Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Stirring the pot (tentative thoughts/explorations)

JB: what is important in math . . . ?

Our contributor JB asked to have a conversation on what is important in Mathematics, especially Math education. I shared some thoughts. >>Why not, let’s just do that, follow it up and see where it goes? For instance, I think a key insight is to find a useful, powerful definition of what mathematics is. If we understand what it is we are exploring, it may give us a deeper, richer view on how we may understand and apply it. And for this, I have come to the view that an adaptation of a view I was taught by my very first uni prof is key: Math is [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity. That, is, there are two Read More ›

Researchers: Photosynthesis may be a billion years older than thought … But WAIT!

“Dr Cardona also suggests that this might mean oxygenic photosynthesis was not the product of a billion years of evolution from anoxygenic photosynthesis, but could have been a trait that evolved much sooner, if not first.” So when did the billions of years of Darwinian evolution that “gradually evolved” photosynthesis happen? Read More ›

UD Community: New Year greetings and thoughts

One wishes as happy a new year as possible to one and all. It falls to insomnia power to open the innings for 2018 for UD. Let us use this open thread to share new year’s day thoughts. END PS: My own general thought is one of grave concern for our civilisation (per Machiavelli of all people), but not entirely without hope: And, like unto it, here is a generic form of Lance Wallnau’s seven mountain framework:Let us ponder: Whence have we come? What are we? Whither are we going? Why? Let’s add the famous painting: Let’s clip Wiki: >>Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? is a painting by French artist Paul Gauguin. Gauguin Read More ›

Can we regard scientific theories as factual knowledge?

In the What is knowledge thread, this has come up now, and I think it should be headlined: ____________________ KF, 201: >> Can we regard scientific theories as factual knowledge? This is a deep challenge, especially on the so-called pessimistic induction that historically theories in effect have hidden sell-by dates. That is, theories show more of a track record of replacement (sometimes presented as refinement) than we are comfortable with. A first answer is that a theory, from the abductive angle, is a “best current explanatory framework,” often involving dynamics which may be deterministic or stochastic (or tempered by stochastic factors), and may be empirically reliable in a known or unknown range of circumstances. The turn of C20 surprises faced Read More ›

Origenes and the argument from Self-Prediction

Origenes, has put up an interesting argument that we need to ponder as food for thought. It’s Friday, so this should be a good thing to start our weekend on: >>>>>>>>>>>>>> ORIGENES: Here I will argue that self-prediction cannot be accommodated by materialism. In daily life we all routinely engage in acts of self-prediction — ‘tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock I will do 2 push-ups’, ‘I will do some Christmas shopping next Friday’ … and so forth. The question is: how does materialism explain that familiar phenomenon? Given that specific behavior (e.g. doing 2 push-ups) results from specific neural states, how is it that we can predict its occurrence? The fact that one can predict her/his own behavior suggests that Read More ›

FYI-FTR: On Ehrlich’s unified overview of numbers great and small (HT: DS)

Over the past month in response to a suggestion on an infinite temporal past (and the counter argument that such is dubious), there has been quite an exchange on numbers. In that context, it is worth headlining FYI/FTR, HT DS, a unification with continuum — oops, link —  based on surreals discussed by Ehrlich: where also: Such of course provides a lot of breathing room for exploring numbers and relationships in a unified context. Attention is particularly drawn to various ellipses of endlessness (not able to be traversed in finite stage stepwise do forever processes) and to both the trans-finites . . . do not overlook ellipses of endlessness within transfinite ranges — and the infinitesimals including what we could Read More ›

Durston and Craig on an infinite temporal past . . .

In recent days, the issue of an infinite temporal past as a step by step causal succession has come up at UD. For, it seems the evolutionary materialist faces the unwelcome choice of a cosmos from a true nothing — non-being or else an actually completed infinite past succession of finite causal steps. Durston: >>To  avoid  the  theological  and  philosophical  implications  of  a  beginning  for the  universe,  some  naturalists  such  as  Sean  Carroll  suggest  that  all  we  need  to  do  is  build  a  successful  mathematical  model  of  the  universe  where  time  t runs  from  minus  infinity  to  positive  infinity. Although  there  is  no  problem  in  having  t run  from  minus  infinity  to  plus  infinity with  a  mathematical  model,  the real Read More ›

An infinite past?

