Friday, December 02, 2005

*Creationism Tridux*

I'm not sure what comes after Redux. But the good physician gives a reply to my replies here. Have fun ploughing through it.

My stance is that I see no need to make any additional replies to Dr Loke as I am confident that my readers are rational beings, capable of differentiating between science and theology. It may just be very well that my "anti-supernatural bias" and the good physician's anti-natural bias mean that our debate will always be at cross purposes. Except that Science limits itself by methodology to the natural and material because it is testable and it works. Unless the supernatural becomes testable, it has no place in Science.

I will make no personal comment about his appendix on the cosmological argument for god except to direct readers to TalkReason and in particular the section on Counter-Apologetics and this article.

37 Comments:

At 11:06 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

Thought to say a few things:

1. Strange encounter we had today, this too while I was working, actually.

2. I think I gave up on reading the thing after, oh, 200 lines, but it did strike me that this doctor seems to be adamant that the religious beliefs of the writer should not detract from the veracity of the argument. Which, in logical theory, I accept, but is the veracity really there? And spare me the long-winded explanation: establish the veracity, dammit! (And Nyanko, if you're reading this, no, I'm not calling you there.)

Or, to write in logic-talk:

F^(TvF)=F !-> (TvF)=T

2b. Oh, and do I see a certain old trick that goes by the name of definition-switching, or, since I'm now a sports journo, "shifting the goalposts"? Not by you, of course; by the doctor.

2c. I also thought it important to point out that improbability is not the same as impossibility. To borrow the idea of Borges' "Garden of Forking Paths", quantum physics and other similar things, we might be living in the one parallel universe (or branch of parallel universes) where all the random/pseudorandom/quasipseudorandom elements all came together 'correctly'. It would be mathematically sloppy to claim improbability = outright zero. As a mathematician by training (with a taste for probability stuff in particular), I'm refusing to buy that sloppiness.

2c2. Not to mention, of course, the good doctor still hasn't declared his position on whether Earth is at least millions of years old, yes or no.

2d. That's all I have to say about that. ((c) F.Gump) For now, that is.

3. You're still training kids? Cool. Keep me updated on the goings-on, maybe? Tea sometime (while I'm in offseason) might be good.

4. Finally, you still haven't replied to that old e-mail of mine. *()*$)(&#*%*%&()*&...

 
At 1:42 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Eh heh heh. I'll ompose a reply asap. I kept putting it off.

 
At 6:39 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

You should keep reading, it gets funnier and funnier as he gets confused over his own definitions and starts to contradict himself. Especially on the nature of Science.

Just some general comments.
2. It's not simply the religious beliefs of the author. I accept that the vercity of the argument NEED NOT be contingent on the religiousity (or lack thereof). But it seems to be wilful denial of reality when one looks at the mission statement of AiG. This is a classic case of getting a conclusion and trying to stuff the facts into it.

To give an example of what I meant, I contrasted Dr Kenneth Miller, staunch RC and lead expert witness for the plaintiffs in Dover, and author of Finding Darwin's God where he reconciles his faith with Evolution.

Creationism, especially the YEC of AiG is just pure nonsense. Young Earth and Flood Geology? It needs to be said that the US Supreme Court recognised that it was not science by religion.

2b. That and studiously not answering some of the issues I raised. One which was the impossibility of falsifying the supernatural (intelligence) i.e Hammie the invisible pink hamster who created the world last thursday. And the analogy I drew to the notion of scientific credibility through peer review by contrasting the medical quackary peddle by Kevin Trudeau in his book, "Natural cures they don't want you to know about" and articles in any respected medical journal.

After a while I had no idea what he was trying to prove or disprove.

2c. The example I like is that while the probability of winning a global lottery is low, the certainity of someone winning it is one.

*Shrugg* it's a old argument used by the creationist and quite a few apologetics. It persuades them. I think it's intellectual suicide.

2c2. Good luck. He still hasn't replied to me yet. But from his entire spiel on the improbability of the origins of life due to *ahem* the unlikliness of MILLIONS OF YEARS of non-adverse conditions, I would say he's a YEC. Besides I was told he handed out those YEC tracts back in his unit.

 
At 7:18 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

Sorry I have to actually rebut you on the math, but re: 2c., the certainty is not one, UNLESS you assume (or can otherwise prove) that each and every possible lottery combination has been bought by at least one person. The Pigeonhole Principle in reverse, essentially.

Because that's how we get prize money snowballs.

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

And re: 2c2., actually, all I see is him saying that it's improbable that perfectly non-adverse conditions can somehow continue to exist over millions of years. (Of course, he tries to use 'impossible' rather than 'improbable'.) As an average reasonable mathematician, I can read that to assume that he believes that the Earth is possibly millions of years old, just that the conditions haven't been that good over those millions of years.

But, of course, that additional factlet about his distribution of material is another matter.

Never make sloppy overgeneralizations in front of a mathematician, especially a prob/stats guy. You'd get caught in quibbles that limit your arguments too damn quick. ;)

 
At 8:12 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Re: The prize money snowball. Mea culpa, I neglected to make explicit that datum i.e. everyone has a ticket.

I've given up debating theology because it's premised on faith which in turn is predicated on an unfalsifiable assumption. They can call it logic, but if you stand on a false presumption, you're very likely to end up with a false conclusion. As things stand, I'm happy enough if the other person realises that point.

And as to 2c2, yes I do see your point. Here's why I thought he was a YEC. On one level, I'm not sure why we need millions of years of non adverse conditions considering that there exists organisms that can trive in extreme pressure and heat. On another level, we knew the earth cooled a few hundred million years ago (the second latest issue of Scientific America did an article which said that it might have been a lot earlier than we expect), thus allowing for life to arise.

The point I repeated made in my second reply was to argue by way of theistic evolution i.e. deity X created the primodeal soup and allowed Evolution to carry on work from there. I didn't get a reply.

Thus from the above, as well as the stuff he left on another blog (budak.blogs.com, look at the comments section) where he argues for a LITERAL interpretation of the Bible (and condemning the liberal theologians) plus the fact he refers to Answers in Genesis (which advocates the whole 7 literal days thing in very bad comics) led me to believe that he was a YEC.

I have to confess, I actually have a point by point rebuttal done up but that was more to sooth my anonyance mroe than anything else.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

*chuckle*

Actually, "everyone has a ticket" doesn't work. It should really read "every ticket was sold". To illustrate, assume population of 2K, we have 2K+1 tickets, each person bought exactly one, and, well... You get the drift. ;)

Yeah, mathematicians are sticklers for exactly correct descriptions like that. They get stick for that.

On 2c2., first level, the thing that can kill your argument is if ALL the organisms that thrive under such lousy conditions get wiped out, without exception, once conditions turn better. Of course, if we so much as find one exception to that, we're done 'unkilling' the argument. Alternatively, since Earth cooling was (probably?) not an instantaneous process, it leaves room for adaptation over time as conditions continually change. What's left is then to prove (or at least very plausibly argue) that such adaptation to changes in temperature, terrain type, gas balance etc. likely occurred.

On the other hand, at the second level, things get pretty interesting if you're saying that life was originated (in some instances if not all) post-cooling, because then we'd actually be able to date the process. Interesting thought, not least because if it was possible for life to be created from nothing then, it's possible for life to be created from nothing now (air and water pollution, among other environmental wrecks, notwithstanding... :D). Would like to be there to watch and document it happen, that's for sure!

I'm going to keep an open mind on these possibilities. And I think that's more important than whether I believe in evolution or creationism. As far as I'm concerned, the great thing about science is its open-mindedness, which allows it to be robust. Creationism is too fictional. Actually, it's looking quite a whimsical shapeshifter! :D

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Bah...math.

Hmmm, since we have (simple and complex) organisms that exist in insane depths and in geysers and volcanos, and given the remarkable ability of life to adapt and survive I'm not inclined to believe that life could not have arisen in a pre-cooled state.

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger gambitch said...

It's not impossible. How it could/would have happened is the interesting question!

 
At 9:55 PM, Anonymous rrrrrrrm said...

Bah... law students. :P Why do I keep bumping into them?

Jokes aside, though, I think what you are looking for is a "raffle", rather than a lottery.

If you are talking about lottery a la Lotto etc., where people are free to choose what combinations to buy, then it is probable that some combination may not be bought at all.

On the other hand, conducting a raffle draw requires only that you verify that you are drawing from ticket numbers that have been sold, so that there cannot be, in principle, a number which does not match with a person.

Just my two-cents worth. Sorry if I'm pedantic, but I study maths as well. :)

 
At 4:29 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

No please, if more people actually made the effort to be pedantic, I think there will be alot less misunderstanding, notwithstanding the natural hatred that one might feel towards another in which case even the clearest of statements would be twisted.

And this is aslo why we need proper experts and authorities.

 
At 10:25 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Dear Shaun ,

> It may just be very well that my "anti-supernatural bias" and the good physician's anti-natural bias mean that our debate will always be at cross purposes.

* This is not true . As I demonstrated to you in my reply , the issue for the origin of life ( and species ) at the primary level is NOT natural versus supernatural , but non-intelligent versus intelligent . This primary level lies within the realm of science .Forensic science is a science , and the principles of forensic SCIENCE differentiates between intelligent and non-intelligent causes . Using these principles , one can conclude that the genetic code must have originated by an intelligent cause , as I demonstrated to you in my reply, even if that intelligent cause may be a purely material being ( such as an alien ) .



>Except that Science limits itself by methodology to the natural and material because it is testable and it works. Unless the supernatural becomes testable, it has no place in Science.


* The SETI researchers will be happy to conclude that an intelligent being exist if they can pick up a message from outer space , even if they cannot see or touch that ETI or put it into a test tube. Like I said , at the primary level science can distinguish between an intelligent or unintelligent cause .The debate about non-intelligent versus intelligent cause of life is therefore a scientific issue . However, differentiating an intelligent cause versus a non-intelligent cause is as much as science can tell us with regards to origin of life and species issue at the moment. Science cannot prove as to whether the intelligent cause is natural or supernatural , that is science's limitation . Indeed , science has no authority to dictate to us that the intelligent cause cannot be supernatural. Science is not the only avenue to truth , after all . Philosophy has its role The recognition by science that the origin of life is an intelligent cause points us beyond science itself into the realm of philosophy , where further philosophical reflections will reveal that the most reasonable conclusion is that ultimately a supernatural Designer must exist .

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

gambitch

> this doctor seems to be adamant that the religious beliefs of the writer should not detract from the veracity of the argument. Which, in logical theory, I accept,


* Good .


>but is the veracity really there? And spare me the long-winded explanation: establish the veracity, dammit! (And Nyanko, if you're reading this, no, I'm not calling you there.)



* The main body of my " long-winded" reply was to refute Shaun's unjustified arguments .As for the establishment of the veracity , this can be seen in the appendix of my reply.



>Or, to write in logic-talk:

F^(TvF)=F !-> (TvF)=T

* Can the veracity of evolution be write out in logic -talk ?

>2b. Oh, and do I see a certain old trick that goes by the name of definition-switching,

* Where ?


>2c. I also thought it important to point out that improbability is not the same as impossibility. To borrow the idea of Borges' "Garden of Forking Paths", quantum physics and other similar things, we might be living in the one parallel universe (or branch of parallel universes) where all the random/pseudorandom/quasipseudorandom elements all came together 'correctly'. It would be mathematically sloppy to claim improbability = outright zero. As a mathematician by training (with a taste for probability stuff in particular), I'm refusing to buy that sloppiness.


* You wrote " improbability is not the same as impossibility" . So are you going to accept the inference that an intelligent designer exist only if the probability of life originating by non-intelligent natural forces is outright zero ? Now let me point out to you that the probability of Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel being created by chance is not outright zero ; it could be that after millions of years the wind blows coloured pigments to form the painting. So are you going to refuse to recognise that there is an intelligence behind the painting ? The point is that in the RECOGNITION OF INTELLIGENCE behind an event we never take the possibility of the event happening by chance to be zero ; if we do that then we can NEVER detect any intelligence behind any event , the whole SETI research would be a misguided enterprise , and we can say good bye to all detectives and forensic scientists. The fact is that ALL events that is designed has a probability of happening by chance ; including the messages from outer-space which SETI researchers are trying to detect and the painting of Michaelangelo's Sistine chapel . To claim the "parallel universes" explanation where all the random/pseudorandom/quasipseudorandom elements all came together 'correctly' would be to render all detection of intelligence meaningless . The SETI researchers will not be able to conclude their research from their findings since the signals comprising the message could also be due to random/pseudorandom/quasipseudorandom elements all coming together 'correctly' . To adopt the " parallel universe explanation would mean that we cannot differentiate an intelligence behind the comments which are written on Shaun's blog apart from what is randomly typed out by a monkey ; after all , in parallel universe a monkey might have typed out everything correctly !


It takes intelligence to recognise intelligence ; while a cockroach may not be able to differentiate a letter that is typed randomly or intelligently , a more intelligent human certainly can . To demand outright zero before the detection of intelligence or to use parallel universe to avoid the inference of intelligence is anti-intelligence ; indeed , it is anti-science ( eg SETI research ) . So while you may be astute mathematically , you are less than astute philosophically and scientifically .


" I'm going to keep an open mind on these possibilities. And I think that's more important than whether I believe in evolution or creationism. As far as I'm concerned, the great thing about science is its open-mindedness, which allows it to be robust. "


* If you want to keep an open mind that the Sistine Chapel could be created by chance , fine ! The word "reasonable " will meaningless if this position is a reasonable one to hold .


Science is not just about keeping an open mind, it is also about letting go of prejudice and following the conclusion when the evidence clearly warrants it . Otherwise the SETI researchers can never come to ANY conclusions at all if they are to forever keep an open mind , and their research would have been a totally misguided enterprise . After all , why bother about research if it cannot give us any answers ? If , however ,their findings and conclusions can withstand reasonable scruitiny, then we should accept their conclusions . The origination of DNA warrants an intelligent cause , and we should accept it .

 
At 10:33 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

Dear Shaun ,

I realised that you have been recycling your arguments from your previous replies without addressing my answers to those arguments in my latest reply. I wonder what is your reason for that ?

You wrote >" . That and studiously not answering some of the issues I raised. One which was the impossibility of falsifying the supernatural (intelligence) i.e Hammie the invisible pink hamster who created the world last thursday. "


* I did mentioned that inteligent design is falsifiable in my latest reply . The whole paragraph, from " the Intelligent design is falsifiable. With regards to the origin of life ...." to " ..does not affect the veracity of that conclusion " Did you read it ?


>And the analogy I drew to the notion of scientific credibility through peer review by contrasting the medical quackary peddle by Kevin Trudeau in his book, "Natural cures they don't want you to know about" and articles in any respected medical journal.

* I did mentioned the issue regarding peer review in my latest reply. The whole paragraph " Peer review is good , but the unjust persecution of ID by the authorities .." to " ..is like pointing out that published Chinee government statistics do not support allegations of human right abuse ." Did you read it ?


>After a while I had no idea what he was trying to prove or disprove.


* I did mentioned what I was trying to prove in my " Appendix" . Again , did you read it ?



>The point I repeated made in my second reply was to argue by way of theistic evolution i.e. deity X created the primodeal soup and allowed Evolution to carry on work from there. I didn't get a reply.


* In my previous reply I mentioned that for your theory that a designer got life to start and then it evolves all the way to man , the gaps in fossil records ( especially between apes and man ) contradicted it . Did you read it ?


> I have to confess, I actually have a point by point rebuttal done up but that was more to sooth my anonyance mroe than anything else


* I would like to see it. Otherwise , I take it that you have conceded all your previous points on common descent, on the citation of 100 scientists , etc .

 
At 10:43 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

Your other false arguments this time round ..

You wrote : It's not simply the religious beliefs of the author. I accept that the vercity of the argument NEED NOT be contingent on the religiousity (or lack thereof). But it seems to be wilful denial of reality when one looks at the mission statement of AiG. This is a classic case of getting a conclusion and trying to stuff the facts into it.


* Now , the arguments themselves which are used to "get the facts to stuff "are not necesarily false , isn't it ? The arguments ultimately will still have to be judge on their own merit apart from whether they are used to " get the facts to stuff" or not .

* Conversely , the "supposed objective motivation" of Kenneth Miller which you liked so much doesn't necessarily imply his arguments are right. Since you mentioned that he is Roman Catholic , let me tell you that his arguments in his book " FInding Darwin's God " with regards to theology are wrong . They are self-defeating , as I pointed out in Budak's blog with regards to liberal Roman Catholic theologians


>The example I like is that while the probability of winning a global lottery is low, the certainity of someone winning it is one."


* eh.. The certainty of getting life to originate by non-intelligent natural forces is one ??

.
> But from his entire spiel on the improbability of the origins of life due to *ahem* the unlikliness of MILLIONS OF YEARS of non-adverse conditions, I would say he's a YEC.


* I am suspending judgement on the old earth versus young earth issue because neither the evidence from geology nor the evidence from the Bible regarding the age of the earth is currently conclusive . ( See my article on the SMJ ) . Further research is needed in this area . The age of the earth however does not detract from the veracity of the inference of an intelligent Designer for life and species .


>Besides I was told he handed out those YEC tracts back in his unit.

* Interesting . Do I know the person ?

> I've given up debating theology because it's premised on faith which in turn is predicated on an unfalsifiable assumption. They can call it logic, but if you stand on a false presumption, you're very likely to end up with a false conclusion. As things stand, I'm happy enough if the other person realises that point.


* Where in the appendix did I premised my view on faith ? Where in the argument I presented there did I stand on false assumption ?


* My proof for the existence of God was not premised on faith at all . In fact , the word " faith " was not even mentioned . Your statement above which says that I premised my argument on faith is therefore a total misrepresentation of my view .


>On one level, I'm not sure why we need millions of years of non adverse conditions considering that there exists organisms that can trive in extreme pressure and heat...

* The Cairn-Smith's quotation was talking about the PRE- DNA molecues ( not organisms ) cannot trive in extreme pressure and heat ! Did you read it ?

>On another level, we knew the earth cooled a few hundred million years ago (the second latest issue of Scientific America did an article which said that it might have been a lot earlier than we expect), thus allowing for life to arise.

* The earth cooled doesn't mean that the environment can remain unperturbed by adjustment of pH , temperature , M2+ concentrations etc for millions of years , and it doesn't mean that your non-intelligent directed natural forces will separate the " right molecules " from the confusing jumble of similar molecules without moving in the opposite direction and cause the re-mixing of these molecules with the jumble, nor does it mean your non-intelligent directed natural forces that cause the base and sugars to come together will not cause other chemicals ( eg sulphur , nitrites , etc ) to come together and cross react with your base and sugar, etc .

