’t published since 2014 (it looks like it merged with a few other journals). The paper is actually in Engineering Studies.

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8,

    Why do you persist in that worn-out slander?

    Let me clip, just for corrective record — yet again (you have so studiously ignored that you have to be chalked up as willful on this):

    BIBLIOGRAPHIC AND ANNOTATED LIST OF
    PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
    SUPPORTING INTELLIGENT DESIGN
    UPDATED MARCH, 2017

    PART I: INTRODUCTION
    While intelligent design (ID) research is a new scientific field, recent years have been a period of encouraging growth, producing a strong record of peer-reviewed scientific publications.

    In 2011, the ID movement counted its 50th peer-reviewed scientific paper and new publications continue to appear. As of 2015, the peer-reviewed scientific publication count had reached 90. Many of these papers are recent, published since 2004, when Discovery Institute senior fellow Stephen Meyer published a groundbreaking paper advocating ID in the journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. There are multiple hubs of ID-related research.

    Biologic Institute, led by molecular biologist Doug Axe, is “developing and testing the scientific case for intelligent design in biology.” Biologic conducts laboratory and theoretical research on the origin and role of information in biology, the fine-tuning of the universe for life, and methods of detecting design in nature.

    Another ID research group is the Evolutionary Informatics Lab, founded by senior Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski along with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Their lab has attracted graduate-student researchers and published multiple peer-reviewed articles in technical science and engineering journals showing that computer programming ”points to the need for an ultimate information source qua intelligent designer.”

    Other pro-ID scientists around the world are publishing peer-reviewed pro-ID scientific papers. These include biologist Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin Superior, Wolf-Ekkehard Lonnig who recently retired from the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Germany, and Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe.

    These and other labs and researchers have published their work in a variety of appropriate technical venues, including peer-reviewed scientific journals, peer-reviewed scientific books (some published by mainstream university presses), trade-press books, peer-edited scientific anthologies, peer-edited scientific conference proceedings and peer-reviewed philosophy of science journals and books. These papers have appeared in scientific journals such as Protein Science, Journal of Molecular Biology, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics, Complexity, Quarterly Review of Biology, Cell Biology International, Physics Essays, Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum, Physics of Life Reviews, Quarterly Review of Biology, Journal of Bacteriology , Annual Review of Genetics, and many others. At the same time, pro-ID scientists have presented their research at conferences worldwide in fields such as genetics, biochemistry, engineering, and computer science.

    Collectively, this body of research is converging on a consensus: complex biological features cannot arise by unguided Darwinian mechanisms, but require an intelligent cause.

    Despite ID’s publication record, we note parenthetically that recognition in peer-reviewed literature is not an absolute requirement to demonstrate an idea’s scientific merit. Darwin’s own theory of evolution was first published in a book for a general and scientific audience — his Origin of Species — not in a peer-reviewed paper. Nonetheless, ID’s peer-reviewed publication record shows that it deserves — and is receiving — serious consideration by the scientific community.

    The purpose of ID’s budding research program is thus to engage open-minded scientists and thoughtful laypersons with credible, persuasive, peer-reviewed, empirical data supporting intelligent design. And this is happening. ID has already gained the kind of scientific recognition you would expect from a young (and vastly underfunded) but promising scientific field . . .

    KF

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8:

    You see, being an atheist materialist, puts you in the wonderful position of knowing how little you actually know. Thus we embrace our evolved stupidity, and are not, ‘offended’ by every little stupid person.

    It also enables us to humbly accept new discoveries, that time, and time again, disprove the, “supernatural”.

    Actually, such atheistical materialism radically undermines the responsible, rational freedom required to know, have virtues such as humility and more. Haldane (co-founder of the modern Neo-Darwinian synthesis), in a nutshell:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    I document in more detail in a moment, this is the in-short for those disinclined to work through a point by point argument.

    KF

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Evolutionary Materialism’s undermining of reasonable, responsible freedom and self-refutation by that means:

    First, some materialists actually suggest that mind is more or less a delusion, which is instantly self-referentially absurd. For instance, Sir Francis Crick is on record, in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    Philip Johnson has replied that Sir Francis should have therefore been willing to preface his works thusly: “I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” Johnson then acidly commented: “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.” [Reason in the Balance, 1995.]

