Friday, December 18, 2009

(((Sigh))) Disappointing

Several weeks ago Elise asked if it was possible for communication to take place between people who hold to such diametrically opposing views. Some said, Of course we can, but I think she’s right. All we do is throw words at each other.

I’ve pointed out a couple times that it doesn’t seem to be the information that I present that is the problem. No one for example has told me that the information in the post, “So, Correct Me” is wrong. It’s that “scientific” information that is coming from a Christian is not acceptable. This is especially true if that information requires atheists to question their deeply held convictions. If that’s not the reason for atheists ignoring scientifically correct information, then you tell me? What’s the reason for expressing your unexamined prejudice and thereby blocking yourself from open inquiry?

It’s not like methodological naturalism doesn’t refer to intelligent agents or use design detection on a regular basis on its own. Archaeologists, forensic scientists, cryptographers, and anthropologists infer past intelligence as cause all the time. Even astro biologists on the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence have followed Sagan’s dictum that if we could find just one line of information, we have discovered proof of intelligence aside from our own.

Just one line of information.

That’s all it would take.

Place in front of atheists a volume of information equivalent to 1,000 sets of the encyclopaedia Britannica however and what do we get? “It’s just biological material, folks. There’s nothing to see here. Go on home.”

I was taken to task for saying that atheists restrict themselves to a narrow band, an unrealistically narrow band of evidence. I still think it’s true. I’m open to any explanation of what we observe. If supernatural gives the Best Evidence, so be it. If evidence for a naturalistic explanation points the way, then let’s follow it. Not so for atheists. They are committed to only what’s immediately in front of them. Because of that narrow band of awareness, my fear is that atheists are committing themselves to an unjustified and quite likely a false view of biological origins.

I mean, ask yourself. Is it not at least logically POSSIBLE that an intelligent, conscious, personal agent existed prior to the appearance of first life?

Is it not even possible?

And if it IS possible that an intelligent agent existed prior to the advent of biological life on earth then isn’t it also possible that the activity of this agent could be detected by some means of scientific detection? As stated, origins and historical science uses these methods on a regular basis. One method, “competing hypothesis” was used in this series.

Can you call yourself scientifically minded and live by the assertion that it’s absolutely impossible that any intelligence of any kind existed prior to biological life on earth?

And how can you say that with such certainty given the complete lack of supporting and verified evidence for biological abiogenesis? Oh sure, there’s Dawkins version of events but seriously, the number of people unhooking their wagon from his star is growing exponentially every day.

If you consider yourself a truth seeker regarding the origin of life on earth, you cannot limit this issue to the question, “Which methodologically natural hypothesis is most adequate?”

Rather, I should think the question would be, “What is the Best Evidence regarding the origin of the information that made possible the rise of first life on earth?”

We know that Chance is an extremely unlikely candidate. Have you ever asked yourself why the multi verse hypothesis was invented?

We know that Chemical necessity is an extremely unlikely candidate. Have you ever asked yourself why the multi verse hypothesis was invented?

We know that RNA replication is an extremely unlikely candidate. Have you ever asked yourself why the multi verse hypothesis was invented?

The multi verse hypothesis was invented because all of the above are extremely unlikely candidates. This is really sad, but the next best thing in the atheist’s quiver is an infinite number of universes where one of those universes had specified, formulated information arise by a means other than by an intelligent agent - "Hey! Just like ours did."

Setting aside this atheist origin of life mythology for a bit . . . Beyond knowing that the above are highly improbable, we also know that large amounts of specified complexity or formulated information are generated ONLY by Intelligent Agents. Just how committed do you have to be to a world-view to purposely ignore the evidence that’s looking you straight in the eye? (((Sigh))).

In fact I think it's possible that the atheist’s inability to comprehend what it is they are reading is one more piece of evidence for Creator God. Unless someone has been “made” intellectually deaf and blind, as some portions of Scripture suggest may be the case, no one can be so stupid as to not recognise the evidence for Creator God that has been placed before them.

