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Internet Goosing the Antithesis

Monday, April 28, 2008

Evolution is wrong, here is the proof!

I'm convinced...

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53 Comments:

At 4/28/2008 5:21 PM, Blogger olly declaimed...

Well fuck me, I've been wrong all these years!

Seriously, I'm not entirely sure I even understand this moron. His "scientific analysis"

1) God created the earth in 6 days.
3) Water left standing for 8 days should grow animals/plant life/something.
Therefore
3) Evolution is wrong.

Is there even an argument here? Are any of these random assertions even remotely connected?

At least your typical ID-iot will apply their gross misunderstanding of evolution in a (semi)logical progression, such as:

1) Evolution says humans come from monkeys.
2) Monkeys never give birth to humans.
Therefore
3) Evolution is wrong.

This is retarded too, but at least I can follow their train of thought.

This guy doesn't even HAVE an argument to refute!

-olly

 
At 4/28/2008 8:26 PM, Blogger Most Famous David declaimed...

It's pretty solid as far as I understand.

 
At 4/28/2008 9:05 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

He says that because the Bible says god created everything in 6 days, that water left standing - presumably, "equal to, or less than the amount of days it took god" is the formula - will have spawned life.

There are a couple of ways to rebut this that come to mind:

1. The Biblical account of creation is ... creation. Evolution requires lots of time.

2. The Biblical account of creation does not say that if it takes god 6 days, then it should also take a glass of water equal to, or less than, 6 days to do the same thing. I don't know why he used a glass of water.

3. Since, largely, Evolutionists deny the Biblical account, whatever it has to say must be argued for. It's not enough to say that the Biblical account is undeniable.

4. Why do you need a glass of water if the Biblical account is so obviously true?

Maybe he was drunk and thought it was a good idea to make a video.

... Drunk for 8 days.

Despite the comedic value of this video, Evolution is still untrue. Or at least it can't be proven.

The evidence against Evolution is:

1. that it hasn't been sufficiently tested, and

2. the metaphysical "realm", for lack of a better term, required for many lifeforms' capacity for decision making rules out the fatalistically determinate worldview typically used to ground Evolution.

My support for these are:

1. While small changes can add up to big changes, this requires that the capacity to change must be unrestricted.

Since Evolutionists assume the affirmative position that biological changes are sufficiently unrestricted to allow, let's say, for a descendant of a monkey to evolve into a human, the burden of proof is on the Evolutionist to show that such has happened.

Since this will require millions of years to prove, it will be practically impossible to do so.

2. For this I'm only going to address those Evolutionistic beliefs that are grounded on a fatalistically determinate worldview.

Since Evolution presupposes the existence of *only* matter and energy, any view of sentience must also be based on it. Since this equates to determinism, everyone's thoughts and decisions would be based on physical stimuli.

Such thoughts cannot be relied upon since they exist merely as a result of causality, and they are what they are, whether they are right or not. This means that the worldview of Evolution, which is based on a worldview brought about by causality, our thoughts being one of the effects, Evolution is without an intellectual foundation, regardless of whether or not it actually is a fact.

But since we *can* reason for ourselves, and we *are* the source of our own decisions, we can be sure of the existence of a metaphysical "realm".

And if the existence of a metaphysical "realm", and my metaphysical existence had a beginning, then there must be a creator of my metaphysical existence. And this creator is not bound by causality, else how could he be sentient.

And if my creator had a creator, etc., then the impossibility of an infinite regression assures me that at least one creator is incontingent, and therefore has always existed and always will.

 
At 4/28/2008 9:44 PM, Blogger olly declaimed...

@Agilius: I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this, but there are two problems here.

1) You make just as large of assertion yourself, by implying that capacity for change IS fundamentally restricted. Care to show some evidence yourself?

2) You fail to understand evolution if you somehow see it as the "mechanistic universe" theory.

Beyond that.. You make big assertions about some "metaphysical" realm without any sort of explanation of why its necessary (you simply posit that it is) or what exactly it is.

Anyway there is a reason I stopped arguing with creation folk.. Same reason I stopped arguing with trees, so I'll leave it at that.

-olly

 
At 4/29/2008 1:25 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> 1) You make just as large of assertion yourself, by implying that capacity for change IS fundamentally restricted. Care to show some evidence yourself?

I didn't assert that the change is fundamentally restricted. What I said was that Evolution requires change to be unrestricted.

See, after we determine that changes happen, we do not default to the position that the changes are unrestricted; That would be going beyond the evidence.

Now, if I show you time and time again that a monkey does not give birth to a bird or an insect, that *suggests* a restriction, but I can never rely on such evidence to *prove* that the *Nth* time will, of necessity, preclude such a birth - such a claim by me would be a negative, which can't be proven unless you rule out every other possibility. This is why the affirmative position is held by the Evolutionist, upon whom rests the burden of proof.

>> You make big assertions about some "metaphysical" realm without any sort of explanation of why its necessary (you simply posit that it is) or what exactly it is.

Actually, explaining why it's necessary is the second thing I did - right after "posit[ing] that it is", even going so far as to use the words "My support for these are:".

So, unless you're going to say that Support X for Claim N is insufficient because of Reason Y, then there is nothing more for me to respond to. I may be wrong, but not addressing the specific points isn't going to show that.

>> You fail to understand evolution if you somehow see it as the "mechanistic universe" theory.

Unless you believe in Theistic Evolution, then your Evolution is mechanistic, as explained under support #2.

I suppose a god could, in theory, use a form of Evolution, but this is not what I chose to argue against.

 
At 4/29/2008 4:35 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Congradulations, you have just found out that a monkey cannot give birth to a bird. What that has to do with evolution, I have no idea, since evolution does not say that a monkey gave birth to a bird. Monkeys and birds are not nowhere near each other on the tree of life.

 
At 4/30/2008 2:23 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

The point of bringing up the monkey analogy was to show that, although showing you that monkeys have, in the past, consistently not given birth to birds or insects; despite the fact that this *suggests* a restriction on the kinds of changes that *can* take place, given the monkey's current genetic state, claiming that a monkey *can not* give birth to birds or insects is a negative claim, which can't be proven unless I rule out all other possibilities (i.e. "you can't prove a negative"). This means that the opposite view - the one held by the Evolutionist - is the positive one, and the one bearing the burden of proof.

But Evolutionists *already* believe in biological restrictions, which is why they believe in branches of heredity. They expect certain kinds of descendants, and do not expect other kinds, because of their belief in biological restrictions.

Whether or not there is sufficient biological freedom for an ancestor of a monkey to evolve into a human, for example, remains to be tested. Such testing will take millions of years, so recordkeeping will be a huge enough problem that it is unlikely that scientists will be able to complete the test.

 
At 4/30/2008 2:28 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Your post makes no sense. Proving negatives is in fact ALL that science can do, and it does so with great regularity. In science, you cannot prove something, except by not being able to disprove it.

 
At 4/30/2008 2:55 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> In science, you cannot prove something, except by not being able to disprove it.

The only way you can prove something by not being able to disprove it, is if you *know* that you have exhausted all theoretically possible ways of disproving it. This is because if there remains, in theory, a way of disproving something, and this avenue has yet to be explored, it can be said that perhaps if you had taken X avenue, then you would have been able to disprove such and such a theory.

But the rule of thumb, held by most scientists, is that you can't prove a negative because the number of possible disproofs are in such great quantity that, for practical purposes, it is easier to prove the affirmative assertion; Which is why we say that the burden of proof is on the party that holds to the affirmative position.

What this means for Evolution is that unless they show every step of the evolutionary process from descendant of monkey to human, then such a process cannot be said to be scientifically proven.

 
At 4/30/2008 2:59 AM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

Your understanding of science is flawed to say the least. The scientific method cannot prove a positive: that's not what it's meant for. You clearly have no understanding of the basics and you try to disprove a theory backed by a century of evidence.

Pitiful.

 
At 4/30/2008 3:08 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> Your understanding of science is flawed to say the least. The scientific method cannot prove a positive: that's not what it's meant for. You clearly have no understanding of the basics and you try to disprove a theory backed by a century of evidence.

You make the affirmative assertion that the Theory of Evolution is backed by a century of evidence. I was just wondering how you can make that assertion since you say that the Scientific Method cannot prove a positive. Did you plan on proving your assertion by some kind of *non*-scientific evidence?

 
At 4/30/2008 3:49 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

Agilius, the point is that, in Science, nothing is provable. You don't "prove" something. You provide boatloads of evidence in favor of a hypothesis. Eventually, when the evidence becomes overwhelming (which, in the case of evolution, it most definitely has), it becomes accepted as "fact."

Of course, sometimes these "facts" are later shown to be untrue. Newtonian physics is a classic example of this happening: we had plenty of "laws" governing the motion of bodies of mass. Einstein put an end to the "law" aspect of Newtonian physics and showed that they were in fact simply approximations. So with this in mind, sure, evolution can't be proven, but neither can anything else in the universe, so your point is moot.

With respect to your "change with restrictions"--duh, there's restrictions on everything. If there weren't, we would have the same description for every possible system in the universe. I don't really understand your point--you're saying that we "believe" in restrictions. Well, sure we do. Read any of the thousands and thousands of pages of developmental, genetic, and molecular biology--and you'll learn all kinds of restrictions on what feats genes are capable of doing and what they're not. One thing they're capable of doing, which is observed every day, is undergoing crossing over, mutations, translations, transcriptions, and a whole slew of incredibly complex but well documented processes that give rise to elements involved in evolution. None of these documented processes, I might add, allow for the possibility--barring a VERY small improbability (i.e. that molecules will randomly assemble themselves into a fruit fly)--allow a monkey to give birth to a human, or an insect.

Also, no, we don't have to show every single step of the evolutionary process to declare with strong certainty that monkeys and humans share a common evolutionary ancestor. Instead, we just have to gather enough evidence to indicate that it happened. Zach has some great evidence over on his website at evolution101.blogspot.com (which is all very worth reading) which I suggest you check out.

 
At 4/30/2008 9:07 PM, Blogger David declaimed...

Look, I have clearly disproved evolution, so your arguing is by and large moot at this point. Nice try, all of you, though.

 
At 4/30/2008 9:20 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

"Look, I have clearly disproved evolution"

HAH!

Yea, you defeated more than a century of accumulated evidence by an experiment that only proves that God can't create life in a glass of water.

 
At 5/01/2008 4:05 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> ... in Science, nothing is provable. You don't "prove" something. You provide boatloads of evidence in favor of a hypothesis. Eventually, when the evidence becomes overwhelming (which, in the case of evolution, it most definitely has), it becomes accepted as "fact."

If, in Science, you don't prove anything, then I think that begs the question: What do you mean by "fact"?

Further, evidence is always proof of *something* - maybe not that which the evidence is meant to support, but it at least rules out certain alternatives.

For example, if you know that a glass is half full of water, you know that nothing with a volume greater than half that of the glass will fill the glass to exactly full. I think it was just this kind of evidence that helped Bruce Willis stop the timer on a bomb.

>> One thing they're capable of doing, which is observed every day, is ... a whole slew of ... processes that give rise to elements involved in evolution.
>>
>> Also, no, we don't have to show every single step of the evolutionary process to declare with strong certainty that monkeys and humans share a common evolutionary ancestor.

If you compare these two quotes, you'll see that the latter precludes the former.

If you don't have to show every single step of the evolutionary process to make the above declaration, then you are saying that science can be done without empirical testing. Enter Philosophy in general, and ID in particular.

The fact that you say that you don't have to show every single step [given the context in which it was said], reveals that the observations mentioned in the first quote do not, as of yet, represent every step in a "significant" evolutionary process.

[Aside: I am aware that what may constitute a "significant" evolutionary process for the purpose of establishing Evolution as a theory, is not the same for Evolutionists and Theists.]

>> None of these documented processes, I might add, allow for the possibility--barring a VERY small improbability (i.e. that molecules will randomly assemble themselves into a fruit fly)--allow a monkey to give birth to a human, or an insect.

You say this as if it would be absurd to believe in such a possibility, but it is the probabilities of these exact kinds of biological changes to which Theists have referred as evidence of the absurdity of Evolution. So imagine my shock when I hear Evolutionists say "of course monkeys can't give birth to birds".

I'll take a peek at evolution101.blogspot.com.

 
At 5/01/2008 11:03 AM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

>> You say this as if it would be absurd to believe in such a possibility, but it is the probabilities of these exact kinds of biological changes to which Theists have referred as evidence of the absurdity of Evolution.

This is what is shown as evidence by Theists who do not understand evolution. Evolution only requires a molecule that can replicate, sometimes imperfectly. This can be a rather simple molecule, in fact.

When I was talking about "proof" I was talking about the rigorous types of proofs one would find in mathematics, where would can declare something with 100% certainty. There are facts in science--these are called observations. "Testing" doesn't necessarily require that one generates new data. This is why, in order to show that Evolution is most likely true, we don't have to spend millions of years watching species evolve on Earth. Instead, we can make hypotheses and predictions (which is what science does) and, using the facts gathered from observations (genetics, fossil data, etc.), test these predictions. When nearly every single prediction is supported, our certainty of the hypothesis goes up.

