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Author Topic: Is Card ignorant or dishonest?
doppelganger
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Hi Bo,

Have you posted on a Martial Arts discussion board in the past? Your name sounds familiar.

quote:
Originally posted by Bo Grimes:
Which leads me to this: Why don't you, since you think Card should deal with actual arguments, explain to us how "each step in the process [of the evolution of the eye] confers independent benefits on the organism and therefore could have evolved through random mutation and natural selection alone."

I have a question - why should anyone expect that "each step in the process [of the evolution of the eye] confers independent benefits on the organism"?

Is this what evolutionary theory requires?

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Bliss
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quote:
Originally posted by doppelganger:
Hi Bo,

Have you posted on a Martial Arts discussion board in the past? Your name sounds familiar.

quote:
Originally posted by Bo Grimes:
Which leads me to this: Why don't you, since you think Card should deal with actual arguments, explain to us how "each step in the process [of the evolution of the eye] confers independent benefits on the organism and therefore could have evolved through random mutation and natural selection alone."

I have a question - why should anyone expect that "each step in the process [of the evolution of the eye] confers independent benefits on the organism"?

Is this what evolutionary theory requires?

First, I don't know of any theory that requires an evolutionary path be monotonically increasing in fitness. Second, who claims that the eye evolved through random mutation and natural selection alone? Third, the eye is actually a very instructive example of evolution. Try Googling it.

[ January 24, 2006, 02:16 PM: Message edited by: Bliss ]

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ljohnson
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I posted a challenge to Brayton about ad hominem attacks. He claims "I would also note that you don't appear to know what an ad hominem argument is. There is nothing the least bit ad hominem about saying, 'This claim is so completely false that there are only two possibilities, he is either lying or he is far too ignorant to write on this subject.' "

I am speaking on the level of logical discourse. Ad hominem is attack against the man (ad feminem is an acceptable neologism)and has no place in discourse. Your anger is a suspect rhetorical device because it justifies bad behavior. Since there are a few scientists who do some writing on the ID subject, then you cannot justify saying people are ignorant. Nor can you say they are lying because that arrogates you to a godly knowledge of the contents of another's thoughts.

Further, there is much evidence that when one is angry, blood flow to the frontal lobes is decreased and one is less creative and thoughtful. Your anger may well make you less intelligent (it would appear so from bran scan experiments).

Lifewish talked about the acceptability of ad hominem. My own experience is different. I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out why scientists were not more helpful in dialog with each other. I was working in a pharmaceutical firm, and the level of discourse was poor. People would listen to a presentation then leave muttering how stupid that approach was, but they would not talk helpfully.

The problem turned out to be the lack of social discourse skills among the scientists. In a word, they got angry too easily and offended each other. They lacked emotional intelligence. So naturally, they avoided actual face-to-face dialog since it too often was painful to all.

We created a program which had some limited success in helping them discuss things more helpfully. So while the personal attacks do go on (as I am all to well aware), they are clearly not helpful and actually slow the progress. It seems to me that Mr Brayton may harm the very process he wishes to help.

Finally, do ID discussions help science generally? I can only speak for myself: I have read both sides and find that the stimulus by the ID challenge has produced some very good (and many not-so-good) rebuttals. I benefit from these discussions; I am sure that teaching biology would be more interesting to students if one brings the debate into the classroom. Such debates clearly help students recall things better, and the weight of the evidence is certainly toward some version of evolution, so students would likely be better at evaluating ID claims. Everyone would win.

For example, Bliss invites me to Google evolution+ eye> I found some wonderful pages on both sides of the argument. Of course, argument is not proof, but the arguments are well reasoned and informative. Even Darwin, as I read, had dealt with this extensively in 1872. So I am better for the debate, an advantage I would not have achieved without that debate. Brayton's anger - if universal (recall Kant) - would cheat me of such learning. Since one is ethically obligated to behave as if all in the world were the same, I must invite Mr. Brayton to cease his anger since it would chill learning and increase True Believership in the current scientific dogma.
lj

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Spike
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lj,

I agree that we should talk about what IDists claims are and demonstrate why they are not science. That is the easiest way to convince people that scientists do care about the discussion, and that non-scientists really are smart enough to understand and participate.

If science is only for scientists, then what the heck good is it?

The problem is not that IDists want their ideas brought into the classroom, the problem is that they want their ideas presented in such a way that discussion is not permitted, that the lack of science in ID "theory" is not examined, and that anyone who disputes the religious undertones of ID is treated as being against God.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the criticisms Card makes of "Darwinists" are quite suitable to the ID crowd:

1. Evolution is just Darwinism is just social Darwinism is just Atheism (name calling).

2. Don't listen to these scientist guys, they are not moral philosophers (credentialism).

3. If you actually understood irreducbile complexity as we do, you'd realize that these guys are wrong and we're right; but you don't, so you have to trust us (expertism).

4. They've got some details about how evolution works wrong, so they must be wrong about the whole thing (sniping).

5. The first amendment doesn't imply separation of church and state, or, since Dawrinism is a religion (Atheism) then it violates the separation of church and state [... so we should be able to do it, too.](politics).

6. We can't possibly find any support for our claims of irreducible complexity, but ID has already been handed down to us as imparted knowledge so it is absurd to challenge it in the details (prestidigitation).

