Major Errors in the Debate

croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
Major Errors in the Debate

I have to say, that the recent debate that Kelly and Sapient participated in has confirmed my thoughts that the so called Rational Response Squad are amateur, at best. I won’t comment much on Ray and Kirk other than to say that they are excellent speakers for giving testimony, but not so great at the philosophy either. I do not think they addressed the question adequately. It appears that you all went in with different expectations of what was to be argued, and how.
Sapient and Kelly, your arguments reflected a lack of understanding of the issues at hand. You appeal to the masses, to popular sentiments, but very little in the way of content or persuasive value. The reason is that most or all of the arguments you presented have already been answered by professional theistic philosophers.
You seem to be under the false impression that there is no debate here – that theists are blind to the most obvious of facts, the fact that God does not exist. Rather what is in fact clear is that you have little understanding of the arguments that have been made for and against the existence of God. Instead, you promote arguments that have long ago been demolished and do not represent the cutting edge of either theistic or atheistic thought. Though you cannot be completely to blame, as Dawkins’ recent book ‘The God Delusion’ is a step backwards in educating atheists.
There were so many thoughts that each deserved a debate on their own, that I’m only going to briefly touch on various items:
· Sapient in his opening speech argued that designers of buildings are different, because we can call them up and check permit records. I wonder, then, what Sapient would conclude with this: a thousand years in the future, humans travel to a planet circling Proxima Centauri. Landing on the planet, to their surprise they see a strange spherical object hovering above the ground. It has etched on it what appears to us to be symbols, but if they are, they are a foreign language. When the visitors approach it, above it lights play, giving an image of what seems to be the surrounding area, but at a different time. When they move away, it stops. Would Sapient be able to call this object designed? Or would he, knowing nothing at all about aliens (their phone numbers, the location of their building permits or blueprints, etc), be unable to detect design? Or is it possible to tell something is designed solely by considering the item before us?
· Sapient and Kelly both argued that you can be the worst of the worst, and still go to heaven. As though a Christian is free to murder, rape, and pillage, so long as at the end of the day he remembers to pray for forgiveness. This is just an absurd misunderstanding of Christian doctrine, and I wonder at their claims that they once went to church. Perhaps they were fresh out of Sunday School when they became atheists, or didn’t pay attention? Christians teach _repentance_ as going hand in hand with forgiveness. Repentance is not an outward speaking of words, but an inward decision to turn away from the things that we do wrong. If someone were to ask for forgiveness, but in their heart they did not mean it and keep sinning, then they have not repented. It’s that simple. People who do not repent are not forgiven, and those that Kelly and Sapient said would go to heaven would in fact not.
· Sapient said, “If all creations need a creator, then what created God?”. Perhaps Sapient can be forgiven for making this elementary mistake, but he should really investigate this issue in more depth. If you’re going to argue and draw such a large crowd, you should take the time to understand what you’re arguing. William Craig is the most common proponent of the Cosmological Argument, and he explains very clearly why this is not a problem. His argument runs as follows:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause
As a complement to this, the best current scientific thought demonstrates time as beginning at the big bang. This means that whatever caused the big bang was itself timeless. A timeless cause needs no beginning – only temporal entities have a beginning, and therefore a need for a creator. God, being timeless, needs no such thing. The theist has a much better answer for the cause of the universe. It explains that cause as an atemporal entity. The atheist just says the universe came from nothing - which is more absurd, that something began from nothing, or that something began from something? This also answers the later criticism that was raised, asking why the universe can’t be the always existing thing. There are two supplements to this:
1. The reason why the universe can’t be the infinitely existing thing is because the best current scientific thought shows the universe, and time, as having a definite beginning, “before” which it did not begin. Kelly and Sapient consider themselves heroes of the scientific cause – so they are not free to pick and choose which science they wish to disregard. The universe did not exist eternally into the past.
2. The German Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz promoted an argument where he explained why if the universe were infinitely old, it would need a cause. If we ignored current scientific evidence, and believed the universe to have always existed, then we would still not find the atheists argument compelling. Leibniz outlined this argument in “On the Radical Origination of Things”. If you’re wondering why the universe being infinitely old is unacceptable, but why God being atemporal is – then consider what’s being said: The universe is said by some atheists to be infinitely old, but it is still temporal. However, people like William Craig argue that God is atemporal – not infinitely old, but atemporal. Craig also has presented arguments explaining why an infinitely old universe is logically impossible. Please look into his works
· As for the arguments of the imperfection of the human system, I’ll make these brief comments. The eye is not regarded as imperfect. Perhaps if the eye was the only thing in the human body it might be, but engineers must consider optimal design. Various components may not be perfect, but the system as a whole is an excellent design as a result of the compromises made in various subsystems. Many have argued that the eye’s blind spot provides no evidence of imperfection. As an amusing side note on Sapient’s comments about snakes having vestigial legs, in Genesis 3 the curse God places on the serpent seems to indicate that snakes were once meant to walk. I direct you to Genesis 3:14. I don’t think this is proof of anything, just an amusing and perhaps ironic side note.
· Sapient’s arguments regarding science’s contributions vs that of religion are groundless and irrelevant. It’s not religion vs science. Religious people can be scientists, and often are. The arena of empirical evidence is not somehow the sole domain of atheists. If Leibniz, Newton and others made contributions to science, you can’t count that as some atheistic victory. The success of science says *nothing* about religion. Don’t confuse Atheism and Science as synonymous terms, they’re unrelated in the way Sapient thinks they are.
· We are all atheists in respect to Zeus, Thor, etc? Atheism is the belief that God does not exist. Theists believe God exists. Just because I reject the notion of God as being like Zeus, does not make me an atheist like Sapient and Kelly. It just means when someone tells me that God (though they refer to Him as Zeus) came down in the form of a snake and slept with a woman, I say I don’t agree.
· There is one comment made by Kelly that is beautifully absurd. She exclaims that if God existed, “We would live in a world of magic, where you could turn on the light switch, and well maybe it would turn on and maybe it wouldn’t because, hey, it’s magic!” This argument just plain does not work. What is Kelly afraid of? That if God exists, He would have the freedom to override our expectations? So what? We already have intelligent agents in this world – humans. These humans have the freedom to cut off our power if they so decide, and to connect it again. We already live in that uncertain world, where the actions of intelligent agents can override our expectations. God would be an agent no different – He would have the freedom to intervene in our world and prevent the light switch too. Does Kelly believe that it is impossible for aliens to exist, because if they did then our light switches might not work the next day if they decided to cut off our power? It’s just absurd. We can’t disbelieve in an entity merely because it would have the power to override our expectations. Maybe Kelly would like it to be the case that God does not exist, or aliens don’t exist, so that she can’t be afraid of the actions of something more powerful than her – but her likes and dislikes say nothing about reality.
· The reference to the Flying Spaghetti Monster fails. Presumably the argument is something like this: If God exists, then how do we know whether it is Yahweh, Zeus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? But you can’t argue that God doesn’t exist, just because if He did exist we wouldn’t know certain things about Him. If we are successful in demonstrating that it is probable that God exists, then you can raise the question as to whether He’s properly called Zeus, Yahweh or FSM. But then you’ll be a theist, arguing about the nature of God. This point does nothing to build up a case for atheism.
· What is Kelly’s point about the argument of the universe’s perfection being countered by the fact we are here to observe it? I believe she is referring to the Fine Tuning argument, but clumsily so. Hard to address this when the argument hasn’t been clearly made.
· On what grounds does Kelly argue that God is exempt from ordinary logic and rationality? Most Christian analytical philosophers would argue that God is subject to the laws of logic and rationality as we are – if not more.
· Regarding consciousness and morality – no points to be made here. Atheism can explain the existence of morality, but it’s not a point in favour of atheism. What atheists cannot explain is why we must be moral.
I think that’s enough for now.
Thanks


magilum
Posts: 2410
Joined: 2007-03-07
User is offlineOffline
Ooh, a rehash.

Ooh, a rehash.


kellym78
atheistRational VIP!
kellym78's picture
Posts: 602
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
I don't know about all of

I don't know about all of the "erros" in the debate, but maybe you could try posting it in the thread that specifically states that it is where we will attempt to answer any questions, objections, etc.? You know, instead of posting another thread of the same bullshit that we have discussed ad nauseum in the official one. Uh oh...was that an "erro"? *rolls eyes*


Sapient
High Level DonorRRS CO-FOUNDERRRS Core MemberWebsite Admin
Sapient's picture
Posts: 7522
Joined: 2006-04-18
User is offlineOffline
The "erros" in debate

The "erros" in debate reminds me of this guy...

 

 I hope the OP's glass roof didn't just come crashing down. 

- Brian Sapient


Buy popular atheist books and support the Rational Response Squad at the same time on Amazon.


American Atheist
American Atheist's picture
Posts: 1331
Joined: 2006-09-03
User is offlineOffline

ROTF


Rook_Hawkins
RRS CO-FOUNDER
Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
Ugh, after reading the

Ugh, after reading the first post I feel light-headed... 


Iruka Naminori
atheist
Iruka Naminori's picture
Posts: 1955
Joined: 2006-11-21
User is offlineOffline
Because the OP doesn't

Because the OP doesn't believe in paragraph breaks, I have no idea what else he believes because I didn't want to read that.

MY EYES!!! 

Books on atheism, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
You know, instead of

You know, instead of posting another thread of the same bullshit that we have discussed ad nauseum in the official one.

Call me crazy, but I prefer not to wade through 35 pages of posts, and then add to it, discussing with a lot of noise around.  Especially when a majority of those posts are completely unrelated to the topics that interest me.  I find threads to be quite a useful tool for separating discussions.

Besides, I thought that main thread was for where you and Sapient will try to respond.  I wasn't necessarily interested in a response from you (though I'd certainly welcome it).

As for your witty "erros" joke, I have corrected the typo.  Looks like I won't necessarily be getting a response to the content of my post.  Sorry about the lack of paragraphs - I wrote this elsewhere and then cut and pasted it.


Rook_Hawkins
RRS CO-FOUNDER
Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
croath wrote: You know,

croath wrote:

You know, instead of posting another thread of the same bullshit that we have discussed ad nauseum in the official one.

Call me crazy, but I prefer not to wade through 35 pages of posts, and then add to it, discussing with a lot of noise around. Especially when a majority of those posts are completely unrelated to the topics that interest me. I find threads to be quite a useful tool for separating discussions.

All you had to do was look at the top story on the homepage which has been there for a month now. 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
In my post it should have

In my post it should have been very clear that I'm aware of that main monolithic thread to discuss the show. As I said above, I didn't want to wade through 35 pages of posts in a single thread talking about topics that don't interest me. Hence new thread. Reduces clutter. Makes it easier to find where someone's at.

If this is going to be an issue to discussion, I can re-post what I wrote in that main thread, but I'd rather have a clean slate location to discuss it with whoever is interested in discussing it, if anyone at all.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
croath wrote:I have to

croath wrote:
I have to say, that the recent debate that Kelly and Sapient participated in has confirmed my thoughts that the so called Rational Response Squad are amateur, at best.

Fortunately a real pro like yourself showed up.

Quote:

. William Craig is the most common proponent of the Cosmological Argument, and he explains very clearly why this is not a problem. His argument runs as follows:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause

Premise 1 is ad hoc. It only began to show up as a premise in this argument to shore up the earlier, even weaker version of this premise (i.e. everything has a cause) that could be used to demonstrate that according to the logic in the argument 'god' also required a cause.

Unless you can demonstrate that there is more than one entity that belongs to the class of 'things that begin to exist without a cause" you're merely arguing in a circle as well.

More importantly, the claim commits a fallacy of composition. We cannot assume that we can apply rules about phenomena within the universe to the universe itself.

Example: Hydrogen is a gas. Oxygen is a gas. It follows that H2O must be a gas.

Craig's not the best resource for apologetics. I'll demonstrate that below.

Quote:

As a complement to this, the best current scientific thought demonstrates time as beginning at the big bang.

But big bang theory is not creation theory. It is merely an account of our universe, since planck time.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/common_cosmological_misconceptions

So there's nothing in Big Bang theory that points, necessarily, to a creation point.

In fact, according to Penn State physicist Lee Smolin, there are three possible ways to decribe the nature of a singularity, not just one:

* [A] There is still a first moment in time, even when quantum mechanics is taken into consideration.

* [b] The singularity is eliminated by some quantum mechanical effect. As a result, when we run the clock back, the universe does not reach a state of infinite density. Something else happens when the universe reaches some very high density that allows time to continue indefinitely into the past.

* [C] Something new and strange and quantum mechanical happens to time, which is neither possibility A or B. For example, perhaps we reach a state where it is no longer appropriate to think that reality is composed of a series of moments that follow each other in a progression, one after another. In this case there is perhaps no singularity, but it may also not make sense to ask what happened before the universe was extremely dense.

Quote:

This means that whatever caused the big bang was itself timeless.

No, it does not mean this, your claim is a non sequitur.

It either means:

That once we move back to planck time, we can no longer refer to time, and therefore, causality.

OR

The universe itself is part of a multiverse, i.e. there was time prior to our big bang.

(See Brane Theory) in the link I posted above)

Quote:

A timeless cause needs no beginning

A timeless cause is an oxymoron. Causality speaks to a relationship between one event, in another, connected in contiguity.

You can't speak of causality without referencing time. You're committing a stolen concept fallacy.

See also David Hume:

http://candleinthedark.com/hume.html

 

Hume's laws of Cause and effect:

 

1) The cause and effect must be contiguous (together) in the same space/time
2) The cause must be prior in time to the effect
3) There must be a constant union between the two
4) The same cause must always produce the same effect, and vice versa.

 

Basically ,if one holds that time is infinite (through a cyclical or oscillatory universe, or a multiverse) and that causality must be temporal, then there would be no need for a "first cause" of any sort. ( I took that line from Wiki's entry on the cosmological argument, it was nice)

On the other hand, quantum tunneling presents us with a feasible 'first' cause that is infinitely more parsimonious than an appeal to the supernatural, so I just don't see any value to the cosmological argument. At best, all it can argue back to is quantum tunneling...

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
croath wrote:

croath wrote:

I have to say, that the recent debate that Kelly and Sapient participated in has confirmed my thoughts that the so called Rational Response Squad are amateur, at best

Ja, und du?

croath wrote:

I won’t comment much on Ray and Kirk other than to say that they are excellent speakers for giving testimony, but not so great at the philosophy either. I do not think they addressed the question adequately.

