Ooooooooh we are gonna have aaaaaaaaants!

OH NOOOOOOO!!!

Someone let Cottage Cheese Cordova out of his cage!!! Oh noooooooo! His putrid, milky slime is everywhere! We are gonna have aaaaaaants! Oh noooooo!

If youve ever wanted to engage in a ‘nice conversation’ with IDiots outside of their protected habitat, heres your chance! TARD is out in force over at this article at the OUDaily.

LOL eeeeeeeeeeew! We are gonna need so many paper towels…..

(Thanks Aseem!)

Comments

  1. #1 Q
    February 10, 2009

    Rhology, 99: Let the reader judge. The questions and non-answers are all out on the table.
    1) The readers have judged, hence minimalist’s comments are still valid.

    2) Are you really putting your position up to a vote?

  2. #2 Eric Saveau
    February 10, 2009

    The “environment” (whatever you mean by that) doesn’t “guide”.

    Whatever we mean by that? Here’s a helpful Wikipedia link as a starting point. Briefly, the term “environment” encompasses all the conditions that pertain to a given place. Many of those conditions have a lot to do with whther or not life can survive there and, if so, what kinds of life can survive there. Anyy student of biology can tell you that different environments reuire diffrent survival strategies, and therefore species will vary widely in form and behavior.

    there are only a few configurations of genes that will be viable and survivable. And who disputes that?

    Precisely the point! The variations in species are merely the outward expressions of alleles! It is good to see that you are beginning to grasp the basics.

    what precisely repels you from accepting a more intelligent guide?

    Lack of evidence.

    After all, if you accept guidance, then it’s simply a naked assertion, begging the question, to say that it’s definitely the environment and definitely not some higher Designer doing the guidance.

    As opposed to “My car is designed, therefore everything is.”

  3. #3 Dr Funkenstein
    February 10, 2009

    But since you’re so happy to accept that the processes are guided after all, what precisely repels you from accepting a more intelligent guide? After all, if you accept guidance, then it’s simply a naked assertion, begging the question, to say that it’s definitely the environment and definitely not some higher Designer doing the guidance.

    Primarily because for any environmental effect (whether natural selection or something else, like erosion, gravitational pull or whatever) how on Earth would you scientifically demonstrate that this was happening? All it would be doing is adding a superfluous and untestable hypothesis on top of the findings/observations for absolutely no obvious reason.

  4. #4 Eric Saveau
    February 10, 2009

    This is a complete equivocation on the use of “guided”. You know (or ought to know) the distinction and the arenas of disagreement between the Darwinian camp and the ID camp, and then you say “but no, dude, seriously, OUR stuff is ‘guided’ too!” What’s the point?

    It’s important to note that when people who understand science use the word “guided” in reference to biology, we are referring to the physical constraints that an environment places on everything in it. For example, a river or stream is “guided” by its bed, which is shaped by various geological factors; it is not “guided” in the sense that a car is “guided” by a driver. When minimalist used the term above he was attempting to distinguish between the well-understood natural factors that both place constraints upon, and open pathways to, species on the one hand, and the nonsensical canard of “Oh, yeah? You just think it’s RANDOM!” on the other.

  5. #5 Paul C
    February 10, 2009

    For those of you unfamiliar with Rhology,”Let the reader judge” is what he says when his arguments have been completely destroyed. If you point out that you’re the reader and his arguments have been completely destroyed, he claims that there may be other readers who believe he’s won the debate. Strangely, none of those readers ever actually appear in any of the comments threads where Rhology appears.

  6. #6 Science Avenger
    February 10, 2009

    Rhology said: So, are you saying that it is absolutely wrong for me to misrepresent you like you think I did (I don’t grant that, but let’s just say for the sake of argument I did)? Or could it be wrong for you and right for me? I note that your very reaction is the evidence of my statement.

    Only if you assume only absolute standards of morality are worthy of such reactions, which is precisely what I am challenging, and why your arguments are hopelessly circular. So no, I am not saying it is absolutely wrong for you to misrepresent me (like you just did again). Your unwillingness to deal with the argument I’m actually making is duly noted.

    Rhology: “Just terrible” is also an aspect of the human experience. So is “I’m killing numerous people” and “I’m on a rape rampage”. I’m not celebrating those things, not at all! I’m just saying that this can’t be the standard of comparison.

    Why not? You are long on assertions, short on supporting logic and/or evidence.

    Rhology: Oh, well, if naturalism is true, there IS no absolute standard for any of these things, you’re right.

    The evidence suggests I’m right even if naturalism is not true. Note the perpetual difficulty those against naturalism have in expressing and agreeing on these absolutes. You’ll also notice in fields where notions are actually absolute, say mathematics, the group dynamics are quite different.

    Rhology: So the claim “it is wrong at all times, for everyone, everywhere, and under any circumstance to rape and murder little girls” and the claim “it is right at all times, for everyone, everywhere, and under any circumstance to rape and murder little girls” are equivalent, aren’t they? Since you’re the one telling me that there are no absolute standards?

    Your inability to refrain from raping and murdering little girls without the help of youre absolute morality provider is duly noted.

    And again, your argument is circular, since you are implicitly assuming that any difference that is not absolute is not a difference. This flies in the face of practically every aspect of human interactions. What I am saying (I know it’s an odd notion to insist you respond to what I actually say instead of inventing fictions easier to deal with, but humor me), is that subjective differences are real, and serve people all over the world quite well thank you, according to our nonabsolute, imperfect, subjective standards. It’s all we’ve got. Your discomfort with the perceived implications is irrelevant.

  7. #7 Will TS
    February 10, 2009

    Rho: “Let the reader judge.”

    I’m a reader. I’ll judge. Your arguments are illogical. Your claims are nonsensical. Your ideas about science are based on ignorance. You lose.

  8. #8 Albatrossity
    February 10, 2009

    Albatrossity said:
    Magic cannot be distinguished from ID.

    I will reply on the same level as your reply:
    Yeah huh!

    You disappoint me, sir. It would be great if you could actually deal with what I wrote.

    Sorry, Rho, that’s not on the same level at all. Kindergarten-level sound-bites are not arguments. Look it up.

    The onus is on YOU, not me, to show that magic can be distinguished, as a cause, from ID. You have evaded that responsibility from the beginning. I have repeatedly asked for evidence of design that could be distinguished from evidence of magic. To that you finally retorted “A car is evidence of design”. That is inadequate, and tautological, and you know it.

    A car is a designed object. In the parts of that car you can find what I am asking about. Evidence of design would be part numbers stamped into the metal, or marks left by the sheet-metal bending apparatus. We know that these are evidence of design because we know about the designers, and how they work. The car itself is not the kind of evidence that you need, it is merely an object within which you can detect that evidence.

    Cells are complex. You would like to believe that they were designed, either because you cannot wrap your mind around a more nuanced alternative, or because the implications of a non-teleological universe cause your faith to shrink (or both). But if you want to convince others that cells are designed, you need more than your conclusion. You need evidence of design. More pertinently for this discussion, you need evidence that would clearly distinguish your explanation from magic. As others have pointed out, neither Behe nor Dembski, using the “standard ID arguments” with which you claim familiarity, provide no help for you here. So you are floundering, on your own, in a wind generated from your own hubris.

    You don’t have evidence; you just have the conclusion (a car). You won’t admit it. But it is clear to all who read this, and might even be clear to the other faith-addled folks who read your blog, when/if you link to this thrashing of your ignorant notions.

    SO I’ll ask the question until you give some sign of understanding it, even though I fully understand that you can never answer it.

    What evidence of design can you point to in a cell, or any other object that you contend was made by your supernatural designer, that will allow an objective observer to conclude that design, not magic, was the causal agent?

  9. #9 Tyler DiPietro
    February 10, 2009

    “So you would seriously contend that if you encountered a car in the wilderness and didn’t know about cars, you’d think it had evolved thru natural processes…?”

    I would contend that if I’m sufficiently ignorant of the principles and history of the engineering that goes into the car, including peripheral knowledge of other kinds of manufacturing and other engineering, I do not have sufficient knowledge with which to draw conclusions. That’s why watchmaker arguments like these fail, they are simply weak analogies.

  10. #10 Ray
    February 10, 2009

    Rhology, dude, I’m a reader and I’ve decided. Your “arguments” suck, you lose.

    Cheers & Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  11. #11 Tommykey
    February 10, 2009

    Thank you for your reply, Rho.

    I’m not aware of anyone claiming that trout can’t become…trout, over time.

    Please note though that I was not offering up the trout story in support of macroevolution. It was an example of how human activity unintentionally resulted in microevolutional changes in the trout which mirror natural selection in nature where human intervention is or was lacking. In other words, it was not a guided process designed with the intent of showing how the fish would react to a change in environmental conditions.

  12. #12 Tommykey
    February 10, 2009

    “So you would seriously contend that if you encountered a car in the wilderness and didn’t know about cars, you’d think it had evolved thru natural processes…?”

    The thing is, in order for the example to work, it would have to be a person who not only didn’t know about cars, but had never encountered or knew of the existence of any metal objects whatsoever. If a man from Medieval Europe were to encounter a car in the forest, he would likely be aware of swords and armor plating. He wouldn’t know wtf the he just found, but he would see that it had what seemed to him to be armor plating.

    Another analogy I thought of was that of a natural stone bridge. As we all know, bridges are manmade structures. But there are also numerous examples of natural stone brides and arches such as shown here. This goes to show that naturally occurring structures that were formed by geologic forces can give the impression of being designed by an intelligent designer even though they were not.

