Pharyngula

IDlogic

One of the most common dodges used by Intelligent Design creationists is to use a vague definition of their subject so that critics have nothing specific too attack, and also so they can accuse anyone who disagrees with them of using a strawman argument. For example, they claim that organisms exhibit “specified complexity”, which cannot have evolved and requires a designer. If someone rightly points out that their definition of complexity is nowhere close to what real complexity theorists use, they can say, “Ah, but I’m talking about specified complexity, which is something different,” which leaves you adrift and wondering what the hell they’re talking about. I read that whole ghastly tome by Meyer titled Signature in the Cell, and he throws around that phrase willy-nilly and never bothers to define “specified”.

Now David Klinghoffer is complaining about Lawrence Krauss’s performance in a recent debate, claiming that he mischaracterized ID creationism horribly. Nowhere in the post does he tell us what Krauss said, and he’s also not quoted in the creationist post he’s citing, which is weird and annoying because they’ll just use the ambiguity to weasel away some more, but Klinghoffer does approve a given definition of ID creationism, saying this is exactly accurate.

In his opening statement Meyer defined ID as the idea that certain features of the natural world are better explained as the product of a guiding transcendent intelligence than as the result of unguided natural processes. By way of example he showed that new functional protein configurations, which Darwinian evolution must discover by chance, actually cannot be discovered that way. Not only that, but these proteins possess new and functional information — the sort of thing that in other contexts we always ascribe to intelligent causes. Therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that this biological information (and other information-rich features of life) also was the result of an intelligent design.

Well, good. The jello has been nailed to the wall, sorta. The premise of his post is that ID creationism’s critics ignore what ID creationists actually say, and instead claim that what the critic is saying they’re saying is stupid. Now we’ve got something exactly accurate from a creationist, so let’s take it apart and see why what they’re literally saying is stupid.

In his opening statement Meyer defined ID as the idea that certain features of the natural world are better explained as the product of a guiding transcendent intelligence than as the result of unguided natural processes.

OK, so where’s the evidence that this guiding transcendent intelligence exists? Why are you postulating it? And don’t try to tell me that the failure of unguided natural processes (a failure you haven’t yet demonstrated) implies the existence of your transcendent intelligence. If evolutionary processes don’t work, then my hypothesis that it’s done by love rays emanating from mysterious Planet Q, which is in orbit around the sun out beyond Pluto, ought to be the default fallback explanation. Oh, you don’t like that? I also have a theory about quantum vibrations guiding evolution, that should win. And if you reject that, I can invent a thousand others.

You cannot say that something is better explained by invoking a being you can’t define, can’t measure, can’t even show the slightest evidence that it exists. Show me your god’s hand in action — and don’t run away to that pretext that you didn’t say “god”. A guiding transcendent intelligence is as good a definition of a god as any other.

So that’s Stupidity #1: saying magic man done it, but trying and failing to cloak it in pretentious language like guiding transcendent intelligence. Same difference, guys.

By way of example he showed that new functional protein configurations, which Darwinian evolution must discover by chance, actually cannot be discovered that way.

I do not understand how you can claim a new functional protein configuration cannot be discovered by chance. These guys are big on saying that DNA is a string of digital information. It’s a sequence of nucleotides of 4 possible kinds. You can generate all possible combinations of X nucleotides made up of 4 kinds of nucleotides using a computer and a random number generator, have it tell you the sequence of the protein that would be synthesized from them, make the protein yourself, and see what it does. There is no obstacle anywhere in there. There are no forbidden combinations when you make them by chance.

It’s even easier when you start with a known functional sequence, and only change it one or a few nucleotides at a time. Again, no magic barriers.

This is Stupidity #2, the “You can’t get there from here” argument. There are sequences that are or may be impossible to get to by incremental selective processes, but as soon as you admit that chance processes operate, there is no sequence that is impossible. Just unlikely.

Not only that, but these proteins possess new and functional information — the sort of thing that in other contexts we always ascribe to intelligent causes. Therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that this biological information (and other information-rich features of life) also was the result of an intelligent design.

This is an argument that assumes its premises. It is not sufficient to say that we know intelligent causes can do something, therefore every time something happens it is due to intelligent causes. It is particularly egregious when a critic points out that single nucleotide changes can occur in DNA by chance processes, and the creationist waves his hand and claims that no, it was due to the action of an intelligent agent…and therefore the claim that all new information in proteins is a consequence of intelligent causes remains unchallenged.

That’s Stupidity #3, the standard question-begging and circular reasoning we always get. Apparently, cosmic rays, environmental teratogens, and accidents by DNA polymerase are all caused by intelligences and intent and design.

