Saturday, September 17, 2016

"The Soul of the Matter"

Meet Bruce Buff. He's a big fan of the Discovery Institute as he explains in this video.



Bruce Buff has written a novel (fiction) called The Soul of the Matter. The Intelligent Design Creationists are all over it. So far they've put up two posts advertising the novel: Excerpt: The Soul of the Matter, Chapter 3; Excerpt: The Soul of the Matter, Chapter 4.

Here's the description from the publisher's website ...
A scientist’s claim that he’s found the secrets of the universe's origin encoded in DNA sparks a race against time to uncover the truth in this fast-paced thriller of science and faith, power and murder, loss and redemption.

Dan Lawson, a former government cyber-intelligence analyst, is surprised to be contacted by his estranged friend Stephen Bishop, a renowned geneticist. Stephen says that he’s discovered amazing information within DNA, including evidence of a creator, and needs Dan’s help to protect his findings. Dan is skeptical and wonders whether he is being manipulated, or if the recent illness of Stephen’s only child, Ava, has caused his childhood friend to fall back on religion for answers to questions best left to science. Spurred by his desire for proof that life has meaning, however, Dan puts aside his doubts and agrees to help.
I haven't read the book but there may be a clue on the cover. I think the amazing information might be that the DNA helix is left-handed instead of right-handed [On the handedness of DNA ]. It's a little hard to tell from the image on the cover.


200 comments :

  1. Wait... the DI is using a FICTION book as evidence that they are right?

    You really can't make this stuff up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Meh. Robert Sawyer (who really ought to know better) already went there in Calculating God.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aaaaaand I had to go and read those excerpts. Dog, what stilted prose. The thing begs for a Slacktivist-style deconstruction.

    ReplyDelete
  4. From the chapter 4 excerpt:
    "Stepping outside, he was struck hard by the bitter wind."

    That's a nice metaphor for reality slapping you in the face.
    If only we could get creationists to "step outside" and see the universe as it is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It seems to me the book is basically one long masturbation fantasy by an ID proponent about finally convincing someone that DNA proves God.

    It never seemed to work in the real world, so now we can masturbate to this work of fiction in which we succeed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Did the DI go all gaga over the series ending episode of ST:TNG? (Bet this one isn't as well written, either.)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fair Witness wrote :

    " If only we could get creationists to "step outside" and see the universe as it is. "

    What makes you think creationists don't do so ? We see as it is, namely we agree that mainstream science makes true claims, namely

    1. Most probably the universe had a beginning.
    2. Its finely tuned. Starting with the Big Bang, going to the fundamental constants, to our galaxy / sun / earth, and SPECIALLY the conditions of the earth, which are finely tuned in many aspects to permit life on this planet.

    Obviously, that leads to the most rational inference of origins, namely that a creator created the universe, and finely tuned it for life. Unless the Big Bang , that is the cosmological costant, that is the expansion rate were not tuned in one to 10^120, there would be no universe. So its not that life adapted to the universe. The universe has the right conditions to permit life.

    Thats AMAZING evidence for anyone to infer rationally a intelligent designer / creator / fine-tuner.

    Mikkel wrote:

    " It seems to me the book is basically one long masturbation fantasy by an ID proponent about finally convincing someone that DNA proves God. "

    Woah, you still did not get that ? DNA points to design by all means......


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Otangelo,

      Whether the universe had a beginning or not doesn't make gods real, let alone gods as absurd as yours.

      Fine-tuning is a ridiculous argument for gods, let alone for yours. Fine-tuning is nothing but a claim based on mere playing with models and speculation.

      If some constants are changed in some equations, then the resulting models would not fit our observations of the universe. However, being able to change numbers in an equation doesn't mean anything else but that we can change numbers in an equation. It doesn't mean that the universe could have been like the ones the models would represent with those numbers changed. Fine-tuning is just playing with models. Mere speculation based on nothing but our ability to change numbers in equations. That doesn't prove gods, that proves that we can play with equations and speculate what a universe would be like if those numbers were correct. So what?

      I can change pi to whatever I want, and the resulting equation will no longer represent the relationship between the diameter and the circle. That doesn't mean that pi was finely-tuned for making circles. That only means that I'm no longer modelling a circle.

      Delete
    2. Otangelo,

      There's much more wrong with "fine-tuning," but that should keep you busy for a while. In the meantime, please don't quote anybody, let alone scientists, at me about fine-tuning. The fact will remain that it's nothing but playing with numbers in some equations. Either you can deal with this fact or you cannot. Quotes won't change anything.

      Delete
    3. Photosynthesis

      my advice : Go learn some science. Cosmology would be a good start.

      But before you do so, take your fingers off your ears, and stop singing lalalala.......

      Delete
    4. Otangelo,

      My advice: read for comprehension you self-ridiculing fool, learning cosmology won't change the fact that "fine-tuning" is merely playing with equations. I warned you that you should understand the point before trying an answer.

      Until you learn to take your fingers off your own ears, you have no right to tell anybody else such things.

      Delete
    5. My advice: read for comprehension you self-ridiculing fool,

      You should realize that you are asking him to commit heresy with that request.

      Delete
    6. Otangelo Grasso says the universe is fine-tuned for life.

      Are you talking about THIS universe? 99.999 percent of which is LETHAL to life as we know it?. Where hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, disease, etc are killing large numbers yearly? Where the evidence shows 99.99 percent of all species that have existed are now extinct? That universe? Give me a break.

      Delete
    7. Fair Witness wrote:

      "Are you talking about THIS universe? 99.999 percent of which is LETHAL to life as we know it?"

      Albrecht Moritz :

      It should be obvious by now that the fine-tuning argument holds in the relation to the universe as a whole, and is not meant to address the question of why you cannot live on the sun or breathe on the moon. Of course sources of energy (stars) are needed to drive life and evolution, and of course you cannot live on them. Nor can you live in the, by necessity, frighteningly large stretches of empty space between them and planets. So what is the point? Nobody would deny that the light bulb is an invention that greatly enhances modern life. But when you would try to hold your hand around a light bulb that is turned on, you would burn it to pieces. Is the light bulb then "hostile to life"? Certainly not. This modest example, however, indicates how utterly irrelevant the argument really is – one of those false arguments that appear to be brought forth and rehashed solely in order to avoid the deeper issues.

      And W.L.Craig:
      The fact to be explained is why the universe is life-permitting rather than life-prohibiting. That is to say, scientists have been surprised to discover that in order for embodied, interactive life to evolve anywhere at all in the universe, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature have to be fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision. Were even one of these constants or quantities to be slightly altered, the universe would not permit the existence of embodied, interactive life anywhere in the cosmos. These finely-tuned conditions are necessary conditions of life in a universe governed by the present laws of nature. it would be obtuse to think that the universe is not life-permitting because regions of the universe are not life-permitting!

      If the expansion rate of the universe were not finely adjusted, our universe would not exist.

      Delete
    8. Otangelo: "and SPECIALLY the conditions of the earth, which are finely tuned in many aspects to permit life on this planet."

      And mold grew all over a piece of cheese in my fridge. Does that mean that my fridge is finely tuned for mold growth?

      Delete
    9. And to paraphrase (bastardize) Douglas Adams, that depression in the ground is finely tuned for the purpose of holding a puddle.

      Delete
    10. The Puzzle of Existence and a Puddle of Doubt

      https://thetruthwillmakeyoumad.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/

      Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking…” He doesn’t seem to realize that, in order for a puddle to wake up and think its first thought, a vast number of interconnected and incredibly unlikely coincidences have to occur.

      The Big Bang had to happen, and the Big Bang had to explode with just the right amount of force to allow matter to disperse and allow galaxies to form. Had the Big Bang not been precisely fine-tuned, our universe might consist of nothing but tenuous hydrogen gas—or a single supermassive black hole. The laws of nature had to be laid down at the instant of the Big Bang, and had to be fine-tuned to an accuracy of one part in the trillions before the universe itself could exist, much less a contemplative puddle.

      The electromagnetic force, the gravitational force, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force all had to be perfectly balanced in order for stars to form and begin cooking up the elements needed to make planets—silicon, nickel, iron, oxygen, magnesium, and so forth. Adams’ pensive puddle could not find itself sitting in “an interesting hole” unless the hole was situated on a planet orbiting a star that was part of a galaxy that was created by the incredibly fine-tuned forces and conditions of the Big Bang.

      And in order for that puddle to wake up one morning and think at all, it would need to be a lot more complex than a mere puddle of water. A thinking puddle would be a very complex puddle. Even if that puddle were comprised of exotic alien nerve cells suspended in a matrix of liquid ammonia, it would certainly need something like lipid molecules and protein structures and nucleic acids in order to become sufficiently evolved as to wake up and contemplate its own existence.

      Such components require the existence of carbon. And if you know anything about where carbon comes from, you know that carbon doesn’t grow on trees. It is formed in an amazingly fine-tuned process involving the precise placement of a nuclear resonance level in a beryllium atom. Any enlightened plashet would have to conclude that a superintellect had monkeyed with physics, chemistry, and the biological composition of pools and puddles.

      The rest of Douglas Adams’ scenario, in which “the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and … the puddle gets smaller and smaller” is meaningless in view of the fact that dozens and dozens of events, forces, and conditions have to interact in a fine-tuned way in order for the sun to exist, the air to exist, the sky to exist, and the hole in the ground to exist, so that a puddle can wake up one morning and wonder about its place in the cosmic order.

      No analogy is perfect, of course, but The Puddle Analogy is downright misleading. It misrepresents the essence of the fine-tuning argument. An analogy should simplify, but not over-simplify.

      Delete
    11. Otangelo rejects the puddle analogy, because (bright boy that he is) he knows that puddles can't actually think.

      Honestly, Otangelo, it's as if you made a bet with someone that you could post things that indicated you are even stupider than I think you are.

      Delete
    12. OK, "a seal in lake Baikal wakes up and thinks that the depression in the ground that contains lake Baikal is finely tuned for the purpose of life (specifically seal life)." Is that any less absurd than the finely tuned universe nonsense?

      Delete
    13. Grasso doesn't like the puddle, so he fills it with mud.

      Delete
    14. Otangelo,

      You fool, nowhere have you proven that universes that would have to be modelled with different constants are any more likely than ours. You also keep talking as if the models of the universe were the universe itself.

      Your quote from W. Lame Craig:

      "the fundamental constants and quantities of nature have to be fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision."

      What an idiotic cart-before-the-horse claim. The fundamental constants and quantities are not "of nature" but of the models of nature. Thus, changing the numbers and constants in those models would have absolutely no effect on nature itself. Nature would remain exactly as it is. The models would fail to describe what they were supposed to describe about nature.

      The precision required to make a good model only means that the units used to build the model might be too large. Changing the units might as well give us constants needing "incredible imprecision." Again, the described aspect of nature would remain the same, since the models have no effect on what nature does. The models can only describe.

      Nobody told you in kindergarten that the models are not the very same as what the models are trying to describe, did they Otangelo?

      Delete
    15. Photosynthesis wrote:

      " Thus, changing the numbers and constants in those models would have absolutely no effect on nature itself. "

      here a link for beginners:

      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jun/08/just-six-numbers-martin-rees-review

      LOL.....


      ― Paul Davies

      “Scientists are slowly waking up to an inconvenient truth - the universe looks suspiciously like a fix. The issue concerns the very laws of nature themselves. For 40 years, physicists and cosmologists have been quietly collecting examples of all too convenient "coincidences" and special features in the underlying laws of the universe that seem to be necessary in order for life, and hence conscious beings, to exist. Change any one of them and the consequences would be lethal. Fred Hoyle, the distinguished cosmologist, once said it was as if "a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics".

      To see the problem, imagine playing God with the cosmos. Before you is a designer machine that lets you tinker with the basics of physics. Twiddle this knob and you make all electrons a bit lighter, twiddle that one and you make gravity a bit stronger, and so on. It happens that you need to set thirtysomething knobs to fully describe the world about us. The crucial point is that some of those metaphorical knobs must be tuned very precisely, or the universe would be sterile.

      Example: neutrons are just a tad heavier than protons. If it were the other way around, atoms couldn't exist, because all the protons in the universe would have decayed into neutrons shortly after the big bang. No protons, then no atomic nucleuses and no atoms. No atoms, no chemistry, no life. Like Baby Bear's porridge in the story of Goldilocks, the universe seems to be just right for life.”

      Delete
    16. Don't be such an obvious idiot Otangelo. I already told you that no amount of links will change the fact that playing with equations is nothing else but playing with equations. But prove me wrong. Make everything in my room float around. Write the equations for gravitation, the mass of our planet, etc, and change constants in them as much as you want. We'll see how much of an effect that'll have in my room. Let me know after you do the experiment if it worked at your place, because I won't see anything floating in my room. How do I know? because I know the difference between a model and the reality the model is trying to describe. Do you?

      Delete
    17. Photoynthesis

      it would have been more apropriate, if you wrote :

      No amount of links will change the fact that i live in a fantasy world, and that if the scientific evidence does not agree with my preconceived views, i will reject it.

      If the most foremost astrophysicists say :

      " The ratio of electrons compared to protons must be exactly equal to one to better than one part in 10^37 or else electromagnetic interactions would dominate gravity, resulting in the universe consisting of scattered particles.

      The mass of the universe cannot be more than it is by one part in 10^59. Based upon the mass of the universe (about 10^80 baryons), adding just one extra grain of sand would have resulted in the collapse of the universe early in its history. "

      my answer is:

      Changing the numbers and constants in those models would have absolutely no effect on nature itself.

      kkkkkk........

      Delete
    18. As a committed anti theist and atheist I find it surprising that so many on the skeptic side dismiss the "fine tuning" of the universe with deeply flawed arguments. Listen to Alan Guth (or any of the top cosmologists). They know far more about this stuff than random guys on the internet (or Douglas Adams).
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olkvbnEix3Y

      Alan Guth talks about the vacuum energy density. He assumes a range of 10**-120 to 10**120. There is a sweet spot where the various forces cancel to pretty near zero. We're at that sweet spot. Smaller than the range of this sweet spot and the universe implodes in 10^-30 seconds. Larger and and it flies apart in 10^-30 seconds.

      Delete
    19. Otangelo,

      Did you already try? Write down those equations and make things fly in my room. What are you waiting for? Change the numbers. Does anything change around you? No? Then stop linking to demonstrations of people playing with models. You just proved that such playing has no effects on nature itself. My desk did not dissolve into scattered particles. My desk didn't collapse either. You're demonstrating time and again your inability to understand a very simple and straightforward point.

      Delete
    20. Photosynthesis wrote:

      " You're demonstrating time and again your inability to understand a very simple and straightforward point. ".

      I understand your point. And as a matter of fact, your point is nonsense. And you're demonstrating time and again your inability to understand why its nonsense......

      Delete
    21. @ Allan Jones:

      Right. So? If you move one piece at the bottom of the stack in a game of Jenga just the slightest bit, the stack might also instantly collapse. It doesn't mean that the game of Jenga was "finely tuned" to produce just that configuration.

      Delete
    22. The fine-tuning argument has never been convincing to me. I think of it like a biased sampling problem. If we're here worrying about fine-tuning, we are alive in a universe allows life. If the universe didn't allow life, we wouldn't be here thinking about it. Is it probable that the various constants would allow life? Is it possible for the various constants to be different than they are? Doesn't really matter. We can only debate the issue in a universe that allows life.

      Does that mean it's astonishing that the universe has constants that allow life? Not really; that would be like being astonished that you drew only hearts and diamonds from a deck that has only red cards. Our sample (of one) is hopelessly biased and we can't draw conclusions based on it. Certainly we can't draw the conclusion that the universe was designed to allow us to exist.

      Delete
    23. my advice : Go learn some science. Cosmology would be a good start.

      I have some advice from a book you may be familiar with: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."

      The Big Bang and cosmological constant are not the same, and in turn the cosmological constant, while it is one name for a force tending to make the universe expand, is not the same as the expansion rate.