  13. #13 Heraclides
    February 11, 2009

    For more entertainment, try:

    http://talk.thinkingmatters.org.nz/

    Example article: “Creation Ministries International Needs Help.
    By Stuart. A request for help from Creation Ministries International and an invitation to equip pastors and churches on refuting evolution.”

    They need help…?

  14. #14 neil
    February 11, 2009

    Another reader here.

    Well I’ve decided you don’t understand modern evolutionary biology enough to make any relevent comments.

    As I write I have a table of cytochrome C sequences in front of me (having a little break from lesson planning to do some tinternet).
    These data are the kind of things biologist deal with and analys to come up with our modern understanding, not waffliechat about finding cars in the forest.

    You want evidence that birds evolved from reptiles well these cytochrome C sequences are one tiny bit of the puzzel. Oh and no ‘common designer’ wont cut it, as whilst that could explain the highly conserved functional parts it does not explain the nested heirachy of differences in the entire sequence. A pattern that is constantly repeated for every protien or gene sequence ever studied. The pattern can only be explained by comon descent.

  15. #15 neil
    February 11, 2009

    Oops forgot at work I don’t have firefox checking my spelling.
    Most is forgivable but not ‘protien’.

  16. #16 Dawn
    February 11, 2009

    Another reader. Rho, you are wrong. First, as many have pointed out to you, cars don’t reproduce. Second, as has been pointed out to you MANY times, evolution takes time. It is not an instantaneous change. Even bacteria that have evolved in laboratory studies took generations (30+ generations, if I recall the experiment correctly).

  17. #17 Amnistar
    February 11, 2009

    So, I just want to clarify this for you Rho.

    What you’re basically asking for in this “challenge” is the equivalent of saying that you want us to swim across a pool but we can’t get wet.

    It’s a logical impossibility.

  18. #18 Rhology
    February 11, 2009

    Hi all,

    I’ll respond as time allows. I appreciate your thoughtful and thought-provoking interaction.

    -Rhology

  19. #19 Tommykey
    February 11, 2009

    What you’re basically asking for in this “challenge” is the equivalent of saying that you want us to swim across a pool but we can’t get wet.

    I bet Jesus could swim across a pool without getting wet! :-)

  20. #20 Albatrossity
    February 11, 2009

    Rho writes: I appreciate your thoughtful and thought-provoking interaction.

    Hopefully they will provoke thoughts beyond your last reply to me, “Yeah huh”

    But I’m not optimistic, based on recent performances here.

  21. #21 Amnistar
    February 11, 2009

    I bet Jesus could swim across a pool without getting wet! :-)

    Sorry, Rule 3 is that you have to be completely submerged in the water as part of the definition of swimming.

  22. #22 Dawn
    February 12, 2009

    Hey, where did Rho go?

  23. #23 Eric Saveau
    February 12, 2009

    Hey, where did Rho go?

    In a cellar, whipping himself to drive out impure thoughts.

  24. #24 Rhology
    February 13, 2009

    Wow, I’m more popular than I thought.
    I got a little more than halfway thru a response yesterday. I hope to get it posted here before the weekend is out. Sorry, my time is limited, but thanks for your patience, all.

  25. #25 Eric Saveau
    February 13, 2009

    Wow, I’m more popular than I thought. I got a little more than halfway thru a response yesterday.

    Actually, it’s not that you’re popular, it’s simply that you’re one the more recent and prolific purveyors of these types of assertions to arrive at this site. There have been others before, there will be others after.

    As to your forthcoming “response”, be advised: Many of the people who’ve been engaging you thus far are practicing scientists and those who are not are at least scientifically literate. We know what we are talking about. You have consistently demonstrated a profound ignorance of science and an equally profound lack of critical thinking. If your response continues to manifest such traits, if you continue to belch out such shoddy fallacies and then preen as if you’ve somehow made a point, then your response will be ungraciously deflated, dismembered, and ridiculed as it deserves.

    Perhaps this is precisely what you seek, in order to feed a persecution complex. You would not be the only one; the commenter who posts under the alias “William Wallace” has made it abundantly clear that he is driven by exactly that sort of narcissistic masochism. As such, he is routinely met with jeers, scorn, and insults since that is the only level on which he can be engaged. He is a monkey being pelted with his own feces, and is never disappointed.

    I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt and reserve judgment on whether you are simply Wally Redux, but what you have offered since you’ve been here certainly points in that direction. In addition to your evasions, equivocations and non sequiturs on these pages I note that the recent post you made specifically about Abbie on your own blog deliberately avoids addressing both the substance of her writing and work, and the large body of essays she’s written over last couple of years or so that she’s been blogging, to sneer at her colorful use of youthful idiom and contemporary internet jargon in much of her writing. Committing the “style over substance” fallacy does not serve you, especially since your own substance is so sorely lacking. And especially since Abbie usually uses her style to communicate substantive matters very effectively.

    Communication is certainly an opportunity for you here, as is learning (and there is clearly a great deal you have to learn). But availing yourself of these opportunities requires that you man up.

    And if you have no such desire, so be it.

  26. #26 Rhology
    February 13, 2009

    Hi all. Thanks for the patience. Science Avenger, I’ll address your comments elsewhere, maybe in a later comment, since I’ve been over that ground dozens of times with more thoughtful people than you.

    Dr Funk,
    I’m simply raising questions with regard to what intelligently-manipulated experiments provide evidence for. W/o bringing in extraneous questions of the identity of the IDesigner (whom I of course am convinced is the God of the Bible), it would seem that experiments guided by intelligent agents provide evidence that the processes and events observed in said experiments have a much higher correlation to the concept of intelligently-guided processes and events than unguided. It’s virtually a tautology, which is why it’s so strange to see otherwise-rational people like y’all here denying it so vociferously. But a priori-decided allegiances and emotions can lead to strange actions.

    You said:
    b. we don’t know if processes operating in nature can do the same things that happen in an experiment

    I’d say that is a fair statement also. And that puts a significant kink in the “mountains of evidence” mantra.

    you’d need some way of demonstrating this that distinguishes it from human activity eg identifying the designer and how a scientific investigator could establish this hypothesis via the usual scientific methods of investigation.

    That’s probably true. It seems that would be a very early step. Step 1 is recognising these things (which no one here has seemed willing to do, though most of the “rebuttals” consist of argumenta ad incredulum). And there’s no Step 2 if there’s no Step 1, but I’m not far enough along in thinking about this to forward a fully-constructed framework. Modern science is the heir to thousands of years of much smarter (than I) men’s thinking. I’m not saying I have all this totally down; I’m looking for good arguments to shoot it down, and I’m not seeing many.

    you’re also claiming it supports the ideas promoted by the ID movement.

    It just so happens that ID mvmt proposes the contrary view at the exact point of tension. It’s more of a coincidence than anything.

    If their methods fail (and they do on both counts), we have no means by which to identify supernatural design

    So, Step 2 fails. But I’m still looking for good rebuttals to my proposed Step 1. If you’re right about their Step 2, then back to the drawing board to move on FROM STEP 1.

    There are means to either investigate a car’s design either via comparison to other similar mechanical processes of human engineering or via identifying parts of the mechanical device (serial numbers, manufacturers tags, number plates)

    ISTM that this whole question is not the fulcrum. Rather, either answer – designed or non-designed – begs the question in favor of their previous concepts. Dan Barker is on record as saying almost verbatim – “On evolution, a car can turn into an airplane. [[audience laughs]] What are you laughing at?! That’s SCIENCE!” Anyway, I’m not the one who brought it up.

    Mechanical devices also substantially differ from biological ones:

    OK, but the request to me was not specific. If you’re asking me for a BIOLOGICAL example of design, I’ll tell you to look at your arm, or the amoeba under the microscope, or the deer you almost hit on the drive to work. It’s all designed. You ask a naturalist, he’ll tell you none of it is designed. That’s why I find my own line of questioning more valuable, particularly my questions attacking naturalism, which no one here but Prometheus has touched, and he touched them badly.

    Primarily because for any environmental effect

    That’s a fine question. I don’t know right now, actually. I’m just saying that, absent any good argument to the contrary, we need to work from the standpoint of intelligent guidance of these mechanisms, since that is what the structure of much of our experimentation supports over and against the standpoint of non-guidance.

    Eric Saveau,
    I dispute nothing in your first comment until
    the long-term descendants of the survivors will eventually be sufficiently different from their forebears as to be a different species altogether.

    Prove it. That’s the point here.

    Many of those conditions have a lot to do with whther or not life can survive there and, if so, what kinds of life can survive there. Anyy student of biology can tell you that different environments reuire diffrent survival strategies, and therefore species will vary widely in form and behavior.

    That’s a far cry from “guiding”. It’s much better described as organisms reacting to their environment. The environment doesn’t DO anything, it’s just there. This is an equivocation on minimalist’s part.

    The rest of your 2nd comment is worthless.
    As for the 3rd,
    a river or stream is “guided” by its bed,

    Still disanalogous, b/c a bed is not intelligent. A scientist is.

    he was attempting to distinguish

    Point taken, and appreciated. It is the Scylla on one side, and ID and creationists do often seem to fall into it. I still think it’s disanalogous, but you have served a good reminder.