In fact, about the only thing that isn’t caused by intelligence, according to the geniuses at the Discovery Institute, is fracking. No sentient entities behind that, no sir!

Comments

  1. #1 Ryan
    April 5, 2016

    “the sort of thing that in other contexts we always ascribe to intelligent causes”

    This is tangential, but I always wonder why I rarely if ever see anyone point out that just because some people “ascribe to intelligent causes” or think a thing “looks designed,” that this is actually so, rather than “looking evolved” or “looking natural”. It seems to be implicitly conceding a point simply to let this pass.

    Do things we *literally design* even “look designed”? I’m guessing most engineers would say any given design was evolved, and that we could trace every bit of most designed back to something natural, so the whole “looks designed” bit seems not-even-wrong to begin with.

  2. #2 See Noevo
    April 5, 2016

    “In his opening statement Meyer defined ID as the idea that certain features of the natural world are better explained as the product of a guiding transcendent intelligence than as the result of unguided natural processes.
    OK, so where’s the evidence that this guiding transcendent intelligence exists?”

    Evidence that it STILL exists? Well, the “evidence” from logic.
    One could logically assume that the thing that designed life itself into existence, and designed the instruction-rich things and processes which enable and enhance life, is itself above life (and death), and so, now exists.

    The intelligent design argument is basically like this:
    If earth’s astronauts landed on a planet never-before visited (as far as mankind knew), and discovered there the equivalent of a functioning laptop computer, they would conclude it was designed intelligently by some intelligent thing,
    and did NOT self-organize from the planet’s dust (which might include silicon!).
    [And a living thing is far more complex than a laptop.)

  3. #3 Ichthyic
    April 5, 2016

    “The intelligent design argument is basically like this:”

    so, what your’e saying then is that the ID argument is completely vacuous, since living things are nothing at all like laptops.

    something tells me the Disco institute would disavow your claim of knowledge to the “ID argument”.

    see, that’s the problem though… they can’t do any better than you just did.

  4. #4 dean
    April 5, 2016

    If earth’s astronauts landed on a planet never-before visited (as far as mankind knew), and discovered there the equivalent of a functioning laptop computer,

    You’ve used this bit of colossal stupidity before, and had it explained that they would conclude that some intelligent life had been there, and that would mean absolutely jack shit about your mythical intelligent designer (or god, if ID folks were honest). It is a display of your immense stupidity that you keep bringing this lame line of crap out of the dust bin of ignorance you call your brain.

  5. #5 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 5, 2016

    @See Noevo: “One could logically assume” — On what basis? You are speculating on the properties of an unknown. First demonstrate that your proposed designer exists, and then we can examine its properties.

    The watchmaker analogy doesn’t work any better on another planet than it does on a beach. It still relies on a category error, since living things reproduce but watches and laptop computers do not.

    ID depends on the premise that a complex thing requires a more complex designer. This presents two major problems:

    1. We have no evidence for the existence of any designer capable of designing anything as complex as a living thing, and

    2. It implies an infinite regression of increasingly complex designers. The claim that there is an ultimate designer that does not require a designer is an example of special pleading.

    The simplest resolution of both problems is to reject the initial premise that a complex thing requires a more complex designer. There are numerous counterexamples. For example, complexity arises from simplicity each time a snowflake forms. The water molecules don’t contain instructions for making snowflakes, nor do they require an intelligent designer to direct their activity. The final structure emerges spontaneously from their initial configuration and their relatively simple interactions.

  6. #6 See Noevo
    April 5, 2016

    To Ichthyic #3:

    “so, what your’e saying then is that the ID argument is completely vacuous, since living things are nothing at all like laptops.”

    Not at all.
    The ID argument is not vacuous. It’s common sense.
    And I did NOT say “living things are nothing at all like laptops.”
    I said living things are FAR MORE COMPLEX than laptops.

  7. #7 See Noevo
    April 5, 2016

    To Wizard Suth #5:

    “The watchmaker analogy doesn’t work any better on another planet than it does on a beach. It still relies on a category error, since living things reproduce but watches and laptop computers do not.”

    Would you say the characteristics of living things, characteristics such as biological *reproduction*, are more complex and instruction-rich than those of a manufactured machine, such as a laptop?
    …………..
    “We have no evidence for the existence of any designer capable of designing anything as complex as a living thing”

    The evidence for that designer IS the living thing.
    Just as the laptop was in my analogy above.
    ……………..
    “It implies an infinite regression of increasingly complex designers. The claim that there is an ultimate designer that does not require a designer is an example of special pleading.”

