Thursday, November 29, 2012

'How about demonstrating some non-naturalistic way of doing science'

Commentor Boo on my post on Nagel's critique of Darwinism and materialism, with my commentary.

"Darwinist Materialism" makes as much sense as "Einsteinist Materialism" or "Cell Theory Materialism."
Materialism as practiced today depends critically on Darwinism, in a way that it doesn't on Einstein's theory or cell theory. Darwinism is materialism's creation myth. Without Darwin's theory, materialism collapses for biology, which is so obviously teleological that even atheists stammered until the mid-nineteenth century. Darwinism rescued atheist materialism, and materialism's intellectual respectability is predicated on it.  "Darwinist materialist" is merely the acknowledgement that materialism historically is dependent on Darwinism for its public credibility.

Darwinism allows materialists to be intellectually fulfilled, and insulates them from the ridicule that their metaphysics actually deserves.
All science deals with the material. If you know of a way for science to deal with the non-material, publish it and collect your Nobel Prize. 
Four Nobel Prizes have already been awarded for science that explicitly deals with the non-material-- to Penzias and Wilson and Smoot and Mather, who studied the Big Bang. The Big Bang is predicated on a non-material event: creation ex nihilo. It is non-material because matter and nature began to exist with the Big Bang, and thus the Big Bang itself does not have a material cause. 

Black holes are inherently non-material processes, in the sense that the physics in the black hole is naturally undefined-- a singularity. 

In fact, all science that uses mathematics to model nature is inherently immaterial to that extent, in that mathematics is not a material science. Numbers and their relations are concepts, and are neither material nor parts of nature. 

Furthermore, all science that invokes teleological concepts is inherently immaterial as well, because teleology-- the directedness of change in nature-- is not of nature. See Aquinas' Fifth Way for an explanation. 

Boo's use of "material" is characteristic of the sloppy amateur metaphysics so characteristic of materialists and atheists. Science properly studies the natural world, which is a composite of material, efficient, formal, and final causes. Methodological naturalism, which is the process by which science proceeds, is the study of natural effects. Science is not restricted to the study of natural causes. Science can properly study any natural effect, even if it does not have a natural cause (e.g the Big Bang)

Again: the causes invoked by methodological naturalism need not be material-- in fact, natural causes are material, efficient, formal and final. 

Succinctly, methodological naturalism, which is a valid method of study, has nothing to do with philosophical naturalism, which is a crude mistake. 

... How about instead of arguing with scientists that they're doing it wrong, go out and demonstrate some "non-naturalistic" way to do science?
To the extent that science invokes creation ex nihilo in the Big Bang, it is non-naturalistic. To the extent that science studies black holes and events associated with singularities, it is non-naturalistic. To the extent that science invokes mathematics, it is non-naturalistic (numbers and their relations are not material/natural objects). To the extent that science invokes teleology (all science does), it is not naturalistic, because goal-oriented change in nature cannot arise from nature (see Aquinas, proof from final causation).

To answer Boo: all science is a "non-naturalistic", in that all science invokes teleological causes that are inherently not material nor part of nature itself.
Why do you suppose the ID movement always argues that they know how to do it better than the "Darwinists" but they never actually do anything?
We ID folks predicted decades ago that junk DNA wasn't junk. Darwinists predicted the opposite, and in fact used junk DNA as prima facie for Darwinism and for atheism.

Darwinists were catastrophically wrong about junk DNA. ID scientists were clearly right. The damage done to molecular genetics by the Darwinian denial of the functionality of junk DNA is incalculable-- the impedance of decades of research and billions of dollars in science funding misdirected away from the critical study of most of the genome. Darwinist orthodoxy has given us one of the great scandals of modern science.

Furthermore, all science that invokes teleological explanations inherently uses design inferences, even if the design inferences are implicit rather than explicit (explicit design inferences can be hazardous to a scientist's employment health). Without continuous invocation of purpose in biology (ribosomes are for making proteins, the heart is for circulation, insulin is for regulation of glucose metabolism, etc), scientists couldn't even do their daily work.

Teleology is the ground of scientific understanding and discourse, and it is a design concept. Darwinism is specifically the denial of teleology in biology, and is a crude philosophical error masquerading as science. Random variation and survival of survivors explains nothing.
The entire point of this post seems to be to conflate methodological naturalism with philosophical materialism. They are not the same thing.

Pot, meet kettle. Darwinist materialists continuously conflate methodological naturalism (the study of natural effects) with philosophical naturalism (the denial of extra-natural causes). Darwinists confuse science with their ideology, and do violence to both.

Scientists who work from the design/teleology perspective keep their philosophy and theology in their proper place, and don't impose ideological orthodoxy (such as atheism) on methodological naturalism-- which is the proper study of natural effects that result from both natural and extra-natural causes. 

80 comments:

  1. True American Godbot PatriotNovember 29, 2012 at 6:08 AM

    There is no "Darwinist ideology". Scientists do not "impose ideological orthodoxy (such as atheism)". You are deluded and paranoid.

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  2. Egnor has finally achieved a stupidity singularity. Awesome.

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  3. Michael,

    If you know that the Big Bang was non-material, then publish your evidence and pack your bags for your trip to Stockholm, because science can say nothing definite about it for its first 300,000 years - until electrons combined with nuclei making the Universe transparent to light and allowing the cosmic microwave background radiation to be observed.

    If you think Black Holes are non-material, I invite you to jump into one. Besides the fact that we've never directly observed one, black holes from a distance are exactly the same in their gravitational effects as a stellar body of the same mass.

    Everything in the living world has function. But that's not the same as teleology. Teleology is the directed change in function of a part so as to perform a different function. And there's no evidence that this ever occurs.

    Junk DNA wasn't a prediction of evolutionary biology. Actually, the human genome was thought to contain 100,000 genes (due to the misconception that a complex animal such as a human required a lot of genes) and that there was little wasted DNA. The actual number of genes - not much more than 20,000 - was a surprise.

