Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ask an Atheist Day

This National Ask An Atheist Day in the USA. It's sponsored by the Secular Student Alliance and supported by the Center for Inquiry.

Canadians can participate as well. Ask me anything ...



144 comments :

  1. Anything?

    I'll ask four, you can pick one.

    1. Why are we here?
    2. How does dead matter come alive?
    3. When did random mutation and natural selection start?
    4. How is it that a creature like ourselves, that stem from these unguided processes have the ability to contemplate it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. I don't know. The question doesn't have much meaning for me.

      2. When things die they don't come back alive.

      3. I don't know. Presumably it was when the first primitive cells developed a DNA or RNA genome.

      4. Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them.

      You're welcome.

      Delete
    2. Too easy - why don't you rather pick questions (there are many) to which we don't know the answers?

      1) You need to be clearer about what you mean by the question, but here are answers to two questions you might have meant:
      "Why are _we_ (rather than someone/something else) here?" - No particular reason, as far as we know it could equally well have been someone/something else.
      "Why are we _here_ (rather than elsewhere in the universe)?" - Because this is where our ancestors were, and babies are born on the same planet as their mothers. Besides, life couldn't have evolved in places incapable of supporting it.

      2) You need to be clearer about what you mean by "dead" and "alive". If you mean "how does matter that was previously not involved in a biochemical reaction become involved in a biochemical reaction?", the answer is "the same way that any matter gets involved in any chemical reaction".

      3) You can omit the word "random" - it just means "unpredictable" and this applies to all naturally occurring mutations. Most mutations are just copying errors; mutation and selection started at the same time replication started.

      4) It's a by-product of intelligence, which evolved (probably as a beneficial adaptation) in some animals.

      Delete
    3. My turn,

      1. Why are we here?
      Why not?

      2. How does dead matter come alive?
      If you meant dead, Larry answered this quite clearly, if you meant inanimate then you had a set of good answers by Konrad and then Diogenes below.

      3. When did random mutation and natural selection start?
      Aaaaaaaah! Interesting. It was June 13, 3,720,421,027 billion B.C. It was a sunny day too.

      4. How is it that a creature like ourselves, that stem from these unguided processes have the ability to contemplate it?
      Because those unguided processes have a logic to them that is the same logic working in our brains, which is the same logic necessary to contemplate "it." Whatever "it" might be. That's the short answer. For a full treatise you have to consult, read and properly understand a series of books on science in general, cosmology, biology, philosophy and epistemology. Then put the whole thing together.

      But those questions are not for atheists. They are for scientists (one might be for philosophers), probably of different backgrounds. We don't need to have answers to every possible question before learning that gods are imaginary. If you think that ignorance is a good reason to believe in gods, well, if it works for you have at it. It does not work for me. Imaginary beings remain imaginary no matter how much me personally, and humanity in general know or ignore.

      Have a great day.

      Delete
    4. In answer 4. I forgot: a good blender might come in handy (to put the whole thing together).

      Delete
    5. Dear Prof Moran you say;

      1. I don't know. The question doesn't have much meaning for me.

      You don’t know? You also don’t care?

      2. When things die they don't come back alive.

      Maybe I should have stated this better so you could understand; how does non-living matter (aka rocks) become alive?

      3. I don't know. Presumably it was when the first primitive cells developed a DNA or RNA genome.

      You don’t know?

      4. Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them.

      Just the other week you posted on your doubts about evo-devo, this answer is an evo-devo one, Crocs have been around for what now 120 million years and they are doing just fine without thinking about it.

      In conclusion

      You scored 50% on the questions and if I had to take marks off for suspect answers then you’ve probably flunked this spectacularly.
      Now here is my question if you could not outright answer three of these very simple questions how do you KNOW there is no God?

      Delete
    6. Andre,

      I answered your questions honestly. Why did you choose to respond in such an insulting manner?

      And why did you choose to demonstrate your ignorance of the meaning of atheism by attributing a belief to me that I do not hold?

      I don't understand why you are incapable of having a respectful, honest, and open discussion in a thread where you were invited to learn about atheism.

      Delete
    7. Crocs don't have brains?

      This is brillant. In Andre-land, atheism is seemingly the claim that we know there are no god(s). Also, I don't know isn't an acceptable answer. Apparently it's better to just insert a deity in a gap of knowledge until and if such a time arrives when it isn't needed. Rule of thumb, don't know = goddidit.

      Delete
    8. Andre,

      In Larry's answer to 4, "Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them," you said:

      Just the other week you posted on your doubts about evo-devo, this answer is an evo-devo one,

      The question was whether evo-devo contributed anything to evolutionary theory. Not whether development can be used as data about evolutionary histories. Still, Larry's answer was not an evo-devo answer. He did not say anything about how the embryos develop, or any such thing. I think you have non idea what evo-devo means.

      Crocs have been around for what now 120 million years and they are doing just fine without thinking about it.

      Crocs still have brains. But you are not reading Larry's answer carefully enough. Let me show you: "Brains evolved because they conferred selective advantage on the animals that possessed them" See? to the animals that possessed them. It does not say "to crocs" or "to every animal." Crocs have other traits that confer them advantages for survival. Their evolutionary history lead elsewhere, ours to thinking.

      Apparently you are not paying attention to other answers either. It's not about how many questions can be answered, if we don't know something it means we don't know something. It does not mean that there's gods. Just a little bit of knowledge betrays lots of the gods believed by people to be false. Example, lots of versions of the Christian god are deemed false by evolution alone. Now, you might say, hey, you don;t know how life started, therefore you don;t know if there was evolution! I would answer: wrong, we do know that evolution is true. No question about it. There's enough evidence to know that. There's enough evidence to establish a lot of our history with the rest of life via evolution that not knowing specifics makes exactly no difference. Other things, many details, I could not care one bit if we will ever know or not, evolution is still a fact.

      So, science gives us enough information to show that gods are myths. Some Christians have taken refuge in the unknown. Being more honest than most other Christians, they don;t deny that evolution is true, but they hold to other unknowns. If that suits you, as I said above, fine. But be aware that you are not really supporting your belief a lot.

      As per knowing that there is no "God," well, which god do you have in mind? Give as many specifics as you can. In my case, I know that gods are fantasies, and so far no believer has been able to show me otherwise.

      In conclusion: your questions cannot tell us whether there's a god or not. They do betray your belief as being exactly alike to that of primitive tribes who thought that a volcano was a god. In other words: if you don't know, or don't understand something, therefore gods.

      See ya.

      Delete
    9. Andre: You seem to think that "I don't know" is somehow a shameful answer. It is not.

      Scientists _live_ for questions with "I don't know" answers - they are precious nuggets to be sought out; without them, we would have no science to do.

      Delete
    10. Question 1. implies that we have a shared common purpose, which is not the case. If I were to ask, "How much tennis should we play each day?" the answer would be different for each person. For most of us, the question would be: none! As Robert M. Price pointed out in "The Reason Driven Life" (a rationalist response to "The Purpose Driven Life") religion gives a false sense of comfort by assuring the faithful that they have the "right" purpose because they share the same purpose with all their coreligionists. However, asking "What is my purpose?" is like asking a chessmaster "What is the best move?" The correct answer is: "It depends on circumstances."

      Delete
  2. the ideology of death


    s1.zetaboards.com/LooseChangeForums/topic/4979676/1/#new

    ReplyDelete
  3. The current crop of trolls are getting pretty boring, time to bring in some fresh meat.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll handle one.

    "How does dead matter come alive?"

    Here's one way. Plants insert their roots in dead matter. Their roots absorb dead matter (carbon, phosphorous etc.) which is sucked up the vascular system of the plant. The leaves absorb C02 and use photosynthesis to generate ATP which drives chemical reactions that synthesize carbon, hydrogen etc. into carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleotides, and lipids.

    As for chemoautotrophs, Larry just wrote a blog post on those.

    Now I have one for Andre.

    Does matter becoming alive require violations of physical law?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andre: when answering, please be clear about what you mean by "physical law". Is it (a) our current, and constantly changing, understanding of how the universe works, or (b) how the universe actually works, whether we understand it or not?

      If (b), and if you suggest that it can be violated, please explain how this is not simply a contradiction.

      Delete
    2. Firstly you might want to think about it because it's clear that you did not understand the question....

      How is it that some combinations of chemicals are alive and conscious, yet if you take all those chemicals and put them in a flask it does not become alive? Why is that? Simple really, if life was natural and was indeed brought forth by natural laws then I would expect new life popping up constantly all over the place matter of fact science would be able to prove this over and over again, even in the current conditions we find ourselves in; a famous quip from Jurassic Park comes to mind on this, "Life finds a way".

      This is however not the case and thus it is clear that there is something that violated natural law to spark the first life. This has been proven by biogenesis. Until this is disproven scientifically there is no answer on how chemicals become conscious other than life was either seeded extra-terrestrially or was created.

      Omne vivum ex vivo!

      Delete
    3. Diogenes you say;

      "Here's one way. Plants insert their roots in dead matter. Their roots absorb dead matter (carbon, phosphorous etc.) which is sucked up the vascular system of the plant. The leaves absorb C02 and use photosynthesis to generate ATP which drives chemical reactions that synthesize carbon, hydrogen etc. into carbohydrates, amino acids, nucleotides, and lipids."

      That is very interesting but does not answer my question. Plants are a life form how did they become alive before this said process?

      You do know that plants are life forms right?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_life-form

      So back to square one how did plants come to life?

      Delete
    4. How come only one specific collection of material is Mt. Everest, but every other collection of material isn't?

      How come if I just take the constituent elements of Mt. Everest and put them in a flask, they don't become Mt. Everest?

      Checkmate, atheists!

      Delete
    5. My body and Mt Everest consists of the same material. I can think about Mt Everest.

      Delete
    6. But you can't think about your body?.. or... what?

      Delete
    7. So back to square one how did plants come to life?

      I think it's back to square one for you. Are you saying that what plants transform into new plants is alive before the plants take it? CO2 is alive?

      Your question is nonsense. Obviously, of all the chemical reactions that the materials could go through, our enzymes catalyze (accelerate) the ones leading to form new people (very simplified, but it's a start for you to understand). Just mixing won't do the trick for more than obvious reasons (besides we start new people with materials that have been processed a lot already by other life forms). There's no magic involved. Go take a few courses in biochemistry, embryology, chemistry, physics, try and focus on catalysis a bit. If what you want is a whole explanation from primitive earth to today, well, too much for a few comments. there's good sources to learn the basics around the web. If you are truly curious check around.

      I truly see no reason why if life started naturally we should see it sprouting everywhere today. It is enough if it can happen a few times in millions/billions of years. Where do you get the idea that it should sprout constantly? What's the proper logic behind that?

      Delete
    8. AG: it is clear that there is something that violated natural law to spark the first life.

      How the hell is that clear? As I asked you already:

      Does matter becoming alive require violations of physical law?

      Dead matter is incorporated into living things and becomes involved in biochemical reactions. Where were the laws of physics violated?

      AG: if life was natural and was indeed brought forth by natural laws then I would expect new life popping up constantly all over the place

      Well, no. You would not expect that. Here we get the peanut butter argument from Rev. Chuck Missler-- every time we open a jar of peanut butter, new life must form, it doesn't that disproves evolution.

      You would not expect new life popping up constantly all over the place.

      Rather, if life started out with self-duplicating RNA molecules, then you would expect that:

      1. Small RNA molecules, within reach of random combinations of nucleotides, can catalyze reactions

      2. RNA molecules can catalyze ligation of RNA

      3. Ribonucleotides can be synthesized by pre-biotic chemistry

      4. The core of the ribosome should be a catalytic RNA.

      All of which are observed.

      I listed 4 testable and confirmed predictions of the RNA world hypothesis. Can you list ANY testable predictions of your dirt-to-genome transition theory?

      AG's argument is like saying: The Bible says a rib was made into a woman. If that were true, why aren't ribs turning into women all over the place?

      Delete

  5. 1. Why are we here?
    2. How does dead matter come alive?
    3. When did random mutation and natural selection start?
    4. How is it that a creature like ourselves, that stem from these unguided processes have the ability to contemplate it?


    Answers:

    1. God
    2. God
    3. God
    4. God

    ReplyDelete
  6. In your soon to be published "Atheist Cookbook", will you be including all the traditional ways of preparing baby or as a sop to the health nazis will you be excluding the crowd pleasing but unhealthy favourites like deep fried and fricasseed ?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Andre-
    If they're not just rhetorical arguments from ignorance, what do these questions have to do with Atheism? Lack of belief in God does not make someone a biologist, cosmologist, neurologist, or philosophy scholar.

    Put another way, do you mean to preface each question with "If there is no God..." ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Put another way, do you mean to preface each question with "If there is no God..." ?

      that is the situation, unless he corrects me.

      Answers masquerading as questions can be summarily dismissed.

      Delete
    2. Good point but no.

      This is about the bold claim ask me anything? To aster that you can be asked anything means you have the answer for everything..... clearly this is not the case, because most of you don't even know what the definition of life is.... but you know there is no God and of that you seem to be so certain. it would have been funny but unfortunately this is sad because if you don't know everything how do you know there is no God?

      Delete
    3. Andre, if you follow the link the OP provides, you will find that 'ask me anything' refers to this:

      "National Ask An Atheist Day is an opportunity for secular groups across the country to work together to defeat stereotypes about atheism and encourage courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike. The event is intended to be an opportunity for the general public - particularly people of faith - to approach us and ask questions about secular life."

      There is no presumption that atheists have the 'answer for everything'. The spirit of the event is open dialogue, communication and mutual understanding. I think you've missed the point.

      Delete
    4. Andy we frequent this blog have you ever had open dialogue and honest conversations without the usual "you are stupid because you think God is possible?" You might be missing the point this is not about open clear ask me anything stuff,

      If your world view is all relative (atheism) can you have an open discussion about anything?

      I for one would love to experience it but that is frankly not how it will happen.

      Delete
    5. Andre, yes, I have. There are several regular visitors here with whom I have had respectful disagreements and have even shared a joke or two. Negative Entropy, Piotr, Allan Miller, SRM, Arek, and others.

      But that's not the point I was trying to make. I was referring to the organization that is spearheading this, the Secular Student Alliance. I don't know anything more about them than I just showed you below your comment, but I think it's a great idea what they are doing and support it wholeheartedly. And I don't think very many students will tell you that they have answers for everything. A student who knows everything would be oxymoronic. :)

      Delete
    6. Then it is settled and I hope that the discussions will be open, respectful and honest above all.

      Delete
    7. People do lose patience with you, Andre. They put some effort into explaining the science. Some start out irritable, some get there subsequently, but it almost seems that you are trying to provoke a negative response. You certainly don't seem to wish to understand.

