Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ben Stein's 'Expelled'

Dear Ben Stein:

I have heard that you have a movie coming out – a documentary, "Expelled – about how creation scientists (a.k.a., intelligent design theorists) are suffering from violations of their free speech rights in academia.

Naturally, I have not seen the documentary yet. Consequently, I am not going to raise any objections against the movie itself. However, I have read reports about its content and if true these reports indicate that the documentary will try to portray the claim that intelligent design is not science as a violation of freedom of speech.

I also suspect that you will hear a lot of objections based on the fact that you failed to properly understand what a scientific theory is, and I have no interest in repeating what they would say.

However, the film (or at least descriptions of it) bring up the issue of freedom of speech, which is a moral issue, and that is the sphere that I write in.

Legacy

I want to begin by pointing that your legacy, as a result of your work on this particular project, will be the suffering and early death of countless people who otherwise could have been saved or benefited from advances in science.

I am going to have to say something about the nature of science to demonstrate this point. Science is involved in explaining and predicting real-world events. This includes real-world events that cause real-world death and suffering. The better we are at understanding the real world, the better we will be at avoiding the death and suffering that nature would otherwise inflict on us.

Science does this by comparing theories. Theory A predicts that under conditions C, that R will result. Theory B predicts that under conditions C, S will result. Scientists then set up or observe conditions C, and see if they detect R or S. If they detect R, they go with theory A. If they detect S, they go with Theory B.

Over time, they continually revise their theories. Theory A1 predicts that under conditions C1, R1 will result. Theory A2 predicts that under conditions C1, R2 will result. (The conditions have to be the same, or there is no way to rule out theories). They then try to detect R1 or R2, and refine their theories accordingly.

It is not the case that everything that scientists like to study has an effect on human death and suffering. However, the methods that they use to study nature in general are the same methods that they apply to those things that result in death and suffering. They are continually involved in refining their theories about things that cause human death and suffering. As a result of their work, we have become extremely good at avoiding human death and suffering – at least in those cultures that are wise enough to put these scientific advances to practical use.

Now, please, try for me to put the concept of intelligent design into the description that I wrote above about how to compare scientific theories. Come up with a condition C, and a result R1 or R2, that will tell us whether or not to accept Theory A or Theory B, where Theory B is intelligent design.

You will fail.

No scientist has yet been able to present a “Theory B” that includes a God variable that produces more accurate results under Conditions C than any comparable theory that lacks a God variable.

Intelligent design tells us nothing that we can use to better understand and cure cancer or Parkinson's disease. There is nothing it can tell us that can lead to the discovery of a way of preventing malaria that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. It will not provide us with food sources that can survive droughts to that people in arid parts of the world can feed themselves. It says nothing at all useful in determining the effects of different chemicals that we are putting in our air, our water, and our food to tell us whether they are poisonous or beneficial. It tells us none of the things that science tells us - things that protects our lives, health, and well-being.

So, what these people want to do instead of providing us with the fruits of their research is to force scientist to use another criterion – other than the criterion of coming up with a theory that better predicts results under given conditions. That criterion is the criterion of force - perhaps not the force of a gun to the head, but the force of legislation and social sanctions.

I want to repeat this in case a reader might skip the point of this post. Intelligent design has no 'condition C' with an R1 and an R2 where evolution produces one prediction, intelligent design produces another, and observation confirms intelligent design. If it did, it could count as science. In the absence of scientific evidence favoring intelligent design, its proponents want to introduce something other than evidence into the scientific process - political bullying. Under this system, a theory is viable to the degree that its proponents can use lies and distortions to manipulate the public into including it in the scientific discussion. That's what the movie 'Expelled' is - an propaganda instrument for the sake of rallying people into bullying science educators into including an idea that has absolutely no merit as science.

What is going to make a scientific theory “worth considering” on this standard is not whether its defenders can provide experimental evidence, but whether its defenders can get the government and the mob to threaten scientists who reject their views.

On this system, force replaces truth as a standard of truth.

Causing Harm

Part of the problem with introducing force as a standard of truth is that you will end up promoting systems that will do more harm than good. Intelligent design itself finds its home in a context that does a particularly poor job of predicting and explaining the causes of human death and suffering, and of helping people avoid death and suffering.

A scientist says that hurricanes are too large for us to be able to control where they go. However, by taking measurements of air speed, ocean temperature, pressure, the principles of evaporation and condensation of water, and the like, we can make increasingly accurate predictions of where hurricanes will strike and how best to avoid the worst consequences. The consequences suffered in New Orleans show the price to be paid by those who ignore science.

Theocrats want to argue that we can control the severity – even the existence of hurricanes by passing laws against homosexuality, putting prayer in school, and closing down abortion clinics. They have got the fanatical belief that these variables somehow influence the nature of hurricanes.

Now, we can test these types of claims. We can come up with theories that determine relationships between the frequency and course of hurricanes based on number of abortion clinics, presence of laws against homosexual acts, and the numbers of state-sponsored school prayers. Yet, in 400 years of science, these types of relationships do not hold up. The people who advocate these types of solutions will add to the total amount of human suffering (the suffering imposed on people as a result of these laws) without doing any good whatsoever.

We see from this that the type of thinking that surrounds intelligent design will cause death and suffering in two ways. First, there is the death and suffering surrounding the laws that those who think this way would impose on others – the diseases not prevented, the poverty promoted, the prohibitions that deny people the opportunity to realize important values in the brief lives they have.

Second, this way of thinking will result in more death and suffering than there would otherwise be because it will take attention from reason-based policies that show a scientifically provable effect of reducing death and suffering. People devoted to preventing harms from natural disasters through community prayers and repressive social laws are not devoting their energy to scientific research and understanding. People who are demanding that science yield to a ‘political force as proof of scientific validity’ way of thinking are not allowing scientists to discover those methods that truly do the best job of predicting and explaining real-world events.

Both of these pathways lead to death and suffering, and both pathways will be opened up by the false and irresponsible claims that, at least judging from the press reports, will sit at the heart of your documentary.

Fear Mongering

A standard political move these days would be to take an argument like the one that I gave above and use it to accuse the person who made it of ‘fear mongering’ – of trying to manipulate people through fear. President Bush suggests that staying in Iraq will harm our national interests, and he is immediately condemned for fear-mongering by those who do not want the public to even consider (and debate) the possibility.

So, let us take a look at fear mongering, and see whether the term would apply in this case.

Imagine a room with a table in the center, and a pitcher in the middle of the room that you know contains poison. A woman enters the room and fills a glass from the pitcher. If I were to warn her that the pitcher contains poison, it would not be wrong to think that I was attempting to manipulate her behavior – attempting to warn her against drinking from the pitcher. However, it would be wrong to accuse me of fear mongering.

In order to be guilty of fear mongering, it would have to be the case that I did not believe that the pitcher contained poison or that I adopted the belief irresponsibly based more on convenience than on evidence. Furthermore, I would need some motive to prevent the woman from drinking the liquid – a motive that the woman would probably not find persuasive. So, I make false or irresponsible claims about the harmfulness of the liquid in order to prevent her from doing something I have other reasons to prevent her from doing. This would be a case of fear-mongering.

The arguments that I gave above deflect any charges of fear mongering. Science is, as a matter of fact, involved in a practice of comparing theories by determining what the theory says will happen under conditions C, making observations about those happenings, and determining which theory most accurately predicted the results. This method is particularly important when the results provide information useful in avoiding human death and suffering. The type of thinking that surrounds and permeates intelligent design is a type of thinking that rejects this method. So, the type of thinking that permeates intelligent design is a type that will interfere with our abilities to prevent death and suffering.

That particular drink is poison, and a morally responsible person would warn others not to drink it.

Freedom of Speech

As a matter of fact, people who advocate intelligent design pretty much prove that they are incompetent in matters of science, in the same way that an engineer who advocates making a bridge out of common clay proves that he is an incompetent engineer.

The fact that the common clay bridge builder is able to rally his friends to beat up on (legislatively or socially) the steel-bridge builders if they do not give their friend an engineering license is no proof that the friend’s engineering is sound. People can be forced to deny reality, but reality does not yield to individual stupidity. Give the common-clay bridge builder a license, and a lot of people are going to start suffering death and injuries in the collapsing bridges that result.

His ‘opinion’ that clay bridges are as sound as steel bridges is not enough to prevent clay bridges from collapsing.

However, let us assume that this engineer does not want to build clay bridges. He wants to teach at an engineering college where he will inform countless students that clay bridges are structurally sound. And when the engineering department denies him a position, he goes to court, claiming that they are violating his rights to free speech. Clearly, he has a right to stand before a bunch of students and tell them that common clay bridges are structurally sound.

By your standards, such a teacher must be permitted to teach that common clay is as good as steel, because refusing to do so would be a morally impermissible violation of that individual's right to freedom of speech. In fact, if we were to make your principle a universal law, as the moral philosopher Immanual Kant contends, any attempt to regulate the quality of teaching is a violation of free speech. No individual shall be denied a position in a university based on the quality of his research - but all individuals shall be permitted to teach whatever they want to whomever they want.

As I said, the policies and principles that appear in your documentary, at least as reported in the press, are clearly policies and principles that will lead to death and suffering.

Conclusion

I have no illusions that this letter will change the course of events. The documentary will play. People who would have otherwise studied and applied the principles of science to discover or at least understand how certain policies can reduce death and suffering, will instead pursue policies that promote death and suffering. The institution that best seeks to explain and predict the forces of nature that kill and maim individuals will be weakened, and death and suffering that could have been prevented, will not be prevented.

Of course, you will deny any responsibility for this. Unfortunately, reality does not care about what we believe. A person's unwillingness to accept reality does not change reality; a person's unwillingness to accept responsiblity for the harm he has done to others does not prevent them from being harmed.

These effects are real. You have made the world a worse place than it would have otherwise been, and some will pay with their lives. Hopefully, they (or those who survive them) will at least have the wisdom to know who is responsible for their situation.

Note: The National Center for Science Education also exposes a number of inaccuracies in its site, Expelled Exposed.

327 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Nice try Alonzo. No credible ID argument “has the same form” as your hurricane claim. As already discussed, the logic 101 issue you might want to revisit (although I I’m not holding my breath) is the straw man, whose definition is produced below. I’ll leave you with this and my best wishes.

SteveB

A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.[1] To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw man argument" is to describe a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view but is easier to refute, then attribute that position to the opponent (for example, deliberately overstating the opponent's position).[1] A straw man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it carries little or no real evidential weight, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.[2] (from wikipedia)

Anonymous said...

Wait, there's credible ID arguments?? Must be a pretty loose definition of "credible"...

Calvin said...

SteveB,

I wouldn't hold my breath either - they're big fans of straw men in these parts.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Of course "no credible ID argument" has the same form as my hurricane argument. This is because (1) there is no such thing as a credible ID argument, and (2) since the hurricane argument is not credible it is true by definition that no credible argument would have that form.

However, this is not relevant since my post was written in response to Ben Stein's movie "Expelled," - just like the blog title says - and the argument that intelligent design should be allowed into the classroom because keeping it out violates the principle of free speech does show up in that movie.

Anonymous said...

funny thing is that the only people who seem to contradict Dawrin are idiots who believe in a 3000 year old book. If there is a god, he is not YOUR MADE UP GOD

Anonymous said...

"The fool has said in his heart "there is no God."" Ps. 14:1


How's that for a relevant 3000 year old book - it saw some of you guys coming!

Anonymous said...

Where is the wise? Where is the disputer of this world? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confuse the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of this world to confuse the mighty...that no man should glory in His presence!
(I Cor. 1:20, 27, 29)

I know, I know, how dare I bring the divine into an only SCIENTIFIC discussion - even though its God who created science and allows you to live even though you will not respect Him or acknowledge Him.

How's that for mercy?

Emu Sam said...

Juani,

Okay, so your theory may have an analogy like this. A tornado rips through a junkyard and leaves behind a Boeing 747.

If you're refering to the beginnings of life, the analogy is more like a thousand trillion trillion trillion tornados ripping through an equal number of junkyards, and two or three leaving behind a see-saw that won't fall apart when you play on it.

If you're referring to evolution, it's somewhat like an equal number of tornados and junkyards, but afterwards, Mother Nature goes through and gets rid of the stuff she doesn't like, and over time some of the things left start resembling 747s. But a lot still look like see-saws.

We like God, do you?

Not sure of the inflection, but I'm chosing to interpret it as meaning We (religious people) like God. Do you (atheists)? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

I like mythologies. I like reading about many different gods. I prefer the ones with fewer wars and more transfiguration. However, after reading, I unsuspend my disbelief when it comes to making decision, such as how to vote, how to spend money, how to spend time, and when next to suspend my disbelief. The Abrahamic god is not one of my favorites, although I like many of the stories in the Bible as works of literature, history, or psychology.

I concur with Martino that the two parts of your statement have little to do with one another. The one criticizes abiogenesis and the other criticizes atheists, and you don't draw a clear relationship between the two. However, throughout the thread, we do seem to take it for granted that someone thinks there's a relationship. It's already been shown several times over that many people confuse evolution with abiogenesis. Furthermore, the movie used as the primary example in the original post is notorious for trying to equate evolution with atheism. So I will state plainly: we thought we were discussing science, and more specifically evolution, not atheism. There are religious scientists. There are atheists who don't believe in evolution. Knowing a person's stance on religion tells us nothing about their stance on evolution, and vice versa.

Please, make it clear whther you're referring to evolution, abiogenesis, or science in general. And please, put religious beliefs (including belief that there is no god) in another, more relevant post. I now see why Alonzo was trying to get us all back on track. I'm sorry for contributing to the problem, Mr. Fyfe.

Here's a question relevant to both the original topic and the thread: would a discussion on how to identify intelligence be appropriate material for a high school science class? What if you know the students will assume the teacher is talking about Intelligent Design? Should this sort of thing be left for college classes, or even for graduate levels and beyond?

Alonzo, more posts with formal logic, please! There have been lots on current events lately. I understand why. Just expressing a wish.

Balanced,

You ask, “What experiments can be done using intelligent design?” What experiments cannot be carried out without intelligence!?

I will restate. I did not mean to ask which experiments can be carried out by being designed intelligently. I meant, what are some good experiments that could test The Theory of Intelligent Design? This is altogether different, unless you are claiming that life on earth exists because a human agency designed an experiment (possibly through use of a time machine). As I understand it, the Theory of Intelligent Design asserts that an intelligent agent, and not natural selection, is responsible for the diversity of life today. What experiments could you perform, with Intelligent Design as the hypothesis, that would show ID can better predict results than natural selection?

You asked, “How can intelligent design be proven false?” Well, let’s begin by asking, is the concept itself contradictory? No. Does it contradict any known scientific facts? No. Are there test that demonstrate the presence of intelligence? Yes.

Assuming that your three statements (two lack of contradiction and one unspecified test for intelligence - please provide a link for the last) are true. These are statements you provide in favor of ID. What about designing a test that could show ID to be false? It need not necessarily do so. What it needs to do is have the possibility of doing so. What experiment could show ID is not a true theory? For evolution, it predicts a number of things, which have consistantly been shown true (for examples: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA211.html ). If something the theory of evolution predicted was shown not true, the theory in that area would be falsified, and we would have to seek a theory that better explained what we observed. What does ID predict that is different from evolution, that we could discover to be either true or not true, but do not know the answer now?

QUESTION: Is evolution science? Should evolution be permitted in the science classroom? If so, by what criterion do you allow evolution into the science classroom as science?

Yes, yes, and the scientific method. But that's far too simple an answer. The criterion I would use for putting information in a science class would involve how well it is supported in the scientific literature, how effectively it demonstrates the principles of science and the scientific method, and how important it is for a member of society to know that material. Biology is important to society because it is so tied up with health. Evolution is on of the primary theories of biology. Therefore, to understand health and well-being of oneself and one's friends and family, it is useful to understand evolution. If another theory expained our observations better, it would be useful to replace evolution with that theory in science classes. For most purposes, it is not useful to present conflicting theories in high school when you really want students to know why they should take antibiotics as prescribed and not fool around with it. Conflicting theories are much better presented in less life-or-death topics, as a means of understanding the scientific process and how a decision is made between competing theories (and in science, one makes a decision, based on the evidence, not tries to force all possible theories in because the dominant one conflcts with personal beliefs). For this purpose, it is more useful to show two formerly competing theories that have both been tested to a degree where it is obvious to everyone that one is far more accurate than the other. This does not include emotionally charged theories that are currently the topic of much political debate.

The natural, which has been tested over and over again, reveals life comes only from life.

Not true. Anything that humans do, even though guided by intelligence, is still based in nature. The only other option would be claiming that our experiments are supernatural. Our tests involve recreating the original circumstances and then watching to see what happens. In these tests, from Miller-Urey on, life has been created from a lack of life.

Boiling water on a stove? You already have a number of necessary mechanisms in place to boil the water, including the water. To be a parallel the evolutionist would have to assume that the stove, the heart source, the water and the pot accidentally, by chance, came into being and got together. If not, why not?

No pot necessary. Just a heat source, which can be found in volcanoes, and water near it, such as rain or underwater volcanoes. We could run tests, like adding dye or ammonia to see if that affects the vapor.

How could you possibly know what “a circumstance that resembles life on earth four billion years ago” was? What life? Where did it come from, that’s part of the discussion.

I beg your pardon, I misstated. I should have said "a circumstance that resembles conditions on earth." As to where it came from: from those conditions, from that mixture of organic molecules and energy that eventually led to some molecules that could make copies of themselves.

The math? Do you really want to get into mathematical probability of life arising from NON-living matter? If so that’s fine.

Yes, please, I love math. I'd rather not spend a long time each day looking stuff up for this discussion, of course. At some point, I'll have to refer you to those who do this for a living. A statistician and a microbial biologist for starters, although the biologist would probably refer us to another biologist, who might have their own preferred statistician. But I'm saying that there are 10^54 collisions per second in the ocean right now, and the only reason we don't observe life beginning is that the previously existing life eats it before we notice (it's naturally selected against). And, I misstated again. It's not life that's arising and being eaten, but organic self-replicating molecules, millions of times simpler than the DNA in an amoeba, that might eventually become life if it were left alone. (Possible test: take a bunch of test-tubes to those under-water volcanoes and freeze them really quickly before anything can eat anything else. Then examine every single molecule - all 10^19 of them - to see if they self replicate in similar environment with the danger of being eaten removed.)

Note to self: find the simplest known self-replicating molecle tomorrow. From the research to date, it will probably involve a few carbon atoms and some ammonia.

This example from SETI is what I am talking about. Also as Emu Sam wrote, “…Use of tools would be good. Language or other means of communicating on par with language.”. Are these things or are they not in the realm of science?

They're more in the social sciences. But you could still apply the scientific method to them.

From http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI190.html: The objective criterion for recognizing intelligent design is to look for things that look like what people build. Well, people are building more and more complex things. Maybe someday we'll actually build a life form (instead of setting up circumstances and waiting for chance to do our work for us). As humans build more and more things, more and more things will look like humans built them. From a SETI perspective, they will no longer be able to tell intelligently designed things from unintelligently formed things. From an Abrahamic creationist point of view (although not necessarily ID), that's sort of the point. Everything was intelligently designed. There is nothing that happened by chance. You can't tell the difference between something that's just there and something designed, because everything has a purpose. It's not falsifiable. The classic example from Paley is thus thrown out. He can tell a watch is designed and a rock not. But the rock apparently is designed, if you lead from the creationist version. If you can't tell the difference between something intellligently designed and something created by chance, how can you prove the intelligence?

ID focuses on life. It doesn't say much about rock, although it does say the fossil record is a liar.

1. The law of biogenesis for one.

I quote http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB000.html:

The spontaneous generation that Pasteur and others disproved was the idea that life forms such as mice, maggots, and bacteria can appear fully formed. They disproved a form of creationism. There is no law of biogenesis saying that very primitive life cannot form from increasingly complex molecules.

AGAIN I ASK, ““Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life?” Just present one exception.

Miller-Urey. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller-Urey Not life, not even viruses, but something self-replicating with mutations over time that could eventually become life.

Huh. Check me on this - did I just say that evolution has a lot to do with the formation of life from self-replicating non-life? Someone get me a biologist! (I'm an information science undergrad.)

The second law of thermodynamics to mention another. This alone is an insurmountable problem for the theory of evolution.

Ack! I can't believe you brought that up. You were doing so well. Thermodynamics is the behavior of gasses, not life, for one thing. For another, the earth is not a closed system. Energy arrives from the sun on a daily basis. Please tell me we're not going to argue about this any more.

Evolutionary theory demands NON-human into human either by birth or transformation. Neither one is supported by the scientific evidence.

I can just say "fossil record," and refer you to a paleontologist here. Change over time is supported by scientific evidence.

Emu Sam said...

Anonymous of April 16, 2008 2:55 PM

. . . its God who created science and allows you to live even though you will not respect Him or acknowledge Him.

How's that for mercy?


Suppose I built a house and put you in it. You have no choice in the matter.

Aren't I merciful for letting you live?

Or should I be facing charges for kidnapping, and if I should kill you, murder?

Balanced said...

Anonymous, please consider these statements in connection with your contention concerning the Miller-Urey Experiment.

Evolutionist Robert Shapiro stated regarding the products of the Miller-Urey experiment: “Let us sum up. The experiment performed by Miller yielded tar as its most abundant product. There are about fifty small organic compounds that are called ‘building blocks.’ Only two of these fifty occurred among the preferential Miller-Urey products” (“Origins—A Skeptics Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth”, (New York: Summit 1986. p. 105).

Robert Jastrow: “According to this story, every tree, every blade of grass, and every creature in the sea and on the land evolved out of one parent strand of molecular matter drifting lazily in a warm pool. What concrete evidence supports that remarkable theory of the origin of life? There is none”. (Found in “Until the Sun Dies”, p.60.)

Klaus Dose wrote,
More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on Earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance. (“The Origin of Life: More Questions than Answers,” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 1988, 13[4]:348).

Anonymous said...

ephem said...

Anonymous said:
"...numerous Christians have graduated from IVY league universities all around the world..."

Mobile campuses? Ivy League distance learning? Perhaps religious miracles?

Sorry, it was just such a ridiculous statement.

-----
:o) Perhaps a lesson in sentence structure could help you here. Around the world can easily be referring to where the students are from or where they are now.

martino said...

Balanced

I have asked you questions repeatedly including to go and learn up on science, evolution and abiogenesis. Given your persistent displays of misunderstanding and ignorance, you demonstrably have not yet. I and Emu Sam have spent time and energy reading and responding to your questions. Is it not about time you did the same for us?

One question you repeatedly ask is how can we recognize intelligence? Well I already noted it is possible to be fooled and I think Emu Sam and I have been fooled by you, being mistaken in thinking you were intelligent :-)

Now if you do not like ridicule then do not persist with such ignorant and unchanging questions whilst failing to respond to any of our questions. Anyway lets proceed:

You ask, “What experiments can be done using intelligent design?” What experiments cannot be carried out without intelligence!? There are many. The evolutionist needs intelligence to conduct experiments to replicate what they think happened and how, but then want to rule out intelligence for the thing that they claim did happened. How absurd.
You completely misunderstood the question, what a mistaken and unintelligent analysis indeed. Show us one experiment that could falsify ID and does not.