    In short, it is at least arguable that self-referential absurdity is the dagger pointing to the heart of evolutionary materialistic models of mind and its origin. For, there is a very good reason we are cautioned about how easily self-referential statements can become self-refuting, like a snake attacking and swallowing itself tail-first. Any human scheme of thought that undermines responsible [thus, morally governed] rational freedom undermines itself fatally. We thus see inadvertent, inherent self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. But, “inadvertent” counts: it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge the logically fatal nature of the result. Of course, that subjective challenge does not change the objective result: self-referential incoherence and irretrievable self-falsification. (An audio clip, here, by William Lane Craig that summarises Plantinga’s argument on this in a nutshell, is useful as a quick reference.)

    This issue can be discussed at a much higher level, but it can also be drawn out a bit in a fairly simple way for blog level discussion:

    a: Evolutionary materialism argues that the cosmos is the product of chance interactions of matter and energy, within the constraint of the laws of nature; from hydrogen to humans by undirected chance and necessity.

    b: Therefore, all phenomena in the universe, without residue, are determined by the working of purposeless laws of chance and/or mechanical necessity acting on material objects, under the direct or indirect control of happenstance initial circumstances.

    (This is physicalism. This view covers both the forms where (a) the mind and the brain are seen as one and the same thing, and those where (b) somehow mind emerges from and/or “supervenes” on brain, perhaps as a result of sophisticated and complex software looping. The key point, though is as already noted: physical causal closure — the phenomena that play out across time, without residue, are in principle deducible or at least explainable up to various random statistical distributions and/or mechanical laws, from prior physical states. Such physical causal closure, clearly, implicitly discounts or even dismisses the causal effect of concept formation and reasoning then responsibly deciding, in favour of specifically physical interactions in the brain-body control loop; indeed, some mock the idea of — in their view — an “obviously” imaginary “ghost” in the meat-machine. [There is also some evidence from simulation exercises, that accuracy of even sensory perceptions may lose out to utilitarian but inaccurate ones in an evolutionary competition. “It works” does not warrant the inference to “it is true.”] )

    c: But human thought, clearly a phenomenon in the universe, must now fit into this meat-machine picture. So, we rapidly arrive at Crick’s claim in his The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994): what we subjectively experience as “thoughts,” “reasoning” and “conclusions” can only be understood materialistically as the unintended by-products of the blind natural forces which cause and control the electro-chemical events going on in neural networks in our brains that (as the Smith Model illustrates) serve as cybernetic controllers for our bodies.

    d: These underlying driving forces are viewed as being ultimately physical, but are taken to be partly mediated through a complex pattern of genetic inheritance shaped by forces of selection [“nature”] and psycho-social conditioning [“nurture”], within the framework of human culture [i.e. socio-cultural conditioning and resulting/associated relativism]. And, remember, the focal issue to such minds — notice, this is a conceptual analysis made and believed by the materialists! — is the physical causal chains in a control loop, not the internalised “mouth-noises” that may somehow sit on them and come along for the ride.

    (Save, insofar as such “mouth noises” somehow associate with or become embedded as physically instantiated signals or maybe codes in such a loop. [How signals, languages and codes originate and function in systems in our observation of such origin — i.e by design — tends to be pushed to the back-burner and conveniently forgotten. So does the point that a signal or code takes its significance precisely from being an intelligently focused on, observed or chosen and significant alternative from a range of possibilities that then can guide decisive action.])

    e: For instance, Marxists commonly derided opponents for their “bourgeois class conditioning” — but what of the effect of their own class origins? Freudians frequently dismissed qualms about their loosening of moral restraints by alluding to the impact of strict potty training on their “up-tight” critics — but doesn’t this cut both ways? Should we not ask a Behaviourist whether s/he is little more than yet another operantly conditioned rat trapped in the cosmic maze? And — as we saw above — would the writings of a Crick be any more than the firing of neurons in networks in his own brain?

