Gift to Rhology

Im irritated with Rhology. Same comments/questions on multiple threads = rage.

However, in return for standing up for me last Friday, Im making an open thread just for Rho and his crew, and people who would like to 'debate' with them.

However I am asking in return that you all stop posting O/T comments on other threads. The point is to keep the discussion here.

Next person to post the word 'Genesis' in a thread other that this one will be asked to post tits or gtfo.

UPDATE:

February 23, 2009, 10:15 PM
Next person to post the word 'Genesis' in a thread other that this one will be asked to post tits or gtfo.

February 24, 2009, 9:51 AM
Rhology-- Thank you LanceR.
Your answer #2 - 2. Why does Genesis 1 refer to "Elohim", which is plural, and Genesis 2 refer to "El", which is singular? Do we have two creation stories?

Because God is a Trinitarian God. The "Let us make man..." and such plural imperatives in Genesis 1 are examples of intra-Trinitarian communication.
Yes, we have 2 creation stories, see the link I gave you before. One is broader, the other has a narrower focus. 2 stories, one set of events.

TITS Rho. Post them.

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By I choose tits (not verified) on 23 Feb 2009 #permalink

erv, my apologies for introducing this - or inflating it, anyway - into that other thread.

I will say - here, not there - that tits and Genesis belong together. Genesis is a holy text and worthy of study, although it is clear that my definition of holy and Rhology's definition are far apart. One might even say they are separated by The Infinite and The Infinite doesnt fit into that tiny straight jacket of a logical box that the Christian theologists try to stuff it into.

Tits are also holy, and also worthy of much study. This is obvious by inspection, and needs no justification or explanation.

Thus, Genesis and tits, both being holy and worthy of study, clearly belong in the same thread.

Ooh goody! I'll start.

1) What is the mechanism of ID? In other words, how does the designer create complex biological structures? If it is not something we can observe, measure, or otherwise analyze, how can it be science instead of philosophy/theology?

2) If only complex biological structures are designed, what about simple stuff like rocks? Who is responsible for them? Doesn't it make more sense that God is the author of all natural processes, not just a few (nudge, nudge, theistic evolution instead of god of the gaps).

3) There are about SEVENTEEN MILLION individual peer-reviewed scientific papers indexed at the National Library of Medicineâs online database. Not a single paper refutes evolution, and not a single paper provides data in support of intelligent design or traditional creationism. What is the reason for this?

1. ID/Creationism is based on supernatural (or otherwise untestable) causation, and thus is not science
2. There is a vast global conspiracy that has prevented even a single piece of data supporting ID/Creationism from being published in peer-reviewed scientific literature
3. ID/Creationism proponents are utterly incompetent at performing scientific research

Have at it!

Aside from peer-reviewed literature, why does every non-peer-reviewed literature supporting intelligent design suck? Are the good texts somehow being censored by the worldwide conspiracy?

I'm not wearing a bra right now.

Rhology:
#114
By way of massively internally consistent patterns of nested hierarchy.

And...how does that tell you anything other than the fact that there exist massively internally consistent patterns of nested hierarchy?
---
Rhology, it works because I'm not a solipsistic twit who denies that there is reality in anything unsupported by the fevered g_d-imaginings inside my skull.

You are demanding a logical 'first cause' and positing that logic collapses without one. That is a Fail - and has been for several generations of philosophers much smarter than you are.

Rhology:
"Let's see, we could go with you, anonymous commenter on a blog filled with ignorant invective, or we could go with 1000s of Hebrew scholars who've been studying this for millennia. Tough call..."
----
Those multiple interpretations of Genesis I outline were taught to my by a rabbi in the line of those thousands of illustrious scholars - the ones you dismiss me in favor of - and derives form their work. He is in direct cholarly line from teh Baal Shem Tov adn his disciples. If you look just a tiny bit, you will find many other illustrious rebbim who argue over the first Genesis telling, and find that it is not, can not be, literal.

In fact, there is a line of respected Rabbinic argument that asserts that G_d does not create anything in the tale of Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 - he classifies and brings into perceptive, not physical, existence, that which already physically exists at the start of G-d's creation.

You Christianists need to stop imagining that Jewish theology is just like Christian theology. It is a huge fundamental gulf- the Jews largely understand the Infinite as being unknowable and unknown. You christians seem to see G_d, in the person of the messiah his son, as like a personal friend whom you keep getting to know better and better and whom yo can understand perfectly.

Even more absurd, in the process of saying you will stick with the commentary of the Rabbis, you sidestep the commentary of the Rashi, who is one of the most illustrious and respected of all the Rabbis who ever commented on Genesis - and who disagrees with you on the fundamental issue. To say that you are supported by the commentary of thousands of rabbis, while dismissing without comment the commentary of one of the most illustrious, respected, honored, and often quoted of them all, a man who's thinking permeates Talmud and Midrashim, is either deeply ignorant, or deeply dishonest. Or both.

I believe we may safely say that Rho is off the table and into somebody's pint of lager.

He's a d20 short of a full set.

He's the scientific equivalent of an Arnold J. Rimmer.

Using Genesis as a biology textbook is a bit like using the Mahabharata to plot a translunar trajectory. He's free to try it on his own dime if he likes, but I'll trust the people who actually run the numbers for a living. They're not nearly as strident* and their way gets actual results.

Why do these creobots and xiantardish types always assume that we don't know of their magic books with magic words and blather about their invisible friends? It's like being an Egyptologist looking at the Pearl of Great Price and knowing where all the mistakes were made by the 'translators'.

(shakes head)

The MadPanda, FCD

* Conditional, of course, on not being confronted by loud, nattering mobs of ingoramuses who insist that their ignorance is superior to patiently, painstakingly earned knowledge. That sort of thing will annoy anybody!

As requested by ERV, I have moved my Rho related post here.

#116
It's not just the fact that the genetic code is similar, scientists spend a lot of time looking at the ways they are uniquely different.

Thing is, Ciaphas, that a designer accounts for those similarities and differences just as well, if not better, than your unguided natural selection. Thus its failure to act as evidence for your position.

I question that assertion and request that you elaborate.

The only rational I have heard for the designer "accounting" for anything is a nonexplation along the lines of "well, the designer could have done anything." That always struck me as a milquetoast version of last-thursdayism and totally useless.

I have to admit though, there is a certain appeal to the idea that we are the product of a planet seeded by Eldar races.

Rhology's favorite book, from his blog:
Favorite Books

* Ah there are so many! The Epistle to the Romans
* Ep to the Ephesians
* 1 & 2 Peter
* Job
* Deuteronomy...

Funny - the Christian who "loves Jesus" (says so right on his blog) leaves the gospels off his list of favorite books.

You guys aren't Christan, you're Paulist. Jesus was Jewish, in a tradition close to that of Hillel. But Paul disavowed Judaism and created a theology among and for non-Jewish people. Why you guys think that "Judeo-Christian" is a concept with any validity is beyond me.

Agreed, Lee! Not only Paulist, but a strong argument could be made that Paul/Saul hijacked the burgeoning new religion/community/whatnot with his misogynistic, latent homoerotic, anti-family screeds. None of which jibes with what this Jesus person was saying, anyway.

Where is Rho, anyway? He owes me some answers!

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 23 Feb 2009 #permalink

"Jesus person?" You're assuming there's just one, instead of being an amalgam of figures from a variety of different Hebrew and Greek cults?

Recently, an ID proponent wrote that "ID is the opinion that the apparent design seen in nature is real."

Opinion.

No theory, no mechanism, no data. No nothing.

That probably explains why most of what you read about ID is written as Opinion Editorials in newspapers and magazines.

The Worldwide Darwinist Conspiracy is powerful indeed. Not only is ID prevented from being published in journals like Science and Nature, but ID'ers are prevented from starting and publishing their OWN journals. Furthermore, ID'ers are prevented from establishing and doing research in their OWN laboratories.

Yes, the WDC has even restricted ID Op Ed's to such small papers as the Frog Creek Gazette and Auctioneer. Soon, we'll stamp out even those.

In short, ID'ers have been sent to their room without dinner.

My opinion is that tiny, shapechanging elves live inside each and every one of our television sets.* A television is obviously inadequate to display something as complex as a human being.

Sure, you materialists could try to explain to me how these "television" things are supposed to work, but you can;t make me listen! Furthermore, can you explain your explanation? Can you explain your explanation of that explanation? HA! Didn't think so! I see my clever word-trap has confused you!

You can open up the TV and show me all that circuitry, but how am I supposed to believe that the elves just didn't want it to look that way, just to fool you silly materialists? My opinion is that circuitry changes into delicious ice cream** as soon as you put the TV back together again. Those elves have to eat somehow! My opinion is just as valid as yours, because I say so, and furthermore la la la la la I can't hear you.

* Yes, even the flatscreens. The elves are very skinny: they have taken to starving themselves the way the supposed "Hollywood actors" you materialists believe in are said to do.

** Strawberry ice cream. They can't digest chocolate, which as we all know is a bean from Satan's own backyard tree anyway.

By minimalist (not verified) on 23 Feb 2009 #permalink

Lee, minor note related to a post of yours from the other thread. When talking about Rashi when normally just says "Rashi." This is in contrast to most of the Rabbis who get their names abbreviated where it is "the Rambam." This is probably because Rashi is so common.

To expand on other earlier remarks "massively internally consistent patterns of nested hierarchy" is consistent with what one would expect from evolution. It isn't what one expects from designers. Designers don't do that (unless they are being deliberately deceptive).

And final remark: Regarding that mentioning Genesis will lead to "post tits or gtfo" I suppose I could do that but I really don't think anyone wants to see me shirtless...

Abbie,

nice of Rho to stand up for you,but what Ive read of him here so far is just the usual brainwashed Goddidit BS and closedmindedness we have come to expect from fundamentalists.

nice of Rho to stand up for you,but what Ive read of him here so far is just the usual brainwashed Goddidit BS and closedmindedness we have come to expect from fundamentalists.

And, to be fair, he carefully explains on his blog that he meant to be more of an ass during the Q&A, it just came out wrong.

Rhology stated on his blog:

"My disbelief in evolution begins and ends with God's acct of how it all went down in Genesis. There's no "proof" to be found in the natural world over and against the Word of the infallible God"

That.is.pure.comedy.gold. Good one Rhology. Oh wait, you mean you are serious? In which case, that is still pure comedy gold, just inadvertently so. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance of even your own wholly babble.

By John Phillips, FCD (not verified) on 23 Feb 2009 #permalink

erv, I'm glad that you've kept Rho around. He's mindlessly repetitve (if he brings up the "atheist morality" argument ever again, I might have a straight-up conniption), a semantic gymnast, and wholly incapable of admitting when a substantive argument against his inane assertions has been presented. And they have been presented effectively and in abundance.

After all, his response to the statement "Universal common descent is the hypothesis that all living, terrestrial organisms are genealogically related" is "No, universal common descent is the hypothesis that all living, terrestrial organisms are descended from one or a few common ancestors." Did I call him "a semantic gymnast?" I meant "a semantic contortionist." Also, "a semantic illusionist."

Just a little (very bad) misdirection and, "Abraca-whatsit! Your words are weakly redefined!"

But, as maddeningly obtuse and useless as Rho's serpentine, fallacy-ridden "logic" is, the replies to him have been (as fans of "How I Met Your Mother" may recognize) totally steak sauce. And he's valuable if only for that fact.

The valiant people willing to wade through his dreck and correct him point-for-point are doing a great service to rational thinking, and for that I applaud them.

Rhobot-

I may as well repeat the following yet again--

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.

Oh, and many, many kudos to Lee for schooling us (and Rho, though he seems clueless) on some old-school Hebrew.

I was lucky enough to study under a professor who, in turn, studied with experts well-versed in ancient Hebrew culture and could read, write, and speak the language. Most students (esp. in his "Intro to the Old Testament" class, which he preferred to call "Intro to the Hebrew Bible") realized very, very quickly that he knew his shit, and the only ones who didn't were the evangelical Christians.

They thought they knew all about the "Old Testament" (esp. the Pentateuch) and would challenge the Prof. when he would tell them that all the crazy things they took literally were either flat-out myths or stories meant to convey some sort of cultural (not for us, of course, for them) importance.

Inevitably, the evangelicals, who couldn't stand to have their precious beliefs questioned, would drop the class within a few days and talk all manner of smack about the Prof. "He's an atheist! (He wasn't.) He just wants to turn us away from Jesus! (He couldn't have cared less what we believed.) How could they let such a horrible man teach good Christian folk? (Again, he knew his shit.)"

I only wish the die-hard Christians had made it far enough into the class to hear all about the OT "prophets." His lecture on Isaiah 7:14 alone (almah vs. bethulah, which is juicy) would've been enough to make their fragile little minds explode.

Rhology stated on his blog:

"My disbelief in evolution begins and ends with God's acct of how it all went down in Genesis. There's no "proof" to be found in the natural world over and against the Word of the infallible God"

That.is.pure.comedy.gold. Good one Rhology. Oh wait, you mean you are serious? In which case, that is still pure comedy gold, just inadvertently so. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance of even your own wholly babble.

Perhaps Rhology would benefit from listening to The Word of God.

Someone who believes in God really ought to pay more attention to the works of God (the world) than the words of men (the Bible, and especially interpretations of the Bible).

By alias Ernest Major (not verified) on 23 Feb 2009 #permalink

Sorry, but my moobs are rather flabby, and I haven't plucked the aureolic hair in a while.

Good thing I don't care much for rock, I guess.

flabby? And I thought I knew everything about tits there is to know lol....aureolic hair,yumm....

@alias Ernest Major, amen brother :)

By John Phillips, FCD (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

I got fed up with Rho yesterday, but rather then post here I took the message to him (his blog). As I told him, ERV is very patient to put up with his crap and your frustrations expressed with ocassional rudeness and snarky replies are what he should expect if he refuses to listen and learn, or better yet look shit up himself rather then demanding you explain everything to him

By gingerbeard (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

just for Rho and his crew

My crew? Man, I wish! It's hard keeping up with so many comments. It's just me, though I get the impression that there have been one or two others from Trinity who've been on here recently. They haven't debated, though.
Sorry you think the threads have gone off-topic. As I recall, and I think the record will bear this out, I post comments on the topic of the OP and then others challenge me on off-topic things, so I answer. Not my fault that the commenters ask me about the same things.

So I'll tell y'all what. I don't have infinite time, so I will pick the three topics out of the above comments (if 3 there be) that seem most valuable for discussion and in return I will pose 3 questions of my own for the ERV crew to deal with, each of which have already been discussed before in the threads in which I've been involved. If you think I skipped yours, it was b/c I was only too happy to let the question stand, b/c it's not worth my time. Live with it or get a better argument.

I will say right off re: #3's question 1 and 3 that I'm not your typical ID-er. I didn't hear any of my favorite arguments on Friday night from West or Luskin, and another I've been using here has only been hinted at from time to time in mainstream ID polemics. Sorry to disappoint, but at the same time you will hopefully enjoy my new flavor. I taste good. First one's free.
Anyway, I'll answer "why no peer reviewed stuff?" - I think it's pretty clear such stems from a general institutional and emotional bias against the notion of ID and against the notion of a God. Also, the ID movement is young and doesn't have a lot of money or resources.

Also, re: Lance #11 - Where is Rho, anyway?
Rho has a life and a family, with another baby due any day. I'll thank you to not expect me to be answering every hour of every day. You'll be disappointed.

Re: John Phillips, #18 - I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance of even your own wholly babble.

I guess if you knew the difference between "holy" and "wholly", the joke might be even funnier.

OK,
Issue 1 - comment #3 - If only complex biological structures are designed, what about simple stuff like rocks?

They are all designed. God created the entire universe.

Issue 2 - hmmm, I don't see another issue on here worth responding to. Maybe I'll just take first come first served here, since it IS my thread, after all. Onus is on you to actually come up with some decent argument. I'll take two more, as promised.

My questions:
1. In response to Issue 1, I ask:
If you answer "give us evidence for God!", I know what you mean is "give us EMPIRICAL evidence for God". So I simply demand empirical evidence of the truth of naturalism. Bring it forward and we can talk.
And you can't. God is my fundamental axiom, my foundational presupposition. He is self-justifying and self-existent and has revealed Himself to a large degree thru the Bible so we can know that about Him and know Him. God accounts for intelligibility and reason because He is a personal, intelligent being and He has made humanity in His image, so that we think like Him and communicate like Him.
What is your fundamental presupposition? Is it self-justifying? How do you know? How does it account for intelligibility and reason?

Re: Eric #20 - Your challenge to me to prove that I was the Designer was precisely the challenge you face for all your Design claims.

This is your answer. Please start by describing how you are the self-justifying foundational presupposition that makes intelligibility possible.

2. In response to Issue 2, comment #6 said: it works because I'm not a solipsistic twit who denies that there is reality in anything unsupported by the fevered g_d-imaginings inside my skull.

Mockery is not an answer. Please explain how you know that genetic similarities (and differences) you find in organisms today are evidence that in the past, they all shared a common ancestor. Justify the assumptive leap since you don't have a time machine. Show how a Designer who made it that way could not account for these similarities and differences just as well as your unguided natural selection mechanism.
#9 said: That always struck me as a milquetoast version of last-thursdayism and totally useless.

I cite this comment as an example of how you should NOT answer. Wow, you THINK it's useless! My life is ruined! Now that we've gotten your emoting out of the way, please answer the question.