    Albatrossity,
    You have completely lost track of what has gone before, or you are selectively impervious to irony.
    Here’s how it went down in chronological order:
    1) You said: What I want to know is how would an objective person be able to tell if something happened via ID or via magic?
    2) I answered you with a paragraph.
    3) You said: I didn’t ask for definitions of magic and ID, I asked for objective distinctions between that two that would enable an objective observer to distinguish between them as causes of any event.
    4) I answered that.
    5) You replied.
    6) I replied.
    7) You replied.
    8) I replied.
    9) You summed up: So, to sum up, you have not been able to give us any objective evidence that distinguishes ID from magic, other than the tautological “evidence of design”, a characteristic which could be shared by magic.
    10) I answered you extensively, specifically raising counter-questions, namely:
    and how does magic operate, exactly? Give me some info about it.
    Out of what worldview are you operating? What are your presuppositions? On what power does this magic draw?
    where have you observed “magic” to know that about it?
    …And karma controls the natural mechanisms.
    I’ll explain my ‘karmic’ worldview if you explain your magic one.

    11) You then said: Magic cannot be distinguished from ID.
    12) I then mocked your non-answer: I will reply on the same level as your reply: Yeah huh!

    Notice, since you apparently lost track, how YOU are the one who left several questions on the table and concluded that you were just right, regardless of their value. And then you act like *I* was the guy who started off with the “Yeah huh!”s. I know these threads can get long and involved, but that’s what the Preview function is for, sir. I hope for your own credibility’s sake that you’ll be more careful next time.

    To that you finally retorted “A car is evidence of design”. That is inadequate, and tautological, and you know it.

    I address that above. Interestingly, from my worldview, the question of whether a human (or an anemone or a shark or a tree) is designed is also as much tautological as you think the question of a car is. That’s why I wanted to discuss naturalism above, but noooo, nobody apparently wants to touch that one!

    We know that these are evidence of design because we know about the designers, and how they work.

    Look, I didn’t want to go here, b/c it’s outside of the points we were discussing wrt intelligent guidance. So again I’ll remind you that there are serious questions on the table that you should be able to answer, given your education and position and experience, and you’re resorting to these questions that are more in the philosophical arena, which is hardly your forté. Just saying.
    It is a presupposition on your part that we DON’T have any info about the designer of life. You can’t prove there isn’t one. I presuppose there is one, and He has revealed an awful lot about Himself, in the Bible. He works thru supernatural means.
    You of course don’t believe this. Prove your belief. Provide a good argument for naturalism.

    What evidence of design can you point to in a cell, or any other object that you contend was made by your supernatural designer, that will allow an objective observer to conclude that design, not magic, was the causal agent?

    We’ve been over this. Feel free to address what I’ve already said, particularly on the question of karma and on the worldview underpinnings of “magic”.

    Tommykey said:
    It was an example of how human activity unintentionally resulted in microevolutional changes in the trout

    OK, and I was just saying that I never said anything disputing that. Doesn’t change the fact that an intelligent agent contributed to the occurrence of the change. But of course, like I said, neither is trout –> trout under dispute.
    I mean, maybe you can think of a time when “rainbow trout…were released into the cave lake” by a non-intelligent agent at some point in history, then you’d have an analogy for what might have happened in the past, which IS what’s under dispute. Then you might have a point.

    neil said:
    You want evidence that birds evolved from reptiles well these cytochrome C sequences are one tiny bit of the puzzel.

    And what does that have to do with the question of how the variety of life that we see today came to be? That’s the question that concerns me, mostly, not whether organisms have similar genetic structures or not. I know you really truly think that they are a piece of the puzzle, but you’re not telling the whole story. You’re not describing the massive assumptions that underlie the contention.

    Oh and no ‘common designer’ wont cut it, as whilst that could explain the highly conserved functional parts it does not explain the nested heirachy of differences in the entire sequence.

    Explain why a designer, about whom you don’t know anything, couldn’t include those also. You’ll say you don’t believe in such a designer, or you (or others here) will mock the idea, but that doesn’t interact with the question.

    Dawn said:
    First, as many have pointed out to you, cars don’t reproduce.

    But some have said they evolve.
    (That was mostly a joke. I explained above in this comment why I don’t want to get into this car example.)

    Amnistar,
    What you’re basically asking for in this “challenge” is the equivalent of saying that you want us to swim across a pool but we can’t get wet.

    Anyone can read my challenge and the interaction so far. Crappy analogies don’t answer my challenges.

    Eric Saveau said:
    it’s not that you’re popular

    Eric’s immunity to irony rivals Albatrossity’s.

    it’s simply that you’re one the more recent and prolific purveyors of these types of assertions to arrive at this site.

    I actually haven’t seen anyone advance this argument before. I’m sure I’m not the 1st, but I’ve never seen it. Do you happen to recall any thread (anywhere) where these points have been discussed before?

    Many of the people who’ve been engaging you thus far are practicing scientists and those who are not are at least scientifically literate

    And I am a layman, by my own admission. I’ve never pretended to be sthg I’m not. And I have full sympathy for those who don’t have tons of time to deal with this thread. It’s just a blog after all, and I don’t have infinite time either.
    It says sthg (or maybe a few sthgs) when the majority of what said practicing scientists have so far brought to the table are argumenta ad incredulum, reams and reams of mockery and mean-spirited nastiness, and forgetting who said what, even though the threads are visible to all. That said, I can’t say I really expected anyone to touch my challenges to naturalism with a 10-foot pole, since most Darwinians are far more comfortable sitting on their presuppositions and lobbing put-downs than *examining* their presuppositions.

    You have consistently demonstrated a profound ignorance of science

    What you apparently mean by this is that I am proposing some changes away from the way YOU PREFER science to be and asking why it shouldn’t be that way. Why should anyone care about your preferences?
    The rest of your post is apparently a simple (and failed) attempt at psychoanalysis. One would think that you could’ve used all that typing to interact with the questions that your side has so far left on the table.

    the recent post you made specifically about Abbie on your own blog deliberately avoids

    And nowhere did I claim it to be saying anythg else. It is nothing more than what it is.

    Committing the “style over substance” fallacy

    1) And where did I say “ERV writes often like a weirdo, therefore she has no idea what she’s talking about?” A direct quote will suffice, thanks.
    2) ERV often engages in mockery and bluster. My post answers such on the grounds on which she has walked many times.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  27. #27 Albatrossity
    February 13, 2009

    Rho

    Despite your extensive linking and citations documenting your evasions, you have yet to give me even ONE criteria by which an objective observer could distinguish magic from ID.

    I didn’t “lose track” of the fact that you have failed to answer that question.

    If you have answered the question, rather than linking to a a dozen or so messages which you are sure that most folks will never read, please provide a single sentence or paragraph which answers this question. Please avoid links and red herrings about definitions and focus on the evidence for once.

    What objective evidence can you use to distinguish magic from design as the causal agent in the origin of any biological structure?

    Thanks in advance for ignoring this question again.

  28. #28 minimalist
    February 13, 2009

    Yawn. Too much tedious incomprehension on the Rhobot’s part, so I’ll just address the bits addressed to me.

    It’s much better described as organisms reacting to their environment.

    No, it really isn’t. That’s one of the worst, most basic errors creationists make, thinking that evolution says organisms “react” by evolving. It really isn’t.

    The environment sets the parameters that filter alleles through successive generations. Though it is an unconscious, natural process, that is still guidance.

    And sorry, but everyone does indeed use the term “guide” for all manner of inanimate objects, whether in the sense Eric used it (a river guided by natural formations) or even in the sense you used it, as intelligent beings reacting to something that is “just there” (say, a sailor guided by the North Star). Sorry; even by your own standards, you fail. Again.

    The environment doesn’t DO anything, it’s just there.

    Then you have no idea (surprise surprise) what is meant by the term “environment.”

    Let’s say you are a Thomson’s gazelle. Your environment includes the tall, swaying grasses of the Serengeti, that small winding river over yonder… oh, and that cheetah crouched down just past that hill. He is hunkering down and getting ready to strike, sinking his fangs into your soft neck.

    If that, to you, does not qualify as “doing something”, then it is best to let natural selection take its course.

    But beyond that, of course, as I said, even the passive, unconscious effects of the environment do indeed “do” something: they set the parameters by which you must live. The nature and availability of food and water sources, shelter, etc.

    This is an equivocation on minimalist’s part.

    No, it really wasn’t, you were just caught unawares. I meant it in exactly the sense Eric said — and though I was aware that it would set you off, that’s not the same as equivocation. I simply knew, from what you said, that you were completely unclear on the concept, and used it to tweak your nose.

  29. #29 Badger3k
    February 14, 2009

    So much BS, so little time…I admit, it’s been tame not seeing Rho spout his drivel. I did tell my roommate about the “find a car and think it evolved” bit. That doesn’t just earn a *headdesk*, but a *double facepalm* with a *headdesk* cluster. Damn, that was stupid.

    Did anyone make any sense of his attempted formulation of some theory of his (the “first part”"second part” bit)? Is this his idea that he used to come to his conclusion of design, or what? I’m somewhat used to Rho and his twisting, but that lost me completely with that. Anyone have the thread to lead us out of the labyrinth?

    I did want to comment on something, so I’ll just toss this idiocy out there (from a few posts above):

    “Oh and no ‘common designer’ wont cut it, as whilst that could explain the highly conserved functional parts it does not explain the nested heirachy of differences in the entire sequence.

    Explain why a designer, about whom you don’t know anything, couldn’t include those also. You’ll say you don’t believe in such a designer, or you (or others here) will mock the idea, but that doesn’t interact with the question.”

    Actually, laughing at the question is interacting with it.

    The problem is that you haven’t provided evidence that there is such a designer in the first place. An unknown designer could potentially do anything, but we don’t deal with potentials (or possibilities) – we deal with probabilities. So far, the probability of a designer is down to the infinitesimal level.

    You might also want to look into the views of the DI crowd some more – they have admitted that the designer has to be a supernatural being that created the universe. Saying that the designer could be natural just goes back to the infinite regress of who designed the designer.

