Tuesday, January 14, 2014

God, in Larry Moran's nose

Larry Moran made a witless comment in a thread about the relation between religion and science on his blog:
"If you know of something that is so completely mysterious that we are forced to invoke divine intervention then please share it with us."
My reply:
Pick one electron orbiting one nucleus in one of the hydrogen atoms of your nose hairs. How is it that the electron has position, energy, spin etc. constrained according to the mathematics of quantum mechanics? 
The fact that any physical process in nature is directed-- that is, tends to one state of affairs rather than another-- is teleology, which is the nidus of Aquinas' Fifth Way, which is one of many proofs for God's existence.

Explain the correspondence of the motion of that one electron with the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, using naturalistic assumptions.

Then multiply that problem by the number of all electrons in the universe, and you have some sense of the overwhelming evidence for God.
The proof of God's existence is in Larry Moran's nose, and everywhere, in every atom.

The fact that any subatomic particle moves in a predictable fashion-- let alone in a fashion as mathematically elegant as quantum mechanics-- is straightforward evidence for God's existence. It is, in fact, God's handiwork, manifest everywhere and always.

The New Atheist claim that there's no "evidence" for God is so bereft of insight that it's breathtaking. Every change in nature (Aquinas' First Way), every cause in nature (Aquinas' Second Way), every thing that exists (Aquinas' Third Way), every thing that is more or less good (Aquinas' Fourth Way), every thing that tends to an end (Aquinas' Fifth Way), every thing of which something greater can be conceived (the Ontological Argument), and every moral opinion (argument from morality-- Kant's Categorical Imperative) is proof of God-- in fact, is an unequivocal manifestation of God's Wisdom and Word-- his Logos.

The Christian claim, which is grounded in irrefutable truth, is ever more breathtaking. A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated God's Logos' birth-- the day when He became flesh and dwelt among us.

116 comments:

  1. anthropic principle

    and

    information in living cells

    ReplyDelete
  2. The fact that any physical process in nature is directed-- that is, tends to one state of affairs rather than another-- is teleology

    No it isn't. A physical system changing state does not imply the system is "directed". You're assuming your conclusion.

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    Replies
    1. It is directed when it tends to one state, and not another.

      Delete
    2. So according to your definition of "directed", every physical system is "directed" unless all state changes of the system are equally likely to occur. What definition of "directed" are you using to 'derive' this profound insight?

      Delete
    3. Troy - some thoughts, off-the-cuff,

      Directed works just fine, though you could say "acts for an end" or "ordered to an end". In Book II of Aristotle's Physics, we're led to the following conclusion:

      Things either act for an end, or they don't.

      If it seems obvious, it's because it is. This is an exhaustive list of possibilities. Aristotle, ever the keen eye, notes that certain processes in nature happen always or for the most part (unless impeded). Something that always tends to the same end, result, terminus, etc. is directed.

      The Fifth Way is tricky, I'll admit it seems clearer to me some days than others. We know that things with minds (ie: us) can anticipate future states, and act in a series of determinate or semi-determinate steps to create an intended result (plane the wood, lay the foundation, the walls, the roof, [...], finish the house)

      The weird thing is, nature acts like this too. Embryology and immunology are probably the two sciences with the clearest examples of this process. Since Egnor trades in brains, we can look at neural development as another example par excellence.

      How can things without minds (atoms, electrons, trees, clouds, axons, dendrites) act for a determinate end without knowing their end?

      Either we're panpsychists, or we admit that there's something at least like a mind guiding the whole deal.

      - Curio

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    4. Curio:

      How can things without minds (atoms, electrons, trees, clouds, axons, dendrites) act for a determinate end without knowing their end?

      It's not so surprising if you know a little bit about the mathematical theory of dynamical systems. Systems of objects that interact with each other according to certain rules can be 'attracted' to some equilibrium end state without any of the objects having any idea of what's going on.

      Delete
    5. Troy,

      Your response literally cuts to the heart of the difference between modern science and classical philosophy.

      It's not so surprising if you know a little bit about the mathematical theory of dynamical systems. Systems of objects that interact with each other according to certain rules can be 'attracted' to some equilibrium end state

      Modern, quantitative physics is about modelling nature. Mathematical models. Francis Bacon and the other founders of modern science eschewed things like final cause since, obviously, it wasn't needed for their quantitative analysis. We've gotten so used to this method that we've forgotten what exactly we're doing and what types of questions we're asking and answering.

      Newton actually acknowledged, more or less, that his inverse square law didn't tell us how or why or what gravity was. After all, how could it? A quantitative description of a system's behavior is not a full account. More could be said about this, I recently read E. A Burtt's (who was not a Christian, or even a Theist)Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science and am convinced that if people read that damn book today we'd have less naive positivists.

      - Curio

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    6. Curio,

      I think I answered your original question, but now you're asking where do the rules come from - the rules describing how objects interact.

      I don't know, mostly. I suppose that some higher-level rules (e.g. what are the rules that make collective ant behavior result in a successful ant colony) might be derived from lower-level rules, but where the lowest-level rules come from - dunno. Do you know?

      Delete
    7. Here is an argument to try out while you're high.

      Consider the rule that says,

      A. "If any rule exists about anything, then God must exist"

      which is basically the rule Smegnor is invoking in this post.

      Note this is a rule about rules, so it is itself a rule.

      Note also that this rule is based on the following assumption:

      B. If a rule exists, it must have been made by God.

      BIg assumption.

      Now ask: who made rule A?

      If God made rule A, God was not required to exist prior to his making the rule. Since he was at one time not required to exist, God is not metaphysically necessary, since metaphysical necessity means you have always been required to exist. Thus all rules requiring God to exist lead to an eternal regress, including the Kalam cosmological argument, because if God is not metaphysically necessary, something must have created him.

      All inductive rules of the form "Everything that begins to exist has a cause", "Everything that exists has a cause", "Everything that is rational must be made by something rational", "Everything that is complex must be made by something more complex" and so on then lead to eternal regress. All of them require God to be created by something else, bigger than himself.

      If God did not make rule A, then either another being who made the rule pre-existed God, or else rules can exist without being created by an intelligence, which falsifies rule B.

      If B is false, rules can exist without rule-makes and consequently any order in nature is no proof of God.

      Delete
    8. It's not about rules, actually. The Fifth Way is about things. Things behaving, or more crudely things doing things in a certain way.

      Troy and Diogenes - I take it by your remarks that you are both realists with regard to laws (rules) of physics/nature. What are laws of nature? Are they material? How do they exist? Where?

      And there's no need to bring Kalam into this, or anything like that. Aristotle though the Universe was eternally old and Aquinas only believed otherwise because of Genesis 1:1

      - Curio

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    9. Curio: I note you dodged my meta-argument against all proofs of God's existence. I guess it's not so easily refuted.

      What are laws of nature?

      Mathematical and logical concepts.

      Are they material?

      No. Nor are they intelligent. They are not ghosts nor spooks nor spirits nor deities.

      How do they exist?

      Do you mean a particular law, or all laws? For particular laws, we know they are derived from more fundamental laws, e.g. Ohm's law derived from QED applied to metal lattice atoms, Second Law of Thermodynamics derived from quantum mechanics and statistics, etc.

      For laws in general, I have no explanation, nor does any theist. But theists redefine the verb "to explain" when applied to religious assertions, so as to relieve them of the burden of evidence.

      Where? Question based on a false premise. Space and time are mathematical concepts derived from the local nature of particle interactions, e.g. integrating over (x1-x2) in quantum field theory. To ask "Where?" is to assume that a mathematical concept must have a location within space, but space is itself a mathematical concept, and there is no requirement that one all other concepts must be describable in terms of the particular mathematical concept (space.)

      Delete
    10. Here's another meta-argument to blow your mind.

      Theists like to assert that there is a rule: ‘something cannot come from nothing.' Let's apply the meta-argument to that rule!

      OK, what’s your definition of nothing? Does it include rules or not? These two possibilities are exhaustive.

      1. Nothing may obey rules.

      2. Nothing may not obey rules.

      If 1, “nothing” includes rules, then it may include the laws of quantum mechanics. In which case the Big Bang would be caused by a quantum fluctuation in the vacuum leading to an inflation field, according to the laws of quantum mechanics. If “nothing” includes rules, you are required to disprove the known and observed rules of quantum mechanics, because those rules, based on observation, permit something to come from nothing.

      That is, if 1 is true, your rule ‘something cannot come from nothing’ is observationally disproven.

      If 2, “nothing” does not include rules, then the rule “something cannot come from nothing” does not apply to nothing, because “something cannot come from nothing” is a rule, and your nothing does not obey rules. A “nothing” that does not include rules can do just about anything so it can indeed lead to something.

      That is, if 2 is true, something may indeed come from nothing, by definition.

      To summarize: if (1), your rule ‘something cannot come from nothing’ is observationally disproven, and if (2), your rule is untrue by definition.

      Delete
  3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 14, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    Tangential to the topic, I just finished reading A Quiet Light, Louis de Wohl's historical novel about the life of St Thomas Aquinas. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in this great saint and the Medieval sociocultural milieu in which he lived and worked.

    Thomas of Aquino was an intellectual supernova in the history of Western thought. It is only recently that he has been displaced from the Western canon by Richard "Robot" Dawkins and his Amazing Cyberweasel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Senile old fart,

      'A Quiet Life'? According to my copy, it's 'the Quiet Life'. Those who ridicule others for typographical errors and foibles of spellcheck eventually make errors of their own. Including getting the title of a book they're warmly recommending wrong.

      Delete
    2. We're all wrong. It's 'The Quiet Light'. New rule: no more pointing out typographical errors unless they're truly egregious or detract from the main thrust of the argument.

      - Curio

      Delete
    3. Curio,

      Yeah you're right. Perhaps I should read it again.

      Delete
  4. More cutting edge though from a thousand years ago. We’ve learned allot since then. Science demonstrates over and over that simple laws acting on relatively simple systems can bring about astonishing complexity. Gravity + Hydrogen + time = indediblly dynamic galaxies, chemistry +natural selection + time = incredibly complex organisms. Observation has shown that we live in a flat zero net energy universe (within the uncertainty bars anyway). All it takes to set this all in motion is a plank sized region of inflation field. No complex being necessary, just some principle that demands there be something rather than nothing.