7. Even if there are problems with the Darwinian model, there's no justification for postulating an "intelligent designer" (true).

The folks over at The Panda's Thumb have been very good at going through every item posted by the DI on their website and answering why those posts are not science, not rational, not anything but religiously motivated. Actually, Judge Jones did the same in Kitzmiller.

I won't re-hash what they've done, but if you want to ask me about specific things written by the DI Fellows that support items 1-6, then meet me at The Panda's Thumb.

Along the way, please stop by and read: PZ Meyers' response to OSC

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Spike
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Bo:

Did you take your post verbatim from this list?

How to Argue Against Rational People and Win

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plunge
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quote:
Finally, do ID discussions help science generally? I can only speak for myself: I have read both sides and find that the stimulus by the ID challenge has produced some very good (and many not-so-good) rebuttals. I benefit from these discussions; I am sure that teaching biology would be more interesting to students if one brings the debate into the classroom. Such debates clearly help students recall things better, and the weight of the evidence is certainly toward some version of evolution, so students would likely be better at evaluating ID claims. Everyone would win.
The joke here is that biology teachers can and already do things like this. But this obviously isn't what creationists want of try to do. They want the state to mandate that evolution is just all speculation.

As far as ID pushing forward science, I can't really think of a single example. Most of the objections raised by ID people are ones that scientists thought of and responded to long ago, over and over. Often they are just flat out misinformed: they refer to problems that don't exist, and so on. So their encouragement to serious debate is, as far as I can tell, so limited that it's not really worth the time wasted constantly going over the same nonsense over and over.

quote:
I am speaking on the level of logical discourse. Ad hominem is attack against the man (ad feminem is an acceptable neologism)and has no place in discourse.
You seem to have this backwards. On the level of logical discourse, what Brayton said is true. Ad hominem is onyl fallacious if attacks on a person are used to discredit the argument. It doesn't work the other way around.

Personal attacks may, in your opinion, be counterproductive or impolite, and often I agree that it is. But it's isn't illogical.

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Wesley R. Elsberry
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"Javelin",

quote:

Dr. Elsberry decides that this definition isn't good enough and posits the following:

I posited no such thing. The definition I documented was clearly and properly cited as coming from the affidavit of Dean H. Kenyon, expert witness advocating "creation science" for the state of Louisiana in the Edwards v. Aguillard case. What the quoted sentence above shows is called spin.

quote:

Let me put something as straightforward as I can - when someone is writing an essay, and misuses a label, that sucks. But when they define that label by providing context, then pretending they mean something else is either, as one poster here has said, "Ignorant or dishonest". If Card says that Creation Science, in the context of his essay, is about putting a scientific veneer over the Genesis account (for those who don't know, he means the book of Genesis, in the Christian's Bible), then guess what? That's the terms you need to accept, in order to understand the point of the essay.

If you want to say that he's wrong, that the label means something else, that's fine. But you can't go from there and say "point A is wrong because, according to my definition of the label he gave, it doesn't logically follow". That's often referred to as sophistry.

Validity for a deductive argument means that assuming that the premises are true, the conclusion follows. Soundness is the property of a deductive argument whose logic is valid and whose premises are true. (Those who wish to brush up on this distinction can head over to this page.) Sophistry resides in pretending that only discussion over validity should occur, and that discussing soundness is a dirty trick. For deductive propositional logic, yes, Virginia, it does indeed mean that if someone makes an unsound argument because they rely on a false premise, then the conclusion does not follow. This is not disputable.

Personally, I think that arguing over whether Card made a valid, even if unsound, argument that "creation science" differs from "intelligent design" is a huge waste of time, and if that is all that can be countenanced here then I see no point in going further. I'm arguing about the soundness of Card's argument, that is, not just about whether his structure of logic passes inspection, but also whether the premises he uses hold up to scrutiny. As I have documented in previous posts, Card's premise concerning what "creation science" was does not match what has been established in various court cases.

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doppelganger
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quote:
Originally posted by Bliss:
quote:
Originally posted by doppelganger:
Hi Bo,

Have you posted on a Martial Arts discussion board in the past? Your name sounds familiar.

quote:
Originally posted by Bo Grimes:
Which leads me to this: Why don't you, since you think Card should deal with actual arguments, explain to us how "each step in the process [of the evolution of the eye] confers independent benefits on the organism and therefore could have evolved through random mutation and natural selection alone."

I have a question - why should anyone expect that "each step in the process [of the evolution of the eye] confers independent benefits on the organism"?

Is this what evolutionary theory requires?

First, I don't know of any theory that requires an evolutionary path be monotonically increasing in fitness. Second, who claims that the eye evolved through random mutation and natural selection alone? Third, the eye is actually a very instructive example of evolution. Try Googling it.
Thanks, but you see, I was kind of hoping Bo would respond since he sort of, you know, brought it up.
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doppelganger
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quote:
Originally posted by ljohnson:

I am speaking on the level of logical discourse. Ad hominem is attack against the man (ad feminem is an acceptable neologism)and has no place in discourse.

Partly correct. It is an attack against a person in order to defeat their position. A simplistic example:

How can you believe that guy - look how dumb he looks!