As Alonzo said in this post "Now, please, try for me to put the concept of intelligent design into the description that I wrote above about how to compare scientific theories. Come up with a condition C, and a result R1 or R2, that will tell us whether or not to accept Theory A or Theory B, where Theory B is intelligent design."


You asked, “How can intelligent design be proven false?” Well, let’s begin by asking, is the concept itself contradictory? No. Does it contradict any known scientific facts? No. Are there test that demonstrate the presence of intelligence? Yes. What would your answers be Emu Sam and Martino too?
See my quote from Alonzo above.

QUESTION: Is evolution science? Should evolution be permitted in the science classroom? If so, by what criterion do you allow evolution into the science classroom as science?
Yes, Yes, the scientific standard.

Now again a question for you. Where is the science in ID?

You ask, “How is the natural ruled out”? Your position must affirm that life came from NON-living matter. The natural, which has been tested over and over again, reveals life comes only from life. That will not fit the necessary component of evolution which is abiogenesis. If we cannot find a natural explanation, then there must be a NON-natural/supernatural explanation. Is you answer yes, no or some other?
You are misunderstanding natural. Life is part of nature but it is not all of nature, there is also physics and chemistry. Myself and Emu Sam have repeatedly provided you with naturalistic hypothesis, all residing on and consistent with many numerous empirical tests and resultant knowledge. You have failed to propose any remotely testable non-naturalistic hypotheses. We have answered you now you answered us, how could your non-natural claim be tested or at least how consistent is with any other know empirical knowledge, you have failed top show this till now and till you do then it has no scientific merit.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/modorlife.html

While intelligence can be tested, I am speaking of testing for the EXISTENCE of intelligence itself.
I can understand why you are worried about this as you are probably trying to find if you have it yourself, so far the answer is no. :-)


AGAIN I ASK, ““Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life?” Just present one exception.
This is not a scientifically proven fact, you have made it up! you quotes below were, correctly, refuting the biogenetic law law of spontaneous generation, that is not the topic here.

Simpson and Beck...

Martin A. Moe...

J.W.N. Sullivan...

See http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/spontaneous-generation.html

2. The second law of thermodynamics to mention another. This alone is an insurmountable problem for the theory of evolution.
Not this old canard. Really have you no originality but to make yet another claim that has long, long been refuted?

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/thermo.html

I am STILL waiting for an example of “a “thing” that reproduces and the result of that reproduction is something not like the “thing” that produced it. Grandpa and grandma won’t get it. Human are still humans, not NON-humans. Evolutionary theory demands NON-human into human either by birth or transformation. Neither one is supported by the scientific evidence.
We have both already answered this. If you are too ignorant to understand well you can demand all you want,should I demand you cease being ignorant and you get an education? Would that work? ;-)

I have already said that I have not mentioned religion, God, god, Bible, Koran, etc. I am affirming that some entity or entities that possess INTELLIGENCE brought about this universe, including this earth and the human life on it.
Since you do not have it, why are you so confident that intelligence did do it?


MARTINO, some questions you ignored.
1. “Do you know of any exception to the scientifically proven biological fact that life comes ONLY from life? Just one example will do.

Answered above and previously. Another answer is that this is a false question. Of course it were true, then ID would be false, wouldn't it :-)

2. “What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence? Emu Sam said (he/she) did not know. How about you?
Someone asking better questions than you would be a start :-)

I cautiously await your answers.
And I severely doubt you will answer mine, go on falsify this claim! :-)

martino said...

Anonymous

"The fool has said in his heart "there is no God."" Ps. 14:1


How's that for a relevant 3000 year old book - it saw some of you guys coming

First this is technically nothing to do with this post and comment thread. However by saying this you are revealing a standard accusation against ID that it is religion in disguise.

Still there is a response to this:
The fool has said in his heart "there is no God". And the wise man says it out loud!

chris said...

I have no problem with ID being taught... In a Philosophy class.

We should not teach ID in a science class.

In any case Aristotle's and er, Aquinas's "unmoved movers" are in essence the same thing. And if we had philosophy in public schools it could be taught there.

Evolution is tacitly understood as a theory and there ARE disputes as to how it occurs. It explains life as we know it and can be tested.

ID is laughable in science class and is founded on the basis of dogma and not "the truth".

I'm all for shaking up the foundations of science once and a while but this is crazy.

Charles M said...

I agree somewhat with Ben Stein that there are some who would "hijack" science.

Those of us who are practitioners and teachers of science (I have a doctoral degree and teach at a state medical school) understand the "science" is a pursuit of knowledge. Experimentation and observation allows us to use that which is known to find out that which is not known.

Any good scientist also realizes that the strength of "proof" depends a great deal on the question being asked.

Consider the question, "what would happen to a rock if I dropped in in my garage - would it float or fall?".

One could adduce "proof" from similar observations - such as other objects having been dropped from heights. One could even drop a rock in his/her own garage to see what happens. While some could nitpick about the external validity of this testing (different rock, dropper, and garage) I think most would agree that this would be a pretty good approximation.

But this question can be answered. One could conceivably come to my garage and drop this particular rock in question. This would constitute direct proof by observation.

Now consider the question of how the earth was created. Or perhaps to what degree man eveolved from other species. These questions are much more complex than the rock question for sure. But the bigger problem is that they ask details about a process which was not and could not ever be observed.

Thus the proof is relative to the question asked.

I agree that there is a significant amount of evidence that the earth is old and that evolution of species does occur. While Gould, Chomsky, and others have pointed out possible chinks in Darwin's theory - it certinaly has much to commend it.

I will make no defense of much of the creationist work - most of which is bogus. But I agree with Stein that certain individuals have such scorn for the religious ilk that they automatically dismiss any challenge to the "scientific norm" as anti-intellectual.

Any honest scientist admits that the origin of life is still something about which we can only theorize. Just the same any proponent of an intelligent design must admit that we cannot dismiss valid science because it does agree with a theological presupposition.

robot_pi said...

Alonzo: you wrote
"Evolutionary theory has nothing to do with "producing life from matter and energy". Evolutionary theory has to do with changes in life over time - the study of things already living."

This is a truly remarkable statement and shows that you are truly ignorant of some basic facts and huge realms of what you purport to believe. Here is a quote from one of the most noted proponents of evolution – Mr. Richard Dawkins:

"The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple -just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space. The fact that it did not -the fact that life evolved out of literally nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing -is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even that is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually led to beings capable of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it."

Alonzo, I don’t doubt your sincerity, you seem like a nice kid. But you have to try to maintain logic as a foundation for your arguments. You argue in favor of evolution yet you want to detach the question of origins? That’s fantastic. So what then, are you going to ignore the question because it is uncomfortable – because your theory is incapable of answering it? Mr. Dawkins is not so afraid. He jumps right in and says by god yes, the process of evolution started from matter and energy.
If you want a hint of what Darwin thought about the beginning of the process of evolution go to http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/lab/2948/orgel.html
Saying that the origin of life has nothing to do with the theory of evolution is intellectually dishonest, Alonzo. If you are as “stand-up” as you claim, you should retract that statement. But if not, then by all means, if the foundation of the evolutionary process is not life springing into existence from matter and energy, please, enlighten me [and Mr. Dawkins]. How did the process of evolution begin?

To Anonymous:

I am well aware of the Miller and Urey experiments and those conducted by several others. They are starts and show that organic compounds can be produced with the mixes that were put into the tanks. I hope someday scientists get full-blown RNA and eventually life. Again, I’m not arguing against evolution or its accepted beginning, namely, abiogenesis.

But the fact remains, none of it is proven. There is not one single, repeatable experiment that shows one form of life evolving into another form of life. Turn some chimps into humans in the lab – then repeat the experiment. I’ll sign on the dotted line. But until then, I will not accept evolution as FACT. I’ll work with it as a hypothesis – no problem. But once I hear the words “established fact” I smell a preacher.

To Anonymous:

You wrote:

“Hypothesis: living populations change over time until two groups, both descended from one homogenous population, cannot interbreed. Test: stick a bunch of fruit flies in two big jars with different chemicals and food supplies. Wait 1,000 generations. Try to breed them. Observe what happens. Write paper. Get other people to try the test and see if their results are the same. See? Scientific method.”

Have you done this? Has anyone done it? I’ve not read about it if it has been done. Did the flies develop claws? Did one batch grow beaks and feathers? Perhaps several grew gills and became aquatic fruit flies. I’d wager that if this experiment has taken place with the results that you outline; the researchers were still left with two batches of fruit flies. If so, then evolution is still not proven. Again, you have to turn one kind of organism into a DIFFERENT SPECIES to prove the evolutionary process beyond all doubt.

martino said...

Hi Charles M

I agree somewhat with Ben Stein that there are some who would "hijack" science.
Of course, Ben Stein is a prime example of someone who would hijack science! :-)

Any good scientist also realizes that the strength of "proof" depends a great deal on the question being asked.
And on the effect of all the empirically grounded (externally correspondent) and (internally) coherently organized knowledge that we call science. The more this network of knowledge is disrupted by certain answers to such questions, the less plausible it is and the weaker the "proof" or, more correctly, the support. When one asks for proof in science one is really asking for support and coherence with what has already been empirically substantiated.

Now consider the question of how the earth was created. Or perhaps to what degree man eveolved from other species. These questions are much more complex than the rock question for sure. But the bigger problem is that they ask details about a process which was not and could not ever be observed.
Yes but the answer we use is the most coherent with everything else we know and empirically grounded today with reference to geology, paleontology, biology etc. Until a better one turns up, ID being one of the worst ever proposed especially in the list of what we now know. No-one here has even made, I think, the only two remotely plausible (but refuted) ID arguments. instead all I have seen is long refuted creationist arguments, which I think is quite revealing ;-)

Indeed we know the age of the earth with grater certainty than we do with present day question like how does mind relate to body or quantum mechanics relate to gravity.

Thus the proof is relative to the question asked.
No, in the sense as indicated above

I agree that there is a significant amount of evidence that the earth is old and that evolution of species does occur. While Gould, Chomsky, and others have pointed out possible chinks in Darwin's theory - it certinaly has much to commend it.
Overwhelmingly so over its alternatives: Lamarckian, mutation, saltation, ID and so on.

But I agree with Stein that certain individuals have such scorn for the religious ilk that they automatically dismiss any challenge to the "scientific norm" as anti-intellectual.
And Ben Stein has just provided them with a good reason as to why this should be justified.

Any honest scientist admits that the origin of life is still something about which we can only theorize.
No-one has said otherwise here, at least the non-IDiots.

Just the same any proponent of an intelligent design must admit that we cannot dismiss valid science because it does agree with a theological presupposition.
If you read this comment thread you will see this is what they very often do!

Balanced said...

Emu Sam,

In regard to the issue of falsification: You should be careful before you demand falsification concerning ID (creation). Replace the words “intelligent design” with “evolution” and answer the questions yourself. The fact is neither evolution nor intelligent design (creation) is testable in the sense of being observed experimentally nor falsifiable. (YES or NO?) Both are simply attempts to explain what we do observe and can test. Both are ways in which we attempt to deal with the KNOWN evidence of the natural world we live in.

You wrote, “If another theory explained our observations better, it would be useful to replace evolution with that theory in science classes.” To wit…intelligent design/creation. Evolution contradicts what we can observe and test.

Again concerning tests- You cannot “recreate the original circumstances” if you do NOT know what those “original circumstances” were. “Life has been created from a lack of life”? The Miller-Urey experiment is a far cry from “creating” life from non-living matter. This is addressed more below.

Possible test in the ocean? You simply assert, “Here is what might eventually happen if they were left alone”. Sound like an immune position. “We know they are there and we know what would happen if they were left alone, but they get eaten”.
Do you know what the probability is of life coming from non-living matter? At what number would you say something improbable becomes impossible? How about 1 followed by 50 zeros? The late Carl Sagan is on record saying that the probability of life evolving on any given planet like our earth is 1 X 102,000,000,000 . The law of probability gives it NO CHANCE.

From SETI: (The Mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.) Sounds like the kind of science we are talking about. I’m sure the late Carl Sagan would have been delighted to know that astronomy was “social sciences”.

You asked, “If you can't tell the difference between something intelligently designed and something created by chance, how can you prove the intelligence?” I know you would like everything to be “fuzzy” and ambiguous but it does not work. Have you ever heard of the law of excluded middle? Stated- Every PRECISELY stated proposition is EITHER true or false. When applied to object- Every object EITHER possesses certain properties or it does not. The fact that we cannot point to every object in existence and pin order & design on it does NOT mean we cannot do so with some or most objects. The concepts of order & complexity must be addressed and evolution cannot do it.

I ASKED: What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence? You did NOT answer because answering would have exposed your position. Eneasz was honest enough to answer and answered rightly. He knew he could point to certain things that possess certain properties that could ONLY be the result of intelligence.

The law of biogenesis is life always from life. Yet you keep insisting against the evidence that life can come from NON-living matter, i.e. “increasingly complex molecules. The fact that you use the words “could eventually BECOME life” indicates it is NOT life. Yet you continue to deny the tested, verified, observable fact that life always comes from life.

The Miller-Urey experiment has been shown to be a far, far cry from abiogenesis. Let me try once again to make this point. Miller-Urey attempted to “create” life by getting the right matter in the right place under the right conditions NOT BY ACCIDENT, OR MERE CHANCE but INTELLIGENTLY. And they failed to accomplish their goal. You would have people believe that a very similar thing to what they attempted actually occurred in the distant past by ACCIDENT AND MERE CHANCE. That is not rational.

Thermodynamics is the study of heat power (energy). Closed system or open system is does not matter. Claiming an “open” system will not help you. The observable evidence is all around us. If you desire to continue this point let me know. I don’t want to take up too much space in this post.

The “fossil record”? Refer me to a paleontologist? How about Harvard professor Richard Lewontin? Allow me to quote from an article at ApologeticsPress.com [The public generally has no idea just how scarce, and how fragmentary (literally!), the “evidence” for human evolution actually is. Harvard professor Richard Lewontin lamented this very fact when he stated: When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor…. (1995, p. 163).] (See: Lewontin, Richard C. (1995), Human Diversity (New York: Scientific American Library). Many more statements can be supplied from evolutionists themselves.

NOTE: You still have not given me an example of something that reproduces and the result of that reproduction is something not like the “thing” that produced it. Humans produce humans, dogs…dogs, etc. I know of no exception. Do you?

Eneasz said...

To Robot_Pi:

I believe at this point we're splitting hairs, and reasonable people can differ. Technically, evolution is the sum of the natural forces acting on a population that cause it to change over generations. It is the explanation for the variety of life on earth, and how that variety came to be. It does not create life.

Abiogenesis is the creation of life. It is not technically evolution, as the mechanisms of abiogenesis differ to varying degrees fromt he mechanisms of evolution. A lot of people tie these together, as they are similar in concept, and obviously you can't have evolution until abiogenesis has done it's work. But they aren't quite the same thing. The line between them is a little fuzzy (in part due to the fact that it's really hard to define what life actually IS), so oftentimes even biologists will use the term "evolution" to encompass "abiogenesis" as well. That's why I consider this issue splitting hairs - it doesn't really matter all that much, Ben Stein isn't attacking where the line between abiogenesis and evolution is (which might actually be productive to the scientific debate!), instead he's attacking the fact that evolution explains everything after the point that life originated, and saying "goddidit" instead.

The creation of the universe has absolutely nothing at all to do with evolution. Anyone who says it does is either speaking poetically or metaphorically (the term "evolution" is used in common speaking in a number of ways, most of them not referring to the biological theory, such as "my opinions on politics have evolved" or "foreign companies have forced the american auto industry to evolve rapidly"), or is simply wrong.


But the fact remains, none of it is proven. There is not one single, repeatable experiment that shows one form of life evolving into another form of life. Turn some chimps into humans in the lab – then repeat the experiment. I’ll sign on the dotted line. But until then, I will not accept evolution as FACT.


Well then, I'm holding you to your word, so I expect you to sign on the dotted line now. :) Speciation (a new species branching off from a current species) has been observed quite a number of times, both in nature (ie: without human interference) and in the lab.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/No_new_species_have_been_observed
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

There's also some in progress in nature, the most striking of which (in my opinion) is the hunting & musical chimps of Senegal
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89306493

Alonzo Fyfe said...

robot_pi

You are confusing the 'popular' concept of evolution with the scientific theory of evolution.

It's the same mistake as confusing the popular concept of energy with the scientific concept of "E" (as in "E = mc^2").

The scientific theory of evolution is a theory of random genetic change combined with natural selection altering the frequency of genes in a population. The theory of how the first genetic strand came to exist, like the theory of how the first stars came to exist, are different questions then the question of what happens to a DNA strand, after it exists, over time.

Now, most scientists also believe that the first DNA strand came together through natural forces. And since there is nothing in a DNA strand but common atoms, there is reason for this.

Most scientists also believe that planets formed by eddies of dust circling a protostar.

But this does not imply that planetary formation is a part of the scientific theory of evolution.

Trust me, if you put down your definition of evolution on a test for a college biology class, you would not get any credit.

Anonymous said...

Everything cannot be proved by science, like the fulfillment I feel when touched by the holy ghost or the love I feel day in and day out. The way a warm breeze can some how or another send a cool chill up and down you spine, just because you know you created it and gave it to me for pure enjoyment, knowing that we have a God who loves us and cares for us, and I know Ive heard this question so many times " how can a God that loves you let terrible things happen to you" well let me clarify that for anyone who reads this, have you ever tried talking to someone who was a mile away from you simply by shouting. can you hear loud and clear? People you are not close to God have to be closer to him to have there problems taken away if there mind is clouded with other things that do not matter. God loves you and he even loves atheist, but you see you will be judged and you will bow and your tongues will confess that he is lord, and just face it the only reason you chose this lifestyle is because you wanted an easier way out than living with all the rules!

robot_pi said...

Alonzo,

You did not address my question. BTW, I am way too old to care about college credit on a test.

To try to separate the origin of life off of the process of evolution is a semantic trick worthy of the best of the televangelists, kudos to you. But there is no real getting away from it and the brightest of evolutionary biologists will agree. The accepted, non-theological, evolutionary process for explaining the origin and development of life on Earth goes like this: I’ll use humans as the example:

Current strain of Homo sapiens  closest ancestor  X  Y  Z  …  reptile  …  fish  …  single cell organism  …  Precambrian ooze  …  Earth begins to form  … proto planet… nebula cloud  …  big bang

To say that physics and planetary formation have nothing to do with evolution is quite absurd. If there were not a lot of water on the Earth there would have been no evolution. If Earth did not have a molten iron core the atmosphere would have dissipated – much like the ancient Martian atmosphere is supposed to have done. If Earth had been formed without an abundance of carbon or sufficient amounts of selenium, sodium, chlorine, methane, and the other components of the primeval soup, things would be a lot different here today.

And, it all comes back to physics. If the universe had formed with different subatomic elements or different interaction laws…you can not reasonably say that the process of evolution would have definitely occurred. That’s big-time religion.

But, anyway, ok, I’ll let you divide the evolution of living organisms from non-living matter into two distinct parts. Does this mean that your interpretation of the process leaves open the possibility of a deity who took care of getting it all started? If not, then why bother with the separation of the origin of life from the evolutionary process that resulted?

If you are not going to commit to the statement “The process of evolution requires the creation of life from inert matter with an input of energy in a purely random process”, then why bother coming down on a guy who buys into a process where God put the first cells on Earth? Who knows, perhaps Adam was a paramecium and Eve was an amoeba and Eden was the small, warm pool that Darwin talked about. Perhaps the evection from that small, warm world was the beginning of the process of evolution – and the Biblical tale got it as best as the writer could get it.

If you are willing to commit to the statement “The process of evolution requires the creation of life from inert matter with an input of energy in a purely random process” then you have to prove that life can be created from inert matter with an input of energy in a purely random process in order to be able to state that evolution is a fact in front of a classroom of students. And this will be quite difficult since any organized experiment that you perform will, by definition, not be a purely random process.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

robot_pi

The process of evolution does not require the creation of life from inert matter in any form. The process of evolution is what happens with genetic material after it comes into existence. The question of how it came into existence is irrelevant.

The theory of evolution is what is under debate in Ben Stein's movie.

The theory of evolution is what I wrote about in my blog posting.

Bringing in irrelevancies in order to confuse the matter and change the subject is a 'trick worthy of the best (sic) of the televangelists'".

An evolutionist might well believe that God created the first simple cells - but since those first simple cells appeared, and from those simple cells, life evolved through a system of genetic change and natural selection.

We can debate how those first cells came into existence, just as we can debate how the planet itself came into existence, just as we can debate how the iron and oxygen itself came into existence. None of this is relevant to the question of the gradual transformation of life from simple cells to humans through a process of random genetic mutation and natural selection.

robot_pi said...

To put is succinctly, if you are not willing to start evolution, and the universe for that matter, with matter, energy, and random processes, without the initiation or interaction of a deity, then you can not exclude anyone who believes in Intelligent Design from the halls of academia. If you are willing to start evolution with matter, energy, and random processes, then these are the elements of the foundation of your theory and your theory is not a fact until you first prove the foundation is sound.

robot_pi said...

Alonzo:

The core of the film Expelled is the question of the origin of life. Have you not seen the film?

You write: “The process of evolution does not require the creation of life from inert matter in any form. The process of evolution is what happens with genetic material after it comes into existence. The question of how it came into existence is irrelevant.”

Ben Stine says that the answer to the question of how life came into existence might be “goddidit”. I am perplexed; if Stine answers an “irrelevant” question with the answer “God”, whence does your angst originate?

You write: “An evolutionist might well believe that God created the first simple cells - but since those first simple cells appeared, and from those simple cells, life evolved through a system of genetic change and natural selection.”

If, as you state, an evolutionist can believe that God is the producer of the show, why would it be invalid to believe that God is also the director?

I have you now, Alonzo; your kung-fu is weak. You are still a grasshopper and I am still master.

No, but seriously, so what then, are you saying that in every classroom the instructors should totally avoid the question of the origin of life? I’m ok with that but the theory of evolution still has some big holes.

Lets start with an ocean full of DNA molecules. You still have to prove that cells can form around DNA via purely random processes. Cells are really complicated. There’s a lot more in a cell than the DNA core. So in order to state that evolution is a fact you first have to prove that DNA can somehow evolve into the complex machine that is a cell. Or, are you now going to say that the process of the original DNA molecules forming the complex internals of the first ocean-dwelling cells around themselves is “irrelevant” to the process of evolution?

If so, then we can bump it up a notch. Let’s take eyesight for example. Evolution theory states that at some time in the past ALL organisms were blind. So there had to be a first organism with some means of sensing light. This requires a light sensor and some communication means between the sensor and the “CPU” of this first creature that can sense light. But that is not enough; in order for evolution to select this guy as somehow superior to his cohort, he must also have a means of interpreting light – some kind of software that allows him to use his newfound ability to his advantage. But he’s the first animal that can sense light. Does light mean food or does light mean danger? How did the sensor, the communication line, and the software all appear at the same time? If they did not, then which ever appeared first was useless and thus was not a trait worthy of selection by the evolutionary process as an advantage.

