Monday, October 5, 2009

The Absurdity of the Atheist Apologist

Atheist apologists are driven to "convert" as many as possible to their point of view I assume by some sort of desire for "truth" or "higher meaning" or pity for the "deluded people of faith." But under atheism nothing matters! This existence has no higher meaning. It is useless. We'll all die and the universe will run out of heat energy, leaving a bunch of dead galaxies that will continue to drift farther and farther apart, and that's it.

The atheist shows the practical impossibility of his worldview. They flounder pathetically for some meaning. They grasp at social responsibilities and abhor oppression. But this gives away their inconsistency. They have to appeal to a "higher meaning" when they believe there is not one. It is their view that leaves no hope for those who suffer injustice and offer no punishment for those who oppress and are never brought to justice. We just die and the litter of a dead universe expands forever.

But the Bible says:

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth (Revelation 11:18).

129 comments:

ExPatMatt said...

Boss,

That was a bit of a mean post, don't you think?

For starters, atheists that do behave like apologists are few and far between.

"But under atheism nothing matters!".

According to who? You?

'This existence has no higher meaning. It is useless. We'll all die and the universe will run out of heat energy, leaving a bunch of dead galaxies that will continue to drift farther and farther apart, and that's it".

Let's say that is the case. How does it necessarily follow that 'nothing matters'?

"They flounder pathetically for some meaning".

An atheist being a dedicated parent to their child is 'flounder[ing] pathetically for some meaning' in their life?

"They grasp at social responsibilities and abhor oppression.... They have to appeal to a "higher meaning" when they believe there is not one".

You've identified a 'higher meaning' right there in social responsibility and then said that they don't believe it exists in the next sentence. ?

"It is their view that leaves no hope for those who suffer injustice and offer no punishment for those who oppress and are never brought to justice".

It is the atheist view that there is no evidence of post-life reward or punishment. Is it better to tell stories that make people feel better, or ones that are based in reality?


I could make the counter-argument that says;

Christians believe that it's the 'next life' that matters so this life is irrelevant and they can do whatever they like as long as they repent before they die.

[I know this is wrong, but it's about as wrong as your post is in relation to atheism]

Cheers,

bossmanham said...

That was a bit of a mean post, don't you think?

Hmm, that wasn't my intention. I do think the concept is absurd. That doesn't mean I think ill personally of people, I just think what they do is inconsistent with what they believe. It doesn't accomplish any transcendent purpose to convert people of faith to atheism.

For starters, atheists that do behave like apologists are few and far between.

What do you mean "behave like apologists?" Is there a specific apologist mannerism? I am speaking of atheist apologetics in general. Defending the atheist opinion is something anyone who holds the position would do. I understand not all atheists behave like Dawkins, thank goodness.

I said: "But under atheism nothing matters!".

You said: According to who? You?

Well this is my position, but it is also the position of many philosophers, atheist and otherwise. For instance, Kai Nielson, after trying to defend the viability of ethics without God, in the end admits, "We have not been able to show that reason requires the moral point of view, or that all really rational persons, unhoodwinked by myth or ideology, need not be individual egoists or classical amoralists. Reason doesn't decide here. The picture I have painted for you is not a pleasant one. Reflection on it depresses me...Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality."

Let's say that is the case. How does it necessarily follow that 'nothing matters'?

You'll have to tell me how it does matter. If there is no transcendent meaning, then ultimately nothing means anything. Man and the universe exist with no purpose. Everything ends in death. We are only blind products of chance.

An atheist being a dedicated parent to their child is 'flounder[ing] pathetically for some meaning' in their life?

I think this supports my point. It shows that atheists aren't consistent with their own worldview, thankfully. You actually do understand that your child is more than an animal. He or she has intrinsic worth that transcends the natural world.

You've identified a 'higher meaning' right there in social responsibility and then said that they don't believe it exists in the next sentence. ?

That's the point.

Is it better to tell stories that make people feel better, or ones that are based in reality?

I didn't say that, and it's not relevant to this discussion. I am pointing out the inconsistency of the atheist. The assert they don't believe in a higher meaning, but they live like they do.

Christians believe that it's the 'next life' that matters so this life is irrelevant and they can do whatever they like as long as they repent before they die.

[I know this is wrong, but it's about as wrong as your post is in relation to atheism]


On atheism, we're the result of random mutations and nothing more. We are no better than animals. In Christianity, we understand that God created humanity for a purpose and meaning. We think He created them with intrinsic value that transcends the natural world. We are implanted with His law and He has also told us His law, and says we will be judged based on what we do here. Therefore, there is no way this life doesn't matter on Christianity. That would be inconsistent for a Christian to hold.

An atheist, however, has good grounds to think that there is no meaning to anything.

Froggie said...
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Froggie said...

Boss,
"They flounder pathetically for some meaning."

Is tht so? I didn't know that and I am a non-theist since as early as I can remember.

Actually my life has been full of meaning, having raised five kids with the youngest just headed off to college a few weeks ago.
I could wear the letters off these keys telling you what satisfying and productive things I have done for my family and fellow humans over the years, but no matter.

Empathy is the bedrock of morals and ethics and that developed out of millions of years as cooperative hunter gatherer tribes.

You don't sound very educated.
I'm betting you were raised in a stifling fundamentalist Christian family and have no idea how culturally conditioned you are.

Most of the screed you wrote is verbatim from the Christian fundamentalist playbook.

How about some original thoughts.

P.S.
I suppose you "Believe" the earth is only 6,000 years old too. hehe, I thought so.

Whateverman said...

Bossmanham wrote I am speaking of atheist apologetics in general. Defending the atheist opinion is something anyone who holds the position would do.

Although I take your point, really, atheists don't have to explain anything. It's the Christian fundamentalists who attempt to defend their world view - who attack atheism.

In reality, it's the theist who has to explain his positive assertion; atheism is the default position.

I suspect you're going to bristle at the last half of the above sentence. Before doing so, consider the following question very carefully:

When you began your life, did you harbor a belief in Allah? If the answer is yes, then you've refuted my argument - nicely done.

If you say "no", then you, too, lacked belief in God.

bossmanham said...

Froggie,

Is tht so? I didn't know that and I am a non-theist since as early as I can remember.

You do go on to theistic blogs and try to sway opinion. My point is that you do this for some reason, and I assume you think it would make everything better if more people were atheists. However, I am pointing out the inconsistency of this view, because on atheism, nothing matters.

Actually my life has been full of meaning, having raised five kids with the youngest just headed off to college a few weeks ago.

But it's just subjective and illusory. I am glad you have raised your children and they are doing so well, but in the end you die and your kids die, and their lives don't amount to a hill of beans! There can't be an objective purpose for any of our lives on atheism, because there is nothing that transcends the natural world, which ends in death. There isn't any more value in our life than in a cockroach's life.

I could wear the letters off these keys telling you what satisfying and productive things I have done for my family and fellow humans over the years, but no matter.

I'm glad you've had a good life, but it's purely subjective. If there is no God, you have simply invented purpose for yourself, but there is nothing, ultimately, that you have accomplished that does anything. You die and are forgotten and go into nothingness, and then the universe dies. Nothing matters.

Empathy is the bedrock of morals and ethics and that developed out of millions of years as cooperative hunter gatherer tribes.

Even though this is a bit of a red herring, it is interesting to address. So then morals aren't objective? We could have evolved differently. We could have evolved culturally so that rape is actually okay. Or that abusing little kids would be okay. It all depended on certain evolutionary occurrences.

Correct?

Most of the screed you wrote is verbatim from the Christian fundamentalist playbook

Okay.... it's not, but why is that relevant?

How about some original thoughts.

First, you forgot to use a question mark there. Second, I could ask you the same thing.

I suppose you "Believe" the earth is only 6,000 years old too. hehe, I thought so.

Actually, I'm not really that dedicated either way. Not sure how it's relevant.

bossmanham said...

Whatev,

Although I take your point, really, atheists don't have to explain anything

That does make it convenient. Never have to offer arguments to support your view and be automatically correct. That makes life pretty easy, eh?

In reality, it's the theist who has to explain his positive assertion; atheism is the default position.

The default position of what? Of humanity?

I suspect you're going to bristle at the last half of the above sentence. Before doing so, consider the following question very carefully:

When you began your life, did you harbor a belief in Allah? If the answer is yes, then you've refuted my argument - nicely done.


Why is that even relevant? I actually think that it is God who must pursue us. Atheism may very well be the "default position."

bossmanham said...

There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

Romans 3:11

Whateverman said...

Bossmanham wrote Atheism may very well be the "default position."

If so, then you understand what was meant by it. And in understanding, you should realize that "not believing in something" requires no explanation whatsoever.

Unless the atheist makes a positive assertion (ie. "God does not exist"), then no apologia is required. None at all. For those who DO make such statements, the God hypothesis is easily debunked by debunking believer claims.

I'm not an atheist - I believe God exists. But the notion that atheists need to explain their position is absurd.

Froggie said...
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J.C. Thibodaux said...

Whaeverman,

"And in understanding, you should realize that "not believing in something" requires no explanation whatsoever."

Depends on what one is 'not believing' in. If it's something with no evidence whatsoever, this would be quite understandable; concerning the existence of a Creator, it isn't. The universe and our world didn't just fall together out of randomness, nor did our lives. Such designs are the handiwork of God Almighty, which is why the scriptures declare,

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse..." (Romans 1:18-20)

In other words, not believing in God isn't reasonable, it's willful ignorance.


"For those who DO make such statements, the God hypothesis is easily debunked by debunking believer claims."

You're not citing any specifics. Also, you're also engaging in the "fallacy fallacy" (Argumentum ad Logicam), assuming that debunking bad arguments for a proposition somehow disproves said proposition.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"It is obvious to us how emotionally traumatic child abuse is. Yet their are Christians who try to justify routine corporal punishment for their kids."

a.) And by what principle in an atheistic worldview would needlessly inflicting trauma be 'wrong?'

b.) You're equating physical discipline with abuse, also known as the fallacy of equivocation.


"...try telling that to my family and friends and the kids that I have mentored over all these years."

Hand-waving in lieu of an answer. Fails every time.


"...since you waste it in hopes of some after life experience for which there is not one iota of evidence."

Apparently Froggie missed the 'empty tomb' memo.

Whateverman said...

I wrote the following: "And in understanding, you should realize that "not believing in something" requires no explanation whatsoever."

J C Thibodaux responded with this Depends on what one is 'not believing' in. If it's something with no evidence whatsoever, this would be quite understandable;

If you had stopped here, I would have conceded what I thought your point was going to be: that not believing in something for which there *is* empirical evidence would
necessitate an explanation.

If that had been your point, then you would have been correct. however, you continued with this:

concerning the existence of a Creator, it isn't. The universe and our world didn't just fall together out of randomness, nor did our lives. Such designs are the handiwork of God Almighty, which is why the scriptures declare,

{scripture snipped for brevity}

In other words, not believing in God isn't reasonable, it's willful ignorance.


You mean that it's your belief that it's willful ignorance. That I will also concede. However, you believing that atheists are required to offer an explanation for not believing is not the same as atheists needing to offer an explanation.

In reality, you would be demanding that people explain why they do not believe the same as you - and such demands are silly. It's the person making the positive statement (ie. "the God of the Bible exists" or "God created our universe") that is required to explain him or herself.

The person who does not believe in things which can't be shown to exist empirically owes nothing.


"For those who DO make such statements, the God hypothesis is easily debunked by debunking believer claims."

You're not citing any specifics. Also, you're also engaging in the "fallacy fallacy" (Argumentum ad Logicam), assuming that debunking bad arguments for a proposition somehow disproves said proposition.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Whateverman,

"You mean that it's your belief that it's willful ignorance."

No, I'm pretty sure I meant that refusal to believe in God is willful ignorance. Retorts are often more stinging if they consist of more than blind assertion.


"It's the person making the positive statement (ie. "the God of the Bible exists" or "God created our universe") that is required to explain him or herself."

Not in the face of overwhelming evidence for such a claim, which was the point of discussion if you'll recall.


"The person who does not believe in things which can't be shown to exist empirically owes nothing."

That doesn't follow, since not all evidence is empirical.

Whateverman said...

I wrote "You mean that it's your belief that it's willful ignorance."

JC wrote: No, I'm pretty sure I meant that refusal to believe in God is willful ignorance. Retorts are often more stinging if they consist of more than blind assertion.

It's a fact that YOU BELIEVE it to be willful ignorance. You have not and can not offer any empirical evidence that atheists willfully ignore the existence of God.

You can offer your faith, of course, but that's not evidence. Do you have any evidence that doesn't require a person to have the same faith as you do?

Whateverman said...

There is no overwhelming evidence for the existence of God.

Froggie said...

JCT,
"Such designs are the handiwork of God Almighty, which is why the scriptures declare,.."
And then you quote a bible verse.
That is circular reasoning because there is no evidence that the bible is anything more than a cultural artifact.

You have lapsed into the type of circular reasoning normally used by the most unsophisticated apologists, i.e. There is a God because I say there is a God and if you don't believe me you are stupid and here is a bible verse to prove it."

Sorry lil buddy. The bible proves nothing. The bible is a ancient attempt at religious philosophy and was derived by the Hebrews to bring about control of the tribes.

bossmanham said...

Froggie,

You can't cuss here. If you can't carry on a rational and reasonable conversation I will ban you from the blog. If your arguments are so amazing, you should be able to make them without cursing.

You have lapsed into the type of circular reasoning normally used by the most unsophisticated apologists

No, I'm pretty sure he appealed to the cosmological argument. He just used scripture to support it. If you've come up with some amazing evidence that the universe magically poofed itself into existence, now is the time to present it.

bossmanham said...

Whatev,

There is no overwhelming evidence for the existence of God.

I could think of at least a dozen arguments, including the ontological, cosmological, argument from contingency, argument from morals, etc. It's funny though, I have never been presented with a sound, plausible argument against the existence of God. You're more than welcome to present one.

Froggie said...

Boss,

"No, I'm pretty sure he appealed to the cosmological argument. He just used scripture to support it. If you've come up with some amazing evidence that the universe magically poofed itself into existence, now is the time to present it."

There is amazing evidence- with vast amounts of empirical evidence- that the present universe came into being 14.7 billion years ago.

The Cosmological "Argument" is a philisophicl argument and is proof of nothing as the bible is not proof of anything.

"You can't cuss here. If you can't carry on a rational and reasonable conversation I will ban you from the blog."

I couldn't give a rat's posterior if you ban me. It would merely be further proof that you are a closed minded slug, especially after you are the one that tells me my life is no different than that of a cockroach.

bossmanham said...

that the present universe came into being 14.7 billion years ago.

Irrelevant. Although I will add they assume a lot of things without empirical to come to this conclusion.

The Cosmological "Argument" is a philisophicl argument and is proof of nothing as the bible is not proof of anything.

Also irrelevant. Try again.

It would merely be further proof that you are a closed minded slug,

Haha. I'm just laughing at the irony. All it would prove is I don't allow people to cuss on my blog.

Froggie said...

Boss,
"I could think of at least a dozen arguments, including the ontological, cosmological, argument from contingency, argument from morals, etc. It's funny though, I have never been presented with a sound, plausible argument against the existence of God. You're more than welcome to present one."

First of all, the fact that there is no evidence for the existence of any supernatural power is enough reason to doubt, and deny the existence of such a being.
That is why God is referred to as supernatural, which means out of nature, or above nature, and thus not part of the natural world.
There is no way to test for something that is not part of nature.

Next; again you list Philosophical Arguments for the existence of a supernatural being but those same arguments can be used for any supernatural being. Philosophical Arguments are not evidence for anything. That's why they are called Philosophical Arguments and not Philosophical Theories or Philosophical Laws.

PS With all due respect, you would never have to ban me from this site. If you would rather that I not comment here all you need to do is ask me to leave and I would not return. Simple as that.

You might want to know that I have a long an successful career due to my principals of ethics that I value very much. They have served me well and I am completely satisfied with the lessons I have learned in life and how I have helped others by sharing these lessons. If I say something you don't like just tell me and I will be gone, even as I watch you observe your silly belifs go up in the smoke of reason.

Froggie said...

Boss,
"Irrelevant. Although I will add they assume a lot of things without empirical to come to this conclusion."

So you are now referring to sound empirical evidence as "irrevelent?"

That is absurd beyond description.

bossmanham said...