    And despite ENCODE, a lot of the human genome is still 'junk'. Being transcribed occasionally and then the RNA being recycled almost immediately doesn't count as function.

    YOU'VE been asked in the past to specify the amount of junk DNA would be consistent with your assertion that almost all the human genome is functional, and you've REFUSED.

    That said - even if junk DNA doesn't exist, it didn't delay the progress of science. The human genome was read when we had the computers and technology to do so, and it cost around a billion dollars to do so. It could have been done earlier, with greater difficulty and much greater expense. We could also have waited till it was cheaper. Eventually, anyone will be able to have their own genome read (for what's it worth) for around a thousand dollars.

    Continuing to describe natural selection as 'survivors survive' is idiocy of high grade. ID is just stupidity 'God did something somewhere somewhen for unknown reasons and by unknown mechanisms' doesn't say anything meaningful.

    And anyway, can't you make up your mind? 'We ID folks...' I thought you'd claimed previously that you're not an ID (whatever that is) proponent, instead proposing Thomistic evolution (what that is) as your preferred model.

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  4. And a pathological liar. Don't forget the pathological liar part, it's important.

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    1. Why do you read a pathological liar's blog?

      --Francisca S.

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    2. Francisa, S., I've never seen a single lie on the doctor's part. I have seen disagreements between Egnor and this anonymous commenter, which he always describes as lies. He is intolerant of all thought that diverges from his own. Attitudes like his are what make dialogue impossible in the current atmosphere.

      The one example he cited of Egnor lying was a failed prediction that Romney would win the election. That was his quote-unquote lie. Pretty thin stuff.

      Are you a medical doctor, Anon? You diagnosed him as a pathological liar. Are you qualified to make such a diagnosis?

      JQ

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    3. That's funny, JQ. A failed prediction is a lie. Environmentalists make many failed predictions. Here's one--

      50 million
      displaced "climate refugees" by 2010. That was the UN's prediction in 2005. When it failed to materialize they simply swept it under the rug.

      I'm sure this anonymous character gets all upset about environmentalists' failed predictions.

      --Francisca S.

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    4. I've never seen a single lie on the doctor's part.

      Then you haven't been paying attention. For example, Egnor asserted that there was a worldwide DDT ban. There wasn't. Egnor asserted that U.S. relief agencies wouldn't provide aid to countries that used DDT, that was a lie. Egnor's lies concerning science and policy are so common that it is harder to find the true statements than the lies.

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    5. Show me.

      I don't know much about DDT bans, but assuming you're right and Egnor is wrong, did it ever occur to you that he is just mistaken?

      Now, will you answer my question? You called Egnor a pathological liar. A pathology is a sickness. A pathological liar suffers from a sickness of the mind that compels lying. Pretty heavy accusation you're making there. Are you qualified to make such a diagnosis. If you're not then please stop talking out your ass, will ya?

      JQ

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    6. Don't get your hopes up, JQ. It's impossible not to talk out of your ass when ass is all there is.

      Most of the people commenting here don't know what they're talking about. And they don't actually comment in the conventional sense of the word, they emote. That's why they rarely post anything but some variation of "Lies, lies, lies you mean stupid man! Waaaah!" A month or so of data collection could yield a language generator that would do the same thing, better.

      One exception is my man Johann (aka bachfiend or PDQ). He's a medical professional of some sort, technically trained, but fairly narrow and parrots a lot of Barnes and Noble grade pop-science.

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    7. I was wondering what Bachfiend's profession is. When you say medical profession, do you mean doctor?

      --Francisca S.

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    8. I don't know much about DDT bans, but assuming you're right and Egnor is wrong, did it ever occur to you that he is just mistaken?

      he might have been mistaken the first time. But after numerous posters had shown repeatedly that the claims he made about alleged DDT bans were false, he decided to continue repeating them. That's lying.

      There are several instances of this sort of behavior on Egnor's part. He makes a claim. He is shown that it is false, with supporting citations as to why it is false. He continues to make the claim anyway. Just go back through the blog archives and you can see for yourself.

      Delete
    9. Maybe the citations you give are from the Panda's Thumb blog and he doesn't believe them. That's a more likely scenario.

      I really believe that your problem is in your own head. You start with the assumption that you are the smartest person in the room and that you are right about everything. Every time you see something that you don't agree with it, you call it a lie. It's a lie because you it contradicts what you (think) you know to be true. Then you assume that the person must know that you're right and yet he continues to peddle falsehoods, when in fact that person simply hasn't been persuaded of your point of view because you have done nothing but browbeat.

      Try having a conversation, Anon. Say something like, >>You said x, and I think y, here's why.<< You might even make some believers here on this blog.

      Now, will you please answer my question? I think you're an attorney, but you may have also gone to med school and done residency, in between reading three translations of the Bible and being an acknowledged expert on evolution and global warming. On what grounds do you pronounce Egnor to have a pathology?

      JQ

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    10. @JQ: You pegged him so well. I'm willing to have a debate with Aaron Anonymous but he doesn't know how. "Browbeat" is truly the proper word. He only knows how to browbeat people which, oddly enough, doesn't seem to work. As I've mentioned before, he must be a poor lawyer because no one is ever persuaded by his arguments. Some people agree with him but those people ALREADY agreed with him.

      TRISH

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    11. Maybe the citations you give are from the Panda's Thumb blog and he doesn't believe them.

      Or perhaps the citations were from sources such as the WHO, the CDC, and USAID. You know, primary sources for information like this. Oh wait, they were.

      And not only did Egnor continue to repeat his blizzard of lies when presented with the evidence of the falsity of his claims, he didn't bother to even address the points that were made against his blizzard of claims, which were now clearly lies.