There are holes all over evolutionary theory, which is Ben Stine’s point.

Username said...

I find it hilarious that creationists make the claim that there are "holes" in the theory of evolution, as though it were some coup de grace against a weak theory. Tell me now, what is the creationist's answer for everything? Oh yeah, ID works in mysterious ways. Right. Rock solid. No fallacies there.

Don't mistake incomplete knowledge for being wrong. We don't know everything about the human body, either, but science is able to make useful predictions based on what we do know and cure people of ailments. Backwards thinking superstitions and prayer have cured exactly nothing. The same can be said with regards to the origins of life and it's many adventures in mutation there-after.

martino said...

Hi Robot_Pi

The core of the film Expelled is the question of the origin of life.
This is the movie under criticism for a variety of reasons in the original post. Since it is under debate, it is question begging to use it as a reference in making arguments about evolution. What you are saying is that Expelled likely makes the classic creationist move of blurring abiogenesis hypotheses with evolutionary biology. As if we did not know that already.

You [Alonzo] write: “The process of evolution does not require the creation of life from inert matter in any form. The process of evolution is what happens with genetic material after it comes into existence. The question of how it came into existence is irrelevant.”
Yes, for clarification, in the sense that it is irrelevant to evolutionary biologists, not scientists generally.

Ben Stine says that the answer to the question of how life came into existence might be “goddidit”. I am perplexed; if Stine answers an “irrelevant” question with the answer “God”, whence does your angst originate?
Well you here are equivocating over biological evolution. The question is over "goddisatit" here is about abiogenesis not evolutionary biology.


You [Alonzo] write: “An evolutionist might well believe that God created the first simple cells - but since those first simple cells appeared, and from those simple cells, life evolved through a system of genetic change and natural selection.”
There is nothing wrong with say that, Alonzo was trying to help you understand the difference between abiogenesis and evolutionary biology.

If, as you state, an evolutionist can believe that God is the producer of the show, why would it be invalid to believe that God is also the director?
No, the point Alonzo was making is that one can propose different types of answers to the two questions, no that these proposals are correct. The "invalidity" of the latter is the overwhelming and diverse evidence for evolution - where the best robustly challenged theories to explain these facts do not require god as director, and because any proposed with god has not shown have any scientific merit, that is why god is an invalid.

I have you now, Alonzo; your kung-fu is weak. You are still a grasshopper and I am still master.
hehe, you need to take you ID contact lenses off, they are making you very blind! :-)

No, but seriously, so what then, are you saying that in every classroom the instructors should totally avoid the question of the origin of life? I’m ok with that but the theory of evolution still has some big holes.
Abiogenesis and evolutionary biology are at different stages of development, the latter is very mature, the former is closer to the boundary of scientific knowledge.

This peculiar "what should be taught at school" argument is very odd. Teach the children the best of what we know to get them to (a) understand science and (b) for some to get interested in pursing science - evolutionary biology is essential for the former (a) and abiogenesis is great example for the latter (b).

Teaching "controversies" real or not should be avoided at school. If they are interested they an study this at university or go on blogs as an adult :-)

Lets start with an ocean full of DNA molecules. You still have to prove that cells can form around DNA via purely random processes. Cells are really complicated. There’s a lot more in a cell than the DNA core. So in order to state that evolution is a fact you first have to prove that DNA can somehow evolve into the complex machine that is a cell. Or, are you now going to say that the process of the original DNA molecules forming the complex internals of the first ocean-dwelling cells around themselves is “irrelevant” to the process of evolution?
This argument above shows that you are confused. No-one today in abiogenesis starts with an ocean of DNA molecules (data from studying DNA's behaviour in a test-tube is interesting data for this enterprise but that is all)

Check out: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/


If so, then we can bump it up a notch. Let’s take eyesight for example. Evolution theory states that at some time in the past ALL organisms were blind. So there had to be a first organism with some means of sensing light. This requires a light sensor and some communication means between the sensor and the “CPU” of this first creature that can sense light. But that is not enough; in order for evolution to select this guy as somehow superior to his cohort, he must also have a means of interpreting light – some kind of software that allows him to use his newfound ability to his advantage. But he’s the first animal that can sense light. Does light mean food or does light mean danger? How did the sensor, the communication line, and the software all appear at the same time? If they did not, then which ever appeared first was useless and thus was not a trait worthy of selection by the evolutionary process as an advantage.
Now this is an evolutionary question. So you are not bumping it up a notch you are changing scientific disciples. Again the above contains modern versions of old canards look at
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html

There are holes all over evolutionary theory, which is Ben Stine’s point.
All explanatory theories have holes in them, scientific, religious and otherwise. However only scientific theories focusing on acknowledging and resolving these holes. It is unacceptable to prefer are more holey theory (ID) over a less holey (abiogenesis and evolutionary biology) ones where is your rational justification for that, to prefer a lower over a higher standard?

Anyway there are too many holes in Ben Stein's Expelled and your arguments, so how about you go fix your own first and then see what is left.

martino said...

To Robot_pi again

To put is succinctly, if you are not willing to start evolution, and the universe for that matter, with matter, energy, and random processes, without the initiation or interaction of a deity, then you can not exclude anyone who believes in Intelligent Design from the halls of academia.
First there is no evidence that academics have been excluded for believing ID from academia.This fundamental claims has been challanged - long before as well as after the movie. See the NCSE site
www.expelledexposed.com.

Kenneth Miller, a religious xian and professor of evolutionary biology is a classic counter-example to your claim above.

If you are willing to start evolution with matter, energy, and random processes, then these are the elements of the foundation of your theory
Nothing in evolutionary biology contradicts the known facts of physics and chemistry and is quite consistent with them. that is all that is required.


and your theory is not a fact until you first prove the foundation is sound.
You are still confusing fact and theory, this is not an ID but a creationist argument and grossly scientifically invalid. You have not read this comment thread, this has come up repeatedly and been dealt with:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html


So you want tot teach religion in science classes? You want to mislead, lie to and corrupt children, thinking they are learning science when they are learning religion. Is this honest? What is you justification for that?

Balanced said...

A Plea For Civility:

We do not have to be suspicious of each other, question one another’s motives, question each other’s honesty, use language to try to degrade or embarrass, etc. All of this is of no value in the discussion of these issues. I have seen these tactics on BOTH sides.

Each person will have to examine the evidence for himself and draw conclusions based on that evidence. I can’t do that for you or you me. Asking questions is important. Exposing contradictions, inconsistencies, etc. is necessary, but that can be done WITHOUT belittling the person who holds the position. I can’t tell others how to feel or how to behave on this post or any other, but as for me, I am NOT going to hate or mistreat anyone because of these disagreements or any others.

One thing that does puzzle me is this. What is so incompatible about genuine science and the ethical use of that science to accomplish good for mankind AND believing that intelligence is behind it all? Why can’t someone believe in an intelligent entity/being and still love, participate in and marvel in science and the research of it?

Please consider these things.

robot_pi said...

Username:
Please understand that I am not an apologist for ID. All I am saying is that no one should be able to stand up in front of a classroom of impressionable children and make the statement “X happened, this is an irrefutable fact” without being able to provide irrefutable evidence to back up the claim.
Both you and I know that evolution in the classroom take life back to inert chemicals in the ancient oceans. All I’m saying is “prove it”; why does that scare y’all so much?

To martino :

Wow, ok, I can see that you are not a scientist. Do you have any education in the sciences?
You, like Alonzo, can not argue against my point so you attempt to change the debate. But I will not release you from the logical sleeper hold that I have you in until you cry “monkey’s uncle”.
I’d like both of you to answer the question; how did life begin?
All Stine is saying is that you either have to leave that question out of the classroom, or you have to say “I don’t know”, or you have to say “Life began with matter and energy and a lot of time for a random process to get it right”, in which case you have to prove it, or you have to say “Something put life here”, in which case you have to prove it.

My argument is that educators [evolutionists] DO answer the question of the origin of life with abiogenesis as a seamless segment of the evolutionary process [And both of you know that to be true], yet they do the same mental gymnastics that both of you are engaged in to avoid the unpleasant fact that they have absolutely no way of backing up the argument.

I say if you say “X did it” then provide irrefutable evidence to back up the claim. I don’t care if X is God or the blind watchmaker. Just prove it before you state it as a fact.

Martino writes: “Well you here are equivocating over biological evolution. The question is over "goddisatit" here is about abiogenesis not evolutionary biology.”

I’m not equivocating over anything; you simply don’t understand the argument. But I’ll not give up on you. It’s simple, if the beginning of life is irrelevant to the process of evolution, as you have yourself stated along with Alonzo, then you can not criticize a professor who states, in the classroom, that the Almighty God put life here. If you are going to say that this should be disallowed, then you have to either provide an alternative for the beginning of life or you have to disallow any treatment of the subject in the classroom. If you attempt to provide an alternative then you must prove the alternative.

Now, as a REAL scientist, a physicist, I know that the beginning of a process is very relevant to the natural progression of the process. That is basic science.
So I can criticize the professor who states that the Almighty God put life here. I can say to her as well; “prove it”. But y’all have backed yourselves into a corner with this “irrelevant” stuff. If the beginning is irrelevant then it does not matter what one says about it.

Martino writes: “This argument above shows that you are confused. No-one today in abiogenesis starts with an ocean of DNA molecules (data from studying DNA's behaviour in a test-tube is interesting data for this enterprise but that is all)”

No Martino, this shows that you are confused. I am talking about the full-blown evolution theory, not abiogenesis [though this distinction is pure semantics]. Evolutionists, by your own admission, begin with self-replicating molecules -- DNA; [please, stop trying to change your starting point]. They proceed from there to rudimentary cells. Still, there is no evidence.

But let me ask you, and Alonzo, where do you want to begin the process of evolution? Please, state the beginning of evolution and then provide irrefutable evidence that complex life [life after abiogenesis] was what you claim and that it developed as you claim.

Martino says to check out http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html as refutation of the argument against development of eyesight through evolution. So, here it is with comments.

1. This is the quintessential example of the argument from incredulity. The source making the claim usually quotes Darwin saying that the evolution of the eye seems "absurd in the highest degree". However, Darwin follows that statement with a three-and-a-half-page proposal of intermediate stages through which eyes might have evolved via gradual steps (Darwin 1872).
• photosensitive cell
Advantage? Any advantage requires the mechanisms of receiving light and being able to make use of the ability. Since all predecessors were not sensitive to light no mechanism for making use of the sensitivity could exist. This there would have been no advantage and no way for the evolutionary process to select the new photosensitive cell for advancement above any other cell.
• aggregates of pigment cells without a nerve
Again, if there is no nerve and all creatures at the time are blind. Then this is no advantage and the cell with the new pigment would have no advantage.
• an optic nerve surrounded by pigment cells and covered by translucent skin
This is a huge leap of faith. But even if some organism had developed some kind of pigment that for some reason was sensitive to light and this organism type happened not to die out before it could [miraculously] connect the transducer to its “brain” via cells that could transmit signals, there would still have to be a way for this creature to understand what it was receiving and make use of it. This is pure religion.
• pigment cells forming a small depression …blah, blah, blah. PROVE IT.
• pigment cells forming a deeper depression
• the skin over the depression taking a lens shape
• muscles allowing the lens to adjust
• AND THEN ANOTHER MIRACLE HAPPENS
Dudes, y’all have a lot of faith.
Martino says: “Anyway there are too many holes in Ben Stein's Expelled and your arguments, so how about you go fix your own first and then see what is left.”
ad hominem – the last refuge of the defeated. It saddens me, Martino, that you got here so quickly.
Martino says: “Nothing in evolutionary biology contradicts the known facts of physics and chemistry and is quite consistent with them. that is all that is required.”
By this logic, any theory or explanation about anything can be taught as fact as long as it does not contradict the known laws of physics. Man…that’s funny. Thanks for the laugh Martino – it got my day off to a great start.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

robot-pi

All I am saying is that no one should be able to stand up in front of a classroom of impressionable children and make the statement "X happened, this is an irrefutable fact" without being able to provide irrefutable evidence to back up the claim.

In science, there is no such thing as an 'irrefutable fact'. A statement does not qualify as a scientific statement unless it is falsifiable - meaning that there is always the possibility that there is some piece of data around the next corner that will blow the theory away.

Any science teacher who talks about 'irrefutable facts' is not giving an accurate view of science.

In science, it never gets stronger than, "Here is the best that we have so far," though, in some cases, "the best we have so far" can be pretty solid.

martino said...

Robot_Pi

All I am saying is that no one should be able to stand up in front of a classroom of impressionable children and make the statement “X happened, this is an irrefutable fact” without being able to provide irrefutable evidence to back up the claim.
Anyone teaching this is not teaching science. I already provided numerous links over scientific facts. Look it up.

Both you and I know that evolution in the classroom take life back to inert chemicals in the ancient oceans. All I’m saying is “prove it”; why does that scare y’all so much?
It appears you do not understand empirical proof. I already explained how to justify abiogenesis in the classroom. Not because we have any answer beyond reasonable doubt but to excite students as to areas of scientific challenges they could get involved in. And it shows what can be done 4 billion years later. ID provides no such capacity, as it has zero merit there and would be misleading to teach as a viable alternative.

Wow, ok, I can see that you are not a scientist. Do you have any education in the sciences?
Yes I have, do you? And I have worked as one too and still do. Do you?

I'd like both of you to answer the question; how did life begin?
I have already provided these answers, it is too boring to repeat myself. I will speak for Alonzo, apart from the fact I can be more severe in my responses than he would as this is not my bog. Alonzo will intervene if I noticeably misrepresent him.

Now search the comment thread for "martino" and read what I have written or any of the links provided.

All Stine is saying is that you either have to leave that question out of the classroom, or you have to say “I don’t know”, or you have to say “Life began with matter and energy and a lot of time for a random process to get it right”, in which case you have to prove it, or you have to say “Something put life here”, in which case you have to prove it.
I and Eneasz have provided alternatives to all the above. The answer is we do not know but we have some good handles on how it could have occurred. ID fails compared to what we already have. It has made no viable contribution to the debate. Read the literature!

My argument is that educators [evolutionists] DO answer the question of the origin of life with abiogenesis as a seamless segment of the evolutionary process [And both of you know that to be true],
No this is plain false. These are different scientific fields. You are performing the classic creationist obfuscation of abiogenesis and evolutionary biology.

yet they do the same mental gymnastics that both of you are engaged in to avoid the unpleasant fact that they have absolutely no way of backing up the argument.
It is you who is repeatedly performing the mental gymnastic to avoid realizing there is more than one scientific fields with different skill sets and challenges to answer.

I say if you say “X did it” then provide irrefutable evidence to back up the claim. I don’t care if X is God or the blind watchmaker. Just prove it before you state it as a fact.
You keep on creating straw men of our positions. Logically life had to come from somewhere so abiogenesis is a fact. The mechanism of abiogenesis is not a fact we have some tantalizing hypotheses that is all, still these are already sufficient to show the inadequacy of an ID claim. they ahve set a standard of which ID falls woefully short.Still this is work in progress.

Evolution is a fact and there is overwhelming evidence to back this up.

Martino writes: “Well you here are equivocating over biological evolution. The question is over "goddisatit" here is about abiogenesis not evolutionary biology.”

I’m not equivocating over anything; you simply don’t understand the argument. But I’ll not give up on you. It’s simple, if the beginning of life is irrelevant to the process of evolution, as you have yourself stated along with Alonzo, then you can not criticize a professor who states, in the classroom, that the Almighty God put life here. If you are going to say that this should be disallowed, then you have to either provide an alternative for the beginning of life or you have to disallow any treatment of the subject in the classroom. If you attempt to provide an alternative then you must prove the alternative.

Professors teach in schools? How odd, I thought they were at universities. In a classroom the brief of the teacher is to teach the subject not interpose their own personal opinion without indicating it as such and so ensuring that their students are not mislead and could possibly fail their biology exams as a result. Anyone who does otherwise is not qualified to be a teacher in that subject. Again you logic is unsound and it is getting boring to point this out. I repeat there are plenty of empirically grounded plausible alternatives, what are the empirical grounds for ID as a plausible alternative? None. I won't bother to repeat this if this comes up again in this response.


Now, as a REAL scientist, a physicist, I know that the beginning of a process is very relevant to the natural progression of the process. That is basic science.
Duh! And in evolution the relevant beginning process is a prokaryotic single cell. And in abiogensis the relevant beginning is the available pre-biotic physicaal and chemical materials and processes.


So I can criticize the professor who states that the Almighty God put life here. I can say to her as well; “prove it”.
If you are a physicist then you do understand the empirical, as oposed to mathematical idea of proof, unless you are a string theorist :-). You also know that science is provisional and so one seeks the best currently available models that deals that eliminates errors, minimises mistakes and makes the most surprising claims that could be empirically tested.

But y’all have backed yourselves into a corner with this “irrelevant” stuff. If the beginning is irrelevant then it does not matter what one says about it.
I have already answered that on Alonzo's behalf, so you chosen to ignore it. Why don't you read what i wrote. Or shall I present the argument using Dirac equations and configuration spaces? :-) lets stick to logic as that should be sufficient to the task ;-) Even a physicist understands logic and critical thinking surely? It is irrelevant to evolutionary theory, the point he was making, and you, I am beginning to think deliberately mis-understood but not to abiogenesis which I pointed out.

Martino writes: “This argument above shows that you are confused. No-one today in abiogenesis starts with an ocean of DNA molecules (data from studying DNA's behaviour in a test-tube is interesting data for this enterprise but that is all)”

No Martino, this shows that you are confused. I am talking about the full-blown evolution theory, not abiogenesis [though this distinction is pure semantics].

Now I am beginning top doubt your claim that you are a physcist. You fail to understand this basic distinction, yours is argument from ignorance.


Evolutionists, by your own admission, begin with self-replicating molecules -- DNA; [please, stop trying to change your starting point]. They proceed from there to rudimentary cells. Still, there is no evidence.
This is plain false. Everyone knows one cannot start with pure DNA. You really do not know biology 101. The evidence so far indicates you are no a "physicist" let alone a working one. Prove it by using your head.


But let me ask you, and Alonzo, where do you want to begin the process of evolution? Please, state the beginning of evolution and then provide irrefutable evidence that complex life [life after abiogenesis] was what you claim and that it developed as you claim.
I repeat the simplest prokaryotic cell.

Martino says to check out http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB301.html as refutation of the argument against development of eyesight through evolution. So, here it is with comments.
The eye has been sufficently dealt wiht in evolutionary biology, there is no point analyzing your comments and until you display a modicum of scientific understanding, which contrary to your claims you have not.

Martino says: “Anyway there are too many holes in Ben Stein's Expelled and your arguments, so how about you go fix your own first and then see what is left.”
ad hominem – the last refuge of the defeated.

This is not ad hominen. The holes I was pointing out were only the the lack of support for their claims not the dishonesty.

Martino says: “Nothing in evolutionary biology contradicts the known facts of physics and chemistry and is quite consistent with them. that is all that is required.”

By this logic, any theory or explanation about anything can be taught as fact as long as it does not contradict the known laws of physics. Man…that’s funny. Thanks for the laugh Martino – it got my day off to a great start.

You can chose to misread if you want. You know full what I meant. Then how come ID, as argued here in this comment thread, does contradict these laws? It is not the case that anything goes.. If it were then Id would be acceptable!

You claimed at the beginning that you were not an ID apologist, I fail to see any evidence that support your claim. As for you being a physicist then why don't you at least make the only ID claims that, whilst refuted, were of some initially plausible merit. Do you even know what they are? No I am not going to tell you.

Anonymous said...

"...we have become extremely good at avoiding human death..."

Really?

How is it, again, that faith in evolutionary thought avoids human death?

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why you say those who believe in intelligent design or creationism cannot find a cure for disease or make other scientific findings.

If I find a puzzle and do not know who made it, I can guess that it came into existence by itself OR that someone made it. That decision will not affect my ability to put the puzzle together. I will still be able to search for the pieces and put them in the correct places.

Of course, if I belief the puzzle came into existence by itself, you might find me certifiably insane.

It actually seems more reasonable (to me)to believe that someone made the puzzle, consider that he must have had a plan or some sort of predictable pattern, and then attempt to discover that pattern.

Eneasz said...


I really don't understand why you say those who believe in intelligent design or creationism cannot find a cure for disease or make other scientific findings.


Please re-read Alonzo's original post. He never makes that claim. Obviously you can make plenty of discoveries and cures, etc, while believing in god, people do it all the time.

However people do so by applying the knowledge and tools that science has given us. No cure or discovery has ever been made as a result of creationism/ID. In fact, they don't even put forth a testible hypothesis. So the scientists who do believe in god made advacements in science by applying the scientific method, not by creationism/ID.

Ben Stein (and some other creationists) are attempting to do harm to the scientific method by forcing their religion into the science classroom via legislation. To the extent that they do harm to the scientific method, they are doing harm to everyone who would benefit from the advances of science (basically, all of humanity).

Anonymous said...

"No cure or discovery has ever been made as a result of creationism/ID."

Neither has cure or discovery been made as a result of evolutionism. Still, both camps can have differing views of the origins of life and still pursue the scientific method.

I do see your point, which is that evolutionism is science and creationism is not. I guess what is boils down to is that I think BOTH are theories. You see creationism as some pie in the sky fantasy, but I see it is a viable option that is not disputed by scientific evidence. You see evolutionism as a scientifically-backed theory, and I see evolutionism as a theory that has some scientific evidence, but has not been proven. Both require faith for belief because neither is proven scientifically.

So, my questions to you are, do you rule out creationism because it has not been proven? Do you agree that evolution has not been proven, but is still being studied as a possible option? If creationism were true, do you think it COULD be proven? Do you feel that science has disproven creationism?

Or do you believe creationims cannot be proven, therefore it is not science?

Why is it so insane to consider both options and continue to study until one or the other is proven? It seems to me you have chosen an answer and seek to prove it rather than continuing study to find the truth. This, I believe, is what you accuse the religious of.

martino said...

The last anonymous:

"No cure or discovery has ever been made as a result of creationism/ID."

Neither has cure or discovery been made as a result of evolutionism.

False

Don't know who said the original quote above but in the post that started this thread Alonzo said:"Intelligent design tells us nothing that we can use to better understand and cure cancer or Parkinson's disease. There is nothing it can tell us that can lead to the discovery of a way of preventing malaria that would have otherwise gone undiscovered."

I could add what about understanding genetic disease as well as new combination therapies to prevent the evolution of new strains of viruses and bacteria? And the ongoing development of new gene therapies. That is just a sample from its contribution just over disease.

Evolutionary biology has directly as evolutionary biology, as well as indirectly, through encouraging and so supporting scientific thinking helped bring about cures and discoveries.

ID has at best contributed nothing, or, to the degree it becomes more accepted will be a negative contribution to the discovery of knew potentially life saving technologies.

martino said...

Another anonymous

"...we have become extremely good at avoiding human death..."

Really?

How is it, again, that faith in evolutionary thought avoids human death?