That is why God is referred to as supernatural, which means out of nature, or above nature, and thus not part of the natural world.

Can you empirically verify that? You do realize theists think God can act in the natural world, do you not?

There is no way to test for something that is not part of nature.

You're assuming something without empirical evidence.

Next; again you list Philosophical Arguments for the existence of a supernatural being but those same arguments can be used for any supernatural being.

Your ignorance shines forth again. With these arguments you only determine that there is a deity. These arguments do not determine who that deity is. It takes further thought to determine that.

Philosophical Arguments are not evidence for anything.

Tell that to philosophers. And can you empirically verify that statement? Or do you simply assume it is true?

With all due respect, you would never have to ban me from this site. If you would rather that I not comment here all you need to do is ask me to leave and I would not return. Simple as that.

If I were closed minded, I would have banned you already. I am interested in the dialog, you just need to be able to conduct yourself appropriately. Cursing just shows the weakness of your position.

You might want to know that I have a long an successful career due to my principals of ethics that I value very much

Good for you. It's irrelevant and those ethics are purely subjective. If there is no God, I could form a different set of ethics that says it's okay to kill my competition. Is that okay?

They have served me well and I am completely satisfied with the lessons I have learned in life and how I have helped others by sharing these lessons

Lessons that mean nothing and will die out within a couple of generations. And when the universe has expended all its energy and the litter of the dead universe is forever expanding, those lessons meant nothing.

If I say something you don't like just tell me and I will be gone, even as I watch you observe your silly belifs go up in the smoke of reason.

I always enjoy unbacked assertion. You seem to think this is an effective debate tactic. So far, I have heard nothing from you but ignorant arguments based on faulty reasoning. You're more than welcome to prove me wrong. Present one of those arguments against the existence of God. Quit backpedaling to the archaic notion of verificationism. It's a self defeating proposition.

bossmanham said...

So you are now referring to sound empirical evidence as "irrevelent?"

Now you show you have an issue with reading comprehension. That fact is irrelevant to our discussion. How old the universe is has no bearing on whether it began or not. Then I said, to show the silliness of your verificationism, that they assume many factors they can't empirically test while determining the age of the universe.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Whateverman,

"You have not and can not offer any empirical evidence that atheists willfully ignore the existence of God."

See the point above about empirical evidence.


"There is no overwhelming evidence for the existence of God."

There is overwhelming for the existence of an intelligently created universe, and for the resurrection of Christ the Lord. That very well qualifies. But because they (as a whole) reject the inescapable implications of creation as well as the testimony in the gospels, Atheists can be nothing but willfully ignorant.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Froggie,"

"That is circular reasoning because there is no evidence that the bible is anything more than a cultural artifact."

For starters, the prophecies fulfilled that are given in scripture set it apart as much more than a mere cultural work. Secondly, where and how exactly is my reasoning 'circular?'


"There is amazing evidence- with vast amounts of empirical evidence- that the present universe came into being 14.7 billion years ago."

Really now? Please empirically demonstrate the universe aging 14+ billion years for us.


"The Cosmological "Argument" is a philisophicl argument and is proof of nothing as the bible is not proof of anything."

It would be much clearer if you'd just stick your fingers in your ears and say, "la la la."


"There is no way to test for something that is not part of nature."

That's correct, but your making this into an objection is based upon the same faulty reasoning wm uses (assuming that evidence must necessarily be empirical).

bossmanham said...

Whatevman,

Also, I believe I conceded your point too quickly. I believe the presumtion of atheism is faulty, since atheism is as much of a truth claim as theism; meaning it bears as much a burden of proof as theism. Soft agnosticism is the only position that I would concede as a potentially valid "default" position.

Froggie said...

Boss,

You are somehow trying to convince yourself that certain philosophies are "evidence" or "proof" of your silly claims.

" Philosophy is a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means."

Philosophy does not claim to have empirical evidence. For every philosophy there is an equal and opposite philosophy.

I have studied philosophy and understand the subject and what philosophy does. It is obvious that you have not.

JCT responds to my statement, "There is amazing evidence- with vast amounts of empirical evidence- that the present universe came into being 14.7 billion years ago," by saying,

"Really now? Please empirically demonstrate the universe aging 14+ billion years for us."

I darn near fell out of my chair. Are you telling me you do not understand how the age of the universe was calculated? Really?
I recommend that you go to the nearest community college post haste and sign up for Astronomy 101.

Froggie said...

JCT,
I said,
"The Cosmological "Argument" is a philisophicl argument and is proof of nothing as the bible is not proof of anything."

To which you responded,
"It would be much clearer if you'd just stick your fingers in your ears and say, "la la la.""

No it is you that is sticking your fingers somewhere by avoiding answering to my valid statement.

It is becoming painfully obvious that you and Boss employ similar devices to avoid valid issues. Boss claims every sttement "irrelevent," and you say stupid things as I pointed out above.

I get this creepy feeling that neither of you graduated from high school.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Froggie,"

"Are you telling me you do not understand how the age of the universe was calculated? Really?"

Calculations and derivative data based upon given assumptions are not the same thing as empirical data. I can only recommend that you acquire some clue as to what 'empirical' means.


"No it is you that is sticking your fingers somewhere by avoiding answering to my valid statement."

It was addressed in my first statement if you'll recall. When you catch up with the discussion, let me know.


"...and you say stupid things as I pointed out above."

Quoting you doesn't count as me saying it.


"I get this creepy feeling that neither of you graduated from high school."

I can't speak for Brennon, but I didn't actually. Considering the relatively abysmal level of education imparted to the average student from most high schools, I'll take that as a compliment. :) I find that this often has little bearing on how accurately someone interprets data.

Froggie said...

JCT,

"Calculations and derivative data based upon given assumptions are not the same thing as empirical data. I can only recommend that you acquire some clue as to what 'empirical' means."

Man, you're cracking me up here.
You can continue this madness by taking up the issue with Stephen Hawking, or better yet Neil deGrasse Tyson or any of the tens of thousands of physicist/ astronomers out there. You have failed to challenge any of the empirical evidence for the age of the universe. You are arguing from points of vagueness.

You can do a simple search and find the Empirical evidence for the age of the universe and then refute just one of them if you so wish.

You hve not made even one salient point.

Froggie said...

JCT,
By the way, how old do you think the universe is?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Froggy,"

"You have failed to challenge any of the empirical evidence for the age of the universe."

You've thus far failed to present any.


"You are arguing from points of vagueness."

Incorrect. I'm arguing from the very definition of 'empirical.' You, on the other hand, are making sweeping claims of 'empirical' evidence, yet failing to present any, all the while projecting your vagueness in argumentation onto me.

bossmanham said...

You can continue this madness by taking up the issue with Stephen Hawking, or better yet Neil deGrasse Tyson or any of the tens of thousands of physicist/ astronomers out there

They're smart enough to agree that empirical data and derived data are two different things.

Froggie said...

Boss and JCT,
Observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation is empirical evidence of the age of the universe. The age of the universe, being based on the empirical determination of H (hubble's Constant,) is based on the observed evidence.
Just for strters.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

"Froggie,"

Cosmic microwave background radiation is not empirically indicative of age; it's raw data that's used in calculation, as I distinguished above. Calculations, however require certain fallible assumptions, which is why your claims of 'empirical' evidence for the age of the universe are faulty.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

There is overwhelming for the existence of an intelligently created universe...

Ummm. No. It has not once been demonstrated that humans can reliably detect design, and has many times been demonstrated that humans infer design where none exists.

...and for the resurrection of Christ the Lord.

That's just preposterous. There is ample evidence that there are people who believe Jesus was resurrected, but none whatsoever that it actually happened. Feel free to show us otherwise.

Calculations and derivative data based upon given assumptions are not the same thing as empirical data. I can only recommend that you acquire some clue as to what 'empirical' means.

I get the distinct impression that you have no idea what qualifies as being 'empirical data.' Any raw experimental data is necessarily empirical -- technically, any observational or experimental data is considered empirical. Since you're applying whatever definition of 'empirical' you have in mind to dating the universe, measuring the distances to galaxies, etc., I have to wonder just what you think 'empirical' means.

Astronomers and astrophysicists measure distances (and therefore times) by applying simple trigonometry to a phenomenon called 'stellar parallax,' which method is the basis for further distance measurements. These methods are all eventually based on Einstein's relativity -- the speed of light is roughly constant, with a maximum speed (in a vacuum) of ~3x10^8 m/s. While this speed is technically defined, its value forms the basis of all of our measurements -- the meter, the second, and all of the derivative measurements except mass.

The distances measured via astronomy/astrophysics are all consistent with Einstein and with every current theory on the table, and they all imply a specific minimum age of ~14 Gy for the universe.

Calculations, however require certain fallible assumptions, which is why your claims of 'empirical' evidence for the age of the universe are faulty.

Name one "fallible assumption" used when calculating the age of the universe and/or distances to galaxies, and show how observational evidence fails to meet your arbitrary definition of 'empirical.' From the comments I've seen, I'd say neither 'bossmanham' nor 'JC Thibodaux' have a clue what constitutes empirical data, or how to measure stellar distances.

--
Stan

Froggie said...

Stan,
Well stated. I have never even heard the term "derived evidence" in physics. Statistics, yes, but it is still empirical evidence.

By Boss' home made definition, "derived evidence" he can claim that by mutiplying the speed of a car times the time traveled will result in the distance traveled, yet it is not valid because it is "derived." Very funny!

bossmanham said...

Ummm. No. It has not once been demonstrated that humans can reliably detect design, and has many times been demonstrated that humans infer design where none exists.

Tell that to Antony Flew.

I get the distinct impression that you have no idea what qualifies as being 'empirical data.' Any raw experimental data is necessarily empirical -- technically, any observational or experimental data is considered empirical.

I believe you are the one with that particular deficiency.

You don't describe the method of dating the universe. Since none of us is 14 billion years old, we don't have that empirical data. Scientists rely on infallible assumptions in their equations. It may be a plausible deduction (assuming preceding premeses are true) but it isn't empirical.

You contradict yourself when you say these calculations are 'raw data.' Raw data is factual recorded information that is the direct result of the original observation and/or activity. Again, you aren't 14 billion years old, are you?

These methods are all eventually based on Einstein's relativity

Einstein's theory isn't even based on empirical data. He made many assumptions when developing his theory. Empirical data is things that can be observed. We can't actually directly observe these things or distant galaxies and must assume numerous quantites remain constant. The copernican principle itself, which assumes that laws are the same in other galaxies than our own, is an assumption. We have no way of testing that empirically.

the speed of light is roughly constant

Another assumption that must be made to make these equations work.

Name one "fallible assumption" used when calculating the age of the universe and/or distances to galaxies,

That the speed of light has always remained constant. We can't test that empirically.

Froggie, no one said things that are derived from assumptions aren't valid, they're just not infallible. however, we can actually observe the speeds of cars, etc, and observe that distance = speed * time. We don't have to assume anything to calculate their speed.

maybe you guys should read a book?

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Tell that to Antony Flew.

I'm sorry -- was that supposed to be an argument? I was under the impression that Flew was a former atheist who may or may not now endorse [Christian] Theism or Deism, but regardless is a philosopher who has not performed any research to countermand my claim that it has not been shown that humans can reliably detect design, and that the converse has been shown, many times over.

Did you actually have something relevant to offer, or just an empty passing remark?

I believe you are the one with [the] particular deficiency [of being unaware of the actual definition of 'empirical data.']

Yes, I agree; you believe that. You seem to believe plenty of things which are incorrect. Have you an actual argument, or a qualified definition of 'empirical data' you'd like to reference, or are you merely posturing?

You don't describe the method of dating the universe. Since none of us is 14 billion years old, we don't have that empirical data.

I didn't claim to describe the method(s) of dating the universe, and I didn't claim that the determination that the universe is ~14 billion years old is 'empirical data.' We do have empirical data that the distances to the furthest known galaxies are ~4 Gpc, but since you don't seem to know what constitutes 'empirical data,' I expect convincing you might prove difficult.

Scientists rely on infallible assumptions in their equations.

If I were dishonest, I might pounce on an obvious misstatement like this, but sadly, your error is incorrect. Scientists are fallible, and certainly assumptions with respect to hypothesis generation are many times incorrect, but repeating (even in error) your earlier claim is not arguing for it -- if you would state that scientists rely on fallible assumptions, please identify any such assumption (relevant to this discussion).

You contradict yourself when you say these calculations are 'raw data.'

You illustrate your inability to comprehend when you make these sorts of statements -- either that or you're dishonest. I did not say that "calculations are 'raw data.' " I said that raw data are empirical data, and I said that observational and experimental data are empirical data, but your misunderstanding is not my problem.

Einstein's theory isn't even based on empirical data.

True. It is, however, supported in great detail by empirical data. Your point?

Empirical data is things that can be observed.

That's what I said.

We can't actually directly observe these things or distant galaxies and must assume numerous quantites [sic] remain constant. (emphasis yours)

And? Indirect observation is still observation, you realize (and technically all observation is indirect). Have you ever observed a thunderclap? Do you not realize that the time differential between a flash of lightning and the sound of the thunder are directly related, even though both are indirectly observed? Methinks not.

Of course, you're quite wrong regarding the assumption of constancy. The speed of light (in a vacuum) is defined. It is not 'assumed constant.' Indeed, it is many times much slower than that defined speed (depending on the medium). This doesn't help you, you realize, for if it travels slower, the universe is even older.

Another assumption that must be made to make these equations work.

Aside from copying one of these equations from Wikipedia, I highly doubt you know anything regarding that which you denounce. Certainly, your comments belie any understanding of even basic physics.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

That the speed of light has always remained constant [is a "fallible assumption" made when calculating the age of the universe and/or distance to stellar objects].

I've written a few times now that the speed of light (in a vacuum) is a defined quantity, and while you may or may not understand what that means, I imagine you can understand some of the implications. If the speed of light is so defined, and if it forms the basis for measurements such as the meter, the second, etc., then the measurements we make are also defined, and thus our measurements of distance and time are both defined and consistent. Based on the mountains of empirical data which support the various theories and laws used to determine the distance to stellar objects, we can say with reasonable certainty that yes, the universe is at least 13.7 billion years old, that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old, with the sun a few hundred million years older than that, and that Barbra Streisand is ugly, has a big nose, and is 67 years old.

You see, if the speed of light (in a vacuum) is defined, and that definition is a constant, then the speed of light (in a vacuum) cannot change, and because it forms the basis for our measurement of time, it means that our time measurements are consistent. Even if the speed of light somehow fluctuated, we would not be able to detect it based on our definition, and it would not affect our measurements of time, also based on our definition.

I'm struggling to come up with an example which will be simple enough for you to understand, but try the following:

Imagine that you define a minute as the amount of time it takes for you to walk to your mailbox and return indoors. Even if some days you run (as it's raining), others you walk leisurely (as it's pleasant), and others still you stop to gab with your neighbor, the exercise always takes a minute. It would be meaningless in such a case for you to say that sometimes it takes longer to fetch your mail, and if the minute were the basis for time measurement in general, you couldn't tell if it changed anyway.

Now, if you could tell that the time had changed, or that the distance to your mailbox had changed, what would this mean? It would mean that your 'watch' was in fact not based in any way on the time it took for you to retrieve your mail, and if it also formed the basis for length (as the defined speed of light does), you'd notice time and distance constantly fluctuating in very incomprehensible ways.

Granted, it is difficult to imagine a watch which dynamically updates based on your position, but believe it or not, this is what light effectively does. Don't believe me? Look up Fermat's Principle. Note that in most experiments, we observe the principle through homogeneous mediums -- uniform substances -- but the composition of air, for instance, is not uniform, which means that the path a photon takes from point A to point B through [air, or any inhomogeneous medium] is effectively chosen by the photon as it travels.

Not to infer conscious decision-making by photons, however, this principle is realized only via the collapse of the quantum wave packet which describes the photon, which is more complication than this blog needs... Suffice it to say that because lengths and times appear fixed to us, the definition of the speed of light (in a vacuum) as a constant comports with reality in a non-trivial fashion.

maybe you guys should read a book?

You realize, I hope, that real books actually have words, and not just pictures or pop-ups, right?

--
Stan

Froggie said...

Boss,
I said,

"I suppose you "Believe" the earth is only 6,000 years old too. hehe, I thought so."

You responded,

"Actually, I'm not really that dedicated either way. Not sure how it's relevant."