You have the distinctly British talent of understatement. "not so great at philosophy". Considering the fact that philosophy is a multisyllabic word, I would be in doubt if either Ray or Kirk were particularly adept at philosophy.

croath wrote:

Sapient in his opening speech argued that designers of buildings are different, because we can call them up and check permit records. I wonder, then, what Sapient would conclude with this: a thousand years in the future, humans travel to a planet circling Proxima Centauri. Landing on the planet, to their surprise they see a strange spherical object hovering above the ground. It has etched on it what appears to us to be symbols, but if they are, they are a foreign language. When the visitors approach it, above it lights play, giving an image of what seems to be the surrounding area, but at a different time. When they move away, it stops. Would Sapient be able to call this object designed? Or would he, knowing nothing at all about aliens (their phone numbers, the location of their building permits or blueprints, etc), be unable to detect design? Or is it possible to tell something is designed solely by considering the item before us?

Indeed, to insist on God due to apparent design is an obvious Argument from incredulity. Any a posteriori argument for God will and always will commit the prior requisite fallacy. It is reflection of a discredited philosophical school called "trickle-down creation", the notion that a constructed object has to be created by a constructer more complex than the constructed object. And yet, counterintuitevely, scientific philosophy goes in totally the opposite direction. The necessary creative intelligence to create objects and put the tricke-down theory into practice can only arise from evolution from simpler origins.

More specifically, God as described would break this by commiting the prior requiste fallacy, as it too would require design thusly leading to an infinite regress of designers. The more obvious solution is to reverse the equation, from long-since outdated top-down creation to the new, more sensible philosophy of bottom-up evolution, which is firmly established scientific fact from all fields of scientific discipline, and a scientist myself, I can confirm the solidity of this philosophy.

Another example of the prior requisite fallacy is given here, showing how God is necessarily incoherent and can be eliminated via Occam's Razor:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/philosophy_and_psychology_with_chaoslord_and_todangst/6279

I suggest you read that link I wrote, as it is rather important.

croath wrote:

Sapient said, “If all creations need a creator, then what created God?”. Perhaps Sapient can be forgiven for making this elementary mistake, but he should really investigate this issue in more depth. If you’re going to argue and draw such a large crowd, you should take the time to understand what you’re arguing. William Craig is the most common proponent of the Cosmological Argument, and he explains very clearly why this is not a problem. His argument runs as follows:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore the universe has a cause
As a complement to this, the best current scientific thought demonstrates time as beginning at the big bang. This means that whatever caused the big bang was itself timeless. A timeless cause needs no beginning – only temporal entities have a beginning, and therefore a need for a creator.

I would suggest you read todangst's common cosmological misconceptions. Ah! I see he has already posted it.

The necessary implication of the cause is that we can conclude a priori that it cannot be intelligent while simaltaneously "timeless" as shown by me in the Matter/Information conjecture thread, which I hope you had the courtesy to read carefully, as this would commit yet another prior requisite fallacy. Also, after reading Common Cosmological Misconceptions, you would do to educate yourself in basic quantum physics and read this thread:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/yellow_number_five/science/6990

about ex nihilo and the creation of the universe.

croath wrote:

. God, being timeless, needs no such thing. The theist has a much better answer for the cause of the universe. It explains that cause as an atemporal entity. The atheist just says the universe came from nothing - which is more absurd, that something began from nothing, or that something began from something?

That is the most amusing answer I have ever heard all day. The theist answer is terrible, as they are quite literally appealling to magic, an entity which is ultimately incoherent under the given laws of nature, and thusly should be swiftly eliminated via the law of non-contradiction. And if you knew basic university level cosmology, you would be aware that ex nihilo is given under the laws of physics, in the Hawking model "eternal nothingness" is an impossibility due to unification instability.

the cosmological argument can easily be reduced to an argument from incredulity, but also a prior requisite fallacy because to account for natural laws, it has to posit an entity which is not bound by natural laws, but any attempts to explain the existence of such an entity are ultimately incoherent (given especially that human epistemology is limited, obviously, to the natural world)

For instance, the Kalam Cosmological argument, instead of appealing to infinite regress, appeals to universal cause. The universe could just as easily have not existed as opposed to existed (a statement which every physicist on the planet would decry as utter falsehood), the existence of the universe demands an explanation, according to Kalam (and Craig, who might as well be ghosting his spirit).

Yet to fix this intractable, they posit a solution which fixes no more problems than it creates further problems, all of which are defended as being inherently unknowable. Why should such an entity terminate the regress? The universe demands an explanation, thusly there is an entity of maximal intelligence and power not bound by the universe? Presumably this entity demands an explanation for its existence as well? Perhaps a better explanation considering that such a being is highly improbable? God runs in direct opposition to natural laws, which state that simplicity begets complexity. The complexity of the universe could only have sprung from simplicity, and complexity increases in accordance with natural laws that provide systems with free energy, better known as evolution. A creative intelligence, not bound by these laws, but being the solution which does not demand an explanation, not having started from simplicity, and working up, but always existing in maximally perfect form, is more improbable than the quantum tunnelling prisoner experiment.

And regarding the eternal existence of the universe, that was a mistake they made, which I have pointed out in the above link which I hope you took the time to read.

croath wrote:

On what grounds does Kelly argue that God is exempt from ordinary logic and rationality? Most Christian analytical philosophers would argue that God is subject to the laws of logic and rationality as we are – if not more.

Excellent! Then they will demonstrate the logic of God's existence in an atemporal realm in light of the Matter/Information conjecture. The obvious result of the conjecture is to posit God (supernatura) as having characteristics that are decidedly natural (intelligence and sentience), would be incoherent, as causality presupposes the concept of naturalism (Therefore, to posit God as supernatural and uncaused (which given said attributes, is a logical imposibility on top of an epistemilogical incoherency seeing as time and space are both necessary for causal relationship) should be immediately eliminated by the law of non-contradiction.

Positing God, then, is no more the solution to the origin of the universe than "waffles" is the solution to 2+2, as essentially we are multiplying infinity by zero, producing a slew of meaningless tautologies (think of the God solution as a dev/0/generator), because the "problem" is solved by insterting a solution which in and of itself presents the same problems, albeit in much higher magnitude. Even a child should be able to see that this is a clear prior requisite fallacy.

 

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote:That is

deludedgod wrote:

That is the most amusing answer I have ever heard all day. The theist answer is terrible, as they are quite literally appealling to magic, an entity which is ultimately incoherent under the given laws of nature, and thusly should be swiftly eliminated via the law of non-contradiction. And if you knew basic university level cosmology, you would be aware that ex nihilo is given under the laws of physics, in the Hawking model "eternal nothingness" is an impossibility due to unification instability.

When I read about Alex Vilenkin proposal for an ex nihilio theory that did not violate physics, (which basically involves an initial state of 'no dimensional nothingness' (i.e. not even vacuum) that is overcome by vacuum tunneling to a dimensional state) I already thought that he was implying that 'enternal nothingness' is an impossibility.

But outside of the implication I am gathering from his proposal and Hawking's model, I'm not sure what the consensus is in physics on this matter, vis -a-vis the impossibilty of 'eternal nothingness'.

But let me say this: theists seem to simply assume that the possibility of an eternal nothingness is a given.. in fact, the  history of philosophy is replete with theists wondering why there is something rather than nothing, rather then the reverse: how could there be nothing?! 

Quote:

Yet to fix this intractable, they posit a solution which fixes no more problems than it creates further problems, all of which are defended as being inherently unknowable.

I like this line!

My favored way of saying it is "The ultimate violation of occam's razor; multiplying complexity into infinity'

I should add "and beyond"

 

croath wrote:

On what grounds does Kelly argue that God is exempt from ordinary logic and rationality? Most Christian analytical philosophers would argue that God is subject to the laws of logic and rationality as we are – if not more.

Quote:

Excellent! Then they will demonstrate the logic of God's existence in an atemporal realm in light of the Matter/Information conjecture.

That should prove interesting.

I just have one question for our friend: How can a 'being' be logical? I thought the laws of logic applied to arguments. What exactly are christians refering to when they say "god is subject to the laws of logic"

Oh, and just one more: If god is subject to these laws... then who created them? God's smarter, older brother? And, when we get the classic rejoiner "They are not created, they are part of his nature" I then ask: (leaving aside how something beyond nature can have a nature) "can god change these laws, even potentially?"

 

 

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
todangst

todangst wrote:

Fortunately a real pro like yourself showed up.

I never claimed to be a pro. An amateur can spot another of his fellows.

Quote:

Premise 1 is ad hoc. Unless you can demonstrate that there is more than one entity that belongs to the class of 'things that begin to exist without a cause" you're merely arguing in a circle as well.

Premise 1 is founded on the empirical evidence we have, that all things that begin to exist have a cause. I don't understand why you're saying that I need to demonstrate the existence of an entity that began to exist but was uncaused - when the very thing I'm claiming is that no such entity exists.

 

Quote:

But big bang theory is not creation theory. It is merely an account of our universe, since planck time.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/common_cosmological_misconceptions

I never claimed it was a creation theory. The kalam cosmological argument is a philosophical argument of the consequences of the big bang theory.

Quote:

* [b] The singularity is eliminated by some quantum mechanical effect. As a result, when we run the clock back, the universe does not reach a state of infinite density. Something else happens when the universe reaches some very high density that allows time to continue indefinitely into the past.

As I mentioned, Leibniz and Craig, and others, have given arguments why even a solution like this does not obviate the need for a cause of the universe. Solutions like these have not been ignored by the theist.

Quote:

* [C] Something new and strange and quantum mechanical happens to time, which is neither possibility A or B. For example, perhaps we reach a state where it is no longer appropriate to think that reality is composed of a series of moments that follow each other in a progression, one after another. In this case there is perhaps no singularity, but it may also not make sense to ask what happened before the universe was extremely dense.

I'm not sure how to make sense of this solution. In these brief three sentences it sounds like a solution that involves the breaking down of time...so how would that differ from an atemporal existence?

Quote:
Quote:

This means that whatever caused the big bang was itself timeless.

No, it does not mean this, your claim is a non sequitur.

It either means:

That once we move back to planck time, we can no longer refer to time, and therefore, causality.

OR

The universe itself is part of a multiverse.

(See Brane Theory) in the link I posted above)

Causality discussed below. Multiverses have their own unique problems. The Brane Theory seems to be a new entrant on the scene, with little discussion of its merits yet. I think it would be prudent to suspend judgement on it until more is known. For now, it would probably be wise to stick with the big bang, which is how the cosmological argument is based on. Initially it would seem that the same problems of other infinite universes would apply.

Quote:
Quote:

A timeless cause needs no beginning

You can't speak of causality without referencing time. You're committing a stolen concept fallacy.

No, I'm not. There is no reason to believe that time is necessary for cause and effect. A child on a trampoline causes a depression in the trampoline. The cause of that depression is simultaneous with the effect. If we have a timeless mechanical cause, then it is entirely possible that it is simultaneous with its effect.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
croath wrote:todangst

croath wrote:
todangst wrote:

Premise 1 is ad hoc. Unless you can demonstrate that there is more than one entity that belongs to the class of 'things that begin to exist without a cause" you're merely arguing in a circle as well.

Premise 1 is founded on the empirical evidence we have

Read your Hume. We don't have empirical evidence of 'causality' itself, merely of causal relationships.

However the real issue is that your argument commits a fallacy of composition.

Quote:

that all things that begin to exist have a cause.

Again, it is a fallacy of composition to apply this rule, even if it is true, to the universe itself. I'm not going to repeat the argument concerning H2O, please go back and read it yourself.

Quote:

I don't understand why you're saying that I need to demonstrate the existence of an entity that began to exist but was uncaused - when the very thing I'm claiming is that no such entity exists.

Oops. I was actually trying to refernce your "god' that 'exists' 'without ever coming into existence'... but never mind, I'm not all that interested in that particular issue... no time now.

Quote:

But big bang theory is not creation theory. It is merely an account of our universe, since planck time.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/common_cosmological_misconceptions

Quote:

I never claimed it was a creation theory.

But this is a necessary ramification of your statement that the universe began to exist! If you concede that big bang theory is not a creation theory, and that it is merely a transitional event, then how are you relying on big bang theory to build a cosmological argument?

Quote:

The kalam cosmological argument is a philosophical argument of the consequences of the big bang theory.

And it merely begs the question that infinite regress is impossible. It also contradicts itself, by holding that there was a starting point, and infinite amount of time ago that is impossibly traversed, when an infinite regress actually has no starting point in the first place.

Quote:

* [b] The singularity is eliminated by some quantum mechanical effect. As a result, when we run the clock back, the universe does not reach a state of infinite density. Something else happens when the universe reaches some very high density that allows time to continue indefinitely into the past.

Quote:

As I mentioned, Leibniz and Craig, and others, have given arguments why even a solution like this does not obviate the need for a cause of the universe.

So they say, the problem here is that given that B speaks to a indefinate past, so there is no need to refer to a first cause.

 

Quote:

* [C] Something new and strange and quantum mechanical happens to time, which is neither possibility A or B. For example, perhaps we reach a state where it is no longer appropriate to think that reality is composed of a series of moments that follow each other in a progression, one after another. In this case there is perhaps no singularity, but it may also not make sense to ask what happened before the universe was extremely dense.

Quote:

I'm not sure how to make sense of this solution. In these brief three sentences it sounds like a solution that involves the breaking down of time...so how would that differ from an atemporal existence?

It does not speak to atemporality at all, in fact, the opposite: it states that time is infinite. The multiverse never comes into existence, it merely exists.

 

Quote:
Quote:

This means that whatever caused the big bang was itself timeless.

No, it does not mean this, your claim is a non sequitur.

It either means:

That once we move back to planck time, we can no longer refer to time, and therefore, causality.

OR

The universe itself is part of a multiverse.

(See Brane Theory) in the link I posted above)

Quote:

Causality discussed below. Multiverses have their own unique problems.

There's a cosmological theory that doesn't?

Quote:

The Brane Theory seems to be a new entrant on the scene, with little discussion of its merits yet. I think it would be prudent to suspend judgement on it until more is known.

I think it would prudent for you to follow your own advice and read up on it. I'm not clinging to Brane theory as the answer, merely yet one more reasonable alterntive to your views.

Quote:

For now, it would probably be wise to stick with the big bang,

No, not really, seeing as it's NOT a creation event, it has no bearing on this discussion.

Quote:

which is how the cosmological argument is based on.

Then the cosmological argument is based on yet another false presumption. The big bang theory is a transitional event, it speaks to a transition from a singularity to our present state. Thats it.