      This:

      If your world view is all relative (atheism) can you have an open discussion about anything?

      If one needs a religion before one can have an open discussion (!), how can you have a sensible discussion outside the set of believers? You are veering close to the bigotry to which you object.

      Delete
    8. Allan

      For me things are black or white, there is no grey. Truth is objective regardless of our subjective feelings.

      If we can have an open discussion why do you believe/think or know that God does not exist?

      In the spirit then of open, and respectful dialogue can you answer the question?

      Delete
    9. I'd agree that there are 'objective' truths - actual states-of-affairs in the universe. The difficulty is in spotting 'em! ;o)

      I certainly don't know that God doesn't exist. Nor would I say (despite claims that atheism is a religion) that I believe that God doesn't exist. But it struck me at a pretty young age that the religion we were given in school (UK) was simply people telling other people who tell other people that ... there seemed no clear ultimate foundation to it. Why do people in one part of the world believe one thing, those in another another ... they can't all be right, and could all be wrong.

      People testify to a profound sense of something behind it all, and that forms the fundamentals of their faith - religious trappings are simply a cultural layer to help access the 'real' deity. I can simply say that I do not share that sense. To me, the complexities of the universe build from ultimate simplicity, not from something yet more complex.

      Delete
    10. Thank you for your reply.

      Is atheism a religion? Speaking from experience I would admit yes. This article I read the other day rung a bell!

      http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/03/17/sorry-but-atheism-is-religion/

      As for everything starting simple and becoming more complex are you aware that this view is being challenged? In the last 6 months I have read quite a bit on the subject here is a recently published article; The people that frequent the blog might be familiar with this article.

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11692-013-9227-6

      Lastly there is blind faith and there is reasonable faith. You can see a great example of this in the recent Alex Rosenberg/William Lane Craig debate...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBTPH51-FoU

      Delete
    11. "As for everything starting simple and becoming more complex are you aware that this view is being challenged?"

      Being challenged? We have known many examples of "reduction in complexity" for a long time. Chloroplasts, mitochondria, obligate parasites/symbionts, etc.

      Delete
    12. Andre,

      Atheism isn't a religion, other than by mangling the word beyond usefulness. It has absolutely none of the trappings of a faith. The concept of 'belief' in a negative metaphysical proposition is incoherent - again, other than by playing silly equivocation games with the word's several possible definitions. One disagrees with the positive belief, one does not substitute for it a 'negative belief'.

      By simplicity-to-complexity I mean right back to fundamentals - the four forces, a couple of fundamental particles, and there you have it. One (1) universe. I certainly don't mean that 'nothing ever becomes more simple'.

      Delete
    13. I agree with Allan that atheism is, decidedly, not a religion. But I also agree with the implication of the article Andre links to that shrill antitheist ideologues (and this constitutes by no means the majority of atheists) display all the intolerant, ignorant and unpleasant attributes they fault religious believers for. It's kind of like being religious, except for instead of believing that they get to be happy for eternity, they get to feel better about themselves by pretending they know more than they do.

      Delete
    14. Andre,

      Atheism as a religion? Penn Jillette amusingly said that atheism is a religion the same way not collecting stamp is a hobby. Now, I'm sure that there is a way to push any idea so far that it ends up assuming the trappings of religion; that happened to marxism, to health food fads, to pop star adulation... and probably, yes, to atheism when it goes beyond the simple concept of not believing in this or that supernatural entity. I would however think that most atheists (and I really mean the vast majority of them) see atheism as merely agnosticism plus one: although the do not KNOW for sure that Yahweh, Vishnu or Wotan do not exist, they see no compelling evidence to the contrary; and so, in the words of Richard Dawkins, they think that there is a *very high likelihood* that they do not. The same applies to the Loch Ness monsters or to little grey aliens; I have no proof that they are imaginary beings, but then again empirical evidence points toward that direction.

      Atheists (or agnostics) are not that different from believers, in that they consider most gods as culturally-defined concepts rather than independent and "real" beings. I mean, it takes no effort for a Christian to consider that Thor, Zeus or Raven do not actually exist. A Muslim does not consider Jesus to be the son of God, does not believe in the samsara, and does not expect a giant wolf to eat the sun at the end of times. All of these non-beliefs are shared by the atheist, who then just goes one step further and adds one more god to the list of supernatural entities he or she doesn't believe in. I do not think that, in and of itself, qualifies as a religion.

      All the best,

      - Ben

      Delete
    15. Andre Gross writes:

      As for everything starting simple and becoming more complex are you aware that this view is being challenged?

      From the abstract you cite that you think supports this position (my bold):

      "Our purpose here is to introduce a new route to functional complexity, a route in which complexity starts high, rising perhaps on account of the spontaneous tendency for parts to differentiate. Then, driven by selection for effective and efficient function, complexity decreases over time."

      Which it not all the same as things suddenly popping into existence out of thin air, already complex.

      Delete
    16. andre, are you actually claiming that wl craig's beliefs and sermons are an example of reasonable faith? If so, you're just as insane as he is.

      You asked:

      "If we can have an open discussion why do you believe/think or know that God does not exist?"

      I know that no "God" exists. I know because every so-called "God" is supported by impossible fairy tales. Faith in impossible fairy tales is not positive evidence for any "God". Instead, it proves that such faith is delusional and that "God" is impossible.

      How would you answer these questions:

      If we can have an open discussion why do you believe/think or know that the tooth fairy does not exist?

      If we can have an open discussion why do you believe/think or know that Superman does not exist?

      If we can have an open discussion why do you believe/think or know that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist?

      If we can have an open discussion why do you believe/think or know that Zeus does not exist?

      If I were to claim that I am "God", would you have 'reasonable faith' that I am telling the truth and that I am "God"? If not, why would you believe/think or know that I am not telling the truth and that I am not "God"?

      Delete
    17. andyboerger said:

      "shrill antitheist ideologues" and "intolerant, ignorant and unpleasant attributes" and "they get to feel better about themselves by pretending they know more than they do."

      And you wonder why I and others aren't nicey-nice to you?

      Oh, and you do realize that you're admitting to being a theist and an anti-atheist, don't you? Which so-called "God" have you chosen to suck up to, andy?

      Tell me andy, what do you actually "know" about your chosen, so-called "God"? I'd hate to think that you're just "pretending" to "know" more than you do to make yourself feel better.

      Delete
    18. twt, ha ha. Yes, you are always so nicety-nice unless provoked, aren't you? Why, when I wrote about shrill antitheist ideologues you were EXACTLY who I had in mind (are you surprised?) and then I went on to write 'and this constitutes by no means the majority of atheists'.
      I was an atheist for many years, my brother is one while my sister is a Catholic, and we all get along. Probably half the people I work with, and on good terms, are atheists. I have a problem with small minded, ideological unhinged people. I'm just funny that way, I guess.

      Delete
    19. "I have a problem with small minded, ideological unhinged people."

      You must really hate yourself then.

      Delete
  8. Dadaism FTW!

    1. Wouldn't you almost rather than?
    2. Nevees t'vaah deschniemen khopodh?
    3. WHERE ARE MY PURPLE CRAYONS?!?
    4. You are on a freighter sailing due south from Saskatchewan. The ship's GPS is broken, and a mysterious food-borne allergy has incapacitated half the crew. How old is the first mate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My answers:
      1. Only in so far as between when decided on it, then possibly not.
      2. Ehaigah aahmil vi tsuz phacca'ah.
      3. YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
      4. 33 years old.

      Delete
  9. Name your favourite great Canadians who are atheists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't know. The ones I admire, I have never asked if they believe in gods or not.

      Delete
  10. I have a question I have been struggling with for a while now. This is a perfect opportunity:

    1. WHAT DOES IT TAKE for an atheist/scientist to believe that life could have originated by natural means-by a mindless and blind chance/accident, if intelligent scientist can't create even the "simplest" of life forms, like a living cell?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's no evidence for god(s). That's why I'm an atheist.

      In the absence of evidence for god(s) there doesn't seem to be any other explanation for the origin of life other than a naturalistic one. It seems like the most logical possibility even though we don't know the exact details.

      We also know enough about evolution to conclude that all life is descended from simple cells that existed more than three billion years ago. We know enough biochemistry to make reasonable hypotheses about how life could have originated from inorganic matter.

      So far we have no need of god(s).


      Delete
    2. I'd like to take on your response one step at the time, if you don't mind?

      @Larry said:

      "There's no evidence for god(s). That's why I'm an atheist."

      What kind of evidence are/were you looking for? Or, what evidence would convince you that there must be "Something" or "Someone" beyond what we know, or you know? Let's limit this answer to the origin of life and biochemical evolution, shall we?

      Delete
    3. Dominic, why don't you just present some evidence for your god ?

      I mean, how hard can it be ?

      Sheesh, the way you blather on and on, it's like you don't actually have any.

      Delete
    4. @Steve
      Please just tell us what would happen to faith, if there was an irrefutable evidence for IT?

      Delete
    5. Dominic, your question, like most of them, is not even coherent.

      Faith is the belief in the truth of a proposition without any supporting evidence.

      If you have evidence, you don't need faith.

      If you have faith, you have no evidence.

      As Mark Twain put it: Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

      Speaking of evidence, still waiting.

      I'm taking your unwillingness to provide evidence for your god as evidence that you actually don't have any evidence.

      Delete
    6. sez dominic nikel:
      WHAT DOES IT TAKE for an atheist/scientist to believe that life could have originated by natural means-by a mindless and blind chance/accident, if intelligent scientist can't create even the "simplest" of life forms, like a living cell?
      The fact that "intelligent scientist" demonstrably cannot "create even the 'simplest' of life forms" is evidence that however life came to exist, no "intelligent scientist" was involved with that process. I mean, really, Nikel, do you honestly think no known intelligence can do X, therefore X must have been done by an unknown intelligence is a persuasive argument?
      Do you think no known intelligence can do X, therefore X must have been done by an unknown intelligence is even a logically valid argument?

      As for the question of what it would take to make biologists accept the notion of Intelligent Design having been involved in the creation/development of life on Earth: It's an interesting question. Sadly, the 'theory' of Intelligent Design, as asserted by ID-pushers, can be boiled down to a seven-word summary—somehow, somewhen, somewhere, somebody intelligent did something—which, as far as I know, does not leave out any substantive feature of ID. So if ID-pushers want ID to be taken seriously by real scientists, ID-pushers are going to have to get their acts together and work out a, like, actual scientific theory of Intelligent Design.
      In the meantime, real scientists will continue to detect design using pretty much the same set of design-detection techniques they already are using. Said techniques are, fundamentally, built around the notion of forming a testable hypothesis of manufacture, and then… well… testing that hypothesis. With respect to life on Earth, we've got plenty of hypotheses and not enough evidence to narrow down the range of viable candidates; none of the evidence we do have, is indicative of an Intelligent Designer's "hand at the switch". [shrug]

      As for the question of what sort of evidence would convince an atheist that God exists: I think you Believers really ought to get your acts together and nail down what, exactly, this "god" thingie even is, before you demand that atheists tell you what sort of evidence they'd accept as supporting the proposition that this 'god' thingie exists. Is god an emotion (Love), is it a metaphysical concept (the ground of all being), is it a dessert topping, is it a floor wax? Once you lot hash out the details, and you've nailed down said details tightly enough that there even can be evidence in support of the 'god' concept you've defined, then it will make sense for atheists to decide what they would or wouldn't accept as evidence for god.

      Delete
    7. #@ steve oberski said:
      "Dominic, your question, like most of them, is not even coherent.

      "Faith is the belief in the truth of a proposition without any supporting evidence."

      Unfortunately this is a definition of a blind faith but how would you know it?

      If you have evidence, you don't need faith.

      If you have faith, you have no evidence.

      As Mark Twain put it: Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

      Speaking of evidence, still waiting.

      I'm taking your unwillingness to provide evidence for your god as evidence that you actually don't have any evidence."

      Read the my first sentence. True faith is not blind as you have indicated. True faith is based on evidence. Can you provide such for the origin of life? If not, where does that put you when it comes to faith? I'm sure you have an answer. Logical one.

      Delete
    8. True faith? While it may be true that you have faith in "God" and associated fairy tales, that doesn't mean that your chosen "God" and associated fairy tales are true.

      What "evidence" (scientific evidence of course) can you present to support that your chosen "God" and associated fairy tales are true, and that your faith isn't blind?

      Delete
    9. Dominic, I have made no claims about the origin of life, I have no expertise in that area and I defer to the mainstream consensus of those who are qualified in that area.

      I am however fairly confident that an invisible bearded tribal god with a penchant for vicarious misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and genocide had nothing to do with it, that I have faith in.

      Delete
    10. dominic asked:

      "Or, what evidence would convince you that there must be "Something" or "Someone" beyond what we know, or you know?"

      "Something" or "Someone"? Don't you mean your chosen "God"? And why did you capitalize the S in both "Something" and "Someone"? Are you afraid that your chosen "God" will get pissed if you don't capitalize at least the first letter of every word that you use as a reference to it?

      People who believe or just accept that there 'could' be someone or something that designed-created the universe, including life, aren't the ones who are cramming or trying to cram their religious beliefs into education, government, science, and every other aspect of everyone's life, and they're not the ones who are constantly griping about evolution and/or the ToE on websites or anywhere else. It's the people who believe that there "must" be a "God" and that it's only their chosen "God" and that everyone else "must" believe in and 'worship' their "God" as they do who are doing those things.

      There are lots of things "beyond what we know" but that is not evidence for any "God", and many of the things that "we" don't know right now will be known in the future.

      Science makes many discoveries every day, not just in laboratories and not just by professional scientists. Millions of people around the world contribute to scientific discoveries and explanations.

      If you and other "God" pushers want to do something positive, get out there and help science find evidence of things that are real, stop trying to ruin education and science, stop griping about evolution and the ToE, and stop cramming or trying to cram your asinine religious beliefs into every aspect of everyone's life.

      Delete
    11. @The whole truth

      "Something" or "Someone"? Don't you mean your chosen "God"?

      Obviously you can prove this claim.

      "And why did you capitalize the S in both "Something" and "Someone"? Are you afraid that your chosen "God" will get pissed if you don't capitalize at least the first letter of every word that you use as a reference to it?"

      I also capitalize Junk DNA. Is it going to get me in trouble too with God, if it turns out to be false?

      "People who believe or just accept that there 'could' be someone or something that designed-created the universe, including life, aren't the ones who are cramming or trying to cram their religious beliefs into education, government, science, and every other aspect of everyone's life, and they're not the ones who are constantly griping about evolution and/or the ToE on websites or anywhere else. It's the people who believe that there "must" be a "God" and that it's only their chosen "God" and that everyone else "must" believe in and 'worship' their "God" as they do who are doing those things."

