Friday, September 23, 2016

A theology student doesn't like Jerry Coyne's book Faith vs. Fact

A theology student named Derrick has written a review of Jerry Coyne's book Faith vs. Fact. He didn't like it very much. (Duh!) You can read his review at: Jerry Coyne, Faith Vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.

Before reading that review, let's make sure we understand Jerry's position. Here's what he says on page xx of his book.
My main thesis is narrower and, I think, more defensible: understanding reality, in the sense of being able to use what we know to predict what we don't, is best achieved using the tools of science, and is never achieved using the methods of faith. That is attested by the acknowledged success of science in telling us everything from the smallest bits of matter to the origin of the universe itself—compared with the abject failure of religion to tell us anything about gods, including whether they exist.
Jerry's position is that science is a way of knowing and it has been remarkably successful at discovering truths. There are no other ways of knowing that have found truths.
I'll argue that in fact science is the only way to find such truths—if you construe "science" broadly.
I agree with his broad definition of "science" and I agree that science is the only proven way of acquiring knowledge.1 I also agree with his view that science vs religion is a subset of the real conflict; namely, rationalism vs superstition.

Believers accept the existence of their god(s) without defensible evidence to support that belief. The science way of knowing rejects the idea that you would believe in anything without supporting evidence and logic. Thus, science and religion are not compatible.

Now, read Derrick's review to see how a "sophisticated theologian" deals with the main thesis of Jerry Coyne's book. What you'll see is the typical obfuscation and avoidance that characterizes such theologians.

Keep in mind what Jerry says about so-called "sophisticated" theologians, "... while theologians may know more about the history of religion—or the works of other theologians—than do regular believers, they have no special expertise in discerning the nature of God, what he wants, or how he interacts with the world." [my emphasis LAM]


1. We can quibble about whether mathematics is another way of knowing that falls outside of the broad definition of science. I don't think it does but that debate has nothing to do with the science vs religion conflict.

149 comments :

  1. [I agree that science is the only proven way of acquiring knowledge.

    Except the knowledge that "science is the only proven way of acquiring knowledge", research confirming which has not been published in any science journal I know of.

    I wasn't aware of the scientific confirmation of logic, either.

    And I presume your family gets tired of all of the research experiments you perform when confirming that you love them.

    Very little of what we know comes from "science", Larry.

    Mike Egnor

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    Replies
    1. There goes Dr. Egnor, beating a strawman again.

      Hey, as long as you're here, why don't you reply to this post from Larry:

      https://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2016/09/atheism-is-catastrophe-for-science.html

      Oh, how we laughed at that one. Good times.

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    2. Very little of what we know comes from "science", Larry.

      I'm well aware of the fact that this applies to you and your creationist friends. Very little of what you think you know is compatible with science. Tell me something I don't know.

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    3. Go easy on the doctor. When he wrote
      "Very little of what we know comes from "science", Larry. "

      he mistakenly typed "we" instead of "I"

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    4. Jerry's position is that science is a way of knowing and it has been remarkably successful at discovering truths. There are no other ways of knowing that have found truths.

      What truths are you talking about Larry? Do you mean "the truths" how to substitute one set of beliefs with another? Just in case you are not aware of it or ignorant about it the belief that God(s) are behind of the origins of life or nature (the so-called scientific belief) has the same implications-both are based on faith.

      Just because Jerry Coyne and people like you call it "scientific" doesn't make it true. For this belief to be scientific you need scientific, verifiable evidence, which Jerry and you don't have. So, all you have is another set of beliefs based on faith that you bullied into text books and now bully people to believe as fact without any shame...

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    5. Cruglers,

      Given that gods have an outstanding record of being mere fantasies, think of volcano gods, thunder gods, storm gods, rain gods, etc. and given that nature is right here and now to be tested and tested again, why exactly would it be "faith" to think that the origin of life is natural?

      I'm very serious. Explain to me why we should look into fantasies, or even contemplate that maybe this time and this time only, the gods will not be fantasies, and that the answers, if they ever come, about the origin of life will be some gods.

      In short, what makes you think that the likelihood of gods, given their most excellent track record as mere fantasies, is exactly as good as that of right-here-to-be-witnessed-nature for the origin of life?

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    6. I gather, lutesuite, that you are a fan of Newsradio.

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    7. Egnor's response does raise some interesting questons. As most will know, Egnor is a member of the creationist Discovery Institute, whose express purpose is to find scientific evidence for the existence of God. Unfortunately, despite two decades of existence, the DI has failed abjectly in this mission. This could be because God exists but cannot be detected by the scientific method, because God does not exist, or because the members of the DI are just really bad at science. (These options, of course, are not mutually exclusive.)

      The DI, in fact, tacitly admits to this by virtue of the fact that what little scientific research they do perform is not actually intended to detect the existence of God (to whom they refer as "Intelligent Designer"). Rather, they only seem to make attempts to disprove the theory of evolution. In this endeavor, however, they have also experienced nothing but failure.

      Anyway the question this all raises is: Why doesn't the DI give up on using science to find God? They've been trying for 20 years, and they just can't do it. Why, instead, don't they employ one of these "other ways of knowing" that Egnor insists are able to determine truths that cannot be determined by the scientific method? It's very odd that they have this powerful method, whatever it is, and yet never utilize it. It's almost enough to make one suspect that Larry is correct, and no such method actually exists.

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    8. Please respond directly to my questions! How or based on what scientific evidence has your god called "nature" acquired the creative powers through random processes?

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    9. Cruglers,

      That's a loaded question.

      Prove that nature has "creative powers," make sure that you clearly define what that means, and that we can agree that such "powers" actually exist. Don't use too vague a language. Make it very explicit and unambiguous.

      Prove that nature "acquired" those powers, rather than being part and parcel with it. Prove it. Don't assume it, don't quote people playing with equations. Prove that nature had no "creative powers," and that it then "acquired" them.

      Clearly define what you mean by "random processes." Make sure that when you define that, you also explain why natural can only mean random processes and nothing else. In other words, you have to prove that non-random phenomena, like gravitation, electromagnetism, etc, either are considered in what you call "random processes," or, else, that they're "supernatural." To do that, please also explain in very clear terms what supernatural means, how it operates, and why all those phenomena we learned in school, should rather be considered supernatural.

      Lastly, explain to us why, given the track record of gods as imaginary, and given the absurdity of the gods believed today, we should stop noticing such record and absurdities, and consider that gods might be answers to something.

      Have a nice weekend.

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    10. Your (gods nature) have acquired unexplained creative abilities that can only be applied to intelligence... Please provide scientific, experimental evidence how random processes have attained it?






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    11. Cruglers,

      Answer the whole thing. It's not enough to call nature my "god," when there's a clear difference between your imaginary friends and nature. Namely, that nature is undeniably here. It's not enough to say that nature has "unexplainable creative powers" or that it "acquired" them. You have to prove all of it.

      Read the comment. read it for understanding. Then think. Stop adding claims. Understand the difference between your imaginary friends and nature. Understand your own assumptions and inclinations, and stop thinking that we share them with you. We simply don't.

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    12. How about irreducible complexity going beyond Behe's two layer's of it? I can scientifically prove 3, or 4 or more...
      Where would irreducible complexity reach, if I prove my claim?

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    13. i do think that we can prove that ic is real. for example: let say that we will nened to made a cell-phone step wise. when any step is functional for something. do you think its possible?

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    14. Go ahead, scientific proof would remove the theory of evolution from the battlefield forever.

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    15. the eye is a type of a video camera. wwe know that a video camera need about several parts to a minimal function. so we know that a video camera(eye)cant evolve step wise. plus: we know that a video camera is evidence for de sign. e ven if its have a self replicating system and made from organic matter. so the eye is evidence for design too.

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    16. the eye is a type of a video camera.

      It'd be more accurate to say the video camera is a type of eye, since the eye came first.

      so we know that a video camera(eye)cant evolve step wise.

      Only if you ignore all of these extant transitional forms of the vertebrate eye:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye

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    17. lutesuite

      " Only if you ignore all of these extant transitional forms of the vertebrate eye: "

      Pseudoscience. You like ?!!

      How about you use some REAL science to educate yourself ?

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/humaneye.html

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    18. I'm not going to read some worthless piece of religious apologetics, Otangelo. Are you claiming that those transitional forms of the eye don't exist? They belong to animals that are alive on earth at this moment. How can you make such a claim?

      And if you're claiming something else, why the attempt to move the goal posts? Are you finally admitting that Behe's argument from "irreducible complexity" has been refuted?

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    19. actually the first eye in the fossil record for contain about 16000 lenses, when even human eye have only one. a simple eye spot contain about 200 proteins. those evidence alone make a counter argument against the eye evolution.

      we also talk in the genetic level and not the anatomic one. its a big different.

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    20. Don't try to change the subject, dcsccc. You claim transitional forms of the human eye, in which some of its components are missing, cannot function. Yet examples of such transitional forms exist in the present day. So your claim is false. Might as well just admit it.

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    21. "both are based on faith"

      Nah, not so much. Your ignorance of the vast amounts of scientific research behind the knowledge of the present day may give you the impression science is based on faith, but you would be wrong. Quelle surprise!

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    22. And even less of what we know comes from Discovery Institute charlatans.