 
At 12:47 AM, Anonymous andrew said...

Finally , my refutation of your TalkReason article .

>I will make no personal comment about his appendix on the cosmological argument for god except to direct readers to TalkReason and in particular the section on Counter-Apologetics and this article. : Dr. Craig's Unsupported Premise
by Francois Tremblay

* First of all , my version of the cosmological argument is not exactly the same as Dr Craig's . I start from the premise " some things do exist " , which is irrefutable , and proceed from there . Notice that Tremblay did not refute premise 5 : There cannot be an actual infinite regress of " caused-by- others" existence ; instead he affirmed it by saying that that is a "valid finding" of Craig's cosmological argument" -- that infinity cannot be actualized " . However , he said that this valid finding " is trivial." Now I want to emphasize here that this finding is not trivial at all, in fact , it is one of the most crucial premise leading from " some things do exist " to the existence of the uncaused existence .

What Tremblay really question is the nature of the uncaused existence . Is it something that comes from nothing ? If that is the case , the whole universe , with you and me , all come from absolute nothing ! Can anyone believe that ?

Tremblay tried to justify that something can come from nothing . He wrote " to infer a necessary causality on a whole -- the universe -- on the basis of observation of such attribute in the parts -- the existents around us - is a fallacy of composition. "

What he is saying is that just because it is our universal observation that something cannot come from nothing , it does not imply that the whole universe cannot come from nothing . I think this argument is absurd . To say that the whole universe could have come from nothing when its part cannot come from nothing appears like nonsense . Now even if he hypothesize that the law of cause and effect is not valid for the universe as a whole at an earlier point of time, the present series of cause and effect which we know is valid in our part of the universe at this point in time must still have begun somewhere and would still need an Uncaused cause at its beginning . This logic is inescapable. And as all material entities that have a beginning in time demand a cause for their existence ( as Tremblay stated " physics has shown that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed" ) , clearly the material entities at the beginning of this series would demand a cause as well and cannot have come from nothing . Therefore we still end up with an uncaused existence which is timeless and powerful and not something which came from nothing .


His point that our understanding of causality is "based on recombination of PRE-EXISTING entities and properties" just make it more clear that something cannot come without pre-existing entities .

He claimed that Dr Criag's rebuttal of the radioactive decay of atom "shifts the goalposts" from his first premise "Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence." But this has nothing to do with my version of the cosmological argument . I did not use Dr Craig's formulation "Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence", instead I simply wrote "Something cannot come from nothing" , which refers to "absolute beginnings" ie an existence cannot come from where no existence existed. Tremblay agreed that any example of an existence coming from where no existence existed is impossible , stating that " physics has shown that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. " So by saying that he agreed that his counter-example of radioactive decay does not work against what I stated .

It seems that Tremblay is terribly confused about the fact that something cannot come from nothing , for while he attempted to refute it , as illustrated above , he chides Dr Craig for what seems to him to be claiming that something can come from nothing . He wrote : " It seems here that Dr. Craig is committed to the illogical position that something can come out of nothing. As I point out in my article "The Incoherency of "Divine Creation"", a hypothetical Creator acting on nothing cannot bring something out of it, in defiance of the laws of logic."

So Tremblay agrees with me that something cannot come from nothing after all !

( Whether Dr Craig really implied that God can bring something out of nothing is irrelevant to my version of the cosmological argument, as I did not state it as such . )

His other argument is that " we cannot justify going from 2a. The universe has existed for a finite amount of time.to 2b. The universe began to exist." He wrote " It is perfectly coherent to posit, as many atheists do, that the universe has a finite past and yet had no beginning, " and justify it by quoting Mark Vuletic that " we cannot explain with any precision what happened prior to Planck time and that " there are, as of present, four possibilities: there may still be a first moment, there may not be a first moment, there may not be any time, or there may not be a Big Bang singularity at all. "


Now what he is saying here is that even though the universe has existed for a finite amount of time , it did not began to exist because the universe itself is uncaused ie without a first moment, or without any time, or without a Big Bang singularity at all. " Notice that this argument does not refute premise 6 of my cosmological argument that " If there is not an actual infinite regress , then there must exist a first cause ." What it is really saying is not to deny that there is a first cause but that the universe itself is the first cause which existed uncaused prior to the planck time . But could the universe be an uncaused existence ? We have to look at the properties of an uncaused existence to find out .

Trembly is not convinced about the properties deduced by Dr Craig as belonging to the uncaused existence . He is not convinced that the uncaused existence is personal . He wrote : " Nothing tells us that a mechanical set of conditions must remain unchanging: and if it must, then so must the Creator's context as well. "

Now the main problem relating to my version of the cosmological argument here is how the timeless existence cause the first effect . It is not that the mechanical condition must remain unchanging , but rather if the mechanical conditions for causing the first effect were sufficient in timelessness then the effect would have followed in timelessness. But could something outside the timeless existence have caused the timeless existence to change to produce an effect ? IF that were the case then it just brought the problem further back as to what caused that something to act on that timeless, previously unchanging existence . Remember, we cannot have an infinite regress , so ultimately there still must be an uncaused , timeless existence which cause the first effect in time without anything outside that timeless existence causing that timeless existence to change.

The fact therefore remains that that an timeless existence exist which does not have all the mechanical condition causing the first effect and which is not acted on to change to cause the effect by outside sources . Therefore the timeless existence must have caused the first effect by inducing from within to actualise all the necessary mechanical conditions . Such a scenario is only possible if the existence have free will .Now philosophers of mind have failed to reduce mental process to purely materialistic , deterministic explanations . Indeed, free agency causation remains a viable option for humans , and certainly for the uncaused existence .

Tremblay wrote " There is no reason to posit that a mechanical set of conditions could not effect the same states of affairs than a personal being. To put such limitations on immaterial properties implies that Dr. Craig can define immateriality positively, which he obviously cannot do since it is a negative term. " But a mechanical set of conditions is a mechanical set regardless of whether is it material or immaterial existence . A mechanical set of conditions is deterministic , whereas a personal agent with free will is not determined . That is what makes a timeless existence causing the first event in time possible .

Tremblay wrote : " Whether the Creator is a mechanical set of conditions or a personal being, the fact remains that an atemporal being cannot effect anything, since actions require change. " But I don't see why a free , personal , timeless existence cannot decide to change to a temporal existence and effect something . Tremblay wrote " how an atemporal, changeless being can be transformed into a temporal being. This is as contradictory as a person in a painting suddenly rising up and leaving his material frame. " Now it is "contradictory "for a person in the painting to leave his material frame , but that is because the person in the painting is not a personal being. But there is nothing contraditory about a personal , timeless being deciding to leave His timelessness and enter into time .


Tremblay wrote " An atemporal being cannot be a personal being. " Why ? He wrote " in the absence of temporality, it cannot be conscious of such knowledge. .Atemporality entails that specific states are possible, but not actions. Thus the notion of an atemporal Creator fails even the most basic test for consciousness." But conciousness is not necessarily an action. It could be a state . The uncaused existence could have been in a state of conciousness timelessly. Therefore there is nothing precluding the uncaused existence from being an existence with conciousness and free will .

Tremblay chides Dr Craig for deducing that "The Creator is enormously intelligent" from the fine-tuning of the universe , stating that " it is never sufficient to jump from complexity to design, one must demonstrate that natural law is insufficient. " But notice that I did not proceed from the fine - tuning of the universe to deduce that the uncaused existence is intelligent, but from the origin of life . We have sufficient evidence that natural laws cannot give rise to the conditions that is required for even the most basic DNA to form. Therefore the conclusion that ultimately there is an intelligent , uncaused existence is valid .

In conclusion , the article by Tremblay has failed to refute my version of the cosmological argument . There must exist an uncaused existence who is personal and intelligent . Since such attributes of the uncaused existence cannot belong to the universe itself but are more properly attributes of God , I therefore affirm that God exist.

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Physician. I'm still waiting for your theory as to the alternative to Evolution. But since you don't appear to understand what science is and seem intent on confusing it with philosophy, here's a helpful guide.

Please state for the record the following
1. How exactly one identifies in positive terms design? Thus far, we've had either arguments that somehow the chances of Evolution is zero or some false analogy of design. Sistine Chappel? Hello, we can identify man made structures. 'Looks like' ain't good enough. Please tell us how do we identify a supernatural one? And it is a supernatural one because a natural intelligence simply raises questions as to casuality remember (your argument).

2. What mechanisms does the ID use to create these 'designs'? Is it testable? Please design a test if it is.

3. How is this model falsifiable? Please give us a prediction from your model?

Oh yes, and how exactly have any of your arguments gone beyond
a) an argument from increduity; or
b) a god of the gaps fallacy; or
c) an argument from ignorance?

I'm pretty certain my readers see that even if you don't.

 
At 11:37 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

Now Shaun , you have been recycling your arguments without addressing the replies which I have given you before to those arguments . Is that the way you debate your opponent ? As such , a significant portion of my answers to your following questions will be taken from what I have written to you before , answers which have remain unaddressed , and I would like you to address all my answers here .

> Physician. I'm still waiting for your theory as to the alternative to Evolution.

* I've already told you before the alternative explanation : intelligent design

> But since you don't appear to understand what science is .

* Excuse me, I answered you what science is in my previous reply at your bloc but you never replied to that :
The Merriam Webster dictionary states that the word science comes from Middle French, from Latin scientia, from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to know .Thus science primarily means having knowledge . As Linus Pauling said , " Science is the search for the truth " .

> and seem intent on confusing it with philosophy :
.
* Again , taken from my previous reply at your bloc : you said " Science merely explains the How, it does not try to answer the Why" . Indeed , science is concern with" How "The question we have been asking in this whole discussion is " How " did life orginate ?" Answer : more likely by intelligent cause than non -intelligent cause . As to " Why" did the intelligent cause originate life ?" , the answer to that would belong to the realm of philosophy and theology and not science .

You claimed that I confuse science with philosophy. Now I want to ask you " Is forensic science a science or philosophy ?" " Is SETI research a science or philosophy ? " Both are science , isn't it not ? Both are mainly concerned with the distinguishing of intelligent causes from non-intelligent causes of an event , isn't it not ? Therefore the distinguishing of intelligent causes from non-intelligent causes of an event belongs to science .
> Please state for the record the following1. How exactly one identifies in positive terms design?

* I mentioned to you in my previous reply : functional complexity

1. It is our uniform experience that caused objects with functional complexity ( eg codes , messages ) originate from intelligent designers.
2. Biological structures such as the DNA/RNA is a caused object with functional complexity
3. Therefore these structures must have originated from an intelligent Designer.

>Thus far, we've had either arguments that somehow the chances of Evolution is zero

* Now this is a total misrepresentation of my view . I never say that the chances is zero , but that it is improbable . As I wrote at your blog : "The point is that in the RECOGNITION OF INTELLIGENCE behind an event we never take the possibility of the event happening by chance to be zero ; if we do that then we can NEVER detect any intelligence behind any event , the whole SETI research would be a misguided enterprise , and we can say good bye to all detectives and forensic scientists. "

> or some false analogy of design. Sistine Chappel? Hello, we can identify man made structures. 'Looks like' ain't good enough.

* The Sistine chapel analogy is meant to highlight the fact that ALL events that is designed has a probability of happening by chance ; the probability of Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel being created by chance for example is not outright zero ; it could be that after millions of years the wind blows coloured pigments to form the painting. The context is meant to refute your friend's idea that he would not accept a design inference unless the chance is outright zero , which is ridiculous . ( see http://noself.blogspot.com/2005/12/creationism-tridux-im-not-sure-what_02.html#comments )


> Please tell us how do we identify a supernatural one? And it is a supernatural one because a natural intelligence simply raises questions as to casuality remember (your argument).

* " A natural intelligence simply raises questions as to casuality remember (your argument)" doesn't necessarily imply that the immediate designer of life has to be a supernatural intelligence . So I question the truth of your statement that based on scientific evidence alone the intelligent designer ( if any ) has to be a supernatural one.

As I wrote to you before " science can differentiate between intelligent and non-intelligent cause . That is the role of science and that is as much as science can tell us with regards to origin of life and species issue .Science CANNOT prove as to whether the intelligent cause is natural or supernatural , that is the limitation of the scientific methodology . Indeed , science has no authority to dictate to us that the intelligent cause cannot be supernatural. "

I made it clear that it is by FURTHER PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTIONS which prove that ULTIMATELY an intelligent uncaused existence ( ie God ) must exist , even if that may not necessarily be the immediate cause of life based on reasoning from science and philosophy alone . SCIENCE prove that there is a designer to life , PHILOSOPHY prove that ultimately there must be an uncaused , supernatural intelligent designer ie God, but it must be by the REVELATION of that uncaused , supernatural intelligent designer that we can know that He is indeed the immediate, intelligent cause of life.

>2. What mechanisms does the ID use to create these 'designs'? Is it testable? Please design a test if it is.

* As I wrote to you before : similar constraints also apply for SETI research , and yet we are willing to accept that ETI exist if we could pick up certain messages from outer space. The point is that codes , like messages , warrants the conclusion of an intelligent source. Whether or not we are able to perceive that source with our five senses, and whether or not we know by what mechanism or at what time the intelligence generate the code does not affect the veracity of that conclusion

>3. How is this model falsifiable?

* As I wrote to you before : " Now , the Intelligent design is falsifiable. With regards to the origin of life , for example , if it is possible that you throw a few carbon , phosphate, etc atoms into the wild and they form up by themselves to become a genetic code ,then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely."

Since then you have not replied to this point , and now you ask me the same question again .



>Please give us a prediction from your model?

* As I wrote to you before :
" To demand predictability for an intelligent cause is to commit a categorical mistake . As Dembski explains : " But what about the predictive power of intelligent design? To require prediction fundamentally misconstrues design. To require prediction of design is to put design in the same boat as natural laws, locating their explanatory power in an extrapolation from past experience. This is to commit a category mistake. To be sure, designers, like natural laws, can behave predictably (designers often institute policies that end up being rigidly obeyed). Yet unlike natural laws, which are universal and uniform, designers are also innovators. Innovation, the emergence to true novelty, eschews predictability.Designers are inventors. We cannot predict what an inventor would do short of becoming that inventor. "
Since then you have not replied to this point , and now you ask me the same question again .
Oh yes, and how exactly have any of your arguments gone beyond
a) an argument from increduity; or b) a god of the gaps fallacy; or c) an argument from ignorance?

* As I have answered you before , I am not arguing from incredulity /god of the gaps /ignorance , but I am arguing FROM THE AVAILABLE KNOWLEDGE of what is minimally required for the DNA to form and THE AVAILABLE KNOWLEDGE that an environment which is protected from adverse chemical reactions for million of years does not occur in nature .

The knowledge that an environment which is protected from adverse chemical reactions for million of years does not occur in nature is BASED ON OBSERVATION that volcanoes , thunderstorms ,fires , adverse chemical reactions , etc ,etc are all too frequent occurences in nature and the knowledge that

1. undirected natural forces don't always move in the " right direction" to cause the right molecules to be separated from the confusing jumble of similar molecules without at any time moving in the opposite direction and cause the re-mixing of these molecules with the jumble,

2. undirected natural forces do not always cause bases and sugars to come together in the right manner without at any time causing other chemicals ( eg sulphur , nitrites , etc ) to come together and cross react with your base and sugar, the physical and chemical environment does not maintain AT ALL TIMES suitable—for example the pH, the temperature, the M2+ concentrations etc and what is required here is NOT SOME WILD ONE-OFF FREAK OF AN EVENT: it is not true to say ‘it only had to happen once’.;A whole set-up had to be maintained for perhaps MILLIONS OF YEARS , etc .for JUST the MOST basic DNA to form .

If it is not reasonable that undirected natural forces can act in such a coordinated manner , a condition which is MINIMALLY required for JUST the MOST basic DNA to form , then it MUST have been a directed process ie a process directed by intelligence . That is how the principles of forensic science work .


Now PLEASE ADDRESS ALL THE ABOVE POINTS and the ones you missed out last time, and stop asking the same questions over and over again without answering my counterarguments .

 
At 5:48 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Physician, you like to think you answered the questions. But this is precisely the problem. You simply do not understand the concepts at hand. You basic inability to differentuate between science, your theology and reality is naive at best, wilfully credulous at worst.

So let's do this one more time.

1. Your alternative directly proves what gambitch meant by a goal-post definition switch. During your first letter and half-way through your reply, you were attacking 'macro-evolution' on the basis of creationism. This got muddled at the end when you suddenly bring in the notion of ID. Now, I asked you, firstly, to resolve your logical inconsistency on how ID rebutted macro-evolution because there need not be a contradiction between a theological version of ID and evolution i.e. god created the universe and naturalism took over.

Second, as a demonstration of unfalsifiability, I asked you to disprove that Hammie, the pink invisible hamster created the world last Thursday. There hasn't been a response.

Third, this leads to my point about how 'god' may be a conceptually simple concept but an ontological nightmare. How is one to know how simple or complex god is, or for that matter what god is. May the FSM touch you with his noodly apendage.

2. Your definition of science is bollocks and you know it. You accepted the distinction between Science (How) and Religion (Why) but nevertheless still kept insisting that science needed to include the supernature through your ID. And please, you can try to distinguish all you like but it leads back to a supernatural creator, and effectively an unfalsiable claim.

Once again, Science is a methodlogy of naturalistic material. It's theories have both explainatory and predictive powers. ID is scientifically vacuous which explains the unknown with an imponderable and can't for its life predict anything.

2. Definition shift again. The discussion was premised on Evolution and whether your arguments were theologically motivated. Guess you have proven my point. Please, ID is theology and bad theology at that. If you have really read all you claimed to have read you should have realised it by now.

3. Their concern (SETI and forensic) is as always concerned with NATURAL EXPLAINATIONS. Not supernatural ones! Its methodology is of course predisposed to little green men not some deity.

ID is supernatural unless you can demonstrate 'design' in biological organisms. You can't. Simply because your arguments are entirely negative in nature and based upon "well it looks designed". All these bandying about of writing of the wall and Sistine is a false analogy and red herring.

4. Functional complexity? You assert functional complexity. Your example of bacteria flagellum and blood clotting mechanism have been pretty much trashed to bits by now.

And while we can tell natural agency design due to our past experience and knowledge of how the world works, the same cannot be extended to your biological examples.

And this is a perfect example of why it is not science. Because it's sterile, because once we say god did it, hey, what's left to discover? But if we do figure it out? How does that disprove a designer according to your concept of god? The nature of an unfalsifiable claim is that it cannot be disproved. Again, science and theology mix up.

5. Improbable therefore god. Argument from ignorance and increduity. 'Nuff said. Is it improbable that there's an invisible rain god who makes rain? You simply can't disprove it. Much less prove your 'theory'.