    I did discuss something similar in another forum long ago, where this individual said aliens could have designer us, but that somehow they arose naturally somehow (IIRC, he said they could have evolved somewhere where evolution was easier, whatever that meant).

  30. #30 Cubist
    February 14, 2009

    sez rhology: “Explain why a designer, about whom you don’t know anything, couldn’t include those also.”
    Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? You IDists explicitly refuse to provide any details whatsoever about this “Intelligent Designer” thingie of yours, aside from the bare facts that It is (a) “Intelligent”, and (b) a “Designer”. As a result, ID can be *accurately* summarized in seven words: “Somehow, somewhere, somewhen, somebody intelligent did something.” And *this* is a scientific theory? Yeah, right. If you disagree with my seven-word ummary of ID, feel free to explain where it goes wrong. Specifically:
    “Somehow”: What, if anything, does ID have to say about the Designer’s specific tools and/or method (or methods, if It has more than one)?
    “Somewhere”: What, if anything, does ID have to say about the specific location (or locations, if more than one) in which the Designer did Its thing?
    “Somewhen”: What, if anything, does ID have to say about the specific timeframe (or timeframes, if more than one) during which the Designer was doing Its thing?
    “Somebody”: What, if anything, does ID have to say about the Designer (or Designers, if more than one), beyond the bare assertion that It is (a) Intelligent, and (b) a Designer?
    “Did something”: What, if anything, does ID have to say about any specific action (or actions, if more than one) that the Designer may have performed in order to do… whatever the heck It did?
    I look forward to your failure to answer these questions, rhology.

  31. #31 Eric Saveau
    February 14, 2009

    Prove it. That’s the point here.

    The fossil record and genetic comparisons handle that proof quite nicely. Your failure to recognize that does not constitute any shortcoming on our part.

    That’s a far cry from “guiding”. It’s much better described as organisms reacting to their environment.

    Er, no. I see that minimalist has already addressed this. You are ignorant about biology; admit it, learn, and move on.

    The environment doesn’t DO anything, it’s just there. This is an equivocation on minimalist’s part.

    “The environment doesn’t do anything?” Have you ever spent any time on Earth?

    a river or stream is “guided” by its bed,
    Still disanalogous, b/c a bed is not intelligent. A scientist is.

    Irrelevant. The analogy works, because its point was to instruct you in the usage of the word. Another good example is the word “theory” which has a specific meaning in science but is used completely differently by non-scientific layman.

    “We know that these are evidence of design because we know about the designers, and how they work.”
    Look, I didn’t want to go here, b/c it’s outside of the points we were discussing wrt intelligent guidance.

    Actually, it is precisely the point of why assertions of Intelligent Design have no informational or predictive value.

    Eric’s immunity to irony rivals Albatrossity’s.

    Your immunity to logic, evidence and common decency rivals Wally’s. You need some new material.

    Okay, that’s GOT to be a weak attempt at a joke. EVERYTHING you’ve said has been said before here and at every other site where scientific matters are discussed, for YEARS. We’ve heard it all before.

    It says sthg (or maybe a few sthgs) when the majority of what said practicing scientists have so far brought to the table are argumenta ad incredulum, reams and reams of mockery and mean-spirited nastiness, and forgetting who said what, even though the threads are visible to all.

    Snort. You were saying something about irony…?

    I can’t say I really expected anyone to touch my challenges to naturalism with a 10-foot pole, since most Darwinians are far more comfortable sitting on their presuppositions and lobbing put-downs than *examining* their presuppositions.

    And the irony keeps rolling…

    “You have consistently demonstrated a profound ignorance of science”
    What you apparently mean by this is that I am proposing some changes away from the way YOU PREFER science to be and asking why it shouldn’t be that way. Why should anyone care about your preferences?

    It’s not at all about preferences; it’s simply about what science actually is and how it produces results. But I will thank you for admitting that what you want is to re-define science so that it encompasses whatever you want it to.

    The rest of your post is apparently a simple (and failed) attempt at psychoanalysis. One would think that you could’ve used all that typing to interact with the questions that your side has so far left on the table.

    We’ve left clear simple answers on the table; you’ve left mendacity and evasion and narcissism and logical fallacies on the table. And you’re doing it again now. As to my “psychoanalysis”, all I’ve done is point out the obvious. We judge you by your behavior. Granted, a frequent protest of your ilk is that decent honest people should be forbidden to use your actual behavior to evaluate you…

    And where did I say “ERV writes often like a weirdo, therefore she has no idea what she’s talking about?” A direct quote will suffice, thanks. ERV often engages in mockery and bluster. My post answers such on the grounds on which she has walked many times.

    Ah. My apologies; I thought you had a point to make, or at least to imply. I will accept your apparent position that your post was as pointless as everything else you write.

    Meaningless and insincere invocation of “peace”,

  32. #32 Eric Saveau
    February 14, 2009

    Apologies; missed a paste on my comment above, fixed here-

    I actually haven’t seen anyone advance this argument before. I’m sure I’m not the 1st, but I’ve never seen it. Do you happen to recall any thread (anywhere) where these points have been discussed before?

    Okay, that’s GOT to be a weak attempt at a joke. EVERYTHING you’ve said has been said before here and at every other site where scientific matters are discussed, for YEARS. We’ve heard it all before.

  33. #33 Badger3k
    February 14, 2009

    #132. I have the book Index to Creationist Claims and they address a lot of Rho’s points. I know there’s a website out there are well, so maybe we should just link to that whenever Rho trots out a tired old canard.

  34. #34 Eric Saveau
    February 14, 2009

    Badger3k, that’s not a bad idea. Granted, he’ll still cry that the facts don’t validate his worldview and are therefore not facts but tools of the atheist-humanist-liberal-darwinist-communist-islamofascist-Martian conspiracy to oppress him, but at least it’ll save the rest of us some time.

  35. #35 Cubist
    February 14, 2009

    Badger3k, there is indeed a website of the (a href=”http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/index.html” target=”_blank”>Index to Creationist Claims — indeed, the website came first, and the book exists exists because a bunch of people on the pro-science side kept on saying “Damn, this is useful stuff! How come it isn’t a book already?”
    Someone else can, if they like, review rhology’s posts in this thread (and others) and identify the specific ICC entries which deal with the points (you should pardon the expression) he raises therein. Me, I have to organize my sock drawer today…

  36. #36 Militant Agnostic
    February 15, 2009

    Way upthread rho made some absurd argument about finding a car in a forest. A car is obviously a designed object not because it is complex, but because it is simple. The aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that the designer’s work is done not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

    Living organisms on the other hand or complex kluges with lots of vestigal bits. The complexity of living organisms is evidence against intelligent design, not for it. If life was designed then gawd is a piss poor engineer.

  37. #37 Science Avenger
    February 15, 2009

    Rhology said: “Science Avenger, I’ll address your comments elsewhere, maybe in a later comment, since I’ve been over that ground dozens of times with more thoughtful people than you.”

    In other words, you can’t deal with my argument, so you bail. I’m not surprised, no one promoting the “absolute morals are necessary” argument has ever done any better once the unwarrantd presumption is challenged, and once (gasp) we actually observe reality rather than playing in your little fantasy world in your head. As for the commenters on your blog, you seem to have redefined “more thoughtful” to mean “more prone to grant my unwarranted assertions”. Nice try. Fail.

  38. #38 neil
    February 15, 2009

    I don’t think I shall bother responding to Rho’s own blog.
    Just like his comments here it is painfully obvious that he doesn’t know what I am talking about.
    There is no point in myself of others using examples from actual biology, on his blog I myself made reference to all sorts of evidence including pseudogenes as compelling evidence for ToE. It is clear from his response that he doesn’t even know what they are, or what any of what I wrote is about.
    Rho’ if you have any genuine interest in really understanding that which you argue against can I recommend just one book to read, ‘Your inner fish’ by Neil Shubin. It will give you an insight into what biologists get up to and how we have got to where we are now. It is not over long or over wordy/complicated and is very personnel and entertaining.

    Until you can demonstrate a working knowledge of the biological principles involved there is no point in this discussion.

  39. #39 Rhology
    February 17, 2009

    Science Avenger,

    I had asked:
    Rhology said: So, are you saying that it is absolutely wrong for me to misrepresent you like you think I did (I don’t grant that, but let’s just say for the sake of argument I did)? Or could it be wrong for you and right for me? I note that your very reaction is the evidence of my statement.

    You answer:
    Only if you assume only absolute standards of morality are worthy of such reactions, which is precisely what I am challenging

    I don’t think you are following me, but I’m not going to patronise you. Defend your statement or retract it.
    So what you’re saying is that it is *not* wrong for me to misrepresent you. You responded with some vicious invective at the perceived slight, but in fact it wasn’t wrong for me to do it at all, as you concede. One can only conclude either you don’t really believe this, or you can’t bring yourself to act consistently with it.

    Your unwillingness to deal with the argument I’m actually making is duly noted.

    Which, again, it isn’t wrong to do. You may not like it, but so what?
    In fact, maybe it’s morally obligatory and praiseworthy in my view to misrepresent you. You may think it’s wrong. So who’s right, and can we know? If so, how? If not, wouldn’t it be a more expedient course of action just to say “hey man, wrong for me, right for you. I don’t like it, but that doesn’t matter. Chillin’” to ANYTHING that happens? Someone steals your ice cream cone? Someone shorts you $0.23 in your transaction at the store? Someone rapes and murders your entire family? Chillin’. Right? B/c none of those are absolutely wrong, n’est-ce pas?

    I’d said:
    I’m just saying that this can’t be the standard of comparison.