    You’re missing an opportunity. If you were only willing to make your god a tiny bit smaller you could argue that we live in the subset of universes where an omnipotent intelligence emerged early and guided its subsequent evolution.

    -KW

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    Replies
    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJanuary 14, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      Popeye: "More cutting edge though from a thousand years ago. We’ve learned allot since then."

      But naught how too spel. Its so hard to get strait.

      Love ya, Popster. Your life may have its greatest significance as a warning to others.

      Delete
    2. KW said: "Science demonstrates over and over that simple laws acting on relatively simple systems can bring about astonishing complexity. "

      Actually, Science demonstrates over and over that simple laws acting on complex systems brings about a decrease in their order. What you stated is anti-science, i.e. anti-reason + anti-truth

      Gravity + Hydrogen + time = indediblly [sic] dynamic galaxies when one assumes the anti-science axiom that the big bang theory has been proven correct.

      chemistry +natural selection + time = incredibly complex organisms when one assumes the anti-science axiom that the theory of evolution has been proven correct.

      Delete
    3. Awstar,

      It's true that order is decreasing in the Universe as a whole. Even the supermassive black holes in the centre of galaxies will eventually evaporate away by Hawking radiation in an immensely distant time period of at least 10^100 years.

      However, order can increase in the short term in localised areas, provided enough outside energy is provided. Such as life on Earth, with the enormous amount of solar energy coming from the Sun. Order is increasing on Earth, while disorder is increasing in the Sun. The sum for the Earth and the Sun together is that order is decreasing.

      Delete
    4. bachfiend

      You're being deceived by the anti-science guys.
      You need to consider what's happing at the boundary of what it is you're studying.
      Here, do the math: http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/sewell/AML_3497.pdf

      in a nutshell: "if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable"

      Delete
    5. Awstar,

      LOL, Granville Sewell? Actually I'd agree with his non-paper. No matter how much solar energy falls on the Earth, you're not going to get spontaneous generation of nuclear power plants.

      Where he goes wrong is that he assumes in advance that his analogy applies to life on Earth too, which has had a very long history, existing for at least 3.8 billion years, beginning within 200 million years of the Earth being cool enough to have liquid water.

      And for most of that 3.8 billion years, life has been simple, with complexity arising only within the past 600 million years or so, with the enormous amount of solar energy providing the means for organisms to compete with each other.

      Delete
    6. Awstar,

      Actually, Science demonstrates over and over that simple laws acting on complex systems brings about a decrease in their order.

      This is a creationist lie. It makes physicists either laugh or become enraged. Either way, the physicists will never be on the side of creationists lying about very simple subjects that every goddamn physics sophomore had damn well better understand, or flunk.

      I'll explain it so even a conservative can understand.

      If a system radiates off heat deltaQ to its environment, the second law of thermodynamics [2LOT] permits a local decrease in entropy deltaS (positive for decrease) so long as

      deltaS <= deltaQ /T

      where T is temperature. To this must be added corrections for matter entering or leaving the system.

      All living things radiate heat, so deltaQ > 0 for them. Therefore, 2LOT permits all living things to produce a local decrease in entropy.

      When living things reproduce, they are alive. Therefore, 2LOT permits all reproductive processes to produce a local decrease in entropy.

      Natural selection involves differential amounts of reproduction, which is a type of reproduction, which is a type of life process, which is a type of process that radiates heat, so deltaQ > 0. Therefore, 2LOT permits all natural selection to produce a local decrease in entropy.

      As for Sewell, he is not a physicist, but a mathematician, a charlatan and a shakedown artist.

      "if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable"

      This is in direct contradiction to observed phenomena.
      Physicists know that when a system does not radiate heat, the probability of a local decrease in entropy is zero. Physicists also know that when a system does radiate heat, the probability of a local decrease in entropy is nonzero, because they have seen it happen.

      Therefore, Sewell's sewage, "if an increase in order is extremely improbable when a system is closed, it is still extremely improbable when the system is open, unless something is entering which makes it not extremely improbable" is directly contradicted by observation. He is a moron.

      Delete
    7. Diogenes, I think i see where you went off track.

      Natural selection involves differential amounts of reproduction, (true or false?)
      [true]

      which is a type of reproduction, (true or false?)
      [false. reproduction is a process within a living object. natural selection is a process external to the living objects]

      which is a type of life process, (true or false?)
      [false]

      which is a type of process that radiates heat, (true or false)
      [false. natural selection is a process where objects that once were living things decompose. decomposing bodies may radiate heat for a while but order decreases within and eventually they are at the same temperature as their surroundings.

      so deltaQ > 0. (true or false?)

      Therefore, 2LOT permits all natural selection to produce a local decrease in entropy. (therefore false)

      2LOT does not describe how order and specified complexity in living things entered the world without something (someone) entering through the boundary and causing it.

      Delete
    8. "2LOT does not describe how order and specified complexity in living things entered the world without something entering through the boundary and causing it."

      ... and if the Sun didn't exist and pour energy over the entire surface of the planet, and radioactive elements didn't exist, and geothermal energy wasn't a thing, this would be a huge problem.

      If we find life evolving and abundant in a starless void, then please raise this objection again. Until then, it's a very, very silly thing to say.

      Delete
    9. Awstar, stop trying to defend the creationist fraud of lying about the content of 2LOT. You cannot win. Any undergrad in physics (and the more talented high school kids) can expose the creationist fraud about observational science.

      You do not even understand sex. Sex causes a system to radiate heat. You are now attempting to deny that sex makes a system radiate heat. That's the intellectual nadir that creationism sucks you into.

      2LOT permits system which radiates heat to go to lower entropy. Sexual reproduction makes a system radiate heat. For that matter, cell division causes a system to radiate heat.

      Let's see where you wen off track: you believed what creationists say.

      Natural selection involves differential amounts of reproduction, (true or false?)
      [true]

      which is a type of reproduction, (true or false?)
      [false. reproduction is a process within a living object. natural selection is a process external to the living objects]


      Idiotic. Natural selection operates on a population. The population radiates heat while it is reproducing. Because each individual growing and then having sex radiates heat, the population as a whole radiates heat, and 2LOT permits the population as a whole to go to lower entropy.

      which is a type of life process, (true or false?)
      [false]

      which is a type of process that radiates heat, (true or false)
      [false. natural selection is a process where objects that once were living things decompose. decomposing bodies may radiate heat for a while but order decreases within and eventually they are at the same temperature as their surroundings.


      Idiotic. Natural selection does not require decomposition. You could stick the dead bodies in a fridge and freeze them and it would not affect the spread of alleles through a population. The spread of alleles shifts because of the sex, not because of the death, except insofar as it prevents sex.

      Moreover, your argument demolishes your original point. You're including dead bodies in the system, and pointing out that decomposition involves an entropy increase in one single part of that system (duh!) but that entropy increase in one part of the system enables other parts of the system to have an entropy decrease! You're working against your own argument.

      The whole local system includes:

      1. Living population
      2. Food they eat
      3. Poop
      4. Dead bodies after they're gone

      And the total entropy at any time t would be:

      S_tot(t) = S1(t) + S2(t) + S3(t) + S4(t)

      You're pointing out that S4(t) increases over time, but this enables a decrease in S1(t), the entropy of the living population-- even though the creationist claim was that S1(t) can never decrease (this assuming S_tot(t) were fixed).

      To repeat my original point, 2LOT permits the whole system S_tot(t) to decrease, because deltaQ > 0. You lose.

      The original creationist claim was that S1(t) can never decrease, now you're switching it and saying S4(t) (decomposition) must increase! Bait and switch.

      Delete
    10. I have to return to Awstar's astonishing assertion:

      2LOT does not describe how order and specified complexity in living things entered the world without something (someone) entering through the boundary and causing it.

      Are you asserting that 2LOT is violated? By what? In what system?

      Are you saying that Intelligence violates 2LOT? If a sculptor carves a sculpture, are you saying that violates 2LOT?

      Can you be specific as to which observed systems you think violate 2LOT? Does god violate 2LOT? Is it still violated today?

      Delete
    11. "Can you be specific as to which observed systems you think violate 2LOT? Does god violate 2LOT? Is it still violated today?"

      Again, we're not seeing some theist attempt to reconcile science and their local religion, we're seeing it explicitly saying that science is wrong.

      There are gradations in this, but *every* theist position here is a denial of the scientific model. Even if it's that God set up the universe to run on science but retained some cheat codes.

      'Directed evolution' is not evolution. Conservation of energy where energy levels aren't conserved isn't conservation of energy. The universe isn't fine tuned if God has to keep popping over to keep it running smoothly.

      The Christian belief is that 2+2=4 because it currently serves God best that that's the case.

      What do we call an earthly political system where the ruler isn't bound by the rules? Utterly corrupt. And that's the model the Christians push. A tyranny, where the rules are actually just God's whims.

      Delete
    12. Diogenes said:
      "Are you asserting that 2LOT is violated? By what? In what system?"

      No. I am asserting that 2LOT is a description of how nature appears to work. It's a description of how chemistry and physics work. And is a very very useful description. Molecules in a cell don't DECIDE that today, this hour, just this once, I'm going to violate 2LOT and rearrange myself so that this cell operates MORE efficiently or effective. And neither does natural selection.

      Diogenes said:
      "Are you saying that Intelligence violates 2LOT?
      If a sculptor carves a sculpture,
      are you saying that violates 2LOT?"

      No. I am saying that chemistry and physics, which are natural processes, do not increase Intelligence. Intelligence works in a mind that is in a brain which is following processes that can be described with 2LOT, BUT the mind is not OF the brain. It is IN the brain, but not OF the brain. The brain did not evolve to form a mind, just as my computer hardware did not evolve to form an operating system. The operating system was DESIGNED to function with my computer, not the other way around -- which would violate 2LOT, so could not have happened by chemistry and physics or natural selection.

      Diogenes said:
      "Can you be specific as to which observed systems you think violate 2LOT?
      Does god violate 2LOT?
      Is it still violated today?"

      I do not see any observed systems violate 2LOT. I see a proposed model (Theory of Evolution) of how these systems came into existance that violates 2LOT.