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    23. Chugler - what " scientific, verifiable evidence" do you or Egnor have for ID creationism? For the existence of your favored deity?

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    24. Crigler writes:
      "Your (gods nature) have acquired unexplained creative abilities that can only be applied to intelligence... "

      Isn't it so cute how creationists always - always - try to bring reality-based science down to their level of faith?

      Anyway - I think what you meant was that according to the DI's definitions and faith statements, you ascribe what nature can do with the actions of an intelligence. What is your scientific evidence that what we see in nature can only be ascribed to an intelligence?

      I will wait while you scour the DI archives looking for some verbose non-answer that you can paraphrase.

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    25. not true. there is complex video camera and less complex camera. but it doenst mean that a video camera can evolve step wise.

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    26. not true. there is complex video camera and less complex camera. but it doenst mean that a video camera can evolve step wise

      You're attempting to shift the goalposts yet again. Sorry, I'm not taking the bait.

      Behe's argument from "irreducible complexity", which is what you are trying to defend here (remember?) is that an entity that cannot function if even one its component parts is missing cannot have arisen thru evolution. Regardless of whether that claim is correct, the fact remains that no such entity has even been identified. That functional eyes exist which lack several of the components of the human eye is sufficient to demonstrate that the human eye does not meet the definition of "irreducible complexity."

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    27. LS
      "Regardless of whether that claim is correct, the fact remains that no such entity has even been identified."

      The bacterial flagellum motor has been verified to meet this description through knock out experiments.

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    28. No, it has been verified that it does not meet that description, thru identification of the Type III secretion system:

      http://www.pnas.org/content/100/6/3027.full

      The definition of IC is not "It is possible to remove one or more parts and have it not function." Behe's own definition is: "By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional."

      So if there is a single precursor that is missing even one part yet which is still functional, the system is not IC by this definition. The flagellum, therefore, is not IC.

      Again, this is not to say the Behe's argument is valid in the first place. But his failure to even identify a single IC structure renders that question moot. If he was intellectually honest, he would admit that his failure is, in fact, powerful evidence against ID creationism.

      This is really old news. You need to keep up.

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    29. dcsccc:
      "not true. there is complex video camera and less complex camera. but it doenst mean that a video camera can evolve step wise."

      How funny you should mention this. Could you define complex please?
      I mean a video camera from the 1970's looks a lot more complex than a modern day smart phone camera. You mean more bits and pieces = more complex?

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    30. hi ed. yep- by complex i mean more parts. so a minimal video camera will need several parts. and therefore cant evolve step wise. even if we will start from something that it isnt a video camera- we will still need to add\change several parts each step. the claim that flagellum isnt a ic system isnt true. the ttss have different proteins from the flagellum. not the same. the ttss also have some proteins that flagellum doesnt have. so even lutesuite claim isnt correct.

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    31. So, dsccc, is it your understanding that evolution cannot involve the loss of proteins as well as the addition? Or that two related protein complexes cannot share components by virtue of having evolved from a common ancestral protein? You really have a lot of learning to do on the subject of evolution.

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    32. good points elshamah. we also need to remember that the eye itself is a kind of a self replicating video camera. and we know that a video camera need a designer. even if it have a self replicating system or made from organic components.

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    33. The geological trackrecord also speaks against the evolution of the eye.

      Science writer Lisa Shawver once observed that trilobites had (1974, 105:72)

      “the most sophisticated eye lenses ever produced by nature”


      Ellis, 2001, p. 49, emp. added :

      We can be justifiably amazed that these trilobites, very early in the history of life on Earth, hit upon the best possible lens design that optical physics has ever been able to formulate

      Riccardo Levi-Setti said, "The design of the trilobite's eye lens could well qualify for a patent disclosure". (Riccardo Levi-Setti, "Trilobites", 2nd edition, University of Chicago Press, 1993, pages 54,57).

      Further info at my virtual library : Trilobites

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    34. The eyespot does not maintain the basic functions of a human eye. For isntance, the eyespot has a rudimentary hability to distinguish between different degrees of shades, while the human eye distinguishes about 10 million colors.

      Yes. It is a rudimentary version of the modern human eye. The kind of thing you IDiots insist cannot exist, because the human eye is "irreducibly complex." You IDiots are such idiots.

      Science writer Lisa Shawver once observed that trilobites had (1974, 105:72)

      “the most sophisticated eye lenses ever produced by nature”


      Trilobites arose about 500 million years ago. Life began about 3.5. billion years before that. Why are you surprised that a sophisticated lens could evolve over that period of time?

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    35. The geological trackrecord also speaks against the evolution of the eye.

      Science writer Lisa Shawver once observed that trilobites had (1974, 105:72)

      “the most sophisticated eye lenses ever produced by nature”


      Thus the passage in the gospel of John: "For God so loved the trilobite...."

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    36. The bacterial flagellum motor has been verified to meet this description through knock out experiments.

      *If* that is true (citations would be welcome), it verifies what Dr. Moran has repeatedly said, which is that structures which meet the ID definition of irreducible complexity can be created by evolution. See the paper on which Nick Matzke is a co-author, tracing development of the flagellum from a Type III secretory system.

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    37. Yes. It is a rudimentary version of the modern human eye.

      Nope.


      Wrong.

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    38. Otangelo,

      When few elements are at hand, science can progress by thinking of plausible ways in which things can happen, rather than on imagining that some fantasy-beings were involved. Miller is not the first person to think of co-option. Co-option has been the answer to previous evolutionary histories. Therefore, it's not unscientific to think that co-option can be a route towards the evolution of flagella. It's one candidate scenario worth exploring.

      You cannot deny that those 25 proteins in the T3SS have homologs in flagella, can you? Well, that takes those 25 out of the 60 you cite (I'm not going to check how many proteins are involved really, because the actual numbers don't matter). Nobody is saying that all of the proteins come from the T3SS, the proposal is that the T3SS shows the possibility of co-option.

      OK, we have half. You say ha! incomplete! Therefore god. I say, wait a minute Otangelo, which gods? Why gods? Given their extraordinary track record as imaginary beings concocted out of ignorance, why should we jump into those kinds of conclusions just because you think that evolution could not produce such and such? Do you really think that we have explored the natural world sufficiently to have discovered all of the evidence there could possibly be for the evolution of flagella? Is our exploration of the microbial world that exhaustive? Do you really think that your misinformed opinion makes those imaginary beings more likely? Well, no, it doesn't. Sorry. You fail miserably by your failure to recognize that the imaginary remains imaginary regardless of humanity's ignorance, and regardless of your own ignorance, about how natural processes operate and what they can and cannot do.

      Despite all your self-aggrandizing rhetoric, your arguments remain mostly gods-of-the-gaps fallacies.

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    39. How one would be the precursor and have evolved into the other, is a mistery to me.

      Yeah, well I'm sure there are a lot of things that are a mystery to you, Otangelo. I'm surprised you've even learned to tie your own shoes (assuming you have.) Fortunately, however, the progress of science does not depend on its being comprehensible to creationist nitwits.

      The fact remains that the eyespot is a simpler, more rudimentary version of the modern vertebrate eye, which is something the IDiot brigade insist cannot possibly exist. By listing all the things the modern eye possesses and which the eyespot lacks, and in spite of which the eyespot still performs a useful function, only further emphasizes that point. So nice job of scoring one into your own goal.

      And you wonder why you're called "IDiots."

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    40. Photo
      "Despite all your self-aggrandizing rhetoric, your arguments remain mostly gods-of-the-gaps fallacies."

      Do you agree that Otangelo has an argument that the mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory are unable to explain the evolution of complex protein structures?

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    41. Do you agree that Otangelo has an argument that the mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory are unable to explain the evolution of complex protein structures?

      Heck no. When even space rocks (meteorites) have amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) inside them, and these naturally tend to form chains, what level of difficulty are we really talking about that some of these might become self-replicating, given a billion years or so and a lot of free energy to work with?

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    42. @ElShamah777 -

      Hee hee - you quote from the *losing side* in Kitzmiller as a refutation?!!

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    43. Hee hee. Otangelo is such a goof. He sees judmarc make some reference to amino acids and meteorites, so he reflexively cuts and pastes something about panspermia, which has nothing to do with judmarc's point. He's like a little creationist bot, is our Otangelo.

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    44. Bill,

      "Do you agree that Otangelo has an argument that the mechanisms of modern evolutionary theory are unable to explain the evolution of complex protein structures?"

      No, I don't agree. His arguments are mostly based on his personal ignorance, rather than in any lack of explanatory power, of known evolutionary phenomena and proposed mechanisms.

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    45. Photo
      "No, I don't agree. His arguments are mostly based on his personal ignorance, rather than in any lack of explanatory power, of known evolutionary phenomena and proposed mechanisms."

      When you say"God of the gaps" you are making a concession that science does not have an answer. Can you give an example of his argument being based on personal ignorance?

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    46. Bill,

      It's gods-of-the-gaps whenever someone thinks that there's some gap, and therefore gods-did-it. Doesn't matter if there's an answer. It's enough to have the illusion of a gap.