    You ask why not? Um, maybe b/c
    1) those guys who rape and murder and do other things you find reprehensible are humans and thus their experiences are part of the human experience, which is your standard.
    2) appealing to human experience to judge human experience is viciously circular.
    Tell us why we should hold human experience as standard. The burden of proof is on you to commend your standard to anyone else.

    Note the perpetual difficulty those against naturalism have in expressing and agreeing on these absolutes.

    1) Note the intrinsic impossibility for naturalism to agree on or justify ANY action beyond “I don’t like it” or groups of people saying “we don’t like it”. Seriously, so what if you don’t like it?
    2) If I have an overarching standard of comparison for moral questions and come across someone who shares the standard or holds a similar one, we can talk on those grounds. On naturalism, there are no grounds at all. Is does not inform ought, not at all. Not up on your David Hume, I see.

    You’ll also notice in fields where notions are actually absolute, say mathematics, the group dynamics are quite different.

    Please let me know how, contrary to Hume, you think that morality can be studied like mathematics.

    Your inability to refrain from raping and murdering little girls without the help of youre absolute morality provider is duly noted.

    You are apparently unfamiliar with the notion of “hypotheticals”. Here’s some help. Now answer the question.

    your argument is circular, since you are implicitly assuming that any difference that is not absolute is not a difference

    No, this argument is not circular, b/c I’m not appealing back to the very issue at hand to answer the issue. YOUR response will be circular if/when you actually get around to answering the question, but you could surprise me, though you haven’t yet.

    subjective differences are real

    So what? Prove that I *SHOULD* respect said subjective differences as making a difference in whether I OUGHT TO do this or that.

    serve people all over the world quite well thank you

    This is simply begging the question, since you haven’t defined a way by which one can define “well” in a naturalistic universe. Get to work, you’ve got some ahead of you.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  40. #40 Rhology
    February 17, 2009

    BTW, Science Avenger:

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A.E. Housman put it: ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature Will neither care nor know.’ DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music” Richard Dawkins, _River out of Eden_, (1995), p.133.

  41. #41 Eric Saveau
    February 17, 2009

    Rhobot-

    And?

  42. #42 Rhology
    February 17, 2009

    Hi all,
    Here I’ll respond only to the statements worthy of anyone’s attention.

    Albatrossity,

    You said:
    you have yet to give me even ONE criteria by which an objective observer could distinguish magic from ID.

    And you haven’t answered my setup questions that would show that you even have any idea what groundwork is necessary before answering such a question. Get on it.
    You also haven’t responded to my request that you show the ways in which your precious Darwinian processes are distinguishable from karma. It’s all out there.

    minimalist,
    You said:
    everyone does indeed use the term “guide” for all manner of inanimate objects

    but then you say:

    intelligent beings reacting to something that is “just there” (say, a sailor guided by the North Star)

    The latter statement is obviously not analogous to your case, since the sailor is an intelligent agent. The environment is not.
    This is interesting and gets to the question of how we define terms in the Darwinian/ID debate.
    1) The Humanist Manifesto III, to which Dawkins is signatory, says: “Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing.”
    Professor William Provine, Cornell University, said,
    “…There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind” (Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1):9, 1994).

    So why should I accept your definition over theirs? What are your credentials or better yet, your argument?
    The point is that the Darwinian/ID debate centers around whether there has been any guidance involved in producing the variety of organisms we see today. And here you are equivocating, though I don’t know why.

    2) And I’m trying to think thru this, so I appreciate your indulgence and any guidance (lame pun intended) you have to offer:
    So you don’t have a problem with saying that nat sel and such are guided. What’s your problem with a intelligent guide, then? The riverbank “guides” the river (mostly; the river can change the riverbank, but much more slowly); thus the river reacts to what the bank “does”, in being there. So why not say that organisms react to what an intelligent guide does? The riverbank was there “first”, before this or that gallon of water arrived to be guided in its path thereby. Why not say the same about the intelligent guide?

    Badger3k said:
    Did anyone make any sense of his attempted formulation of some theory of his (the “first part”"second part” bit)?

    I’m expressing that my proposals here, if true, deal a great deal of damage, maybe a fatal blow, to Darwinianism as it’s currently conceived of. That’s what I’m asking about here. Further questions of “Where do we go from there, then?” are outside both my interest and the bounds of this discussion. Those are the “Step 2″s.

    they have admitted that the designer has to be a supernatural being that created the universe.

    Oh no! The DI *agrees* with me? How dare they?

    Saying that the designer could be natural just goes back to the infinite regress of who designed the designer.

    I’m surprised to see a (I presume) naturalist admit this. It’s the same infinite regress for the atheistic naturalist, you know.

    Cubist said:
    You IDists explicitly refuse to provide any details whatsoever about this “Intelligent Designer” thingie of yours

    I’m not even a big fan of ID, to be honest. What I’m doing here is performing an internal critique of naturalistic evolution and challenging whether many/most of the experimentation you perform to provide evidence for the operation of these processes you’re pointing to isn’t actually providing support for ID. Try actually reading my comments instead of just assuming you know what I’m saying.

    Somehow – What, if anything, does ID have to say about the Designer’s specific tools…?

    Maybe nothing, that’s a question for another time. Even if it doesn’t, so what? What does that have to do with my arguments here? Go throw these out at Uncommon Descent or something, someplace where someone might care.

    Eric Saveau said:
    The fossil record and genetic comparisons

    I love it.
    More credible people than you have cast doubt on the utility of the fossil record for the purposes to which you’re twisting it.
    Genetic comparisons tell you one thing unless you cover them in a thick gravy of question-begging assumptions – these organisms have similar genes. Don’t tell you that they came from a common ancestor. Don’t tell you anything about the past. Such could easily have been designed by the Designer. To say “but why would he/she/it do that?” is to ask an irrelevant question – we’re dealing with what IS, not what you think should be.
    So… what was your proof again?

    neil,
    Thanks for the recommendation. It’s gone on my list.

  43. #43 Dr Funkenstein
    February 17, 2009

    I’m simply raising questions with regard to what intelligently-manipulated experiments provide evidence for. W/o bringing in extraneous questions of the identity of the IDesigner (whom I of course am convinced is the God of the Bible), it would seem that experiments guided by intelligent agents provide evidence that the processes and events observed in said experiments have a much higher correlation to the concept of intelligently-guided processes and events than unguided. It’s virtually a tautology, which is why it’s so strange to see otherwise-rational people like y’all here denying it so vociferously. But a priori-decided allegiances and emotions can lead to strange actions.

    But all you have demonstrated is what natural agents are capable of doing (whether manipulating environments, or in the case of humans, manipulating genomes). Your aim was presumably to show evidence that not only can we not exclude human or other natural intelligent activity as a factor, but that somehow this validates or supports in some way the existence and actions of a supernatural agent – but of course that’s a non sequitur.

    You said:
    b. we don’t know if processes operating in nature can do the same things that happen in an experiment

    I’d say that is a fair statement also. And that puts a significant kink in the “mountains of evidence” mantra.

    Obviously you realise I’m just assuming that position for argument – I’m merely pointing out that if we accept your claims, at the absolute most, all you can say based on the criteria you’ve demanded be met is we don’t know what nature minus humans can do, because we can’t ever exclude humans from the equation. Again, if true, this doesn’t invalidate natural processes – it just means your criteria make it impossible to study. So the task for the naturalist is simply to show how human agency can be accounted for in the experimental process and removed as a causal variable (eg via control experiments).

    As for mountains of evidence, both for common ancestry and evolutionary mechanisms, plenty of people have provided you with it – you then say ‘ah, but creationism accounts for it just as well’ to which we say ‘great then show us how observation X fits better with the creationist model than it does the evolutionary one eg how organisms can be grouped into distinct kinds’ to which you reply something like ‘well your side can’t define a species, so I’m not going to’ or you appeal to ‘the designer just wants it that way’ – good luck with conducting research based on that hypothesis!

    That’s probably true. It seems that would be a very early step. Step 1 is recognising these things (which no one here has seemed willing to do, though most of the “rebuttals” consist of argumenta ad incredulum). And there’s no Step 2 if there’s no Step 1, but I’m not far enough along in thinking about this to forward a fully-constructed framework. Modern science is the heir to thousands of years of much smarter (than I) men’s thinking. I’m not saying I have all this totally down; I’m looking for good arguments to shoot it down, and I’m not seeing many.

    There’s no probably about it! It has to be true – it’s an enormous jump to get from identifying human experimental work to get to what you claim.

    So, Step 2 fails. But I’m still looking for good rebuttals to my proposed Step 1. If you’re right about their Step 2, then back to the drawing board to move on FROM STEP 1.

    Great, but as I have said, we are now at best (from your perspective) stalled at the discovery that ‘humans do experiments’ – as you know, noone is likely to be shocked by this finding. Your initial claim was this was somehow proof of the next step ie that it also validates supernatural activity and disproves that natural processes can operate in the real world in the same manner as seen under human observation. I don’t see how either conclusion will be reached on your 5-6 criteria you’ve provided, even if noone was able to discount human activity.

    OK, but the request to me was not specific. If you’re asking me for a BIOLOGICAL example of design, I’ll tell you to look at your arm, or the amoeba under the microscope, or the deer you almost hit on the drive to work. It’s all designed. You ask a naturalist, he’ll tell you none of it is designed. That’s why I find my own line of questioning more valuable, particularly my questions attacking naturalism, which no one here but Prometheus has touched, and he touched them badly.

