Opinions and musings on religion, philosophy, science, politics, and life from a conservative Catholic neurosurgeon.
You're pretty dim if you haven't thought of this before. Were you expecting God to send you a message informing you that an earthquake was on the way? He certainly didn't send any warning to his faithful worshippers who were attending Mass in Lisbon on November 1, 1755. Before the cathedrals came crashing down on their heads. And before the survivors seeking refuge on the piers from the resulting fires were swept away to their deaths by the following tsunamis.But earthquakes are OK. Nothing happens in the Universe unless by the will of God...
How many of the survivors of that 1755 earthquake are alive today?God's Word to mankind regarding this world that broke due to human sin is being proved true and trustworthy with every death, no matter how it happens.Those that heed it have found a savior, His Son, who saves us from this broken world.
barkmad: "Nothing happens in the Universe unless by the will of God."What does Islamic theology have to do with anything in Egnor's post or a 1755 earthquake in Lisbon?Occasionalism: a philosophical theory about causation which says that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God... The doctrine first reached prominence in the Islamic theological schools of Iraq, especially in Basra...You can learn something every day, right, barkmad? ;-)Now go ponder those invisible gorillas. That's something even the Malthusian laity can believe in.
Mike, The observation is akin to all these people who stand around filming things with their phones and never lending a hand or calling for help. Bach, That is a staggeringly ill informed, mean spirited, and childish comment. You've really outdone yourself this time.
C-Rex, backfield is just being petulant and fussy. He hasn't had very much attention around here lately. Next thing you know, he'll be throwing his toys out of the pram.
Adm.I think his comment is rather revealing, actually. It further illustrates the ignorance upon which he forms his 'world view'. He sees all religions and theology as interchangeable. 'The same thing'. He critiques without understanding and in doing so elevates some and belittles others. Where he could find commonality and build bridges, he instead makes inane statements (as above). Where he should be concerned, he is blissfully ignorant. I wonder, though, if the tables were turned on him what he would say to evolution not providing some means to escape earth quakes in the most highly evolved brains? Why do men detect and scatter like birds or dogs BEFORE a quake hits? Why has evolution not provided a natural warning system for these all to frequent events?
C-Rex: "I think his comment [...] illustrates the ignorance upon which he forms his 'world view'"You're right. Mark Twain put it well: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Sorry typos, folks. Shitty tablet and not enough coffee this AM. I think you get my drift, though...I hope :P
'Nothing happens in the Universe except by the will of God' is based on Egnor's Thomistic theology. That God is the 'ground of being'. That nothing exists without God. Egnor has claimed that all the electrons, elementary particles, don't just exist from the Big Bang. Each and every electron exists from time to time only because of the will of God.If 'God' is such a control freak as to worry about the existence of electrons, then why not earthquakes, including the Great Lisbon Earthquake, which killed around 100,000 people in one of the most devout Catholic countries of Europe?Whereas it actually caused an upswing in the scientific study of earthquakes, starting with trying to work out how long the earthquake took to spread by determining when it was felt in various locations. Which eventually lead to tectonic plate geology.We live on a plate with tectonic plates, which causes earthquakes (and volcanos). It's possible that tectonic plates are necessary for life to form in the first place.
Existence and causation are different.
Bach, Nonsense. You obviously haven't the slightest grasp on what you're talking about. Instead of acting like a swaggering, arrogant blow hard - why not try framing your questions in a civil manner to someone who actually lives by that creed? You might actually learn something about the ideas you hold with such contempt. If, in doing so, you become a more tolerant and enlightened person the biggest winner is you. How and why are two different questions. the question of WHY does natural disaster occur is not the same as HOW it occurs. In your attempt to discredit the whole Insha'Allah theology of the Islamic world (time for a why question!) you have become just as simplistic in your outlook. You equate mechanism to purpose. Reality is just not that simple.