      I'm not one of them. I don't believe in teaching creationism in public schools. However, I don't like when obvious and proven lies are taught too, such as that Darwin's finches are the example of macroevolution, that Miller's experiment proves that live could arise spontaneously, Haeckels fraudulent embryos and on and on and on...

      You really have a lot to be proud about.

      "There are lots of things "beyond what we know" but that is not evidence for any "God", and many of the things that "we" don't know right now will be known in the future."

      What is it evidence for and how can you be so sure it isn't the evidence for God, since you have no proof one way or the other? Because you choose to believe it? Well, that may be very convincing but not to me.

      "Science makes many discoveries every day, not just in laboratories and not just by professional scientists. Millions of people around the world contribute to scientific discoveries and explanations.

      If you and other "God" pushers want to do something positive, get out there and help science find evidence of things that are real, stop trying to ruin education and science, stop griping about evolution and the ToE, and stop cramming or trying to cram your asinine religious beliefs into every aspect of everyone's life."

      I'm doing it right now. The rest of the answer you can find above.

      Delete
    12. "I'm not one of them."

      Liar.

      "I'm doing it right now."

      Liar.

      "You really have a lot to be proud about."

      Take a good, long look at the history and current practices of oppression, destruction, murder/slaughter, slavery, abuse, rape, mutilation, bigotry, racism, theft, coercion, threats, wars, genocide, terrorism, manipulation, dishonesty, neglect, misogyny, ostentatiousness, arrogance, conquest, pomposity, denigration, cultural annihilation, human and animal sacrifice, undeserving imprisonment, conspiracy, domination, harassment, torture, force, denial, ignorance, waste, self-righteousness, shallow-mindedness, insanity, forgery, hypocrisy, prejudice, etc., etc., etc., in the name of your and other religions and so-called 'Gods', and as condoned, promoted, or even commanded by "God" in your and other so-called 'holy books'.

      I am PROUD to NOT be religious.



      Delete
    13. I love you too...but your evidence of hate doesn't fit? What do you want? You want evidence why murderers and convicts are being executed? Well, while I love it i hate it at the same time..

      Delete
    14. I'm not one of them. I don't believe in teaching creationism in public schools. However, I don't like when obvious and proven lies are taught too, such as that Darwin's finches are the example of macroevolution,

      Macroevolution is commonly defined as evolution at or above the species level.

      Darwin's finches: 15 different species constituting four genera within the subfamily Geospizidae.

      Care to explain how this is not an example of macroevolution due to adaptive radiation?

      that Miller's experiment proves that live could arise spontaneously,

      Does anyone teach this or do they teach that the Miller-Urey experiment showed for the first time that biologically important molecules could be synthesized from non-biological precursors?

      Haeckels fraudulent embryos and on and on and on...

      I presume you've actually demonstrated that these illustrations were intended to deceive. Could you present us with that evidence? I ask because the matter is certainly not settled among historians of science (link goes to PDF).

      My intro to biology book was Biology by Campbell, Reece, and Mitchell. They used photographs to illustrate the embryonic phylotypic stage. So were they not lying? And if they weren't lying about embryonic development, then why does it become a lie when Haeckel's illustration (actually, most often Romanes') is used to drive home the same point about embryonic similarities?

      Delete
    15. @Nullifidian

      So you think that Darwin's finches are the example of macroevolution? In other words you believe that two base pair change in the genome of finches out of 1.5 billion is good enough to lead to new species?

      Delete
    16. So you think that Darwin's finches are the example of macroevolution?

      What I think is irrelevant. What matters is whether you can demonstrate that the evolution of 15 species and four genera within an entirely novel subfamily is not macroevolution.

      In other words you believe that two base pair change in the genome of finches out of 1.5 billion is good enough to lead to new species? [citation needed]

      There are two ways of answering your question, and I'll take both.

      First, on a theoretical level, you err in assuming that you can work out anything about speciation just from the number of base pair changes. Creationists often assume that there should be a 1:1 correlation between genomic change and phenotypic change. Characteristically, however, they don't bother to put their intuitions to the test by working out exactly how much phenotypic change you can expect per base pair.

      But as to this specific piece of 'information', I am skeptical because it sounds like something you just made up.

      Delete
    17. Blah, blah, blah...This is typical.

      "There are two ways of answering the question" But you did not take any. If the difference between finches with small and large beak really is two base pairs, you are going to continue to do blah, blah, blah as if nothing happened.

      "But as to this specific piece of 'information', I am skeptical because it sounds like something you just made up."

      Google it then. You may get lucky and find it to be true you moron.

      Delete
    18. If the difference between finches with small and large beak really is two base pairs, you are going to continue to do blah, blah, blah as if nothing happened.

      If it is, then I'm going to do what I've been doing this whole time and demand that you provide us with reasons why the evolution of a subfamily that consists of fifteen species grouped into four genera should not be considered "macroevolution".

      You haven't quite managed that.

      Google it then. You may get lucky and find it to be true you moron.

      I did Google it, you moron. And I found no evidence to support your claim. So, moron, the onus is on you to up your claim. [citation still needed]

      Delete
    19. That should read "to back up your claim", of course.

      Delete
    20. P.S. It might interest you to know that beak size is not the only thing that defines the various species of finch. For example, even if you do manage to back up your claim that the difference in beak size is down to a mere two base pairs, you will still have not addressed, for example, song and the role of sexual selection in maintaining distinct species. Nor will you have addressed the possibility that the molecular changes that maintain species boundaries are unrelated to beak size and spread by drift.

      So where are you going with this anyway?

      Delete
    21. So, basically you have no idea what determines a new species? In other words, if my son has a bigger nose then mine but can't sing if I'm a singer, than he could be considered to be a new species?

      Delete
    22. @Nullifidian
      I don't need to back up my claim. It won't make any difference will it?

      Delete
    23. No, you have no idea what determines a new species... or anything else about evolutionary biology. The fact that your ignorance is extensive doesn't make it a universal state.

      I'm still waiting for your explanation regarding how a new subfamily of four genera and fifteen species cannot be considered a case of macroevolution when the term is commonly defined as evolution at or above the species level.

      You have two ways to refute this: you can either demonstrate that Darwin's finches didn't evolve, and their separate species were created perfect and immutable in the distant past, or you can demonstrate that we should not consider the evolution of new species, genera, and subfamilies to be macroevolution.

      P.S. [citation remains needed]

      Delete
    24. I don't need to back up my claim. It won't make any difference will it?

      It will make a great deal of difference as to whether you're regarded as someone who is intellectually sincere or just another imbecilic troll.

      Delete
    25. Dominic,

      If instead of taking everything rhetorically you tried to understand the stuff you would gain a whole lot of respect. Now, you might be tempted to say that you don't care about respect for yourself, and that's all right if you think so. But rhetorical play does nothing to convince me that you are reasonable. Your lack of thinking before you answer makes me think that you come and write about base pairs and such without truly understanding any of it.

      Nullifidian, by what he/she has written, surely understand what speciation means, understands the issues, for example, between changes in DNA and changes in phenotype well enough that he talks to you as if you knew what you are talking about. He understand characteristics that distinguish species among birds, and named just a few. That you have no idea about birds, other than they have beaks, and you so stupidly translate "singing" into an equivocation when referring to you and your son, only betrays your ignorance and lack of any inclination to give anything a proper thought.

      How do you think that makes us feel about your belief system?

      Delete
    26. It will make a great deal of difference as to whether you're regarded as someone who is intellectually sincere or just another imbecilic troll.

      And I used so many words to say the same. :(

      Delete
    27. @Nullifidian & Negative

      "Beaks and Birds: Darwin’s Finches

      ...A quarter of a century before Darwin published The Origin of Species, he was formulating his ideas as a naturalist aboard the British survey ship H.M.S. Beagle. When the Beagle visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835, Darwin collected specimens of the local wildlife, including some finches.

      Though the finches had little in fact to do with Darwin’s development of evolutionary theory, they have attracted considerable attention from modern evolutionary biologists as further evidence of natural selection. In the 1970′s, Peter and Rosemary Grant and their colleagues noted a 5 percent increase in beak size after a severe drought, because the finches were left with only hard-to-crack seeds. The change, though significant, was small; yet some Darwinists claim it explains how finch species originated in the first place.

      A 1999 booklet published by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences describes Darwin’s finches as “a particularly compelling example” of the origin of species. The booklet cites the Grants’ work, and explains how “a single year of drought on the islands can drive evolutionary changes in the finches.” The booklet also calculates that “if droughts occur about once every 10 years on the islands, a new species of finch might arise in only about 200 years.

      ” But the booklet fails to point out that the finches’ beaks returned to normal after the rains returned. No net evolution occurred. In fact, several finch species now appear to be merging through hybridization, rather than diverging through natural selection as Darwin’s theory requires.

      Withholding evidence in order to give the impression that Darwin’s finches confirm evolutionary theory borders on scientific misconduct. According to Harvard biologist Louis Guenin (writing in Nature in 1999), U.S. securities laws provide “our richest source of experiential guidance” in defining what constitutes scientific misconduct. But a stock promoter who tells his clients that a particular stock can be expected to double in value in twenty years because it went up 5 percent in 1998, while concealing the fact that the same stock declined c) percent in 1999, might well be charged with fraud. As Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson wrote in the Wall Street journal in ’999: “When our leading scientists have to resort to the sort of distortion that would land a stock promoter in jail, you know they are in trouble...”

      Delete
    28. @@Nullifidian & Negative
      Craig Venter sequenced finches' genomes with small and large beaks. Here what he says about that:

      "VENTER: ... Are the finches with the larger beaks a different species, in your view?

      DYSON: Yes, according to Darwin they are. In fact they do interbreed quite extensively.

      VENTER: So two base pair change in a genome could be sufficient to create a new species out of 1.5 billion.

      DYSON: Yes.

      VENTER: I'm not sure everybody will buy that definition... So that makes you a very different species than George."

      It also means that Nullifidian & Negative are very different species lol

      http://www.edge.org/documents/life/dyson_index.html

      BTW: It is also interesting how Venter, who I'm sure doesn't know as much about evolutionary biology as you two, talks about the difficulty of distinguishing separate species. Well, you two have no problem with that, so we will probably hear soon about you two creating more than an synthetic genome. lol

      Delete
    29. @Nullifidian & Negative

      More about how easy it is to distinguish different, separet species according to Craig Venter:

      "VENTER: I have trouble with some of the fundamental terms. What's your definition of "species"? That's something I have great difficulty with lately out of our research.

      DYSON: Yes, it is a problem — it's supposed to be just a population that breeds within the population but not outside, but of course there are all sorts of exceptions.

      VENTER: That ignores most of biology.

      DYSON: Yes, so I don't know what the real definition is. But that's the conventional definition.

      VENTER: It's a human definition.

      DYSON: It is fuzzy. Like most things.

      LLOYD: So for sexually reproducing species, then, it's less fuzzy than for bacteria.

      DYSON: Right.

      VENTER: But it really comes down to one or two recognition molecules that determine the species — if it's based on interbreeding, it's the sperm recognition sites, right?

      DYSON: Yes.

      VENTER: So that determines the species, then.

      DYSON: Well, amongst other things.

      CHURCH: Chromosome dynamics, morphology, behavior — many things. Depending on how complex the organism is.

      VENTER: It's easy to tell a human from a giraffe, and we can call that a different species.

      DYSON: One of the books that I've learned most from, is The Beak of the Finch, which describes evolution as it's observed in the Galapagos by Peter and Rosemary Grant. It's remarkable that they can actually see from year to year species starting to hybridize when conditions are good and then separating again when conditions are bad. So even on a year-to-year time scale you can actually see this happening, that species are not well-defined.

      LLOYD: Sorry, I'm not familiar with this work. So they hybridize when times are good, and when times are bad they separate into smaller populations. Is this so that they can evolve more rapidly?

      DYSON: Yes. So they can specialize. Because in bad times you have to specialize on chewing particular seeds.

      VENTER: During droughts, all that was left were these really hard seeds. Finches that survive have Arnold Schwarzenegger beaks.

      DYSON: Not only those — you can also have a separate population which specializes on the small seeds, which have small beaks. It happens because of the geography that you have violent swings in climate. During El Niño conditions are wet, and between El Niños, conditions are dry. So selection is brutal — almost every year about half of them get selected out.

      VENTER: One of the highlights of my round-the-world expedition was meeting up with the Grants in the Galapagos, and their little tent on the site of Daphne Major. They spent three months on this island in this little tent, there's no fresh water, there's nothing there. And they live off of bottled water and cans of tuna fish. And I took them a bottle of chilled champagne. It became a happier eco-system. Remarkable what they've done.

      DYSON: The enormous advantage that they had was that the birds are completely tame. You can just walk up to a bird and put a ring around its leg and it doesn't fly away. That's what made it all possible. They know every bird personally.

      VENTER: Better than tame — if you walk on their path, the boobies and stuff will peck at your leg. It's their island. The humans become non-tame after a while. But so that's an important part of the definition. Are the finches with the larger beaks a different species, in your view?

      DYSON: Yes, according to Darwin they are. In fact they do interbreed quite extensively.

      VENTER: So two base pair change in a genome could be sufficient to create a new species out of 1.5 billion.

      DYSON: Yes.

      VENTER: I'm not sure everybody will buy that definition... So that makes you a very different species than George"

      Delete
    30. Wow. That's... uh... let's say you have a very "special" approach to studying scientific matters.

      I had a feeling that you were getting your bullshit from Jonathan Wells, and it's nice to have that hypothesis confirmed. Of course, Wells' argument doesn't even address the issue of speciation, as I will discuss presently.

      Peter and Rosemary Grant and their colleagues noted a 5 percent increase in beak size after a severe drought, because the finches were left with only hard-to-crack seeds. The change, though significant, was small; yet some Darwinists claim it explains how finch species originated in the first place.

      And perhaps it does. Wells provides no evidence against the hypothesis that the diversification of Darwin's finches was due to adaptive radiation.

      But the booklet fails to point out that the finches’ beaks returned to normal after the rains returned. No net evolution occurred.

      There is no such thing as "net evolution". The phrase is based on the assumption that evolution has a preferred direction. It doesn't. Oscillating selection is still evolution despite Wells' misconceptions.

      Wells also pretends as if the only thing known about Darwin's finches are the direct observations by Peter and Rosemary Grant in the 1970s. He ignores the character displacement studies done of the finches as well as the evidence for long-term climactic changes on the Galapagos Islands.