      The expansion rate isn't all that finely tuned. Real fine tuning would balance with gravity and result in a universe that could support life perpetually. In the universe we find ourselves in, the cosmological constant (a/k/a "dark energy") is overwhelming the force of gravity and will result in a cold dark lifeless universe after some billions of years. If the Creator is perpetual, how come he designed the universe so he'll be lonely?

      Second, you've of course managed to completely ignore the fact that the universe is fundamentally quantum mechanical, i.e., that it is at its core random and cannot be controlled or predicted. So why did the Creator design a universe in which He couldn't be certain that Earth, life, Jesus, or anything we recognize would ever come to pass. This is a universe in which it is fundamentally impossible to be all-knowing and all-powerful, which are requirements for the Biblical God. Thus any Creator must not have wished to allow for the Biblical God to exist.

      And lastly, if you ignore the fundamental scientific objections, as (even in our fundamentally random universe) I predict you will, then please tell me all about how loving your God is who designed a world in which cute little puppies die suffering from viral diseases, and in which cute little baby seals must suffer and die so that cute little polar bear cubs won't starve to death. What kind of sadist would design a world to run that way?

      Delete
    24. bwilson wrote

      "Does that mean it's astonishing that the universe has constants that allow life? Not really; "

      The Detection of Intelligent Design
      http://www.detectingdesign.org/?page_id=62

      1) If our universe is random, then it is very unlikely that it permits life.
      (2)Our universe permits life.
      (3)Therefore,the existence of our universe is very likely due to something other than chance.

      1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
      2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
      3. Therefore, it is due to design.

      There are dozens of these very precisely balanced constants in the universe necessary to support life. While some can be significantly changed if balanced by equivalent changes in other constants to compensate, it is quite clear that the ratio of those parameters that would work vs. those that would not work is an extremely tiny fraction of all the possible ways which these constants could have been set up - which would not have allowed for the support of complex life.

      Of course the classic argument is given in response to such anthropic arguments that one shouldn't be surprised to find these fine-tuned features in the universe because if these features weren't fine tuned, we wouldn't exist. Therefore, the fact that we exist means that such fine tuning should only be expected by the mere fact of our own existence - not at all surprising.

      However, this argument is like a situation where a man is standing before a firing squad of 1000 men with rifles who take aim and fire - - but they all miss him. According the the above logic, this man should not be at all surprised to still be alive because, if they hadn't missed him, he wouldn't be alive.

      The nonsense of this line of reasoning is obvious. Surprise at the extreme fine tuning of the universe, given the hypothesis of a mindless origin, is only to be expected - in the extreme.

      Delete
    25. "Woah, you still did not get that ? DNA points to design by all means...... "

      No, it really doesn't. Tell me - how much DNA sequence data have you actually analyzed? Because I've done some, and it seems pretty clear to me that there is no design at all.

      Delete
    26. Grasso:
      "my advice : Go learn some science. Cosmology would be a good start.

      But before you do so, take your fingers off your ears, and stop singing lalalala......."

      The irony is staggering.

      Delete
    27. In case anyone hadn't figured it out minutes after the first post, Grasso is a major spammer of copy-pastes and paraphrased ID/creationist nonsense. Not really worth the effort.

      Delete
    28. and out come the quotes...

      WOw.

      So Grasso is another ID/YEC troll that actually thinks quoting opinions is evidence for his mere beliefs.
      It is almost like there is some kind of seminar that these people attend before being let loose on the rational folks of the intertubes -

      "How to be a little yippy dog for Jesus: Quotes, assertions, and unwarranted condescension 101"

      Delete
    29. "As a committed anti theist and atheist I find it surprising that so many on the skeptic side dismiss the "fine tuning" of the universe with deeply flawed arguments. Listen to Alan Guth (or any of the top cosmologists). They know far more about this stuff than random guys on the internet (or Douglas Adams).
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olkvbnEix3Y

      Alan Guth talks about the vacuum energy density. He assumes a range of 10**-120 to 10**120. There is a sweet spot where the various forces cancel to pretty near zero. We're at that sweet spot. Smaller than the range of this sweet spot and the universe implodes in 10^-30 seconds. Larger and and it flies apart in 10^-30 seconds."


      Golly, I guess if it were different then... Nobody would be here to speculate about it. Puddle thing all over again, regardless of who is presenting.

      Delete
    30. Tangelo,

      "I understand your point. And as a matter of fact, your point is nonsense. And you're demonstrating time and again your inability to understand why its nonsense......"

      Yet all you have done is exactly what I told you you'd do: demonstrate that people can play with models. But proving that there's such thing as fine tuning? Not once. Proving that models can change reality? Not once. Proving that you're too obtuse to actually understand that being able to play with models is not the same as being able to prove that there's such thing as fine tuning? Every single time.

      Delete
    31. If our universe is random, then it is very unlikely that it permits life.

      Whoever wrote this is utterly ignorant of quantum mechanics, which is quite possibly the most thoroughly and repeatedly confirmed (by experiment and observation) scientific theory in history. The central theme of quantum mechanics is that the universe works on the basis of probabilities, not certainty, and is therefore fundamentally, deeply "random" in the sense that future outcomes cannot be controlled, and are subject to only a fundamentally limited degree of predictability.

      So the first necessary basis of your conclusion, Otangelo, has been conclusively proved wrong.

      Thanks for playing.

      Delete
    32. The creationist response to this is that it only indicates that God operates as a "intelligent designer", intervening in physical processes so that they are not random, but instead occurring in exactly the way necessary for things like porcupines and bumblebees to come into existence.

      Now, the question of why such a Designer would then need to "finely tune" the underlying physical parameters of the universe in the first place is one best not thought of too deeply, lest one should feel any pangs of weakening of one's faith.

      Delete
    33. It's sad but not surprising that OG fails to understand the issue of biased sampling. We can only live in a universe that allows life -- no matter what the origin of that universe. Therefore, the fact that the universe allows life gives us no information about how the universe originated.

      Delete
    34. The creationist response to this is that it only indicates that God operates as a "intelligent designer", intervening in physical processes so that they are not random, but instead occurring in exactly the way necessary for things like porcupines and bumblebees to come into existence.

      The problem is that in our quantum universe, no entity, not even its creator, can know whether an intervention will produce porcupines and bumblebees, banana slugs, or a lifeless planet. A quantum universe is *fundamentally not predictable*. So not only can porcupines and bumblebees not be reliably produced by "fine tuning," they can not be reliably produced by any subsequent intervention.

      Delete
    35. Except for the Intelligent Designer. He can do anything, including violate the laws of physics. [/creationist drool mode]

      Delete
    36. I'm going to diogenize Otangelo, so here we go. Let's begin with OG's attempted refutation of the observation that the universe is fine-tuned to be hostile to life. As a matter of fact, the fraction of the universe's volume that is known to be able to support Terran life-- let us call this fraction F-- is 1/10^62 power. F, if chosen at random, could have any value from 0 to 100%. By the conventional physics definition of "fine-tuning", F = 1/10^62 is a fine-tuned parameter. But it is fine-tuned to be hostile to life, to be anti-life. Why is that? The proponents of fine-tuning for life (FT4L) ignore the proper, accepted, definition of "fine-tuning" in physics, and just change the subject.

      If you believe, as the FT4L argument goes, that fine-tuned parameters require an explanation, and that the natural explanation is "God did it" (oh, that's been so successful in the past!)-- then logically, you'd have to admit that the universe is fine-tuned to be anti-life, and that this shows that your God hates life and would like to torture it and make its existence brief and painful. But you don't. OG's response is quoting some idiots who ignore the standard physics def of "fine-tuning" and change the subject.

      An even worse, related problem is that all creationists claim that the laws of physics make it impossible for non-living matter to become living matter, that is, that abiogenesis is impossible. Given that all creationists assert that the laws of physics make the appearance of any life in the universe IMPOSSIBLE-- and that the appearance of life requires a supernatural violation of the laws of physics-- creationists must assent that the laws and constants of the universe are not fine-tuned for life. Either that, or accept that abiogenesis requires no violations of physical law.

      Let's be clear that if you accept the assumptions of the FT4L argument, then the same assumptions lead to the conclusion that the universe is supernaturally arranged and deliberately tuned to be friendly to dead matter (FT4DM). You either accept this, or you admit that the assumptions behind FT4L are wrong. Spoiler alert: they're wrong.

      The Fine-Tuning for Life argument, combined with God of the Gaps (GOG), assumes that if any parameter is fine-tuned, the "natural" default answer is that a god did it for a purpose. THAT IS THE ASSUMPTION OF CREATIONIST PUSHERS OF FINE TUNING. YOU ASSUME THAT.

      Given that 1. creationists all say abiogenesis is forbidden by the laws of physics, and 2. it's an observed fact that only 1/10^62 of the volume of the universe permits life, you must conclude that the universe was fine-tuned for dead matter (FT4DM).

      Delete
    37. Let's obliterate OG's "authority quotes", starting with WL Craig. Oh, my. What a formidable opponent.

      WLC: The fact to be explained is why the universe is life-permitting rather than life-prohibiting.

      Whaaaaat!? Craig, literally, exactly, no exaggeration, thinks that if 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of the universe is life-permitting, then it is accurate for him to say "the universe is life-permitting".

      Craig: it would be obtuse to think that the universe is not life-permitting because regions of the universe are not life-permitting!

      Derp! By "regions of the universe", Craig means 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the universe.

      Craig wants you to believe the only question is why 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of the universe is life-permitting, and we're not allowed to ask why 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the universe is life-prohibiting.

      Likewise, if Donald Trump spends 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of his wealth on charity, then the only allowed question is "Why is Donald Trump so charitable?"

      Craig: "That is to say, scientists have been surprised to discover that in order for embodied, interactive life to evolve anywhere at all in the universe, the fundamental constants and quantities of nature have to be fine-tuned to an incomprehensible precision."

      Scientists have discovered no such thing! Nowhere is there any physics test for "embodied, interactive life." Even the most scientific proponents of FT4L only say that if (for example) Planck's constant were slightly different, there wouldn't be carbon atoms, or there wouldn't be carbon-carbon bonds. Then they ASSUME and must assume that "embodied, interactive life" requires carbon atoms and carbon-carbon bonds. E.g. "All possible intelligent beings = carbon-based life only."

      Which is painting the bull's eye circle after your arrow has hit the barn. You're guaranteeing yourself a win. More formally, this is the bridge hand fallacy. "I won that game of bridge, the odds of me getting that particular hand of cards with which I won is spectacularly low, therefore God intervened on my behalf."

      At no point do the proponents ever examine an entire, alternate UNIVERSE with different physical laws and test to see if, somewhere among its trillions of planets across billions of light-years, a very low probability event like intelligent life might exist at the edge of an ordinary galaxy. Nope. The FT4L proponents just say, AT BEST, that carbon atoms won't form or carbon-carbon bonds won't form. Then creationists say, "embodied life could not exist!"

      In our universe, could you even FIND its intelligent life, if you weren't lucky enough to be born near it? The mass of our universe including dark matter is about 6*10^53 kg, and there are 7.4 billion humans of average mass 62 kg, so the fraction of mass that is intelligent is about 1/10^42.

      Even in our supposedly "life-friendly" universe, no alien from another dimension could possibly guess that it has intelligent beings even if you gave it the equations of physics in our universe. It would have to run a computer simulation of enormous size to find even one intelligent being. But proponents of FT4L pretend like they've done that for an infinite number of other universes. They haven't, not even for one other universe.

      Rather, proponents of FT4L just say, "No carbon atoms, therefor nothing complex could possibly form!"

      Craig: "Were even one of these constants or quantities to be slightly altered, the universe would not permit the existence of embodied, interactive life anywhere in the cosmos."

      "IN THE COSMOS"!? BULLSHIT, DR. CRAIG. NO ONE HAS EVER SIMULATED A COSMOS. At best this refers to carbon atoms.

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    38. So where did OG's authorities go wrong? Well, the "hostile universe" argument-- aka "Fine Tuning for Dead Matter" (FT4DM) refutes *some* assumptions behind FT4L and God of the Gaps, but not *all* of them. So the proponents of FT4L change the subject to the topic of "bare FT" rather than address the specific assumptions of FT4L and GOG that are refuted.

      To disentangle which parts of FT4L are refuted, we have to take their logic apart, and distinguish between three different things conflated by creationists: Fine-tuning (FT), Fine-tuning for life (FT4L), and God of the Gaps (GOG). Some physical constants are fine-tuned, but are not fine-tuned for life: e.g. the initial entropy of the universe is extremely low, but life does not require it to be so low. Other physical constants are not fine-tuned at all: e.g. the ratio of dark matter to ordinary mass.

      1. Fine-tuning (FT). There are real problems in physics that are FT problems, apart from all this creationism nonsense. FT just means that a physical parameter (call it X) takes on an "unnatural value", which "unnatural" usually means that X is close to its allowed minimum or maximum values (crucially, that the notion of "unnatural values" smuggles in an assumed, underlying probability distribution.) An example: you see a clock whose big hand points nearly straight down, say 0.33 degrees from vertical. If you assume that the probability distribution of hand positions is flat, meaning all angles of the hands have equal, small probability (equiprobable), why is the observed angle nearly exactly 180 degrees? A real FT problem is addressed by asking: OK, the "real" probability density can't be flat, so what is it, and why is skewed toward one extreme? Perhaps the clock hand is heavy and gravity pulls it down? This has nothing to do with "God of the Gaps" and God is not the answer.

      2. Fine-tuning for life. Here the parameter X must be near the extreme value that permits life. E.g. if X can be anything from 0 to 100 trillion, but only X values less than 100,000 permit life, then X is fine-tuned for life if it has a value of about 10,000 to 100,000, that is, within an order of magnitude of the limit. If X is 10, it might be fine tuned, but not fine tuned FOR LIFE. An example would be the initial entropy of the universe, which is fine-tuned to be extremely low, but far lower than the value needed to permit life, so it is FT but not FT4L.

      3. God of the Gaps (GOG). Here the creationist assumes that FT by itself can only have the explanation that God did it on purpose. Otangelo has already invoked GOG many times.

      Now we see how the FT4L proponent seeks to deflect the FT4DM argument. FT4DM is a real fine-tuning (FT) problem since 1 - 1/10^62 of the universe does not permit life to exist. If F could be anything from 0 to 100%, why is it 1/10^62?

      If this FT4DM problem is combined with the creationist's assumption 3 ("any FT problem can only have the explanation that God intended it on purpose"), we must conclude that God intended to torture all life with limited space and resources. The theist won't go there, therefore the theist must concede that step 3, GOG, relies on invalid assumptions.

      But the FT4DM argument does not refute 1, the observation that some parameters are FT. This is the point that the authority Albrecht Moritz, cited by OG, makes: FT4DM does not refute FT. True, but irrelevant. FT4DM does refute GOG, and without GOG, the theist has nothing.

      Moreover, FT4DM refutes the broad generalizations behind 2, FT4L. If some physical constants are life-friendly and some are life-hostile, how can you claim FT4L is the general pattern rather than FT4DM? If FT4DM can't falsify FT4L, what could? How could you falsify FT4L?

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    39. The creationists say that the laws of physics forbid non-life to ever become life, so Fine Tuning for Dead Matter problem is infinitely worse. FT4DM forces creationists to choose between 'Abiogenesis is impossible' and Fine-Tuning for Life. The creationist cannot have both.

      Now we can ask Otangelo: which will you keep? Will you keep 'Abiogenesis is impossible, because the laws of physics forbid non-life to turn into living matter' like all the other creationists? Or will you keep 'Every feature of the universe is fine-tuned to make life possible'? Because you can't have both.

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    40. And now the killer question to ask OG: why do all nearly all religious people believe that God has altered the laws of physics during the history of life on Earth-- that is, done miracles-- while at the same time saying that God set up the universe so that any alteration to the laws of physics would extinguish all life?