      You can also see this another way. Evolutionary mechanisms have the proper explanatory power, but that doesn't mean that we have a complete step-by-step explanation of the history of each and every item in every life form that we know about. So, if someone wants to hold to the lack of a whole history, say there's only 25 proteins in the T3SS while the flagellum has 60 as "evidence" for gods-did-it, then that's gods-of-the-gaps, not because evolutionary mechanisms could not produce flagella, but because the person thinks that not having all the homologs for flagellar proteins is a "gap."

      If you don't like it, then feel free to give it another name. As long as you are clear about what you mean, and as long as you understand what I mean, it should work. Right?

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    47. Can you give an example of his argument being based on personal ignorance?

      ROTFLMFAO!

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    48. Too lazy to even format his irrelevant copy/paste wall of text.

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    49. photosynthesis said:

      "if someone wants to hold to the lack of a whole history, say there's only 25 proteins in the T3SS while the flagellum has 60 as "evidence" for gods-did-it, then that's gods-of-the-gaps,"-

      first: we know that a motor is evidence for design. therfore the burden of proof is in the evolution side here. so its not a god of the gaps argument.

      2) the ttss homologous are in a different species of bacteria. so the co-optin seems impossible.

      3)ttss also have proteins that flagellum doesnt have. so you cant move from one system to another. think about changing a gps into a cell-phone. its impossible step wise.

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    50. "2) the ttss homologous are in a different species of bacteria. so the co-optin seems impossible."

      That is so dumb I can't believe it. There can be no better evidence that you have no fucking clue than that.

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    51. dcdcccc,

      "first: we know that a motor is evidence for design. therfore the burden of proof is in the evolution side here. so its not a god of the gaps argument."

      No, you don't know that. All you can say is that it looks and works like designed motors, but not that such thing is evidence for design. You have your philosophy backwards. We are the one species that seems to be able to design stuff (there's other species that produce "designs" if we use a broader definition for design). Our organism works in ways that can also be compared to motors and cables, and such and such. So, the stuff we're calling motors, and cables, and etc. must come before designers, not after. How could designers be without the necessary stuff to be able to design? Right? Unless you're talking about religion, which we know to be fantasy, and therefore there's no actual science in your stuff, but, rather, failed philosophy.

      "2) the ttss homologous are in a different species of bacteria. so the co-optin seems impossible."

      Bacteria have no problem getting genes from their neighbours. So, even if you were right, there's really no problem. But you're wrong, since many bacteria have both T3SS and flagella, and even if that wasn't the case, you'd be again well into gods-of-the-gaps territory.

      "3)ttss also have proteins that flagellum doesnt have. so you cant move from one system to another. think about changing a gps into a cell-phone. its impossible step wise."

      There's many versions of T3SS, and of flagella. So what one version has is not necessarily the same as what another version has.

      Also, T3SS and flagella that we see are current versions of the stuff, that doesn't mean that their more primitive counterparts were exactly like today's versions. Don't forget, having the current versions of something doesn't mean that the old versions were identical. It's like the discussion about eyes above, creationists are so misinformed that they think that, according to evolution, the human eye evolved in humans, rather than what really happened, the eyes are the result of evolving structures across ancestral organisms that were clearly not human. So, for example, an eye without a lens existed in ancestral life forms, not in ancestral humans. That eye was useful to that ancestral form. Some subset of those ancestral forms evolved primitive lenses, and so on. Of course those primitive eye could not have been useful to a human, but they were useful to those ancestral forms. So easy that a child should be able to understand the point. Yet, you guys seem fixed on thinking that evolution means everything being evolving within each species each and every time. Well, no. This is not creationism where single species pop into existence by magic. This is a natural history where species derive by divergence from common ancestors, whose particular structures have evolved across huge lineages of ever changing populations.

      And yes, you're engaged, yet again, in gods-of-the-gaps mentality. You think something cannot be explained (out of your ignorance and misinformation), therefore gods-did-it.

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    52. Regarding the evolution of the eye: I would say that applying Shannon's information theory is the best way to measure an eye's complexity. Under the theory, an eye with 20,000 identical, non-interacting parts that are symmetrically arranged would have low information content, whereas an eye with 100 different, interacting parts would have vastly greater information content. The total number of parts is basically irrelevant in complexity analysis; the number of different, interacting parts determines complexity.

      Here's an explanatory analogy. What has more innate complexity: 20,000 playing cards tossed into a box, or a "house" of cards carefully arranged to stand together?

      Regarding science and religion: I agree that there is no tool like science to understand how the universe works. However, most of us care about questions of the true, the beautiful, and the good--and these lie beyond the explanatory power of science, in my opinion. Science could perhaps explain why many people do admire Mother Teresa and loathe Vladimir Lenin; it could never explain why you *should* admire the saint and loathe the dictator, though.

      We all have an innate sense that justice matters, that truth matters, that science is intrinsically a worthy subject of study, that dropping cluster bombs on hospitals is wrong...and that these are not just social conventions that happen to have evolved, but they are truly the things that should be the measure of our lives when our days are over.

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    53. However, most of us care about questions of the true, the beautiful, and the good--and these lie beyond the explanatory power of science, in my opinion.

      So could you give an example of one such question and how it has been answered by something other by science. To be clear, I don't mean an example in which someone has merely suggested an answer, or is convinced he has found the answer. I am talking about an answer we now clearly and unambiguously know to be true, in the way that we now know the answer to the question "What happens to the sun at night?"

      Science could perhaps explain why many people do admire Mother Teresa and loathe Vladimir Lenin; it could never explain why you *should* admire the saint and loathe the dictator, though.

      An interesting example for you to choose, since there are a lot of people who believe Mother Theresa was actually quite a revolting and immoral person.

      We all have an innate sense that justice matters, that truth matters, that science is intrinsically a worthy subject of study, that dropping cluster bombs on hospitals is wrong...and that these are not just social conventions that happen to have evolved, but they are truly the things that should be the measure of our lives when our days are over.

      A lot of people are also quite convinced that Elvis Presley is still alive. That people believe something with stubborn conviction is no measure of its truth.

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    54. A lot of people admire Lenin, as well.

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    55. Photo
      "If you don't like it, then feel free to give it another name. As long as you are clear about what you mean, and as long as you understand what I mean, it should work. Right?"

      When you claim personal ignorance do you mean an incomplete scientific explanation or truly his ignorance of the current documented scientific evidence?

      If it is his ignorance then I would expect you to make a counter claim citing evidence that supports your claim and that he did not understand the current science.

      I agree that a claim of a single piece of missing scientific evidence being proof of God is silly.

      What about a collection of evidence that can be argued to infer a planned event versus a random one?

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    56. Otangelo Grasso is a giant ball of ignorance and stupidity. This is patently obvious with his every post. That you choose to ignore this speaks very poorly for your own integrity, Bill Cole. And that's giving your own statement the most generous possible interpretation.

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    57. Bill,

      "When you claim personal ignorance do you mean an incomplete scientific explanation or truly his ignorance of the current documented scientific evidence?

      By personal ignorance I mean that the person ignores both evidences and what different phenomena are known to do. Like not knowing that there's well documented cases of co-option, or not knowing that Bacteria can take lots genes from their neighbours, etc. It's worse when they make their ignorant claims as authoritative proclamations, but the point is, several kinds of ignorances.

      "If it is his ignorance then I would expect you to make a counter claim citing evidence that supports your claim and that he did not understand the current science."

      And I do write about the ignored phenomena, or about the ignored gene exchange, or the ignored basic genetics, or the ignored evolutionary history, etc. I cannot make this into a classroom. I can mention the evidence, try and reason, but I cannot teach someone as ignorant as Otangelo the basics of scientific thinking, genetics, etc.

      "I agree that a claim of a single piece of missing scientific evidence being proof of God is silly."

      Same goes for many pieces of evidence. Any missing information would be but gods-of-the-gaps thinking, which is indeed silly. Inviting superstition out of humanity's ignorance about something is rather foolish. Considering "gods," if defined as supreme beings (superior to humans in intelligences and capabilities, for example), rather than the absurdities currently worshipped by religious people could be done, if there was positive evidence for such things. But merely pointing to something we don't know, then assuming that only intelligence can do such and such, while ignoring the very requirements of the only intelligences we know about (us), that's philosophically and scientifically backwards.

      "What about a collection of evidence that can be argued to infer a planned event versus a random one?"

      This one contains one of those hidden assumptions common in creationist parlance. If you compare against "random" events, then you're missing a lot of scientific understanding, since most natural phenomena we understand, occur because of both, random events, and non-random phenomena.

      For example, gravitation is not random, masses seem to inevitably exert their deformations of spacetime. For objects to gravitationally influence each other, though, they'd have to "happen" to have formed close enough to each other and at least one of them to have enough masses for its gravitations to detectably influence the other.

      A volcano, for another example, forms from the non-random, and inevitable increases of pressure because of heat, then one spot "happens" to accumulate more pressure, or to be a tad weaker than other spots, and that's where the volcano arises.

      For evolution, mutations are random, but selection is not. Not only that, the particular histories of each lineage mean that lots is accumulated along such lineages in a non-random way. What succeeds in a generation will we passed, non-randomly, to the offspring. So, successful eyes in a life form, will be passed on to the offspring, and if part of the offspring are better off because some improved eye feature ("random" mutations plus selection!), and they overcome the previous population because of that advantage, then their descendants inherit that feature. Again, non-randomly, but quite obviously.