Egnor and his mates at the Discovery Institute are proponents of the God as control freak. Egnor's boss at the Discovery Institute, Stephen Meyer, published this year 'Darwin's Doubt', which claims that God created all the Cambrian phyla over a very short period of time (less than 6 million years), without precedents, requiring a large injection of novel genetic information (Egnor still hasn't defined genetic information although he's been trying for at least 6 years).According to the DI, God created the trilobites, tens of thousands of species of them over hundreds of millions of years, only to allow them to go extinct 250 million years ago, deliberately.All just to claim that God is always present, always intervening, instead of setting up the initial conditions and occasionally intervening as necessary as the more scientifically literate believers do.Egnor needs to come clean. Are earthquakes deliberately caused by God for some reason (and why)? Or are they an indication of suboptimal design? He doesn't have any other choices.
"Stephen Meyer, published this year 'Darwin's Doubt', which claims that God created all the Cambrian phyla over a very short period of time (less than 6 million years), without precedents"No he didn't liarBest wishesChris
You don't get to pick all the choices, batfark. Your day as Emperor is every 6th Tuesday of the month.And given your track record, I'll reserve judgement on what Discovery and/or Egnor actually say.And your comment that Deism is the faith of "scientifically literate believers" is baldfaced bigotry.
There is a perfectly plausible explanation for trilobites, bach. They were God's science fair project. In eighth grade. Try to refute that.Hoo
Chris,Yes, Stephen Meyer did make these claims in Darwin's Doubt'. Go back and read it again if you have read it before, in particular the last 2 chapters in which he sets out his theology.Georgie,I never wrote that scientifically literate believers are deists. They're theists, who think that God intervenes from time to time.A deist is a person who thinks that God created the Universe and then retired forever.If you think that Egnor has other explanations for the occurrence of earthquakes, then what are they? Bearing in mind that Egnor's version of the cosmological argument (go back and read them) is not only that we exist in a Universe with us in it, but also that the Universe exists now, from instant to instant, including each and every electron.Reserve your judgement, but go back and read his multiple cosmological argument, Aquinas and Cause threads.
Nope, He did not make the claim about God in his book that you claim that he did.You are a liarChris
Chris,You're wrong. I'll give you the references later (I'm off to a special concert given by Pinchas Zukerman). Get ready for the facts. It'll take me a few hours to go through 'Darwin's Doubt'
bachfiend said: "Get ready for the facts. It'll take me a few hours to go through 'Darwin's Doubt'"Let me save you a few hours. The only references to God in Darwin's Doubt is"The God Delusion by Dawkins" 409,411"God is Not Great" by Hitchens 409"God of the Gaps" objections 392In other words the only ones to bring God into this scientific argument are those who oppose ID.BTW, I noticed this lack of mention of God and Jesus when I was scratching my head trying to figure out why the book was found in the theology section and not in the science section at our Barnes and Nobles, when the back cover jacket clearly categorizes the book as SCIENCES/LIFE SCIENCES/EVOLUTION
Awstar,There are other ways of mentioning God without using the word 'God'. In the last two chapters he claims that intelligent design is very friendly to western theistic belief, several times. Christianity. It wouldn't matter if the science was actually correct, but Meyer just misquotes, obfuscates and plainly gets references wrong.It doesn't deserve to be in the 'science' section of your bookshop. Perhaps if it had a 'false or incorrect science' section?
bachfiend says; "There are other ways of mentioning God without using the word 'God'. In the last two chapters he claims that intelligent design is very friendly to western theistic belief, several times. Christianity."ID is Bible friendly in that the scientific evidence presented supports what the Bible proclaims. But that is an implication of ID not a proclamation. Just as the theory of evolution implies there is no creator and is therefore Bible unfriendly. That doesn't make evolution wrong. It's claims not supported by the scientific evidence that was expected to be there, but isn't is what makes it wrong.