    But then you need to have a means to identify biological design, or you have to be able to prove a negative and rule out every natural process possible (even if just in principle). Thus far you either have Dembski/Behe’s methods – both fail. You can compare biological organisms to human designed objects – again, fails because human designed objects are not actually like biological objects (the cell is not actually like the fancy animations you see in presentations!). The last option is you need to be able to show the designer in action, or as Albatrossity says, have some way of distinguishing supernatural agents from each other or from magic by means other than resorting to special pleading on behalf of the Christian God.

    That’s a fine question. I don’t know right now, actually. I’m just saying that, absent any good argument to the contrary, we need to work from the standpoint of intelligent guidance of these mechanisms, since that is what the structure of much of our experimentation supports over and against the standpoint of non-guidance.

    But your term of guided design seems exceptionally vague, ranging to cover everything from

    -deliberate genomic manipulation,
    -deliberate environmental manipulation to test a hypothesis,
    -accidental and unintended secondary effects from human designed chemicals (eg dumping nylon giving rise to nylon digesting bacteria)
    -accidental and unintended actions where the sort of environmental manipulation that occurs naturally on a daily basis is mimicked by human building work eg mosquitoes entering the London Underground is for some reason remarkably different from them entering an undergound cave for reasons I have not been able to fathom, or knocking down a wall allowing fish to enter a stream or cave is for some reason completely different from a wall falling down of its own accord and the same thing happening
    -covering situations where the ‘designer’s’ presence is ruled out as an effector (ie via control vs experimental condition) then claiming polar opposite results with a human present in both (ie effect versus no effect) are both evidence of guided design.
    -comparing a process where there is an intended end result with experiments where the end result is unknown/uncertain

    You request
    - do an experiment that shows X (we give example)
    - rule out human intervention as the cause (we highlight control experiment(s) accounting for researcher presence)
    - show this is based on environmental variation (we highlight environmental variables in the study)
    - you then complain that we haven’t replicated the entire world in a test tube, therefore natural selection in a lab doesn’t count
    - then you go on to claim this is all somehow support for the supernatural claims of ID/creationism

    Your conclusions are totally overreaching as far as I can tell, and your criteria are impossible to be reasonably met since they are in many ways not clearly defined and secondly you wish a human to do an investigation in which you demand no humans can be present!

  44. #44 Rhology
    February 17, 2009

    In fairness to Eric Saveau, he had posted this short comment before my two longer of the last 3 comments had been approved, so had only seen the Richard Dawkins, _River out of Eden_ quote.
    However, Eric, I specifically directed my comment to Science Avenger. Seriously, don’t let your emotions get the best of you so that you post thoughtlessly.

  45. #45 neil
    February 17, 2009

    ‘Genetic comparisons tell you one thing unless you cover them in a thick gravy of question-begging assumptions – these organisms have similar genes. Don’t tell you that they came from a common ancestor.’

    For the umptithtime it’s not just about the similarities, the key thing is the nested hierarchy of differences that are also (if not more) important.

    As one tiny example research about the L-gulono-gamma-lactone oxidase (GLO) gene. It’s facinating IMO and I would love to see how a ‘design hypothesis’ would explain it.
    Of course to understand it you will have to know what a pseudogene is, worked it out yet?

  46. #46 Rhology
    February 17, 2009

    What is your argument that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t create nested hierarchies of differences? I don’t need to have great knowledge of that (and don’t pretend to possess it) to know that the claim that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t do this or that would require a pretty decent explanation.

  47. #47 Science Avenger
    February 17, 2009

    For those who like to cut to the chase, here it is:

    Rhology said: This is simply begging the question, since you haven’t defined a way by which one can define “well” in a naturalistic universe. Get to work, you’ve got some ahead of you.

    Hardly – “whatever anyone says is ‘well’ to them” will suffice. You have yet to demonstrate why anything more is required, absent your circular argument, which goes like this:

    R: You need absolute moral standards

    SA: No we don’t, we live just fine without them

    R: You can’t justify that absolutely

    SA: Why do I have to?

    R: Because you need absolute moral standards

    And round and round we go. There are no moral absolutes. There are only subjective morals recognized as such by people like me, and subjective morals touted as absolute by people like you.

    As for the rest…

    Rhology said: Defend your statement [it is absolutely wrong for me to misrepresent you]or retract it. So what you’re saying is that it is *not* wrong for me to misrepresent you.

    Fuck you again. I never made any such statements, so I don’t need to defend them. I said if you misrepresent what others say you don’t deserve common courtesy. It is a very good indication that you have no answer for the argument actually made.

    Rhology: If I have an overarching standard of comparison for moral questions and come across someone who shares the standard or holds a similar one, we can talk on those grounds.

    Yes, and since humans have similar instincts, desires, and values, we have very many similar standards of comparison, which is why we do in fact talk on those grounds. Philosophy is irrelevant in the face of actual data. You speak as though human beings just popped into existence and the entire topic is theoretical.

    SA said: You’ll also notice in fields where notions are actually absolute, say mathematics, the group dynamics are quite different.

    Rhology said: Please let me know how, contrary to Hume, you think that morality can be studied like mathematics.

    You are the one claiming morals can be absolute, so that burdon is on you. My point was that when one observes the group dynamics of disagreement among those who believe in absolute morals (who often resort to violence or force) and compare that to said dynamics in areas of thought where the subject is actually absolute, like mathematics (resolution via discourse), we see virtually no similarity at all. So we have very little evidence that even those who claim to have absolute morals actually do. They bicker and fight just as much, if not more so (due to an undeserved overconfidence) than those who accept the inherent subjectivity of morality.

    SA said: Your inability to refrain from raping and murdering little girls without the help of youre absolute morality provider is duly noted.

    Rhology said: You are apparently unfamiliar with the notion of “hypotheticals”. Here’s some help. Now answer the question.

    I’m very familiar with hypotheticals thank you, and with people like you who use them to divert from arguments they are losing. You implied that without an absolute moral standard, raping and murdering little girls was just fine and dandy. If not, clarify and I’ll stand corrected.

    Prove that I *SHOULD* respect said subjective differences as making a difference in whether I OUGHT TO do this or that.

    Because those around you who expect you to are going to react badly if you don’t, which can carry sometimes formidable consequences (pain, ostracism, lack of cooperation when you have a request). The omission of this fact is one of the many achilles heals in your arguments. Perhaps when someone asks you to turn down your stereo because the sound disturbs them, you demand they derive the moral justification of their request from absolute first principles, but the rest of us are happy to comply out of simple, subjective courtesy.

  48. #48 neil
    February 17, 2009

    ‘What is your argument that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t create nested hierarchies of differences? I don’t need to have great knowledge of that (and don’t pretend to possess it) to know that the claim that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t do this or that would require a pretty decent explanation.’

    So we end up with either.

    1)Common ancestry.
    Or
    2)An unspecified designer, who by unspecified but never witnessed and supernatural means, for some unspecified reason has created the perfect illusion of common ancestry.
    What’s more this designer has created a universe where common ancestry would be possible, actually inevitable amongst life on Earth but then instead of common ancestry having happened, faked the whole thing.

    Actually option 2 is growing on me, all hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    If you think I’m building a false dichotomy here then please give me other options.

    BTW
    ‘I don’t need to have great knowledge of that (and don’t pretend to possess it)’

    And yet you dismiss it.

    BTW 2

    ‘What is your argument that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t create nested hierarchies of differences?’

    But why would they?
    Also we have another, observable explanation for the pattern, common ancestry.
    If there was evidence for the existence of this ‘omnipotent designer’ I could take the question seriously.

    As it stands it’s along the lines of.

    What is your argument that the universe didn’t come into existence 5 seconds ago complete with all the faked evidence (including your memories) that it is much older?

  49. #49 Eric Saveau
    February 17, 2009

    Rhobot-
    Eric, I specifically directed my comment to Science Avenger. Seriously, don’t let your emotions get the best of you so that you post thoughtlessly.

    It’s amusing how much you think you can read in a single casual word. Also, it’s not your place to instruct me on when, how, or why I should post, whether here or anywhere else.

    And I am mirthful at the irony of you presuming to advise someone on posting thoughtlessly.

  50. #50 Tyler DiPietro
    February 17, 2009

    “What is your argument that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t create nested hierarchies of differences?”

    Oh sweet fucking Osiris in the Nile, you’re actually resorting to this as an argument? Do you have any idea how stupid this is?

    Let me introduce you to a little thing called falsifiability: the precise problem is that no possible argument and no possible observation can contradict the notion that an omnipotent designer can do anything, by definition. Thus it’s impossible to prove that it can’t do anything. It’s something that can explain every conceivable thing, and thus explains nothing. That’s why science can’t feasibly admit it as an explanation, it’s meaningless.

  51. #51 Albatrossity
    February 17, 2009

    Rho wriggled, again failing to tell us how ID can be distinguished from magic: And you haven’t answered my setup questions that would show that you even have any idea what groundwork is necessary before answering such a question. Get on it. You also haven’t responded to my request that you show the ways in which your precious Darwinian processes are distinguishable from karma. It’s all out there.

    Shorter Rho: There is no way to distinguish ID from magic, so I’ll just pretend that nobody has answered my questions and maybe nobody will notice my weaseling.

    Shorter Albatrossity: I noticed. One can only conclude ID=magic.

  52. #52 minimalist
    February 17, 2009

    Oh, has Rho painted himself into the “trickster god” corner?

    How totally unexpected.

  53. #53 Militant Agnostic
    February 18, 2009

    Now that wre left with the trickster god – I think the “design” of life points to the the god of the bible ratehr than the the Flying Spagetti Monster or the god fo last Tuesday. The latter 2 would have done a much better job of design. The ass backwards design of the vertabrate eye, appendicitis, cancer and our immune system’s enthusiam for turning against us seem more like the work of the vain, dimwitted, homicidal Yahwe.