      Remember, for thousands of years, Christians assumed God was changing the laws of nature willy-nilly, without extinguishing all life. YEC creationists, for example, casually but universally assume that during the one year of Noah's Flood, God super-accelerated the laws of radioactive decay by a factor of ~1 billion, as they must assume to explain the huge amounts of radiogenic isotopes in ancient rocks. Of course such a super-acceleration of radioactive decay would release so much energy that the Earth would be vaporized, but to THAT creationists just shrug and say, 'God changed the laws of physics to make the heat go away.' For 2,000 years, Christians assumed that their God would of course create a universe that was tolerant to huge changes in the laws of physics. But when scientists discovered inflation, which needs to be fine-tuned, Christians now announced their God would of course create a universe totally INTOLERANT to huge changes in the laws of physics.

      Why didn't any of you predict fine tuning ahead of time, before it was discovered? You're just waiting for a bunch of real scientists to discover stuff, and whatever they observe, you just say, "Uh yeah, totally, our God would do it that way. We knew it all along!"

      God of the Gaps. It can fit any possible observations. How can it be falsified?

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    41. @diogenes "if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe" Carl Sagan.
      I can't see the relevance of saying that the vast bulk of the universe is inhospitable to life. It's like saying the Earth is inhospitable to life because life only exists on a thin skin on the surface. Stars, black holes, dark energy, dark matter, quantum fields etc are all necessary to give tiny islands where life is possible.

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    43. Lutesuite wrote:

      " the question of why such a Designer would then need to "finely tune" the underlying physical parameters of the universe in the first place "

      God cannot do illogical things, like "create a rock bigger than He can lift", or create a square circle. Same with the universe. Same with the physical universe. If the elements do have defined properties and behaviors, in order to get a specific goals, these must be considered. Not any outcome will do.

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    44. Bwilson wrote

      "Therefore, the fact that the universe allows life gives us no information about how the universe originated."

      Dr. Paul Davies, noted author and professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University:

      “The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly. You see,” Davies adds, “even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life — almost contrived — you might say a ‘put-up job’.”

      Hoyle sums up his findings as follows:

      A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintendent has monkeyed with the physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars. Adds Dr. David D. Deutch: If anyone claims not to be surprised by the special features that the universe has, he is hiding his head in the sand. These special features ARE surprising and unlikely.

      So these scientists disagree with you.....

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    46. Diogenes wrote:

      "Then they ASSUME and must assume that "embodied, interactive life" requires carbon atoms and carbon-carbon bonds. E.g. "All possible intelligent beings = carbon-based life only." "

      Can life only arise from carbon based molecules ?

      the case of a creator page 108

      "That just won't work," he insisted. "Chemistry is one of the better understood areas of science. We know that you just can't get certain atoms to stick together in sufficient number and complexity to give you large molecules like carbon can. You can't get around it. And you just can't get other types of liquids to dissolve as many different kinds of chemicals as you can with water. There's something like half a dozen different properties of both water and carbon that are optimal for life. Nothing else comes close. Silicon falls far short of carbon.

      Still, we cannot rule out other forms of matter than molecules in the universe as building
      blocks of complex systems. While atomic nuclei, for example, do not exhibit the diversity and
      complexity seen in the way atoms assemble into molecular structures, perhaps they might be able
      to do so in a universe with different properties and laws.

      that is pure speculation without scientific base. Only silicon and boron, besides carbon, can serve as the basis for adequately complex molecules—molecules capable of sustaining basic life functions, such as self-replication, metabolism, and information storage. This finding presents some significant problems, however. First, silicon can hold together a string of no more than a hundred amino acids—far too short a string to accommodate any conceivable life systems and processes. Second, throughout the universe boron is less abundant than carbon; so carbon always supersedes it. Third, concentrated boron is toxic to certain life-critical reactions.

      Given the vastness of the universe and the common observation of supernovae in other
      galaxies, we have no reason to assume life exists only on Earth.

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    47. Photosynthesis wrote

      " play with models is not the same as being able to prove that there's such thing as fine tuning? "

      If the fact that 2 + 2 = 4 would prove God's existence, you would deny it, and argue its not a proven fact, its just a "model", therefore the equation has no value.

      You do exactly what you acuse me: You put the horses before the cart. You have made up your mind. God shall not exist. Now lets distort the scientific evidence to fit my prejudice.

      Is the fine-tuning real?

      Yes, it’s real and it is conceded by the top-rank of atheist physicists. Let me give you a citation from the best one of all, Martin Rees. Martin Rees is an atheist and a qualified astronomer. He wrote a book called “Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape The Universe”, (Basic Books: 2001). In it, he discusses 6 numbers that need to be fine-tuned in order to have a life-permitting universe.

      Rees writes here:

      These six numbers constitute a ‘recipe’ for a universe. Moreover, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be ‘untuned’, there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator?

      There are some atheists who deny the fine-tuning, but these atheists are in firm opposition to the progress of science. The more science has progressed, the more constants, ratios and quantities we have discovered that need to be fine-tuned.

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    48. Diogenes wrote

      " The creationists say that the laws of physics forbid non-life to ever become life "

      No. First of all, abiogenesis is impossible is not a inference drawn only by proponents of ID/or creationism.

      The foremost researchers in the field like Urey came to that conclusion.
      Secondly, its not the laws of physics that make abiogenesis impossible, but the ALTERNATIVE MECHANISM, which can only be chance, or physical necessity. There is no physical necessity to make life happen, so the only mechanism is NOTHING. No, its not chance. Chance/luck is not something, its just a description of probabilities. You can say: oh, the prebiotic soup and chemical reactions did it. Thats your ONLY alternative. Now think about it.... THINK !!

      In order to disagree with me, you need to believe that unguided, random chemicals created the MOST COMPLEX FACTORY in the universe, using THE BEST POSSIBLE LANGUAGE CODE OUT OF A MILLION, and billions of EXACT INSTRUCTIONAL COMPLEX INFORMATIONS, correct right from the beginning, TRANSLATED THROUGH A HYPER COMPLEX MACHINERY into a second language to make THOUSANDS OF indispensable SOPHISTICATED MOLECULAR MACHINES ( proteins ), the ENERGY SUPPY, and INTERCONNECT them in the right way through the metabolic network inside a SOPHISTICATED MEMBRANE, that protects all the machinery inside.

      makes sense to you ?!! Infact, the design inference has never been stronger than ever before, faced the scientific knowledge we have today.... Science is on the side of the creationist / ID proponent. Not the other way around.....

      Live with it. Deal with it!!

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    49. Diogenes wrote

      " And now the killer question to ask OG: why do all nearly all religious people believe that God has altered the laws of physics during the history of life on Earth-- that is, done miracles-- while at the same time saying that God set up the universe so that any alteration to the laws of physics would extinguish all life? "

      Because God is the creator of the physical laws and the physical universe, both of them. As it seems, the ORDER and physical laws can be suspended temporarly and when HE demands it for obtaining specific goals. That does not mean that ORDER as a whole could be kept if he suspended the physical laws universally. Why or how he can do it ? No idea.

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    50. Diogenes wrote

      "Why didn't any of you predict fine tuning ahead of time, before it was discovered? You're just waiting for a bunch of real scientists to discover stuff, and whatever they observe, you just say, "Uh yeah, totally, our God would do it that way. We knew it all along!" "

      First of all: We have no crystal ball to see the future.
      Secondly: Post-dictions are common in science. And theories are adapted to new discoveries.

      What is your point ?

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    51. We know that you just can't get certain atoms to stick together in sufficient number and complexity to give you large molecules like carbon can.

      Bzzt! Epic fail!

      Complex organic molecules are commonly found in meteorites. So organic chemistry can happen in space, in the conditions of the early solar system (alternating frying heat and freezing cold, vacuum, and radiation). In other words, organic chemistry, far from being miraculous, is just a really ordinary thing atoms do when they get together.

      Once again your "science" is about as wrong as it's possible to be (which of course is what happens when you need to try to make something that occurred in the ordinary course of universal events seem like something only a divine being could have accomplished).

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    52. THE BEST POSSIBLE LANGUAGE CODE OUT OF A MILLION

      Cancer.

      Sorry, you lose again.

      Delete
    53. Judmarc wrote

      " The problem is that in our quantum universe, no entity, not even its creator, can know whether an intervention will produce porcupines and bumblebees, banana slugs, or a lifeless planet. "

      Thats actually a good point, and a interesting question.

      Henry Stapp comments:
      https://www.scienceandchristianbelief.org/serve_pdf_free.php?filename=SCB+15-2+Byl.pdf

      ‘Many physicists of today claim to believe that it is perfectly possible, and also satisfactory, for there to be choices that simply come out of nowhere at all…The claim that the choice comes out of nowhere at all should be regarded as an admission of contemporary ignorance, not as a satisfactory final word.’8 Elsewhere he remarks, ‘Chance is an idea useful for dealing with a world partly unknown to us. But it has no rational placeamong ultimate constituents of nature.

      Indeed, a basic principle of rational enquiry is that everything has a sufficient reason. This Principle of Sufficient Reason implies the Principle of Causality, which affirms that every event has a sufficient cause. To say that a quantum choice is made by chance is to say that nothing makes and actuates the choice. This contradicts the Principle of Sufficient Reason. To say that an event has no cause is to give up on science and to invoke magic, in this case magic without even a magician.

      Quantum mechanics does not imply ontological indeterminism, given that determinist interpretations of quantum mechanics are possible, that non-physical secondary causes cannot be ruled out and that God is the primary cause for all events.

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    54. God cannot do illogical things, like "create a rock bigger than He can lift", or create a square circle.

      Thanks, Otangelo. Did God tell you this at the regular Saturday night poker game you have with the Big Fella and select friends?

      If so, what's the winning number in the next PowerBall drawing?

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    55. Judmarc:

      Hugh Ross writes:

      Of the 112 known chemical elements, only carbon possesses a sufficiently complex chemical behavior to sustain living systems.1 Carbon readily assembles into stable molecules comprised of individual and fused rings and linear and branched chains. It forms single, double, and triple bonds.
      Carbon also strongly bonds with itself as well as with oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and hydrogen. In other words, life molecules must be carbon-based.

      Delete
    56. Otangelo, sorry but the math clearly and logically shows there are not only things we do not know, but things that *cannot be known* about the universe. The most famous example is probably the Uncertainty Principle, which says that as we become more certain of a particle's momentum, we become unavoidably less certain of its position. This is math as unavoidable as 2+2=4: position and momentum are conjugate variables in the Fourier transform calculations. No other result is mathematically or logically possible.

      What you are quoting Stapp about is the "observer effect," which many people have confused with the uncertainty principle but is not the same thing.

      Delete
    57. Ah, I was wondering when we'd get to our wonderful friend Hugh Ross, king of the specious fine tuning arguments. He once wrote a book in which he claimed if Earth's distance from the sun were even 2% different than the current value life would be impossible. Then someone pointed out that Earth's distance from the sun varies by more than 3% in the course of its non-circular orbit. So much for our friend Hugh.

      (By the way, he's wrong about the chemistry too. Look at a periodic table of the elements some time.)

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    58. Oh, Otangelo. You're such a joker. You write:

      God cannot do illogical things, like "create a rock bigger than He can lift", or create a square circle. Same with the universe. Same with the physical universe. If the elements do have defined properties and behaviors, in order to get a specific goals, these must be considered. Not any outcome will do.

      Hee hee. Too funny. So now the physical parameters of the universe have not been specifically selected by God out of the infinite set of possibilities, just so they would be the best ones to allow life to exist. No, now they are logical necessities, over which God has no control, and which he can only try to work around in order to create life.

      And I bet Otangelo is so stupid he doesn't even realize the contradiction in what he's written. You couldn't make it up.

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    59. @ Allan Jones:

      I can't see the relevance of saying that the vast bulk of the universe is inhospitable to life. It's like saying the Earth is inhospitable to life because life only exists on a thin skin on the surface. Stars, black holes, dark energy, dark matter, quantum fields etc are all necessary to give tiny islands where life is possible.

      Yes, that's not the strongest part of Diogenes' argument. However, he must be given full credit for pointing out a fatal flaw in the creationist position: If, as the creationists claim, God has to directly intervene for life to exist, then how can it be said that the universe was "fine tuned" to allow life to arise? And, if God can simply perform magic to cause life to exist, then why does he need to finely tune the universe in the first place?

      AFAIK, no creationist has so much as acknowledged this problem. Otangelo certainly isn't up to resolving it.

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    60. Otangelo,

      "If the fact that 2 + 2 = 4 would prove God's existence, you would deny it, and argue its not a proven fact, its just a "model", therefore the equation has no value."

      No you fool. the equation has a lot of value. Models have a lot of value. The problem with the claims about fine tuning is that some people play with the equations, for example, they say, what happens if I change 2+2=4 to 2+2=6 oh shit! Addition would no longer work! (How surprising!) The fact that it has to be precisely 4, that it cannot be anything else, but 4, means that 4 is finely tuned for addition!! No idiot. It means that the equation no longer represents addition.

      Again, being able to change that number in the equation doesn't mean anything but that you're able to change that number in the equation. The equation no longer represents addition, but that's it.

      I could not care less if all of the physicists in the world agreed to "fine tuning." It would still be evident that playing with equations doesn't mean anything else but playing with equations.

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    61. I like OG's criticism of Lutesuite: "You put the horses before the cart." :) :-)

      Delete
    62. OG: "So these scientists disagree with you..... "

      If so (you never know with OG's quotes) these scientists are wrong.

      Biased sampling is a problem for biologists, so we learn to think about it. In physics, it's easier to ignore.

      Maybe the constants in our universe could be different. Maybe they can't. Maybe the constants are extraordinarily improbable. Maybe not. Maybe the universe came into being by natural means. (I think so.) Maybe not.

      No matter what, the fact that the universe allows life does not help us figure out how the universe began. Why not? Because any universe in which we can ask the question is necessarily a universe that allows life.

      The "fine tuning" argument isn't an argument for or against god-did-it. It's not a useful argument for anything at all.

      Delete
    63. To avoid confusion: I don't think there is any doubt that "fine tuning" exists. The supernaturalists just go wrong when they insist that this could only exist if God did the tuning.

      To return to the Jenga analogy: One could set up a pile of Jenga blocks such that none of the blocks on the bottom can be moved even a fraction of a millimeter without the whole pile coming down. And one could also, in theory, set it up so that any block could be moved around almost at will without threatening the integrity of the structure. Neither example is a particular indicator of "design" and, if anything, I would think the second one would be more difficult for a designer to achieve. That our universe happens to resemble the first example is interesting. But beyond that it does not indicate the need for a "designer".

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    64. BW
      "No matter what, the fact that the universe allows life does not help us figure out how the universe began. Why not? Because any universe in which we can ask the question is necessarily a universe that allows life.

      The "fine tuning" argument isn't an argument for or against god-did-it. It's not a useful argument for anything at all."

      Fine tuning is not an argument. It is evidence that can support an argument.

      We do know that if the universe began without matter that could eventually support biological function then life would not be possible. We do know that life exists, so what is the cause of matter that can be assembled to form living organisms? Is it more likely a random accident or a created event?

      Delete
    65. Good questions, Bill Cole. So what are the answers? Please show your work. Sorry, no rectally extracted assertions accepted.

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    66. BC -- that's the problem. The fact that life exists gives us NO evidence about whether the fact that the universe allows life is a random accident or a created event. No evidence.

      Why not? Because we can only debate this question in a universe in which life can exist.

      We can of course consider the question, but we can't use the fact that the universe allows life as evidence for any of the alternatives.

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    67. Bill seems to be saying that a universe in which even matter exists is so unlikely that it could only arise thru a magic spell cast by God. I look forward to seeing the mathematical calculations that show this to be the case, with which I am sure he will soon be forthcoming.

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    68. I appear to have driven OG off the deep end by simply asking: Now we can ask Otangelo: which will you keep? Will you keep 'Abiogenesis is impossible, because the laws of physics forbid non-life to turn into living matter' like all the other creationists? Or will you keep 'Every feature of the universe is fine-tuned to make life possible'? Because you can't have both. Creationists can't have their fine-tuning cake and abiogenesis too!

      So OG's response is to stamp and scream that, yes, he will eat his cake and have it too: The foremost researchers in the field like Urey came to that conclusion [abiogenesis is impossible].

      Ha ha ha ha! Desperate lying! Which foremost researchers concluded abiogenesis is impossible? Quotes please.