I'm a little turned off by your attempt to attack evolution via a philosophical route on the scientific method in general. If you want to say that science has no place in observing history, then you are also declaring that geology, studies of ancestry, and astronomy are not scientific areas of study (which they most certainly are). Have you looked at the evidence for evolution, and do you disagree that it supports evolution? If so, I think we need to hand you a larger encyclopedia of evidence.

 
At 5/01/2008 11:15 AM, Blogger king declaimed...

I think it's hilarious that you two babies are still arguing even after evolution have been proven wrong in such a decisive manner.

 
At 5/01/2008 3:07 PM, Blogger Francois Tremblay declaimed...

What do you mean evolution was disproven? It's Creationism that was disproven. If God can't make any life appear in eight days in a glass of water, how could he do it in six?

 
At 5/01/2008 3:10 PM, Blogger Alison declaimed...

Wow, what a brilliant hoax!

I'm assuming it's a joke, or that you've managed to ridicule creationism in an extremely intelligent way.

Because, evolution has of course been disproven, decisively, by flying donkeys and talking snakes, and water that gets commanded to do things.

And besides, what about Bigfoot?

There is no science, and up is down, 2+2= chicken, and I am not posting a reply on this blog! I am purple monkey dishwasher!

Creationism! RAH!

 
At 5/03/2008 4:14 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

Thanks for your patience. Everyone needs a break. :)

>> This is what is shown as evidence by Theists who do not understand evolution.

"Given enough time ..." and "If it's probable, it's possible" has been fed to us by Evolutionists for quite a while now. Why *not* birds and insects from monkeys?

>> Evolution only requires a molecule that can replicate, sometimes imperfectly. This can be a rather simple molecule, in fact.

This depends on your definition of Evolution. I actually accept this definition of Evolution along with my Theistic belief that god created the earth and the souls which control our bodies - and so does every other non-solipsistic religion.

But the Evolution you think you see today requires something besides a replicating molecule [?]; It requires that molecule to *seek* to survive and propogate - metaphysical acts of sentience.

>> There are facts in science--these are called observations. "Testing" doesn't necessarily require that one generates new data. This is why, in order to show that Evolution is most likely true, we don't have to spend millions of years watching species evolve on Earth.

You refer to "inference" - also a metaphysical action of sentience. This is not to say that inference isn't useful; it's just not science according to the popular definition (at least not when it's followed to its logical conclusion).

Now let's say Evolutionists were able to infer from the evidence that evolution has possibly happened. This is just *one* view that happens to fit the evidence.

Just because Evolution *can* happen, doesn't mean *that* it happened. So Evolutionists, whether testing or making inferences, *still* have to account for every evolutionary step from ancestor of monkey to human. I'm speaking primarily with the biological evidence in mind. I am suspending my normal judgment in regard to sentience, so I can show this point.

Please note that I am not acknowledging that Evolution can be inferred from the evidence. I was merely showing that even if I grant certain claims, Evolution still hasn't been proven, or even shown *more* likely than competing views (except maybe solipsism :) )

>> I'm a little turned off by your attempt to attack evolution via a philosophical route on the scientific method in general.

I don't know why you would be "put off". If you think I'm trying to misrepresent Science, I can try to convince you otherwise.

In conversations with Evolutionists, it has generally been expressed (in some form or another) that religion isn't Scientific because it is philosophical in nature.

But what they consistently fail to realize is, that if you tried to prove the Scientific Method by using the Scientific Method, you'd have to be using the method before it became an accepted method - so, by what criteria do you accept the Scientific Method? The answer is Philosophy.

See, the Scientific Method is a philosophy about how to apply reason when examining material things.

Science doesn't preclude philosophy; Science applies philosophy to *only* material things.

This was a key point in the movie Expelled; It wasn't stated this way, but I know enough about ID to know that much.

>> If you want to say that science has no place in observing history, then you are also declaring that geology, studies of ancestry, and astronomy are not scientific areas of study (which they most certainly are).

I'm not saying that Science has no place in these disciplines; I believe Science *and* Philosophy are being used, not just Science.

Of course, I'm using the popularly accepted definition of science, which is informed by the worldview of determinism, which precludes philosophy [and religion].

>> Have you looked at the evidence for evolution, and do you disagree that it supports evolution? If so, I think we need to hand you a larger encyclopedia of evidence.

I'm not sure you're going to get what you want out of that question. I'll say that I know enough not to say that Evolutionists believe humans come from monkeys. O.o

As for the encyclopedia, perhaps you would prefer to argue the points yourself, so I can respond to something more specific than an encyclopedia.

 
At 5/03/2008 2:14 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

You're quickly revealing how little you actually understand evolution. It's pretty obvious you've been misguided by other Creationists who dress up Evolution in whatever nonsensical garb they wish simply to make their argument appear stronger.

But the Evolution you think you see today requires something besides a replicating molecule [?]; It requires that molecule to *seek* to survive and propogate - metaphysical acts of sentience.
Where did you derive this nonsense from? Here's how it works: suppose that I randomly throw out 100 marbles, each different shades of grey. The dark marbles all die, and the light marbles all double in number. Repeat this process.

Is it a surprise that, in the end, more marbles are white than dark? Do you really think that the light marbles *seek* to survive? No. They just happen to be better at reproducing than the dark marbles, and so they happen to become more numerous.

This depends on your definition of Evolution.
Right. I'm talking about the scientific definition of Evolution, not the incorrect strawman version that Creationists prop up.

Evolution still hasn't been proven, or even shown *more* likely than competing views (except maybe solipsism :) )
Are you INSANE? 99.99% of all biological scientists accept Evolution as fact, and it's because it is so obvious when one is acquainted with biology. We've already been over how nothing is "proven," but I can tell you that, in the scientific community, Evolution IS accepted as fact. And competing views? Name a SINGLE competing view that has ANY credence in scientific literature. There is none.

You're trying to beguile me with talks of philosophy and the applicability of science. You are simply wrong here. Science looks at natural evidence (there is a lot of it), forms conclusions, and tests hypotheses. There's nothing weird or metaphysical about this, and it doesn't require anything supernatural. Inference is not a metaphysical act of sentience: it is the combining of multiple truths to reach a logical conclusion. The scientific method is rather simple, and your attempt to pick it apart by twisting philosophy and reason only shows that you're grasping for something to back you up.

If I see a line of blue chalk drawn on the sidewalk, and right at the end of the line is a child holding a piece of chalk, it's pretty obvious that the child drew the line. You're trying to tell me that the concept of looking at the chalk and discussion it is not real, and the philosophy of the nature of using chalk and observing the line of chalk is "metaphysical" and isn't evidence for the fact that the child drew the line.

For example, how do you explain the gene for cytochrome C, which in nearly all species produces a functionally equivalent protein. This gene can be cut from any one organism's DNA, spliced into another's, and it works fine. As you go down the phylogenic tree of life, the number of mutations in this gene (silent or neutral mutations) increases. In other words, the more evolutionarily separated we are from an organism, the greater the difference in our cytochrome C gene. The amount of change in the DNA is also perfectly backed up by the rate of change of mutation combined with paleontological records of when in time species existed.

Do you actually believe that Noah put 100,000,000 species on his Ark?

 
At 5/03/2008 11:24 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 5/03/2008 11:40 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> You're quickly revealing how little you actually understand evolution. It's pretty obvious you've been misguided by other Creationists who dress up Evolution in whatever nonsensical garb they wish simply to make their argument appear stronger.

Maybe you're right. Read on, and let's find out.

>> ... suppose that I randomly throw out 100 marbles ... The dark marbles all die, and the light marbles all double in number. Repeat this process.
>>
>> Is it a surprise that, in the end, more marbles are white than dark? Do you really think that the light marbles *seek* to survive? No. They just happen to be better at reproducing ... so they happen to become more numerous.

I know you chose marbles as your analogy so you could say that sentience is not required for Evolution.

I think your argument actually attempts to show how Survival of the Fittest works, rather than how the Theory of Evolution works.

Your analogy is problematic for a couple of reasons.

First, marbles - or any other inanimate objects - don't die.

Second, you don't need Evolution to prove Survival of the Fittest. If 5 suicide jumpers invite some friends with whom they have commiserated, and they, in turn, invite some friends - each set of friends arriving after the prior -, and they all put on either red or blue shirts, and either jump or decide not to, then you might see something like this:

All of the first set of "blue shirts" jump and die, survived by the "red shirts". The next set of friends arrive, etc.

Notice that since Evolutionists believe in suicidal people and red and blue shirts, that this scenario is plausible within the Evolutionary worldview.

Notice also that since Theists believe in all these, as well, this scenario is also plausible within a Theistic worldview.

Survival of the Fittest is not a phenomenon unique to the Evolutionary worldview, so while it may support Evolution, it also happens to support Theism.

As to Evolution requiring sentience, perhaps sentience wasn't a requirement at the primordial ooze stage, but, like I said, the Evolution that you think you see *today* requires humans and animals to *seek* to survive and propagate.

I don't keep living because of some causal chain of events started way back when a pteradactyl got stuck in a tar pit. I keep living because I desire food [and video games].

>> I'm talking about the scientific definition of Evolution, not the incorrect strawman version that Creationists prop up.

Creationists aren't the ones who decided that the definition of science was to preclude philosophy. I'm using *your* definition.

But believe you me, I think it would be far less confusing if the definition of science included philosophy - especially since it already does in spite of the current definition.

>> Are you INSANE? 99.99% of all biological scientists accept Evolution as fact, and it's because it is so obvious when one is acquainted with biology.

No, 99.99% (though, I should really say 100%) of all biological scientists accept Evolution as a fact, because the definition of scientist precludes the acceptance of philosophy as evidence.

By definition, any observer who does not presuppose a materialistic, deterministic universe cannot be called a scientist. This is a "no true scotsman" fallacy.

Given this fallacy, to say that 100% of biological scientists accept Evolution as fact, is not saying much at all.

This fallacy is also where the current definition of "science" derives its meaning.

>> We've already been over how nothing is "proven," ...

Yes, we have. I remember saying that all evidence proves *something*, even if it only serves to rule out alternatives.

>> Name a SINGLE competing view that has ANY credence in scientific literature. There is none.

Again, given the definition of "scientific", that there is no competing view that has any credence in scientific literature is not saying much.

But the reason I said that the evidence doesn't support Evolution *more* than competing views, was because the evidence isn't unique to the Evolutionary worldview; Not *enough* has been proven to establish Evolution as any more factual than its competing worldviews.

>> You're trying to beguile me with talks of philosophy and the applicability of science. You are simply wrong here.

I'm comfortable with you calling me a liar. I would just ask that if I attempt to offer evidence, that you address the so-called evidence *along with* your judgements.

The so-called evidence will be able to speak for itself.

>> Science looks at natural evidence (there is a lot of it), forms conclusions, and tests hypotheses. There's nothing weird or metaphysical about this, and it doesn't require anything supernatural.

But with what does science look at natural evidence? It's not natural evidence, but philosophy. Forming conclusions happens in the mind. A hypothesis isn't even science by itself, so what is it?; Philosophy.

There is nothing weird about metaphysics; but, depending on one's understanding of the term "supernatural", one might rightly say that metaphysics is supernatural in nature - but this is primarily because both terms mean the same thing.

>> Inference is not a metaphysical act of sentience: it is the combining of multiple truths to reach a logical conclusion.

The scientific method is rather simple, and your attempt to pick it apart by twisting philosophy and reason only shows that you're grasping for something to back you up.

Well, where does the combining happen? In the mind; Not in a test tube.

Regarding picking the scientific method apart, one would think it a useful endeavor to seek to understand a method before using it. And if I'm twisting philosophy, how so?

I don't have to hope beyond hope that my understanding of the Scientific Method is correct; If the current definition of science precludes philosophy and, by extention, religion, then science cannot use philosophy as its support. The only other thing science can use is science - but that is paradoxical in practice, and as an argument in the abstract it's circular reasoning.

This is why science *cannot* outright preclude philosophy, nor, by extension, religion.

>> If I see a line of blue chalk drawn on the sidewalk, and right at the end of the line is a child holding a piece of chalk, it's pretty obvious that the child drew the line.

Certainly your conclusion is plausible, but consider this: A man draws a blue chalk line and drops the chalk, and hours later, a child picks up the piece of chalk. When you come by, you see a blue line and a child holding chalk - same as your analogy, but your conclusion is wrong this time.

And get this: If inference is part of science (which it is), and scientists can come to wrong conclusions while using inference to apply the scientific method, then such science can be wrong. But the reason scientists can be wrong is *not* because of the evidence, but because of *how* they reasoned from the evidence. If your scientific epistemology does not represent reality, then you haven't done science correctly - which is the case with Evolution.

>> You're trying to tell me that the concept of looking at the chalk and discussion it is not real, and the philosophy of the nature of using chalk and observing the line of chalk is "metaphysical" and isn't evidence for the fact that the child drew the line.