      I think you're an attorney, but you may have also gone to med school and done residency, in between reading three translations of the Bible and being an acknowledged expert on evolution and global warming.

      You might be aware enough to realize that more than one person posts anonymously here. But I doubt it. I never diagnosed Egnor with a pathology. I have only ever pointed out that he's a serial liar, and that is based upon the stream of lies he has posted on this very blog.

      Delete
    12. I agree with JQ. Anonymous doesn't debate, he browbeats. He called me a liar too, because I told him that I don't consider the Pentagon to be a right wing institution. That's a "lie."

      Joey

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    13. I missed your citations from the CDC, etc. In fact, you still haven't shown me a single lie on Egnor's part. You've told me about one but you haven't shown me. I'd like to see his claim, and the figures you cited that supposedly debunk them. Then I'd like to his lie.

      >>And not only did Egnor continue to repeat his blizzard of lies when presented with the evidence of the falsity of his claims, he didn't bother to even address the points that were made against his blizzard of claims, which were now clearly lies.<<

      You didn't address my question. You haven't shown me a single flake of lies, never mind a blizzard. I think what you mean is that he expressed his opinion, you flipped out and called him a liar, you presented some study or article, you expressed your own particular spin on it, you declared yourself the winner (as if it was ever in doubt!) and then you demanded that Egnor stop saying things that make you angry. Your problem is that you try to make points that aren't persuasive, then accuse other people of lying because they aren't convinced by weak arguments.

      >>You might be aware enough to realize that more than one person posts anonymously here.<<

      Then pick a screen name! One person named anonymous is commonly confused with another person named anonymous. Are you the lawyer who reads cases all day, as well as thousand page congressional bills, as well as three translations of the Bible? I'm sorry if you're not but you haven't identified yourself.

      >>I never diagnosed Egnor with a pathology.<<

      Is that you above, calling him a pathological liar? If so, you've diagnosed him with a pathology.

      >>I have only ever pointed out that he's a serial liar...<<

      You said pathological. And you haven't demonstrated even one yet.

      JQ

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    14. If these two anonymous posters are indeed the same person, I can't see how he can claim that he never diagnosed Egnor with a pathology. He clearly called him a pathological liar. Which I guess makes him...a liar? In the space of one thread, he called Egnor a pathological liar and then said that he never said such a thing.

      Joey

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    15. You know, I decided to look into your accusation about "a blizzard of lies". I got some interesting results from a search on this blog using the search terms "DDT" and "DDT ban".

      There was one post in which Egnor himself used the string "DDT ban". It was posted 10/4/12, and featured a video clip from Reason TV. His first post on the subject (10/9/12) discussed the Ruckelshaus/EPA ban on DDT.

      Moreover, it's ridiculous in the extreme to conclude that the US ban on DDT had no effect on the global market. But that's not the issue here.

      Now I suppose that one post might be considered a "squall", but does not rise to the status of a "flurry", much less a "blizzard".

      So...

      Unless you can demonstrate that the blogspot search engine is faulty, or have cached copies of posts Egnor tried to delete, or otherwise find fault with my search...

      You, Sir, are the liar.

      What have I missed?

      Delete
    16. Anonymous is just a pressurized ball of bile. His tone is downright abusive. "Lying sack of shit" is a phrase he keeps close at hand. It's a testament to Dr. Egnor's patience that he hasn't blocked Anonymous' IP address yet.

      TRISH

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    17. Oh, they're just angry young left-wingers who think they know everything trying to appear sophisticated and knowledgeable. If they revealed who they were and what they do in life, no one would bother to respond. You see exemplars in the photos of Occupoidal youth living off some else's largesse and pretending to be martyring themselves while drinking Starbucks and tweeting on iPhones.

      I'm retired, and dusting these youngsters is my hobby. It's too cold for sporting clays.

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    18. George,

      OK - my qualifications. I studied medicine at an Australian university for 6 years and graduated with a MB, BS (bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery), the exact equivalent of the American MD degree, which isn't a doctorate in the PhD sense. Then I worked as an intern/resident in public hospitals for 3 years, before training as a registrar (the equivalent of the American Resident position) for 6 years in Anatomical Pathology. After that, I've worked for around 20 years in a lab involved in the tissue diagnosis of human disease, which increasingly involves knowledge of genetics and molecular pathology.

      So yes. I'm a medical practitioner. Of similar vintage, from what I can gather, as Michael.

      Delete
    19. I am a faculty member in science at a major American research university.

      Hoo

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    20. Well seeing as everyone else is posting a redacted CV, I may as well join the party.

      My qualifications come in the form of three separate Masters degrees from three different schools.
      My main fields of study have been history and tactics/command.
      I have served as an civilian and military educator, a field intelligence operative (ie recon - active duty), a signals intelligence officer, and currently serve as as a commanding officer for security within our Branch services technology and warfare division.
      These days, I work closely with our researchers in new r&d, reverse engineering, and field conceptualization of new and revised technologies.
      My son calls it 'the X files' :P
      I currently hold the rank of Captain and have twice refused promotion.
      I love my duty. I enjoy working with some of the brightest minds in the business, but no the pay or hours so much.

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    21. Moreover, it's ridiculous in the extreme to conclude that the US ban on DDT had no effect on the global market.

      It is actually ridiculous. The U.S. ban increased DDT use elsewhere, because U.S. manufacturers produced the product but had no domestic market. Through the 1980s, U.S. manufacturers exported hundreds of tons of DDT annually. If there was a worldwide ban, as Egnor has stated, who were they selling the DDT to?

      Delete
  5. Hilarity.

    Black holes are non-material? You won't think so when you get sucked into one.

    The Big Bang is as material as it gets. Unlike the Holy Ghost, it left behind entirely material evidence that Penrose and Wilson bumped into. You think that God created the Universe ex-nihilo, but your fantasies have nothing to do with science.