      Secondly, its not the laws of physics that make abiogenesis impossible, but the ALTERNATIVE MECHANISM, which can only be chance, or physical necessity.

      Ugh, "physical necessity" means the laws of physics. Physical necessity makes abiogenesis impossible, says OG, but the laws of physics determine what's a physical necessity. Clearly, creationists cannot honestly claim the universe is fine-tuned for life.

      And the laws of physics are not the "ALTERNATIVE MECHANISM" to God of the Gaps.

      "There is no physical necessity to make life happen, so the only mechanism is NOTHING." Again, this is wholly dependent on the laws of physics. The laws of physics determine what's a physical necessity and what isn't.

      It's the laws of physics that cause your alleged "lack of physical necessity" (Dembski-speak.) If the universe were really fine-tuned for life, the laws of physics would fix a physical necessity for non-living matter to become alive. Is it possible for non-living matter to become alive, or is it not?

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    69. OG tries to throw out quantum mechanics because it contradicts medieval philosophy.

      "Indeed, a basic principle of rational enquiry is that everything has a sufficient reason.

      No. The PSR is a philosophical assertion that has never been proved. If you have proof of it, then present a logical proof of the PSR. No one has one. It's just asserted.

      And the PSR leads to infinite recursion. Tell me, what is the reason for the Principle of Sufficient Reason? No one has ever figured that out. If you did, your explanation would itself require a reason, and so on ad infinitum.

      This Principle of Sufficient Reason implies the Principle of Causality, which affirms that every event has a sufficient cause.

      It certainly does not! That is a total lie! How could one ever get from an epistemological assertion to time-bound causality? Ridiculous!

      You've gone from one assertion that is unproven (PSR) then jumped via a non-sequitur to a Principle of Causality that is not merely unproved, but known to be wrong.

      To say that a quantum choice is made by chance is to say that nothing makes and actuates the choice.

      I wouldn't use the word "choice" but that's right.

      This contradicts the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

      BINGO! So the PSR goes out the window! That's your problem, not ours.

      "To say that an event has no cause is to give up on science and to invoke magic"

      Bullshit. That's a total non sequitur, no logical proof of that, and the people who say it are creationists who actually HAVE given up on science! You can still make probabilistic statements over the mean behavior of many systems.

      You're trying to invoke what I call the Principle of Convenience. It would be convenient for us if everything had a reason; therefore, everything has a reason. That's nuts.

      It's not necessary for the truth to be convenient all the time to do science. Some things can be explained, some can't. That's not convenient, but of course you can't prove otherwise, and you can't provide a reason for the Principle of Sufficient Reason.

      Quantum mechanics is observed, but your philosophical beliefs are just asserted. If they contradict, as they do, out go your assertions.

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    70. BW
      "Why not? Because we can only debate this question in a universe in which life can exist."

      Yet life can only exist in a small portion of the Universe. We can make an inference argument as to the cause of matter that can assemble to form life based on evidence including fine tuning. Atoms and molecules are finely tuned in such a way that they form micro machines, that convert energy to work, and ultimately create complex life forms.

      I know your thesis is that this is a random accident.

      On what evidence do you base your thesis? I think fine tuning is counter evidence that needs to be successfully debated and not just discounted.

      Delete
    71. Lutesuite and I have pointed out that a supernatural God can break natural laws, so:

      1. If theism is true, there's no need for the laws of physics to be life-friendly because God (unlike evolution) can violate natural laws if he wants to. In fact, this is what creationists believe-- the laws of physics make it impossible for dead matter to become living matter, so life cannot exist without the violation of physical laws by God.

      2. If theism is true, even a deistic God, who allows the laws of physics to unwind like a big clock, could still create a broadly tuned universe, one in which huge changes to natural laws do not extinguish life. Let us call this the BT problem. If God can create a BT universe, why did he create an FT universe? Again, this is what creationists actually believe, since Young Earthers assert that God super-accelerated the laws of nuclear physics by a factor of a billion during the year of Noah's Flood, and changed the laws of thermodynamics during the Flood (some say in the Garden of Eden also) to make the extra heat go away, and changed the laws of electromagnetism to make the rainbow appear after the Flood. Creationists actually believe in a BT universe, then they say the universe is FT.

      Otangelo responds to this by basically saying that his omnipotent, all-powerful God is totes constrained by...the periodic table.

      Otangelo: God cannot do illogical things, like "create a rock bigger than He can lift", or create a square circle. Same with the universe. Same with the physical universe. If the elements do have defined properties and behaviors, in order to get a specific goals, these must be considered. Not any outcome will do.

      God is subject to the periodic table! The periodic table forces God to make a fine-tuned universe! The periodic table is above God!

      One wonders what become of Ravi Zacharias' claim, "Law requires a lawgiver." Who, then, created the periodic table that constrains your god?

      Another question for OG to evade: Is your God constrained to create an FT universe or not? Yes or no.

      If no, why didn't he create a BT universe like the Young Earth creationists all believe? Clearly a BT universe is fully compatible with Christian theology because YECs believe it.

      If yes, who created the laws that constrain your God to create an FT universe? A god above your God? If not, then contra Ravi Zacharias, you accept that weird laws pop into existence from nothing.

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    72. Bill Cole says: We can make an inference argument as to the cause of matter that can assemble to form life based on evidence including fine tuning.

      Well, no. It's not an inference argument, it's God of the Gaps. That's a negative argument, which is not an inference. To have a real inference, you have to have observed gods making laws of physics or setting physical constants. Then you could conclude, 'As a general rule, physical constants are generally set by gods', and then have an inference. GOG is not an inference.

      Atoms and molecules are finely tuned in such a way that they form micro machines, that convert energy to work

      No, atoms and molecules are not "finely tuned." The FT4L argument is that certain physical constants are finely tuned, not atoms and molecules.

      And as I keep emphasizing, creationists don't even believe that, because they say that the laws of physics are set up so that non-living matter can never become alive.

      At any rate, we know that the fraction of the universe that permits life is fine-tuned to be incredibly small. That is an observed fact. What "inference argument" can we use to deduce the cause of that?

      Delete
    73. Notice how every creationist here invokes God of the Gaps very explicitly, setting up a dichotomy in which God is the default answer.

      Bill Cole: what is the cause of matter that can be assembled to form living organisms? Is it more likely a random accident or a created event?

      False dichotomy.

      OG says:

      1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
      2. It is not due to physical necessity or chance.
      3. Therefore, it is due to design.


      Above, OG sets "design" (= God) as the default explanation, after he claims with ZERO evidence that "It is not due to physical necessity or chance." How could anyone know that?

      We can likewise reply:

      1. The fine-tuning of the universe is due either to physical necessity, chance, or design.
      2. It is not due to design.
      3. Therefore, it is due to physical necessity or chance.


      Why not? OG beats God of the Gaps to death:

      Any enlightened plashet would have to conclude that a superintellect had monkeyed with physics, chemistry, [etc.]

      God of the Gaps. No "enlightened plashet" invokes GOG to cover for his ignorance.

      Otangelo says "Obviously, that leads to the most rational inference of origins, namely that a creator created the universe.."

      That is certainly not obvious! The tell here is the word "Obviously" which tips us off that OG knows his desired conclusion is not obvious.

      It's just beating us with God of the Gaps over and over. These are not inferential arguments. They're witch hunting and ooga booga.

      "My cow died, and I don't know why. Therefore my neighbor is a witch!" Uh, it's not a dichotomy, and if it were, your ignorance is not proof that the problem is unsolvable.

      Delete
    74. Diogenes
      "Well, no. It's not an inference argument, it's God of the Gaps. That's a negative argument, which is not an inference. To have a real inference, you have to have observed gods making laws of physics or setting physical constants. Then you could conclude, 'As a general rule, physical constants are generally set by gods', and then have an inference. GOG is not an inference."

      You are creating a straw-man to my argument. The discussion is around the cause of the universe being a created event or a random event.

      I think you are trying to invoke naturalism of the gaps.

      "No, atoms and molecules are not "finely tuned." The FT4L argument is that certain physical constants are finely tuned, not atoms and molecules. "

      I understand, but I am making the argument that atoms and molecules are finely tuned :-) Consider the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force along with higgs fields and electron charge. With any slight changes in force....no life.

      Delete
    75. Photosynthesis wrote

      "I could not care less if all of the physicists in the world agreed to "fine tuning." It would still be evident that playing with equations doesn't mean anything else but playing with equations. "

      Cool. If the situation would be as you assert, then we would see life on mars, the moon, on neptun, saturn, and actually even on stars. Following makes quite clear how irrational your argument is:

      1. If the sun where closer to the earth, we would burn up; if farther away we would freeze.
      2. If the earth was not tilted at 23 degrees, the areas near the poles would be dark and cold all year long.
      3. If it tilted too much, the seasons would be very extreme for example, on the planet Uranus the winter is 42 years of total darkness!
      4. If Earth did not have a large revolving moon, we would have no tides, causing the ocean waters to grow stagnant and produce no oxygen for its creatures.
      5. What we see is a planet that is perfectly balanced for our habitation. We see design in the perfect balance.
      6. When we see a design we know there is a Designer.
      7. The structure of the universe, which is also like a universal clock, can be designed only by a greatest person.
      8. That greatest being to design such huge things as a universe can be only the creator.
      10. The earth is finely tuned for life, therefore the best explanation is the existence of a fine tuner.

      The more you try to hit and refute my argument, the more it becomes evident how irrational your views are.

      Delete
    76. bwilson wrote

      "No matter what, the fact that the universe allows life does not help us figure out how the universe began. Why not? Because any universe in which we can ask the question is necessarily a universe that allows life.

      The "fine tuning" argument isn't an argument for or against god-did-it. It's not a useful argument for anything at all."

      This has been addressed previously.

      Again, cite from the topic Fine tuning of the Universe, at my library :

      Besides the BBC video, the scientific establishment’s most prestigious journals, and its most famous physicists and cosmologists, have all gone on record as recognizing the objective truth of the fine-tuning. The August ’97 issue of “Science” (the most prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal in the United States) featured an article entitled “Science and God: A Warming Trend?” Here is an excerpt:

      The fact that the universe exhibits many features that foster organic life — such as precisely those physical constants that result in planets and long-lived stars — also has led some scientists to speculate that some divine influence may be present.


      The universe is finely tuned for life
      That can be due to chance, physicial necessity, or design.
      The possibility the universe to be finely tuned by chance is too small.
      Its not due to physical necessity.
      therefore, its due to design.

      If you were dragged before a trained firing squad, and they fired and missed:
      it is true that you should not be surprised to observe that you are not dead, but
      it is equally true that you should be surprised to observe that you are alive.

      If you were asked, ‘How did you survive?’, it would be inadequate to answer, ‘If I didn’t, I would not be here to answer you.’

      Delete
    77. I understand, but I am making the argument that atoms and molecules are finely tuned :-) Consider the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force along with higgs fields and electron charge. With any slight changes in force....no life.

      Sure, that's the case here and now. How do you know what would happen in any other universe? What physical constants would have to exist, and at which values would they have to be set?

      Let me ask the question slightly differently: Let's suppose you are present at the moment of the Big Bang and know the values of all the physical constants in the universe as we know it. However, you have no idea of what actually will happen after the Big Bang, and what if anything will come into existence over time as the universe evolves. You can only attempt to predict this from the physical constants. Can you show how you would know that, 13.8 billion years later, there would be giraffes?

      As usual, please show your work.

      Delete
    78. Diogenes wrote

      " So OG's response is to stamp and scream that, yes, he will eat his cake and have it too: The foremost researchers in the field like Urey came to that conclusion [abiogenesis is impossible].

      Ha ha ha ha! Desperate lying! Which foremost researchers concluded abiogenesis is impossible? Quotes please. "

      If i met you on FB, i would have blocked you. Its a particularly detestable behavior to acuse a oponent of lying, without back up the acusation. But thats a common tactic used by atheists when they are on the corner, and cannot refute our claims with science.

      How about you give a look at the topic "Abiogenesis is impossible" at my virtual library ? There is a considerable list of scientists which back up what i wrote. ABIOGENESIS IS IMPOSSIBLE.

      Harold Urey, a founder of origin-of-life research, describes evolution as a faith which seems to defy logic:
      “All of us who study the origin of life find that the more we look into it, the more we feel that it is too complex to have evolved anywhere. We believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did.

      ― Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis
      “The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.”

      Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, p. 24.

      “The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (10^20)2,000 = 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth [by chance or natural processes], this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court.”

      Ibid., p. 130. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/nave-html/faithpathh/hoyle.html
      Any theory with a probability of being correct that is larger than one part in 10^40,000 must be judged superior to random shuffling [of evolution]. The theory that life was assembled by an intelligence has, we believe, a probability vastly higher than one part in 10^40,000 of being the correct explanation of the many curious facts discussed in preceding chapters. Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.

      Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, p. 3.
      Biochemical systems are exceedingly complex, so much so that the chance of their being formed through random shufflings of simple organic molecules is exceedingly minute, to a point indeed where it is insensibly different from zero.

      Delete
    79. Diogenes wrote

      "Ugh, "physical necessity" means the laws of physics. Physical necessity makes abiogenesis impossible, says OG, "

      nice quote mining. So now you are lying about what i wrote. Bah.... What i wrote is that physical necessity does not explain the origin of life, because the physical constants do not make it necessary for life to emerge in the universe.

      Diogenes wrote

      " And the laws of physics are not the "ALTERNATIVE MECHANISM" to God of the Gaps. "

      Who said that ? The universe is finely tuned to life, therefore a fine tuner. Where is the gap ?

      Diogenes asked

      " Is it possible for non-living matter to become alive, or is it not? "

      With the intervening action of a creator, certainly. We are here.... Without intelligence creating the programming language, the program, and the hardware, there would be no life. Even a ten year old is able to grasp this....

      Delete
    80. LS
      "Sure, that's the case here and now. How do you know what would happen in any other universe? What physical constants would have to exist, and at which values would they have to be set?

      Let me ask the question slightly differently: Let's suppose you are present at the moment of the Big Bang and know the values of all the physical constants in the universe as we know it. However, you have no idea of what actually will happen after the Big Bang, and what if anything will come into existence over time as the universe evolves. You can only attempt to predict this from the physical constants. Can you show how you would know that, 13.8 billion years later, there would be giraffes?"

      I am making the argument that precisely matched components of atoms and molecules (quarks, leptons,etc) are not the product of a random accident based on they're finely tuned nature and ability to assemble into almost infinite complex diversity(life).

      If you believe they are the product of a random accident I am interested in you argument.

      Delete
    81. @bill cole Regarding randomness and fine tuning. It's a puzzle. There's a very interesting (and friendly) discussion between an atheist and a christian (on UK christian radio) that covers this subject. The viewpoint of the christian is surprising.
      http://tinyurl.com/hua8vdu

      Delete
    82. Without intelligence creating the programming language, the program, and the hardware, there would be no life. Even a ten year old is able to grasp this....

      And only someone whose intellectual curiosity stopped at that age can continue to believe it.

      Delete
    83. Consider the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force along with higgs fields and electron charge. With any slight changes in force....no life.

      With regard to the Higgs field, I'd love to see a citation. The Higgs field (imparting mass, which gravity acts on) isn't as strong as the repulsive force exerted by dark energy, in effect making our universe as a whole a place of antigravity. Why this instead of a precise balance between gravity and antigravity, creating a near eternal universe whose heat death would take place long, long after the current one has been consigned to that fate?

      Why an unbalanced universe in which all life and even all useful energy will die out relatively soon? Sloppy Creator?

      Delete
    84. I am making the argument that precisely matched components of atoms and molecules (quarks, leptons,etc) are not the product of a random accident based on they're finely tuned nature and ability to assemble into almost infinite complex diversity(life).

      You don't seem to even understand the "fine tuning" argument you are attempting to defend. Subatomic particles are not "precisely matched" at all. They are just fields that interact with other in ways that are statistically predictable. It's like how if you mix blue and yellow paint, you'll get green. That doesn't mean blue and yellow paint have to be "precisely matched."