I'm not at all saying that observing and discussing chalk doesn't give us real evidence. I *am*, however, saying that such actions are metaphysical in nature. There's nothing wrong with using philosophy to draw conclusions about the material and causal things in our world. There *is* something wrong with using philosophy to draw the conclusion that philosophy can't be used to draw conclusions about the material and causal things in our world; And since you *can* use philosophy to draw such conclusions, we can also use philosophy to draw conclusions about the *non*-material and *non*-causal things in our world, such as philosophy itself and, by extention, religion.

The child might well have drawn the line, but we came to this conclusion in our mind, using the metaphysical process of reasoning. And note that your example was *talked about* - not tested; meaning you are attempting to do science in a metaphysical way - which is fine. It's just not science according to the popular definition.

>> ... how do you explain the gene for cytochrome C, which in nearly all species produces a functionally equivalent protein. This gene can be cut from any one organism's DNA, spliced into another's, and it works fine. As you go down the phylogenic tree of life, the number of mutations in this gene (silent or neutral mutations) increases. In other words, the more evolutionarily separated we are from an organism, the greater the difference in our cytochrome C gene. The amount of change in the DNA is also perfectly backed up by the rate of change of mutation combined with paleontological records of when in time species existed.

I had to look some of this up, but my response hasn't changed much from my initial conclusion after reading this.

If Cytochrome C is functionally equivalent among nearly all species, *and* it mutates, how on earth do you determine heredity

from it? *Maybe* a particular human Cytochrome C is evidence of a link to chimpanzees, *or* maybe it is evidence of a link to a particular insect or waterlife. *Or*, maybe there is no genetic link, and god decided to handle electron transfer in essentially the same way amongst many kinds of species.

[Aside: The term "species" is pretty useless to evolutionists, when you think about it. The prevalent use of the term serves to reveal the philosophical presuppositions of the evolutionist. Are humans a species now? Or are humans transitioning from one species to another? If we are both, then that begs the question: Where does one draw the line? If my lovely asian dream wife, who is hot and asian and lovely and asian, gives birth to a retard - unable to procreate - is my kid a new species? At any rate, the point is that the term "species" is only useful to Theists, who believe that there are sets of lifeforms that are essentially different from one another, not descendants from common ancestors.]

>> Do you actually believe that Noah put 100,000,000 species on his Ark?

Well, again, when Evolutionists use the term "species", they are being naughty.

But, no; In much the same way that I believe that Adam and Eve were mulattos [and thus carried the genes necessary for the birth of red, yellow, black, and white, people], I believe that Noah and his family and their family only needed mulatto genes; and the number of species necessary to give birth to all the variations of animals we see today, were, and are, quite small.

 
At 5/04/2008 2:24 AM, Blogger olly declaimed...

Agilius - if "the number of species necessary to give birth to all the variations of animals we see today, were, and are, quite small.", how exactly can that be the case without evolution?

Let's say that, just to pick a number, 100 different species of animals were on Noah's ark. And now we have, what, 100,000,000 species on the planet?

How do we get from 100 to 100,000,000 distinct species of animals without evolution?

Is God creating new ones out of thin air?

You just threw out quite a claim, that it only takes a small number of species to get to a large variation of species over the course of time. If not by evolving, how do we get new species out of old?

Or are you truly making the claim that all species on the earth now are simply variations on a set few?

Please explain, I'd love to hear how we get from (a) (being the original smaller number on the Ark that you claim) to (b) (the huge variety of distinct species we catalogue now) without evolution.

-olly

 
At 5/04/2008 3:48 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> Agilius - if "the number of species necessary to give birth to all the variations of animals we see today, were, and are, quite small.", how exactly can that be the case without evolution?

The same way we get lovely asian ladies from mulattos.

I already said I believe in this particular definition of Evolution; along with every other non-solipsistic worldview.

>> Let's say that, just to pick a number, 100 different species of animals were on Noah's ark. And now we have, what, 100,000,000 species on the planet?
>>
>> How do we get from 100 to 100,000,000 distinct species of animals without evolution?

100 mil distinct species?! I expected a number closer to a gagillion bajillion distinct species from Evolutionists.

What, exactly, is a distinct species according to Evolution? This is a *huge* in-house debate for Evolutionists.

What many fail to realize is that Evolution's philosophy regarding species is quite foundational to the theory, itself.

Because if you believe that *any* change constitutes a new species - which I contend, of necessity, must be the case -, then the term species is too broad in scope to be useful, and, therefore, moot;

But if you believe the definition is narrow enough in scope to be useful for distinguishing one from another one, then either you are obligated to believe in punctuated equilibrium for *all* trans-species evolution, or you are obligated to believe that there is a limit to the amount of evolution that can happen to a species [welcome to the club].

So, what do you mean by "distinct"?

>> Or are you truly making the claim that all species on the earth now are simply variations on a set few?

O, sure. Aside from the waterlife, which didn't need an ark, this is exactly what I'm trying to say.

As to the survival of the fresh-water life, I can't say for sure. But I believe it is completely plausible that either there were caves of fresh water where some could survive, and/or the water from the water tables sufficiently diluted the salt such that the flood was accommodating enough at particular depths.

>> Please explain, I'd love to hear how we get from (a) (being the original smaller number on the Ark that you claim) to (b) (the huge variety of distinct species we catalogue now) without evolution.

Done, and done.

 
At 5/04/2008 11:23 AM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

The scientific definition of a species isn't that any change constitutes a new species. You used an example of Asian people, but Asians do not constitute a different species.

A species is the smallest set of individuals who can produce viable offspring. One generally needs a substantial genetic split in order for this to occur--large enough to prevent fertilization, meiosis, implantation, etc.

I'm curious as to whether you agree that monkeys and humans evolved from a common ancestor or not. You haven't really explained what your "theory" is about the origin of species.

 
At 5/04/2008 12:19 PM, Blogger olly declaimed...

"done and done"

Actually, as Marshall refers to above, you are not "done and done" -- Asians are not a separate species (and I find it fairly racist that you would somehow suggest that).

So you truly do believe that there was some set number of species on Noah's ark, and every species on the planet is somehow just a variation of that.

Thanks for clarifying.

-olly

 
At 5/04/2008 2:23 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

That was a fun read. I had to skip a bit so the stupid wouldn't burn too badly though.

Let's see if I have this straight. The video can be described as follows:

"I have failed to produce Spontaneous Generation in a glass of water like so many before me. Even though this would be more similar to the Creationist theory of "Rabbit and everything else out of hat" in 6 days, it somehow disproves the Theory of Evolution.

Alison, I see your purple monkey dishwasher and raise you a Wankel Rotary Beansprout!

 
At 5/04/2008 2:32 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

Olly: I haven't quite given up on the trees yet.

 
At 5/05/2008 3:54 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> The scientific definition of a species isn't that any change constitutes a new species.

Evolutionists don't get how detrimental what you just said is to their theory.

See, if not just any change constitutes a new species, and Evolution depends on trans-speciation to be considered a viable theory, then what you've just said is that the fact that biological changes happen is not sufficient to establish the Theory of Evolution as fact.

Now, this doesn't *disprove* Evolution, but logic precludes the [practical] ability of scientists to outright assume the affirmative position that biological changes can effect trans-speciation; And this is *especially* true because, like was said before, the concept of "branches of heredity" implies biological restrictions of some sort - else the concept of "species" is arbitrary.

I do not agree with your definition of species, but, for the sake of argument, I have granted you your definition to make a point.

>> You used an example of Asian people, but Asians do not constitute a different species.

That's my point. What you call distinct new species, I call variations; Like what happened with the descendants of our mulatto [?] ancestors, becoming red, yellow, black, and white.

>> A species is the smallest set of individuals who can produce viable offspring. One generally needs a substantial genetic split in order for this to occur--large enough to prevent fertilization, meiosis, implantation, etc.

And how do you determine that such a genetic split is within, or without, the genetic boundary of "species"?

The answer should be: We won't ever know because it will take too long to keep the set of records reliable enough to base conclusions on.

Instead, however, the answer has been "little changes equal big changes"; which may be true, but this remains to be tested, given the suggested restricions exemplified in any given species - whatever that term means.

>> I'm curious as to whether you agree that monkeys and humans evolved from a common ancestor or not. You haven't really explained what your "theory" is about the origin of species.

I'm not sure how helpful my particular theory will be to the topic at hand, since the evidence for Evolution either stands or falls on its own merit; so, at this time, I am not inclined to offer it - but I'm sure you could find this out rather easily.

Further, I think Olly is chomping at the bit to commit a Genetic Fallacy, so for the sake of staying on topic, I do not wish to make it an issue at this time.

>> Asians are not a separate species (and I find it fairly racist that you would somehow suggest that).

Is it racist to like asian ladies?

I know this wasn't a response to my stated preference, but how could you miss it?

Further, have you seen Expelled? Don't you realize that, followed to its logical conclusion, Evolution results in the propagation of Eugenics?

Thank god not many follow it to its logical conclusion.

 
At 5/05/2008 7:10 AM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

(Gets out guitar and starts the intro to Alice's Restaurant)

One more time, to try to teach the parrots a new song (sigh).

Eugenics is UNNATURAL selection. A practice that has been used for pigs, horses, cows, corn, and Swedes (joking!) for centuries predating Darwin.

The perils of over-hybridization in terms of things like blight or disease, or overly pushed-in noses on Persian cats is well known.

The logical conclusion of Darwin's theory is NOT eugenics. Rather, it's LEAVING THINGS ALONE to work out harmful/beneficial mutations NATURALLY.

Thanks in part to the invention of eyeglasses, my myopic ancestor was viable enough to pass that along. Think of all the wonderful meddling that can take place, and you'll see that Eugenics might easily be a dead-end for the species.

 
At 5/05/2008 12:26 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

I hope you realize that Expelled is not by ANY means an objective account of the state of evolution in our society. It is COMPLETELY biased propoganda, run by the Christian Right.

You also don't seem to understand biological species in general. You're saying you have your "own" definition of species. Who cares? The scientific term is only there to describe certain milestones in evolutionary history. All species on the planet fall on one giant continuum (which contains many branches). They created the term "species" as an easy way to indicate where along this continuum a particular organism lies. Sure, we could define it more broadly and include a greater number of species. Or we could be more specific and have it include details such as race, breed, etc. The scientific definition of species, which I have given you, is a good middle-grounds, a reasonably broad definition to allow for good taxonomic identification.

Also, to say the evolution leads to eugenics is HORRIBLY misguided. I can't believe that you bought into this complete sham of an argument. If evolution leads to eugenics, then eating a vegetables leads to cannibalism. Are you a cannibal?

Also, nobody says "little changes lead to big changes." What we say is "the accumulation of many little changes results, sometimes, in a big change." It might not, but it can sometimes.

 
At 5/05/2008 12:49 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

Agilius, here's a great response by PZ Meyers to the "Evolution leads to Genocide" argument:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/the_simple_falsehood_at_the_he.php

 
At 5/07/2008 7:16 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

This post is to be read in light of my claim that I have read the PZ Meyers entry to which he referred; and also the prior posts in this blog entry.

>> (Gets out guitar and starts the intro to Alice's Restaurant)
>>
>> One more time, to try to teach the parrots a new song (sigh).

I can't believe I listened to the whole thing.

"And if two people do it - in harmony - they think they're both faggots and they won't take either of 'em."

LOL :D

I'm guessing that was for the similarity the song and Eugenics have with Hitler (Did I reference the right war? I forget which one the song was about.); Beyond that, I'm lost.

Anyway, shame on you, hippie. Give me my 20 minutes back.

>> Eugenics is UNNATURAL selection.

So, you believe in a process of selection that is *not* natural?

Me too! I call it an emergent property of the soul.

And the implication of the existence of a soul is the existence of god.

>> The logical conclusion of Darwin's theory is NOT eugenics. Rather, it's LEAVING THINGS ALONE to work out harmful/beneficial mutations NATURALLY.

There is a difference between the conclusions one can draw from using the Theory of Evolution to extrapolate what will happen to the universe at a given point in the future (whether or not anyone believes in it), and the conclusions one can draw from using an understanding of human nature to extrapolate what can be expected of humans who act consistently with a belief in the Theory of Evolution (whether or not the Theory is fact).

This doesn't answer your rebuttal, but I am holding off, for now, because I believe it will be easier for me to address this further, later on, when I respond to Marshall's post.

>> I hope you realize that Expelled is not by ANY means an objective account of the state of evolution in our society.

I'm going to go ahead and say that we're both right on this.

The reason is because, at the moment, I'm pretty sure we're talking past each other.

I imagine this will become clearer when I respond to your PZ Meyers link.

>> The scientific term is only there to describe certain milestones in evolutionary history. All species on the planet fall on one giant continuum (which contains many branches). They created the term "species" as an easy way to indicate where along this continuum a particular organism lies. Sure, we could define it more broadly and include a greater number of species. Or we could be more specific and have it include details such as race, breed, etc. The scientific definition of species, which I have given you, is a good middle-grounds, a reasonably broad definition to allow for good taxonomic identification.