      Finally, Wells ignores the salient point that nobody is asserting that speciation occurred during this study. He still has to explain, as you do, the existence of a subfamily of four genera and fifteen species that existed before the Grants began their field work. How did they come to be there? Were they there from the beginning, fixed and immutable? Or should we suddenly declare that the evolution of new species, generas, and subfamilies doesn't count as "macroevolution" anymore? If the latter, why should we?

      ------

      Now, I have to admit that I didn't see the other thing coming. I gave you too much credit by assuming that you were referring to studies which showed that BMP4 and (to a lesser degree) calmodulin had been shown to affect beak morphology, and that you were confusing these genes with single base pairs.

      The truth is, alas, much stupider.

      VENTER: So two base pair change in a genome could be sufficient to create a new species out of 1.5 billion.

      Do you see the word "could"? Venter is asking Freeman Dyson a hypothetical question. Dyson is not a biologist, let alone an expert in Darwin's finches. There is no reason to assume that just because his answer came in the context of a discussion of Darwin's finches that they are discussing a real empirical finding about those birds!

      *facepalm*

      But thank you for at least giving us the source of your misinformation so that we can counter it.

      Delete
    31. Hi Dominic,

      Wow, thanks for trying something better.

      For your first comment of this triplet, sorry, but I can't take a creationist thing as entirely honest. I googled it, and, given what I know about creationists, quotes will be deformed to make for false impressions. I will take one bit still. Ready?

      Though the finches had little in fact to do with Darwin’s development of evolutionary theory,

      This is true. Even for the ones that are different species, Darwin didn't know. He did not properly labelled them because he did not know how to distinguish different species of finch. So he did not even know which specimen came from which island. Remember this later!

      they have attracted considerable attention from modern evolutionary biologists as further evidence of natural selection.

      Actually, no. They attracted considerable attention as means to learn about the processes of speciation because some subspecies do interbreed at times, and such. Because the weather changes enough that they vary a lot. because they exemplify population dynamics at different levels of divergence

      Then you cite a conversation, apparently between Dyson and Venter (mostly). One of them (Dyson), in your version of the dialogue said:

      Yes, according to Darwin they are. In fact they do interbreed quite extensively.

      Remember above? Dyson did not know that Darwin did not know that he collected different species of finch (a friend of his told him so, and Darwin lamented that he did not collect enough data). Yet, he said that these were different species according to Darwin, which is false. This guys seem to be mixing and mistaking the data on finches, from those whose variation in beak sizes are due to a couple mutations, which does not make them different species, with the whole of the finches existing among the islands, which include subspecies, species, and genera. That some people are famous scientists does not mean that they know everything about the evolution and population dynamics of every group ever studied. Notice that Venter does not talk as someone who knows about finches, but as someone reacting to the information provided by Dyson, which seems rather mistaken in the first place. Taking bits from a somewhat informal conversation does not prove anything. We have to look at the data. I could not find a single genomic study among all the species of finch in the galapagos. Not one. Therefore, without data, even if the conversation is written verbatim, it does not prove anything but that some scientists can speculate all kinds of shit when commenting on misremembered data from some book.

      Delete
    32. Thanks Nullif. I think our answer complement each other.

      Delete
    33. You're welcome, Negative Entropy (I have to admit to the desire to write your name as Negentropy). I think they complement each other too.

      Delete
    34. One more thought.

      Are the finches with the larger beaks a different species, in your view?

      The answer should have been: which ones? Venter here could have meant specific finches studied, but of the same species, or specific birds in different islands belonging to different genera. Yet:

      DYSON: Yes, according to Darwin they are. In fact they do interbreed quite extensively.

      Which is false, because Darwin did not know that his collection had different species and different genera, and even then, we don't know which finches Venter was talking about.

      It's natural for confusions of this kind to happen in conversations. I truly don't understand why anybody would take such things too seriously without asking for the data before jumping to conclusions.

      Delete
  11. Atheism is not a religion because basically it is a lack of faith that God, gods exist.

    However, atheism has its own objects of worship one of them being science. Since the theory of evolution is considered to be a part of science, atheists worship it just to fulfill their "natural" need of worshiping someone or something.

    To me personally, atheism is a personal choice rather than lack of faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The projection is strong with this one.

      Delete
    2. @Steve

      Why? You think my projection or assumption lacks evidence or it's not fair? It might very well be. I'm not disputing that for now but I appreciate you responding it to it as, not a scientist or not in the field of science that is discussed here. I don't mean to offend you first of all. I hope you appreciate that?

      Delete
    3. No Dominic, I take exception to your claim that since you apparently feel the need to grovel to an invisible being (i.e. worship) that everybody has a similar need, and that atheists are sublimating this need in the form of an irrational devotion to science.

      I can tell you that I don't have such a need, I don't "worship" science, so your statement as a general description of atheists is demonstrably false.

      If there is any offence taken on my part, it would be due to an apparently complete lack of critical thinking and editorial control on your part as the words come out of your mind and flow through your fingers into the keyboard and the Internet.

      And to be very clear, I am not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, just an interested layperson who thinks that science is the best (and only) tool we have for discovering the nature of reality.

      Delete
    4. @Steve
      I don't have A need. I JUST can't reconcile it with the major issues I'm concerned about. I would never force or try to convince anyone to believe. That would be cruel. I don't think HE would like it either.

      Delete
    5. You allegedly "don't have A need" yet you capitalize the G in "God" and both letters in "HE".

      Why don't you be honest and state the true reason for your belief in "God". You say that you JUST can't reconcile it with the major issues that you're concerned about. Is "it" evolution, the theory of evolution, or what?

      If it's the theory of evolution that you JUST can't reconcile, has it ever occurred to you that the ToE doesn't specifically apply to the origin of life, and that your resistance and/or inability to "reconcile" it is because you don't understand the ToE and because you haven't studied evolution itself, and mostly because you "need" to believe in and worship your chosen sky daddy?

      What "major issues" are you concerned about?

      Delete
    6. @The whole truth

      My ONE "concern" is the extent and the amount of lies that evolutionary scientist have resorted to to try to prove the so-called theory that is also a fact. If something is a fact, why the deception?

      Would you like "the whole truth" or you are familiar with it all?

      Delete
  12. This is OT, but I have to write about this.

    I hope you will all go over to ENV to read the surreal (no, really surreal) DI response by Joshua Youngkin to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spilling the beans on TV about how ID = creationism, thus making things hot for the DI, who have maintained since about 2004 that ID != creationism.

    Youngkin hilarious-- he basically says that we're wrong for pointing out that the GOVERNOR of Louisiana interprets the LSEA to mean "teach ID = creationism", we're wrong because, uh, we're not lawyers and we don't "know our role."

    A few choice bits below. It's full of italics. We're defeated by his italics. I'll preserve his italics below.

    Youngkin: "The non-lawyers of the repeal camp are constantly giving in the media their legal opinion of the LSEA. And for whatever reason the press just can't get enough of that. Now in strange unison the repealers publicly chime in on the legal significance of a post-enactment TV interview...

    ...The TV interview is not legislative history. It can't be used by courts to construct the legislative intent behind the statute...

    ...Note that Hoda [the interviewer] asked Jindal whether creationism should be taught in public schools. "Should" here signifies a question of policy preference, not statutory interpretation. Hoda did not ask whether creationism or any other form of religion is allowed in public schools under the LSEA...

    ...Jindal sets detail aside to cast a vision... He is talking about what he'd like to see one day in his state [not about the LSEA]...

    Like the critics of the LSEA, Governor Jindal is not a lawyer. He delivers no legal memo. However, unlike the critics of the LSEA, Governor Jindal is a Rhodes Scholar with a degree in biology, an experienced politician who knows what his role is...

    (Failing to grasp your role is not just a problem with critics of the LSEA. An astronomer just declared vouchers in Louisiana illegal.)"

    [Youngkin at ENV, italics in original, boldface added]

    So there you go. We have "failed to grasp our role". If Jindal violates the First Amendment, how could we dummies possibly know?

    This non-scientist asshole at the DI will tell us our "proper role." Gov. Jindal could torture us, and if he did, how could we dummies possibly know if our rights had been violated? If we complain, we have "failed to grasp our role" as the Discovery Institute has assigned it to us.

    And hey, who's opposed to the LSEA? Just dozens of Nobel laureates. Youngkin reminds us they don't have the qualifications of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has an undergraduate degree in biology, and who thinks exorcisms can treat people with mental disorders.

    Is this Youngkin even a lawyer? I don't know, but I know he is a... a great addition to the Discovery Institute! He reveals the actual level of their intellectual argument. "Shaddap. We'ze smarter than youze. Quit squawkin about yer rights."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked out that link and made the mistake of following a few more internal links and now I have to go and dip my brain in bleach.

      The sense of entitlement is pervasive.

      They sure have a hate on for Zack Kopplin. He must be doing something right.

      They really are nasty pieces of work, aren't they.

      Delete
    2. @Diogenes
      I have really tried to understand your frustration, but I can't. Although I have spent a large part of my life in the US, I'm Canadian at heart and whether that carries any merit or not, I don't seem to understand you or your politics or beliefs and I don't much want to. Sorry. You people need help. A divine one. Seriously. No offence. 7 out 9 of my employees are American. They are very opinionated in a good sense. I respect and love them.

      Delete
  13. sex dominic nikel: "Please just tell us what would happen to faith, if there was an irrefutable evidence for IT?"
    If we can judge by the Bible's portrayal of the many people who flat-out knew God existed 'coz they saw and spoke with It, it doesn't seem like "irrefutable evidence" would have any effect on faith.

    ReplyDelete
  14. twt, steve, and Cubist are behaving true to form, but hardly true to the spirit of National Ask an Atheist Day, which calls for 'courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike'.

    That rarely happens here, but I hope that if some of the organizers of the event were to pay a call, they would call out doofus behavior where they see it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those, and your other insulting remarks, are mighty "courteous" of you, andy.

      /sarcasm

      Delete
    2. twt, you, in particular, crossed the boundary of anyone needing to behave courteously toward you long ago, and on this page as well. In fact, it would be nice to see some of the more rational posters here, who are in alignment with you as to belief in god, call you out about your boorish behavior. But strangely enough, I never see anything like that happen. It's left to 'trolls' like me to do so.
      Where is all the free thinking? Why does Allan Miller call my statement 'tripe' and never a peep to ask you and other ideologues like you to raise the bar a little? I have always found that a bit curious, I must say.

      And yet, above, when I saw that Andre had misread the meaning of 'ask me anything', I mentioned that. Aren't we theists the ones who can't think for ourselves and so have to behave in lockstep? How often does something like THAT happen here, where somebody 'crosses sides'?

      Just an interesting quirk about skepticism and free thinking that I am too deluded to understand, I guess.

      Delete
    3. "Why does Allan Miller call my statement 'tripe'..."

      Because he was bored by your insufferable Hipster Theism?

      Delete
    4. Why does Allan Miller call my statement 'tripe' and never a peep to ask you and other ideologues like you to raise the bar a little? I have always found that a bit curious, I must say.

      Andy,

      It was just a rhetorical flourish. I'm usually more pleasant! I just find myself irritated by the conflation of evolution and atheism as ideology. But as to why I don't 'call out' people with whom I share some opinions ... I think they would be entitled to tell me to mind my own business. They have their style; I have mine. I'd argue with them on substance, but I don't think I'd get anywhere on style.

      I think some people are too aggressive. I tend to scroll on by. Since I don't see us as representing each other, or any common-cause message that needs a united political front, what they post is a matter for them.

      Delete
    5. Allan, you are indeed generally more pleasant! :)
      And to be honest, I didn't mind the comment much, on its own. Or being challenged for that matter. Clearly you and I have different styles and I am the more combative. I just found it interesting to note the varieties of tripe you'll swallow and those which you send back, as if you were to return to that thread and look at the comment directly above yours, you would see a steaming, slimy heap of it.

      On that note, and on the sighting of 'mythical' creatures, I found this comment on the second page of the amazon review page. You will find it interesting, particularly the last line:

      "This book, for lack of a better word, is for atheists, because it explains complexity without assuming or "postulating" a complex deity who created the complexity. I won't give away the meat of the book which is very interesting. I just don't see the reason to read Creationism versus Evolution books in order to satisfy my doubts because I don't have any after reading this book."

      Delete
    6. sez andyboerger: ">twt, steve, and Cubist are behaving true to form, but hardly true to the spirit of National Ask an Atheist Day, which calls for 'courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike'."
      Well, andyboeger, there's courtesy and there's courtesy. I don't think it's courteous to treat a mature adult as if they were a two-year-old who needs to be shielded from the horrible truth that there is no S*nt* Cl**s. Rather, I think that's insulting, and I think that's condescending, and I don't understand why so many Believers want to be condescended to in this insulting way.
      Likewise, I don't think it's courteous to wield the concept of "courtesy" as if it was a Get Out Of Defending Your Position Free card. And there's one hell of a lot of Believers who do exactly that. There's a very apposite quote from Daniel Dennett: I listen to all these complaints about rudeness and intemperateness, and the opinion that I come to is that there is no polite way of asking somebody: have you considered the possibility that your entire life has been devoted to a delusion? So to the extent that 'courtesy' constitutes a barrier to 'courteous dialogue between believers and nonbelievers alike'… to that extent, I say fuck courtesy. And I look forward to seeing whether or not you choose to respond to this comment by extracting my phrase 'fuck courtesy' from its original context and blowing off the qualifier which immediately proceeded it.
      Quote-mining is another thing I don't think is courteous, as it happens.

      "That rarely happens here, but I hope that if some of the organizers of the event were to pay a call, they would call out doofus behavior where they see it."
      Just like you've called out Dominic Nikel for the decidedly noncourteous behavior of accusing all evolution-supporters of being liars? Yeah, that'll work…

      Delete
    7. Cubist, I agree with you that quote-mining is discourteous. But I think it's also a tad discourteous, and moreover just plain odd, to call out someone for being discourteous for something that you EXPECT them to do, rather than which they have already done.
      If you hadn't written what you did above, it never would have occurred to me to take your 'fuck courtesy' line out of context.

      As for your other point, well you ought to take it up with the organizers of the event, not me. Apparently they, atheists all, believe that courtesy IS possible when discussing these matters. Or perhaps you thought the students were only requesting that theists be courteous to THEM?

      Delete
    8. Cubist, speaking of 'quote mining', I seem to remember a poster here taking an analogy from a discussion I was having with NE out of context and then raising a hue and cry that I was comparing god to an artist. I pointed out to that poster how he/she was missing the point, and that an apology would have been in order, considering the discourteous and insulting tone used. I never got that apology; what a surprise! Courtesy, and all.