      As usual, you're in way over your head. You can get away with this ignorance on Uncommon Descent, but not here.

      If you believe they are the product of a random accident I am interested in you argument.

      I don't. Stop beating this strawman.

      Delete
    85. Fine tuning is not an argument. It is evidence that can support an argument.

      Quantum physics tells us that the universe is "finely tuned" in such a way that the Biblical God, able to know the future with certainty and make everything bend to His will, cannot possibly exist. The universe is inherently probabilistic, not certain. There is unavoidably a great deal of information critical to the future state of the universe that cannot be known in advance by anyone or anything, and this is mathematically provable - in fact, has been proved. So fine tuning is conclusive evidence there is no such entity.

      Thanks, Bill!

      Delete
    86. BTW, Bill Cole, is there a reason you refuse to answer my questions?

      Delete
    87. LS
      "You don't seem to even understand the "fine tuning" argument you are attempting to defend. Subatomic particles are not "precisely matched" at all. They are just fields that interact with other in ways that are statistically predictable. It's like how if you mix blue and yellow paint, you'll get green. That doesn't mean blue and yellow paint have to be "precisely matched.""

      Really? What allows electrons to occupy precise energy states and omit photons of precise frequencies when they change states. How a quarks held together despite the same charge. Why is it that supersymmetry theory has digital code in its mathematics? Mixing paint? How is it that these particles are able to translate solar energy into work?

      " BTW, Bill Cole, is there a reason you refuse to answer my questions?"

      I don't understand their relevance to the argument at hand.

      Delete
    88. Otangelo quote mines Urey!

      Otangelo you were caught lying about Huck, you quote mine Urey. You're whole 'library' seems to be one collection of lies and quote mines.

      Here's an experiment Miller and Urey performed:
      "Urey speculated that the early terrestrial atmosphere was probably composed of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen. One of his Chicago graduate students was Stanley L. Miller, who showed in the Miller–Urey experiment that, if such a mixture be exposed to electric sparks and water, it can interact to produce amino acids, commonly considered the building blocks of life."

      Delete
    89. Really? What allows electrons to occupy precise energy states and omit photons of precise frequencies when they change states.

      "Precise" in what sense? Precisely the frequencies that they are? So what? I am "precisely" 67.5 inches tall. And if I was a different height, I would be "precisely" that height, as well.

      Or maybe a universe could exist that wouldn't be described by quantum mechanics, and in which electrons could occupy infinitely variable energy states, rather than only discreetly quantized levels. What then? Do you know whether such a universe could exist and, if so, what would exist within it? As alway, no assertions. Show your work.

      How a quarks held together despite the same charge.

      Thru the strong nuclear force. Again, so what?

      BTW, I’m a bit intrigued as to how this demonstrates “design”. If you wanted to stick two objects together, would you first impregnate them with a powerful repellent force so that they want to fly apart, and now you have to develop a super strong glue to hold them together? That doesn’t sound very intelligent to me. It sounds more like “stupid design.”

      Why is it that supersymmetry theory has digital code in its mathematics?

      I’m not sure this even a coherent question. What is it with you creationists and the word “digital”? If I step on a digital scale and read my weight, does that mean my body weight contains “digital information”?

      How is it that these particles are able to translate solar energy into work?

      Law of conservation of energy. Again, so what?

      Your problem, to be clear, is that you assume the model that best describes the current universe is the only one that could possibly function out of many other possible models. But how do you know that? Have you gone thru every single other possible model of the universe and calculated what would emerge in each of these? If so, let us know. Once again, you need to show your work.

      I don't understand their relevance to the argument at hand.

      That’s no reason for you to refuse to answer them. Perhaps you’re afraid that answering them will reveal more fully the weaknesses in your argument.

      Delete
    90. What allows electrons to occupy precise energy states and [e]mit photons of precise frequencies when they change states. How a quarks held together despite the same charge.

      The first observation is a quite interesting one that started all of quantum physics. It's called the "black body problem" or "ultraviolet catastrophe." Max Planck solved it mathematically, and Albert Einstein showed it related to real life fundamental physics. (The work for which he won the Nobel Prize was related to this, *not* relativity.) Oversimplified, the problem is this: If emissions from a source of heat or other radiation can have an infinite range of values, how is it that there is not an infinite amount of energy radiated? Of course there cannot be an infinite amount of energy radiated from a non-infinite energy source (except if Jesus is involved), so Planck worked out that energy could be radiated only in defined packages or quantities ("quanta"). From this beginning came the math and physics that showed us the universe is inherently unpredictable and uncontrollable, and thus the Biblical God, able to know and control all, is proved not to exist.

      The quarks also are very interesting. The rules that apply the strong nuclear force to quarks are called "color." The three-quark combinations which comprise nuclear particles that along with electrons make up the matter in the universe must be "colorless" under these rules. They stay together because the strong nuclear force is so powerful that the amount of energy necessary to separate quarks is greater than that which would result in "pair production," creation of quark/anti-quark pairs that would annihilate each other in a burst of gamma radiation. So the energy you were trying to put into separation gets used up by that gamma radiation and the quarks stay together.

      Delete
    91. Otangelo,

      "Cool. If the situation would be as you assert, then we would see life on mars, the moon, on neptun, saturn, and actually even on stars. Following makes quite clear how irrational your argument is: [red-herring here]"

      Seems like either you're too stupid, or you're trying a red-herring since you cannot refute my point. I'll give you an opportunity: show me exactly how "life would be everywhere" follows from "playing with models is just playing with models." No red-herrings. Show me exactly and unambiguously how that would follow.

      Delete
    92. Otangelo,

      "The universe is finely tuned for life"

      So far nobody has proven such a thing. So this is a mere assertion.

      "That can be due to chance, physicial necessity, or design."

      Fallacy of false alternatives. It could be many things: physical possibility, rather than necessity. Physical necessity, mixed with "chance" in infinite potential ratios, etc. "Design" is not al alternative, since there's no such thing as designers unless there's first a universe where life, and then designers could arise. "Design" would put the cart-before-the-horse.

      "The possibility the universe to be finely tuned by chance is too small."

      You cannot know if it's dinely-tuned, and if you could, you cannot know what the probability for it being by "chance" is small or large. How many universes are there to consider? Why so many or so few? How could you possibly know any of that?

      "Its not due to physical necessity."

      You cannot know that either. This is yet another assertion that requires support that you cannot possibly obtain.

      "therefore, its due to design."

      Not possible because designers can only exist where there's life, and where there's a possibility for life to give rise to designers. You're shooting yourself in the foot. If the universe had to be finely-tuned for life, then you cannot consider a designer, since such designer could only exist in a universe that was finely-tuned for life.

      So everything is wrong with your arguments. Loaded assumptions, false alternatives, and a huge amount of stupidity, all in one.

      I'm still waiting for your proof that "life would be everywhere" follows from my point that "playing with equations is just playing with equations." Don't forget!

      Delete
    93. I'll just point out that none of the creationists here have even attempted to address Diogenes's point about the incompatibility of the claim that the universe was "fine tuned for life" with the claim that abiogenesis cannot happen thru natural physical and chemical processes without the direct intervention of God. These creationists are not always as dumb as they appear. They seem to know an unanswerable argument when they see one.

      Delete
    94. I wonder how a fine-tuner estimates the probability of a reality which contains a disembodied and omniscient mind with unlimited magical abilities to affect the material universe. Claiming that explanation A is improbable must be completed by an estimate that explanation B is less improbable than A.

      Delete
    95. Don't be so hard on these folks. As things go in their world, it is a mere minor objection that the universe strains to bring forth amoebae, but an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Supreme Being is a lead pipe cinch.

      Delete
    96. lutesuite,

      I often wonder what makes us think that creationists care about coherence.

      Delete
    97. @lutesuite "And, if God can simply perform magic to cause life to exist, then why does he need to finely tune the universe in the first place?". Yes, a universe trillions of times larger than what we can observe (probably) does seem... superfluous. A biblical type universe, with Earth at the centre, would have been enough

      Delete
    98. Judmarc
      "Don't be so hard on these folks. As things go in their world, it is a mere minor objection that the universe strains to bring forth amoebae, but an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Supreme Being is a lead pipe cinch."

      Yes, this is Dawkin's argument that he made in the God delusion. Disqualify a supreme being up front and watch your opponents argue themselves in circles.

      The problem is the same as the Universal Common descent argument. They are both based on circular reasoning.

      Delete
    99. Oh, look. Bill Cole pops in to remind us what an absolute ignoramus he is, in case anyone might forget.

      Tell me: Is one of your high priests, Michael Behe, engaging in "circular reasoning" when he accepts common descent?

      Delete
    100. Bill,

      "Yes, this is Dawkin's argument that he made in the God delusion. Disqualify a supreme being up front and watch your opponents argue themselves in circles."

      Why should a "supreme being" be "qualified" in the first place? These beings have a well established trajectory of being merely imaginary. Why doubt that fantasies are fantasies?

      "The problem is the same as the Universal Common descent argument. They are both based on circular reasoning."

      There's nothing circular about universal common descent. It's also just a proposal. A huge hypothesis. Maybe there's more lineages than just a huge one. Maybe only one. Maybe it's a meaningless hypothesis given the way microbes evolve and their genomes dance. I don't know and I don't care except if I'm the one to discover strong evidence for either.

      Delete
    101. photosynthesis
      "There's nothing circular about universal common descent. It's also just a proposal. A huge hypothesis. Maybe there's more lineages than just a huge one. Maybe only one. Maybe it's a meaningless hypothesis given the way microbes evolve and their genomes dance. I don't know and I don't care except if I'm the one to discover strong evidence for either."

      I pretty much agree with your statement. Except I do believe common descent is assumed without direct evidence. There is evidence for and against common descent but the trees made by evolutionary biologists are "best fit" i.e. based on morphology and genetic fits. Common descent is assumed based on the closeness of fit yet there is no direct evidence showing species descent from a common ancestor.

      " Why should a "supreme being" be "qualified" in the first place? These beings have a well established trajectory of being merely imaginary. Why doubt that fantasies are fantasies?"

      You are calling a supreme being a fantasy and again you are assuming your conclusion.

      For thousands of years their have been claims about supreme beings. The question is their evidence that can support this conclusion?

      If you discount the evidence up front you never evaluate this possibility.

      This blog gets inundated with evidence that could support this conclusion but the evidence is generally ignored. Cognitive bias is real and affects all of us.

      Delete
    102. Bill,

      Common descent and universal common descent are not the same thing. Common descent can be quite convincingly demonstrated for closely related species (I know, it sounds circular since I call them "closely related," but the vocabulary has a post-facto reason, not a circular one, not mere assumption). For example humans, chimps, gorillas, and oran-gutans, then all the way to all primates. And I mean true beyond reasonable doubt.

      As divergence between species increases, the evidence might become less convincing on its own. For example, humans, chimps, gorillas and oran-gutans, tremendously convincing. Going from there to primates, still very convincing, just not as strongly as with the closest guys. There's many more chromosome rearrangements that obscure the analyses, but still possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt.

      As I was saying divergence increases the evidence on its own might not look as convincing unless we look at the evidence for the closest relatives. Given that common descent is so evident for the closest groups, we have to agree that, even if the evidence is not as strong for farther removed organisms (see, again, that my vocabulary makes it sound "circular," but my vocabulary has a post-knowledge reason). If we had to get common descent competing with independent evolution of, say, vertebrae, we would be in trouble, so the most plausible scenario is that all vertebrates inherited vertebrae from a common ancestor. This is later confirmed by the analyses of the genes behind the development of vertebrae. Etc, etc.

      However, there's a point where the patterns and the competition between inheritance from a common ancestor, horizontal gene transfer, etc, becomes less "winnable" by either, and we might be talking about lots of somewhat "independent" bunches of ancestors, rather than a universal one.

      Again, our vocabulary might make it sound circular, but the vocabulary has been modified by our knowledge. It's post-facto vocabulary.

      I think you did not read my comment about "supreme beings" too carefully. They have a very strong track record of being imaginary. Concocted out of ignorance. Volcano gods, thunder gods, ocean gods, storm gods, rain gods, war gods, etc. It's easy to trace back the history of more complicated gods starting from those less developed imaginary beings, and very difficult to argue that our imaginations have not been imaginations in the past. So I reject "supreme beings" at least on that basis.

      Why else? Well, believers reject obvious results from science on the basis of their gods. Therefore, those gods are fantasies too. After all, if knowledge about volcanoes helps us understand that volcanoes never were authentic "supreme beings," why think differently of "supreme beings" that contradict the nature of other phenomena?

      I have heard multiple arguments for the existence of gods, and all of them fail. Some fail at the very core because they are concocted to defend gods that leads people to reject obvious results from science. Why should I bother listening if I already know these gods to be the exact same kinds of fantasies as volcano gods? I still listen out of curiosity about how people make fools out of themselves, and I always catch their fallacies. Their problematic thinking, and their volcano-gods mentality. (I actually was one of them at some time in my life, but I grew up.)

      Delete
    103. There is evidence for and against common descent...

      Really? What is some of this evidence against common descent?

      Delete
    104. This blog gets inundated with evidence that could support this conclusion but the evidence is generally ignored.

      It's almost cute that you would write this. Are you one of the people who have been "inundating" this board with evidence for God?

      Cognitive bias is real and affects all of us.

      Except you. Is that right, Bill?



      Delete
    105. Except I do believe common descent is assumed without direct evidence. There is evidence for and against common descent but the trees made by evolutionary biologists are "best fit" i.e. based on morphology and genetic fits. Common descent is assumed based on the closeness of fit yet there is no direct evidence showing species descent from a common ancestor.

      Odd you've never heard of fossils. Not only are the similarities in morphologies of these fossils cross-correlated with degree of genetic similarity (thus "trees" done prior to large-scale availability of genetic information correspond beautifully with trees that exclusively rely on genetic information), but the times from the available dating methods put the fossils in the chronological order they should have if the trees are correct. Thus you have cross-correlation from paleontology to genetics to geology to nuclear physics. Four separate and distinct sciences reaching conclusions that each could well have shown the conclusion of common ancestry was false, but instead cross-confirmed each other.

      Sorry Bill, but when it comes to "no evidence of common ancestry," what you think you "know" just ain't so.

      Delete
    106. Photosynthesis
      "However, there's a point where the patterns and the competition between inheritance from a common ancestor, horizontal gene transfer, etc, becomes less "winnable" by either, and we might be talking about lots of somewhat "independent" bunches of ancestors, rather than a universal one."

      I basically agree with you here. My circular argument comment is on Universal Common Descent. I think there is certainly common descent among species the question is how much. I have gone into this discussion with John Harshman and read a few papers he wrote on flightless birds. Establishing these trees is very challenging.

      " I have heard multiple arguments for the existence of gods, and all of them fail. Some fail at the very core because they are concocted to defend gods that leads people to reject obvious results from science. Why should I bother listening if I already know these gods to be the exact same kinds of fantasies as volcano gods? I still listen out of curiosity about how people make fools out of themselves, and I always catch their fallacies. Their problematic thinking, and their volcano-gods mentality. (I actually was one of them at some time in my life, but I grew up.)"

      Can you give me an example of a failed argument?

      Delete
    107. Bill:
      I have gone into this discussion with John Harshman and read a few papers he wrote on flightless birds. Establishing these trees is very challenging.

      To be more precise: you have read at most one paper I wrote on flightless birds, and it isn't clear you understood much of it. Establishing these trees is sometimes challenging, sometimes easy. The important node in the paper you mention turns out to be quite easy as long as you use appropriate data (pretty much any sequences other than mitochondrial).

      Universal common descent isn't circular, though it's certainly one of the more challenging questions. I don't believe you have any idea of how science is done, what the role of "direct evidence" is, how hypotheses are tested, or much of anything else in that vein.

      And nobody is discounting the evidence for God. They have presented arguments against the supposed evidence, quite another thing. I think you are conveniently ignoring the arguments, as you so often do.

      While I have you here, do you agree that there is strong evidence for the common descent of all paleognath birds, and no evidence against it? You do have a tendency to lose interest in a discussion whenever continuing would force you to acknowledge a point.