    Reminds me of the special pleading by the shooter that the targeted person has nothing to worry about.
    See, the targeted person never gets hit by the bullet approaching the space between his eyes. Because for the bullet to hit, it first has to travel half-way there. And then half the remaining distance, and then half that remaining distance, ad infinitum.
    Thus, the bullet never hits the target!

    [But for all practical (and philosophical) purposes, that target has something to worry about.]
    …………..

    “The simplest resolution of both problems is to reject the initial premise that a complex thing requires a more complex designer. There are numerous counterexamples. For example, complexity arises from simplicity each time a snowflake forms. The water molecules don’t contain instructions for making snowflakes, nor do they require an intelligent designer to direct their activity. The final structure emerges spontaneously from their initial configuration and their relatively simple interactions.”

    Here are some snowflakes for your thoughts:

    The wondrous designs of snowflakes are not exactly spontaneous but rather are the result of water OBEYING certain LAWS of physics.
    Where do LAWS come from?

    The design of the snowflake, while complex and beautiful, has ZERO INFORMATION/INSTRUCTIONS. It will never be anything but a snowflake or drop of water.

    It’s like an unsolvably-complex tangled nest of fishing line, only prettier.
    But neither that fishing line nor the snowflake have any information/instructions, and certainly nothing like the information/instructions incorporated in the being known as an ice fisherman – who can *reproduce* other ice fishermen.

  8. #8 dean
    April 5, 2016

    The ID argument is not vacuous.

    Well yes, it is. As are the people who push it.

  9. #9 Joseph
    Canada
    April 6, 2016

    Although the author asks a lot of questions, there is one question that the author avoids. The same question God asked Job:
    “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell Me, if you have understanding,”
    See: Job 38 1-4 (NAS Bible)
    http://classic.studylight.org/desk/?l=en&query=Job+38
    1 “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
    2 ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
    3 ‘Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
    4 ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell Me, if you have understanding,’ ”

    The article also says:
    “Show me your god’s hand in action”
    In Psalm 19:1 (NIVBible) we are told:
    “The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
    And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    See: http://classic.studylight.org/desk/?l=en&query=Psalm+19

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    April 6, 2016

    “The ID argument is not vacuous. It’s common sense.”

    Hey, geocentricism is common sense… if you ignore everything we actually know about the sun.

    your common sense carries you just as far as ignorance.

    hey! I know! let’s just call it what it is:

    ignorance.

    after all, ignorance is strength, right?

  11. #11 Ichthyic
    April 6, 2016

    “Although the author asks a lot of questions, there is one question that the author avoids. The same question God asked Job:
    “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

    really? you’re actually going with the “were you there?” routine?

    ROFLMAO

    fuck me, you clowns are stupid. funny, but stupid.

  12. #12 Howard Brazee
    April 6, 2016

    One question that never seems to be answered is – OK, your argument is that everything had to be created by an intelligent being is: Millions of people believe that being is Brahma – show me that they are wrong,

    Of course the more common unanswered question is how the logic works in “Everything has to have a creator, therefore there had to be something that wasn’t created that created everything”.

  13. #13 See Noevo
    April 6, 2016

    To Howard Brazee #12:

    If there’s compelling historical evidence that Brahma physically rose from the dead after predicting he would, please let me know. Perhaps I’ll switch Gods this very day, April 6, 2016 Anno Domini.

    As to your second point, try looking up Aquinas’ Uncaused Cause. It only makes philosophical and logical sense.

  14. #14 dean
    United States
    April 6, 2016

    f there’s compelling historical evidence that Brahma physically rose from the dead

    Okay you lying sack of crap: where is there evidence (not biblical stories, external evidence) for that resurrection?

  15. #15 See Noevo
    April 6, 2016

    To dean #14:

    “…where is there evidence (not biblical stories, external evidence) for that resurrection?”

    Firstly, I don’t think there’s *any* evidence that would satisfy you.

    But there *is* compelling evidence that would satisfy reasonable people.

    So, what follows is for them, not for you.

    I suppose the shortest, and best, answer to the request for evidence is this:
    *The continued 2,000 year existence of the Church AND of its foundational claim – Christ’s physical resurrection.*

    You can read more arguments for the evidence, of course. Google “historical evidence of Christ’s resurrection”.
    Here’s the first article that pops up. I haven’t read all of it, but it may help.
    http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection

  16. #16 dean
    United States
    April 6, 2016

    *The continued 2,000 year existence of the Church AND of its foundational claim – Christ’s physical resurrection.*

    No, sorry, intelligent people won’t consider that evidence: citing a group of people who base their belief on the information in the Bible and nothing external is not proof.