      A superior model is that God, who caused all natural processes to operate in conformity to 2LOT, created the cell, and all its exquisite machinery that keeps chemicals inside pure from the dirty chemicals outside, along with all it's other marvolous functions including copying itself 100 trillion times without too much increase in entropy. He also created kinds of cell arrangements, so they would function as eyes and hearts and livers and feet and tied them altogether with communication sytems so they would act as one body, and created a mind to control that body and in one particular kind of body the mind could not just know who the creator is, but also know the creator.

      But that model allows for a body that conforms to 2LOT, but it doesn't allow for mind, intelligence, language, truth, beauty, goodness to have evolved from it.

      Delete
  5. I applaud your patience, I can't go to that blog anymore. Atheist don't seem to be impressed with anything.

    electron- who cares
    an eye-no big deal
    galaxy-whatever
    universe-dime a dozen

    ReplyDelete
  6. M.Egnor: "The New Atheist claim that there's no "evidence" for God is so bereft of insight that it's breathtaking. ..."

    It's like bachfiend, several threads back, demanding that I provide "evidence" that denying the reality of 'free-will' -- that is, denying that oneself even exists -- is the logically inescapable consequence of denying that God is.

    These people don't want evidence -- the evidence of reason being the strongest of all, and being exactly what they constantly reject -- but they sure do love to pose as "just asking for evidence".

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ilion,

      I was trying to stop commenting on this blog. Tomorrow, I'm getting a 14 month old Staffie terrier - kelpie cross from the RSPCA refuge to replace my 15 year old collie who recently, alas, died from old age (and to assuage my grief). The new dog will require a lot of training and a lot of exercise (two 1 hour walks a day), so my time is going to get short...

      You didn't provide an answer to my question. I was asking for evidence supporting your assertion that denying free will is the inevitable result of denying God.

      An unsupported assertion is useless.

      I noted that I'm an atheist, and could accept weak free will - conscious caused decisions. But that I can't accept strong free will - conscious uncaused decisions.

      After all, everything in this Universe has a cause, even decisions, even if we are not aware of the causes. And it doesn't exclude the possibility that God could exist outside this Universe and be the Uncaused Cause.

      I'm an atheist because I don't see any evidence for God acting in this Universe. So I take the view that the parsimonious explanation for God not acting in this Universe is that God doesn't exist in this Universe.

      Delete
    2. Bachfiend

      * I don't see any evidence for God acting in this Universe*

      Two bits of wisdom to think over during the walks with your new doggie:



      "By the work one knows the workman."

      Jean de La Fontaine



      "..a skilled craftsman leaves no traces."

      Lao Tzu

      One from the East, one from the West - you are in the middle.

      :)

      Delete
    3. "..a skilled craftsman leaves no traces."

      No craftsman are far more certain to leave no traces.

      -KW

      Delete
    4. Sorry about your old pup, Bach. I hope the new one brings you much happiness.

      Delete
  7. Egnr: The fact that any subatomic particle moves in a predictable fashion-- let alone in a fashion as mathematically elegant as quantum mechanics-- is straightforward evidence for God's existence. It is, in fact, God's handiwork, manifest everywhere and always.

    Subatomic particles don't move in a predictable fashion. An electron can take any path from point A to point B. In fact, it takes each and every conceivable path from point A to point B. That's the difference between classical deterministic mechanics and quantum mechanics.

    Your words, doc, are just an empty proclamation. It matters not one whit that they are incorrect (which they are). I predict that you will turn around and claim that the unpredictable motion of subatomic particles is also straightforward evidence for God.

    A is evidence for God and not-A is evidence for God in your system. :)

    Hoo

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    1. The motion of subatomic particles can be predicted probabilistically, not deterministically. It is prediction nonetheless-- 50% chance it will be here, 30% chance it will be there, 10% chance it will be over there, etc.

      This is teleology-- the tendency for nature to move to ends-- and it is proof of God's existence (Aquinas Teleological Proof-- the Fifth Way).

      Delete
    2. This is totally bizarre. As long as there is any degree of predictability to anything at all in the universe - that is sufficient proof of the lord our god.

      Please show us that proof in your own words/equations.

      Delete
    3. And if there is complete randomness, 50-50, that's evidence of perfection in God's creation.

      I think I got the hang of Christian apologetics.

      Hoo

      Delete
    4. troy:

      [This is totally bizarre. As long as there is any degree of predictability to anything at all in the universe - that is sufficient proof of the lord our god.]

      Whence the predictability? The magnitude of the predictability is unimportant. The fact of predictability is what matters.

      If only one electron in one property acted predictably once, it proves God's existence.

      Electrons don't think for themselves, and if they are predictable, it means Someone else did the thinking.

      Delete
    5. Smegnor: If only one electron in one property acted predictably once, it proves God's existence.

      Demonstrate that in syllogistic logic, or go bugger a coma victim.

      Delete
    6. Major: If something that lacks intelligence is moved towards an end (m), then it is directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence (im).
      Minor: We see that things which lack intelligence are moved towards an end (m).
      Conclusion: Therefore, all natural things that lack intelligence are directed to their end by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence--and this being we call 'God' (im).

      Not my work, but it seems clear as any version of the Fifth Way in syllogistic form.

      - Curio

      Delete
    7. Anonymous: ya think yer problem might be burying your conclusion in your first assumption?

      I'm sure that's never happened before...

      Delete
  8. Oh, Egnor is once again moronically trotting out Aquinas' "Five Proofs of God's Existence", which he pulled out at Sandwalk and got his ass kicked by Jemima Cole, myself, and the other Sandinistas. The Sandinistas easily demolished every "Proof of God" Egnor attempted.

    Hilarious. Jem in particular knows Thomist philosophy much better than Egnor and laid logical traps that Egnor comically fell into, splat! See especially Jem’s “killshot” comment of July 9, 2013, 9:52pm. Like watching the Marx brothers slip on a banana.

    Smegnor invoked Leibniz' proofs of God's existence and misspelled Leibniz eleven [11] times. Eventually Smegnor ran away from the thread with his tail between his legs.

    Egnor said atheists are stupid and have never refuted such-and-such logical proofs of God’s existence, because atheists are not smart enough to understand them. The Sandinistas easily refuted every one of Egnor's “proofs”, then after Smegnor ran away, those of other theist morons after him, and then some random ones they came up with themselves.

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  9. When Smegnor posted this "proof" of God's existence at Sandwalk, I thoroughly Diogenized it, so since Egnor is so proud of it, I'll cross-post my rebuttal here.

    Smegnor is defining the rules so that any conceivable observation is proof of his Middle Eastern war deity.

    If physical laws are violated, it's a miracle! The only possible "explanation" for math not working is God did it. If physical laws are obeyed, it's math! The only possible "explanation" for math working is that God did it.

    If scientists can't understand a phenomenon, that's proof scientists are stupid, and therefore religious people like Egnor are smart (the only evidence of intelligence he'll ever obtain.) And if scientists can understand a phenomenon, that is not proof that scientists are smart, of course not! because the "only possible explanation" for their math working is a triune God that is just one single deity but three persons: one person a genocidal Middle Eastern war deity, the second person a murdered rabbi who comes back as a zombie bent on revenge, and a third person that is a pigeon but occasionally takes the form of a ghost to impregnate teenage girls. Together, they send babies to hell if they're not of the right religion.

    Here Smegnor is arguing that because particles obey mathematical laws, that must be "teleology" which demonstrates purpose and therefore, proof of God. Of course, particles not obeying mathematical laws is a miracle and also demonstrates purpose and is also proof of God.

    Now let's deconstruct this mother bugger.

    Smegnor: Explain the correspondence of the motion of that one electron with the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, using naturalistic assumptions.

    The key word here is "Explain." Whenever you hear some theist ass use the word "explain" in an apologetic sense, the fix is in. They use "explain" to mean one thing for science and a totally different thing for religion.

    No religious belief nor theologian nor apologist has ever explained any observed phenomenon under supernaturalistic assumptions. They merely redefine the meaning of the verb "to explain", using one definition of "to explain" for the theist (make any shit up!) and a different definition for the scientist (give us indisputable video evidence!).

    In religion, an "explanation" is any fairy tale that alleges a cause for an event. I call these SNAC: supernatural allegation of cause. Examples of SNACs include

    1. Snow White was dead. Why did she come back to life? A prince kissed her.

    2. The prince was a frog. Why did he change back? A princess kissed him.

    3. Natural phenomena may be described and predicted by mathematical laws. Why does math work in science? A triune deity consisting of an irrational, despotic, basically insane Semitic war deity, a zombie rabbi, and a pigeon that occasionally takes the form of a ghost created the universe by a means left unspecified, except we know it was magic.

    A SNAC is not an "explanation" that flies in science. Scientific explanations require evidence.

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    1. Continuing: There are only two kinds of scientific explanations.

      1. Ordinary claims. A chunk of sandstone with amphibian trace fossils is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon instead of being in the strata of amphibian trace fossil-bearing Coconino sandstone, which is hundreds of feet higher up the canyon. How did it get to the bottom? It broke off and slid down under the law of gravity, by analogy to past examples of rocks observed rolling down hills. i.e. Induction by analogy to uniform past experience.

      2. Extraordinary claims backed up by extraordinary evidence. Why do leptons and quarks have rest mass? They are interacting with a neutral spin zero boson with a nonzero expectation value in the vacuum, a boson which may be synthesized, and thus be detectable, if we smash together protons and antiprotons at a resonant energy of 125 GeV. i.e. Theories that make testable predictions which may match observable quantities.

      Everything else is not evidence.

      So to return to Smegnor's question,

      Explain the correspondence of the motion of that one electron with the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, using naturalistic assumptions.

      The point is that neither Smegnor, nor any Christian nor Jew nor any theist, can explain anything about the universe under super naturalistic assumptions.

      All he can do is redefine the verb "to explain", replacing it with "make shit up, and say it again and again, until you exhaust your intellectual superiors."

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    2. Diogenes:

      How is it that an electron behaves predictably?

      No psychotic rambling, no CAP bold italic hySTEria.

      Just an answer. How can an inanimate thing tend to an end?

      It's a simple question, with a simple answer.