    Hoo

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Egnor, I gotta hand it to you, Sir. You sweep down the baton and Mephisto's Little Chorus begins to sing its discordant (but fetching) tunes.

    You must feel like a proud parent attending the pre-K Christmas choir concert. The tykes sing out with all their hearts, and they know the words, but they just don't get the music and meter yet.

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    Replies
    1. Time for a hearing checkup, Mike. We don't squeal. We laugh. Hysterically.

      Hoo

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    2. That's not squealing you're hearing, it's laughter. Watching you blather on so confidently about subjects you have no understanding of whatsoever is actually quite funny. Why don't you go out and ask some physicists if the Big Bang and black holes are "non-material"? For that matter, ask the Nobel Prize winners you cited. And claiming math as "non-naturalistic"? Wow. Even for you that's... well, no, for people like you there really is no bottom, I suppose.

      "Materialism as practiced today depends critically on Darwinism, in a way that it doesn't on Einstein's theory or cell theory. Darwinism is materialism's creation myth. Without Darwin's theory, materialism collapses for biology, which is so obviously teleological that even atheists stammered until the mid-nineteenth century. Darwinism rescued atheist materialism, and materialism's intellectual respectability is predicated on it. "Darwinist materialist" is merely the acknowledgement that materialism historically is dependent on Darwinism for its public credibility."

      Thank you for providing us all with such a lovely example of the fallacy of argument from consequences. Materialism as practiced today depends critically on cell theory, as without cells to make up their bodies there would be no one to be a materialist. Many racists have depended critically on the Bible to justify their racism through the claim that blacks were the cursed descendants of Ham. Evolution is a scientific theory. It is either an accurate model of reality or it isn't (and it is). Whatever comfort someone happens to want to derive from it to reinforce their worldview is really neither here nor there. Personally, I find evolution to be a wonderful testament to the glorious power and creativity of God. This may come as a shock to you, but there were plenty of atheists around before Darwin was even born, and if he was completely forgotten tomorrow there would still be plenty of them around.

      "Furthermore, all science that invokes teleological explanations inherently uses design inferences, even if the design inferences are implicit rather than explicit (explicit design inferences can be hazardous to a scientist's employment health). Without continuous invocation of purpose in biology (ribosomes are for making proteins, the heart is for circulation, insulin is for regulation of glucose metabolism, etc), scientists couldn't even do their daily work."

      Um, no. What something does and what it is "for" are not the same thing. If they were, the telescope would never have been invented.

      Boo

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    3. "We ID folks predicted decades ago that junk DNA wasn't junk. Darwinists predicted the opposite, and in fact used junk DNA as prima facie for Darwinism and for atheism.

      Darwinists were catastrophically wrong about junk DNA. ID scientists were clearly right. The damage done to molecular genetics by the Darwinian denial of the functionality of junk DNA is incalculable-- the impedance of decades of research and billions of dollars in science funding misdirected away from the critical study of most of the genome. Darwinist orthodoxy has given us one of the great scandals of modern science."

      Wow, triple fail. First of all, there is nothing in ID that can predict junk DNA has function. ID posits an unknown (wink wink) designer using unknown methods at unknown times for unknown purposes. When IDists claimed that the elegance of features in nature is evidence of design, evolutionists responded that many parts of the body could clearly have been designed better if design were used. The IDists promptly insisted that ID allows for sub-optimal design. Sub-optimal design could easily produce junk DNA. This is one major reason ID is not science; it can allow for every possible outcome.

      Second of all, junk DNA is still alive and well. Or would you care to tell us what the function of transcription is, in and of itself?

      Third of all, junk DNA did not stop people from researching those parts of the genome that did not code for proteins. That's how we found that some noncoding DNA is functional, after all. Researching DNA known to be junk could still be enormously fruitful. There would be great benefit if we could find a way to fix our broken vitamin C gene.

      "Pot, meet kettle. Darwinist materialists continuously conflate methodological naturalism (the study of natural effects) with philosophical naturalism (the denial of extra-natural causes). Darwinists confuse science with their ideology, and do violence to both."

      Please show an example of a "Darwinist materialist" doing this in their scientific research.

      Boo

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    4. Glad you came out of the closet, boo. And of course you're squealing. Those little missives you penned are not the language of a person who is amused. They are the output of an angry person. To put it in the typical, overwrought, purple prose of a womyn's studies major, you're "bashing". Read them for yourself after your blood pressure subsides.

      So you obviously have a big stake in the outcome of this little intellectual game. After all, on reflection, doesn't that comment about racism seem... well, a little out of context? Tsk, tsk.

      Delete
    5. We don't have a big stake in this game. The ID gang can't even find the goalposts.

      Read the testimony of the defense witnesses in the Dover trial. Behe and Minnich came across as total losers. One had to agree that his redefinition of science would include astrology as science. The other referred to his own testimony thus: "I kind of feel like Zsa Zsa's fifth husband, you know? As the old adage goes, you know, I know what to do but I just can't make it exciting. I'll try."

      There is no point in refuting anything these guys are doing. It's self-defeating and not threatening.

      Delete
    6. Yeah, right. That explains all the obsessive commenting, vituperation and vitriol. Nobody cares.

      And no, I'm not interested in a bridge...

      Delete
    7. @anon:

      Science is the study of the natural world.

      Astrology-- the theory that movements of planets and stars influences events on earth-- is science. It proposes testable theories. Of course, its theories have been proven wrong for centuries, and astrologers (like Darwinists) are immune to evidence, but Behe's implication that astrology is a science in the sense that it proposes theories about nature that can be tested is correct.

      Actually, I find the correlations between astrology and materialist sciences like Darwinism quite close, and interesting.

      Someone who believes that 'everything came from nothing', 'shit happens' explains natural laws, and 'survivors survive' explains biology has no business mocking astrologers.