      Delete
    108. John
      "While I have you here, do you agree that there is strong evidence for the common descent of all paleognath birds, and no evidence against it? You do have a tendency to lose interest in a discussion whenever continuing would force you to acknowledge a point."

      John, can you explain to me how this conclusion in your paper is consistent with a hypothesis of common descent among paleognath birds.

      " Exhaustive analyses of DNA sequence data from 20 unlinked nuclear genes provide strong evidence that ratites are polyphyletic. We have discovered a robust genome-wide signal that is not associated with any known phylogenetic artifact. We believe this phylogeny resolves a debate on ratite origins that began in the time of Huxley and Owen (3–5). Our phylogeny implies that the numerous striking similarities associated with flightlessness (1) had independent origins in various ratite lineages. Thus, the flightless ratites are living evidence of parallel evolutionary trajectories from flighted ancestors. The possibility that multiple, unique developmental genetic pathways underlie the ratite form should be tested in light of this new phylogenetic hypothesis. Finally, our phylogeny removes the need to postulate vicariance by continental drift to explain ratite distribution. Although that theory seemed to represent a consilience between evolutionary biology and geology, it was never completely consistent either with any published phylogeny or the existence of paleognath fossils in the Northern hemisphere (45, 57). Perhaps the impact of our phylogeny should be viewed as yet another example of the phenomenon that Huxley called “the great tragedy of science—the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.”

      Delete
    109. I think there is certainly common descent among species the question is how much.

      I'm having a hard time understanding this statement. How can there be just a little bit of common descent?

      Delete
    110. Isn't that amazing, John Harshman? Here you had disproven common ancestry and proven the existence of God, both in one paper. And you didn't even realize it! How lucky that you have Bill Cole to interpret your research and tell you what it really means. You'd be lost without him, wouldn't you?

      Delete
    111. @photosynthesis "Common descent can be quite convincingly demonstrated for closely related species ". How about two very different species. A 100kg bipedal primate and a 5g avian mammal. There's an almost perfect mapping of the bones of the skeleton between the two species. This looks very much like the two species must be derived from a common ancestor.
      http://imgur.com/58ntmQh

      Delete
    112. BC, ratites are paleognaths, but not all paleognaths are ratites. Your quote says that ratites (ostriches, kiwis, cassowaries, etc.) are a polyphyletic group. They are not necessarily each other's closest relatives. The quote goes on about this because the article is refuting a particular hypothesis about ratite evolution.

      The quote does not in any way contradict the idea that all paleognaths share a common ancestor. It just indicates that ratites (flightless) have ancestors and cousins (different paleognaths, including tinamous) that could fly.

      Delete
    113. Allan Jones,

      What makes you think I disagree that there's common ancestry there? Did you see that I mentioned vertebrates?

      The issue with creationists is that they don't see things the same way we do. This is why I start by explaining that there's obvious, "no excuses are possible," ones. Once those are understood, and their irrefutability. I mean organisms sharing even parasitic DNA elements in the very same positions, or the same "disabling" mutations in pseudogenes, the biogeography of the living species and of the fossils that put them even better together, the fossils themselves, their anatomies, plus their timing. Those make cases strong beyond any reasonable doubt (unreasonable is always possible). After those, the rest, like your flying mammal (why did you write "avian mammal"?) and primate, get much easier to accept given that independent evolution of everything from bone structure to organs to etc, etc, is a rather hard sell.

      The issue is that for creationists similar anatomy, no matter how hard to evolve independently, is not enough to establish common ancestry because, to them, gods are out there making similar life forms like engineers make similar cars. But if they already understand that common ancestry between at least some species can be established beyond reasonable doubt, then our reasons to accept common ancestry based on similarities-that-cannot-be-explained-by-independent-evolution become understandable (even if they don't accept them). Understanding would be quite an accomplishment, right?

      Delete
    114. Bill,

      "My circular argument comment is on Universal Common Descent."

      I know. This is how we started the conversation. I disagree that there's any circularity about it. Only, again, it's a huge hypothesis still under scrutiny. (A lot of people accept it, but I think that it's still an open question.

      "I think there is certainly common descent among species the question is how much.

      Agreed. But I suspect that we both draw the line at very different depths.

      "I have gone into this discussion with John Harshman and read a few papers he wrote on flightless birds"

      From what I read between you and John right here, you are mistaking common ancestry and monophyletic origins of some group. Here the group of flightless birds. The issue is not whether these flightless birds share common ancestry, but whether they form a monophyletic group.

      John's analyses suggest, quite convincingly, that these birds evolved their flightless-associated characteristics independently, rather than all the flightless species being derived from a single species of flightless birds. I told you, independent evolution of some characteristics can be quite a hard sell, but John's phylogenetic studies, combined with the biogeography of those birds, etc, make for a good case. So, as a group, flightless birds would be polyphyletic. In other words, they did not inherit their flightless-associated characteristics from a common ancestor. However, they ultimately share common ancestry since all of them come from the same subgroup of birds. Namely the paleognath birds.

      Clear enough?

      Delete
    115. John, can you explain to me how this conclusion in your paper is consistent with a hypothesis of common descent among paleognath birds.

      Bill, what this shows is that you don't understand what you read. You should probably take this as an indication that you shouldn't be so quick to reject the claims of standard biology. And you should probably begin to doubt your ability to understand what you think is the evidence against common descent (which you have never managed to present or reference).

      bwilson has explained, but I'll repeat: ratites are polyphyletic but paleognaths are monophyletic. This is quite clearly stated in the paper.

      Delete
    116. John
      "Bill, what this shows is that you don't understand what you read. You should probably take this as an indication that you shouldn't be so quick to reject the claims of standard biology. And you should probably begin to doubt your ability to understand what you think is the evidence against common descent (which you have never managed to present or reference)"

      Yes, this subject is new to me. Asking a question in not rejecting your hypothesis, it is trying to understand it. You asked me to agree that there is strong evidence supporting common descent of paleognaths and I don't know how unless I understand your work.

      Is the Ostrich classified under paleognaths? Based on the limited genetic information published in your paper this seemed to be the biggest outlier.

      Delete
    117. Photosynthesis

      "From what I read between you and John right here, you are mistaking common ancestry and monophyletic origins of some group. Here the group of flightless birds. The issue is not whether these flightless birds share common ancestry, but whether they form a monophyletic group."

      If they are not monophyletic do you think that this may weaken the common descent hypothesis?

      Delete
    118. Bill,

      Yes, ostriches are paleognaths. Are you sure you read the paper? To pick one statement of several: "Analyses of this dataset support a phylogeny in which paleognaths are monophyletic but ratites are not."

      If you actually want to see all the genetic information behind the paper, look at this. You can get it in two formats, Nexus and NeXML, in links at the bottom. Neither is all that user-friendly. What makes this evidence of common descent is that multiple genes all tell the same story. The story is in the paper, and just staring at the raw sequence won't tell you much of interest.

      So, to repeat: if you can't understand the evidence for common descent, what makes you think you understand the supposed evidence against common descent, whatever it may be?

      Delete
    119. If they are not monophyletic do you think that this may weaken the common descent hypothesis?

      Holy shit. It beggars belief that someone ignorant and stupid enough to even ask this question thinks he knows better than John Harshman and every other competent researcher in the field how the diversity of species inhabiting the earth arose.

      Delete
    120. John,
      "What makes this evidence of common descent is that multiple genes all tell the same story. The story is in the paper, and just staring at the raw sequence won't tell you much of interest."

      I will re read the paper tonight with your clarifications in mind.

      Is there any evidence from this paper that weakens the common descent hypothesis in your opinion? i.e. multiple loss of flightlessness or the ostriches DNA that has both paleognath and neognath type sequences.

      Delete
    121. Is there any evidence from this paper that weakens the common descent hypothesis in your opinion?

      I suppose that every instance of homoplasy is a slight weakening of the common descent hypothesis, if you really want to think of it that way. Mind you, we expect to see homoplasy under common descent, so it can't really be used as evidence. The question for you to ask is what we would expect to see under whatever you want to present as an alternative — separate creation? — that we don't expect to see under common descent. I'd say we would expect to see no consistent relationships between "kinds" in the data. The paper falsifies that expectation, therefore no separate creation within Palaeognathae.

      Ostrich DNA doesn't have both paleognath and neognath type sequences, and I don't think even you know what you mean by that.

      Delete
    122. Bill Cole, I have to ask: Do you even understand what common descent is? The type of questions you are asking is not what would be expected from someone who does.

      Delete
    123. Bill,

      "If they are not monophyletic do you think that this may weaken the common descent hypothesis?"

      No. It only weakens the idea that those flightless birds are more direct relatives to each other than to other members of the larger group called paleognaths. They're still relatives, only they're "cousins," rather than "sisters."

      Delete
    124. I guess Bill thinks if his cousin has different parents than he has, then this strengthens the hypothesis that babies are delivered by the stork.

      Delete
  8. DNA is the evidence for a creator. Whats in it adds very little to the equation of complexity not being birthed by chance.
    Good fortune to the story by the author and its good to see books having association with organized ID/etc as it is a revolution in our times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robert,
      If YEC = True, ID = False.
      If ID = True, YEC = False.

      Why are you trying to ride two horses when you aren't even capable of staying in the saddle of one?

      Delete
    2. I have been reading through Stephen Goulds big summery of evolutiuon, I forget the title, and cleartly he picks what he likes abut Darwin, selection, and rejects what he doesn't like, gradualism.
      YEC sides with ID where right intellectual concepts are pushed and with audiences.
      YEC+ID(relative to points) =true.
      Watch your math!

      Delete
    3. If YEC = True, ID = False.
      If ID = True, YEC = False.


      I don't believe that is true. The IDiots take great pains to emphasize that theirs is a Big Tent, and all deniers of evolution are welcome. Several YEC's have held prominent roles in the ID Creationist movement. Sal Cordova and Paul Nelson come to mind.

      The reason, of course, is that a YEC's money is worth as much as anyone else's. And the IDiots like having as many people as possible to fleece.

      Delete
    4. Byers says: "I have been reading through Stephen Goulds big summery of evolutiuon, I forget the title"

      Uh huh. Sure you are, Robert. Why am I reminded of the time Sarah Palin was asked which newspapers she read, and she replied, "All of them"? Sure, Sarah. We can tell from how knowledgeable your are.

      Delete
  9. "Wait... the DI is using a FICTION book as evidence that they are right?

    You really can't make this stuff up"

    Reality doesn't work for them. What else but fiction do they have left?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have no brief for Buff, creationism, or the Discovery Institute, but most contributors to this great blog, including Larry, are card carrying scientists. It is easy to type a few words, but it demeans this blog if we criticize a book without first reading it, even if the associated blurb seems suspicious. As Obama would say, this is not what America [Science} is about. This is not what we do! So please, less typing and more reading folks! Otherwise, just go and have a cup of coffee and stop cluttering the internet. Or if you must clutter, do it with style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Show me where anyone has made a criticism of the book that cannot be substantiated by evidence that is available without reading the entire book.

      Also, do you consider book reviews to be science?

      Delete
    2. I’ve read the one excerpt posted on News and Views and I agree with a previous post - it is very stilted prose. Mind you, many very popular novels have suffered the same affliction.

      It reads a bit like a newspaper exposé. What compels the person to keep on reading the newspaper is the expectation that it is divulging factual circumstances within the timeline of an intriguing or important event. Personally, I would find it difficult to continue reading if I knew from the start all of the details were fictional.

      The payoff for some of course is the same payoff that comes from all the little vignettes and Christian movies out there; basically, some version of the situation where a humble Christian risks all to challenge an arrogant and authoritarian atheist out of high principle. This always ends triumphantly for the Christian, where the atheist becomes convinced of his errors and commits to Jesus Christ on the spot, or runs off humiliated.

      I am not sure why this constitutes an emotional payoff since all of the circulated permutations of this story are obviously fictional and do not describe real events.

      Delete
    3. DF: "...but it demeans this blog if we criticize a book without first reading it..."

      Unless I completely misread Larry's OP, and the subsequent comments, nobody is criticizing the book. They are criticizing its use by the DI in support of ID.

      Science fiction is, above all, fiction. Even science fiction authors will tell you that the genre isn't about relating "what is", it is about asking "what if", and following where that would lead. This book is about how would society, and the people within it, react IF a message was found in DNA that strongly suggested that life was created?

      As a piece of speculative fiction, I would probably enjoy it, as I do with many others. But agreeing with the author on how a scenario might play out given a certain premise is differ than saying that I, or the author, believe that the initial premise is correct. That's why they call it fiction.

      Delete
    4. Donald says: "it demeans this blog if we criticize a book without first reading it"

      I laughed when I read that. OK, Larry didn't criticize the book. But come on.

      I can go off to Amazon's romance novels section and copy some blurbs.

      "Bought and Paid For: The Billionaire's Girlfriend": A charismatic, young, and gorgeously handsome playboy billionaire, Harvey Pace can have anything in the world. Today, he wants a girlfriend.

      "Pretend You're Mine": Luke Garrison is a hometown hero, a member of the National Guard ready to deploy again. Strong, sweet, and sexy, he doesn't have a girlfriend and doesn't want one. When the wildly beautiful Harper stumbles into his life, though, he realizes that she's the perfect decoy. A fake girlfriend to keep his family off his back until he's out on another mission. So what if a single bite of her lip sends his mind to wicked places? He can control himself. Can't he?

      And yes, I can make fun of these books without reading them.

      Delete
  11. When William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies came out, people used to argue that it proved this or that about human nature. Apparently forgetting that it was fiction.

    This sounds much the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. never read the book but saw the old movie. It doesn't prove anything but wasa acommentary on human nature. In fact i understand it was a criticism of another book about boys on a island who maintain a Evangelical christian belief system.
      Goldings book was another anti-Christian rant that boys will, human nature, diminish after leaving organized society's controls and go back to nature. Nature with no real God/Christ.
      Good movie but thats all its worth as usual.

      Delete
  12. "I started to write this novel only for two reasons; I had a story to tell, and ideas I wanted to communicate."

    L. Ron Hubbard started out exactly the same way, so this guy might have a future.

    "One of the things I hope people understand about evolution, when they're done reading the book, is that there's really so much more to it when you work through what has to have happened, and how, that in the end there's really a lot more that's been unexplained than explained."

    Welcome to science, buddy, where there are, have always been, and always will be, questions. (I'm trying top ignore the the grammatical clumsiness of "...a lot more that's been unexplained...". I mean, how the hell do you 'unexplain' something?) But since there's so much that is still to be known, let's just insert GOD DID IT!, shall we? [/sarcasm]

    "One of the key things I hope people think about, when they're done reading this novel, is that we really can't take things on faith..."

    Sorry, have to take my irony meter in for repair, it just took out half the block. The neighbours will want an explanation, can anyone provide me with an alibi?

    Dave Bailey

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, ID is how many decades old and someone is finally using it in a novel?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Carl Sagan did anticipate some of the book's premise with his Contact (the novel, in particular) where scientists start discovering "messages" in hugely multidigit expansions of transcendental numbers, such as pi. Athiest as he was, Sagan posits these came merely from "advanced beings," as Wikipedia calls them. Transcendental numbers, it seems to me, would be a more reliable place than DNA to store evidence of a "creator" since they aren't subject to environmental vicissitudes and drift. But wouldn't it be fun if e and pi told different creation myths, like the first two books of Genesis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But a being that could change the values of pi or, worse, e at will would not be constrained by math and therefore, not be constrained by logic. Could it create a boulder so heavy that it could not lift it? Could it get itself lost? And so on. Beings that can make up the laws of logic lead to all sorts of apparent contradictions.

      Of course, if God *didn't* create the laws of logic, then he's subject to the laws of logic-- so you get rid of the 'can he create a boulder so heavy he couldn't lift it' type of problems-- but then you have the problem, who created the laws of logic? Presumably that means laws can just pop into existence from nothing, and there goes the whole Ravi Zacharias 'law requires a lawgiver' nonsense. If laws can pop into existence from nothing, we don't have to explain where the laws of physics came from.