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    3. No Smegnor, you said you had proof of God's existence. The burden of proof is on you, asshole, You're trying to pull that William Lane Craig trick of saying "I go first in the debate because the person making the positive statement has the burden of proof." and then shifting the burden of proof onto the atheist. &$%@ that.

      You went first in this post. You said you had five proofs. The burden of proof is on you, asshole.

      Tell me how you can EXPLAIN an electron behaving predictably by assuming the universe was created by an irrational, despotic, nearly insane deity, like that of Genesis.

      I will repeat again that in science, "TO EXPLAIN" means only one of two things:

      1. Ordinary claims. A chunk of sandstone with amphibian trace fossils is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon instead of being in the strata of amphibian trace fossil-bearing Coconino sandstone, which is hundreds of feet higher up the canyon. How did it get to the bottom? It broke off and slid down under the law of gravity, by analogy to past examples of rocks observed rolling down hills. i.e. Induction by analogy to uniform past experience.

      2. Extraordinary claims backed up by extraordinary evidence. Why do leptons and quarks have rest mass? They are interacting with a neutral spin zero boson with a nonzero expectation value in the vacuum, a boson which may be synthesized, and thus be detectable, if we smash together protons and antiprotons at a resonant energy of 125 GeV. i.e. Theories that make testable predictions which may match observable quantities.

      So is your alleged "explanation" of type 1 or type 2?

      Type 1 or type 2. Simple question. Type 1 or type 2. Answer it or go bugger a coma patient.

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    4. I apologize for the vulgarity of my coma patient remark. However, I would like an answer to a simple question.

      Delete
    5. "Just an answer. How can an inanimate thing tend to an end?"

      By defining 'tend to an end' in multiple ways, all vague enough that they're not terribly meaningful, and switching between those ways without acknowledging it.

      At heart, all you're saying is that there are places where the universe displays consistency.

      Now, a Christian wants it both ways. The universe is, apparently, so completely 'fine tuned' that the fact we don't see God poking his finger in is evidence for God. But you also believe there was at least one miracle, and if so that would be God poking his finger in. And that's *also* apparently evidence that God exists. So you're running two contradictory arguments in parallel here.

      The best analogy for this is that it's like taking a coin toss and saying your religion tells you it'll come up heads or tails and claiming that's a 'prediction'. Then when someone calls you on that, you say the existence of the coin is by itself proof of God, and then when someone shows you the factory the coin was minted, you retreat further and say that the mere existence of probability itself is actually all the proof you need. And you gloss every one of these retreats as victory. If you keep going, all you're saying is 'I think that the fact anything exists at all is proof of God'. Bully for you, and that weak beer assertion. I don't believe that the fact anything exists at all is proof of God. So, we're no further on.

      Aquinas was very, very clever. A genius. No arguments. And he said something that no Christian ever takes to heart, but which is absolutely the central issue here which is, numbnuts, that there *is* no 'irrefutable' logical proof of God. There's no formal argument where atheists read it and go 'I now believe in God because X=JK cubed times a million'. And there will never be a point where atheists turn those tables around. We can hack away at the ridiculous individual claims - Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, the six day creation and all the talking donkeys, virgins with multiple sons and so on, but we can't disprove the existence of God, not when the central idea is so ill-defined and his powers are said to be so broad that they're indistinguishable from, well, anything else.

      There's no evidence for God in the physical universe that couldn't have been placed there by an extremely powerful entity that tricked us into thinking it was God. There are versions of that powerful entity where even *it* thinks it's God but it's not.

      Aquinas, a man infinitely smarter than you, knew that you *also* need faith in God. That with faith you don't actually need these piddly 'proofs' and that without it no 'proof' will ever be sufficient.

      So stop waving Aquinas around like a talisman, because he's not on your side, here.

      Modern science is based around repeatability. If two things with the same properties are subject to the same forces, they will act the same way.

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    6. All I need to do to prove you false is demonstrate that there's a reason we live in such a universe using a purely atheistic process. So, let's do that with evolution. Let's take Darwinian natural selection and show how we *might* have ended up here.

      If I can do this, I kill your argument. Because your argument is that things *must* have happened your way. That there's no other explanation for why we're in a rational universe.

      OK. Prepare to die.

      1. The Darwinian argument is that we are adapted to our environment. Creatures that evolve in total darkness would not need eyes, they do not evolve eyes, as there is no selective advantage to justify that cost.
      2. We are rational. You and I agree on this.
      3. Our rationality would therefore be an adaptation to our specific environment.
      4. We have to therefore have evolved in an environment where rationality existed.

      Simple.

      Water-breathing creatures have to have evolved in a body of water. Rational creatures have to have evolved in a body of rationality.

      We evolved in a universe that displays consistency? Big whoop. Now, unless you ca explain how we could possibly have evolved or express rationality in an inconsistent, irrational universe, and you can't, then that's me kicking your ass. You may or may not be smart enough to see that. It really doesn't matter.

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    7. @Jem: And he [Aquinas] said... there *is* no 'irrefutable' logical proof of God.

      Actually I worked out a proof that there is no irrefutable proof of God's existence. By this I don't mean I proved the non-existence of God, I mean I proved that we can never know God exists with 100% certainty, i.e. prob (God exists) < 100%.

      Here's the proof.

      Definition: A god eater is an entity that makes gods impossible.

      These two possibilities are mutually exhaustive, either:

      1. The God eater can be proven not to exist, or

      2. The God eater cannot be proven not to exist.

      If 2, the god eater cannot be proven not to exist, thus it is possible god does not exist, in which case god cannot be known to exist with absolute certainty, and no proof of god can be a strict logical proof with 100% certainty.

      Thus, if 2, then prob(God) < 100%.

      If 1, the god eater can be proven not to exist, then the non-existence of an entity can be proven. Thus, in principle, god can be proven not to exist. (It could be argued this is traditional theology, because Christians say they can disprove Allah, Muslims say they can disprove the Christian trinity, and so on.)

      Thus, if 1, then prob(God) < 100%.

      As a corollary, if 1, then atheists would not be claiming omniscience if they claimed they had proven god does not exist. This destroys the argument, "If you atheists think you know god doesn't exist, then you must think you're omniscient!" because 1 entails the possibility of proving a negative with limited knowledge.

      Thus: either 2 and god cannot be known to exist with absolute certainty, or else 1 and, in principle, god can be proven not to exist. Either way, prob(God) < 100%, so no irrefutable proof of God's existence is possible.

      Delete
  10. Diogenes you type too much and have insulting language.

    We will give you the first annual

    Super Not Acceptable Total Claptrap Ho or SNATCH award.

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    1. Yes, it's true enough that I use insulting language and sometimes I go over the top. I'll try to rein it in from now on.

      Delete
  11. "What are laws of nature?"

    They're a description of the patterns observed by intelligent beings.

    As noted, as the existence of evolution, rationality and language can only exist in an ordered universe, any universe we are from must have at least some stable area of order (just as any universe in which a fish exists must have a body of liquid).

    It isn't meaningful to say that the formal 'laws' exist independently of intelligent minds, the phenomena they describe [almost always] do.

    Would you agree God is bound by the 'laws of nature'? That 2+2=4, even if you are God? That even God could not create something that is not identical to itself?

    If so, would you accept God is bound by the 'laws of nature'? And, if so, would you care to agree that he's bound by what modern science believes to be three rather important ones: the speed of light as a constant, the conservation of energy and mass-energy equivalence?

    This question is a trap, by the way. Enjoy.

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  12. "... I hope the new one brings you much happiness."

    Happiness, for a meat robot? I'm sorry, but that does not compute!

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  13. "They're a description of the patterns observed by intelligent beings."

    Yea, exactly. My next question would have been "are the laws of nature prescriptive or descriptive?". I think the talk about evolution "defying the law of thermodynamics" results from a confusion over what exactly "laws of nature" are. Sorry to use so many quotation marks.

    "Would you agree God is bound by the 'laws of nature'? That 2+2=4, even if you are God? That even God could not create something that is not identical to itself?"

    I think most Theists would say yes, with the exception of dirty stinkin' nominalists (Ockham) and some Islamic philosophers

    "If so, would you accept God is bound by the 'laws of nature'? And, if so, would you care to agree that he's bound by what modern science believes to be three rather important ones: the speed of light as a constant, the conservation of energy and mass-energy equivalence?"

    Logical "laws" aren't the same thing as "laws of science" aren't the same things as "laws of nature". Philosophers like (atheist) Nancy Cartwright go a little far in their anit-realism with respect to laws, but I always thought there was some truth to it. Things behave in certain ways. "Laws" are abstractions. Moderns are constantly guilty of reifying abstractions.

    You started out strong by saying laws are descriptive, not prescriptive, but by the last paragraph they became immutable, immaterial prohibitions. If you had written this comment, with the same mindset, in the 18th century you'd likely say God was bound by such immutable laws as Newton's laws of motion, which we now know only work in special cases with limited accuracy.

    And finally, none of this has any real bearing on the fact that unintelligent things act for an end.

    - Curio

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    1. Curio: And finally, none of this has any real bearing on the fact that unintelligent things act for an end.

      But as Jem already pointed out, "end" has multiple definitions, and the goal of the theist is to equivocate between them.

      If what you write has any meaning, the overwhelming majority of "ends" in a universe that is 13.8 billion lys across are achieved 99.999999999999% of the time by unintelligent, non-random natural processes.

      If intelligent beings have ends, so far as we know it's because their operation is a combination of unintelligent, non-random natural processes.

      Thus, if you see an "end" anywhere, any time, the a priori probability is at least 99.999999999999% that its cause was one or more (probably more) unintelligent, non-random natural process.

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    2. "You started out strong by saying laws are descriptive, not prescriptive, but by the last paragraph they became immutable, immaterial prohibitions."

      Modern science currently treats them as axiomatic, yes. Would you mind answering the question? Is God bound by - let's pick one - the conservation of energy?

      You're absolutely right that there are different types of 'law'. Clearly the law saying I can't drive faster than 25mph past a school is different to the law saying nothing travels faster than light. What theists do is blur that. You have people arguing against, say, gay marriage on the grounds that it's a law like Boyle's Law. Or that evolution is some dopey lower court decision that will get overturned by the Supremes.

      So, please walk into my trap: do you believe God has to obey the law of the conservation of energy? It's a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer.