3. Please explain how a great deal of "evidence for evolution" is not actually evidence for ID in that many experiments entail intelligent manipulation of events to produce microevolutionary change. A great deal of interaction has gone down in the aaaaaaaaaaants thread, so you might want to refresh yourself there first.

Thanks to ERV for this thread. It's kind of low of her to claim to my face on Friday that her blog isn't moderated and then to restrict me to one thread just 4 days later, but then again her hypocrisy isn't exactly a secret.

Peace,
Rhology

Oh, give the guy a rest. His wife is supposed to be having another baby any day now (if she hasn't already). He has many nights of interrupted sleep and diaper changings ahead of him.

Maybe you should just ban him since he just failed to use this thread and crapped all over the last one some more.

By Alan Smithee (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Abbie, please don't ever get me a present. I don't think my ego could take it.

#29 - you're just an irrational hater. How precisely have I failed to use this thread? Did you miss #27 or something?

Pure comedy gold - "Anyway, I'll answer "why no peer reviewed stuff?" - I think it's pretty clear such stems from a general institutional and emotional bias against the notion of ID and against the notion of a God. Also, the ID movement is young and doesn't have a lot of money or resources."

Funny. Isn't the ID movement (in it's ID form anyway) almost 20 years old? Didn't they change from "creationism" to "intelligence design" back in the early 90s? Doesn't Rho have any idea how extensive the DI's coffers are? Damn, that is hysterical.

(http://lippard.blogspot.com/2007/01/creationist-finances-discovery.html)

gee looking at the DISCO tax returns...over 4 mil...not bad for not having a lot of money or resources...
Of course poor Casey still only got a used dell lap top not a nice apple power book, so maybe there is some truth to the limitied resources...

By gingerbeard (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Anyway, I'll answer "why no peer reviewed stuff?" - I think it's pretty clear such stems from a general institutional and emotional bias against the notion of ID and against the notion of a God. Also, the ID movement is young and doesn't have a lot of money or resources.

Ah yes - the institutional bias that stops them publishing results in their own journal, which (unless something has changed in the last few months) has lain dormant for about 3 years now and never published a single data point when active. What's the excuse for that?

They also have a series of books out and regularly give public speeches all over the US and Europe. Michael Behe was also allowed to publish in Protein Science in the interests of fairness, which was then shown to be a. riddled with holes and b. I think it even supported the opposite conclusion of what he proposed (ie that regular evolutionary mechanisms couldn't do what he was saying). The more obvious conclusion is that they can't come up with the goods or the goods they want to come up with are simply non-existent, and ID is just a PR machine with little or no interest in scientific research as opposed to attempting a subversive approach to promote Christianity in schools (again, there are no shortage of quotes and evidence to back this up). If they have all these hypotheses and data points, why not present them at one of their speaking engagements? Unless of course they don't have them?

As for money, they've taken in 4-5 million dollars a year for many years now (all tax free), which of course you know since I've posted their tax returns on your blog before. Let's be generous and say they've only had 10 years of that - $40m-50m and no data or ID experiments? Hmmmm.

Additionally they have access to at least 2 labs (Behe's and Minnich's). Time obviously isn't an issue for them either since they have ample amounts of it to do book tours, write blogs, do public speaking all over the country, serve as 'expert witnesses' in court cases, pursue 'academic freedom' bills etc etc.

The ID movement has been active in some shape or form for over 20 years now. Darwin's Black Box came out over 12 years ago. How does this constitute a young movement? Plenty of hypotheses that were proposed a few years back have already borne fruit - why can't they do anything in a longer time frame?

Obviously everything I've posted above you already know, since I have posted the exact same thing several times on your blog. I find it bizarre that you continue to repeat this stuff as if there is no answer to it since you must obviously remember at least some of these points.

By Dr Funkenstein (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Along the same lines as 'no peer reviewed stuff because we are poor and people hate Creationists'-- Michael Behe couldnt even be bothered to Google "HIV" before he wrote about it in Edge.

GOOGLE.

The reason why Michael Behe has no papers supporting his assertions about HIV-1 in 'Edge of Evolution' has absolutely nothing to do with money or access to publications or bias in publications.

Its because he was childishly wrong.

Rho:

Your comment didn't appear straight away, Alan Smithhee's and my comment were on the blog before yours for some reason.

You are allowed to talk on other threads, you're just not allowed to derail them all.

Couple of questions:

1) You said, "Justify the assumptive leap since you don't have a time machine" - does this mean that criminals cannot be convicted if there is not an eye witness?

2) You said, "God is my fundamental axiom, my foundational presupposition". Well, OK whatever works for you. In my case (raised Catholic but didn't realise we were supposed to believe it was true!) is it impossible for me to come to God, given that I will require some evidence to do so?

Rho asserted: Anyway, I'll answer "why no peer reviewed stuff?" - I think it's pretty clear such stems from a general institutional and emotional bias against the notion of ID and against the notion of a God. Also, the ID movement is young and doesn't have a lot of money or resources.

Baloney, on all counts. Learn some science history before you spout off on this topic again.

1) The onus is on you to prove that there is a "general institutional and emotional bias against the notion of ID and against the notion of a God". I am a member of a large biology department; nearly all of them are theists. My department and my institution have no policies re God; it is simply irrelevant in our daily work. There is an institutional and emotional bias against bad science, but that is to be expected. ID is simply bad science. So if you are going to assert these things, show us the evidence for them. Or retract them, and show us that you understand the the Scriptures that refer to bearing false witness.

2) Re the excuse that "the ID movement is young and doesn't have a lot of money or resources", that doesn't wash either. Read the history of prions, and note that this completely antithetical notion resulted in a Nobel Prize for the heretics in a shorter time period than ID has been around as a smokescreen for religion. That happened because the heretics were actually scientists as well, and did experiments, published papers, and convinced other scientists with the coin of the realm, actual evidence. IDers have had plenty of time to generate positive evidence for the notion, but they have done nothing of the sort. Even cold fusion, another heretical notion, generated interest by other scientists and publication of about 900 papers in a very short time. Why can't ID publish even one paper with positive evidence for the notion? Answer - because it isn't science.

The persecution card doesn't work in science, Rho. Scientists need evidence; without evidence you get ignored, or even mocked if you keep pretending that presuppositional notions are the same as conclusions. Personally I'd love to see evidence against evolutionary theory, because that would mean that science would get very exciting quite quickly! So show us the evidence, and others will jump to work on the notion. No evidence, no work. You've got it backward. Again.

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Rhology continues to pick and choose among the challenges, and consider only those that he can weave into his carefully sealed world view - a world view, I'll note, that is at least as limited in its view of G_d as it is in its view of pshat. In his dismissive answer at 27 to my 6, he completely ignores the substantive part of my post, and responds only to the throwaway insult. Clearly, Rhology is signaling us that he prefers to deal with insult rather than substance. But we knew that.

Later, in dismissing naturalism, he says:
What is your fundamental presupposition? Is it self-justifying? How do you know? How does it account for intelligibility and reason?

My fundamental presupposition for METHODOLOGICAL naturalism is that I can observe the world. I know I can observe the world, because I observe that I am observing the world and I observe others doing the same. It is self evident and self-justifying. It accounts for intelligibility and reason through the simple observation that they exist.

Yes, in attempting to understand the real world, science assumes that there is a real world that can be understood. This is the foundation of methodological naturalism, and it is justified by the fact that methodological naturalism works, that it continues to give us understanding and tools of ever increasing power and utility, that allow us to do real things in this real world.

And I'll repeat here the part of my 6 that Rhology carefully avoided:
"You are demanding a logical 'first cause' and positing that logic collapses without one. That is a Fail - and has been for several generations of philosophers much smarter than you are."

If you answer "give us evidence for God!", I know what you mean is "give us EMPIRICAL evidence for God".

No, it doesn't. You can give any evidence for God, as long as it doesn't require belief in your specific type of Christianity to accept (e.g. you can't present the Bible as the Word of God, although you are welcome to present it as historical evidence).

Please explain how you know that genetic similarities (and differences) you find in organisms today are evidence that in the past, they all shared a common ancestor.

Personally because if they're all made from exactly the same material, then it's highly unlikely that they did not share a common ancestor.

Show how a Designer who made it that way could not account for these similarities and differences just as well as your unguided natural selection mechanism.

Actually the burden on proof is on you to show that a Designer could account for them, and yet for some reason you refuse.

3. Please explain how a great deal of "evidence for evolution" is not actually evidence for ID in that many experiments entail intelligent manipulation of events to produce microevolutionary change.

Because the evidence for evolution does not rely entirely on laboratory experiments.

Thanks to ERV for this thread. It's kind of low of her to claim to my face on Friday that her blog isn't moderated and then to restrict me to one thread just 4 days later, but then again her hypocrisy isn't exactly a secret.

She's not restricting you to a thread, she's offering you a thread of your own, you graceless crayon.

Lee - it is unlikely that Rhology has grasped the distinction between methodological and ontological naturalism, so I wouldn't expect him to understand what you're talking about.

Yes, we have 2 creation stories, see the link I gave you before. One is broader, the other has a narrower focus. 2 stories, one set of events.

I call bullshit. Why are the orders of events in these two stories different, then?

Genesis 1:

1. Elohim imposes order on pre-existing chaotic matter by use of the spoken word, creating light.

2. Elohim divides the chaotic waters by the use of a "firmament" (literally translated, a bronze dome).

3. Elohim divides the material under the dome into dry land and water, and brings forth vegetation on the dry land.

4. Elohim creates the stars, the Sun and the Moon.

5. Elohim creates animals (whales, birds and so forth).

6. Elohim creates human beings, both male and female, at the same time.

Genesis 2:

"The LORD God" — which is to say, Yahweh — shapes a man out of dust, breathes life into him, plants a garden in the land known as Eden, sticks the man in the garden, and then makes animals as companions to the man, and then makes a woman — the companion the man really wanted all along. In the first story, "God" is the instigator of cosmic order, while in the second, he's a child making mud pies. The deities of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are more different than Kirk and Picard.

Next person to post the word 'Genesis' in a thread other that this one will be asked to post tits or gtfo.

I gotta say, though, this'll put a crimp in our efforts to discuss Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Here's a point I feel I should bludgeon into IDers' heads: Before we talk about an alleged lack of money to find evidence of ID, they need to produce predictions. I have yet to find one who can do that. They don't even know what they're supposed to be looking for!

Badger3k asked @ #32

Funny. Isn't the ID movement (in it's ID form anyway) almost 20 years old? Didn't they change from "creationism" to "intelligence design" back in the early 90s?

1987, to be precise. Immediately following the Edwards v. Aguillard decision by the Supreme Court that ruled there was no science in "Creation Science". Funny little coinkydink, ain't it?

See cdesign proponentsists.

Isn't the ID movement (in it's ID form anyway) almost 20 years old?

That concedes way too much -- "intelligent design" was the de facto assumption of all of biology pretty much since, well, since Christians have been doing biology. In other words, it is not ID that is the young discipline, it is evolution. If ID were so convincing, there would have been no room or need for evolutionary explanation. It is the failure of ID to build its case over literally centuries of opportunity that is largely responsible for evolutionary theory.

Nothing is stopping them from generating actual findings and self-publishing them, either. They just don't.

Jonathan Wells of the Discovery Institute presented the same damn poster at several scientific meetings in 2005, including the big ASCB meeting in December. Let me just emphasize: there was no "institutional bias" there, he was allowed to present. And furthermore, this was in spite of the clear requirement for the ASCB that you have to at least clearly state some results in your abstract; Wells had none. He had shown that poster at some other, smaller meetings earlier that year.

The ASCB meeting is attended by something in the neighborhood of 5,000 Ph.D. scientists every year. There are hundreds upon hundreds of posters. And of them all, only Wells lacked any data whatsoever. (Well, except for the education ones, since those mostly deal with classroom teaching methods and the like.)

He has done nothing with that hypothesis since then. No research, no experiments, nothing. He has now seemingly abandoned that hypothesis altogether, since he just now goes around giving talks to church groups on how the immune system, like, disproves Darwin and stuff (half-assedly biting Behe's shtick).

The DI has bragged about a "high-tech research" facility they have, so that doesn't seem to be a barrier either. Does any research actually go on there? It seems not!

Scientists do have a bias: We are biased against the lazy. No research, no attention. Put up or shut up.

By minimalist (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Rhology wrote:

Issue 1 - comment #3 - If only complex biological structures are designed, what about simple stuff like rocks?

They are all designed. God created the entire universe.

You are so close, Rhology, that's why I was trying to nudge you along in that particular comment. The entire universe includes everything we can observe and analyze - electromagnetism, atoms, plate tectonics, gravity, and, yes, evolution. You see evolution as anti-God when it is no more anti-God than heliocentrism. You say you're not a typical ID-er; perhaps you'll go a step further and come to embrace theistic evolution/evolutionary creationism. Until then, I bid you peace and wish you luck with the new addition to the family.

I said "Genesis". There is no question about just how seriously ERV takes this conversation or her general maturity level. I'm currently fighting back tears --hot tears-- of anguish. And popping Zantac, chasing it with Mylanta.
Tits.
Now could you let the grownups talk, please?

oakes at 21: thank you, sir.

One thing the rabbis often point out, is that all of the possible and contradicting translations are true. G_d is infinite - limiting his teaching to just one aspect, is the same as attempting to limit the infinite possibility of the aspects G_d chooses to reveal to us.

When Rhology - and much of christendom - responds to a challenge about the plural name of G_d in Genesis with "G_d is Trinitarian," my response is - "how finite." G_d is infinite, Ein Sof, 'without what.' Assigning an attribute to G_d - Trinity, or any other attribute - is engaging in placing limits on the Infinite. It strikes me as blasphemous - it is a denial of all the infinite aspects of the infinite that exist outside that tiny finite box.

Christians acknowledge that when G_d (in their belief system) came to earth in the body of the son of G_d, that He spoke and taught in parables. G_d in the person of Jesus did not engage in literal speech. When Jesus talked of teaching a man to fish, he was not talking about fishing.

Why on earth would a G_d who teaches in parables when he is in pshat in the guise of the son of G_d, not use parables when he is revealing himself through Torah and the holy books? Why on earth would one limit one's experience of the infinite and unknowable, by insisting that this revealed aspect of the infinite and unknowable must correspond exactly and literally to one single finite story that our finite human understanding can place upon it?

The Rabbis teach us that Torah is without vowels and without punctuation - and originally without spaces between the words, so that one could use different word breaks - precisely so that one must search the text to find many aspects of the revealing of the infinite unknown. Rhology cited thousands of Rabbis as support for his literal interpretation, when in fact they teach exactly the opposite.

BTW, one version of the translation of the opening of Genesis that I currently find contains much power and understanding is:

1. When (beginning/power of G_ds) looked (fruitfully/with pleasure) upon (beginning/power of G_ds) and the high (places/fields) and the low (places/fields)

2 And the Earth was unfilled confusion and without (form/structure/order), and (darkness/lack of distinction) was upon the (deep/low places), and the ruach of the infinite (wind of G_ds) was upon the (aspect/appearance) of the surface of the waters

3. And power of G_ds spoke "light is," and light is.

4. And light (is good / performs well), and G_ds distinguished light and darkness

5.And the powers of G_ds spoke to the light "day" and to the darkness "night" and there was evening and there was morning and first day.

To address a few of Rhology's points:

Presuppositions for materialism can, IMHO, be boiled down to two:

1) Logical inferences are valid (can't get very far without this one; you implicitly assume it as well).

2) Occam's razor.

This is enough because most of what people regard as "true" or "factual" is common sense and is derived from simply interacting with the world on a daily basis. Empiricism is good enough for eating, breathing, living, laughing, swimming, and generally getting on in the world; the question is whether it can address problems more removed from the experience of your average human being.

And it does do so. Quite well.

You assert somewhere above that your theistic presupposition works at least as well, but that's misleading. The theistic presupposition doesn't offer any explanations, really; it offers post hoc justifications. Your position that ID explains the structures of organisms is pretty much equivalent to filling out all the bubbles on a multiple choice question and insisting you answered the question correctly. An omnipotent creator can explain ANY set of facts, whether or not they're actually true.

Bottom line, good science offers a framework for determining whether a particular proposition is true or false. The presupposition of an omnipotent creator CANNOT provide such a framework, because no proposition can be ruled out as impossible under such an assumption.

Finally, if you're axiomatically assuming the existence of a God (notice neither of my axioms assumed the non-existence of God), it's pretty pointless to debate a bunch of atheists. If we can't agree on the fundamental facts at the core of the argument, then we can't make any headway.

Finally, as others have pointed out, ID proponents have no shortage of time, money, or venues to push their "theory", and they never have. ID had been the establishment position right up until Darwin, and has remained popular among laymen ever since. The only difference now is that the implicit imposition of a Judeo-Christian deity is being challenged in courts, forcing your buddies to qualify their position. This along with the utter lack of actual science supporting ID is a pretty good indication that ID is really just PR with a lot of big words.

Please explain how a great deal of "evidence for evolution" is not actually evidence for ID in that many experiments entail intelligent manipulation of events to produce microevolutionary change.

I feel ya, bro. For years I've been trying to sell these atheiodarwinist materialist physicists on the idea of intelligent falling. They keep setting up these experiments where things fall to the ground, but since the experiment was designed by intelligence and produced falling, that clearly means that materialistic forces can't account for gravity. So, I'll ask again: just where is this "mountain of evidence" that gravity is due to bent spacetime and not invisible angels pushing things to the ground?