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    8. Of course now Egnor has to play along with Behe and insist that astrology qualifies as science. Hahahaha!

      And how about admitting that Minnich is a bore who manages to bore himself? And that David Berlinski is a crackpot raving about the Big Bang being fiction? Or Steve Fuller who insists that ID should admit its creationist roots and embrace the God of the Bible?

      Science, my ass...

      Hoo

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    9. Unlike someone who believes a cracker magically becomes the flesh of an imaginary zombie who died for the sins of someone that never existed.

      Delete
    10. @troy:

      [Unlike someone who believes a cracker magically becomes the flesh of an imaginary zombie who died for the sins of someone that never existed.]

      You believe that mud magically became life, and that the universe magically came from nothing.

      I'll take my transubstantiation over yours any day.

      Delete
    11. Actually, it's you who believe that life was magically created from mud. Genesis 2:7.

      Hoo

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    12. Michael,

      No, we don't believe that life came 'magically' from mud. Nor do we believe that the Universe 'magically' came from nothing. That's what you believe (with a little assistance by a magical mystical God).

      How about answering my question? How much of the human genome could be junk DNA and consistent with your assertion that almost all human DNA has a function? 1%? 5%? What?

      It's a simple question. Simpler than the one you spent ages, chortling to yourself, devising. The one about morality; 'Can something be morally wrong, even if every individual alive believes that it is right?'

      Delete
    13. You believe that mud magically became life, and that the universe magically came from nothing.

      No I don't. I'm fine with admitting I don't know how life originated or what caused the big bang. I'd like to know, of course, but prefer the lack of knowledge over comforting bullshit stories.

      I do take some comfort in the fact that belief in the ridiculous notion of transubstantiation is on the way out, as you probably realize almost as well as I do. Hehehe (that's a satanic cackle).

      Delete
    14. [I'm fine with admitting I don't know how life originated or what caused the big bang. ]

      You don't know how life originated, but you believe it just came out of mud.

      I don't know how Transubstantiation happens, but I believe that it does happen.

      [I'd like to know, of course, but prefer the lack of knowledge over comforting bullshit stories.]

      Denial of God and of moral accountability is the ultimate comforting bullshit story. Without God, everything is permitted.

      People who think that facing the Lord with our sins is "comforting" don't understand fear and trembling. As a Christian, I am much more afraid than I was when I could freely wallow in my sins.

      I understand the stakes, and it is not comforting.

      Delete
    15. Michael,

      No, we don't believe that life came out of mud. And we believe that morality is a human invention. If you want to live in social groups, then you have to follow the norms of your group.

      It's only if you're prepared to live outside of all social groups is 'everything permitted'. In a short, miserable lonely life. Living in groups is a marvelous invention.

      And why do you continue to refuse my simple question about junk DNA?

      Delete
    16. "You don't know how life originated, but you believe it just came out of mud."
      You don't know how life originated, but you believe that a wizard did it.

      Delete
    17. George Boggs- yes, you make a lovely tone troll. How about trying to actually answer my points? You notice Egnor can't either. HE's a rather angry individual. Fortunately I don't need to depend on spurious mindreading claims to say that, just his habit of cussing me out.

      Boo

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    18. "Astrology-- the theory that movements of planets and stars influences events on earth-- is science. It proposes testable theories. Of course, its theories have been proven wrong for centuries, and astrologers (like Darwinists) are immune to evidence, but Behe's implication that astrology is a science in the sense that it proposes theories about nature that can be tested is correct."

      No, that's not how astrology works. Astrological claims, like the claims of psychics, are formulated to be as generalized as possible so people can read whatever they want into them. They are not falsifiable.

      Boo

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    19. Denial of God and of moral accountability is the ultimate comforting bullshit story. Without God, everything is permitted.

      Oh, come on. It's the other way around. Your religion teaches that everything will be forgiven (except calling the holy spirit a cunt), as long as you confess to a member of the official religious racketeers. In contrast, if you believe that you're accountable only to your fellow humans on earth, then you know there are trespasses that will not be forgiven. Why do you think armies were blessed by priests before going into battle? So they 'knew' they could get away with any atrocity without jeopardizing their place in heaven.

      Delete
  7. Wonderful post Dr. Egnor. Darwinism is pure rubbish and we would be years ahead in biology if we stopped looking at the cell as an accident of nature and tried to really understand the language of life that it displays.

    Random mutations and natural selection are insipide ideas and totally wrong. Life is much, much more wonderfully complex than that.

    I don't read comments from darwinists-atheists anymore. They are just noise.

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    1. Darwinism is pure rubbish and we would be years ahead in biology if we stopped looking at the cell as an accident of nature and tried to really understand the language of life that it displays.

      Gee, one wonders why you haven't been able to show all those benighted "Darwinists" up by looking at the cell properly and understanding the language of life in a way they are missing.

      Oh right, it is because you, like all the rest of the ID crew, are simply spewing bullshit and aren't able to contribute anything useful to the study of science.

      Delete
    2. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      "I don't read comments from darwinists-atheists anymore. They are just noise"

      A single case in point is the comment (Anon) above.
      Don't blame you at all, Pépé.

      Delete
    3. A single case in point is the comment (Anon) above.

      So, CrusadeRex, why haven't you managed to make any valuable contributions to the field of biology? Since you, like Pépé seem to have an insight into the "real workings of the cell" that biologists don't?