The atheists that post here seem to be caught in a paradigm where only one type of evidence is acceptable, i.e., naturalism or materialism. What they don’t seem to realise is that when proposals that fit ONLY one type of competition, or proposals that fit ONLY into an artificially constrained competition (nothing beyond nature is allowed) then those examining those proposals cannot say that their theory is the best or the most true or the most causally adequate. It’s like holding a race to see who is the fastest runner in the world, but only white males from North America may compete.

Neither Chance, nor Predestination nor RNA replication are workable, but those are the only theories that atheists will allow themselves to choose from. How scientific is that?

If you really are a seeker of truth, then it would seem to me that ANYTHING that answers the question and is causally adequate should be examined. I mean, are you after an answer? Or are you after the right answer? Following the evidence regardless of where it leads is the only method that will take you closer to the truth. Rejecting hypothesis a priori because of their possible metaphysical outcomes seems to me just the opposite of the scientific method that atheists claim to hold so dear.

Judging by causal adequacy is a neutral criteria from a scientific AND a metaphysical point of view. Yet this more rational approach is simply not allowed by the rational, logical and reasonable atheists posting here.

Humans can be sooo disappointing!

35 comments:

Ginx said...

I can live with the fact that I dismiss the supernatural. If it ain't material, it's immaterial.

You know what would be fun? Ethical discussion. Just don't write anything with presuppositions, like:

"The Orthodox Church of Atheism preaches that ethics do not exist."

I think ethics and morality are very real things, I just acknowledge many different paths of logic and rationalizations as being valid (even if they come to different conclusions than my own).

Elise said...

My two favorite quotes attributed to Albert Einstein:

"Science without religion is crippled; religion without science is blind."

"I want to know the mind of God; everything else is just details."


I have some friends who are atheists, and I do not try to dissuade them because frankly my debating skills leave a lot to be desired. Instead, I try to find places where we can agree. The wonders of the universe, for example, about which science has only begun its first wobbly steps toward understanding. I just can't explain these great mysteries away as mere chance.

May everyone here have a blessed holiday season, however you celebrate it!

Makarios said...

You know what would be fun? Ethical discussion.

I’m sure that’s happening somewhere. It might even happen here at some point. I’m not sure I’ve exhausted this line just yet.
===============
“I think ethics and morality are very real things,”

But not information. Ginx, you can be such a goof.
==============

Thank you for a woman’s touch Elise. You’re a little island of sanity and peace.

Ginx said...

"The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go."

~ Galileo

JD Curtis said...

No one for example has told me that the information in the post, “So, Correct Me” is wrong. It’s that “scientific” information that is coming from a Christian is not acceptable.

I wonder if they reject Information Theory outright, along with the work done by insurance company investigators to establish patterns in rooting out fraud?

Marcus Wellington said...

All that matters is athiests is rejecting Christ Jesus. There going to burn in hell with the jew and Catholics and the rest.

Ginx said...

I get to hang out in hell with the Jews and Catholics? That's much better than spending eternity not existing, thanks Marcus!

Marcus Wellington said...

mockers have a place in a lake of fire

Makarios said...

Oh, Ginx, that's really . . .
Sometimes you should just say nothing at all.

tildeb said...

Because of that narrow band of awareness, my fear is that atheists are committing themselves to an unjustified and quite likely a false view of biological origins.

Oh my.

Don't be scared; that 'narrow band of awareness' is what we rely upon to navigate our lives, build our edifices, expand our frontiers and horizons, deepen our collective knowledge, pass on our wisdom, tackle the hypothetical, answer our curiosity, deal with the unexpected, and take on the cold indifference of the universe to create a purposeful, meaningful, and compassionate life. And all that can be yours honestly without any need for woo.

The honest answer to the question of our biological origins is the same for both of us, I am sad to say: I don't know and neither do you. You can fill in what you don't know with whatever imaginings you want, but you are being dishonest if you plug in an answer that cannot be falsified. And goddidit provides us with no answer whatsoever; it's just code for "I am going to pretend that I know the answer even though I haven't a clue."

My advice is that you should be far more scared of capitulating your intellectual integrity in the service of empowering your imagination and false answers than you are on behalf of atheists 'commiting' themselves to disregard your musings.

