Thursday, December 17, 2009

Still Stupid

I might be wrong, but I think it was Christ Follower No Longer but Still Stupid, who made some comments about, since we can’t observe God then He obviously :-) can’t be the answer to "Where did the information come from that made first life possible?”

That might sound like the dumbest thing ever said, but Still Stupid is not alone. I've heard that from many atheists and I think it was Michael Ruse who said that Intelligent Design can’t be considered a scientific concept because “it invokes an unobservable entity.”

It seems that many atheists live under the delusion that science deals only with what the senses can detect. Molecular biologist Fred Grinnell even said, “If something can’t be measured, or counted, or photographed, it can’t be science.”
“Radical Intersubjectivity” 29

Obviously, Still Stupid isn’t alone. But is he correct?

As I’ve stated, Intelligent Design “infers” an Intelligent Agent as being responsible for the digital information that we find in DNA. When atheists read that they scoff as though inferring a past unobservable cause from present evidence is a totally foreign concept. Not!

. Theories of chemical evolution refer to events that took place millions if not billions of years ago. No one saw them then and certainly no one sees them now.

. Biologists of the Darwinian school refer to creative processes too slow to see and too fast to be found in the fossil record. Doubt or even question this unobservable “process” and feel the wrath of this self-righteous and insecure group.

. The tree of life “contains” many transitional forms that are not and have not been observed by anyone. Yet they are affirmed as a given to explain what we observe as true today.

How is this different from inferring an Intelligent Agent that is the ONLY known explanation for the specified complexity we observe today? Neither the working of past chemical evolution nor the past working of an Intelligent Agent are observable.

Christians can accept that both areas of evidence are possible. Atheists, who have a priori restricted themselves to a very unrealistic and narrow band of acceptable evidence can accept only one possibility. Neither Intelligent Design nor any natural theory of origins, certainly not the ones I’ve talked about in this series are observable and therefore neither qualifies as a potential answer according to Still Stupid.

In reality science often refers to the unobservable to explain the events we observe. If atheists want to use “unobservable” as a criteria for acceptability re: explanations, They're going to refute their own theories. Physical forces, gravitational fields, biomolecular structures, and sub atomic particles - none of these are observable entities but they are inferred from observable evidence.

As you go through life, you'll find that those who hold to a double standard are always driven by a single agenda.

9 comments:

Hugo said...

What an honour, never had my name written 4 times in one blog post before! Lol, Thanks!



That's a reply to another blog post but since you write so many I will only comment on your latest entry...



So, to address the point of argument from ignorance, yes, I do think that it applies to your use of specified complexity as an argument. But I am just the guy who giggles at your stuff, right? So I guess the points I could raise are useless? Too bad, because I'll try again anyway. Ginx said he like the fact that I was trying so I will persist!!



From my point of view, not being an expert at all, what I understand is that there is no such thing as information in the cell, not the way you present it at least. Most of your questions and arguments you want people to address always start with something like "Information comes from mind, bla bla bla"... but there is no information of that "kind" in cells. And that's why Gorth asked you "But what do you MEAN by information" as you pointed out.



In The Greatest Show on Earth that I am currently reading, (side note, what were the odds that I would buy this book to read on the plane and then come back from my trip and see Makarios discussing evolution and the origin of life with others; must be a sign of GOD!), Dawkins gives a good idea of why there is not that kind of information in the cells, or in DNA, as what you pretend. His goal is not to dismiss intelligent design at this point, but I see parallels with what we are discussing.



The idea is that one must not see DNA as a blueprint for a life form but rather like a recipe. This contrasts with the encoded information that you like to compare DNA to, such as the binary code used in computers. DNA does not tell you exactly what life form you will get and you cannot take a life form and go back to a unique DNA mollecule. With encoded binary information however you can. Once the protocol has been decided, 0x41 will always yield 'A' and 'A' will always translate to 0x41.



Now I am pretty sure that at this point all you would say Makarios is that this is not related to your concerns with the origin of life, your argument is at a "deeper" level, if I can put it that way. But wait a bit more...



So, what do we know about these recipes? The important point related to our discussion is that we know how similar recipes are for similar living forms, and how they point to parent recipes, forming a magnificent tree of life, where all living forms converge to common ancestors. At this point we can answer one question. Did the evolution of these recipes require an intelligent agent to drive the process? No, of course not, natural selection and random mutations in the individual recipes did, keeping the recipes that yield life forms that survived and reproduced the best. At this point Makarios, if you disagree, it's not the origin of life that you have problems with, it is evolution itself, so I am going to assume that we agree here, and move on, but I am almost done anyway.