Lee, that translation you're describing feels like when we tried to translate the Dao De Jing. It makes a lot more sense when you do it, as you say, "in pshat" -- the Dao has had so much mystical crap encrusted onto it, but when you peel it back you find a core of a very simple, wise, diplomatic way to deal with the world.

Also, if you're the Lee I think you are, hi!

On topic: I think that Rho's statement "I guess if you knew the difference between "holy" and "wholly", the joke might be even funnier." above is enough to tip anyone off that he's not joking, or indeed arguing, in good faith. He is either assuming that his interlocutors are too stupid to make a double-entendre of even the admittedly unsubtle nature of "wholly babble", or pretending not to understand it herself.

In any case, I am interested to hear his reply to the justification of materialism in #49, and to all of Lee's points really. Although I'm not holding my breath. Rho seems more inclined to give throwaway answers than to engage on any argument of substance -- reminds me why I don't bother to argue with Christians much anymore, so many of them are so well trained to avoid engaging in intellectually honest argumentation.

And Ciaphas @#9: what is "last-thursdayism"?

I call bullshit. Why are the orders of events in these two stories different, then?

I've never been able to get a straight answer from a Christian on that one. They just keep insisting the differences comes from a differing focus on events. Even when you point it out to them, they just stick their fingers in their ears and keep repeating the same claim. This is why I try not to argue with True Believers anymore.

Lee - it is unlikely that Rhology has grasped the distinction between methodological and ontological naturalism, so I wouldn't expect him to understand what you're talking about.

You know, I've always had a really rough time with scientists adopting this. I can't imagine that any methodology is implied by materialism or naturalism. So-called "supernatural" causes have not been found to be necessary in formulating any of our scientific theories so far, and their appendage violates a kind of economy or parsimony of description at best (in the case that their appendage does not increase the body of statements which are entailed by the theory), so they have no utility. More frequently, their appendage will actually detract from the theory's predictive power (where would we be now, for example, if every time we saw a flame we chalked it up to Moloch?), and must be discarded. What is acceptable and unacceptable in science cannot be decided by a person's private metaphysical preferences, this is a weak position and contrary to the program of science. We may not discard the hypothesis because of either naturalism as a metaphysics or a formalism which merely takes its cues from naturalism -- both are arbitrary, and I am not sure that an object could ever be meaningfully defined as "supernatural" in any case, so even the adoption of these does not preclude the appendage of fairies or gods. There are instead real practical reasons (as briefly described above) for rejecting the appendage of fairies and gods to scientific theories.

People, people....

Rhology has already declared that his denial of evolution and most things scientific "begins and ends" with his religious beliefs. Thus, attempts to discuss the issue with him from an empirical standpoint are guaranteed to be pointless. He didn't come to his views based on the data, so it's extremely unlikely he'll change them because of the data.

Why in the world would anyone attempt such a discussion from an empirical standpoint, when Rhology's views are based in theology?

hey all.

question for an any evolutionist-> (out of curiosity and not malice)

What happens when you die?

That's what happens after you die. I think he's asking for a description of the physiological process of dying... but I'd think a doctor would be in a better position to answer that than an evolutionary biologist.

But Dustin, wouldn't it depend also on how you die.
I'm sure the process is very different if you are mauled by a bear, decapatated, die of old age, or from self inflected damage from argueing with too many creationists.

By gingerbeard (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

What happens to your consciousness? Do you dream? do you black out? do you cease to exist?

@57:

What happens when you fall asleep? I almost drove myself crazy trying to figure this out when I was in high school.

Two problems with your question though:

1) You're not clear what it is you're actually asking. Are you asking about what the individual experiences while dying? Are you asking what is happening biologically? Or are you asking about the impact of the death of the individual on the entire population?

2) The only way that your question is relevant to the theory of evolution is if you're asking a question along the lines of the third possibility I offer in (1). Otherwise, evolution has nothing to do with what you're asking, so why are you asking evolutionists as if they're all going to have the same answers?

Why in the world would anyone attempt such a discussion from an empirical standpoint, when Rhology's views are based in theology?

Because NOMA is an facile, disingenuous pantload, that's why. By engaging in apologetics, Rhology has already conceded to a critical process of inquiry. And surely you don't think that he wouldn't come in here flaunting archeological evidence that what he says is true if he were to come into possession of such evidence, do you?

Spurgeon:
"What happens to your consciousness? Do you dream? do you black out? do you cease to exist?"

What on earth does that have to do with evolution?

From an evolutionary perspective, what happens when you die is that the probability that you will directly pass your genes into the population becomes 0, and your contribution to the environment within which selection is happening asymptotically moves toward 0.

Biologically, what happens when you die - very oversimplistically - is that the energetic and physiological processes that maintain the order of your body cease to function, and your body becomes disordered. But this is only relevant to evolution insofar as the process impacts the environemnt within which selection is happening.

Experientially and spiritually? I have my beliefs, plural, and they are many and contradictory, and I can believe all of them because G_d is infinite and unbounded. And they are not your beliefs. And none of them, mine or yours, have anything to do with the science of evolution or of biology.

Well, except perhaps in the very interesting question of how we evolved to have biological brains that work in such a was that we, many of us, have experiences of some kind of spirit realm. But even that question has nothing to do with the reality of spirit realms, or what happens spiritually when we die.

Rhology, do you understand why the Razor is used by scientists? Your argument is that Intelligent Design could be nothing but evolution, now with Added Designers. Why is it up to us to prove that your unsubstantiated designers don't exist?

Your argument also has a problem for your religion, because it requires you to accept any gods who created the gods who created the gods ad nauseum.

By freelunch (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

Spurgeon
My guess would be blackout and then cease.
Can you tell me what happens to your consciousness before you're born? Doesn't exist, right? Same thing from my perspective. We don't exist, we exist for a while, we don't exist.

This is kinda boring. Can we get back to tits?
The new bikini I ordered for my wife arrived today. It seems I "accidently" ordered the top too small(giggle).

By Kitty'sBitch (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

@53
I mean.. why is that not a valid answer?
does Mississippi look the same from Jackson as it does from Mars?

The perspective zooms.
Gen1 is panoramic view
Gen2 is zoomed in on Man.

also:
What empirical evidence do we have of the temporal nature of our consciousness? is it observed or assumed?

What empirical evidence do we have of the temporal nature of our consciousness? is it observed or assumed?

You must be a medical oddity, never to have lost consciousness.

@67
I lost my keys this morning.
did they cease to exist?

this would be terrible news for me.

Anyway, I'll answer "why no peer reviewed stuff?" - I think it's pretty clear such stems from a general institutional and emotional bias against the notion of ID and against the notion of a God. Also, the ID movement is young and doesn't have a lot of money or resources.

Did I miss a memo? I thought ID had nothing to say about the designer and was not in any way religious.

I didn't hear any of my favorite arguments on Friday night from West or Luskin...

What are your favorite arguments? I'm curious to know if I've ever heard them before. (I suspect I have, but it can't hurt to ask...maybe I'll learn something new!)

Spurgeon
Yes, your keys ceased to exist.

Well, that's what I get for feeding a troll, silly nonsense.
When you look up to try to figure out where the rain is coming from, do your feet cease to exist?
Whether or not your feet cease to exist, WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH IT?
Find your troll food elsewhere. I'm not even getting started on comments that ridiculous.

By Kitty'sBitch (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

I don't tolerate sophistry. Are you really stupid or just dishonest? Your keys are not defined by your possession of them. Your awareness of self and surroundings, on the other hand, can't very well exist when you aren't aware of yourself or surroundings.

Fair enough ERV sorry to have participated in junking up the blog.
If you just say âNo Rho Proâ I will stop....I argue for a living and it has become habitual.

See Casey Luskin: Butthurt
Response Rhology # 123 referencing Promethus #115

Iâve got to divide this up. You are starting that post mush thing again

âOntological naturalism is not necessarily directly contradictory to a teleological argument. The designer could be a natural being. Just speaking hypothetically, and that's enough to disprove your statement.â

They are necessarily directly contradictory because your example of a natural god in a teleological position creates a generative infinitism (the substance that produced the substance ad infinitum unto the consumption of all natural matter). It is the universal epistemological self destruct button. Congratulations, you couldnât be more wrong about itâs meaning but at least you spotted the orobourous that makes the positions irreconcilable.

âAnd how does it account for the existence of the laws of logic?â

Wrong term again (second time) âLaws of Logicâ are mathematical sentences âLaws of Thoughtâ are what you are referring to. If you regard laws of thought as a posteriori constructs they can be accounted for like any other human construct.

âAre they conventions of human thinking? Or how did they "arise" in the universe? Why think that the universe, in a chaotic explosion, would "form" into a universe where the laws of logic are in operation?â

No wonder ENV treats you with kid gloves You may be the only Pythagorean Southern Baptist in existence. Meta language in logistics demonstrates that classical perceptions of divine attribution to classical forms is inaccurate because higher mathematics can be simultaneously systematically correct yet completely insane. They are demonstrably and probatively just descriptive human constructs.

Please read "On formally undecidable propositions of Principia Mathematica and related systems,"

âFurther, why think that you, a collection of atoms banging around, can think logically?â

It is only a hypothesis at this stage based on the observation that another collection of atoms named Rhology has a reactive response to the referent. I will need to develop a model, a control and experiment that is subject to falsifiability with some reproducible results prior to publication but I am being cautious because I am still trying to figure out the utility function.

âAnd no, "Well, duh! I think logically to write this!" won't cut it, as you're begging the question.â

I would prefer an opportunity to commit the fallacy before I am accused of it. Poor form : Hufflepuff loses ten points.

âShake up 2 cans of Dr Pepper, put one on either end of a stage, open them; does it occur to anyone to ask who's winning the debate? Your brain is emitting brain gas, why think that it is capable of or made for producing true thoughts?â

Cans of Dr. Pepper are designed by an intelligent agency devoted to the market advantage of uniformity (despite the fact that DPS corporate bonds are about to junk) this static uniformity which is not present in organisms, belies the proposition of a designer on whose image our own consciousness would be modeled. If we used a natural operation as an analog on the same stage with two planarian worms there is sufficient variation that one would eat the other. At that point I would say that the conqueror worm had won the debate.

This however reveals a deeper error in your procedural approach to the dialectic. Your stated goal is to win as opposed to refining your way of thinking. You cannot consider any argument in contravention of your bias and cannot argue honestly and ethically about the subject. Like I said there is a dubious utility in debating you.

I will play a bit longer because there might be a kid or two who is under the impression that when your deliberately and subversively obtuse questions go unanswered, your respondents are somehow wrong or inferior. Noting your stamina and tenacity while maintaining the most absurd positions, I must ask......... Have you considered a career in porn?

By Prometheus (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

@Spurgeon:

If you could define "consciousness," we might be able to provide empirical evidence one way or the other.

But you can't, and neither can anyone else. That's the whole problem.

Here's an example: in a set theory and logic class I took, the professor suggested looking at the problem sets for an hour when we got them and then putting them aside for a few days. He said that when you pick it up later in the week, you'll find you already have a lot of insights into how to approach the problems, as if you were "thinking" about the problems even though you weren't, at least not consciously.

Your "lost keys" example is kind of stupid; it really only confuses the issue. Keys are material objects that don't cease to exist when we're unaware of them any more than other people, trees, cars, or buildings. "Thoughts," "ideas," "notions," "feelings," "awareness," "consciousness," and similar do not refer to any particular material objects; they seem to refer to aggregate system behaviors instead of particular objects. And "awareness" of a particular object can certainly cease without the object itself disappearing; what if "consciousness" is a subset of "awareness," or at least similar enough that they share this property? No, sorry, the lost keys example is at best counterproductive in this discussion.

Bottom line: lots of philosophers and neurologists many of whom are a lot smarter than you have wrestled this problem, and none of them have made enough progress to go off shooting their mouths about it. Perhaps you should try to be more precise about what you mean by "consciousness" before getting argumentative about it.

I lost my keys this morning. did they cease to exist?

I lost my virginity in '84 -- does it still exist?

Prometheus at 72:

Bravo, Sir. Bravo. Rhology should thank his G_d for including you as part of his Rho/G_d solipsistically-paired creation of the experience of the world.

"Have you considered a career in porn?"
He would flame brightly for a brief time, and then fail. Directors get bored when every new and different scene gets the exact same act over and over and over and over and over....

you know; ERV's real gift to rhology is the huge spike in hits on his site.

By gingerbeard (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

@74
as far as arguing or "shooting my mouth off", i have only posed questions thus far.

I do not know how an atheistic evolutionist thinks, being that I am not one. I am more curious about seeing your perspective than interjecting mine at the present. also, I am agreed that many people have attacked this subject with more intellect than myself. I am not particularly gifted intellectually, but am familiar with the empirical evidence and not terribly interested in debating observation. I am merely trying to inquire as to the inductive process that pulls these observations together into a certain structure.

thank you for also pointing out that I cannot define consciousness. this was not a trap but merely a probe so as to feel out a demographic that I am not knowledgeable of.

cheers,

gingerbeard-- you know; ERV's real gift to rhology is the huge spike in hits on his site.

Im the one that gets paid by the page view.

;)

@79:

Still leaves me wondering why you're asking "evolutionists" a question that is not in any way addressed by the science of evolution. Perhaps you meant "atheists" or "materialists," but believing the theory of evolution is essentially valid shouldn't really have any impact on your beliefs about the afterlife.

And then you seemed to try to muddy the waters by conflating "keys" with "consciousness." While technically this was a "question," as you say, the intention seemed to be more to distract or evade than to actually learn anything. Introducing category mistakes into a discussion is not a good way to demonstrate that you're arguing in good faith.

In my experience, most atheists arrive at their position through adopting skepticism as the most useful and productive worldview for discriminating between what is real and what is imagined. From such a perspective, the answer to your original question can't be scientific, because there can, pretty much by definition, be no empirical observations of what it is like to die. I just want to make it clear that any answer to your question can only be considered speculation and that the question (and its answers) have no bearing on scientific theories.

@Valerie, yep, guilty as charged. The phrase 'wholly babble' is meant to be a totally unsubtle but accurate description. If only because it allows different xian cults to babble about almost anything they choose by claiming it legitimises almost any stance they wish. They either just do the usual quote mining while ignoring context or interpret a section to mean something else, sometimes even the opposite of what it actually says.

By John Phillips, FCD (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

And for those of you who want to "probe" the "demographic" of a fellow named Spurgeon, here's a fun place to start.

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

I just lurk here but I am afraid that I can't let someone use my name while posting such nonsense.

If spurgeon is not your real name please stop using it.

Spurgeon, your entire position is nothing more than an argument from ignorance and a god of the gaps. So fucking what if we don't know what exactly happens when you die, you get no freebie to insert your nonsensical god into the gap. Just because you can't possibly imagine not existing doesn't mean that at some point you won't exist. Get a new fucking argument or post some tits, your choice.

By Richard Wolford (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

RE: #53

And Ciaphas @#9: what is "last-thursdayism"?

Last-thursdayism is the idea that the world was created last thursday exactly as it is now. Those memories in your head, planted by God, same with those fossils and the light from all those stars. Since it's impossible to prove otherwise, it must be true.

It's pretty much a nice shorthand for the entire creationist argument "Since you can't disprove my impossible prove assertions, they are correct".

As a side note, I would like to add that I am strongly against banning Rho. He serves an important and valuable purpose; he can be used as proof that we are not using strawman versions of creationist arguments. For example, in #9 I put forth what what I had thought was a strawman in an effort to get him to provide a better one and he pretty much agreed I had it right.

"Im the one that gets paid by the page view.

;)"

That is another reason why we keep hitting Rho like a broken slot machine. He keeps paying off.

If he starts in on the mind/body problem again you can buy yourself an electron microscope for the living room.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

I have not yet proposed any nonsense. {though what i would propose would be folly to those who love the world}

As far as this "God of the gaps" title being imposed, i reject it whole heartedly. it is far too narrow. I subscribe to a "God of all existence". {Assuming that existence does not entirely consist of gaps}

I also apologize to Spurge for the name. I'll only keep it until I can muster up a clever replacement.

also=> thanks to ERV for opening the thread. A gift to Rho and his crew indeed.

Cheers,

Thanks "spurgeon"

Spurgeon-- also=> thanks to ERV for opening the thread. A gift to Rho and his crew indeed.

No prob! Thanks for saying 'hi' after the talk! If you want to know more about what I was talking about with Behe, just search this blog (or my old one).

Hi KoF,

It's Rhold home week.

Here is a site for you and ERV which is heavy on the science/ ethics/ genetics end but has really interesting articles on a variety of subjects from vaccination ethics to 'Born Believers'.

http://www.practicalethicsnews.com/practicalethics/

By Prometheus (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

As is par for the course, given a forum for debate at the price of giving up the freedom to run away when the game goes against him, Rhology chooses to abandon his arguments, like his assertion that we need absolute morals, as usual, lacking any evidence supporting it.

So far all Rho has demonstrated is that he/she is scientifically illiterate.

That's not an insult, Rho, that's an observation based on your inability to hold a scientifically cogent conversation.

Rho, you're an idiot. That's an insult.

I hope you learn to distinguish between the two.

Sorry, Rho, but I got busy at work and couldn't get back to you.