Dunno who said the above quote within a quote, it is clearly wrong. However evolutionary biology as been a significant contributor within medical science to delaying death and no faith is required. Still you can have faith in ID and still enjoy these benefits. Is that fair?

How about all subscribers to ID exclude themselves from any medical benefits of evolutionary biology? That would putting your money where your mouth is :-)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever come across a child, say 10 years old, that treats adults as if they are all idiots? When you try to have a conversation with a child such as this, you really come away with a rather bad impression. Many of us are like this type of child. We feel better about ourselves when we think we know more than God. But we know it is impossible to know more than God (any god). So therefore we simply say, "There is no God," and laugh at those who believe there is. This arrogance is seen in the egotistical 10-year-old as well.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.

Beware: Do not hunt down God, for you will find Him. And he will destroy your outerman and give life to your spirit. Many scientists, atheists, and others have done so and were doomed in themselves and saved in God.

Charles M said...

I guess I'll admit up front that I am a Christian theist. But I also teach, among other things, biochemistry and human physiology.

I can say that for most Christians, at least for those of the evangelical strip, the faith is an extremely important part of life. It is much more important than just an "aspect of culture". This is sometimes hard for secularists to understand.

For this reason tensions run high. In addition, those who believe in a theistic God see creation of the world as well within His capabilities. On the other hand many of these folks believe so ardently that the react violently against anything they see as threatening their worldview. This leads to many arguments containing more emotion that cogent reasoning. But then again the theist does not believe that "science" is the sole arbiter of truth.

I also think that there are those, like the "new atheists" (Harris, dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens etc) who are openly anti-theist. I think many of these individuals see religion as evil and want it purged from society. My problem with this viewpoint is that it purports to be "neutral" and "rational". In truth it is just as biased as the other side - but yet many would argue as if they speak for "science" or "truth".

If intelligent design is that important to that many people then I think we should allow it.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Charles M.

Dawkins et al. want religion purged from society in the same way that they want astrology purged from our society - not in the sense of launching a holocaust against astrologers, but in the sense educating people into realizing that astrology is nonsense.

The hazard of religion is like the hazard of astrology. When people use astrology to make decisions, they make poor decisions. When those decisions affect only themselves, then that is not so bad. But, when those decisions affect other people (e.g., decisions about launching a war, decisions about passing laws that are harmful to the interests of whole sections of the population, decisions about blocking research into medical procedures that can save lives) we have very good reason to purge society of those things like astrology that can lead to poor decisions that bring real harm and, sometimes, real death to real people.

I distinguish between harmless religious beliefs and harmful beliefs. I am favor of leaving the former alone, but, for the sake of those who are made to suffer, the latter are a legitimate concern.

Intelligent design as it is being pushed in this movie is an example of the latter. ID is as much 'science' as astrology is 'science'. Arguing that freedom of speech implies that biologists should let intelligent design into the classroom is as absurd as arguing that freedom of speech requires astronomers to let astrology into the classroom.

Astrology may be important to a lot of people.

However, if it becomes so important that astrologers are going to the legislature to pass laws to force astronomy classes to include chapters on astrology, then it has become a serious problem.

Charles M said...

Alonzo,

If astrology were of great importance to a majority then yes we might have some pro-astrology legislation!

But that would be democracy! Either we are governed "by the people" - or we are governed by "those who know best". I'd be very wary of the latter.

And is the classroom not already replete with such things? Why should children is West Virginia be taught about Eskimo poetry in public schools? Why should there be education delineating different sexual orientations? I see these as being inclusive - even if I do not agree with the need for the way they are presented. Religion is THAT important to people. It just is. As such it should get the same respect as other parts of culture.

Don't misunderstand me - I am not agreeing with the "creation science" crap that some have come up with. This is not science.

But I am saying that we should be sensitive to the importance of faith for a great deal of people. And I would say again that I find those most loudly propounding "truth" and "rationalism" to be quite biased and more anti-religion than anything else.

Anonymous said...

Darwin came up with his theory 150 years before scientists knew anything about the unbelievable complexity of the cell. This is not about church, it's about explaining how that cell came to be. Unfortunately, Darwinists fear that that the argument is about church so they suppress it. Candidly, most scientists realize that ID answers many more questions about cell complexity than Darwinism. The film was amazing. Thank you, Ben.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Charles M.

The question under consideration here is not whether Religion is important. The question is whether or not religious beliefs are science.

It may be important for somebody to believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. However, this does not give any weight to the fact that science can produce no backing for this hypothesis. In fact, it is almost certainly false. Our theories of star formation, radioactive decay, and our observations of space itself (the fact that we can see objects that are 13 billion light-years way) all deny the 6,000 year old earth.

What if there were people today for whom it was important to believe that earthquakes occur because the Earth sits on the back of an elephant, and sometimes the elephant moves. Would the importance of this belief actually justify forcing a teacher in an earth science class to give the turtle theory equal weight? That would be an absurdity. We know what causes earthquakes, and it has nothing to do with the earth sitting on the back of an elephant. (It has to do with techtonic plates shifting past each other.)

Elephant theorists can cry that there are gaps in our understanding of plate techtonics - that there are still unanswered questions, and then try to shove the elephant theory into those gaps. However, this is not how science works. The elephant theory would have to create certain predictions. We would then have to do some research to see if we can actually see the things that elephant thoery suggests we could see.

Intelligent design also needs to produce some empirical results. "Evolution theory says that we should observe X; ID says that we should observe Y; we observe Y; ID theory wins."

There is nothing like this. The closest that ID theorists get come from making false claims about evolution 0 the claim that evolution predicts X. What ID theorists like to put in for X are simply false claims about what evolution predicts.

In other words, ID theorists are asking biology teachers to teach children things that are simply false. And that's not what public school systems are supposed to be doing.

Charles M said...

Alonzo,

I find your depiction od ID proponents to be a bit of a Caricature.

The idea that the earth sits on the back of en elephant is essentially disproven in real time by the observation of pictures from space that the earth is, in fact, not sitting on an elephant. ID proponents would assert that this real-time proof is not available for questions regarding the formation of the universe. This rests obligately more in the realm of "theory" than proven fact.

I'll offer you this perspective from an "ID mind":

If you, Alonzo Fyfe, were in charge of the education of all of our children I think you would take it with the utmost seriousness and would try to do the best job possible. I also think that you, being an atheist, would paint a picture that needs no "God" and leaves no room for Him. Many atheists have speculated that if we could just teach science without the obtrusion of religion then religion, given its superstitious character, would gradually melt away. Could you disavow this?

This is why I am in favor of ID. As a theist I see the creation of the world out of nothing as well within the capabilities of God. I also do not see any problem with believing that He could have done so very long ago, using evolutionary processes. I am not advocating the teaching of 6 day creationism in the classroom - simply the respectful recognition that many believe the the world is the handiwork of a creator. And as far as empiric data - no one was around when the earth was created. That renders the modern "scientific" description of the earth's formation squarely in the credible but still theoretical category.

We teach our children that homosexual, bisexual, and transgender are all discrete and biological sexual orientations. This is done to avoid marginalizing people. I'm OK with that. But you seem to think that it is OK to marginalize those who believe that earth was created by God.

As I said before - I do not grant your position neutrality - or the stance of being "pure science". It is And I am not going to vote for someone espousing it.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Charles M.

The elephant option has not been disproven by pictures from space because these are spiritual elephants. Certainly, you do not think I was talking about a physical elephant with a beating heart that breathes air. I was talking about a supernatural elephant - something that exists outside of the physical realm, but that still has the capacity to hold the earth in space, and whose movements are responsible for earthquakes.

You wrote your objections against a mere caracature of the elephant theory. You did not at all consider its true depth and complexity. In fact, there is no way that you could ever disprove the elephant theory in its true form.

As for my views on the teaching of religion and other beliefs, please see my post:

Respect for Religious (and other) Beliefs

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Also, see my post Appealing to "Moderate" Christians

Charles M said...

You are correct. In its true form I cannot disprove the elephant argument.

Yet the thrust of my argument still remains.

You have some very definite views on how things ought to be. Your arguments are well made and put forth in a fair way. I am quite familiar with the writings of today's atheists like Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennett. I find many of their points quite similar to yours (albeit more impatient and angry).

If a majority of the people in this country disagree with you you cannot cry foul when your views are not made the "law of the land".

I concede that your views are grossly ethical and well-intentioned. But I and many others don't agree with them. In my opinion your views are, without God, reliant solely on YOUR vision of right and wrong.

Your blog home says that you wish to have made the world a better place. By whose criteria will it have been made better? If you saddened 65% of Americans by decreasing the sphere of influence of their religion and culture but made the urban secularist minority happy did you make the world a better place? If you made people realize that they are merely dust without a creator or purpose - did you make their lives better?

If you say that you would like to feed the hungry and help the marginalized then good. But must one be a secularist to do this? Obviously not.

Knowing that God has a purpose for me is the single most important thing in life. How do you expect me or any other theist to see your program as having the ability to make the world better?

My critique is this:

1. You don't seem to apprehend the theist's mindset.

2. The theist mindset is the mindset of a substantial group of people in this country (and world) - all of whom have the right to vote in a democratic society.

3. Human nature will NEVER support a "utopian" society. Without objective morality there can be no ordering of society.

My 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

You are clearly mistaken in your views-both of the movie,and of Creationism and Christianity in general!Maybe you should do a little research before you run religon down.

Eneasz said...

Hallo Charles! :) You seem like a swell guy, nice to finally see a rational member of the opposition.


I am not advocating the teaching of 6 day creationism in the classroom - simply the respectful recognition that many believe the the world is the handiwork of a creator.

That respectful recognition is given all the time. Every Sunday in church; and for the children of really religious parents - every single day at home. You would be VERY hard-pressed to argue that any child in the country is unaware of the fact that many people belive the world is the handiwork of a creator, and that a lot of those people respect this creator. This is not a message that needs to be repeated in the science classroom, especially since it isn't science. It's faith. Which is fine, but teach it at home and at church, or even in comparative religion classes. Don't try to force it into science class.


Without objective morality there can be no ordering of society.

DU is an objective moral system. It's a few days worth of reading to really understand it, so I don't really expect anyone without quite a bit of interest to do it, but it is in fact one of the few objective moral systems in existance.

Besides, theism is one of the most subjective moral system there is. It's hard to get much more subjective than the whims of an unknowable super-entity.

Charles M said...

Eneasz,

Fair enough.

My problem with much of the atheist/secularist position on this is that it tends to claim a rational unbiased stance.

My position is biased - that is obvious. But I disagree that Alonzo's or that of any other secularist is not so. Despite a very nicely reasoned position Alonzo is still purporting to discern morality - and, in my mind, apart from any objective canon (like God's) this all boils down to an individual's opinion. And while I respect the opinions of others I refuse to see them as less "opinionated" than my own positions.

And I find it slightly offensive that someone (not meaning you here )would tell me that HE/SHE knows what is right - when that individual has no real objective basis other than his/her opinion, however well reasoned it may be. I would guess that this is how an atheist might feel when being told by theists what God says is right or wrong!

As for my interaction with those in disagreement with me - being a Christian theist I hold my faith is the most important aspect of life. This means that offending someone with my opinion about sexual morality is less of a concern to me than doing what is right. Obviously that does not mean I will seek to offend him/her. But to expect me to defer to this individual over my faith is basically to ask me to see the world through humanist eyes. And I am not a humanist! Thus my quip to Alonzo that he was not interacting with the theist perspective.

Anonymous said...

I would, just once, like to see somebody answer one question outright. If evolution is a fact, why aren't "things" still evolving?
One more question..... Who was there to see it happen?...
I would jut like to see Evolution being taught as a theory and not a fact. There are too many people that tenaciously hold to the BELIEF that Evolution is fact. The last time I checked, it's still a theory. No one can prove Evolution, it does take at least a modicum of faith. Put Evolution and Creationism side by side, and in the begining you still have a faith-based view: Evolutionists have faith that we evolved over a long period of time from sludge, and Creationists have faith the we were created by an intelligent being. I really wish I had read some more comments that didn't try to defame others and instead would just stick to the facts.

martino said...

Anonymous

All these question have been answered before ad nauseum but again:
I would, just once, like to see somebody answer one question outright. If evolution is a fact, why aren't "things" still evolving?
Ahem they are there is plenty of evidence for this, and just one example why is everyone worried about bird flu? Because it could evolve to infect humans.

One more question..... Who was there to see it happen?...
It is happening now and is observed in labs and in the field.

I would jut like to see Evolution being taught as a theory and not a fact.
Likes and dislike have nothing to do with it. This was one of the reason's for Alonzo's original post. How afar are you willing to go with your likes? This is not a standard on which to base science nor teach it.

There are too many people that tenaciously hold to the BELIEF that Evolution is fact.
No it is fact, no belief required, whether you believe it or not it is still a fact.

The last time I checked, it's still a theory.
How many times do I need to post this link?
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

No one can prove Evolution, it does take at least a modicum of faith.
No faith required, science rejects faith as unreliable means of knowledge. You do not understand what empirical proof is either. See the link above.

Put Evolution and Creationism side by side, and in the begining you still have a faith-based view: Evolutionists have faith that we evolved over a long period of time from sludge, and Creationists have faith the we were created by an intelligent being.
Quite false

I really wish I had read some more comments that didn't try to defame others and instead would just stick to the facts.
How about you read some of these comments and follow the links if you don't understand the points that were made.

martino said...

Hi Charles M.

My problem with much of the atheist/secularist position on this is that it tends to claim a rational unbiased stance.
These are two positions not one. An atheist does not believe in god, that is it. It does not necessarily follow that they are a secularist, anyway a theist could be secularist too. A secularist wants a fair, unbiased public arena with no double standards biased towards or against religion, that is an arena neutral on religion.

My position is biased - that is obvious. But I disagree that Alonzo's or that of any other secularist is not so. Despite a very nicely reasoned position Alonzo is still purporting to discern morality - and, in my mind, apart from any objective canon (like God's) this all boils down to an individual's opinion.
First, this thread is not about god or moral theory but rather the immorality of Ben Stein's Expelled movie.

Still how can you show that your belief in god is nothing more than an opinion? DU is empirical, it is specifically not a matter of opinion and with no subjectivity. Is it right , this an empirical question and AFAIKS it is the best provisional model so far, until someone demonstrate a better one.

And while I respect the opinions of others I refuse to see them as less "opinionated" than my own positions.
At least you admit yours is just an opinion ;-)


And I find it slightly offensive that someone (not meaning you here )would tell me that HE/SHE knows what is right - when that individual has no real objective basis other than his/her opinion, however well reasoned it may be.
DU is empirical and open to debate, anyone can be mistaken in applying it, peer review and feedback help correct these errors. It is not a matter of someone claiming they know they are right, they have to demonstrate it with evidence and argument and in a way that anyone else who is suitably open-minded on these issues would come to the same conclusion.


I would guess that this is how an atheist might feel when being told by theists what God says is right or wrong!
How they feel or not is the not issue. Even if god exists, the odds are minuscule that you have the right one and even more so that you have correctly determined what god has said. And so what, why should god's desires be more important than anyone else's?


As for my interaction with those in disagreement with me - being a Christian theist I hold my faith is the most important aspect of life.
You are free to do that and long may you be able too, but this applies to everyone with no exceptions, even as you disagree with their beliefs.

This means that offending someone with my opinion about sexual morality is less of a concern to me than doing what is right.
There is no "right to not offend or not be upset" this is incompatible with freedom of speech.

Obviously that does not mean I will seek to offend him/her. But to expect me to defer to this individual over my faith is basically to ask me to see the world through humanist eyes.
As long as this does not lead to any public double standards believe what you want. However once you set about causing, directly or indirectly, harm to others you do not agree with, expect to be condemned and punished. Again, ideally, the same goes for anyone who does this theist or atheist.

And I am not a humanist!
I do not even know if Alonzo would call himself a humanist, (I am a naturalist). DU is compatible with most humanist ethics but not necessarily all - certainly not those how use genetic morality.

Thus my quip to Alonzo that he was not interacting with the theist perspective.
I think we understand the theist perspective fine here, we fully understand the points you are making but on what basis do you think your opinion should hold supremacy over any others? An accident of demographics? Looks like you are advocating the tyranny of the majority? If the majority should decide on what is science, then this is no longer science. Science is not democratic, the only voter is reality.

The approach here is to put everything on a neutral even playing field what is your argument against that?

Charles M said...

Martino,

My argument is that you DON'T put everything on a neutral playing field - but you claim that you do!

I admit my bias - but you don't. You say you are a naturalist. That is a fine stance. But as a theist my conception of God is that he is not subject to the laws of naturalism.

As I said before we all have our ideas of how the world should be. It's just that most of the secularists I know label their own opinions as neutral when from my vantage point they are not.

martino said...

Hi Charles M.

Neutral "1: not engaged on either side; specifically : not aligned with a political or ideological grouping" This is the sense of neutral I am using. What is yours?

My argument is that you DON'T put everything on a neutral playing field - but you claim that you do!
If you look at this in a binary form you are either "with me or against me" then you cannot see the neutral third option "I am neither for or against you".

I admit my bias - but you don't. You say you are a naturalist. That is a fine stance. But as a theist my conception of God is that he is not subject to the laws of naturalism.
Yes and that was me admitting my bias. However, unlike you I have to transcend my bias to see what a neutral state would looks like. It would be neither for or against religion and any specific religion. That is it. There is no benefit to either side pro-religionists and anti-religionists (well I am neither). One can be a naturalist and religious - as in some form of Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta and taoism. So saying I am a naturalist is not a factor in state neutrality over religion. You theism is opposed to my naturalism yes, so we want a neutral ground with no favour to either side.

Science is neutral on this, however it has had, to date, no need of the god hypothesis in any of its epistemological inquiries into reality. If someone proposes such a hypothesis they have to demonstrate and show support to the same standard as any other scientific inquiry. That is the only basis for such a solution to be accepted. That is no exceptions and no double standards.

Ben Stein's Expelled is advocating double standards based on certain peoples, including yours, beliefs. And they want the state not to be neutral on this issue. There is no justification for this that I can see.

As I said before we all have our ideas of how the world should be. It's just that most of the secularists I know label their own opinions as neutral when from my vantage point they are not.
Well by definition a secularist is someone who advocates a religion-neutral state. And you presumably are not. So you seem to be stating the obvious. What is your problem with this?

Tamara said...

I am a Christian and therefore believe that God is the intelligence behind the design. I tried to read your initial letter without saying, "huh?" But nevertheless, I hope for your sake that you are right. And that someday all the smart scientists find a cure for death and suffering. Until you do, the rest of us will continue to offer help to the hurt and the poor, feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

martino said...

Hi Tamara

I am a Christian and therefore believe that God is the intelligence behind the design.
Fine, that is what you believe, however Expelled was talking about Intelligent Design, not creationism. Your comment here is yet another indication for the hypothesis that ID is a pseudo-scientific veneer over creationism for US constitutional purposes.

What is amazing in this thread is that no-one, AFAIKT, has actually made any one of the main ID arguments.


I tried to read your initial letter without saying, "huh?" But nevertheless, I hope for your sake that you are right. And that someday all the smart scientists find a cure for death and suffering. Well I wouldn't hold you breathe over a cure for death! Science has made a significant contribution in many ways for the alleviation of suffering.

Until you do, the rest of us will continue to offer help to the hurt and the poor, feed the hungry and clothe the naked.
This is a non-sequitur. And what has this last comment got to do specifically with Christianity?

Balanced said...

Hey Evolutionists,

Someone wrote, “What is amazing in this thread is that no-one, AFAIKT, has actually made any one of the main ID arguments.” So I Would Like To Know: What is one of these “main ID arguments you are referring to”?

Also allow me to ask again, “What is so incompatible about genuine science and the ethical use of that science to accomplish good for mankind AND believing that intelligent design (a creator) is behind it all? Why can’t someone believe in an intelligent entity/being (creator) and still love, participate in and marvel in science and the research of it to the betterment of mankind?

martino said...

To Balanced et al

To recap Alonzo's post was about how ID has no credibility as science and how Ben Stein's Expelled will tend to increase harm and suffering in the world since it is propaganda masquerading as a documentary, since it uses techniques such as fear mongering and red herrings such as the concept of freedom of speech, to force the acceptance of ID.

The huge majority of commenters have focused on the ID as credible science question and mostly ignored, conveniently, the highly dubious immoral basis of this movie.

The whole point of ID is, so it is claimed, not creationism in disguise, not just in "scientific" clothing. But pretty much everyone here, including you Balanced it seems, does not appear to know what the main ID "scientific arguments" are and now you, Balanced, have had to ask us what they are!!! Is this not more evidence that ID really is just a shop front for creationism and has clearly no basis for being taught in a science class?

Balanced said...

Once again I have asked two very simple questions, and you MARTINO, have answered ZERO.

The fact that I ask a question does NOT mean that I do not know the answer to that question.

That fact that you have failed and refused to answer the vast majority of my questions is very telling.

E.g. In my post on April 17, 2008 9:01 AM I asked, “What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the result OF intelligence? Emu Sam said (he/she) did not know. How about you?

There is NOTHING difficult about that question.

Here Is Your Condescending Answer: “Someone asking better questions than you would be a start :-)”.

Now will you PLEASE answer my latest questions? Thank you. If you have questions I will do my best to answer in a logical rational fashion, NOT try to belittle the questioner for asking.

P.S. You can also give some attention to the issues raised in my post to Emu Sam on April 17, 2008 3:28 PM. They are not that difficult either. (I am giving you the location of the post so you can quickly and easily find it).

martino said...

Balanced

Once again I have asked two very simple questions, and you MARTINO, have answered ZERO.
And I see that you ignored the main point of my last comment to you.All this seems avoidance for an issue far closer to Alonzo's post than most of what has been goin on here. I repeat do you know what the m,ain two argumwents of ID are?

I have answered numerous questions from you as I recall, but only not those answered by others. What you are asking here has been dealt with by others and you know the answer anyway, so you say!

P.S. You can also give some attention to the issues raised in my post to Emu Sam on April 17, 2008 3:28 PM. They are not that difficult either. (I am giving you the location of the post so you can quickly and easily find it).
Well where is the link?

Tamara said...

Hi Martino, thanks for your response.

I didn't realize that there was supposed to be a difference between creationism and intelligent design. I just thought ID was a fancy name because people like fancy names. I haven't seen the movie yet so I don't know what they are propagating as such.

I have nothing against science or the plight to find ways to improve the human condition. Science is an important factor in our culture and society. However, I don't think that that automatically gives scientists the right to discount an alterior view just because it happens to involve a belief in a higher power.

I am by no means a scientist and circular arguments give me a headache. I truly do not see the harm in schools admitting that perhaps we don't have all the answers yet on how the universe was created and how people came to be. I know that certainty gives a person a feeling of security, but has any scientist ever proved that evolution is a fact? Or is it just the closest idea that makes sense with what you've got to work with? To me the belief in evolution is the same as the belief that God made everything. A belief. You can't always prove something you believe in.

So, no I can't come up with "scientific evidence" for intelligent design. But that's because I'm not all that into proving it. I bet there are folks out there that are though. And I think that is what the movie is supposed to be about. The fact that the "powers that be" don't want to listen to their arguments.