      "If you had written this comment, with the same mindset, in the 18th century you'd likely say God was bound by such immutable laws as Newton's laws of motion, which we now know only work in special cases with limited accuracy."

      Indeed. Would you mind answering the question I asked? If you do, I'll be able to address this point.

      "And finally, none of this has any real bearing on the fact that unintelligent things act for an end."

      Indeed. Would you mind answering the question I asked? If you do, I'll be able to address this point.

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    3. "So, please walk into my trap: do you believe God has to obey the law of the conservation of energy? It's a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer."

      Oh, for the love of. No, God won't be arrested if he breaks this "law" of yours. If he did, I'd imagine the New Atheists would proceed with a hefty fine. Even this "law" appears to be an approximation, like all modern quantitative physics. Repeat the following mantra until you reach a state of euphoric ecstasy: "The map is not the territory"

      - Curio

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    4. "Oh, for the love of. No, God won't be arrested if he breaks this "law" of yours."

      His. A law of his. He sets laws but is not subject to them? Then he is the definition of capricious. The Christian God is not capricious. Therefore this God, if he exists, is not the God of the Christians.

      Sorted.

      Next challenger, please.

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    5. Stop with the hubris. Listen to me:

      It's not His law. It's a mathematical model that physicists came up with which approximates reality, based on our best measurements.

      Your thing with the laws and the caprice would work if you'd stuck with logical impossibilities like square circles or things that both are and aren't in the same respect.

      - Curio

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    6. Diogenes

      If what you write has any meaning, the overwhelming majority of "ends" in a universe that is 13.8 billion lyrs across are achieved 99.999999999999% of the time by unintelligent, non-random natural processes.

      Yea, no doubt. The special case of volitional and intelligent end-directed action is restricted to humans, as far as we know. And even if there's a lot of smart animals out there, I think your percentage would still be generous.

      Almost everything we observe in nature is unintelligent, and gives us no reason to think otherwise... which is why I feel comfortable categorically ruling out pansychism (the odd belief that there's little bits of mind in every bit of matter)

      The question on which the Fifth Way hinges is this

      "how can unintelligent things act for a determinate end?"

      Lest we rehash earlier comments, I'll say firmly that "because we can mathematically measure, model and predict their behavior" is not an answer. At least not to that question.

      - Cuiro

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    7. "It's not His law. It's a mathematical model that physicists came up with which approximates reality, based on our best measurements."

      Indeed.

      So, what you're saying is that there *are* circumstances in which the law of conservation of energy doesn't apply, if God is involved.

      Thanks. That's all I'm trying to establish. Not which one of us is right, but that the Christian view of the world is profoundly opposed to the modern scientific worldview.

      And it is. The conservation of energy is not some obscure local by-law or loophole, there's simply no argument that it's one of the foundations of all science.

      You may be right. Not saying, here anyway, that you're wrong. I mean, I think you're wrong, but there's no way for me to prove that formally. Even if we could map the whole universe, we might still be living in a universe where God *could* violate the conservation of energy but has never actually done it. It's scientifically untestable. I have more confidence, literally, there's more chance conservation of energy holds everywhere in the universe than that the Sun will come up tomorrow morning, but there is no way for me to prove that.

      What you're saying, effectively, is that your religion trumps one of the utter certainties of science. You're effectively saying that 2+2 needn't equal 4. That if God said it was 5, God would be right, not innumerate. Then accusing *me* of hubris.

      There is a fundamental conflict here. There's no accommodation between modern science and Christianity. You get to pick one, not mix and match.

      You particularly don't get to play the cards where the existence of laws and regularity, or 'fine tuning', 'prove' God exists - mregnor's argument. In this model, the physical laws don't exist, they're merely God's current whim, more like this year's acting regulations than the axiomatic 'laws' as the term is meant in philosophy, science or logic.

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    8. Jem,

      I appreciate the point you're making, I just think there's some equivocating going on and some confusion about "laws".

      "You're effectively saying that 2+2 needn't equal 4. That if God said it was 5, God would be right, not innumerate. Then accusing *me* of hubris."

      I outright admitted that you'd have a case with logical impossibilities. If you got me, or anyone, to say "God can make 2+2=5" you could have all sorts of fun in extrapolating the bizarre consequences of this belief.

      I'm following philosophers of science like Duhem, Jaki, some of the early positivists (Mach?), and Laval/River Forest Thomists like De Koninck, Wallace, etc. when I say that modern physics is concerned with quantitative relations and mathematical models which describe and predict the behavior of things in reality. There are probably others who hold this view, though you wouldn't believe how often people reify abstractions.

      The evolution vs. thermodynamics is a perfect example. Someone asserts "Evolution is impossible, the law of thermodynamics asserts X". The anti-evolutionist has taken a description of reality (entropy, thermodynamics) and made it a prescriptive law (thou shalt not increase complexity/order). Also, there's probably a fair amount of equivocation on words like "order", "disorder", and "complexity".

      I admit I don't have advanced training in physics. The conservation of energy is tricky. Energy means, essentially, a measure of the capacity to do work. Whether or not its a tautology seems like a reasonable question. Either way, I can't say it enough times, the map is not the territory.

      It's awesome that there are regularities which are easily quantifiable - it lets us do science, which is one of man's crowning achievements. But lets never forget that scientific laws, theorems, equations, models, hypotheses, and even measurements are the work of man.

      - Curio

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    9. I only accused you of hubris because you ended your earlier comment with "Next challenger, please."

      The goal of a debate isn't to win, it's to get both parties closer to the truth.

      - Curio

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    10. "I appreciate the point you're making, I just think there's some equivocating going on and some confusion about "laws"."

      Yes. Not on my part, though, on mregnor's. I'll get back to that at the end.

      "I outright admitted that you'd have a case with logical impossibilities. If you got me, or anyone, to say "God can make 2+2=5" you could have all sorts of fun in extrapolating the bizarre consequences of this belief."

      OK. Where do you draw the line, though? If 2+2 has to equal 4, does E have to equal MC squared? Is it true that the total energy of an isolated system cannot change?

      Modern science holds 'the energy of an isolated system cannot change' as axiomatic. *If* there are *any* exceptions *then* whole branches of modern science are built on a falsehood.

      Which, I'm allowing, is possible. My personal view is that it's more of a 'fact' than just about any other 'fact', but there are linguistic and philosophic limits on human knowledge. There is an alternative model for the universe, which is that a supernatural being is propping it up. And that might be the case ... but it's an *alternative* to science holding, not something that works alongside it.

      What isn't possible, though is that the conservation of energy holds *and* that God can violate it. It's binary. It holds or not.

      "The evolution vs. thermodynamics is a perfect example. Someone asserts "Evolution is impossible, the law of thermodynamics asserts X". The anti-evolutionist has - "

      Forgotten about the Sun. That's literally all they've done. Yes, life and evolution require vast amounts of energy to pour in from outside the living creature. They have that. The Sun pours vast amount of energy on the Earth. We end up absorbing it, usually by eating plants fueled by the Sun or animals who ate those plants.

      Scientists then thought 'well, why is there life on the deep seabed, where the Sun has never shone?' ... they found out the answer: life flourishes around volcanic vents. Again, life draws energy from that heat.

      Science accounts for this 'problem', and easily. The conservation of energy is consistent with evolution.

      "It's awesome that there are regularities which are easily quantifiable - it lets us do science, which is one of man's crowning achievements. But lets never forget that scientific laws, theorems, equations, models, hypotheses, and even measurements are the work of man."

      Right. OK. Happy to not forget that. But regularities clearly existed in nature before man, yes? Gravity existed before Newton. When mregnor talks about 'laws' he's not talking about written down stuff in science books.

      *He* is the one getting confused. He thinks God wrote all these laws down in a little book - or held them, formally, in his mind, or whatever the empyrean equivalent is - he may even think God is policing electrons and proteins, micromanaging them, slapping them about when they step out of line.

      It's a profoundly silly way to imagine the universe working.

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    11. Jem,

      "OK. Where do you draw the line, though? If 2+2 has to equal 4, does E have to equal MC squared? Is it true that the total energy of an isolated system cannot change?

      2 +2 = 4 seems true by definition. Other equations, like Coulomb's law, apply only in certain cases. Karl Popper would probably say this "falsifies" Coulomb's law, but it's clearly useful under certain conditions. A better view is this - as time goes on we increase the precision of our measurement instruments and predictive power of our mathematical equations. No matter how close (to an unreachable limit), we're still abstracting from nature and not answering the sorts of questions that philosophy asks. Also, reflecting more on some simple illustrations of the conservation of energy, it also seems true by definition given that we analyze behavior in terms of kinetic and potential energy. We could go on about whether the universe is an open or closed system, but the main point is that these laws are mathematical descriptions and approximations of reality, not reality itself.

      Its also good to remember that even with the sturdiest equations, time-tested scientific laws are constantly being contested by new models or new data. I think E = MC2 is very, very likely to be true, but (based on my limited understanding) not logically necessary like 2+2=4. It drives me up a wall when I hear someone talk about how Quantum Mechanics disproves the "law of noncontradiction". In short, logical axioms come first before empirical data and mathematical models. It seemed to me you conflated the two when you jumped from 2+2=4 to E=MC2.

      "Right. OK. Happy to not forget that. But regularities clearly existed in nature before man, yes? Gravity existed before Newton. When mregnor talks about 'laws' he's not talking about written down stuff in science books."

      Gravity is a mystery, but you are 100% correct. We're all realists here. Things exist independently of our minds. The caveat is is, when we talk so excitedly about modern physics we sometimes forget how many degrees of abstraction we are from reality, from really existing things. We also forget what types of questions physics asks and answers. Hence Theists who overstep their bounds ("Scientific proofs for the existence of God", "Scientific Intelligent Design Theorems") and materialists who do likewise ("Modern physics disproves philosophy!")

      The question about final causes remains.

      - Curio

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    12. And, please don't misinterpret this as "anti-science", the law of conservation of energy strikes me as unfalsifiable, though certainly of great utility. Like you said, most (all?) of physics rests on it.

      If we came across a system where energy wasn't conserved, we'd likely think it was not closed or not isolated.


      - Curio

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    13. "The question about final causes remains."