      Delete
    9. I just found it interesting to note the varieties of tripe you'll swallow and those which you send back, as if you were to return to that thread and look at the comment directly above yours, you would see a steaming, slimy heap of it.

      Andy,

      Fair enough. In truth, I frequently just skim, and it was simply the case that your point leapt out at me, prompting my 'harumph' moment.

      I'm sure there are people who read evolution books because of their atheism, with some 'need' to dismiss God. But I think they are very much the exception. The link could be more subtle, along the lines of "since I don't accept Creation, how is life explained?". But for most, I reckon it is simply an interest in the science; the elegance of the explanatory framework. Because it is elegant - one of the great cultural achievements of the modern age.

      Delete
  15. I have a question for you ,Larry. How's your adorable granddaughter Zoë doing?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dominic, you said 'atheists worship it (science) just to fulfill their "natural" need of worshiping someone or something'. Is this really how you view atheists? I'm from an ungodly part of the world. Hardly anyone attends church (apart from weddings and funerals). What do they put in the place of all the worshiping they miss out on? Nothing. Are they interested in science? Not really. Many of them will have silly beliefs about herbal medicine or homeopathy. Your idea that there is a natural need to worship is an egotistical projection of your own psychological state.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Larry,

    I’d like to ask a couple of questions:

    Considering the adage usually (but most probably erroneously) attributed to Gandhi:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    If you are convinced that Intelligent Design is wrong and has no scientific merit, then why, given the considerable space and time you allot to denigrating it here, have you managed to arrive at the third phase of this aphorism? The level of energy you invest in fighting ID and proponents of ID indicates that you do indeed, fear it and them and that they “will win”—do you?

    Also, if consciousness evolved as you believe, then isn’t it reasonable to assert that the ubiquitous, but immaterial “tools” of it (e.g. logic and reason) evolved as well? If so, then if these tools are indeed subject to the Darwinian mechanisms that brought them into existence, then aren’t we to assume that they (like the physical, biological creatures who use them) are also in a state of flux and subject to change at any random time? And if they do change, then exactly what Darwinian mechanism(s) can act on these immaterial entities? How can we, as “intelligent beings,” hope to consistently rely on these meta-stable entities to acquire what we call science and then turn around and defend that science by citing our meta-stable "reasoning"? Logically, this appears to be another example of a causal circularity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jcc,

      I do fear that creationism will "win." That does not mean that it is true. It will win because it takes much less energy to convince people of things they don't need to think about than to educate them to understand science. It is much easier to lie about science than to be educated enough to understand good science. Creationists have the easy way, the downhill job. Just invent as many straw-man as possible about science, entangle it with as many lies and twisted shit as possible, and see how long it takes for scientists to clarify the mess. Most importantly because scientists have to do their jobs, which gives them little time to clear the messes invented by creationists who are paid and supported by the stupid masses exactly to continue doing this crap.

      Your second question (about logic and reason plus evolution) is a mess of equivocations. I don't have much time today, but I shall try a short version. (Given your talent at making this mess I think you're able to search for more info if you truly cared. I can accept that you made this mess honestly, despite I have plenty of examples of your dishonesty when presented with answers).

      You are equivocating conceptual stuff (logic and reason), with what inspires the conceptual stuff. You are also equivocating our capacities to learn logic and reason with what those tools are used for and with what those concepts are trying to represent. You are also misrepresenting evolution as mere randomness. As if one day our consciousness and reason capabilities would change collectively into some random thing. I truly cannot imagine what you have in mind. Truly you would not think that we scientists think that evolution is random jumps. One day a human out of nothing, next all humans jump into being cats? Is that what you think evolution is about? Now if you studied a bit, you would learn that evolution, while relying on a somewhat random background variation, it is not random jumps into completely different and unrelated stuff. Got it? I hope so.

      Anyway, the stuff that logic and reason try and represent: how the stuff works, does not change at its most basic level (things are what they are). What does evolve is the capacity to take that information and build it into a conceptual system to distinguish crap from sound stuff. Example (very simplified). If there's a big stone to my right. Well, no matter how much of an evolutionary history I have had, the rock is a rock. My senses and brain have evolved in their capacities to perceive the rock (in how I am conscious about the rock), in their capacity to relate that rock to other rocks (and thus form the concept of a rock), and that other organisms have different ways of perceiving and conceptualizing the rock does not mean that we can't trust whatever we learn about the rock. It might mean that we have limitations about how much we can learn and conceptualize about the rock, but it does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that tomorrow my brain will "evolve" into something else (that's not evolution, I hope you know). Of course, if you understood this, and that evolution is not about random jumps to anywhere (let alone within individuals), you would understand that there's nothing meta-stable about the rock, nothing randomly meta-stable about our consciousness and evolved capacities, and that you are building an argument that sounds devastating only to someone who is used to build philosophies on top of ignorance, equivocations and misrepresentations.

      If that was not clear enough, well, you have some basic stuff to study. Not that I think you care of course.

      Delete
    2. Logic didn't evolve, logic and reason is discovered and learned through sensory experiences. The world in some respects logically coherent, the laws of logic aren't inventions of the mind, they're facts about nature. A carrot is a carrot, not a pig.

      This explains it:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9x_oa--KAc
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14JavH4Rk7k

      Delete
    3. Rumraket:

      First, thank you for the video links.

      Logic didn't evolve, logic and reason is discovered and learned through sensory experiences.

      What a superb example of an a priori assumption. But I digress. If I may, I’d like to examine my assertion and your response using propositional arguments and deductive reasoning.

      The starting points; i.e. the unproved presuppositions:

      Larry’s and yours: it is presupposed that consciousness evolved; evidence?—none.

      Mine: Logic and reason are immaterial and only exist within the domain of consciousness. Evidence?—our personal experience of them, including your video atheist, quoting that great “sage,” George Lackoff: “Mathematics & logic do not actually 'exist' in any real sense other than in human brains.” Therefore, they are manifestations of consciousness—not a product of the universe. This is an inescapable, logical conclusion.

      Now, using propositional logic, if consciousness evolved, and reason and logic are by-products of consciousness (as demonstrated above), then they (reason and logic) had to have evolved as well. This is an inescapable, logical conclusion, arrived at by deductive reasoning. Therefore, since it is plausible to assume (based on our previous reasoning) that reason and logic are evolved entities, it is also plausible to assume that they are subject to the same Darwinian mechanisms that brought them into existence, and therefore, subject to change—which makes them ultimately unreliable tools used in the quest for science.

      The world in some respects [is] logically coherent

      Really? But how can that be, if logic only exists within the domain of consciousness (i.e. our minds)?

      the laws of logic aren't inventions of the mind, they're facts about nature.

      That’s not what your videos states. To quote him exactly, “I think it is pretty clear that logic also is ultimately just an abstraction of physical experience…” Tell me, what exactly is an “abstraction?”—is it not another manifestation of consciousness? That’s a pretty bold, (and apparently, subliminal) admission of an a priori assumption he’s made, but poorly cloaked under the guise of “Evidentialism.”

      Unfortunately, for you and Larry, the only internally consistent presupposition about the existence of logic and reason is that if they are to have any practical use at all, then their existence must transcend human existence. For the world (and universe) to be “logically coherent” at all means that the universe must be intrinsically rational. And the inference to the best explanation for that phenomenon is that it (the universe) is the product of a conscious, intelligence.

      Delete
    4. @jcc
      What a superb example of an a priori assumption. But I digress. If I may, I’d like to examine my assertion and your response using propositional arguments and deductive reasoning.
      It's not an a priori assumption, as the video explains, it's an evidentially derived conclusion. Nobody starts out as expert logical thinkers, we have to experience the world and learn about it first. Which was also my point, in order even make the statement that the world is logically coherent, you have to experience it first.

      Larry’s and yours: it is presupposed that consciousness evolved; evidence?—none.
      No presuppositions. All the evidence we have suggests consciousness is the product of brainactivity, and brains are physical objects that evolved.

      Mine: Logic and reason are immaterial and only exist within the domain of consciousness. Evidence?—our personal experience of them, including your video atheist, quoting that great “sage,” George Lackoff: “Mathematics & logic do not actually 'exist' in any real sense other than in human brains.” Therefore, they are manifestations of consciousness—not a product of the universe. This is an inescapable, logical conclusion.
      You didn't understand the video then. It clearly explains how logic and mathematics derives from sensory experiences, not some mysterious, immaterial consciousness. We learn to reason properly throughout childhood, through the brain's experiences of the world gathered through sensory perception. Our thoughts are reflections of facts of the experienced world. The law of non-contradiction, for example, is not just an invention of the human mind. It's actually true about the experienced world.

      Now, using propositional logic, if consciousness evolved, and reason and logic are by-products of consciousness (as demonstrated above)
      No such demonstration took place. You just blindly asserted on fault premises.

      then they (reason and logic) had to have evolved as well. This is an inescapable, logical conclusion, arrived at by deductive reasoning. Therefore, since it is plausible to assume (based on our previous reasoning) that reason and logic are evolved entities, it is also plausible to assume that they are subject to the same Darwinian mechanisms that brought them into existence, and therefore, subject to change—which makes them ultimately unreliable tools used in the quest for science.
      Using whatever faulty premises you like, you can extract whatever absurd conclusion suits you. You never demonstrated any facts about what you claim here, and I have already given good reasons to doubt them.

      The world in some respects [is] logically coherent

      Really? But how can that be, if logic only exists within the domain of consciousness (i.e. our minds)?

      I don't agree that it does. The moon is not the sun, and this is true whether everyone is unconscious or not.

      the laws of logic aren't inventions of the mind, they're facts about nature.

      That’s not what your videos states. To quote him exactly, “I think it is pretty clear that logic also is ultimately just an abstraction of physical experience…”

      Uhh, yes that is what the video states. It's like you read what you quoted until you hit "of physical experiencee" and then stopped thinking. He doesn't say logic is "just an abstraction", he deliberate included "of physical experience". The whole point of the two videos is to detail how that physical experience of the world as logically coherent, allows us to construct logical and mathematical axioms and take them in some respects to be "self-evidently" true(through everyone's physical experience of their truth).

      Delete
    5. Tell me, what exactly is an “abstraction?”—is it not another manifestation of consciousness? That’s a pretty bold, (and apparently, subliminal) admission of an a priori assumption he’s made, but poorly cloaked under the guise of “Evidentialism.”
      An abstraction from physical experiences.
      Why do you leave out the physical experiences? It's like you have Morton's demon sittin on your shoulders, only letting in information than confirms your preconceptions.

      Delete
    6. Unfortunately, for you and Larry, the only internally consistent presupposition about the existence of logic and reason is that if they are to have any practical use at all, then their existence must transcend human existence.
      Weird, I just told you that I think they DO transced human existence, that they are facts about the world regardless of the existence of human beings or not. That human beings only come to learn of them through experiencing the world through our perceptions. So I actually agree with you, I just don't agree on the source of said logical consistency. I think it's an intrinsic property of existence, and that "consciousness" only learns about it through experience of that which exists, not the other way around as you allude to.

      Delete
    7. Rumraket:

      All the evidence we have suggests consciousness is the product of brainactivity

      And what evidence is that? Please give a non-circular, comprehensive definition of consciousness. Please explain exactly how electrical neural pathways produce consciousness. What about the evidence that brain activity is the product of consciousness? Where in the brain is the locus of volition? Please give a Darwinian explanation for “brain plasticity.”

      brains are physical objects that evolved.

      An a priori assumption stated as fact. No argument with them being physical—no evidence that they evolved either.

      You didn't understand the video then. It clearly explains how logic and mathematics derives from sensory experiences, not some mysterious, immaterial consciousness.

      I did understand the video. It most certainly did not explain how immaterial logic & math are derived from experience. He simply deferred it to the Darwin-of-the-gaps meme with the over-used, never defined term, “abstraction.”

      No such demonstration took place. You just blindly asserted on fault premises.

      Let me try again. These are your (unproven) premises:
      1) Consciousness evolved.
      2) Logic & math, “do not actually exist…other than in human brains” (i.e. consciousness).

      Logic applied to your premises: if consciousness does not exist, then logic and math cannot exist since they only exist within consciousness. Don’t blame me for drawing an inescapable conclusion from your faulty premises.

      Using whatever faulty premises you like, you can extract whatever absurd conclusion suits you.

      Please indicate where the error is in my logic that I applied to your “faulty” premises.

      You never demonstrated any facts about what you claim here

      My purpose wasn’t to demonstrate facts to you—it was to show you the logical conclusions your presuppositions lead to.

      Uhh, yes that is what the video states… He doesn't say logic is "just an abstraction", he deliberate included "of physical experience".

      My quote above is verbatim. I double checked. It’s from time 11:48 – 11:56 in the video, and he clearly says, “[logic] is ultimately just an abstraction…” The key word in that quote is abstraction—which you have yet to define.

      An abstraction from physical experiences. Why do you leave out the physical experiences?

      Because that’s insignificant until you’ve defined what constitutes an abstraction.

      I actually agree with you, I just don't agree on the source of said logical consistency.

      Ok good. So, you agree that logic and reason transcend human existence (i.e. they do objectively exist independently of human consciousness), but do you agree that they are wholly immaterial, that is, they are metaphysical?

      Delete
    8. Rumraket:

      I think [logic and reason are] an intrinsic property of existence

      Again, how can that be? Logic and reason are only meaningful to consciousness—and if consciousness evolved by way of random mutation in a blind, unguided way in a randomly formed universe that, by definition, cannot “know” anything about consciousness or logic and reason, then how can they (logic and reason) be an “intrinsic” property of existence in that universe?

      Delete
    9. Rumraket,

      Well done. jcc does not read what I write because I devastate his/her nonsense too thoroughly and add the proper descriptions of his/her attitude in between (he/she thinks I insult him/her, but it's just proper descriptions). Here jcc is trying to catch you unwarded by mistaking physical reality with their abstractions. Not only that, I suspect that jcc can't distinguish between the reality concepts are formed from with the reality itself, then with the concepts themselves, making an amazing mess of equivocations. It might be that jcc is just too stupid to notice the differences. Also, jcc twisted around one of your explanations. Note that he asked: "What about the evidence that brain activity is the product of consciousness?"

      See? Either too stupid to understand, or too equivocated him/herself to understand. Creationists easily fall into equivocating without noticing. Helping them notice is close to impossible. I would try, but jcc claims not to read what I write.

      Delete
    10. Rumraket,

      Well done.


      For what?—agreeing with me that logic and reason are objective and transcend human existence?

      jcc does not read what I write

      This is a demonstrable lie.