And please, natural intelligence not supernatural. You are directly proposing that science 'discover' the supernatural when by definition it is incapable of doing so.

5. Between your theological outlook of life which desperately seeks vindication of your narrow view of religion, I think his outlook is way more rational.

6. You haven't even proven we need design to explain biological complexity yet. Science doesn't need design, much less a a screwy hypothesis (it's not even a theory) messing up its work.

Hell, I sure don't see the need for ID.

Even if we accept what the Raelians say and little green men created us, then what? More questions as to absolute causes?

Now you can drive yourself into a tizzy about the evil darwinist status quo preventing the IDers from publishing their work. But the truth remains, they don't published without massive illegal editorial help because their theory as science sucks.

7. (Paraphrase) Science proves designer and philosophy proves god. So please prove designer first. And then refer back to point 1 about theology.

And you still claim that your arguments are not theologically motivated?

BTW, Praise Be to Hammie who reveal onto me that he created the world last thursday. He exists because he's invisible and we can't see him therefore he's invisible and therefore he exists.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL, you once again evade my question of how YOU DETERMINE design in positive terms. All you done is rebutt me on my points without demonstrated how it went beyond negative argumentation and false analogies.

8. I'm going to ask one more time "What mechanisms does the ID use to create these 'designs'? Is it testable? Please design a test if it is."

Your use of SETI is ridiculous. We can identify examples of natural intelligence through our usual experience. More to the point, if we don't identify it then SETI will never get a message from outspace. Duh!

"Whether or not we are able to perceive that source with our five senses, and whether or not we know by what mechanism or at what time the intelligence generate the code does not affect the veracity of that conclusion"

Yes it does. Without it, the automatic natural assumption I'm going to make is that there's apparent (if at all) design but not ID. This is a classic example of an unfalsiable claim i.e IT'S NOT SCIENCE!

9. That experiment is really stupid because all it proves if it works is that 'hey God used natural mechanisms this time!'. And we already have other experiments to verify evolution so why should we bother to do it?

And you were the one that mutter about how the functional complexity of genes meant that Occam's Razor cannot be used la di da. *Sigh*

10. You quote Dembski. Who admitted that his theory is not scientific. Because the designer is not predictable therefore we have no idea what he might or might not do. We also have no idea by what mechanism it performs his designs much less what would constitute design to it. Therefore there can be now experiments nor test to falsify the hypothesis.

*Roll eyes* That's science?

11. Deny all you want, there is nothing probable about your conclusion. Once we know more e.g. a complete evolutionary pathway of say the bacteria flagellum, will you give up ID?

And you still flog the dead horse of improbability. That's precisely an argument from increduity.

Furthermore, that's pure pseudoscience your arguing when you say that 'undirected natural forces don't always move in the " right direction" to cause the right molecules to be separated from the confusing jumble of similar molecules without at any time moving in the opposite direction and cause the re-mixing of these molecules with the jumble'.

Simple example, mix two solutions together and a precipitate forms. Why? Because when they bond, they're not soluble anymore and they cannot be dissolved into their individual ions.

But since you seem so incredibly free, knock yourself out here.

And now I'm so incredibly bored that I've given up caring altogether. I have a life, my readers have brains. Good bye and have a more fruitful life.

 
At 10:05 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

Shaun

1. Your alternative directly proves what gambitch meant by a goal-post definition switch. During your first letter and half-way through your reply, you were attacking 'macro-evolution' on the basis of creationism. This got muddled at the end when you suddenly bring in the notion of ID. Now, I asked you, firstly, to resolve your logical inconsistency on how ID rebutted macro-evolution because there need not be a contradiction between a theological version of ID and evolution i.e. god created the universe and naturalism took over.

* My view has always been consistent . An intelligent designer created life and human species without using undirected natural forces such as random mutation plus natural selection . I have not changed from this position from my first letter till now, whether you want to label my position as ID or creationism .

>Second, as a demonstration of unfalsifiability, I asked you to disprove that Hammie, the pink invisible hamster created the world last Thursday. There hasn't been a response.

* I demonstrated falsifiability on the relevant example of the origination of DNA " if you throw a few carbon , phosphate, etc atoms INTO THE WILD and they can form up by themselves to become a genetic code ,then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely ". You did not respond to that . Your Hammie example of creating the world is not directly relevant as we are discussing about the origination of DNA and not the creation of the world , so I did not directly respond to it . What's more , it is an illogical example really ; hamster by definition is an animal , and all animals by definition are material living organisms , and all material things by definition are visible, so therefore there cannot be such a thing as an invisible hamster. It is self -refuting .

> Third, this leads to my point about how 'god' may be a conceptually simple concept but an ontological nightmare. How is one to know how simple or complex god is, or for that matter what god is. May the FSM touch you with his noodly apendage.

* Read my cosmological argument again . The attributes of God are there .

> 2. Your definition of science is bollocks and you know it.

* I don't know it . What I know is that your thinking lacks clarity and you have misrepresented my position at least a few times .

> You accepted the distinction between Science (How) and Religion (Why)

* Yes .

> but nevertheless still kept insisting that science needed to include the supernature through your ID

* Where ?

> And please, you can try to distinguish all you like

* If you ignore my distinguishing then you are ignoring my counter-arguments ! Isn't this a blantant example of closed-mindedness ?!

>but it leads back to a supernatural creator,

* The way it leads to that was through the cosmological argument , which is philosopical, not scientifically. And I did not say that base on science and philosophy that supernatural creator has to be the IMMEDIATE designer of life . I said clearly that based on science and philosophy the immediate designer of life could be an alien , even though an ultimate supernatural designer ( ie the designer of the designer of ...the designer of that alien , if any ) must still exist.

Let me ask you a question . IF my cosmological argument is false and an infinite regress of natural designers is possible and it does not lead back to a supernatural creator, would you then accept that intelligent design for the origin of life is a scientific explanation ?

>and effectively an unfalsiable claim.

* No ! Like I said , intelligent design ( WHETHER THE DESIGNER IS SUPERNATURAL OR NOT ) would be FALSIFIED on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely non-intelligent causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design quite nicely "

>Once again, Science is a methodlogy of naturalistic material. It's theories have both explainatory and predictive powers. ID is scientifically vacuous which explains the unknown with an imponderable and can't for its life predict anything.

* Explanntory power is defined as making the observed data more probable than rival explanation . Indeed , intelligent design is a more probable explanation then non-intelligent forces , since intelligent design is well known to coordinate events , whereas non-intelligent forces are not . The observed data ( the 19 steps of Cairn Smith ) suggest that coordinated events is required to generate the most basic DNA. Therefore intelligent design has greater explanatory power.

* Can SETI research yields an ETI theory with predictive power ? Can we predict what the ETI will do or will not do next ? And yet is SETI research scientific ? Certainly ! As I've written to you at least three times before , and you have not responded : " To demand predictability for an intelligent cause is to commit a categorical mistake . As Dembski explains : " But what about the predictive power of intelligent design? To require prediction fundamentally misconstrues design. To require prediction of design is to put design in the same boat as natural laws, locating their explanatory power in an extrapolation from past experience. This is to commit a category mistake. To be sure, designers, like natural laws, can behave predictably (designers often institute policies that end up being rigidly obeyed). Yet unlike natural laws, which are universal and uniform, designers are also innovators. Innovation, the emergence to true novelty, eschews predictability.Designers are inventors. We cannot predict what an inventor would do short of becoming that inventor. "

> 2. Definition shift again. The discussion was premised on Evolution and whether your arguments were theologically motivated. Guess you have proven my point.

* No. It is truth-motivated , not theologically motivated. You are just hiding in your own world on what you presumed to be the case without the ability to come to the real world to substantiate your views with any arguments that can withstand my counter-arguments . All readers can see for themselves how many times you have misrepresented my views and ignored my counter-arguments without ever addressing them .

>Please, ID is theology and bad theology at that. If you have really read all you claimed to have read you should have realised it by now.

* Excuse me , bad theology ? I have smashed Ivan on what he thought to be an "elegant " theological response on Budak's blog and he has not reappeared since, and what have you come up with ?

> 3. Their concern (SETI and forensic) is as always concerned with NATURAL EXPLAINATIONS. Not supernatural ones! Its methodology is of course predisposed to little green men not some deity.

* Confounding natural and supernatural with intelligent versus non-intelligent again. While science can falsify intelligent causes , does it have any right to insist that an intelligent cause cannot be supernatural ?

>ID is supernatural unless you can demonstrate 'design' in biological organisms. You can't.

* Yes I can . Functional complexity , which I mentioned to you before . As I have mentioned SO MANY TIMES before , " If it is not reasonable that undirected natural forces can act in such a coordinated manner ( that is required for the formation of the most basic DNA ) , a condition which is MINIMALLY required for JUST the MOST basic DNA to form , then it MUST have been a process directed by intelligence . That is how the principles of forensic science work ."

Perhaps for the sake of your muddled brain I should spell it out for you : Knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence .


>Simply because your arguments are entirely negative in nature and based upon "well it looks designed".

* No. I argue FROM THE AVAILABLE KNOWLEDGE of what is minimally required for the DNA to form and THE AVAILABLE KNOWLEDGE that an environment which is protected from adverse chemical reactions for million of years does not occur in nature . Now I've written this at least three times before and you have not respond to it and instead you remain in your own world presuming that my arguments are entirely negative in nature and based upon "well it looks designed". Wake up and answer the counter-arguments !

>All these bandying about of writing of the wall and Sistine is a false analogy and red herring.

* In what context did I used these as "false analogy" ?

>4. Functional complexity? You assert functional complexity. Your example of bacteria flagellum and blood clotting mechanism have been pretty much trashed to bits by now.

* You like to make unsubstantiated comments and you know it . Where did you ever trash my example of bacterial flagellum ?And where did I ever make the blood clotting mechanism my example ?

The last time we talk about it I wrote : "Now , my understanding of IRREDUCIBLE FUNCTION complexity is that an object which has a function that is dependent on the functions and relation of its parts to one another. That does not mean that all its parts must have a discernable role, nor that all its parts are indispensable , but it should have a core of indispensible parts ( "irreducible core" ) which work together to enable it to perform the function .
To answer the evolutionist claim, we must note that although a flagellum may lose some proteins
and function as a simpler propeller, there is still an irreducibly complex core
(i.e. the " basic " components such as the motor, the rotor and the
blade) from which further dismantling would prevent it from functioning like a
propeller. A secretor system has different function compared to a flagellum,
just like a motor of a propeller can still function as a motor but not as a
propeller when other parts (e.g. the blades) are taken away. By the definition
of irreducible functional complexity then, a bacterial flagellum IS irreducibly
functional complex, because if it loses a few parts and end up with a different
function (e.g. a secretor), then it has lost that particular function (i.e. the
" propeller function “) that is dependent on the functions and relation of
its parts to one another. That in fact shows that the " propeller "
function IS dependent on its parts i.e. there is a " irreducible core .

As for the blood clotting mechanism , I have not study it in detail yet. May do it another day, but actually one example ( ie the Bacterial flagellum ) is enough ". ( end of quote )

SInce then you have not even respond to these points and you have the audacity to say that " Your example of bacteria flagellum and blood clotting mechanism have been pretty much trashed to bits by now. " What nonsense is this ?


>And this is a perfect example of why it is not science. Because it's sterile, because once we say god did it, hey, what's left to discover?

* Science is the search for the truth . If the intelligent design explanation is justified then we should accept it , and not reject it by using the reason " hey, what's left to discover?", which is a riddiculous excuse .

> But if we do figure it out? How does that disprove a designer according to your concept of god? The nature of an unfalsifiable claim is that it cannot be disproved. Again, science and theology mix up.

* Falsifiability discussed above.

>5. Improbable therefore god. Argument from ignorance and increduity. 'Nuff said.

* Argued from available knowledge , as mentioned above . Not responded to .

>Is it improbable that there's an invisible rain god who makes rain? You simply can't disprove it.

* Again , you are in your own world . Who said I can't falsify it ? We can observe that when water vapour forms clouds in the wild , rain invariably forms . Thus we don't assume intelligent design everytime it rains; "intelligent design" is falsified in that sense . However , our knowledge of the DNA make us realise that many precise , well -coordinated steps is required for its formation . Rather than pointing to unfalsifiablity , the precise stability of the environment and the millions of years that is required for that stability to maintain simply points to the fact that an undirected process is inplausible

> And please, natural intelligence not supernatural. You are directly proposing that science 'discover' the supernatural when by definition it is incapable of doing so.

* When did I say science discover the supernatural ? Science can discover intelligence but by definition it cannot dictate that intelligence cannot be supernatural .

> 5. Between your theological outlook of life which desperately seeks vindication of your narrow view of religion,

* I think it is you who are desperately trying to avoid the obvious conclusion of a designer of life to vindicate your "religion" of non-theism !

>I think his outlook is way more rational.

* Are you talking about the theological views of Kenneth Miller ? How can ANY view which is self defeating be more rational ??


>Now you can drive yourself into a tizzy about the evil darwinist status quo preventing the IDers from publishing their work.

* The unjust persecution of ID is substantiated in chapter three of " Debating Design , " published by Cambridge University Press .

>But the truth remains, they don't published without massive illegal editorial help because their theory as science sucks.

* What is your " truth " substantiated by ?

7. (Paraphrase) Science proves designer and philosophy proves god. So please prove designer first. And then refer back to point 1 about theology.And you still claim that your arguments are not theologically motivated?

* They are truth motivated. Once you prove that God exist , logically you have to go to His revelation to know more about Him , isn't it not ?

>BTW, Praise Be to Hammie who reveal onto me that he created the world last thursday.

He exists because he's invisible and we can't see him therefore he's invisible and therefore he exists.

* What an irrelavant insult ! WHERE did I use such circular arguments to prove that God exist ? And where have you addressed my POSITIVE cosmological argument for the existence of God apart from your quotation of that Tremblay's article which I have trashed ?

>BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL, you once again evade my question of how YOU DETERMINE design in positive terms.

* Mentioned a few times before . SEE ABOVE

>All you done is rebutt me on my points without demonstrated how it went beyond negative argumentation and false analogies

* I've already demonstrated a few times before how I determined it in positive terms from available knowledge . Your cloudy mind filled with preconceptions prevent you from seeing it. The other possibility : perhaps you are unwilling to see it .

>8. I'm going to ask one more time "What mechanisms does the ID use to create these 'designs'? Is it testable? Please design a test if it is."

Your use of SETI is ridiculous. We can identify examples of natural intelligence through our usual experience. More to the point, if we don't identify it then SETI will never get a message from outspace. Duh!

* You are confounding " identifying designs" ( which I have already shown you how ) with " mechanism used to create design". Now I may not know by what method , using what kind of machine the SETI generated a signal that transmit a message , but if I pick up a message I can be quite sure SETI exist .

Andrew :"Whether or not we are able to perceive that source with our five senses, and whether or not we know by what mechanism or at what time the intelligence generate the code does not affect the veracity of that conclusion"

>Yes it does. Without it, the automatic natural assumption I'm going to make is that there's apparent (if at all) design but not ID. This is a classic example of an unfalsiable claim i.e IT'S NOT SCIENCE!

* Nope .Knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement is already sufficient to imply intelligence . If undirected natural forces are known to move in the manner of the requirement then intelligent design is falsified it IT IS SCIENCE !

>And you were the one that mutter about how the functional complexity of genes meant that Occam's Razor cannot be used la di da. *Sigh*

* Where did I mentioned that functional complexity of genes means that Occam's Razor cannot be used .


>11. Deny all you want, there is nothing probable about your conclusion. Once we know more e.g. a complete evolutionary pathway of say the bacteria flagellum, will you give up ID?

* The problem is not just coming up with a pathway ( the 19 steps of Cairn Smith's article is also a pathway , ) but whether does undirected natural forces always move in a more favorable direction along your pathway .

>And you still flog the dead horse of improbability. That's precisely an argument from increduity.

* Nope . I am arguing from the KNOWN FACT that undirected natural forces don't work in a coordinated manner ( and that's what make the explanation that they all work in the required, coordinated manner to produce the DNA improbable. )

>Furthermore, that's pure pseudoscience your arguing when you say that 'undirected natural forces don't always move in the " right direction" to cause the right molecules to be separated from the confusing jumble of similar molecules without at any time moving in the opposite direction and cause the re-mixing of these molecules with the jumble'.

Simple example, mix two solutions together and a precipitate forms. Why? Because when they bond, they're not soluble anymore and they cannot be dissolved into their individual ions.

* The context of what I said was referring to Cairn Smith's step 4..These bases must then have been separated from the confusing jumble of similar molecules that would also have been made, and the solutions must have been sufficiently concentrated.

Your " simple example " is talking irrelevantly about the forming of chemical bonds while the context of what I said is talking about the process of concentrating the required chemicals so that favorable reaction could form .


>But since you seem so incredibly free,

* I am not incredibly free , as you can see , it takes me a few days to reply. I am working , unlike you , who are having your holidays .

>knock yourself out here.

* Ah ! The Abiogenesis FAQ from Talkorigins : went through it before. The arguments there does not refute what I wrote here . You can quote the relevant arguments from there and I will refute it .

>And now I'm so incredibly bored that I've given up caring altogether. I have a life, my readers have brains. Good bye and have a more fruitful life.

* I don't think you will feel " incredibly bored " if you were "winning" this discussion , isn't it ?

Here is the record : You quoted me arguments from 29 evidence for macroevolution which I have refuted and since then you have not refuted my refutation , you quoted an article against the cosmological argument which I have demolished and since then you have not refuted my refutation , you and your friends argued about the nonsensical zero probability and parallel universes which I have blasted and since then all of you have not refuted my refutation , you argued about religious presuppostions and the citation of 100 scientists which I have refuted and since then you have not refuted my refutation , you misrepresented my positions on at least a few occations which I have pointed out and since then you have not challenge it nor acknowledge it but just keep quiet about it .. If anyone has brain he will see that you have obviously lost the discussion , and yet you have the audacity to say that " You simply do not understand the concepts at hand."

I hope you will be mature enough to acknowledge your errors instead of resorting to the childish tactics of recycling arguments , ignoring my counter-arguments , giving scornful remarks which has no intellectual substance, making unsubstantiated claims and misrepresenting my position .

 
At 2:13 AM, Blogger budak said...

Another quick reply: Abiogenesis and macroevolution are two quite different areas. Dr. Loke seems to be claiming that both (the latter in his mention of human origins) can be inferred from his notion of forensic science (in the detection of intelligence). It's no wonder that people find his arguments confusing, especially when he can't make up his mind on whether this is an old or young earth, which would require quite different reinterpretations of life and human origin. Plus: a refutation of the talkorigins.org's proofs? Where?