I'm sorry for the long quote, but you bring up a number of points which are hard to respond to, individually, without having to touch on a point made elsewhere in the quote. By quoting so much, I hope to avoid redundancy.

First, the continuum.

This seems a more appropriate place to start than the other points since you are referring to the Theory of Evolution in the abstract - the Theory, *as such*.

Now, there is one very important conclusion we can come to if we believe that the process of Evolution happens across a continuum. This conclusion is that there are no milestones - at least not in the abstract. The way things played out may have well, as is claimed, involved milestones (or branches), but not of necessity.

So, any change at all qualifies as proof of any theory of evolution which has no milestones, and like I said before, every non-solipsistic religion believes in this definition of Evolution.

Therefore, this definition of Evolution is not *better* attested to than competing views - even if it's true.

Second, the branches of the continuum; or the "species".

What the above conclusion means for Evolution today, since scientists believe that the continuum is branched, is that a "sufficient" branching must be proven to have occurred in order for Evolution to be considered "proven".

An often overlooked problem with determining the location of branches along a continuum is the plausibility that every species evolved separate from one another.

What this means for Evolution is that if scientists cannot determine whether or not every species evolved separate from each other, then they cannot determine whether or not the biological evidence precludes Intelligent Design.

I don't know how Evolutionists get past this. It seems a rather foundational consideration.

Of course, being able to prove that branches of species have occurred, both disproves that evolution didn't effect branching species, and also proves the current Theory of Evolution.

So, what we are left with, for the purpose of proving that Evolution is *more* likely to have happened than competing worldviews, is that scientists must prove that species have evolved in branches.

But like I've said before, the definition of speciation is argued amongst scientists. It turns out that when Evolutionists assign meaning to the term "species", it is completely arbitrary.

The current popular definition, to which you hold, recognizes currently existing species; The problem for Evolutionists is determining at what point, given their worldview, one species would have evolved into the next - if at all.

Unfortunately for scientists, the evidence for speciation is currently the evidence for created [i.e. static] species. This is why it is necessary for scientists to be able to document each step in the Evolutionary process, from one species to the next, in order to prove the *Theory* of Evolution.

O, my gosh, I'm tired. I hope I didn't miss anything. And I hope I wasn't overly redundant.

>> If evolution leads to eugenics, then eating a vegetables leads to cannibalism.

I don't see the corelation. Can I get a little help, please?

>> Agilius, here's a great response by PZ Meyers ...

Meyers is under the false impression that Creationists blame Evolutionists for revealing that nature plays a role in the phenomenon of Survival of the Fittest - as if revealing truth [that was already known] was, in itself, evil.

Further, Meyers says "When clueless creationists argue that Darwin led to Hitler, it's worse than inane."

Actually, if we say that Darwin led to Hitler, we mean it in the metonymous way, in that Darwin is the most prevalent representation of a view which, when followed to its logical conclusion, is a genuine support for Eugenics.

No, you don't need Darwin to get to Eugenics; But you *will* arrive at Eugenics if you follow Darwin to his logical conclusion.

And again, I will say for the Evolutionists: Thank god not many follow their worldview to its logical conclusion.

Well, I'm looking forward to seeing how well I butchered your understanding of what I meant to say.

 
At 5/07/2008 9:26 AM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

No, you will absolutely NOT lead to eugenics if you follow Darwin to its logical conclusion. You missed out on the entire point of the article somehow. Darwinian evolution simply states that NATURAL forces cull out certain members of the population. This happens all the time, and it's happened while we've been alive. It's been happening to Panda bears because they refuse to mate; it almost happened to bananas because of a deadly disease that threatened to wipe them out. It happens ALL THE TIME in nature. That's simply what Darwinian evolution states. There is no "ought" or "should" in Darwinian Evolution.

I hate to say "Creationists like you," but I find it really offsensive when people attempt to blame the Holocaust on evolutionists. That is just downright absurd, which is what I was attempting to say in my "cannibalism" analogy. You're taking two topics that both have a similar underlying principle (i.e. that dead organisms can't reproduce) and claiming that one is the cause for the other. That is absurd, wrong, and it's offensive to the millions of Jews who had to deal with generations of persecution. If you knew an ounce about Hitler, you'd know that he actually used his Christianity as an excuse for his eugenics.

What this means for Evolution is that if scientists cannot determine whether or not every species evolved separate from each other, then they cannot determine whether or not the biological evidence precludes Intelligent Design.

I don't know how Evolutionists get past this. It seems a rather foundational consideration.

You're forgetting the fact that there is absolutely zero evidence for Intelligent Design. But we can forget that for the moment anyway.

When people slowly find that every single species they encountered falls quite obviously along this spectrum I was referring to, then it's pretty obvious they share a common ancestry. Or, if you want to put it in ID terms, it means that God designed every single creature to appear exactly as if they were related. How the two differ is, I suppose, a matter of philosophy (about whether the present state of a system reflects its past, or whether it was simply "conjured" up to represent the exact same state). Philosophical BS, I might add. The point is, the evidence is unbelievably overwhelming, despite what you've been taught, that organisms are related to each other. There DNA says it, their no-long-used organs, their biological development, etc. You also don't understand what it means for an idea to exist as a Theory in science, the words Theory and Fact and pretty much interchangeable. Did you know that it's called the Theory of Gravity? Nobody's disputing that.

 
At 5/07/2008 4:18 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> No, you will absolutely NOT lead to eugenics if you follow Darwin to its logical conclusion. ... Darwinian evolution simply states that NATURAL forces cull out certain members of the population. ... It happens ALL THE TIME in nature. That's simply what Darwinian evolution states. There is no "ought" or "should" in Darwinian Evolution.

Begging your pardon; I remember making a clear distinction between the Theory of Evolution as we imagine it might have happened, were it a fact; and the Theory of Evolution as an intellectual foundation of one's worldview.

The first part of this distinction requires no intellectual assent; that is, if Evolution actually happened, it affects the universe in such and such a way, regardless of whether or not anyone knows or believes it.

The second part of this distinction requires no evidence; that is, if people give intellectual assent to the Theory of Evolution, it affects their worldview, regardless of whether or not the evidence proves or disproves the Theory.

Now, no matter who you are, your belief about the Theory of Evolution is comprised of these two parts. You both 1) believe that the Theory of Evolution has been proven, or has not, and 2) are right or wrong about your belief about the Theory of Evolution depending on what actually has, or has not, happened.

When I say that Evolution leads to Hitler, I mean Evolution in the second sense - that is, Evolution as a *theory* in the mind.

A couple of other ways to say this is: I'm referring to the Theory in the abstract; or, I'm referring to the Theory *as such*.

So with these distinctions in mind, let me try this again.

The Theory of Evolution, in the abstract sense, when followed to its logical conclusion, leads necessarily to Eugenics.

I am *not* saying that, if true, Evolution necessarily leads to Eugenics.

And, of course, thank god not many Evolutionists follow the Theory of Evolution [again, in the abstract] to its logical conclusion.

>> You missed out on the entire point of the article somehow.

Well, notice, carefully, what Meyers is accusing Creationists of:

"The idea of culling populations is not only so easy that a hate-mongering cretin can think of it, but that weather, bacteria, viruses, parasites, predators, etc. have been doing it for eons, with no intelligence required, and that mindless microorganisms have been far greater agents of hereditary change than the worst the Nazis ever accomplished; does Charles Darwin also get the blame for that?"

Meyers is accusing ID'ers of believing that Darwin is responsible for the Eugenics which were, in fact, effected by weather, bacteria, etc.

*Nobody* believes this. If the means of Natural Selection include weather, bacteria, etc., then the fact that people believe in Evolution will not change or affect this truth.

The point of Expelled was *not* to show that Eugenics requires a belief in Evolution.

The point of the Hitler part of Expelled *was* to show that if someone follows the *Theory* of Evolution - that is, the theory in the abstract sense - to its logical conclusion, they will necessarily arrive at the practice of Eugenics; which is exactly what Hitler did.

And, just to make the point Ben Stein made: Thank god not many Evolutionists decide to follow their worldview to its logical conclusion.

>> That is just downright absurd, which is what I was attempting to say in my "cannibalism" analogy.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't understand how someone can even come to the *mistaken* idea that eating vegetables leads to cannibalism.

I would like to be able to say that either the analogy does, or does not, hold; and for such and such reasons. But I don't even understand the analogy.

>> If you knew an ounce about Hitler, you'd know that he actually used his Christianity as an excuse for his eugenics.

Well, I know that he claimed to be a Catholic.

But did he use actual Catholic beliefs, followed to their *logical* conclusions, to justify his Eugenics? No.

Instead, he deceived intellectually dull religious people into believing an unfaithful interpretation of the Bible.

[Aside: I thank god for Evolutionists, who have proven to be more intellectual than religious people typically are. It is through their honest [but sometimes not] and precise critique of religion, that I learned to be more precise myself. Those religious supporters of Hitler should have been more willing to question.]

>> You're forgetting the fact that there is absolutely zero evidence for Intelligent Design. But we can forget that for the moment anyway.

Per your request, I am able to forget this claim of yours, *for the moment*.

>> When people slowly find that every single species they encountered falls quite obviously along this spectrum I was referring to, then it's pretty obvious they share a common ancestry.

It's not *obvious* that every species has a place along a continuum. Your belief about the placement of species is merely *consistent* with such a continuum.

But so is *every other placement* you can think of; Because, if your continuum has no set milestones, then your continuum can be branched, if you want, or not - it doesn't matter.

In fact, you can take an empty can of Mountain Dew and a water bottle, and imagine where they might fall along an evolutionary continuum. And this is what Evolutionists do, since they can't determine the difference between speciation and variations - *both* of which Evolutionists believe in.

>> The point is, the evidence is unbelievably overwhelming, despite what you've been taught, that organisms are related to each other.

Not yet, it isn't. Evolutionists *still* have yet to document the process from one species to another - and this requires a useful theory of how speciation occurs that applies to all organisms, which Evolutionists have yet to arrive at. Because if you don't know *how* speciation occurs, how do you know *that* it occurred?

>> There DNA says it, their no-long-used organs, their biological development, etc.

Their DNA only *says it* if you already believe that organisms fall along a branched continuum - otherwise you have to show *that* it falls along a branched continuum, which requires you to document every step of the process of speciation, which requires you to have a definition of speciation which applies consistently to all organisms, which scientists have yet to come up with.

Their no-longer-used organs only *says it*, if you already believe that an organism has evolved past said organ's usefullness. Further, since an organ's usefullness may only be realized under certain circumstances, the fact that the removal of a particular organ does not affect the organism in any noticeable way, does not, necessarily, preclude its usefulness.

At any rate, since to be able to prove that an organ is no longer used requires you to prove a negative, it cannot proven.

Their biological development - given that you've already brought up DNA - only *says it* if you already believe that any morphological similarity at all *necessarily* shows relation. Again, I submit the Mountain Dew can and the water bottle.

>> You also don't understand what it means for an idea to exist as a Theory in science, the words Theory and Fact and pretty much interchangeable. Did you know that it's called the Theory of Gravity? Nobody's disputing that.

Actually, I have been aware, for quite some time, that, in science, the word "theory" does not, in itself, connote fact or non-fact.

In science, a theory is a belief about how a phenomenon works, regardless of to how well it is attested.

So, when I hear scientists refer to the Theory of Evolution, I know that they are referring to a set of beliefs about how the world we see came to exist as we see it. Also, they happen to believe that their set of beliefs represent the way the world really is; that is, they believe that their Theory about Evolution represents the facts.

Again, I have used this understanding of the term "theory" in all of its occurences within the responses I have made to this blog entry.

 
At 5/07/2008 5:57 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

In science, a theory is a belief about how a phenomenon works, regardless of to how well it is attested.
False. In Science, a Theory only gains the rights to be called a Theory (otherwise it's known as a hypothesis) if it's backed up by boatloads of evidence in its favor, and overcomes the boatloads of counterclaims against it.

With regard to the Eugenics debate, you make up something about "following an abstract theory of evolution to its logical conclusion." I have no idea what you're talking about here. You need to explain what it means to follow the theory of natural selection to its logical conclusion.

It sounds like you're saying "natural selection, which involves nature culling off certain members of the population, leads to the extermination of the Jews." That's as close as I can come to some horribly misguided attempt to apply logic (and how does one do this?) to the scientific theory of natural selection.

The point of PZ Meyer's article is that natural selection and Eugenics both rely on the same (already obvious) fact that dead people/organisms cannot reproduce. You can say that 1 + 1 = 2, then killing 1 person + 1 person = killing 2 people, and therefore math, followed to its logical conclusion, leads to the death of innocent people.

 
At 5/08/2008 7:44 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

agilius said:

"I can't believe I listened to the whole thing.

"And if two people do it - in harmony - they think they're both faggots and they won't take either of 'em."