Quote:
Quote:

A timeless cause needs no beginning

You can't speak of causality without referencing time. You're committing a stolen concept fallacy.

Quote:

No, I'm not.

Yes, you are. You can't reference causality without referencing time.

Quote:

There is no reason to believe that time is necessary for cause and effect.

There's every reason to believe it, seeing as it's part of its very definition. A cause must procede an effect to be a cause.

Quote:

A child on a trampoline causes a depression in the trampoline. The cause of that depression is simultaneous with the effect.

You've discovered faster than light travel! 

Oy vey, not this argument again.

I thought it usually involves a chair cushion. Who came up with that again, Liebnitz I bet...

Anyway, the event described above is NOT simultaneous. The observation was made before the existence of fine tuned measuring devices..... If the event were simultaneous, then someone would have invented faster than light travel!

With that old chestnut out of the way, I will now challenge you to explain how a cause can procede an effect without referencing time.

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
Was writing a reply to 

Was writing a reply to  deludedgod and then lost it somehow when the browser changed pages Sad

 I'll respond to thoughts later, if I have time.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
croath wrote: Was writing

croath wrote:

Was writing a reply to deludedgod and then lost it somehow when the browser changed pages Sad

I'll respond to thoughts later, if I have time.

 Ah man, I know how much that sucks....  Just a heads up, the site goes down from time to time, it might pay to write in a text file.

 Anyway, I am going to head out, might not post again for a few days, enjoyed talking to you.  Deludedgod is a good fellow to talk to, you might want to exchange with him as I will be absent.

Take care. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
How often have I howled in

How often have I howled in indignation after holding backspace or pressing ctrl W by accident? What I have learned since is that if I am to write a long-winded response, it is better to do so on a Word document.

todangst wrote:

enjoyed talking to you

I concur, albeit in present tense, as I will still be here. 

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


MrRage
Posts: 896
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
1. In response to your

1. In response to your recognizing design point.

I would say this is a moot point. I think life on this planet was designed, but not intelligently designed. The designer was the (unintelligent) process of evolution.

2. In response to your point about repentance and forgiveness.

I wasn't aware that there was one "Christian doctrine." There are other ways of interpreting the bible that don't require repentance for "basic" salvation (i.e. going to heaven and not hell). The point really is that one could live a life of evil and still escape hell, e.g. a serial killer could repent the hour before they were executed.

3. In response to your points about the cause and age of the universe.

I (and many others) have problem's with Craig's 3 points. The first one should read "Everything in the universe that begins to exist has a cause." (and even that can be disputed).

The second point is no longer valid either. You said that, "the best current scientific thought demonstrates time as beginning at the big bang", but this simply isn't true. There are plenty of viable cosmological models where time doesn't being at the big bang.

The third point I would question, because cause and effect is something we observe inside the universe, and usually involves time. I think it's an over generalization to apply cause and effect to the universe as a whole.

I find it funny that you say that: "However, people like William Craig argue that God is atemporal – not infinitely old, but atemporal." But it's a fact the the universe itself is atemporal.

4. Imperfection of the human system.

I think the point is the quirks of the human design are better explained by the trial and error process of evolution.

6. In response to your points about religion v. science.

First off, you examples of religious scientist do not include any modern scientist. Most (not all!) modern scientists are atheist, pantheist, or very liberal theists (i.e. don't believe in miracles).

The successes of science say a lot about religion. There were many things in the past that were explained (even in the bible) by supernatural causes, that we now know have natural causes. The onward march of science makes metaphysical naturalism more and more sure. My atheism is a consequence of my naturalism.

7. Being atheists in regards to Zeus.

I largely agree with you here. I think it's a categorical error to compare the modern concepts of god with these ancient, highly anthropomorphic nature gods.

8. In response to your points about living in a world of magic if there's a god.

When Kelly said, "We would live in a world of magic, where you could turn on the light switch, and well maybe it would turn on and maybe it wouldn’t because, hey, it’s magic!", she means that the scientific process wouldn't work with supernatural entities regularly being involved in the natural world. We would expect to see many violations of "the laws of nature."

9. Your points about the FSM.

I agree with you largely (although the FSM wasn't created for this argument specifically). The point really is, even if we agreed that a god existed, the most rational position to hold is agnosticism about most of god's attributes. Neither you nor I can disprove that the FSM created the world "with his noodly appendage."

10. Your points about Fine Tuning.

Kelly was referring to the Anthropic principle.

11. On god being exempt from ordinary logic and rationality.

If god is subject to anything, then would god still be omnipotent?

12. Atheist & Morality

I don't understand. An atheist, or more properly a metaphysical naturalist, can explain the existence of morality, but not why we must follow this morality? How so? Most naturalistic explanations of morality I've heard involve morality aiding human survival and quality of life. Isn't that reason enough to be moral?


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Responses to croath

todangst wrote:
Unless you can demonstrate that there is more than one entity that belongs to the class of 'things that begin to exist without a cause" you're merely arguing in a circle as well.

This appears to be an ad hoc imposition. Are you contesting the validity of sets with only one member? By your apparent reasoning we shouldn't be able to posit the existence of irrational numbers as a consequence of the reductio ad absurdum proof of irrational numbers on the grounds that we can't conceive of another entity with the same properties.

todangst wrote:
More importantly, the claim commits a fallacy of composition. We cannot assume that we can apply rules about phenomena within the universe to the universe itself.

Making an inference about the characteristics of a class based on the characteristics of its constituent members is not always an instance of the fallacy of composition: vodka is a liquid, orange juice is a liquid therefore a "screwdriver" is a liquid.

todangst wrote:
But big bang theory is not creation theory. It is merely an account of our universe, since planck time.

This looks like sophistry (on your part). The origin of the singularity nevertheless demands an explanation. Smolin's trilemma is conjecture (albeit well-informed conjecture). Your patchwork and derivative essay "Common cosmoligal conceptions" doesn't resolve this issue.

todangst wrote:
OR The universe itself is part of a multiverse, i.e. there was time prior to our big bang.

Is the concept of a multiverse any less fanciful, any less conjectural, any less 'ontologically economical' and any more intellectually satisfying than an omnimax supernatural being? The choice between multiverse and deity appears arbitrary and based more on worldview than rationality or evidence. I contend that both positions are (at the current time) equally rational.

todangst wrote:
A timeless cause is an oxymoron. Causality speaks to a relationship between one event, in another, connected in contiguity.

You can't speak of causality without referencing time. You're committing a stolen concept fallacy.

Causality was a problem for Hume and it remains an epistemological problem. You appear to be commiting the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

todangst wrote:
Hume's laws of Cause and effect:

Your reference to Hume is curious because Hume regarded the notion of causality as essentially inscrutable. Hume contended that there is no good reason to propose a causal connection between two phenomena (see http://www.bartleby.com/37/3/9.html). Hume reduces causality to correlation based on the balance of probabilities which are in turn based on prior observations. Hume was an epistemological sceptic and those that followed him in that tradition have stated the Humean position more forcefully. Bertrand Russell wrote that

Quote:
To me it seems that philosophy ought not to assume such legislative functions, and that the reason why physics has ceased to look for causes is that, in fact, there are no such things. (http://ia311507.us.archive.org/2/items/mysticism00russuoft/mysticism00russuoft_djvu.txt)

todangst wrote:
On the other hand, quantum tunneling presents us with a feasible 'first' cause that is infinitely more parsimonious than an appeal to the supernatural, so I just don't see any value to the cosmological argument. At best, all it can argue back to is quantum tunneling...

So here you are rejecting theism on the modest grounds of 'parsimony' and 'feasibility'. This is a reasonable position and it is far removed from the usual rabid irrational rhetoric that RRS has become known. With exclusive regard to cosmology the quantum tunneling hypothesis may be more parsimonius than the God hypothesis but that isn't the extent of the theistic argument. With reference to the ontology of moral values (which Brian and Kelly demonstrated a complete ignorance), providence, conscience, consciousness, abiogenesis, biological information coding and entropy the criteria of 'parsimony' and 'feasibility' fall in favour of the God hypothesis.

The implicit founding concept of RRS that theism is irrational is itself irrational. My view is that both atheism and theism can be rational positions -- neither of which was exemplified in the RRS v. Cameron/Comfort debate. Both parties to the debate sucked, the RRS side just happened to suck a little less. That debate was not at all representative of the state of the atheism v. theism debate. It was a travesty that at times resembled parody. I don't think Kelly, Brian, Cameron or Comfort should be engaging in philosophical or scientifc debates. None have either the knowledge or intellect for the task. Like you Brian, I am being "blunt and honest".

Rook appears to have jumped the shark and entered into unconscious self-pardody.

"Rook Hawkins: Ancient Text Expert and Historian" reads the splash page on http://www.rookhawkins.com. Rook, this begs the question of what specifically is the basisof your purported expertise. Have you been published in any reputable peer-reviewed journals? Do you even have any academic credentials on the topics you claim expertise? Do professional historians, archeologists, New Testament scholars, Koine Greek scholars, Aramaic scholars, and Hebrew scholars count you as one their peers?

The website with the pretentious domain name http://www.rookthehistorian.blogspot.com/ bills Rook as a "Critical Historian". Again, have you been published by any of the critical history journals. I'd be mildly impressed if you got published in one of the wackier peer-reviewed post-modern journals.

The hubris doesn't end there. Rook tells us of his pending book:"Get ready for the book that will change the world." (http://www.rookhawkins.com/3.html)

I'd be really impressed if you can get published without resorting to any form of self-publication.

The semiotics of your self-presentation are telling. The leitmotif of your WWW presence is that you are a scholar, are knowledgeable, will be soon revealing profound truth to the world. However, this all appears to be semiotic trickery. You are yet to offer any original, well-researched, substantive work. Instead you merely proclaim your authority and post images and videos of yourself (apparently) reading, handling or being next to books as if this gives you authority. So far you appear to be nothing more than a poseur. I would critique your work but the impediment is you have no work to critique. None of the (flaccid) arguments you present are your own. You are an unsophisticated plagiarist. Anyone that has to proclaim there authority to others has no authority. Rook, if you were a genuine historian or scholar you wouldn't need to keep telling us or suggesting that much via juxtaposited and suggestive photograpy and video. Of all the RRS membership you present (in writing and speech) as the dullest -- by far. Rook, you are an intellectual fraud, a con-artist and poseur. You look like you'd be more at home in a half-pipe that a library, bookshop or university. Like Brian says, "I'm being blunt and honest".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Rook the Historian

I get it. That would be kinda like when Rook states that

"They burry or destroy the texts and canonize the books that fit their philosophy."

"What doesn’t fit originally is made to fit with forgeries and minor altercations of the texts." (http://www.rookhawkins.com/3.html)

Impressive.


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Highschool Philosophy?

todangst wrote:
I just have one question for our friend: How can a 'being' be logical? I thought the laws of logic applied to arguments. What exactly are christians refering to when they say "god is subject to the laws of logic"

An entity that observes the 'laws of logic' is by definition 'logical ' ,whether it be a person, a piece of software or a deity. The laws of logic do apply to arguments and arguments are espoused by entities that can comprehend these laws.

I'm not sure that it would be fruitful to reply to a claim attrributed to a hypothetical Christian that uttered "god is subject to the laws of logic". Do you have specific exmaple in mind. With a specific case we can attempt to determine the authors meaning.

 


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Hume and Causality

todangst wrote:
Read your Hume. We don't have empirical evidence of 'causality' itself, merely of causal relationships.

No, according to Hume we don't even have that. All we have -- in the Humean conception of causality -- is correlation of events based on probability based on prior observation. According to Hume causal relationships are artifice, just products of the mind without any basis. Read your Hume: http://www.bartleby.com/37/3/9.html

todangst wrote:
With that old chestnut out of the way, I will now challenge you to explain how a cause can procede an effect without referencing time.

I'll challenge you to explain how you -- an apparent Humean -- can even identify a cause for an event. (Also, in keeping with the pettiness of this forum I'll point out your mis-spelling of 'precede'.) Given that Hume reduces causation to correlation the matter of time isn't as important as you are pretending.

 


lao tzu
Posts: 41
Joined: 2007-01-12
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote: <snip> With

petrov wrote:
<snip>

With reference to the ontology of moral values (which Brian and Kelly demonstrated a complete ignorance), providence, conscience, consciousness, abiogenesis, biological information coding and entropy the criteria of 'parsimony' and 'feasibility' fall in favour of the God hypothesis.

<snip>

Greetings, petrov,

I have a special affection for the thinking theist.  They are far more rare than the thinking atheist.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend some time responding to one.  I'm presently lurking a bit waiting for a response to a special request to Brian.  In the meantime I ran across your post.  I'm singling out one passage for comment, but please do not assume this means either that I do not believe any of your other criticisms were valid or invalid.  I found examples of both, but am especially interested in this particular issue.

If you're interested in discussions with other thinking atheists, I could make a board recommendation you might find more challenging.

You've made a series of bold claims here, and I'm interested in how you'd defend them.  I find it difficult to suppose any explanation other than one following an evolutionary paradigm could be more parsimonious or feasible as an explanation of the criteria you've listed.  I've heard it suggested that the God hypothesis is something other than infinitely complex, but never had a chance to hear an argument to support it.

As ever, Jesse 

There is no lao tzu


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Response to MrRage

MrRage wrote:
The third point I would question, because cause and effect is something we observe inside the universe, and usually involves time. I think it's an over generalization to apply cause and effect to the universe as a whole.

According to Hume (and those that follow that tradition) we don't observe cause and effect all we ever observe is correlation. Given that we don't have a convincing response to the epistemological scpetics position on causality on what basis do you decide the scope of relevance of the concept?

MrRage wrote:
First off, you examples of religious scientist do not include any modern scientist. Most (not all!) modern scientists are atheist, pantheist, or very liberal theists (i.e. don't believe in miracles).

A notable theistic scientist that is currently very productive and influential is the computer scientist and mathemacian Donald Knuth. Knuth is a Lutheran that has had a profound influence on computer science and information technology.

I'm interested to know of any examples of technology that rely for their existence on the precepts of evolution by natural selection. The post-industrial world is distinguished by -- amongst other things -- its technology. What most people identify as science is actually technology. Technology -- and its associated discipline, engineering -- are based on fundamental science viz. physics and chemistry. Neither depend on the truth of evolution by natural selection. Even medical technology and practice which make use of the fundamental discipline of biology don't themselves depend on evolution by naturak selection. Surgery, pharmacology, anatomy, microbiology, nuclear medicine, and immunology are not in any way informed by evolution by natural selection. Please spare me the example of antibiotic resistant bacteria -- that doesn't represent an accretion of information that speciation requires.