On science, the methodology which Dr. Loke gives a vacuous and unhelpful definition. We mustn't forget that all theories (even those generally agreed upon as sound such as evolution) are tentative, in the anticipation of further evidence to strengthen, qualify or refut it. Dr. Loke's position seems highly different from science as we know it in the confident conclusions (with no avenue for assailability) that in biology, the feature of design or intelligence, much less supernatural forces (for he in this case wisely stops short of equating the two in order to shake off accusations of theistic motivations) can be undoubtedly inferred. No doubt that this rock-solid position is somehow in tune with the narrative of a certain holy book, although I am sure this is purely by accident, not design.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

I'm a little surprised I'm actually covering old ground, but since the good physician has decided to show up long after we had our fun discussion, here we go.

Focusing first on what is directed at me:

1. Veracity issues

Lest it be confused, I accept prima facie the claim of "non-detraction on basis of religious faith", because logically this part is reasonable. That Dr. Loke chooses to reply 'good'... Well, there's nothing particularly good about it only because I'd be an ass not to take that.

As for the long veracity thesis, cut it down to the cleanest form, please? Before I'm inclined to agree only because it's the best way to prevent me dozing off while reading it (in other words, any agreement becomes lazy and insincere)?

I take it Dr. Loke understands my logic-talk statement. Evolution as of now is not logically provable in the most watertight way, or at least I'm stupid enough not to be able to prove it in a watertight way. So its logical status is (TvF), currently assumed T. When evolution can be proven in a watertight way to be F, we'll revisit.

2. On goalpost switcheroos, check your text and its evolution. (Gawd, I should so stop using that word, eh?)

3. Wow, long attempt at trying to convince me that the Sistine Chapel was non-intelligent. Of course it was intelligent - we all know Michaelangelo, a human being, was COMMISSIONED by the Church to do the painting! That's a conscious human act in response to another conscious human act. OF COURSE THAT'S INTELLIGENT! Unless the historians lied, of course.

But to use the Sistine Chapel to argue backwards that the formation of life was intelligent would be to get the logic arsewards (pardon the language, good doctor). I may be stark raving mad for a second, but let's just say it's possible (I won't attribute the numbers) that the creation of life was a total fluke. Zero intelligence of any kind in terms of that moment of formation. It's possible, you know.

And Doc, more to the point, do you acknowledge your own sloppiness in saying 'impossible' when really you meant 'improbable'? This is, if I recall the context correctly (I'm sorry if my memory fails me, but I have more meaningful things to do than to hug on to a single discussion - I won't even call it a debate), with regard to, among other things, billion-year-old planets.

3a. As a sidetrack, detective work and forensic science (by which I assume you mean the CSI variety?) can operate on the assumption of intelligence, for no reason other than that these works make certain assumptions about human agency.

I find a dead body with what, to the naked eye, looks like stab wounds? I make the not-unreasonable assumption that another person stabbed the body with a knife or some other sharp tool, quite possibly while the body was still not dead. Assuming human agency seems plausible, because human beings are probably the best manipulators of tools known to, erm, human beings.

Besides, knives don't float in the air to stab at random objects (including people) of their own will. At least the ones I share a kitchen with don't. Not yet.

I beg to know how the same kind of thinking can be applied to Intelligent Design of Life(tm).

3b. It took me a while to sort this out, mostly because comprehending what you're trying to get at was a rather evolving process (oops, there's that word again). Ah, you're trying to say that it is POSSIBLE that Intelligent Design of Life(tm) happened as an intentional (somewhat) act? Mathematically I'll grant you that much. But the Theory of Evolution, in calling itself a theory, granted you that much too.

See, the thing is this. From start to end I claim POSSIBILITY to all the seemingly out-of-this-world ideas, which means I'm saying range of p=[0,1]; I'll be happy to switch square brackets to parentheses, but I'm a mathematician, so I'll cover everyone's back. If it turns out p=0, fine, I'll take that provided I'm convinced by the reasoning.

On the other hand, our good physician here seems to be trying to play a binary game where there's a leap of argument from p>0 to p=1. IF that's not the game being played, fine, I've made a bad accusation about it. But the tone of writing seems to suggest that's the game being played here.

As for the comparison with monkey typing (ah, reminders of the old Turing Test), I'll start by saying the humorous thing (we need a bit of that). If it turns out that the things typed here were typed by a monkey, I gotta say I would love to meet that monkey in person (or should that be 'in monkey'?), because that's one lucky monkey!

More seriously, however, when we communicate by reading what's typed and typing back, we make the implicit assumption that whatever is being typed here is done intelligently by a human being with whom we speak in the same set of code (for that is what language essentially boils down to: code). That assumption is reinforced with every subsequent response that our human brain can interpret as an intelligent response.

Say I started to type a response in some language you don't recognize, such as phoneticized Sanskrit or some Eastern European gypsy dialect. To your eyes, that'd be as good as a random string of characters generated by a monkey dancing on a keyboard. To mine, there's a proper message in the text.

Of course, I could flip that argument over to your side and claim that life was Intelligently Designed(tm), just that we haven't the foggiest idea how the intelligence operated. It's the same thing in a way, isn't it? "We know there's a code in this, there's a piece of internally coherent logic. We just haven't figured out the rules."

But that's a Hammie argument. (Sorry Shaun, I'm stealing your pet hamster - or more correctly, borrowing without permission.) I'd like something that washes stronger than that.

And I hope I'm making a sensible (if possibly incorrect) guess that that might be the same with the SETI guys. If and when they receive a message that seems intelligent (however they choose to define it - I'm not on the SETI project, and I can't really be too bothered to know), I think they'll be happy to make verification attempts just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, or a succession of flukes.

4. So, to wrap up what has taken me over an hour to type, I'd like to just say the following:

It's been awfully entertaining to have this conversation going, but the 'evidence' (I'm having reservations, hence the quote marks; do not interpret this as a sign of outright disdain) has not yet reached a level where it might be described as compelling, at least not to me.

If it seems to be compelling to other people, good for them, but they're going to have to walk me through the explanation in a manner that is simple and easily absorbable. A K7 tape that I can listen to while I go to sleep would be nice.

Evolution continues to be a strong theory, good enough to almost be fact. Of course, all theories, by definition of the term, are not yet infallible. Geocentrism was a theory; it got knocked down, but it looked good in its day. When evolution becomes infallible it will no longer be theory.

Is Intelligent Design of Life(tm) worthy of being called a theory yet? Not really. When it figures out the rules that frame the 'intelligence', we can talk. Of course, to do so requires the work of such dogged scholars as Dr. Loke. I've yet to see a theory grow by itself without human attendance. Until then, it hasn't got enough meat to justify an attempt to replace Evolution as the True Theory(tm). Evolution doesn't even attempt to call itself the True Theory(tm); it's merely held as reasonably true until we find a better alternative.

Maybe it's in that spirit that the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) believers can continue their work. Or maybe we mere fools just don't get it. That's fine. I'm sure there's a chance that God and his pet cockroaches don't get it either. :D

That's it for now. I'll think about tackling the rest later. (No guarantees I'll do it, of course!)

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger gambitch said...

I forgot to note that at the point of writing my comment immediately before this one, I had merely read the Doc's response to my comment. I hadn't scrolled below that. So if it turns out that I had said things others had said too (though unintentionally so, I must add), I apologize for the act of repetition.

But right now I've barely waded through what followed, so I guess I'm in some shape to pick up the next slab of slack.

Therefore, here goes:

1. Quote: "An intelligent designer created life and human species without using undirected natural forces such as random mutation plus natural selection."

I will not question the consistency of Dr. Loke's position, because I'm not interested in that. In other words, it's a T/F question I'm leaving unattempted. What I will concentrate on is how Dr. Loke came to this position in the first place.

Specifically, how does Dr. Loke come to the conclusion that the Intelligent Designer(tm) - let's call him Vladimir, I'm sure he wouldn't object - decided to create life without the use of undirected natural forces? Did Vladimir happen to get it right the first time and not think of using undirected natural forces thereafter, unable to tell the difference? Or did he clairvoyantly recognize undirected natural forces just won't do the trick? Or did he try the undirected natural forces somewhere else and produce negative results? Like, maybe, on Procyon II (Nyanko and Shaun will appreciate the name)?

1a. Dr. Loke's claim that the "throw stuff in the wild" trick is quite enough to prove falsifiability... I'll be honest, my eyes are failing me, so perhaps someone could tell me exactly where Dr. Loke grabbed the quote from? Because I don't remember seeing it verbatim, and I'm struggling to find it. Could one of you be a dear? Thanks very much.

1b. As for Hammie, it really sounds like a nitpick on Dr. Loke's part. So let's do two things about Hammie. First, let's say we don't hold Hammie responsible for creating the planet. Let's say Hammie just created life. (Creating the planet was left to Hammie's sister Pammie.) Second, let's say Hammie wasn't a hamster, but a hamburgwurst.

Oh, you've never heard of a hamburgwurst? Me neither. It's just a fancy name I'm giving to a creature who's of unknown type, just so I don't use a name associated with something we already know exists in our immediate midst.

That's how I think we can dance around the "Hammie the invisible hamster is ridiculous because we know about hamsters and no hamster is invisible" thing. Now, with these two modifications, shall we go through that argument again?

2. Dr. Loke says Shaun's thinking lacked clarity and he misrepresented him a few times. Perhaps Dr. Loke can catalogue to us the instances of misrepresentation and why they are misrepresentations (i.e. What Dr. Loke really means and what Shaun claims he means). Nothing like iterative nitpicking at this juncture. :P

2a. Shaun noted Dr. Loke seemed to accept the distinguishment between science and philosophy, yet appeared no less determined to cram the supernature into science (paraphrase from Shaun). Dr. Loke asked "Where?". Perhaps the answer lies in the claim of the "intelligent designer", an EXTERNAL agent rather than some INTERNAL agent within the environment. This EXTERNAL agent seems to act with a purpose that, at once, the other internal participating parties do not (cannot?) exhibit and the external agent deliberately expresses. That, in a nutshell, is Intelligent Design of Life(tm).

On its own, the internal participating parties not expressing purpose is fine. Chlorine gas and sodium interacting to form salt doesn't necessarily have purpose intended by either the chlorine or the sodium. It's when the "expression of purpose by the external agent" comes into play that we flirt with bad territory.

Once we start talking about Vladimir the Intelligent Designer, an external party that seems happy to quietly go away once life is formed and settled, but wanted, nay NEEDED to be there to start it all just so the whole idea holds together... Well that is a bit supernatural isn't it? Because the environment wouldn't have the mind to do it on its own, so someone else had to step in for a moment... See where this is going?

Of course, this is just my take. Shaun might read differently. I don't pretend to speak for him.

2b. I'll be glad to accept the Intelligent Design idea if and when I get to arrange a chat with Vladimir the Intelligent Designer over tea and dim sum at Yum Cha, or whatever dietary alternative Vladimir prefers, including but not limited to other human beings. You readers are all invited to witness. I'll foot the bill!

2c. Oh, the thought just occurred to me. Regular science is currently operating on the assumption that life is a product of purely natural (or, in Dr. Loke's language, 'non-intelligent'?) causes. Intelligent Design of Life(tm) as you've described it appears to take what's left. The only problem is there are two "what's lefts": purely non-natural (or, in Dr. Loke's language, 'intelligent') causes and a mix of the two. Shaun's done the interesting thing and suggested the latter is not impossible. The Doc seemed to blow that one off, and held strictly to the former. Anyone can tell me why?

2d. Intelligent Design of Life(tm) explains lazily with a two-line trawling catchall (okay, maybe not exactly two lines, but few enough) and doesn't try to predict because Vladimir's done creating the early instances of life and so has no more creating to do. That's the complaint in a nutshell.

2e. The SETI thing... I'm not a SETI fan, so I don't know enough of this. Here's what I understand of SETI though. The whole idea is to send a message into space, much like a man on a deserted island sends out a message in a bottle. Then you wait until you get a reply message in a bottle, that is, a different message from space. If you get one, then it's suggestive of the existence of ETI.

Say you get a reply message. Does it lead to a prediction that there is ETI? Yes, and then there's prediction testing, where you then send a new message for verification, or something like that. If this pattern lasts long enough, the scientists would accept that there actually are aliens because, well, we're talking to one.

Can we predict what the ETI will do next? That's not the point, is it? The point of SETI is to determine whether there exists ETI. Anything that follows from that is a separate body of work. Or at least that's the lay understanding.

But SETI is not without its potential pitfalls. One is the establishment of a shared language. I can write this message in English and I'll be assured that Shaun and Dr. Loke, among others, will understand what I'm writing because they too understand the code that is English. I try doing the same to some Magyar gypsy who doesn't understand English and doesn't recognize English, and I'll be wasting my time.

Same goes for those ETI. Maybe they don't get our code. Conversely, maybe we don't get theirs. So all the messages we've been discarding as useless data might actually carry meaning like "we'll invade your planet in 25 light years' time".

But that's a comfortable digression. SETI feels less like scientific work and more like the Age of Exploration. Maybe those voyagers' work can be regarded as scientific... Maybe. But that's not the way we think about it.

2f. I think the whole thing about "designers having the power of innovation" is just flimsy. It's the universal escape clause. "To think that design is predictable is a boneheaded mistake" might be true. After all, innovation is all about "who'd'a thunk it". BUT, "designer innovation" is highly unsatisfying to scientific philosophers who demand predictive power and predictability. If Vladimir the Intelligent Designer(tm) can design whatever he likes and therefore become unpredictable at some point, I'm sorry I'm so boneheaded, but I wouldn't consider Vladimir's methodology as scientific.

Dembski's statement makes it clear: Intelligent Design(tm) should not be forced to conform to the requirement of predictability. Which is fine by me. Not everything has to conform to that requirement. But those that do not should not attempt to claim to be scientific, until and unless their proponents prove that predictability was never a requirement of science.

But that's the crux of the matter. Intelligent Design of Life(tm) claims to be scientific while Dembski (who I take to be an IDL proponent?) fiercely argues that one of those qualifications, which IDL(tm) doesn't fit, should be waived. That's kinda like saying I should be allowed to become a country club member when I don't meet one of the membership requirements, such as being a human being. And in case you thought that was a joke, I've a neighbour who tried to register her pet dog as a country club member and didn't understand why her application was rejected.

Maybe the proponents of Intelligent Design of Life(tm) should stand up and boldly say, "Screw the rules; we'll rewrite them until they fit IDL." Until they've got the balls to say it straight up, however, I'm sorry, but them's the rules. No two ways about it.

3. Truth-motivated? There's something very Reaganish about this... I'm just sayin'! Oh, and maybe this Ivan guy's busy. Again, I'm just sayin'!

4. Quote: "While science can falsify intelligent causes, does it have any right to insist that an intelligent cause cannot be supernatural?"

Let me put it this way. If science concedes that a supernatural cause, probably intelligent (because non-intelligent ones will somehow be explained as natural, i.e. freak chance), can exist as a scientific explanation, what's to stop all hell from breaking loose in terms of lazy "can of worms" arguments riddled with catchalls disguised as "Occam's Razor at work"?

Someone answer that question for me, and then maybe we'll talk.

4a. Quote: "If it is not reasonable that undirected natural forces can act in such a coordinated manner (that is required for the formation of the most basic DNA), a condition which is MINIMALLY required for JUST the MOST basic DNA to form, then it MUST have been a process directed by intelligence."

The statement above presupposes coordination, an act that by definition cannot be executed by non-conscious entities. But maybe coordination was never involved. Undirected natural causes might just get it right by accident. It's difficult, but until it's proven to be outright impossible I refuse to rule it out. Which in turn means that to conclude with p=1 that the formation of life is an act directed by intelligence... Well, that's rather rash, isn't it?

Perhaps I should spell it out for the public in mathematical terms.

However close the approximation or limit, 0.999... != 1

Oh, and stop insulting people as having muddled brains. Please, love and respect! Amen. :)

5. Quote: "Science is the search for the truth. If the intelligent design explanation is justified then we should accept it, and not reject it by using the reason " hey, what's left to discover?", which is a riddiculous(sic) excuse."

Except, of course, the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) explanation, as it stands, looks like a bag of catchalls more than anything else. Kinda like George W. Bush's magic asterisks inside those budget proposals he sold during elections. Saves the details, and the later probes, rather automagically (no typo).

"We've found the answer. The answer is Vladimir. We don't need to talk to Vladimir to understand his methods. We're done now. Let's retire."

Gee, that sounds rather paradisiacal! Can I join in the fun?

5a. Quote: "We can observe that when water vapour forms clouds in the wild, rain invariably forms. Thus we don't assume intelligent design everytime(sic) it rains; 'intelligent design' is falsified in that sense."

Ah, but how do we know that water vapour is forming clouds "in the wild"? Maybe the invisible rain god instructed the water vapour to condense and form clouds? What may seem to be "in the wild to us" may not be "in the wild" at all? Maybe the invisible rain god has given instructions to all forms of water who've gone through the Water School on how to form clouds? Or maybe the invisible rain god has the ability to teleport or magically move itself to any location where there is water vapour, so that it can, at whim, induce the formation of rainfall?

There, I've argued for Intelligent Design of Clouds(tm)! Now someone tell me why my entire argument is utter rubbish! And when you're done, please also explain to me why the Intelligent Design of Life(tm), along with the Refutation to Intelligent Design of Clouds(tm), when put together in the same paragraph, is NOT an exercise in doublethink.

Oh, and lest it be confused, falsifiable != false. The Invisible Rain God claim is unfalsifiable, because we can't see the Invisible Rain God. He's invisible, remember? But nobody believes in the Invisible Rain God once we've had the scientific explanation. Maybe science is wrong and creative polytheism is right? :P

5b. Quote: "Science can discover intelligence but by definition it cannot dictate that intelligence cannot be supernatural."

Um, I'm a bit slow, so someone please tell me: WHY NOT? More pointedly, suppose it dictates so, where's the problem that creates an internal inconsistency within science?

6. (What's labelled 5., but since there was no 6. in the reply to which I mostly refer, I'll make it 6.) As an aside, since we're moving into religious territory here, suppose I accepted Intelligent Design of Life(tm), someone give me the name of the Intelligent Designer(tm)? Especially if his name is not Vladimir?

Friends who know me long enough will know exactly what I dislike about most (if not all) monotheistic religions and their active proponents. (The lapsed followers are another story; they already don't show that much religious faith, it's their own business.)

Oh, and do I see a persecution complex coming along? ;)

7. Oh dear. See Point 6 for my take on this. If you don't get it, please ask. I won't be offended by the need for me to explain.