LOL :D

I'm guessing that was for the similarity the song and Eugenics have with Hitler (Did I reference the right war? I forget which one the song was about.); Beyond that, I'm lost.

Anyway, shame on you, hippie. Give me my 20 minutes back.

>> Eugenics is UNNATURAL selection.

So, you believe in a process of selection that is *not* natural?

Me too! I call it an emergent property of the soul.

And the implication of the existence of a soul is the existence of god."

Quoting Arlo and referncing me. At the risk of being accused of an Ad-homenem attack, I must observe that your choices here say a lot about you. Another wise whackjob once said, "This book is a mirror. When a monkey looks in, no saint looks out."

This can also be applied to a song, to life in general, or to Dawin's Theory of Evolution. I have given you a logical argument supporting the diametric opposite viewpoint to your assertion that Evolution Theory leads logically to Eugenics. You accuse me of ignoring human nature. Last time I looked, I was human. I will not argue that morally bankrupt humans will not grasp at any straw in support of whatever policy they wish to promulgate. Human beings have a long record of rationalizing murder and force.

If this is the first tme you have heard "Alice's Restaurant", there might be hope for you. If you absolutely cannot see the possibility for myriad metaphors, I doubt that I will ever be able to help you to a better understanding of human social reality.

I chose that song primarily because it has a 12-bar melody that just loops behind the whole narrative. It just keeps "comin around again" - just like so many religious talking points. It does not matter how many times they are exploded, a new believer will be programmed with the same (mis)information, wound up and turned loose to run down.

Next there is the refrain, "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant." Darwin's Theory is kind of like that too. What you get depends on what you came in wanting. You want to argue that Darwin's Theory led to Eugenics. A theory of some macrosocial version of "Lord of the Flies Syndrome" in no way invalidates the science. I can argue that Atomic Theory led to a whole generation of paranoid people, and the Giant Insect Fear Films of the 1950's. Germ Theory is responsible for germ phobia. Hydraulic Theory is responsible for the Johnstown flood and other disasters. Yup, screw science. I should be dead by now.

And that leads us to the metaphor of Officer Opie. The Establishment, as represented, was more interested in fixing blame and prosecuting the wrongdoers than fixing the problem. Opie goes to great lengths to sift through the garbage, take pictures, and build a case. He drags them all into court at public expense. The judge does not see the magnitude of the crime. How would this be handled in say, Mayberry of the 1930s? Well, probably the constable would show up at the door and advise the litterbugs to clean up the mess. He might give them a day or two, and tell them he'd be back. Done.

Would it surprise you to know that this story was based on actual events? The group it happened to was a religious organization that, unlike COS, failed to gain tax-exempt status.

I'm guessing that the irony of the US Government worrying if petit criminals were "fit" to be turned into moral relativist assasins in someone else's rice paddy was totally lost on you. If you think this is a "hippie" attitude, can you say, "PTSD?"

Moving on. Of course I believe in unnatual selection. Every domestic animal and food crop has been selectively bred. The formula (or theory) wass documented by some English fellow at least a generation before Darwin. Sorry I have forgotten whom. Darwin proposed that the same thing was going on in nature, on a different scale.

How you get goddidit and "I can has soul!" from that, I don't know. All I know is, the Theory of Soul is responsible for getting people to do all manner of horrible and stupid things to each other. It's a tool by which liars promise a happy afterlife in exchange for selling out this life to their purposes. Ask an atheist to strap on a bomb for a cause. Most likely you'll get the finger.

 
At 5/08/2008 9:26 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

*applause*

 
At 5/09/2008 4:48 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> False. In Science, a Theory only gains the rights to be called a Theory (otherwise it's known as a hypothesis) if it's backed up by boatloads of evidence in its favor, and overcomes the boatloads of counterclaims against it.

A distinction without a significant difference.

First of all, my definition *includes* your definition; A theory can be backed by a boatload of evidence and later proven false, because the theory happened to support multiple conclusions.

The point is that there is a difference between a theory in practice, and a theory as such.

More on this, later.

>> With regard to the Eugenics debate, you make up something about "following an abstract theory of evolution to its logical conclusion." I have no idea what you're talking about here. You need to explain what it means to follow the theory of natural selection to its logical conclusion.

Hmmm. Well, I broke that down pretty well in my last post.

Let me try it this way.

Let's say I feel the need to strap a bomb on and blow you up, hoping both that I will be greeted in the afterlife by 72 soon to be ex-virgins, and that killing you is a better way to convince others of my beliefs than using reason.

If I blow myself up, then my actions are consistent with my beliefs.

[Aside: I can't believe Bill Maher got canned for saying this.]

If I *don't* blow myself up, then I have not followed my beliefs to their logical conclusion.

Notice that acting in consistency with my beliefs does not require my beliefs to be true.

Now, with regard to Evolution, what I'm saying is, a *belief* in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, results in the belief that since "chance" was responsible for the development of humankind, and not god, then it is OK, given that there is no set moral code, to assure that future humankind is free of the bad genes possessed by the Jews, et al, by killing them to remove their biological influence.

Now, if Evolution is true, then I think this is a responsible idea. Why *not* rid the gene pool of genetic "poison"? If a whole race possesses such genes, then the most expedient way to rid humanity of them is to kill those who have them.

To be sure, I don't believe any kind of beliefs are possible without a god - not even the belief that the Jews need to be exterminated; But, again, I am suspending my normal sentience-based argument to make a point.

Again: Thank god not many Evolutionists follow their worldview to its logical conclusion.

>> It sounds like you're saying "natural selection, which involves nature culling off certain members of the population, leads to the extermination of the Jews." That's as close as I can come to some horribly misguided attempt to apply logic (and how does one do this?) to the scientific theory of natural selection.

No. What I'm saying is that if you follow Evolution to its logical conclusion, then you will not believe humans have intrinsic value, and therefore you will consider Eugenics via murder to be a viable option for ridding future human populations of bad genes. Which is what Hitler did.

Everyone already believes in Natural Selection - and every ancestor did, too -, so, again, this is not the issue.

>> The point of PZ Meyer's article is that natural selection and Eugenics both rely on the same (already obvious) fact that dead people/organisms cannot reproduce.

I get this. Everyone gets this.

This is not a point of contention, so Meyers is missing the point.

Everyone believes in Natural Selection - and everyone always has -; But Evolution denies the intrinsic value of humankind, thus making Eugenics by murder a pragmatic option for the purpose of genetic cleansing. Again, this is the conclusion Hitler came to.

But also note that you don't need a belief in Evolution to come to the conclusion that Eugenics is a pragmatic way to cleanse the gene pool: It is quite possible for someone to have religious reasons for practicing Eugenics.

The point is, though, that, of necessity, a belief in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, results in the practice of Eugenics - whether or not Evolution is a fact.

>> You accuse me of ignoring human nature. Last time I looked, I was human. I will not argue that morally bankrupt humans will not grasp at any straw in support of whatever policy they wish to promulgate. Human beings have a long record of rationalizing murder and force.

I'm not accusing you of ignoring "human nature" the way you're thinking.

People have beliefs about the world; And it is possible for people to follow those beliefs to their logical conclusion, without their beliefs conforming to reality.

>> I have given you a logical argument supporting the diametric opposite viewpoint to your assertion that Evolution Theory leads logically to Eugenics.

Yes. You said that the logical conclusion of Eugenics was "LEAVING THINGS ALONE to work out harmful/beneficial mutations NATURALLY".

But since Natural Selection was not the issue, your rebuttal missed the point.

>> If this is the first tme you have heard "Alice's Restaurant", there might be hope for you.

First time; Yes.

>> If you absolutely cannot see the possibility for myriad metaphors, I doubt that I will ever be able to help you to a better understanding of human social reality.

I see the possibility for a myriad of metaphors in speeches and songs all the time. But the question is do the *authors* see it?

When a hippy writes a song, all *I* expect is lyrics like "Black is black" and songs like "These eyes are cryin".

But I can *make up* some metaphors from the Alice's Restaurant lyrics, if you like.

>> I chose that song primarily because it has a 12-bar melody that just loops behind the whole narrative.

I thought that was pretty creepy that his guitar was metered, but his speech was not.

How on earth he kept his guitar on beat, I may never know.

>> It just keeps "comin around again" - just like so many religious talking points. It does not matter how many times they are exploded, a new believer will be programmed with the same (mis)information, wound up and turned loose to run down.

Since you're not referring to any particular talking point, I can't respond to much.

I will say that I appreciate you taking the time to discuss life-affecting topics with me. And, to my knowledge, I haven't completed any circles, so at least it's not *obvious* that I'm being disingenuous ;)

>> Next there is the refrain, "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant." Darwin's Theory is kind of like that too. What you get depends on what you came in wanting. You want to argue that Darwin's Theory led to Eugenics. A theory of some macrosocial version of "Lord of the Flies Syndrome" in no way invalidates the science.

I agree that such a theory does not invalidate the science; I said this above. I also said that I believe in Natural Selection; Again, Natural Selection is not the issue.

A belief in Evolution is a lack of belief in the intrinsic value of humankind. Since Natural Selection is a fact, those who do not believe in the intrinsic value of humankind, yet wish to contribute to the prosperity of humankind in general, will have no qualms over killing genetically undesireable races (which is doable, to some extent, given the fact of Natural Selection). Which is what Hitler did.

But, like I said, not many Evolutionists *actually* believe that humankind lacks intrinsic value, despite their stated beliefs; Which is why Evolutionists don't follow Evolution to its logical conclusion. And thank god for that.

>> I can argue that Atomic Theory led to a whole generation of paranoid people, and the Giant Insect Fear Films of the 1950's. Germ Theory is responsible for germ phobia. Hydraulic Theory is responsible for the Johnstown flood and other disasters. Yup, screw science. I should be dead by now.

The difference between your analogies and my view on Evolution and Eugenics, is that, if I follow your analogous theories to their logical conclusion, I do not, of necessity, arrive at the conclusion that humankind is void of intrinsic value; whereas, with Evolution, I do.

>> And that leads us to the metaphor of Officer Opie. [etc., etc.]

Dood, you're reading too much into the song.

A hippy wanted to oppose the war, and gave a song to the people, which mocked the seemingly flawed moral logic in the concept of war, that they could use to make a point.

The song was entertaining enough to allow people to say "You can get anything you want ..." without being embarrassed by the fact that those lyrics made no sense.

Hippies were the "abstract artists" of songwriting; Again, I submit "Black is black" and "These eyes are cryin".

That's it. There are no metaphors.

>> Would it surprise you to know that this story was based on actual events? The group it happened to was a religious organization that, unlike COS, failed to gain tax-exempt status.

Well, I read that it was based on the songwriter's experience. So I understand it as basically a first-person account.

>> I'm guessing that the irony of the US Government worrying if petit criminals were "fit" to be turned into moral relativist assasins in someone else's rice paddy was totally lost on you. If you think this is a "hippie" attitude, can you say, "PTSD?"

I understood that this was the point the songwriter was trying to make; but that was pretty blatant, as opposed to being expressed as a metaphor.

And regarding PTSD: How about the PTSD of South Vietnam?

[I'm changing wars, I know. I'm starting to think it was the Vietnam war to which the song referred.]

>> Moving on. Of course I believe in unnatual selection. Every domestic animal and food crop has been selectively bred. The formula (or theory) wass documented by some English fellow at least a generation before Darwin. Sorry I have forgotten whom. Darwin proposed that the same thing was going on in nature, on a different scale.

The point was that since, in the Evolutionary worldview, nothing happens outside of a causal system, and therefore everything happens "naturally"; the belief in "unnatural" causes is inconsistent with the Evolutionary worldview.

>> How you get goddidit and "I can has soul!" from that, I don't know.

Well, if you believe in unnatural causation, then you believe that some causes are first causes, in that some causes are not effects of prior causes.

If you believe in first causes, then you believe that something other than nature effected those causes.

If nature did not cause first causes, then something supernatural, or metaphysical, caused those first causes.

Enter the soul - and, by extension, god.

>> All I know is, the Theory of Soul is responsible for getting people to do all manner of horrible and stupid things to each other. It's a tool by which liars promise a happy afterlife in exchange for selling out this life to their purposes.

Well, the theory of soul is responsible for getting people to do anything at all.

*This* would be a good place for me to paste your analogous theories.

I think what you meant to say is "religion", as opposed to the "theory of soul".

It needs to be said that religion, like any other heartfelt belief system - be it the economy, politics, etc. - is a basis for how we run our lives.

The fact that people truly believe in a god does not mean they will kill people; And the fact that an Atheist believes his life is in danger, shouldn't feel bad for killing a robber.

You don't need a religion, per se, to have heartfelt beliefs about matters that affect our lives; So to say that *religion* is the cause of so much human suffering is a kind of reverse No True Scotsman fallacy.

>> Ask an atheist to strap on a bomb for a cause. Most likely you'll get the finger.

However, if I ask an atheist to kill my unborn, he'll give me more than a finger, won't he?