      In short, the question is a "set up" (called a false dichotomy or false alternative) where the creationist considers nature to be some kind of abject randomness, and anything that looks "organized" must be gods-did-it. The set up includes the belief that scientists in general, and atheists in particular, think that all natural phenomena are random, which is, evidently, false, as I explained.

      Good night.

      Delete
    58. hi photosynthesis.

      you said:


      "No, you don't know that. All you can say is that it looks and works like designed motors, but not that such thing is evidence for design."-


      so a spining motor isnt an evidence for design?




      " But you're wrong, since many bacteria have both T3SS and flagella, and even if that wasn't the case, you'd be again well into gods-of-the-gaps territory"

      first- i was refering to the flagellum homologous. now: lets say that all the homologous proteins are in the same species. lets say that they even the same proteins and not just homologous. still, how many unique *genes* we need to add from the ttss to the flagellum? think about this- can we as intelligent designer, made a spining motor from geting and combine parts in a car (for example) that doesnt have a spining motor? if not- why do you think its possible in the flagellum case?



      " for example, an eye without a lens existed in ancestral life forms, not in ancestral humans. That eye was useful to that ancestral form. Some subset of those ancestral forms evolved primitive lenses, and so on."-


      lense isnt a simple stucture. so you cant add lense by a single step. think about adding lense to a video camera without lense. its not so simple. also: since when nature make lense? as far as we know- lense are only the product of design. and again- can you as intelligent designer change a simple light sensor into a video camera by adding only one part each step?

      Delete
    59. dcscccc,

      If you're going to ask questions, should you at least try and read the answers and understand them?

      "so a spining motor isnt an evidence for design?"

      If you mean one of those metallic things we humans produce, then sure. We can even test if there was humans around by the times the motor might be dated, maybe some blueprints, etc.

      If you mean things that look and work like our motors, but found in nature, then no. They might look like designed motors, but that doesn't mean that they are designed motors. To propose otherwise is an exercise of affirming the consequent, that is, to imagine that one answer, and one answer alone is possible. It gets worse when we notice that the affirmation avoids considering that things that look like motors are necessary for designers themselves to live and then to be able to design. As I said already: that would be philosophically and scientifically backwards.

      "first- i was refering to the flagellum homologous"

      Do you really think I didn't know that? Read my answer again. Nowhere do I say that the ones that co-occur are not homologous.

      "think about this- can we as intelligent designer, made a spining motor from geting and combine parts in a car (for example) that doesnt have a spining motor?"

      I seriously doubt it.

      "if not- why do you think its possible in the flagellum case?"

      Because the flagellum is not really a designed engine. Because it is a consequence of natural processes that don't involve precise measurements in static metallic parts and oils and such stuff, but, rather, work on the basis of pretty common physical-chemical phenomena. Because natural phenomena are not limited to parts in a car, but have loads of "pieces" available, whether they fit perfectly or imperfectly.

      You're making the point that design cannot be the answer, and you don't even notice.

      "lense isnt a simple stucture"

      The human lens might not be, that doesn't mean that a primitive lens is impossible for earlier life forms. Are you that bad at understanding?

      "think about adding lense to a video camera without lense"

      Why would I think that? Evolutionary processes did not add a sense to a video camera, it added a lens to a primitive eye.

      "since when nature make lense?"

      Are you kidding me? We're surrounded by billions of natural lenses. You do know that a lot of life forms have lenses, don't you?

      "as far as we know- lense are only the product of design."

      Are you kidding me? We're surrounded by billions of natural lenses. You do know that a lot of life forms have lenses, don't you?

      "and again- can you as intelligent designer change a simple light sensor into a video camera by adding only one part each step?"

      Again, you're making the case against design, and again, natural phenomena did not add sensors to video cameras. They added parts to primitive eyes.

      Please read for comprehension. I don't expect you to agree with me, but I do expect the decency of trying to understand my points and explanations regardless.

      Delete
    60. I don't expect you to agree with me, but I do expect the decency of trying to understand my points and explanations regardless.

      Why ever would you expect such a thing? You might as well expect pigs to fly to the moon.

      We might wish that creationists would learn to engage in honest and intelligent discourse. But it just seems beyond their capability.

      Delete
    61. Photo
      "In short, the question is a "set up" (called a false dichotomy or false alternative) where the creationist considers nature to be some kind of abject randomness, and anything that looks "organized" must be gods-did-it. The set up includes the belief that scientists in general, and atheists in particular, think that all natural phenomena are random, which is, evidently, false, as I explained."

      I agree we are observing non random phenomena in nature.

      What is the origin of this non randomness? Do you think it has a random origin, a planned origin or something else?

      Delete
    62. Bill, how about an unplanned, non-random origin? Do you consider that an oxymoron? If so, that's a problem.

      Delete
    63. Bill,

      As John said.

      (You're just restating the very same false dichotomy. Is this really so hard to understand?)

      Delete
    64. Photo
      Do you agree with John that non-randomness is the result of an unplanned non-random origin? How would you back up this claim?

      Delete
    65. @Bill Cole,

      Your question presumes that "randomness" is the default option, and requires no explanation, whereas "non-randomness" does. Please back up that claiim.

      Delete
    66. As a related point, it seems to me that a totally random universe is one that would speak more clearly fo the existence of a god, assuming there were intelligent agents existing in that universe. The only type of universe that could even conceivably exist without a god is one that operates by natural laws that, by all appearance, are fundamental and self-sustaining. Is it just an odd coincidence that that is exactly the type of universe in which we find ourselves?

      Delete
    67. LS
      "As a related point, it seems to me that a totally random universe is one that would speak more clearly fo the existence of a god, assuming there were intelligent agents existing in that universe. The only type of universe that could even conceivably exist without a god is one that operates by natural laws that, by all appearance, are fundamental and self-sustaining. Is it just an odd coincidence that that is exactly the type of universe in which we find ourselves?"

      Do you have any thoughts on how life or matter would exist in a random universe?

      Delete
    68. Holy shit Bill, will you please try and read for understanding? I agree with John that you're setting up a false dichotomy and that if you cannot understand that, then that's a problem. Your problem.

      There can be non-random non-planned phenomena, there can be mixes of random and non-random natural phenomena. Natural doesn't mean abject randomness. Non-randomness doesn't mean "planned."

      I'm really trying here, you seem quite willing to show me that you don't understand because you don't want to understand. That you're just full of shit. Is that it? Is this conclusion what you're looking for?

      Delete
    69. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    70. I for one have no idea what a random universe would look like. One with no structure at all? Say a proton pops into existence here, for thirty seconds, then a lemonade stand there, which turns into Cal Ripken, and then into a particle we have no name for? Or is time non-random too, so that in a truly random universe there would be no "for thirty seconds" or "then" or "turns into"? I don't think even Bill (especially Bill?) has any idea what he means by "random universe".

      And I note he never managed to answer the question about unplanned, non-random phenomena.

      Delete
    71. Do you have any thoughts on how life or matter would exist in a random universe?

      By an omnipotent god willing it into existence. That's why a random universe in which life existed would be evidence for the existence of God. Which makes it weird that you and others of your ilk argue that the existence of life in a universe where natural laws permit life means there must be a god. You get if backwards.

      Delete
    72. I for one have no idea what a random universe would look like. One with no structure at all? Say a proton pops into existence here, for thirty seconds, then a lemonade stand there, which turns into Cal Ripken, and then into a particle we have no name for? Or is time non-random too, so that in a truly random universe there would be no "for thirty seconds" or "then" or "turns into"? I don't think even Bill (especially Bill?) has any idea what he means by "random universe".

      That's kind of what I imagine. Or try to imagine; it's really not possible to visualize, since it's so completely unlike the only universe of which have experience. But Bill seems to think such a universe is the default option, and would require no explanation.

      Delete
    73. Not only time but space would seem not to exist in a truly random universe, since they both impose orderly axes on events.

      Delete
    74. photosynthesis


      so you are saying that if the motor made from organic components and have a self replicating system- then its the product of natural process. so even a car or a watch doesnt need any designer a ccording to your criteria if they have those traits. but we all know that a car or a wtahc or a spining motor do need a designer. unless you can prove in 100% they can evolve by natural process like evolution. do you think its possible to prove that without basing on a belief?




      "Do you really think I didn't know that? Read my answer again. Nowhere do I say that the ones that co-occur are not homologous"-

      i actually refer to my mystake. not yours.



      "natural phenomena did not add sensors to video cameras. They added parts to primitive eyes".



      that is a kind of a camera. so the question is if we can change a simple c amera into a somthing more complex like a video camera. do you think its possible by adding only one part each step? if so- show how. if not- its not possible in eye either.

      Delete
    75. I agree we are observing non random phenomena in nature.

      What is the origin of this non randomness? Do you think it has a random origin, a planned origin or something else?


      Lest this meander (further) into meaninglessness:

      Yep, the universe is non-random. However, it is also fundamentally non-deterministic and non-determinable. It works on probabilities, not certainties. Thus there is no room for a Biblical all-knowing, all-powerful deity in the universe in which we find ourselves. If one wants such a deity, then one must logically say this deity is not subject to any of the laws of the universe it has created and can violate the fundamental probabilistic nature of Creation at whim. Thus one abandons any pretense whatsoever of science and throws in one's lot entirely with wholly unevidenced superstition.