The fact that recipes evolved and were selected not by a mind but by natural processes is very important, because this is the point where we realize that the recipe analogy is not perfect. If it were really a recipe designed by an intelligent being, the outcome would always be more or else the same, and each recipe would be designed for specific purposes. What we see in nature is obviously quite different. We don't, as intelligent being, design a recipe, and then slightly change it more and more each time, until we get the desired result. But this is what nature does, changing the recipe all the time, but not for one particular desired result of course, since it keeps on changing as of right now.

[...]

Hugo said...

Finally, this brings us back to the best question: where did the first recipe comes from? Well I am not going to answer that myself, instead, I would only say that if all recipes come from the shuffling of another recipes, which we know were not conceived by an intelligent mind, why would we suggest that the beginning was made by an intelligent mind?

Don't you see Makarios why, without giving any explanation, it is normal to not think of an intelligent mind being the cause of the first life forms? Of course no, I know you don't, but I still don't understand WHY you prefer the non-naturalistic explanations.

Again, without giving any proof, (I am the one who's only giggling after all), I am telling you, you seem to be an intelligent and rational man, I get that, what I don't understand is WHY would you want to insert the possibility of an intelligent mind being behind life? It is insane from my point of view. And honestly, I don't even need to tell you why, because it is NOT an answer, it explains nothing.

On the other hand, I DO have some scientists who try to explain how the first life forms came to be. I am not a specialist in this field. I cannot describe it to you myself. But, what they say is nothing close to an intelligent agent causing the start of life. Every time I read about a discovery about modern biology, it has nothing to do with intelligent design, so I don't even consider it.

Before getting to my conclusion, I would, tonight, give you a brief highlight of my childhood. And it has nothing to do with the current subject, but it's just to show you a piece of my state of mind, or how I got to it actually.

When I was a kid, something around 8, I believed (among other things) in Santa Claus and Jesus. When I grew up, I realized that both were mystical figures used to teach kids about good values. However, as I kept growing up, I realized that "old" people were sometimes talking about Santa Claus as imaginary, but Jesus as... hum, I did not know yet.

Of course, being still a kid at that time, I thought that it meant that Santa Claus was imaginary, and that Jesus was real. However, as I kept growing up, I understood one extra thing. There are many "historical" figures which are not only historical, but exaggerated for entertainment or legend purposes.

Zeus, Apollo, Jesus, Mary, Cesar, Hercules, Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon, Einstein, Gandhi, all have been "historical" figures, some being totally imaginary, some being real people. In all cases, movies or books have been written about them.

This made me realize the most important things of all: Books alone are not reliable to determine truth from fantasy.

Hugo said...

Because of that, I finally understood the must shocking of all: Jesus is no more than an historical figure whose traits have been exaggerated in order to carry a story.

Well, I say "shocking", but in reality it was not shocking at all, because I was still young at that time, maybe 12 or 13, and I was just wondering when parents would, just like Santa Claus, tell me that Jesus was an imaginary figure used to explain good ways of living. But that day never came of course... and up to this day, my parents still think was Jesus was, literally, the son of God...

Ok, now to come back to evolution and the emergence of life... since I do want to see both sides of the "argument", (argument being in parenthesis because there is not really two sides...), I do read about alternatives explanations, like the one you push forward Makarios, but I find so little information that is useful and up to the point that it makes me laugh... so yes Makarios, that's all I can do, sorry, but I am laughing at you... I am really sorry, because I know you are a good person, the way you write, the way you talk about things, the way you describe your life, I know you are a good man. You even adopted kids... something I doubt I could probably never do myself honestly. So, it's hard to tell you honestly and directly, you are wrong, but that is the case.

Christ Follower (no longer) said...

I might be wrong, but I think it was Christ Follower No Longer but Still Stupid, who made some comments about

Can't you just cut and paste these comments? Do they really exist or are they your imagination?

can’t be considered a scientific concept because “it invokes an unobservable entity.

Boltzmann invoked unobservable particles in his explanation of heat. He was able to show clearly that his hypothesis allowed him not only to explain the phenomena of heat, but also to predict the results of experiments not yet performed.

Biologists of the Darwinian school refer to creative processes too slow to see and too fast to be found in the fossil record. Doubt or even question this unobservable “process” and feel the wrath of this self-righteous and insecure group.

Not "too fast", too rare. Most things are not fossilized. Doubt and questions is how the science of evolution became so obviously proved.

How is this different from inferring an Intelligent Agent that is the ONLY known explanation for the specified complexity we observe today?

Because there are other workable and tested theories that explain complexity. There is no giant conspiracy. Thousands of scientists are not wrong. One guy who has read a couple of creationist books has not uncovered this vast conspiracy.