 
At 5/09/2008 5:20 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

breakerslion,

I forgot to acknowledge your LOLcat reference. :D

 
At 5/09/2008 12:11 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> A theory can be backed by a boatload of evidence and later proven false, because the theory happened to support multiple conclusions.

Oops. I meant to say " ... because the evidence happened to support multiple conclusions."

 
At 5/09/2008 5:08 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

I haven't read your whole post yet because it's quite long. But after reading through the first few paragraphs, I see how horribly ignorant you are about the actual theory of Evolution. I wish you'd learn what the theory actually states instead of what you learn from the Creationist nonsense interpretation of Evolution, which is wrong.

Now, with regard to Evolution, what I'm saying is, a *belief* in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, results in the belief that since "chance" was responsible for the development of humankind, and not god, then it is OK, given that there is no set moral code, to assure that future humankind is free of the bad genes possessed by the Jews, et al, by killing them to remove their biological influence.
The biggest flaw Creationists have in understanding Evolution is that they think it happens by "chance." It does not happen by chance. It's the same as my marbles explanation before. Chance provides mutations, which are then selected against/for by nature. If you have one thousand people of different height and I consistently kill the tallest people, after many generations the population will grow shorter. This is no by chance.

Also, there is a moral code for an Atheist--you're falling into the other typical creationist thinking that Atheists have no moral code. This is false--we derive it from the moral code given to us by nature. You'll find that nearly every culture shares very common and very specific ideas of what is "right" and what is "wrong." It's all over the world, REGARDLESS of their religion. It is quite obvious that your morals are not derived from a specific religion, but from a more universal set of rules ingrained in our genes.

Secondly, you mistake evolution for killing off "bad" genes and favoring "good" genes. You're taking this misinterpretation and saying that, if we "follow evolution to its logical conclusion," then we act on behalf of nature and kill off members of our population depending on what we perceive to be good. This is absurd. Following Evolution to its logical conclusion has nothing to do with actively culling members of our own population. Evolution states that nature does this, slowly, and it doesn't use any moral guidance to make its decisions. It's just that species that happen to propagate better than competition have more offspring.

Does following the theory of gravity to its logical conclusion mean that we should throw people off of cliffs? It amounts to the same reasoning that you're giving.

 
At 5/09/2008 5:25 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

A belief in Evolution is a lack of belief in the intrinsic value of humankind. Since Natural Selection is a fact, those who do not believe in the intrinsic value of humankind, yet wish to contribute to the prosperity of humankind in general, will have no qualms over killing genetically undesireable races (which is doable, to some extent, given the fact of Natural Selection). Which is what Hitler did.
I think that, since you think this, you might be crazy yourself. I'm not even sure I want to continue this discussion. This is so wrong that it's just mind boggling.

 
At 5/10/2008 3:28 PM, Blogger breakerslion declaimed...

marshall: First off, thank you. I can’t entirely agree with your last comment. Beyond the very common delusional nature of faith-based belief, agilius is not necessarily crazier than average.

That men have used the “logic” he outlines to rationalize and justify selective murder is a fact. That they were successful in selling this insanity is the cause of shame, denial, and anger (among other things) in modern Germany. I blame two things for their success: the tribal race prejudice that is hard-wired in all of us, and the wedge that faith-based belief and superstition drives into the individual’s ability to apply rational thought to an irrational argument.

agilius: We will have to agree to disagree. While I cannot respect your opinions or beliefs, I can respect your intellect and your ability to articulate your position. This has been one of the most rational discussions I have had recently with a religious person. You might have noticed that my style tends more toward the abstract and absurd than strict rules of debate would dictate. This is not intended as mockery. It stems from a belief that a logical argument can’t win out over what is essentially and emotional belief. Even if I just piss you off, I have engaged your emotional side.

Theistic argumentation often reminds me of a stage magician’s act. You see an apparatus used for the “saw the woman in half” illusion. What you don’t realize is, it is not constructed as it appears to be from the audience’s perspective, and this is deliberate. Another analogy is Joe Pesci”s monologue from “My Cousin Vinnie”:

Vinny Gambini: Look, maybe I could have handled the preliminary a little better, okay? I admit it. But what's most important is winning the case. I could do it. I really could. Let me tell you how, okay? The D.A.'s got to build a case. Building a case is like building a house. Each piece of evidence is just another building block. He wants to make a brick bunker of a building. He wants to use serious, solid-looking bricks, like, like these, right?
[puts his hand on the wall]
Bill: Right.
Vinny Gambini: Let me show you something.
[he holds up a playing card, with the face toward Billy]
Vinny Gambini: He's going to show you the bricks. He'll show you they got straight sides. He'll show you how they got the right shape. He'll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have. But there's one thing he's not gonna show you.
[turns the card, so that its edge is toward Billy]
Vinny Gambini: When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they're as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick. It has to be an illusion, 'cause you're innocent. Nobody - I mean nobody - pulls the wool over the eyes of a Gambini, especially this one. Give me a chance, one chance. Let me question the first witness. If after that point, you don't think that I'm the best man for the job, fire me then and there. I'll leave quietly, no grudges. All I ask is for that one chance. I think you should give it to me.

“The point is, though, that, of necessity, a belief in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, results in the practice of Eugenics - whether or not Evolution is a fact.”

Our single greatest point of divergent opinion is that use of the phrase “of necessity”, and what it’s actually doing in that sentence. Why is it necessary? To prove the point that Evolution is eeeevil! To make the good followers shun the subject. To buy the God of the Gaps a little breathing room. To create a plausible defense against conflicting information, within the closed-loop delusion that is faith-based belief. The wound is healed, or at least covered over with internally-consistent bullshit.

The trick here is working backward from the conclusion that one wants to draw. In similar fashion, Hitler’s government found “necessary” rationalizations, excuses, and pseudo-scientific support for the agenda they wished to pursue. Necessary because such agendas need to be sold to the henchmen that will ultimately carry them out. Using this kind of rationale is made simpler if you harbor the presupposition that all men are created evil, and that there is some supernatural force at work also known as “evil”. That humankind is capable of this, I do not argue. That this is all that humankind is capable of, is a logical falsehood. It’s as false as: Hitler was evil. Hitler was an Austrian. Therefore all Austrians are evil.

Why all this effort to lay Eugenics at the feet of Darwin? Why not pick on someone like Mendel? Simple. One accrues no socio-political currency in this somewhat spurious debate between religion and science by blaming Mendel. Form follows agenda.


“You said that the logical conclusion of Eugenics was "LEAVING THINGS ALONE to work out harmful/beneficial mutations NATURALLY".

You meant “Evolution theory”, not “Eugenics”, I believe. I know I did. You go on to say that, “since Natural Selection was not the issue, my rebuttal missed the point”. This strikes me as an evasion, or the skewed perspective of one who will not examine facts in conflict with the point one is trying to prove. My contention is, that it is at least equally supportable to say that the logical conclusion of Evolution theory is the hands-off approach of allowing Natural Selection to take its course, versus your conclusion that it supports the meddlesome, egomaniacal (dare I say “playing god?”) approach of Eugenics, which is Selective Breeding.

“>> And that leads us to the metaphor of Officer Opie. [etc., etc.]

Dood, you're reading too much into the song.”

Don’t be so sure. The whole “witch hunt” of the garbage pile was motivated by the townie’s dislike of this commune in their midst. This was a failed attempt at persecution in addition to being strict prosecution.

I said that the segment about the “Group W” bench was irony, not metaphor. In support of the US Army, I do agree that it was laid on thick, and it’s only ironic from Arlo’s point of view. In truth, the Army culls out criminals not because they are morally unfit to be turned into killers, but because they have an obvious problem with authority. They therefore make unreliable followers.

“Black is Black,” and “These eyes are cryin’” are hardly the best examples of the genre. In all fairness though, I know you could have picked even worse ones. My favorite junk song of the era was written by one of Lawrence Welk’s favorite groups, The Carpenters. You could hardly call that scrubbed, apple-pie Disnoid-America image “hippy”. They get the all-time Most Uninspired Song Award from me for having the courage to rhyme “baby” with “baby”.

“Well, if you believe in unnatural causation, then you believe that some causes are first causes, in that some causes are not effects of prior causes.

If you believe in first causes, then you believe that something other than nature effected those causes.

If nature did not cause first causes, then something supernatural, or metaphysical, caused those first causes.

Enter the soul - and, by extension, god.”

Heard this one before. First: by example. Iron ore is natural, the Internal Combustion Engine is artificial. Unnatural causation does not necessarily mean Supernatural causation as defined by the scope of my applying that term to Selective Breeding. Next: The veracity of First Causes cannot be known. It is possible that this is valid, it is equally possible that is a semantic trap, like “God and the rock so large…” If you postulate 4 dimensions, time being the fourth, and all lower dimensions down to the point (locus) dependent on the higher ones for referential integrity (existence), you can theorize a 5th, that is required to support time. Since nothing is known of this dimension, any conjecture as to its nature is just that, conjecture. See Mr. A. Square of Flatland. The burden of proof that causality and time is finite, and actually had a beginning, and that beginning was from D5, or God, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster lies with the one making the assertion. The argument as stated puts forth some pretty tenuous “extensions” before it even gets to “by extension, god”. Last: This argument applies to the Origin of Life and is only germane if you believe a timeless Superbeing foresaw the future and then created it by pulling Hippos and Giraffes, and Platypuses and everything else out of “His” um, … Magic Hat. If there was such a being, I would have only one question for it. Why Marsupials?

“Well, the theory of soul is responsible for getting people to do anything at all.”

I have heard this argument spun out at length as well. Even when it is qualified with, “…beyond the filling of basic survival needs”, there are problems with the assertion. The thing that it has going for it is that there is no competing successful system that one can point to in order to refute it. Medicine men, Shamans, Clerics, and their alleged invisible-but-powerful super-friends have been imposing hierarchical systems on mankind since prehistory. Lack of disproof is not the same as proof, however. Knowing how to knap flint was once a useful tool in maintaining social order as well. The success of the religious system is not in question. The question is, when do we outgrow this system of brainwashing and indoctrination in favor of a less fraudulent and less deliberately flawed moral construct?

There are other points I could address, but I will conclude here. Should you care to have the last word, I will read your comments but I will not be responding after this.

Until next time, be good, be well, and enjoy your life. If you're wrong, it's all you've got.

 
At 5/10/2008 5:01 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

Breakerslion, you're absolutely right. Agilius, I apologize for getting hostile. This has been a very well-mannered discussion. I'm just sometimes surprised by the other side's interpretation of evolutionary theory sometimes!

 
At 5/11/2008 5:31 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> Beyond the very common delusional nature of faith-based belief, agilius is not necessarily crazier than average.
>> ...
>> Breakerslion, you're absolutely right. Agilius, I apologize for getting hostile. This has been a very well-mannered discussion. I'm just sometimes surprised by the other side's interpretation of evolutionary theory sometimes!

Group glossy-eyed hug! :D

>> The biggest flaw Creationists have in understanding Evolution is that they think it happens by "chance." It does not happen by chance. It's the same as my marbles explanation before. Chance provides mutations, which are then selected against/for by nature. If you have one thousand people of different height and I consistently kill the tallest people, after many generations the population will grow shorter. This is no by chance.

If you'll notice, I put "chance" in quotes. This was to signify that the usual connotation of the term was not the intended meaning.

Chance is another way of saying "those variables, determining the calculations of which, prove too tedious for mental record-keeping".

The usefulness of the term "chance" is in its ability to resemble the notion of unguided action.

If you'll notice, in the above quote you, yourself use the term chance. Not only that, but you use it in the foundation of your rebuttal; I think that further justifies my belief that Evolutionists believe that Evolution happened by chance.

As for your "thousand people" analogy, I think you're right that such a result is not chance. Rather it is the result of agency - sentient first causes.

But this analogy is not consistent with the Theory of Evolution in practice. It *is*, however, consistent with a universe created by god which has people who believe in Evolution; Because, just because people believe in Evolution, doesn't mean that they don't possess the capacity for first causation.

>> Also, there is a moral code for an Atheist--you're falling into the other typical creationist thinking that Atheists have no moral code. This is false--we derive it from the moral code given to us by nature. You'll find that nearly every culture shares very common and very specific ideas of what is "right" and what is "wrong." It's all over the world, REGARDLESS of their religion. It is quite obvious that your morals are not derived from a specific religion, but from a more universal set of rules ingrained in our genes.

I could respond in one of two ways:

1. Rebut the Atheist's worldview as it relates to morality.

2. Rebut the Atheist's *practice* of his worldview, as it relates to morality.

I have found the latter more helpful because Atheists tend to think that because they *are* Atheists, and because they *do* have morality, that morality is consistent with the Atheistic worldview. So merely addressing the worldview in the abstract doesn't usually work.

OK, so you claim that Atheists have a moral code.

I totally agree with you.

I'm not saying that *Atheists* have no moral code; Rather, what I am saying is that, if *Atheism* is true, then there are no moral laws.

Now, I believe Atheists happen to exist in a universe that was created by god, so, that Atheists have a moral code is not inconsistent with my worldview.