    Do you understand that things that are duplicated from biblical writings are not “proof”?

    Your link. The first bit of shit is there reference to William Lane Craig as a “scholar” – you have to be really stupid to buy that.

    The first three bits of “truth” stated are

    The three truths are:

    The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion.
    Jesus’ disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ.
    As a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew.

    In other words: we know the resurrection is real because people have believed it to be real.

    Apparently all the people who believe this do so without any evidence and just as stupidly as you do. (The rest of the discussion about the reality of the tomb references items in the Biblical story – again, not evidence.)

    Apparently you are as dishonest about this as you are about science.

  17. #17 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 6, 2016

    @See Noevo: “The evidence for that designer IS the living thing.”

    That’s a fallacy called begging the question. I ask you to demonstrate that a living thing requires an intelligent designer, rather than having arisen from purely natural, non-intelligent causes. You say, “There’s the living thing, and it’s complex, so it must have been designed.” This is merely a repetition of your original claim. You haven’t demonstrated anything other than your inability to recognize logical fallacies.

    “Reminds me of the special pleading by the shooter that the targeted person has nothing to worry about.”

    This has nothing to do with the fallacy known as “special pleading”, which occurs when someone claims that a rule has a unjustified exception. For example, someone might claim that everything complex requires a designer, but a complex designer does not, without justifying why not.

    “The wondrous designs of snowflakes are not exactly spontaneous but rather are the result of water OBEYING certain LAWS of physics”

    The laws of physics are descriptive, not prescriptive. Humans invented them to describe observed patterns in the interactions of matter and energy.

    “The design of the snowflake, while complex and beautiful, has ZERO INFORMATION/INSTRUCTIONS. It will never be anything but a snowflake or drop of water.”

    You’ve missed the point. I gave you a simple example of complexity arising from simplicity, and you criticized it as not being complex enough. If I gave you a more complex example, you would jump straight to “it must have been designed”. It’s as though I told you that larger numbers can arise by adding smaller numbers, for example by adding two to three to get five, and you said “it will never be more than a five, how do you explain a number like a fifty trillion?”.

  18. #18 stevestory
    April 6, 2016

    Good to see Ichthyic back in the saddle 🙂

  19. #19 See Noevo
    April 7, 2016

    Ten amazing robots:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6feEE716UEk

    Actually, what’s even *more* amazing is that,
    although every human being readily recognizes these robots were intelligently designed,
    not every human believes the robot’s designers were intelligently designed.

  20. #20 dean
    United States
    April 7, 2016

    Your comment

    Actually, what’s even *more* amazing is that,
    although every human being readily recognizes these robots were intelligently designed,
    not every human believes the robot’s designers were intelligently designed.

    is “amazing” only to idiots to folks like you, who have no concept of science despite boasting of an “elite” education.

  21. #21 Ichthyic
    April 7, 2016

    “Ten amazing robots:”

    get back to us when they reproduce themselves and show signs of heritable variability.

    or when you grow a brain.

    whatever comes first.

  22. #22 adent
    April 7, 2016

    @Ichthyic
    The latter one is principally impossible as it would conflict with the ID-view. See Noevo can not grow a brain, for this he/she must follow evolution and thats a “no go” for kinds like him/her. So “when Robots replicate” is by far more likely but even this would not prove any bit of the ID bullshit.

  23. #23 KGW
    Arizona
    April 7, 2016

    Once upon a time, there was a living organism that was the FIRST living organism. It could metabolize food and reproduce itself — but it did not evolve from a previously living organism.

    And therein lies quandary: Where did such an entity come from?

    Speak of self-replicating molecules all you want. Fact is, the simplest cell possible is estimated to require 387 protein-coding genes, 43 RNA-coding genes, and already existing molecular machinery to read these genes and produce the encoded proteins and RNA molecules.

    The origin of life is the albatross around the neck of all naturalistic/materialistic views of our existence.

  24. #24 Howard Brazee
    Colorado
    April 7, 2016

    Neither Brahma nor Jehovah have worshipers claiming that they have died and been resurrected. We are talking about creation here, not redemption, so whether Jesus Christ died and was resurrected is not relevant.

    Evidence or lack of evidence that someone died and then was seen alive is not evidence either for or against creation.

  25. #25 See Noevo
    April 7, 2016

    To Howard Brazee #24:

    “Neither Brahma nor Jehovah have worshipers claiming that they have died and been resurrected. We are talking about creation here, not redemption, so whether Jesus Christ died and was resurrected is not relevant.”