      Delete
  15. Bruce Buff, in the video clip, makes clear that he was in contact with the Discovery Institute during work on it, and that he found their arguments "compelling". I doubt very much that they told him that Dembski's arguments have fallen apart under close examination, as have the Dembski-Ewert-Marks arguments. If they presented those zombie arguments as valid, and he found them "compelling", then he has swallowed the Kool-Aid.

    In a talk I heard him give, Stephen Meyer said that our DNA had been found to have "digital information" that could only have come from intelligence. It turns out that what he means is that our DNA has "digital information" that codes for proteins and for RNAs. What a surprise. It is similar to the astonishing discovery that the books on our shelves have "digital information" in the form of an alphabetic code.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kind of reminds me of the Douglas Adams' joke about earthlings being impressed by digital watches. I guess the word "digital" still holds some exotic cachet for the DI's intended audience.

      Delete
    2. Proper reply: "I got your digital information, right here", combined with appropriate hand gesture involving middle digit.

      Delete
    3. The DI types love to say, in effect, that not only are these books filled with words organized into sentences, we have discovered that they are filled with alphabetic information!

      ... hoping that people will think that this is some remarkable new discovery of science.

      Delete
    4. JH: "Proper reply: "I got your digital information, right here", combined with appropriate hand gesture involving middle digit.""

      I must come from a lower (and sexist) class. I remember our response was to grasp our inner thigh rather than to use the middle finger.

      Delete
    5. Sure, but that doesn't fit the "digital" theme.

      Delete
    6. Joe says: "Stephen Meyer said that our DNA had been found to have "digital information" that could only have come from intelligence"

      Except that they're aren't any digits because it's not digital, and it's the kind of information that we know doesn't come from intelligent beings. I mean, if it's digital, what are the digits? Some gene codes for a protein that goes Histidine-Valine-Glycine-Alanine... what are the digits? Digital my ass.

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

      Delete
    8. Diogenes wrote

      " what are the digits? Digital my ass."

      tell it Dawkins. LOL

      After Watson and Crick, we know that genes themselves, within their minute internal structure, are long strings of pure digital information. What is more, they are truly digital, in the full and strong sense of computers and compact disks, not in the weak sense of the nervous system. The genetic code is not a binary code as in computers, nor an eight-level code as in some telephone systems, but a quaternary code, with four symbols. The machine code of the genes is uncannily computerlike. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular-biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer-engineering journal. . . .
      Our genetic system, which is the universal system of all life on the planet, is digital to the core. With word-for-word accuracy, you could encode the whole of the New Testament in those parts of the human genome that are at present filled with “junk” DNA – that is, DNA not used, at least in the ordinary way, by the body. Every cell in your body contains the equivalent of forty-six immense data tapes, reeling off digital characters via numerous reading heads working simultaneously. In every cell, these tapes – the chromosomes – contain the same information, but the reading heads in different kinds of cells seek out different parts of the database for their own specialist purposes. . . .
      Genes are pure information – information that can be encoded, recoded and decoded, without any degradation or change of meaning. Pure information can be copied and, since it is digital information, the fidelity of the copying can be immense. DNA characters are copied with an accuracy that rivals anything modern engineers can do.
      Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden, 16-19


      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12540920

      Two features of DNA structure account for much of its remarkable impact on science: its digital nature and its complementarity, whereby one strand of the helix binds perfectly with its partner. DNA has two types of digital information--the genes that encode proteins, which are the molecular machines of life, and the gene regulatory networks that specify the behaviour of the genes.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22615471

      The digital linear coding carried by the base pairs in the DNA double helix is now known to have an important component that acts by altering, along its length, the natural shape and stiffness of the molecule.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22903519

      DNA is among the most dense and stable information media known. The development of new technologies in both DNA synthesis and sequencing make DNA an increasingly feasible digital storage medium. We developed a strategy to encode arbitrary digital information in DNA, wrote a 5.27-megabit book using DNA microchips, and read the book by using next-generation DNA sequencing.

      Delete
    9. Otangelo,

      The word "digital" doesn't mean god-did-it. It just means that the stuff we're examining looks to be in discrete items, rather than in continuous ones. So, that DNA can be described as "digital" doesn't mean that we see it as a computer hard drive manufactured by gods. It just means that it has pieces, abstracted by us as "As, Ts, Gs and Cs." It doesn't mean anything else.

      People using DNA as a hard drive doesn't mean that DNA is naturally a true manufactured hard drive. It just means that it can be used that way.

      Delete
    10. Photosynthesis wrote

      "The word "digital" doesn't mean god-did-it. "

      Mainstream science kicks your ass, showing that the dna code is truly digital, and now you move goal posts.

      then you go on and say:

      "DNA can be described as "digital" doesn't mean that we see it as a computer hard drive manufactured by gods. "

      Why not? Why is that not the most rational inference ? Just because it does not fit your wishful world without God ?

      DNA is STAGGERING evidence for God's existence.

      There is a topic at my library with the title :

      Origin of the DNA double helix, evidence of design.

      The molecular constituents of the DNA structure appear to have optimized chemical properties to produce a stable helical structure capable of storing the information required for the cell’s operation. Detailed accounts of how such an optimized structure for the cell’s most fundamental information storage medium could have arisen naturally have not been produced. To suppose that such extensive optimization could have come into being by blind chance is a far greater leap of faith than design.

      DNA can only be replicated in the presence of specific enzymes which can only be manufactured by the already existing DNA. Each is absolutely essential for the other, and both must be present for the DNA to multiply. Therefore, DNA has to have been in existence in the beginning for life to be controlled by DNA. There is no natural chemical tendency for the series of base chemicals in the DNA molecule to line up a series of R-groups in the orderly way required for life to begin. Therefore being contrary to natural chemical laws, the base-R group relationship and the structure of DNA could not have formed by random chemical action.
      Scott M. Huse, "The Collapse of Evolution", Baker Book
      House: Grand Rapids (Michigan), 1983 p:93-94

      "The origin of the genetic code is the most baffling aspect of the problem of the origins of life and a major conceptual or experimental breakthrough may be needed before we can make any substantial progress." Written by biochemist Dr Leslie Orgel (Salk Institute, California) in the article "Darwinism at the Very Beginning of Life" in New Scientist, April 15, 1982 p:151

      Computer scientists have demonstrated that information does not, and cannot arise spontaneously. Information only results from the input of energy, under the all-important direction of intelligence. Therefore, as DNA is information, it cannot have been formed by natural chemical means. P. Moorhead & M. Kaplan (eds.), "Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution", Wistar Institute: Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), 1967

      Delete
    11. When did I move any goalposts you idiot? Are you mistaking me for someone else? I never said that DNA was not digital. I explained to you what digital means and how anything in nature being digital is not a surprise.

      Computer scientists have demonstrated quite the opposite, that information can and does arise spontaneously. Physicists have also demonstrated this time and again. There's even a hypothesis about the conservation of information for the universe itself, and Hawking describes the information of black holes. Black holes are not intelligent beings, nor are they formed by intelligent beings, but out of gravitational forces.

      Intelligence itself requires the input of energy and information. So you're again putting the cart-before-the-horse.

      You can quote thousands upon thousands of your crap, and you'll still be far from refuting my points, because for that you have to understand what I'm saying and think. Both of which you rather not do.

      I'm still waiting for the proof for your claim that "there would be life everywhere, mars, venus, pluto, and even stars" follows from my point that "playing with equations is just playing with equations." You're not avoiding this, are you?

      Delete
    12. Photosynthesis

      true, it was Diogenes which wrote " what are the digits? Digital my ass."

      You wrote:

      " Computer scientists have demonstrated quite the opposite, that information can and does arise spontaneously. "

      haha. Really ??!!

      The information stored in dna INSTRUCTS about the precise sequence of amino acids in order to get functional proteins.

      Davies writes:
      I shall argue that it is not enough to know how life's immense structural complexity arose; we must also account for the origin of biological information. As we shall see, scientists are still very far from solving this fundamental conceptual puzzle. Some people rejoice in such ignorance, imagining that it leaves room for a miraculous creation.

      http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1303/1303.6739.pdf

      Ibid., p. 148.

      “No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. Troops of monkeys thundering away at random on typewriters could not produce the works of Shakespeare, for the practical reason that the whole observable universe is not large enough to contain the necessary monkey hordes, the necessary typewriters, and certainly the waste paper baskets required for the deposition of wrong attempts. The same is true for living material.”

      Delete
    13. Hey Otangelo,
      once again you only quote mine Davies and quote only the little bit of the book which fits your needs.

      The next sentence after your quote:
      "As we shall see, scientists are still very far from solving from solving this fundamental conceptual puzzle. Some people rejoice in such ignorance, imagining that it leaves room for a miraculous creation. However... intervention. Just because scientists are are still uncertain how life began does not mean life cannot have had a natural origin."

      And this one, bottom of page 29:
      "No intelligent supervisor, no mystic force, no conscious controlling agency swings the molecules into place at the right tie, chooses the appropriate players, closes the links, uncouuples the partners, moves them on. The dance of life is spontaneous, silf-sustaining, and self-creating"

      There you have it people Otangelo caught lying and quote mining *again* . Another one of his main sources of quotes isn't on his creationist bandwagon, just like Urey and Huck and Davies neither of them supports Otangelo's fantasies.

      Strike 3, you're out.
      "Some people rejoice in suc ignorance

      Delete
    14. It's remarkable how Otangelo just keeps on lying no matter how often he gets caught. Maybe he forgets where he is and thinks he's on his Facebook page, where he can block anyone with the temerity to point out his dishonesty.

      Delete
    15. Ed wrote

      "There you have it people Otangelo caught lying and quote mining *again*

      Ed, yes, i like to quote scientists that are *NOT* theists. Because if i quote Ken Ham or Morris et al, the acusation will be : These are creationists....

      All Davies expresses, is HIS PERSONAL OPINION, based on the fact that he is a skeptic. What is relevant in all this, is the SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. What nature demonstrates.

      And what nature shows, is a SHOW of God's power and geniality. Sorry, no. Randomness has in my view not the power and capability to top a intelligence as creative force.

      Delete
    16. BTW, the 2nd article that Otangelo cites was discussed in another forum that I belong to. One of the authors actually dropped by and tried to defend it. It was quite an embarrassing performance on his part:

      http://www.rationalskepticism.org/general-debunking/bizarre-article-claims-genetic-code-is-result-of-design-t38328.html?hilit=wow%20signal

      Delete
    17. haha.

      I think actually Coroama did a EXTRAORDINARY job defending the argument. What exactly do you think was embarassing of what he wrote ??!!

      I know, i know.....

      i bet, i am almost 100% sure, Rumraket will show up soon..kkkkk

      Delete
    18. I'm not surprised you found Coroama's encephalopathic droolings impressive. Birds of a feather, right? You'll also notice he was banned as a sockpuppet. You creationists sure have a high respect for honesty in your discussions, don't you?

      However, he is not the author of the paper to whom I was referring, you dolt. That would be "Max" who makes his appearance on page 11 of the thread. Enjoy the reaming out he receives.

      You might also notice, on the first page of that discussion, the editor of a biology journal reveals that the article was rejected by his publication. It seems the authors (who are mathematicians) couldn't find a biology to publish their screed, because such journals tend to use reviewers who actually understand genetics. So they ended up publishing it in an astronomy journal, where it was safe from the prying eyes of people who are actually competent in the field it attempts to address.

      Delete
    19. Otangelo, in case you didn't notice, Davies does'n't agree with your fantasy. Can't you read?

      "As we shall see, scientists are still very far from solving from solving this fundamental conceptual puzzle. Some people rejoice in such ignorance, imagining that it leaves room for a miraculous creation. However... intervention. Just because scientists are are still uncertain how life began does not mean life cannot have had a natural origin."

      You can try to dodge all you want, but Davies doesn't support your fantasy, au contrair he explicitly denies this:
      "No intelligent supervisor, no mystic force, no conscious controlling agency swings the molecules into place at the right tie, chooses the appropriate players, closes the links, uncouuples the partners, moves them on. The dance of life is spontaneous, self-sustaining, and self-creating".

      Cappiche?

      Delete
    20. Otangelo,

      "No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning"

      Only an idiot would think that the only alternative to gods-did-it is "random."

      I'm still waiting for the proof for your claim that "there would be life everywhere, mars, venus, pluto, and even stars" follows from my point that "playing with equations is just playing with equations." You don't want me to think that you talk out of your ass, do you?

      Delete
    21. Ed,

      "Otangelo, in case you didn't notice, Davies does'n't agree with your fantasy. Can't you read?"

      He can't and he doesn't. He comes here just to preach.

      Delete
    22. Ed wrote

      "Otangelo, in case you didn't notice, Davies does'n't agree with your fantasy. Can't you read? "

      Ed, i answered already. If Davies agrees or not, is IRRELEVANT. His inference is just HIS OPINION. Can't you read?

      Davies writes:
      Just because scientists are are still uncertain how life began does not mean life cannot have had a natural origin.

      When you see a message on a Sand dune, where it says : John loves Daisy. Would you say: 1. Certainly someone came by, and wrote the message on the dune. Or 2. " the message does not mean wind and rain might have left the message by random circumstances on the sand dune ". 2 is obviously nonsense. But thats EXACTLY what proponents of naturalism say. In order to avoid the inference of a intelligent programmer of the DNA code, they wave with their hands and tap their ears, and shut up their brain......

      Photosynthesis wrote:

      "Only an idiot would think that the only alternative to gods-did-it is "random."

      Is it? What other mechanism do you suggest, came into play ?
      As far as i know, there are just 3 possibilities:

      1. Lucky random interactions of chemicals ( chance )
      2. physical necessity ( when the laws of physics do not permit any other outcome, than life to emerge ), or
      3. Design.

      Delete
    23. 4. Natural processes that are not random, but in which probabilities can be assigned to certain outcomes such that these are still likely to occur, even if that likelihood does not reach the level of certainty.

      HTH.

      Delete
    24. Otangelo,

      You were implying before that it's either "random" or gods-did-it. You added another alternative: physical necessity. Therefore, you confirmed my claim that only an idiot would think that the only alternative to gods-did-it is "random." Thanks for admitting your idiocy.

      Now, actually, gods-did-it is not al alternative at all. It's mere wishful thinking, and, as lutesuite explained, we can have an infinite set of mixtures of randomness and physical "necessity" that make for a good deal of alternatives that we can call physical possibility. This should have easily come to your mind, since it's rather obvious. But thinking is not your forte, is it?

      Delete
    25. Otangelo:
      "Ed, i answered already. If Davies agrees or not, is IRRELEVANT. His inference is just HIS OPINION. Can't you read? "

      First you line up famous scientist and use his quote as proof of your fantasy.
      Then I show he doesn't agree with your fantasy, but you only quote mine his book and cherry pick the bits you like.
      On which you double down and come up with a lame excuse, "it's only his opinion..." Yeah right.

      You can try to keep on fooling yourself, which you really are good at I must admit, but it won't change the fact that Davies doesn't agree with your fantasy.
      "Some people rejoice in such ignorance, imagining that it leaves room for a miraculous creation."

      Delete
    26. Ed wrote

      " First you line up famous scientist and use his quote as proof of your fantasy.
      Then I show he doesn't agree with your fantasy, but you only quote mine his book and cherry pick the bits you like. "

      I quoted Davies because he is a master of elucidating how nature works. There is a big difference between the evidence ( what is, what we observe in the natural world ), and when it comes to origins, the inferences and conclusions we draw upon the evidence. Davies decided to commit himself to agnosticism, and has never gone out to advance to infer either naturalism or design. What his personal beliefs are, is irrelevant. The way he is able to explain science, is relevant to me, and since he makes things very clear, i quote him.

      I rejoice in the fact that we are not ignorant by the fact that neither chance, nor physical necessity explains rationally the origin of the code, the information that is stored in DNA, nor the hardware. The hardware/software is clear evidence of design. Thats only not clear to people that have a commitment to naturalism/atheism, and are not willing to admit God into the picture, no matter what.