You sure seem to be doing everything in your limited understanding of physics to try to show that there is no evidence for an old universe.

Just sayin'....

bossmanham said...

I'm sorry -- was that supposed to be an argument?

No, it was a statement to show that your assertion is outdated. By a wide margin, scientists accept, at the very least, the appearance of fine tuning in the universe. This after the discovery of how complex and sensitive a nexus of conditions must be given in order for the universe to permit the origin and evolution of intelligent life on Earth.

You just hold a ridiculous position.

and that the converse has been shown, many times over.

Nice assertion, but these claims have been replaced by the discoveries I just spoke of.

If you want some examples, let's explore a few:

The general conditions needed for the universe to sustain intelligent life: G. J. Whitrow showed that intelligent life would be impossible except in a universe of three dimensions. Mathematical physics possess many unique properties which are necessary prerequisites for the existence of rational information-processing observers like ourselves. Furthermore, dimensionality plays a key role in forming the laws of physics and in fashioning the roles played by the constants in nature. He could not answer the question why the actual universe happens to possess three dimensions.

The constants in nature appear to be fine tuned for the existence of intelligent life: The world is conditioned principally by the values of the fundamental constants a (the fine structure constant, or electromagnetic interaction), mn/me (proton to electron mass ratio, aG (gravitation), aw (the weak force), and as (the strong force). Just a slight variation in any of these would render life impossible.

Appearance of design

Several of these constants played a key role in the formation of the universe. For example, aG, and mn/me constrain (i) the main sequence stellar lifetime, (ii) the time before which the expansion dynamics of the expanding universe are determined by radiation rather than matter, (iii) the time after which the universe is cool enough for atoms and molecules to form, (iv) the time necessary for protons to decay, and (v) the Planck time. In essence, if there had not been the precisely correct conditions at the big bang event, the universe would have collapsed in on itelf and failed to form. Roger Penrose has calculated that for one of these constants (the special low entropy condition) to arise by chance is at least as small as about one part in 10^10(123) in order for our universe to exist.

Appearance of design

Or we could look at biological complexity. Let's assume for a moment that Darwinian evolution is correct (I don't believe this, but work with me for a second). John Barrow and Frank Tipler state that there are at least ten steps in the evolution of homo sapiens, each of which is so improbable that before it would have occurred the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and incinerated the Earth.

Appearance of design, even it Darwinian evolution is correct.
---
This is why scientists don't deny that there is appearance of design. Many simply say we shouldn't be surprised at this, since we are here observing it. But that's like standing in front of a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen, hearing the roar of the guns, opening your eyes to find yourself alive, and then stating, "well I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the improbability of them all missing, after all if they hadn't I wouldn't be here to be surprised about it." But that is obviously ridiculous! You would know, and be right in this knowledge, that there had been a designed plan for them to miss.

Now, I have shown you the appearance of design in our world, you need to explain this. Why is there an appearance of design in the universe?

bossmanham said...

I didn't claim to describe the method(s) of dating the universe, and I didn't claim that the determination that the universe is ~14 billion years old is 'empirical data.'

Stan said: The distances measured via astronomy/astrophysics are all consistent with Einstein and with every current theory on the table, and they all imply a specific minimum age of ~14 Gy for the universe.

This was in the context of you chastising us for not knowing what empirical data is. We said that the age of the universe is not based on empirical data, but on calculations derived by using assumed quantities. Why were you chastising us over the definition of empirical data if you now admit the age of the universe is not based on this?

I said: "Scientists rely on infallible assumptions in their equations."

You said: If I were dishonest, I might pounce on an obvious misstatement like this, but sadly, your error is incorrect.

It's an obvious typo. I have been contending the entire time that these assumptions are fallible. It should read, ""Scientists rely on fallible assumptions in their equations."

I said that raw data are empirical data

Why are you attacking our use of the word empirical?

And? Indirect observation is still observation, you realize (and technically all observation is indirect).

It's based on assumed values that aren't empirical.

This doesn't help you, you realize, for if it travels slower, the universe is even older.

I'm not arguing about the age of the universe, I'm pointing out things that we assume without empirical data to froggie. The age of the universe is irrelevant to the existence of God.

I've written a few times now that the speed of light (in a vacuum) is a defined quantity

We assume the speed of light has always remained constant. We can't empirically verify that it wasn't a different speed in the past.

then the speed of light (in a vacuum) cannot change

This is, like I said, an assumption. If the copernican principle is incorrect, light could travel at different rates in different galaxies. You need to note that I don't necessarily believe that, I'm just showing the assumptions used in this process.

Mailbox analogy and explanation of Fermat's principle are irrelevant...

You realize, I hope, that real books actually have words, and not just pictures or pop-ups, right?

Yes. Have you ever read one?

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Nonetheless, something being improbable does not mean it cannot happen. In a given sample of radioactive material, the odds that any specific atom will decay to a more stable nucleus are vanishingly small, yet any given moment one of those atoms will do exactly that. Saying that an improbable event wouldn't happen until the sun transitioned off the main sequence and became a red giant is a blatant red herring, and Dr. Craig knows better. Today, for example, Starbucks coffee houses across the U.S. took in untold millions (billions?) in revenue. We could just as easily say that the particular arrangement of the cash and coin in the collective Starbucks cash registers is just as unlikely as the particular evolutionary steps under reference, and yet at the end of the day, they have a specific arrangement of cash and coin.

What are the odds that a flipped (fair) coin will land heads or tails?

But that's like standing in front of a firing squad of 100 trained marksmen, hearing the roar of the guns, opening your eyes to find yourself alive, and then stating, "well I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the improbability of them all missing, after all if they hadn't I wouldn't be here to be surprised about it." But that is obviously ridiculous!

Nice analogy, but it's wrong. There are many possible explanations as to why you lived through the ordeal, and while an elaborate hoax is one of them, it is not necessarily the case that the hoax is the reason you lived. Of course, that isn't why the analogy has failed, though. The analogy fails instead because you're applying post hoc ergo propter hoc. A better analogy would be arguing why a specific pattern of buckshot appeared on a target at which a shotgun had been fired -- because it was fired, a specific pattern must obtain. Since we're staring at the target, we can identify which pattern that turned out to be. Identifying the pattern, and identifying why that pattern obtained, are two very different things.

Now, I have shown you the appearance of design in our world, you need to explain this.

No, you have shown me the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy in exquisite detail. Even if you hadn't, however, you would not have, and have not, shown that we can reliably detect design. I'm still waiting for that one.

Why were you chastising us over the definition of empirical data if you now admit the age of the universe is not based on this?

More comprehension issues? I chastised you for claiming 'empirical data' excluded certain data which were most certainly empirical. I stated that the distances measured were empirical, and these distances were used to determine the age of the universe (among other means of determining age). The age determination is not itself empirical, but it is very much based on empirical data, including observational evidence via astronomy/astrophysics.

bossmanham said...

but it does not follow from this that the universe is fine tuned for humans

The other two options are it either is like this due to physical necessity or chance. The burden of proof rests on you to show which.

Surely you're not saying it's not possible for this universe to be any different? This is a radical line requiring some proof.

Discoveries?! You didn't speak of any such thing. You asserted that "scientists accept

Speaking of the discoveries I mentioned in my first sentence and then spoke of later on. Try not to jump to conclusions.

many unique properties which are necessary prerequisites for the existence of rational information-processing observers like ourselves.

When you start citing sources in Blogger combox debates, so will I. And if they sue me for not citing them in a combox debate, they need to get a life. Luckily, I'm not asking for any money to read this silly combox debate. It's as easy as googling the info. I didn't cut and paste it all anyway. Most of it is recalled info from Craig's debates and book.

Several of these constants played a key role in the formation of the universe.

Plagiarizing Bill Craig now?


No...this I wrote on my own. Bill craig isn't the only one who can formulate a sentence. Yes, I use much info he has provided. I am not going to exhaustively cite sources in a combox debate, and I notice you are not either.

The anthropic principle is not proof of anything, and is both trivial and self-evident

This references the analogy I cited. While it's true you don't observe that you aren't here, it doesn't follow that you shouldn't be surprised that you are here.

As you should already be well aware, the odds of being dealt a specific five-card hand in poker are 1:(52!/47!), or about 1 in 300 million

Not a very good analogy. Yes, there is a 1 to 1 chance that you will be dealt a poker hand if you play poker, but the chance is 1 in 300,000,000 to get all aces. Those are better odds than getting the correct conditions for a life sustaining universe. In fact, the odds are better that you would be dealt an all Ace hand 20+ times in a row.

but whatever the limitations, we are here, and even if those 'variables' must have specific values for that to be the case, it does not follow that this implies design.

If you were dealt 20+ all Ace hands in a row, I think you would assume this was done by design. Similar to the 100 trained marksmen missing their shot. You would not say, "well I shouldn't be surprised at this improbability, since I'm still here." The most plausible explanation is someone has determined you will keep getting 5 aces or will not get shot.

It is rational to be surprised and consider the possibility of an intelligent designer in light of the fine tuning in the universe.

Really? Have you no unique thoughts? Are you incapable of at least paraphrasing?

This was a paraphrase. I don't have a problem letting people know I am using Craig as a source. We are both using sources. I don't have time to exhaustively study all of this on my own. This is why scholars do this, to provide info to others. There is no prohibition on using their info, and there is no rule saying I need to cite the info in a combox debate. You're using external sources as well. Cite yours and I'll cite mine. Frankly, Barrow and Tipler are the original sources here, so I did cite them.

Nonetheless, something being improbable does not mean it cannot happen

No one said it was. Nice straw man.

Saying that an improbable event wouldn't happen until the sun transitioned off the main sequence and became a red giant is a blatant red herring, and Dr. Craig knows better.

Craig cites Barrow and Tipler, who aren't theists, so take it up with them.

It just adds to his case. He isn't dumb enough to use this as his only source.

bossmanham said...

the odds that any specific atom will decay to a more stable nucleus are vanishingly small, yet any given moment one of those atoms will do exactly that

Given my lack of knowledge about this, I still know that nuclear materials do decay. I also know that, although it takes many years, they eventually become stable. That is because this is a process that the atoms go through by necessity. So while the odds that a specific atom will become stable, the odds are not against the atoms becoming stable, because they will stabilize. This is irrelevant. There is no evidence that the universal constants are the way they are necessarily. They could be different. There is also no evidence that the universe must necessarily be here rather than not be here.

We could just as easily say that the particular arrangement of the cash and coin in the collective Starbucks cash registers is just as unlikely as the particular evolutionary steps under reference, and yet at the end of the day, they have a specific arrangement of cash and coin.

Another fail analogy. The cash and coin arrangements are random. But one specific arangement is extremely unlikely, and that is akin to the one universe we observe. It is like having one of those arrangements necessary for Starbucks to exist, and if that specific arrangement didn't exist every single minute of every day, Starbucks would collapse.

This is the point. There are admittably a number of different ways the universe could be put together, but it is the specific way we observe it that is tailored to life.

Nice analogy, but it's wrong. There are many possible explanations as to why you lived through the ordeal, and while an elaborate hoax is one of them, it is not necessarily the case that the hoax is the reason you lived.

The other explanations, while possible, are extremely implausible. If you're comfortable with an extremely implausible explanation, more power to you. It is implausible and irresponsible to think that the trained marksmen missed for any other reason than it was planned.

you would not have, and have not, shown that we can reliably detect design

I, again, have shown you can. So, why do we detect design in the universe? What is your explanation? Just deny that there is the appearance of design? You're starting to look like a little kid who stomps his foot and asserts, "NO IT ISN'T!"

I stated that the distances measured were empirical

No one was arguing about distances prior to you appearing...straawwww maaaannnn!!!

bossmanham said...

Here's a clue: Observational data is empirical data. That's why I'm harping on your misuse of the term.

Data observed in other universes is based on calculations. We can't observe anything in these universes with our 5 senses. We must assume that the constants in this universe are the same in distant galaxies. So these "observations" are derived from calculations based on assumptions that may or may not be accurate. We assume they are, but we can't empirically test the assumptions. That is the point, and the real problem with pure empiricism.

Let me be clear: The speed of light is DEFINED

Keep stomping your foot. Just because it is defined as a certain speed now, doesn't mean it hasn't changed. The conditions milliseconds after the big bang were indisputably much different than they are now. There are cosmologists, such as John Moffat and the two-man team of Andreas Albrecht and João Magueijo who have proposed just that. I'm not saying they're correct, but you're insistence that your way is the only way is misleading and dishonest, and more proof that much of science relies on un-empirical assumptions.

No, you're just showing that you have no understanding of physics whatsoever.

No, it's pretty common knowledge that antitheists 'bend' the evidence to try to discredit theists. I'm just not going to let you do it. I took physics and got a darn good grade in it and know that many equations we used we assumed were true in all situations.

Restate your banana analogy. When a banana is green, I call it green. When it's yellow, I call it yellow. Same when it is brown.

The point of all of this, I think, is that there is not "evidence of design," as our ability to identify design is in question.

*STOMP STOMP STOMP* It is true and it's no different than I say and everyone interprets the data exactly as I do.

Except all scientists don't...Stop being dishonest.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

The other two options are it either is like this due to physical necessity or chance. The burden of proof rests on you to show which.

Nice try shifting the burden of proof, but you fail. You assert that the universe is designed, I say it is possible but no given. On whom does the burden of proof rest?

Surely you're not saying it's not possible for this universe to be any different? This is a radical line requiring some proof.

And you're radically daft. If this universe were any different, it wouldn't be this universe. So no, it's not possible for this universe to be any different. It may well be possible for different universes to have existed, to currently exist, or to exist in some analog to the future, but we're not in those, so discussing them is a complete waste of time.

[T]hese claims have been replaced by the discoveries I just spoke of.

And...

Speaking of the discoveries I mentioned in my first sentence and then spoke of later on.

Then you need to learn how to apply the correct tense -- you had not spoken of any discoveries. If you cannot write effectively, we'll have constant problems.

When you start citing sources in Blogger combox debates, so will I.

Pay attention, junior -- I do cite my sources. I also utilize quotation marks and/or formatting to identify statements not my own. To this point in our discussion, I have not utilized sources much at all, and about the only person I've directly quoted is you (well, since you've plagiarized others, I suppose I've effectively quoted them, too). I'm not asking for MLA format, but quoting and attributing a source is not only expected, it's the only honest option.

I didn't cut and paste it all anyway.

When I can search a twenty-word string (the exact phrase) and get a hit, you're cutting and pasting, or typing what you found in a book or article somewhere. When you do so without attribution, you plagiarize. Unless this site has been cached already by a few search engines, the only place you'll find a non-trivial string (exact phrase) I've posted is right here. I type my own, thank you very much.

No...this I wrote on my own. Bill craig [sic] isn't the only one who can formulate a sentence.

Perhaps not, but the odds are pretty damned good (link) with your posts...

Quotation marks and attribution to the author, or it's plagiarism and it's pathetic.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Yes, there is a 1 to 1 chance that you will be dealt a poker hand if you play poker, but the chance is 1 in 300,000,000 to get all aces. Those are better odds than getting the correct conditions for a life sustaining universe. In fact, the odds are better that you would be dealt an all Ace hand 20+ times in a row.

Hmmm. Some concepts are too much for simple minds, I see... A difference of scale is insignificant -- if you like, calculate the odds that every participant in this year's WSOP would be dealt the hands they received, and compare that against the alleged 'odds' of generating a life-sustaining universe. I guarantee I can find some event (however complex) whose odds are far less than the alleged 'odds' of generating the universe we observe.

Worse, you jump to Aces, demonstrating your complete failure of comprehension. Aces are no more special a hand than any other, unless you are making an assumption of value. Any such assumption would be question begging, and it exposes your flawed thinking -- just having cards means that some fantastic odds were necessarily already overcome, and no, you shouldn't assume the game is rigged just because you have cards.

It is rational to be surprised and consider the possibility of an intelligent designer in light of the fine tuning in the universe.

If in order to be surprised I must exist, and in order for me to exist the universe must be as it is, then it is not rational to be surprised, but inherently irrational -- it is an emotional response. It may be justified, but it is certainly not rational. As I have said, the possibility of a designer exists, but it is not even remotely compelling, and considering the fact that design cannot be reliably detected, any increase in the likelihood of design is necessarily specious.

This was a paraphrase. I don't have a problem letting people know I am using Craig as a source.

O RLY? (link) Quote him, then.