      Not really. It's just not terribly useful for describing the world.

      Look at the way we see the weather. We used to be very dependent on the weather for agriculture, for basic survival. And we used to think that a bad harvest or storm was a 'sign from God'.

      You do get people who still think that hurricanes are God punishing us for lesbians or whatever, but these are generally marginal, loony figures.

      What lingers, though, is the suspicion that the weather must be 'for' something. That it's purposeful, directed. And, yes, some of that lingers in secular thought - climate change is real, but it's not our 'punishment' for anything, even pollution, it's just a consequence of our actions.

      The weather is a very complex system. We probably will never be able to predict or control it except very broadly. But we can understand it, we can model it, purely mechanically. There are gaps in our knowledge, but they are not because scientists refuse to acknowledge Thor.

      Aquinas lived in an age where it was thought every thunderbolt was God text messaging us. Many aspects of his philosophy have fallen by the wayside, have been quietly dropped or excused on account of the age he was living in. Theistic teleology has been dropped by most people, and rightly. It's a wrong turn that just gets in the way of understanding.

      Every theological issue that's been solved has been solved by just realizing that if you take the gods out of the equation, the equation instantly just works. Suddenly we can predict the weather better, improve harvest, cure disease. That's a pretty big clue that the God thing doesn't really add up.

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    14. "Aquinas lived in an age where it was thought every thunderbolt was God text messaging us"

      Jem, why are you insisting on bringing this down to a juvenile level by making bizarre and asinine assertions like this one? I'm not talking about Zeus and lightning bolts or magic weather gods.

      "Theistic teleology has been dropped by most people, and rightly. It's a wrong turn that just gets in the way of understanding.

      Teleology was dropped by Descartes, Bacon, Newton, and other architects of modern science (all Theists). The reasons are complex, and not superficial. If you keep bringing up red herrings like the morality of lesbianism and Divine punishment via aberrant weather then you'll have sufficiently convinced me that you're mostly interested in bullshitting, which is worse than being wrong.

      "if you take the gods out of the equation, the equation instantly just works. Suddenly we can predict the weather better, improve harvest, cure disease."

      There's a kernel of truth to this. The utility of modern science is considerably greater than anything the ancient's had. But what questions is modern, quantitative science asking and answering? One truly haunting thought from E. A Burtt's Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science - the most dangerous metaphysician is the one unaware of his own metaphysics. "Such a person holds presuppositions dangerously because they are held uncritically and unconsciously."

      - Curio

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    15. "why are you insisting on bringing this down to a juvenile level by making bizarre and asinine assertions like this one? I'm not talking about Zeus and lightning bolts or magic weather gods."

      Christians often think of the weather that way - there's a UKIP candidate in the UK who did that today, in fact.

      But even the more mainstream beliefs have the same basic silly idea underlying it. Quantum mechanics is a mystery to us, so mregnor just switches 'electrons' for 'thunderbolts' and says the same thing. 'It's mysterious, therefore it's an indication of God's purpose'.

      "Teleology was dropped by Descartes, Bacon, Newton, and other architects of modern science (all Theists). The reasons are complex, and not superficial."

      Of course, and this is an internet comment box, not a four volume academic study of the history of science. The medieval understanding of teleology was discredited in physics and chemistry, so why insist it 'must' apply to biology?

      "One truly haunting thought from E. A Burtt's Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science - the most dangerous metaphysician is the one unaware of his own metaphysics. "Such a person holds presuppositions dangerously because they are held uncritically and unconsciously.""

      Yes. But, let's have a reality check here: look at the science of Aquinas' time, look at the theology. Which of those disciplines would you say has been best at overturning its own dogma, questioning assumptions and strode furthest?

      There is not one actual, practicing scientist who thinks science is anything other than a continuous, questioning process. And we'd see that as a huge strength and sign of confidence.

      By your own criteria, it's the churches and theologians who are failing this test. Even when they change their mind about something, they're keen to pretend they've always taught what they've currently taught.


      Delete
    16. Christians often think of the weather that way - there's a UKIP candidate in the UK who did that today, in fact.

      That honestly surprises me. The UK seems much more secular and liberal than the US. Not doubting you, just surprised. Know that historically, Christianity has always acknowledged secondary causes. Biblical Literalism is a relatively new phenomenon, and I'm pretty sure the "ancient Greeks believed Zeus caused thunder" thing is a modern projection/caricature.

      The medieval understanding of teleology was discredited in physics and chemistry, so why insist it 'must' apply to biology?

      It hasn't been discredited by any science. You could even make a solid case that modern science presupposes it. If you ignore something long enough, you may start to believe it's not there. Modern science, the Baconian project, was about control over nature, not an understanding of essences, first principles, etc.. A few other commenters have said things like "Teleology doesn't exist, you can't define it mathematically". Very telling.

      look at the science of Aquinas' time, look at the theology. Which of those disciplines would you say has been best at overturning its own dogma, questioning assumptions and strode furthest?

      Questions regarding teleology pertain to philosophy, not theology. That Aquinas was also a theologian is irrelevant. We're better off leaving him out of this and sticking with Aristotle, who definitely wasn't a Bible-thumper.

      Going back to your question about God violating the immutable "laws of physics". I've been thinking more about it... it really amounts to asking

      "Is it possible that God make things behave in a way they don't typically behave"

      It's only when you reify abstractions that you get muddled and confused assertions like "God cannot violate the laws of physics - science and religion cannot coexist!". Laws are descriptive, not prescriptive; they are approximate, not exact; they are the map, not the territory. I've said my piece.

      - C

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    17. "That honestly surprises me. The UK seems much more secular and liberal than the US."

      It is. He was widely derided as a nutter. Of course, the same day, the GOP put a creationist climate change denier as head of their Environmental committee. There are religious extremists in the UK. Like the schoolteacher in Scotland exposed this week for saying 'evolution isn't proven', if you follow the money, they're always funded by US extremist groups.

      "Biblical Literalism is a relatively new phenomenon"

      Yes. It was one of the things I had in mind when I said the religious tend to assert that they've 'always' taught what they first said less than a century ago.

      "It's only when you reify abstractions that you get muddled and confused assertions like "God cannot violate the laws of physics - science and religion cannot coexist!". Laws are descriptive, not prescriptive; they are approximate, not exact; they are the map, not the territory. I've said my piece."

      The confusion here is over 'laws'. There are (at least) three different laws being described, and people are eliding them left, right and center, changing definitions to suit their argument.

      This is a simplification, but I think we're talking about three different things.

      1. 'Scientific laws as currently defined by modern science'. Science is a human endeavor, scientists are flawed human beings, human beings have linguistic and knowledge limits. So if we say 'gas always behaves like this', it's - as you say - provisional. So at some level, Boyle's Law, say, is always a flawed, provisional, local description. (Any Biblical literalists dancing with glee at this admission might want to note that it also applies to the Bible).

      2. Underwriting that, though, is the assumption that in a perfect world, there's a 'true' 'gas always behaves like this' law.

      3. And for Christians, underlying that, is the idea that God wrote that law, that there's 'God's understanding' of how something works.

      My question is basically 'are 2 and 3 the same thing?'.

      The 'fine tuning' argument is that God created a universe of laws and that *the existence of those perfect laws* is, itself, evidence of God. It's saying 2 and 3 are the same thing.

      The existence of 'miracles', though, would mean that the laws aren't perfect. That they are more like legal laws we're bound by that God isn't, and he can 'use cheat codes' or 'suspend the Constitution' if he feels it is warranted. Christianity, of course, believes in at least one miracle.

      My argument is basically 'if you believe in miracles, you can't also believe we live in a perfectly fine tuned universe'.

      For the record, I don't believe in either!

      Delete
    18. Why is it that there are regularities in nature?

      Delete
    19. "Why is it that there are regularities in nature?"

      How could there not be? The only possible way would be if every entity in the universe was entirely unique.

      Delete
    20. That's not an answer.

      Why is it that there are regularities in nature?

      You claim science and reason are on your side. Why can't you give a coherent answer to the most basic question about nature?

      Delete
    21. "That's not an answer."

      Of course it is. You're defining 'regularity' so broadly that if two things in the universe shared one commonality, that would count.

      Let's put it another way: could your God create a universe where there were no regularities in nature?

      *By definition* any describable universe contains regularities. It's axiomatic. Certainly any universe describable *by someone from it* contains regularities.

      I know you think this is some genius question, but it's really not. There *have* to be regularities in this universe.

      The issue is what the mechanism might be for creating and enforcing those regularities. You go with 'before there were electrons, the rules existed as to how electrons would behave and the electrons follow the rules because [redacted] and exceptions to the rule are either possible or impossible.'

      I think these 'rules' are just 'consequences'. Structures form from smaller structures. As they increase in complexity, new and unpredicted consequences emerge.

      You're very vague on whether you're talking about specific 'rules' or just the concept of rules. Either way, arch materialism has complete and consistent explanations.

      Delete
  14. "Thus, if you see an "end" anywhere, any time, the a priori probability is at least 99.999999999999% that its cause was one or more (probably more) unintelligent, non-random natural process."

    Exactly. However we choose to explain it, we all agree that there's a difference between, say, a conker rolling into a hole on a golf course and a golf ball being directed there by a golfer.

    The vast majority of things do not happen by human agency, and accepting that, we can call the other category 'natural' and note with interest that it's odd that a bunch of recently-arrived monkeys, when they have a 'plan' or a 'purpose' or an 'end' in mind, seem to be able to enact things far faster, more efficiently and sensibly than 'natural' events occur. Which is odd if the force behind 'natural' events is as all-knowing and as all-powerful as we've been led to believe by the Christians.

    If theists are right and that all 'causes' are basically the same category of thing, we can look at results and work back from that. If a human being wants to get a spherical object into a hole on a golf course, it'll take, at most, a few hours. It took God fourteen billion years.

    Who's meant to be worshiping who, again? Seems like God's really crappy at golf.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How is it that the electron has position, energy, spin etc. constrained according to the mathematics of quantum mechanics?

    Perhaps because the formalism of QM was developed precisely in order to model the behaviour of things like electrons? It isn't the electron that obeys the laws of QM. It's QM that captures and generalises the "regular" aspects of the world of elementary particles.