But morality *is* inconsistent with the Atheistic worldview, when followed to its logical conclusion.

So, I'm not saying that *you*, in your belief in Atheism, have no moral code; What I'm saying is that when you hold to a moral code, you are acting inconsistently with your stated worldview.

This is possible for you to do because you live in a universe which was created by god, who gives moral rules.

[Aside: I understand that this last point happens to be the topic at hand, so it is still in the process of being argued for.]

Regarding similar moral beliefs found around the world, this can also be attributed to everyone being created by god. Everyone lives in his universe, so we would expect this, more than less.

But free moral agency includes the ability to deceive and be deceived, which is why we have so many contradictory religions.

Regarding a "universal set of rules ingrained in our genes", you can't get ought from is.

Further, genes determine your *physical* makeup; your decisions aren't ultimately dictated by your genes, but by your will. There is no moral code in your genes.

>> Secondly, you mistake evolution for killing off "bad" genes and favoring "good" genes. You're taking this misinterpretation and saying that, if we "follow evolution to its logical conclusion," then we act on behalf of nature and kill off members of our population depending on what we perceive to be good. This is absurd. Following Evolution to its logical conclusion has nothing to do with actively culling members of our own population. Evolution states that nature does this, slowly, and it doesn't use any moral guidance to make its decisions. It's just that species that happen to propagate better than competition have more offspring.

Another large quote; and sorry.

I'll take this one at a time.

First, I didn't say that Evolution favors "good" gemes; I realize that if Evolution is true, then there is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" gene.

What I said was that if an Evolutionist follows his worldview to its logical conclusion, then if he decides he wants to make life better for future generations of humans, he will have no qualms in practicing Eugenics by murder to rid the gene pool of what he would consider "bad", or unfavorable, genes.

Second, and again, I didn't say that Evolution *taking its course* had anything to do with actively culling members of our own population; I'm saying that a *belief* in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, will lead to a culling of members of our population.

Third, even if Evolution is true, and, as you say, culling happens slowly and naturally, this does not preclude the fact that a *belief* in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, will lead to a culling of members of our population.

>> Does following the theory of gravity to its logical conclusion mean that we should throw people off of cliffs? It amounts to the same reasoning that you're giving.

The difference between a belief in gravity and a belief in Evolution, is that a belief in gravity does not necessitate the preclusion of the intrinsic value of humankind.

So, no, this does not amount to the same reasoning.

>> I think that, since you think this, you might be crazy yourself.

I don't feel I need to address any offenses since your comment regarding this quote, but I did want to address a common misconception regarding my view on Evolution and Eugenics.

It's assumed that because Evolutionists don't typically practice Eugenics, and Theists argue that Eugenics is the logical conclusion of Evolution, that the Theist is more revealing a desire to kill others, than he is arguing for the danger of a worldview, the seeming practice of which has been largely shown to be contrary.

But, again, I'll say that not many Evolutionists have followed their worldview to their logical conclusion.

Further, since Evolutionists exist in a universe created by god, it is impossible for them to deny *some sense* of morality in their day to day lives.

So, rather than concluding that Theists wish to kill others, the proper conclusion should be that the Theist is attempting to show the danger of following Evolution to its logical conclusion.

Which, not many do, thank god.

>> You might have noticed that my style tends more toward the abstract and absurd than strict rules of debate would dictate. This is not intended as mockery. It stems from a belief that a logical argument can’t win out over what is essentially and emotional belief. Even if I just piss you off, I have engaged your emotional side.

O, I generally like your style because you're being interesting, and you show that you've been around.

The only problem I have with your style is that it lends itself well to showboating tactics; And I've had my fill of showboats.

I've learned that the strength of showboating is in its ability to garner acceptance through sheer goodwill alone. This makes it easier to make an effective point, but people are apt to favor showboating over reason, so, unless you are quick-witted and funny, you are unlikely to make your point - especially when your audience has an affinity for the person and/or the views expressed by your opponent.

If you're not a showboat yourself, or if you feel guilty about convincing someone through showboating, and you happen to be up against a showboat; then your only recourse is to neutralize their strength.

This means that when you know that you can deal with a particular point he has made, and doing so will garner you goodwill, but the point is off topic, then you have to forego goodwill to set a precedent that makes it extremely difficult for him to showboat.

And when he commits an ad-hominem fallacy, either ignore it altogether, or expose it as irrelevent and move on with the topic.

Which is why I tend to use a more proper style - though I still try to be interesting.

Believe it or not, I can't do this on the fly because I don't practice these responses, and there's a perception that if you don't, or can't, answer quickly, then you don't know what you're talking about. And then there's the dynamic of being interrupted, or the thought of being interrupted. It takes me a long time to think of the words I think I should use.

>> Our single greatest point of divergent opinion is that use of the phrase “of necessity”, and what it’s actually doing in that sentence. Why is it necessary? To prove the point that Evolution is eeeevil!

First, I think you're confusing the necessity of the conclusion with the necessity of arguing *for* the conclusion.

The reason I use the term "of necessity" is because - and I made this point, previously - if you believe that everything that exists, and every action, is the result of a purely causal universe, then you believe that human existence and action is the result of a purely causal universe.

If you believe that human existence and action is the result of a causal universe, then you believe that human beings just *are* - they have no intrinsic value.

If you believe that humans have no intrinsic value, then nothing that anything or anyone does to humans is immoral.

Now, given the fact of Natural Selection, anyone who ascribes to the above beliefs, and who wishes to make life genetically better for future generations of humans, will have no qualms over killing those humans which possess undesireable genes.

Second, the reason Eugenics is even an issue in this blog entry is because I was accused of being racist after making a statement about asian ladies, and I thought it would behove me to make the point that the pot was calling the kettle black.

But, in retrospect, I see that making that point was me being unable to stay on topic.

My bad. :D

He started it, though.

>> Why all this effort to lay Eugenics at the feet of Darwin? Why not pick on someone like Mendel? Simple. One accrues no socio-political currency in this somewhat spurious debate between religion and science by blaming Mendel. Form follows agenda.

Again, the reason Eugenics is an issue in this discussion is because I was accused of being racist.

If Mendel believes in practicing Eugenics by murder, then I will say the same about Mendel. :)

>> You meant “Evolution theory”, not “Eugenics”, I believe. I know I did. You go on to say that, “since Natural Selection was not the issue, my rebuttal missed the point”. This strikes me as an evasion, or the skewed perspective of one who will not examine facts in conflict with the point one is trying to prove. My contention is, that it is at least equally supportable to say that the logical conclusion of Evolution theory is the hands-off approach of allowing Natural Selection to take its course, versus your conclusion that it supports the meddlesome, egomaniacal (dare I say “playing god?”) approach of Eugenics, which is Selective Breeding.

Thanks for catching that; I did mean "Theory of Evolution", and not "Eugenics".

Perhaps this seemed evasive to you because we were talking past each other; I get that Evolutionists choose not to practice Eugenics by murder, and choose to observe what they think is the Theory of Evolution in action on a small scale.

What I'm saying is that a consistent Evolutionist realizes that there is no intrinsic human value, according to his worldview, and, as such, if he wants to make life better for future human generations, then it behoves him to use his knowledge of undesireable genes to rid the gene pool of said genes - the most expedient way, provided you have a military behind you, being to kill those that possess them.

And again, I realize that Evolution is not the only basis for the belief that humans, or a particular group of humans, have no intrinsic value. But the reason I bring up Eugenics as it relates to the Theory of Evolution is because I was accused of being racist.

>> Don’t be so sure. The whole “witch hunt” of the garbage pile was motivated by the townie’s dislike of this commune in their midst. This was a failed attempt at persecution in addition to being strict prosecution.

I thought it was just a guy and his buddies, and they wanted to take out the trash for someone.

>> I said that the segment about the “Group W” bench was irony, not metaphor.

I thought that when you said that the irony was lost on me, it was because you thought that I was unable to see the possibility for a myriad of metaphors in the song.

I totally caught that Arlo thought the "Group W" bench was ironic.

>> My favorite junk song of the era was written by one of Lawrence Welk’s favorite groups, The Carpenters. You could hardly call that scrubbed, apple-pie Disnoid-America image “hippy”. They get the all-time Most Uninspired Song Award from me for having the courage to rhyme “baby” with “baby”.

I think I found it; Google wasn't being very nice to me.

"Superstar", right?

Wow, not only did they rhyme "baby" with "baby", but they filled an entire line with "baby".

Her voice is enchanting. Too bad they made the chorus more upbeat.

>> Heard this one before. First: by example. Iron ore is natural, the Internal Combustion Engine is artificial. Unnatural causation does not necessarily mean Supernatural causation as defined by the scope of my applying that term to Selective Breeding.

I knew the term "supernatural" was going to be an issue, which is why I qualified it by saying that an alternative term might be "metaphysical" (i.e "above" nature [in scope, as opposed to direction], or "beyond" physical).

It looks like I didn't come across the way I wanted. Hopefully this is more clear, now.

My main point was that Selective Breeding requires a violation of the otherwise causal nature of our universe. Such a violation can only be accounted for by something which transcends causality.

I choose to call this a soul, rather than "sentience", because to me "sentience" is just one of several properties of some incorporeal being. The entire incorporeal being is the soul, in my understanding.

>> The veracity of First Causes cannot be known. It is possible that this is valid, it is equally possible that is a semantic trap, like “God and the rock so large…” If you postulate 4 dimensions, time being the fourth, and all lower dimensions down to the point (locus) dependent on the higher ones for referential integrity (existence), you can theorize a 5th, that is required to support time. Since nothing is known of this dimension, any conjecture as to its nature is just that, conjecture. See Mr. A. Square of Flatland.

First, let me grant that it is impossible to examine that which is used to do the said examination - which is what would have to happen, were we to attempt to determine whether our thoughts and decisions were first causes (which is why scanning for brain activity can never prove that thoughts are electrical impulses)

Second, and at any rate, if you can make a decision one way or another with regard to any decision at all, then when you decide to do something, you are a first cause; You have violated the otherwise causal nature of your body.

>> The burden of proof that causality and time is finite, and actually had a beginning, and that beginning was from D5, or God, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster lies with the one making the assertion. The argument as stated puts forth some pretty tenuous “extensions” before it even gets to “by extension, god”. Last: This argument applies to the Origin of Life and is only germane if you believe a timeless Superbeing foresaw the future and then created it by pulling Hippos and Giraffes, and Platypuses and everything else out of “His” um, … Magic Hat. If there was such a being, I would have only one question for it. Why Marsupials?

I agree with you that the burden of proof that causality and time is finite, et al, lies with the one making the assertion.

Note, though, that I did not bring up the beginning of causality and time; Rather I brought up the beginning of the existence of the soul.

I *do* believe that the beginning of the existence of any kind of a soul necessitates the existence of anything possessing the following traits: sentient; power to create; transcends natural causality, and so does not, by nature, possess any naturally causal traits.

So, any being positted as having these traits, including the Flying Spaghetti Monster, is a better explanation for the existence of the soul, and, by extension, the rest of the universe, than is the fatalistic determinism of Evolution [or Atheism, if you wanted to make Theistic Evolution an issue].

Regarding the beginning of time, this is qualified (go figure, right?).

The Bible says that, to god, a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day.

Assuming that linear time is what is being referred to [and, of course, there's the rub], these are two contradictory claims.

But what the Bible is attempting to convey is that god exists in a type of time that is not linear.

This is consistent with what Jesus said about himself: "Before Abraham was, I am."

Jesus is claiming that he presently exists in the past.

This was also how god made sure the Israelites knew Moses was not lying to them: "Tell them 'I am' has sent you."

This is a combination of a first person singular pronoun, and the present tense of 'to be'. God is saying "I exist, presently". But this wasn't meant as a statement of fact; This was meant as an identity. So god is saying that "I exist, presently" is an identity. In other words, god always - throughout linear time - exists presently.

Now, I don't think even god can *prove* to us that he exists in non-linear time, so this is one of those things we have to take on faith.

[Aside: I must quickly add that the existence of god requires no faith at all; Rather, it is the claims made by god that must be taken on faith.]

Why marsupials? Well, why anything, right?

>> “Well, the theory of soul is responsible for getting people to do anything at all.”
>>
>> I have heard this argument spun out at length as well. Even when it is qualified with, “…beyond the filling of basic survival needs”, there are problems with the assertion. The thing that it has going for it is that there is no competing successful system that one can point to in order to refute it. Medicine men, Shamans, Clerics, and their alleged invisible-but-powerful super-friends have been imposing hierarchical systems on mankind since prehistory. Lack of disproof is not the same as proof, however. Knowing how to knap flint was once a useful tool in maintaining social order as well. The success of the religious system is not in question. The question is, when do we outgrow this system of brainwashing and indoctrination in favor of a less fraudulent and less deliberately flawed moral construct?

If you believe that you are able to make your own decisions, then you believe you are able to violate the otherwise causal nature of your body.

If you are able to violate said nature, then the source of said violation is not natural, but metaphysical.