Also,I'm glad that you agree that we won't soon find a cure for death. When you look at the news these days and all the drugs out there to stop the aging process and prolong other things, you'd think that most people have forgotten that no matter how pretty they look, they are still going to die eventually. Kudos!

I had to look up non sequitor in the dictionary. Thanks, now I will have an easier time understanding that cartoon!

My comment about suffering and all that came from the original post. I just felt a bit defensive I guess. All the blather about Christians not being concerned with the suffering in the world. And hurricanes and whatnot. A Christian cares deeply for those that are hurting, we just take a different approach to solving it.

One last thing, since this is America and free speech doesn't mean accepted speech, I'd like to tell everybody to lighten up. This life is too short for all the constant bickering and name calling. Geez.

D. Sessom said...

"To me the belief in evolution is the same as the belief that God made everything. A belief. You can't always prove something you believe in."

We have lots of evidence favoring evolution in the fossil records, which is improving all the time. Biology and genetics are giving us tons of evidence supporting evolution. No, it's not a perfect theory but it is supported with lots of evidence that is mounting as time proceeds.

The idea of evolution is NOT a belief, it is a logical conclusion to the evidence presented by nature.

A belief in "God" however, is just that. A belief that is unsupported by any physical evidence what so ever. That is the very definition of "Faith".

There is a HUGE difference between the two...

martino said...

Hi Tamara

I didn't realize that there was supposed to be a difference between creationism and intelligent design. I just thought ID was a fancy name because people like fancy names. I haven't seen the movie yet so I don't know what they are propagating as such.
The whole point of ID, from the perspective of a scientist, was a cynical political move to present a science that could be taught in a science class at school. Creationism is just a religious creation myth, one of many, but this one popular in the
because it is part of the dominant religion. The fact that you are unaware of this is interesting, as another point is that ID is creationism in (pseudo)scientific clothing, a point I have been emphasizing here.

If you want to believe in creationism fine, that is your choice. I have no issue with that, until someone uses such beliefs to interfere with, and lower, the standards of science which is what ID and Expelled are trying to do.

However, I don't think that that automatically gives scientists the right to discount an alterior view just because it happens to involve a belief in a higher power.
This is nothing to do with scientist's rights, nor because of the its basis in a higher power. It simply is not science.

I am by no means a scientist and circular arguments give me a headache. I truly do not see the harm in schools admitting that perhaps we don't have all the answers yet on how the universe was created and how people came to be.
That is the position of science whereas religion typically does claim to have all the answers. There is harm where students, who otherwise might have become good scientists and contributed to society including reducing harm, are misled and do not.

I know that certainty gives a person a feeling of security, but
And that is why religion is more popular and science more challenging as it does not offer an equivalent comfort blanket.

has any scientist ever proved that evolution is a fact?
Yes, in terms of scientific proof - that is very strong support - a long long time ago. I have given link on this here many times before.

Or is it just the closest idea that makes sense with what you've got to work with?
You are confusing the theory with the fact, that is OK yuo are not pretending to be an ID'r, that is a creationist argument, but please realize you have been misled on this. Maybe you should ask what else might you have been misled on?

To me the belief in evolution is the same as the belief that God made everything. A belief. You can't always prove something you believe in.
Evolution is a fact whether you I or anyone else believes in it or not. Any belief regardless of how much conviction one has can be wrong.

So, no I can't come up with "scientific evidence" for intelligent design.
Well that is the point of ID. Creationism also creates,I have to say pseudo-scientific arguments, but that may or may not interest you.


And I think that is what the movie is supposed to be about. The fact that the "powers that be" don't want to listen to their arguments.
The powers that be is reality. We have heard these arguments before and they are very weak and have been refuted. At the same time scientists are providing far stronger challenges all the time, making evolutionary science stronger as it adapts, reject or absorbs these challenges.

Also,I'm glad that you agree that we won't soon find a cure for death.
Damn! :-(


My comment about suffering and all that came from the original post. I just felt a bit defensive I guess. All the blather about Christians not being concerned with the suffering in the world. And hurricanes and whatnot. A Christian cares deeply for those that are hurting, we just take a different approach to solving it.
As far as I can tell you are not the type of Christian we are concerned about. However if you do realize that the movie is piece of propaganda designed to mislead the likes of you what will you do about it?

One last thing, since this is America and free speech doesn't mean accepted speech, I'd like to tell everybody to lighten up. This life is too short for all the constant bickering and name calling. Geez.
"Geez", you do know the etymology of that term? :-)

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I agree - Evolution is a Theory, just as "intelligent design" is . Thanks for your input.

martino said...

Anonymous

I agree - Evolution is a Theory, just as "intelligent design" is . Thanks for your input.
Agree with whom? ID is not a theory, it is a speculation with no testable hypotheses.

Balanced said...

MARTINO, there is no “link”. It is the date of the post (Emu Sam on April 17, 2008 3:28 PM.) Just scroll up and you can find it easily.

I do NOT know what the main two arguments of ID are. Please inform me as to what they are.

QUESTION: What are the testable hypotheses of evolution?

QUESTION: What would you have to observe and/or examine that would be an example of something that you would conclude was the RESULT OF intelligence?

To Put It Another Way: What properties or traits would an object (living or non-living) have to possess in order for you to conclude that that object was the result of an intelligent being?

John Edward(s) said...

I enjoyed the first part of your discussion of scientific theory. Unfortunately, you never tied it back to Darwinism.
When it comes to the question of "how did organic life originate from non-life," there is no theory that has an answer adequate to meet the criteria you proposed. None of the posited theories have provided the predictable result you called for above. Life from non-life remains an unobserved phenomenon.

Accordingly, an honest scientist must simply answer, "I don't know" to this question. Any other answer is a statement of belief, not observation.

John Edward(s) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
martino said...

Balanced

I do NOT know what the main two arguments of ID are. Please inform me as to what they are.
Well at least you answered my question. This is my whole point. Is there anyone here who actually knows the proper ID arguments? That would be someone I wold like to debate, someone who at knows something, rather than these tired old and long refuted creationist "arguments" which makes the point of Alonzo's post rather well.

Your other questions have already been answered by myself and others. I am not going to waste time with someone who openly admits they do not know what they are talking about.

martino said...

Hi John Edward(s)

I enjoyed the first part of your discussion of scientific theory. Unfortunately, you never tied it back to Darwinism.
At this point I was guessing you were going to make the good old evolutionary biology/abiogenesis obfuscation trick of creationists...

When it comes to the question of "how did organic life originate from non-life," there is no theory that has an answer adequate to meet the criteria you proposed. None of the posited theories have provided the predictable result you called for above. Life from non-life remains an unobserved phenomenon.
Well how predictable, you did! The abiogenesis hypotheses have been discussed before repeatedly in this thread and yes we - all of us - do not know actually how it occurred but we do have a number of scientifically plausible models all of which are head and shoulders beyond ID in coherence and consistent with what we do know.

Accordingly, an honest scientist must simply answer, "I don't know" to this question. Any other answer is a statement of belief, not observation.
Quite irrelevant given what has already been discussed in this thread.

Balanced said...

MARTINO,

What a dodge! I am not surprised that you ONCE AGAIN chose NOT to answer my questions. ANYONE reading the exchanges we have had will be able to see that.
There is NOT a post of YOURS anyway in which you replied to this question: What properties or traits would an object (living or non-living) have to possess in order for you to conclude that that object was the result of an intelligent being?

If there is, please point it out. If there is not, please list just THREE properties or traits of such an object if one exists.

Since you seem to know what the two proper ID arguments are, PLEASE INFORM THE REST OF US. I and others anxiously await your instruction.

martino said...

Unbalanced

What a dodge! I am not surprised that you ONCE AGAIN chose NOT to answer my questions. ANYONE reading the exchanges we have had will be able to see that.
As I said before all these questions have been answered. I have only answered the ones not answered by others. And you have never positively replied to my questions, on what basis can you demand that I do?

There is NOT a post of YOURS anyway in which you replied to this question: What properties or traits would an object (living or non-living) have to possess in order for you to conclude that that object was the result of an intelligent being?
Well, off the top of my head and it depends on the process under investigation. I already gave the Pulsar example a long time ago here are a couple more:
* As far as two way communication goes - real communication not one imagined in your head - then something like the Turing Test.
* As far as an artefact goes - then something that cannot be explained by natural selection such as a car or a computer etc.

Since you seem to know what the two proper ID arguments are, PLEASE INFORM THE REST OF US. I and others anxiously await your instruction.
This is hilarious. You guys want ID taught in school and none of you know what it's two flagship arguments are and you are asking someone who thinks ID has no credibility as a science to teach it to you??? :-) :-)

Until you can use your brain, you know that thing inside your head, and find out yourself, and display that you know what you are talking about I will not bother to reply to your silly posts again.

Tamara said...

*This comment is not in reference to anybodies previous remarks.

First of all wikipedia is awesome, here's a link for things for and against "intelligent design."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

well, maybe it's not a link but, whatever.

Second, and this is just me, I wouldn't care one bit if the public school system never put ID on its curriculum. The whole thing gets too hot and bothered, which takes away from the subject. However, private school is expensive and therefore any family that can't afford it has no choice but subjecting their children to the secular world view of what is important to learn. Unless of course you homeschool which is currently under fire, in California at least. SO what's a poor Christian and/or other religious person to do other than wager for alternatives to Darwinism in a public setting?
Doesn't mean it'll get accepted. I doubt highly that it ever will in this generation or others that hate the idea of a God so much.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the atheist ethicist did not see "Expelled" and has no plans to. Clearly atheist ethicist does not refute the arguements, because he clearly has closed his mind to anything that might disturb his limited view.

Balanced said...

MARTINO,

Once again you have NOT paid attention to the question asked.

I did NOT ask you for a list of OBJECTS (living or non-living).

I DID ask for the PROPERTIES or TRAITS of those objects (living or non-living) that would cause you to conclude that they were the RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE.

Since you listed a car and computer let me ask: What PROPERTIES or TRAITS do cars or computers possess that could only have been the RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE?

Since YOU do NOT know about some of the arguments concerning Intelligent Design allow me to mention two:

Irreducible complexity (introduced by Michael BeHe) AND Specified complexity (introduced by William Dembski) among others. If you want more information concerning these let me know. These and other related issues are some of the reasons I have been asking the questions that I have throughout these posts, although answers have been very scarce indeed. I hope this curbs your hilarity.

MARTINO, you and many like you, would have me and others believe that there are no reputable, well educated scientists who reject organic evolution. That is false to the core! There are MANY and the number is growing. These scientists and others reject organic evolution for sound, logical reasons. Evolutionists or atheists have not cornered the market on education and advanced degrees. Besides, these issues are NOT a matter of “counting noses”.

Herein lays one of the problems. If anyone in academia dares to question or reject organic evolution they are suspect and threatened. They are demeaned. This has been attempted in these posts by many (including YOU MARTINO) and by many on other websites as well. The personal attacks prove NOTHING. Snide remarks prove NOTHING. Laughing proves NOTHING. Anger proves NOTHING. These things DO, in my judgment, demonstrate fear and weakness of a position.

All of us must decide for ourselves. We must gather the evidence and reason correctly concerning that evidence and draw ONLY those conclusions that are warranted by that evidence. To follow any other course is irrational and will lead to the acceptance of any belief or behavior imaginable.

martino said...

Balanced

I did NOT ask you for a list of OBJECTS (living or non-living).
Read again they were examples of what I meant.

I DID ask for the PROPERTIES or TRAITS of those objects (living or non-living) that would cause you to conclude that they were the RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE.
First of all you surely mean that they are the result of design not "intelligence" per se which is far too vague a term.

I keep giving you answers the notion of "properties" is again too vague without knowing what you are talking about. Give an example and lets look at it.

Since you listed a car and computer let me ask: What PROPERTIES or TRAITS do cars or computers possess that could only have been the RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE?
Duh! How could they have been naturally selected in this universe?

Since YOU do NOT know about some of the arguments concerning Intelligent Design allow me to mention two:
Ahem, excuse me, you are now blatantly lying. You know full well I have been asking you if you knew what the key arguments in ID are, by implication I knew what they were and thought it absurd to have to explain this to supporters of ID such as you and that still stands as two days you said you had no idea. I asked you to use your brain and lo and behold today you know what they are. Finally!

Irreducible complexity (introduced by Michael BeHe) AND Specified complexity (introduced by William Dembski) among others.
Congratulations you worked it out.

If you want more information concerning these let me know. These and other related issues are some of the reasons I have been asking the questions that I have throughout these posts, although answers have been very scarce indeed.
Yea right. Two days ago you had no idea about these and now you are an expert. Or you have just admitted you have been lying in previous correspondence.

I hope this curbs your hilarity.
Oh yes, I cannot be bothered to converse with someone who blatantly lies. Your god thinks it OK to lie and not to bear false witness which is what you have been doing here. Clearly whatever else you might be hiding, a moral standard is not one of them.

MARTINO, you and many like you, would have me and others believe that there are no reputable, well educated scientists who reject organic evolution. That is false to the core! There are MANY and the number is growing. These scientists and others reject organic evolution for sound, logical reasons.
For example?

Evolutionists or atheists have not cornered the market on education and advanced degrees. Besides, these issues are NOT a matter of “counting noses”.
Do not confuse evolution and atheism these are two seperate issues. You can be a thesit and evolutionist as I mentioned before Kenneth Miller.


Herein lays one of the problems. If anyone in academia dares to question or reject organic evolution they are suspect and threatened. They are demeaned.
And this is the fundamental lie in Expelled. All the examples they gave of this happening have been demonstrably refuted. If you persist in perpetuating these falsehoods, you are as dishonest as the makers of Expelled.

All of us must decide for ourselves. We must gather the evidence and reason correctly concerning that evidence and draw ONLY those conclusions that are warranted by that evidence.
Well when are you going to start doing this?

To follow any other course is irrational and will lead to the acceptance of any belief or behavior imaginable.
How about you start following your own adavice then?

Balanced said...

Martino,

No, I meant what I wrote, “the RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE”. Can we detect the existence of intelligence by examining empirical evidence? If the Mars Probe found a rock with the words “Hello earthlings” written on it, would that be evidence of intelligence? If the probe found a circular object that emitted a bright flashing light, would that be evidence of intelligence?

Too vague? As I wrote in another post I repeat also to you: I know you would like everything to be “fuzzy” and ambiguous but it does not work. Have you ever heard of the law of excluded middle? Stated- Every PRECISELY stated proposition is EITHER true or false. When applied to objects- Every object EITHER possesses certain properties or it does not.

The fact that we cannot point to every object in existence and pin order, complexity and design on it does NOT mean we cannot do so with some objects. The concepts of order & complexity must be addressed. Chance, “blind chance” or accident cannot explain it.

The notion of “PROPERTIES” is too vague? “Property”- a quality or trait belonging and especially peculiar to an individual or thing. An attribute common to all members of a class.
What qualities, traits and/or attributes do cars and computers have in common? Please answer the following. Does either or both possess the PROPERTIES of…

Order (synonyms regulate, arrange, marshal, organize, systematize)?

Complexity (a whole made up of complicated or interrelated parts)?

Design (the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component)?

Do the words “ORDER”, “COMPLEXITY” and “DESIGN”, as defined above, apply to cars and computers? Now choose any other object (living or non-living) and go through the same process you did with the cars and computers. Each will either possess the properties mentioned or they will not.

Intelligence or NO intelligence?

The order and complexity of computers and cars were the result of chance with no intelligence needed. True or False?

The order and complexity of cars and computers were the result of intelligence. True or False?

The order and complexity of human beings were the result of chance with no intelligence needed. True or False?

The order and complexity of human beings were the result of intelligence. True or False?

We could make some real progress if you would stop the equivocating, (i.e. to avoid committing oneself in what one says; evasiveness, quibbling).

You asked, “How could they (cars & computers) have been naturally selected in this universe?”

My answer: Cars and computer could NOT have been “naturally selected in this universe and neither could anything else that possessed like properties and traits that could only be the result of intelligence. Thus the reason for the many questions I have been asking and you have been avoiding.

Those who believe that this planet and the human life on it was the result of intelligence creating both was affirmed long before Michael BeHe and William Dembski were around. The fact that they have set forth more detailed and technical picture does not change that. They are arguing the SAME in principle. My questions, which you have repeatedly ignored, are very relevant regardless of whether you label it creation or ID. The principles of intelligence, design, order, complexity, etc. are inseparable from the concept of creation/creator.

A Moral Standard? I have one. It did not originate with me or any other group of men. If I left the impression by anything I wrote that you perceived as lying or misleading I certainly apologize for that. Such was NOT my intention.

You ask for examples. Examples of what? Please be precise.

Theism & Evolution Compatible?

One may claim that they are a theist and a supporter of organic evolution, but the two are incompatible. As Alonzo wrote, “Intelligent design is incompatible with evolution. If it were not incompatible then the advocates of intelligent design are being quite inconsistent in complaining about the theory of evolution.” (April 13, 2008 8:04 PM). I agree with his statement here. Do you?

More on Evidence, Conclusions and Being Rational:
True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that LIFE ALWAYS COMES FROM LIFE.

True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that THINGS REPRODUCE LIKE THINGS, (E.g. humans-humans; dogs-dogs; etc.).

True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that objects that possess the properties of ORDER, COMPLEXITY and DESIGN are ALWAYS THE RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE?

I know of no evidence to the contrary to any of these. Do you?

martino said...

Balanced

Boy you do go on a bit :-)

No, I meant what I wrote, “the RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE”. Can we detect the existence of intelligence by examining empirical evidence?
And I have already answered this!

If the Mars Probe found a rock with the words “Hello earthlings” written on it, would that be evidence of intelligence?
or a sense of humour.

If the probe found a circular object that emitted a bright flashing light, would that be evidence of intelligence?
Not if turns out to be a natural object as pulsars turned out to be.

Have you ever heard of the law of excluded middle? Stated- Every PRECISELY stated proposition is EITHER true or false.
Yes but this is logic we are looking at the real world empirically not purely rationally. Things are not black and white there as much as we would like them to be. There are, at the borders of our knowledge, probabilities and likelihoods not certainties as I have said all along. It is the mistake of religion to promise certainty where none can be had, science does not make such false promises.

When applied to objects- Every object EITHER possesses certain properties or it does not.
That is only if you subscribe to the classical theory of categories, you need to get your knowledge into the 20/21st centuries. See the later Wittgenstein onwards - but ignore those pesky post-modernists. Empirical cognitive research provides strong support for the prototype theory of categories.

The concepts of order & complexity must be addressed. Chance, “blind chance” or accident cannot explain it.
Huh? This is completely false. This is the whole point of science to understand the order and complexity of the real world! Chance is only the default or null - we know of many, many natural processes that explain order and complexity.

The notion of “PROPERTIES” is too vague? “Property”- a quality or trait belonging and especially peculiar to an individual or thing. An attribute common to all members of a class.
If the class is well defined. For example species is not so well defined, there are a number of species classification concepts and they do not consistently agree, under some a dog is a wolf and under others they are separate species. Natural kinds is a cognitive illusion.

What qualities, traits and/or attributes do cars and computers have in common? Please answer the following. Does either or both possess the PROPERTIES of…

Order (synonyms regulate, arrange, marshal, organize, systematize)?

Complexity (a whole made up of complicated or interrelated parts)?

Design (the process of originating and developing a plan for a product, structure, system, or component)?

Do the words “ORDER”, “COMPLEXITY” and “DESIGN”, as defined above, apply to cars and computers? Now choose any other object (living or non-living) and go through the same process you did with the cars and computers. Each will either possess the properties mentioned or they will not.

Intelligence or NO intelligence?

Why did you suddenly switch to this? Lets see...

The order and complexity of computers and cars were the result of chance with no intelligence needed. True or False?
False

The order and complexity of cars and computers were the result of intelligence. True or False?
True

You have slip in a false dichotomy introducing "chance" as associated "no intelligence" - these are not synonyms there are many "non-intelligent" processes, chance being only the default - absent any of them. This is a deep mistake.

Still I can answer the following with a high degree of certainty:

The order and complexity of human beings were the result of chance with no intelligence needed. True or False?
False

The order and complexity of human beings were the result of intelligence. True or False?
False

We could make some real progress if you would stop the equivocating, (i.e. to avoid committing oneself in what one says; evasiveness, quibbling).
No that is not what equivocating means, look it up!

You asked, “How could they (cars & computers) have been naturally selected in this universe?”

My answer: Cars and computer could NOT have been “naturally selected in this universe and neither could anything else that possessed like properties and traits that could only be the result of intelligence. Thus the reason for the many questions I have been asking and you have been avoiding.

I keep on answering you and you keep on failing to get it. Not much I can do about that it is up to you to be open minded and reasonably consider the alternatives and then decide.

Those who believe that this planet and the human life on it was the result of intelligence creating both was affirmed long before Michael BeHe and William Dembski were around.
The view was not just "intelligence" but God as a far more specific notion. Behe and Dembski allow this to be intelligent aliens, not just god and if any of their work were to become credible, then the alien hypothesis would be far superior to the god hypothesis given the evidence. Anyway this has not happened (yet).

The fact that they have set forth more detailed and technical picture does not change that. They are arguing the SAME in principle.
Not quite see my previous reply

My questions, which you have repeatedly ignored, are very relevant regardless of whether you label it creation or ID.
I have answered you extensively, you make not like my answers I grant but to say I have not answered you is a lie.

The principles of intelligence, design, order, complexity, etc. are inseparable from the concept of creation/creator.
This is very vague not sure what you are implying here.

A Moral Standard? I have one. It did not originate with me or any other group of men. If I left the impression by anything I wrote that you perceived as lying or misleading I certainly apologize for that. Such was NOT my intention.
Well stop misrepresenting me as you blatantly did in you last post. OTOH I have been abrasive to you so I forgive you.


Theism & Evolution Compatible?

One may claim that they are a theist and a supporter of organic evolution, but the two are incompatible. As Alonzo wrote, “Intelligent design is incompatible with evolution. If it were not incompatible then the advocates of intelligent design are being quite inconsistent in complaining about the theory of evolution.” (April 13, 2008 8:04 PM). I agree with his statement here. Do you?

Yes and ID is not theism so my point still stands and they are not incompatible as I gave in the example of Kenneth Miller, you do know who he is don't you?

More on Evidence, Conclusions and Being Rational:
I am taking true to mean 100% certain so

True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that LIFE ALWAYS COMES FROM LIFE.
False

True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that THINGS REPRODUCE LIKE THINGS, (E.g. humans-humans; dogs-dogs; etc.).
False

True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that objects that possess the properties of ORDER, COMPLEXITY and DESIGN are ALWAYS THE RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE?
Of course, that has never been in dispute but order and complexity are entirely different types of properties to design - design is not intrinsic to the object but must be inferred or estimated. The question of intelligence is just to establish if an object has been designed and just knowing its level or order and complexity is insufficient to establish this.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost let me say I am a Christian. I have an open mind and I hope you do too. I realize that neither of us knows everything. Let's just make believe that you are right (Theory "A"), and the theory of evolution (DE) is correct. Where do you go when you die? "C" predicts that, if you live an evil life, good life, or just some life in between then die, "R" happens. You’re dead. Maybe "S" happens; you get reincarnated into something like a tree. If so why not live your life doing whatever you can to say: have more money, more sex, more fighting, more sleep, more cheating, more drugs, more alcohol, or whatever makes you happy? Then you get to die: it's all over ("R") or you can come back as a tree or something ("S").