Oh, and can anyone who has read the Koran inform me as to whether the text discusses at length the creation of the world according to Islam? Be a dear? Thanks.

8. Ah yes, the SETI project again. To revisit, and cover something I might not have mentioned the first time around, the SETI project assumes that what we identify as a message IS indeed a message, and what we identify as not one IS indeed not one.

But how assured are we that the identification mechanism won't goof up at least once? How do we know that we're talking in the same language as the ETI? We lay people don't. Maybe the SETI scientists can help us?

The following scenario is not altogether impossible: There is indeed ETI somewhere, say Beta Corvi IV. We send out a message that somehow the ETI receives. But the ETI may not recognize the message as a message, for any number of reasons. Therefore, they do not send anything in response. We are therefore led to the conclusion there is no ETI because, well, there's no response. And if the ETI at Beta Corvi IV is the only ETI out there, we're short of luck. And, actually, so is the ETI.

But it's also possible that there's just no ETI out there, so all of the above scenario won't even come into play.

So is there ETI or not, if we receive what we don't think is a message? And is there ETI or not, if we receive what we think is a message? And what if we don't receive anything at all?

The point is that the SETI project does have its blind spots. So many, in fact, that a fierce cling onto it as an analogy seems growingly pointless.


DRAWING A LINE:
I think this will do for now, because the rest of the reply seems to be hell-bent on insulting people rather than an honest attempt to exchange ideas in a manner that is dignified, or at least sufficiently light-hearted and humorous.

'Cept to say this: I find it ironic that people talk about human beings being made in God's image when all I see are texts describing God in Man's image. Talks of manifestations and forms aside, the blatant irony of the situation never fails to amuse me. Is there anything political in this? I wouldn't know; I didn't write the Bible. Or the Torah. Or the Koran. Or any other religious text for that matter.

The point is: Who are we human beings to assume that, even if Intelligent Design(tm) exists, it is of a type of intelligence easily identifiable as such by human beings? That sort of underlying belief is so presumptuous that, to my nose, the smell of it is stronger than superconcentrated methane.

"God's work", as far as I'm concerned, is shorthand for "I can't be too bothered to care to investigate, so I'll come up with the handiest lazy excuse I can get instead". I don't like that, the same way I don't like a fourth-grader's crayon art homework being passed off for a Rembrandt.

Which is just one reason why I'm happy to give moral support to Evolution's proponents. At least they're willing to run themselves into the ground asking the nitty-gritty questions about how life came to be in its present form.

If nothing else, they don't take two-line catchalls for an answer.

 
At 12:48 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

And now, three totally irrelevant quotes...

"No fuzzy numbers!" - Bush supporters, during the 2000 Election campaign

"We are winning the war on terror." - Cheney, Rumsfeld and other Bush officials

"I didn't see anything." - Arsene Wenger, manager, Arsenal Football Club

Enjoy!

 
At 12:27 AM, Anonymous andrew said...

Budak

>Another quick reply: Abiogenesis and macroevolution are two quite different areas. Dr. Loke seems to be claiming that both (the latter in his mention of human origins) can be inferred from his notion of forensic science (in the detection of intelligence). It's no wonder that people find his arguments confusing,

* Yes , I have always stated that an intelligent cause for the origin of life and species can be inferred from using principles similar to forensic science. What is so confusing about that ?

> especially when he can't make up his mind on whether this is an old or young earth, which would require quite different reinterpretations of life and human origin.

* I have always grant evolutionist the scenario that is favorable for them ie assuming that it is millions of years . My argument have always been that even with millions of years , non -intelligent explanation for the origin of life and the origin of all the species is still not reasonable .

>Plus: a refutation of the talkorigins.org's proofs? Where?

* So far I have only written out refutation for those arguments that have been presented to me . See http://noself.blogspot.com/2005/11/addendum-i-have-sent-off-email-to-dr.html#comments , somewhere at the middle .

To write out the entire refutation for the entire talkorigins would probably take hundreds of pages ! I don't think you expect me to paste that kind of thing on your blog, but like I said , if you think there are any relevant arguments from their website pertaining to the arguments which I have made here you can quote it here and I will address it .

>On science, the methodology which Dr. Loke gives a vacuous and unhelpful definition. We mustn't forget that all theories (even those generally agreed upon as sound such as evolution) are tentative, in the anticipation of further evidence to strengthen, qualify or refut it. Dr. Loke's position seems highly different from science as we know it in the confident conclusions

* Are Newton laws of motion for moving cars tentative ? Can you be confident that if your car bang onto another car at 200 km/h your car will be smashed ?

> (with no avenue for assailability)

* I mentioned how my conclusions can be falsified at your blog ? Why are you accusing my view for " no avenue for assailability" here ?

> that in biology, the feature of design or intelligence, much less supernatural forces (for he in this case wisely stops short of equating the two in order to shake off accusations of theistic motivations) can be undoubtedly inferred.

* Until I see good reasons to refute the arguments I have presented , I see no reason for not being confident of my conclusions . Some pro-evolutionists are also very confident about their conclusions , though they are not adequately substantiated , of course . For example , one of them wrote " ( Evolution ) is such a cornerstone of science and so convincing is the theory that scientists have effectively accepted it as a fact. " --you know who. So am I seeing a DOUBLE -STANDARD ?

 
At 1:54 AM, Anonymous andrew said...

HI gambitch , nice to see you again ! Enjoyed your humour, Now here's my reply :

>1. Veracity issues

Lest it be confused, I accept prima facie the claim of "non-detraction on basis of religious faith", because logically this part is reasonable. That Dr. Loke chooses to reply 'good'... Well, there's nothing particularly good about it only because I'd be an ass not to take that.

* Shaun seems to have some problems with that though ..

>As for the long veracity thesis, cut it down to the cleanest form, please? Before I'm inclined to agree only because it's the best way to prevent me dozing off while reading it (in other words, any agreement becomes lazy and insincere)?

* .. and therefore it took me quite a few lines to refute all his lengthier comments with regards to this point .

>I take it Dr. Loke understands my logic-talk statement. Evolution as of now is not logically provable in the most watertight way,

* Good . So pro-evolutionist like yourself shouldn't expect me to write my explanations in logic-talk way . To do that will be guilty of double standard.


> 2. On goalpost switcheroos, check your text and its evolution. (Gawd, I should so stop using that word, eh?)


* As far as I can see, I have only given more elaboration as to my points . Can you show me where I had switch position ?


>3. Wow, long attempt at trying to convince me that the Sistine Chapel was non-intelligent. Of course it was intelligent - we all know Michaelangelo, a human being, was COMMISSIONED by the Church to do the painting! That's a conscious human act in response to another conscious human act. OF COURSE THAT'S INTELLIGENT! Unless the historians lied, of course.

But to use the Sistine Chapel to argue backwards that the formation of life was intelligent would be to get the logic arsewards (pardon the language, good doctor). I may be stark raving mad for a second, but let's just say it's possible (I won't attribute the numbers) that the creation of life was a total fluke. Zero intelligence of any kind in terms of that moment of formation. It's possible, you know.

* As I stated before , my inference of intelligence is based on functional complexity which is knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence . . In evaluating the " knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement " , one does not ask for zero probability for the probablitility that undirected forces move in the manner of the requirement , as even for well recognised examples of design such as the Sistine chapel such a probability is also not zero as the probability that after millions of years the wind blow the pigments to form the painting is not outright zero. In fact , you cannot find ANY thing that is designed in which the probability that it is formed by undirected natural forces is outright zero. Therefore if one ask for zero probability one can never detect and recognise any intelligence using the method of " knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence "

From what you wrote above , the method you use to detect intelligence is by an understanding of history ? But what if someone from Africa who does not know about European history and who had never seen a chapel or any buildings before . Would it still be reasonable for him to infer that the Sistine chapel is designed ?

The problem with your methodology which is based on previously known history or design lack certain sensitivity . It would not be able to detect certain things which are obviously designed to be designed because prior data were not available. .
For example , if a man from China were to visit America in 1880 and find an object which he figured out himself could transmit speech to another distant point ( known to us as the telephone today ) would it be reasonable for him to infer that it was designed, even if he had never seen anything like that before ? We certainly recognise that it would be reasonable to do so, but based on your methodology " he cannot make that conclusion ! However , if he use the " functional complexity " criteria , he would be able to make that conclusion , which is obviously more reasonable. Detecting design by specificity ( function in this case ) and complexity ( as indicated by knowledge of what is required for the event plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement ) is therefore valid and in certain situations more logical than detecting by " familiarity" as it allows new discoveries to be made.

>And Doc, more to the point, do you acknowledge your own sloppiness in saying 'impossible' when really you meant 'improbable'? This is, if I recall the context correctly (I'm sorry if my memory fails me, but I have more meaningful things to do than to hug on to a single discussion - I won't even call it a debate), with regard to, among other things, billion-year-old planets.

* As far as I can recall , I have been careful in using the words " unreasonable " or " improbable " but not " impossible " If I had slipped somewhere perhaps you can point out where is it ?

>3a. As a sidetrack, detective work and forensic science (by which I assume you mean the CSI variety?) can operate on the assumption of intelligence, for no reason other than that these works make certain assumptions about human agency.

I find a dead body with what, to the naked eye, looks like stab wounds? I make the not-unreasonable assumption that another person stabbed the body with a knife or some other sharp tool, quite possibly while the body was still not dead. Assuming human agency seems plausible, because human beings are probably the best manipulators of tools known to, erm, human beings.

Besides, knives don't float in the air to stab at random objects (including people) of their own will. At least the ones I share a kitchen with don't. Not yet.

I beg to know how the same kind of thinking can be applied to Intelligent Design of Life(tm).


* Your reasoning behind the conclusion is similar to mine ie : knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional ( eg. the stab wounds ) plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement ( eg . knives don't float in the air to stab at random objects) => intelligence

>3b. Ah, you're trying to say that it is POSSIBLE that Intelligent Design of Life(tm) happened as an intentional (somewhat) act? Mathematically I'll grant you that much. But the Theory of Evolution, in calling itself a theory, granted you that much too.

See, the thing is this. From start to end I claim POSSIBILITY to all the seemingly out-of-this-world ideas, which means I'm saying range of p=[0,1]; I'll be happy to switch square brackets to parentheses, but I'm a mathematician, so I'll cover everyone's back. If it turns out p=0, fine, I'll take that provided I'm convinced by the reasoning.

On the other hand, our good physician here seems to be trying to play a binary game where there's a leap of argument from p>0 to p=1. IF that's not the game being played, fine, I've made a bad accusation about it. But the tone of writing seems to suggest that's the game being played here.

* No . As I have mentioned before . I deny that absolute impossibility of the contrary can be claimed . However , looking at the 19 steps that is MINIMALLY necessary for the MOST basic DNA to form with its requirement of millions of years of physically stable environment, I think it is unreasonable to claim that undirected natural forces could have lead to its formation just like I think it is unreasonable that undirected natural forces could have lead to the formation of the SIstine Chapel even though the probability is not outright zero.

>As for the comparison with monkey typing (ah, reminders of the old Turing Test), I'll start by saying the humorous thing (we need a bit of that). If it turns out that the things typed here were typed by a monkey, I gotta say I would love to meet that monkey in person (or should that be 'in monkey'?), because that's one lucky monkey!

More seriously, however, when we communicate by reading what's typed and typing back, we make the implicit assumption that whatever is being typed here is done intelligently by a human being with whom we speak in the same set of code (for that is what language essentially boils down to: code). That assumption is reinforced with every subsequent response that our human brain can interpret as an intelligent response.

Say I started to type a response in some language you don't recognize, such as phoneticized Sanskrit or some Eastern European gypsy dialect. To your eyes, that'd be as good as a random string of characters generated by a monkey dancing on a keyboard. To mine, there's a proper message in the text.

* The problem is not dealing with what we do not recognise , but dealing with what we DO recognise . Surely something which is recognisable (such as this message on this blog) is different from what is typed randomly ; though we can't exclude intelligence from the latter ( it could be Sanskrit ) , we certainly can conclude intelligence from the former . The problem with the multiple- universe idea ( which I haven't seen you defending it ) is that there is no difference at all in the sense that we cannot conclude an intelligence even for messages which we recognise as it could have been typed randomly and yet correctly in a parallel universe !

>Of course, I could flip that argument over to your side and claim that life was Intelligently Designed(tm), just that we haven't the foggiest idea how the intelligence operated. It's the same thing in a way, isn't it? "We know there's a code in this, there's a piece of internally coherent logic. We just haven't figured out the rules."

* That's not the way I argued ..

>But that's a Hammie argument. (Sorry Shaun, I'm stealing your pet hamster - or more correctly, borrowing without permission.) I'd like something that washes stronger than that.

* .. and so your Hammie argument is irrelevant.

>And I hope I'm making a sensible (if possibly incorrect) guess that that might be the same with the SETI guys. If and when they receive a message that seems intelligent (however they choose to define it - I'm not on the SETI project, and I can't really be too bothered to know), I think they'll be happy to make verification attempts just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, or a succession of flukes.

* It is interesting to note that SETI has recently " disowned " any association with ID on its official website on December 1, 2005 in the article SETI and Intelligent Design..:http://www.seti.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=ktJ2J9MMIsE&b=194993&ct=1638783

Now I want to point out that first of all in this article SETI did not deny that it's primary purpose is to differentiate intelligent and non-intelligent causes ( which would be self denying ! ) . Rather , what is argued there is that its METHOD of detection of intelligence is different from ID advocates . It wrote :

" In short, the champions of Intelligent Design make two mistakes when they claim that the SETI enterprise is logically similar to their own: First, they assume that we are looking for messages, and judging our discovery on the basis of message content, whether understood or not. In fact, we’re on the lookout for very simple signals. That’s mostly a technical misunderstanding. But their second assumption, derived from the first, that complexity would imply intelligence, is also wrong. We seek artificiality, which is an organized and optimized signal coming from an astronomical environment from which neither it nor anything like it is either expected or observed. Very modest complexity, found out of context. "

* What SETI is saying here is that currently their method of detection of intelligence is by simple signals and not by complex messages .While I agree that the detection of artificial signal may well constitute an evidence of design , nevertheless I would be VERY SURPRISED that if they EVER did pick up a message " Hello ! I am an alien. I live on this planet " from outer space they would simply brush it off and says there is no intelligence to account for it !!! While placing the detection of intelligence on human precedents may lack sensitivity ( as in other inteliigence not similar to humans may not be picked up ) , it certainly does have specificity , as in detection of a message from far outer space such as " I am an alien " will certainly confirm their presence , isn't it not ?

The SETI main complain in that article about ID is DNA’s junk and redundancy. I find this compliant unjustified . Even the staunchest critics of creation theory recognize that “ it is impossible to prove absence of function for any region of DNA.” The recent indication from the Human Genome Project that the way genes work is “far more complicated than the mechanism long taught” only increases the possibility that pseudogenes are functioning in some way we do not appreciate . What really need an accounting is the functional part , not the " junk" part, for the "junk" part may well have played a role in a different environment " millions of years " ago. The DNA is just so versatile , no human codes or software programs can compare with it . This versatility is an indication of wisdom behind its origination .


Now , to see how these ANTI-ID SETI scientists detect intelligence , let's read :

" If SETI were to announce that we’re not alone because it had detected a signal, it would be on the basis of artificiality. An endless, sinusoidal signal – adead simple tone – is not complex; it’s artificial.Such a tone JUST DOESN'T SEEM to be generated by natural astrophysical processes..."

From the above we can see how the SETI scientist distinguish intelligence from natural processes .

" The physics of solar systems is that of hot plasmas (stars), cool hydrocarbon gasses (big planets), and cold rock (small planets)..These DO NOT PRODUCE, so far as we can either theorize or observe, monochromatic radio signals belched into space with powers of ten billion watts or more – the type of signal we look for in SETI experiments. It’s HARD TO IMAGINE how they would do this, and observations confirm that it just doesn’t seem to be their thing." ( end of quote )

I wonder why no evolutionists (who always complain that ID use "argument from ignorance ") ever complain that the scientists from SETI used "Argument from ignorance" , since they use arguments based on "JUST DOESN'T SEEM to be generated by NATURAL astrophysical processes , " "..These DO NOT PRODUCE, so far as we can either theorize or observe..It’s HARD TO IMAGINE how they would do this,." ?? Smells fishy, isn't it ?

The point is this : the anti-ID SETI scientists use the same reasoning as I did to detect intelligence : Knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence . Such argument proceed positively from available knowledge to detect intelligence .

 
At 2:49 AM, Anonymous andrew said...

gambitch ( cont'd )
>Specifically, how does Dr. Loke come to the conclusion that the Intelligent Designer(tm) - let's call him Vladimir, I'm sure he wouldn't object - decided to create life without the use of undirected natural forces?
* Because it is not reasonable to suppose that UN-directed natural forces meet the requirements for the formation of DNA ( the millions of years of stable environment etc mentioned before ) . Now creating life with the use of UNdirected natural forces is DIFFERENT from creating life with the use of natural forces . The former is the idea that God created wind , waves etc and they move UNdirected to form the DNA ; the latter is the idea that God created wind , waves , etc and they move UNDER HIS DIRECTION to form the DNA . Now I have never denied that the latter is unreasonable , only the former .

>1b Hammie hamburgwurst.created life.. Now, with these two modifications, shall we go through that argument again?

* As I mentioned before , if you throw a few carbon , phosphate, etc atoms INTO THE WILD and they can form up by themselves to become a genetic code ,then intelligent design would be falsified on the general grounds that one doesn't invoke intelligent causes when purely natural causes will do. In that case Occam's razor finishes off intelligent design ( whether be it Hammie or Pammie ) quite nicely ".

>2. Dr. Loke says Shaun's thinking lacked clarity and he misrepresented him a few times. Perhaps Dr. Loke can catalogue to us the instances of misrepresentation and why they are misrepresentations (i.e. What Dr. Loke really means and what Shaun claims he means). Nothing like iterative nitpicking at this juncture. :P

* Misrepresentation no1 : Shaun : I've given up debating theology because it's premised on faith which in turn is predicated on an unfalsifiable assumption. They can call it logic, but if you stand on a false presumption, you're very likely to end up with a false conclusion. As things stand, I'm happy enough if the other person realises that point. "

* Now where did I premised my arguments on faith ? Where did I stand on false assumption ? This is a misrepresentation designed to make people think that I reason circularly .