Intelligent Design is not now and never has been about practicing good science; it has been and continues to be used as an alternative to the fact of evolutionary science so that it can help insert the theology of creationism into the science classroom.

Or maybe I just misread the Wedge document from the Discovery Institute that funds all the 'research' behind promoting ID.

Hugo said...

tildeb wrote a very good reply, it's interesting to see more sanity than irrationality over here.

And how can you say that with such certainty given the complete lack of supporting and verified evidence for biological abiogenesis? Oh sure, there’s Dawkins version of events but seriously, the number of people unhooking their wagon from his star is growing exponentially every day.

lol, it's one thing to disagree with the theories presented; it's another to dismiss them as if they did not exist. Lack of evidence you say? Switching from different interpretations of the evidence to no evidence at all. Hilarious. And since when is Dawkins an expert in abiogenesis? And since when is he someone to hook to?

Rather, I should think the question would be, “What is the Best Evidence regarding the origin of the information that made possible the rise of first life on earth?”

haaaaaahaha, talk about being unbiased. What is the evidence regarding the origin of the INFORMATION? You are right, we don't discuss, we throw words at each other, because the point is that you're imagining your so called information... it's just not information, not examples of design. So for you to say that the question should be about information origin is absurd.

...the multi verse hypothesis...
Huh? No more biology?

In fact I think it's possible that the atheist’s inability to comprehend what it is they are reading is one more piece of evidence for Creator God.

Wow, epic! You should be a stand-up comic.

Neither Chance, nor Predestination nor RNA replication are workable, but those are the only theories that atheists will allow themselves to choose from. How scientific is that?

I still don't know what you are talking about when you keep using these 3 so-called theories!

Side note, what if we find you Christians, believers in God, who think that ID is ridiculous, and that the explanations from biologist that do not require an intelligent mind being behind life are correct? What would be wrong about them? They don't reject the supernatural but would reject your theories anyway. How could you tell them that they are blinding themselves from the metaphysical explanation because of their world-view?

Hugo said...

One important point MAKARIOS: I am still not sure if you accept the Theory of Evolution or not, because you are aware of the fact that all these discussion we have about the origin of life is in no way even close to touching the fact of evolution, right? you got that?

Makarios said...

"The honest answer to the question of our biological origins is the same for both of us"

Yes, I know. This whole series, beginning with “Nothing Did It” has been an exploration, for the Best Evidence or what some call causal adequacy to the question, What is the origin of the information that made first life possible?

And it was done with the historical science methodology called competing hypothesis.
-------------
“You can fill in what you don't know with whatever imaginings you want”

This series had nothing to do with imaginings. You can tell by the reliance on empirical evidence in virtually every post.
----------------

“answer that cannot be falsified.”

What is there about an Intelligent Agent that can’t be falsified?

It sounds to me as though you believe that some sort of evidence has found it false. How can that be if it can't be falsfied. Or is it just you atheist bigotry and bias that has declared it false because it challenges your world-view?
------------------
“and false answers”

Go to the post “So, Correct Me” and tell me what “goddidit” statements are in error.
------------------
“it has been and continues to be used as an alternative to the fact of evolutionary science”

You should maybe be quite now. Your ignorance is showing. Intelligent Design theory says absolutely nothing against evolution or natural selection.

Hugo said...

Intelligent Design theory says absolutely nothing against evolution or natural selection.

Thanks, this will answer my question even though that was not your intention at that point.

Ginx said...

I wonder what ring in the lake of fire "mockery" will land me.

tildeb said...

Although it may be difficult to imagine, assigning first causes to reality are pure speculation, whether one is Aristotle, Descartes, or a modern day creationist like Collins with many letters after one's name.

Deductions based on the principle of first causes are therefore quite wobbly because they depend on the assumption to be true. And the assumption may be true... but note the word 'maybe'. The problems soon surface in this approach with word 'beginning'. This word is not synonymous with the word 'creation', as in "In the beginning god created the heavens and the earth." The word 'beginning' signifies a selected starting point regarding time, not place. It is not synonymous with the word 'nothing', meaning an absence of everything.

So what?