    f: For further instance, we may take the favourite whipping-boy of materialists: religion. Notoriously, they often hold that belief in God is not merely cognitive, conceptual error, but delusion. Borderline lunacy, in short. But, if such a patent “delusion” is so utterly widespread, even among the highly educated, then it “must” — by the principles of evolution — somehow be adaptive to survival, whether in nature or in society. And so, this would be a major illustration of the unreliability of our conceptual reasoning ability, on the assumption of evolutionary materialism.

    g: Turning the materialist dismissal of theism around, evolutionary materialism itself would be in the same leaky boat. For, the sauce for the goose is notoriously just as good a sauce for the gander, too.

    h: That is, on its own premises [and following Dawkins in A Devil’s Chaplain, 2004, p. 46], the cause of the belief system of evolutionary materialism, “must” also be reducible to forces of blind chance and mechanical necessity that are sufficiently adaptive to spread this “meme” in populations of jumped- up apes from the savannahs of East Africa scrambling for survival in a Malthusian world of struggle for existence. Reppert brings the underlying point sharply home, in commenting on the “internalised mouth-noise signals riding on the physical cause-effect chain in a cybernetic loop” view:

    . . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts . . . [But] if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and [so] we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.

    i: The famous geneticist and evolutionary biologist (as well as Socialist) J. B. S. Haldane made much the same point in a famous 1932 remark:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. (NB: DI Fellow, Nancy Pearcey brings this right up to date (HT: ENV) in a current book, Finding Truth.)]

    j: Therefore, though materialists will often try to pointedly ignore or angrily brush aside the issue, we may freely argue: if such evolutionary materialism is true, then (i) our consciousness, (ii) the “thoughts” we have, (iii) the conceptualised beliefs we hold, (iv) the reasonings we attempt based on such and (v) the “conclusions” and “choices” (a.k.a. “decisions”) we reach — without residue — must be produced and controlled by blind forces of chance happenstance and mechanical necessity that are irrelevant to “mere” ill-defined abstractions such as: purpose or truth, or even logical validity.

    (NB: The conclusions of such “arguments” may still happen to be true, by astonishingly lucky coincidence — but we have no rational grounds for relying on the “reasoning” that has led us to feel that we have “proved” or “warranted” them. It seems that rationality itself has thus been undermined fatally on evolutionary materialistic premises. Including that of Crick et al. Through, self-reference leading to incoherence and utter inability to provide a cogent explanation of our commonplace, first-person experience of reasoning and rational warrant for beliefs, conclusions and chosen paths of action. Reduction to absurdity and explanatory failure in short.)

    k: And, if materialists then object: “But, we can always apply scientific tests, through observation, experiment and measurement,” then we must immediately note that — as the fate of Newtonian Dynamics between 1880 and 1930 shows — empirical support is not equivalent to establishing the truth of a scientific theory. For, at any time, one newly discovered countering fact can in principle overturn the hitherto most reliable of theories. (And as well, we must not lose sight of this: in science, one is relying on the legitimacy of the reasoning process to make the case that scientific evidence provides reasonable albeit provisional warrant for one’s beliefs etc. Scientific reasoning is not independent of reasoning.)

    l: Worse, in the case of origins science theories, we simply were not there to directly observe the facts of the remote past, so origins sciences are even more strongly controlled by assumptions and inferences than are operational scientific theories. So, we contrast the way that direct observations of falling apples and orbiting planets allow us to test our theories of gravity.

    m: Moreover, as Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin reminds us all in his infamous January 29, 1997 New York Review of Books article, “Billions and billions of demons,” it is now notorious that:

    . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel [[materialistic scientists] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [And if you have been led to imagine that the immediately following words justify the above, kindly cf. the more complete clip and notes here.]

    n: Such a priori assumptions of materialism are patently question-begging, mind-closing and fallacious.

    o: More important, to demonstrate that empirical tests provide empirical support to the materialists’ theories would require the use of the very process of reasoning and inference which they have discredited.

    p: Thus, evolutionary materialism arguably reduces reason itself to the status of illusion. But, as we have seen: immediately, that must include “Materialism.”

    q: In the end, it is thus quite hard to escape the conclusion that materialism is based on self-defeating, question-begging logic.

    r: So, while materialists — just like the rest of us — in practice routinely rely on the credibility of reasoning and despite all the confidence they may project, they at best struggle to warrant such a tacitly accepted credibility of mind and of concepts and reasoned out conclusions relative to the core claims of their worldview. (And, sadly: too often, they tend to pointedly ignore or rhetorically brush aside the issue.)