I think I know why we're having such trouble discussing this. We're actually talking past each other. You want to discuss "presuppositions for materialism" and contrast that with your preconception of god. What I think you fail to realize is that most atheists have no presuppositions. When I sit down to a new concept, I do not check it against a magic list of what atheists believe. I take it on its own merits. I don't care if it conflicts with the wholly babble, the kama sutra, or what I believed only yesterday. If there is solid evidence, and a logical consistency, then I have to give it some credence.

One way to test this is to ask "What would convince you that you were mistaken?" In the case of evolution, that would be simple. Cats giving birth to dogs would be a good example. Radical, rapid changes in species is impossible, according to the natural selection view of evolution. Even punctuated equilibrium takes a definite period of time, although very quick on a geological scale.

Let's turn that around. Is there any piece of evidence you might dream of that would change your mind? I don't mean the ones you've already heard, what would completely blow you away?

If you answer that with "Nothing! I believe in the bibble and Jaysus and that's all I need!" then we have nothing more to discuss. That is an intellectually dishonest position that leaves no room for discussion.

Come on, Rho. Can you follow your own commandments or not?

Piece,

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

BTW, Rho, this should answer your question in the other thread, re: hox genes and common descent.

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 24 Feb 2009 #permalink

I read through most of this, and this question from Rhology stuck out at me:

Please explain how you know that genetic similarities (and differences) you find in organisms today are evidence that in the past, they all shared a common ancestor. Justify the assumptive leap since you don't have a time machine. Show how a Designer who made it that way could not account for these similarities and differences just as well as your unguided natural selection mechanism.

Even though it seems Rhology may have just disappeared, I feel like answering this (or rather, linking to an answer), because Steven Novella gave an excellent answer about two weeks ago. I'd recommend reading the whole thing, but you can start with the line, "Of these independent lines of evidence the genetic and molecular evidence is the strongest".

Go ahead and read that and get back to us.

Along the same lines as 'no peer reviewed stuff because we are poor and people hate Creationists'-- Michael Behe couldnt even be bothered to Google "HIV" before he wrote about it in Edge.

What specifically in the Edge of evolution did Behe get wrong about HIV. Assuming for the sake of conversation that you have an example, did you bring it to his attention, and did he agree that you were right?

Rho has a life and a family, with another baby due any day. I'll thank you to not expect me to be answering every hour of every day. You'll be disappointed.

Good point. In general, the evolanders fall into two camps. First, they are young and single. Second, they are old and have angry adolscent children who want nothing to do with them.

Presuppositions for materialism can, IMHO, be boiled down to two:

1) Logical inferences are valid (can't get very far without this one; you implicitly assume it as well).

2) Occam's razor.

Regarding Occam's razor, it is a rule of thumb, not a proof.

I have a counter example, from science, fully described here, where Occam's razor fails. The idea that the "simplest explanation is probably right" was falsified when Tycho Bryhe rejected heliocentricism for geocentricism, based on his analysis of the best available data. Yeah, it happened awhile back, but Brahe was the leading scientist at the time, and based his conclusion on his analysis of the excruciatingly precise measurements he too, the best measurements available at that time.

WW wrote:
What specifically in the Edge of evolution did Behe get wrong about HIV. Assuming for the sake of conversation that you have an example, did you bring it to his attention, and did he agree that you were right?

The reason I ask is because Berkeley was mis-characterizing Diane Dodd's paper, and Dave encouraged me to notify them. I did, politely, without vitriol, and they corrected their characterization.

Did you try anything like this with Behe?

Last-Thursdayism? Please! Last-Thursdayism is so last year. What you want is Next-Thursdayism, the scientific theory which holds that when the Universe is created next Thursday, your memory of having read about Next-Thursdayism will be one of the pieces of evidence which points towards the false, earlier-than-next-Thursday, moment at which the Universe appears to have been created.

1) Brahe did most emphatically *not* reject geocentrism. His measurements (brilliant measurements!) showed that geocentrism couldn't be right, but he stuck to it nonetheless, hypothesising a system of his own where the rest of the planets did go around the Sun, but the Sun in turn *still* revolved around Earth, the centre of the Universe.

2) Occam's (modern) razor says that the simplest explanation, *consistent* with the evidence is to be preferred. Geocentrism (nor the Tychonian compromise) *wasn't* consistent with Tychis data.

3) In what way is Geocentrism conceptually simpler than Heliocentrism?

4) Yes, circular orbits (heliocentric) are 'prettier' than ellipses, but ellipses are still much simpler than epicycles.

If you wanted an example of the 'simplest' explanation being wrong, why not talk about the presession of Mercury's perihelion then? That's a much better case, since on the face of it postulation the planet Vulcan *is* simpler than revising Newtonian gravity. But as it happens General Relativity *is* the correct answer. And since it explains so many other results as well, it turns out to be the simplest explanation in the long run.

Maybe I'm wrong (I'm not a scientist) but I was under the impression that Occam's Razor says (roughly) that the explanation with the fewest extraneous assumptions was most likely to be correct, not which explanation is the 'simplest'.

Good point. In general, the evolanders fall into two camps. First, they are young and single. Second, they are old and have angry adolscent children who want nothing to do with them.

Willie. Lovely assertions. Care to back that up with anything other than the hot air coming from your ass?

Wow. I didn't know that all those years when I was trying so hard to have a child with my husband, and when I finally did, that I couldn't accept evolution, and that I couldn't be an atheist (or the husband, either). And I guess having a good, close relationship with my child up through his (now) adulthood means I still don't accept evolution and I guess I have to believe in a sky fairy, too.

Of course, such things are only true in the minds of demented morons like William Wallace, the same guy who thinks he knows more about what happens to certain people than they do, even if he's nowhere to be seen when the thing happens.

PZ banned you for a reason, you mendacious twit. Go bury your lying face in your goatherder fairy tale book. Or better yet, FOAD.

Good point. In general, the evolanders fall into two camps. First, they are young and single. Second, they are old and have angry adolscent children who want nothing to do with them.

Willie. Lovely assertions. Care to back that up with anything other than the hot air coming from your ass?

I can provide a factual counterexample, if that helps. I an in my early 40's, married 7 years, 2 kids under five (who emphatically do not want 'nothing' to do with me), and I live in evoland.

I know he said "most evolanders" and I'm just one denizen, but the generalization is hardly supported by the facts. I'm hardly an outlier.

William Wallace mused:

"Regarding Occam's razor, it is a rule of thumb, not a proof."

No.

It is neither a rule of thumb nor a proof in astronomy.

In philosophy It is a recommended protocol.

it corrects for certain kinds of bias like "The Jaundiced Eye"

In general science it takes the simplified form of Parsimony and when applied to statistics, frugality.

You are using a mangled version of heuristics that is only appropriate to expert testimony in products liability.

It has many definitions because the protocol varies a bit from discipline to discipline and with such an enormous number of ways to be right, you still managed to get it wrong.

I find that remarkable....and creepy.

Oh I get it! I just wikied the messed up terms you are using and got your basis entry that cites works of fiction, a joke book, a naval service manual and an essay on spousal abuse.

You know once in a while you run across a person who can barf up the western intellectual tradition as a synopticon on cue. When that happens wikipedia is no longer a fall back position.

Today is that day.

That is happening to you now.

You poor bastard.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Limp Willy blew out his a$$:

In general, the evolanders fall into two camps. First, they are young and single. Second, they are old and have angry adolscent children who want nothing to do with them.

Wrong on both counts, twit. What can be stated with a fair amount of certainty is that the higher a person's level of education, the more likely they are to understand evolution. I'm not saying that all creationists are idiots, but an awful lot of idiots are creationists cdesign proponentsists.

You have shown repeatedly that you are a dishonest person, William Wallace. Your namesake would be ashamed of you. You can't even manage to follow your own commandments, can you? Bearing false witness? Ring any bells?

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Whoa. That's a lot of comments. I'll take them as I can (no baby yet) according to what is worth responding to. If you feel I left sthg out, remind me. If I again don't deal with it, you may rest assured I considered it not worthwhile, sorry.

#34 - Dr Funk,
ID takes 4-5 mil per year and you think that's big stuff, huh? OK...
Luskin presented evidence of science emerging from Minnich's lab.

#36 - Fitz,
1) The time machine is YOUR problem, not mine. Criminals are put away on the basis of evidence from, generally, less than a few years ago. You're talking about a fossil record which starts at 100s of years and ends in billions. BILLIONS. Gee's argument rightly states that you don't know what happened 100 years ago, much less a friggin billion.
2) It is impossible outside of God's working in your heart to change you. There is plenty of evidence, but you suppress it in your mind and spirit. Your problem is not lack of evidence but sin.

#37 - Albatrossity,
1) "Expelled" and Luskin have presented compelling info on that. But you're a bit of a hater and won't accept it. I know your type - it's OK for someone to be a theist until they actually try to start living it out consistently. Then you're irritated.

#38 - Lee,
You ASSUME you can observe the world, but you can't provide evidence. How have you observed yourself observing the world w/o begging the question? You can't. Try again.
You said:
science assumes that there is a real world that can be understood.

And I want you to justify that assumption. Tell me why anyone should accept that. Mockery (apparently y'alls' sole forté around here) will be taken as a fail.

#39 - Paul C,
because if they're all made from exactly the same material, then it's highly unlikely that they did not share a common ancestor.

Or maybe they're all made by the same Designer. You're presenting stuff that can easily be used by either worldview. Present some evidence that actually favors your side, not assumptions.
An omnipotent Designer can do anything possible. It is possible to create all living organisms to share similar genetic code, to a greater or lesser degree, and it is possible that this be at the discretion of an omnipotent being. QED. Now get on it.

Because the evidence for evolution does not rely entirely on laboratory experiments.

Granted, but a lot does, and when I ask for data to refute my hypothesis, people either give me argumenta ad incredulum or cite lab experiments. Go ahead and cite what you mean.

he's offering you a thread of your own, you graceless crayon.

To be clear, I don't begrudge her the herding me into one single thread. It's her bizness. I DO begrudge her the claim that her blog is unmoderated and then in short order we discover it's actually fairly moderated after all. Just come clean - you guys complain about the Wedge document and ID's nefarious secret religious agenda. Fair play, then.

#41 - Blake,
You missed my link.

#43 - Bronze Dog,
predictions

First I'm more interested in finding out whether there is much evidence for your position. Predictions later. Whine about the ID guys all you want; establishment does not determine truth. This is a simple argumentum ad populi.

#49 - Lee,
Assigning an attribute to G_d - Trinity, or any other attribute - is engaging in placing limits on the Infinite.

That's quaint, since "infinite" is itself an attribute. This is just a word game.
Plus, God is certainly "limited" in that He is good, He is NOT evil. He is not non-existent.
Language can say things (like "square circle") that are not consistent with reality. That's the key.

G_d in the person of Jesus did not engage in literal speech.

Hahaha. How do you know that? Anytime God were to reveal that He was in fact not speaking "literally", then we would have to question whether He meant the disclaimer literally.

Why on earth...?

He wanted to. I'm not going to waste time speculating on empty hypotheticals with you like this.

#50 - DanL,
Two problems: 1) you didn't boil them down enough. Logic doesn't explain why there is anything rather than why there's nothing. It doesn't explain how the mind knows logic, or communication.
2) Logic is not self-justifying. How is it that the universe is logical?

Empiricism is not enough for those things. You mistake empiricism and using one's senses. One cannot observe empirically whether empiricism is true, so it's not self-justifying and therefore insufficient.

The theistic presupposition works just fine - God is the starter of everything. He thinks logically, so is the ground for logic. He thinks, so is the ground for thought and reason. He communicates - intelligibility. He creates - matter and energy and space. He makes law - morality. Etc. It's not post hoc at all, since I ground everything in Him. That's why when people ask me "are rocks designed?" I answer unequivocally yes. And of course stuff can be ruled out, b/c He has revealed Himself, so that which is contradictory to His revelation is ruled out in the strongest possible manner.

good science offers a framework for determining whether a particular proposition is true or false

2 examples will suffice here:
1) Can good science tell you whether science is a good way to discover truth? No - you presuppose it.
2) Can good science tell you whether it is OK to use the nuclear bomb to immolate Switzerland? No - it can tell you HOW, but not WHETHER YOU SHOULD. Science is highly limited.

#52 - Dustin,
I'll give you credit for actually making me scratch my head a moment. But in my challenge (on naturalistic terms - an internal critique), I'm questioning whether your evidence for evolution is actually evidence for ID. No one questions whether gravity is intelligently guided. Stuff falls all the time w/o intelligence involved, but such is not the case in controlled experiments that claim to show these unguided natural processes at work.

#54 - Chayanov,
You missed my link.

#56 - Jason F,
And you are guided by materialistic naturalism as a worldview. Just read #55 and you'll see precisely what I mean. That is why *I* have been the one broaching the issue of naturalism, to see if it holds water.

#65 - freelunch,
I'd answer but there are no laws of logic.

#73 - Prometheus,

a generative infinitism (the substance that produced the substance ad infinitum unto the consumption of all natural matter). It is the universal epistemological self destruct button.

Tell that to Paul C, I'm begging you.
But no, that doesn't apply to my position at all. It all starts and stops with God. Otherwise, there IS no worldview that lacks an infinite regress like this, and we know nothing.

Laws of logic are not a human construct, unless you think that before there were minds to think logically the law of identity was not in operation. So evolution could both be occurring and not occurring at the same time in the same way in the same place and circumstances.

It is only a hypothesis at this stage based on the observation that another collection of atoms named Rhology has a reactive response to the referent.

Non-answer duly noted. Try again.

Cans of Dr. Pepper are designed by an intelligent agency

But they don't think. And what's the qualitative difference between a shaken-up can of Dr Pepper and your brain, both of which are collections of atoms banging around?

You cannot consider any argument in contravention of your bias

Please. A significant part of my argument has been a multi-pronged internal critique of naturalism. In fact that's what I'm doing right now.

#74 - Dan L,
Precisely - you can't provide empirical evidence that consciousness exists. It's not a scientific question.

#85 - Richard Wolford,

So fucking what if we don't know what exactly happens when you die

On naturalism, that's just it. Death is the end for the naturalist. Nothing matters. Whether naturalism is true doesn't matter, if naturalism is true. There is no reason for you to get all worked up - you're gonna die and that's it. The fact that you DO get all worked up is an evidence that you can't live naturalism out consistently. If Christianity is true, there's plenty of reason to care; you're living like a Christian right here while denying Christianity is true. It does make me sad for you, actually.

#93 - Science Avenger,

I haven't abandoned any argument that I've used on ERV yet, since I've seen no good rebuttal.
You apparently never checked the links I provided. Here is the most relevant one again (on the off-chance that you care about being corrected). 10-15 minutes of reading will greatly enhance your understanding.

#95 - LanceR,

No presuppositions? Absurd. This means you are philosophically illiterate, but you are welcome to retract your statement.

Is there any piece of evidence you might dream of that would change your mind?

Producing the body of Jesus Christ would help matters.

lmgtfy

Sigh. Are you colorblind or something, so that you miss when people link to stuff? I already read about it on Pharyngula and linked to the article! Check it again, then answer my question.

#98 - Skemono,

I read half of it and didn't see anything that answers MY question, though I don't know about andj4613. I don't have time for this thread, to say nothing of a scattershot article like that.
Tell you what - find what specifically addresses my question and paste it, thanks.

Rho wriggled: #37 - Albatrossity,
1) "Expelled" and Luskin have presented compelling info on that. But you're a bit of a hater and won't accept it. I know your type - it's OK for someone to be a theist until they actually try to start living it out consistently. Then you're irritated.

Again with the insults when you can't muster a decent argument.

Expelled presents no compelling evidence of any sort, much less any proof that bears on your hot-air assertions about religous-based persecution in the academy and beyond. Please provide evidence that even one of the poor persecuted creationists highlighted in that movie was "expelled" because they believed in God. And thanks for continuing to highlight the reality that this is, in your mind, all about religion and not about science!

Finally, guess what - you don't "know my type" at all. I'm unique, just like you.

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

So Rhology finally responds, and in doing so confirms that he is nto at all interested in disucssingin good faith - having utterly ignored the substance of everysubstantive comment I made - and many others, as well - in favor of a dishonest "well, that word means something too, so laalaalaaIwin.".

I'm not interested in talking past a dishonest christianist twit. B'bye, Rho..

1) Can good science tell you whether science is a good way to discover truth? No - you presuppose it.

Well, it depends on what you mean by truth. The truth of what?

2) Can good science tell you whether it is OK to use the nuclear bomb to immolate Switzerland? No - it can tell you HOW, but not WHETHER YOU SHOULD. Science is highly limited.

Actually, good science tells you more than HOW, it tells you WHAT WILL LIKELY HAPPEN IF YOU DO. Knowing the likely consequences of an action helps guide in making informed decisions. One cannot nuke Switzerland in a vacuum and contain all of the radiation and fallout within its borders.

An omnipotent Designer can do anything possible.

I guess that's the problem with all these other people around here. They don't have an omnipotent Designer. If they did, they could go around "poofing" all day. "Poof poof, you can't prove I'm not poofing stuff. Poof poof poof poof. Oh look, there's Jesus flying around like a birdie, tweet tweet! And you can't prove he's not! Poof poof!"

@William Wallace:

Sili already got you, but I just want to emphasize that a presupposition is not supposed to be proved -- by definition, it can't be proved, so the fact that Occam's razor isn't a "proof" (whatever you meant by that) doesn't matter. However, you did point out an instance where the application of Occam's Razor would have landed Brahe at the correct result. As Sili pointed out, ellipses are simpler than epicycles, and heliocentrism was the more parsimonious theory. If anything, you made an argument for my position.