In that vein, an ad hominem argument is fallacious, for it does not address the person's argument.

However, there are subtleties that render it useful at times:

Joe says that X is true. But you know, I have caught Joe lying on several occasions, so I don't think we should believe what he says.

This would still be considered an ad hominem argument, but it is premised on experience and judgement. The judgement may be unwarranted, but it does act to warn others of potential false claims. In this sense, I believe such arguments serve a valid purpose.

Personally, if an individual is known to have engaged in fraudulent practices in the past, I do not see a major problem with 'ad hominem' arguments against them. It makes it easier to sift through the garbage of discourse one finds on the internet and elsewhere.
Furthermore, characterizing everyone that strongly disagrees with your position as angry and of using fallacious argum,ents all the time smacks of disingenuous antics and a mechanism to avoid real discussion. I have read Ed's blog for years and have found that even when his posts are laden with emotion, there is supportable, logical substance behind them.

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Lifewish
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Bliss said:
quote:
First, I don't know of any theory that requires an evolutionary path be monotonically increasing in fitness. Second, who claims that the eye evolved through random mutation and natural selection alone?
Actually I believe that these two claims are a fairly accurate representation of what evolutionary theory says. The point is that, even with these restrictions on how evolution can operate, it is still able to produce a fully-functioning eye from a patch of light-sensitive cells (cf. D. E. Nilsson and S. Pelger, Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 256, 53 (1994) - try saying that ten times fast!).

The difference between an evolved system and a designed system is that an evolved system is limited to changing in a locally advantageous way, whereas a designed system is capable of changing in a globally advantageous way. Thus, if actually proveable, a claim that structure X required globally advantageous developments would constitute a fairly good rebuttal of evolution. Fortunately for evolutionary biology, this has repeatedly failed to happen (CSI was a nice try but turned out to be badly flawed).

The fact that design can incorporate possibilities that evolution can't means, of course, that science will always default to the latter explanation (otherwise we'd all end up believing in magic). If we wanted to, we could construct a stronger design hypothesis - for example, that organisms will never be found in a state that is locally optimal but globally non-optimal. However, this would quickly be falsified.

For example, fish have "inverted" eyes - the blood vessels pass in front of the retina. This is generally considered to be bad design, but we could always argue that there was some purpose to it that we hadn't come across. Except that another kind of eye exists - the "verted" eye, where the blood vessels pass behind the retina. Fish have inverted eyes, squids have verted eyes, yet one or the other must be globally better in the environment that both inhabit.

There are plenty of other examples - a spine that's apparently optimised for knuckle-dragging not standing upright, a jaw that's got too many teeth to fit properly, and of course the ever popular "what kind of idiot would build a sewer through the middle of an entertainment zone" problem. Google "unintelligent design" for many many more.

The let-out clause that stops this being an open indictment of religion is that a God who didn't want his existence to be directly demonstrable would of course attempt to imitate natural forces wherever possible. This is a perfectly valid theological argument, but it does rather put the kibosh on the ID movement's attempts to directly demonstrate God's existence.

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DaveS
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quote:
Originally posted by javelin:
Dave S: I completely agree. If you'd like to hear about uses for the ID research (when there is some) that don't go towards proving that "There is a God, and He's the God of the Christians", check this out:

Some ideas on how ID might be useful

Hmmm, I'm not sure if you were joking by sending me to that link. All it offers are hopeful approaches to validating ID, but none of them have produced useful results or are even in process. It's wishful thinking that there will be an oasis just over the next dune.

The discussion of whether ID is valid AND non-religious is moot until somebody actually produces evidence or testable results that back it up. In the meantime, it's not at all clear to me what people are arguing about.

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RedViolin
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Quote:
"As far as ID pushing forward science, I can't really think of a single example." -Plunge

I would like to contend that ID is science. I believe that the perfect, delicately balanced circumstances required for order to arise from entropy (aka, the creation of an entity as complex as Earth and life) cannot possibly be a result of chance or coincidences. For order to arise from chaos, it takes the creative construction of a higher being. If peanut butter, jam, and bread were sitting in a room together, they would not spontaneously form a PB&J sandwich. It would take an intelligent being, like a human being, to pick up the pieces and construct the sandwich. Likewise, the chemicals and elements required to construct this Earth would not carefully measure and mix themselves. Someone had to do it.

[ January 26, 2006, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: RedViolin ]

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Lifewish
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quote:
Originally posted by RedViolin:
Quote:
"As far as ID pushing forward science, I can't really think of a single example." -Plunge

I would like to contend that ID is science. I believe that the perfect, delicately balanced circumstances required for order to arise from entropy (aka, the creation of an entity as complex as Earth and life) cannot possibly be a result of chance or coincidences.

The operative word here is "believe". The fact that you believe something emphatically does not make it science. If, however, you can figure out an experiment that would falsify that belief if it's incorrect... well, then we're cooking with charcoal. Your conjecture would then merit the term "hypothesis". If you can figure out hundreds of such experiments that operate in a variety of fashions, and your conjecture passes them all, then it might even get upgraded to "theory".

But that's the only way you can turn your belief into science. There are no shortcuts.