MrRage wrote:
When Kelly said, "We would live in a world of magic, where you could turn on the light switch, and well maybe it would turn on and maybe it wouldn’t because, hey, it’s magic!", she means that the scientific process wouldn't work with supernatural entities regularly being involved in the natural world. We would expect to see many violations of "the laws of nature."

Not all theists -- or even Christians -- argue that "supernatural entities [are] regularly being involved in the natural world". But even if that were the universal theistic position it wouldn't follow that '[w]e would expect to see many violations of "the laws of nature". In some theological positions miracles are conceived of as "violations of the laws of nature". But even in this conception there is no reason to posit general chaos as a consequence. Those theists that conceive of miracles as supernatural occurences generally regard them as ad hoc and specific suspensions of "natural laws". I don't see the connection between the claim that Jesus Christ once walked on water and the reliability of Kelly's electricity supply. It is consistent with the conception of an omnipotent being that it can perform this sort of temporary and specific "suspension". Yes, this is ad hoc and it is entirely consistent with some Christian worldviews.

MrRage wrote:
I agree with you largely (although the FSM wasn't created for this argument specifically). The point really is, even if we agreed that a god existed, the most rational position to hold is agnosticism about most of god's attributes. Neither you nor I can disprove that the FSM created the world "with his noodly appendage."

That is a problem inherent in arguing for generic theism -- which is entirely fictional. I don't know of anyone that worships or reveres a generic deity. The notion of a generic God which appears often in the philosophy of religion is artifice. The mainline Christian position is that God (the Father) is ineffable. What Christians do claim to know about God (the Father) they say they know from creation itself (the physical universe and the life contained therein), from Jesus Christ and from Scripture. I'm familiar with all the usual responses to this so unless you can at least present the usual replies in a novel fashion then this will become tiresome. Neither you nor I can disprove that the world was created by the Christian God. Furthermore, the (mainline) Christian position does not impede progress in vital basic science, technological innovation nor does it undermine liberal democracy. That is the basis for religious tolerance in liberal democratic states. Postulating the FSM doesn't help the atheists case -- it's a non-argument. All it serves to do is colourfully demonstrate the scope and limits of human knowledge and reasoning. The point is that Christianity is an internally coherent and consistent worldview that doesn't entail subversion of the liberal-democratic state or the jettisoning of the technology that we value. If you can construct a similar worldview using the FSM as the basis I don't think many will begrudge you. It is the claim that theism is necessarily irrational and atheism necessaily rational that is untenable and offensive.

Consider Freemasonry. One of the beloved members of the RRS is a Freemason. An atheistic Freemason apparently -- a post-modern and rare occurence given that the philosophy of Freemasonry revolves around the "Grand Architect Of The Universe" (GAOTU). Albert Pike and Manly Hall -- two giants of Freemasonry -- would have woken from their graves when the phrase "Atheist Freemason" was coined. The rituals of Freemasonry are more elaborate and ornate than even those of the Roman Catholic Church. Masonic philosophy revolves around the construction of Solomons Temple and Hiram Abiff -- the supposed master architect of the Temple. If we apply the criteria that RRS applies to Christianity against Freemasonry then Freemasonry becomes profoundly irrational. Atheistic Freemasonry becomes even more irrational than traditional speculative Masonry and all of the major religions. The rituals and praises directed at GAOTU become totally meaningless and empty. Furthermore, what is the significance of Solomon's Temple if there is no God. What is the significance of Hiram Abiff's secrecy if he built a temple to an imaginary God. My point is that atheism doesn't equate to rationality, coherence, consistency or scientific realism. What then does the RRS stand for? The supplanting of one piece of "irrationality" and "medieval philosophy" for another?

MrRage wrote:
I don't understand. An atheist, or more properly a metaphysical naturalist, can explain the existence of morality, but not why we must follow this morality? How so? Most naturalistic explanations of morality I've heard involve morality aiding human survival and quality of life. Isn't that reason enough to be moral?

This appears to be a major stumbling block for the members of RRS. I'll try and explain the problem of atheism in relation to ethics and moral values. The fundamental problem does not concern our knowledge of ethics and moral values nor their historical origin, nor the putative benefits of altruistic behaviour. The problem is ontological i.e. it concerns the ontological status of moral values and ethical directives. The two broad possibilities regarding the ontological status of moral values are that (a) they have an objective existence; or (b) they have a subjective existence. I know of no cogent argument (I'd be pleased if some pointed one out to me) that is atheistic and that establishes the objective existence of moral values. Within option (b) we have the possibility of inter-subjectivity i.e. moral values are subjective but shared amongst a group thereby gaining the appearance of objective existence. Why then is the ontological status of moral values important? Because it determines whether they are binding upon individuals regardless of surveillance, criminal code, competing self-interest, utility calculations, cultural norms and mores, affect and disposition and coercion.

When you refer to "aiding human survival and quality of life" you are smuggling in an axiology (system of value) that you haven't established. Why should I aid human survival and quality of life other than my own? Altruism isn't universally mutually beneficial. There are many situations in which the pursuit of self-interest will unambiguously improve my lot much more so than the moral alternative. How would you convince a sane serial murderer than obtained enjoyment from his killings, was confident in evading capture, was willig to pay the ultimate penalty on the slim chance of capture and conviction, and didn't enter the interests of others into his moral calculations, to cease? Furthermore, can you tell me in a non-question-begging manner why the serial murderer should stop killing? Why should the solitary, anonymous, unpaid Australian medical doctor travel to an isolated tropical climate to treat the cateracts of a cannibalistic tribe (eg. Papua New Guinea)? How is the doctors kin or society benefitted by his actions. The doctors immediate family will actually suffer a loss of income, will face the risk of losing a husband and father to some tropical illness or violence, there will be no fame or glory and the health of the isolated tribe has no material impact on the society from which the doctor is drawn. Most people in fact don't even know of the existence of the tribe.

The notion of value in general is also adversely effected. What is the basis of the secular-humanist valuation of truth and knowledge. Why is truth and knowledge of value and hence something worth pursuing? Can you answer this in a non-circular manner? "'Coz it aids survival and quality of life!", I anticipate you'll respond. Well, no not all of our knowledge is connected to survival and quality of life. Only a relatively small amount of our total stock of knowledge is concerned with survival and life quality. Can the activities of the RRS be justified in terms of "survival" and "quality of life"? Some Christians would contend that Christianity saved them from eventual self-destruction and has improved their quality of life. In any event, the position that the pursuit of knowledge and truth aids survival and improves the quality of life is nevertheless based on an unstated and unjustified system of value. It takes for granted what it needs to demonstrate. Why are survival and life quality concerns? Who says life is worth preserving and that life is worth improving? I may contend that its a pointless cycle that is oriented towards the satisfaction of basic -- and ultimately unsatisfiable -- biological needs. The world will eventually end -- the sun will eventually expire -- why not move things along and just end the whole mess now? Nuke the whole thing. Why not?

 

 

 


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Evidentialism

Hello Lao Tzu,

I will elaborate on my position later today or tomorrow (my time at my pleasure).

In brief, my reasoning runs along the same lines as Richard Swinburne's. I don't think a deductive argument can be made for either theism or atheism. I wouldn't assign as high probabilities as does Swinburne. Consequently, I don't think either atheism or theism are as obvious and "rational" as the extremists on both sides would like to believe (not that I'm suggesting Swinburne is an extremist). I maintain that a rational case can be made for both atheism and theism and that neither "camp" has a monopoly on intelligence, stupidity or rationality (as the RRS v. Cameron/Comfort "debate" amply demonstrated). (Christian) theism and atheism are both internally consistent and coherent webs of belief.

I believe that the balance tips marginally in favour of theism because the theistic position is simpler, more elegant, more complete , and renders numerous philosophical problems more comprehensible.

More later.


MrRage
Posts: 896
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote: According to

petrov wrote:
According to Hume (and those that follow that tradition) we don't observe cause and effect all we ever observe is correlation. Given that we don't have a convincing response to the epistemological scpetics position on causality on what basis do you decide the scope of relevance of the concept?

I would agree with this, so technically I would be incorrect in saying that "we observe cause and effect...". But, I don't see how this weakens my response to what the OP wrote. If it does, please enlighten me.

petrov wrote:
A notable theistic scientist that is currently very productive and influential is the computer scientist and mathemacian Donald Knuth. Knuth is a Lutheran that has had a profound influence on computer science and information technology.

Again, how does this weaken my point? Notice I didn't make a universal statement about scientists. Knuth (probably) is no YEC, biblical inerrantist, fundamentalist christian. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

petrov wrote:
I'm interested to know of any examples of technology that rely for their existence on the precepts of evolution by natural selection. The post-industrial world is distinguished by -- amongst other things -- its technology. What most people identify as science is actually technology. Technology -- and its associated discipline, engineering -- are based on fundamental science viz. physics and chemistry. Neither depend on the truth of evolution by natural selection. Even medical technology and practice which make use of the fundamental discipline of biology don't themselves depend on evolution by naturak selection. Surgery, pharmacology, anatomy, microbiology, nuclear medicine, and immunology are not in any way informed by evolution by natural selection. Please spare me the example of antibiotic resistant bacteria -- that doesn't represent an accretion of information that speciation requires.

I'd be surprised if medical research, especially the pharmaceutical industry could do research without using evolution. I hope deludedgod will chime in on this because, I'm not qualified to speak in this area. (Not that I'm qualified in the other areas I mention...but whatever)

Besides, even if you're right, how does this weaken my point? I know the difference between technology and science, and I wasn't hinging my point on evolution and technology. When I was speaking of most scientist being non-theistic, I didn't mean to include engineers. (I mean no disrespect to engineers.)

petrov wrote:
Not all theists -- or even Christians -- argue that "supernatural entities [are] regularly being involved in the natural world".

Duh. I didn't say they did. But lets keep in mind the context of Kelly's statement. She was talking to christians who do believe that their god is involved in human affairs.

petrov wrote:
But even if that were the universal theistic position it wouldn't follow that '[w]e would expect to see many violations of "the laws of nature".

Then in what way would the miracle be supernatural? These non-supernatural "miracles" would fit nicely with my metaphysical naturalism, and they should be subject to scientific study.

petrov wrote:
In some theological positions miracles are conceived of as "violations of the laws of nature". But even in this conception there is no reason to posit general chaos as a consequence.

I didn't say chaos would be a consequence. I said there should be phenomenon that is completely inexplicable in natural, scientific terms.

petrov wrote:
Those theists that conceive of miracles as supernatural occurences generally regard them as ad hoc and specific suspensions of "natural laws". I don't see the connection between the claim that Jesus Christ once walked on water and the reliability of Kelly's electricity supply. It is consistent with the conception of an omnipotent being that it can perform this sort of temporary and specific "suspension". Yes, this is ad hoc and it is entirely consistent with some Christian worldviews.

Sure, it's consistent with their world-view. So? In my last post I attempt to describe what I thought Kelly meant, and I just mentioned in above. Despite Kelly not making sense to you, how does all this defeat my point?

petrov wrote:
That is a problem inherent in arguing for generic theism -- which is entirely fictional. I don't know of anyone that worships or reveres a generic deity.

I agree. Regardless, there have been people on this thread who have argued for a generic deity, sometimes very forcefully.

petrov wrote:
The notion of a generic God which appears often in the philosophy of religion is artifice. The mainline Christian position is that God (the Father) is ineffable. What Christians do claim to know about God (the Father) they say they know from creation itself (the physical universe and the life contained therein), from Jesus Christ and from Scripture. I'm familiar with all the usual responses to this so unless you can at least present the usual replies in a novel fashion then this will become tiresome.

I agree about the tiresome bit, so I'll skip this.

petrov wrote:
Neither you nor I can disprove that the world was created by the Christian God.

Not 100% disprove, I agree. But the bible's description of creation and other aspects of the physical world is lacking, so if this god did it, his followers screwed up the description.

petrov wrote:
Furthermore, the (mainline) Christian position does not impede progress in vital basic science, technological innovation nor does it undermine liberal democracy. That is the basis for religious tolerance in liberal democratic states.

I'm more worried about the fundamentalist christians impeding science and undermining liberal democracy. No one on this board thinks the Episcopalians are out to get us.

petrov wrote:
Postulating the FSM doesn't help the atheists case -- it's a non-argument. All it serves to do is colourfully demonstrate the scope and limits of human knowledge and reasoning.

I agree, at least in using the FSM this way. Things like the FSM, pink unicorns, etc are way out of the realm of live options. But the FSM was first postulated for a completely different reason. Look it up if you care.

petrov wrote:
The point is that Christianity is an internally coherent and consistent worldview that doesn't entail subversion of the liberal-democratic state or the jettisoning of the technology that we value.

Which christianity are we talking about?

petrov wrote:
If you can construct a similar worldview using the FSM as the basis I don't think many will begrudge you. It is the claim that theism is necessarily irrational and atheism necessaily rational that is untenable and offensive.

I don't argue the necessarily part. I also usually limit my accusations of irrationality to the concept of faith, not so much theism.

I'll skip your bit about the masons.

petrov wrote:
This appears to be a major stumbling block for the members of RRS. I'll try and explain the problem of atheism in relation to ethics and moral values. The fundamental problem does not concern our knowledge of ethics and moral values nor their historical origin, nor the putative benefits of altruistic behaviour. The problem is ontological i.e. it concerns the ontological status of moral values and ethical directives. The two broad possibilities regarding the ontological status of moral values are that (a) they have an objective existence; or (b) they have a subjective existence. I know of no cogent argument (I'd be pleased if some pointed one out to me) that is atheistic and that establishes the objective existence of moral values. Within option (b) we have the possibility of inter-subjectivity i.e. moral values are subjective but shared amongst a group thereby gaining the appearance of objective existence. Why then is the ontological status of moral values important? Because it determines whether they are binding upon individuals regardless of surveillance, criminal code, competing self-interest, utility calculations, cultural norms and mores, affect and disposition and coercion.