    KF

  29. 29

    rvb8 thinks that describing behavior via a scientific model is the same thing as “proving” those patterned behaviors are not caused by the supernatural. So-called natural laws and constants don’t explain behaviors; they describe them. Nothing more. The name of the model is mistaken as the cause of the behavior in the minds of rvb8 and his ilk.

    The tragic soap opera of materialist logic continues to unfold before us.

  30. 30
    News says:

    As groovamos notes above at 5, the situation with the discipline and the journals is quite confusing, so much so as to confuse my source, New Criterion and thus me. Maybe…

    At any rate, I doubt that the confusion is an accident. It is part of a long-term decline that will make Engineering and Engineering Education ever more difficult to distinguish.

    Professional designations were once jealously guarded. (I remember with what pride elderly women would once put “R.N.” [Registered Nurse] after their names.)

    But post-modernism changes all that. Who dare say who is qualified for what?

    The modern feminist wanted more women in real engineering. The post-modern feminist will destroy engineering such that success and failure are no longer recognizable or distinguishable.

    On a career level, these programs allow intellectual parasites to create a smokescreen around the dismal performance of public education today, concealed by grade inflation and social promotion.

    Public education was bound to be thoroughly rotten in many places by now because it combines compulsory attendance with compulsory funding. In short, there are no natural checks and balances.

    Any reform must incorporate natural checks and balances such as parent choice, loss of jobs for incompetence, closure of failed schools and relocation of students, and criminal charges for those committing felonies, etc.

    We need a Reformation in education, not religion, followed by a Council of Trent!

    See also: Scientific thinking patterns are for men only, say feminist profs

    Not only aren’t these gals kidding but there are lots of them out there. Remember, they have absolutely nothing to market but making a living off the destruction of still-healthy systems.

  31. 31
    LocalMinimum says:

    rvb8:

    Thus we embrace our evolved stupidity…

    Is this what I’m seeing when some A-mat clings to some restroom session muttering of Darwin, Dawkins, or Hawking? As someone who believes rational thinking has some objective basis, what is the possible worth of your message to me, personally; other than perhaps the study of necessary compromises towards optimality in the design of the mind via malfunction?

    It also enables us to humbly accept new discoveries, that time, and time again, disprove the, “supernatural”.

    By “disproving” do you mean “adopting”? As our concept of nature expands, it becomes inclusive of that which, previously, would be deemed as “supernatural”. I’m sure you’d now want to respond to this with constraints against the possibilities of future discoveries; but they will likely be, if not utterly trivial and vacuous, in conflict with the spirit of your claim, here.

  32. 32
    Barry Arrington says:

    BA to RVB8: “Perhaps you will answer UB’s question. Which discovery disproves “the supernatural” rv, and how did it do it?”

    RVB8: [crickets]

    Ah, yet again an A-Mat makes a bold sweeping claim and can’t even begin to back it up. It would be funny if it were not so sad and pathetic.

  33. 33

    BA @ 16: “A-Mats are the most cocksure and hidebound people I have ever dealt with.”

    Same for me.

  34. 34
    RodW says:

    Boys! Boys! Boys!! News has kindly posted on an event that we can all agree is idiotic ( and I hope is covered by the wider media) but you guys still figure out a way to argue about it!

  35. 35
    Barry Arrington says:

    RodW @ 34:

    . . . but you guys still figure out a way to argue about it!

    No we didn’t.

    🙂

  36. 36
    rvb8 says:

    Barry, and UB,

    I, and nobody else can prove or disprove the, ‘supernatural’.

    This is because ‘proof’ requires ‘evidence’. Evidence is obtained from physical remnants, or proof by empirical experimentation.

    As God, and his side kicks are remarkably gifted at leaving no remnants of anything, and experimentation is out of the question I, and everybody else, can not disprove the, ‘supernatural’.

    But equally you can not prove it.

    So I’ll stick with the, ‘no such thing as the supernatural’, as it appears to have weathered the test of time.

    I have no idea what Kairos@ 26 means by, ‘worn out slander’?