    No, Jesus’s resurrection is absolutely relevant.
    His resurrection validated His claim to be God,
    the *God of creation* (i.e. The Creator),
    as well as of redemption.

  26. #26 dean
    April 7, 2016

    No, Jesus’s resurrection is absolutely relevant.
    His resurrection validated …

    Again, you are stating that the resurrection is a fact, which means there has to be confirmation that it occurred.

    There is not even proof of his existence, or crucifixion, outside of the Bible, and the same is true for the resurrection.

    It is true that the BELIEF in those things are important. That is not the same as saying the events actually occurred.

    You’ve repeatedly demonstrated you either don’t understand the concept of proof, or that you don’t care about it.

  27. #27 remalhaut
    April 7, 2016

    See Noevo: It’s ironic that someone so content to bludgeon others with their belief in a religion that (despite its many flaws) values truth and compassion chooses to argue their point in a way that exemplifies intellectual dishonesty and egocentrism. Don’t get me wrong, your arguments are so cliche and common in form to anything you might hear from any “true believer”, conspiracy theorist or science denier that I have to wonder if you’re just trolling this comment thread.

  28. #28 See Noevo
    April 7, 2016

    To remalhaut #27:

    “See Noevo: It’s ironic that someone so content to bludgeon others with their belief in a religion”

    I’m curious. What would be your best example of my bludgeoning here?

    “…exemplifies intellectual dishonesty and egocentrism.”

    Again, examples, please.

  29. #29 dean
    April 7, 2016

    “Again, examples, please.”

    Anything you post speaks of your intellectual dishonesty and egocentrism – the latter because you expect your unsupported statements to be taken as correct because you say they are correct, without reference to proof, simply because you view yourself as the final voice of authority on your preferred mythology.
    For bludgeoning: take any comment you make about the faith of others, or your attacks on women who dare to question you.

    Dolt.

  30. #30 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 7, 2016

    @KGW: “Once upon a time, there was a living organism that was the FIRST living organism. It could metabolize food and reproduce itself — but it did not evolve from a previously living organism.”

    You’re picking an arbitrary point in a gradual process and claiming that since you’ve classified everything before that point as a non-organism, the first organism had no predecessors. It’s like Ray Comfort asking where the first dog came from if there were no dogs to give birth to it, or people being confused by the chicken-and-egg question because they define a “chicken egg” as an egg laid by a chicken.

    Did it occur to you that there may have been simpler cells that used something other than RNA (e.g. prions) as their genetic material, and that the transition to RNA may have occurred in very small steps?

    The current scientific question is not whether abiogenesis could happen or has happened, but by which of many possible mechanisms it did happen.

  31. #31 See Noevo
    April 7, 2016

    To Wizard Suth #30:

    “The current scientific question is not whether abiogenesis could happen or has happened, but by which of many possible mechanisms it did happen.”

    So, abiogenesis *DID* happen?

    Is this *your* infallible pronouncement of dogma, or are you repeating what you’ve heard and have believed?

    On *exactly* what scientific basis do you make this pronouncement of “fact” that abiogenesis *did* happen?

  32. #32 Michael Kelsey
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    April 8, 2016

    @See Noknowledge #31: “So, abiogenesis *DID* happen?” Um, duh. Except in your narrow and unrealistic worldview, where magic sky dad can do anything, possible or not.

    Even if Earth’s life was “delivered” here from elsewhere (look up “panspermia” on a reputable scientific information site) that doesn’t negate abiogenesis, it just pushes the problem back. Abiogenesis _must_ have happened, if not here, then somewhere. Duh.

    If you can come up with a sensible, scientifically defensible alternative (with citations), I’m sure we’d all love to hear it.

  33. #33 See Noevo
    April 8, 2016

    To Mikey #32:

    I’ll replay your comment with some modifications:
    ……….
    ‘Abiogenesis *DID* happen, in my narrow and UNREALISTIC WORLDVIEW,
    where something *must* come from nothing,
    and life *must* come from the non-living.
    If you can come up with a sensible, scientifically defensible alternative (with citations), I’m sure we’d all love to hear it.’
    ……..
    Perhaps you’ll love to hear this,
    a pretty song for a not-so-pretty site.
    And it has a wonderfully wise line, one which no citations have ever contradicted:

    “Nothing comes from nothing.
    Nothing ever could.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5d9AH_mXvCQ

  34. #34 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 8, 2016

    @See Neovo: “Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could.” (first known to be postulated by Parmenides)

    That sounds like an unfalsifiable assertion to me. We observe that something can come from something. Do you know of a nothing we can observe to determine whether something can come from it? Also, who claimed that anything came from nothing?