      Delete
    76. dcsccc, I really recommend you do learn something about history and engineering through the ages. The evolution of the video camera started in ancient Greece when they built the first camera obscura. From there the step wise changes in all parts can be traced all the way to the camera in your smart phone. Along the way, the camera obscura gained lenses, shutters, film, motors to drive the film past the lense, shutters and then when electronics could be made smaller and smaller, lost film, motors, gained photosensitive cells and acquired more calculating power than the average PC had less than 15 years ago.

      There are more such examples, cars, engines, tractors, trebuchet, train etc.

      Thus "? if so- show how. if not- its not possible in eye either." falls flat on its face.

      But then, it's been explained to you many times that your analogies fail utterly. And are just bad analogies for something you just don't (want to) understand.

      Delete
    77. so you are saying that if the motor made from organic components and have a self replicating system- then its the product of natural process. so even a car or a watch doesnt need any designer a ccording to your criteria if they have those traits.

      It's interesting that there is no car or watch that actually has those traits, isn't it? How does that fit with your argument?

      But, regardless, let's take your argument a bit further: As you may know, synthetic diamonds now exist that are very difficult to distinguish from naturally produced diamonds, though it is still possible to identify them thru spectroscopic techniques.

      But suppose the technology advances to the point that there is no way whatsoever to distinguish artificial from natural diamonds. Would we then have to conclude that the natural diamonds that are mined from the earth were produced by an "intelligent designer"? Only a really stupid person would conclude that, don't you agree?

      Delete
    78. Photo
      "There can be non-random non-planned phenomena, there can be mixes of random and non-random natural phenomena. Natural doesn't mean abject randomness. Non-randomness doesn't mean "planned."

      I agree that natural does not mean abject randomness. The natural world we live in is highly ordered. The question is, is it a reasonable thesis that the highly ordered universe is the result of unplanned events.

      Delete
    79. The question is, is it a reasonable thesis that the highly ordered universe is the result of unplanned events.

      To restate what you have just said in the language of science: The universe (or a universe, as we have no way of knowing whether ours is the only one, at least at present) apparently began with quite low entropy. Why or how this occurred is currently a tremendously interesting question to which we don't have a good scientific answer.

      To me that mystery is quite exciting. However, other people can't stand the existence of a mystery, and rush to fill the gap with unscientific speculation.

      Delete
    80. The question is, is it a reasonable thesis that the highly ordered universe is the result of unplanned events

      Yes, it is reasonbale. Why do you think a completely random universe would be any more likely? Can you demonstrate that such a universe can even exist?

      Delete
    81. Snowflakes are just one example of highly-ordered structures that result from unplanned events. There are many others.

      Delete
    82. LS
      "Snowflakes are just one example of highly-ordered structures that result from unplanned events. There are many others."

      Are snowflakes really ultimately caused by unplanned events? Snowflakes require the properties of matter to form. Was the origin of the properties of matter unplanned?

      "Yes, it is reasonbale. Why do you think a completely random universe would be any more likely? Can you demonstrate that such a universe can even exist?"

      The discussion of a random universe is agreed to be absurd. The question is about the origin of the laws of nature being planned or unplanned.

      Delete
    83. Are snowflakes really ultimately caused by unplanned events? Snowflakes require the properties of matter to form. Was the origin of the properties of matter unplanned?

      I know, you already asked that. And the example of the snowflakes show that order can arise from unplanned events. If your argument is based on the premise that the laws of nature were "planned", then you're just begging the question.

      You really need to learn how to think. You're just getting in over your head trying to understand all this science stuff when you don't even have the ability to form or follow a coherent argument.

      Delete
    84. The discussion of a random universe is agreed to be absurd. The question is about the origin of the laws of nature being planned or unplanned.

      If a random universe is "absurd", then a non-random universe requires no planning. No more than it requires "planning" for a circle to not be a square.

      Delete
    85. The question is about the origin of the laws of nature being planned or unplanned.

      It's at least currently an open and very interesting scientific question.

      Delete
    86. Bill,

      The answer is the same at any level. The most reasonable position is that it doesn't matter if you're talking about how the universe works, or how the way the universe works originated, the most sensible position is that it's not planned, since beings who can make plans are dependent on the properties of the universe in the first place.

      So, I don't need to "prove it." It's people who believe in superstitions, such as creationists, who have to prove their positions. Asking me to prove the obvious is nonsense. Prove that order equals plans. Prove that there's beings who don't need a reality that has some proportion of "well behaved" properties in order to be able to plan and execute their plans. Don't just plant your feet firmly in a false dichotomy, because I see a universe that has randomness and order both. Some phenomena more of one than of the other, and nowhere in the most ordered natural stuff do I see a planner executing anything. Where there's planners, such as in the stuff we do, I see planners who depend irremediably on the characteristics of their reality in the first place.

      Delete
    87. @lutesuite -

      Hope your Friday is going well. I apologize that I have not been able to reply to your interesting comment until now.

      I noticed that you did not dispute that intentionally dropping bombs on hospitals is evil. How so? Clearly there are many who think that armed conflict justifies any measure, including dropping bombs on hospitals, because it happens.

      Is the practice of clitorectomy in Africa wrong? If so, on what basis do you make the claim?

      I am not saying that there are never disputes over these judgments. But there are also disputes over scientific judgments, too.

      Trust me on this, I am not anti-science. I believe very strongly that it has produced many good and useful insights. I believe that the universe is 13.8B years old, the earth is 4.6B years old, and all of life emerged via the process of evolution.

      I could cite many people who disagree with those scientific statements, though. Some of them even do so on this discussion forum. You feel that it is right to adamantly reject their disagreement. Why should I not also feel it possible to adamantly insist that it is reprehensible, even outrageous, to intentionally bomb a hospital?

      Have a good, enjoyable weekend, lutesuite.

      (btw, I hereby express my gratitude to Dr. Moran for making this forum available.)

      Delete
    88. Photo
      "So, I don't need to "prove it." It's people who believe in superstitions, such as creationists, who have to prove their positions. Asking me to prove the obvious is nonsense."

      I not asking you to prove anything. We are in a discussion that we may never be able to prove. The question is do universal laws point to a plan or a non planned event. What is the evidence that supports either position?

      Delete
    89. Bill,
      If you read the whole thing you'll see I already answered that.

      Delete
    90. Just because Bill read something, doesn't mean he understands it. In fact, his record to the contrary is most impressive.

      I wonder if he'll reveal who is doing the "planning" with regards to the order found in snowflakes, which even so remain random (no two alike).

      Delete
    91. Photo
      Sorry I missed your argument.
      "or how the way the universe works originated, the most sensible position is that it's not planned, since beings who can make plans are dependent on the properties of the universe in the first place."

      So your argument is that you need a non random universe in order to have planners that can make plans. These planners evolved in a universe that is non random and unplanned from matter that formed from an unplanned process.

      Do you agree the competing argument is that these planners evolved from a universe that is non random and planned; these planners evolved in a non random planned Universe from matter that formed from a planned process?

      Delete
    92. That's not an argument. It's just an assertion.

      Delete
    93. Bill,

      No, I don't agree with that. Such thing is not a competing argument. We're talking in terms of "planned" and "non-planned" because of some prevailing superstitions (the gods), not because of reason. That kind of wording shouldn't make it into sensible conversations.

      Delete
    94. Photo
      So you think that claim that the universe is unplanned is an argument with no competing hypothesis?

      What if someone could development an argument supported by evidence that planning had occurred independent of prevailing superstitions?

      Delete
    95. Bill,
      "So you think that claim that the universe is unplanned is an argument with no competing hypothesis?"

      As I said, I think that we wouldn't be talking about any "hypotheses" involving "planned" and "unplanned" universes if it wasn't for those superstitions in the first place.

      "What if someone could development an argument supported by evidence that planning had occurred independent of prevailing superstitions?"

      That would be quite a feat. I think that the superstitions would come back to bite this imaginary someone, right in the ass. On further investigation we'd discover that the superstitions were there from the very beginning.

      Delete
    96. What if someone could development an argument supported by evidence that planning had occurred independent of prevailing superstitions?

      Sure. But you don't seem to have any. You can't even respond to the arguments and evidence presented against "planning". For the third time: Who is planning the shapes of snowflakes? You seem to be saying that these shapes were "planned" by the "planner" 14 billion years ago when the physical laws of the universe first instantiated after the Big Bang (assuming that is even what happened). IOW, there was some planner who drew up designs for every single individual snowflake and then set the universe in motion just so each one of these would come into being billions of years later.

      Do you really expect any rational person to accept that assertion without very strong and convincing evidence?

      Delete
    97. LS
      "IOW, there was some planner who drew up designs for every single individual snowflake and then set the universe in motion just so each one of these would come into being billions of years later."

      The plan could just be laws that in the right context self assembled atoms to geometric shapes.

      "Do you really expect any rational person to accept that assertion without very strong and convincing evidence?"

      No

      Delete
    98. The plan could just be laws that in the right context self assembled atoms to geometric shapes.

      Those laws by themselves don't guarantee "order", however.