Given my lack of knowledge about [radioactive decay]...

You'll shut up and concede that you don't have a plagiarized leg to stand on?

...I still know that nuclear materials do decay.

...but instead you'll indignantly refuse to admit incompetence, while ignorantly demonstrating it. "Nuclear materials" do not decay, per se. Radioactive materials decay.

That is because this is a process that the atoms go through by necessity.

Stop changing the subject. We're talking about the odds that an individual atom will decay in a given period of time. Focus.

So while the odds that a specific atom will become stable [sic], the odds are not against the atoms becoming stable, because they will stabilize.

Well, at least I'm pretty sure you didn't plagiarize that tripe.

This is irrelevant.

No, it's extremely apt. Right now your head is spinning a little as you struggle to stay on-message, but the focus is on one specific universe (complete with its [unique] set of physical constants and fundamental force ratios), which is the same as focusing on any individual atom in a radioactive sample. The odds that the particular universe/atom will obtain/decay are vanishingly small, but nonetheless a particular universe/atom will indeed obtain/decay. Since we're ultimately talking about timeless existences of universes, the amount of time is irrelevant -- eventually, the specific universe/atom we are observing will obtain/decay.

If you still don't get it, you should consider enrolling in a community college or something.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

The cash and coin arrangements are random.

So, apparently, are the firing of your neurons. In my defense, however, I did say that analogy would prove fruitless.

This is the point. There are admittably [sic] a number of different ways the universe could be put together, but it is the specific way we observe it that is tailored to life.

Wow. Way to have the point just sail directly over your head in plain view of all present. The universe we observe is not necessarily "tailored to life," but rather life is more likely tailored to the universe we observe. We already know from biology and its specialties that life evolves and adapts to suit its environment, and what is the universe but a giant, impossible-to-completely-explore environment?

Life is, the universe is, and the two are necessarily "suited" to one another -- else they would not coexist. Since life is apparently contingent on the universe, but the universe is not contingent upon life, it follows that life is far more likely tuned to the universe than the universe tuned to life.

I, again, have shown you can [reliably detect design].

No. You. Haven't. You have asserted that there is design to be detected, and you have inferred design from various features of the universe, and you h ave even plagiarized statements of persons who may or may not support your claim, but you have not once shown that we can reliably detect design.

Do you not understand my statement? I'm not saying you don't see design, I'm just saying that your ability to see design does not necessarily reflect the existence of design. If you'd read the abstract I cited, and if you'd ever taken even an introductory psychology course, you'd know that humans infer design where there is none, and they do this constantly. This means that we are wrong quite often, which is the foundation of many (all?) superstitions, and your claims to have found evidence of design are fundamentally the same. Until you demonstrate that our ability to detect design is reliable, you have nothing but assertion.

So, why do we detect design in the universe?

Oh. So you didn't check the link to the abstract. Click the link to make a comment, and read the comments from there -- the site's formatting makes links invisible unless hovered. Here is that link again (link). The blog owner should change the formatting of links so they're obvious...

--
Stan

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Data observed in other universes is based on calculations.

Dude. Stop. You just look silly, now. "Data observed in other universes"? Really? That would be a pretty significant discovery, don't you think?

We must assume that the constants in this universe are the same in distant galaxies.

Heh. I'm laughing at you right now. Can you tell? "[T]he constants in this universe are the same in distant galaxies [which are in this universe]"?

Do you have any intelligent friends...? Seriously. You're making yourself look really bad. Please try harder, or give up.

So these "observations" [of features of distant galaxies] are derived from calculations based on assumptions that may or may not be accurate.

No. Pay attention. Observational data and experimental data are each considered empirical data. Observational astronomy provides us with vast amounts of indirect observational (empirical) data -- remember, though, that all observations are indirect -- and that empirical data is used to determine certain aspects of those distant galaxies, which do indeed rely on some basic assumptions, which have proven useful to such an extent that considering them faulty would be absurd. The underlying principle, though, is defined -- the speed of light -- and on it we base pretty much everything.

Keep stomping your foot. Just because it is defined as a certain speed now, doesn't mean it hasn't changed.

Let me ask you a question. If the speed of light is defined, and yet it changed, how would you know? Would you be able to tell the difference?

I'm stomping my foot because you are apparently incompetent. If its speed is defined, and it in turn defines length and time, then we would be unable to detect any change in that speed. If our measure of time is based on the speed of light, which we define, then no matter what that speed, the measurement of time is based on the definition. We define it as ~3x10^8 m/s, but it may well be 1 m/s. What would that mean? It would mean that a year still takes 365 days, and that a day still takes 24 hours, and that an hour still takes 60 minutes... It wouldn't change anything. Even if our measurement of time didn't reflect the actual elapsed time, it would still be true from our perspective, and that's the point.

I will not teach you modern physics.

I took physics and got a darn good grade in it and know that many equations we used we assumed were true in all situations.

What, in junior high? High school? Please don't say you took a physics-for-nonmajors course at a community college (read: not calculus-based)?

It doesn't matter, anyway. Based on your obvious unfamiliarity with physics, any course you may have taken would be minimally introductory. Guess what? They don't tell you how the equations are derived in introductory courses, and they don't expose you to "real" physics in them, either. At most, you've encountered Newtonian physics (inertial reference frames only), most likely algebra-based rather than calculus-based, and I doubt very much you got any further than inclined planes or pulleys.

You don't know the first thing about physics. It's not a knock on you unless you continue to try to pretend otherwise. I don't think anybody is fooled in the least.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Restate your banana analogy.

Too complicated?

:: Sigh ::

Imagine that a specific banana provides us with the unchanging definition of the color blarg. Things which are considered blarg match the appearance of the banana with respect to color/pattern. If the banana is underripe, we would say it is green, but in this scenario it is always called blarg. Thus, while it is underripe, green things are considered blarg. As the banana ripens, it becomes yellow, but again, it is always called blarg, and its color/pattern is considered unchanging. A tennis ball, which was blarg when the banana was underripe is no longer blarg now that it has ripened -- but the banana is not considered to have changed; rather, in this world the tennis ball has spontaneously changed color. Later still, the banana is overripe, and appears yellow with brown/black specks. At this point, the raincoat which was blarg when the banana was ripe (but not when it was underripe) ceases to be blarg, as now apparently jaundiced and freckled persons have become blarg.

If the banana is considered as being unchanging, the objects which rely on it would instead exhibit the change, see? It's all a matter of definition. Just because we have apparently static definitions of colors does not mean that this is the only way to describe an object's appearance. If we saw in the infrared spectrum, we might define color based on temperature, for example, but the definition drives the perception.

Look, I don't necessarily expect you to understand the banana analogy, but on the off chance that you do, it illustrates the repercussions of defining a key property. In our case, the definition of the speed of light means that if it actually changes, we wouldn't actually notice, but we would see the lengths of some objects seem to spontaneously change, we'd see the times of some events spontaneously change, etc.

At this point, I'm not especially interested in further explaining this to you. Some people are just ill-equipped to understand. An anecdotal illustration comes to mind: a recent professor of mine has a sign on his office door, with a red background, which reads, "If this sign appears blue, SLOW DOWN." If you don't understand the joke, you probably won't understand the banana analogy, or much of anything else I've said.

--
Stan

bossmanham said...

And you're radically daft. If this universe were any different, it wouldn't be this universe.

Me daft? I'm not the one who doesn't understand the idea of contingent events. Look it up.

Then you need to learn how to apply the correct tense -- you had not spoken of any discoveries.

I had just referred to discoveries. Maybe you need to not jump to conclusions? Once you saw I implemented some of them, you should have dealt with them and ignored this supposed problem which has turned into a red-herring.

If you cannot write effectively, we'll have constant problems.

If you cannot read effectively, we'll have constant problems.

Pay attention, junior -- I do cite my sources. I also utilize quotation marks and/or formatting to identify statements not my own. To this point in our discussion, I have not utilized sources much at all, and about the only person I've directly quoted is you

Alright senior. Now you pay attention. I have cited where sources come from. I have not used quotes because I did not directly quote but one thing. The rest were paraphrased. I was in a hurry and didn't bother quoting something. If you're looking for exhaustive citations, you need to cite where you're getting your info, then I will as well.

When I can search a twenty-word string (the exact phrase) and get a hit, you're cutting and pasting,

One thing. And I said where the info came from, G. J. Whitrow. I didn't use quote marks because I didn't think the citation police would show up in a combox debate. I'm not a moron. I know Google exists; I use their browser and constantly search with it. You cite where you're getting your info and I'll do the same.

Worse, you jump to Aces, demonstrating your complete failure of comprehension. Aces are no more special a hand than any other, unless you are making an assumption of value

Apparently you can't understand a simple concept as chance. The point isn't the card or the value. The point is the specific card and the specific number of times it is dealt. Sure, if you're dealt a hand you will receive 5 cards, and they are no more likely than any other hand you may receive. But it is receiving that specific hand (which would be akin to the correct formulation of universal constants) 20 times. You would not wave it off.

fact that design cannot be reliably detected

Now you're pounding the floor kicking and screaming. This is what JC was referring to: willful ignorance.

bossmanham said...

O RLY? (link) Quote him, then.

I wasn't even looking at the quote when I wrote it.

The odds that the particular universe/atom will obtain/decay are vanishingly small, but nonetheless a particular universe/atom will indeed obtain/decay. Since we're ultimately talking about timeless existences of universes, the amount of time is irrelevant

With this baloney you are 1) assuming a timeless universe, which is at odds with modern cosmology and 2) assuming the universe is the way it is necessarily. You have no proof of this. It's a bare assertion. Furthermore, we only have evidence of only one universe and it has the qualities that sustain life. You again bear the burden of proof to show this is necessary.

Life is, the universe is, and the two are necessarily "suited" to one another -- else they would not coexist.

Great grab from talk.origins. This is a baseless claim. And it still does not follow that we should not wonder why the universe is fine tuned the way it is. What you are doing is what you did in the card example. You are confusing a high improbability with "specified complexity." As my analogy of being dealt the same hand over and over.

h ave even plagiarized statements of persons who may or may not support your claim

I remember using names of people.

but you have not once shown that we can reliably detect design.

This is the stupidest assertion I have ever heard. If we found machinery on the backside of the moon, we would detect design, and that detection would be reliable. We would not assume that natural selection caused the machinery to form. That would be insane. The same can be said of a watch on a beach, which is far less complex than any biological system. You would not assume the waves formed the watch.

We can reliably detect design.

I'm just saying that your ability to see design does not necessarily reflect the existence of design.

Then we should never assume anything we encounter is designed. But if we maintained your level of skepticism, we wouldn't be able to function.

"To detect design look for high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern" (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7369)

Happy?

bossmanham said...

Dude. Stop. You just look silly, now. "Data observed in other universes"? Really? That would be a pretty significant discovery, don't you think?

Galaxies. I'm typing quickly.

Heh. I'm laughing at you right now. Can you tell? "[T]he constants in this universe are the same in distant galaxies [which are in this universe]"?

Galaxies.

Do you have any intelligent friends...? Seriously. You're making yourself look really bad. Please try harder, or give up.

Or they could be simple typos.

No. Pay attention. Observational data and experimental data are each considered empirical data.

And they are based on assumptions that aren't empirically verifiable.

Let me ask you a question. If the speed of light is defined, and yet it changed, how would you know? Would you be able to tell the difference?

I'm assuming since some cosmologists have proffered the idea, they have a way of determining it. We could ask a similar question about the expansion of the universe. Many cosmologists think the universe wenth through a period of rapid expansion seconds after the big bang. But if we've defined the speed of the expansion, how do these cosmologists determine this? They use complicated formulas (based on assumed constants) to calculate it.

then we would be unable to detect any change in that speed.

Take it up with the cosmologists who advanced the idea.

You don't know the first thing about physics.

Well seeing as I have taken a course in a university, I assume I know the first thing about it. I don't need to do my own primary research on everything to argue for the anthropic principle and to understand that there are principles and constants that are assumed in physics because they are not verifiable empirically.

Of course there are people who take the concepts you present and interpret it differently. But, in order to make you're argument appear stronger, you assert forcefully that this is the only way. It is not. It's a rhetorical technique used by many antitheists. Unfortunately, a forceful assertion does not ensure that all people agree.

This entire discussion, honestly, was a large red herring. Froggie ran to you on a because he was getting whooped up on, and you seem to have more knowledge about atheist apologetics than he does; at least at "refuting" the anthropic principle.

But you're entire argument rests on the notion that we ," can't reliably detect design." I reject that. We detect design all the time. If we are to hold to your standard we should never assume anything is designed.

Whateverman said...

Taken from Dictionary.com:

em⋅pir⋅i⋅cal  [em-pir-i-kuhl]
–adjective

1. derived from or guided by experience or experiment.

2. depending upon experience or observation alone, without using scientific method or theory, esp. as in medicine.

3. provable or verifiable by experience or experiment.

---

The speed of light is empirically valid. The existence of God is not. Is the Bible "evidence" for the existence of God? Sure - but so is the Koran, as well as the claims by many believers, most of whom do not agree on the nature of this being. And this evidence is not overwhelming.

So, to sum this thread: god exists only if you believe it to be true. This does not constitute "overwhelming evidence".

Whateverman said...

Bossmanham wrote the following:

But you're entire argument rests on the notion that we ," can't reliably detect design." I reject that. We detect design all the time. If we are to hold to your standard we should never assume anything is designed.

Please give me an example of how we *detect* whether something's been designed or not. Believe me, if you could come up with anything valid, ID would become instantly credible.

Define "designed" in such a way that we can test for whether an object is designed or not. Remember: by providing a definition, you must allow the possibility for some tangible object to *not* be designed...

bossmanham said...

Whateverman,

Don't worry, I viewed the definition.

The speed of light is empirically valid

This isn't relevant.

The existence of God is not.

Neither is this. Nothing I have argued was to show that. The argument is things don't have to be empirically verified to be true. That is why I used the example of constants that are not empirically verified but assumed to be true.

Is the Bible "evidence" for the existence of God?

This is another irrelevant question, and has not been argued for here.

So, to sum this thread: god exists only if you believe it to be true.

Unbacked, logically invalid assertion. God could exist whether you believe in him or not.

Please give me an example of how we *detect* whether something's been designed or not.

As I said above, If we found machinery on the backside of the moon, we would detect design, and that detection would be reliable. We would not assume that natural selection caused the machinery to form. That would be insane. The same can be said of a watch on a beach, which is far less complex than any biological system. You would not assume the waves formed the watch. We detect design all the time in simple machinery. With this being the case, you must show we cannot use the same principles of "look[ing] for high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern" when examining the natural world to detect design.

Jc_Freak: said...

Ok, I don't have the time to read through all of the comments here, but I found Stan's banana analogy interesting.

First, it is a terrible analogy and I'll tell you why. The purpose of an analogy is to compare something outside of one's experience with something within it. In this case, you've attempted to compare the variability of the color of a banana with the variability of the speed of light. However, you aren't trying to explain variablity as a concept, but the variability of a standard as a concept, and no one would name a color like that. Everyone knows that if you name a color after a fruit, you name it after its ripened state. Everyone knows that if you name a color after a flower, you are naming it after the blossoming state. The analogy is bad because the part that is supposed to compare with our experience doesn't, and the fact of that is distracting. Brennon isn't stupid for not getting it, he just has a better understanding of communication.

Very quickly I thought of two better analogies for you to make this point (a point I think Brennon gets anyway). First, the concept of the year. The year is based off of the revolution of the earth around the sun, but that isn't constant. So thousands of years from now, the length of the year will change.

A better example though, is the concept of a map. Maps are a standard for defining the state of a geographical area. However, people are used to the concept of a map being outdated, especially a city map. Right there is a variable standard that everyone can understand.

If someone doesn't understand an analogy, than it is not a failure on their part to understand. It is a failure on your part to communicate.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I have cited where sources come from.

You have only admitted sources when pressed -- you didn't cite anything.

I have not used quotes because I did not directly quote but one thing.

Considering the fact that I linked to two specific events where phrases consisting of no fewer than ten [non-trivial] words directly matched statements made by others, your claim fails. Worse, however, is the admission here that you did in fact "directly quote" something, yet you failed to attribute or even contain it within quotation marks. That's plagiarism, but more to the point, it shows your willingness to resort to dishonesty. As I said before, if you can find any such phrase of mine unquoted and/or unattributed, let's see it. I type my own, as I am not dishonest.