Misrepresentation no 2 : Shaun : Thus far, we've had either arguments that somehow the chances of Evolution is zero


* Now this is a total misrepresentation of my view . I never say that the chances is zero , but that it is improbable . In fact , I wrote the very opposite statement on this blog ( BEFORE Shaun wrote : "Thus far, we've had either arguments that somehow the chances of Evolution is zero" ): "The point is that in the RECOGNITION OF INTELLIGENCE behind an event we NEVER take the possibility of the event happening by chance to be zero ; if we do that then we can NEVER detect any intelligence behind any event , the whole SETI research would be a misguided enterprise , and we can say good bye to all detectives and forensic scientists. "


>2a. Shaun noted Dr. Loke seemed to accept the distinguishment between science and philosophy, yet appeared no less determined to cram the supernature into science (paraphrase from Shaun). Dr. Loke asked "Where?". Perhaps the answer lies in the claim of the "intelligent designer", an EXTERNAL agent rather than some INTERNAL agent within the environment. This EXTERNAL agent seems to act with a purpose that, at once, the other internal participating parties do not (cannot?) exhibit and the external agent deliberately expresses. That, in a nutshell, is Intelligent Design of Life(tm).

On its own, the internal participating parties not expressing purpose is fine. Chlorine gas and sodium interacting to form salt doesn't necessarily have purpose intended by either the chlorine or the sodium. It's when the "expression of purpose by the external agent" comes into play that we flirt with bad territory.

Once we start talking about Vladimir the Intelligent Designer, an external party that seems happy to quietly go away once life is formed and settled, but wanted, nay NEEDED to be there to start it all just so the whole idea holds together... Well that is a bit supernatural isn't it? Because the environment wouldn't have the mind to do it on its own, so someone else had to step in for a moment... See where this is going?

* As I mentioned before , from scientific evidence alone the "External " agent could be an alien . SETI is also trying to detect an alien ie an " External " agent. So is SETI unscientific because it looks for an " external " agent ?

>2b. I'll be glad to accept the Intelligent Design idea if and when I get to arrange a chat with Vladimir the Intelligent Designer over tea and dim sum at Yum Cha, or whatever dietary alternative Vladimir prefers, including but not limited to other human beings. You readers are all invited to witness. I'll foot the bill!


* Even if an African who do not know European history does not have a chance to meet Michaelangelo for dim sum it would still be reasonable for him to conclude that the Sistine Chapel is designed .

>2e. The SETI thing... I'm not a SETI fan, so I don't know enough of this. Here's what I understand of SETI though. The whole idea is to send a message into space, much like a man on a deserted island sends out a message in a bottle. Then you wait until you get a reply message in a bottle, that is, a different message from space. If you get one, then it's suggestive of the existence of ETI.

Say you get a reply message. Does it lead to a prediction that there is ETI? Yes, and then there's prediction testing, where you then send a new message for verification, or something like that. If this pattern lasts long enough, the scientists would accept that there actually are aliens because, well, we're talking to one.

Can we predict what the ETI will do next? That's not the point, is it? The point of SETI is to determine whether there exists ETI. Anything that follows from that is a separate body of work. Or at least that's the lay understanding.


* For how SETI detect intelligence see previous post. Intelligent agents by their nature are not predictable unlike natural laws . So you cannot use the presence or absence of reply to say that it doesn't exist . Going by functional complexity , however, we can know they exist .

>2f. I think the whole thing about "designers having the power of innovation" is just flimsy. It's the universal escape clause. "To think that design is predictable is a boneheaded mistake" might be true. After all, innovation is all about "who'd'a thunk it". BUT, "designer innovation" is highly unsatisfying to scientific philosophers who demand predictive power and predictability. If Vladimir the Intelligent Designer(tm) can design whatever he likes and therefore become unpredictable at some point, I'm sorry I'm so boneheaded, but I wouldn't consider Vladimir's methodology as scientific.


* But " design innovation " is a problem for SETI research as well . We cannot expect that the ETI follow our prediction .So are you considering SETI methodology as unscientific ?

>Dembski's statement makes it clear: Intelligent Design(tm) should not be forced to conform to the requirement of predictability. Which is fine by me. Not everything has to conform to that requirement. But those that do not should not attempt to claim to be scientific, until and unless their proponents prove that predictability was never a requirement of science.


* Predictability is a requirement for experimental science which concerns the discovery of natural laws but it is not a requirement for SETI nor is it a requirement for forensic science which seeks to differentiate intelligent from non-intelligent cause .


>4. Quote: "While science can falsify intelligent causes, does it have any right to insist that an intelligent cause cannot be supernatural?"

Let me put it this way. If science concedes that a supernatural cause, probably intelligent (because non-intelligent ones will somehow be explained as natural, i.e. freak chance), can exist as a scientific explanation, what's to stop all hell from breaking loose in terms of lazy "can of worms" arguments riddled with catchalls disguised as "Occam's Razor at work"?

Someone answer that question for me, and then maybe we'll talk.


* I don't quite understand your statement " what's to stop all hell from breaking loose in terms of lazy "can of worms" arguments riddled with catchalls disguised as "Occam's Razor at work"?" Like I mentioned before , if undirected natural forces can account for an event , such as rainfall and lighning , then intelligent design will be falsified by Occam's razor. So accepting the intelligent design explanation for the origin of life does not automatically lead to " all hell break loose " ie the acceptance of the intelligent design explanation for all other phenomenon , if that is what you mean .Science is the search for the truth . If it is more reasonable to believe that the origin of life comes by intelligent cause , then we should follow where the evidence leads .

>4a. Quote: "If it is not reasonable that undirected natural forces can act in such a coordinated manner (that is required for the formation of the most basic DNA), a condition which is MINIMALLY required for JUST the MOST basic DNA to form, then it MUST have been a process directed by intelligence."

The statement above presupposes coordination, an act that by definition cannot be executed by non-conscious entities.

*Merriam Webster dictionary define coordination as " to be or become coordinate especially so as to act together in a smooth concerted way ". Well I suppose those non- concious machines in factories can also act in a coordinated manner ? ie in a smooth , concerted way."But", you say , " those machines must have been programmed by concious entities to act in a coordinated manner ! " But that is the point , isn't it ? Things which can move in such a highly coordinated manner implies ( not presuppose ) that intelligence must have been involved . The formation of DNA indeed require such a smooth concerted process ( eg the right concentration of chemicals must come together , the pH must be right etc,etc ) for MILLIONS of years !

>But maybe coordination was never involved. Undirected natural causes might just get it right by accident. It's difficult, but until it's proven to be outright impossible I refuse to rule it out. Which in turn means that to conclude with p=1 that the formation of life is an act directed by intelligence... Well, that's rather rash, isn't it?

Perhaps I should spell it out for the public in mathematical terms.

However close the approximation or limit, 0.999... != 1


* As answered above and before , it is unreasonable for you to demand for outright zero probability for undirected forces before you accept the design explanation .


>5. Quote: "Science is the search for the truth. If the intelligent design explanation is justified then we should accept it, and not reject it by using the reason " hey, what's left to discover?", which is a riddiculous(sic) excuse."

Except, of course, the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) explanation, as it stands, looks like a bag of catchalls more than anything else. Kinda like George W. Bush's magic asterisks inside those budget proposals he sold during elections. Saves the details, and the later probes, rather automagically (no typo).

"We've found the answer. The answer is Vladimir. We don't need to talk to Vladimir to understand his methods. We're done now. Let's retire."

Gee, that sounds rather paradisiacal! Can I join in the fun?


* Unless you can refute the arguments that support the conclusion that the origin of life is designed , all your considerations here do not merit the rejection of the design explanation .

Knowing that life is designed does not lead to the closure of further avenues of research , of course. We can continue to study life to know what mechanisms the designer has put in to enable life to operate

>5a. Quote: "We can observe that when water vapour forms clouds in the wild, rain invariably forms. Thus we don't assume intelligent design everytime(sic) it rains; 'intelligent design' is falsified in that sense."

Ah, but how do we know that water vapour is forming clouds "in the wild"? Maybe the invisible rain god instructed the water vapour to condense and form clouds? What may seem to be "in the wild to us" may not be "in the wild" at all? Maybe the invisible rain god has given instructions to all forms of water who've gone through the Water School on how to form clouds? Or maybe the invisible rain god has the ability to teleport or magically move itself to any location where there is water vapour, so that it can, at whim, induce the formation of rainfall?

There, I've argued for Intelligent Design of Clouds(tm)!


* Nope . You have only argued " maybe " , but you do not have any arguments to support " that is the case " ( ie you don't have any arguments to support that the water indeed went to the water school. )


> Now someone tell me why my entire argument is utter rubbish!


* No argument to support .


>And when you're done, please also explain to me why the Intelligent Design of Life(tm), along with the Refutation to Intelligent Design of Clouds(tm), when put together in the same paragraph, is NOT an exercise in doublethink.Oh, and lest it be confused, falsifiable != false. The Invisible Rain God claim is unfalsifiable, because we can't see the Invisible Rain God. He's invisible, remember? But nobody believes in the Invisible Rain God once we've had the scientific explanation. Maybe science is wrong and creative polytheism is right? :P


* The intelligent design explanation for the origin of life has argument to support :ie knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces does not move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence ; in contrast to your " intelligent design for cloud " explanation which has NO argument to support .

WHat you are really claiming above is that there is no such thing as undirected natural forces ( eg. there is no " in the wild ", the water vapor has went to water school that is why it forms clouds etc ) and all the apparent undirected forces are actually directed by an unfalsifiable deity . But such a claim is unjustified . Not only is there no argument to support your claim ( see above ) , it violate the definition of accidents. Base on your claim NOTHING can be called an accident, since EVERY forces is directed by an intelligence which can't be seen ! Such a view makes accident versus intelligence meaningless and is therefore ultimately anti-intelligence. This is different from my view of intelligence , which is falsifiable .

>5b. Quote: "Science can discover intelligence but by definition it cannot dictate that intelligence cannot be supernatural."

Um, I'm a bit slow, so someone please tell me: WHY NOT? More pointedly, suppose it dictates so, where's the problem that creates an internal inconsistency within science?

* On what logical grounds can science dictate that the intelligence cannot be supernatural ?

6. (What's labelled 5., but since there was no 6. in the reply to which I mostly refer, I'll make it 6.) As an aside, since we're moving into religious territory here, suppose I accepted Intelligent Design of Life(tm), someone give me the name of the Intelligent Designer(tm)? Especially if his name is not Vladimir?


* Philosophy shows that ultimately there must be an uncaused designer ( see the cosmological argument at appendix of http://noself.blogspot.com/2005/11/addendum-i-have-sent-off-email-to-dr.html#comments ), while by revelation of that designer we know that His name is YHWH .

>Friends who know me long enough will know exactly what I dislike about most (if not all) monotheistic religions and their active proponents. (The lapsed followers are another story; they already don't show that much religious faith, it's their own business.)


* Is your dislike based on truth ?


DRAWING A LINE:
I think this will do for now, because the rest of the reply seems to be hell-bent on insulting people


* Nope , the rest of the reply is to get Shaun back on earth to see the reality that he has already been defeated and therefore he shouldn't go on giving childish comments like " You simply do not understand the concepts at hand" and using tactics such as making scornful remarks without intellectual substance and misrepresenting my position , etc .

>'Cept to say this: I find it ironic that people talk about human beings being made in God's image when all I see are texts describing God in Man's image. Talks of manifestations and forms aside, the blatant irony of the situation never fails to amuse me.


* If we are indeed made in God 's image then that means there have to be at least some semblance between us and God so what is ironic with describing some attributes of God which we can recognise ?

>The point is: Who are we human beings to assume that, even if Intelligent Design(tm) exists, it is of a type of intelligence easily identifiable as such by human beings?

* The point is , we do not assume that an intelligent designer exist , but once we identify a type of intelligence which we can recognise , we can know that an Intelligent designer exist !

>"God's work", as far as I'm concerned, is shorthand for "I can't be too bothered to care to investigate, so I'll come up with the handiest lazy excuse I can get instead".

* This is an unjustified accusation . The truth is that we have investigated ( the 19 steps , etc ), and we find that the origin of life is most reasonably attributed to an intelligent cause .

 
At 5:59 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:40 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

I'm happy to see that Dr. Loke has replied to my comments. I regret to note, however, that my lightheartedness, while noted and quite probably appreciated by the good doctor (he says so), was sadly not returned in kind.

This isn't meant to be a detailed effort at a reply. I don't want to get there, mostly because it does exhaust and exasperate beyond a certain while (as, I suspect, Dr. Loke is beginning to experience).

Furthermore, like Shaun, I don't pretend to be an authority on the matter, and I'd be most content to let the pros take over. I have a life that isn't exclusively about Evolution vs Intelligent Design of Life(tm), and I'm happy to keep it that way. And I'm sure the very unfree Dr. Loke has patients for whom, I suppose, he gives the utmost care.

With those formalities out of the way, let us proceed.

(PART ONE - I MIGHT NOT DO PART TWO...)

1. Veracity issues: Dr. Loke seems to believe that Shaun had a problem with whether religious stances should detract from the veracity of the argument.

I think Dr. Loke might have misunderstood something: As a matter of principle, I don't think Shaun has a problem with the general statement "religious alignment of the argument-maker, in and of itself, should not detract from the veracity (or otherwise) of the argument". Of course, I leave it to him to confirm or deny this for himself.

Actually, he's confirmed this. See the third comment on this thread! :)

What I do read from the thing, though, is that the arguments appear to be founded on questionable ground, much of which is a matter of an inability to shake off a perception of religious taint. And yes, I have a problem with that, just as Shaun does.

And unfortunately, additional circumstantial facts about Dr. Loke which Shaun had learnt - some of which Dr. Loke appears to indicate is wrong information, which if true is not Shaun's fault - has given that taint.

1a. Lest Dr. Loke misunderstands, my logic-talk statement was not intended as a challenge for Dr. Loke to write me an elaborate proof (also in logic-talk) showing that evolution was wrong. No, actually I was referring to something else. I guess I have to explain my original logic-talk statement in full English - which is kinda long.

To revisit,

F^(TvF)=F !-> (TvF)=T

That is, that the logical wrongness of using religious affiliation of the argument-maker in deciding whether Intelligent Design of Life(tm) is true (that's the first half of the statement) should not imply that, once we strip away an irrelevant criterion, we should simply accept that Intelligent Design of Life(tm), whose truth status we have not at this point established, is true.

Now, that's quite a mouthful, and quite confusing when I have it all written out. Which is why I resorted to shorthanding it into logic-talk.

Hopefully that's one misunderstanding cleared.

1b. I must complain, however, that Dr. Loke has been extremely unfair in cropping a quote from me he referenced in such a way that he ends up referring to it out of context. Specifically, he opted to crop my line at a comma.

Either it is a wilful act of misrepresentation, which is malicious, or it is a consequence of the original misunderstanding he might have had. I'd like to know which it was. Perhaps the good doctor will oblige with an explicit response.

1c. I would acknowledge, however, that I probably did ask somewhere else down the line for an exhaustive and convincing reason to take Intelligent Design of Life(tm) over Evolution; or at least I have probably said something to that effect. At the moment, I've yet to be fully convinced.

A comment: It may have to do with the argumentation technique. Right now the entire case for Intelligent Design of Life(tm) looks like a bowl of linguini thrown onto the wall. Dr. Loke might be tempted to go back and reorganize his notes, because I'm still struggling to swim through the linguini.

A further comment: If I'm being harsh on my demands, there's a reason. As the challenger rather than the incumbent, I think it's natural for me (and perhaps a few others) to demand rigour on the part of the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) camp in its proof elaboration. That's not to say I'm giving Evolution an easy time. It's just the burden that challengers must find themselves saddled with. Otherwise it may never succeed in swaying the majority - if that's the motivation for the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) camp.

2. I'll hold on the topic of goalpost switcheroos for now, because it means I've to swim through pages and pages of material. I don't have the time to do this now, and Dr. Loke must, on humanitarian grounds, sympathize - it's almost midnight as I type this, and I have work to do in the morning.

But I'll note this: Even if it turns out there was no switcheroo, which means my gut feel was wrong, that I had at least a gut feel of a definition shift going on reflects a problem. At the very least it suggests a failure to articulate clearly the definitions and lines of demarcation in the early phase. Which would therefore be why at least this reader got confused.

Of course, if it turns out that my gut feel was right, I'm sure Dr. Loke will be happy to give his explanation.

3. On the Sistine Chapel, Dr. Loke, sadly, didn't get it. No one who knows his Sistine Chapel history would doubt that the Sistine Chapel is an intelligent piece of work, because of historical documentation. And as for the African who doesn't know his Sistine Chapel history, I'll throw him the relevant book. And if there's a problem with him understanding that book, I'll make him literate. Nothing like helping poor destitute Africans who can't read. :)

But let's say we put helping Africans read aside, and focus on whether Africans who've never seen a building can infer from their first sighting of the Sistine Chapel that it was designed.

Question One: Where has the African guy been living all his life up to that point? Let's say he's never even been inside a mudbrick house or a straw hut. Has he been inside a cave in a mountain? Would he, a man who's never resided in a man-made structure, think that the cave was designed?

And before anyone answers that, here's Question Two: Would said African who's never lived in a man-made structure understand the concept of design? Question Two-and-a-half: Would said African even care to distinguish the difference?

3a. As for the new example regarding the Chinese man checking out the telephone... Maybe he'll work out that the telephone is an object that has the functional capacity to transmit voices to distant points. And maybe he'll tap into that ability. Whether he'll work out that the object was made to serve this function - that's another matter! :D

To use a more immediate example, think of a teaspoon. You know, the metal kind we see in coffeeshops. I might be able to work out that the handle end of the teaspoon can be used to open the lid of a milk powder can. But can we conclude that the handle end was originally designed for this purpose, and not just for the simpler purpose of letting us have an end to hold on to while we use the other end to scoop and stir? We wouldn't know until and unless we asked the designer of the teaspoon. Even then, because new ways to use the parts of the teaspoon have evolved (oops, there's that word again), the designer might have changed his mind over the years and be led to think differently from when he first came up with the teaspoon.

The point to be made is this: Sometimes, things are designed for an explicit purpose. Sometimes, though, we give purposes to things that already exist for some other reason, if for a reason at all. Rocks weren't designed to let us sit on them. That didn't stop us from sitting on them anyway. Brassiere cups weren't designed to serve as face masks. That didn't stop a few people from cutting up bras to make cheap face masks during the SARS outbreak. (Apologies to bra-wearers all over the world for this reference.)

3b. Oh, and because a telephone is a man-made and man-assembled object that is the combination of several external parts, I think the Chinese man might be able to work out that it was designed (to be a telephone, or otherwise). Somebody (preferably someone corporeal) has to put the parts together! :) End of nitpick.