      Suppose I carefully stack a pile of papers neatly on my desk. This would be an example of "order" created by a "planner". But now I smack the pile with my hand and scatter the pages all over the floor. The collection of papers is now in a state of disorder. Yet the laws of nature that govern their movements are the same ones that govern the formation of snowflakes. So, if your argument was correct and "order" can only exist if created by a "planner", there must exist some "planner" who is controlling the interaction of water molecules when they form snowflakes, and who is absent or not working when papers are knocked off a desk. The laws of nature, by themselves, cannot explain it. So who or what is this "planner"? What evidence is there of his acting to create snowflakes? And why doesn't he do anything when sheets of paper are being knocked off a desk?

      Delete
    99. ed.

      the first car need several parts to its function. so even the first step is impossible by evolution.



      lutesuite.


      "It's interesting that there is no car or watch that actually has those traits, isn't it? How does that fit with your argument?"-

      but we do have a s elf replicating motor. so if a motor can evolve by evolution then a watch also can. so you think that a watch with a self replicating system is evidence for design or not?

      Delete
    100. the first car need several parts to its function. so even the first step is impossible by evolution.

      Yes. So cars did not arise thru evolution. I'm very impressed that you managed to figure that out, all by yourself.

      so you think that a watch with a self replicating system is evidence for design or not?

      Here's your error: The presence of "design" cannot be determined by any isolated inherent qualities of an object, such as "specified complexity." Design, rather, is only detected by knowing the process by which similar objects arise, and calculating the probability of the specific qualties of the object in question arising thru natural processes alone. It helps to have examples of near-identical objects that are known to have been designed (more identical than the bacterial flagellum and a wristwatch, that is to say).

      So we know that Mt. Rushmore was designed because we know that natural erosive processes do not cause mountains to form perfect likenesses of American Presidents. If we regularly observed natural erosion creating rock formations that looked exactly like, say, James K. Polk or Millard Fillmore, we would have a difficult time determining whether Mt. Rushmore had been designed.

      This is the basic misconception behind the entire ID creationist movement, and why they have wasted 20 years in a futile attempt to convince others they have found a way of detecting "design" in biology. They don't know what "design" actually is, and how it is actually detected.

      Delete
    101. LS
      " The laws of nature, by themselves, cannot explain it. So who or what is this "planner"? What evidence is there of his acting to create snowflakes? And why doesn't he do anything when sheets of paper are being knocked off a desk?"

      Why do you think that a snowflake cannot be explained by the laws of nature?

      At the same time we can create disorder in the snowflake by letting it fall in boiling water just as you created disorder by smacking the ordered pile of paper.

      The evidence of a planner is the existence of natural laws and the origin of matter both of which are capable of behaving predictably and interactively.

      Delete
    102. Why do you think that a snowflake cannot be explained by the laws of nature?

      I don't. That's your position. You think they need a "planner."

      At the same time we can create disorder in the snowflake by letting it fall in boiling water just as you created disorder by smacking the ordered pile of paper.

      Exactly. Order and disorder both exist in our universe, and both can be created by a "planner", or arise thru natural processes alone. So the evidence of our everyday experience refutes your claim that order can only exist if created by a "planner."

      The evidence of a planner is the existence of natural laws and the origin of matter both of which are capable of behaving predictably and interactively.

      That is not evidence for a "planner". You're just asserting this without providing any argument to support it, and by failing to understand any of the counterarguments that have been made.

      Delete
    103. Dcscccc wrote:

      "the first car need several parts to its function. so even the first step is impossible by evolution.

      Well no, your question was:
      "do you think its possible by adding only one part each step? if so- show how. if not- its not possible in eye either."

      I did answer that one, you can read above the step wise evolution of the camera, and thus you had to move the goalposts or else you'd have to admit you're wrong.

      Anyway, a camera isn't a living thing, you don't have camera's going at it in electronic stores, when male and female camera's meet. On this basis alone, your example is wrong.

      Unfortunately, this has been mentioned to you many, many times, but it seems you don't (want to) understand.

      Delete
    104. The evidence of a planner is the existence of natural laws and the origin of matter both of which are capable of behaving predictably and interactively.

      There has to be a "somewhat" before your "predictably." This isn't evidence for or against a planner. When an animal stumbles and falls into a rock, the results are quite predictable and also quite unplanned. When water freezes into ice the resulting crystalline structure is regular as can be, but doesn't need you to guide or plan it. There are unplanned but regular occurrences all around us, so regularity doesn't bespeak the need for a planner. So scientifically we've got to remain agnostic on this one.

      One thing we can say is that if this universe were indeed planned, then it could not be the Biblical God who did so, since the physical laws of this universe decree a level of unpredictability, fundamental unknowability, and uncontrollability absolutely inconsistent with the existence of such an all-knowing all-powerful deity.

      Delete
    105. ed. you said:

      "the first camera obscura. From there the step wise changes in all parts can be traced all the way to the camera in your smart phone."-

      1)the camera obscura need several parts. so even this kind of c amera cant evolve st ep wise.
      2)i dont think we can even call it a camera. an organism with this kind of camera will not survive better.
      3)we cant go s tep wise from this kind of camera into a video camera. so even if this camera is the first step- then evolution cant go into a video camera.


      you said:

      "Anyway, a camera isn't a living thing, you don't have camera's going at it in electronic stores, when male and female camera's meet. On this basis alone, your example is wrong. "-

      not realy. the argument here is the ic. so it doesnt have any conection to the question if camera is a living thing or not.


      lutsuite.

      so if you will see a something that look like a watch, with a self replicating system and dna. you cant conclude it is an evidence for design?


      Delete
    106. so if you will see a something that look like a watch, with a self replicating system and dna. you cant conclude it is an evidence for design?

      I can, because I know what watches are, where they come from, and what kind of things naturally occur which contain DNA. None of that knowledge involves CSI, IC or any of the other ID creationist fabrications that are supposed to be able to detect "design", but can't. There was an interesting exercise on this topic a few years ago on Panda's Thumb:

      http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/01/take-the-intell.html

      http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/02/the-intelligent-3.html

      The IDiots still have never demonstrated the efficacy of amy of their theories to detect "design" in real-life circumstances. Not once, in 20 years.

      Delete
    107. Anyway, maybe you'll can answer my question, since I have answered yours: How can CSI or some other ID creationist measure distinguish between a synthetic diamond and a natural one?

      Delete
    108. judmarc
      " There has to be a "somewhat" before your "predictably." This isn't evidence for or against a planner. When an animal stumbles and falls into a rock, the results are quite predictable and also quite unplanned."

      The predictable results from the animal falling (which is an unplanned event) are the laws of physics chemistry and information which are predictable.

      " One thing we can say is that if this universe were indeed planned, then it could not be the Biblical God who did so, since the physical laws of this universe decree a level of unpredictability, fundamental unknowability, and uncontrollability absolutely inconsistent with the existence of such an all-knowing all-powerful deity."

      The unpredictability is best known as free will.

      Delete
    109. LS
      "Anyway, maybe you'll can answer my question, since I have answered yours: How can CSI or some other ID creationist measure distinguish between a synthetic diamond and a natural one?"

      CSI and the no free lunch theorem is an argument against natural selection being able to form unique new DNA sequences. Since diamonds don't require DNA sequences, CSI is not applicable to your question.

      Delete
    110. CSI and the no free lunch theorem is an argument against natural selection being able to form unique new DNA sequences. Since diamonds don't require DNA sequences, CSI is not applicable to your question.

      How odd. In one of his own papers, Dembski writes: "The 16-digit number on your VISA card is an example of CSI."

      http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_idtheory.htm

      Is William Dembski under the impression that the numbers on his VISA care were somehow determined by DNA?

      Delete
    111. Bill,

      I shall insist, no designers can exist without the universe behaving at least somewhat predictably. No designer could design anything unless the universe behaved at least somewhat predictably. So, yet again, you're putting the cart before the horse, no matter how many "Theorems" you might want to bring to the table, the predictability has to come before any designers. There's no way around. Nature comes naturally first.

      Delete
    112. I'm not sure why we're even still discussing this question. Bill Cole already sold the farm a while back when he conceded that the idea of a random universe is "absurd". With that being the case, a non-random universe is the only one that could exist, simply by virtue of its not being absurd.

      Moreover, he has not identified the "planner" who is currently designing each individual snowflake, so I presume this means he does not believe such a planner exists. But if order of the sort that is exemplified by snowflakes could only arise thru the action of a "planner", that means the planner must have designed each individual snowflake at the time of the Big Bang. But Bill has also conceded that this is an idea no rational person should accept.

      So it would appear he is out of options. And, as he tends to do when he has lost his argument, he is now resorting to taking individual out of context statements from posts, and asking obtuse questions about them that may have nothing to do with those statements, and usually have nothing to do with the main topic of discussion.

      Such an IDiot.

      Delete
    113. dcsccc,

      the camera obscura is basically a tiny hole in a skin which projects an image on a wall, in preferrebly a dark room.
      Thus, it's easy to show the step wise evolution from 3 simple parts to your smart phone camera.

      Once again though you need move the goalposts, or else you'd have to admit being wrong.