Now let's just make believe that I am right (Theory "B"), and the Bible (KJV) is correct. Where do you go when you die? "C" predicts that, if you live an evil life or just some life in between without Christ, then die, "R" happens. You’re dead. (Note: same as your theory "A" with "R" outcome), but, (in this version it's in the Lake of Fire forever). Maybe "X" happens, you live a righteous life according to the Bible, accept Christ as you personal Lord and Savior and you are saved (from eternal damnation) and your reward is happiness in Heaven forever.

There is one of your choices that just plain stinks ("R") outcome, agreed? There is one of my choices that just plain stinks also, you guessed it, ("R") outcome. So, we can conclude living an evil or something in between good and evil would stink either way with the "R" outcome, right? Good, we agree.

Now let's examine theory "B" ("X") outcome, happiness forever in Heaven. Or theory "A" ("S") outcome come back as a tree or something.

Conclusion: If your right and I'm wrong we're both dead or you might be a tree. On the other hand if I'm right and you’re wrong, you're still dead and I'm happy and it's forever. So either way you're dead, or a tree ("S" outcome), but it doesn't have to be that way. I'll live for God and take my chances! Just a note: if you become a tree, I hope you get cut down, go to a paper mill and someone prints the Bible on you and souls get saved. The other alternative I wouldn't wish on anyone, being burned in a fire! Basically you have a choice to make, it's the outcome that matters not the beginning! So in closing who really cares were you come from, the real question is where are you going? Heaven I hope and pray!

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

Anonymous

You have left out an important set of options. Those options being that we are both wrong.

Let us say, for example, that there is a God. This God created humans with a brain, and values our using that brain to understand the world around us. One thing that this God actually detests is the idea of people accepting claims without evidence. He would rather see us make a mistake but do so with good reason, then be right by a matter a pure chance without reason.

So, upon death, he rewards those who applied their intelligence to the world around them with everlasting life and happiness. Heaven is filled with those who contemplated, seriously, the world around them and reached their conclusions, right or wrong, through a purposeful application of reason.

And when somebody who championed 'faith' visits God, he says, "You have spent your life on Earth wasting the most important gift that I gave to you - letting your mind rot with flights of fancy that were completely ungrounded and unreasoned. I have no use for you."

On this account, after we are dead, I'm the one who will enjoy happiness forever, and you will merely be dead - or worse.

Eneasz said...

Balanced -

A long way back you asked me what I would consider reasonable evidence for assuming an artifact was the result of intelligence, and I answered. You then promptly dropped any discussion with me and never touched the topic again. I was wondering if my answer was not to your liking? Why the silence?

You still have major gaps in your knowledge of the natural world. You ask:

The order and complexity of human beings were the result of chance with no intelligence needed. True or False?

Demonstrating that you don't realize that evolution is not chance.

You say:

More on Evidence, Conclusions and Being Rational:
True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that LIFE ALWAYS COMES FROM LIFE.

You would first have to give a definition of life. However self-replicating molecules can and do arise from non-self-replicating molecules.


True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that THINGS REPRODUCE LIKE THINGS, (E.g. humans-humans; dogs-dogs; etc.).

Fundmental misunderstanding of evolution. No one claims that a dog can give birth to anything other than a dog. If a dog had a litter of lizards, it would overturn the theory of evolution - that would be evidence of an intelligence interfering with nature. Saying that evolutionary scientists believe that dogs give birth to non-dogs is like saying that atheists believe Jesus rose from the dead after 1.5 days to save us from our sins.

Are you identical to either your father or your mother? Do you believe your children will be identical to you or your mate? Evolution claims that offspring are NOT identical to their parents, and that some offspring are more likely to survive to reproductive age than others. You would learn than the first week of class in Evolution 101. Do you know less about evolution than a high schooler?


True or False? The available evidence demands the conclusion that objects that possess the properties of ORDER, COMPLEXITY and DESIGN are ALWAYS THE RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE?

That's false in such a dramatic manner that it's sad you asked it. Our solar system, with it's nuclear-furnace sun in the center, nicely orbitting plaents, many with their own moons, all with unique but logical compositions, certainly looks orderly, complex, and designed. Only looneys try to claim it was "designed" to be how it is by some alien intelligence.


I know of no evidence to the contrary to any of these. Do you?

If you don't know of evidence to the contrary, what are you doing here? Get thee to a high school science classroom! Or, if you'd rather not learn, then get thee to a church and keep your silly myths out of our educational system.

Eneasz said...

Actually, I should amend my last statement to say "get thee to a fundy church". I realize there are a vast number of moderate churches which are not houses of mental vice, and would resent the association.

Balanced said...

Martino,

Sorry for the delay. I do have a life and many other obligations as I’m sure you do to.

Excluded Middle Again?

The law of excluded middle works with OBJECTS as well as propositions. We may simply need to be more precise in our definitions or descriptions. You acknowledged this when you wrote, “If the class is well defined”. Can we look at EVERY object on this earth (living and non-living) and conclude whether or not it is human or non-human? Of course we can. That can be done because we can precisely define what “human” is.

A Switch?

NO “switch” was attempted. I was introducing another issue or related topic as I did several times in my post. E.g. “Too vague”? OR “A Moral Standard?” OR “Theism and Evolution Compatible?” and so forth.

Chance & False Dichotomy?

YOU wrote: “This is the whole point of science to understand the order and complexity of the real world! Chance is only the default or null - we know of many, many natural processes that explain order and complexity.” YOU wrote, “You have slip in a false dichotomy introducing "chance" as associated "no intelligence" - these are not synonyms there are many "non-intelligent" processes, chance being only the default - absent any of them.”

Chance is NOT a process. Chance does not explain the CAUSE. Chance does not address ORIGIN; (the origin of matter, the origin of life, the origin of the many biological laws, the origin of consciousness, the origin of the conscience, etc.). Chance doesn’t explain anything. Chance is simply a feeble attempt to dodge the questions HOW and WHY by saying, “It was accidental, it was simply by chance”! Chance does deals with probability, i.e. the likelihood of something happening. Again the late Carl Sagan is on record saying that the probability of life evolving on any given planet like our earth is 1 followed by 2 billion zeros. The law of probability gives chance NO CHANCE.

We DO understand much about the order and complexity of the world, including the human beings, as I’m sure you agree. The question of HOW IT HAPPENED, HOW things so orderly and complex could come about is what we have been discussing. Your DEFAULT (a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative) is CHANCE. It is sort of an immune position. You will insert “chance” at all costs before you ever admit intelligence; even if an intelligent being(s) best fits the available evidence.

Why didn’t you declare “false dichotomy” when you answered the statement about cars & computers? The word “intelligence” means the same thing in each true or false statement containing it. It was only when human beings were introduced into the equation that false dichotomy was declared. Why?
If you are affirming that BOTH “chance” and “intelligence” are involved, why be so adamant against ID or its equivalent?

YOU write of “non-intelligent” processes. Of course a process does not possess intelligence. I contend that the processes, the matter that those processes act upon and the consistent, complex and orderly results are all the result of intelligence. If that is the case then the intelligence must be tied to an entity or being(s).

True or False Statements:

The 1st- No problem with this one.

The 2nd- No problem with that one either.

The 3rd- Since you answered “false”, you acknowledge that there WAS INTELLIGENCE involved. What would you suggest was the source of the intelligence? Was this intelligence unattached to some entity or entities? How does that work?

The 4th- Understand, I did not ask what degree, i.e. a little, a lot, etc. of intelligence. If you acknowledge intelligence in the first answer, how can you deny intelligence to some degree in the second answer?
Let me ask it this way. “The order and complexity of human beings were the result of chance with SOME intelligence”. True or False?

You answer correctly when examining a car or computer, but when you examine things MUCH MORE complex and orderly like human beings you refuse to be rational.

Yes, Let Each One Decide:

I am more than content in others judging for themselves based on the totality of posts between us. Like I have said, each must examine the evidence for him/herself and draw conclusions based on that evidence.

Creation or Intelligent Design?

Whether “God”, “god”, “alien”, “gods”, “aliens”, etc. how do the concepts of intelligence, order, complexity, design, etc. change if one choice is inserted as opposed to another? Each one is an affirmation of some degree of intelligence and power to accomplish the task under consideration, namely the existence of this planet and the life on it, including human life. I’m curious, why would you find “the alien hypothesis far superior to the god hypothesis given the evidence”?

Correcting The Vagueness?

I wrote, “The principles of intelligence, design, order, complexity, etc. are inseparable from the concept of creation/creator.” You considered it vague. It should have been PROPERTIES instead of PRINCIPLES. Sorry about that. If you still consider it “vague” tell me how so, when you did NOT claim vagueness in answering the questions about cars and computers knowing that each had a creator/originator?

Again, Theism & Evolution Compatible?

Theistic evolution is a nonsensical compromise. Allow me to quote another, [“Evolution is based, in its entirety, on naturalism; creation requires supernaturalism. One cannot, with consistency, inject the supernatural into evolutionary theory and have it remain evolutionary theory. There is no such thing as “supernatural naturalism.”] I wonder, is the God or gods of Miller’s theism NOT intelligent or powerful enough to have brought this earth and life on it, including human life, into existence? If so, HOW would he or anyone else know it? Is there some other evidence he appeals to as a basis for his theism? It would be interesting to know what that basis might be. (These are not necessarily questions for you, I’m just wondering how HE might reconcile these points).

More On Available Evidence:

YOU wrote, “I am taking true to mean 100% certain so”. I never explicitly or implicitly used the phrase “100% certain. I wrote, “the AVAILABLE evidence”. It is odd that you did not question the word “true” in the first set of questions. Would you like to change your answers?

About your first response: Do you know any AVAILABE EVIDENCE that life comes from something that is non-living?

About your second response: Do you know of any AVAILABLE EVIDENCE that when humans reproduce something other than a human results?

About your third response: “Of course that has never been in dispute”? Are you saying that objects that possess the properties of ORDER, COMPLEXITY are ALWAYS THE RESULT OF INTELLIGENCE? If you have a problem with the word “design” take it out and then answer true or false to the statement. If your answer is “false”, please give me the AVAILABLE EVIDENCE of an example of order and complexity that did NOT resulted from intelligence.

P.S. Before I sent this I quickly read Eneaz’s last two posts. They are the perfect example of the kind of name calling and attempts to belittle I have been referring to. Such adds nothing substantive to the discussion.

Eneasz said...

Balanced -

:P

I notice you simply ignored the parts of the post that did address your "points", and chose to instead run home crying 'Mommy, he was mean!'

Let me ask you something.... how would you deal with a man who insisted the earth was flat? Who, despite being told of all the evidence out there, and directed to places were he can see this evidence for himself (because lets face it, it's impossible to actually give someone evidence over the comments section of a blog), refuses to budge from his position and repeatedly states "All the known evidence points to the truth of a flat earth!"

All the evidence known by him, perhaps. That he won't examine the wealth of evidence that's been collected since the 10th century is hardly our fault.

So you go around for a few weeks, rehashing the same points, he keeps coming back with his same weak counters which only HE can't see are complete failures, and you realize he's so personally invested in this idea of his that simply showing him he's wrong won't change anything.

What do you do at that point?

Well, the only thing left to do really is point at him and laugh, have some fun with the fool, and when you get tired of him put him on ignore.

Thus - my mocking. :)

Balanced said...

Eneasz,

Here is the post you are referring to.

Eneasz said...
Oh, I like that question! :) I had to think on that for a while. I'd say thing that causes me to think those were the result of intelligence is the signs of manufacture. They are all substances (or energy) manipulated in a way that serves the wants or needs of the responsible intelligence. Honestly though, I'm not an expert in this, and this is only my opinion on the matter. Did you have a different answer you wanted to suggest? If not, are you suggesting that the organisms found on earth display this charecteristic of manufacture? (April 3, 2008 2:17 PM)

I had no desire to “put you on the spot”. You answered the question. Martino and Emu Sam would NOT. They saw the dilemma that you fell into. The point is, how can you admit intelligence in the cases you sighted (e.g. furnished apartment with central HVAC; a computer pleading with me to not turn it off, as being without electricity is like death for it; a radio signal from a distant star that transmits a long sequence of prime numbers) AND deny intelligence in regard to things that are FAR MORE COMPLEX AND ORDERLY?

Evolution Is Chance?

I did NOT say evolution was chance. Evolution is a supposed mechanism by which you and others attempt to explain the existence of human beings. I am saying that as a supposed mechanism it contradicts the available evidence.

Definition of life?

It is astounding that INTELLIGENT human beings have tried for decades to manipulate various matter in an attempt to “create life” and have NOT been able to accomplish it AND YOU and others believe and want me and others to believe that life simply began ACCIDENTALLY, BY CHANCE billions of years ago.

Allow me once again to present these statements:

1. Evolutionist Robert Shapiro stated regarding the products of the Miller-Urey experiment: “Let us sum up. The experiment performed by Miller yielded tar as its most abundant product. There are about fifty small organic compounds that are called ‘building blocks.’ Only two of these fifty occurred among the preferential Miller-Urey products” (“Origins—A Skeptics Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth”, (New York: Summit 1986. p. 105).

2. Robert Jastrow: “According to this story, every tree, every blade of grass, and every creature in the sea and on the land evolved out of one parent strand of molecular matter drifting lazily in a warm pool. What concrete evidence supports that remarkable theory of the origin of life? There is none”. (Found in “Until the Sun Dies”, p.60.)

3. Klaus Dose wrote, More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on Earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance. (“The Origin of Life: More Questions than Answers,” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 1988, 13[4]:348).

Do you humans possess life? Do plants possess life? Do cats and dogs possess life? The question that will help determine life is, “What properties does each of these possess that is also possessed by the others that would constitute life in each case?”

Dogs and Lizards?

You wrote, “If a dog had a litter of lizards, it would overturn the theory of evolution - that would be evidence of an intelligence interfering with nature.” I wonder if your “evolutionary colleagues” agree with that statement. I doubt they will. They had to cringe when they read that.

Let me understand this. If we did NOT have biological laws that are consistent, orderly and predictable that would be evidence of intelligence? So the order and complexity of our universe and human life is evidence of NON-intelligence? Amazing!

Of course an evolutionist will not claim a dog gave birth to anything other than a dog. That would be a violation of known scientific laws. HOWEVER, an evolutionist MUST believe something SIMILAR to this. The similarity is not that drastic of a CHANGE (e.g. dog to lizard), but it is a change nonetheless.
Organic evolution MUST believe that something NON-human was TRANSFORMED into a human being OR something NON-human GAVE BIRTH to something human. What other choices are there?

Identical To Parents?

Who is affirming that a child is IDENTICAL to his/her parents?

What does any of this have to do with something NON-human becoming HUMAN by either transformation or birth? Which was on earth first, woman or human baby? Will you answer this or will you quibble about the definitions of “woman”, “human” and “baby”?

The “Sad” Question I Asked That You Did NOT Answer?

You admit that it all “looks orderly, complex and designed”. The question is, “Is it in fact orderly, complex and designed”? Take the word “design” out of the true/false statement if you want to. Now please give your answer. Do you (ENEASZ) know of any evidence to the contrary?

Eneasz said...

Oh goodness, I'm being sucked into this debate again. Last time this happened I decided it was hopeless and left for a couple weeks. Alright, I'll give this one more shot, but if I trip over "How can someone complex arrise through natural processes?" one more time after this reply I'm taking my ball and going home.


They saw the dilemma that you fell into. The point is, how can you admit intelligence in the cases you sighted AND deny intelligence in regard to things that are FAR MORE COMPLEX AND ORDERLY?

There is no delima. I've answered this on numerous occasions, and everything you've put your fingers in your ears and said "La la la la, I can't hear you!" It has been demonstrated innumerable times how complex and orderly systems and artifacts can arise purely as the result of natural processes.

Let me give you one example: Crystals are very extremely orderly. Snow flakes (tiny ice crystals) are both extremely orderly AND extremely complex, so much so that it's said no two will ever be exactly alike. Applying your claim to this phenomona, we must conclude that snow flakes cannot arise from natural processes alone, and there must be an intelligent designer making each and every single flake before it flutters down from the heavens. Welcome back to the 13th century.

I did NOT say evolution was chance. I am saying that as a supposed mechanism it contradicts the available evidence.

Then you are a liar, plain and simple. I hate to be so blunt (well, not really). But you've demonstrated repeatedly that you refuse to actually learn anything about the evidence, and simply assert falsehoods about it. Theism started out with a theory ("God did it!") and then tries to force all evidence to fit that theory. Evolution *didn't exist* until 150 years ago. A number of scientists (cheif among them Darwin) looked at all the evidence that was coming in from the various parts of the world and asked "How the heck can we make sense of this? What could account for what we are seeing?" and they proposed a hypothesis that best fit the evidence they had available. Over the years it has been - confirmed, altered, updated, revised, expanded - as new evidence has come to light, always in an effort to best explain the facts we have. At this point it's one of the most solid theories we have. It is the exact opposite of "contradicting the available evidence."

It is astounding that INTELLIGENT human beings have tried for decades to manipulate various matter in an attempt to “create life” and have NOT been able to accomplish it

Human's create life every day (several times every second, I believe) simply by continuing a biological chain that started billions of years ago. We call it "giving birth"

Or do you mean they haven't created self-replicating things from non-self-replicating things? We have been making machines that can make other machines for a long time. We even have machines now that can almost make exact copies of themselves. (give it another decade)

Or do you mean only organic machines count? We've synthesized self-replicating molecules out of raw materials innumerable times, and have even demonstrated how they can form without human intervention.

Perhaps what you want to for someone to design a complete cell with all it's organelles from the ground up? OK - you've got us there. Haven't done that yet. Of course, we also haven't had 10 Billion Years to work on it, as well as All The Matter And Energy In The Entire Universe to work with. The universe didn't have that restriction.

Allow me once again to present these statements:

You fail at understanding. The Miller-Urey experiment demontrated this was possible, whereas this whole time you've been saying it's not. Also the ratio of product-to-junk isn't a big deal. With just a few gallons of raw materials a wee bit of product was formed along with a lot of junk. *ONE* self-replicator is enough to start the ball rolling. But out of an ocean of many trillions of gallons of material, how many do you think would form even with a ratio of 1:100000? (hint: enough)

Finally, Miller-Urey was merely the first expirement, done over 50 years ago. It has since been repeated many many times using tons of varying starting conditions, raw materials, and other assumptions. The point is that these building blocks being formed naturally is pretty easy and very common given an early-Earth enviroment, and could have happened in dozens of different ways.

Do you humans possess life? Do plants possess life? Do cats and dogs possess life? The question that will help determine life is, “What properties does each of these possess that is also possessed by the others that would constitute life in each case?”

Your questions are as simplistic as your thinking. Smarter men than us have been struggling with "what is life" for much longer than we have. Is a cell alive? What about cell organelles? Is mitochondria alive? Is a virus alive? Would a nano-machine with a complexity of bacteria be alive? If not, why not?

(re: dogs giving birth to lizards = evidence against evolution)
I wonder if your “evolutionary colleagues” agree with that statement. I doubt they will. They had to cringe when they read that.

That's pathetic. No wonder you think you're smarter than Bio PHDs. You assume they hold beliefs as nutty as "anything can give birth to anything else! Woo!" Perhaps you've not heard of DNA? It was discovered BY SCIENTISTS. It explains why offspring are very similar to their parents.

Organic evolution MUST believe that something NON-human was TRANSFORMED into a human being OR something NON-human GAVE BIRTH to something human. What other choices are there?

You draw lines were there are none. Allow me to make an analogy. Start in the middle New York City's Time's Square. Take one step towards Los Angeles. Are you in New York City or non-NYC? (simple question at this point). Take another step, and ask the same question. Again, easy enough. Keep doing things. At some point it'll get kinda hard to tell if you're in New York City still or not. Keep going. Somewhere along the way you'll definatly not be in NYC, but you won't be in LA either, you'll be somewhere in the mid-West. Eventually, after many many many steps, you'll get to LA.

You are claiming that it is impossible to get from NYC to LA by walking, because no one has ever taken a step in NYC and ending up in LA! SHOCKING! And you think that's what your opponents are saying, which is why you believe they're so obviously wrong. OF COURSE that's wrong! That's absurd! But that isn't what your opponents are saying.

Which was on earth first, woman or human baby?

When you take bread, put mayo on it, and meat, and maybe some tomatoes or something... at what point does it stop being a collection of ingredients and start becoming a sandwich? When you have two grains of sand and you add a third, and then a fourth, and so on, at what point does it stop become "a few grains of sand" and start becoming "a pile of sand"? Where do the foothills turn into mountains? Where does the stream turn into a river? Are you understanding yet?

The question is, “Is it in fact orderly, complex and designed”? Take the word “design” out of the true/false statement if you want to. Now please give your answer.

It is complex and orderly. You could even say "designed" if you mean "designed by the interplay of natural forces."

Do you (ENEASZ) know of any evidence to the contrary?

I don't understand the question, can you rephrase?

I do have two questions for you as well. I said arifacts can be assumed to have been created by an intelligence if "they show signs of manufacture. They are ... manipulated in a way that serves the ... intelligence" Are you claiming that the life on earth shows these signs of manufacture?

And are you claiming that the solar system shows these signs of manufacture?

martino said...

Balanced

You said a while back Those who believe that this planet and the human life on it was the result of intelligence creating both was affirmed long before Michael BeHe and William Dembski were around.
Yes well we are talking about science and science education, not belief.

They are arguing the SAME in principle...regardless of whether you label it creation or ID.
Which is exactly my point and one of Alonzo's. If ID is a belief regardless of how many and how strongly felt it is not science and should not be taught in a science class, nor should extra-scientific means be used to subvert science. Which is Ben Stein and you are trying to do, potentially causing much harm to this world as a result.

There is not much more to say you continually display a complete lack of comprehension of science and empirical reasoning, your points have been repeatedly refuted yet you repeat them as if they had not already been dealt with.

Your comments here are evidence of the type of thinking that would result if you and your cohorts succeeded in subverting science education and whatever mess we are all in would then only get worse.

I conclude based solely on the evidence of your dialog here that you are an immoral ignoramus and, to the degree your views influence others, a danger to society

Balanced said...

Eneasz,

Crystals & Snowflakes?

In regard to crystals and snowflakes, see www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2575 (15 Answers to John Rennie and Scientific American’s Nonsense—Argument #9). This is addressed in a very clear way by those in a position to speak.

Evolution and Chance?

Evolution may INVOLVE or DEPEND on chance, that does not make it chance. I am aware that it is, as I wrote, “a supposed mechanism” by which some try to explain the existence of human beings.

Humans Creating Life?