      I devastate his/her nonsense too thoroughly

      No, you write rambling, incoherent, semi-cogent, knee-jerk responses that you obviously do not proof-read before posting.

      and add the proper descriptions of his/her attitude in between (he/she thinks I insult him/her, but it's just proper descriptions)

      Translation: "I'm a petty, callow, pipsqueak who’s convinced myself that the only way to win an argument is to ignore what my opponent is saying and immediately make it personal."

      Helping them notice is close to impossible. I would try, but jcc claims not to read what I write.

      A repeat of the same desperate lie. Any sufficiently mature reader can plainly see for themselves that I am on record as saying, “I’ve read your responses to my posts”.

      Clearly, it is you who do not read my posts—or your reading comprehension is insufficient for you to understand them.

      The intelligibility of what you write is quite embarrassing. You do yourself no favor by continuing to do so with such an offensive, arrogant and childish demeanor. Please make an attempt at maturing before embarrassing yourself any further.

      Delete
    11. jcc,

      To my statement:
      jcc does not read what I write

      You answered:
      This is a demonstrable lie.

      It's not a lie. Any look at your posts after mine would show clearly that you did not read what I said beyond those descriptions of your behaviour and intelligence. You read this one because it did not contain answers to your crap. So you felt safe.

      No, you write rambling, incoherent, semi-cogent, knee-jerk responses that you obviously do not proof-read before posting.

      See? Obviously you don't read them. For further proof:

      Translation: "I'm a petty, callow, pipsqueak who’s convinced myself that the only way to win an argument is to ignore what my opponent is saying and immediately make it personal."

      My comment had plenty of answers and explanations related exactly to what you, the opponent, was saying. If you did not see that it clearly mean that you did not read them. So that you read my comments is what's a demonstrable lie.

      A repeat of the same desperate lie. Any sufficiently mature reader can plainly see for themselves that I am on record as saying, “I’ve read your responses to my posts”.

      Oh no. Before I said that you don;t read my comments. Here I say that you said that you don't read my comments. Big difference. You claiming to read them does not mean that you read them. You demonstrated many times that you don't. But I admit to my mistake, what you said was that you did not want to have a conversation with me.

      Clearly, it is you who do not read my posts—or your reading comprehension is insufficient for you to understand them.

      Meh. That I mistook that part about "conversation" and wrote "read" (of which I should be triply embarrassed, and I am), does not mean that I lack reading comprehension.

      The intelligibility of what you write is quite embarrassing.

      Says the person who wrote: What about the evidence that brain activity is the product of consciousness?

      You do yourself no favor by continuing to do so with such an offensive, arrogant and childish demeanor. Please make an attempt at maturing before embarrassing yourself any further.

      Says the person who asks one question, then changes it, then insults the host of this blog for pointing at your mistakes in that question, but not guessing that you would change the question again. Sure because saying that you caught Larry with his pants down (when he did not guess that you would change your question), while trying to cover your ass for being you who was caught with his/her pants down, is all a sure sign of maturity.

      Delete
  18. Rumraket:
    All the evidence we have suggests consciousness is the product of brainactivity

    And what evidence is that?

    That only objects with brains give signs of being conscious, that only objects with activity in those brains, show signs of being conscious, that directly physically manipulating their brains produces altered conscious experiences in the subjects(they report this directly). That ingesting certain chemicals that interact with brain cells and chemical in our brains, alter the conscious experience, or outright shuts off conscious experience.

    There's no critically robust evidence to the contrary. There are no established cases of disembodied minds, there are no established cases of objects without brains showing any signs of being conscious. There are no established cases of brains suffering massive physical trauma having no impact on the conscious experiences of the subject.

    Please give a non-circular, comprehensive definition of consciousness.
    To have self-aware experiences. Not particularly comprehensive I certainly concede, I've never come across such a definition myself. Nor am I under any obligation to provide one, you're the one who introduced the term without defining it. I just ran with the idea that we both probably mean what it refers to without understanding how it "really works".

    Surely, whether you agree with me or not here, consciousness is hard to define isn't it?

    Please explain exactly how electrical neural pathways produce consciousness.
    This is not a claim that I can explain how the brain "does it", it is an inductive argument for the brain as the source of consciousness. The only evidence we have hints in that direction and there is no evidence agains it, so I tentatively hold the view that the brain is the source of consciousness. I don't have to know in exact detail how the brain produces consciousness to make a valid inductive argument that it does. If you disagree with my conclusions you have to adress my premises. They're not taken as assumptions, I listed the premises above(the evidence).

    What about the evidence that brain activity is the product of consciousness?
    We have direct evidence that physical manipulations of the brain cause altered conscious states, not the other way around. For example, brainsurgeons have been probing around in the brains of conscious patients with their surgical tools(having shut off the connection to the central nervous system that gives pain-information to the brain). They directly touched various structures of the brain and asked their patients what they experienced, and they reported everything from emotional changes(laughing hysterically because suddenly the surgeon was "so funny") to feeling tickling experiences, cold/warmth etc. etc.

    This evidence points in the direction of brainactivity as the source of conscious experiences, not the other way around.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Where in the brain is the locus of volition? I don't know :) Nor does this alter anything about my inductive argument. There's still no evidence against my position, and what little evidence there is about the source of consciousness, all only points to brainactivity.

    Please give a Darwinian explanation for “brain plasticity.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RbPQG9WTZM

    brains are physical objects that evolved.

    An a priori assumption stated as fact.

    No, an evidentially derived conclusion. All the organs in your body are build from the interactions of your genome with the internal and external environment of the cell. The brain is among your organs.
    The genes involved in and responsible for brain development form a nested hierarchy in it's distribution in different species, and their change over time can be tracked throughout life and common descent. That means the most rational conlusion to draw is that the brain, just like everything else, is an evolved organ.

    If the brain was truly designed, it was designed to look like it evolved.

    No argument with them being physical—no evidence that they evolved either.
    Counter-factual blind assertion. As just explained.

    You didn't understand the video then. It clearly explains how logic and mathematics derives from sensory experiences, not some mysterious, immaterial consciousness.I did understand the video. It most certainly did not explain how immaterial logic & math are derived from experience. He simply deferred it to the Darwin-of-the-gaps meme with the over-used, never defined term, “abstraction.”
    Now you're just blindly asserting that math and logic is immaterial. Yet, again, all the evidence we have points to it being derived from people's sensory experiences of the material world. The world is observed to be logically coherent, we learn to make sense of things by experiencing the world through our senses, through childhood. That's how we come to understand anything at all, first by taking in information through experiences, to test them empirically as toddlers. By doing experiments, seeing what happens if we do x, y or z. To touch and smell and taste and see and hear. To push and pull and squeeze, with the brain recording the results as experiences, drawing conclusions of the world. The video actually explains very well through the use of symbol and graphics how the world can intuitively be divided into discreet objects that can be counted in sets, which are physically and spatially distinct. It makes perfect sense.

    ReplyDelete
  20. No such demonstration took place. You just blindly asserted on fault premises.

    Let me try again. These are your (unproven) premises:
    1) Consciousness evolved.

    Still not a premise, still an evidentially derived conclusion from:
    1. The evidential inductive argument about consciousness being the product of brain activity.
    2. The evidentially derived conclusion that brains are evolved organs like any other.

    Not a premise, a conclusion. Please don't confuse the two.

    2) Logic & math, “do not actually exist…other than in human brains” (i.e. consciousness).
    That's not my premise anywhere, in fact I reject the statement. It's entirely of your own making.

    My position is almost diametrically opposite. That the basis of logic and math is actually facts about the nature of the material world, and that we come to learn of them through experiencing the material world through our senses.

    Logic applied to your premises: if consciousness does not exist
    Not my premise, no does this conclusion follow from any of my arguments. Your entire case seems to rest on blatant misrepresentation.

    then logic and math cannot exist since they only exist within consciousness.
    Not a conclusion that can be drawn from ANY of my actual premises or arguments, as just explained. This is your own brainchild.

    Don’t blame me for drawing an inescapable conclusion from your faulty premises.
    You have failed to accurately represent any of my arguments, you don't even understand what premises I use in them or how any of my positions are arrived at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please indicate where the error is in my logic that I applied to your “faulty” premises.

      You never demonstrated any facts about what you claim here

      Hereby done above. Thank you for your time.

      My purpose wasn’t to demonstrate facts to you—it was to show you the logical conclusions your presuppositions lead to.
      Again, you've failed to accurately represent any of my arguments, you don't even understand what premises I use in them or how any of my positions are arrived at.
      I have no presuppositions of any kind. All my postions, anywhere, on any subject, are derived evidentially. All my positons are held in proportion to the strength of the evidence in favor. Where the evidence doesn't point either way, I withhold judgement.

      Uhh, yes that is what the video states… He doesn't say logic is "just an abstraction", he deliberate included "of physical experience".

      My quote above is verbatim. I double checked. It’s from time 11:48 – 11:56 in the video, and he clearly says, “[logic] is ultimately just an abstraction…” The key word in that quote is abstraction—which you have yet to define.

      And he goes on to elaborate that it's an abstraction from sensory experience. When you pick out that single sentence, you're quotemining.
      Abstraction in this context means to manipulate the information gathered though sensory experience and try to draw new conclusions from it(building on the fundamentals). That's what maths and logic is about, to build on the founding axioms(which are the ones derived from sensory experiences of the world) and draw conclusions from them. To make new patterns and try to compare them with more experiences.

      Take an example like a square, it can be divided into two triangles. This is an example of an abstraction. You derive something from the quare, you "abstract" new concepts.

      I don't presume to be in a position to explain how the brain achieves this, so I can't go any deeper than the conceptual level I just did here. If you're going to ask me how I know the brain does this, I defer you again to my evidential and inductive reasoning about brains as the source of consciousness(and mind) above.

      An abstraction from physical experiences. Why do you leave out the physical experiences?

      Because that’s insignificant until you’ve defined what constitutes an abstraction.

      Consider it done.

      I actually agree with you, I just don't agree on the source of said logical consistency.

      Ok good. So, you agree that logic and reason transcend human existence (i.e. they do objectively exist independently of human consciousness), but do you agree that they are wholly immaterial, that is, they are metaphysical?

      No. I contend that they are facts about the material world, that they are properties of spatio-temporal arrangements of matter and energy. That these facts would be facts whether human beings existed or not, as long as there's a physical world for there to be facts about, to have defining physical properties like space(spatial separation) and time.

      Delete
    2. Rumraket:

      there are no established cases of objects without brains showing any signs of being conscious.

      Wrong. Memories and personality traits are manifestations of consciousness—and the explanation for this phenomenon is pure guesswork.

      To have self-aware experiences.

      Is a comprehensive definition of consciousness?

      I've never come across such a definition myself.

      And you never will—it’s that complex and poorly understood.

      Nor am I under any obligation to provide one

      Oh no, but you’re certainly free to defer to it as though you do have one in this discussion.

      I just ran with the idea that we both probably mean what it refers to without understanding how it "really works".

      That’s pretty flimsy ground to be making bold claims of it evolving on.

      Surely, whether you agree with me or not here, consciousness is hard to define isn't it?

      Precisely my point. Again, it’s pretty bold to be making all these assertions of it having evolved when you admit knowing so little about it.

      The only evidence we have hints in that direction and there is no evidence agains it, so I tentatively hold the view that the brain is the source of consciousness.

      Wrong again.

      I don't know :) [where the locus of volition is] Nor does this alter anything about my inductive argument. There's still no evidence against my position, and what little evidence there is about the source of consciousness, all only points to brainactivity.

      Again see my link above.

      Your Darwinian explanation for brain plasticity via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RbPQG9WTZM

      Aside from the fact that this video offered absolutely no experimental verification for the assumptions it asserted as fact (i.e. its ubiquitous deferral to the Darwin-of-the-gaps “co-opted” argument), the only mention of “plasticity” in this sophomoric clip was: “Learning can occur through the modification of the network or plasticity of the strength of synaptic connections. Each of the processes co-opted pre-existing cellular machinery…” Hardly a satisfactory explanation for this extraordinarily complex and mysterious phenomenon.

      No, an evidentially derived conclusion.

      What evidence? You’ve yet to cite an experimental verification of evolution that produced a new species with the predicted Darwinian body plan alteration. You can claim your belief in the veracity of evolution is an evidentially based conclusion all day long, but until you put-up with the science required, your starting point will always be an assumption.

      If the brain was truly designed, it was designed to look like it evolved.

      Seriously? If it looked like it evolved then it, like (the myth of) “junk” DNA, would be riddled with vestiges of failed modifications and useless components. But we both know that’s not the case. Every aspect of the brain is functional.

      Now you're just blindly asserting that math and logic is immaterial.

      No, I’m not. Your own George Lakoff concedes that in the video you supplied!

      The video actually explains very well through the use of symbol and graphics how the world can intuitively be divided into…

      Yes, from the perspective of another conscious being—but it does not provide a scientific explanation of how intuition came about. Let me guess, once evolved, consciousness merely “co-opted” it from some pre-existing cellular machinery.

      You have failed to accurately represent any of my arguments

      Forgive me if I conflated your premise that consciousness evolved with the logical conclusion about the immaterial nature of logic and reason (that Lakoff himself conceded in the video that you supplied). It was not my intention to put words in your mouth. I’m simply trying to operate logically on what you Darwinists assert as truth.

      Delete
    3. Rumraket:

      All my positons are held in proportion to the strength of the evidence in favor.

      So, without citing any corroborating experimental evidence one way or another that consciousness evolved, you’re satisfied that your “position” is evidentially based and not a presupposition… Sorry, but I’m not satisfied with that.

      And he goes on to elaborate that it's an abstraction from sensory experience. When you pick out that single sentence, you're quotemining.

      No, I’m not. I’m simply trying to get a Darwinian explanation for, or a simple definition of what an “abstraction” within consciousness is. That’s all I’m after.

      Abstraction in this context means to manipulate the information gathered though sensory experience

      And how did neurons evolve that capability?

      Take an example like a square, it can be divided into two triangles. This is an example of an abstraction. You derive something from the quare, you "abstract" new concepts.

      And what exactly is the “you” that you’re referring to?—and how did that “you” evolve the capability to “think” abstractly if we really do only live in a materialist/reductionist universe?

      I defer you again to my evidential and inductive reasoning about brains as the source of consciousness(and mind) above.

      This is circular! Again, you’re certain that consciousness evolved, yet you cannot provide any meaningful scientific explanation for what it is and how it came about.

      Consider it [what constitutes an abstraction] done.

      No, I don’t!

      I contend that [logic and reason] are facts about the material world

      And I contend that you're wrong. Logic and reason are procedures of thought, not facts. My questions are quite simple, 1) How did consciousness come about in a Darwinian framework, and 2) How can procedures of “correct” thought be possible in a random universe?