Creationists often misunderstand this semantic concept of substituting more favourable words and apply their misunderstanding then to physics, as in the Big Bang can be substituted for the creationist notion of the 'beginning', then deduce incorrectly that the before-the-big-bang period of time must be equivalent to an absence of everything, and without any remorse substitute the word 'nothing'. They compound their error by making a second assumption, namely that it makes no sense that nothing can come from nothing, so they then feel smugly satisfied that they can safely make their third error built on this wobbly thinking: they assure us that all can safely deduce that we are all in agreement that something can only come from nothing through a supernatural creator, as if that answer were logical and reasonable rather than anything more than pure conjecture.

But the honest answer to the question 'What existed before the Big Bang?' is: nobody knows. Nobody knows is a rather significant and very different answer than therefore god. The different semantics - the meanings - of the two answers are not trivial. One is honest - the one that states I don't know - and the other something else entirely removed from what's honest - the one that suggests I do know because I have deduced what the answer must be and it is god. That semantic difference is telling because the one thing we do know is that the second answer is not honest.

Whatever follows from selecting the answer that is not honest and building up whatever argument you want about information theory based on that assumed answer rather than empirical evidence of what existed prior to the Big Bang is therefore just as wobbly and suspect as the original imaginings that alters the meaning of words to arrive at the favoured conclusion.

Makarios, you are being less than honest, which raises the interesting question: To what ends?

tildeb said...

Regarding your notion of falsifiability, Makarios...

What evidence would you be willing to accept that would change your mind, could utterly disprove your theory that ID is legitimate science and/or that there is a creator god?

If on the one hand your answer is Nothing! then your claims are not falsifiable, not scientifically valid. In other words, your mind is already made up and you admit that nothing can possibly refute your assertions. Hence, one would expect to find legitimate criticism about throwing words at people because the content no longer matters, and that is exactly what I find here: the mind of Makarios not open to falsification and therefore is sealed. And that's clearly not an indication of truth-seeking. It is a clear and concise example repeated many times throughout this blog that your mind is not concerned with finding or exploring what is or may be true; it's all about defending what you assume is true regardless or in spite of any evidence that could be provided.

If your answer to the falsifiability clause of good science has specifics, like the face of Darwin clearly appearing in your toilet bowl after evacuating your bowels would be acceptable evidence to you that your assertions are wrong, then you have allowed for falsifiability. This means that there is the potential for evidence of a specific kind to change your mind.

This is called falsifiability, and any scientific theory must include this category.

The most common (and probably most famous) statement made about evolution that could falsify it as a theory is to find the fossilized remains of a rabbit in the Precambrain. In other words, there is hard evidence that could potentially falsify the theory. Because it is evidence that informs the theory, there must be evidence that could potentially counter the theory and this evidence must be allowed to carry equal weight. Unfortunately for creationists everywhere, there has yet to be any counter-evolutionary evidence made available. That's hwy evolutionary theory is a fact and ranks equally with other scientific theories like gravity, germs, and atomic.

Because you support ID as a science, you too need to come up with what could falsify your theory. The problem here is that no such evidence can possibly falsify any complexity if the explanatory answer is goddidit. This answer is meaningless in an evidence-based approach we call science. Therefore, ID is and remains creationist theology because it cannot be falsified.

Your going to have to deal with this fact sooner or later. Why not make it sooner and join the real science of honest discovery?

Makarios said...

tidbit:
“Although it may be difficult to imagine, assigning first causes to reality are pure speculation,”

Why is that difficult for you to imagine? In any historical or origins science, the closest we can get to “truth” is Best Evidence or the proposal that presents the best Causal Adequacy among the competing hypothesis - as happened in this series.

This must be new information for you. Let me help you. In short, historical sciences use what’s called abductive or retrodictive reasoning. I know those are big words, but as Steven J. Gould explains, “The historical scientist infers history from its results.” Evolution and the Triumph of Homology, 61
==================

“Deductions based on the principle of first causes are therefore quite wobbly because they depend on the assumption to be true.”