    You know that life comes from non-life. Living things incorporate non-living material into themselves all the time. You even agree that the first living things came from non-living things, you just disagree about how it happened. The available evidence indicates that it was a slow, gradual, and completely natural process. You propose a designer who did it all at once, without a shred of evidence to support your claim. Which is a more reasonable explanation?

    You still have not addressed the problem of how your ultimate designer came to exist.

  35. #35 See Noevo
    April 8, 2016

    To Wizard #34:

    I look forward to addressing your points in #34.
    But first, you have to answer my earlier questions, which were…

    Is this [“abiogenesis *DID* happen”] *your* infallible pronouncement of dogma, or are you repeating what you’ve heard and have believed?

    And, on *exactly* what *scientific basis* do you make this pronouncement of “fact” that abiogenesis *did* happen?

  36. #36 See Noevo
    April 8, 2016

    In the meantime, here’s another which I think Julie Andrews may sing. My favorite line is at 3:00-3:05.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVBCE3gaNxc

  37. #37 Dean
    April 8, 2016

    Wizard, don’t bother answering see noevo’s question. His habit is to ask a question, lie about what is said, and never respond to your questions.

    He is the personification of all the worst characteristics creationists can have (with healthy doses of dishonesty, racism, bigotry, and misogyny tossed in)

  38. #38 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 8, 2016

    @See Noevo: I reject dogma, consider no one to be infallible, and hold no belief more than tentatively. I claim that abiogenesis happened in exactly the same sense as I claim that continental drift occurs. The evidence for it is ample, and no evidence has been presented for any alternative explanation that either better explains the existing evidence or contradicts the hypothesis. When you present evidence for your position, and show not only how its apparent internal inconsistencies can be resolved but how it better explains the facts, I will reconsider my position.

    @Dean: He does seem to have a habit of missing the point of all statements that refute his position while providing no evidence to support it. He repeats the same logical fallacies even after they have been pointed out. He has also made a demand for me to answer one of his questions, which I generously have done, but has as yet left a critical question unanswered, i.e. the origin of his alleged designer. It’s all very childish.

  39. #39 dean
    United States
    April 8, 2016

    He does seem to have a habit of missing the point of all statements that refute his position while providing no evidence to support it.

    That’s his common theme. Regarding his views: he’s stated he would be willing to set the current Pope straight on his “misguided theology”, that people are poor because they deserve to be, and that “modern physics is meaningless without Catholic dogma to guide it”. His opinions on evolution are even worse.

  40. #40 See Noevo
    April 8, 2016

    To Wizard #38:

    “I reject dogma, consider no one to be infallible…”

    Not really.
    Because you absolutely believe in the *possibility* of human infallibility (e.g. Papal infallibility).
    ….
    “I claim that abiogenesis happened in exactly the same sense as I claim that continental drift occurs.”

    No you don’t.
    Continental drift can be *observed*, or at least measured. Abiogenesis has *never* been observed or measured.
    ….

    “I… hold no belief more than tentatively.”

    Then allow me to correct your earlier statement that ‘abiogenesis *DID* happen.’

    You, the Wizard, *tentatively* hold the *belief* that abiogenesis happened.

    There. That’s better, and truer, isn’t it?
    …….

    “… [See Noevo] has as yet left a critical question unanswered, i.e. the origin of his alleged designer.”

    Not true. See #13.

  41. #41 dean
    April 9, 2016

    sn, the drivel in the reference you left #13 is not an answer to anything, just ramblings meant to lead the gullible and non-inquisitive.

  42. #42 remalhaut
    April 9, 2016

    Bummer, the email notifications on followup comments don’t work. @See Noevo: no, I don’t think I’ll play your silly little games. I’m sure many people have already told you that your online persona is a sorry excuse for a christian. Keep telling yourself that’s not really you in the real life.

  43. #43 See Noevo
    April 9, 2016

    To remalhaut #42:

    Bummer.
    You accuse me here of
    1) bludgeoning others,
    2) intellectual dishonesty, and
    3) egocentrism

    yet you refuse here to backup up your accusations.

    Yes, you do “play your silly little games.”

    P.S.
    I’m even more curious now. I know you’re a liberal, but
    are you gay?
    Are you an ex-Catholic?

  44. #44 Ichthyic
    April 10, 2016

    “I’m even more curious now. I know you’re a liberal, but
    are you gay?
    Are you an ex-Catholic?”

    what in the FUCK makes you think it’s any of your business, you cretinous asshole?