Sadly, in this case, I'd say that your belief has been falsified. Planets like Earth appear to be a fairly natural result of the state of the early universe (as evinced by the fact that we keep finding planets circling pulsars and the like). Once you have a lifeless Earth, the chemicals required for life would have formed naturally. Once you have those chemicals in sufficient volumes, self-replicating systems are pretty much guaranteed to arise. And once you have self-replicating systems, the sky is the limit.

Before concluding that life as we know it couldn't have arisen naturally, I suggest you look at things like the Tierra "virtual world", where brute evolutionary forces managed to produce a self-replicating system four times as efficient as anything that the human programmers who set the thing up could design. Or the genetic algorithms that have produced programs and circuitry which we still don't fully understand the workings of.

quote:
For order to arise from chaos, it takes the creative construction of a higher being.
My snowflake says that you're incorrect here.
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RedViolin
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Mathematics and logic, such as the second Law of Thermodynamics and Newton’s third law of motion, support ID.
The second law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy, or disorder, of the universe is constantly increasing. For entropy to increase in the universe, the universe must have had an organized starting point from which to digress in the first place. The universe thus has a clear beginning and is currently in the process of digressing. According to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal reaction, and thus for all reactions there must be a cause. This means that there must be cause for a reaction such as the initiation of the universe. Newton’s second law of motions states that objects at rest stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Scientists believe that the universe was the size of a softball before the Big Band occurred. Now, what outside force would cause it to expand? A higher, external being! According to Descartes, the causing agent of an occurrence must be at least as complex as its effect, and thus a great intelligence is required for the creation of something as complex as the universe. Descartes believed that unnatural events such as a decrease in entropy cannot occur without intelligent interference. Thus, an intelligence is required to organize exact quantities of chemicals and to form the precise conditions for the creation of the universe.
Mathematics and logic, such as the second Law of Thermodynamics and Newton’s second and third law of motion, support the existence of a higher being that intelligently designed our world and the life in it.

[ January 26, 2006, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: RedViolin ]

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Wayward Son
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Interesting post, but your physics needs refining.

quote:
According to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal reaction, and thus for all reactions there must be a cause.
IIRC, Newton's third law says nothing about "causes." If one body moves, it has to push against something, and that something moves. It says nothing about what caused it to move.

quote:
Newton’s second law of motions states that objects at rest stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force.
This is true for macroscopic particles, but not true universally. Consider Brownian motion, for instance. Molecules are constantly bouncing off each other. If you consider a jar of water to be a contained unit, what "outside force" is acting on the molecules in it? None. They are acting on themselves.

True, something probably set off the Big Bang, but it does not necessarily have to be an "outside force."

quote:
According to Descartes, the causing agent of an occurrence must be at least as complex as its effect, and thus a great intelligence is required for the creation of something as complex as the universe.
Interesting principle, but obviously untrue. Consider the numerous examples for chaos theory. Very simple forces combine to create hugely complex systems, such as the simple thermodynamic principles that combine to create weather. Complexity can arise easily from simple roots.

Besides, all of these examples you provided are for creating the initial conditions of Earth. ID is primarily interested in how life was influenced by intelligence, which is far, far removed from the Big Bang. Even if God did create the universe, it still does not show that He had any effect on the development of life. He simply may have let it run on automatic after pushing the "START" button. [Smile]

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Everard
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Do you apply that chain of reasoning to a designer, Redviolin?

Further, what happens because of the "arrow of time" that is one of the results of the second law of thermodynamics, plus the nature of the expansion of the universe, is that "the universe must have had an organized starting point" is a false statement, because it did NOT have a starting point. The nature of the physical processes that govern time change as the universe approaches a mathematical point, which for all intents and purposes it was at 10^-47 seconds after the big bang. Mathematically and physically, there is no meaning to saying that anything occured "before" 10^-53 seconds or so.

Which of course means that you don't need to find a "cause" for the expansion of the universe... it has been expanding for the entire duration of its existence, nothing needs to trigger it.

Also, importantly, is that cause and effect don't seem to actually exist in the way we understand them at quantum mechanical levels. Since we think the big bang may have been a quantum event, the cause MAY have been an "information" particle (tachyon if you wish) reaching backwards in time and triggering the big bang. One of the principles of quantum mechanics is that aparticle can't be emitted unless there is a receiver. This idea breaks down totally our understanding of cause and effect.

Descartes idea that nothing can be created that is more complex then the creator also relies on a subjective definition of complex. People have already, perhaps, designed things more complex then we are. We've designed and built computers that can process information and perform calculations far faster then we can, just as an example.

The universe may not be that complex. A few simple forces, and a tendency to iterate simple mathematical equations to produce a stunning variety of effects. Fractals can be produced with an equation that is mind-bogglingly simple, yet we can't penetrate the complexity of the fractals produced.

Etc... but I have to go to work. You've taken a first order look at some basics of physics, and not bothered to look further. Nor have you applied your reasoning to the designer.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The second law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy, or disorder, of the universe is constantly increasing. For entropy to increase in the universe, the universe must have had an organized starting point from which to digress in the first place. The universe thus has a clear beginning and is currently in the process of digressing. According to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal reaction, and thus for all reactions there must be a cause.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You waved to these two laws as you drove by, friend, but didn't slow down to understand them. [Smile]
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RedViolin
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Quote:
"People have already, perhaps, designed things more complex then we are. We've designed and built computers that can process information and perform calculations far faster then we can, just as an example." -Everard

I refuse to belive that a computer, which has limited programmed processes and is incapable of sovereign thought, is more complex than a human lifeform that is capable of near-limitless creativity and art.