    Kairos the ‘supernatural’, can not be proved or disproved, but the evidence is severely stacked against the, ‘it’s true’, camp.

    And for what it’s worth I’m a Dawkin’s atheist. 99.999999% sure there is no God, or supernaturalism. But hey, it’s a big universe!

  37. 37
    Barry Arrington says:

    rvb8 @ 11:

    It also enables us to humbly accept new discoveries, that time, and time again, disprove the, “supernatural”.

    rvb8 @ 36:

    I, and everybody else, can not disprove the, ‘supernatural’.

    Rarely do I see an A-Mat say something really stupid and then walk it back. Good for you rvb8.

  38. 38

    I … cannot disprove the ‘supernatural’.

    But you cannot prove it.

    Correct. So judgments come down to logic, reason, and physical evidence, which you’ve chosen not to engage.

    So I’ll stick with the, ‘no such thing as the supernatural’, as it appears to have weathered the test of time.

    That’s your prerogative, as is running from evidence. But it’s revealing that you come here to spit on people, telling them you have proof.

  39. 39
    rvb8 says:

    Barry, I like to think of myself as a person who holds up his hand when he has made a mistake, or contradicted himself.

    I hold up my hand here, you are quite correct my two statements do oppose one another.

    I will only say in my defence, that the ‘spirit’ of my first statement implies physical laws can not be broken, therefore things purporting to be beyond these laws, and forces are impossible, thus disproving the, ‘supernatural’.

    But you are right I am wrong, in the perfectly litteral sense; I accept the admonishment.

    Do you think anyone in the ID community has ever backtracked as I occasionally and quite rightly do?

    Just a thought for the, ‘free enquiry, teach the contoversy’, community that is ID.

  40. 40
    rvb8 says:

    Upright @38,

    bloody hell man, listen to yourself;

    “so judgements come down to logic, reason, and physical evidence.”

    Great; ‘logic’, “No man can ever float, come back from the dead, or multiply objects beyond what is physically present.”

    ‘Reason’, tells me that unless I am witness to the supernatural (not given second, third, and umpteenth hand accounts), I will not accept their validity.

    ‘Physical evidence?’ This is truly, truly, easy, you have none, we have lots.

  41. 41

    bloody hell man, listen to yourself;

    Distractive drama, eh? Let me guess, you are about to shovel something, and you really need it to sell.

    UB: So judgments come down to logic, reason, and physical evidence, which you’ve chosen not to engage.

    rv: Great; ‘logic’, “No man can ever float, come back from the dead, or multiply objects beyond what is physically present.”

    None of those things are among the evidence you avoid here, likewise, none of them are found in the arguments for ID either. Perhaps you thought this might go unnoticed.

    ‘Reason’, tells me that unless I am witness to the supernatural (not given second, third, and umpteenth hand accounts), I will not accept their validity.

    Once again, the “supernatural” is not among the evidence you avoid, rv. It’s the physical evidence you can’t handle, which is why its absent from your list.

    ‘Physical evidence?’ This is truly, truly, easy, you have none, we have lots.

    You are terrified of physical evidence rv. We (you and I) have already demonstrated this to be true. You begin to emote, and you have to force yourself to play stupid. You’re probably better off staying with the floating man thing and lying about having proofs. I don’t see you ever being able to handle actual evidence.

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm:

    rv: Great; ‘logic’, “No man can ever float, come back from the dead, or multiply objects beyond what is physically present.”

    How do you KNOW such so confidently?

    Science proves it, presumably — laws and all that.

    But, scientific laws are inherently inductive and cannot eliminate rare exceptions. That’s what Newton pointed out in Opticks, Query 31, c. 1704.

    As in, first principles of inductive reasoning.

    And, the Creator of the world would be beyond its normal rules.There is no good reason to infer that he who called a universe into existence ex nihilo cannot repeat for good cause on a lesser scale.

    Besides, food distills what is ever present in atmosphere, soil and sea around us, so why not speed up the process?

    As for levitation, we see this all the time, it is a matter of invisible means of support (and no, not trickery with wires etc).

    Coming back from the dead, oh, we have 500 witnesses where the actual observations are quite mundane. The miracle lies in the timeline.