    PZ should have banned your ass from here ages ago. you add nothing to the conversation except as a general example of what it looks like when a dog takes a dump on the carpet in the living room.

  45. #45 See Noevo
    April 10, 2016

    There, there, Ichthyic #44,
    I’m just asking for some information that will help me understand remalhaut, AND which will help him/her trumpet his/her horn.
    I mean, in these modern times, and especially at a website such as this, I would think announcing you’re gay AND ex-Catholic would get you double bonus points.
    (Not to mention “remalhaut” is protected by pseudonymous anonymity.)

    I’ll await remalhaut’s answers, thank you.

  46. #46 dean
    United States
    April 10, 2016

    No sn, you don’t get points here. You are taken seriously if you try to learn, ask meaningful questions, don’t lie about science, – in short, any of the things you do on a regular basis. remalhaut owes you nothing other than the contempt you get from everyone.

  47. #47 remalhaut
    April 10, 2016

    @See Noevo – Wrong on all counts. You have a disturbingly specific fantasy going on there.

  48. #48 KWG
    Arizona
    April 11, 2016

    @Wizard Suth: You’re missing my point. Let me rephrase:

    Once upon a time, there was the simplest possible cell that could metabolize food and reproduce itself. Any pre-cursor organism that’s simpler is an evolutionary dead-end (pun intended) because it can’t reproduce.

    There is (by definition) no possible continuum before this simplest cell — because there is no reproduction before this cell.

    My point: The minimum requirements for metabolism and reproduction (be the cell RNA-based, prion-based, or whatever-based) it so complex, that the appearance of such a cell on the planet would be indistinguishable from a miracle.

  49. #49 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 12, 2016

    @See Noevo: “Not really. Because you absolutely believe in the *possibility* of human infallibility (e.g. Papal infallibility)”

    I did not claim that the pope or anyone else was or could be infallible. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    “As to your second point, try looking up Aquinas’ Uncaused Cause. It only makes philosophical and logical sense.”

    It might seem logical and make sense to a philosopher, but it doesn’t match the physical reality. In quantum physics we frequently observe uncaused events. For example, particle-antiparticle pairs pop into and out of existence all the time.

    Your argument has three other flaws:
    1. You can’t define or argue things into existence. Establishing the existence of a thing requires evidence.
    2. It makes a category error. Even if everything in the universe had a cause, that does not imply that the universe itself had a cause. The whole does not necessary share the properties of its components, or vice versa.
    3. Even if you could prove that the universe had a first cause, the leap to it being supernatural, complex, powerful, or eternal still needs to be justified.

  50. #50 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 12, 2016

    @KWG: “There is (by definition) no possible continuum before this simplest cell — because there is no reproduction before this cell.”

    Some molecules reproduce themselves without necessarily being enclosed in a cell and without catabolism. For example, prions copy themselves by modifying existing proteins. We know from experiments that the early Earth had mechanisms to produce amino acids, and there were initially no living things to consume them. At one time the oceans must have been rich in them, permitting many types of proteins to form spontaneously.

    Your failure to imagine the simplest possible self-replicating system does not justify filling in the gap in your knowledge with a supernatural explanation.

  51. #51 See Noevo
    April 12, 2016

    To Wizard Suth #49:

    Me: “Not really. Because you absolutely believe in the *possibility* of human infallibility (e.g. Papal infallibility)”

    You: “I did not claim that the pope or anyone else was or could be infallible. Please don’t put words in my mouth.”

    Perhaps the example threw you.

    But my statement is certainly correct:
    You absolutely believe in the *possibility* of human infallibility.

    No doubt about it.
    ………………
    “Your argument has three other flaws:
    1. You can’t define or argue things into existence. Establishing the existence of a thing requires evidence.”

    The evidence is all around you. You just dismiss it.
    You’d rather believe
    – That reality came from nothing, that a “point of singularity” came from nothing, which then caused a Big Bang for no reason,
    – That that Big Bang followed natural laws which had no lawgiver,
    – That those natural laws without a lawgiver ultimately led the BB’s hydrogen and helium to the brain that is cogitating these words.

    You’re incredibly credulous.
    ……………..
    “Even if you could prove that the universe had a first cause, the leap to it being supernatural, complex, powerful, or eternal still needs to be justified.”

    It’s *justified* by definition, by the very facts of the universe.

    It’s just not *proven*.
    And few, if any, things are proven in science.

  52. #52 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 13, 2016

    @See Noevo: I’m afraid I must stop responding to you, since you clearly ignore both my responses and those of others.