Reproduction is NOT the “creating life” that is at issue here. The ORIGIN of life from NON-living matter is. What about the ORIGIN of the humans that are reproducing? That is what we are discussing. I am certain you knew that and that is why you chose to answer the way you did.

Machines And Life?

What about the maker of the machines that make other machines, i.e. human beings? That is the first hurdle before discussing machines humans makes. The order & complexity of human beings that make the machines make the machines look like “child’s play” when it comes to order & complexity! And yet you affirm the machine was the result of intelligence and the human being was an accident.

Miller-Urey & Molecules Again?

I have not failed to understand anything about the Miller-Urey experiment. I simply quoted some scientists who do. Did you not read? What did you say about their statements? NO ONE THING.

YOU WROTE- “…these building blocks being formed naturally is pretty easy and very common given an early-Earth enviroment, and could have happened in dozens of different ways.” What evidence do you, or anyone for that matter, have in regard to “an early earth environment”? It is all conjecture.

YOU WROTE, “…an ocean of many trillions of gallons of material, how many do you think would form even with a ratio of 1:100000”. Eneasz, you will need many more than 6 zeros. ONCE AGAIN- the late Carl Sagan…“the probability of life evolving on any given planet like our earth is 1 followed by 2 billion zeros.” AND ONCE GAIN- The law of probability gives what you are suggesting NO CHANCE.

Is It Life Or Not?

Take each of the items you have suggested and add them to the list I presented. Now ask the question, ““What properties does each of these possess that is also possessed by the others that would constitute life in each case?” Throw a rock onto the list or a piece of coal, or etc. IF we define the word “life” PRECISELY enough THEN each object can be considered.

Of Dogs, Lizards and DNA?

I did not write that “dogs giving birth to lizards equaled evidence against evolution”. I am saying evolution MUST believe that “X (call it what you want) gave BIRTH to something NOT X” or “X (call it what you want) after it was born, at some point TRANSFORMED into something “NOT X”. That IS evolution in a few words.

The discovery of DNA was easy compared to trying to explain its ORIGIN. Offspring indeed is very similar to their parents, I agree. E.g. Your parents were HUMAN and therefore you MUST be HUMAN as well, NOT NON-human. Right? PLEASE ANSWER. (Insert the word “human” for the “X” in the scenario above).

Birth or Transformation; New York to Los Angeles?

I want everyone who reads this to know ENEASZ DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION concerning BIRTH or TRANSFORMATION.

Do you understand what the law of excluded middle is? Every PRECISELY stated proposition is either true or false. NOTE: It is NOT stating that every proposition is either true or false, but that every PRECISELY STATED PROPOSITON IS EITHER TRUE OR FALSE. IF New York City is PRECISELY defined as being 10 miles (or 52800 feet) in circumference from the center of Time’s Square, and you or I go beyond the 52800 feet by ANY distance from that center, THEN WE ARE NO LONGER IN NEW YORK CITY. Is that that hard to understand?

In addition, IF Los Angeles is PRECISELY defined as 10 miles (52800 feet) in circumference from the center of the present city and you or I come inside of 52800 feet by ANY distance, THEN WE ARE IN LOS ANGELES.

Have you ever heard of “crossing state lines”? This happens when you go from one state into ANOTHER state. This can ACTUALLY occur because the boundaries (state lines) have been PRECISELY defined. Surely that is NOT hard to understand.

We are engaged in this silly exercise because you pretend that we are NOT able to distinguish between HUMAN and NON-human. Do you understand the implications of such a position? Can we, in the 21st century, distinguish between things that are HUMAN and NON-HUMAN?

I REPEAT YET AGAIN: Organic evolution MUST believe that something NON-human was TRANSFORMED into a human being OR something NON-human GAVE BIRTH to something that was human. WHAT OTHER CHOICES ARE THERE?

Women & Babies: Another Question Ignored?
THE QUESTION I ASKED WAS, “Which was on earth first, a woman or a human baby”? ONCE AGAIN, ENEASZ, YOU DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION.

Every one of the questions you raise can be EASILY answered IF we will PRECISELY DEFINE “sandwich”, “pile”, “mountains”, and “river”. Are you understanding yet? IF you define “sandwich” as a food item made of two or more slices of leavened bread with one or more layers of filling: typically meat, or cheese with the addition of vegetables or salad, etc. AND you have only one piece of bread OR the bread you have is unleavened OR etc. THEN you do NOT have a sandwich, no matter how closely what you have resembles a sandwich. Are you understanding yet?

YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME:

“Manufacture” meaning the act or process of producing something; the making or producing of anything; generation. My answer- Yes.

Same definition above. My answer- Yes.

BOTH also reveal the existence of INTELLIGENCE.

P.S. MARTINO, what is the basis for your claim that I am “immoral”?

Eneasz said...

Balanced -

This will be my last serious response to you. You are unworthy of mental effort.


The order & complexity of human beings that make the machines make the machines look like “child’s play” when it comes to order & complexity!

Strike One. Natural processes can create order & complexity. Learn how.


And yet you affirm the machine was the result of intelligence and the human being was an accident.

Strike two. Accident is not the same as "the result of natural processes". When it rains in Seattle, that's the result of natural processes, it's not an accident. But you won't understand the relation anyway.


What evidence do you, or anyone for that matter, have in regard to “an early earth environment”? It is all conjecture.

When you determine that someone with a bullet in his chest died as a result of a gunshot wound, that is also conjecture. However all the evidence points to this conclusion. Learn the difference between "a wild guess" and "that which we can reasonably conclude based on the evidence before us."


we define the word “life” PRECISELY enough THEN each object can be considered.

No one has ever been able to define "life" to such an extant that anything can be shown to be either alive or not. Refer to the examples I gave in my last reply. If you clain to have the secret to determining what is life and what is not, please present it to the scientific community. I'm sure they'll be overjoyed to hear it and reward you with a Nobel Prize (seriously). Unless of course you're just pulling things out of your ass. Then they will laugh at you, and you won't know why because you're too ignorant to understand the humor in your claims.

ONCE AGAIN- the late Carl Sagan…“the probability of life evolving on any given planet like our earth is 1 followed by 2 billion zeros.” AND ONCE GAIN- The law of probability gives what you are suggesting NO CHANCE.

I didn't bother to look this up, because I realized the quote came from you, and you are the opposite of a source I'd even bother to consider. I'll wager this is quote-mining and not a fair representation of Sagan's thoughts. Of course it might not be. So I will point out that Carl Sagan is not god and doesn't know everything, and could very well be wrong (as the evidence shows). Furthermore, he was an astro-physicist, not a chemical biologist. And finally, the evidence (The Miller-Urey experiment, and hundreds of others like it) demonstrate that the chances are not even remotely as slim as that quote suggests. They show the chances are actually so darn good that they are inevitable. So.... in the face of evidence that shows that the odds you have quoted are incorrect, do you follow the evidence, or the quote that pleases you? Don't answer, I already know.

I am saying evolution MUST believe that “X (call it what you want) gave BIRTH to something NOT X” or “X (call it what you want) after it was born, at some point TRANSFORMED into something “NOT X”. That IS evolution in a few words.

What you are saying is false. Stop saying lies, and maybe people will respect your arguments. What you claim is evolution is actually what most people refer to as "magic". Real evolution in a nutshell is (at the risk of quoting myself, and at the risk of over-simplfying to try to get you to understand natural selection) "Children are not identical to their parents. Some children will be more likely to reach reproductive age than others." If you could be bothered to think, you could see where this leads.

I want everyone who reads this to know ENEASZ DID NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION concerning BIRTH or TRANSFORMATION.

Appeal to the crowd? Sorry, that would work wonderfully in a church. But right now you are infront of a (primarily) hostile audience. Appealing to the crowd will get you nothing. If you had any skill in reading comprehension you would realize that I did actually answer the question, you simply couldn't comprehend the answer.

I'll elaborate this final time, to hopefully show you the error of your ways. You ask "Why is it that 2+2 equals 5? That's impossible!" and I answer "2+2 cannot equal five. The correct question is 'What does 2+2 equal?'" At this point you throw a fit and start screaming "OMG, he didn't answer how it's possible that 2+2=5!" Grow up.

Do you understand what the law of excluded middle is? Every PRECISELY stated proposition is either true or false. NOTE: It is NOT stating that every proposition is either true or false, but that every PRECISELY STATED PROPOSITON IS EITHER TRUE OR FALSE. IF New York City is PRECISELY defined as being 10 miles (or 52800 feet) in circumference from the center of Time’s Square, and you or I go beyond the 52800 feet by ANY distance from that center, THEN WE ARE NO LONGER IN NEW YORK CITY.

Yes yes. Unfortunatly for you, you cannot define a species that precisely. It is literally impossible. IE: Are dogs and wolves different species? The answer is yes. But if you breed them they can produce viable offspring. OMG, your argument falls to pieces around you! Reboot and load last saved game!

Any line that you wish to draw between "closest pre-human ancestor" and "human ancestor" will necessarily be arbitrary. There is no single point where you can draw an objective line. You can simply say "at this point it's not quite human, at this point it is."

Are you aware of the electromagnetic spectrum? (Please say yes) At what point does Blue turn into Green? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum
You can say "Well, at exactly 482.5nm it is blue, and at 482.6nm it is green!". But the line you drew is completely arbitrary. It has no objective basis. Anyone who is actually honest will answer "It's blue at 450nm, and green at 490nm, and in between it's kinda fuzzy."

This is why "excluded middle" fails for any non-formal system based in the real world. It is more correctly known not as the "Law of the Excluded Middle" but as the "Fallacy of the Excluded Middle". I predict much whineing and crying at this point.

I REPEAT YET AGAIN: Organic evolution MUST believe that something NON-human was TRANSFORMED into a human being OR something NON-human GAVE BIRTH to something that was human. WHAT OTHER CHOICES ARE THERE?

Oh ho! Two of the wrost arguments in existance are contained in that quote. The first being "Argument from excessive capitalization" and the second being "Argument from sticking your fingers in your ears and refusing to hear what the other side said." All that's left now is "Argument from fictional evidence" and "Argument from excessive punctuation". Will Balanced go the full monty?

“Manufacture” meaning the act or process of producing something; the making or producing of anything; generation. My answer- Yes.

Sadly, but completely consistent with your style of thinking, you completely ignored what I said. I said that, in my particular argument I defined "signs of manufacture" as "They are ... manipulated in a way that serves the ... intelligence". I specifically stated this is what I would consider signs of intelligence. You ignored this and pulled up some other definition of manufacture. I'd ask you to try again, but like I said at the begining of this comment, this is my last serious reply to you, so it wouldn't matter anyway. All comments directed at you in the future will simply be mocking and ridicule, don't bother trying to make a point (I know, I know, you never bothered trying to make a valid point before. But please, don't start now.)

P.S. MARTINO, what is the basis for your claim that I am “immoral”?

I hate to speak for Martino, but I'd speculate that it's probably your complete disregard for the truth. Intellectual recklessness and outright lies are both good indications that the person you're talking to lacks vital aspects of morality.

Good day sir.
(ps - don't take that last sentence literally.)

Balanced said...

Eneasz,

First, I CAPITALIZE to EMPHASIZE. That’s all.

Secondly, your snide remarks do NOT intimidate me. They are often the sign of fear and anger. They are also a continuing example of the kind of intimidation and bullying used by many in the academic community to try to silence any discussion, dissent or disagreement. Thus, one of Stein’s points in “Expelled”.

Natural processes?

You gave crystals and snowflakes as an example of natural processes that create order AND complexity. Those examples failed. What attention did you give to the information presented? NONE.
I don’t believe I ever equated “accident” and “the result of natural processes”. These natural processes are orderly, complex and predictable. From where did the processes come? Let alone the matter upon which the processes act? E.g. the natural process of life from life, the natural process of reproduction, etc. Did these things come into being by intelligence, accident, chance, etc.?

The Evidence Before Us?

You wrote of “that which we can reasonably conclude based on the evidence before us”. I have pleaded with you to recognize “the evidence before us”. E.g. the law of biogenesis, the laws of reproduction, etc. You appeal to imagined scenarios that contradict the evidence BEFORE us.

Defining Life?

You left out an important word in the phrase you tried to attribute to me. The word is “IF”. I made no attempt nor do I have any desire to set myself up as the final authority of definitions. However, definitions are extremely important in these matters, without them communication is not possible. I know that you and others would like everything to be “fuzzy” or ambiguous, but it just won’t work.

Miller-Urey Again?

Why will you not comment on the quotes from the scientists (Shaprio, Jastrow and Dose) that I presented? I suppose that Sagan was not aware of the Miller-Urey experiment and the hundreds of others like it and that is why he made such an ill-advised statement.

What Is Evolution?

You need to discuss these things with Martino. In regard to the point on BIRTH or TRANSFORMATION he wrote, [“Duh! Gradualism, one step at a time, no big issue here. Not transformed, evolved. Humans and apes come from a common ancestor.”]
Who is disputing that “children are not identical to their parents” OR “some children will be more likely to reach reproductive age than others”? Those statements describe a situation, that no one I am aware of, disputes. What we have been discussing is the mechanism(s) that might explain the existence of parents and children, i.e. humans. Evolution just can’t do it.

Not Asking The Right Questions?

Perhaps I should just appeal to you for what the “correct question” to ask is.

YOU WROTE, [You ask Why is it that 2+2 equals 5? That's impossible!" and I answer "2+2 cannot equal five. The correct question is 'What does 2+2 equal?']

Find a question that I have asked and replace the numbers in your illustration with that question as an example of what you are claiming.

Human or Non-Human?

You Wrote, “…closest pre-human ancestor…” AND “…not quite human”.

If something is, as you admit, “NOT QUITE human” or “PRE-human”, then it is NOT HUMAN. Don’t you see that!?

THEREFORE, something NON-human (or as you wrote “pre-human”, “not quite human”) TRANSFORMED/evolved (after it was born) into something HUMAN or something NON-human (or as you wrote “pre-human”, “not quite human”) GAVE BIRTH to something HUMAN. Surely you can have no reasonable dispute with that.

“Fallacy of the Excluded Middle”?

The fallacy is only applicable if there are MORE than TWO choices.

BOTH of the following statements CANNOT be true. “It is blue at 450nm”. “It is NOT blue at 450nm”. That is the law of excluded middle. IF 450nm is blue, and 451 is a change, however so slight a change, and you wish to distinguish it from 450nm which is blue, THEN you must employ another term to differentiate between the two in the electromagnetic spectrum.
Or you may desire to define “blue” as 450nm through 459nm. If it is 449nm or below OR 460nm and above, then it is NOT blue. You would then write, “It is blue from 450nm – 459nm”; “It is NOT blue from 450nm - 459nm”. Once again, BOTH of those statements CANNOT be true. They are mutually exclusive. That is the law of excluded middle.

Manufacture?

YOUR original question was, [“If not, are you suggesting that the organisms found on earth display this charecteristic of manufacture? April 3, 2008 2:17 PM]

Notice the words “THIS CHARACTERISTIC”. The characteristic you referred to and are referring to is “manipulated in a way that serves the…intelligence”. The word “serves” used here suggests a PURPOSE. The PURPOSE for which the creator or manufacturer may have created or manufactured is another issue. That is why I defined the word “manufacture” as I did, which is often used as a synonym for “create”, “produce”, etc.

Good Day!

DO take “Good Day” literally. I possess no animosity or ill-will toward you, Martino or anyone else. These matters are not personal.

Gen 1-11 said...

I would like to begin by saying that I am a staunch young earth creationist. Wasn't always, but I am now. Plenty of evidence to support creation and also a young earth. That's not the main point of this post, though. In reading through the original post and all of the follow-ups, the hatred toward intelligent design is amazing. Although I believe that atheism is foolish, I certainly have no hatred toward someone that does not believe in God. On the contrary, one of my best friends on this 6000 year old created planet is an atheist. We differ greatly on our belief of origins but I do not hate the guy.

Jesus Christ was tormented and persecuted because He proclaimed the truth. In fact, He WAS the truth. John 14:6 says I (Jesus) amd the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. The tormenting and persecuting continues to this day. The Bible proclaimed this would be the case and it is obviously reliable at least in this regard, huh?!

I have watched as post after post talks about "facts" and each follow up post gets a little more upset and defensive of the particular position that they hold. I would like to weigh in what I believe to be a few facts that I think both sides will agree with (perhaps not?).
1) Neither side can "argue" the other side into converting to the "correct belief".
2) The debate will continue. It is inevitable. My prayer would be that the hostility would cease although I don't suspect this will be the case.

I would encourage everyone to consider two simple thoughts before I close....
1) Every man/woman, boy/girl is completely free to believe what they want to. According to the Bible, this is the free will that was given to mankind and God will never force anyone to believe in Him although He desires that all would come to Him.
2) Jesus loves the atheist as much as He loves the Christian. I can't make anyone believe but I can simply proclaim what I believe to be true - that Jesus died once for ALL and that ALL who call on Him will not perish but have eternal life. YOU my friends are invited to the Big House! You don't have to come, but you are still invited!

May God Bless You All!

Gen 1-11 said...

I would like to begin by saying that I am a staunch young earth creationist. Wasn't always, but I am now. Plenty of evidence to support creation and also a young earth. That's not the main point of this post, though. In reading through the original post and all of the follow-ups, the hatred toward intelligent design is amazing. Although I believe that atheism is foolish, I certainly have no hatred toward someone that does not believe in God. On the contrary, one of my best friends on this 6000 year old created planet is an atheist. We differ greatly on our belief of origins but I do not hate the guy.

Jesus Christ was tormented and persecuted because He proclaimed the truth. In fact, He WAS the truth. John 14:6 says I (Jesus) amd the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. The tormenting and persecuting continues to this day. The Bible proclaimed this would be the case and it is obviously reliable at least in this regard, huh?!

I have watched as post after post talks about "facts" and each follow up post gets a little more upset and defensive of the particular position that they hold. I would like to weigh in what I believe to be a few facts that I think both sides will agree with (perhaps not?).
1) Neither side can "argue" the other side into converting to the "correct belief".
2) The debate will continue. It is inevitable. My prayer would be that the hostility would cease although I don't suspect this will be the case.

I would encourage everyone to consider two simple thoughts before I close....
1) Every man/woman, boy/girl is completely free to believe what they want to. According to the Bible, this is the free will that was given to mankind and God will never force anyone to believe in Him although He desires that all would come to Him.
2) Jesus loves the atheist as much as He loves the Christian. I can't make anyone believe but I can simply proclaim what I believe to be true - that Jesus died once for ALL and that ALL who call on Him will not perish but have eternal life. YOU my friends are invited to the Big House! You don't have to come, but you are still invited!

May God Bless You All!

Eneasz said...


I would like to begin by saying that I am a staunch young earth creationist.

LOL


On the contrary, one of my best friends on this 6000 year old created planet is an atheist.

My ex-wife of 6 years is a creationist (altho even she had the sense to reject young-earth creationism). Not only do I not hate creationists, I married one. What exactly are you trying to prove with this statement?


1) Neither side can "argue" the other side into converting to the "correct belief".

In the short term, this is very true. In the long term, not so much. I was a christian and a creationist myself at one point. I debated an atheist for many weeks. Obviously, I never conceeded anything. However he planted the seeds of doubt in my brain. It took many months (possibly years) but his questions forced me to search for answers. I was not happy with "cuz my preacher said so", I had to ensure myself that I had the Truth. And, over time, this led to my gradual deconverstion. I never got a chance to thank this man, we lost contact long before I "saw the light" (to use a religious term). If I ever meet him I would like to thank him for helping to open my eyes. So when I argue with theists, it is not to get them to conceed defeat. It is merely to plant the seeds of truth in their thoughts, and hope that someday maybe they will flower into something beautiful and true.


According to the Bible, this is the free will that was given to mankind and God will never force anyone to believe in Him although He desires that all would come to Him.

First of all, this is NOT according to the Biblie. It is preached in many churches, but the scriptural backing for it is very weak. Secondly, it there is no such thing as an omnipotent god who could want something (like a desire that all would come to him) and fail to achieve it. By saying that your god could want something but not get it you are admiting he is not omnipotent. I have no problem with semi-competant gods, but I'm pretty sure you do.


Jesus loves the atheist as much as He loves the Christian.


Liar! Parents love their children. If Jesus had even a smidgen of this sort of love for atheists, they could not go to hell. The concept of hell is an abomination. Any god who would condemn his children to eternal torture for accepting the logical conclusions to the evidence he has presented is a monster. Get your sick, twisted theology out of here, or at least stop refering to it as "love". Such a concept of "love" makes me sick.

martino said...
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martino said...

Hi Gen 1-11

What you believe is up to you but given those beliefs I infer that you follow the Ten Commandments including "Do not bear false witness against thy neighbour"?

If so, what is your view on Ben Stein's Expelled where is their is substantial evidence that Ben Stein and his cohorts did bear false witness against others in their now refuted arguments over the prosecution of IDers in science?

Do you condemn this, if not why not and also if not possibly what do you mean by "neighbours"?

carlyhal said...

Fascinating. A long and misguided rambling about a film you've never seen. How sad that people like yourself have missed the one, overriding theme of EXPELLED; that the use of force to silence even one segment of the scientific community lessens the importance and slows the growth of scientific work everywhere.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

carlyhal

How sad that people like yourself have missed the one, overriding theme of EXPELLED; that the use of force to silence even one segment of the scientific community lessens the importance and slows the growth of scientific work everywhere.

How sad it is indeed that the Discovery Institute is forced to operate out of a secret location to protect itself from those who trying to use force to silence it.

How sad it is that the producers of Expelled and 'Ben Stein' himself are forced into hiding out of fear of those who would use force against them.

The "use of force to silence" that you are talking about is a figment of your imagination - a break from reality.

Expelled Exposed shows that the film itself is a pack of lies.

This, on top of the fact that somebody who claims that 'force' has been used is acting merely as a parrot who repeats what it has been taught to say without actually thinking about it.

minmay8 said...

Eneasz, this reply is for you.

Forgive me for butting in. I am no scientist and say very few things about which I am no scholar. However, when somebody mis-represents the bible I must speak out. I realize that you say that you were once a Christian, so that's why I'm most concerned for you. I have no idea as to what has transpired in your life and will try not to pretend like I do.


From observing your response, I ask what was it about the bible that through you off?
If I may give this illustration: If a person is trying to figure out some type of mathematical equation and is reading the instructions but fails still to understand, is it the book or the reader that has a problem with truth? If you still have a bible, look through it again and ask God to show you what you've missed. The bible is rife with what God desires.

A Christian does not believe just because "a preacher says so." In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 it says "Test everything." Meaning be careful who you follow. It's sad that such a person "showed you the light," that person you may someday meet, but I doubt if you will thank him. Romans 1:28 states "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowlege of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind..: and 2:5 states "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgement will be revealed."

According to the Bible, this is the free will that was given to mankind and God will never force anyone to believe in Him although He desires that all would come to Him.

First of all, this is NOT according to the Biblie. It is preached in many churches, but the scriptural backing for it is very weak.