      Delete
    114. Dcsccc:
      "not realy. the argument here is the ic. so it doesnt have any conection to the question if camera is a living thing or not. "

      Are you now saying video camera's are IC? How are they manfactured, if according to you they are too complex to be built??

      Delete
    115. lutesuite. but we talk about a watch with a self replicating system and dna. like living thing. so how you can conclude that is the result of d esign? did you ever seen someone that designed a self replicating watch? i dont.


      about the diamond- if its look the same then we cant. how it have any conection to the conclusion that a watch is the product of design?


      ed.


      so your first camera need 3 parts. or by analogy- 3 genes. its to complex for a step wise evolution.


      "Are you now saying video camera's are IC? How are they manfactured, if according to you they are too complex to be built??"-

      they have now function unless the camera producion is finish. so its proving my point.

      Delete
    116. lutesuite. but we talk about a watch with a self replicating system and dna. like living thing. so how you can conclude that is the result of d esign? did you ever seen someone that designed a self replicating watch? i dont.

      And 600 years ago, no one had ever designed watches. So when people saw the first watches back in the early 1500's, do you think they were confused and couldn't tell whether watches had been designed by someone, or were instead living things? I don't think so. Now that's an interesting point, don't you think? If living things were "designed" why can we so easily tell them apart from things like watches, which are also designed? There's a puzzle to tax your poor little brain.

      about the diamond- if its look the same then we cant. how it have any conection to the conclusion that a watch is the product of design?

      It illustrates a couple points. First, proponents of "intelligent design" claim to have devised mathematical tools which are able to detect "design". I'm glad to see you admit that this claim is false, and these tools are not able to do so.

      As well, it completely destroys your main argument. You keep saying that because something like watch is designed, then anything that resembles it even slightly (like the bacterial flagellum) must also be designed. However, the example of the synthetic diamond shows that two things can be almost identical to one another, yet one can be designed and the other natural (not designed).

      Your beloved argument is now officially dead. My condolences.

      Delete
    117. so your first camera need 3 parts. or by analogy- 3 genes. its to complex for a step wise evolution.

      So you claim. But once again you analogy fails, it's known that 1 gene can produce multiple products. And the amount of genes or DNA says nothing about the cmoplexity of the thing the coding DNA codes for.
      There are plants which have a much larger genome than humans. There are frogs out there in the world with a larger genome than humans.
      Are you now claiming frogs are more complex than humans, because they have more genes? Is a frog more IC than human? And what about the plant, is it more IC than a frog?

      Delete
    118. ed

      "But once again you analogy fails, it's known that 1 gene can produce multiple products. "-


      but we talk about 3 differents parts. so its 3 different genes. even if the chance for a new gene is about one in a 10^10 mutations, we will need about 10^30 mutations to a new function. it to much if we talk about complex species like reptiles or mammals.


      lutesuite. so if we will see a self replicating watch with dna. you will claim that this watch isnt the product of design because it have a living thing traits? ok.

      Delete
    119. Dcscccc:
      "but we talk about 3 differents parts. so its 3 different genes."

      And this proves what? Goddidit? If yes, which one?

      Delete
    120. And while you're on the subject, do tell which organism is more IC. The frog, plant or human.
      You claim more genes/ DNA = higher IC factor. This leads to the plant yes? The ultimate goal of your designer was a plant?

      Delete
    121. lutesuite. so if we will see a self replicating watch with dna. you will claim that this watch isnt the product of design because it have a living thing traits? ok.

      Wrong. Learn how to read plain English. It might help you avoid posting stupid things.

      but we talk about 3 differents parts. so its 3 different genes. even if the chance for a new gene is about one in a 10^10 mutations we will need about 10^30 mutations to a new function.

      You should try learning some high school math while you're at it.

      Delete
    122. ed. its mean that evolution doesnt have the time it need to evolve any complex trait. so this argument disprove evolution theory from chance prespective.

      more DNA doesnt mean more complex. even if it was- so a plant can be more complex then a human. so what?


      another point- do you think that a car can evolve in a giant close room for a bilions of years?

      lut- do you think that an ape can consider as a self replicating walking robot?

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    123. its mean that evolution doesnt have the time it need to evolve any complex trait.

      Please support this statement with the appropriate mathematical calculations you performed to reach this conclusion.

      do you think that a car can evolve in a giant close room for a bilions of years?

      No.

      Do you think a car would never change if it continually reproduced and mutated for billions of years? Surely you're not that stupid. Or maybe you are.

      do you think that an ape can consider as a self replicating walking robot?

      No. Robots are man-made. Apes are not. Did you not know this?

      Delete
    124. dscsss:
      So, what do you propose? And where's the evidence.

      And remember, just saying evolution can't do A, B or C, doesn't mean your idea is correct. You'll need to provide evidence in support of your claim.

      Good luck!

      Delete
    125. ed. i propose a design model and not a step wise evolution.

      the evidence is very strong. for example see my discussion with lutesuite. lets say that someone will create a human-like robot with a self replicating system and dna. do you agree that such a robot is evidence for design or natural process?(if we will find one without seeying is designer)

      lutesuite.

      "No. Robots are man-made. Apes are not. Did you not know this?"-

      so a human that created by a man is a robot by your definition?



      "do you think that a car can evolve in a giant close room for a bilions of years?

      No."-

      why not? if a bacteria can eolve into a human. then a bacteria in a giant close room can evolve into a human that will make a car= a car evolved in a close room.

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    126. lutesuite.

      "No. Robots are man-made. Apes are not. Did you not know this?"-

      so a human that created by a man is a robot by your definition?


      No. You don't seem to understand simple logic.

      All robots are built by humans. This does not mean that everything built by humans is a robot. This is basic, basic stuff.

      why not? if a bacteria can eolve into a human. then a bacteria in a giant close room can evolve into a human that will make a car= a car evolved in a close room.

      Bacteria have not evolved into humans, so I don't know where you got that from. Do you understand even the most basic things about evolution?

      If you put two cars in a closed room, what do you expect to find if you open up the room 10 years later? A whole bunch of baby cars? Or the original two cars, only a bit older and perhaps rustier? Think carefully. This isn't that hard a question.

      BTW, have you learned how to multiply exponents yet?

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  2. I find myself disagreeing with the Lewontin quote in the review. NOW we may start from an assumption of naturalism, because it seems to work best. However, science didn't start out that way. Scientists got here by trying to figure out how things work and finding natural explanations again and again. Scientists also found supernatural explanations not to be helpful. After these observations were made again and again, materialism became one of the principles we use.

    With good enough evidence, we'd have to change that idea, but so far good, repeatable evidence for God is lacking.

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  3. It is a good point that we know things unrelated to science. Whatever that is.
    If someone tells me something, who i trust, then I know something just because they told me.
    I believe it or know it.
    so likewise revelation, for some, is from the Bible.
    Someone is telling us this and that fact.
    If I trust the bible then I know this/that fact is true.
    Its a way of knowing.
    As sure as someone telling you they love who you trust are telling the truth.
    So Genesis is a trusted oral written statement. It can be used in court.
    If "science" claims say its not true then its up to science to prove it and i mean after we take them on.
    Modern creationism takes on claims made in the name if science.
    We have a original witness but our criticisms are based on science.

    As for a creator revealed by nature (ID) well its as scientific to say creation is so complex its impossible to have created itself by chance bumps in the night.
    ID is as scientific as any idea saying it found unobserved creations origins came from chance because of this evidence.
    ID has its evidence for its conclusions and takes on the opposition.
    I see no anatomical difference in evidence claims for any side.



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  4. Wow, the Egnorance himself! What an honor.

    Apparently the good Dr. whose motto is "heal with steel" is unaware of dopamine. Typical, though, of surgeons. Science is not their strength.

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  5. Sorry, but you undermine your message here.

    Science is clearly not the only way for an *individual* to obtain knowledge, that is obvious, and anyone on the other side of your debate is just going to tune you out.

    How does an individual obtain knowledge: Exploring our physical world, and discovering the patterns as we interact with it, listening to credible people with knowledge that comes from their personal experience, and from science.

    Religious scriptures, by the way, carry *some* of this knowledge, but the signal to noise ratio is a bit low.

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    1. How does an individual obtain knowledge: Exploring our physical world, and discovering the patterns as we interact with it, listening to credible people with knowledge that comes from their personal experience, and from science.

      Most of that falls under the broader definition of "science" as used by Prof. Moran. Listening to the opinions of others may or may not qualify, depending on the means by which these people gained their "knowledge." If it's not thru science, then it shouldn't really be considered "knowledge."

      Religious scriptures, by the way, carry *some* of this knowledge, but the signal to noise ratio is a bit low.

      Care to give an example of this knowledge?

      Delete
    2. Uhm, well he didn't say that, and instead said what he said.

      I interpret "truth," "knowledge," "science," and "only way" in a conventional sense. You may relax these if you like, but apparently people in the comments think surgeons are technicians, and whatever they learn from experience is not science. I would tend to agree with them. There is a universal, share-able quality to truths arrived at via the scientific method. But there is no reason to dismiss other ways at arriving at truths, which serve the purposes of individuals making decisions. Their truths are not a subset of scientific truths, sometimes they know things which science doesn't know yet.