    It is irrational for you to assert what I do or do not believe. I do not know whether it is possible for a human being to be infallible, and I strongly suspect that it is not possible. Therefore I do not believe that it is possible.

    I explained that I never claimed that the universe came from nothing, but you ignored it.

    I explained that natural laws are descriptive, not prescriptive, but you’ve ignored that as well.

    I think that natural causes are a much more reasonable explanation for anything than supernatural causes because the latter are by their very nature unfalsifiable. It is not reasonable to accept claims for the existence of things for which no evidence can be provided. The universe is not evidence of a god, nor is life evidence of a designer. You are making an argument from incredulity, which is a logical fallacy.

    I think you’re just a troll, so I will stop feeding your ego, and recommend others do the same.

  53. #53 See Noevo
    April 13, 2016

    To Wizard Suth #52:

    “@See Noevo: I’m afraid I must stop responding to you, since you clearly ignore both my responses and those of others.”

    Name one, your favorite one, which I ignored of yours.
    ………………..

    “It is irrational for you to assert what I do or do not believe. I do not know whether it is possible for a human being to be infallible, and I strongly suspect that it is not possible.”

    No, it is *not* irrational for me to so assert.
    And you just proved my point:
    You said you *do not know* whether it is possible for a human being to be infallible, but that you strongly suspect that it is not possible.
    So, you *also do not know* whether it is IM-possible.

    Therefore, logically, you admit it *is* possible.
    Like, ‘Maybe it is possible, I don’t know.’

    What *is* irrational is for you to say “Therefore I do not believe that it is possible.”

    And of course, IF you were to say ‘NO, it is NOT possible!’, well, then you would have declared your belief *in* infallibility – *your* infallibility.
    ……………..

    “I explained that I never claimed that the universe came from nothing, but you ignored it.”

    Then, what was the *ultimate* source of the first matter and/or energy of this universe?
    …………..

    “I explained that natural laws are descriptive, not prescriptive, but you’ve ignored that as well.”

    What is being described, other than exact rules and unvarying behaviors, other than how matter and energy *must* operate?
    (I think even the science community agrees that, if *any one* of the various fundamental forces and universal constants was at a slightly different “setting”, our universe would not exist. Talk about *must*!)
    ……..

    “I think that natural causes are a much more reasonable explanation for anything than supernatural causes because the latter are by their very nature unfalsifiable.”

    But you believe in abiogenesis, don’t you?
    But even if modern scientists observed abiogenesis occurring in nature (which they have not),
    and even if they coerced abiogenesis in a laboratory (which they have not),
    and even if they developed a unanimous consensus theory on exactly how abiogenesis could have occurred (which they have not),
    ABIOGENESIS, as THE cause of the first life on earth, would be UNFALSIFIABLE.
    Because no one was there to confirm it.

    Also, what is the cause of “natural causes”,
    what is the cause of “nature”?
    …………..

    “It is not reasonable to accept claims for the existence of things for which no evidence can be provided.”

    I agree!
    ………..

    “You are making an argument from incredulity, which is a logical fallacy.”

    Another reason why your *attempted* denial of the possibility of infallibility fails. You claim you just *can’t believe* in it.
    (But you do.)
    …………..

    “I think you’re just a troll, so I will stop feeding your ego, and recommend others do the same.”

    That ScienceBlogs definition again –
    “Troll”: One who repeatedly uses logic, common sense and science to *show why* he *disagrees* with positions promulgated at ScienceBlogs.

    Hey, where are you going, Wizard?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FPELc1wEvk

  54. #54 dean
    April 14, 2016

    That ScienceBlogs definition again –
    “Troll”: One who repeatedly uses logic, common sense and science to *show why* he *disagrees* with positions promulgated at ScienceBlogs.

    You aren’t considered a troll because you use logic (you never do), or because you disagree with positions stated here.

    You are considered a troll because

    * you repeatedly lie about what what science articles state
    * you repeatedly say established science is wrong, not because any new discovery indicates it, but because you don’t understand it and so believe it violates your twisted view of religion
    * have insulted women, gays and other minorities, poor people, and suggested that people of the Jewish faith are not to be trusted
    * ask for things to be explained to you not in order to take the explanations and learn something, but to go back to the second point above and deny that it is possible

    I’m sure you’ll demonstrate other reasons you are correctly seen as a troll, but that’s enough for now.

  55. #55 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 14, 2016

    @dean: You might add that See Noevo attempts to use logical arguments without understanding logic.

    “I do not know X” does not imply “I admit X”.

  56. #56 Wizard Suth
    Canada
    April 14, 2016

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