Apparently you can't understand a simple concept as chance.

That's just funny. Let me know when you learn what the factorial operator means.

But it is receiving that specific hand (which would be akin to the correct formulation of universal constants) 20 times.

No, it isn't, unless you want to assert that you have data from 19 other universes. As I said, which apparently sailed right over your overwhelmed head, the issue is a matter of scale only -- there was only one hand dealt, even if the deck and number of cards were more complex than a 52-card standard deck of cards. The WSOP analogy fits and holds, but I suppose it's too complicated for your tiny brain.

I wasn't even looking at the quote when I wrote it.

Sure you weren't. I don't care if you quote people, just do us and them a favor by actually quoting them rather than making it appear that the thoughts contained in your comments are actually your own.

With this baloney you are 1) assuming a timeless universe, which is at odds with modern cosmology and 2) assuming the universe is the way it is necessarily.

Bzzt. Read it again. I am noting that the existences of universes, in the hypothetical under discussion, is timeless. I am not assuming that this universe is timeless. I realize that basic reading comprehension is a sticking point for you, but please try harder.

As to the universe being "the way it is necessarily," you aren't even trying -- I have assumed nothing of the sort. I note merely that the universe is the way it is, whether by necessity, by chance, by design, or by definition. You are the one making unfounded assertions, and backing it up with nonexistent 'evidence.'

Great grab from talk.origins.

It isn't. I typed it myself, and I've only visited TO a scant few times (certainly less than five, and none in the past year -- I didn't like its layout). Just in case your accusation proved an amazing coincidence, however, I performed a few Google searches for the statement you referenced, and I got zero hits for all but this short string (link), which it should be noted only appears with incorrect punctuation (relative to my use of the phrase), with one exception -- which exception included a clear typographical error.

Your accusation is without merit.

I remember using names of people.

Your use of names was part of the plagiarized quote. You did not attribute the quotes. That's all I'm demanding -- when you directly quote someone, use quotation marks (or formatting) and reference the author. You don't need to link to every source, but at the very least you could quit being so defensive about something of which you're clearly guilty and just admit the oversight, promise to pay more attention, and move on.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

If we found machinery on the backside of the moon, we would detect design

I was wondering when you'd pull that nonsense. We both know we're not talking about detecting design of things humans -- and only humans, to this point -- are known to design. We're talking about things humans at present cannot design, and not things like hyperdrives or transporters. It has not been shown that humans can detect that things which are possible to have arisen without having been designed have not been have actually been designed. Scroll back up and find the link to the abstract, read it, maybe have someone explain it to you, and get back to me.

The same can be said of a watch on a beach, which is far less complex than any biological system.

The weather is far more complex than any biological system -- is it designed, too? A matchstick is far less complex than a watch -- is it not designed? Do you at least recognize that apparent complexity has no bearing on whether or not the thing in question has been designed?

We can reliably detect design.

Look. I get it. You don't understand what I mean, or perhaps you're prevented from understanding via cognitive dissonance. If you're so sure we can reliably detect design, then, please identify one designed character string from the following two sets of strings (each of which contains at least one designed string):

Set 1:

A: 2727343844
B: 1445053054
C: 2599314813
D: 8887310288

Set 2:

A: HHELIBEBCN
B: OFNENAMGAL
C: SIPSCLARKC
D: ASCTIVCRMN

And a bonus set 3:

A: NLPRNCPCRD
B: PRQDTMNRMD
C: 4444224121
D: 3223342122


Please identify the designed string(s) from each set above, and please also include your reasoning.

Since this little exercise should prove quite amusing, I'll forego responding to the rest of your comment in favor of hearing your answers. If anyone else wants to try, feel free, but please don't list your reasons if you do.

Before I sign off for now, though, I'll address the Freak's comment:

If someone doesn't understand an analogy, than it is not a failure on their part to understand. It is a failure on your part to communicate.

That's nice and pithy, but unfortunately for you it's asinine. Clearly, another option is that the 'someone' is incompetent. I'd like to hear the response from, say, an instructor, when a student says 'It's not my failure for not understanding your analogy, but your failure to communicate.'

--
Stan

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Hmm. I failed to edit a particular statement above...

It has not been shown that humans can detect that things which are possible to have arisen without having been designed have not been have actually been designed.

This should instead read as follows:

It has not been shown that humans can detect that [things which are possible to have arisen without having been designed] have actually been designed.

--
Stan

Froggie said...

Worse yet is when fundamentlists try to compare non biological systems to biological systems.

Their ignorance is well apparent.

bossmanham said...

That's plagiarism, but more to the point, it shows your willingness to resort to dishonesty.

I have no problem telling you where I got info. I don't think it's necessary to maintain that level of formality in a combox debate, especially when you can Google it and see where I got it. I don't mind telling and pointing you to where I got my info, and since I understand how Google works I know someone can cut and paste to see where I got it. I didn't find it necessary.

there was only one hand dealt, even if the deck and number of cards were more complex than a 52-card standard deck of cards. The WSOP analogy fits and holds, but I suppose it's too complicated for your tiny brain.

It's not about multiple universes; it's about each individual force in this universe that is fine tuned to such a particular level that it would not be able to support life otherwise. All the forces match that precise level, and there is no explanation from people such as yourself why they are not at a different level. This isn't to mention the string theory of multiple universes itself leads to implications of fine tuning.

Let's try another example from Craig. Maybe you'll understand this one. Say we had a tub full of billions of black balls.We then put one white ball in the tub. We then direct you to pull a ball out after having thourogly mixed up all of the balls. The black balls represent the possible universes that do not support life. While each ball has the same odds of being chosen, the odds are fantastically more probable that a black ball will be pulled out.

I hope you'll look into studying how analogies work, because as JC Freak points out, you are deficient in that area. You are, however, intelligent and with a little work I think you'll get the implication of this and the marksmen analogy.

So, as Craig states, "We should be surprised that we do observe basic features of the universe which individually or collectively are excessively improbable and are necessary conditions of our own existence" (http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/barrow.html).

It isn't. I typed it myself,

I didn't say you didn't, but the concept is from talk.origins, where they say, "Indeed, many examples of fine-tuning are evidence that life is fine-tuned to the cosmos, not vice versa" (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI301.html).

Your accusation is without merit.

It's a common cliche of those who use the anthropic argument, I suppose.

promise to pay more attention, and move on.

Alright, I'll be sure to exhaustively cite every quote in this silly combox debate. Since it's so formal and all.

I was wondering when you'd pull that nonsense. We both know we're not talking about detecting design of things humans

That seems to be irrelevant, since we wouldn't know if it had definitely been designed by humans unless it had some identifying markings. It could be aliens.

and only humans, to this point -- are known to design

That's an assumption.

bossmanham said...

It has not been shown that humans can detect that things which are possible to have arisen without having been designed have not been have actually been designed.

You're begging the question. You're assuming these systems could develop without being designed, even though their complexity and improbability attest to design, just as the machinery does. The fact that we have only seen humans design complicated things such as watches (note that animals design things--ants design anthills) does not end logically with humans being the only things that can design.

But this changes your original point, which was, "It has not once been demonstrated that humans can reliably detect design." You are clearly wrong. We could not function in life if we did not anticipate, expect, and detect design. Antony Flew became a theist because he did not expect the level of apparent design within our biological systems. It is dishonest to say we can't reliably detect design.

The weather is far more complex than any biological system -- is it designed, too?

Irrelevant. Random weather patterns do not exhibit, "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern." Now, if a rain cloud appeared directly over your head (and yours only) and stayed there for days, you wouldn't simply assume it was just another random weather pattern, but that isn't what weather does.

A matchstick is far less complex than a watch -- is it not designed?

Irrelevant. The matchstick does exhibit "improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern."

Do you at least recognize that apparent complexity has no bearing on whether or not the thing in question has been designed?

No, because the examples given are fallacious. This is why the card analogy I gave is valid. Another example would be a lottery. We aren't surprised if someone wins the lottery despite its high odds, because someone must win it. But, if the same person wins it several times in a row, we would detect a designed, because it exhibits a "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern." So does the natural world. The conditions for the big bang to be a "successful" event, the conditions that followed, the conditions that came together to form our planet in the specific spot it's in, the conditions on the planet for life to exist, etc etc are an example of "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern."

sets of numbers

There may be several strings you purposely typed, and others that you randomly pounded out on the keyboard. Codes are designed for the military, and are purposely designed to be confusing and near impossible to decipher. But the difficulty in detecting their design doesn't force us to admit that we can't detect design reliably. Until the recent advances in biology, it was assume that cells were rather simple. But we have discovered the immense complex structures and processes that take place in cells by studying them. Given enough time, inteligence agencies can decipher codes, and given time someone could determine the strings in your sets that are designed (although since none of them popped into existence uncaused, we know they're all designed in some way).

Clearly, another option is that the 'someone' is incompetent

True, but since two people have pointed out the incoherence of your analogy, perhaps you should consider revising it so it matches up with real world events. And stop being a douche.

bossmanham said...

I should point out that your statement, "The weather is far more complex than any biological system," is baseless. I would contend you are wrong and weather patterns are not more complex than biological systems.

John Doyle said...

Until the recent advances in biology, it was assume [sic] that cells were rather simple. But we have discovered the immense complex structures and processes that take place in cells by studying them.

And yet none of this complexity is incompatible with the Theory of Evolution. These cells have been evolving for the best part of 3.5 billion years.

Whateverman said...

ossmanham wrote I would contend you are wrong and weather patterns are not more complex than biological systems.

Then you would be quibbling about the definition being used, and doing so without describing the one your argument is based upon.

Please define complexity.

---

Incidentally, you made a number of logically effective responses to my last post, and I concede most of your points. In my defense, I wrote the rant after having read through the entire thread, and responding only to the arguments I took issue with. I did so without explaining who or what I responded to - and I did this at 2AM (iirc).

My very general and more tempered repost is that the terms "evidence" and "proof" are being defined in such a way that your argument can not be false. For example, overwhelming "evidence" of the existence of God consisting of the Bible and faith of its believers. In most every court in the western world, faith in the existence of God might be termed "evidence", but would be found less convincing than the 100% failure of believer claims of empirical evidence.

---

IOW, please define your terms. You and Mr. Thibodaux are assuming definitions which are neither generally accepted nor generally acceptable.

bossmanham said...

And yet none of this complexity is incompatible with the Theory of Evolution. These cells have been evolving for the best part of 3.5 billion years.

An irrelevant and baseless statement. Amazing.

Then you would be quibbling about the definition being used, and doing so without describing the one your argument is based upon.

That statement was an aside. I've already defined what constitutes design.

John Doyle said...

And yet none of this complexity is incompatible with the Theory of Evolution. These cells have been evolving for the best part of 3.5 billion years.

An irrelevant and baseless statement. Amazing.

It is hardly irrelevant to the discussion in hand. Life has been evolving on this planet for billions of years. Is it really that amazing that it has become so complex?

Whateverman said...

I wrote Then you would be quibbling about the definition being used, and doing so without describing the one your argument is based upon.

With much much handwaving, Bossmanham replied That statement was an aside. I've already defined what constitutes design.



Giving examples is not a definition, ergo your statement is a lie. Please define the word "design" as you are using it in this thread.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

While each ball has the same odds of being chosen, the odds are fantastically more probable that a black ball will be pulled out.

And here you unwittingly demonstrate that you do get it. "[E]ach ball has the same odds of being chosen." It is only when we assign value to a specific ball (the white one, in your example) that we would say the odds have changed.

I think you'll get the implication of this and the marksmen analogy.

That's funny. You're committing the Texas Sharpshooter analogy all over the place, yet you accuse me of committing it. I see, from the self-evident existence of this universe, that 'shots were fired.' I note that this is all we can determine, and that however apparently unlikely the arrangement of those shots, we cannot say they were intentionally aimed.

You, on the other hand, have painted a bulls-eye around those shots, and claim they were obviously fired at your target. There is no target other than the one you've painted, so there is no way of saying the shots were aimed or not. That's your position in a nutshell.

That's an assumption.

Wait, what? It's an assumption to say that "things humans -- and only humans, to this point -- are known to design" are known to be designed? Was that another typo? Are you typing too quickly? If it is known that humans -- and only humans, to this point -- design certain classes of things, and we were to encounter one of those things [on the moon], yes, we could determine the thing had been designed. We're not talking about that class of object.

You're begging the question. You're assuming these systems could develop without being designed, even though their complexity and improbability attest to design, just as the machinery does.

No, you're begging the question. I've not said they cannot have been designed, I've said there's no valid reason to say they have been designed. You, of course, end your little accusation of fallacy by committing the very fallacy you cite -- saying that "complexity and improbability attest to design" is begging the question.

But this changes your original point, which was, "It has not once been demonstrated that humans can reliably detect design." You are clearly wrong.

How so? Detecting design in cases where it is known that there was design does nothing to support your claim -- it's like polling line-towing Republicans to find that they've all voted according to the Republican party line. If you instead polled a representative sample, and were able to reliably predict their responses without any identifying information whatsoever, you'd have a case. Until you do, however, you have nothing.

Antony Flew became a theist because he did not expect the level of apparent design within our biological systems. It is dishonest to say we can't reliably detect design.

Is Flew your hero or something? Just because someone claims to have detected design does not mean he has actually detected design -- or do you think UFO sightings are accurate, too?

Random weather patterns do not exhibit, "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern."

Heh. You cite an ad hoc definition, which is not accepted as authoritative, and then apply it as though you've won something. You haven't.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Weather is highly complex, and one particular weather phenomenon is a tornado, which is a highly organized cone of gas and vapor rotating about a dynamic axis (according to Wikipedia, it is "a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air which is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud"). It is a highly improbable arrangement of particles, and has a definite pattern.

Another weather phenomenon is a cyclone, which is a highly organized storm system featuring spiral motion (again, according to Wikipedia, it is "an area of closed, circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth"). It, too, is a highly improbable arrangement of particles, and has a definite pattern.

Yet another weather phenomenon is snow, which features crystallized concentrations of water molecules (again, Wikipedia calls it "a type of precipitation in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds"). Crystalline structures are some of the most apparently organized structures known, so snow is also a highly improbable arrangement of particles, and certainly exhibits a pattern.

According to your silly definition, then, weather -- certain meteorological phenomena, anyway -- must be considered designed. Likewise, according to your silly definition, irrational numbers cannot be designed. Your definition is weak, and your point dissolved.

But, if the same person wins [the lottery] several times in a row, we would detect a designed [sic], because it exhibits a "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern."

Ignoring the disputed definition, you have not demonstrated that 'the lottery' has been played multiple times. Certain lottery events (e.g. Keno) consist of several numbers selected from a group, and it is only a matter of scale to say that each such number might denote a particular physical constant or fundamental force. We don't know how many times before this one that the 'lottery' was played, and for better or for worse, we appear to have unwittingly 'won' this particular lottery.

Of course, even if a person does win the lottery multiple times, we cannot say there is design, and indeed, there have been many such instances of persons winning multiple lotteries, in which it was investigated under suspicion of design, only to find that no design was extant. This, you must realize, supports my claim that we cannot reliably detect design -- we suspect design even when there is none.

There may be several strings you purposely typed, and others that you randomly pounded out on the keyboard.

Will you not even try? I thought we could reliably detect design? Will no one venture a guess? Your odds are quite good, you know -- why wouldn't you play? Is your position so weak?

Until the recent advances in biology, it was assume that cells were rather simple.

That's a bold, unsupported, and context-less claim. Shore it up, or retract it.

But the difficulty in detecting their design doesn't force us to admit that we can't detect design reliably.

That doesn't track -- it's like saying 'the difficulty in detecting the Higgs boson doesn't force us to admit that we can't detect the Higgs boson reliably,' or, if you prefer, like saying 'the difficulty in extracting confessions from terrorism suspects doesn't force us to admit that we can't extract confessions from terrorism suspects reliably.'

If it were easy, then perhaps you could say we can reliably detect design, but -- and this is key -- without detecting a designer, it's a pretty tough sell to say that we can somehow detect design. That which we ourselves have or can [conceivably] design (which includes everything the animal kingdom can or has designed), we may be able to identify, but that which we ourselves have not or cannot [conceivably] design, not so much.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

Given enough time, inteligence [sic] agencies can decipher codes...