No - they depend on the evidence being testable and present. Or, again, these are some big words for you but the truth of the claim is based on what’s called, causal adequacy and causal existence. Of course if the evidence isn’t present (it doesn’t exist) then it isn’t testable and cannot therefore be found adequate or inadequate.
===============

“Creationists often misunderstand this semantic concept of substituting more favourable words and apply their misunderstanding then to physics,”

I guess all this bluff and buster is alright if you were in the mood to make some sort of speech.

However the topic of the series was, “What is the origin of the information that made possible for first life.” Nothing more, nothing less.

Or perhaps you were answering a different blog, one dealing with the Big Bang? Sorry, your being so far off topic makes you kind of hard to follow.
==============
“One is honest - the one that states I don't know”

Baby universes - Multi verses - The Cyclic Ekpyrotic Scenario - The Chaotic Inflationary universe - Brane-cosmology - Inflationary multi-verse - Bubble universes floating in a sea of false vacuum - The many worlds hypothesis - The black hole hypothesis - Quantum gravity models - Vacuum fluctuation models - Imaginary time and imaginary space -

You mean like, instead of telling us that any or all of the above, “atheist origin of the universe mythologies” are true, you and other atheists should have just said, “I don’t know”?

You’re right. Some honesty on the part of atheists would have been nice.

You sound like a terribly intelligent fellow, tidbit. Perhaps YOU could slip over to my post, “So, Correct Me” and set me straight. Because you know what? All I can get out of the rest of your comrades is, “I know that you’re wrong. I can’t tell you how or why you’re wrong. I just know that you are wrong.”
=================

“What evidence would you be willing to accept that would change your mind, could utterly disprove your theory that ID is legitimate science and/or that there is a creator god?

Again, you’re off topic. Here’s the list of posts in this series. The question was, “What’s the origin of the information that made first life possible?”

“Nothing Did It” http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/nothing-did-it.html

“Atheism of the Gaps” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/atheism-of-gaps.html

“Es - ka - Pay” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/es-ka-pay.html

“Please Read This” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/please-read-this.html

“Which Came First” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/which-came-first.html

“Why Would You Choose ID” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-would-you-choose-id.html

“Chance Did It” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/chance-did-it.html

“That’s Embarrassing” - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/thats-embarrassing.html

“Last Post on Chance - http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/12/last-post-on-chance.html

The rest to follow :-)
=======================

Makarios said...

tidbit - cont'd

“Because you support ID as a science, you too need to come up with what could falsify your theory.”

Since you’ll just move from here to where are the peer reviewed papers and what are the predictions, you’ll find the answers to those in the comment section of the post “Got Junk?”

ID is testable like other scientific theories that deal with events in the past. The one that was used in this series is comparing the causal adequacy of competing hypothesis. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. If not, there’s always google.

You might be impressed to know that this was Darwin’s main tool for examining origins.

The fact that “Intelligent Agent” explains the presence of specified complexity of biological information better than

Chance,
Chemical Necessity or
RNA replication,

shows that it passes this test.

This process has no external standard of judgment so it is tested against our knowledge of the evidence being studied AND our knowledge of cause and effect.

It’s based on the scientific method, experience-based criterion. This allows us to test, accept, reject or even prefer one of various historical theories.

When several theories are compared, theories that are supposed to produce the effect in question, the one that best meets causal adequacy is the one that passes. If it fails to cite such causes, like was the case with Chance,
Chemical Necessity, and
RNA replication,

then it fails the test. You know it as, “Falsifiable.”


Since empirical considerations give us grounds for rejecting historical scientific theories of choosing one theory over another, it’s pretty clear to those with the ability to think critically that it’s a testable or falsifiable theory.

As well, ID makes claims about the cause of past events with are also testable against our understanding of cause and effect.

Since an Intelligent Agent is not just a known cause but the ONLY known cause of formulated digitally coded information ID passes two important tests, i.e., those of causal adequacy and causal existence. That means that on those points, ID was tested and NOT falsified.

So, you can get on with changing the rules, or the question or whatever else it is that pathetic people do to avoid having to deal with another question / comment / challenge that turns out to have been just plain stupid.

Gorth Satana said...