Quote:
"Do you apply that chain of reasoning to a designer, Redviolin?"

God is omnipresent and omnipotent, always was and always will be.

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DaveS
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"God is omnipresent and omnipotent, always was and always will be." -- RedViolin

Well, then, you've got your answer. Why are you bothering to continue thinking about this matter? I would think that those who engage in continued discussion on the subject of evolution would be irrelevant to your concerns, and the discussion itself would be no more interesting than watching children play hopscotch. I'd be interested to know why you are posting on this issue.

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Everard
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"Quote:
"Do you apply that chain of reasoning to a designer, Redviolin?"

God is omnipresent and omnipotent, always was and always will be"

And the universe is omnipresent, as well, quite possibly, so your chain of reasoning doesn't apply to it, as well.

Further, and again, causality is in many ways a human construction, and shouldn't be applied to certain areas of physics.

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Tom Curtis
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RedViolin:

quote:
According to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal reaction, and thus for all reactions there must be a cause. This means that there must be cause for a reaction such as the initiation of the universe. Newton’s second law of motions states that objects at rest stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Scientists believe that the universe was the size of a softball before the Big Band occurred. Now, what outside force would cause it to expand? A higher, external being!
Taken seriously as an argument, this use of Newton's Second and Third Laws would prove that no object can begin an explosive expansion unless acted on by an external force. That is, fragmentation grenades cannot explode because no force external to the fragmentation grenade acts on them. Or alternatively, you can give the matter further thought and see that Newton's laws make no requirements about antecedent conditions, only requirements about changes in motion, specifically that they be symetrical - that momentum be conserved. And indeed we find that the results of the big bang did conserve momentum.

If we take that small step towards science, we would then realise that what you need to appeal to is not Newton's conservation of momentum, but Liebniz's conservation of energy. Doing so we ought also to take the step of using Einsteins kinetics and gravitational theory, ie, general relativity, which are more accurate than Newton's. But having done so we face the problem that in General Relativity, gravitational fields are a negative energy, so that according to some calculations the net energy of the universe is zero. Thus it can come into existence from nothing without violating conservation of energy.

We also ought to take into account Quantum Mechanics which has supplanted Newtonian Mechanics in the very small scales such as those at the origin of the Big Bang. In that case we would note that in Quantum Mechanics energy need not be conserved, but can increase or decrease over small time scales so long as on average the amount is constant. We would then note that IF their is a time before the big bang, and if the universe if of finite duration and size, because the duration before and after is - as we may suppose - infinite, then the average change in energy due to the big bang approaches the limit of zero. Alternatively, if there is no time before the Big Bang, then the duration of the universe for an external observer is zero, which means according to quantum mechanics the energy fluctuation that is the universe can be infinite in size.

However, if you insist on treating physical laws as though they were somehow metaphysical principles; and ignore the fact that to arrive at your conclusion you have to cherry pick among laws, choosing those that are known not to apply in such extreme conditions as the Big Bang, well then you might arrive at the conclusion that the Big Bang must have a cause.

At that stage, however, you still need an argument to disprove at least three fully naturalistic theories of what preceded the big bang. Without some scientific basis to reject these, and other as yet unknown alternatives, your conclusion should properly be that:

The big bang was caused by:

a) The formation of a black hole in a prior universe according to Smolin's theory of evolving universe; or

b) The formation of an end point singularity of a prior universe; or

c) The radical inflation of a previously very small region of a prior universe; or

d) Some other as yet unknown potential naturalistic cause; or

e) A higher external Being.

Your only reasons for rejecting (a) through to (d) are entirely philosophical. Indeed, they are only the unsupported intuitions of Descartes as reinterpreted by you. So your proper conclusion is not that ID is supported by mathematics and logic, but merely that some people find ID philosophically congenial, a truth I would not bother disputing.

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plunge
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I've always been amused by the idea that God is omnipresent or at least omniscient, but cannot tolerate sin (hence why sinners cannot enter heaven without being redeemed).

This must be pretty awful for God, who has to endure constant contradiction in his purported qualities and abilities.

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Kent
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Oh my, there is a great post under general comments by Teleologist stating that The ID movement isn’t the same as ID . Now this should definitely clear things up.
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Lifewish
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OK, now we just need to see some research from ID that isn't "just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory" (as Dembski infamously said). Otherwise we could well claim that the one is merely a means to the ends of the other.
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canadian
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I think javelin's just playing you all. I've never seen him be bullheadedly wrong before, so I don't think he's arguing seriously here.

[ January 29, 2006, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: canadian ]

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KnightEnder
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Nothing for nothing, but the first post I ever posted on this board pretty much asked the same question. Just then he was doing it by saying Hitler was an atheist in a feable attempt to argue that religion, particularly Christianity, hadn't been responsible for more war and death than atheisem. As if a war has ever been fought for atheism or that was what Hitler cared about. Basically excusing wars fought in the name of religion because not "all" wars had been fought for religious reasons. (Actually that would have been a better argument.)