If you believe in metaphysical sources of causation, then congratulations, you believe in what I choose to call a soul.

And if you believe that your soul began to exist, then you believe your soul was created.

And if you believe that your soul was created, then you believe that your soul's creator is sentient, powerful, and incorporeal - i.e. god.

>> There are other points I could address, but I will conclude here. Should you care to have the last word, I will read your comments but I will not be responding after this.
>>
>> Until next time, be good, be well, and enjoy your life. If you're wrong, it's all you've got.

O, I think you can't resist the urge; So I expect to hear back from you real soon. :)

But if scrolling back and forth to find quotes and type is proving exponentially more tedious as we feel the need to quote entire paragraphs [the scroll bar is as small as it's going to get], such that it pains you to some extent, as it does me, to see yet another post, then I will thank you for the thought provoking and cordial exchange, and, of course, for allowing me the last word.

In case you were wondering, I found this blog after I posted a response on the Stand to Reason (www.str.org) to a blog entry that had to do with Euthyphro's Dilemma.

I looked up "Euthyphro's Dilemma" on Google, and found that your blog was listed as the next link below Stand to Reason's blog.

So I checked out your several year old blog entry on Euthphro's Dilemma and decided to post a response.

Maybe I'll catch you guys on the Stand to Reason blog, sometime. They talk about all kinds of topics there.

There's this one Evolutionist on there with whom I've had some good dialog. He's quite learned. His name is Alan Aronson. You won't feel too alone over there, I promise.

Well, thanks again. I'll chat with you all later.

 
At 5/11/2008 7:21 PM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

Second, and again, I didn't say that Evolution *taking its course* had anything to do with actively culling members of our own population; I'm saying that a *belief* in Evolution, followed to its logical conclusion, will lead to a culling of members of our population.
You're still blaming evolution for that *simpler* concept of culling members of the population. Just because nature does it doesn't mean that we *should* do it. That's not what evolution, taken to its logical conclusion, suggests. It suggests that the forces of nature, whatever they are at any given time, do indeed affect the distribution of genes within a population. It makes no prescriptions whatsoever for behavior.

Also, concerning morals. I read a great article in New York Magazine a few months back about a study of morals, and it was quite fascinating. I'm going to see if I can find it somewhere online. But yes, we can provide evidence to show that our Moral Laws are not arbitrary laws developed by a God, but in fact are consistent with the prediction that genes providing a certain set of moral codes would excel/proliferate more than genes with another set of moral codes. The article showed some tests/questionnaires that asked people to determine what they would do in a given situation (i.e. would you throw a fat man in front of a moving train to save 5 other people? probably not. Would you pull a lever that chose to run over a fat man instead of 5 people? Probably.). The rules constructed from their studies were pretty specific and detailed; it was really interesting.

I'd like to comment that, even if our morals are something derived from nature and evolution, it doesn't mean they're "meaningless." I kind of think of "meaning" as a process of normalization--from a Theistic point of view, the supernatural (things related to God) have great meaning (the soul, our existence), and things derived from nature have less meaning, although they might still. To an Atheist, the meaning of natural things is much greater than it is to a Theist. I find it beautiful and astounding that nature could, following a set of simple rules, create something as complex as human society. To me, that gives my morals, which I think developed naturally from selection, even more meaning than having an arbitrary set conjured up by a god.

 
At 5/11/2008 11:21 PM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> You're still blaming evolution for that *simpler* concept of culling members of the population. Just because nature does it doesn't mean that we *should* do it. That's not what evolution, taken to its logical conclusion, suggests. It suggests that the forces of nature, whatever they are at any given time, do indeed affect the distribution of genes within a population. It makes no prescriptions whatsoever for behavior.

Could you please be more specific as to how you think I'm blaming Evolution for culling members of the population; Because, as qualified in the rest of the above quote, I can say that you are mistaken.

>> Also, concerning morals. I read a great article in New York Magazine a few months back about a study of morals, and it was quite fascinating. I'm going to see if I can find it somewhere online. But yes, we can provide evidence to show that our Moral Laws are not arbitrary laws developed by a God, but in fact are consistent with the prediction that genes providing a certain set of moral codes would excel/proliferate more than genes with another set of moral codes. The article showed some tests/questionnaires that asked people to determine what they would do in a given situation (i.e. would you throw a fat man in front of a moving train to save 5 other people? probably not. Would you pull a lever that chose to run over a fat man instead of 5 people? Probably.). The rules constructed from their studies were pretty specific and detailed; it was really interesting.

Again, Natural Selection is not unique to the Theory of Evolution; So, merely because people who follow particular types of moral rules live longer, will not be enough to prove that morality is contained in the genes.

Further, there is a social dynamic to morality, such that interaction with other humans serves to heighten one's moral senses [to be concise], so merely showing a relation between morality and heredity will not be enough to prove that morality is contained in the genes (Immediate descendents tend to live with their progenitors).

But more fundamental is the concept that you don't get ought from is. I wonder how that article dealt with that?

At any rate, when you find it, please argue the points yourself, so I can respond to something more specific than an article (Unless it's a small article).

>> I'd like to comment that, even if our morals are something derived from nature and evolution, it doesn't mean they're "meaningless." I kind of think of "meaning" as a process of normalization--from a Theistic point of view, the supernatural (things related to God) have great meaning (the soul, our existence), and things derived from nature have less meaning, although they might still. To an Atheist, the meaning of natural things is much greater than it is to a Theist. I find it beautiful and astounding that nature could, following a set of simple rules, create something as complex as human society. To me, that gives my morals, which I think developed naturally from selection, even more meaning than having an arbitrary set conjured up by a god.

Morality is determined by a law giver to give direction to those with free agency, thus only those with free agency, which the Theory of Evolution precludes, can be obliged to a moral code.

So morality cannot have developed by nature and Evolution.

Now, you can *believe* in Evolution and have a moral code, provided Evolution is not true; Because your moral obligation *did not* develop from nature and Evolution, and nothing you believe can change that.

To be sure, free agents have the capacity to *assign* meaning to various "things" (e.g. items, sounds, other concepts, etc.) - which is where "symbolism" comes from; but non-agents have no meaning in and of themselves

Regarding morals being arbitrarily set by a conjured up god: If you believe that morality *not* set by a god is not arbitrary, you're mistaken.

Further, at least a fake god is a more sensible origin for morality than no god, because morality only comes from god, and the concept of a fake god at least pretends as much.

 
At 5/12/2008 1:53 AM, Blogger Marshall declaimed...

Regarding morals being arbitrarily set by a conjured up god: If you believe that morality *not* set by a god is not arbitrary, you're mistaken.
It's tough to say what you mean by "arbitrary." Such morals (which are guidelines for how one should act--guidelines that could easily develop via natural selection) developed because they were conducive to survival. It's hard to call that arbitrary, but, based on the natural circumstances of history, they may have been more or less arbitrary. But still rooted in history, as opposed to rules that the God of the old/new testament, many of which are pretty arbitrary (the Old Testament is chock full of these about farming, sewing, etc.), and seem downright ridiculous to any non-Christian.

Further, at least a fake god is a more sensible origin for morality than no god, because morality only comes from god, and the concept of a fake god at least pretends as much.
This usually seems true until one learns a bit about atheist morality and where it might have developed through natural selection. Morality does not *only* come from god, because there is no god. I don't see how a mysterious, magical persona who has always been around is any more sensible by any means than a moral code developing through millions of years of constant refinement.

 
At 5/14/2008 1:17 PM, Blogger PLUNKER declaimed...

DNA testing is legal evidence in paternity suits and criminal cases and has been used to exhonerate and free from prison people wrongly convicted years before. Why would any rational person accept this and yet deny the DNA evidence for species linkage? This is all the evidence I need and it's so well established that I wouldn't even be willing to argue the point. By definition, an all powerful, all knowing god cannot exist since these abilities are mutulally exclusive, as in the irresistable force/immovable object hypothesis. Also, if you just think about it a minute, nothing is "supernatural". As for the glass of water, the only thing that was proved was that a glass of water under those circumstances would not evaporate or freeze within eight days.

 
At 5/15/2008 10:23 AM, Blogger Most Famous David declaimed...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afxxNp1teOM

 
At 5/21/2008 1:07 AM, Blogger Agilius declaimed...

>> It's tough to say what you mean by "arbitrary."

I mean it in the same way you meant it.

>> Such morals (which are guidelines for how one should act--guidelines that could easily develop via natural selection) developed because they were conducive to survival.

Eugenics is conducive to survival. *Should* we practice Eugenics by murder?; It's awfully quick.

Further, guidelines which govern behavior don't develop physically, so your reference to Natural Selection is a category error.

Also, "guidelines", in the sense you mean, and morals, are two different things. Just because we have a set of behaviors we like doesn't make them morals. The term "moral" is used to differentiate between sets of behaviors we ourselves devise, and those which we claim have come from a higher source of authority.

>> It's hard to call that arbitrary, but, based on the natural circumstances of history, they may have been more or less arbitrary.

"Natural circumstances of history?" History's circumstances have been influenced by both natural *and* sentient circumstances.

>> But still rooted in history, as opposed to rules that the God of the old/new testament, many of which are pretty arbitrary (the Old Testament is chock full of these about farming, sewing, etc.), and seem downright ridiculous to any non-Christian.

First, if the god of the Old/New Testament exists, he would certainly be rooted in history - whether he chose his laws arbitrarily or not.

And such an arbitrariness from god would not prove the point you need to prove. When I say you're morality is arbitrary, I'm saying that you claim to be governed - that is, in subjection to - a set of oughts you yourself have devised (which could be anything at any time, and therefore loses its meaning). If I claim to be governed by a set of oughts devised by [for kicks] the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I am claiming that someone higher in authority has devised my oughts, and therefore the source of their authority is not arbitrarily placed, but placed purposefully in a higher authority.

Now, perhaps my Holy Powerful Flying Spaghetti Monster has devised these sets of oughts arbitrarily; This is a different issue.

You cannot purposefully place the source of morality anywhere in the context of an Atheistic worldview, because in such a scenario there is no one intrinsically higher in authority to any man. Also, Natural Selection is a phenomenon, not a source of authority - authority comes *at least* from a sentient being.

Second, while some of the sewing, farming, cooking, etc. laws do seem arbitrarily devised from the perspective of my current level of Bible education, many only seem arbitrary until you see the contexts which show the purpose.

At any rate, and believe it or not, I think my Flying Spaghetti Monster analogy will do just fine for the purpose of showing the arbitrariness of any morality said to be consistent with the Atheistic worldview.

>> This usually seems true until one learns a bit about atheist morality and where it might have developed through natural selection.

Again, Natural Selection is a phenomenon, and, like gravity or density, it does not possess the authority required of morality.

>> Morality does not *only* come from god, because there is no god.

Seeing that the existence of god is more or less *the* topic at hand, your conclusion seems a bit premature.

But you're certainly welcome to continue your attempts to rebut my evidences.

>> I don't see how a mysterious, magical persona who has always been around is any more sensible by any means than a moral code developing through millions of years of constant refinement.

Because you don't get morality from physics. Where's the correlation?

I should brush my teeth every morning because my skin is blue? [Today I am Of-Racially-Ambiguous-Origins Smurf]

O yes, I think that the claim that because my Flying Spaghetti Monster has proven his moral authority by showing us he has Earth-sized chunks of salmon in him, is *far* more sensible than trying to get morality from physics; Again, because even a fake god at least pretends to be a higher authority.

Really, anyone who is claimed to be a higher authority than man - even if you can prove the claim to be a lie - has a more sensible foundation for the claim to moral authority, than do those who claim that morality comes from DNA, physics, etc.

>> DNA testing is legal evidence in paternity suits and criminal cases and has been used to exhonerate and free from prison people wrongly convicted years before. Why would any rational person accept this and yet deny the DNA evidence for species linkage? This is all the evidence I need and it's so well established that I wouldn't even be willing to argue the point.

I think what you're trying to say is that DNA testing shows relation, therefore it can show from which species another species came from.

First, DNA testing is legal evidence because can tell us whether a human, or an ape, committed an act, because human DNA and ape DNA are so different - otherwise the Defense would argue that possibly an ape did it.

Second, DNA evidence can't prove species linkage, the way you are using the term, for a couple of reasons:

1. Given the inherent lack of meaningful milestones within the Evolutionary worldview, any current set of DNA can be said to be possibly linked to any other

and

2. Again, each step of the evolutionary process must be accounted for in order for it to be said that one species has evolved into another, and this has yet to be shown.

>> By definition, an all powerful, all knowing god cannot exist since these abilities are mutulally exclusive, as in the irresistable force/immovable object hypothesis. Also, if you just think about it a minute, nothing is "supernatural".

In brief, the terms "omnipotent" and "omniscient" are qualified.

God is not powerful enough to change the fundamental laws of logic, and he cannot know sin experientially. So what? Therefore, he is not powerful enough to create everything? and not knowledgeable enough to know the number of hairs on our heads?

 

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