Awstar,Wrong, wrong, wrong. Darwinism doesn't disprove God. There are religious evolutionists. Such as Robert Asher, whom Meyer attacks in his book ('Evolution and Belief. Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist'). Asher believes God is the agency, Darwinism is the mechanism God used (nothing God-denying).Meyer extends human design to indicate divine design as the best explanation. Although, we often don't design. We just take numerous slight variations and see which one works best. We don't design an airplane wing from first principles because it would be impossible to calculate all the chaotic factors of aerodynamics. We build wind tunnels and see which variation works best. We evolve the optimum design, so why can't God do the same?You're gullible in thinking that Meyer is going to tell you the full range of evidence for evolution. Particularly when he lies.Meyer is no better than a lawyer in a court or a used-car salesman glossing over the defects in a car.He's a shill.
The XKCD cartoon is based on a true story. Make it several true stories. Hoo
"First, although I do acknowledge in the last chapter of Darwin's Doubt that the case for intelligent design has implications that are friendly to theistic belief (since all theistic religions affirm that the universe and life are the product of a designing intelligence), the scientific argument that I make does not attempt to establish the existence of God. Instead, I attempt merely to show that key features of the Cambrian animals (and the pattern of their appearance in the fossil record) are best explained by a designing intelligence -- a conscious rational agency or a mind -- of some kind. Thus, my argument does not qualify as a God-of-the-gaps argument for the simple reason that the argument does not attempt to establish the existence of God." Stephen C Meyerhttp://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/10/does_darwins_do078001.html#sthash.XOOVe4AN.dpufHe never made an explicit claim about God and The Cambrian like you said, Saying that ID has implications that are friendly to theistic beliefs is not making an explicit claim about God creating anything.You are lyingChris
Chris, see above. So you haven't read 'Darwin's Doubt'? You're just going on 'EvolutionNews'?
Chris,I don't know if you have access to a copy of 'Darwin's Doubt" (or even have a copy). My examples are the ones that struck me when I was reading it. There are certainly many others that I don't have time to find (it's a longish book). I also don't have page numbers, because the Kindle edition doesn't number pages.In chapter 19, he criticises a new book - Robert Asher's 'Evolution and Belief' for deriding ID as being not science, for not having a mechanism.Meyer fails to give the book's subtitle, which was 'Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist', meaning that 1. Asher has expertise in the area discussed in the book (which Meyer doesn't, he earned a BSc in Earth Sciences, worked for an oil exploration company and then did a PhD in the philosophy of science decades ago), and 2. He's a Christian.Asher argues that God is the agency and Darwinism is the mechanism used by God. I don't have any problems with such a claim. I previously read his book, and it's very good, unlike Meyer's book which distorts the science and often just gets it wrong.Meyer claims that ID 'identifies and detects activity of the designer of life, and does so at different points in the history of life, including the explosive show of creativity on display in the Cambrian event'.
(cont)In the prologue; 'Scientists now know that building a living organism requires information, and building a fundamentally new form of life from a simpler form of life requires an immense amount of new information. Thus whenever the fossil record testifies to the origin of a completely new form of animal life - a pulse of biological innovation - it also testifies to a significant increase in the information content of the biosphere'.No endnote or reference. Meyer impresses the gullible by providing endpoints to most of his statements (mostly either useless or plain wrong), but not in this case. A pulse is a very short time, not the 80 million years involved in the Cambrian explosion.In chapter 8: 'Molecular biologists have estimated that a minimally complex single celled organism would require between 318,000 and 562,000 base pairs of DNA to produce the proteins necessary to maintain life. More complex single cells might require upwards of a million base pairs of DNA. Yet to assemble the proteins necessary to sustain a complex arthropod such as a trilobite would require orders of magnitude more protein-coding instructions. By way of comparison, the genome size of a modern arthropod, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, is approximately 140 million base pairs. Thus, transitions from a single cell to colonies of cells to complex animals represent significant - and in principle measurable - increases in genetic