Ok, I agree with this. At least this clears up what the OP wrote.

petrov wrote:
When you refer to "aiding human survival and quality of life" you are smuggling in an axiology (system of value) that you haven't established. Why should I aid human survival and quality of life other than my own? Altruism isn't universally mutually beneficial. There are many situations in which the pursuit of self-interest will unambiguously improve my lot much more so than the moral alternative. How would you convince a sane serial murderer than obtained enjoyment from his killings, was confident in evading capture, was willig to pay the ultimate penalty on the slim chance of capture and conviction, and didn't enter the interests of others into his moral calculations, to cease? Furthermore, can you tell me in a non-question-begging manner why the serial murderer should stop killing? Why should the solitary, anonymous, unpaid Australian medical doctor travel to an isolated tropical climate to treat the cateracts of a cannibalistic tribe (eg. Papua New Guinea)? How is the doctors kin or society benefitted by his actions. The doctors immediate family will actually suffer a loss of income, will face the risk of losing a husband and father to some tropical illness or violence, there will be no fame or glory and the health of the isolated tribe has no material impact on the society from which the doctor is drawn. Most people in fact don't even know of the existence of the tribe.
The notion of value in general is also adversely effected. What is the basis of the secular-humanist valuation of truth and knowledge. Why is truth and knowledge of value and hence something worth pursuing? Can you answer this in a non-circular manner? "'Coz it aids survival and quality of life!", I anticipate you'll respond. Well, no not all of our knowledge is connected to survival and quality of life. Only a relatively small amount of our total stock of knowledge is concerned with survival and life quality. Can the activities of the RRS be justified in terms of "survival" and "quality of life"? Some Christians would contend that Christianity saved them from eventual self-destruction and has improved their quality of life. In any event, the position that the pursuit of knowledge and truth aids survival and improves the quality of life is nevertheless based on an unstated and unjustified system of value. It takes for granted what it needs to demonstrate. Why are survival and life quality concerns? Who says life is worth preserving and that life is worth improving? I may contend that its a pointless cycle that is oriented towards the satisfaction of basic -- and ultimately unsatisfiable -- biological needs. The world will eventually end -- the sun will eventually expire -- why not move things along and just end the whole mess now? Nuke the whole thing. Why not?

What this long winded passage boils down to is my proposed moral system sucks. I feel this is the only place were you at least have the upper hand, but on the other hand you took me way to literally. My personal beliefs about morality aren't just what aids human survival and quality of life. I was being sloppy in my response, and you jumped all over it.


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
lao tzu wrote: I find it

lao tzu wrote:
I find it difficult to suppose any explanation other than one following an evolutionary paradigm could be more parsimonious or feasible as an explanation of the criteria you've listed.

All things being equal you are (mostly) correct. However, the improbability of (macro-) evolution by natural selection in connection with the development of novel complex systems robs this hypothesis of much of its explanatory power. I don't concede that Behe's thesis has been refuted. At the molecular level certainly not all developments are "irreducibly complex" some do involve just more of the same but these "quantitative" changes can't plausibly account for the development of complex novel systems and eventually speciation. It isn't a matter of plugging the gaps of our knowledge with God -- that isn't Behe's position. The point is the development of something like a mammary gland on a reptile is highly improbable with reference to natural selection. A functional mammary gland entails much coding of information and its integration into the existing genetic information of the organism.

Yes, I'm aware that it has been conjectured that mammary glands evolved from sebacious, sweat or apocrine glands. The problem with that hypothesis is that reptiles don't have these glands on their scales so they would have had to evolve in the first instance. Why would a reptile be selected for any of these glands? Sweat glands would actually disadvantage the organism. I'll assume -- and I'm being very generous -- that reptiles came to develop a form of secretory gland. That gland then has to develop to secrete a nutritious fluid. The nutritious fluid must provide the progeny with all of the macro and micronutrients to survive else it will perish and the nascent mammary gland endowed repto-mammalian hybrid genes would not be propagated. The gland must also supply sufficient quantities of nutritious fluid to nourish the progeny else the novelty will not be propagated. Yes we can sit in our armchairs and speculate about how mammary glands evolved but these explanations are not only entirely speculative they are amazingly convoluted such that they are rendered even less probable than the information coding issue at first suggests. This isn't an isolated example there are many similar cases. I reiterate that this isn't an argument that exploits our current ignorance. It is based on the improbability of complex information coding as a result of blind chance interacting with the selective power of a hostile habitat.

There is a double-standard with respect to license for explanatory conjecture. Darwininan life scientists tend to be given untrammeled freedom to speculate in order to prevent the falsification of evolution by natural selection. The smallest amount of conjecture and speculation on the part of ID proponents or creationsists is attacked, mocked and ridiculed.

More later.


lao tzu
Posts: 41
Joined: 2007-01-12
User is offlineOffline
MrRage wrote: Knuth

MrRage wrote:
Knuth (probably) is no YEC, biblical inerrantist, fundamentalist christian. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)
I know him by reputation and have been following his work for years.  I had a chance to speak with him over dinner at his home following the Marshall Hall conference in 1992 or 1993, I forget which.  He's not any kind of fundy and would be highly insulted to hear it suggested.

There is no lao tzu


lao tzu
Posts: 41
Joined: 2007-01-12
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote: lao tzu

petrov wrote:

lao tzu wrote:
I find it difficult to suppose any explanation other than one following an evolutionary paradigm could be more parsimonious or feasible as an explanation of the criteria you've listed.

All things being equal you are (mostly) correct. However, the improbability of (macro-) evolution by natural selection in connection with the development of novel complex systems robs this hypothesis of much of its explanatory power.

<snip>

More later.

Thank you, petrov,

Seriously, I was hoping to see some kind of argument for the simplicity of god. I've seen quite a few of these attempts to show evolutionary processes complex, but unless they can be shown more complex than an infinite, supernatural creator, the arguments seem moot to me. To do so, you'd have to go beyond showing an evolutionary pathway was unlikely, and show it to be naturally impossible. Inverting a small fraction, no matter how close to zero, may yield a large number, but that number remains finite.

Alternatively, you would have to show your god less than infinitely complex.

Forgive me, but I might add that you've botched both sides of the biological argument to this point, misrepresenting both the theory of evolution and the position of the intelligent design movement. If you'd like to fix the latter half, you might wander over by Dembski's blog and search for articles matching "specified complexity." If you'd care to correct yourself on the former, wander over to youtube and search for "Ken Miller." As both of these authors are theists, I'm hoping you won't find them philosophically objectionable. Irreducible complexity is not the silver bullet you seem to be hoping for.

The history of these attempts to pinpoint "unevolvable" structures works against the position of the creation scientist. The bacterial flagella turns out to have just the precursors predicted by theory, the blood clotting cascade turns out to exist in simplified forms in modern organisms. As one gap is filled, the argument jumps to the next one. If this were actually helping us to expand knowledge, I would probably commend the efforts, no matter how misguided. They say of Margulis that she is often wrong, but wrong in useful ways. As it seems, however, these arguments result from little more than failure to search the available literature.

More, even if one of these arguments were to succeed for a time, capturing an actual open question in science, what would you have? The finger of god in the evolution of a sebacious gland? I think it quite the trick to show a linkage between that action and intent to fulfill a spiritual purpose in the souls of humans, don't you?

The goal of this path, or so it appears to me, is a shotgun marriage between science and theology, creating religious barriers to examination of our physical world and a strained relation between that world and its "creator," whatever we mean by that word.

As ever, Jesse

There is no lao tzu


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Jesse aka lao tzu,  Thanks

Jesse aka lao tzu, 

Thanks for the references and intelligent commentary.  I'll study the refs, ponder and get back to you.


qbg
Posts: 298
Joined: 2006-11-22
User is offlineOffline
Quote: I'm interested to

Quote:

I'm interested to know of any examples of technology that rely for their existence on the precepts of evolution by natural selection.

Are genetic algorithms good enough? They are pretty amazing.

For some amazing information, see Genetic Algorithms and Evolutionary Computation

What is most interesting is that genetic algorithms have produced results that are irreducibly complex by Behe's definition.

"What right have you to condemn a murderer if you assume him necessary to "God's plan"? What logic can command the return of stolen property, or the branding of a thief, if the Almighty decreed it?"
-- The Economic Tendency of Freethought


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
lao tzu wrote: Seriously, I

lao tzu wrote:
Seriously, I was hoping to see some kind of argument for the simplicity of god. I've seen quite a few of these attempts to show evolutionary processes complex, but unless they can be shown more complex than an infinite, supernatural creator, the arguments seem moot to me.

These arguments about the simplicity or complexity of God seem ridiculous to me -- somewhat reminscent of Aquinas' arguments about how many angels can dance on the point of a needle without bumping into each other. I'm unable to comprehend the question of the complexity/simplicity of God, I find it meaningless. It appears to me as either surreal comedy or a category mistake. Might I just as well ask "How flavourful is the bulldozer?" or "Is the sponge cake idempotent" ?

lat tzu wrote:
Forgive me, but I might add that you've botched both sides of the biological argument to this point, misrepresenting both the theory of evolution and the position of the intelligent design movement.

I gave you the benefit of the doubt on this and visited talkorigins to verify my understanding of biological evolution and I can't locate the misunderstanding you allude to. Admittedly my language was informal (and perhaps sloppy) but I believe I understand the basics of evolutionary biology (I read the essay 'Introduction to Evolutionary Biology' to be sure).

I also read Miller's essay 'The Flagellum Unspun' which provides a more detailed case than he presents in his lecture. Again I failed to find my alleged conceptual misundertanding.

I would be convinced by Miller if he could provide an account of the reducible function of all 30 of the proteins that comprise the eubacterial flagellum. He tells us that the Type-III Secretory Apparatus is "homologous to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum". Yes, that's cool but what of the rest of the flagellum? What other subsets of the proteins that comprise the flagellum comprise functional units that favour natural selection? Miller, somewhat cynically adds, "Nonetheless, until we have produced a step-by-step account for the evolutionary derivation of the flagellum, one may indeed indeed the argument from ignorance for this and every other complex biochemical machine." I don't think it is an arbitrary or excessive imposition to suspend declaration of the flagellum as reducibly complex until a complete account is provided. To do otherwise would be to resort to at best inference and at worst -- dare I say -- faith.

lat tzu wrote:
Irreducible complexity is not the silver bullet you seem to be hoping for.

 

I know and I'm not looking for a silver bullet. I contend only that Intelligent Design (in some form) and Complex Specified Information (in some form) can serve as two (of many) planks in an inductive argument for the existence of God.

lao tzu wrote:
The history of these attempts to pinpoint "unevolvable" structures works against the position of the creation scientist. The bacterial flagella turns out to have just the precursors predicted by theory, the blood clotting cascade turns out to exist in simplified forms in modern organisms.

A complete resolution of the bacterial flagella into functional and selectable subsystems has yet to be provided. TTSS explains only 16 (?) of the proteins. I don't accept your inductive argument. Your position seems to have less to do with reason and evidence than a form of faith that when the missing pieces of information are found your position will be inevitably be vindicated.

lao tzu wrote:
More, even if one of these arguments were to succeed for a time, capturing an actual open question in science, what would you have? The finger of god in the evolution of a sebacious gland?

You would have -- "for a time" -- the beginnings of the falsification of a theory. There would remain still much work to do but it would be a small step in the opposite direction.

lao tzu wrote:
I think it quite the trick to show a linkage between that action and intent to fulfill a spiritual purpose in the souls of humans, don't you?

Yes it would and it's not my intent to attempt that direct linkage.

lao tzu wrote:
The goal of this path, or so it appears to me, is a shotgun marriage between science and theology, creating religious barriers to examination of our physical world and a strained relation between that world and its "creator," whatever we mean by that word.

I don't see this "path" or worldview impeding biological science. That is conceivable only in the context of a theocracy. In a liberal-democracy the truth will eventually prevail. The truth may be that evolutionary biology provides a complete and consistent account of all current and historical life on earth. So be it. I am willing to revise my worldview should that level of knowledge be acquired in my lifetime. However, until that extent and depth of knowledge is acquired a liberal-democracy should permit the proposal and exploration of alternative hypotheses. The freedoms provided in pluralist liberal-democracy are worthless if they can't be exercised. We wouldn't need freedom of speech, association and publication if we had arrived at "The Truth" and we all agreed upon "The Truth".

This argument about the decline and fall of western civilisation as a consequence of ID and creationism is mainly hyperbole. It is based on an imaginary and idealised conception of western civilisation. We aren't as rational and enlightened as we would like to believe. Even if the major faiths were removed we would still have Scientology, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Wicca, Thelema, Voodoo, Huna, Rael, ICC, UFO cults, Unification Church, Ramtha, Sai Baba, Prem Rewat, sundry Indian gurus, Hare Krishna, New Age, Breatharians and hundreds of other sects, cults, 'Human Potential' groups (eg. Landmark Forum) and pseudoscientific self-improvement practices (eg. NLP, Pranic Yoga). Most people that reject one of the major faiths don't become paragons of The Enlightenment, they don't become little Voltaires. They most often invent their own post-modern faiths drawn from the existing smorgasbord. Some join cults. That is the world we live in and have been living in for at least the last 50 years. Any cultural history of 20th century science needs to account for this apparent incongruity.

Consider the RRS. Amongst its membership it has at least one Freemason, believers in various elements of Hinduism and Eastern mysticism and it has the endorsement of Rael. RRS has the endorsement of a false prophet!

 

 


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
qbg wrote: Are genetic

qbg wrote:
Are genetic algorithms good enough? They are pretty amazing.

 

I was midful of GA when I asked that question.  I believe that GA are useful for types of optimisation problems.  They are pretty cool but they are loosely based on evolution by natural selection and they aren't indispensible.  Most people in the world are unaffected by GA and wouldn't miss them.  If losing evolutionary biology meant losing GA I don't think many would weep for GA.   

 


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10602
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
I'm no philosopher, and

I'm no philosopher, and would be getting a bit out of my league to go in depth here, but there is one comment I noticed that I would respond to, since it hasn't been responded to yet(that I noticed at least).

petrov wrote:

todangst wrote:
More importantly, the claim commits a fallacy of composition. We cannot assume that we can apply rules about phenomena within the universe to the universe itself.

Making an inference about the characteristics of a class based on the characteristics of its constituent members is not always an instance of the fallacy of composition: vodka is a liquid, orange juice is a liquid therefore a "screwdriver" is a liquid.

But even this is a fallacy of composition. A screwdriver is not a liquid because vodka and orange juice are liquids, it's a liquid because the melting point of the screwdriver "alloy" is above 0C. It's melting point is neither that of vodka nor that of orange juice. It is concievable to encounter an environment where the OJ was ice, the screwdriver was a liquid, and the vodka a gas.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
Fallacy of Composition

Vastet wrote:
But even this is a fallacy of composition. A screwdriver is not a liquid because vodka and orange juice are liquids, it's a liquid because the melting point of the screwdriver "alloy" is above 0C. It's melting point is neither that of vodka nor that of orange juice. It is concievable to encounter an environment where the OJ was ice, the screwdriver was a liquid, and the vodka a gas.