    The fact that any physical process in nature is directed-- that is, tends to one state of affairs rather than another-- is teleology.

    As in Texas sharpshooting. The bullet "tends towards" the hole it makes in the side of the barn, and you paint a bull's-eye round the hole and declare it "the end". Therefore teleology, therefore God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is it that particles behave with regularities?

      Whence the regularities?

      Delete
    2. Take a large, large number of identical simple things interacting with one another in simple ways. There will be some very basic regularities resulting from the fact that those things are identical (like electrons), and so any simple pattern they produce is likely to recur all over the universe, and there will be rarer emergent regularities produced by their mass interactions. There's nothing mystical about the spontaneous emergence of ordered behaviour. It can be modelled in silico without divine intervention.

      Delete
    3. How is it that particles behave with regularities?

      That's the modern day's version of

      How is it that a ball of fire gets thrown from a cloud without somebody throwing it, huh? HUH? Explain that to me, Mr. Scientist!

      Delete
    4. How is it that particles behave with regularities?

      Whence the regularities?

      We don't know and you don't either, you just made shit up. "Goddidit".

      Any idiot can sit down and just assert what "makes it so", what matters is what you can demonstrate with evidence (and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence), not how good you are at ad-hoc rationalization of the observed behavior of matter.

      The whole idea that god "explains" these regularities is question-begging all the way down. Giant metaphysical castles floating in the clouds, resting on hot air.

      God makes it behave regularly! How do you know?
      God wants order! How do you know?
      God has that power through his nature! How do you know? How do you know what god's nature is to begin with? Prove it without begging the question.

      All you can do to answer these questions is pile more question-begging assertions on top regarding god and it's supposed nature. But how do you know these things in the first place? They're all just assumed, made up.

      God is this, god can do that! HOW DO YOU KNOW?

      We don't have to know(even though we certainly want to, we're a curious species... well, some of us are), in fact we don't even claim to know, "why" it is that electrons have certain specific behaviors. Now, we would of course want to know whether there really is an answer to that question, maybe there's a deeper causal structure to the behaviors of elementary particles, maybe there's an infinite regress of such causal structures.

      I don't know, and that's okay. It's okay to not know, it's not a crime or a damning shortcoming. We can try to find out about it. But simply declaring into thin air that "god made it so" and in the process beg the question isn't actually answering the question and finding out. It's making shit up to satisfy a hunger for answers.

      Thanks but no thanks, I actually want to find out, and I'd rather live with not having found out all the way to the grave, than making shit up to satisfy a real intellectual curiosity with empty assertions.

      Delete
    5. "in fact we don't even claim to know, "why" it is that electrons have certain specific behaviors"

      I'm a medical statistician. One of the things I've dealt with in the past is the effectiveness of malaria vaccines.

      'Malaria' is not one condition. It's not caused by one parasite, it presents in all sorts of different ways. Vaccines work in one region and not another - the one you'd take in the US wouldn't work in Africa (pro tip: tell the doctor if you're going to Africa).

      So the definition of malaria some medical professionals use? 'A condition you can treat with anti-malarial drugs'.

      And that's pretty much how all definitions work. We see a group of things that have something in common, we coin a word for it.

      Why are all electrons the same? Because *they wouldn't all be electrons if they weren't the same*. No one - except Lewis Carroll - ever asks 'why are cats and electrons the same?'.

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    6. Two hundred years ago nobody even suspected the existence of electrons. They were not yet theorised, let alone observed. Then physicists discovered them, learnt to model their behaviour, and slowly realised that some "particles" are more fundamental than others, and even those fundamental ones are not so much real particles as stable or metastable excitations of quantum fields filling the universe. We know something about the properties of those fields, but what are they really? How fundamental are they? Well, we can't hope to make much progress by consulting a holy book, for example. Pending further research, speculation is futile. As we learn new things, we also open new vistas to explore; that's what makes science so exciting.

      But one thing is for sure. Whatever the status of quantum fields, they are very unlikely to have been created magically by a character borrowed from an ancient cosmogonic myth of the Near East. There's zero scientific evidence pointing in that direction.

      Delete
    7. We're talking metaphysics, not science.

      How is it that nature has regularities? How is it that inanimate things can behave in regular ways?

      It's a simple, obvious question, and the only answer you folks have is spittle and logorrhea.

      Atheism is a pitiful superstition.

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    8. Smegnor dodged my question above. Again, he attempts to shift the burden of proof onto us.

      See how dishonest theists are. They say, "I have a proof of God's existence." We find 2 or 3 fallacies in each step of their proof. Then they try to shift the burden of proof onto us.

      So Egnor asks us: How is it that nature has regularities? How is it that inanimate things can behave in regular ways?

      We don't have to say a damn thing. Egnor cannot, of course, explain this himself.

      All the theist has to offer is a redefinition of the verb "to explain", replacing it with "to assert", while dispensing with the burden of evidence.

      Delete
    9. I'm a medical statistician.

      That's an awesome field! I wish we were talking about that, and not this.

      " One of the things I've dealt with in the past is the effectiveness of malaria vaccines. "

      I was just lamenting to some internal med friends of mine about just how many people are scared of H1N1 and other vaccines. Can you explain what the deal with that is?

      "And that's pretty much how all definitions work. We see a group of things that have something in common, we coin a word for it. "

      A good definition gives the proximate genus and the specific difference. By the way, do you believe in universals? I've always wondered if and how materialists understand them.

      - Curio

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    10. Egnor wrote this post claiming he had irrefutable proof of God's existence. When we ask him to back up his premises with evidence, he refuses. He will not even answer what type of evidence might in principle support his premises.

      I asked him to express himself in syllogistic logic, and he refused, despite his claim he had "irrefutable proof." Surely an "irrefutable proof" could be expressed in syllogistic logic, but Egnor will not explicitly state his premises as syllogisms nor definitions.

      Why not explicitly state his premises as syllogisms? Because they are ridiculous, and based on no evidence.

      Now I'm going to ask two questions of Egnor. These relate directly to what must be, what have to be, the premises behind his alleged "irrefutable proof" of God.

      Consider this statement S: "If God did not exist, no rules would be possible anywhere in the universe."

      The two questions are:

      1. Is the above statement "S" a rule? To be specific, is it a metaphysical rule, which applies in all conceivable universes?

      2. What kind of evidence supports the above statement "S"? Is it an ordinary claim based on induction from past uniform experience; or is it an extraordinary claim supported by extraordinary evidence-- that is, is it necessary to produce testable predictions that match observed properties?

      Jem, pay attention. I'm setting up the banana peel for Egnor to slip on.

      Delete
    11. "Can you explain what the deal with that is?"

      Um ... a little off topic. We're overdue a massive flu epidemic, and were it to happen it would spread extremely quickly. A century ago, more people died straight after WWI as a result of influenza than died in the War. By definition, were an outbreak to occur it would be because we couldn't treat it. Because so many people fly around the world, it could well be in every country within, well, hours. And the problem is that it will just look like a common cold at first.

      There are a lot of people watching your backs. Any time anything that looks like it might be a lethal flu virus appears, those people lock and load. (I'm not one of these people I hasten to add).

      Delete
    12. Jem,

      Thanks. Do you blog anywhere on med. stats?

      - Curio

      Delete
  16. i am a YEC Evangelical Christian Canadian who just discovered your blog on another forum called Sandwalk by Mr Larry Moran.
    I have heard of you and know people fear you as because of your position you are seen as more intelligent then the average folks and so it matters when you get involved in the origin wars.
    i agree completely the universe in its complexity and order insists there is a intelligent being who created it.
    its self evident as the bible teaches.
    To not see this demands a excellent account of how such glory could come from chance.
    A long way to go before such a position could be fairly presented as a worthy option.
    Especially by us who can hardly fix anything in biology.
    therefore evolution is not true and therefore must not be supported by the evidence of nature.
    So its time to debunk the errors. No problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I have heard of you and know people fear you"

      The technical term for that is 'coulrophobia'.

      Delete
    2. Robert:

      Thanks for your commentary. Welcome!

      Mike

      Delete
  17. How arrogant you atheists can be? You think theist don't appreciate science? Do you think theist don't wonder how our reality works?

    We are already reaching limits of what science can tell us about reality. Recently I watched few lectures by brilliant young physicist Nima Arkani Hamed. He explains why we cannot probe past the smallest scale (Planck length ~10^35m). Energy density required to probe at that length (if we could supply it) would immediately create a black hole so that seems to be the limit to physical knowledge at the small scale. Math can go further but it would be difficult to confirm anything experimentally. Arkani-Hamed is following his knowledge and intuition while trying to pass the boundary of our material world. What is behind the boundary?

    We are like a fish in aquarium who is hitting the glass with her nose and wondering why she cannot go further.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "We are like a fish in aquarium who is hitting the glass with her nose and wondering why she cannot go further."

      Yes. It's fascinating, I agree. And, in the other direction, we're seeing how vast and ancient the universe is. Now ... if we're really 'banging our nose against the glass', what on earth makes you think that it's your God on the other side? Why would you accuse scientists who are colliding hadrons and mapping galaxy clusters of 'arrogance' when you're so incurious you look no further than the Bible? How can Christians seriously talk about the mystery of the Planck length one moment, and assert that the answer is that there's a single being out there who's preoccupied with whether gay men should be able to get a piece of paper that lets them file taxes jointly?

      Christians are arrogant to project their prejudices onto the universe itself. What a horrible letdown it would be to discover your God on the other side of that glass.

      Delete
    2. Eugen: "How arrogant you atheists can be? You think theist don't appreciate science? "

      No. Some theists are pro-science and some are anti-science. But Michael Egnor, the Discovery Institute and Young Earth Creationists are radical, and increasingly fascistic, anti-scientists.

      In this ENV post Egnor demands the imprisonment of climate scientists and many other scientists in prestigious organizations because he accuses climate scientists, without a shred of evidence, of fraud, and he ignores the evidence that the Climategate "scandal" involved zero fraud.

      In this ENV post he demands cutting all funding for evolutionary research because it produces evidence that offends his religious beliefs, and confers status to people who are good at science.