information'.Complex single-celled organisms (eukaryotic cells) arose 2 billion years ago. The Cambrian explosion was about 540 million years ago with a preceding phase of around 80 million years.Not exactly a 'pulse' of biologic innovation. It's also problematic relating it to the genome size of living species. The single cell protozoan Polychaos dubium has a genome of 670 billion base pairs compared to humans' 3 billion base pairs). Some Drosophila species have genomes 50% greater than Melanogaster.Which is the reason why Meyer lies about ENCODE, when he claims that 'The conclusion: at least 80% of the genome performs significant biological functions'. Actually, ENCODE showed that between 20 and 80% of the genome is functional, using a definition of 'functional' so liberal that being replicated just once in a cell, without subsequent effect, counts as functional. And between 20 and 80% isn't the same as at least 80%.So; Meyer is claiming that an intelligent designer created the Cambrian phyla in a short time, a 'pulse'. Whereas, from single celled Eukaryotes to the Cambrian phyla took almost 1.5 billion years, and 80 million years from multicellular organisms to the Cambrian phyla ( at least). And Meyer admits that the intelligent designer is God (obviously; only a god - or God if you like - could have the patience and staying power to do a 1.5 (or even 3.8) billion year 'experiment'.And then most (95%) of the then living species went extinct in the end of Permian mass extinction 250 million years ago.As Ken Miller (a practising Catholic and professor of biology at Brown University) puts it; the God of ID is not only a serial creator, but also an incompetent serial creator. Creating species, allowing them to go extinct, and then replacing them with new species, often very similar to the extinct ones.
"Chris, see above. So you haven't read 'Darwin's Doubt'? You're just going on 'EvolutionNews'?"I am showing you what Meyer himself says.I have his first book and read Darwins Doubt from a friends copy, I never saw him making any claim about God creating anything, Meyer does not do that with ID and allows others to come up with their own conclusions as to the identity of the designer. From his writings and his interviews Meyer does not make any claim who the designer is, You are making a claim which you know is false.Why can't you debate honestly instead of deliberate misrepresentation?Chris
Bach, Two very simple points you seem to have missed. The first is that your argument on a 'suboptimal' creation relies on an assumption that the detectable physical cosmos is the ends and not the means. That God has given us ONLY what we see and there is nothing more. That is absolutely just not the case when it comes to any flavour of Christian theism. So, yours is a straw man argument. Secondly (as noted above) the act of creation, whether it be a deistic 'walk away' God or the theistic sustaining God, is a mechanism - not the goal or purpose of the creation. Again HOW and WHY. I am writing on a computer. How that computer works is NOT the same as WHY it works for me or why I want to. It contains the potential (by design) for many, many purposes - some quite evident, and some quite abstract or even unintended. As for Meyers... even if we we're to take your interpretation of his works as writ, what does DNA or semiotics have to do with earth quakes?
Crusader Rex,I don't care what you think. I care what Egnor thinks. And what he has written in the past.He's just incoherent. As an example, when Egnor came out with his bizarre definition of 'imaginary' as meaning the process by which images, which may be true or false, are formed in the mind, you came up with a scenario in which in some very restricted circumstance at a considerable stretch 'imaginary' might possibly be subjectively true.Whereas, Egnor was just wrong, and I wasn't interested one bit in your opinion.
Bach, Did you happen to notice that your typing your bullshit on a public forum. You get that, right? You actually think that I give a flying F what you're interested in? Look, you keep making the same mistake. You keep taking me for someone that cares what you have to say about myself of my opinions, beliefs, or even the experiential reality we ALL perceive. I really don't. My purpose in communicating with you completely eludes you. That's fine. In fact, it's really quite funny. I will, however, remain open to an actual exchange of ideas should you ever decide to attempt one. But, you've a very high horse to climb down from before that will occur. Your lack of a response is precisely what I expected, and I would guess I am far from alone in that expectation. Go on, call me an idiot.... You know you want to :)Adm. There goes the toys! ,,, and the pram's all wet too! Chris, "Why can't you debate honestly instead of deliberate misrepresentation?"I hope that is a rhetorical question, friend. Mike, Bach cares what you think, mate. Don't be cruel. Nothing is so devastating as an unrequited love.
