Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

warrant, knowledge, science and belief

L&FP 45: The Hypothetical Syllogism — a lecture

Here: This syllogism is of considerable practical importance: This raises the issue of denying the consequent, ~q. If p –> q and ~q, then as q is necessary for p, ~p. Where, p is sufficient for q, by reason of its core characteristics, the states of affairs associated with p, causal power, requirement of logic of being etc. Let us note, p –> q is equivalent in import to ~q –> ~p. (Let’s add, that denying the antecedent, thinking this falsifies the consequent also fails, p –> q does not mean there isn’t another way, say r, to get q. There’s more than one way to skin a cat-fish.) Connected to ID, Newton’s rules demand that causal adequacy be shown Read More ›

Hearing, the cochlea, the frequency domain and Fourier’s series

In recent weeks, we have seen repeated attempts to suggest that Mathematics is essentially a mind game we make up as an aspect of culture. There has been a very strong resistance to the idea that there are intelligible manifestations of structure and quantity embedded in the fabric of the world (and indeed in that of any possible world). And when test cases have been put on the table, they have been consistently brushed aside as cases where our mathematical modelling has been applied; that is it’s all in our heads. So, it is appropriate to put on the table a test case that is quite literally in our heads, hearing and particularly how the cochlea works. Video: We see Read More ›

UD’s Weak Arguments Correctives page passes 50,000 visits

As I checked the dashboard, I just saw that the current visit-count for the “Frequently raised but weak arguments against Intelligent Design” page stands at 50,307. Worth noting, even as onlookers are again invited to ponder its remarks. END PS: Table of contents: WEAK ANTI-ID ARGUMENTS: 1] ID is “not science” 2] No Real Scientists Take Intelligent Design Seriously 3] Intelligent Design does not carry out or publish scientific research 4] ID does not make scientifically fruitful predictions 5] Intelligent Design is “Creationism in a Cheap Tuxedo” 6] Since Intelligent Design Proponents Believe in a “Designer” or “Creator” They Can Be Called “Creationists” 7] Because William Dembski once commented that the design patterns in nature are consistent with the “logos Read More ›

On the absurdity of “naturalism” (and the equal absurdity of its censorship of science and education)

A little while ago, UD’s News noted on the tenth anniversary of Louisiana’s science education law, and an exchange has developed on the significance of “methodological” and “philosophical” “naturalism” in science, education — and by implication society. A crucial issue is the July 2000 statement of the US National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) on science education and how it must be confined to naturalistic concepts and explanations. For cause, I have long marked up that statement as follows: >>PREAMBLE: All those involved with science teaching and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. Science is characterized by the systematic gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this Read More ›

Mathematical Realism/ Platonism (and Nesher on Godel’s Option C)

As we continue to explore the mathematical domain of abstract reality and objective truth, we come to first the Godel point (as summarised by Nesher): where, recall, the domain of facts starts with something like the surreal world of numbers: and then also, we come to the world of Mathematical Platonism/ Realism. So, let me continue by promoting a comment I just added to the objectivity of Mathematics thread: KF, 29 : >>Let’s see how IEP describes Mathematical Platonism (where, no, this is not equal to Plato’s theory of forms): Traditionally, mathematical platonism has referred to a collection of metaphysical accounts of mathematics, where a metaphysical account of mathematics is one that entails theses concerning the existence and fundamental nature Read More ›

Why is the objectivity of Mathematics an important (& ID-relevant) question?

In recent days, I have taken time to show that while subjects study the logic of structure and quantity (= Mathematics, in a nutshell), the body of knowledge — including axiomatised systems — is objective. Where, “objective” effectively means, tied to such a body of accountable warrant and to foundational self-evident facts that the substance of that body of knowledge is credibly an accurate description of facets of reality, as opposed to being dubious (though not necessarily false) figments of a subject’s imagination. Of course, while objectivity implies credible truth (truth being the accurate description of relevant reality) it cannot guarantee utter freedom from error or gaps; especially after Godel’s key incompleteness results. Why is that? For one, it has Read More ›

Sev’s IOU on how conscious mind will be explained on materialistic premises

In the Eugene Wigner thread, frequent objector Sev argues to BA77: Sev, 23: >>Yes, the hard problem of consciousness is explaining what it is and how it arises from the physical brain and we don’t have such an explanation as yet. The evidence for consciousness arising from the brain lies in the strong correlation between the two, the observation that when the brain is destroyed the consciousness disappears permanently and the challenge of explaining why else would we commit such a large percentage of our physical resources to support such an organ unless it provided us with something of great value.>> This is, of course after decades of unfulfilled promises, and it neatly rhetorically side-steps J B S Haldane’s longstanding Read More ›