Neither Intelligent Design nor any natural theory of origins, certainly not the ones I’ve talked about in this series are observable

On the contrary. The 'natural theory of origins' is indeed observable. And creationism would be observable too if it happened.

As you go through life, you'll find that those who hold to a double standard are always driven by a single agenda.

Yes, you are driven by a single agenda.


Now then, what are the two most obvious fallacies from the next two proofs?

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1) Your god is a supernatural being.

2) All supernatural beings are created by, and exist only in, human imaginations.

3) Therefore your god was created by, and exists only in, human imaginations.

===============
1) Physical matter is not created by conscious minds; there is no conscious process known to science that creates physical matter.

2) Therefore the physical universe was not created by a conscious mind.

Hugo said...

That was a great response Christ Follower (no longer)!!!

You made me realized that I had not even noticed that part of Makarios' blog post:

"Biologists of the Darwinian school refer to creative processes too slow to see and too fast to be found in the fossil record

Insane!

It made me realize that I should read Makarios' last blog post more carefully. I now realize that, unlike what I wrote in my last comments, he does not only reject a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life, he also reject evolution as a whole!!

Wow, I was so naive. I thought he did, at least, accept the theory of evolution and tried to put his god in the holes, but no, he does not accept evolution at all! we see that when he says:

"Theories of chemical evolution refer to events that took place millions if not billions of years ago. No one saw them then and certainly no one sees them now


FALSE, we do see evolution, NOW.


[...]

The tree of life “contains” many transitional forms that are not and have not been observed by anyone. Yet they are affirmed as a given to explain what we observe as true today


Why the " " !?!!??! We DO have all the transitional fossils we need to confirm the Theory of Evolution. Plus, we don't even need them to prove the Theory!!


[...]

Christians can accept that both areas of evidence are possible. Atheists, who have a priori restricted themselves to a very unrealistic and narrow band of acceptable evidence can accept only one possibility."


Bullshit, YOU are the one who restrict himself to ONE possible idea: the Christian Almighty God CREATOR of ALL things who sent Jesus Christ is only son to die for our sins, past, and future, who is part of the trinity with the holy spirit. Fuck you...

Gandolf said...

Mak -->"As you go through life, you'll find that those who hold to a double standard are always driven by a single agenda."

Funny that.

1,We do have good evidence of evolution happening all around us all the time.

2,You have little/no good evidence of gods anywhere.

And yet you expect the idea of evolution and gods to be put on equal par?

Thats a real dishonest double standard isnt it Mak?.

Atheist dont restrict themselves to accept that maybe areas of evidence are possible.

What they wont do though is "continually" forever assert ideas of gods without the arrival of evidence and proof.

Its all very fine bringing up things like unobservable gravitational fields,but its a little dishonest or lacking some good judgement in the least..To simply forget and dismiss the fact we never had to wait thousands of years for some real decent evidence and proof of gravitational fields to arrive.

FG said...

Makarios,
As long as you are quoting me, I suggest that you read Chapter 6 of my new book Everyday Practice of Science.
Fred Grinnell

Makarios said...

Hugo: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That was a lot of work. I really do appreciate it.

“WHY would you want to insert the possibility of an intelligent mind being behind life?”

I’ve shown why I think that Chance is not responsible, nor is Chemical Necessity and neither is RNA replication for the present of formulted information. I've also shown why I think and Intelligent Agent is responsible. Because we know of no other means for the existence of large quantities of specified complexity or formulated information. The terms, as I use them mean the same thing.

There was no natural selection until after the first “replication” and there is no replication until a specified, complex code was in place.

What is the origin of the code? If I understand you correctly, what I call a code really isn’t a code. It’s just, um, material?
================

“but I am laughing at you”

You don’t need to apologise Hugo. Even if we knew each other face to face, such as in the workplace (I would never talk about this stuff at work but . . . ) I wouldn’t mind if you were laughing at me.

I learned a long time ago that if I entered every day worrying about whether people liked me, or whether they thought I was - whatever - well, that’s just a really hard way to live.

I feel compelled to tell what I believe is the truth and if people like it or not, whether they think I’m an idiot or not - worrying about that kind of stuff is just too exhausting.
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Still Stupid:
“Because there are other workable and tested theories that explain complexity.”

Not complexity you moron. Specified complexity - formulated information.

I don’t know what it is but something about you really grinds me.
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“too fast to be found in the fossil record”

I meant exactly what you said. Decay and displacement took place to quickly to be found as a fossil
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Chris Mackey said...

Not complexity you moron. Specified complexity - formulated information.

Tautology much?