This is not necessarily true. Certain types of codes can be deciphered, that's true, but certain types cannot (One-time pads, Quantum cryptography). In order to decipher a code, however, one must make very specific assumptions -- amusing since this is the accusation you level against me. One could not, for instance, [easily] decipher a code -- even the simple monoalphabetic substitution -- which was rife with misspellings, or written in a mix of languages (think 'Spanglish'). Most specifically, however, in order to decipher a code, the foremost assumption which must be made is that one has a code to decipher. In the history of cryptography, the one constant is the deliberate production of misinformation -- of unencrypted gibberish -- which has been leaked specifically to waste the time and efforts of one's enemy. Curiouser still is that with the best encryption methods, one can apply an incorrect key to the message and still come up with an apparently meaningful plain-text. That is, it is possible to incorrectly decrypt something such that it seems to make sense -- or, as I've been saying, one cannot reliably detect design.

...and given time someone could determine the strings in your sets that are designed

The strings I offered are cryptographically simple -- none of them are 'encrypted,' and some are really very simple to identify -- so I don't doubt that they could be solved. What I do doubt, however, is that you can reliably detect which are designed, though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you would decline my challenge. I had hoped that your confidence in your ability to reliably detect design would shine forth, but evidently it only applies to assertions, as opposed to real examples.

[S]ince two people have pointed out the incoherence of your analogy, perhaps you should consider revising it so it matches up with real world events.

That's nice. Does that line work when you and your friend struggle in class? Do your instructors say, "Oh, geez, I'm sorry my lectures are leaving you so confused. Never mind the assignment or your grade -- I'll revise it so it matches up with 'real world events' with which you're more familiar"?

It's not an easy concept to grasp, and no, I'm not the best at describing it, but our definition of color is based on the way our eyes work, which need not be the case. If we defined color in some way which was dynamic with respect to the way our eyes work, even if static with respect to some other criteria, you'd be confused right now when I tried to show that color could be defined based on an object's reflected spectra.

In like manner, our definition of the speed of light is made in a certain way, and if the actual speed of light were to change, we would be unable to detect it without changing our definition of its speed -- instead of finding the speed of light to vary, we'd find phenomena which depend on the speed of light to change, and assume that the phenomena in question were changing -- we'd not assume the speed of light were changing, because it is defined, and forms the basis of all meaningful measurements (apart from mass).

I tire of trying to explain this to you, but I really don't think it's so difficult as you're making it. You quite obviously have no knowledge to support any claim you've made with respect to the constancy of the speed of light, the ability to detect design, or anything having to do with physics, yet you continue to make assertions and appeal to friendly authority. Read about the 'grue paradox' (link), and hopefully the section about the responses will make something 'click' for you.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I would contend you are wrong and weather patterns are not more complex than biological systems.

Consisting of many orders of magnitude more particles than even the most complex known biological system, consisting of intricate and recognizable patterns, consisting of crystalline structures in certain cases -- weather systems even self-replicate -- I wonder if you should perhaps seek to clarify your statement.

--
Stan

Jc_Freak: said...

To John Doyle,

I think it is important to note exactly why Brennon said your comment was irrelevant. It is not that the evolution of these cells is irrelevant, but that the evolution of cells is what if up for debate. It is called begging the question. Stating your thesis cannot be considered an argument for your thesis. If you going to argue against an anti-Darwinist position you need to show that cells evolve. Merely stating it is logically irrelevant and rhetorically unethical.

Jc_Freak: said...

To Stan,

I found the point in one of your posts intriguing:

Brennon said, " Random weather patterns do not exhibit, "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern."

Stan replied, "Heh. You cite an ad hoc definition, which is not accepted as authoritative, and then apply it as though you've won something. You haven't."

Considering that all debates must start with common definitions of that which is to be argued, I would ask you whether or not you have a problem with Brennon's definition? If so, what would you offer as a definition?

Jc_Freak: said...

Whateverman,

You asked for a definition for design. The definition that Brennon has been using was stated several times in his conversation with Stan. It is as follows:

"high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern."

This second point is worthy of comment I believe. Neither complexity nor improbability in of them selves, can demonstrate design. But if one can demonstrate that the complexity or the improbability is set to a particular pattern which would be derived apart from the natural systems that are in relation to that system, than one can demonstrate outside influence, which strongly implies design.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I would ask you whether or not you have a problem with Brennon's definition? If so, what would you offer as a definition?

Brennon is apparently using Bill Craig's offering as a catch-all definition of 'things which are [apparently] designed.' Craig's offer follows:

To detect design look for high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern.

Note that this isn't a definition, but a recipe, and even then, it is an assertion. By using it as a definition, and applying it to things for which the property of 'having been designed' is in dispute, Brennon begs the question.

To answer your question, then, I would say that the best definition of 'things which are [apparently] designed' would be those things which are known to have been designed. For the class of things whose property of 'having been designed' is unknown, I do not presume to [arbitrarily] assign a value.

I think this problem of providing a suitably unambiguous means of detecting design is a key element: until we can demonstrate an ability to reliably detect design -- no, not the assertion of having detected design that Brennon continues to peddle -- we cannot honestly claim to actually have the ability to reliably detect design.

--
Stan

Jc_Freak: said...

Well, you have a point there. That cannot truly be a definition in the sense of definition, since a true definition would be "Something which is fashioned by a foreign force". However, given this definition, I do believe that Dr. Craig's statement is a sufficient set of criteria since an "independently given pattern" would demonstrate the fashioning of a foreign force. Do you disagree?

bossmanham said...

And here you unwittingly demonstrate that you do get it.

I got it the whole time. Stop being dishonest.

That's funny. You're committing the Texas Sharpshooter analogy all over the place, yet you accuse me of committing it.

I never accused you of committing said fallacy, and I am not committing the fallacy either. None of the information is being manipulated to have meaning. We have a universe in which all of the extremely improbable events and forces that needed to exist and happen occurred in exactly the right time and place for life to exist. The odds of these things happening are so small, that it would have been far far more likely that the universe would have collapsed in on itself or the myriad of other things that were also capable of happening but would have not permitted life to exist. The fact that we got the white ball demands explanation. Chance and necessity are implausible and unsatisfactory. You unwittingly show you still don't get it.

I note that this is all we can determine, and that however apparently unlikely the arrangement of those shots, we cannot say they were intentionally aimed.

This analogy is terrible. You should really work on your analogy-forming skills.

The shots to form a life permitting universe are precise. The targets are already on the side of the barn and all of them are hit dead on. We could say all the shots were fired at random, but that would be ridiculously implausible. The more plausible explanation is someone meticulously aimed at the targets to hit every one.

Likewise, it is more plausible to say the improbable life-permitting constants and conditions in the universe that exist were planned that way. Otherwise we're still left with the question, why are they like that instead of otherwise?

It's an assumption to say that "things humans -- and only humans, to this point -- are known to design"

Yes, you're assuming it. It's wrong anyway. Ants design anthills; monkeys design simple tools, etc. If we run across an anthill, we don't assume it formed randomly by chance over millions of years. We assume ants built it.

We're not talking about that class of object.

You're right; we're taking about things much more complex. The "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern" points to design. You're just hand-waving and assuming that the universe and biology consist of a class that is able to form without design.

No, you're begging the question

What are you, three? This is like "I know you are but what am I?"

I've not said they cannot have been designed, I've said there's no valid reason to say they have been designed.

You’re stomping the floor again. There is a valid reason. There is a high improbability that things would form the way they have and a specific pattern to the way they formed that gave rise to life. This points to design.

Detecting design in cases where it is known that there was design does nothing to support your claim

This isn't what is being done. We view highly complex structures with a high improbability of being formed added to an independent pattern of formation and trying to explain it. The most plausible explanation is design. Just as when archaeologists dig up clay pots. They don't know anything about those pots, but they observe the complexity and the independent pattern of the pots and determine they were formed by ancient civilizations. That is more plausible then the pots being formed by chance or necessity.

it's like polling line-towing Republicans to find that they've all voted according to the Republican party line.

It's actually nothing like that at all. Still need to work on those analogies.

bossmanham said...

Is Flew your hero or something?

I like him. How is that relevant?

Just because someone claims to have detected design does not mean he has actually detected design

I didn't claim that. But you have a committed atheist become a theist because of the "high improbability conjoined with an independently given pattern" of the cell. It's just a testimonial to my point.

or do you think UFO sightings are accurate, too?

You're really good with the reductio ad ridiculum.

You cite an ad hoc definition, which is not accepted as authoritative,

Nice way to avoid the issue. This definition is accepted William Dembski and Craig, and I'm not sure what the problem you find with it is, namely because you don't say. You just assert it's dumb and wave your hand. That's pretty ridiculous, don't you think?

weather patterns

We can't consider weather designed because we can attribute the patterns and behavior to other natural systems.

Furthermore, none of the formations of those patterns, given the right conditions, are improbable. They become likely in the right conditions. Tornadoes are likely to form when two patches of air move toward each other, the warm above and the cool below.

Certain lottery events (e.g. Keno) consist of several numbers selected from a group, and it is only a matter of scale to say that each such number might denote a particular physical constant or fundamental force.

That's irrelevant because those lotteries don't constitute a proper analogy to compare to the fine-tuning of the universe.

We don't know how many times before this one that the 'lottery' was played

It's not about how many times it's played, it's about how many things could have been otherwise and was not.

Of course, even if a person does win the lottery multiple times, we cannot say there is design

You again appeal to a highly improbable conclusion to avoid the implication of design. JC Thibodaux said something about "willful ignorance."

This, you must realize, supports my claim that we cannot reliably detect design

No, because you cite no examples, and if you did they would probably be within reason. Winning Powerball 5 times in a row would be fairly improbable.

Will you not even try? I thought we could reliably detect design?

Why not deal with the rest of what I said? The first set is A. It's a portion of the decimal of PI.

That's a bold, unsupported, and context-less claim. Shore it up, or retract it.

"Decades ago, Behe explains, biologists thought that the cell was little more than a simple glob of protoplasm. Behe notes that in Origin of Species, Darwin posed a test whereby "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." Darwin thought he could find "no such organ" to fail that test, but Behe explains that the biotechnological revolution has revealed levels of cellular intricacy unimagined by Darwin" (http://www.discovery.org/a/3550).

bossmanham said...

That doesn't track

It tracks okay for me. Maybe you have no smart friends?

without detecting a designer, it's a pretty tough sell to say that we can somehow detect design

Design can point to a designer. We got clay pots from thousands of years ago, but we don't have the dudes that designed them. Yet we know there are some dudes that designed them...huh.

talk on cryptography

We don't need to get off on another red herring. It was an example. However, this ironically also shows that even though we may not be able to detect design, there might be design there anyway! So this helps my argument. Thanks.

That's nice. Does that line work when you and your friend struggle in class?

No, usually my professors are pretty good at using analogies. It's funny; I picked up on JC's immediately. Yours is ridiculous. Why keep defending a terrible analogy? Also, we’ve never met each other in person.

we'd not assume the speed of light were [sic] changing

Perhaps you wouldn't, but others have. I understand what you're saying. I'm pretty sure if the speed of light did change, we could detect it by measuring it. This article even speculates on this: "A varying speed of light contradicts Einstein's theory of relativity, and would undermine much of traditional physics. But some physicists believe it would elegantly explain puzzling cosmological phenomena such as the nearly uniform temperature of the universe."

To reiterate, I wouldn't necessarily agree with this, but it is just to show that we assume things without empirical evidence.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

I do believe that Dr. Craig's statement is a sufficient set of criteria since an "independently given pattern" would demonstrate the fashioning of a foreign force. Do you disagree?

Yes, I disagree, for the same reason you placed quotation marks around "independently given pattern." Just what is an "independently given pattern," right? If it is any apparent pattern, then everything should be considered 'designed' under Craig's criteria. If it is only certain types of patterns, then you must beg the question in order to provide a discriminating criterion.

Even with that, in the case of truly random events, apparent patterns can form. The probability of rolling a fair die ten times in a row and having all ten rolls produce a '6' is 1:6^10. If this sequence were to occur, is it random, or is it a pattern which indicates design? Brennon would evidently say it is a pattern, but the fact is that this sequence has exactly the same probability as any other 10-roll sequence. In the case of a truly random event, a pattern may very well appear, even though the event cannot be tied to that pattern.

Brennon seems not to realize this, and continuously screams and shouts that 'no, we can detect design,' even though no pattern we detect is distinguishable from a truly random event. Quantum mechanics shows us that, in spite of overwhelming odds against, it is entirely possible for an object of arbitrary complexity to spontaneously appear -- while infinitesimally small, the odds of such an event are not zero. If the odds are not zero, then the outcome in question could happen in any iteration. The same is true for any probabilistic event (or sequence of events); if the odds against are non-zero, then the outcome in question could be realized in any iteration. To deny this is to embrace incompetence.

--
Stan

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...
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Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...
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Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

[Antony Flew's alleged conversion to theism is] just a testimonial to my point.

Do you really want to compare rosters of converts? Is this a popularity contest?

You're really good with the reductio ad ridiculum.

That's because your argument is ridiculumous. You say you detect design, some people say they detect UFOs. I'm inclined to say are both incorrect, the existence of design or UFOs notwithstanding.

This definition is accepted William Dembski and Craig, and I'm not sure what the problem you find with it is, namely because you don't say. You just assert it's dumb and wave your hand. That's pretty ridiculous, don't you think?

What's ridiculous is your utter failure. Even your boy Jc_Freak admits that my point regarding this recipe for detection is valid. Of course, just because Dembski and Craig accept it, do you really mean to say that we should all accept it? I mean, I can cite thousands of scientists who accept the Big Bang, the ToE, etc. -- should we accept what they say, too?

I didn't say it was dumb, I said it was arbitrary, it was ad hoc, and that it is not useful. I also showed why. You're just reflexively defending your position, no matter how ridiculous it makes you look.

We can't consider weather designed because we can attribute the patterns and behavior to other natural systems.

I love it. "We can't consider weather designed because we can attribute the patterns and behavior to other natural systems." It has such a nice ring to it. I think it sounds better when more generalized, don't you think? Like this:

We can't consider [a given system] designed because we can attribute [its] patterns and behavior to other natural systems.

Yeah. That's better. Way to refute your own position, genius.

Furthermore, none of the formations of those patterns, given the right conditions, are improbable. They become likely in the right conditions.

That's pretty ineffective back-pedaling. You haven't quantified 'improbable,' and you're retroactively applying a standard -- in the case of tornadoes, which you pathetically attempted, the general conditions occur all the time, so saying they are "likely" is misleading. They are more likely than they were otherwise, but they are not necessarily likely. It doesn't matter, though, for by your own admission we cannot assume anything is designed when we have a natural explanation in hand.

That's irrelevant because those lotteries don't constitute a proper analogy to compare to the fine-tuning of the universe.

What is that, your panic button? If you don't like it, it's 'irrelevant'? "[T]hose lotteries don't constitute a proper analogy," but yours does?

Give me a break. A lottery is a class of ostensibly random events producing an outcome, however improbable the outcome may be. Any such class of event would necessarily fit the analogy, and you know it. You object because it shows that if the relatively small number of physical constants and fundamental force ratios might merely be aspects of a single 'lottery,' and because somebody has to win, and we're here, it must be us. You would apparently rather attribute the 'win' to magic, but this needn't be the case -- it may be otherwise.

It doesn't help, though, that you have no understanding of odds or probability.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

It's not about how many times it's played, it's about how many things could have been otherwise and was [sic] not.

It has not been shown that they could have been otherwise, and it has not been shown that they were not otherwise. Indeed, it is entirely possible that they are otherwise. So yes, it is not about how many times it's been played, but about the fact that irrespective of the number of times, we are apparently in the winning iteration.

You again appeal to a highly improbable conclusion to avoid the implication of design. JC Thibodaux said something about "willful ignorance."

No, I note that in a truly random sequence, even the 'highly improbable' outcome is possible, and no less probable than any other possible outcome. This includes multiple lottery wins in consecutive plays.

No, because you cite no examples, and if you did they would probably be within reason.

You can Google 'multiple lottery winners' to your heart's content -- there are plenty of examples, including at least one in which the winners weren't repeated, but the winning numbers were, in back-to-back drawings. I won't bother with links, though, since you already said you'd reject them for not being unreasonably improbable... whatever your arbitrary determination of unreasonably improbable actually entails.

The first set is A. It's a portion of the decimal of PI.