"The fallacy of Composition is committed when a conclusion is drawn about a whole based on the features of its constituents when, in fact, no justification provided for the inference." (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/composition.html)

It is a safe induction to state that screwdrivers are liquid based on our knowledge of vodka and orange juice (as it is usually found). Our knowledge of vodka and OJ are our justification that the admixture will also be liquid. It's an inductive argument, not a deductive one. I'm not suggesting that the admixture of vodka and OJ will always and necessarily be liquid -- that would be an instance of the fallacy of composition.


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10602
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote: Vastet

petrov wrote:

Vastet wrote:
But even this is a fallacy of composition. A screwdriver is not a liquid because vodka and orange juice are liquids, it's a liquid because the melting point of the screwdriver "alloy" is above 0C. It's melting point is neither that of vodka nor that of orange juice. It is concievable to encounter an environment where the OJ was ice, the screwdriver was a liquid, and the vodka a gas.

"The fallacy of Composition is committed when a conclusion is drawn about a whole based on the features of its constituents when, in fact, no justification provided for the inference." (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/composition.html)

It is a safe induction to state that screwdrivers are liquid based on our knowledge of vodka and orange juice (as it is usually found). Our knowledge of vodka and OJ are our justification that the admixture will also be liquid. It's an inductive argument, not a deductive one. I'm not suggesting that the admixture of vodka and OJ will always and necessarily be liquid -- that would be an instance of the fallacy of composition.

You never said or implied sometimes in your analogy. The implication was clear. Therefore it was the fallacy of composition.

Further, there is no reason to assume that all things are caused. There is no justification for it. The laws of conservation suggest the opposite is true, and that cause is it's own cause.

Even further, even if accepting that existance could be caused, and was, assuming thereafter that this suggests a singular and/or specific god is a false dichotomy.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
MrRage wrote: But, I don't

MrRage wrote:
But, I don't see how this weakens my response to what the OP wrote. If it does, please enlighten me.

Your position and that of todangst are incoherent. Your argument vitally depends on the notion of causation yet you have undermined your own argument by (naively) appealing to Hume or at least following the blind lead of todangst. If you are proposing a Humean conception of causality i.e. that causality isn't observable then your forced linkage of time to causality will fail. If we can't ever observe causation or worse still if causes don't exist then temporality is a non-issue -- simultaneity becomes a possibility.

MrRage wrote:
Again, how does this weaken my point? Notice I didn't make a universal statement about scientists. Knuth (probably) is no YEC, biblical inerrantist, fundamentalist christian. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

The premise of this forum is that Christians are anti-science, ignorant, stupid and deluded. Is that not your opinion also? If so then Knuth is a counterexample to your prejudice. Knuth's very existence weakens the entire RRS project. I'd say that Knuth has more intelligence, knowledge and rationality than every RRS member combined. Brian, Rook and Kelly aren't even a pimple on Knuth's butt. It's perverse that three nobodies -- who will most likely amount to nothing (if I understand correctly Kelly is a whore or a stripper and Brian mooches of her wages) -- would make a blanket judgement on the intellect and worth of all Christians.

MrRage wrote:
I'd be surprised if medical research, especially the pharmaceutical industry could do research without using evolution. I hope deludedgod will chime in on this because, I'm not qualified to speak in this area. (Not that I'm qualified in the other areas I mention...but whatever)

Well, be surprised. I have some knowledge of pharmacology and know of now usage of the theory of biological evoloution in pharmacological research. Genetic Algorithms are the sole technological result of evolutionary theory. Underwhelming stuff.

MrRage wrote:
(Not that I'm qualified in the other areas I mention...but whatever)

Whatever huh? The issue isn't qualifications its possessing a modicum of intelligence and knowledge. These appear to be lacking on this forum. Rather than blindly following a blind flock of sheep off the edge of a cliff and thumping your chest with triumphalist false bravado as you approach that precipice you should spend some time acquiring knowledge and thinking.

MrRage wrote:
Duh. I didn't say they did. But lets keep in mind the context of Kelly's statement. She was talking to christians who do believe that their god is involved in human affairs.

I think that on a bad day Kelly has trouble finding her anus. Kelly and Brian operate off of straw man caricatures of Christians and Christianity. Yes there are stupid Christians but there are a proportinate amount of stupid atheists -- most of that cohort is on this forum. I sincerely don't regard Kelly as being worthy of my time so I'm not even going to address her poorly made point.

MrRage wrote:
Then in what way would the miracle be supernatural? These non-supernatural "miracles" would fit nicely with my metaphysical naturalism, and they should be subject to scientific study.

They would be supernatural simply by virtue of being outside of the realm of naturalistic explanation. They are outside the material world and hence outside the purview of the hypothetico-deductive model. Prayer and miracles cannot be subjected to scientific study. That you are suggesting this indicates that you are operating from a worldview which a priori rejects the existence of the immaterial.

MrRage wrote:
I didn't say chaos would be a consequence. I said there should be phenomenon that is completely inexplicable in natural, scientific terms.

Yes that is what I'm saying also.

MrRage wrote:
Which christianity are we talking about?

Mainline Christianity including fundamental biblical Christianity. Try reading the Bible within the mindset of the time, culture and social values that it was written within with some idea of the intent of the individual book rather than quote mining looking for contradictions. If you are going to bag scripture then at least have the integrity to understand what it is you are mocking and ridiculing.

The 'Blasphemy Challenge' is a still-born project based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Scripture and the nature of sin and redemption. This is suggestive of a complete ignorance of the Bible even by your resident 'historian' and 'ancient texts expert'.

This isn't a serious site or forum. From what I have gathered it appears to be for the duller adolescents and teenagers who want to distinguish themselves by pouring scorn and vitriol on Christianity. It's ideal for teenage Goths that need some hackneyed spiel about the evils of Christianity to crap on about and write essays on.

MrRage wrote:
I don't argue the necessarily part. I also usually limit my accusations of irrationality to the concept of faith, not so much theism.

Do you honestly believe you are in a position to deem me irrational? Given your earlier concession that you have no expertise on the matters you pontificate about your position is essentially faith based. In the same way that I have faith in Scripture you have faith in the veracity of the garbage you read on trashy sites like this one. Potentials are irrelevant -- that you could study biology, philosophy etc is irrelevant. The point is you haven't so your utterances to me about me being irrational are laden with faith. Your position is self-refuting. It is you that is irrational but you have no reprieve from your irrationality so you never perceive it. You have a higher-level ignorance. You are meta-ignorant i.e. you are ignorant about your ignorance.

MrRage wrote:
What this long winded passage boils down to is my proposed moral system sucks. I feel this is the only place were you at least have the upper hand, but on the other hand you took me way to literally. My personal beliefs about morality aren't just what aids human survival and quality of life. I was being sloppy in my response, and you jumped all over it.

No, it demonstrates that it is impossible for you to have a moral or value system. Any values that you nominate are necessaily arbitrary and without any foundation. This is what I mean by your meta-ignorance. Within your worldview, morality and value are a form of sham. Naturalism can't serves as a basis for morality because morality and value are necessarily telelogical i.e. purpose oriented. Furthermore, you shouldn't ever use the word "ought", it is meaningless within a naturalistic worldview. There is a yawning gap between is and ought and naturalism can't bridge that chasm.

I'm pretty much done with this thread and perhaps this entire forum.

 

 

 

 

 

 


MrRage
Posts: 896
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote: Your position

petrov wrote:
Your position and that of todangst are incoherent. Your argument vitally depends on the notion of causation yet you have undermined your own argument by (naively) appealing to Hume or at least following the blind lead of todangst. If you are proposing a Humean conception of causality i.e. that causality isn't observable then your forced linkage of time to causality will fail. If we can't ever observe causation or worse still if causes don't exist then temporality is a non-issue -- simultaneity becomes a possibility.

Ok. I'm not going to argue with you here. Let's assume that my (and todangt's) argument is destroyed. What then? Well...did you read the croath's original post? He's using the idea of causation to! If it's true that "...we can't ever observe causation or worse still if causes don't exist..." then how can you argue for a first cause?

I'm not "following the blind lead of todangst." I wrote my first post before I read todangst's posts.

petrov wrote:
The premise of this forum is that Christians are anti-science, ignorant, stupid and deluded. Is that not your opinion also?

Where is this premise stated? No I don't think ALL christians are anti-science, ignorant, stupid and deluded. This is at least the third time you've tried to force me into some absurd universal statement I never made.

petrov wrote:
If so then Knuth is a counterexample to your prejudice. Knuth's very existence weakens the entire RRS project. I'd say that Knuth has more intelligence, knowledge and rationality than every RRS member combined.

Did you even read what I wrote? I said that most, BUT NOT ALL, scientists are non-thiest, pantiest, or liberal theists. This statement would probably hold true for Knuth. Do you have evidence otherwise?

petrov wrote:
I'd say that Knuth has more intelligence, knowledge and rationality than every RRS member combined. Brian, Rook and Kelly aren't even a pimple on Knuth's butt. It's perverse that three nobodies -- who will most likely amount to nothing (if I understand correctly Kelly is a whore or a stripper and Brian mooches of her wages) -- would make a blanket judgement on the intellect and worth of all Christians.

Excuse me? You're whining about prejudice, and then you through out these ad hom bombs?

And I made NO "blanket judgement on the intellect and worth of all Christians." Where are you getting this? You keep saying I'm making these universal statements, when I'm not!

petrov wrote:
Well, be surprised. I have some knowledge of pharmacology and know of now usage of the theory of biological evoloution in pharmacological research. Genetic Algorithms are the sole technological result of evolutionary theory. Underwhelming stuff.

Would you like to back up your statements about pharmacology? (Oh that's right, you're running away from this thread.) I'd like to see it, because frankly I've lost all trust in you after your misrepresenting of my statements and your personal attacks.

petrov wrote:
Whatever huh? The issue isn't qualifications its possessing a modicum of intelligence and knowledge. These appear to be lacking on this forum. Rather than blindly following a blind flock of sheep off the edge of a cliff and thumping your chest with triumphalist false bravado as you approach that precipice you should spend some time acquiring knowledge and thinking.

So you read a couple posts of mine, and you know enough to say that I'm "blindly following a blind flock of sheep off the edge of a cliff and thumping your chest with triumphalist false bravado as you approach that precipice". Come on. I'm an individual person. I'm not some member of a collective. I do spend plenty of time "acquiring knowledge and thinking" and I come here to have discussions with others.

petrov wrote:
I think that on a bad day Kelly has trouble finding her anus.

More personal attacks. How nice.

petrov wrote:
Kelly and Brian operate off of straw man caricatures of Christians and Christianity.

And you, by misrepresenting things I say, work of a straw man caricture of me.

petrov wrote:
Yes there are stupid Christians but there are a proportinate amount of stupid atheists -- most of that cohort is on this forum.

There's plenty of stupid people. Sure. You just want to pile on the insults, don't you?

petrov wrote:
I sincerely don't regard Kelly as being worthy of my time so I'm not even going to address her poorly made point.

And you don't seem to want to address my point either. You'd rather just insult Kelly.

petrov wrote:
They would be supernatural simply by virtue of being outside of the realm of naturalistic explanation. They are outside the material world and hence outside the purview of the hypothetico-deductive model. Prayer and miracles cannot be subjected to scientific study.

Answered prayer and miracles would manifest itself in the natural world, so in principle the could be falsified. If it can be falsified, it can be the subject of scientific study.

petrov wrote:
That you are suggesting this indicates that you are operating from a worldview which a priori rejects the existence of the immaterial.

And how is this any different than you? You're operating from a world-view which a priori accepts the existence of the immaterial. The question is, which of us has more evidence for his world-view?

petrov wrote:
Mainline Christianity including fundamental biblical Christianity. Try reading the Bible within the mindset of the time, culture and social values that it was written within with some idea of the intent of the individual book rather than quote mining looking for contradictions. If you are going to bag scripture then at least have the integrity to understand what it is you are mocking and ridiculing.

Where have I been "quote mining looking for contradictions"? Of course I try to read the bible in context. I don't (or at least I try not to) mock and ridicule the bible. Just because some here do this, I'm guilty of it too? I have a respect for it as a piece of literature, and its influence on western culture.

petrov wrote:
The 'Blasphemy Challenge' is a still-born project based on a fundamental misunderstanding of Scripture and the nature of sin and redemption. This is suggestive of a complete ignorance of the Bible even by your resident 'historian' and 'ancient texts expert'.

Red herring. This sort of objection has been dealt with many times on this site. Go look it up.

petrov wrote:
This isn't a serious site or forum. From what I have gathered it appears to be for the duller adolescents and teenagers who want to distinguish themselves by pouring scorn and vitriol on Christianity. It's ideal for teenage Goths that need some hackneyed spiel about the evils of Christianity to crap on about and write essays on.

Ah, back to the insults. It's the sign of a good argument. I guess it's ok for you to pour scorn and vitriol on us, and it's ok for you to make blanket judgement about the users of this site too?

petrov wrote:
Do you honestly believe you are in a position to deem me irrational?

Well, you deemed me a lot of things without being in a position to do it. So what's your complaint? Regardless, the answer is, no. I think it's irrational of you to have faith in things w/o evidence, but that doesn't make you and completely irrational.

On the other hand, your insults are completely irrational.

petrov wrote:
Given your earlier concession that you have no expertise on the matters you pontificate about your position is essentially faith based.In the same way that I have faith in Scripture you have faith in the veracity of the garbage you read on trashy sites like this one. Potentials are irrelevant -- that you could study biology, philosophy etc is irrelevant. The point is you haven't so your utterances to me about me being irrational are laden with faith. Your position is self-refuting. It is you that is irrational but you have no reprieve from your irrationality so you never perceive it. You have a higher-level ignorance. You are meta-ignorant i.e. you are ignorant about your ignorance.

That's a different sort of faith. I do not have that sort of faith about what I read on this site, or anything I read. I fully expect to read erroneous things, and if I want to depend what I read I will back it up with evidence. How is that the same as thinking, a priori, that the bible is inerrent, or even on the whole reliable?