@Rhology:

#50 - DanL,
Two problems: 1) you didn't boil them down enough. Logic doesn't explain why there is anything rather than why there's nothing. It doesn't explain how the mind knows logic, or communication.
2) Logic is not self-justifying. How is it that the universe is logical?

You don't understand propositional logic, do you? Poor dear. The whole idea of having presuppositions is that you don't have to (can't, in fact) prove them. I can make whatever presuppositions I want, and they're untouchable, just like your presupposition of God. It's a little silly to make the strongest presupposition possible and then criticize me for making the weakest presuppositions possible.

Empiricism is not enough for those things. You mistake empiricism and using one's senses. One cannot observe empirically whether empiricism is true, so it's not self-justifying and therefore insufficient.

You miss the point. The fact that I have experiences in the first place is an empirical result that cannot be denied (at least not by me), and the simplest explanation for that is that there is a material world. Most of my experiences can be most reasonably explained by the existence of other minds, the consistency of operation of the laws of nature, etc. By presupposing Occam's razor, I can say that the commonsense explanation for my daily experiences are the right explanations, and by presupposing the validity of Aristotelian logic, I know it is OK to make this inference. Through the most fundamental empirical results regarding day-to-day existence and these two presuppositions, I get empiricism for free.

Once the obvious stuff is out of the way, I can start asking whether empiricism can answer more difficult questions. I already have a logical framework for empiricism in place, bootstrapped just from the fact that I'm alive and operating in some kind of environment. Empiricism doesn't have to justify itself -- my existence and the facts of my daily life justify it just fine.

The theistic presupposition works just fine - God is the starter of everything. He thinks logically, so is the ground for logic. He thinks, so is the ground for thought and reason. He communicates - intelligibility. He creates - matter and energy and space. He makes law - morality. Etc. It's not post hoc at all, since I ground everything in Him. That's why when people ask me "are rocks designed?" I answer unequivocally yes. And of course stuff can be ruled out, b/c He has revealed Himself, so that which is contradictory to His revelation is ruled out in the strongest possible manner.

That's fine, except that those are ALL presuppositions that you failed to mention last time. They're certainly not verifiable, so you have to assume them. Altogether, that's quite a few very strong assumptions just to justify a worldview. And again, making such strong presuppositions is exactly the same as filling in all the bubbles on a multiple choice and insisting that you answered the question correctly.

To try to make this clearer, the Large Hadron Collider was built in part to try to distinguish which among several theories of quantum gravity are correct. Each make different predictions for particular tests, so by actually performing that test, we can distinguish correct theories from incorrect theories.

No matter how the test turns out, though, the results will be compatible with the presupposition of an omnipotent creator. This is true for any and all tests. There are no facts which would contradict such a presupposition. This renders the assumption of an omnipotent entity useless in terms of deciding whether propositions about the natural world are true or false. The fact that your beliefs are consistent with all facts (whether or not they're actually true) is not an advantage, it is a weakness.

#110-Rho to #73 - Prometheus,

âTell that to Paul C, I'm begging you."

no.

"But no, that doesn't apply to my position at all. It all starts and stops with God. Otherwise, there IS no worldview that lacks an infinite regress like this, and we know nothing.â

Yada Yada âBut the Organon!!??!!â*sad face* Look, I like Aristotle too but infinitism and infinitive regress are different ideas. You want to demonstrate for us by running around and around the track of the Munchhausen (sorry no time for umlaut) Trilemma all day? Go for it.

You are loading questions again and responding to your made up answers....sigh. You canât keep crawfishing. You've got to read some Karl Popper because this is like spoon feeding a doll.

âLaws of logic are not a human construct, unless you think that before there were minds to think logically the law of identity was not in operation. So evolution could both be occurring and not occurring at the same time in the same way in the same place and circumstances.â

You are describing Laws of Thought (third time).You arenât going to read Kurt Goedel(umlaut, I know, I know) are you.

âNon-answer duly noted. Try again.â

Stupid question gets flippant answer. Back in your court.

âBut they don't think. And what's the qualitative difference between a shaken-up can of Dr Pepper and your brain, both of which are collections of atoms banging around?â

That makes no sense. What on earth do you mean by âqualitative differenceâ. Are you making this up? I think you are.

âPlease. A significant part of my argument has been a multi-pronged internal critique of naturalism. In fact that's what I'm doing right now.â

Internal critiques have to do with french post-structural literary criticism you silly silly man. Roland Barthes would be very sad to watch you trying to fit Jesus for a lab coat. Ever read his Einsteinâs Brain essay from âMythologies.â Itâs great.

We have done this to death and this ongoing pissing match over Aristotelian versus modal logic is making my fillings hurt....again.

I propose a little chatter over this natural designer proposition.

Tell me about God as an organism. I promise not to quote Lovecraft if you promise not to quote Genesis 18.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

To be clear, I don't begrudge her the herding me into one single thread. It's her bizness. I DO begrudge her the claim that her blog is unmoderated and then in short order we discover it's actually fairly moderated after all. Just come clean - you guys complain about the Wedge document and ID's nefarious secret religious agenda. Fair play, then.

Getting your own thread is not moderation you twit! Moderation is deleting content. Slimeball.

Producing the body of Jesus? Really? There is a convincing argument to be made that no such person ever existed. What would convince you that said body was Jesus? All you're going to have left at this date is dusty bones, and not much of those. Even bones break down after a couple thousand years. No, you can't argue that "fossils last". Jewish burial practices at the time were not conducive to fossil formation. You will just move the goalposts.

No presuppositions. The scientific method is intended to weed out bias and presuppositions. That you don't understand this is precisely why this is a fruitless conversation.

You are a liar. "By their deeds shall ye know them." Your own rules condemn you. "Thou shalt not bear false witness"

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Producing the body of Jesus Christ would help matters.

I'll have it for you next week, Rho. It's in that giant warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant and Charles Foster Kane's sled Rosebud.

Rhology lies again:

"To be clear, I don't begrudge her the herding me into one single thread."

Rhology, yo twit, she did not herd you into one single thread. You still have access to her entire blog - you can post in any thread, as long as yo are approximately on topic of that thread. Yo ASLO, IN ADDITION, have your very own thread created just for you, to explore the off topic stuff that was stuffing up those other threads. This is something more than anyone else her has - created extra and special just for you.

And you want to try to claim that in being given this special, extra avenue of communication that no other reader of erv's blog is given, above and beyond your ability to also post in all the other threads, that you're being limited in some way, moderated, and that this somehow is wrong of Abbie

It is clear to me now why you don't list any of the gospels as among your favorite books, when you do list peter, paul, and some old testament books. You call yourself a christian. Pshaw!

PZ banned you for a reason, you mendacious twit.

Yes, for pointing this out. Thanks for bringing it up, I just love sharing that post.

1) Brahe did most emphatically *not* reject geocentrism.

I said he rejected heliocentricism. Try reading [#100] again. Then go study the history of science--starting with the link at #100--as you're confused on fine points of that as well. In general, though, if you could take a step back, it seems you ultimately agree that Occum's razor is not universally applicable. So why the emphaticism on your part?

Shorter Rho: I believe in something I imagine to be perfect, and therefore it trounces all your arguments. QED.

Prometheus: I am going to have to start a nifty thinker list just so's I can add you to it.

@WW

I said he rejected heliocentricism. Try reading [#100] again. Then go study the history of science--starting with the link at #100--as you're confused on fine points of that as well. In general, though, if you could take a step back, it seems you ultimately agree that Occum's razor is not universally applicable. So why the emphaticism on your part?

Explain to me how geocentrism is more parsimonious than heliocentrism.

An omnipotent Designer can do anything possible.

If this is the case, then there's no point in presenting any evidence to you.

Granted, but a lot does, and when I ask for data to refute my hypothesis, people either give me argumenta ad incredulum or cite lab experiments. Go ahead and cite what you mean.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ - but why do I get the strangest feeling that you'll reject everything written on that site, as well as claiming that it doesn't count as a citation?

Explain to me how geocentrism is more parsimonious than heliocentrism.

It is more parsimonious until the data starts rolling in. Which, coincidentally (or not), is a lot like Intelligent Design. It's pretty darn parsimonious until the data starts a jumpin around and waving its hands around and stuff --at which point the Intelligent Design people plug their ears and talk about how the Cambrian explosion lasted for like a couple years or something.

OK, I get it now. You're saying that "heliocentrism with circular orbits" is the same theory as "heliocentrism with elliptical orbits," and by rejecting the first, Brahe also rejected the second, demonstrating that his adherence to Occam's razor gave the wrong result.

But that's not right. "Heliocentrism with circular orbits" is not the same as "heliocentrism with elliptical orbits"; the former is decidedly incorrect. This example is actually Brahe siding with one incorrect theory (geocentrism) over another incorrect theory (heliocentrism with circular orbits). By applying Occam's razor, he discarded an incorrect theory. That's what's so good about Occam's Razor; you don't need to have the correct theory to throw out an incorrect one.

"Producing the body of Jesus Christ would help matters."

I actually think that is a fair and honest answer.

*Jaws drop*

I know right?

He is saying that the cosmology dictated by the corporeal resurrection and ascension would be disproved if somebody showed up with an provenance confirmed ossuary full of Jesus bones.

That's a pretty hefty empirical admission.

Now we're cookin' with gas!

What if they find the ark and it contains a stele in archaic Hebrew that says "Just kidding, I'm actually Marduk. Troll successful lol!"

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Prometheus, my hypothesis is that the Empty Tomb story was created precisely because it could not be disproved. It gives the skeptic nowhere to go, since nobody saw the resurrection happen. Pure genius on the part of the author of the story, if you ask me.

What if they find the ark and it contains a stele in archaic Hebrew that says "Just kidding, I'm actually Marduk. Troll successful lol!"

...then I would instantly convert for whoever pulled that off, because that would be awesome.

By Joe Fatzenyatz (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Me too. Cool hat pet dragon AND a sense of humor, what's not to like.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

#113 the truth of what?

Of anything.

One cannot nuke Switzerland in a vacuum and contain all of the radiation and fallout within its borders.

...And that fact doesn't inform anyone on the morality of the act. You missed the point.

#115
The whole idea of having presuppositions is that you don't have to (can't, in fact) prove them.

True. You take them on faith. I'm glad to see that at least SOMEone on here is willing to use (or imply) the OTHER 'f' word.
However, some fundamental axioms are self-justifying, some are not. The God of the Bible as fundamental axiom is a full-orbed one.
Pursuant to that, empiricism is NOT self-justifying, b/c it can't pass its own test. It posits that all truth is to be gained thru observation, thru the senses, and yet the truth of empiricism can't be observed thru the senses. So you need a better one.
Christianity posits that God created the world to be governed by laws, physical and moral, and they are regular and uniform virtually all the time, so for normal day to day stuff empirical evidence is highly useful.

One problem with Occam's Razor is that applying "simple" and "not-simple" value judgments is not always clear-cut. For example, I say one ultimate Being is far simpler to explain the variety of life we see today rather than trillions upon trillions of independent unguided events. Further, how does Occam's Razor anticipate itself? Is it itself the simplest explanation? Maybe, maybe not.

except that those are ALL presuppositions that you failed to mention last time.

I said "the God of the Bible", and all that is subsumed therein. Not my fault that you're biblically illiterate, but I commend the Bible to you, since it's quite a good book.

No matter how the test turns out, though, the results will be compatible with the presupposition of an omnipotent creator.

Correct, b/c God has ordained everything that comes to pass.

This renders the assumption of an omnipotent entity useless in terms of deciding whether propositions about the natural world are true or false.

False, b/c God has revealed quite a lot about HOW He created the world to be. Plus, there are many natural processes to which we appeal. To explain the variety of life, however, evolution doesn't happen to be one of them. Evidence would be needed for that.

#116 - fewer mushrooms, man. More guanine. Helps you focus.

#118 There is a convincing argument to be made that no such person ever existed.

That's just ignorant. Not according to Bart Ehrman. Maybe you should take it up with him.

What would convince you that said body was Jesus?

I didn't say it wouldn't be really hard. Another way is that you could make some arguments that actually touch my position, but so far, y'all aren't doing too hot.

Jewish burial practices at the time were not conducive to fossil formation.

He was buried in a rich man's tomb, you know. But I don't expect you to find His body, no - He didn't stay dead, you see.

No presuppositions.

You live in a fantasy world.
Hint - that's something called a "hyperlink". Click on it and it will take you to a different webpage where interesting and relevant information can be found.

Sorry for the double post but I skipped this:

"It gives the skeptic nowhere to go, since nobody saw the resurrection happen. Pure genius on the part of the author of the story, if you ask me."

It's plagarism.

I think Elijah did it first, and another one from the old testament.

Oh yea. Mithra and Hercules. Who else? Apollonius of Tyana, oh and not to be out done Mohammad took his horse with him.

I always picture successors of the "semi-divine" running around hiding dead prophets under bridges or dumping them in the cisterns like a bad episode of CSI Miami (not that there are any good episodes of CSI Miami).

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Jesus' rising was spiritual, not physical. Or perhaps both, because he is G_d and the Son of G_d, and his rising was by G_d, and G_d's omnipotence need not recognize the restriction of contradiction.

G_d has indeed revealed much, and not all his revealing is contained in those books so heavily redacted and selected by man. There are many holy books.

Even in his rising, Jesus was teaching in parables - the following is from a gospel of Christ's leaving his disciples and of spiritual rising, and it is also a shamanic/esoteric jewish parable. Not through Chochmah or Binah, but through Da'at, is spirit seen...

"I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, 'Lord, I saw you today in a vision.' He answered and said to me, 'Blessed are you, since you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is your countenance' [cf. Matt. 6:21]. I said to him, 'Lord, the mind which sees the vision, does it see it through the soul or through the spirit?' The Savior answered and said, 'It sees neither through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind, which is between the two, which sees the vision, and it is...'"
--
"[. ..] it. And desire that, 'I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie, since you belong to me?' The soul answered and said, 'I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment, and you did not know me.' When it had said this, it went away rejoicing greatly.

Rhology dodged thusly: You apparently never checked the links I provided. Here is the most relevant one again (on the off-chance that you care about being corrected). 10-15 minutes of reading will greatly enhance your understanding.

Sorry, but that's an obvious dodge. Having no answer to my argument that imperfect subjective dispute resolution using common human values, instincts, and desires makes any absolute standard unecessary, you bail with an irrelevant link to a mountain of mental masterbation that never addresses the point I'm making. It's not my understanding that needs enhancing, it's yours that can't move outside your little box of pat, shallow answers unable to withstand the slightest comparison to the real world.

Pursuant to that, empiricism is NOT self-justifying, b/c it can't pass its own test. It posits that all truth is to be gained thru observation, thru the senses, and yet the truth of empiricism can't be observed thru the senses. So you need a better one.

Empiricism is NOT one of my presuppositions. I built a case for empiricism on the foundation of two significantly weaker assumptions. You haven't said anything that I would take as a criticism of that case.

Christianity posits that God created the world to be governed by laws, physical and moral, and they are regular and uniform virtually all the time, so for normal day to day stuff empirical evidence is highly useful.

Which is a cop out. "Empiricism is fine, except when (I say) it's not." Yeah, great rule. How do I know when empiricism is valid and when it isn't? Do I have to ask you every time?

False, b/c God has revealed quite a lot about HOW He created the world to be. Plus, there are many natural processes to which we appeal. To explain the variety of life, however, evolution doesn't happen to be one of them. Evidence would be needed for that.

This is an instance of what I mentioned above. By your criteria for evidence, there is no evidence that my great, great, great, great grandparents existed. But using any reasonable criteria for what constitutes evidence, the fact that I exist in the first place is evidence that my great, great, great, great grandparents existed. You employ empiricism every day, but when you don't like the results, you arbitrarily reject them. This is exactly why the religious worldview is useless in determining truth.

One problem with Occam's Razor is that applying "simple" and "not-simple" value judgments is not always clear-cut. For example, I say one ultimate Being is far simpler to explain the variety of life we see today rather than trillions upon trillions of independent unguided events. Further, how does Occam's Razor anticipate itself? Is it itself the simplest explanation? Maybe, maybe not.

Wrong. Any explanation rests on a set of presuppositions. Those presuppositions can be strong or weak. Occam's razor simply states than explanations using weaker presuppositions are better. Your confusion seems to be arising from the common language description of Occam's razor, but I'm using it in a more precise sense. In this more precise sense, we can talk about the sizes of the sets of propositions that would be "true" given a particular set of presuppositions and then compare the size of those sets. The presuppositions that lead to the smallest set of true propositions is the weaker set of presuppositions. No value judgment involved.

Occam's razor is presupposed. I don't have to demonstrate that it is true.

And I resent that you're putting words in my mouth. I never said "faith," implied "faith," or meant "faith." Pulling this sort of deceitful trick makes you look even more like a lying little troll than you already did.

Just an addendum to the last point: when your presupposition is: "an omnipotent entity created the universe and intervenes in its operation periodically," the set of propositions that could be true given this presupposition is the largest possible. This makes that presupposition the strongest possible, and thus not a good assumption by Occam's razor.

I read half of it and didn't see anything that answers MY question, though I don't know about andj4613. I don't have time for this thread, to say nothing of a scattershot article like that.
Tell you what - find what specifically addresses my question and paste it, thanks.