      Even world renowned, Darwinist & neuro-scientist Robert Kuhn remains mystified by the nagging questions about consciousness that cannot dismiss dualism. He even did an extensive TV series where he interviewed every expert he could find on the subject and he still doesn’t know for sure that the mind isn’t distinct from the brain.

      Delete
  21. Rumraket: there are no established cases of objects without brains showing any signs of being conscious.
    Wrong.

    No, it isn't wrong. I have no idea which of the thousands of random article your blanket google search is supposed to refer to, but an instant red flag is popping up in my mind when top searches are to demonstrable and proven crackpot sites like "naturalnews.com" and to various skeptic sites. That means we're talking crackpottery, not facts.

    Give me a direct link to an article you think is credible, I have no idea what it is you think you've linked to.

    Memories and personality traits are manifestations of consciousness—and the explanation for this phenomenon is pure guesswork.
    Actually, memory is simply storage of data. Conscious Recollection> of memory is a manifestation of consciousnes. But even my computer can recall stored data from memory, I dont think my computer is conscious.

    As for personality traits, they might as well be partially based on physical factors of the body. We already know various chemicals can affect mood and how we think and experience the world, there's no reason to suppose that memories or conscious personality traits are somehow intrinsically stored in a transplanted organ(I'm guessing this is what you are referring to, from your google search). But your brain is in contact wiht your physical body, it gets information about the physical and chemical state of your organs and limbs etc.
    A much simpler explanation that fits with what we know about biology is that your personality is partially determined by your physiology. So if you get a different liver, for example, it might be the case that this liver produces a certain neurochemical to a higher extend than your previous one, and consequently your brainchemistry will be affected. This doesn't mean this new liver had a personality hidden somehow inside it, it simply doesn't follow.

    To have self-aware experiences.
    Is a comprehensive definition of consciousness?

    No, and I didn't claim it was.

    I've never come across such a definition myself.
    And you never will—it’s that complex and poorly understood.


    First of all, what's complex about it? Complexity normally refers to the number and method of interactions of distinct parts of a system. You're claiming consciousness is that complex. What does that even mean?

    Also, the assertion that we'll never achieve a comprehensive definition of consciousness, how's that anything but a blind statement of faith?

    Nor am I under any obligation to provide one
    Oh no, but you’re certainly free to defer to it as though you do have one in this discussion.

    I don't need one for the purpose of making evidential inductive arguments.

    If we can both agree on a working definition so we're not talking past each other, why do we need to make a comprehensive one?

    I just ran with the idea that we both probably mean what it refers to without understanding how it "really works".
    That’s pretty flimsy ground to be making bold claims of it evolving on.

    I have no issue with being bold. My argument supporting my claim is valid.

    Surely, whether you agree with me or not here, consciousness is hard to define isn't it?
    Precisely my point. Again, it’s pretty bold to be making all these assertions of it having evolved when you admit knowing so little about it.

    Again, my arguments speak for themselves and you've yet to accurately address them.

    Also, it seems you're not shy of making strong statements about concsiousness yourself. Such as we'll never get to see a comprehensive definition of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only evidence we have hints in that direction and there is no evidence agains it, so I tentatively hold the view that the brain is the source of consciousness.
      Wrong again.

      Uhh, there is nothing in that article that remotely impacts on anything I've said. The "materialist predictions" of the site is deliberate misstated in scope and nature. There is no a priori reason why a damaged brain can't still properly relegate tasks to the correct brain centers. And let's be clear, that's all they detected.

      She was asked to think about Tennis, so the areas of the brain commonly associated with that task, experienced increased bloodflow.
      We don't actually know what the patient was thinking(what the nature of her thoughts about Tennis were like), the patient wasn't capable of telling us. Clearly, the patient was still suffering damaged capacities due to a damaged brain. SHE WAS VEGETATIVE after all.

      Notice how they're detecting signs of "awareness" by MEASURING BRAINSTATES. It couldn't get any more of an argument for my position than that.

      They weren't measuring her liver, she also wasn't without a brain. It was damaged, which is why she was in a vegetative state.

      We simply have no idea what her experiences were like. The fact that she seems to be thinking about Tennis and moving around in her home tells us nothing about what these experiences were like.

      All of Egnors claims about the predictions of the materialist are unfalsifiable because the patient is in a vegetative state. We don't have access to her mind, we can only measure correlates with bloodflow to areas of the brain. Again, we have no idea what she actually thought about or whether Tennis to her had any resemblence to the actual game.

      It would be much more impressive if it had been a study of a person who could talk to us so she could describe her experiences. Without this, we simply cannot claim that her mind is operating normally, we can only claim that bloodflow to the requisite brainaraes is happening normally. But we already know that this tells us nothing about the nature of the thoughts the subject has, only that it's probably on a general subject.

      Delete
    2. Your Darwinian explanation for brain plasticity via: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RbPQG9WTZM

      Aside from the fact that this video offered absolutely no experimental verification for the assumptions it asserted as fact (i.e. its ubiquitous deferral to the Darwin-of-the-gaps “co-opted” argument), the only mention of “plasticity” in this sophomoric clip was: “Learning can occur through the modification of the network or plasticity of the strength of synaptic connections. Each of the processes co-opted pre-existing cellular machinery…” Hardly a satisfactory explanation for this extraordinarily complex and mysterious phenomenon.

      I'm under no obligation to live up to your standards of satisfaction. Regardless, I was asked for a "Darwinian" explanation, and you got one. The specific nature is speculative, you're not being asked to believe with great certainty that this is how it happened, the purpose was only to show that it is conceptually not an issue for braintissue to have evolved.

      The evidence that the brain is an evolved organ is found both in genetics, but also the differences between the sizes and locations of the structures of the brain show sign of gradual evolution.
      More and more distantly related species have fewer and fewer braincenters in common, and they're clearly added onto already existing structures over time. This is evidence for evolution and common descent.

      Delete
    3. No, an evidentially derived conclusion.
      What evidence?

      Since you're not including your own statement, I'm not sure which of mine it is I'm responding to here. Regardless, the evidence for evolution of brains has already been explained now. The genes responsible for the formation of braintissue fits the common descent nested hierarchy, and the physiology, distribution and order of assembly of brainstructures in different species too.
      The best explanation of this fact that doesn't refer to unobserved massively unparsimonious entities (like invisible supernatural designers operation on planetary scales over billions of years) is the processs of evolution.

      You’ve yet to cite an experimental verification of evolution that produced a new species with the predicted Darwinian body plan alteration.
      What the fuck is a "predicted Darwinian body plan alteration"

      Regardless, speciation has been observed in experimental laboratory evolution and in the wild. And large-scale bodyplan modification has been achieved with selective breeding. Have you seen all the different breeds of dogs? Some of them achieved in less than a few centuries of selective breeding. Imagine what could happen if we kept going for 10 million years. We need only posit the existence of a natural selective pressure operating over this timescale. Here's an easy one: Hydrodynamic drag. Every organism attempting to make an aquatic living will always be subject to hydrodynamic drag when submerged in water.

      You can claim your belief in the veracity of evolution is an evidentially based conclusion all day long, but until you put-up with the science required, your starting point will always be an assumption.
      You can dismiss my evidentially derived conclusion in knee-jerk fashion till you're blue in the head, that won't ever make it an assumption.

      Delete
    4. If the brain was truly designed, it was designed to look like it evolved.
      Seriously?

      Yes and I've already explained why.

      If it looked like it evolved then it, like (the myth of) “junk” DNA
      Junk DNA isn't a myth. How can you be reading Larry's blog and not get this?

      would be riddled with vestiges of failed modifications and useless components. But we both know that’s not the case. Every aspect of the brain is functional.
      This isn't a prediction of anything but your creationist mind.
      Did you actually BELIEVE this cartoon?:
      http://missinguniversemuseum.com/vestigial.jpg

      Delete
    5. Now you're just blindly asserting that math and logic is immaterial.
      No, I’m not. Your own George Lakoff concedes that in the video you supplied!

      Uhh, no it doesn't. Complete counter-factual blind assertion.

      I'll take this as a tacit admission that you've nothing left with which to respond constructively, so you're deliberately misrepresenting the video and me.

      Nowhere in the two videos is it ever implied that math and logic is immaterial. Utter nonsense.

      The video actually explains very well through the use of symbol and graphics how the world can intuitively be divided into…
      Yes, from the perspective of another conscious being—but it does not provide a scientific explanation of how intuition came about.

      Nor does it purport to, nor am I or the author of the video under any obligation to provide one. The video simply explains how the basis of the author's atheism is rooted in evidentialist reasoning, and then explains how evidentialism can account for the existence of logic and mathematics. It's philosophy for the most part.

      Of course, in any case I'm not here to try to satsify your deliberately unfulfillable need to have everything explained to your satisfaction.

      You have failed to accurately represent any of my arguments
      Forgive me if I conflated your premise that consciousness evolved with the logical conclusion about the immaterial nature of logic and reason (that Lakoff himself conceded in the video that you supplied).

      Now you're not accurately representing the video, in addition to me. This is getting laughable. Is this what you've got left to respond with?

      Delete
    6. All my positons are held in proportion to the strength of the evidence in favor.
      So, without citing any corroborating experimental evidence one way or another that consciousness evolved, you’re satisfied that your “position” is evidentially based and not a presupposition… Sorry, but I’m not satisfied with that.

      Your satisfaction is the least of my concerns. The evidence for the evolution of brains is openly accessible on the internet and in books. Go to google scholar, search on brain evolution of various sorts, including comparative phylogenetics and physiology. Do a little legwork yourself. In this day and age, ignorance is a choice.

      And he goes on to elaborate that it's an abstraction from sensory experience. When you pick out that single sentence, you're quotemining.
      No, I’m not. I’m simply trying to get a Darwinian explanation for, or a simple definition of what an “abstraction” within consciousness is. That’s all I’m after.

      That's emphatically not all you're after, what you're after is constantly changing once the previous question was at least partially satisfied. You keep throwing more and more questions on top, and I've already said I don't possess that kind of knowledge, and explained why this alters nothing about the strength of my inductive reasoning.

      The closest you ever got to actually dealing with my argument was when you insisted organs have memories and personality to try to counter my brainactivity-consciousness correlative argument. Yet that was remarkably ineffective. So my argument still stands.

      Delete
    7. Abstraction in this context means to manipulate the information gathered though sensory experience
      And how did neurons evolve that capability?

      I'm still not under any obligation to explain anything to your unobtainable satsifaction. Nor is my argument contingent on being able to supply such an explanation.

      Take an example like a square, it can be divided into two triangles. This is an example of an abstraction. You derive something from the quare, you "abstract" new concepts.
      And what exactly is the “you” that you’re referring to?

      Your conscious brain in your physical body. That's "you".

      —and how did that “you” evolve the capability to “think” abstractly if we really do only live in a materialist/reductionist universe?
      This is basically the same question you ask above, to which you can go read the same answer.

      I defer you again to my evidential and inductive reasoning about brains as the source of consciousness(and mind) above.
      This is circular! Again, you’re certain that consciousness evolved, yet you cannot provide any meaningful scientific explanation for what it is and how it came about.

      No it isn't circular.

      P1. Only active brains show signs of being conscious.
      P2. The brain is an evolved organ.
      C. Therefore consciousness evolved.

      Notice that each of my premises have their own evidential and inductive arguments in support.

      Nothing circular here mate.

      Consider it [what constitutes an abstraction] done.No, I don’t!
      I don't care then. I explained it by way of example, which to any rational person would be satisfying if they understood the example. The specific response you gave to my example was to ask "how the brain evolved the capacity to think abstractly?", which is a totally irrelevant question. I explained what an abstraction was by giving an example. I don't need to explain how the brain evolved the capacity to abstract to begin with.

      Delete
    8. I contend that [logic and reason] are facts about the material world
      And I contend that you're wrong. Logic and reason are procedures of thought, not facts.

      This is nothing but an assertion, I have given good reasons to think your assertion is false.

      My questions are quite simple, 1) How did consciousness come about in a Darwinian framework
      Your questions are irrelevant with respect to my arguments, which you've done almost nothing to address.

      Again:
      1. Brainactivities are the source of consciousness(by way of inductive reasoning on the evidence).
      2. Brains are evolved organs (by way of genetics and comparative physiology).

      Conclusion: Consciousness evolved.

      I don't know how it evolved in great detail, by the evidence nonetheless is that it evolved.

      and 2) How can procedures of “correct” thought be possible in a random universe?
      This is the first time you're asking this question. What's with this endless stream of irrelevant questions? Do you really think anyone here cares to satisfy your entirely synthetic curiosity on these matters? It's quite clear that you're not interested in the answers, you think an immaterial wizard made a supernatural soul, and that this is responsible for the whole thing. Never mind that there's no critically robust evidence for any of it, nor that anything is by that explained.

      How does it work? Immaterial soul does it.
      Where does it come from? Supernatural wizard made it.

      Oh I see. sorry for asking then.

      Even world renowned, Darwinist & neuro-scientist Robert Kuhn remains mystified by the nagging questions about consciousness that cannot dismiss dualism. He even did an extensive TV series where he interviewed every expert he could find on the subject and he still doesn’t know for sure that the mind isn’t distinct from the brain.
      I don't care.

      To think there's a supernatural immaterial soul in charge of your thoughts and physical actions is to posit that all of physics is wrong from it's very fundamentals.

      Delete
    9. Rumraket:

      You're claiming consciousness is that complex. What does that even mean?

      It means exactly what I said. So far, its complexity has defied a comprehensive definition. Like pornography, we know it when we see it, but it’s not just that we’re unable to define it, we’re light years from understanding it.

      the assertion that we'll never achieve a comprehensive definition of consciousness, how's that anything but a blind statement of faith?

      It’s no less a faith statement than your deference to the objective existence of reason.

      Notice how they're detecting signs of "awareness" by MEASURING BRAINSTATES. It couldn't get any more of an argument for my position than that.

      And this is the wall I hit every when trying to reason with a materialist. Only they can property discern the validity of scientific evidence. I always wonder; are they simply unaware that using the inference to the best explanation would dictate that they consider the opposite (i.e. measured brain states are the results of awareness), or does their cognitive dissonance simply not allow them to think of possibilities that contradict their worldview?

      speciation has been observed in experimental laboratory evolution and in the wild.

      Again, no, it has not. There is no record of a observation of a speciation event at the “macro-level,” period. In the Darwinian sense, no new species (i.e. displaying a major body-plan modification) has ever been experimentally observed.

      large-scale bodyplan modification has been achieved with selective breeding. Have you seen all the different breeds of dogs?