    This engineer may not understand biology as well as ERV and many of the rest of you, but I do understand design and I do know enough about biological systems to see that they are not intelligently designed. This rho feller sounds like someone who has let a couple of first year philosophy courses go to his head.

  54. #54 Badger3k
    February 18, 2009

    #153 – I think most people would argue that Rho hasn’t even had first-year philosophy classes, and no science classes after grade school. I still think that either a design-by-committee-of-gods or incompetent-designer (my Omnincompetent Designer) hypothesis are more likely than YHVH.

    Rho – I used the DI admission that they need a supernatural designer to shoot down your assertion that a designer could be natural. Beyond that, your proposals have so many holes (as have been pointed out) that only a demented gnome could think that they might be true, or that they could be fatal to more than a straw man.

  55. #55 Rhology
    February 18, 2009

    Tyler DiPietro,

    Do you realise that the principle of falsifiability is itself unfalsifiable?
    That doesn’t mean it’s totally worthless, of course. It just means that it is not the final standard.
    Yes, an amorphous omnipotent designer could potentially account for most everything. A few points on that:
    1) It’s precisely what I would expect. I am a Calvinistic Christian – the God of the Bible has created everything and everything that occurs occurs according to His foreordained plan. So of course He accounts for all these questions.
    2) Maybe you’d prefer an explanation that DOESN’T explain everything. Apparently, you do prefer that, since you’re a Darwinian naturalist.
    3) If the evidence leads away from a naturalistic explanation, then the intellectually honest person (not that I’ve seen many around here) will follow the evidence to something else, like a Designer.
    4) If you want to then find out the identity of the Designer, those kinds of questions come LATER. Including questions like “Why would he do ____?” like in Militant Agnostic’s most recent post and also that of neil.
    Just look at what neil said:
    ‘What is your argument that an omnipotent Designer couldn’t create nested hierarchies of differences?’
    But why would they?

    and

    for some unspecified reason

    Maybe “they” wanted to. Next question? We’re not asking about motivations or trying to peer into the mind of the Designer (not now), we’re asking whether the evidence leads to a Designer. And my points about intelligently-manipulated experimentation sure seem to lead to support for a Designer.

    Tyler said:
    That’s why science can’t feasibly admit it as an explanation, it’s meaningless.

    This is as clear an admission as one will ever hear from the naturalist.
    “We a priori rule out any designer, so there’s no designer. Duh!”
    Tyler, in case you missed my points above, naturalism is not a viable option. I suggest you stop worshiping the principle of falsifiability and actually start dealing with evidence.

    neil said:
    What is your argument that the universe didn’t come into existence 5 seconds ago complete with all the faked evidence (including your memories) that it is much older?

    An argument that destroys your position as much as mine isn’t much of an argument FOR your position. So why even bring it up?
    My answer is the same as my proposition that naturalism can’t prove that you are not a brain in a vat. And they accuse ME of knowing no philosophy! Haha.

    Actually option 2 is growing on me, all hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    If you really want someone to accept the hypothesis of the FSM, tell me about him. Is he material or immaterial? Where has he revealed himself? How do you that he revealed himself there? If he didn’t, how do you know anything about him? What did he say? How do you know that he exists? Does this mean you’re not an atheist, but are actually a real Pastafarian? If you’re not, why should anyone accept the hypothesis if there’s no one around to defend, define, or explain him? You’ve got a big framework to construct. Get on it.

    Albatrossity,

    I’m more than happy to leave our interaction where it is. Presumably you exhibited a little more tenacity towards actually explaining your arguments when you went in for your dissertation defense, b/c you’ve done virtually squat here. But go on telling yourself you pwnd me again here. And send out the link to interested students so they can see just how well you did.

    minimalist,

    See my discussion of the idea of an evil god here. Our own Paul C participated.

    Dr Funk,

    I’ll be back later. Sorry my time is limited.

  56. #56 Eric Saveau
    February 19, 2009

    Rhobot, seriously, don’t let your emotions get the best of you so that you post thoughtlessly.

    Oh, wait; you’re not capable of anything else. Never mind, carry on…

  57. #57 Albatrossity
    February 19, 2009

    Rho

    Again with the insults when you don’t have anything substantive to say.

    I’m content to leave our interaction where it is as well, because you have failed miserably to answer the questions about how to distinguish between magic and ID, leaving us with an inescapable and hilarious conclusion.

    Even the most rabid adherents of ID cannot distinguish it from magic.

    Take care. You never know when a witch might pop up and design a car in a forest right in front of you!

  58. #58 minimalist
    February 19, 2009

    neil said:
    What is your argument that the universe didn’t come into existence 5 seconds ago complete with all the faked evidence (including your memories) that it is much older?

    An argument that destroys your position as much as mine isn’t much of an argument FOR your position. So why even bring it up?

    I cannot say for certain that this was the most spectacular missing-of-the-point that you have ever committed, but it has provided me with the biggest belly-laugh in recent memory.

    Neil’s position is the same as that of any sane person: That our senses are fairly reliable; that what can be measured, confirmed, and found to be consistent is likely to be accurate; and that what we build based on that knowledge will work.

    You’re the one with the crazypants anything-goes worldview that maybe a trickster-god planted all those fossils to lie to us; or the laws of nature could all be rewritten tomorrow and we’ll all be flung off into space. Who’s to say that angels didn’t roll that boulder in front of your car? When you turn your back on me, maybe I actually teleported instead of walking across the room; or maybe a ghost manipulated my legs so it looked like I was walking, and I was moving, but I actually wasn’t walking! Who knows? It’s ghosts all the way down, WOOOoooOOooOO!

    That’s kind of what I imagine it’s like to live in your head. But I suspect that not even someone as invincible to reason as you are would have the courage or consistency to live by that view. You don’t go walking off of tall buildings because you expect gravity to work the same way now as it did a minute ago. Ditto science.

    My answer is the same as my proposition that naturalism can’t prove that you are not a brain in a vat.

    And as I said before, the proper answer is “who cares?” Within the rules laid down by the vat, what we see and measure is constant and consistent, and what we build based on that knowledge works. Staring sullenly at the ground, denying the tangible products of methodological naturalism, appealing to invisible ghosts who never actually do anything… well, that hasn’t exactly invented very many computers and medicines, has it?

    It’s obvious that the vat-god likes do-ers and not whiners. He rewards people who act as if there is a constant, uniformitarian universe.

    Or maybe there is no vat-god, and science actually works.

    Science actually wins any way you slice it, then. All you’re left with is just trying pathetically to kick over the chessboard when the game doesn’t go your way.

    Show us your trickster-vat-god actually rewriting the rules, and maybe we’ll talk.

    And they accuse ME of knowing no philosophy! Haha.

    It’s because you get all your philosophy from The Matrix and have all the depth of a mud puddle.

  59. #59 ERV
    February 19, 2009

    Aw, this is why I love trolls– I love reading the responses from real commentors :)

    **HUGZ!**

  60. #60 Paul C
    February 19, 2009

    See my discussion of the idea of an evil god here. Our own Paul C participated.

    Hi, Paul C here.

    Rhology keeps pointing to that post, so I’ll keep reminding people that he completely fails to deal with the Evil God hypothesis. In fact, it would be fair to say that he doesn’t even grasp what the hypothesis is – essentially, that all the arguments that he puts forward for the existence of his (Good) God also support the existence of an (Evil) God. In addition, the Evil God hypothesis also deals with the problem of suffering, the inability of man to meet God’s requirements and the historical schisms between Christians, so it has stronger explanatory power than his (Good) God.

    Please do visit that post, and see how completely his responses fail to address the issue, and then how he deludes himself into thinking he’s struck a killer blow and does his little victory dance. It’s really quite touching.

  61. #61 Amnistar
    February 19, 2009

    “This is as clear an admission as one will ever hear from the naturalist.
    “We a priori rule out any designer, so there’s no designer. Duh!”
    Tyler, in case you missed my points above, naturalism is not a viable option. I suggest you stop worshiping the principle of falsifiability and actually start dealing with evidence.”

    Not quite. The problem isn’t that no scientist will believe in an intelligent designer, many do from what I recall, the problem comes in when you attempt to present this as science; because it is unfalsifiable there is no issue. Pressuming there is an Intelligent Designer, why not simply accept that said designer works through evolution? Heck there we go, argment over. You can’t prove that the Intelligent designer did not choose to work through evolution; and all the evidence we have points to the idea that evolution exists.

    End of story, and argument, you get your intelligent designer, but since he’s not the HOW, we won’t worry about him in science class, we’ll just focus on how he accomplished what he did.

  62. #62 Dr Funkenstein
    February 19, 2009

    Dr Funk, I’ll be back later. Sorry my time is limited.

    Not a problem – really, the only answer to my previous post you need to give is how you define guided design so it doesn’t simply mean ‘humans exist’ as well as covering various diametrically opposed occurrences (ie the accidental and deliberate, the intended vs unknown outcome), and how you demonstrate that natural agents doing experiments is evidence for anything other than natural agency.

    1) It’s precisely what I would expect. I am a Calvinistic Christian – the God of the Bible has created everything and everything that occurs occurs according to His foreordained plan. So of course He accounts for all these questions.

    You believing it doesn’t demonstrate said entity actually exists though. If you can demonstrate how we are supposed to establish the existence and identity of the designer of ID, go ahead.

    This is as clear an admission as one will ever hear from the naturalist. “We a priori rule out any designer, so there’s no designer. Duh!”

    That’s not true at all (ruling out a designer a priori)- there are no a priori barriers to supernatural explanations in science.