Why? So you can avoid reading that, too? Just go read the post. I've no interest in cutting and pasting huge swaths of text in this comments section.

Of anything.

Provide me with a specific example, s'il vous plait.

...And that fact doesn't inform anyone on the morality of the act. You missed the point.

No, I didn't. Provide the context for nuking Switzerland. In WWII, the context for dropping a couple of atom bombs on Japan was that it would end the war quicker, saving the lives of American soldiers, and incidentally, countless Japanese soldiers and civilians who would have also died in protracted combat on the Japanese home islands.

The consequences of an act have a great bearing on the morality of the act.

If I had unprotected sex with a prostitute addicted to crack, contracted HIV, and then went home and infected by wife, that would be an immoral act. On the other hand, if having unprotected sex with the crack addicted prostitute actually improved my health and resulted in the lady becoming cured of her crack addiction, then it would not be immoral. However, since the there is zero evidence in favor of the latter, engaging in such conduct would clearly be harmful.

False, b/c God has revealed quite a lot about HOW He created the world to be.

Like the part where the planet Earth was created before the rest of the universe, even the sun around which the Earth revolves. Like I wrote in the other thread before Abbie did the redirect here, the Genesis account reads more like what you would expect a Bronze Age person to believe about the cosmos rather than the revelation of an all powerful and intelligent being that supposedly created it all.

I would find the Genesis account believable if it actually matched up with the universe, or at least the solar system, as it actually is. Instead, everything in the night sky is written off as so much cosmic window dressing. As I wrote in the other thread, if there are intelligent beings on other planets in the Milky Way galaxy, they would probably be amused to be told by a Biblical Literalist that the stars around which their planets orbit serve only to provide us humans here on Earth with a negligible amount of light during the nighttime.

"....if there are intelligent beings on other planets in the Milky Way galaxy, they would probably be amused to be told by a Biblical Literalist that the stars around which their planets orbit serve only to provide us humans here on Earth with a negligible amount of light during the nighttime."

They would probably be offended because they are the best kind of Catholics.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7399661.stm

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Rho, you dishonest twit, quoting yourself as a primary source is not an argument winner. Delving into your solipsist fantasies gets us nowhere. I said no presuppositions and I meant it. I go where the evidence leads. The evidence leads me to believe that I am a person, not a brain in a vat.

There is zero evidence for a "jesus". None. I don't care which whackjob you've dredged up to support your fantasies, there is still zero historical evidence. Get used to it.

Can't even follow your own commandments, and you presume to lecture us about morality? Quit beating your wife yet?

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Rhology,

"And you are guided by materialistic naturalism as a worldview. Just read #55 and you'll see precisely what I mean. That is why *I* have been the one broaching the issue of naturalism, to see if it holds water.

You're avoiding the point completely. I've never stated my beliefs here, so why do you feel compelled to assign me to "materialistic naturalism"?

You stated that your denial of evolution "begins and ends with the acct in Genesis". You said that. No one put those words in your mouth, or anything like that. You made it extremely clear that your position on this subject is firmly rooted in theology.

Given that, the question stands: If your position is rooted in theology, why are you trying to discuss the subject from an empirical standpoint? Can empirical data ever trump your religious beliefs?

"Given that, the question stands: If your position is rooted in theology, why are you trying to discuss the subject from an empirical standpoint?"

Because he is conducting a multi-pronged internal critique of naturalism without internalizing naturalism or specifying whether it is metaphysical, ontological or methodological naturalism or which subset or whether falsifiability and probability are inclusive to contend with deduction problems and causality problems in the naturalism that he is not internalizing while conducting a multi-pronged internal critique of.

Makes sense to me.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

There is zero evidence for a "jesus". None. I don't care which whackjob you've dredged up to support your fantasies, there is still zero historical evidence.

LanceR, in all fairness, the Gospels can be considered evidence for the existence of Jesus. It does not mean that one need accept them as truthful in their entirety. However, the Gospels are set in a particular time and place that is historically accurate, and it is certainly within the realm of possibility that there was an itinerant Galilean preacher who formed the basis for the Gospel accounts. Just because something is mentioned in the Gospels does not automatically mean it is not true.

One of these days I will get around to doing a post on the historical existence of Jesus. But in summary, you can look at the events described in the Gospels and place them in a spectrum ranging from what is either true or definitely possible on one end to what is unlikely to be true on the other end. For example, we know there was a King Herod and a Pontius Pilate. It is very possible that a preacher such as Jesus did give the Sermon on the Mount. On the other hand, the story of Jesus being tempted by the Devil in the desert had no witnesses and is just hearsay, and I would consider therefore to be very unlikely to be true, particularly since I see no convincing evidence of the existence of Satan.

Personally, as to whether the Jesus of the Gospels is based on a real person, I lean to giving the benefit of the doubt that there was a somebody. I don't rule out 100% that the Jesus of the Gospels was not a fictional character created to serve a purpose, but at the moment I accept that the stories are based on an actual person, with things added or embellished to make him more than he was.

Plenty of lulz to go around in this thread so far, but here's my minor observations.

Rhology spake:

Whether naturalism is true doesn't matter, if naturalism is true. There is no reason for you to get all worked up - you're gonna die and that's it.

You also get to live for a while. You may have noticed.

If Christianity is true, there's plenty of reason to care; you're living like a Christian right here while denying Christianity is true. It does make me sad for you, actually.

It makes me sad for you that you attempted to expand on the rhetorical turd you dropped above.

LanceR, in all fairness, Greek Mythologies can be considered evidence for the existence of Hercules. It does not mean that one need accept them as truthful in their entirety. However, the Greek Mythologies are set in a particular time and place that is historically accurate, and it is certainly within the realm of possibility that there was an itinerant Very Strong Guy who formed the basis for the Greek Mythology accounts. Just because something is mentioned in Greek Mythology does not automatically mean it is not true.

Thus spake Tommykey.

I'm sorry, but the "gospels" were not written by eyewitnesses, have been translated, mistranslated and handcopied for centuries, and (most damning) have been edited and revised by well-meaning clerics and committees for those same centuries. No, at best the gospels are no better than third hand anecdotes.

Better evidence would be some mention of Joseph, Mary and baby during this "census". The Romans were a little anal about their record keeping. No contemporary source says anything about a "jesus" except one obvious forgery.

No, there is actually no evidence for a jesus figure. Most likely he is an amalgamation of several intinerant preachers, of which there were a multitude. Every kid who didn't want to work in Dad's shop and didn't want to marry the girl Mom picked out for him went into the desert and came back claiming to be the messiah.

Remember, Christ is not a name. It is a title.

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Rho (and others): Genesis was written in ancient Aramaic and translated many times. Real biblical scholars have told me that the evidence is very clear that it was written first as poetry. Do we take poetry literally? Please carefully list in order the chronology of the creation in Genesis 1 and 2 and tell me how you can accept both as the 'literal' truth? They are very different and were written at different times, Genesis 2 was first, according to Biblical scholars (which I do NOT claim to be!).

As we all know, the Bible is full of allegory, poetry, songs, metaphor, etc. Many Christians I know see the Bible as a guide to living a moral life and find that overall meaning rather than accept the details as being 'literal.' I think we all know that there are many conflicts when one reads the Bible literally. Thus, many who claim to read the Bible really do not READ it, but pull out the parts that match their own worldview? I do not know how Rho interprets the Bible, but many comments suggest he is a 'literalist.'

Many mainstream religions do not interpret the Bible as being literal, realizing that MEN wrote it in the vernacular of the time and with their understanding of the World and cultures of the time. It is a wonderful piece of literature in many ways, but history has shown us how it can be used for both good and evil.

Having said this, I do respect those whose religion demands otherwise. I will defend their right to believe or not believe as they desire, in accordance with the long established separation of church and state provided in our Constitution. I just oppose those who wish to impose their own views upon the rest of us, especially when they attempt to do so through legislative and similar means. And despite the rhetoric to the contrary, that is exactly the long-range goal of many creationists and IDers. I do not need to repeat the statements of ID godfather Johnson or the unambiguous statements in the Wedge Document (just a many page 'letter' for fund raising? That is real B.S., why was it classified as 'secret,' if it was only a fund raising letter?).

My conclusion - perhaps pious lies AGAIN from the DI may explain their dishonesty.

Dan L.[#123]Explain to me how geocentrism is more parsimonious than heliocentrism.

386sx [#125]It is more parsimonious until the data starts rolling in.

Tycho Brahe was taking the best data in the world at the time. The best, most careful, most systematic, by far. But he had a mental block, and kept thinking evolution epicycles and uniform velocities.

And Brahe had the power. His own astronomical measurement apparatus.

Brahe even went so far as to extract a promise from his protege Kepler to not use Brahe's for heliocentricism.

Kepler made the promise, to gain access to the best available data. Of course, Kepler reneged, and used that data learn and show the planets moved in elliptical orbits at non-uniform speeds, in a model much more closely resembling Copernicus' than Brahe's.

Who will be the modern day Kepler?

And, in contrast, who in biology today is making students promise not to pursue intelligent design?

By William Wallace (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Vhutchison:

Do we take poetry literally?

I hope not. I know men from Nantucket.

Ba-dum-tish. You're a great audience. Thank you, I am here all week.

By carlsonjok (not verified) on 25 Feb 2009 #permalink

Genesis was written in ancient Aramaic and translated many times.

Not only that, it comes across as not being a single book but a bunch of stories cobbled together, with things abruptly inserted or things possibly edited out. Look at the Noah story. Here we have a tale about a man who builds an ark and survives a worldwide flood, and then for the remainder of his 300 years, all we get is some coda about one of his family members seeing him naked when he got drunk. Then again, I guess once you've hit 600 years, it's all downhill from there!

Genesis was written in ancient Aramaic

It's Aramaic!

Of course! Joseph of Arimathea!

vhutchison:

Actually, Hebrew. Aramaic didn't become the standard language until some time after the Captivity. But Tommykey is right about the cobbled stories -- look up "Documentary Hypothesis". The Deuteronomists had a hell of a time trying to scrape together a coherent Torah, as anyone who's ever tried to figure out the Genesis 1/Genesis 2 problem can tell you. (Or for that matter tried to explain why Isaac has any relevance at all apart from being God's Macguffin.)

#152

And, in contrast, who in biology today is making students promise not to pursue intelligent design?

Actually, there's no need to do so, assuming the students want to pursue science. ID has no mechanism and relies on supernatural or otherwise untestable causation, so it's not science.

Hey Abster,

Enough of this non-science posts. It gets boooring. Don't you have any new posts about "molecular and biochemical evolution of HIV within patients and within populations. I also study epigenetic control of ERVs"?

Do you perhaps have a few peer-reviewed article that you are the main author of so I can get to know about your research and results?

Thanks.

BrianX:
"The Deuteronomists had a hell of a time trying to scrape together a coherent Torah, as anyone who's ever tried to figure out the Genesis 1/Genesis 2 problem can tell you."

Actually, mystical Judaic tradition has at least one answer for that. The two stories are, of course, allegoric and very symbolic. The first telling is one of creation and/or categorization of the things that exist. It proceeds from the large to the specific to the human as physical being. It covers the creative aspect of G_d's revealing generative/categorizing aspect of G_d.

The second telling is one of individuation and spiritual recognition of one's place in creation - it goes from human (man and woman in one form) to man and woman as separate entities, and in the process that, to mans spiritual place in the garden and among creation. Of necessity, since it is centered on man, this separate process of spiritual, not physical, creation and categorization s in reverse order from the first tale of creation.

But it still leaves man unawakened.

Read the story closely, and you will notice that there is no dialog with man - Adam and Eve are mute, until the snake intervenes and awakens their spirits into a form capable of dialog with G_d.

And all of this deeply symbolic story has deeper levels of interpretation. The Rabinnic kabbalists (and even the Merkavists) were exposing deeper levels in the tale from very early on.

Which all makes me a bit sad when people try to argue that this can be taken as a literal story of creation - they are missing much of the revealing of G_d and all of the deep teaching in the tale.

Presuppositions, rhobot? Cool.
Are all presuppositions equally valuable? Are all presuppositions equally useful?
If your answers to those two questions are "yes" and "yes", then so what if people who accept evolution don't happen to go for the presuppositions you happen to like?
If, on t'other hand, you think that there can be differences in the value and/or utility of various presuppositions... how do you decide which presuppositions are more valuable and/or more useful?

Oh, and if scientists' overwhelming rejection of ID really and truly is just a matter of which presupposition a body chooses to accept, care to get specific re: exactly which presupposition it is that's getting in the way of ID? Given the existence of people like Ken Miller, who is an evolution-accepting Christian and a strong critic of ID, I'm pretty sure that whatever presuppositions may be getting in the way of scientists' acceptance of ID, the presupposition that "God exists" is not among those anti-ID roadblocks. So how about it, rhobot? You've played the presuppositions card; care to support your argument?

Wallace:

Brahe had a mental block, and kept thinking evolution epicycles and uniform velocities. ...Brahe even went so far as to extract a promise from his protege Kepler to not use Brahe's data for heliocentricism.

Whether Brahe had a "mental block" for X and against Y is not a demonstration that "Occam's Razor fails", as you bizarrely claimed

Occam's razor fails. The idea that the "simplest explanation [that fits the data!] is [more] probably right" was falsified when Tycho Bryhe rejected heliocentricism for geocentricism, based on his analysis of the best available data.

You haven't the slightest evidence that Brahe knew the data fit ellipses and easily characterized variable speeds ("sweeping equal areas in equal time"); Kepler didn't have the data until Brahe was dead. You are falsely implying Brahe rejected what he didn't know. Which in turn has nothing to do with your weird "Occam's Razor fails".

Buying a ticket for you on the Clue Train:
In cases where 1) the data to be explained is recursive, and 2) are infinitely many hypotheses to choose from; coherent inference (aka 'rationality'), as embodied by Bayesian probability, automatically embodies Occam's razor quantitatively. In other words, Occam's razor is a result, not an assumption, of both bayesian inference (aka 'rationality') and it's non-identical twin, algorithmic complexity.

See
Information Theory, Inference & Learning Algorithms by David MacKay (chapter 28: Model Comparison and Occam's Razor) http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/book.html
An introduction to Kolmogorov complexity and its applications by Min Li and Paul Vitànyi

(One practical qualifier is it's possible the representation choosen does not have the power to describe the phenomena under investigation, even if you let your MachineLearning program look at all possible hypotheses. Systems which are rules in conjunctive normal form, or rules in first order predicate logic, or decision trees, or neural networks, etc. don't all have the same representational power, so the choice of representation (and algorithm) imposes some bias on what kind of hypothesis it will come up with. E.g., if the problem is equivalent to learning a context-free language, then presentation based on regular expressions will never be sufficient to learn the correct hypotheses. Others will.)

You're fighting a losing battle, Foggg.

In WW and Rho's world, where the oxygen concentration is quite low, opinion equals fact, all opinions are equally valid, and criticism equals persecution.

#133 - Lee,

Jesus' rising was physical only. He never died spiritually.

omnipotence need not recognize the restriction of contradiction.

I would not agree with that statement without serious qualification. There is a significant amount of discussion in Christian theology about the role of paradox, but I don't subscribe to most acceptance of paradox.
It is not the case, for example, that God is God *AND* not-God at the same time in the same way. He is never not-God.
It is not the case that omnipotence need not recognize the restriction of contradiction *AND* that omnipotence needs to recognize the restriction of contradiction at the same time in the same way.

the following is from a gospel of Christ's leaving his disciples and of spiritual rising

Just so everyone knows, this is not from the New Testament but from a non-Christian writing from a large amount of time after the events of Jesus' life.

#134 - Science Avenger,
You don't check the answers I do give, so I see little reason to provide more. Your approach could use some work - start by removing your fingers from your ears.

#135 - Dan L,

"Empiricism is fine, except when (I say) it's not."..You employ empiricism every day, but when you don't like the results, you arbitrarily reject them.

I had already said "so for normal day to day stuff empirical evidence is highly useful", and you even quoted it! My worldview is far from ad hoc; it's been around for 6000+ years. Not my fault you don't know your Bible. To know, check the Bible. And yes, you can ask me, since I know it pretty well.
Biblically, miraculous events are a fairly limited genre, with specific purposes and communication surrounding them.

By your criteria for evidence, there is no evidence that my great, great, great, great grandparents existed

Um, you're here. Bad analogy.
You have 2 choices - either you can claim that these processes are still in effect, or you can claim that they WERE once in effect but no more.
If the former, PROVE that they can account for changing from paramecia to giraffes. If the latter, provide certain evidence that they WERE in effect and could have changed paramecia into giraffes. The latter would be a lot harder, but you claim the former. So give me some evidence that's not also equally (or even more) attributable to the rival hypothesis.

You do have to demonstrate how your fundamental presuppositions are self-justifying, or else they're totally insufficient for building a worldview around.

I never said "faith," implied "faith," or meant "faith."

And yet you say, "Occam's razor is presupposed. I don't have to demonstrate that it is true". You can't prove it. It's faith.

the set of propositions that could be true given this presupposition is the largest possible. This makes that presupposition the strongest possible, and thus not a good assumption by Occam's razor.

1) Good thing ORazor is not the final test for truth.
2) ORazor, generally stated, requires the FEWEST assumptions. That's one, not trillions. A big assumption, sure. But one. That's what I meant by "applying "simple" and "not-simple" value judgments is not always clear-cut."