So, yeah, OSC will bend the facts with his talent for prose to sway an argument. (But did this "article" come from one of those newspaper magazine things where he is preaching to the choir and does it to put food on the table for his family?)And I think we can put the idea that he might be ignorant away forever. The question is; is he self-deluded, or dishonest in order to make money and or persuade his audience [Confused] ?

KE

[ January 29, 2006, 09:46 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by RedViolin:
Mathematics and logic, such as the second Law of Thermodynamics and Newton’s third law of motion, support ID.
The second law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy, or disorder, of the universe is constantly increasing. For entropy to increase in the universe, the universe must have had an organized starting point from which to digress in the first place. The universe thus has a clear beginning and is currently in the process of digressing.

The universe must have had a relatively low entropy starting point. not the same as an organized one.

The best guess is that the very early universe was filled with nothing but elementary particles at uniform temperature, density etc. That is as high an entropy state as you can get (with a certain caveat, which I'll mention below. It certainly isn't organized in any sense of the word that I recognise.

If the universe was in a very high entropy state (uniform gas) very early on, how come there are apparently more ordered things like planets, stars, galaxies etc. now? Two things. One is the expansion of the universe. If you take a fixed amount of gas in a certain (closed) volume, it has essentially maximum entropy. If you expand the volume, you end up with uniform gas in that larger volume. This has a significantly higher entropy state. More organised gas configurations in the larger volume also have a higher entropy than the maximum entropy configuration in the smaller volume.

Consider the extreme example: a gas (say iodine for fun) in a thermally isolated box, that is expanded by a huge factor. The gas cools below it's boiling point (or sublimation point in the case of iodine) It sublimes to form crystals. Congratulations: we have gone from a maximal entropy situation in a small volume to a very highly ordered iodine crystal in a larger volume. And no laws of thermodynamics have been broken: entropy has increased (or remained constant) at every step of the way.

Secondly, the entropy in the early universe is maximal for a given type of particle. Say we consider a point where only protons and electrons exist (well, there have to be neutrinos, gluons, W+/- particles, Z particles, photons and other things as well, but lets pretend we're talking about after photon-decoupling and only considering the proton-electron plasma, for the sake of simplicity). A universe filled with ionised or atomic hydrogen is in one sense in a maximum entropy state. At least, it is in the maximum entropy state achievabe using only hydrogen atoms. Nuclosynthesis is however quite capable of producing heavier elements, opening up the realms of complex chemistry and all sorts of other fun. This was always possible from an entropic point of view, but you also have to get the right energetic conditions to make churning out carbon (for example) viable. A universe containing biological life is in a higher entropy state than one containing nothing but uniform hydrogen, even if to the casual observer, the hydrogen gas is about as disorganised a state as you can get. (It is merely as disorganised a state as pure hydrogen can get into in the absence of nucleosynthesis).

quote:

According to Newton’s third law of motion, for every action there is an equal reaction, and thus for all reactions there must be a cause. This means that there must be cause for a reaction such as the initiation of the universe.

Never mix up hand-waving arguments based on varie meanings of words with precise mathematical formulisms. The 'action' meant here has the precise meaning of 'integral of rate of change of momentum over a specified period of time'. Or Force x Time in the case of a constant force. More commonly called 'impulse' these days ('action' being reserved for the quantity that is the integral of (potential energy - kinetic energy) along a path - a concept which wasn't around in Newton's day). Or to put it another way, Newton is saying that the change in momentum of one body must be matched by the change in a momentum of another body (or bodies) so that the vector sum of the changes is zero. Or to put the consequence in simpler terms: momentum is conserved. That is all it says. You can learn absolutely nothing about cause and effect from this than that.

quote:

Newton’s second law of motions states that objects at rest stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Scientists believe that the universe was the size of a softball before the Big Band occurred.

No they don't. Insofar as scientists believe anything about 'before the Big Bang', it would be that the universe didn't exist. Space-time didn't exist: it all came into existence at the moment of the big bang. More plausibly, scientists would tell you that the actual moment of the big bang is something beyond the scope of any current science: we can extrapolate back to certain points in the past, but beyond that our theories fall apart.

But please lose this 'pop-science' idea of the big bang as a ball of matter exploding into the space around it. That has nothing to do with any current theory of cosmology.

quote:

Now, what outside force would cause it to expand? A higher, external being!

Okay, leaving aside your misconception of the big bang, why is any outisde force necessary? When a neutron in free space decays to form a proton and an electron, or when a muon decays to an electron, mu-neutrino and anti-electron-neutrino, it is always possible to find a reference frame where the initial particle is at rest, and the final ones fly away in various directions. What causes this? Nothing. The decay is random, as far as can be determined. It is merely energetically favourable, and the lifetime of the initial particle before it decays is dependent on the amount of energy 'released' in the decay. It is perfectly describable without appeal to any kind of 'first cause'. (There may be one, but it certainly doesn't seem necessary).

quote:

According to Descartes, the causing agent of an occurrence must be at least as complex as its effect, and thus a great intelligence is required for the creation of something as complex as the universe.

More importantly, was Descartes right about this? I see no reason to believe his statement.


quote:

Descartes believed that unnatural events such as a decrease in entropy cannot occur without intelligent interference.