Crusader Rex,And I don't give a damn what you think either. 'Bye.
Bach, No need for repetition, just a modicum of revelation ;) Adieu!
I have emphasized your Lie, You said "Stephen Meyer, published this year 'Darwin's Doubt', which CLAIMS THAT GOD CREATED all the Cambrian phyla over a very short period of time (less than 6 million years), without precedents"meyer's book does not make any such claim.Thus you are lying.As for Dr Egnor, he doesn't have to do anything as far as I can see, It is his blog and you are crapping all over it, You are lucky that he is letting you pollute his blog with your crap and dishonesty.Best WishesChrisUK
"And Meyer admits that the intelligent designer is God (obviously; only a god - or God if you like - could have the patience and staying power to do a 1.5 (or even 3.8) billion year 'experiment'."Meyer does not claim who the designer is, Repeating your lie is not going to make it true.I don't blame Dr Egnor for ignoring you when you are so dishonest.Chris
Chris,So 'injecting novel genetic information' into a biosphere isn't creating new species? And phyla too, since Meyer is a top down believer, thinking that phyla come first followed by species. Whereas it is the other way around - first comes the species, then comes the higher taxa.Nematodes and arthropods today might look very different. Meyer has the erroneous idea that according to evolutionary theory, a long time ago a nematode turned into an arthropod - an impossibility since their body plans are just too different.Whereas, what actually happened was that nematodes and arthropods long ago had a common ancestor, which split into two separate isolated populations (initially identical) which then accumulated different genetic changes over a long period leading to different body plans, different phyla.initially, they were the same species, then different species, then different genera, and so on. Bottom up.Meyer does make the claim that the Cambrian phyla appeared in a very short time - in a pulse - by intelligent design. Intelligent design requires in intelligent designer. And Meyer says that he thinks the intelligent designer is God.The intelligent designer is just a ploy to get it taught in American public schools. Meyer admits that his intelligent designer is God. That wouldn't matter if the science of Intelligent Design was actually correct, or even plausible.Unfortunately it isn't. You need to read 'Darwin's Doubt' critically, checking Meyer's references very carefully. He provides a lot of endnotes, which are generally useless. In cases where they're to journal articles he provides 'author, title of article, page numbers'. To find the journal article, you then need to go to the bibliography to find the journal and year. And then when you do find the article you find that he's misquoted the article. Or just got it plain wrong.I suspect he did it this way to obfuscate.OK; Meyer claims that the intelligent designer is an ETI from alpha-centauri. Happy?
"The intelligent designer is just a ploy to get it taught in American public school"repeating more crap, However as Dr Egnor once argued and I cant remember his exact words so he is free to correct me, if design is not on the table then darwinism is not scientific because the idea that life is purely the result of blind purposeless processes is not falsifiable."meyer admits that his intelligent designer is god"Meyer however does not make a claim that God created anything which is what you claimed, he makes no claim in his book of God creating anything, You lied.I read his book, However I don't need to take lectures about meyer when you are lying and misrepresenting him, You need to get your house in order if you want others to take any of your claims seriously.