(The following was written by Calilasseia)
Now this is a particularly insidious brand of canard, because it relies upon the fact that the topic of information, and its rigorous analysis, is replete with misunderstanding. However, instead of seeking to clarify the misconceptions, creationist canards about information perpetuate those misconceptions for duplicitous apologetic purposes. A classic one being the misuse of the extant rigorous treatments of information, and the misapplication of different information treatments to different situations, either through ignorance, or wilful mendacity. For example, Claude Shannon provided a rigorous treatment of information, but a treatment that was strictly applicable to information transmission, and NOT applicable to information storage. Therefore, application of Shannon information to information storage in the genome is a misuse of Shannon's work. The correct information analysis to apply to storage is Kolmogorov's analysis, which erects an entirely different measure of information content that is intended strictly to be applicable to storage. Mixing and matching the two is a familiar bait-and-switch operation that propagandists for creationist doctrine are fond of.

However, the ultimate reason why creationist canards about information are canards, is simply this. Information is NOT a magic entity. It doesn't require magic to produce it. Ultimately, "information" is nothing more than the observational data that is extant about the current state of a system. That is IT. No magic needed. All that happens, in real world physical systems, is that different system states lead to different outcomes when the interactions within the system take place. Turing alighted upon this notion when he wrote his landmark paper on computable numbers, and used the resulting theory to establish that Hilbert's conjecture upon decidability in formal axiomatic systems was false. Of course, it's far easier to visualise the process at work, when one has an entity such as a Turing machine to analyse this - a Turing machine has precise, well-defined states, and precise, well-defined interactions that take place when the machine occupies a given state. But this is precisely what we have with DNA - a system that can exist in a number of well-defined states, whose states determine the nature of the interactions that occur during translation, and which result in different outcomes for different states. indeed, the DNA molecule plays a passive role in this: its function is simply to store the sequence of states that will result, ultimately, in the synthesis of a given protein, and is akin to the tape running through a Turing machine. The real hard work is actually performed by the ribosomes, which take that state data and use it to bolt together amino acids into chains to form proteins, which can be thought of as individual biological 'Turing machines' whose job is to perform, mechanically and mindlessly in accordance with the electrostatic and chemical interactions permitting this, the construction of a protein using the information arising from DNA as the template. Anyone who thinks magic is needed in all of this, once again, is in need of an education.

Gorth Satana said...

(The following was written by Calilasseia)
Whilst dwelling on information, another creationist canard also needs to be dealt with here, namely the false conflation of information with ascribed meaning. Which can be demonstrated to be entirely false by reference to the following sequence of hexadecimal bytes in a computer's memory:

81 16 00 2A FF 00

To a computer with an 8086 processor, those bytes correspond to the following single machine language instruction:

ADC [2A00H], 00FFH

To a computer with a 6502 processor, those bytes correspond to the following machine language instruction sequence:

CLC
ASL ($00,X)
LDX #$FF
BRK

To a computer with a 6809 processor, those bytes correspond to the following machine language instruction sequence:

CMPA #$16
NEG $2AFF
NEG ??

the ?? denoting the fact that for this processor, the byte sequence is incomplete, and two more bytes are needed to supply the address operand for the NEG instruction.

Now, we have three different ascribed meanings to one stream of bytes. Yet, none of these ascribed meanings influences either the Shannon information content, when that stream is transmitted from one computer to another, or the Kolmogorov information content when those bytes are stored in memory. Ascribed meaning is irrelevant to both rigorous information measures. As is to be expected, when one regards information content simply as observational data about the state of the system (in this case, the values of the stored bytes in memory). Indeed, it is entirely possible to regard ascribed meaning as nothing other than the particular interactions driven by the underlying data, once that data is being processed, which of course will differ from processor to processor. Which means that under such an analysis, even ascribed meaning, which creationists fallaciously conflate with information content, also requires no magical input. All that is required is the existence of a set of interactions that will produce different outcomes from the different observed states of the system (with the term 'observation' being used here sensu lato to mean any interaction that is capable of differentiating between the states of the system of interest).

Gorth Satana said...

(Calilasseia on chance and randomness)

Few things are more calculated to result in the critical thinkers here regarding a poster as a zero-IQ tosspot with blancmange for brains, than the erection of the "chance" canard. Usually taking the form of "scientists think life arose by chance", or variants thereof such as "you believe life was an accident". This is, not to put too fine a point upon it, bullshit.