Onward exchange on the objectivity of Mathematical Knowledge

Over recent days, there has been an exchange at UD on the objectivity vs subjectivity of mathematical knowledge. This is relevant to our understanding of knowledge, and to our recognition of the credibility of Mathematical findings on debated matters. This instantly means that the specific concern and the penumbra of generalised perceptions of Mathematics, Science and objectivity of knowledge are relevant to the ID debate. So, it is appropriate to clip from the discussion in the axioms of math thread. First, BO’H and his suggestion that he and I actually in the end agree: BO’H, 34: >>[to:] EricMH – I believe that mathematics, in different respects, is both subjective and objective. [to:] kf – yes, some parts of mathematics are Read More ›

Correcting trolls, 3: Wikipedia blunders yet again — “Unlike hypotheses, theories and laws may be simply referred to as scientific fact”

The other day, I ran across the Wiki article on Laws of Science. While there is much good there, such as: The laws of science, scientific laws, or scientific principles are statements that describe or predict a range of phenomena as they appear in nature.[1] The term “law” has diverse usage in many cases: approximate, accurate, broad or narrow theories, in all natural scientific disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy etc.). Scientific laws summarize and explain a large collection of facts determined by experiment, and are tested based on their ability to predict the results of future experiments. They are developed either from facts or through mathematics, and are strongly supported by empirical evidence. It is generally understood that they Read More ›

DI Fellow, David Berlinski: “There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics”

He continues (HT, BA77): >>Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time …. … Come again … DB: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with Read More ›

What about the elusive dream: metallic hydrogen?

With metal-like superionic water already on the table, why not look at the seemingly evasive metallic hydrogen? A year ago, there was a happy announcement (and an article in Science), but doubts have since been entertained; indeed Science issued a correction to the original paper. Science: >>Producing metallic hydrogen has been a great challenge in condensed matter physics. Metallic hydrogen may be a room-temperature superconductor and metastable when the pressure is released and could have an important impact on energy and rocketry. We have studied solid molecular hydrogen under pressure at low temperatures. At a pressure of 495 gigapascals, hydrogen becomes metallic, with reflectivity as high as 0.91. We fit the reflectance using a Drude free-electron model to determine the Read More ›

A note on state space search challenge

As was recently discussed, contrary to objections being made, the concept of blind search and linked search challenge in a configuration or state space is a reasonable and even recognised concept. As we explore this concept a little more, an illustration may be helpful: With this in mind, we may again look at Dembski’s arrow and target illustration from NFL, p. 11: Now, let us ponder again Wiki on state space search: >>State space search is a process used in the field of computer science, including artificial intelligence (AI), in which successive configurations or states of an instance are considered, with the intention of finding a goal state with a desired property. Problems are often modelled as a state space, Read More ›

It is time for ID to provide real leadership in rethinking origins across the board

The opportunity is open and it is time to seize the day. So, I think a comment in a discussion with GP and Dionisio should be headlined: >>My observation is those who are closed minded, indoctrinated and hostile will simply flare up in anger at anything that threatens their favoured evolutionary materialistic scientism or their comfortable fellow-traveller views calibrated not to get them in hot water with the domineering atheists. The issue then is, how well cultured they are. The cultured play at subtle rhetorical games pivoting on evasions and how could you concern trolling which provide more or less respectable “good cop” cover. Then come the “bad cops” who try to run riot, bully, intimidate, slander and stalk. I Read More ›

Re, Seversky: “a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations and theories that you like . . . “

Sometimes, an issue comes to a head, and there is then need to deal with it. The headline inadvertently shows that we are at such a juncture and the post yesterday on time to take the lead is therefore timely. For, the underlying problem at work on ID is that there is an often implicit but sometimes quite explicit ideologically loaded redefinition of science at work. Accordingly, I think it appropriate to headline my response to Seversky, including the onward accusation of religious bias: KF, 28 (in reply to 21): >>Strawman soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the issues: a lot of this reads like complaining because science isn’t coming up with observations Read More ›

Tabby’s Star — on the “extraordinary evidence” claim

If one watches the TED talk by Astronomer Tabetha Boyajian, one will notice that she begins with Sagan’s aphorism on “extraordinary” claims. This inadvertently reveals just how significant epistemological concerns are in scientific undertakings. Accordingly, for follow up, I post a corrective: The issue in knowledge is not extraordinary evidence (an assertion that invites selective hyperskepticism) but instead adequate warrant so that claimed knowledge is indeed warranted, credibly true (and so also reliable). END PS:  It seems I need to add a clip I just made and annotated from a UKG paper on envisioning future scenarios for RW purposes, to illustrate a point on risk vs uncertainty i/l/o planning horizons — though, frankly, a U-UBSE (unknown unknown, black swan event) Read More ›