      This is the second time you’ve attempted to assert this as proof of evolution. Unfortunately, it betrays your lack of understanding of what Neo-Darwinian evolution is and, ostensibly, what it requires for verification. Selective breeding of dogs does not produce new body plans—just modified proportions of the same body plan. After several millennia, SELECTIVE DOG BREEDING HAS NOT PRODUCED A NEW SPECIES—THE RESULTING BREEDS ARE STILL DOGS, JUST AS “DARWIN’S FINCHES” ARE STILL FINCHES.

      Nowhere in the two videos is it ever implied that math and logic is immaterial. Utter nonsense.

      This is almost surreal. I carefully transcribed the audio of that clip and included it in my response, and so as to not be accused of “quote mining,” I’ll repeat it again (emphasis mine): “Mathematics & logic do not actually 'exist' in any real sense other than in human brains. Rather, we construct mathematics & logic by extracting from the embodied experiences that we have.” This is a de facto admission that logic and reason are not material entities. Tell me, how do you empirically test for the “material” components of the logic needed for mathematics in the brain?

      The closest you ever got to actually dealing with my argument was when you insisted organs have memories and personality to try to counter my brainactivity-consciousness correlative argument. Yet that was remarkably ineffective.

      “Ineffective?” You state, “there are no established cases of objects without brains showing any signs of being conscious.” To which I provide a search result page demonstrating the plethora of evidence that directly contradicts your assertion and you regard that as “ineffective…”

      Delete
    10. Rumraket:

      While I thank you for indulging me in this discussion in the respectful manner that you have, it’s clear that I’ve once again reached the point where (like almost every other atheist I’ve conversed with) you are incapable of acknowledging any scientific evidence that does not corroborate your worldview, or are willing to concede that your worldview could possibly be wrong. I make doubly sure that I quote your sources accurately in order to counter your assertions, but then you accuse me of deliberately misrepresenting them or quote mining them when nothing could be further from the truth. Truth is my objective, not a selective acknowledging of facts and/or evidences that only buttress my worldview.

      Statements like:

      * I'm under no obligation to live up to your standards

      * Nor I or the author of the video [are] under any obligation to provide one.

      * I'm not here to try to satsify your deliberately unfulfillable need to have everything explained to your satisfaction.

      * I'm still not under any obligation to explain anything to your unobtainable satsifaction

      * I don't need to explain how the brain evolved the capacity to abstract to begin with.

      * Your questions are irrelevant with respect to my arguments,

      * I don't care.


      Indicate that it is you who lack any sense of objectivity or genuine scientific curiosity about the worldview you cling to. You, like Larry and all other atheists here suffer under the delusion that your worldview is unassailable and beyond reproach—no one should dare question its authenticity or its falsifiability. I have tried asking honest, objective questions but you either cannot or will not answer them objectively.

      To continue this discussion would only result in wasting more of your time an mine.

      Thank you again for your time.

      Delete
  22. You're claiming consciousness is that complex. What does that even mean?
    It means exactly what I said. So far, its complexity has defied a comprehensive definition. Like pornography, we know it when we see it, but it’s not just that we’re unable to define it, we’re light years from understanding it.

    You're not using complexity correctly here, because the complexity of consciousness is not what makes it defy definition. I still don't see how the term complexity is apposite with respect to why we can't properly define consciousness. It might be the case that the processes in the brain that ultimately give rise it, are too complex for a succinct and intuitively penetrable definition, but this is different from saying that consciousness itself is complex.

    the assertion that we'll never achieve a comprehensive definition of consciousness, how's that anything but a blind statement of faith?
    It’s no less a faith statement than your deference to the objective existence of reason.

    Another misapplied term. Reason is what conscious minds do, it cannot exist where there is not a functioning mind.

    You still don't even understand what my position is, and seem to either misrepresent it, ask irrelevant questions, or introduce new and baseless claims ad libitum.

    Notice how they're detecting signs of "awareness" by MEASURING BRAINSTATES. It couldn't get any more of an argument for my position than that.
    And this is the wall I hit every when trying to reason with a materialist. Only they can property discern the validity of scientific evidence.

    No, that's not my position. It just so happens however, that the claim made by Michael Egnor, and supported by you, are not justifiable given the evidence presented in your article.

    We correlate bloodflow to areas of the brain with specific subjects. It tells us nothing about whether said subjects are otherwise affected in content and nature by braindamage.

    Why do you even level this unwarranted blanket attack on materialists in general? I know of many theists who I otherwise think have perfectly good ability to critically assess evidence. Your chosen example here simply isn't among them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always wonder; are they simply unaware that using the inference to the best explanation would dictate that they consider the opposite (i.e. measured brain states are the results of awareness)
      You're confused. I'm not denying that the person in question might be aware despite her vegetative state, I'm saying the claim that her awareness is seemingly unaffected by the damage to her brain is unjustifiable.

      Egnor makes an extremely simplistic strawman of the materialist position(braindamage = impaired cognitive function), then attacks it with an unjustifiable inference from the evidence before us.

      Specifically I'm talking about his claim that materialism predicts that braindamage necessarily implies impaired cognitive function. The study in question doesn't actually test the materialist position, because we don't have access to testimony of the qualities of the cognitive experiences of the subject. We only have the correlates with brainactivity. This tells us nothing about whether her thinking is impaired in any way.

      There are so many nuances lost in his extremely simplistic treatment there. For example, what areas of the brain are damaged? First of all, we DO know that her braindamaged has impaired her cognitive functions, she's IN A VEGETATIVE STATE. Already there, this is evidence that supports the materialist position.
      And again for the third(?) time, we still don't know what her experiences are like. Egnor cannot justifiably claim that her cognition is unaffected, we simply have to commit to agnosticism on that claim.

      or does their cognitive dissonance simply not allow them to think of possibilities that contradict their worldview?
      What is even the point of this silliness? Her cognitive function is already demonstrably impaired in so far as she's in a vegetative state. Also, we don't know what her experiences are like.

      speciation has been observed in experimental laboratory evolution and in the wild.
      Again, no, it has not. There is no record of a observation of a speciation event at the “macro-level,” period.

      Absolutely demonstrably false. A speciation even is BY DEFINITION at the macroevolutionary level. This is because macroevolution is DEFINED as evolution at or above the species level. All speciation events (evolutionary events that result in prevention of geneflow between two species) are therefore by definition examples of macroevolution.

      Microevolution is defined as evolution below the species level. This would include all evolution that doesn't lead to speciation (like making a new breed of dog, or somatic evolution).

      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
      http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html
      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/100201_speciation

      You can simply GOOGLE "observed speciation" and be demonstrably corrected on this point. The fact that you haven't again tells us you've chosen ignorance over knowledge.

      In the Darwinian sense, no new species (i.e. displaying a major body-plan modification) has ever been experimentally observed.
      There is no such thing as a "Darwinian sense". It's a complete strawman, an invention speciously designed by creationists found nowhere in the scientific litterature.

      Delete
    2. large-scale bodyplan modification has been achieved with selective breeding. Have you seen all the different breeds of dogs?
      This is the second time you’ve attempted to assert this as proof of evolution. Unfortunately, it betrays your lack of understanding of what Neo-Darwinian evolution is and, ostensibly, what it requires for verification.

      What a joke, you're the one who neither understand the definitions of macroevolution or speciation, and simply invents his own straman terms and try to declare victory when your synthetic requirements aren't met.

      By the way, the Neo-Darwinian synthesis is population genetics. It says nothing about what is required for large-scale body-plan modifications.

      So once again it's your understanding of evolution that's wrong, not mine.

      You're effectively confusing common descent with the mechanism proposed to be responsible for this result. The inference is really simple when it comes down to it.

      Demonstrable observation: Physical characteristics are determined by genetically heritable traits.
      Demonstrable observation: Genes vary in frequencies in populations over generations due to natural selection, mutation and genetic drift.
      Demonstrable observation: Due to these variations in frequencies of genes, physical characteristics of organisms has been observed changing accordingly.
      Demonstrable observation: The physical characteristics and genomes of extant life forms a massively congruent nested hierarcy.
      Demonstrable observation: These nested hierarchies are consonant with the predictions of evolutionary theory(the mechanism).

      It reasonably follows that natural selection, mutation and genetic drift is the mechanism responsible for the observed nested hierarchies in genetics and physical characteristics(comparative anatomy, embryology and development etc. etc.)

      Selective breeding of dogs does not produce new body plans—just modified proportions of the same body plan.
      A meaningless distinction. Most of evolutionary change proceeds by that route. The transition from terrestrial mammals into aquatic ones can be described almost exclusively by that term. Legs becoming fins merely amounts to changes in size of the bones and cartilaginous tissues. The spine elongates, the nostrils slowly creeps towards the top of the head, the lungs expand, the hindlimbs shrink, the tail thickens. All just changes in relative proportions, and yet it results in a whale.

      After several millennia, SELECTIVE DOG BREEDING HAS NOT PRODUCED A NEW SPECIES—THE RESULTING BREEDS ARE STILL DOGS, JUST AS “DARWIN’S FINCHES” ARE STILL FINCHES.
      Whoever claimed otherwise?

      It's irrelevant, since the degree of change between the different breeds of dogs are quite remarkable. And some of them has taken place on the century level, not even millienia. You still need to multiply the level of change many hundreds of thousands of generations into the future, and you start to get a picture of what kind of change natural selection and drift can achieve.

      Darwin's finches are simply a fine example of adaptation due to natural selection.

      Delete
    3. Nowhere in the two videos is it ever implied that math and logic is immaterial. Utter nonsense.
      This is almost surreal. I carefully transcribed the audio of that clip and included it in my response, and so as to not be accused of “quote mining,” I’ll repeat it again (emphasis mine): “Mathematics & logic do not actually 'exist' in any real sense other than in human brains. Rather, we construct mathematics & logic by extracting from the embodied experiences that we have.” This is a de facto admission that logic and reason are not material entities.

      No it isn't. The brain is a material object. Nobody has experiences without also having a brain and requisite sensory apparatus.

      Tell me, how do you empirically test for the “material” components of the logic needed for mathematics in the brain?
      Try my inductive argument again until you understand it. By the way, my computer can do math, it's a material object too. Communication within my computer takes place via tiny electrical pulses that vary in frequency and compostion (the ones and zeroes).

      Interestingly, neuron shave been shown to communicate with each other by firing in pulsing patterns that can vary in frequency and magnitude.

      The closest you ever got to actually dealing with my argument was when you insisted organs have memories and personality to try to counter my brainactivity-consciousness correlative argument. Yet that was remarkably ineffective.“Ineffective?” You state, “there are no established cases of objects without brains showing any signs of being conscious.” To which I provide a search result page demonstrating the plethora of evidence that directly contradicts your assertion and you regard that as “ineffective…”
      There was no such evidence for reasons already explained. I checked a few links and all the remarked, when they weren't links directly to proven crackpot new-agey bullshit sites, was references to people having organ transplants who felt sudden cravings for certain types of foods and drink.

      For reasons already explained, there's no reason to think this implies memories are embedded in livers and kidneys or anything of the sort. There was no mention in any of the links I checked of any actual recollection of memories from the former organ owners.

      So I was right, no evidence against my position there.

      Delete
    4. Rumraket:

      While I thank you for indulging me in this discussion in the respectful manner that you have

      You're welcome, and thank you too for engaging me in what could easily have devolved into a mutual trolling match. I'm glad we both managed to steer clear of this despite a few harsh criticisms I think leveled by both of us. Let me take this opportunity to concede that I can be.. pointed in my choice of words, I mean no personal disrespect or harbor no ill will.

      it’s clear that I’ve once again reached the point where (like almost every other atheist I’ve conversed with) you are incapable of acknowledging any scientific evidence that does not corroborate your worldview, or are willing to concede that your worldview could possibly be wrong.
      I'm sorry but I simply have to disagree about this take on the matters. I think I've already explained, at least sufficiently, why I think the evidence you have presented does not run counter to my position, in so far as it could reasonably be shown to be compatible with my statements.

      With respect to me conceding that my worldview could possibly be wrong, that's another silly and unwarranted statement. I've already told you that I only hold positions I reckon are evidentiall justified, so if the critically robust evidence to the contrary was provided, I would change my position accordingly.

      Let me be clear that I don't presume to know everything and there are many things science has yet to explain. I can even acknowledge that it's possible there are things it will never explain. I would only elaborate by saying we can't know a priori what that would be and we should never be satisified with just giving up.

      This is also why I'm using an evidential inductive argument to arrive at the conclusion that brainactivity is somehow the source of consciousness. This is not supposed to be an explanation for consciousness(or how the brain does it, or how consciousness evolved), only a claim about what it is reasonable for us to to believe given the evidence that we have.

      Delete
    5. I make doubly sure that I quote your sources accurately in order to counter your assertions, but then you accuse me of deliberately misrepresenting them or quote mining them when nothing could be further from the truth. Truth is my objective, not a selective acknowledging of facts and/or evidences that only but tress my worldview.
      Fair enough jcc, but in that case we have a disagreement about the implications of the statements you quoted. I don't think they imply that logic and mathematics is immaterial in nature, nor do I think this is what the author of the video intended to imply. It would be very surprising to me if that was the case, since I otherwise agree with him on pretty much everything he says.

      Statements like: ... Indicate that it is you who lack any sense of objectivity or genuine scientific curiosity about the worldview you cling to.
      No jcc, that is simply wildly inaccurate. You're confusing and admission of ignorance with a claim of disinterest in the subject matters. I don't say what I do because I wouldn't like to know, only because with respect to the specific question I initially set out to address, your questions simply don't impact on the validity of my proposed arguments. There's still plenty of things we don't know, and believe me I'd like to, I'm simply being honest and sticking to what I feel I can support without engaging in outrageous speculation.

      You, like Larry and all other atheists here suffer under the delusion that your worldview is unassailable and beyond reproach—no one should dare question its authenticity or its falsifiability.
      At this stage it's beginning to read like projection.

      I have tried asking honest, objective questions but you either cannot or will not answer them objectively.
      Some of them I cannot, because we simply don't know, others I will not because they're irrelevant with respect to the question I set out to address.

      I never entered this discussion with the express intention of giving detailed, reductionist testable hypotheses evolutionary origin and materialist, neuron-by-neuron basis for consciousness and braincomputation. I openly admit I cannot explain these phenomena in that level of detail, we can't do that (yet?).

      What I did set out to do, was to give my arguments for why it is still reasonable to think brainactivity IS the source of consciousness, and that brains(and therefore consciousness) did evolve.

      Thank you again for your time.
      Thank you too, again I appreciate that it didn't devolve into a complete trolling match. I've given my final responses here and you're of course welcome to reply if you want to, but I won't go any further myself unless you respond with something I see as an egregious misapprehension or deliberate falsehood.

      Delete