3c. On the use of "impossible", maybe Dr. Loke didn't use the exact word, but words like "NO REASON", "MUST", etc., especially when he has, in a few spots, written them out in capitals, convey a certain strength of conviction in the absolute. Oh, and a certain inclination not to concede a bit of wiggle ground upfront. :)

All that adds up to a certain level of confrontationality in this whole exchange, which I don't think is what we need. Certainly we're all not experts on this field, and I don't want us to get dragged too far into this to the point where we forget about our day jobs.

3d. (In response to the original 3a.) Dr. Loke missed the key bit of that point, actually, or at least what I meant to be the key bit: Human agency.

Forensic science and detective work can assume intelligence because the follow-on from there is that whatever is sighted at the crime scene is the work of human agency. In fact, assumption of intelligence is necessary for a work-related reason - to attribute and apportion blame to the relevant individuals where necessary, so that justice may be appropriately served in the right quantities for all parties.

Of course, on occasion you have the problematic cases like Spontaneous Human Combustion... But let's not digress too far. :)

To reiterate, then: Assumption of intelligence, and therefore human agency, is plausible and perhaps necessary for detective work and applied forensic science, for work-related reasons. Where's the parallel for making such assumptions with regards to Intelligent Design of Life(tm)?

3e. (In response to the original 3b.) Quote: "No. As I have mentioned before. I deny that absolute impossibility of the contrary can be claimed. However..." (Rest omitted as I'm quoting only for a reference point. Please refer to the original quote in full, not that it's relevant to what I'll say below.)

I'm not going to directly challenge what was written here. The only point I want to highlight is the philosophical difference in position that can be described as "the glass still has a little drop of water" vs "the glass is nearly totally empty".

I'll respectfully agree that it appears, to the commonsensical mind, very difficult for life to form in such conditions that aren't exactly describable as favourable. However, "very difficult" is not the same as "outright impossible". We've not quite managed to prove outright impossibility yet, so until we do, it's really an issue of two differing looks at the glass - one through a few differently-angled microscopes, the other with a cursory glance.

I'm sure at least a few of the pro-evolution scientists are still trying to exhaust all the methods they can muster into nailing concrete proof in one direction or the other. I say, let them. What says the doctor?

3f. On monkey-type, I'm pleasantly surprised that Dr. Loke actually remembers my mention of multiple parallel universes. I wasn't actually thinking to defend it, much. It's just an idea that would be very interesting if true, although there are practical reasons why we can't test it - such as uniform-paced unidirectional flow of a space-time continuum, which means I can't actually move from one reality to another alternate reality and back. It's just one of those ideas that are interesting if true. And I'm leaving it at that.

But back to the point. :)

Even if we limit this to messages you DO recognize, I don't think you can conclude with 100% confidence right off the bat that the recognizable message is intelligent. There COULD well be a parallel universe where the same message appears, but is totally unintelligent in original intent.

Which is where the next part comes in - reply and wait for a response. If the response that comes back also appears intelligent, then the probability of intelligence throughout goes up.

To express this mathematically, suppose I name myself as A. You're trying to determine whether A's messages are intelligent. Of course, by 'intelligent', we define it to mean the very narrow sense that there is purposeful communication. Suppose you start with an exactly 99% level of confidence that A is intelligent. The freak probability that the first message was non-intelligent is thus 1%.

With 99% confidence that the first message was intelligent, you reply back and wait for a response. Say A gives a response, and this time the message was NOT intelligent. You could then reasonably (whatever that means to you) dismiss the first message as a fluke. But if the second message was ALSO intelligent, then confidence in A's intelligence goes up.

Naturally, the above assumes that intelligence is a consistent trait - that is, A does not erratically act in a non-intelligent way, say, once every 20 messages.

I'm probably coming really close to losing my point now, so I'd better go back to it quickly. My point is this: We're not really working with 100% dead-cert conclusions; we're just working with very high confidence levels. When we claim 100% confidence, we're just lazily wiping off that teeny-weeny bit of room for doubt from the way we're expressing ourselves.

Unfortunately, I'm a cautious, pedantic mathematician with special interest in probability and statistics. So I'm putting up all sorts of nitpicks! :P

3g. Still on monkey-type, much of the above is just a self-entertaining digression (because it's midnight and I have to entertain myself!) from the following point: A lot of this hinges on what we recognize. A small question - how do we know that the criteria we employ for the recognition work are correct? How do we recognize intelligence, and how do we know that we have chosen the correct criteria? It's worth thinking about, just in case we all got it wrong.

3h. On my "We know there's a code in this, there's a piece of internally coherent logic. We just haven't figured out the rules." argument. Okay, that's not quite the way Dr. Loke argued, and I suppose he didn't intend to argue it that way anyway. In that sense it's not relevant to Dr. Loke's line of argumentation, which is why I guess he chose to blow it off.

Which was a pity, actually, because so far the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) school has concentrated on establishing that there was an Intelligent Designer(tm), whose current working name in this discussion is Vladimir. (Yeah I know, that came later, but never mind that.)

What I've not seen so far is the follow-on - the identification of the internal logic in the design work that firmly establishes that the stuff was designed. Once it is possible to codify the rules by which Vladimir the Intelligent Designer(tm) went about designing life, we'd start having some semblance of a self-sufficient, coherent and comprehensible Theory of Intelligent Design of Life(tm, pat pend).

Until then, though...

3i. Finally, the SETI project, which I only briefly touched on in the first reply (I sank more of my teeth into it on the second one).

Interesting bit of material there, although I should note that my original intention in raising the SETI project in this context was to talk about verification testing. I see that was dropped. I'm not sure why.

Since attention was drawn to one particular quote, I should first reproduce it before I comment.

"The physics of solar systems is that of hot plasmas (stars), cool hydrocarbon gases (big planets), and cold rock (small planets). These DO NOT PRODUCE, so far as we can either theorize or observe, monochromatic radio signals belched into space with powers of ten billion watts or more – the type of signal we look for in SETI experiments. It's HARD TO IMAGINE how they would do this, and observations confirm that it just doesn't seem to be their thing."

Let me just take it on good faith that this was an accurate verbatim quote. What do I read into it? Caution on the part of the SETI scientists. Why? Because of the qualifying phrase "so far as we can either theorize or observe", and because of the carefully-couched choice of wording in "hard to imagine" and "just doesn't seem".

There are implicit limitations that exist in these words, of course. The words basically say: "These are our rules of testing; we're basing our analysis on these theories or past empirical observations, so the results will be correct based on these limitations, but it's possible we might have got the limitations themselves wrong."

If they were a lot more confident, the qualifier would be dropped, and "hard to imagine" would be replaced by "impossible", and "just doesn't seem" would be replaced by "is not".

It's avoiding a certain level of chest-thumping confidence, and that stems from the SETI scientists' own awareness that they know so little that they could be shockingly wrong based on what little they know. They have therefore wisely chosen to declare their caveats.

It's definitely something to note.

4. In conclusion, I notice that Dr. Loke made no explicit acknowledgement of any kind to my material in all of Point 4. It is sad, of course, because I don't know whether Dr. Loke read any of it, or whether he had anything to say in response. Even a "thanks for the encouragement" would have done.

This reply has been long; certainly far longer than I had originally expected or intended it to be. I certainly hope that it gets a decent reception. And even if I can't persuade Dr. Loke and his friends that their current argumentation for Intelligent Design of Life(tm) needs fixing, I think it's been a fun ride.

Due to circumstantial reasons, the next part might not be quite as fun, I fear.

 
At 6:54 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

gambitch

Before I start , just a note :Your reply at some points is quite long , and so I have to cut it short at some places when I quote you .If there is any accidental misrepresentation , please point it out to me . Thanks .

> I'm happy to see that Dr. Loke has replied to my comments. I regret to note, however, that my lightheartedness, while noted and quite probably appreciated by the good doctor (he says so), was sadly not returned in kind.

* Sorry , I'm not by nature a light-hearted person . I don't mean anything bad towards you , though .


>1. Veracity issues: Dr. Loke seems to believe that Shaun had a problem with whether religious stances should detract from the veracity of the argument. I think Dr. Loke might have misunderstood something: As a matter of principle, I don't think Shaun has a problem with the general statement "religious alignment of the argument-maker, in and of itself, should not detract from the veracity (or otherwise) of the argument". Of course, I leave it to him to confirm or deny this for himself. Actually, he's confirmed this. See the third comment on this thread! :)

* I know he had spelled it out in his previous writings . However, in those writings he still attempted to detract the veracity of the arguments presented in the Answers in Genesis website by pointing to their presuppositions . And that's why I have to respond .

>What I do read from the thing, though, is that the arguments appear to be founded on questionable ground, much of which is a matter of an inability to shake off a perception of religious taint. And yes, I have a problem with that, just as Shaun does.


* Generally speaking, I don't think the arguments in those websites I quoted are founded on questionable ground. If you think there are , you can point it out to me.


>And unfortunately, additional circumstantial facts about Dr. Loke which Shaun had learnt - some of which Dr. Loke appears to indicate is wrong information, which if true is not Shaun's fault - has given that taint.

* What circumstantial facts are you referring to ?

>1a. Lest Dr. Loke misunderstands, my logic-talk statement was not intended as a challenge for Dr. Loke to write me an elaborate proof (also in logic-talk) showing that evolution was wrong. No, actually I was referring to something else.

* Ok.


>1b. I must complain, however, that Dr. Loke has been extremely unfair in cropping a quote from me he referenced in such a way that he ends up referring to it out of context. Specifically, he opted to crop my line at a comma.Either it is a wilful act of misrepresentation, which is malicious, or it is a consequence of the original misunderstanding he might have had. I'd like to know which it was. Perhaps the good doctor will oblige with an explicit response.


* Which point did I misrepresented you by quoting your point out of context?


>1c. . A comment: It may have to do with the argumentation technique. Right now the entire case for Intelligent Design of Life(tm) looks like a bowl of linguini thrown onto the wall. Dr. Loke might be tempted to go back and reorganize his notes, because I'm still struggling to swim through the linguini.

* The reason is because I have been answering you and Shaun point by point . Since your points were also like linguini thrown onto the wall ( with repetitions here and there ) , my reply is likewise !

>A further comment: If I'm being harsh on my demands, there's a reason. As the challenger rather than the incumbent, I think it's natural for me (and perhaps a few others) to demand rigour on the part of the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) camp in its proof elaboration. That's not to say I'm giving Evolution an easy time. It's just the burden that challengers must find themselves saddled with. Otherwise it may never succeed in swaying the majority - if that's the motivation for the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) camp.


* Thanks for the comments . I welcome your demand for rigour on the part of Intelligent design.


>2. I'll hold on the topic of goalpost switcheroos for now :

* ok .

>3. On the Sistine Chapel, Dr. Loke, sadly, didn't get it. No one who knows his Sistine Chapel history would doubt that the Sistine Chapel is an intelligent piece of work, because of historical documentation.

* My point was precisely that " for someone who don't know historical documentation can he infer design ."

>And as for the African who doesn't know his Sistine Chapel history, I'll throw him the relevant book. And if there's a problem with him understanding that book, I'll make him literate. Nothing like helping poor destitute Africans who can't read. :)But let's say we put helping Africans read aside, and focus on whether Africans who've never seen a building can infer from their first sighting of the Sistine Chapel that it was designed. Question One: Where has the African guy been living all his life up to that point? Let's say he's never even been inside a mudbrick house or a straw hut. Has he been inside a cave in a mountain? Would he, a man who's never resided in a man-made structure, think that the cave was designed?

* Perhaps in the forests ?

>And before anyone answers that, here's Question Two: Would said African who's never lived in a man-made structure understand the concept of design?

* Perhaps from other things which he had inferred design before eg tools , booby traps , etc.

> Question Two-and-a-half: Would said African even care to distinguish the difference?

* Why not ? Distinguishing a booby trap that is intelligently set up by the enemy apart from undirected natural forces may be important for his survival ?

>3a. As for the new example regarding the Chinese man checking out the telephone... Maybe he'll work out that the telephone is an object that has the functional capacity to transmit voices to distant points. And maybe he'll tap into that ability. Whether he'll work out that the object was made to serve this function - that's another matter! .... 3b. Oh, and because a telephone is a man-made and man-assembled object that is the combination of several external parts, I think the Chinese man might be able to work out that it was designed (to be a telephone, or otherwise). Somebody (preferably someone corporeal) has to put the parts together! :) End of nitpick.

* Indeed , the Chinese man can work out how different parts are interconnected to serve that function of communication, therefore it is reasonable for him to infer that it is designed . Certainly, the telephone line can be used as a fishing rope , the earpiece can be used to scoop fishballs ( perhaps ! ) , but the combination of these parts and the way they are interrelated and interconnected to each other certainly mean something ; ie they are DESIGNED to function to transmit voices ! Similarly , the DNA also has many interconnecting parts in order for it to perform the function of carrying information and transcribing proteins . As Bill Gates have said : " DNA is like a software program , only much more complex than anything we've ever devised ." So it is most reasonable for us to infer that the DNA is designed .


Certainly , for simpler things like spoons , we may not be able to recognise function.But for things with so many parts interconnected to serve a particular function , the inference of design is compelling .

So that is the methodology of detecting design : Functional complexity . This method can be use to infer design without the need for circumstantial evidence ( historical documentation , familiarity , etc ) .


>3c. On the use of "impossible", maybe Dr. Loke didn't use the exact word, but words like "NO REASON", "MUST", etc., especially when he has, in a few spots, written them out in capitals, convey a certain strength of conviction in the absolute. Oh, and a certain inclination not to concede a bit of wiggle ground upfront. :)

* The strength of conviction is just as someone who would say that undirected natural forces could not have formed something like Michaelangelo's Sistine chapel( even though the probability of chance forming that thing is not outright zero .)


>3d. (In response to the original 3a.) Dr. Loke missed the key bit of that point, actually, or at least what I meant to be the key bit: Human agency. Forensic science and detective work can assume intelligence because the follow-on from there is that whatever is sighted at the crime scene is the work of human agency.

* Not necessarily. If there were a whirlwind before the death of a person the knife may be found next to the person because of the whirlwind and it must not be assumed to be caused by intelligence until further investigations is done to differentiate intelligence from accidents .

> In fact, assumption of intelligence is necessary for a work-related reason - to attribute and apportion blame to the relevant individuals where necessary, so that justice may be appropriately served in the right quantities for all parties.To reiterate, then: Assumption of intelligence, and therefore human agency, is plausible and perhaps necessary for detective work

* As mentioned above , we should not assume intelligence until we look at the evidence , but we should consider intelligence as an alternative ( eg to whirlwind ) .

>and applied forensic science, for work-related reasons. Where's the parallel for making such assumptions with regards to Intelligent Design of Life(tm)?

* As I mentioned before, such assumptions of intelligence is not neccesary to infer intelligence . Intelligence can be inferred from knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence ,which is similar to how SETI infer intelligence .

> 3e. (In response to the original 3b.) Quote: "No. As I have mentioned before. I deny that absolute impossibility of the contrary can be claimed. However..." (Rest omitted as I'm quoting only for a reference point. Please refer to the original quote in full, not that it's relevant to what I'll say below.)I'm not going to directly challenge what was written here. The only point I want to highlight is the philosophical difference in position that can be described as "the glass still has a little drop of water" vs "the glass is nearly totally empty".

* Yep. The hypothesis " Undirected natural forces can produce something like Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel " is also " the glass still has a little drop of water " vs " the glass is nearly totally empty . " Perhaps someone should tell our mathematician which one is more reasonable .

> I'll respectfully agree that it appears, to the commonsensical mind, very difficult for life to form in such conditions that aren't exactly describable as favourable. However, "very difficult" is not the same as "outright impossible". We've not quite managed to prove outright impossibility yet, so until we do, it's really an issue of two differing looks at the glass - one through a few differently-angled microscopes, the other with a cursory glance.

* You completely miss the main point , which is " outright impossible " is logically impossible in the real world ! Even for the hypothesis " Undirected natural forces can produce something like Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel " . We don't infer intelligence until it is outright impossible, just as SETI don't infer intelligence only when it is outright impossible that natural process don't generate the signals they are looking for . We infer intelligence when it is unreasonable to the commonsensical mind that natural forces can move in all the required direction to produce the event in question .

> I'm sure at least a few of the pro-evolution scientists are still trying to exhaust all the methods they can muster into nailing concrete proof in one direction or the other. I say, let them. What says the doctor?

* I think we already have enough knowledge to infer intelligence eg the 19 steps that is MINIMALLY required for the MOST BASIC DNA to form ( not mentioning the conditions must be right for the cell membrane to come together and enclose the right chemicals to form the plasma , etc ) , but if people still want to find out how undirected natural forces can lead to such a thing , it would be like trying to exhaust all the methods to find out whether undirected natural forces can form the Sistine Chapel ! It is an unreasonable pursuit , really , but it can yield some useful information ie how difficult it really is for life to form . It is definitely far more steps then the minimal 19 steps Cairn Smith proposed .

>3f. On monkey-type, I'm pleasantly surprised that Dr. Loke actually remembers my mention of multiple parallel universes. I wasn't actually thinking to defend it, much.

* So you conceded it . Good . But you still use the argument below , which is no good.


>But back to the point. :)Even if we limit this to messages you DO recognize, I don't think you can conclude with 100% confidence right off the bat that the recognizable message is intelligent. There COULD well be a parallel universe where the same message appears, but is totally unintelligent in original intent.


* Yep . There could be a monkey typing on Shaun's blog in parallel universe.


>Which is where the next part comes in - reply and wait for a response. If the response that comes back also appears intelligent, then the probability of intelligence throughout goes up.

* There could be a monkey in parallel universe who replied .

>To express this mathematically, suppose I name myself as A. You're trying to determine whether A's messages are intelligent. Of course, by 'intelligent', we define it to mean the very narrow sense that there is purposeful communication. Suppose you start with an exactly 99% level of confidence that A is intelligent. The freak probability that the first message was non-intelligent is thus 1%.
With 99% confidence that the first message was intelligent, you reply back and wait for a response. Say A gives a response, and this time the message was NOT intelligent. You could then reasonably (whatever that means to you) dismiss the first message as a fluke. But if the second message was ALSO intelligent, then confidence in A's intelligence goes up.
Naturally, the above assumes that intelligence is a consistent trait - that is, A does not erratically act in a non-intelligent way, say, once every 20 messages.

* If you still insist on considering parallel universe as a possibility , as illustrated by your comment " There COULD well be a parallel universe where the same message appears" , then it doesn't matter how many times you receive a reply, because it could still be caused by unintelligent agencies such as monkeys in parallel universes ! So the confidence level doesn't increase at all in a parallel universe scenario .

The multiple universe idea is anti-intelligence, as I had demonstrated to you in my previous post . You better let it go completely before we carry on .