      Here is one of his milder anti-science rants:

      Egnor: As those who are reasonably acquainted with peer review and the "inside" perspective of a particular discipline of science will (privately) attest, even scientists who abjure from outright fraud often produce work that is at best insipid, and is more often than not aimed at securing funding irrespective of genuine scientific merit. A lot of published science, when not actually fraudulent, is more a peer-reviewed grant application than cutting edge research. [Michael Egnor demands concentration camp for scientists]

      I am reminded of Hitler kicking a hole in avant garde paintings he didn't understand.

      In this and other comments he gloats over political firings of Canadian scientists whose evidence was inconvenient for corporate elites, and he asserts that science funding should be manipulated to implement religious discrimination in favor of his religion. He seeks to cut all funding to scientists who are atheists and/or obtain evidence for evolution.

      Believe in evolution? You're fired.

      Wrong religion? You're fired.

      Found a transitional fossil? You're fired.

      Genetic comparison of humans and animals returns 98.7%? You're fired.

      Smegnor uses laser scalpels, the physics of which were worked out by physicists, he surfs the world wide web invented by physicists at CERN, he bangs into his computer filled with solid-state transistors based on quantum mechanics figured out by physicists, venting how science is worthless and how, when the Discovery Institute gets its way, scientists will be scrubbing toilets.

      That is radical anti-science.

      Delete
    3. Jem

      How did you manage to squeeze gay people in your weird comment?


      Diogenes

      Thanks for reply but I cannot go into your issue with Michael.
      I think most people here are pro science. I read science articles, essays, papers, books, watch lectures online, etc.
      First of all this science isn't about God's existence directly but maybe it led some people into atheism. For me that's not the case, actually quite the opposite. Science helped to bring me back when I was "sitting on the fence".

      Delete
    4. "How did you manage to squeeze gay people in your weird comment?"

      It's a current political issue solely motivated by religion-motivated hatred. It's a prejudice - and activism - justified solely by religion, funded (unconstitutionally, and tax free) by religious organizations. In the end, we can talk cosmology and Planck lengths all day, but the issue is not an abstract one. Government policy is being shaped by people who think the universe is six thousand years old and the end is nigh. This is not a healthy situation.

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. "Is Aquinas a scientist?"

      A meaningless question. Galen wouldn't be allowed to practice medicine now, Newton would fail his physics exams. Aquinas was a genius, a polymath, and someone who lived at a time when the Britons were paying tribute to the Danes. Very young children know things about the world and universe that Aquinas couldn't even frame as a concept.

      Delete
  19. Curio:"I only accused you of hubris because you ended your earlier comment with "Next challenger, please."

    The goal of a debate isn't to win, it's to get both parties closer to the truth.
    "

    Unfortunately, you're not dealing with people who give a damn about truth. That particular fellow's very first post here made that clear about him; with the others, further experience shows that to be the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The goal of a debate isn't to win, it's to get both parties closer to the truth."

      Please don't confuse this with a 'debate'. I'm explaining why mregnor *is* wrong, not discussing whether he might be.

      Delete
    2. The issue is not my level of diplomacy, it's his level of error.

      Delete
    3. you're not dealing with people who give a damn about truth

      Arrogant statement from people who never provide evidence for the premises of their own arguments, no matter how many times we ask.

      Your side, including Egnor and all other theists on this site:

      1. Does not clearly state their premises

      2. Does not provide evidence that their premises are correct

      3. Refuses to even describe what type of evidence in principle might support their premises

      4. Ignores self-contradictions and absurdities resulting from their premises even when they are shoved in your faces

      5. Refuses to even attempt syllogistic logic for claimed "irrefutable proofs"

      And what's arguably the worst transgression,

      6. Buries their conclusion in their assumptions.

      So you're not in a position to assert "you're not dealing with people who give a damn about truth."

      Egnor has run away from every thread where he ever met me or Jem. Your side cannot defend, or even define or state clearly, your own "irrefutable proofs." Egnomania is not evidence.

      Delete
  20. Diogenes,Jem

    I appreciate science like you. I would like to ask you what in science is leading you to believe there is no God. Please direct me to a scientific paper, article, lecture etc that is most convincing in your opinion, I'll study it and report back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I would like to ask you what in science is leading you to believe there is no God."

      The fact is that scientific papers don't really need to bother ever mentioning God. So that's like asking which scientific papers rule out there being an Easter Bunny or Harry Potter being real.

      There's a creationist fantasy that science is 'scared' of religion, or that science targets religion. It really isn't, it really doesn't. Science just forgets that there are still some people who believe in gods, most of the time.

      There are no creationist 'gotchas', that's the thing. Just a lazy echo chamber where they tell each other stories about homeschooled kids pwning biology professors by saying 'what use is half an eye?', or fairy stories about bacteria with 'outboard motors'. They don't even bother coming up with new ones. After a few days on the internet, you'll have heard all their examples. And it's the work of moments to find all the refutations that they say don't exist.

      Most science is *really* easy to understand. Independently, a lot of branches of science have come to realize that the universe is made up of lots of small things working to quite simple rules, which, when added up have huge, complex consequences. This is, of course, the opposite of God having a plan.

      So, if you want one quick godkilling argument, just look up fractals, just watch some videos where dots on a computer screen are made to follow some very simple equations. Very quickly, you see incredibly ornate patterns emerge.

      Look at the beautiful patterns frost forms. There were people who used to think that was Jack Frost painting pictures, because they look so pretty. But it's just ice crystals locking together blindly and randomly. Not even creationists think any different, now. There aren't any jackfrostists, we're all ajackfrostic. And *those patterns are just as beautiful*. Are sunrises ugly or troubling now because these days we know Apollo isn't pulling the Sun up behind his chariot? No, of course not. Everything's just as beautiful as it was.

      All you need to make a jack rabbit instead of a jack frost pattern is more complicated building blocks - DNA, in this case - and a lot more time.


      Delete
    2. Jem

      thanks but think that I'm "sitting on the fence" and you want to direct me towards atheism. What scientific work would you recommend that would help that cause. Please give some links.

      Delete
    3. "thanks but think that I'm "sitting on the fence" and you want to direct me towards atheism. What scientific work would you recommend that would help that cause. Please give some links."

      Religious belief, or lack of it, is inevitably a faith position, in that it's about how you feel, rather than there being some killer argument that 'proves' whether there are gods.

      A number of my more devout friends, one a professional scientist, have become atheists in recent years, and there seems to be a common thread: they've just realized that there are thousands of religions out there, all following very similar patterns, and they already knew that all the religions apart from theirs were false, that the men in charge were politically-dubious, clearly enriching themselves as they bleated about the poor and very often involved in sex scandals. It's a common pattern.

      Religious faith is not that your God exists, it's the belief that out of all the thousands of your religion just happens to be the one exception. And if your local church or its head office is corrupt or badly-run, the religion as a whole can't be. It's the say that of all the wild-eyed misogynistic religious fanatics with the charisma to attract followers willing to die for the cause, Jesus was literally the only one in the entire history of humanity who wasn't in it for the sex and the bling. And you can believe that, even as his modern day successors sit in their palaces, sheltering yet another priest-rapist.

      There are some very good men and women who are religious. Ask yourself this: if their religion went away, would they still be good men and women? Surely it's the support and comfort they give, the work to help those worse of, or to educate, or to love that makes them good, not church attendance or performing a ritual?

      If you want to see a well-written, elegant account of evolution, read Richard Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable or Unweaving the Rainbow. For an account of the start of the universe, Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes.

      Delete
    4. Hi Jem

      I gather from your tone that you and some other atheists here despise organized religions. You see only bad they did or do and keep skipping over many great things they did in the past and still do. My experience was only positive. My church is the main ingredient of the nation. It was our guiding light, comforter and Mother through some terrible times in our past. It is interwoven like threads in a fabric of my nation’s past and present. There are forces at work (read European Union of bureaucratic politically correct Chaos), which are attempting to pull these threads out of the national fabric and leave fabric to fall apart. After that they would use the soft, destroyed fabric as a toilet paper. It will not be an easy fight, odds are against us.

      Atheists are rare in my nation. We think of them as weirdoes, traitors of the nation, whining gay activists and treat them with contempt. If you were on my native language forum you and other atheists would be treated much worse. You would need Prozac or some other happy pill for a while after such adventure.

      I read Weinberg and watched Mountain Improbable by Dawkins.

      Delete
    5. "My church is the main ingredient of the nation. It was our guiding light ... Atheists are rare in my nation. We think of them as weirdoes, traitors of the nation, whining gay activists and treat them with contempt."

      Perhaps those two facts aren't connected, but you're describing a country riven with hatred where people who don't believe in God are seen as 'traitors'. It's not shocking to discover that a church projects itself as a 'guiding light' in such a place.

      The issues of whether God exists and whether institutional religion is beneficial are separate issues.

      As for 'they did great things in the past', again there's a typical double standard where Catholics, say, will tell us that the Inquisition was a long time ago and a local phenomenon (it's still there, it just changed its name in 1908), but that a priest raping a child five years ago is ancient history and the church is completely different now and we should get over it.

      None of us should just look at the evidence that supports our case, or assert that a flaw in the other person represents a strength in us.

      The church in your country may well have been the lesser of two evils at one point. It doesn't mean the church is the answer now. There are many examples of underdogs becoming tyrants when they win power. And bandying the word 'treason' around is never a sign of a powerful, content organization.

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    6. When atheist starts speaking people get very suspicious. Who is this person? Is he an ex communist agent? Why does he show such disrespect to our ancestors and traditions? Our ancestors who suffered in the past didn't give up on either God or religion. Is he a crying gay activist? Lying EU bureaucratic crook?

      That's the feeling "average joe" has around atheists but there's no hate. It's rather great distrust which brings out strong reactions against such people. We know from history that Church has positive record but the new system promoted by atheists doesn't.

      *It doesn't mean the church is the answer now.*

      What is the answer now, Jem?

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    7. "What is the answer now, Jem?"

      One that should be agreed among yourselves, with protections for every group, however small or despised.

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  22. Egnor,

    ////The fact that any physical process in nature is directed-- that is, tends to one state of affairs rather than another-- is teleology///

    The fact that any physical process is directed DOES NOT imply God. It only implies that the process tends to one state due to the physical constraints it is experiencing. The process may tend to another state autonomously if the constraints acting upon it changes.

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