What scientists actually postulate, and they postulate this with respect to every observable phenomenon in the universe, is that well defined and testable mechanisms are responsible. Mechanisms that are amenable to empirical test and understanding, and in many cases, amenable to the development of a quantitative theory. Two such quantitative theories, namely general relativity and quantum electrodynamics, are in accord with observational reality to fifteen decimal places. As an aside, when someone can point to an instance of mythology producing something this useful, the critical thinkers will sit up and take notice, and not before.

Likewise, erecting statements such as "random mutation can't produce X", where X is some complex feature of multicellular eukaryote organisms, will also invite much scorn, derision and contempt. First of all, drop the specious apologetic bullshit that "random" means "without rhyme or reason", because it doesn't. In rigorous scientific parlance, "random", with respect to mutations, means "we have insufficient information about the actual process that took place at the requisite time". This is because scientists have known for decades, once again, that mutations arise from well defined natural processes, and indeed, any decent textbook on the subject should list several of these, given that the Wikipedia page on mutations covers the topic in considerable depth. Go there, scroll down to the text "Induced mutations on the molecular level can be caused by:", and read on from that point. When you have done this, and you have learned that scientists have classified a number of well defined chemical reactions leading to mutations, you will be in a position to understand why the critical thinkers here regard the creationist use of "random" to mean "duh, it just happened" with particularly withering disdain. When scientists speak of "random" mutations, what they really mean is "one of these processes took place, but we don't have the detailed observational data to determine which of these processes took place, when it took place, and at what point it took place, in this particular instance. Though of course, anyone with a decent background in research genetics can back-track to an ancestral state for the gene in question. Indeed, as several scientific papers in the literature testify eloquently, resurrecting ancient genes is now a routine part of genetics research.

Then, of course, we have that other brand of nonsense that creationists love to erect, which also fits into this section, namely the fatuous "you believe nothing created the universe" canard, and assorted corollary examples of palsied asininity based upon the same cretinous notion. Which is amply addressed by the above, namely that scientists postulate that well defined and testable natural mechanisms, operating upon the appropriate entities, were responsible for real world observational phenomena. In what fantasy parallel universe does "well defined and testable natural mechanisms, operating upon the appropriate entities" equal "nothing"? If you think that those two are synonyms, then again, you are in serious need of education, and you are in no position to lecture those of us who bothered to acquire one.

tildeb said...

That is, I assume, the same Calilasseia who won PZ's contest? Very well stated and timely series of posts. Thanks, GS; it's such a breath of fresh air to read someone who knows what he/she is talking about.

I'm sure Makarios has a long-winded name-calling diatribe to expose the supernatural information system responsible for the one word that reveals ID for what it has always been: 'cdesignist' theology.

Hugo said...

Thank you Gorth for posting that reply that was up to the point.

@tildeb
I agreed with everything you had said, but it's true that you were off topic, because Makarios has been babbling about what he calls the "cause of formulated digitally coded information" that we find in living things.

The problem is that he is also completely off topic, but does not get it, so he thinks he is winning the argument but he does not get an answer to every single point he tries to make.

That's why Gorth had to expose the information problem once more...

Hugo said...

TYPO:
so he thinks he is winning the argument because he does not get an answer to every single point he tries to make.

Makarios said...

tidbit - I think you should get Calilasseia's email from Gorth cause it looks like he needs to learn, "I don't know."

JD Curtis said...

Related Topic: Has anyone seen the article out from physorg.com last week claiming that speciation didnt take place gradually but quickly?

Link

Hugo said...

@JD
That was an interesting article, thank you. I guess I should subscribe to Nature because I wish I could learn more and read the whole article...

But can I ask you something... aren't you suppose to be a skeptic of evolution? i.e. don't you think that evolution is not a fact? Aren't you on the side of people who think that everything could have been created a few thousand years ago? So what are your reactions when you read articles like that?

JD Curtis said...

I don't necessarily think that the Bible requires a Young Earth. I know that neither William Lane Craig nor Stephen C. Meyer call for a Young Earth.