You are partially correct. 1A is a portion of the digits of pi, but since pi is not designed, you have only eliminated one of the possibilities for that set. Of course, since pi is an irrational number, it is theorized (though unproven, if memory serves) that any discrete sequence of digits will appear at some point in its unrepeating stream of digits.

Will you not continue to try?

[some quote regarding Behe and Darwin's lack of familiarity with molecular biology]

You have no point. Biologists did not think cells were "simple," but they perhaps thought they were simpler than they found. It's largely irrelevant, though, so I'll ignore it.

I said:

[W]ithout detecting a designer, it's a pretty tough sell to say that we can somehow detect design

You responded:

Design can point to a designer.

Do you not see how that is circular? I contend that you have not detected a designer, and that this lack of detection makes it difficult to claim that you can detect design. You respond by saying that if you succeed at detecting design, you can infer a designer? Try again; that's asinine.

However, this ironically also shows that even though we may not be able to detect design, there might be design there anyway!

That's not ironic, since it's been directly stated by me on several occasions -- there may well be design, but we cannot detect it (reliably). What is ironic is that you have admitted that "we may not be able to detect design." Thanks, douche.

I'm pretty sure if the speed of light did change, we could detect it by measuring it.

Never mind the many times I've told you that it is defined, and forms the basis of every meaningful measurement aside from mass. Never mind that you're just making things up because you have no clue what you're talking about -- or would you like to describe how it could be measured?

[link to a study]

I don't have time to look into this at the moment, but I'll take a look tomorrow, and also look at the actual published finding(s). Something tells me, though, that the answer lies in the very link you listed, wherein we discover that to make the 'discovery' certain assumptions had to be made first... Funny how you were accusing me of that lo those many comments ago... As that article is five years old, there may also be more recent findings to support or oppose the 'variable speed of light' hypothesis. I'll have a look tomorrow.

--
Stan

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Stan, the Unruth-Teller,

"Ummm. No. It has not once been demonstrated that humans can reliably detect design...."

Do you always rely on non-specific psychobabble? Irreducible complexity (multiple interdependent systems), for instance, is a good method of detecting design.


"That's just preposterous. There is ample evidence that there are people who believe Jesus was resurrected, but none whatsoever that it actually happened."

Simon Greenleaf's, Testimony of the Evangelists is a good place to start with the historical evidence of Christ's resurrection.

Tektonics.org also links to numerous resources on the historical defenses of the resurrection. Sticking your head in the sand won't save your skepticism.


"I get the distinct impression that you have no idea what qualifies as being 'empirical data.'"

I'll demonstrate here that your 'impression' is just as based in irrational fantasy as the rest of your assertions.


"Any raw experimental data is necessarily empirical"

Of course it is, but calculations aren't raw empirical data. 'Empirical' implies that which is shown by experimental means, and can thus be repeated. Calculations made using those data and based upon certain assumptions are not themselves empirical.


Name one "fallible assumption" used...

The 'boundary-less/center-less' universe employed in popular cosmology is one with no real evidence. If this is somehow untrue, then concepts such as gravitational time dilation are viable. Are you asserting that all the assumptions used in mainstream cosmology's calculation of the age of the universe are infallible?


"I'd say neither 'bossmanham' nor 'JC Thibodaux' have a clue what constitutes empirical data...."

Since you're still appealing to calculations based upon raw data rather than the raw data themselves, it's quite well-demonstrated that you've arrived at an irrational and foregone conclusion.


"Froggie,"

I didn't use the term 'derived evidence,' I said 'derived data,' a term that even those with a modicum of understanding of computational science understand.

John Doyle said...

I think it is important to note exactly why Brennon said your comment was irrelevant. It is not that the evolution of these cells is irrelevant, but that the evolution of cells is what if up for debate. It is called begging the question. Stating your thesis cannot be considered an argument for your thesis. If you going to argue against an anti-Darwinist position you need to show that cells evolve. Merely stating it is logically irrelevant and rhetorically unethical.

I am just replying to the assertion that modern Eukaryotic or Prokaryotic cells are too complex to have evolved. According to the theory of evolution, these cells have been evolving for several billion years. You claim that, in pointing this out, I am begging the question, but I don't think I am. The theory of evolution predicts this complexity.

Are you not merely stating that cells are too complex to evolve? If so, is your argument not irrelevant and rhetorically unethical?

Jc_Freak: said...

"Yes, I disagree, for the same reason you placed quotation marks around "independently given pattern." Just what is an "independently given pattern," right? If it is any apparent pattern, then everything should be considered 'designed' under Craig's criteria. If it is only certain types of patterns, then you must beg the question in order to provide a discriminating criterion."

Well, actually I put quotation marks around it to denote it as a singular term, but that's besides the point (especially since I usually use single quotes for that purpose, but I was lazy. I'll be more careful about that from here on).

But I would think it was obvious that it would not mean any apparent pattern since, for that purpose, we would just say pattern; there would be no need for a modifier. The concept of an 'independently-given pattern' implies that the body's form was demonstratively formed by a foreign agent for a purpose. This would demonstrated by two criteria:

A. That the natural forces that exist within and around the body are not conducive for the body's form.

B. That the body's form accomplishes a task which is required by its nature.

Does this make sense?

bossmanham said...

The probability of rolling a fair die ten times in a row and having all ten rolls produce a '6' is 1:6^10. If this sequence were to occur, is it random

You still don't get it. Look at the odds you just calculated. That is a hugely improbable event, but it still has a much better chance of happening that all the forces in this universe being tuned as specifically as that are rather than otherwise. If someone were in a casino and kept rolling the same number on a die 10 times, the bouncers would be on their way over to confront said person, because they would suspect him of cheating. You seem to enjoy holding to a vastly implausible set of events. The better argument is the more plausible one.

Brennon seems not to realize this, and continuously screams and shouts that 'no, we can detect design,

And you live in some imaginary dream world. You are so adamantly against theism that you will deny the simple fact that we can and do reliably detect design all the time. Your position, that we cannot, requires the bigger burden of proof in which you need to show that any time we think we detect design it isn't reliable. I only have to show one case of someone detecting design (which I have done) to prove my point. You have chosen an indefensible position.

Blah, blah, blah. Question-beg some more, while you paint targets over the bullet holes.

Likewise, buttercup.

We cannot say that the values of the physical constants and ratios of fundamental forces are 'improbable,' for we have no way of identifying just how likely or unlikely the current scheme actually is.

They could all be set to an infinitely different value. It is improbable that they would all be set to the correct value to permit life. Is your explanation necessity or chance? Both lack merit.

"It may be that the values can vary greatly, and it may be that the values cannot vary at all."

Tell that to the strong gravity force which, if it was altered, would cause a rapid implosion of the universe.

The best explanation you'll get is that a ball was drawn

Begging the question.

I wonder, though, how many times you'd require us to select a ball before you'd accept that selecting the white ball comported with the odds

Part of Craig's formulation of this analogy that I omitted is you'd get shot if you didn't pull out the white ball on the first try.

It has nothing to do with chance or necessity, but with your irrational requirement of satisfaction

You're such a hypocrite. You hold to the most irrational position I have encountered in a long while, that we cannot detect design.

You're an idiot.

Wow. Amazing mental gymnastics there. Hoo, don't know what I'll do about that one. How about if you keep up that crap, you just don't bother commenting?

We're left with the question because we don't have an answer

bossmanham said...

Yes, and it's one you explain with chance and/or necessity, which is ridiculous.

sometimes the correct answer is, "I don't know."

Nobody seeking truth accepts that answer. You are extremely disingenuous.
--
If you keep up the insults you will no longer be allowed to comment. You sound like a retard. If your position were so strong you wouldn't need to resort to them. But you have backed yourself into this corner where you must deny the ability to detect design, so I can understand your dilemma.
--

That's because your argument is ridiculumous

You are the biggest fallacy slinging hypocrite I have ever conversed with. I am not the one arguing we can't detect design, which is an indefensible position.
I mean, I can cite thousands of scientists who accept the Big Bang, the ToE, etc.

Bing bang is fine and reasonable to accept, ToE is a myth.

You're just reflexively defending your position, no matter how ridiculous it makes you look.

All that's left to do is constantly point out your hypocrisy.

Yeah. That's better. Way to refute your own position, genius.

Are you really that dumb? We can't attribute the fine tuning of the universe to other natural systems. That's why it's reasonable to extrapolate design from them. Reading comprehension is supposed to be a basic skill learned in high school.

What is that, your panic button? If you don't like it, it's 'irrelevant'? "[T]hose lotteries don't constitute a proper analogy," but yours does?

Yes, the ball analogy most accurately describes what I'm talking about. You again show your utter failure at understanding how to formulate and interpret an analogy. Go back to 5th grade.

It has not been shown that they could have been otherwise

So you're going with necessity then? Why couldn't they be different?

Biologists did not think cells were "simple," but they perhaps thought they were simpler than they found. It's largely irrelevant, though, so I'll ignore it.

You asked for it!

I contend that you have not detected a designer, and that this lack of detection makes it difficult to claim that you can detect design. You respond by saying that if you succeed at detecting design, you can infer a designer?

You’ve seen paintings without someone designing them?

there may well be design, but we cannot detect it (reliably).

And we circle back to your indefensible position.

Something tells me, though, that the answer lies in the very link you listed, wherein we discover that to make the 'discovery' certain assumptions had to be made first

Are you really that stupid? Did you not read what I added directly after? The whole point of saying the speed of light can vary was to show that we assume values to be true without empirical evidence! I was never claiming to believe that light does vary. Good grief you are really ridiculous.

If you keep up with the insults and keep up the hand waving, you will no longer be allowed to post.

bossmanham said...

Are you not merely stating that cells are too complex to evolve?

I'm saying, as all who accept intelligent design say, that it is highly implausible for them to evolve without at the very least intelligent guidance. As Barrow and Tipler state, the odds are better that it would take so long that the sun would have already expended itself and incinerated the earth.

Jc_Freak: said...

To John Doyle,

Two points:

A. No I am not saying that complexity is sufficient to prove design. It often suggests it, but it definitely does not prove it. (though I don't believe that Brennon is making that argument either, but I'll let him clarify his own points)

B. I am not saying that that which you desired to point out begs the question. I'm saying that what you communicated does. All you said was that Darwinism states that these cells have been evolving for millions of years. Correct, it does state that. In fact, that's what Darwinism is. Thus, you are begging the question.

Upon reading your further statements, I have now realized that what you meant to say was the provision of millions of years can account for the complexity and in fact anticipates it. Here is my point: if that is what you intended to say, then say that. It is not our responsibility to read between the lines of your comment. It is your responsibility to state your points clearly.

John Doyle said...

@bossmanham
I'm saying, as all who accept intelligent design say, that it is highly implausible for them to evolve without at the very least intelligent guidance. As Barrow and Tipler state, the odds are better that it would take so long that the sun would have already expended itself and incinerated the earth.

There is no way to calculate odds on the evolution of the cell. It is all just speculation. Even if the odds are remote, life did evolve here. It is here.

@JC_Freak
A. No I am not saying that complexity is sufficient to prove design. It often suggests it, but it definitely does not prove it. (though I don't believe that Brennon is making that argument either, but I'll let him clarify his own points)

I agree.

B. I am not saying that that which you desired to point out begs the question. I'm saying that what you communicated does. All you said was that Darwinism states that these cells have been evolving for millions of years. Correct, it does state that. In fact, that's what Darwinism is. Thus, you are begging the question.

No, I am saying that the Theory of evolution states that living organisms are selected naturally over time. The war for a share in the available resources drives organisms to take advantage of any natural favour that they have over their competitors. If you and your progeny live long enough to reproduce, your genes are favoured in the next generation.

Upon reading your further statements, I have now realized that what you meant to say was the provision of millions of years can account for the complexity and in fact anticipates it. Here is my point: if that is what you intended to say, then say that. It is not our responsibility to read between the lines of your comment. It is your responsibility to state your points clearly.

My point was very simple. The complexity of extant single cells is coherent with the theory of evolution given that life has been evolving on the planet for about 3.5 billion years. I was clear from the outset. I have no desire to obfuscate my arguments.

bossmanham said...

There is no way to calculate odds on the evolution of the cell. It is all just speculation. Even if the odds are remote, life did evolve here. It is here.

I love it when random internet people claim to know more than eminent scholars. It's always amusing.

John Doyle said...

There is no way to calculate odds on the evolution of the cell. It is all just speculation. Even if the odds are remote, life did evolve here. It is here.

I love it when random internet people claim to know more than eminent scholars. It's always amusing.

Can you provide a list of eminent biologists who deny that cells evolved naturally?

J.C. Thibodaux said...

John,

"The complexity of extant single cells is coherent with the theory of evolution given that life has been evolving on the planet for about 3.5 billion years."

...

"The theory of evolution predicts this complexity."

Considering that the theory of evolution was designed as a way to explain the existence of complex organisms by naturalistic means, that's a rather obvious after-the-fact prediction.


"Even if the odds are remote, life did evolve here. It is here."

Life being here is not evidence that it took a specific route to get here. Saying (essentially), "life exists, so it must have evolved into existence" is begging the question.

Jc_Freak: said...

To John,

You didn't obfuscate; you did the opposite. You were vague.

But that's really besides the point now. In either case, Brennon understand what the theory of evolution is. There is no reason to explain to us the basics. The question is whether or not genetic mutation can account for the kinds of complexity that we find in biological systems.

John Doyle said...

"The theory of evolution predicts this complexity."

Considering that the theory of evolution was designed as a way to explain the existence of complex organisms by naturalistic means, that's a rather obvious after-the-fact prediction.

Even obvious predictions must be satisfied.

"Even if the odds are remote, life did evolve here. It is here."

Life being here is not evidence that it took a specific route to get here. Saying (essentially), "life exists, so it must have evolved into existence" is begging the question.

Clearly, but it was not a conclusion that was reached without considerable reason.

John Doyle said...

But that's really besides the point now. In either case, Brennon understand what the theory of evolution is. There is no reason to explain to us the basics. The question is whether or not genetic mutation can account for the kinds of complexity that we find in biological systems.

The natural world is full of overly-complex solutions to particular problems. This would seem to be a natural consequence of following evolutionary pathways to solutions.

As all organic lifeforms are contigent on essentially the same genetic material, it would appear that genetic mutation could account for all lifeforms on this planet.

bossmanham said...

Even obvious predictions must be satisfied.

The theory of macro-evolution is ad hoc to simply explain life without God. The theses of common ancestry and random mutation and natural selection takes limited evidence and formulates colossal conclusions far beyond the evidence. Even though macro-evolution has not been displayed, it is the only game in town for the antitheist. This has to be it. But what if it isn't. The evidence is far from supportive.

As all organic lifeforms are contigent on essentially the same genetic material, it would appear that genetic mutation could account for all lifeforms on this planet.

Since one species forming from another has never been observed, this is an awful leap in logic.

ExPatMatt said...

boss,

"Since one species forming from another has never been observed, this is an awful leap in logic".

Are you sure about this?

Even Ray Comfort accepts speciation....

bossmanham said...

ExPat,

This is where definitions of words becomes important. Speciation is not the macro-evolution we are speaking of. Micro-evolution (natural selection) is observable. The genetic traits that favor survival are passed on because the ones that do not have that trait die.

We can observe different breeds of the same kind of animal, dogs for instance, appearing. Humans bred the poodle. But this is still a dog and has not become another species, by that definition. If you prefer, we can refer to them as species and the whole of the canine family as 'kind.' But the mutations that create these different breeds aren't helpful.

All that has ever been observed is subspeciation, or variation within kind. We have never observed transpeciation, which is one kind becoming another kind.

Perhaps we can avoid getting off track any more than this discussion has.

ExPatMatt said...

No problem man, you just mentioned the species-/->species thing and I wondered what you were talking about because we most certainly have seen species to species transitions in our lifetimes.

But if you're going to mess around with definitions to avoid that fact then fair enough (is 'transpeciation' even a word?).

And if you're saying that kind=family then no, families don't evolve into other families, that's not evolution that's creationist evolution (ie, made up stuff).

Do you want to stick with kind=family for future reference?

Species give rise to subspecies. Subspecies diverge from each other so much that they can no longer interbreed. Repeat. That's pretty much it.


Anyway, I'll stop the off-topic now.

Cheers,

John Doyle said...