This thing sounds pretty angry. I wonder what it would make of this roundtable discussion, in which the ID "luminaries" (Meyer among them) make no attempts to hide the identity of the designer. Hoo
Chris,OK, Meyer never writes in 'Darwin's Doubt' that God created the Cambrian phyla in a pulse (a very short time). He's too clever to do that. He's skilled in creating a picture that does the same thing, by putting together pieces to create the picture that you're expected to recreate for yourself.The quotes above illustrate the point I'm making.The trouble is that the pieces Meyer uses are often just wrong, fit poorly or come from a different puzzle.As an example, part of the evidence for the sudden appearance of the the Cambrian phyla is the Burgess Shale fossils, which Meyer notes contains a plethora of different phyla, including soft-bodied forms, well-preserved, and claims that this means that this means that there should have been plenty of fossils from earlier.And he'd revealed the answer several pages earlier when he noted the cause of the Burgess Shale fossils; owing to seismic activity (the supercontinent of Pannotia was falling apart causing earthquakes) a cliff collapse caused an inlet with its biota to be covered and embedded with mud killing and preserving a large number of animals allowing them to be fossilised.It was a spike in death, not an explosion of life. A similar thing happened with the Ashfall fossil park. 12 MYA ago a fairly large volcanic eruption spewed out a large amount of ash killing many mammals which congregated at a waterhole to slake their thirst. The large number of fossils here also indicate the same thing - a spike of death.
Nothing about being clever just being honest, As in order to decide whether something is designed then you do not need to identify who the designer is, he is being honest as you cannot observe the past of how all the different life forms came into existence, It is a historical event and we can only make inferences from the evidence we do have, Your inference is a faith in chance and his inference is in design.Chris
Chris,Talking about honesty. Meyer lies repeatedly in his book. Didn't you notice that? You're gullible in accepting his lies.His case for ID is his claim that evolution can't do the job, and he attempts to prove it, and fails. For example he attempts to disprove convergent evolution (in an endnote) by claiming that an Arctic fish and an Antarctic fish have near-identical glycoprotein antifreeze, and hence design is the best explanation.Obviously, because the Antarctic froze about 30 million years ago and the Arctic froze about 3 million years, there's no possibility of traffic from one frigid region to the other across the tropics and the odds against the same glycoprotein antifreeze (and hence gene) being evolved twice is astronomical.Except, if you hunt for the references in the bibliography, they aren't near-identical. One is derived from a trypsinogen protein and the other is derived from a protein of unknown origin, not related to the trypsinogen of either species.He's a liar.
Your gullible in believing that all life is the result of chance."is that evolution can't do the job"His case is darwinian explanations aren't up to the job, not exactly the same thing."He's a liar"Nope, You have been exposed as lying and misrepresenting what he has written, You made false claims about what he wrote, You have 0 credibility in accusing others of lying, Any representations on what Meyer has written coming from a shameless liar like you have 0 credibility.Best WishesChris
Chris,Where did I say that 'all life is the result of chance?'I use 'evolution' and 'Darwinism' to mean the same thing. As does Robert Asher in 'Evolution and Belief. Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist'.Meyer wants to replace a theory for which there is a lot of evidence, for one for which there isn't the slightest scrap of evidence.Explanatory power means nothing.And you aren't worried by the lies Meyer tells? Such as the 'near-identical' glycoprotein antifreezes, which aren't?
"Where did I say that 'all life is the result of chance?"You reject design and believe in chance, You think there is a lot of evidence for chance."I use evolution and 'Darwinism' to mean the same thing"I know you conflate them but arguing against Darwinism doesn't necessarily mean that you are arguing against evolution per se, You know this but you are misrepresenting meyer because you are dishonest."Meyer wants to replace a theory for which there is a lot of evidence, for one which there isn't the slightest scrap of evidence"There is no more evidence for your faith in chance than there is for design."by the lies Meyer tells?"I am worried about the lies you tell, You seem to have some comprehension problem, Your representations of what Meyer has written holds 0 credibility for me, You are pissing in the wind, You are a proven liar with 0 credibility, I can understand why you want to divert because you have been crapping on this blog with your lying crap.Chris
Chris,Good. I've seemed to have gotten under your skin. You haven't been able to make a coherent argument besides contradiction. I give examples of what Meyer has written in 'Darwin's Doubt' and you just assert that he didn't write that God created the Cambrian phyla. If that's true, then why did he write the book?Anyway. I don't believe in chance. Evolution isn't chance.Best wishes...
@ Boo HooYou sound like a cry baby, No wonder you were named Boo Hoolol