Whereas anyone with a decent grasp of thermodynamics would tell you that a decrease in entropy cannot occur. End of story. Intelligent interference doesn't help: globally, entropy always increases. In local system, entropy is quite capable of decreasing spontaneously (snowflakes anyone?), but it is always at the expense of a greater increase in entropy beyond the system under immediate consideration. Intelligence has never decreased entropy.

quote:

Thus, an intelligence is required to organize exact quantities of chemicals and to form the precise conditions for the creation of the universe.

What chemicals? Chemicals never appeared on the scene until billions of years later. What conditions are needed for the creation of the universe? Nobody has a clue obviously, since no-one knows what conditions are like outside the universe to be able to even think of beginning to answer the question. Conditions [i]in[i/] the very early universe were probably extremely simple: a small number of types of elementary particles at uniform temperature and density, and some fairly simple laws governing them.

It 'just happens' to be one of those systems where two or three very simple elements can create something with staggering variety.

For my money, an argument based around how the universe happens to be governed by simple laws that happen to allow this breathtaking complexity in practice (as an argument for a desginer) be much, much more convincing that one based on a misunderstanding of thermodynamics and mechanics, and unsubstantiated assertions by Descartes.

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Lifewish
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quote:
More importantly, was Descartes right about this?
Quite definitely not. Consider the Mandelbrot set algorithm (which is so simple that it takes up a whole 7 lines of a song*) with the output thereof.

* Warning - minor use of bad language (which I tolerate because it's part of the most incongruous line of lyric I've ever come across)

[ January 30, 2006, 09:22 AM: Message edited by: Lifewish ]

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Basil Stag Hare
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Knight Ender said:
quote:
(But did this "article" come from one of those newspaper magazine things where he is preaching to the choir and does it to put food on the table for his family?)
This article originally appeared in the Rhinocerous Times, Greensboro, North Carolina edition. That newspaper is supported solely by advertising, and OSC has stated that he writes articles for their paper as an unpaid volunteer. Concerning the choir he's preaching to, ie the residents of Greensboro, Mormons are certainly not a majority, though conservative Christians probably are. But regardless, I think Mormons and conservative Christians alike are divided in their ideas about ID, creationism, and the evolutionary model, thus I see no way in which this article could be construed as "preaching to the choir."
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I see no way in which this article could be construed as "preaching to the choir."
Have you ever read the Rhino Times? Maybe you don't realize who's in the choir.
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Basil Stag Hare
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Tom: I have read the Rhino Times, but I've never read anything in it about evolution or creationism (until OSC's piece). I guess I must not realize who's in the choir. I don't live in Greensboro, so I suppose I really don't know what sort of people live there.

I do realize that on Iraq, the presidency, and other political issues, the Rhino Times and its readers (as evidenced by letters and phone calls) usually agrees with OSC. I just never saw any evidence that they also agree on this issue.

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KnightEnder
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Thanks for having my back Tom. I'm just trying to find logical reasons why a brilliant writer like OSC would argue so illogically and using examples that are blatantly false to back up his observe observations.

KE

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Lifewish
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I'm guessing it's probably naivete in this case. His essay was fairly consistent with someone who'd been exposed to an unhealthy amount of ID literature, had had sufficient sympathy with its underlying principles to find it attractive, yet had retained enough objectivity to spot the essential flaws.

If this is indeed an accurate description of the essay's development then kudos to OSC for keeping that much of a level head. Now if only he'd get into the habit of issuing updates when he realises he's got stuff wrong - that way we could tell for sure if this is the case.

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Automath
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Didn't have the time to reading anymore than what was on the first page of this thread, but there someone recommended www.talkorigins.org as a place to find a good essay refuting ID.

This is the first article on that site directly trying to refute ID that I could find. To my great surprise, this writer is doing exactly what OSC is describing as "darwinist" in his essay. Before I continue looking for real proof that ID is illegitamate, can someone please recommend an actually credible essay that does so?

[ February 21, 2006, 07:36 AM: Message edited by: Automath ]

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DaveS
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quote:
Didn't have the time to reading anymore than what was on the first page of this thread, but there someone recommended www.talkorigins.org as a place to find a good essay refuting ID.
You're a little late (this is page 4 of this thread), so there is a lot of really good discussion right here that you can learn about the issue, particularly the adversarial aspect of the debate. There's another great thread in the General Comments section of ornery.org called "The ID movement isn’t the same as ID," in which Tom Curtis lays out a long set of very well-thought out arguments in rebuttal fashion against a tenacious ID proponent.

Bear in mind that over 700 scientists whose first names are Steve, Stephanie, etc., have already signed letters denouncing ID (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/steve/ (try out the "Steve-O-meter")), so you can be assured that the "science establishment" don't need no more stinking proof.

Here are a couple of sites you can visit to learn more, but there are many more easily accessible through google. Try some creative search strings and you'll be surprised.