The theory of macro-evolution is ad hoc to simply explain life without God. The theses of common ancestry and random mutation and natural selection takes limited evidence and formulates colossal conclusions far beyond the evidence. Even though macro-evolution has not been displayed, it is the only game in town for the antitheist. This has to be it. But what if it isn't. The evidence is far from supportive.

What is macro-evolution?

bossmanham said...

And if you're saying that kind=family then no, families don't evolve into other families, that's not evolution that's creationist evolution (ie, made up stuff).

This is the problem with any kind of dialog between evolutionists that hold to a single common ancestor and those who hold to, at the very least, progressive creation. The definitions are never clear and evolutionists are notoriously and frustratingly vague.

What is macro-evolution?

This is another problem and why this dialog will go nowhere. If one party continues to be disingenuous and pretend there is no distinction between adaptation within species and species completely changing traits so as they are a completely different animal, we will progress no further. I'm going to assume you're being facetious and aren't really that dense.

Jc_Freak: said...

The natural world is full of overly-complex solutions to particular problems. This would seem to be a natural consequence of following evolutionary pathways to solutions.

As all organic lifeforms are contigent on essentially the same genetic material, it would appear that genetic mutation could account for all lifeforms on this planet.


I did not make an argument from complexity but irreducible complexity, specifically of protienic systems. Something which is irreducibly complex is something which possesses a point where it cannot be reduced to a simpler yet viable system. The reason why this is particular important in reference to proteinic systems is that the genome is primarily a recipe book for proteins, and thus every mutation translates over to a particular protein (modifying it, producing it, or removing it). If a proteinic system is demonstrative irreducible by way of the addition and subtraction of proteins, then it is impossible for it to have been established through an unbroken line of predecessors.

This is extremely important in relation to evolution, for evolution requires an unbroken line of predecessors to exist. You can't have descendants with ancestors. This is essentially a mechanical missing link where no link can fit. This is why this kind of complexity implies design.

John Doyle said...

species completely changing traits so as they are a completely different animal, we will progress no further. I'm going to assume you're being facetious and aren't really that dense.

I apologize if it came across as facetious, I wanted to know how you defined the term.

So macro-evolution is "species completely changing traits so as they are a completely different animal". I agree that this is probably impossible.

bossmanham said...

So macro-evolution is "species completely changing traits so as they are a completely different animal". I agree that this is probably impossible.

Great. So you don't hold to the theses of common ancestry and random mutation and natural selection. This means you are a creationist? Young earth? Progressive? Or are you again being frustratingly vague?

John Doyle said...

If a proteinic system is demonstrative irreducible by way of the addition and subtraction of proteins, then it is impossible for it to have been established through an unbroken line of predecessors.

That is a reasonable assertion.

If each living organism was an act of special creation, we should find a large number of these irreducibly complex proteinic systems. How many have been recognized so far?

John Doyle said...

Great. So you don't hold to the theses of common ancestry and random mutation and natural selection. This means you are a creationist? Young earth? Progressive? Or are you again being frustratingly vague?

I am not a creationist. I believe that evolution by natural means is the explanation for the diversity of life on this planet.

I was just agreeing that a species could not completely change its traits to become a totally different animal. Traits have to pass from one generation to the next.

ExPatMatt said...

John,

Exactly my point (that bossmanham missed). Evolution doesn't say that entire families will change into other families, nor does it say that a given species will radically alter its traits and become a new species.

Most evolution-denial is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of what the theory says.

As I said in my last comment; bossmanham, are you happy to say kind=family?

I have to ask because I've never seen a creationist define 'kind' (and biologists/taxonomists don't use the term at all)

Cheers,

Jc_Freak: said...

To John Doyle,

A few things.

First a clarification: Creationists do not believe that every living creature was a product of special creation. We don't disagree with Darwinists that evolution happens, only certain philosophical assumptions that have been attached to the term, including that evolution can account for everything. We believe it can only account for some speciation.

Second, I must admit that I am not an expert. My knowledge of irreducible complexity is primarily based off of Dr. Michael Behe's original book "Darwin's Black Box" where he gives I think 5 different examples of different kinds of irreducibility, but claims that there are many more. Every one of his examples have been contested of course,but I have yet to read an essay that actually interacts with his fundamental ideas, i.e. establishing a line of possible predecessors. They all fall prey to what I call the "bicycle bell fallacy".

Finally, one kind of irreducible complexity that is really easy to explain is the cascade. A cascade is anything where there is a direct line of cause and affect where what happens first is necessary to establish what happens later, like knocking over a line of dominoes. There are many examples of cascades in biology, where one protein activates another, then activates another, and so on. The example that Behe gives is the blood clotting system.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

The better argument is the more plausible one.

This only seems to make sense to you because you fail to understand odds and probability. I admit it seems to be 'more plausible,' but only to our quite fallible intuition. The math says it is possible, no matter how unlikely we deem it to be. If the probability of an event occurring is not zero, then that event could occur in any iteration. The odds needn't bear out.

[Y]ou need to show that any time we think we detect design it isn't reliable. I only have to show one case of someone detecting design (which I have done) to prove my point.

No, that's backward. I claim that we cannot reliably detect design -- I am arguing that our ability to detect design is inconsistent, and therefore not trustworthy. Indeed, we can and do detect design with certain classes of very familiar objects and processes, but with certain other classes, this is not the case. If you wish to claim that our ability to detect design is reliable (and, therefore, consistent), then any failure to do so constitutes failure of your claim.

That, and I'm still waiting for you to answer, or even attempt, my challenge. If you'd rather not, let me know, so that I can post the answers.

[The physical constants and fundamental force ratios] could all be set to an infinitely different value.

That is a rash assumption on your part -- it has not been shown that they actually can have such different values. Even if so, however, it does nothing to say that it is impossible for them to have arisen, by chance, on the first iteration. I do not claim one or the other, per se, but I insist that you cannot infer what you seem to claim.

Tell that to the strong gravity [sic] force which, if it was altered, would cause a rapid implosion of the universe.

Intentionally or accidentally, you misunderstand my position. If the force of gravity were altered, this universe wouldn't exist, and we wouldn't be discussing it.

If you keep up the insults you will no longer be allowed to comment.

Do what you have to do. You called me a douche, and I responded. I did not directly insult you (that I recall) until you directly insulted me. Tit for tat.

Anyway, please attempt my challenge or surrender, so that I can post the answers.

--
Stan

bossmanham said...

This only seems to make sense to you because you fail to understand odds and probability

Wow stunning refutation.

No, that's backward. I claim that we cannot reliably detect design -- I am arguing that our ability to detect design is inconsistent, and therefore not trustworthy.

Actually that would be backward. You're claim that design detection is never reliable bears a 100% burden of proof. If there is even one time when we have detected design reliably, then my argument is accurate.

That is a rash assumption on your part -- it has not been shown that they actually can have such different values

And it has not been shown that they cannot either.

I do not claim one or the other, per se, but I insist that you cannot infer what you seem to claim.

This is why your position is silly. I claim it is more plausible and thus reasonable to infer design in what we observe. You claim it is only reasonable to say "I don't know" when the converse (no designer) is considered. It is quite obviously far more plausible to infer a designer from this than not, making your agnosticism less plausible.

If the force of gravity were altered, this universe wouldn't exist, and we wouldn't be discussing it

Exactly.

Do what you have to do. You called me a douche, and I responded.

I said "stop being a douche." You were being rude and obnoxious and I was asking you to stop.

Anyway, please attempt my challenge or surrender, so that I can post the answers

It's a non-issue. Go ahead and post the answers. It changes nothing in the discussion.

bossmanham said...

We don't disagree with Darwinists that evolution happens, only certain philosophical assumptions that have been attached to the term, including that evolution can account for everything.

Precisely.

bossmanham said...

on the quiz from stan

Actually, Stan. Since you typed every one of those sets of letters/numbers, they were all designed by you.

ExPatMatt said...

Freak and Boss,

"We don't disagree with Darwinists that evolution happens, only certain philosophical assumptions that have been attached to the term, including that evolution can account for everything".

Please provide a reference to anyone claiming that evolution can account for 'everything'.

*Cough* Strawman *Cough*

"We believe it can only account for some speciation".

Which speciation does it account for and which speciation does it not account for? And why?

Cheers,

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

You're claim that design detection is never reliable bears a 100% burden of proof.

If my claim were that design detection has a 100% rate of failure, I'd agree. That claim, however, is absurd, and I've not once said anything remotely close to it. Re-read my last, if you're still unclear -- I only state that it is unreliable, not that it always fails.

And it has not been shown that [the physical constants or fundamental force ratios] cannot [hold an infinite number of values] either.

So why do you insist otherwise? I'm merely arguing that your denial of the possibility of chance is dishonest. If you rescind that denial, or clarify your position to remove that implication, so be it -- but to this point, you seem dead set on denying the possibility of chance, based on an uninformed interpretation of probability.

I claim it is more plausible and thus reasonable to infer design in what we observe.

...based on an unproven assumption that we can detect design (especially in unfamiliar situations), and on the improper use of probability to conclude that the realized odds will resemble the actual odds.

I said "stop being a douche."

...which is calling me a douche. How could I stop being something I wasn't already? If you don't like insults, don't sling them.

Since you typed every one of those sets of letters/numbers, they were all designed by you.

I'm surprised it took you so long to wave that particular surrender flag. Selection is not the same as design. Please show which sets are designed, if you're so confident that our ability to detect design is so sound, else please explicitly refuse the challenge, so that my point is at least weakly made.

--
Stan

bossmanham said...

That claim, however, is absurd, and I've not once said anything remotely close to it.

You said "It has not once been demonstrated that humans can reliably detect design." That statement requires 100% burden of proof that whenever we detect design it is unreliable. My claim is there are many times when we can detect design reliably. You then presented a bunch of random numbers and asked me to find the design. All that proved was there were times we could not detect design even though there is design. So you defeated your own argument.

I'm merely arguing that your denial of the possibility of chance is dishonest.

Straw man. I never said there was no chance. I said it's highly implausibe, and I don't go around making it a habit to hold to highly implausible positions.

How could I stop being something I wasn't already?

At least you're honest here. You were the first one being a jerk. Let's hope you can continue in civility.

Please show which sets are designed

They're all designed. You typed them (or someone did). Thanks for proving my point again.

Jc_Freak: said...

"We don't disagree with Darwinists that evolution happens, only certain philosophical assumptions that have been attached to the term, including that evolution can account for everything".

Please provide a reference to anyone claiming that evolution can account for 'everything'.

*Cough* Strawman *Cough*


Well, I didn't mean to be taken that literally to be honest. By everything, I meant everything within the context of discussion, i.e. all species. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.

Which speciation does it account for and which speciation does it not account for? And why?

Well, it's not a fine line where "on this side it's possible, while on this side it's not". There are some arguments that draw lines, such as irreducible complexity of proteinic systems, or the introduction of sexual reproduction, but not all Creationists use these arguments. However, all Creationists agree that it just doesn't account for everything.

Stan, the Half-Truth Teller said...

That statement requires 100% burden of proof that whenever we detect design it is unreliable.

No, it doesn't. It applies to the set of things with which we are unfamiliar, or better still the set of things for which a specified designer is not a given. Pottery dug up at archaeological sites does not qualify, nor does an anthill, a beaver's dam, machinery, etc. Shall I likewise restate your position to make it seem that you insist that our ability to detect design is 100% reliable?

Stop being a douche.

My claim is there are many times when we can detect design reliably.

And mine is that there are many times where we cannot. Ergo, our ability to detect design is unreliable. If I had a car that didn't always start, but sometimes did, would describing it as 'reliably starting' be accurate? The same is true for our ability to detect design -- it is unreliable.

You then presented a bunch of random numbers and asked me to find the design. All that proved was there were times we could not detect design even though there is design. So you defeated your own argument.

You mean, in spite of your claim that our ability to detect design is reliable, the fact that you could not reliably detect the designed strings illustrates that whether there is design or not, you (and I extend this to 'we') cannot reliably detect design?

I have supported my own argument, not weakened it -- you need to learn definitions, or you need to stop being a douche.

I don't go around making it a habit to hold to highly implausible positions.

You mean you don't believe you were born? Have you forgotten Craig's comment regarding conception?

Your own existence, for example, is due to the incredibly improbable union of a certain sperm and a certain egg, yet we would not infer on that basis that your conception was intelligently designed.

So do you hold to the highly implausible position that your conception was a result of natural processes, or that it was an intelligently designed event?

You do "hold to highly implausible positions," whether you consciously realize it or not. It's part of how humans live their lives, and it's proven to be the case that highly improbable scenarios can and do play out all the time (technically, every scenario which unnecessarily plays out is necessarily improbable).

RE: My challenge

They're all designed. You typed them (or someone did). Thanks for proving my point again.

No, they're not all designed. They're all selected. There's a difference, as I've already noted. Did you design the pattern of mashed potatoes you spooned onto your plate at dinner? If you were to report its shape, would that report be designed? Either answer them or give up, but at the very least, stop being a douche.

--
Stan

ExPatMatt said...

Freak,

"Well, it's not a fine line where "on this side it's possible, while on this side it's not". There are some arguments that draw lines, such as irreducible complexity of proteinic systems, or the introduction of sexual reproduction, but not all Creationists use these arguments".

It doesn't sound like you actually have a position on this. None of the examples are speciation, by the way.

Speciation occurs when one or more 'daughter' groups diverge from a 'parent' population enough so that viable offspring can no longer be produced by the union of one group with another (or with the parent group).

Is there any reason to suppose that there are boundaries to this process, given that you accept it occurs?

Cheers,

Jc_Freak: said...

It doesn't sound like you actually have a position on this. None of the examples are speciation, by the way.

Speciation occurs when one or more 'daughter' groups diverge from a 'parent' population enough so that viable offspring can no longer be produced by the union of one group with another (or with the parent group).

Is there any reason to suppose that there are boundaries to this process, given that you accept it occurs?


My examples were things that would have to be surpassed for the divergence of all species from a common ancestor which necessarily involves a plethora of instances of speciation. In either case, I do know what speciation means.

If I had to get more specific, I am unaware of an example of speciation where the fundamental structure or a creature was altered. (Yes, there have been structural changes, but nothing fundamental). To be honest, this doesn't contradict Darwin in of itself, since Darwinism wouldn't expect that level to have occurred within the short time period of human existence. But I would say that I don't think it is possible.

J.C. Thibodaux said...

Stan the Untruth-Teller,

A few points about your 'challenge' and commentary:

1. Design is very often detected by overall functionality, not mere appearance or short sequences of its parts. Given a few short lines of binary code, it would be near-impossible for even a mathematical genius to immediately tell which were random and which were part of code written by an intelligent agent, but given the functioning whole (thousands to millions of lines of inter-operating code), it would be readily apparent. If I downloaded an executable file from the internet that functioned perfectly, yet someone claims that it's wholly the product of random code generation, parsimony says that such a claim doesn't constitute a reasonable explanation.

2. It's division fallacy to argue that just because design can't be reasonably detected in a few short strings that it somehow can't be so at higher levels.

3. "Quantum mechanics shows us that, in spite of overwhelming odds against, it is entirely possible for an object of arbitrary complexity to spontaneously appear -- while infinitesimally small, the odds of such an event are not zero. If the odds are not zero, then the outcome in question could happen in any iteration."

There are many things that in theory could happen, but don't, because the probability is far too low to be considered as a reasonable assumption. There's theoretically a finite chance of being able to completely pass through a wall that you walk into. There's however an approaching infinitely greater chance that you'd get stuck part-way through, and an approaching infinitely greater chance than that of simply colliding with it. Prisons don't set up security based upon such improbabilities for rather obvious reasons. One could use such a fairy-tale level appeals to probability to defend concepts such as spontaneous generation ("The maggots arose by chance!"), but until we discover the 'infinite improbability drive' that could propel such events, such explanations for complex systems should be rejected as reasonable presuppositions.

Likewise, phenomena such as even the simplest conceivable life consist of multiple such improbabilities strung together in a functioning manner. At bare minimum, 'molecules to life' by naturalistic means demands that systems such as a means to assimilate nutrients and self-replicate spontaneously (among other very precise systems) all appear in the same place at the same time in the ideal conditions (more nutrients readily available, acceptable operating temperature, etc). Sorry, Occam's Razor doesn't cut that way. The only reasonable explanation for such systems that dwarf most computer systems for quantity of information and functionality is that they were designed as such.