      Delete
  8. Dr Egnor,
    Your points regarding mathematics are irrefutable.
    Notice the response to them? Silence.
    Your points regarding the big bang theory and the singularity theory are also salient. The response to them only furthers your central argument.
    What these counter-points boil down to is that you have never been into a black hole or do not know how the big bang came about. Obviously these counter-points are so easily reversible they would be ill advised in an 8th grade debate class.
    NOBODY has been to the centre of a singularity (if that is indeed what a black hole is) and nobody has the means to identify what happened (or if there was) a big bang with MATERIAL science.
    All we have is mathematics. Theoretical models.
    Sure we can pop particles and observe them, but we have no way of knowing the recreated conditions are the same as during the infancy of time-space as they are now or will be in millions of years when the earth is no longer in the same areas/periods of space-time.
    We have to begin with the grand ASSUMPTION that we can predict those conditions.
    How do we do that?
    Immaterial mathematics. Physics, to be precise.
    There is the very nature of time-space to also consider. Where does this conceptualization of time emanate from?
    Does time flow from the beginning (a big bang like event?) to the end, or are living things swimming upstream?
    We ASSUME the former, but currently we have no way of knowing this. Further is time constant throughout the cosmos? Does it have a physical boundary? Does it's flow fluctuate, and if so how can we be sure of what we observe at great distances via radio signals and light spectrum analysis. We assume. Again, we use models.
    We know forces such as gravity and velocity warp/expand time space locally, so how can we base a model of the ENTIRE visible universe (and beyond) on constants that even we can defy in our infantile understanding of these things?
    Is time MATERIAL? If not, if it is a 'force' what is the origin of this force and why does it 'just happen' to exist? For what end?
    We know we experience it and sometimes, under extreme conditions, alter it's flow - but WHAT IS IT? How does it connect or combine with space? How does MIND relate to time?
    When we are discussing and debating a subject (ie evolution) that's specific purpose is to map a history of life, and to use those points of interpreted data to attempt to predict FUTURE events (either human influenced or natural) time, and it's nature, is a central assumption.
    My point is quite simple really: Assuming that the flow of time is a constant, even locally here on Earth and within geological history, is a HUGE assumption and not one we can rely on credibly... but it is all we have to work with.
    And before Hawkins et al and multiverses are even mentioned, please consider you are simply delaying the inevitable. Regression (of an infinite nature) is not a solution to these quandaries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your points regarding mathematics are irrefutable.

      No, they are silly. Computers can do mathematics. Are you saying that computers are immaterial?

      Delete
    2. Are you suggesting an algorithm is a form of matter?

      Delete
    3. Are you suggesting counting machines are naturally occurring, non designed, and are identical to the numbers they calculate - that computers ARE numbers?

      Delete
    4. CrusadeRex,

      Actually, an algorithm in a computer is a form of matter. It's a particular arrangement of stored electrons within an electronic device. The same as mathematics is a form of matter - it represents the strength of synapses (also physical structures) between a large number of neurons in the brains of humans).

      A human doing mathematics is exactly the same as a human brain carrying out a motor action such as walking. It requires physical processes to occur within large numbers of neurons, with activation of synapses.

      Delete
    5. An algorithm is not material. It has no mass or location or extension in space.

      Numbers are not material. Your impoverished materialist philosophy can't even deal with rudimentary aspects of every day life.

      Delete
    6. [The same as mathematics is a form of matter - it represents the strength of synapses (also physical structures) between a large number of neurons in the brains of humans).]

      No. Electroochemical neuronal processes lack intentionality-- they lack meaning, which is conferred only by mental states, which are instantiated in matter, but not reducible to it.

      You need to bone up on Aristotle/Aquinas/Hylemorphism.

      As I said, your juvenile materialist philosophy fails even at rudimentary explanations.

      Delete
    7. Michael,

      I don't need to read bullshit (Aquinas and hylemorphism) to understand the world. Aristotle was a great philosopher and thinker. For his time.

      The concept of numbers doesn't exist outside of brains - physical structures.

      You don't have explanations. Just stories. Very poor stories.

      Delete
    8. You need to bone up on Aristotle/Aquinas/Hylemorphism.

      Who needs this ancient crap?

      Hoo

      Delete
    9. Bach,
      That is an utterly ridiculous statement.
      But thanks for your response. It is precisely what I expected. Sheer, pure reductionism.

      So, let's just clarify this for the other readers: Numbers are not real in any meaningful sense. They are simply symbols that all living, thinking (and even designed machines) use for (un?)purposes of purposeless procreation and random calculations that somehow benefit them and their gene pool by chance.
      Right?
      If there was no (adapted) mind or (designed) algorithm to perceive them, mathematics would NOT work. Two would cease to be two, and two sets of two would no longer equal four.
      Correct?

      Delete
    10. Hoo,
      'Who needs this ancient crap?'

      You, apparently.
      That ancient 'crap' is the foundation of your favourite modern 'crap'. When you discount the philosophy, you discount is offspring: Science.
      Can't have your scientism without your science, can't have your science without the philosophical constructs that lay the foundations of inquiry.
      Get a clue, Hoo.

      Delete
    11. "The concept of numbers doesn't exist outside of brains - physical structures."

      Concepts exist in minds.

      The laws of nature are written in mathematics.

      In what Mind did the mathematical laws exist, before man?

      Delete
    12. Dr Egnor,
      Your question is going to bring Bach dangerously close to considering WHY such a system would be present before (or after) man. Or WHY it exists independent of his of his synapses.
      This could prove very uncomfortable to people with his 'world view'.

      Delete
    13. CrusadeRex,

      Incorrect. Numbers are a construct of minds. Even ducks are able to count, keeping track of the number of ducklings in their broods, going hunting for missing ones if necessary.

      The ability to do mathematics is adaptive and it improves survival not by chance. For any prey, knowing that there are 4 lions, and only 3 can be seen currently is very useful, because it raises the red flag 'where is the 4th lion?'.

      Procreation isn't purposeless. What makes you think that?

      Numbers without minds (and brains) to manipulate them are meaningless. To a rock or a tree, it's irrelevant whether there's 4, 8, 16, or whatever, rocks or trees.