#137 - Skemono,
I'm not here to play schoolteacher for you, but here you go anyway. Bookend the relevant quotations, like so:
Rhology, read from "Blah blah blah..." to here "...blah blah."

#138 - Tommykey,

Anything. "Tommykey exists." There you go.

Providing "context" for a given situation doesn't help you if you have no standard to which to compare to judge the morality of an action. See Hume, David - the Is/Ought distinction, commonly referred to as the naturalistic fallacy.

On the other hand, if having unprotected sex with the crack addicted prostitute actually improved my health and resulted in the lady becoming cured of her crack addiction, then it would not be immoral.

Pfff. Says who? Maybe *someone else* thinks such would be indeed be immoral. Who's right and how can you know?
I'll give you some hints.
Not by appealing to "empathy".
Not by appealing to "societal morality", nor by appealing to what YOU say.
Not by appealing to some nebulous, assumed "human rights", since such don't exist on atheism.

Maybe you should become a theist. That's the only way you'll be able to rationally ground such moral statements as you seem to enjoy making.

Like the part where the planet Earth was created before the rest of the universe, even the sun around which the Earth revolves.

Hahaha. You were there to see that didn't happen? Or do you have a time machine?
If you to refuse to listen to what the infallible eyewitness and performer of the creation incident (ie, the God of the Bible) has said about it and instead trusted the limited instrumentation, limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and limited methodology (not to mention disregarding its total lack of ability to observe what happened) of humankind in order to construct an alternative hypothesis, that you would find exactly what you were looking for (ie, anything other than evidence for a divine creation) wouldn't be surprising.

#140 - LanceR,

I don't care which whackjob you've dredged up to support your fantasies

You seriously don't know who Bart Ehrman is? You need to get out more, seriously.

#141 - Jason F,

If I get your position wrong, correct me. What is it?
I argue the way I do b/c empirical observation, given its proper place as subordinate to the clear communication of the infallible eyewitness, is indeed highly useful. Problem is, you don't have a time machine; you can't see how it went down. God was there and He already said how it went.
Let me say it this way:
You have a witness to an accident who has an excellent track record of telling the truth and is of impeccable moral character. He sees an accident in the full light of day, was not impaired, stuck around 2 hours before and 2 hours after making sure he examined everything that happened.
Now, you bring out a CSI team 1 year later to examine the scene and try to determine what happened. Or you could just ask the witness.

#142 - Prometheus,
internal critique of naturalism without internalizing naturalism

You bluff alot, I'm calling it. Be specific, provide quotations. How precisely have I failed in my internal critique statements to properly internalise naturalism?

#148 - LanceR,

Given my experience with you, it's futile to ask for backing arguments, but hope springs eternal. Prove your statements about the Gospels. Be sure to check (though this is probably above your head) whether the sources you cite are unfairly biased against the supernatural, which bias is inappropriate for an objective student of history.
Not that I expect you to offer more than naked assertions.

No contemporary source says anything about a "jesus" except one obvious forgery.

The Gospels are not obvious forgeries, and they are 4 contemporary accounts.

#150 - Professor Hutchison,
Please carefully list in order the chronology of the creation in Genesis 1 and 2 and tell me how you can accept both as the 'literal' truth?

Please see here.

the Bible is full of allegory, poetry, songs, metaphor, etc.

And also historical narrative, and epistolary writings, and prophecy, and law. And if all is allegory, then nothing is allegory; the allegory loses its imaginative force.

I do not know how Rho interprets the Bible, but many comments suggest he is a 'literalist.'

Here is the proper way to interpret Scripture, sir.
The Bible's entire thrust is strongly AGAINST the idea that it is a guide to moral living. The whole message is that you CAN'T please God thru holy living, b/c you're a sinner and need a perfect Savior.

but history has shown us how it can be used for both good and evil.

Which is no argument against the Bible and a good argument against the trustworthiness of people. And which statement is true of the potential of ANY book.
Professor Hutchison, how precisely do you know when an action is good or evil? What standard of comparison do you use?

I just oppose those who wish to impose their own views upon the rest of us, especially when they attempt to do so through legislative and similar means.

And yet you opposed the Oklahoma legislation. You are a hypocrite, sir.
I guess the "imposition" of MORE FREEDOM is not something that you can support. Typical.

#154 - Tommykey,

it comes across as not being a single book but a bunch of stories cobbled together, with things abruptly inserted or things possibly edited out.

And if this were an argument about "What Tommykey thinks about how stuff comes across", then that would be an effective argument. Apparently God doesn't care about the same things you care about when He is writing, but that sounds more like a problem on YOUR end.

#161, Cubist,
Are all presuppositions equally valuable?

No, of course not. Naturalistic and materialistic presupps, for example, are useless.

how do you decide which presuppositions are more valuable and/or more useful?

I see which ones conform to reality, which ones are internally consistent, which ones provide a useful foundation for intelligibility and reason, which ones are self-justifying.

exactly which presupposition it is that's getting in the way of ID?

Naturalistic ones (which are, in fact, wrongly applied, given that no one has given me a good answer to my questions here, conceding for the sake of argument that naturalism is true).
Also, that "science" can't come to conclusions that seem to support the idea that more than nature, than material things, exist.
Also, that "science" is the single most powerful tool that humans have to discover truth.
Of course, like I just said, absent answers to my questions I link to here, even given naturalistic presuppositions, the evidence is highly lacking to oppose ID. It's mostly bluff and self-inflicted blindness.

@William Wallace:

You ignored my post pointing out that Brahe actually correctly used Occam's razor to eliminate an incorrect theory (again, heliocentrism with circular orbits doesn't have any advantage over geocentrism with circular orbits in terms of parsimony, at least if I'm going to believe your account). Fogg did a slightly better job with your claims above, but I have a few more points to make.

First of all, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, which means you can never disprove the existence of something (empirically; you can, of course, analytically disprove the existence of square circles, etc.). This would suggest that Occam's razor should be the default position; we should always doubt a proposition unless there is positive evidence that the proposition is true. Otherwise, we might have to start believing in unicorns, etc. since no one can adequately demonstrate that such things don't exist.

Finally, consider comparing two propositions in light of Occam's razor. Propositions A and B both explain the data, but A is less parsimonious. Consider the two possible cases:
1) From the data, we cannot determine that either A or B is false.
2) From the data, we can determine that at least one of A or B is false.

In (2), we see that Occam's razor doesn't even come into play. At least one of the propositions is demonstrably wrong and we simply discard it (or them). In (1), Occam's razor applies, but only because neither proposition can be demonstrated to be false given the data available. This could change as more data is gathered, but tentatively, Occam's razor suggests we take the more parsimonious proposition.

Of course, if further data shows that the more parsimonious proposition is wrong, it ceases to be parsimonious (or rather, was never actually the most parsimonious explanation in the first place). Occam's razor will only lead to an incorrect assignment of a truth value to a proposition if there is not enough data to actually determine the correct answer in the first place. Sounds like a pretty good system to me.

Rhology dodged thusly: You don't check the answers I do give, so I see little reason to provide more. Your approach could use some work - start by removing your fingers from your ears.

But I did check the answers you gave - to other people's comments. You never answered mine, which doesn't surprise me since you obviously can't. Claiming my fingers are in my ears when you refuse to answer my challenge is hardly persuasive.

And again, for those who just joined in, Rhology has a circular argument that goes like this:

Rhology: Atheists cannot have absolute moral standards

Sci Avenger: So what? We get along fine without them.

R: You cannot define "fine" absolutely.

SA: Why do I need to?

R: Because you need absolute standards

And round and round we go. When I challenged Rhology to justify this claim that we need absolute moral standards, he linked to a long discussion on his own website where he engages in that same circular argument over and over again without ever answering the basic question: why do we need absolute moral standards.

My position, which he hasn't even attempted to address, is that we have only subjective standards of shared values, instincts, and desires, but those serve us just fine. Now let's see if Rhology can actually address the argument.

Naturalistic ones (which are, in fact, wrongly applied, given that no one has given me a good answer to my questions here, conceding for the sake of argument that naturalism is true).

Rhology, why is it that because nobody here gives you a "good answer", then that means that something is definitively "wrongly applied"?

Why is it that the only things you say are things that anybody could say right off the top of their heads without even thinking about it, or even caring about whether it makes sense or not?

Rhology, if people are only pretending that they have good reasons for having "good morals", then that in no way means that things aren't "Naturalistic". It just means that they are pretending.

And also, if getting good morals from somewhere on high is a good reason for having a god, then that does not in any way mean that there is in fact... a god. It means absolutely nothing for your argument. Nothing at all.

Most of the things you are saying here are completely meaningless "evidence" for your argument.

Maybe you should become a theist. That's the only way you'll be able to rationally ground such moral statements as you seem to enjoy making.

Well, as soon as I find convincing evidence of a god that cares what I do or think, I will become a theist. Until then, my morals are grounded in what I would call "concentric circles of responsibility," in which my actions are governed by how they effect myself, my family, my community, and outward to encompass the planet. That includes you. After all, in the absence of my being a Christian, wouldn't you want something to act as a check on my going down to Oklahoma and bludgeoning your family to death in front of your eyes?

You see, not only is it possible to be moral without belief in God (if you define morals being how we treat each other), IT'S EASY!

Anything. "Tommykey exists." There you go.

You are proof that I exist.

Hahaha. You were there to see that didn't happen? Or do you have a time machine?
If you to refuse to listen to what the infallible eyewitness and performer of the creation incident (ie, the God of the Bible) has said about it and instead trusted the limited instrumentation, limited knowledge, limited wisdom, and limited methodology (not to mention disregarding its total lack of ability to observe what happened) of humankind in order to construct an alternative hypothesis, that you would find exactly what you were looking for (ie, anything other than evidence for a divine creation) wouldn't be surprising.

And why should I believe that the account in Genesis is the revelation of the creator? Who did God supposedly tell this story and by what means? Was some guy sitting at a table with a feather and an ink quill writing this down while the Almighty was dictating the story? Did it come to someone in a dream? You left out the part where I wrote that the view of the cosmos that appears in Genesis is exactly what you would expect from a Bronze Age person who had no idea that the stars in the night sky were fiery balls of gas with planets of their own.

Just to be clear, I do not rule out 100% that the universe was created by some mighty inteligence that we cannot comprehend. I just rule out the account in Genesis. What do we see when we look around? Our Earth is one of a number of planets and other bodies (like asteroids, for example) that orbits a star we call the Sun. Our solar system is in a galaxy that is filled with billions of stars and we have detected planets orbiting some of them, with the likelihood that we will find many more.

Now, when I compare the Genesis account of creation with all of that, why should I believe the Genesis account? Apart from the text itself, there is nothing to support the contention. All you have is "God said it, I believe it, and that settles it." We could apply the same line of reasoning to finding an unidentified, bullet riddled corpse in a field. How do we know that God didn't just conjure up that bullet ridden corpse and put it there in the field? After all, God could do it if he wanted to, right?

If God can intervene in the universe at will, how we can we ever trust anything? How do I know that God won't make the moon suddenly disappear the next time we send a manned mission there? How do I know that when I wake up tomorrow, that we won't have 48 hour days instead of 24?

Apparently God doesn't care about the same things you care about when He is writing, but that sounds more like a problem on YOUR end.

Oh, so God "wrote" the Book of Genesis? Thanks for clearing that up for me. Did he write it on papyrus? Carve it on a rock somewhere? And considering that this is supposed to be an all knowing and all powerful being writing this stuff, it really does suck. Maybe you have lower standards than I do for this supreme being.

It's mostly bluff and self-inflicted blindness.

You got the self-inflicted blindness part right, but you didn't realize you were describing yourself.

But since I don't like these blog exchanges to be all acrimony and argument, I close by wishing you well on being the father of a healthy baby and for a relatively painless delivery for your wife.

The only thing Rhology has going for him/her is that Rhology tries to win by making people feel embarrassed that they don't have "absolute" standards from whence to get the rules for being civilized. That's the same crap that Denise DeSouza pulls, and it's pretty freakin lame if you ask me.

At best, it's only an argument for why people should pretend there is a moral god, even in the case if there isn't one. (A moral god who kills first-born babies, and other such highly moral stuff, by they way.)

ok, I cant help myself. I have to respond to this crap.

#133 - Lee,

Jesus' rising was physical only. He never died spiritually.

Prove it.
Of course he never died spiritually - who among us does? That is why he was able to rise spiritually.
So, prove that your interpretation, your G_d imagining, supercedes mine.

the following is from a gospel of Christ's leaving his disciples and of spiritual rising

Just so everyone knows, this is not from the New Testament but from a non-Christian writing from a large amount of time after the events of Jesus' life.

Bullpucky. That is from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which was written contemporaneously with the later canonical Gospels. The fact that the church fathers chose to exclude the mystical spirit-centered and woman-positive texts - this, Thomas, the Pistis Sophia, etc - from the Canon, tells us a lot more about the church fathers than about G_d or the teachings of Jesus.

I see that Rho's latest litany of LOLs doesn't include a response to my questions. He must have finally run out of insults; he ran out of answers long ago.

So now i can just watch, and snicker! Carry on, Rho, you are making converts of us all.

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 26 Feb 2009 #permalink

Anyone and everyone can venture opinions about the supernatural. Since there is no such thing, all their opinions are equiprobable. It is the equivalent of arguing over the configuration of internal organs of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man...yada yada.

We frame our conjectures over characters in early imperial Roman colonial prophetic literature and furiously F-5 for responses to our conjectures while the ERV site stats catch on fire.

Meanwhile the Evil Queen of Molecular Biology....

*walks the dog in the park*

*Picks up poop with hundred dollar bill*

*laughs*

No tedious blog updating for her. Well played Smith. Well played.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 26 Feb 2009 #permalink

Albarossity: I am with you. Rho's refusal to answer, or his links that do not answer questions posed, or his reversion to obfuscation has become too tiring. I hereby sign off - hope all of you that have time to waste or just enjoy punching him will carry on. I have much better things to do. Maybe this thread has served its purpose and be terminated?

Prometheus-- You should apply for Randis million dollar prize ;)

But Ive been walking the dog (its 78 degrees and sunny), AND finishing my Masters paper :)

sez me: "...exactly which presupposition it is that's getting in the way of ID?"
sez rhobot: "Naturalistic ones ..."
Well, the "naturalistic presuppositions get in the way of accepting ID" hypothesis would seem to be an adequate explanation for why ID is rejected by those scientist who happen to also be atheists (see also: Richard Dawkins). However, said hypothesis is a remarkably lousy explanation for how come ID is rejected by those scientists who happen to also be religious believers (see also: Ken Miller, Francis Collins, Pentecostal preacher Robert Bakker, etc etc etc).
Me, I have another theory: Since ID is overwhelmingly rejected by all scientists, regardless of whether or not they're Christian or athiest or whatever, I say scientists' overwhelming rejection of ID has nothing whatsoever to do with 'naturalistic presuppositions', and absolutely everything to do with the fact that ID simply isn't science.

Rhology,

If I get your position wrong, correct me. What is it?

You've already declared me an adherent of "materialistic naturalism", but it's unclear what that was based upon. I'm still wondering, what was the basis for that assignment?

I argue the way I do b/c empirical observation, given its proper place as subordinate to the clear communication of the infallible eyewitness, is indeed highly useful.

That still avoids the point. You've stated very clearly that your denial of evolution "begins and ends with the acct in Genesis", which obviously means your position on evolution is firmly rooted in theology. Yet for whatever reason, you continue to argue the issue from an empirical standpoint. You claim that empirical evidence can be "useful", but that's not the question at hand.

If you don't feel empirical data can overturn "the acct in Genesis", why do you even care (or pretend to) about the data at all? Aren't you just wasting everyone's time by demanding empirical support for evolution? After all, in the end you'll simply deny it all because you believe Genesis trumps all empirical data.

I'm going to be polite and ignore your petty insults.

Prove your statements about the Gospels

I'm not hopeful that you will pay any attention to this, as I have watched you ignore any experts you disagree with, but...

Read this for a good discussion of the age of the gospels, and some of the difficulty in determining authorship. Remember that these are all respected theologians and biblical scholars, so probably not "biased against the supernatural".

The major difficulty in using the bible to prove the bible is circular reasoning. Using a source to prove the unimpeachable nature of that source? Not generally acceptable scholarship.

I would recommend that entire site for you. Religious Tolerance is a pretty good starting point. I guess I'm just hopeful that something will dent that insufferable arrogant certainty of yours.

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 26 Feb 2009 #permalink

Oops posted first in the wrong thread, below is my response to Rho' concerning how HOX genes are evidence of common ancestry.

'explain how specifically this supports the idea that there *WAS* a common ancestor many billions of yrs ago'

Because of the pattern of those genes in living organisms. There is a clear predictable pattern of their distribution. Patterns of differences in sequence and duplications are perfectly consistent with what common ancestry predicts.
This is the same pattern repeated for other genes, ERVs, for pseudogenes (found out what they are yet?) etc.

Now could you please show even one example of a gene etc that's pattern of distribution is impossible if common ancestry is true. The genetic version of the precambrian bunnie.

Rho' if you want to argue biology then use biology, that's how it works.

Not that I see any point as you seem to have created a false dichotomy for yourself, evolution or god.
Many seem to be quite happy with evolution and god.
Try to separate the god question from the evolution one and then look again at the evidence for common ancestry.
Are you really rejecting the evidence on the grounds of that evidence, or because you can not accept it no what what that evidence is?