    And, no, the idea of overwhelming numbers of observations of the ordinary course does not even work in science: what happens when we push things to a hitherto unexplored limit and present laws fail? Do we challenge and dismiss the observations, or do we announce a new discovery?

    It’s time to put some long past “sell by” objections out to the retirement pasture.

    KF

  43. 43
    Origenes says:

    Rvb8: I will only say in my defense, that the ‘spirit’ of my first statement implies physical laws can not be broken, therefore things purporting to be beyond these laws, and forces are impossible, thus disproving the, ‘supernatural’.

    How about these ‘physical laws’? What are they? What are they made of, if anything? Where do they come from? How do they cause things to happen?

    Paul Davies: But what are these ultimate laws and where do they come from? Such questions are often dismissed as being pointless or even unscientific. As the cosmologist Sean Carroll has written, “There is a chain of explanations concerning things that happen in the universe, which ultimately reaches to the fundamental laws of nature and stops… at the end of the day the laws are what they are… And that’s okay. I’m happy to take the universe just as we find it.” — source

    Again, what are these laws? Are they “physical”? Rvb8 seems to think that they are. But what would a physical explanation of the laws of nature look like?

    Frankly, I have no idea where to start. What I do know is that a bottom-up explanation runs into a serious problem. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of say bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. Different circumstances, different laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations. But this is not what we find.

    Paul Davies again:

    Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.

    If, as Davies says, laws do not depend on physical processes, then it follows that laws cannot be explained by physical processes. IOWs there is no bottom-up explanation for the laws of nature.

    But what does it mean for naturalism/materialism if there is no bottom-up (naturalistic/physical) explanation for the laws of nature? How does the central claim ‘everything is physical’ make sense if there is no physical explanation for the laws of nature? What if it is shown that the laws of nature control the physical but are not reducible to it?

    Atheist Paul Davies: “There has long been a tacit assumption that the laws of physics were somehow imprinted on the universe at the outset, and have remained immutable thereafter.“

  44. 44
    rvb8 says:

    I answer plainly and get psycho-analytical gobbledygook in response.

    When, oh when, will a religious, or ID point of view become transparent, and clear. Someone please make it so. Dembski attempted it for a number of years and then, ‘ran away’. A number of other ID, ‘notables’, have also absconded (I have the names of all), and now we are left with the hard core.

    Plainly: “Your Book is unprovable; science has nothing to say about it; physical evidence for evolution exists; second, third, and one thousandth hand accounts, are not evidence; word soup, is not evidence.. etc”

    Apart from that, ID is a wonderful tale, and growing at an, “exponential”, rate?

    Please, a post on current ID experimentation, or investugation!

  45. 45

    It’s not ID proponents you really fear, rv; you come here and spit hatred and contempt at them at will, with your typical masturbatory regularity.

    It’s the science you won’t touch — not even a little bit.

  46. 46
    rvb8 says:

    Upright,

    quite nasty.:)

    Good for you, the first sign of ‘spirit’ I’ve seen here. The usual is psudo-intellectualism, dressed up with bad philosophy.

    However, if I’m accused of avoiding questions, and not providing answers, why are you exempt from the same accusation?

    Where is ID’s most recent lab work, and experimentation?

  47. 47
    Origenes says:

    rvb8 @46

    Surely the recent Basener and Sanford paper, which falsifies Fisher’s Darwinism theorem, is an ID product. Falsifying neo-darwinistic claims is very much part of ID science.

  48. 48
    Bob O'H says:

    Origenes – that paper doesn’t provide any lab work or experimentation. It also doesn’t falsify Fisher’s theorem, rather it shows that under a different set of assumptions, Fisher’s result doesn’t hold. Which we already knew.

  49. 49
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H @48

    You are very much mistaken, but this is not the correct thread to discuss this.

  50. 50
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    ‘Physical evidence?’ This is truly, truly, easy, you have none, we have lots.

    Unfortunately for you reality demonstrates the opposite. You don’t have anything but lies and bluffs. You don’t even have a methodology to test your position’s claims. For example how can we test the claim that vision systems evolved via blind and mindless processes? No one knows, least of all you.

    So do tell what is this alleged evidence that you think you have?

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