      Delete
    14. Michael,

      No. Mathematics didn't exist before there were minds (in brains) to devise them. Mathematics is a tool, a construct, allowing us to understand reality. To construct models and theories of reality.

      Reality exists, even in the absence of mathematics, models and theories. Mathematics is a construct. It deals even with unreal numbers, such as the square root of negative one. Doesn't exist. Unreal. You'll never see it in nature. But extremely useful as a construct.

      Delete
    15. "Incorrect. Numbers are a construct of minds."
      That contradicts itself, Bach. That is precisely what I asked you. You have answered in the affirmative. 'Correct' would be the correct response.

      "Even ducks are able to count, keeping track of the number of ducklings in their broods, going hunting for missing ones if necessary."
      Sure. Ducks have minds.
      Do rocks count themselves?

      "The ability to do mathematics is adaptive and it improves survival not by chance. "
      Wait a second, here. You profess to believe life itself arose by chance. How do you suddenly find purpose in survival, if the actual BEING of life is merely a chance?
      It seems like a self refuting argument.

      "For any prey, knowing that there are 4 lions, and only 3 can be seen currently is very useful, because it raises the red flag 'where is the 4th lion?'."
      Again, your hypothetical prey (let's say a deer for argument's sake) is alive and has a mind. It's mind has intentionality. It's emotions drive it to act. Again, this is my point entirely.

      'Procreation isn't purposeless. What makes you think that?'
      Come on now, Bach! You KNOW I don't think that. That's your 'world view', pal.
      You're the autobiogenesis guy. I am the creationist.
      Meaning is my middle name.
      If life and existence is a meaningless, random, emergent event within a mindless cosmos, what exactly does the act reproduction achieve? What purpose is served to earth or the stars by a few more ducks, deer, or men.
      Perhaps put another way: If life is mere happen-stance (ie not for any design or end purpose) the OBVIOUSLY reproduction is simply a matter of replicating that original happen-stance.
      You're getting very close to teleological function here, Bach.

      "Numbers without minds (and brains) to manipulate them are meaningless."
      There we go! Now your getting to the red meat.
      Now you begin to come clean.
      MEANINGLESSNESS.
      The central thesis of your 'world view'.

      "To a rock or a tree, it's irrelevant whether there's 4, 8, 16, or whatever, rocks or trees."
      Well you're half right. Trees and plants (and other organisms with no brains) reproduce.
      It does 'matter' to them, even if they do not consciously express or recognize that sentiment in the form of words, grunts, tweets, or growls.
      Without numbers (at least a few) they would cease to exist. Witness the forest and the field.
      Numbers again.
      On rocks, we agree. They are inanimate. It does not matter to a piece of granite whether it is in a rock face or sits as a glacial erratic on the sandy shore of an island. It has NO MIND. (sorry if anyone still has a 'pet rock', I am sure he is a lovely little guy just the same :P)

      But again, I pose the question to you would 2 sets of the number 2 STILL equal 4 if there was NO MIND (man, duck, or deer or even plant) present to calculate or react to that equation?
      Never mind (no pun intended), I'll answer it for you.
      YES it would.
      The immaterial numbers are just as real as me and you, but for some reason only living thinking MINDS truly comprehend them. Only mankind has connected them to symbols and language to express those concepts in the form of algorithms (computer programs, recipes for pancakes, histories etc etc)
      Strange isn't it?
      Almost as if they were there for us to use before we (ducks, deer, and men) ever were.
      Almost as if some MIND utilized them in some form of 'creation' and/or maintenance of order in the cosmos.
      Almost as if they indicated some sort of grand program or algorithm to NATURE itself.
      Awesome stuff, really.

      Unless, of course, you believe in a magically random, meaningless, emergent nothingness. Then you can happily ignore the reality of abstractions like numbers - at least when it is convenient.

      But for the rest of us, it's really quite interesting and totally unavoidable.



      Delete
    16. CrusadeRex,

      I'm saying that YOU are incorrect. Mathematics and abstract numbers didn't exist until there were brains and minds sophisticated enough to understand them.

      'Seven rocks' as a physical quantity before brains and minds ever evolved, but 'seven' as an abstract didn't. Even 'seven rocks' is meaningless without a mind to define what a rock is (not a pebble or a boulder) and the confines of the rocks.

      Mathematics and abstract numbers are a tool to describe reality.

      Delete
    17. Right.
      I get what you mean.
      But you're obviously incorrect.
      Dare I say it? Hampered by your world view.
      Mistaken, would perhaps be a better way of putting it.
      You confuse numbers with the symbols we assign to them.
      One is an English word. Uno is Spanish, and Un is Fench.
      There are also varying symbols from culture to culture. Your ducks and deer may also have some form of expression a number, or at least imaging it. (The square root of quack is quack?)
      But these, of course, are only our representations of a reality; our conception of an underlying a truth. It is our own forms of expression.
      One exists with or without us to count it.
      A hydrogen atom, for example, still requires a single electron in order to BE hydrogen.
      It could not have two or three, even if there was not a brain somewhere to count them. If somehow (naturally) it combined with more sub atomic particles the nature of it changes. It becomes something OTHER than hydrogen.
      Maths without a conventional (ie mortal) mind to conceive it. The cosmos ITSELF counts.
      So once we concede (as we should logically) that numbers are real, then we come to that interesting idea that if mind/intelligence is required to conceive of mathematics and their components (numbers) we see that the cosmos itself - in order to count and differentiate between numbers - must have some sort of mind or intelligence.
      The numbers are there whether we count them or not.
      I'd tell you to go ask an atom, but that could lead to an explosive conversation!

      Delete
    18. CrusadeREX you're basically arguing numbers as a kind of Platonic ideal, which is an interesting philsophical question, but irrelevant to science, and so far is unanswerable.

      Boo

      Delete
    19. Crusader:

      Are you suggesting an algorithm is a form of matter?