Lots of good stuff from the National Center for Science Education at: http://www.natcenscied.org/

Expose on the ID "Wedge Strategy": http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/barbara_forrest/wedge.html

Taking on some of ID's certificated and degreed proponents:

Phillip Johnson: http://www.talkreason.org/articles/honesty.cfm

Michael Denton: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/denton.html

William Dembski: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/science/creationism/dembski.html

Michael Behe: http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Catalano/box/behe.shtml

There's also this movie: http://flockofdodos.com/

Lastly, the text of the Dover trial judge's ruling against the local school board's attempt to incorporate ID into the local school curriculum: www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf. It's long (139pp), but it lays out such a devastating case against ID as a scientific discipline that the ID advocacy movement is apparently going underground to retool their entire approach.

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Wayward Son
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I don’t think I can find one article that shows ID to be illegitimate, except perhaps for the Dover ruling (see the link to the actual ruling), but that’s 139 pages with lots of legal mumbo-jumbo, so it might be a bit much.

The problem is that there are many different aspects to ID for a single essay. There are Behe’s arguments, Dembski’s arguments, and the general arguments, just to name the ones off the top of my head. Each of these requires at least a separate essay, if not a series of them.

My favorite for debunking the “it looks designed” argument is this little essay by Elia Leibowitz.

For a good introduction into the reasoning against ID would be Introduction to the Talkdesign.org Web Site.

You'll find more information if you search for "irreducable complexity" or "specified complexity." The more specific you are, the more specific the answers will be, and the more actual information you will get, rather than just general philosophy.

Yes, there is a lot of what Mr. Card criticizes “Darwinists” of doing out there, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find the actual types of answers that Mr. Card wishes they would do. Which is one reason his essay was so annoying. He seems to ignore when scientists are doing it right.

(Drat! Scooped by Dave by 7 minutes! [Smile] )

[ February 21, 2006, 03:32 PM: Message edited by: Wayward Son ]

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DaveS
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Wayward, I wish you had been a little quicker on the draw. I don't think I heard a word that was said in the conference call while I looked that stuff up and wrote the message. What I mean is, it's your fault if I lose my job.
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Wayward Son
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But you can always find a job listing ID rebuttal links, Dave, since you did it much better than I did.

Of course, you won't get paid for it... [Smile]

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DaveS
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If I got paid a nickel every time I did something I didn't get paid for, I'd, uh...wait, how would that work...?
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Tom Curtis
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A little late, I know, but:

quote:

This is the first article on that site directly trying to refute ID that I could find. To my great surprise, this writer is doing exactly what OSC is describing as "darwinist" in his essay. Before I continue looking for real proof that ID is illegitamate, can someone please recommend an actually credible essay that does so?

The problem is that that article is not an attempt to refute ID. In fact, the only place where ID is mentioned in the article is in the heading:

quote:
Message-ID: 1110367995.742300.192630@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com
That essay is a comment on a creationist's frustration that "you guys can't see the impossibilities of evolution".

Now, when you have two groups of people with entrenched positions and neither side can see how the other side could rationally hold the position they do, that is a sure sign that ideology is blinding one side or the other - but it is no indication of which side is blinded. As I have written elsewhere:

quote:
...it has always struck me that when someone says that a group of people have a “self imposed ideological blindness”; all this shows is that one of at least two groups has such a blindness - but it does not provide evidence one way or the other as to which one. It is no good saying that you have looked at the evidence and seen which theory it supports; for the other group have done the same and think the evidence supports a different theory. Your judgement of the evidence is only relevant if it is impossible for you to have been blinded by ideology.

There is a way to test as to which group does in fact suffer from such blindness - ie, by looking at sociological considerations. Prima facie, the larger of the two groups is less likely to have been blinded; for that requires that fewer people have fooled themselves. Prima facie, the better educated group is less likely to be binded; for they have more knowledge, and better training in the use of knowledge, to avoid traps of self deception with. Prima facie, the most ideologically diverse group is less likely to be blinded; for it is unlikely that several diverse ideologies should lead to exactly the same blindness. Prima facie, the group most strongly committed to emperically testing their theory is less likely to be blinded; for that very commitment both shows confidence in their theory, and means their theory has been continuously exposed to situations that could bring the house of cards down.

There are complications about the first two criteria. IF we include the entire population; then fellow travellers of the ID movement are more numerous than Darwinist’s, but they are significantly less educated. If we include only scientists; then Darwinist’s massively outnumber ID theorists (and fellow travellers), and are typically better educated in science (but not by so large a margin). On the other criteria, Darwnisms fairs better than ID in every case. Thus while ID theorists include some (but very few) agnostics, it is predominately composed of people strongly commited to theism; and whose commitment to theism normally preceded and motivated their commitment to ID. In contrasts, Darwinists are drawn from across the ideological spectrum, with most Darwinists being theists; though a significant number (especially among the more prominent Darwinists) are agnostics or atheists.

On sociological criteria, therefore, the sensible thing to do is assume the ideological blindness is a pervasive property of ID theorists (without assuming that Darwinists are automatically exempt).

Well, when a creationist wonders why evolutionists are so obtuse as to not see the impossibility of evolution, then someone has ideological blinkers. Pointing out the knowledge base and education of the evolution supporters is a good way of showing that, prima facie, it is the creationists who are hindered by ideological blinkers rather than the darwinists. It is not and is not intended to be an argument for evolution. It is not and is not intended to be an argument against ID (or creationism).

So, Automath, I don't think this article is doing what OSC described.

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