I am acutely aware of how ignorant I am. But you seem to be making pronouncements about me after reading a handful of words I wrote. Who has the problem with ignorance?

petrov wrote:
No, it demonstrates that it is impossible for you to have a moral or value system. Any values that you nominate are necessaily arbitrary and without any foundation. This is what I mean by your meta-ignorance. Within your worldview, morality and value are a form of sham. Naturalism can't serves as a basis for morality because morality and value are necessarily telelogical i.e. purpose oriented. Furthermore, you shouldn't ever use the word "ought", it is meaningless within a naturalistic worldview. There is a yawning gap between is and ought and naturalism can't bridge that chasm.

Perhaps it is impossible for me to have a moral or value system that isn't arbitrary. I probably should never use the word "ought." Regardless, these sort of things do not make naturalism false, nor do they make the position that there are objective morals and values true. These things you will have to demonstrate.

Besides, your behavior in this thread doesn't make me want to hold to your morals and values.

petrov wrote:
I'm pretty much done with this thread and perhaps this entire forum.

I can't say I'm sad. I enjoy having conversations with reasonable people who have manners and a sense of decency. Have a nice life.


ShaunPhilly
High Level ModeratorSilver Member
ShaunPhilly's picture
Posts: 473
Joined: 2006-03-15
User is offlineOffline
Greetings Petrov.

Greetings Petrov.

In order to not drive myself crazy, I'm going to respond to only a few of the comments you have made in your most recent post. I'm not doing this to avoid issues, because i actually thought there was more of interest to respond to before, and I am simply trying to keep the flow of conversation smooth.

petrov wrote:

The premise of this forum is that Christians are anti-science, ignorant, stupid and deluded. Is that not your opinion also?

Not mine, specifically. I don't generalize all Christians in any way. I am bothered by those that fi this definition, and many of them seem to come here.

Quote:
If so then Knuth is a counterexample to your prejudice. Knuth's very existence weakens the entire RRS project. I'd say that Knuth has more intelligence, knowledge and rationality than every RRS member combined.

Perhaps. What I've noticed is that the theist with experience in philosophy ultimately has a fundamental difference of worldview than a naturalist. I have been truying to pin down the essential character of this difference for some time, but so far have been unsuccessful to sufficiently articulat the difference. Talking with you, because I see this same issue, may help both of us get closer to it.

Quote:
ommitted due to its disrespectful nature

I'm disconcerted by the very rude and judgmental comments about both Kelly and Brian, both of whom I happen to like very much. There is no reason to be disrespectful of a person, even if you think there ideas are silly, wrong, or irrational.

Quote:
....The issue isn't qualifications its possessing a modicum of intelligence and knowledge. These appear to be lacking on this forum. Rather than blindly following a blind flock of sheep off the edge of a cliff and thumping your chest with triumphalist false bravado as you approach that precipice you should spend some time acquiring knowledge and thinking.

I will kindly ask you to remain on topic and not simply sling mud. I will consider this a warning to you. I am not for censorship in any way, but there is no need for this here. The subsequent attacks on persons ommitted will be overlooked by myself this one time, but in the future I will not overlook them. I do not tolerate this type of behavior for long, speaking as a moderator. I tolerate it well as an individual, being almost impossible to offend.

Quote:
They would be supernatural simply by virtue of being outside of the realm of naturalistic explanation. They are outside the material world and hence outside the purview of the hypothetico-deductive model. Prayer and miracles cannot be subjected to scientific study. That you are suggesting this indicates that you are operating from a worldview which a priori rejects the existence of the immaterial.

I have talked at length about this issue throughout these forums. I'll not link you to some of todagnst's essays that address this, as you've already heaped disdain on him and would likely accuse me of following like a sheep. I happen to agree with todangst on many issues, and his pre-written essays are handy to link to.

My worldview rejects anything supernatural due to ontological considerations. Existence means to exist as something. It means to have location, size, and other attributes that are natural by definition. To say that the supernatural exists seems nonsensical. What is the supernatural like? You don't know? OK, then how do you know it exists? Every concept of the supernatural borrows concepts from our experience with the natural world.

Being outside of the realm of explanation would imply being outside of the natural, right? So, how does the supernatural interact with the natural? And, if it could, how is it then not simply an extension of the natural? If prayer operate by different rules than nature, then how can nature be effected by them? The ontological substrate in which things happen (the prayer being answered has to have something happen, right?) must be able to bridge the supernatural and the natural for prayer to work and not be natural. It is this interaction that creates the problem for a supernaturalist who would not have the supernatural/natural distinction collapse into a monistic ontology that could just as easily be called "naturalism." This is a point that I cannot summarize quickly enough for this post, so I will handle it later when I have sufficient time.

Quote:
MrRage wrote:
I didn't say chaos would be a consequence. I said there should be phenomenon that is completely inexplicable in natural, scientific terms.

Yes that is what I'm saying also.

Are you claiming that such events occur? This is on the edge of the god of the gaps, if not squarely on it. The fact that something is not explained does not imply that it is not explanable naturalistically. It also doesn't mean that it is, but why insert the ad hoc hypothesis of the supernatural?

Quote:

....In the same way that I have faith in Scripture you have faith in the veracity of the garbage you read on trashy sites like this one....

There seems to be a disconnect here, and it is a common one, about faith. I cannot speak for Mr. rage, but for myself faith plays no part in my life or worldview.

Quote:

No, it demonstrates that it is impossible for you to have a moral or value system. Any values that you nominate are necessaily arbitrary and without any foundation.

I would like to address morality more, but it's been done elsewhere, in other threads. I'll say quickly that morality is not dependent upon objective or absolute foundations to be ethics. The foundations of ethics stem from the logical consequences of desires, emotions, language, and other aspects of the human condition. It's roots are based in both neuroscientific issues, evolutionary issues, and sociological issues.

Here is a somewhat older article i wrote some time back. You may consider it sophomoric and unsophisticated if you wish, but I wrote it to be published not in a philosophy journal.

Secular Morality

Quote:
Naturalism can't serves as a basis for morality because morality and value are necessarily telelogical i.e. purpose oriented.

And purpose cannot arise in nature?

Quote:
Furthermore, you shouldn't ever use the word "ought", it is meaningless within a naturalistic worldview. There is a yawning gap between is and ought and naturalism can't bridge that chasm.

Hilary Putnam would disagree, and I will as well. Read his Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy if you like, as i think it's interesting.

Quote:
I'm pretty much done with this thread and perhaps this entire forum.

I'm sorry to hear that. We'll miss your sweet words and loving, almost Jesus-like, character.

Shaun

I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit.


croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
MrRage wrote: Ok. I'm not

MrRage wrote:
Ok. I'm not going to argue with you here. Let's assume that my (and todangt's) argument is destroyed. What then? Well...did you read the croath's original post? He's using the idea of causation to! If it's true that "...we can't ever observe causation or worse still if causes don't exist..." then how can you argue for a first cause?


Hume was referenced to argue that a cause cannot be simultaneous with its effect - that time is necessary for the notion of cause and effect. Petrov pointed out that if you're going to call on Hume to dismiss my argument, then you have another problem that renders it inefficient for that goal. In other words, his criticism of Hume shows that my original argument stands - we have no reason to believe that time is necessary for the idea of causation.

Particle entanglment seems to at least imply the possibility that a cause can be simultaneous with its effect, since these effects are not limited by the speed of light.

Going back to some earlier points of yours...


MrRage wrote:
I wasn't aware that there was one "Christian doctrine." There are other ways of interpreting the bible that don't require repentance for "basic" salvation (i.e. going to heaven and not hell). The point really is that one could live a life of evil and still escape hell, e.g. a serial killer could repent the hour before they were executed.


You've made two points here. For the first one about there being "other ways" of interpreting the Bible, I'd love to hear them. From what I've read of the Bible it talks many times about turning away, repenting, transformation of the heart, and genuine repentance. And those who say one thing, but in their heart mean another, are punished. So if you'd like to show me how the Bible can justify another view, I'd love to hear it.<p>
More importantly, we're talking about mainline Christianity here. Can you show any major Christian group that teaches repentence is not a part of the saved man's life? As for the serial killer, yes, God is good enough to forgive him if he truly repents at the 11th hour. I see nothing wrong with that. Even humans have forgiven a murderer for taking away someone they love. We applaud those people as men and women of exceptional character. Why do we set a different rule for God when He forgives the truly repentant sinner?

MrRage wrote:
The first one should read "Everything in the universe that begins to exist has a cause."

Why? I think it's quite acceptable the way it is, and you offer no reason to change it.
MrRage wrote:

The second point is no longer valid either. You said that, "the best current scientific thought demonstrates time as beginning at the big bang", but this simply isn't true. There are plenty of viable cosmological models where time doesn't being at the big bang.

Showing that viable cosmological models exist does not mean that the best current scientific thought points away from time beginning at the big bang. That is still the best theory. These other cosmological models, as attempts to escape the notion that the universe had a beginning, are not representative of "best current scientific thought". They are attempts to do away with a beginning, highly speculative, and each need time to be considered and evaluated by the scientific community.
MrRage wrote:
Most (not all!) modern scientists are atheist, pantheist, or very liberal theists (i.e. don't believe in miracles).

Do you have a reference for this statistic? When you say "most", how many do you mean?
MrRage wrote:

The successes of science say a lot about religion. There were many things in the past that were explained (even in the bible) by supernatural causes, that we now know have natural causes. The onward march of science makes metaphysical naturalism more and more sure. My atheism is a consequence of my naturalism.

All this shows is that most phenomena within a natural universe are explainable via natural causes. Hardly a surprising expectation, even for the theist. Sure, people throughout history have applied acts of gods to places where it was merely natural phenomena. But recognising these mistakes is *not* grounds for generalising to all phenomena. We have good reason to believe God exists apart from these now mistaken claims of miracles - so we don't have good grounds for believing that naturalism will explain everything.
MrRage wrote:

When Kelly said, "We would live in a world of magic, where you could turn on the light switch, and well maybe it would turn on and maybe it wouldn’t because, hey, it’s magic!", she means that the scientific process wouldn't work with supernatural entities regularly being involved in the natural world. We would expect to see many violations of "the laws of nature."

It is an idiotic point, and it doesn't stand to reason. Christians believe that God is an intelligent agent, free to act - not only that, but Christians believe humans are intelligent agents with freedom to act. In the same way that God is able to modify the outcome of a scientific experiment to lead someone from the truth, so is a human able to sneak into a laboratory and change the results in a notebook. I'm saying we live in such a world that she claims would make science impossible. We live in a world where free agents are capable of sabotaging our scientific experiments. Just because God is free to pull the wool over our eyes, doesn't mean He will.
MrRage wrote:

(although the FSM wasn't created for this argument specifically)

Foolishly, the FSM was created as an answer to the Intelligent Design movement. As an argument against ID it is even more miserable. See this:

http://www.talkingaboutfaith.org/articles/show/2

MrRage wrote:

If god is subject to anything, then would god still be omnipotent?

God is omnipotent in reference to those things that are possible. There are things that God cannot do. He could not create a state of affairs where something both was true and false at the same time. He could not make a rock he cannot lift. Whether you think this makes Him no longer omnipotent is up to you - but God is all powerful in regards to those things which are logically possible.

I think most everything else in this thread has been addressed by petrov.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
Sits lonely and unresponded

Sits lonely and unresponded to. Petrov ignored me and so did you.

The post I wrote to you has morphed into this long essay I wrote, if you want to check it out:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/sapient/philosophy_and_psychology_with_chaoslord_and_todangst/7720

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


lao tzu
Posts: 41
Joined: 2007-01-12
User is offlineOffline
Greetings, petrov,

Greetings, petrov,

The point of asking about the simplicity of god is to provide support for the implied dichotomy that would insert a supernatural creator into the explanatory gap "wedged" into the theory of evolution. If the arguments for simplicity of god you've seen seem ridiculous to you, you are in good company. They seem ridiculous to me as well. I can imagine a complex universe created by Spinoza's god, but not a purposefully complex universe created by the god of Abraham.

You've claimed that the "balance tips marginally in favour of theism because the theistic position is simpler, more elegant, more complete , and renders numerous philosophical problems more comprehensible," yet refuse to place the god upon which this position is based on the scale to be weighed. Forgive me, but this seems indistinguishable from intellectual cowardice. If your position is to be addressed honestly, you must allow the simplicity of your god to be addressed.

On the odd chance that any lurkers have not made the connection, my screen name here — the "old man" of the Tao Te Ching — indicates not only my graying and receding hairline and choice to remain anonymous, but also my philosophical Taoism. I prefer to be addressed as Jesse if any care to do so.

Thank you, petrov, for granting me the benefit of the doubt in my criticism. Forgive me for giving such general references on your own detailed critique, but it seemed almost hopeless to unwind the misconceptions. Nor will I attempt to answer fully here, though I do intend to answer at length. In my own defense, I did quote the most egregious in my last response to you. Given enough focus, it may be possible to shine some useful light on the subject, or at least enough to show the basis for my earlier comments.

__________

Misconceptions about biological evolution

petrov wrote:
However, the improbability of (macro-) evolution by natural selection in connection with the development of novel complex systems robs this hypothesis of much of its explanatory power.


I'm unaware of any "novel complex systems" in the theory of evolution. The theory presently allows for exaption of existing complex systems, as in the migration of jaw bones into the inner ear over the course of hundreds of thousands of generations. Nor am I aware of any way to prevent (micro-) evolution from becoming (macro-) evolution over the course of time. There are no stop signs that the evolution of DNA must respect.

There is a fundamental error in the above, however. You speak of "improbability" as if we knew the exact evolutionary pathway and thus could calculate the odds. We don't. At best, we have hypothetical pathways, some of which are verified by observation in the lab but none of which are "proven" to have taken place historically. More pointedly, not only do we not know the exact pathway, but we cannot even calculate the number of available pathways. This last is an important distinction.

It is a truism that "evolution is smarter than you are." Where we can imagine a pathway, evolution itself can find dozens. I mean that literally, and conservatively, as it represents what we have discovered. One particular study I recently read involved separate samples of bacteria transferred back and forth between two toxic environments. I'll go looking for it if you're interested. The results were emblematic of the truism. It was found that each separate sample found its own adaptation, notably different from all the others, and a different adaptation each time the process was iterated. Literally dozens of pathways were discovered by the blind forces of evolution using nothing more than mutation to drive trial and error.

This is illustrative of any attempt to show by probability calculations that an evolutionary pathway is unlikely. You never know whether you've discovered that bumblebees can't fly without supernatural assistance or only that your model is faulty.

__________

Misconceptions about intelligent design

Quote:
The point is the development of something like a mammary gland on a reptile is highly improbable with reference to natural selection. A functional mammary gland entails much coding of information and its integration into the existing genetic information of the organism.