Free will was first demonstrated in Genesis 3. God allows free will. He also told us very specifically what would happen for following our own will. By choosing to act on our own will, it's saying that we know what's better for us than God does. That is pride which is a very serious thing and one reaps what one sows. You yourself are a testament that God does not force us to believe in him. Although it does say in Romans 10:21 "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people." He was there talking about Israel, the one that he purposed to receive his blessings if only they would follow him. In John 12:46 it says, "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." The note attached to that verse points out that it is not the purpose of the sun to cast shadows, but when the sun shines, shadows are inevitable. And furthermore, in John 3:17 it says, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." It goes on to say basically, he's offering salvation to everyone, but only the ones that believe will not be condemned. I know that sounds maybe unfair to us, but we are in his world and are subject to his rules.


Secondly, it there is no such thing as an omnipotent god who could want something (like a desire that all would come to him) and fail to achieve it. By saying that your god could want something but not get it you are admiting he is not omnipotent. I have no problem with semi-competant gods, but I'm pretty sure you do.

And what you're saying is that God is subject to the way we percieve that he should operate. Just because he'd like for all of us to come to him, that doesn't change that he knows all won't. Sure, he could just zap us and make us all love him. But that's not the kind of love he desires. He wants us to want to love him. That's why he gave us a choice.


Jesus loves the atheist as much as He loves the Christian.

Liar! Parents love their children. If Jesus had even a smidgen of this sort of love for atheists, they could not go to hell. The concept of hell is an abomination. Any god who would condemn his children to eternal torture for accepting the logical conclusions to the evidence he has presented is a monster. Get your sick, twisted theology out of here, or at least stop refering to it as "love". Such a concept of "love" makes me sick.

"Let God be true and every man a liar." Romans 3:4" A man is not sent to hell for his ill deeds, but for refusing the gift of life through Jesus. If the word of God tells us how to receive life and we reject it, how are we not deserving of hell? God's love is letting us know what he expects. He is so specific it doesn't take a scientist to understand. A parent loves his child, as God loves the people he created. Does not even a human parent set rules and discipline when they are broken? A good parent does. A terrible parent would let a child behave however they like regardless of how it might affect them. That's called negligence. Are you saying that a god that keeps his word and doesn't keep contradicting himself is a monster?
Romans 5:6,8 "You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly....But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Another way that God shows his love for the believer and non-believer is that this world still exists. By God's grace, atomic bombs have not been allowed to incinerate us. Even though the nations of this world are trying to destroy each other, it hasn't happened completely yet. When God remove's his hand of protection from this world, then we will know the love that God was showing.

Eneasz. I know you're going to have a backlash, and to you I might be blind and living in the dark ages. But I pray that God will open your eyes and that you will examine yourself, so that you might truly come back to the real truth. If you say to long that you don't want God, eventually you will get your wish.

Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." and 17b "...The righteous will live by faith." aka not by worldly wisdom. "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. Forwhat is seen is temporary, but what is seen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18

Eneasz said...

Minmay, I'll be brief because this is dreadfully off-topic.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 it says "Test everything."


This was one of my primary reasons for leaving christianity. I didn't want to simply feel right, I wanted to know the actual truth. Thus I tested everything and the bible failed abysmally. Reading the bible without blinders is one of the best arguments for leaving christianity.

As for all your biblical quotes, you must realize that since I don't put any stock in the bible (no more than any other work of fiction) they have no importance to me. You might as well be quoting Star Trek to me. At least Trek has some relevance to the 20th century.

If you'd like to continue this, please contact me at embrodski AT gmail DOT com. I'd rather not clog up this thread with distractions. :)

Anonymous said...

Someone brought up the Miller-Urey experiment as some kind of "proof" that life can come from something other than life. Here's the problem with that-

First off, the experiment itself was done in a controlled environment. Something that only an intelligence can create.

Secondly, it was based upon a "simulation of the hypothetical conditions of the early Earth." Considering how little we know of the conditions of our present day Earth, how am I supposed to buy hook, line, and sinker that we understand the conditions of the early Earth?

Thirdly, what did the experiment produce? Life? Of course not. It made amino acids, which is a step in the direction of supporting life. Amino acids are not alive and to this day no one knows what makes inanimate matter become animate.

SC said...

eneasz-

What was the real reason you left Christianity. Did you have something bad happen to you that you couldn't reconcile. In my experience most reasons atheists give for their beliefs are purely emotional.

In my experience it was different. I believed Evolution and after thinking critically about it, and then studying the Bible and finding how consistent within itself it is, and then seeing how so much archeological evidence supports it, plus how it is more historically accurate by far than any works of the greek philosophers that people seem to believe, I found Christianity to be true, and Evolution and atheism to be a farce.



Anyways the honest problem that Expelled brings up is not as much that ID isn't being treated as a science but you are not allowed to discuss flaws with Evolutionary theory. Many people notice difficulties with it and when they bring them up and say "maybe there is another explanation" they are blacklisted and considered religious idiots.

Darwin himself in Origin of species (have you read it?) brought up many difficulties with Evolution. If you're only allowed to agree with Evolution and not question it truth, then how is that a good scientific theory.

In order to believe Evolution even despite it's flaws you must accept the assumption that all life can happen by chance.

argumentum ad hominem will not change the fact that some things can't be proven by Evolution. Cells into thinking Human beings, can't be proven.

If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. (J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds, p. 209)

gene said...

If atheist are right then christians gain or lose nothing. If christians are right then atheists lose for eternity. I choose heaven for eternity so I will do as the new testament commands us to do.

Eneasz said...

Hi Gene. Look up Pascal's Wager. Seriously.

SC I just saw this, and I'm not even gonna bother.

Kirk said...

Your story and illustrations (plan A to prove C then you get R) is so confusing, as I read on its sounds as if you confuse yourself. It's a giving, I believe in a creator because it makes the most sense to me (gotta thank freewill). The human body is created in such a complex way, that there had to be a designer. A simple illustration is when you look at a beautiful house, you say "wow WHO created such a beautiful house" not I wonder what combination of elements given the right weather and atmospheric conditions in the earth made that beautiful house. Well the same goes for life. Now if you really want to know why we grow old and die and why there is suffering, you have to dig a bit deeper. My favorite illustrations to ask people of freewill, do you believe Webster’s dictionary was created in an explosion at a printing factory. Anyway my argument wants to be clean and professional with a bit of sarcasms to make it interesting.

Oh and just for the record, we all know Catholic Church has no creditability, so you can’t use them to downplay creationism. CATHOLIC CHURCH does NOT = CREATIONISM.

I AM KIRK

martino said...

Hi Kirk

@Kirk:It's a giving, I believe in a creator because it makes the most sense to me (gotta thank freewill). The "Argument from it make sense to me" is insufficient for truth. Yours is an argument to sacrifice truth on the altar of comfort. Many people throughout history and today have been mistaken about things, some of their mistakes being based on what made sense to them. You need more than that to discover truth, to actually go out and learn and understand the situation or to be able recognize who are the experts who have done the work for us.

@Kird:The human body is created in such a complex way, that there had to be a designer.
Question begging, you cannot assume what you are trying to prove.

@Kird:A simple illustration is when you look at a beautiful house, you say "wow WHO created such a beautiful house" not I wonder what combination of elements given the right weather and atmospheric conditions in the earth made that beautiful house Well the same goes for life.
False analogy, you need to establish the similarity rather than question beggingly assume it.

@Kirk: Now if you really want to know why we grow old and die and why there is suffering, you have to dig a bit deeper.
Well then I suggest you study some evolutionary biology, that might help you.

@Kirk: My favorite illustrations to ask people of freewill, do you believe Webster’s dictionary was created in an explosion at a printing factory.
Huh? No-one believes this and apart your whole comment having nothing to do with the issues in Alonzo's post this does not support the points you are making here. This is a strawman of the poorest kind.

@Kirk: Anyway my argument wants to be clean and professional with a bit of sarcasms to make it interesting. Well still waiting for such a valid and sound argument - free of obvious fallacies - when are you going to provide it?

@kirk:Oh and just for the record, we all know Catholic Church has no creditability, so you can’t use them to downplay creationism. CATHOLIC CHURCH does NOT = CREATIONISM.
This is an assertion without argument. You cannot dismiss another view, even a religious one, just because you do not like their conclusion.

@kirk:I AM KIRK
I AM MARTIN

Anonymous said...

Your argument appears to be centered around the idea that Intelligent Design is attempting to replace the entire realm of science. As far as I know, intelligent design is attempting to counter the concept of natural selection. Most people who are interested in the idea of intelligent design are not attempting to destroy the field of science. Science and intelligent design are not mutually exclusive concepts.

You also say that intelligent design has not help to find cures for cancer or parkinson's disease either. Neither has the concept of natural selection. Your logic has some serious flaws in it.

Eneasz said...

Anon - it has been famously said that "nothing in biology makes sense without evolution". Evolution is what draws together and explains everything we know about life, from genetics to medicine. Intelligent Design is trying, at the very least, to destroy the science of biology. It also promotes a contempt of truth and a destruction of all science by trying to popularize the notion that "Science is decided by popularity, not by facts." It may not WANT to destroy science, but that is the end result.

To your second point, I believe Alonzo was pointing out the ID/creationism has never helped find any cure to anything, while pointing out that biology has discovered the cures to innumeral diseases which billions of people owe their lives to. Therefore if you are happy having only the cures we have right now and never discovering any more, by all means support ID. If you'd rather that we kept finding cures to more diseases, don't.

Mission Impossible said...

I'm just saying... I think that the comments to this blog are accurate in the "healthy" debate of "Creationism" and "Darwinism" and whatever other beliefs. It seems to me that if "God" (the "Christian God") Does not exist he would have disappeared from our conversations ages ago. I happen to think evolution and Darwinism is creative but it is in itself an unproven, and hypothetical, religion that is based on the thoughts of men such as yourselves, which to me seems like it is a belief just like the "Christian", "Jewish" whatever other beliefs that are out there. If Evolution/Darwinism is fact... PROVE IT! Where did this perfect environment with perfect species of Plants(living) and animals, come from. I may not have a Harvard, Stanford, or Puddleglumville Community College degree in Science, but what gives anyone else the right to dictate to me or anyone else Fact from Fiction because of an inconsistent "Theory" they believe? Sounds a little hypocritical? If you will notice I never "FORCED" my opinion here just talking to you as humans that have the determintion from right and wrong. So if Evolution is Fact, then prove it. If it is not provable then you believe your religion the way you want to. I think it would have been more of an "Educated" decision to post a blog about a film, after it had been seen. This man's view really does not reflect the tone of the film simply that he is skilled in arguing and debating, must be a unpleasant life.

Emu Sam said...

A life that involves arguing and debating with intelligent people an a way such that we can be sure of what arguments are made and come up with a plan of finding out which is the true stance, unpleasant?

This sounds like every time I eat lunch with my father. We cover reams of napkins with charts and graphs and lists of things to google by the end of the hour. Best times of my life.

Dan said...

Instead of me giving another opinion of mine, I'll allow these evolutionists to speak for themselves.

Favorable mutations are what drive evolution. Without them, the whole theory falls. Note the last quote - mutations are ALWAYS HARMFUL!

“Evolutionists know that unless favorable mutations do occur, evolution is impossible. In the final analysis, all of evolution must be ascribed to mutations.”
(Ernst Mayr, Mathematical Challenges To The Neo-Darwinian Interpretation Of Evolution, p.50)

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”
(Charles Darwin, The Origin of the Species, p.182)

“The mutations we see occurring spontaneously in nature or those that can be induced in the laboratory always prove to be harmful.”
(C.P. Martin, American Scientist, 41:100, 1953)

And for you "Punctuated equilibriumist" out there -

“When the mutation rate is very high, no living system can avoid the path to auto destruction.”
(Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, p.267)

And even if there was some astronomical mathmatical chance that several favorable mutations could occur all at once, I offer you this:

“Mutations are “merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position, a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect.”
(Pierre Paul Grasse, Evolution Of Living Organisms, p.4)

Breed/cross breed dogs all you want, and at the end, it's still a dog. A different looking dog, but just a dog none the less!

And DARWIN'S FINCHES DO NOT PROVE THE GENERAL THEORY OF EVOLUTION!

The Special theory of evolution does not prove the general theory of evolution, they are GENETIC OPPOSITES!

Special - is isolating the gene pool in order to make dominat the traits you want. It's removing genetic information.

General theory - you must add new genetic information!

THEY ARE OPPOSITE!

That's all for today!

Anonymous said...

Mission Impossible - Asking for evidence of evolution is like asking for evidence of gravity. They've both been proven hundreds of times over. If you don't know the evidence, it's only because you've never bothered to look. There's reams of it.

Dan - what are are saying is simply false. It's a common lie repeated over and over by creationists, and even a simple google search would reveal what a colossal lie it is.

Dan said...

PRove it then - anonymous! Post the links.

Those were direct quotes - from Darwin and others themselves. That's kinda hard to argue with.

And all of it was false?

Darwin's finches - special evolution (variety among the same species) being used to prove the general theory - that's a lie?

The fact they are genetic opposties is a lie? One is removing genetic information and one is adding "new" genetic information - that is a lie?

Mutations are always harmful is a lie?

I was part of a research group that was mutating boweavels know that is would harm them. Our hope was to release them into the wild so they would/could wipe out the rest of them with their damaged/harmful mutations.

Guess what mutated boweavels do? They lay there, they don't mate, they aren't advanced, they are not the fittest who survived. They die! In nature they would be the first ones natural selection would remove!

So which part of that was a lie again?

Eneasz said...

sigh. The original post wasn't even about proving evolution, it was about showing how Ben Stein's crowd is attempting to tear down real science and thus harming all of us. But here we go..

Darwin's finches - special evolution (variety among the same species) being used to prove the general theory - that's a lie?

It's misleading. That was 150 years ago. There is so much more proof for evolution than just this that it is staggering.

Mutations are always harmful is a lie?

Yes, that is a lie. Of epic proportions. Many mutations are neutral. Many are harmful. A small amount are beneficial. The harmful ones are killed off by natural processes. The neutral ones may stay or go. The beneficial ones can fixate and become permanent in the population.

PRove it then - anonymous! Post the links.

Ok. Just to point out how easy this information is to get, all of these links came from under 5 minutes of googling, and never going past the first page of hits.

Mutation can create new information. This can happen via duplication and/or polyploidy.

Mutations can often be beneficial, such as the mutation that makes bacteria resistant to anti-biotics or lets E. Coli eat citrate or the famous example of a bacteria that evolved to eat nylon - a substance that didn't exist before 1935.

And of course there's the ol' Talk Origins list of observed instances of speciation.

Congrats on making a boweavel that sucks. I take it they didn't wipe out the other boweavels as you were hoping?

Untermensch said...

Oh my. The conclusion just stuns me. Unlike the author I did actually watch the film. I found it humorous and entertaining to be sure. I would suggest the bigger story out of all this is not whether evolution or intelligent design is correct, but rather the reaction and nature of discourse regarding the film.

There are some in this world that cannot, under any circumstances, allow a view that is contrary to theirs. Whether it is because they can not reach 'nirvana' (or some similar destination) without your complete and utter submission to the doctrine or that your views might lead to the undermining of their base of power, YOU are too dangerous. YOU must be attacked and destroyed. Welcome to Amerika of the 21st century. Actung Comrade!

Anonymous said...

I attempted to read all of the comments left to you regarding this movie and your opinions and comments back but unfortunately did not read all of them due to lack of time.
I guess my question to you really has nothing to do with science and this article, but really I am interested in what your belief IS in regards to God and an intelligent design. I see all of your scientific facts and theories and your belief in the lack of facts in this movie and it's beliefs... but in the end, when you die....what will happen to you? There will ALWAYS be controversy and arguments over creation, design, evolution and how we came to this earth...but my question to you is....what will happen when you leave this earth? Why are you here? What is your purpose for being here? I am not debating or arguing your point on this blog...I truly am just interested in what you think about this.
You can respond if you have time, or if you even care to tell me...which you may not, and that is completely fine too.
Thanks.

Eneasz said...

Hello latest anon.

I'll answer as an atheist myself. I can't say that my answer is the same that Alonzo would give, but I suspect they will be very similar.

In general those without a belief in the supernatural believe that when someone (you, me, anyone) dies, nothing really happens. Sure, your biological functions cease, but that's about it. It's often hard to convey this to someone who believes in an afterlife. Try to think of it this way - what happens to a flower when it dies? What happens to a tree when you cut it down? What happens to the antelope that is killed and eaten by a lion? What happens when your pet dog/cat dies? The exact same thing happens to humans when we die. The universe continues on, our consciousness is ended, and the actions we took in life carry on for a while after us in the memories of our loved ones, and on the effect we had on society/history while we were here.

As for why we're here, what our purpose is - you must decide that for yourself, just like everyone else. Our actions have an effect on the world, on the lives of others, and will continue to ripple into the future. Keep this in mind, and act accordingly. No one is born with a purposes handed down by some job-giver. Everyone finds it for himself, and does what he (or she) can.

Anonymous said...

I have not read the entire column you wrote so I won't bring up any objections to the column itself. However, I have scanned much of it and read many of the comments written about it. If the comments are true, then I can safely state that the argument of Ben Stein is correct and verified by your column.

One rule taught early on in the learning of science is if you begin your assumptions on a flawed base, you will always have flawed results.

I absolutely agree that science is important and most God-fearing Christians would agree that science is important. If not, God would not have had use of it. One of the flaws are that God and science are not hand in hand. There are systems God set up which if studied, many can be understood.

Being insulting to the readers and commenters because they believe in God is juvenile. It takes away the last of the strands of credibility not already lost by your admittance of not watching the movie before attempting to pull it apart.

I would argue the point more, however, God gifted me three beautiful children. My time is better spent there. I do hope and pray that you will come to realize that eliminating creation from what is taught IS the point to this and that IS causing harm by violating free speech and free thought.

Jeff V said...

I do not like one who endeavors to express opinion on something they have not researched (or in this case viewed) for themselves. It seems you are giving a movie review without having first seen the movie. The only connections to the movie you have are reports from press articles on the subject. This pretty much invalidates your entire column with any connection to the film. If you want to express opinions on the subjects included here, feel free, but I believe it is very misleading to do so under the guise of providing counterpoint to a film you have never seen.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Jeff V.

I consider it a moral failing that you were incapable of responding to the argument that I actually wrote. Instead, you had to make up things that were not true so that you could respond to them instead. This is indicative of intellectual irresponsibility.

If a person were to make a statement such as, "If the fire alarm were to go off, we should leave the building by going down the stairwell to the left," we can certainly analyze that statement without it being the case that the fire alarm is actually going off.

In fact, you make these types of statements every day without a second thought given to their legitimacy.

However, when you needed to find something to criticize in my posting, you ignore the obvious legitimacy of these types of statements, so that you can invent a reason to dismiss what I have written.

Anonymous said...

If Intelligent Design is just plain nonsense. Then why is there so much work done to keep it from moving forward? The funny thing is that "scientists" who say ID produces nothing are the ones making the biggest noise about it.

If it produces nothing then what does it matter if some "crazy" person wants to try some tests applying his "stupid" theory.

It's going to fail and produce nothing anyway, right?

To a skeptic like me....it seems with all the effort to keep ID out of everything, that there just might be something to it.

Why don't we just let the "crazies" have a shot with their wacky ideas. That way when it produces nothing in front of everyone. People like you won't have to write an entire blog "proving" how it does nothing. If it does nothing let it prove itself wrong.

I'm just a simple Military Member and can obviously never argue the depths of science with you. But, I am a defender of American rights...something I do know a little about...and the way ID is being shut down at every corner is an attack on the Freedom of Speech.

I'm not saying let's start teaching this stuff in the classrooms tomorrow. But, just like people thought Thomas Edison was ridiculous at one point, let's atleast give them a shot to make their case. If what they say doesn't stack up then we can all refer to what we'll call "The Day ID Proved Itself Stupid".

Now I know what you'll say to that....It already has, right? Show me where it has proven itself useless and I'll leave you and the rest of "science" alone.

Don't forget that at one Point DE (Darwinian Evolution) was given an opportunity to makes its case. All I'm saying is that this is a whole lot of blogging for a movie you hadn't even seen when you wrote it. Why does ID get you in such an uproar? Sounds like the DErs are getting a little taste of their own "fight the power" soup just like when they wanted their Idea to be heard back in the day.

Best of luck to you sir in all your endevours I truly mean that. Also, I would like to commend you on your writing skills this was a very well written blog.

I am just asking that let's not tell the IDers to "Prove it". Then as they try to, let's not stand there like a little kids with our hands over our ears and our eyes shut shout "LA LA LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA LA." Sound a bit creationistic to me. With the whole God did it I'm not listening.

Anonymous said...

The incredible elitist snobbery of evolutionists always amazes me. Because a person is not a biologist, chemist, or physicist does not preclude them from recognizing a failure in logic. Darwin's theory of evolution has holes you can drive a truck through.

For instance, if humans slowly evolved through millions of mutations over millions of years, the earth should be literally covered in fossils recording those changes, just as we constantly find dinosaur fossils. Obviously, this is not the case.

Why are evolutionists so terrified of someone truly applying the sicentific method to their theory? The ferocity and hatefulness of their personal attacks on the ID folks is inconsistent with simple disagreement. It's clearly an attempt to stamp out any other opinion besides their own. Very reminiscent of the USSR and the Nazis.

Could Ben Stein have done a better job on his documentary? Yes, I think so. But all the ranting by evolutionistsis is just another way to divert attention from their own flawed theory.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

Anonymous

You are so despirate to hang on to your view that you will grasp anything that seems to offer it support and offer it as proof even though it is an absurdity.

For instance, if humans slowly evolved through millions of mutations over millions of years, the earth should be literally covered in fossils recording those changes, just as we constantly find dinosaur fossils.

(1) You are comparing the fossils of one species to the fossils of whole range of species. The propoer comparison would be the fossils of humans to the fossils of any one specific species of dinosaur - and there are many species we have only found one example of.

There are certainly many species of fossils for which we have no samples.

(2) Dinosaurs have lived a lot longer than humans, meaning that they had more time to create more fossils.

(3) Other factors relevant to the number of fossils left behind are (a) the climate in which a creature lived, (b) the number of individual members of the species, (c) the manner of death.

However, none of these confounding factors concern you. Forget about them, and you have your (make-believe) objection to evolution. Which is what you wanted.

Anonymous said...

Well, truth hurts and clearly, those who can do nothing but squirm when truth is shared, evidently lash out as best possible.
First, considering there is not a piece of equipment to measure time or age much past perhaps 10,000 years, and second, that there is not one piece of evidence in a glass case anywhere on the face of this incredibly well, intelligently designed universe we live in to support such literal foolishness as that of evolution, then the case is closed...end of story, face the fact, drop the pride and move on.

cialis online said...

I have noticed is that while for athiests the theory of evolution is assented to unequivocally, there seems to be this tendency from many left wing people to be suspicious of evolution. I suspect it has something to do with the social darwinist stuff, but of course a cursory understanding of the mechanics of evolutionary theory should surely ease their mind.

Karma wil Kill you said...

Such a well written essay on how to be so closed-minded that you can't even wait to see the movie to bash it.

Way to prove Ben Stein's point in the movie!!!

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