But let's suppose we reject the multiple universe scenario. Would reply and wait for a response increase the confidence level ? Certainly, but DO WE NEED such a process before we reasonably conclude intelligence ? NOPE. Even if the African never had a chance to get a response from Michaelangelo or see him repeat the painting of the Sistine chapel again , it is still reasonable for him to conclude that the Sistine Chapel is designed . Similarly , even if the China man never had a chance to get a response from Graham Bell from the results of his investigation of the telephone it is would reasonable for him to conclude that it is designed. Indeed , it would be unreasonable of him if he conclude that it is not designed . Similarly ,the SETI scientists also did not state in their article that they require reply and wait for response to conclude that an intelligence exist ; the knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional ( ie the signals they are looking for ) plus knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement is ENOUGH to infer intelligence .

> I'm probably coming really close to losing my point now, so I'd better go back to it quickly. My point is this: We're not really working with 100% dead-cert conclusions; we're just working with very high confidence levels. When we claim 100% confidence, we're just lazily wiping off that teeny-weeny bit of room for doubt from the way we're expressing ourselves.


* As I have mentioned before , true 100 percent certainty is impossible. So long as it is unreasonable to the commonsensical mind that natural forces can move in all the required direction to produce the event in question , it is enough.



>3g. Still on monkey-type, much of the above is just a self-entertaining digression (because it's midnight and I have to entertain myself!) from the following point: A lot of this hinges on what we recognize. A small question - how do we know that the criteria we employ for the recognition work are correct? How do we recognize intelligence, and how do we know that we have chosen the correct criteria? It's worth thinking about, just in case we all got it wrong.

*As I have mentioned before , we recognise intelligence by knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence

How do we know the above is the right criteria ? Well, our day to day experience confirms it , and that's why SETI use similar reasoning to detect intelligence . Our day to day experience confirms the above criteria just like our day to day experience confirms Newton laws of motion for moving cars , so the criteria is scientific .

>3h. On my "We know there's a code in this, there's a piece of internally coherent logic. We just haven't figured out the rules." argument. Okay, that's not quite the way Dr. Loke argued, and I suppose he didn't intend to argue it that way anyway. In that sense it's not relevant to Dr. Loke's line of argumentation, which is why I guess he chose to blow it off.


* Ok.


>Which was a pity, actually, because so far the Intelligent Design of Life(tm) school has concentrated on establishing that there was an Intelligent Designer(tm), whose current working name in this discussion is Vladimir. (Yeah I know, that came later, but never mind that.) What I've not seen so far is the follow-on - the identification of the internal logic in the design work that firmly establishes that the stuff was designed. Once it is possible to codify the rules by which Vladimir the Intelligent Designer(tm) went about designing life, we'd start having some semblance of a self-sufficient, coherent and comprehensible Theory of Intelligent Design of Life(tm, pat pend).

* Based on knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement, we can already infer intelligence . As to the mechanism by which the design work , the answer to this can be uncovered by future research . We don't need to know this mechanism before we can conclude intelligence just as the SETI scientists don't need to know by what machine the ETI generated the required signal before they can conclude intelligence .



>3i. Finally, the SETI project, which I only briefly touched on in the first reply (I sank more of my teeth into it on the second one).
Interesting bit of material there, although I should note that my original intention in raising the SETI project in this context was to talk about verification testing. I see that was dropped. I'm not sure why.

* Verification testing is not neccesary to infer intelligence , and the SETI article also did not mention it . The criteria I mentioned above is enough .

>Since attention was drawn to one particular quote, I should first reproduce it before I comment."The physics of solar systems is that of hot plasmas (stars), cool hydrocarbon gases (big planets), and cold rock (small planets). These DO NOT PRODUCE, so far as we can either theorize or observe, monochromatic radio signals belched into space with powers of ten billion watts or more – the type of signal we look for in SETI experiments. It's HARD TO IMAGINE how they would do this, and observations confirm that it just doesn't seem to be their thing."Let me just take it on good faith that this was an accurate verbatim quote. What do I read into it? Caution on the part of the SETI scientists. Why? Because of the qualifying phrase "so far as we can either theorize or observe", and because of the carefully-couched choice of wording in "hard to imagine" and "just doesn't seem".There are implicit limitations that exist in these words, of course. The words basically say: "These are our rules of testing; we're basing our analysis on these theories or past empirical observations, so the results will be correct based on these limitations, but it's possible we might have got the limitations themselves wrong."If they were a lot more confident, the qualifier would be dropped, and "hard to imagine" would be replaced by "impossible", and "just doesn't seem" would be replaced by "is not"It's avoiding a certain level of chest-thumping confidence, and that stems from the SETI scientists' own awareness that they know so little that they could be shockingly wrong based on what little they know. They have therefore wisely chosen to declare their caveats.

It's definitely something to note

* Like I mention above , 100 percent outright impossibility is logically impossible in the real world. And the SETI scientists are willing to conclude that ETI exist even without 100 percent outright impossibility , which is of course the logical thing to do since 100 percent outright impossibility does not exist in the real world . Their reasoning is similar to mine. It is true that their statements indicate caution , but nevertheless the caution factor will not prevent them from making a reasonable conclusion should they find the signal they are looking for. SImilarly, it is " hard to imagine " how undirected natural forces could lead to the formation of the simplest DNA , let alone the immense construction of the simplest cell , just as it is hard to imagine WHETHER undirected natural forces CAN lead to the formation of Sistine Chapel ( not to say that it is outright impossible that undirected natural forces can accomplish that kind of thing ) , but nevertheless we should not let our caution that is caused by the lack of 100 percent probability affect us from coming to a reasonable conclusion with regards to those questions .

>4. In conclusion, I notice that Dr. Loke made no explicit acknowledgement of any kind to my material in all of Point 4:It is sad, of course, because I don't know whether Dr. Loke read any of it, or whether he had anything to say in response. Even a "thanks for the encouragement" would have done.


* I didn't reply to it is because I thought the material of point 4 have all been addressed elsewhere . But it's OK. I'll address it here :

Point 4 : the 'evidence' (I'm having reservations, hence the quote marks; do not interpret this as a sign of outright disdain) has not yet reached a level where it might be described as compelling, at least not to me.

* That is because you are looking for 100 percent probability , which is misdirected .

>If it seems to be compelling to other people, good for them, but they're going to have to walk me through the explanation in a manner that is simple and easily absorbable.

*In simple terms : knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence

knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional ie the DNA : The 19 steps of Cairns Smith , Millions of years of right pH , right temperature , etc

plus

knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement: ie undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to concentrate the right chemicals , separate them from similar chemicals , bring the other right chemicals together without contamination, maintian the right pH for millions of years , etc .

=> The DNA is designed .


> Evolution continues to be a strong theory, good enough to almost be fact.

* Micro-evolution : yes . Macro-evolution : no.

> Of course, all theories, by definition of the term, are not yet infallible. Geocentrism was a theory; it got knocked down, but it looked good in its day. When evolution becomes infallible it will no longer be theory.

* What I am arguing here is not that macro-evolution is fallible , but that macro-evolution is unreasonable.

>Is Intelligent Design of Life(tm) worthy of being called a theory yet? Not really. When it figures out the rules that frame the 'intelligence', we can talk.

* The rules by which intelligence is inferred has been explained above.


> Of course, to do so requires the work of such dogged scholars as Dr. Loke. I've yet to see a theory grow by itself without human attendance.

* Certainly. Will you be willing to join in if you are convinced ?

> Until then, it hasn't got enough meat to justify an attempt to replace Evolution as the True Theory(tm).

* Strength of the evidences and arguments is enough to justify that .

 
At 5:47 AM, Blogger budak said...

I may need to catch up on my reading, but I think biologists are already exploring the possible pathways of a pre-DNA world, even pre-RNA, which in turn go back to RNA monomer nucleotides and earlier precursors. One review is here: http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0030396

Going back to Dr. Loke's '19 steps', the underlying theme still falls upon a subjective assessment of improbability, and he shouldn't object then when one finds his claims and default conclusion to be likewise 'unreasonable.'

Similarly, his use of forensic science is disingenuous in denying the need for any knowledge of an intelligence and yet using a preconceived idea of such a source as being the cause of life. Compounded with his definition of science that refuses to be rule-bound and is so broad as to render scientific enterprise meaningless, it's no wonder he can claim victory, for he runs in an empty field!

 
At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Budak


* Hey ! I just noticed your entry on 17/ 1.


> I may need to catch up on my reading, but I think biologists are already exploring the possible pathways of a pre-DNA world, even pre-RNA, which in turn go back to RNA monomer nucleotides and earlier precursors. One review is here: http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0030396

* Are you citing all these literature as if they have already proven the "real dogma " of how you can get DNA from raw molecules like carbon and hydrogen? ( the world of pre DNA and pre RNA are already being explored SINCE LONG TIME AGO ) . If that is the case then this is indeed naive. The literature you cited just show how you can form certain "goodies molecules " , but they don't show how you can bring the "goodies" molecules together ( ie cover the 19 steps ) , prevent the "baddies" from mixing , provide and maintian the right temperature, the right pH for millions of years , etc .


For example, the iron sulphur world hypothesis states :" It has been found that all the steps for the conversion of carbon monoxide into peptides can occur at high temperature and pressure, catalyzed by iron and nickel sulfides. Such conditions exist around submarine hydrothermal vents. Iron sulfide precipitates could have served as precursors of cell walls as well as catalysts " (Martin and Russell 2003). However, there is no proof that the amino acids can join together or form anything like nucleotides , or forming enzymes that can catalyse multitude of required chemical reactions that cover all the minimal 19 steps previously mentioned . Indeed , forming peptides is one thing , forming nucleotides is another . Your base and sugar must come together , you must have sufficient concentration of them, you must prevent harmful chemicals from coming in and cross -reacting , you must have the right pH , the right temperature maintained , etc . This is just like getting silicon in nature is one thing , getting silicon chips is another . You can have all your basic , goodies raw material , but to purify them , to configure them and mix them with other chemicals into something that can carry information in a system is not something non-intelligently-directed natural forces are reasonably expected to do




> Going back to Dr. Loke's '19 steps', the underlying theme still falls upon a subjective assessment of improbability, and he shouldn't object then when one finds his claims and default conclusion to be likewise 'unreasonable.'



* Do you mean it seems reasonable to get the sequence of all the minimal 19 steps right , PLUS millions of years of stable pH , temperature , WITHOUT any detrimental chemicals mixing in for MILLIONS of years ?? And all these only for the most basic DNA only ?

> Similarly, his use of forensic science is disingenuous in denying the need for any knowledge of an intelligence and yet using a preconceived idea of such a source as being the cause of life.
* As I wrote to you before , it is not wrong to consider intelligence as an ALTERNATIVE . My reasoning that concludes that this alternative is the most reasonable explanation for the origin of life , however , does not require such knowledge of the intelligence as the motive , identity, ,abilities, needs, desires , etc . but is based on "Knowledge of what is required for an event which produce something that is functional plus knowledge that undirected natural forces are not reasonably expected to move in the manner of the requirement => intelligence " , and this is also the method of reasoning used by SETI to detect design without knowledge of the motive , identity, ,abilities, needs, desires , etc of the ETI , as shown to you previously on your blog .

>Compounded with his definition of science that refuses to be rule-bound and is so broad as to render scientific enterprise meaningless, it's no wonder he can claim victory, for he runs in an empty field!

* With regards to my definition of science , I have asked you before if differentiating intelligent versus non- intelligent cause is a scientific or philosophical endeavor . You never answer me , despite FOUR reminders , and yet you are here repeating your unjustified opinions all over again !

As I wrote to you before, you still have not reply to my previous questions and arguments which I directed to you , and you are showing signs of repeating arguments which has been addressed before already. As I wrote on your post on 17 Dec 2005, " By the way, you haven't answer all the points and questions which I asked you before. If you can't answer them , please acknowledge that you conceded them . I think someone better keep an accounting here , for I have had a lot of nonsensical points from others in my previous debates with evolutionists which when refuted they just keep quiet and then they recycle their nonsensical points all over again . Proper concession of points are important for discussions on matters concerning the truth . " So you are showing yourself to be like those nonsensical evolutionists I have debated before whom when refuted just keep quiet and then they recycle their nonsensical points all over again

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger gambitch said...

Long replies are not my thing lately; I've enough else to do. Just thought I'd drop by to ask that anyone who wants a further answer from me regarding unanswered questions go visit my blog and trawl up something I posted.

And oh, chill out dudes.

I doubt I'll come back to this thread anytime soon, not because I'm conceding defeat (I'm not; nor can I be bothered to claim victory when this is destined to be a dead, passive standoff in the foreseeable future), nor because I'm outright bored to death.

No, it's just that I have other lives to live, and I can't be dedicating it to a single thread on a single blog. And even if this thread is resolved in my favour or Dr Loke's, what good does it do to the greater scheme of things?

If the good doctor would like to carry on nonetheless, please arrange for four months' supply of pasta and energy drink before proceeding. And about six thousand bucks, which should compensate me nicely for work-related opportunity costs.

:)

 
At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Gambitch

I do appreciate your shortage of time , but the fact remains that ANYBODY who does not have a valid case and who refuse to admit it can write exactly the same things as you do here .

I am also short of time , and I don't think I necessarily lose less money than you by spending time writing all these replies , but since both of us have involved ourselves in this discussion voluntarily , I think we should be committed to it rather than demanding the other party pay for our supplies .

Why bother with a discussion if it cannot give us any conclusions ? I think the conclusion should be obvious if we stick to the following dictum : if your position is not able to answer the questions directed to you , then your position is not tenable. i.e. if "A" have given arguments which prove his case and his opponents have not been able to refute those arguments , while " A" have refuted all their arguments which they had given for their case and they have not been able to refute those refutation, then A can legitimately claim victory . " Therefore , so long as you haven't address my questions directed to you here , while my points remain unrefuted, the reasonable conclusion is in favor of ID .

More often than not, however, the problem is not that the conclusion is not obvious , but rather , the problem is that the conclusion is not something the person likes , most probably because of his underlying , unjustified presuppositions ( anti-theistic or otherwise ). So unless these presuppositions are brought up to the light , and showed for what it is ( ie unjustified ) , the person will not accept the conclusion even though he cannot answer your questions nor refute your counter-arguments . For your case, I think , you revealed much by something you said before " Friends who know me long enough will know exactly what I dislike about most (if not all) monotheistic religions and their active proponents" to which I replied " Is your dislike based on truth ? " , which you never replied . If you can think about that , then I think it will be very helpful for you to accept the conclusion arrived at by reasonable analysis .

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger gambitch said...

Dear Doc,

I'm taking what little time out I have from preparing for a big assignment tonight. (I am not kidding; you might be interested in looking for me at the stadium this evening, after you knock off from work.) So forgive me for my disorganized brevity.

I was half-expecting your answer to be along exactly those lines. That includes the line "the fact remains that ANYBODY who does not have a valid case and who refuse to admit it can write exactly the same things as you do here...", an insinuation, perhaps, that I am just casually walking away rather than doing the 'right' thing and admitting defeat?

Be that an insinuation as it may, I suppose I have just enough time to pick up on one point which you have chosen to single out, and which I have just about enough immediate time to explain: why I have a dislike for monotheistic religions and their proponents.

No, I think the reason is not "based on truth", whatever that means. Perhaps it is based on politics, or more precisely a personal revulsion towards the politicality of these monotheistic religions, who adopt the posture of "I am the Gospel(tm); all else is heresy".

To me, this sense of exclusive ownership of the truth is a highly undesirable trait of far too many advocates of these religions. And the best part is that they adopt this position axiomatically.

In a previous life, a few friends and I had joined forces to form a new religion that worships what is known to us as The Pebble(tm). It was essentially a mild parody of evangelical Christianity as we saw it being practised. We perpetuated the show for months, finally ending it when we felt we've made our point - and got ourselves a pretty decent cult following along the way.

Essentially, to me, all religions share the same fundamental good teachings, namely advising us to do good and show brotherly love to our fellow man. Yet the three Abrahamic religions are in conflict today, perhaps as a result of their obstinate subscription to dogma that included much more than the above, dogma which had "exclusive rights to Gospel(tm)" written all over it.

It is that dogmatic nature of monotheistic religions (and more importantly their practitioners) which I feel nauseous about. That is why I am happy to be an agnostic following my own chosen set of values - values which all religions may claim to subscribe to (fair enough) but should not claim exclusive rights over.

I have friends who are religious, but they know my position on this and have not argued with me or found me religiously wanting. That, as you can see, is my background.

So, is it based on 'truth'? I suppose not. But don't you dare to make it seem as if my position should therefore be dismissed and pooh-poohed. To do so says more about you than it does me.

So I guess that addresses that issue - although the answer is obviously something you don't quite like. There are other questions you have fired to which I have not answered. But it is not because I have no answers. It is because I do not have the luxury of time to assemble them. To taunt me (or anyone else) by saying that we all just can't give one because we're wrong and stupid is, well, wrong and stupid.

We remain firmly unpersuaded, in spite of your belief that you have been persuasive. That is your belief; we simply do not share it. I sincerely hope you do not confuse this into a tacit concession of defeat, because until we actually say we concede, you can't claim vindication and victory.

Okay, that's it. I really have to go.


And if you'd really like to take this up further, please feel free to proceed to my blog. We've overloaded this thread as it stands anyway, and Shaun must be getting rather unamused.

 
At 3:48 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

Dear Gambitch ,

It has been more than two months since you put up your last post here but I have not seen you reply to my counter-arguments against macro-evolution .

Thank you for sharing with me the reason why you dislike monotheistic religions . However , it is not true that Christians hold the exclusivity of truth position axiomatically , as you say . Rather , we come to this position by logical reasoning .

There is something fundamental about the nature of truth which I hope you will grasp , and that is TRUTH BY NATURE IS EXCLUSIVE .By saying that there are " fundamental good teachings" , you are excluding other teachings as bad teaching . By saying that " we should not proclaim that we have exclusivity to the gospel " you are excluding those who do proclaim. So you see, you cannot escape from this exclusivity of truth . You use it yourself. To condemn people because they proclaim their beliefs with certain exclusivity is therefore hypocrisy .

In the meantime , I await your answers to my counter-arguments . I do hope you do not evade the issue . If you want to continue this discussion on your blog , please put a note here indicating which post on which internet address I should go to .

Best wishes
Andrew

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger gambitch said...

Funny enough that I should just randomly decide to pop by this page many months after last visiting.

I guess I've nothing I intend to say other than, well, the other guy just doesn't get it and has no intention to.

And with that, I'm officially done.

(And yes, I enjoy having the last word.)

 

Post a Comment

<< Home