Behe has already been publicly discredited, so there's no real point in continuing the argument as to whether irreducible complexity can "grow legs." Irreducible complexity is a marginal issue at best. Remove the scaffolding from an archway after it is complete, and there is no way to "know" it was there, but it's pretty safe to assume it was at one time. There is no end to examples of vestigial structures homologous to biological organs we can see playing a fuller role in other creatures. As we scale down to the molecular level, the same arguments hold, mutatis mutundi.

The actual argument for intelligent design, if it's to be developed, rests with Dembski and his hopes for a "conservation law that governs the origin and flow of information." He spells this out in his 1998 monograph, Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information, in which he postulates, "This strong proscriptive claim, that natural causes can only transmit CSI but never originate it, I call the Law of Conservation of Information."

While the above monograph was deeply flawed (where it was not entirely derivative of Shannon), Dembski expands on this theme in both Uncommon Descent (2004) and especially in No Free Lunch (2006). Still, he has yet to formalize it into a testable hypothesis that can be applied in practice to detect design.

In principle, however, the identification of "intelligent design" depends not on the complexity of the information created but on the information being "specified." Again, from the ARN paper, "the actualization of a possibility (i.e., information) is specified if independently of the possibility's actualization, the possibility is identifiable by means of a pattern." Thus, in order to claim that an irreducibly complex organ, organism or organelle represents intelligent design, it is necessary to demonstrate a teleological pattern that points to something other than a natural designer. Irreducible complexity, by itself, does not satisfy this requirement.

__________

Henceforth, I will attempt to be more careful with my references, as it appears you are actually willing to seek them out. So allow me to answer your continued question:

Quote:
I would be convinced by Miller if he could provide an account of the reducible function of all 30 of the proteins that comprise the eubacterial flagellum. He tells us that the Type-III Secretory Apparatus is "homologous to the proteins in the basal portion of the bacterial flagellum". Yes, that's cool but what of the rest of the flagellum? What other subsets of the proteins that comprise the flagellum comprise functional units that favour natural selection?


From Miller & Levine - Recent Talks, download the powerpoint presentation for Case Western Reserve University and follow along with the youtube video until you find the following diagram:



The discrete portions of the flagellum are color coded and identified with each of their precursors. Note that all of the gaps are filled. By your own criterion, I'd imagine I can now color you convinced? As I may have mentioned before, it is a common error amongst intelligent design proponents to mistake a failure to properly research available literature with actual failings in the theory of evolution.

As ever, Jesse

There is no lao tzu


MrRage
Posts: 896
Joined: 2006-12-22
User is offlineOffline
croath wrote: Hume was

croath wrote:
Hume was referenced to argue that a cause cannot be simultaneous with its effect - that time is necessary for the notion of cause and effect. Petrov pointed out that if you're going to call on Hume to dismiss my argument, then you have another problem that renders it inefficient for that goal. In other words, his criticism of Hume shows that my original argument stands - we have no reason to believe that time is necessary for the idea of causation.

Except, I didn't call on Hume to dismiss you're argument. That was todangst. To tell you the truth, I've never read Hume. (Plus, I think I misread petrov wrote about Hume in his last post.)

Initially, I did mention time, but that wasn't the crux of the point made. What I was getting at was it's not obvious to me why you can generalize something that happens inside the universe to the universe as a whole. If you can make this generalization, please, enlighten me.

croath wrote:
You've made two points here. For the first one about there being "other ways" of interpreting the Bible, I'd love to hear them. From what I've read of the Bible it talks many times about turning away, repenting, transformation of the heart, and genuine repentance. And those who say one thing, but in their heart mean another, are punished. So if you'd like to show me how the Bible can justify another view, I'd love to hear it.

More importantly, we're talking about mainline Christianity here. Can you show any major Christian group that teaches repentence is not a part of the saved man's life? As for the serial killer, yes, God is good enough to forgive him if he truly repents at the 11th hour. I see nothing wrong with that. Even humans have forgiven a murderer for taking away someone they love. We applaud those people as men and women of exceptional character. Why do we set a different rule for God when He forgives the truly repentant sinner?

Of course the bible talks about repentance, forgiveness, etc. My point was very narrow. What does it take to go to heaven? I would agree that the bible teaches repentance in general, but is it required to be saved? For instance, count how many times in John's gospel the word "believe" occurs verses the word "repent". Some (like my father who's very serious about christianity and evangelism) will interpret this as belief being the only thing necessary for salvation. I don't wish to argue the finer points about christian dogma. My whole point is that there are christians who de-emphasize repentance for salvation.

MrRage wrote:
The first one should read "Everything in the universe that begins to exist has a cause."

croath wrote:
Why? I think it's quite acceptable the way it is, and you offer no reason to change it.

I've already replied to this above.

croath wrote:
Showing that viable cosmological models exist does not mean that the best current scientific thought points away from time beginning at the big bang. That is still the best theory. These other cosmological models, as attempts to escape the notion that the universe had a beginning, are not representative of "best current scientific thought". They are attempts to do away with a beginning, highly speculative, and each need time to be considered and evaluated by the scientific community.

Perhaps I was too hasty with my, "This simply isn't true." But, you could easily be wrong about the big bang being the start of time. I think this is a "wait and see" point. This makes Craig's argument less convincing to me.

croath wrote:
Do you have a reference for this statistic? When you say "most", how many do you mean?

I meant a majority when I said most. Here is some references I hope you'll find acceptable.

croath wrote:
All this shows is that most phenomena within a natural universe are explainable via natural causes. Hardly a surprising expectation, even for the theist. Sure, people throughout history have applied acts of gods to places where it was merely natural phenomena. But recognising these mistakes is *not* grounds for generalising to all phenomena. We have good reason to believe God exists apart from these now mistaken claims of miracles - so we don't have good grounds for believing that naturalism will explain everything.

The success of methodological naturalism in science, while not making naturalism 100% certain, at least makes metaphysical naturalism not unreasonable. Combine that with the supernatural's impoverished ontological status (as ShaunPhilly wrote about above), and naturalism very convincing, at least to me. You say, "most phenomena within a natural universe are explainable via natural causes", so please point out a phenomenon in our universe with no possible natural cause, and give me a positive, clear description of its supernatural causes. If you can do this, you have won me back to a dualistic world view.

croath wrote:
It is an idiotic point, and it doesn't stand to reason. Christians believe that God is an intelligent agent, free to act - not only that, but Christians believe humans are intelligent agents with freedom to act. In the same way that God is able to modify the outcome of a scientific experiment to lead someone from the truth, so is a human able to sneak into a laboratory and change the results in a notebook. I'm saying we live in such a world that she claims would make science impossible. We live in a world where free agents are capable of sabotaging our scientific experiments. Just because God is free to pull the wool over our eyes, doesn't mean He will.

I didn't mean to say that the christian god would be sabotaging science experiments. If you think that's what I said then I can see why you'd think it's idiotic.

My point was this: In a world were god regularly and supernaturally intervened in the lives of billions of people (remember this is the god Cameron and Comfort believe in), methodological naturalism, on which the scientific process depends, would be a bad assumption to make. The scientific process would cease to be a reliable method to gain knowledge. This unreliability would not be due to god trying to trick us, but due to methodological naturalism being a bad assumption.

Let me give an example. The crazy hurricane season we had a couple years ago, what caused that? Was it unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, gobal climate change, or a natural cycle? Or was god judging the US for abortion, homosexuals, feminists, and the like? You might think the last option is absurd, but the sort of people who'd watch Cameron and Comfort on TBN wouldn't. Why should those who believe that god uses hurricanes for judgment ever believe a meteorologist?

croath wrote:
God is omnipotent in reference to those things that are possible. There are things that God cannot do. He could not create a state of affairs where something both was true and false at the same time. He could not make a rock he cannot lift. Whether you think this makes Him no longer omnipotent is up to you - but God is all powerful in regards to those things which are logically possible.

Ok, if this is your belief, then I have no argument.

croath wrote:
I think most everything else in this thread has been addressed by petrov.

I don't feel that way.


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
ShaunPhilly wrote: I'm

ShaunPhilly wrote:
I'm disconcerted by the very rude and judgmental comments about both Kelly and Brian, both of whom I happen to like very much. There is no reason to be disrespectful of a person, even if you think there ideas are silly, wrong, or irrational.

That's all quite rich. What is the siginficance of your disposition towards Brian and Kelly to me? Self-righteous moral indignation coming from you is completely meaningless and totally unpersuasive for numerous reasons.

It seems that RRS members can't get as well as they give. I didn't establish the anti-Christian, Christ-hating, Christian -denigrating, Scripture-defiling theme of your rancid website and forum. It would be great if you lead by example and present your philosophical differences in a civil and respectful manner. You do no such thing. You have that tool David Mills smearing the Bible with dog shit, you have the dynamic duo of douche-bagery disseminating lies about Scripture and you have that smarmy slut Kelly denigrating the intellect of all Christians, as if getting ploughed was some great feat of intellect that qualified the judgement. The RRS are a bunch of cowards. None of you would dare being as disrespectful to Muslims and Islam as you are to Christians and Christianity. I challenge David 'The Tool' Mills to put up a video of him smearing excrement on the Koran. Perhaps blubber boy Brian can pen a grotty screed against Islam and 'tard boy Rook can provide a 'kriticull analeesisss' of the Koran.

I don't care for your moderation any more than I care about your cogitations. If you want me to respond to your remarks -- including your invocation of Putnam -- then I'll do so on my own terms or not at all. This forum is one giant circle jerk. I'd be doing you a favour by engaging you in any dialogue. Short-circuiting your ring of mutual masturbation adds value to the forum. I'll add value on my terms not yours. My terms include conforming to the RRSs standard of conduct (but not scholarship) i.e. being caustic and abrasive.

ShaunPhilly wrote:
I'm sorry to hear that. We'll miss your sweet words and loving, almost Jesus-like, character.

You're a cry-baby and a hypocrite. Being Christian doesn't entail being a kicking bag for whitewashed tombs like you.

Let the circle jerk continue.

 


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote: None of you

petrov wrote:

None of you would dare being as disrespectful to Muslims and Islam as you are to Christians and Christianity

 

That is not true. I have no particular qualms against Christianity per se except that I think it is wrong. However, I spit on Islam. It is a vile, militant, murderous faith, a 7th century jurisprudence forced into a 21st century world. If it were up to me, Islam would simply be wiped off the face of the Earth. I have some qualms against Christianity, but I genuinely hate Islam and its mountain of life-destroying gibberish, the Qur'an.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote: That is

deludedgod wrote:
That is not true. I have no particular qualms against Christianity per se except that I think it is wrong. However, I spit on Islam.

You're a coward. If you had the courage of your convictions you wouldn't be hurling your shit bombs from the anonymity of a forum persona. Many Christians have spoken out against Islam and condemned it -- without the shield of anonymity. You're an armchair fighter for liberty -- a cowardly fraud. It takes a great character to sit on your -- most likely fat -- arse downloading porn torrents and tapping out inarticulate anonymous polemics against religion. You're an American hero. Bravo to you.

BTW. if you want me to respond to your essay then I insist on giving you a taste of your own medicine.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
You're an American

You're an American hero.

I'm not American. I do not even live within 5000 miles of the United States. I am not fat. I do not download porn. And I assure you that everything you said about is utterly unwarranted. You think I am frightened of Islamic radicals that I do not publicly condemn it? 

You are being incredibly vile. I was not rude nor hostile to you in any way. There was absolutely no need for any of the unwarranted things you just said. None at all. A taste of my own medicine? Why. How have I been rude to you? I said absolutely nothing which would warrant your disgraceful behaivour. You are being rabid and intolerable. Perhaps because I am merely a member of this forum that you assume such things about me? You know what. You are being a foul lout, and I assure you, this will not go unnoticed. 

 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


petrov
Theist
Posts: 15
Joined: 2007-06-01
User is offlineOffline
deludedgod wrote: You are

deludedgod wrote:
You are being incredibly vile. I was not rude nor hostile to you in any way. There was absolutely no need for any of the unwarranted things you just said. None at all.

This is a vile, rude and hostile site. There is absolutely no need for any of the scorn, hate and vitriol being poured on Christians and Christianity by RRS. As I already stated, you are all a bunch of cry-baby hypocrites. You like to dish it out but when you are met with a response that combines aggression and intellect you fold and cry foul. You are a coward -- a half-educated, infantile and poorly-parented, moronic coward.

deludedtool wrote:
You are being a foul lout, and I assure you, this will not go unnoticed.

Oh I'm alarmed. What will you do? Post a video on YouTube of some dickhead smearing the Bible with faeces? That's already been done. Will you assert that I am irrational and that I have a mental illness? That's already been done also. Will you exclude me from your odious forum that is infested with half-wits? I couldn't care. Knock yourself out.


deludedgod
Rational VIP!ScientistDeluded God
deludedgod's picture
Posts: 3221
Joined: 2007-01-28
User is offlineOffline
petrov wrote:

petrov wrote:

This is a vile, rude and hostile site.

At times I agree. But that does not mean everyone on it is vile and rude. You however, are such a person.

petrov wrote:

You like to dish it out but when you are met with a response that combines aggression and intellect you fold and cry foul.

How do you know? You have never engaged in debate with me.

petrov wrote:

You are a coward -- a half-educated, infantile and poorly-parented, moronic coward.

Half educated? I have a PhD in molecular biology, I assure you my education is up to scratch. My parents were quite possibly the most excellent guardians a child could hope for. You hurl a lot of insults, but no backing for them. And when I said not go unnoticed, I meant the mods would probably block you, but you seem not to care, so I will allow this to run its bloody course.

At any rate, any comment from you regarding rudeness, I hope you realize, would be shamefully hypocritical. I have never spoken to anyone like that in my entire life.

Why do you keep bringing up the topic of "smearing the Bible with faeces"? Is it a reflection of your inherently crude and immature personality? I would never do such a thing. I quite like the Bible. It's a good book. Until it is taken to be true, at least. Why would I go into such trouble, or do such a thing on youtube?

I'd be quite happy to ban you. I don't need moderator concensus to do it. So if you want me to, I can.  

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

Books about atheism


croath
Theist
Posts: 100
Joined: 2007-05-05
User is offlineOffline
There's quite a lot of

There's quite a lot of strong insults going on here.  Brian, Kelly, and Rook were all quite disrespectful and obnoxious in their single replies to this thread, but petrov is throwing his weight around too.

 Is there some secret war going on here that I don't know about?