      Are you suggesting a recipe for cake is immaterial?

      The problem with immaterial algorithms is that you can't point to a single example because all known examples of algorithms that can be verified by multiple independent observers are instantiated in matter.

      There is no largest prime number according to mathematicians (some old Greeks figured that out; new Greeks feel the same about debt). Does that mean that infinitely many primes actually exist in some immaterial realm? Assuming that the amount of matter in the universe is finite, clearly there is not enough matter to write them all down. So where are those primes?

      Delete
    20. Boo,
      Why thank you!
      It seems you have actually read my comments for what they are.
      I have not had such an engaging reaction from the opposition since Oleg was about. Well, maybe from FTC too to a more limited degree - as we have not actually communicated to the same degree.
      Cheers!
      As for it's irrelevance, we will have to agree to disagree. I have good reason to think it bleeds well into modern scientific and engineering principles.
      Unanswerable is not the equivalent of unworkable. It is an assumption, I will grant you that. But all of our inquiry is based on assumptions, and some of them lead us to very interesting points indeed!

      Troy,
      "Are you suggesting a recipe for cake is immaterial?"

      Yes. It is a collection of instructions (information) that exists in the mind and can be written down for purposes of passing that information on to another mind. The paper, ink, neurons, and ingredients involved only come together to perform that function with intent.

      "Does that mean that infinitely many primes actually exist in some immaterial realm?"
      Yes, essentially. Their potential is real. Whether or not some other realm is required is a secondary question. There is a lot of talk about 'the field' these days. A field of unlimited potential from which all particulate matter and 'waves' are formed. Could this be the realm? Or is something even more abstract and 'super natural' required? where does this field emanate from, what guides it?
      Those are the interesting questions in my mind.

      "Assuming that the amount of matter in the universe is finite, clearly there is not enough matter to write them all down. So where are those primes?"
      Think about it for a moment, Troy.
      They exist in the infinite. If that infinity does not exist in the universe (hardly a proven fact), but can be logically deduced as potentially real - where is the infinite? Why do our minds conceive of it in EXACTLY the same way we come to easier solutions - some of them quite complex in themselves.
      You're view, I suspect, is that any form of the infinite does not exist at all. You are entitled to that view. But that is ALL it is. A refusal to gaze into infinity for fear of losing your power over creation. For me, I have never assumed such a power, so it is a thrill to look into the mind of the Cosmos and see an ordered intelligence peering back at me...with love.

      Delete
    21. "Are you suggesting a recipe for cake is immaterial?"

      Yes. It is a collection of instructions (information) that exists in the mind and can be written down for purposes of passing that information on to another mind.


      Alright, so if I were to administer a special memory-of-cake-recipe-erasure drink to all of humankind, then cake recipes would cease to exist. Is that what you think? Or if there is a buried recipe for roasted baby with pepper sauce under the remains of Hitler's bunker, and nobody is aware of the buried recipe's existence, then there is no such recipe?

      You're view, I suspect, is that any form of the infinite does not exist at all.

      I'm agnostic about that. For example, I think it's an open question whether the universe is infinite.

      it is a thrill to look into the mind of the Cosmos and see an ordered intelligence peering back at me...with love.

      Yeah, peace dude. Pass around the acid.

      Delete
    22. Troy,
      You are very easily confused, young man.
      The algorithm and the numbers are not the same thing, or even type of thing. The similarity ends with their nature - they are composed of immaterial information.
      The numbers that compose the quantities that we use to measure the ingredients (let say ONE cup of such and such) would still exist. ONE being the number, you see.
      Not the symbol for one, not the cup, not the conceptualization or intent to create the fruit cake - just the ONE (or two, or the infinite primes).
      The numbers potency would still be effective, the only thing missing would be the mortal minds to comprehend them.
      Of course, in your scenario the minds would still exist, the numbers would still have a symbolic meaning.
      You may also want to consider that time-space, the sciences, and language could easily exist WITHOUT fruitcake.

      "I'm agnostic about that. For example, I think it's an open question whether the universe is infinite."
      Good. It is well to keep an open mind in cosmology, it is a science in it's infancy and heavily reliant on metaphysical thought.

      "Yeah, peace dude. Pass around the acid."
      I don't need hallucinogenics to think outside of the box, Troy. Also, I did not write about peace or pacifism. I was pretty specific about my meaning: Love.
      But if LSD helps you to escape mental myopia... different strokes, I suppose. Just be careful, Dr trips, sometimes folks don't EVER come down!

      Delete
  9. Here's a good one. Six year old ordered to remove the word "God" from Veterans Day speech.

    Remember what the liberals always tells us. There's no ban on religion in schools, no ban on prayer, or God. Only on government initiated religion! What baloney. I'm not that old and I was in the public schools not that long ago. God talk was taboo, whether it came from a teacher or a student. The only time it was permitted to speak about God was when it was blasphemous or taking the Lord's name in vain.

    http://weaselzippers.us/2012/11/29/north-carolina-school-orders-6-year-old-girl-to-remove-word-god-from-poem-she-wrote-for-veterans-day/

    "We wanted to make sure we were upholding the school district’s responsibility of separation of church and state from the Establishment Clause,” Supt. Gerri Martin told the McDowell News.

    But the establishment clause doesn't say anything about God bans in public schools. It say that Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion. The phrase was intended to prevent an established church, not to terrorize little girls.

    Joey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's terrible, Joey. The publish schools are truly hostile environments for Christian students.

      TRISH

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    2. That should be public schools. Sorry, I'm a victim of them.

      TRISH

      Delete
    3. LOL, Trish.
      A good sense of humour always includes the ability to laugh at one's self.
      Funny stuff :)

      Delete
    4. The publish schools are truly hostile environments for Christian students.

      Just keep pretending that you are a persecuted sect. Your hysteria is kind of fun to watch.

      Delete