      Delete
    27. I rejoice in the fact that we are not ignorant by the fact that neither chance, nor physical necessity explains rationally the origin of the code, the information that is stored in DNA, nor the hardware.

      Good. So we are in agreement with that. And the fact that you continue to insist those two options exhaust the possibilities other than creationism/intelligent design, after it has already explained to you that this is not the case, only further demonstrates your incapability of accepting anything beyond your fundamentalist preconceptions.

      Delete
    28. lutesuite wrote

      "Natural processes that are not random, but in which probabilities can be assigned to certain outcomes such that these are still likely to occur, even if that likelihood does not reach the level of certainty."

      Thats in essence still randomness. The likelyhood that two proteins begin to interact because they fit like a lock/key might increase, but to get the right form would still be the result essentially of randomness/luck/chance.

      Delete
    29. Otangelo,

      "Thats in essence still randomness. The likelyhood that two proteins begin to interact because they fit like a lock/key might increase, but to get the right form would still be the result essentially of randomness/luck/chance."

      No you idiot, it's also an outcome of the way chemistry works, which makes it "physical possibility." Neither necessity nor mere randomness. Once chemical/physical phenomena are taken into account, then the possibility for interaction is right there. Not as a necessity, not as purely chance, but as a combination of these two things.

      As I told you, merely quoting won't work. You have to think.

      I'm still waiting for your proof that "life would happen anywhere, mars, venus, even stars" follows from "playing with equations is just playing with equations." I know there's no such connection, which is why you won't answer. You were just trying to distract me from your failure to understand my point. Either that or you're stupider than I thought.

      Delete
    30. Either that or you're stupider than I thought.

      Otangelo, incredibly, keeps demonstrating that, no matter how great our ability to imagine his stupidity, he has the capacity to exceed it.

      Delete
    31. Otangelo wrote:
      "Davies decided to commit himself to agnosticism, and has never gone out to advance to infer either naturalism or design. What his personal beliefs are, is irrelevant."

      I'm sorry, but do you have trouble comprehending what he, Davies, actually writes?
      ""No intelligent supervisor, no mystic force, no conscious controlling agency swings the molecules into place at the right tie, chooses the appropriate players, closes the links, uncouuples the partners, moves them on. The dance of life is spontaneous, self-sustaining, and self-creating"."

      Do tell, where does he infer design? Because he clearly states there's no supernatural force doing stuff.


      "The way he is able to explain science, is relevant to me, and since he makes things very clear, i quote him."

      Unfortunately, you quote Davies out of context, also called a quote mine. You only quote that one sentence which might confirm what you believe in, ID, but you then neglect to quote the following sentences in the same paragraph which gives a complete different meaning to the sentence you quote.

      Or did you happen to overlook this bit:
      "As we shall see, scientists are still very far from solving from solving this fundamental conceptual puzzle. Some people rejoice in such ignorance, imagining that it leaves room for a miraculous creation. However... intervention. Just because scientists are are still uncertain how life began does not mean life cannot have had a natural origin."

      He doesn't explicitly say design is not an option, but most if not all sentences I quote clearly show that Davies certainly rejects ID or other supernatural causes.

      Did you actually read the intro to the book?

      Delete
    32. Ed

      "The dance of life is spontaneous, self-sustaining, and self-creating"."

      Again: Thats what he BELIEFS, despite that he writes here in absolute terms, as if he knew that no designer is required. But he doesn't. Thats his personal inference and belief. Once more : THATS IRRELEVANT.
      Relevant is his remarkable ability to explain how the natural world works. From that, he should be the first to understand that naturalism is nonsense. But for reasons only he knows, he apparently goes further than agnosticism, and sticks explicitly to naturalism.

      Now how about you take your blinkers off, put your neurons to wake up and start putting them to work and do their job, which is THINKING ?!!

      Davies writes that Some people rejoice in such ignorance, imagining that it leaves room for a miraculous creation.

      But then he goes on and writes :

      However, it is the job of science to solve mysteries without recourse to divine intervention.

      Why should that option not be considered by science ? Luckily, Laurence disagrees with Davies. Isn't it, Larry ??!!

      The strange thing in his books is that he is able to elucidate why natural mechanisms do not suffice to explain the origin of life, like here for example:

      Peptide formation is not impossible, because it happens inside living organisms. But there the uphill reaction is driven along by the use of customized molecules that are
      pre-energized to supply the necessary work. In a simple chemical soup, no such specialized molecules would be on hand to give the reactions the boost they need. So a watery soup is a recipe for molecular disassembly, not self-assembly. The same energy sources that generate organic molecules also serve to destroy them. To work constructively, the energy has to be targeted at the specific reaction required. Uncontrolled energy input, such as simple heating, is far more likely to prove destructive than constructive. The
      situation can be compared to a workman laboriously building a brick pillar by piling bricks one on top of another. The higher the pillar goes, the more likely it is to wobble and collapse. Likewise, long chains made of amino acids linked together are very fragile. As a general rule, if you simply heat organics willy-nilly, you end up, not with delicate long chain molecules, but with a tarry mess, as barbecue owners can testify. It has been estimated that, left to its own devices, a concentrated solution of amino acids would need a volume of fluid the size of the observable universe to go against the thermodynamic tide and create a single small polypeptide spontaneously. Clearly, random molecular shuffling is of little use when the arrow of directionality points the wrong way.

      He makes all along his book a extraordinary case for design, but sticks to naturalism.

      Go figure, why.....

      Delete
    33. Otangelo:

      It's pretty clear to me, you read science literature the same way you read the bible. You only read the stuff which give you a warm feeling inside, but you ignore the stuff which contradicts your beliefs/ you can't incorporate into your beliefs. All of a sudden you call these personal inference/ personal beliefs/ what ever.

      I expect you will most likely ignore things like:
      Samuel 15:3: "This is what the Lord Almighty says ... 'Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.' "

      and

      “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12) .

      Unlike religious beliefs, science doesn't work this way. You can't cherry pick the results from experiments which confirm your model/ theory and ignore the results which contradict the model you're experimenting on. Scientists have tried this at times, but the end result is like the scientists presenting the cold fusion experiments, 5 minutes of fame and the remainder of your life in shame.

      If I were you, and you're really interested in cutting edge science on OOL, you should go to page 3 of the thread Luitsuite posted above and check out the papers quoted there. I've made it easy for you, just click the link. It's fascinating stuff.

      Delete
    34. Ed,

      read Davies whole book. The fifth miracle. Yes, this books tops probaly any other book written about the OOL in regard of making the problems clear that OOL researchers face. The ONLY rational inference is design. But, as Davies writes, in his and the opinion of 99,999% of practicing scientists: it is the job of science to solve mysteries without recourse to divine intervention. ( Only Larry appears here like a messias in the picture, and like a hero oposes this view, and graciously thinks the supernatural should be investigated by science... LOL ).

      And Calis list of scientific papers is diarrheal attempt of these trying to prove the impossible, namely that the genetic cipher could have emerged naturally. Obviously it couln't. For example, just picking the first paper, we read:

      http://www.pnas.org/content/102/12/4442.full.pdf

      The emergence of translation was obviously associated with expansion to a triplet code and selective pressures that led to codon assignments usingthe third position that minimize susceptibility to adverse effects of mutation and errors in translation.

      Now THINK about the hogwash of this pseudo-scientific claim:

      In the topic : Origin and evolution of the genetic code: the universal enigma at my virtual library, i quote:

      Progressive development of the genetic code is not realistic

      In view of the many components involved in implementing the genetic code, origin-of-life researchers have tried to see how it might have arisen in a gradual, evolutionary, manner. For example, it is usually suggested that to begin with the code applied to only a few amino acids, which then gradually increased in number. But this sort of scenario encounters all sorts of difficulties with something as fundamental as the genetic code.

      First, it would seem that the early codons need have used only two bases (which could code for up to 16 amino acids); but a subsequent change to three bases (to accommodate 20) would seriously disrupt the code. Recognising this difficulty, most researchers assume that the code used 3-base codons from the outset; which was remarkably fortuitous or implies some measure of foresight on the part of evolution (which, of course, is not allowed).


      Much more serious are the implications for proteins based on a severely limited set of amino acids. In particular, if the code was limited to only a few amino acids, then it must be presumed that early activating enzymes comprised only that limited set of amino acids, and yet had the necessary level of specificity for reliable implementation of the code. There is no evidence of this; and subsequent reorganization of the enzymes as they made use of newly available amino acids would require highly improbable changes in their configuration. Similar limitations would apply to the protein components of the ribosomes which have an equally essential role in translation.


      Further, tRNAs tend to have atypical bases which are synthesized in the usual way but subsequently modified. These modifications are carried out by enzymes, so these enzymes too would need to have started life based on a limited number of amino acids; or it has to be assumed that these modifications are later refinements - even though they appear to be necessary for reliable implementation of the code.





      Delete
    35. Finally, what is going to motivate the addition of new amino acids to the genetic code? They would have little if any utility until incorporated into proteins - but that will not happen until they are included in the genetic code. So the new amino acids must be synthesised and somehow incorporated into useful proteins (by enzymes that lack them), and all of the necessary machinery for including them in the code (dedicated tRNAs and activating enzymes) put in place – and all done opportunistically! Totally incredible!

      Why do you think , did Larry conveniently not answer my question, why the 3 additional unusual amino acids that he mentioned and that a few organisms use, would prove evolution of the genetic code ? Because that proves NOTHING. The conceptual problem is much deeper, and cannot be solved without relying to intelligence.

      I have two topics at my library, where i extensively analyse and elucidate this remarkable situation, and why its EXTRAORDINARY evidence for design:

      The origin of the genetic cipher, the most perplexing problem in biology

      Origin of translation of the 4 nucleic acid bases and the 20 amino acids, and the universal assignment of codons to amino acids

      Delete
    36. "namely that the genetic cipher could have emerged naturally. Obviously it couln't"

      Gods-of-the-gaps all over again. Sure Otangelo, sure, gods-did-it.

      Delete
    37. Thanks Otangelo, you have proven my point. You read science papers/ literature/ books the same way you read the bible, you only cherry pick and quote mine what you like and ignore everything else.

      Delete
    38. Ed,
      Please point out what i ignore. Davies inference imho is irrelevant. What you need to point out is, what i ignore in regard of the scientific evidence that you think favours your views.

      Delete
    39. Ed,
      Please point out what i ignore. Davies inference imho is irrelevant. What you need to point out is, what i ignore in regard of the scientific evidence that you think favours your views.

      Delete
    40. Hey Otangelo, when my kids decide to act the muppet and think they can act stupid when I've explained multiple times what they're doing wrong, I try to explain it in Chinese. Would that perhaps help you understand?
      Or Spanish? Grasso sounds Italian, would Italian help you comprehend?

      "What you need to point out is, what i ignore in regard of the scientific evidence that you think favours your views."

      No, I show you the flaw in your reasoning. Perhaps you this will help you understand:
      這是很清楚的給我,你讀科學文獻你讀天書一樣。

      Zhè shì hěn qīngchǔ de gěi wǒ, nǐ dú kēxué wénxiàn nǐ dú tiān shū yīyàng.

      Delete
  16. It would be most appropriate if Otangelo tested his 'understanding' of cosmology and astrophysics by commenting in Sean Carroll's blog, or another practising physicist. Please let us know, it will be priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Diogenes: So letters in a sentence are not "digital information"?

    Not even in the sense of digital versus analogue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we have no bananas. Of course computers today 'digitize' letters by use of a code. Somebody decided that 'A' would be ASCII 027 or whatever. If you just got a string SSSSNNSNN, how would you know it was digits? Of course, if you saw the strings used in math operations like multiplication or addition, you could figure out they were numbers. But if it's just the letter "A" in "Allo Darlin", nothing about it says digits. You have to know the designer to know that leeters are supposed to be numbers.

      Delete
    2. And digital vs. analog is not an exhaustive set. Of course 'digital' was sort of redefined to also mean 'employing a code with a finite discrete set of bases.' A modern redefinition. But what about encoding with discrete bases says 'can only be made by intelligence'?

      Delete
    3. Letters in words are a digital, not analogue, code. I have no idea why base sequences "can only be made by intelligence" -- that's something I was quoting others as saying.

      Delete
  18. Claudio wrote

    " It would be most appropriate if Otangelo tested his 'understanding' of cosmology and astrophysics by commenting in Sean Carroll's blog, or another practising physicist. Please let us know, it will be priceless. "

    I have seen his debate with W.L.Craig. Carrolls inferences are not convincing. But feel free to post here what you think is so convincing of his arguments.... and how it points towards a natural, aka non intelligent origin of the universe, and we talk.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carroll did not make 'inferences' in that debate, he just kicked WL Craig's ass by pointing out, over and over, that Craig misrepresented the cosmological theorems he himself cited. Craig made positive arguments, and Carroll pointed out that Craig misrepresented the science literature in every way. Carroll's only positive argument was that the 'God hypothesis' is a lousy hypothesis because it was vague and could accommodate any possible set of observations.

      Delete
    2. I particularly liked the parts where Craig realized how badly he was getting his ass kicked. Luckily for him, most of his followers are like Otangelo: Too stupid to realize what a shellacking Craig received there.

      But if Otangelo insists on a knockout punch from the debate, it might have been when Carroll posted the picture of Alan Guth with the message that the universe is "very likely eternal, but nobody knows." At that point, Craig's corner should have thrown in the towel.

      Delete
    3. lutesuite wrote

      "But if Otangelo insists on a knockout punch from the debate, it might have been when Carroll posted the picture of Alan Guth with the message that the universe is "very likely eternal, but nobody knows." At that point, Craig's corner should have thrown in the towel."

      Ahm....

      I quote from the topic : The universe most probably had a beginning, at my library:

      The argument that the universe is not eternal
      (from a discussion between William Lane Craig and cosmologist Sean Carroll on the beginning of the universe and the Kalam Cosmological Argument)
      1. Carroll pointed out that the Borde Guth Vilenkin (or BVG) theorem that the universe had a beginning only works within relativity but does not take quantum effects into account. Given a lack of a complete theory of quantum gravity, he argued that Craig can not claim that the universe began to exist.
      2. This is partly true. One thing known for certain about quantum gravity is something called the holographic principle. Precisely put, the holographic principle tells us that the entropy of a region of space (measured in terms of information) is directly proportional to a quarter or any amount (1/2 complete) of its surface area or any related measurement (radius, diameter). The volume of this region is then actually a hologram of this information on its surface.
      3. Another thing that it tells us is that the entropy, or the amount of disorder present, always increases with time. In fact, not only is this law inviolate, it is also how the flow of time is defined. Without entropy or disorder, destruction i.o.w change, there is no way to discern forwards and backwards in time.
      4. However, if the holographic principle links the universe’s entropy and its horizon area then going back in time, all of space-time eventually vanishes to nothing at zero entropy, at the beginning of the creation. Thus Carroll’s argument is unsound.
      5. The universe is not eternal but created.
      6. By the way this also undermines claims made by atheists like Hawking and Krauss that the universe could have fluctuated into existence from nothing. Their argument rests on the assumption that there was a pre-existent zero-point field or ZPF. The only trouble is that the physics of a ZPF requires a space-time to exist in. No space-time means no zero-point field, and without a zero-point field, the universe can not spontaneously fluctuate into existence.
      7. One other point of Carroll’s was his view that regardless of the physics discovered, the sort of supernatural explanation Craig gave could no longer be considered valid. Carroll, being a physicist, naturally believes that whatever the final answer is it will come in physical terms. After all it is not every day that scientists speak of God or supernatural agents. Instead they expect explanations to come in material terms with equations.
      8. But Carroll may be ruling something out too quickly. A holographic universe entails a world made of information. And information requires a mind to know it. Information never just floats, information is of a mind, who knows it.
      9. “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force…We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is a matrix of all matter.” – Max Planck
      10. A creator/ID exists.

      http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.4658v1.pdf

      Did the universe have a beginning? At this point, it seems that the answer to this question is probably yes.
      Here we have addressed three scenarios which seemed to offer a way to avoid a beginning,
      and have found that none of them can actually be eternal in the past.

      Say hellooooo to Carroll......

      Delete