      For examples in religious scriptures, it isn't very hard. There are many religions and many scriptures. The theory can be a bit shaky sometimes, but there are many true cause-effect relationships there.

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    3. Uhm, well he didn't say that, and instead said what he said.

      He says he favours the "broad definition" of science and, elsewhere, he has explained that, by this, he means "a way of knowing that relies on evidence, rational thinking, and healthy skepticism."

      http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2016/01/massimo-pigliucci-tries-to-defend.html

      I suppose he might have presumed that most readers of his blog would already be familiar with this. In any event, I believe most of the methods you describe would fall within this definition.

      Besides, it seems to be quibbling to debate whether things like mathematics, logic, and learning thru individual trial and error falls within this broad definition. That still leaves open the question of whether religion can also be considered "a way of knowing."

      For examples in religious scriptures, it isn't very hard.

      Then it shouldn't be difficult for you to provide an example. I'm still waiting.

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    4. Joshua,

      Wel, I for one think of Surgeon's experience as valid enough to warrant hypotheses, which is part of science (even in the most middle-school sense of the term, with observations leading to hypotheses, right?). Each observation, of course, is knowledge about a particular outcome of whatever-kind-of-event. But not necessarily overall knowledge about that kind of events until tested a tad better.

      Then, I think that you make a categorical error. Some actual knowledge might be in scriptures. That doesn't mean that the knowledge came using "the religious method" (what would that be and how would it work?)). If such "scriptures" have some well established "cause/effect" relationships, what makes you think that they imagined them, rather than writing them out of experiences, even if not formally science, still kind of science?

      What I mean to say, I'm not sure that science is "the only one" way to acquire knowledge (depending on how it's defined), but the observation->hypothesis, experience->hypothesis-perhaps-conclusion, seems rather scientific, and I can see no way in which knowledge can be acquired outside of experiences and thinking on the meaning of those experiences (if any), and then testing them to see if we're on the right track.

      Right?

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Hi Mr Moran..

    I'd be interested in your view of this statement which I think best represent informed theists with respect to science and epistemology:

    Science is the most reliable tool we have for understanding how the physical/material world works.

    Also if person X holds that science is the only reliable means to knowledge about anything can you point me the scientific papers which inform us about the following:

    1. Properly basic beliefs that ground rationality.
    2. Why, for anyone who thinks rape is morally wrong, rape is morally wrong.
    3. Why one object of matter can consider itself and other objects of matter but most other objects of matter cannot do this?
    4. Why do some people prefer one kind of music or art over what other people do?


    Thanks in advance
    Matt

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    Replies
    1. If I may, I don't think you have understood Prof. Moran's point (There seems to be a lot of that going around here).

      To say that science (as broadly defined) is the only means we have of determining the truth about anything, does not mean one believes that science has determined or can determine the truth about everything. It just means that, for those questions that science cannot answer, nothing else can answer them.

      What would refute Larry's point would be if you could show how some means other than science has determined the true answer to some of your questions. So over to you....

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    2. I don't know what the word, 'any thing' means to you but for me it is a universal statement = to 'every thing'. It's not saying much to say that science can give answers to what science can give answers to indeed it's useless tautology.

      As for alternatives, it is in philosophy (a subset of which is logic, something all science borrows from philosophy) that we find answers to the biggest questions of life, and those questions tend to be outside the remit of the scientific method especially when it assumes from the outset that any answer is going to be natural, sonmething that philosophy isn't limited to.

      Delete
    3. You didn't answer his question. How do you know that you've found the true answer to a basic philosophical question if you can't verify it empirically? Philosophers can just assume whatever they need to extract certain answers from it, there's no verification there. The only "test" one can do is of logical coherence. But the premises and assumptions that underlie all that wibble cannot themselves be tested. So how do we ever determine that we've made the right assumptions?

      You're right, science can't answer that question: But neither can philosophy. It seems to be unanswerable in principle.

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    4. As for alternatives, it is in philosophy (a subset of which is logic, something all science borrows from philosophy) that we find answers to the biggest questions of life, and those questions tend to be outside the remit of the scientific method especially when it assumes from the outset that any answer is going to be natural, sonmething that philosophy isn't limited to.

      Except it has not yet proven itself able to answer those questions. It facilitates discussion and understanding of those questions, to be sure, but those questions remain without definitive answers, not in the way that we have answers to questions like "What causes tuberculosis?" and "What happens to the sun at night?" Questions, I might add, that were once theological and philosophical in nature, but which were only answered once they fell within the purview of science.

      I've posted this several times before, but the following article is the clearest and most succinct explanation I have found of the differences between science and philosophy/religion in terms of being able to discover the truth. Highly recommended (and not at all long):

      Lance Parkin: Above Us Only Sky

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    5. I don't know what the word, 'any thing' means to you but for me it is a universal statement = to 'every thing'.

      Hm. Well, that may be part of your problem, because they don't mean quite the same thing. Do you not understand the difference in meaning between these two sentences?

      "Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can do anything to improve the economy."

      "Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can do everything to improve the economy."

      If not, let us know. I'm sure someone can help you out.

      It's not saying much to say that science can give answers to what science can give answers to indeed it's useless tautology.

      Again, your problem here is one of basic comprehension. That is not the claim. The claim is that only science can give answers to the questions it purports to address. Other methods are not able to do so.

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    6. Matt,

      I don't know if Larry has any interest in answering your comment. I cannot speak for him. I'm also not so sure about science as the only way of knowing stuff, because I haven't thought much about it, but it seems pretty convincing, since I cannot imagine, right now, any other way of knowing, how that would work, etc. So here a few points you inspired.

      For starters, I doubt that there's such thing as rational theism. Someone who believes in gods can be rational about many things, but theism doesn't seem to be one of them.

      Your "questions" show some basic philosophical problems. Sure, I see that you're trying to show that some knowledge cannot be the product of science, and you end pretending that philosophy can help us discover something about the world without the "limitations" of science, as if by using pure thoughts you could make fantasy beings, such as the gods, real. Sorry, but no. Pure thinking cannot magically transform imaginary beings into real ones, and uninformed philosophy is bound to failure if it pretends to help us discover something about reality. This is why some scientists think of philosophy as dead (I disagree with them, but I see the point).

      Now, the someone says that science is the only way towards knowledge, of course, they don't mean the metaphysical foundations. They mean knowledge other than the self evident. In any event, for some philosophical schools, science is the application of reason to a field of study. I'll let you think of that.

      For a bit of clarification, let's check your list:

      1. Properly basic beliefs that ground rationality.

      This looks like a malformed idea. Rationality is an ability. It's therefore "grounded" on what this ability deals with, not on some "beliefs." You'd find it odd if somebody said that digestion is grounded on the belief that there's nutrients. Well, not, digestion is grounded on the existence of food and the nutrients therein. Maybe we have a different understanding of what "ground" and "rationality" mean?

      2. Why, for anyone who thinks rape is morally wrong, rape is morally wrong.

      Do you think that such things as the psychological effects on victims and on society of such actions cannot be studied scientifically? The tendencies of people to consider it wrong cannot be studies scientifically? The criminal's thinking? What cannot be studied scientifically here?

      3. Why one object of matter can consider itself and other objects of matter but most other objects of matter cannot do this?

      Do you really think that this issue cannot be studied scientifically either? Why? What makes you think so? Do you really think that the question about why some "objects of matter are liquid and other objects of matter are not" is any different, except in the complexity as to how some "objects of matter" "consider themselves"? Do you really think that there's no such thing as cognitive sciences? Neurology?

      4. Why do some people prefer one kind of music or art over what other people do?

      Why would this not be subject of scientific investigation either? What can possibly possess you to present questions that are clearly in everyday studies in scientific disciplines? Isn't this a bit embarrassing as a list of gotcha questions?

      Finally, suppose I said we cannot study any of that scientifically. Do you think that a list of foundations, for example, would justify jumping to conclusions about the value of religions as a "way of knowing"?

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  8. According to Coyne, the introduction of his book was written by some Polish Jews that own the cat that can talk. The way I see it, Coyne's book is based on their misconception of faith and religion.

    Since the cat family couldn't understand the difference between religion and faith,(neither could Coyne, it appears) or they couldn't or wouldn't translate those two terms accurately from their native Polish now to English (I doubt that), that is, it is quite possible, that Jerry's book was build on shit.

    I have no idea, how the publishing house approved the printing of this book and how the editor didn't catch it....To me personally, Coyne's book is the biggest flop in this book category and one of the worst books written on the theme. Coyne simply took the wrong bait and moved on without thinking about it or analyzing it. What a flop!!!! Another one by Jerry Coyne I suppose...

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    1. According to Coyne, the introduction of his book was written by some Polish Jews...

      And the relevance of this is...?

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    2. "According to Coyne, the introduction of his book was written by some Polish Jews that own the cat that can talk."

      According to Coyne where? Not in the book. There's a preface, written by Coyne. No introduction written by Hili's staff. By the way, no one really thinks that Hili (the cat) can talk.

      "The way I see it, Coyne's book is based on their misconception of faith and religion."

      You see it the wrong way, but I have a morbid curiosity as to how you came to that conclusion. Coyne plainly states the the genesis of the book in the preface, titled "The Genesis of This Book", and it has nothing to do with the "Polish Jews".

      -jaxkayaker

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