In the current UD thread on Darwinism and an infinite past, there has been an exchange on Spitzer’s argument that it is impossible to traverse an infinite past to arrive at the present. Let me share and headline what is in effect the current state of play: DS, 108: >>KF, DS, ticking clocks meet dying stars and death of cosmos as useful concentrations of energy die out. There are oscillating universe models which are consistent with an infinite past, as I stated. Replace each tick with a big bang/crunch cycle. And that an actually transfinite number of ticks can in principle occur is the precise thing to be shown. No. I am saying that Spitzer assumes that an infinite number Read More ›


After my recent exchanges with Larry Moran, I read some of the comments on his blog posts. I wont be doing that again. It was generally just depressing; hatred (I really don’t understand why they waste their lives responding to us if they have such a low opinion) – not much edifying or thoughtful. In amongst those there was one in particular who berated for hypothesising something and ‘being too lazy’ to test it. He had a point in a way. But the reason I suggested the hypothesis was to make the point that intelligent design yields scientific leads that Darwinists don’t think of (clearly he thought it was idiotic); it was just ‘brainstorming’ ideas out and I don’t know Read More ›

The issue of the dark triad in the debates over design — the danger of cossetting an asp of evolutionary materialism-driven cold, manipulative narcissism, machiavellianism and sociopathy from Alcibiades to today

“Cool” is often presented as the iconic, somewhat glamorous state of being calm, collected, in control.  It is often viewed as highly desirable, sexy, balanced, stylish, just plain “right.” Oh, soo, desirable . . . But, beneath the surface of “cool,” there too often lurks a reptilian coldly amoral ferocity that marks all the difference between the Christian virtue of self-control and the manipulative, demonically controlling. The dark triad, satanic side of cool. Dark triad? Though this sounds a little like an overly melodramatic movie title, it is actually a term of art in modern psychology, to describe a destructive cluster of personality syndromes that is increasingly seen. As Susan Whitbourne, writing in a Psychology Today article, sums up in Read More ›

Stirring the Pot, 3a: Responding to G2’s dismissal of philosophy at UD by highlighting the scientific significance of first principles of right reason and corollaries, including those tied to cause and effect . . .

G2 has made an objection at 45 in the STP 3 thread on how UD is a philosophy-theology site, and how he sees no science advances. I think it worth the whole to highlight a response, as a headlined post supportive to the STP 3 thread; of course with the added features such as images. You are invited to comment there, from here on: ________________ >>G2: I see your @ 45: Can we just accept that UncommonDescent is a philosopy/theology site ? Im still waiting for the big advances in ID. Neat little dismissive rhetorical shot, nuh, it’s all over. Not so fast. If we are to reason accurately and soundly, we have to have the first principles of right Read More ›

Stirring the Pot, 3: What about the so-called Laws of Thought/First Principles of Right Reason?

Cf follow up on laws of thought including cause, here In our day, it is common to see the so-called Laws of Thought or First Principles of Right Reason challenged or dismissed. As a rule, design thinkers strongly tend to reject this common trend, including when it is claimed to be anchored in quantum theory. Going beyond, here at UD it is common to see design thinkers saying that rejection of the laws of thought is tantamount to rejection of rationality, and is a key source of endless going in evasive rhetorical circles and refusal to come to grips with the most patent facts; often bogging down attempted discussions of ID issues. The debate has hotted up over the past Read More ›

Stirring the Pot, 2: Godel, the Incompleteness Theorem, Euler’s expression, and the Turing Machine dilemma

As we continue to stir the mathematics pot, BA 77 has given a link to a video on the significance of Godel’s discovery of incompleteness: [metacafe 8462821] (Pardon possible embed problems, the links work . . . I am doing this under travel related constraints) This one, gives a bit more of details on how Turing sharpened the theorem using the Turing machine, that led to the well known algorithm halting problem: [metacafe 8516356] The issue of the intuitive imagining mind as opposed to an algorithmic machine, is discussed. Worth pondering. At the same time, we must always bear in mind the famous Euler result: ei*pi + 1 = 0  This speaks to astonishing unity in Mathematics, for in one Read More ›