Insofar as rapid diversification occurring, isnt that what Creationist Scientists have been saying for years (Especially those that adhere to YEC) following a post-flood world? Link

Hugo said...

@JD
I don't necessarily think that the Bible requires a Young Earth. I know that neither William Lane Craig nor Stephen C. Meyer call for a Young Earth.

Insofar as rapid diversification occurring, isnt that what Creationist Scientists have been saying for years (Especially those that adhere to YEC) following a post-flood world?


Hum, where to start... I guess I should say that I like the fact that you say that the Bible does not necessarily requires a Young Earth, and you give examples of people who think so too. However, it would be much more honest, in my own opinion, to actually say that you KNOW that the Earth IS old. That's what the evidence points to; having found rocks that are more than 4 billion years old. Then, if your religious beliefs do not contradict that physical evidence, great, no worries there! And it is the case, so why keep some doubt on that topic?

Now, if you take that knowledge and move to analyzing the claims of creationists, like the link you just posted, you can see some flaws in there. Without even looking at the evolution vs creation points, you see that the author does not accept the FACT that the Earth is old. So how can you give any value for the observations made by such individual who does not understand the framework we are working with?

But anyway, the author could be wrong on the age of the Earth but make correct reasoning concerning evolution based on some observations. I am afraid that many sentences show quite the opposite. There could be many many examples but I will comment only one. The author says:

natural selection can easily cause major variation in short time periods, by acting on the created genetic information already present. But this does not support the idea of evolution in the molecules-to-man sense, because no new information has been added.

This is so wrong that it gives me a headache by just reading it... Yes, natural selection can cause major variation in short time periods, this is obvious since we can do artificial selection to prove the point. But this is in no way because natural selection "acts" on the genetic information. The genetic information varies randomly by itself, and then, natural selection happens to select the individuals that survive so they get to pass on their own genetic information. The surviving genetic information is not better or worse, it's not bigger or smaller, it's just different. There could be more information or less information, but it does not matter, because it's just slightly different. So actually, yes, it DOES support the idea of evolution.

Makarios said...

That's what the evidence points to;

The evidence points to a Big Bang and away from Chance, Predestination and RNA replication, but that doesn’t stop atheists from making up other mythologies to avoid the evidence.
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Christ Follower (no longer) said...

See! Whatever you tell Makarios, he is incapable of understanding it and will just reassert the same things over and over.

Hugo said...

Hugo:That's what the evidence points to;

The sentence you quoted was refering to the age of the Earth, only.

Makarios:The evidence points to a Big Bang and away from Chance, Predestination and RNA replication, but that doesn’t stop atheists from making up other mythologies to avoid the evidence.
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"The evidence points to a Big Bang", yes I agree, and away from "Chance, Predestination and RNA replication", huh? mixing origin of the universe with origin of life here. Plus as I mentionned before, I still have no clue of what you are talking about when you mention these 3 terms back to back... it seems to be your container for all the strawmen arguments you can make concerning beliefs held by Atheists!

While we are at it, you still did not clearly reply to my question concerning the theory of Evolution, not origin of life, do you accept it or not? You did say that ID does not contradict Evolution but after thinking about it I realized that it does not mean that you do think the theory of Evolution to be accurate at explaining the diversity of life.
So, what's your views on that Makarios?

Makarios said...

Of course there is natural selection.

Of course the strongest survive.

Of course there is change within species.

Of course diversity within species can be explained by “evolution.”

Can micro evolution be extrapolated to say that macro evolution is a fact? I'll wait for the evidence.

Can a person say, "mutation" and think that explains it all? See the link.

http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/03/evolution-and-wheres-beef.html

Hugo said...

Can micro evolution be extrapolated to say that macro evolution is a fact? I'll wait for the evidence.

Oh, so the answer is NO, you do not accept the modern theory of evolution... my mistake.

Well, I will take the time to answer that later, because it's much more simpler than our previous discussion on the origin of life. Actually, if I had known that you don't consider micro and macro evolution to be the same thing I would have never discussed abiogenesis with you!! what a waste of time...