    The problem is, as many people have pointed out to you myself included several times in the past, is that how are you going to generate predictions from a starting hypothesis that predicts every possible outcome, a group including the correct answer and the vast amount of different wrong ones? There’s no way to take that hypothesis any further, thus it has zero explanatory or predictive power as Tyler pointed out. The only way to show it is by demonstrating the all powerful designer actually exists.

    Secondly, people have actually been able to use the scientific method to demonstrate young earthism, creationism and ID to be false. There’s no a priori barrier to some of creationism’s testable claims being true:

    -the irreducibly complex structures are in fact not irreducibly complex after all. Furthermore, there are plausible evolutionary explanations that have been provided for some of these systems (eg by Russ Doolittle’s lab for the blood clotting cascade).

    - the inability to divide organisms in to groups of distinct kinds that would adequately account for the distribution, genetics and morphology of living animals, as well as accounting for the morphology of fossil animals. Being able to do this would provide a strong case for creationism – of course, since this is impossible based on discoveries that have been made, the sensible thing to do is assume that creationism is in fact just another in a long line of failed hypotheses.

    - the inability of young Earthers to demonstrate how fundamental constants such as the speed of light change, how radioactive decay can accelerate by several orders of magnitude and where the excess heat generated by this went to.

    Of course they can appeal to the Omphalos hypothesis or ad-hoc miracles – but then they essentially admit they are caught in the ‘trickster God’ scenario and therefore can know nothing to be true or not. They are either wrong and common ancestry is true, or they accept the existence of a deceptive God who happily plays tricks on the whole world. And as stated before, investigation instantly grinds to a halt as the hypothesis can’t be taken any further.

    2) Maybe you’d prefer an explanation that DOESN’T explain everything. Apparently, you do prefer that, since you’re a Darwinian naturalist.

    An explanation provides an accurate answer or roughly accurate answer to a problem – it doesn’t take a shotgun approach of predicting every possible wrong and right outcome before investigation. Since appeal to God/the designer predicts considerably more wrong outcomes than right ones, I think I’d have to say it looks remarkably like the antithesis of an explanation to me (and likely most other people).

    3) If the evidence leads away from a naturalistic explanation, then the intellectually honest person (not that I’ve seen many around here) will follow the evidence to something else, like a Designer.

    In the past people have appealed to supernaturalistic guesses where at the time there was no obvious natural one. Of course, over time eventually naturalistic ones supplanted these. I can’t think of a single documented instance where a God explanation has done any better than simply guessing or appealing to magic or demons would have.

    Secondly, it assumes you can prove a negative by ruling out all natural explanations – what do we do if we appeal to the supernatural then it later gets supplanted by a natural one? Was the supernatural ever at work? Did it in fact exist at all or did we just make it up due to ignorance?

    And my points about intelligently-manipulated experimentation sure seem to lead to support for a Designer.

    A human designer though. Since in your book your criteria mean that mere human existence negates the validity of any study, the best you can conclude is that ‘humans do experiments’ and that you have no idea what natural processes in the absence of humans can do (or not do). I’m sure by now everyone else would like to know how either of these serves as proof that natural processes can’t create new species or increase biological complexity or how it serves as evidence for a supernatural designer.

    I don’t like to give you a hard time or anything Rho, but having seen you post this exact same stuff time and time again, Paul C has a point when he says you tend to just ignore the answers people give to you then make the same claim again.

  63. #63 minimalist
    February 19, 2009

    Paul C:

    Yeah, you know, I thought that’s what he was referring to, given that he said “evil” where I said “trickster”. Two different things, but as we’ve established, Rho is very, very good at missing points. And I’ve been arguing with creationists so long that there are terms I take for granted, and I always forget that the particularly thick ones have to be walked, in little baby steps, point-by-point though things.

    The “trickster god” is not the Problem of Evil, Rho. It is the idea that once you open the door to the possibility that “maybe the Intelligent-vat-god-trickster-ghost made it look that way”, as you do, you open the door to believing that the world just came into existence 5 minutes ago. Or that, every time you close your eyes, the Universe ceases to exist, only to rebuild itself exactly as it was before when you open your eyes again. Or that your ghost-vat-god could alter the laws of nature on a whim.

    That’s what Neil was doing — taking your position to its logical conclusion.

    Saying “god made it look that way” explains nothing, adds nothing to our understanding of the process — hence it is useless, and discarded.

    This is why chemists don’t append “we cannot rule out the possibility that elves stole our reagents and replaced them with the reaction product” to every paper. They tend to believe that a chemical reaction took place, those damn elf-haters!

  64. #64 Tyler DiPietro
    February 19, 2009

    “This is as clear an admission as one will ever hear from the naturalist.
    “We a priori rule out any designer, so there’s no designer. Duh!”

    Nice try, but I didn’t a priori rule out any designer. I used your own words as an illustration of the absurdity to which admitting completely unfalsifiable explanations leads. Want another example of an explanation that is compatible with any and all observations? It just poofed into existence. Try disproving that, Mr. designist!

    “Tyler, in case you missed my points above, naturalism is not a viable option. I suggest you stop worshiping the principle of falsifiability and actually start dealing with evidence.”

    No, your point about naturalism was really just a heal-baked Cartesian skepticism which, ironically, ruled out the use of evidence. I suggest you start being a wee bit more coherent.

  65. #65 Eric Saveau
    February 19, 2009

    Rhobot-

    On the “John Lynch at OU” thread I announced that I was the elusive Designer to which you attribute everything, thus placing you in the position of having to demonstrate conclusively that I was NOT in fact the Designer, and why I couldn’t be. You couldn’t. Everyone else here got that point instantly, hence their enthusiastic codas to my comment.

    Your challenge to me to prove that I was the Designer was precisely the challenge you face for all your Design claims. If you have something to offer that has predictive and informative value, then produce it. If you don’t have it… then you don’t have it.

    Since you haven’t produced it yet, despite endless opportunities to do so, we can reach a reasonable conclusion.

  66. #66 Cubist
    February 20, 2009

    sez rho: “Maybe you’d prefer an explanation that DOESN’T explain everything. Apparently, you do prefer that, since you’re a Darwinian naturalist.”
    Question, rhobot: When you use the word “everything”, do you mean “all the stuff which actually exists”? Or do you, instead, mean, “absolutely everything, regardless of whether or not it actually exists”? Because if you asked me choose between (a) explanations which are ‘limited’ to explaining That Which Actually Exists, on the one hand, and (b) explanations which are just as good at ‘explaining’ That Which Doesn’t Exist as they are That Which Actually Exists… well, I’ll take Door A for $500, Mr. Trebek!

    also sez rhobot: “This is as clear an admission as one will ever hear from the naturalist. ‘We a priori rule out any designer, so there’s no designer.’ Duh!”
    Right, right. This is why archaeologists and forensics specialists (to name only two fields of so-called ‘science’ which are vitally dependent on the taboo concept of a ‘designer’) are universally scorned by those dogmatic, rigid naturalists, eh rho?
    More clearly: Science has no problem whatsoever with the concept of a Designer. What science does have a problem with, is concepts that are so bleeding vague/ill-defined, that there’s no bleeding way to tell whether said concepts might be true or not. A testable Designer-concept is AOK, but a non-testable Designer-concept is another matter entirely. And this is where the Intelligent Design movement fails utterly, as far as science is concerned: while ID-pushers yammer about how their maximally vague “somehow, somewhere, somebody intelligent did something” notion really is science, honest to God it is, they persistently refuse to grow a set of testables.
    So… where are your testables, rhobot? Or are you yet another of those intellectual eunuchs who never had any testables in the first place?

  67. #67 minimalist
    February 20, 2009

    I’d say the real problem is that Rho doesn’t understand what an explanation is. It’s the same problem that leads him to think that repeating the same assertions he made before is an “answer” to a question.

    Saying “goddiddit” to anything and everything is meaningless because it’s a rote response to any and every eventuality. It provides no insight, has no explanatory or predictive value.

    Why is the sky blue? “Goddidit.”

    Why does lightning happen? “Goddidit.”

    Why can’t we breathe water? “Goddidit.”

    Why did those chemicals react? “Goddidit.”

    Why didn’t those chemicals react? “Goddidit.”

    After a while the word just becomes a senseless animal noise, barked out by the irrationally superstitious, and disregarded by any sane human being who wants to get out of his damn cave and stop being scared of the lightning-god.

    Even if you’re going to wave your hands and say, well, this answer is important in the ghost-world of the supernatural, where the vat-god lives, it’s still a lazy answer, because a pat one-word answer that covers every eventuality, even the ones that contradict the other ones, explains nothing about the vat-ghost-world.

    Rho, being of a total authoritarian mindset, cannot even begin to grasp this, though, because to him, to simply assert something makes it True.

  68. #68 Rhology
    February 23, 2009

    I will post my reply in a day or so, thanks for your patience.

  69. #69 LanceR, JSG
    February 23, 2009

    I will post my reply in a day or so, thanks for your patience.

    IOW, “I gotta ask my pastor about this! I’m over my head!”

  70. #70 Cubist
    March 3, 2009

    sez rho, on 23 feb: “I will post my reply in a day or so, thanks for your patience.”
    Gosh. Here it is, 3 March, and no reply from Der Rhobot. I am shocked — shocked, I say! — that a fine, upstanding Christian like Der Rhobot would forswear his own word like that…

  71. #71 minimalist
    March 3, 2009

    1. Cut him a little slack, the guy’s baby was due any day now, and it may have actually arrived.

    2. It’s not like we were expecting anything other than blatant question-begging and circular logic, anyway.

    3. The answer is probably BUY MY BOOKREAD MY BLOG