Rhology is arguing that it doesn't matter that the evidence looks EXACTLY as one would predict for common descent and diversification via the mechanisms of evolution - because G_d could have created it to look exactly that way.

And G_d told us (well, Rhology, anyway) that he did something else. Rhology claims he knows from reading Genesis that he knows exactly what G_d did, and further claims that his reading takes precedence over any other reading. He implicitly claims that the Genesis creation story takes precedence over any other creation story. So the fact that the data support common descent is in fact evidence of the glory of G_d, supports the Genesis story, and argues against common descent.

Got it?

And besides, G_d created logic, and you cant deduce anything without logic, so you cant deduce anything without G_d, so naanaananananaaaa.

"Rhology is arguing that it doesn't matter that the evidence looks EXACTLY as one would predict for common descent and diversification via the mechanisms of evolution - because G_d could have created it to look exactly that way.

And G_d told us (well, Rhology, anyway) that he did something else. Rhology claims he knows from reading Genesis that he knows exactly what G_d did, and further claims that his reading takes precedence over any other reading. He implicitly claims that the Genesis creation story takes precedence over any other creation story. So the fact that the data support common descent is in fact evidence of the glory of G_d, supports the Genesis story, and argues against common descent."

And that's exactly my point. Why play this silly little game, where Rhology pretends that the empirical data could ever change his mind, and everyone else responds with explanations of the data, under the same misconception?

Rhology has already declared that "the Genesis acct" trumps all. So why try and argue from a data standpoint with such a person?

Lee @180 there.
You forgot to add the incontrovertible fact that both Adam and Eve had belly-buttons. Probably.

"So why try and argue from a data standpoint with such a person?"

Simple.

Its bad enough when Christian apologetics is used to try to create rational proofs in the fundamentally irrational realm of faith belief, and further to justify apologists believing ONLY that one form of the irrational has any validity, and to deprecate all other forms of irrationality, including my preferred forms. If it were just that, the only necessary response would be to ignore him.

But Rhology - and many of his ethical kin - goes further.

He is using Christian apologetics to justify intruding his particular brand of irrationality into public policy, and to inflict it on our polity as if it were a proven rational result of rational premises.

That way lies theocracy, and that effort requires opposition.

To add on to Lee's point, I attack Rhology's assertions concerning morals because the clear implication of his arguments are that nonreligious people's morals are inferior to those of the religious. That kind of baseless bigotry should never be left unchallenged, especially when all it takes to topple his house of cards is to challenge his circular assumptions.

the clear implication of his arguments are that nonreligious people's morals are inferior to those of the religious.

Science Avenger, I would argue there is something else at play. If I understand Rhology correctly, it is not about being moral, at least in the sense we understand it, that is refraining from inflicting physical or mental damage on people or being nice and helpful to each other, but rather it is about being subservient to the deity. Going around telling people they can be good without god means that they will no longer serve god, but rather serve each other instead.

Therefore, Rhology and others like him want to monopolize morality by making it the exclusive purview of their religious faith. They don't want the competition. So they act as if their religious beliefs represent an objective standard when they really just have swallowed someone else's subjective standard that has been wrapped up in the guide of divine command.

To add on to Lee's point, I attack Rhology's assertions concerning morals because the clear implication of his arguments are that nonreligious people's morals are inferior to those of the religious. That kind of baseless bigotry should never be left unchallenged, especially when all it takes to topple his house of cards is to challenge his circular assumptions.

I've always felt the religious nutball position about morality was rather odd. Their religion is amoral; the only reason you shouldn't do something is because you'll be punished for it, not because it's actually wrong.

I always get the impression that they're sitting at home going "It would be really fun to go on a multi-state murderous rampage, but if I do God will kick my ass. *sigh*".

I'm not here to play schoolteacher for you, but here you go anyway. Bookend the relevant quotations, like so:

Rhology, rather than playing schoolteacher, perhaps you should go back to school--it seems that, in addition to biology, you flunked reading comprehension. After all, my very first comment already has the words "you can start with the line ..."

But you apparently didn't read that, either.

This whole presupposition buisness.

Actually I don't presuppose that only naturalistic/materialistic explinations can be correct.
My experiences, education, training, the evidence I've been expossed to tell me this is the case.
However I would change this belief if I where provided with evidence to the contrary. So whilst it maybe a presupposition it is only so because it is consistant and it is not 'set in stone' and I would drop it if the evidence said so, it doesn't.
Rho' you however have expressed that your presupposition is 'set in stone' as it were, that you would not drop it whatever evidence maybe provided.
Your presupposition also goes much further than just a belief that non-naturalistic explinations are possible. You claim to know the explination with no shadow of doubt, I don't.

This whole exchange is pointless if the above is true, and yet I can't keep away, as they say up north.
'There's nowt as queer as folk.'

Hi all,

Hope you're looking fwd to tonight as much as I am.

#166 - SA,

You're quoting the moral argument for God's existence, but I don't use that.
I engage in internal critiques of the inability of naturalism as a worldview to account for moral statements that SHOULD pertain to or prescribe actions to anyone else and to the idea that moral statements are qualitatively different from a statement like "I like ice cream".
That's why it's useful to actually read what debate opponents write. I'm willing to engage this topic with you, but not strawmen.

is that we have only subjective standards of shared values, instincts, and desires, but those serve us just fine.

And I responded to that, several times if you count ground covered with others in this very thread. Go for it if you want. I'm happy to leave it where it is.

#168 386sx,

It begs the question to posit "good reasons for 'good morals'". Where do you get the idea and the comparison for the first "good" in your statement?

if getting good morals from somewhere on high is a good reason for having a god,

This is not a statement that makes much sense. My contention is that absolute morals are impossible without a God, yes, but I haven't made that my argument. Rather, I argue that, IF naturalism is true, someone like SciAveng doesn't have any justification for saying anyone else SHOULD do sthg, no matter what that might be, from taking care of one's children to not murdering all atheists' children. It's an argumentum ad absurdum.

#169 Tommykey,

in which my actions are governed by how they effect myself, my family, my community, and outward to encompass the planet. That includes you.

I pause a moment to note how y'all have gravitated to these moral questions, when they are actually a fairly minor sidenote. There are numerous arguments on the table that you're distracting from.
Short answer - inform me how you know whether these effects are good or bad, without engaging in self-referential, navel-gazing question-begging naked assertions. Inform us why what someone WANTS is even relevant. Thanks.

Who did God supposedly tell this story and by what means?

This is also a sidenote. What is it about you and sidenotes?
Moses, thru the process of inspiration. These are highly elementary questions, and I'm not here to be your Sunday School teacher. If I thought you cared about the answers, I'd spend more time on it, but not here. I'd rather deal with my actual arguments sometime, if that's OK with you.

when I compare the Genesis account of creation with all of that, why should I believe the Genesis account?

Your first mistake is to assume that your autonomous reason is neutral and objective and sufficiently broad to understand the evidence as it exists in reality.
You should believe it b/c God, the infallible eyewitness and Creator, told you how it went down. See my note about the CSI team above.

How do we know that God didn't just conjure up that bullet ridden corpse and put it there in the field? After all, God could do it if he wanted to, right?

Note here you're attempting an internal critique on Christianity. That's OK, I'm just pointing it out.
God engages in miraculous activity for specific reasons and purposes within redemptive history, if you check the Bible. Sure He COULD do that, but it's not something that is reasonably expectable from Him.
We can trust what we observe b/c God has made it clear, if we hold all things in the right priority. He is truthful, we can trust what He says.

Thanks for the well wishes. This baby is obviously the patient sort and will probably keep me from going to see Dick Dawk. :-( Oh well.

#171 - Lee,

Prove it? There are plenty of excellent arguments for the bodily, physical Resurrection of Christ, the responses to which are beyond feeble.
There is no indication in the eyewitness or theological accts that He died spiritually. I might as well ask you to prove that no platypuses ever took a Kia to Neptune.

The "Gospel" of Mary Magdalene is not contemporaneous, not even from the 1st century unlike the NT books. Try again, but with something other than Dan Brown rip-off conspiracy theories.

#172 - Albatrossity,
I said above I won't respond if I think there's nothing worth responding to. Sorry you didn't trouble yourself to remember that. If you had better arguments, I'd interact with you all you want.

#174 - vhutchison,
My, you're fond of censorship, Professor! Maybe free discussion is useful for others. There are other people in the world besides you, you know.

#176 - Cubist,
Then you have a good response to my arguments on that count?
Given the great care that the Darwinian camp has taken to differentiate itself from the Intelligent Design stuff, one would think that certainly said camp would be highly, strongly interested in providing evidence for its position, absent ANY INTELLIGENCE involved whatsoever.

Given that, I'd like evidence that evolution from one type of organism to another is occurring TODAY with the following qualifications:

1) A laboratory injects intelligence into the equation. No lab.

2) Experiments observed on a REPEATED basis, as good science should be.

3) No intelligent (ie, human) manipulation of the events.

4) With ALL normal environmental factors present. No control group, no outside interference from intelligent agents (ie, humans).

5) With ALL normal other factors present, such as predators, weather, fluctuations in prey, water, and other nourishment.

6) And a good way of judging when the line of organism has become a different type (just for utility's sake, but I'd call this slightly less interesting or necessary than the other 5).

In other words, is it unreasonable to think that, if you're presenting what you allege is evidence for a currently-acting process of unguided natural selection acting on random mutations, you could show some evidence of it that is not guided artificial selection acting on partially-random mutations?

Is that too much to ask?

If so, why?

If your response lies along the lines of: "That's too strict - you've defined most of the parameters for normal experimentation out of the question", does that not mean that you concede that you lack any good evidence for your position over and against the ID position? That your side has spoken far too quickly, with far too much certainty and fervency, with respect to how clear it is that Darwinian evolution is correct and ID is wrong?

If not, why not?

#177 - Jason F,
I bring in empirical evidence, as I explained above, to serve as an internal critique of naturalism.

#178 - LanceR,
Any site that appeals to a member of the Jesus Seminar is pretty much obvious crap. Thanks for playing.

#179 - neil,
Thanks at least for interacting with one of my main arguments! That's getting harder to find around here.

There is a clear predictable pattern of their distribution

Explain how that's not attributable to a Designer.

Patterns of differences in sequence and duplications are perfectly consistent with what common ancestry predicts.

And with what a Designer hypothesis predicts.

Now could you please show even one example of a gene etc that's pattern of distribution is impossible if common ancestry is true.

Take that over to Uncommon Descent or sthg, to someone who might care. That's never been part of my argument. I am challenging you to prove how your "evidence" is not just as easily accounted for by a Designer. If it's not, you have no evidence for your position over and against the Designer hypothesis.

Many seem to be quite happy with evolution and god.

Maybe, but am I at Ken Miller's blog? No.

#180 - Lee,

because G_d could have created it to look exactly that way.

Precisely. Thank you. I don't agree it looks EXACTLY like common descent, etc, would predict, but I'm not willing to argue that here.

claims that his reading takes precedence over any other reading.

Absent a good argument to the contrary, yes.

G_d created logic

Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Quote me saying that God created logic. Not at all. It's one of His attributes, the way He thinks. Try again. Do try to avoid those strawmen.

#184 - SciAven,

the clear implication of his arguments are that nonreligious people's morals are inferior to those of the religious.

No, the implications of your strawman.

#187 - Skemono,

you can start with the line

So it did. My mistake, I apologise for missing it.
OK, I quote the article:

This is exactly what we find - and this represents overwhelmingly powerful confirmation of common descent. This pattern could not have occurred by chance.

So ironic! No, not by chance. By intelligent design.

If a designer created species roughly as they are, what would be the pattern of differences in genes and proteins?

Um, they'd be whatever is found to be the differences. This guy can't follow his own argument's assumption.

once a designer created a functional hemoglobin there would not be any reason to change it

And if the Designer decided to create an only kinda-functional hemoglobin? B/c He didn't want to create Paradise on Earth right now? Does this author even think about that? Not yet, so this does not respond to my own argument.

In this case, however, every species would be just as different as every other species.

Assumes w/o argument there was not different levels of difference at the beginning.

If you compared any two species you would find roughly the same number of mutations different between them - since all species are the same distance from creation.

How naïve can one get? Why?

either creation makes no prediction (not science)

I'm concerned with TRUTH here and good arguments, not "scientific orthodoxy" as he defines it. He's not shown himself to be all that adroit at understanding the implications of the Designer hypothesis.

Thanks Skemono. Was this really the best you had?

#188 - neil,
I would change this belief if I where provided with evidence to the contrary.

Then go ahead and answer the challenges I laid out to naturalism above. Looks like I may have to post blocks of text to get people to actually interact with me, since links are apparently not gettin' 'er done.

If you answer "give us evidence for God!", I know what you mean is "give us EMPIRICAL evidence for God". So I simply demand empirical evidence of the truth of naturalism. Bring it forward and we can talk.
And you can't. God is my fundamental axiom, my foundational presupposition. He is self-justifying and self-existent and has revealed Himself to a large degree thru the Bible so we can know that about Him and know Him. God accounts for intelligibility and reason because He is a personal, intelligent being and He has made humanity in His image, so that we think like Him and communicate like Him.
What is your fundamental presupposition? Is it self-justifying? How do you know? How does it account for intelligibility and reason?
On naturalism or some similar worldview, nothing popped into everything, and was organised by no one so that some impersonal "process" is responsible for there being order instead of total chaos in the universe. Atoms coalesced into molecules, into larger clumps of matter. Rocks became amino acids became proteins became unicellular organisms became bananas, platypuses, humans. Bananas don't think. Neither do cans of Dr Pepper. Why assume that another lump of matter (arbitrarily and customarily called a "brain") can "think"? A can of Dr Pepper, when shaken, produces fizz. The liver secretes bile when called upon to do so. The brain secretes brain fizz when called upon to do so. And the brain is somehow special?

Peace and I'll look for yas tonight (you'll know me from the froth on the mouth and the "Trinity Babdist aint no cult yall!!!" T-shirt),
Rhology

Lee & ScienceAvenger,

I certainly agree with the idea of countering the type of anti-science, anti-intellectualism Rhology is promoting, in the context of public policy. But anonymous postings on Abbie's blog are hardly in that context. Further, rather than speaking to or about public policies, the debates here are directly with Rhology himself. From an outside view it very much appears that everyone here is trying to convince Rhology to change his views; that would be fine if it weren't for what I've already pointed out, i.e. Rhology has already made it abundantly clear that empirical arguments will never convince him. Yet everyone here keeps spending time and effort into trying to lay out and explain the empirical evidence to him!

Now, if we were testifying to a school board, a legislature, or something like that it would be completely different. Both the targeted audience and the arena warrant the effort.

But don't get me wrong here. I've argued with creationists on the internet for years now. But I mostly do so for pure entertainment. I never for one second think anything I write on the internet is ever going to convince a single person to change their mind, nor will it ever affect public policy. It's just entertaining as hell to see the sorts of mental contortions creationists have to put themselves through to deny so much data.

Rhology,

I can't tell if you're completely missing the point, or if you're intentionally dodging the point.

First, you still haven't explained why you assigned me the label of "materialistic naturalism".

Second, you still haven't addressed the core issue here. To repeat: If you don't feel empirical data can overturn "the acct in Genesis", why do you even care (or pretend to) about the data at all? Aren't you just wasting everyone's time by demanding empirical support for evolution? After all, in the end you'll simply deny it all because you believe Genesis trumps all empirical data.

'Patterns of differences in sequence and duplications are perfectly consistent with what common ancestry predicts.

And with what a Designer hypothesis predicts.'

No not with what a designer predicts. Only with what a designer mimicking common descent would predict. For reasons stated previously by me and others that doesn't get us anywhere.

Let me be clear with what I'm on about. Time for pseudogenes. Pseudogenes are genetic sequences that were once functional genes, we know this by comparison to still functioning versions of the gene. They have mutations that prevent function often a single point mutation resulting in a stop codon.
An example of a pseudogene in humans is the gene for synthesis of vitamin C. It has a mutation that stops it's function, that is why we can get scurvy. Other apes have it too, with the mutation in exactly the same place. Other mammals have the functioning gene (guinea pigs don't but the mutation is in a different place to ours).
Common ancestry explains this, the mutation occurred in a ancestor common to apes but not other mammals.
Now there are 2 other explanations firstly it is coincidence the mutation occurred in the same place in the gene for this species and just by chance this coincides with the evolutionary 'tree' for mammals. The problem with that is this same patten is faithfully repeated in sequence after sequence with no exceptions.
Secondly we have our designer placing deliberate misleading evidence for common ancestry, are we really going to spend time on that one? After all if true we will never be able to know.

'What is your fundamental presupposition?'

Oh me, I'm fickle I go with what ever seems to work and makes sense to me at the time ;)

Ok that's abit facetious but I'm more interested in biology than philosophy and it's pub o'clock.

Serious answer I don't believe I have a fundamental one, as to me that implies some thing unchangeable.
If there is one it is that I personally have no choice over what I believe. I don't not believe in god because I don't want to, and I don't 'believe' in evolution because I want to either.

#178 - LanceR,
Any site that appeals to a member of the Jesus Seminar is pretty much obvious crap. Thanks for playing.

Thus proving my point about blindly rejecting experts who don't agree with you.

You will not argue honestly, will you? Are you incapable or just unwilling? I have a hypothesis that fundamentalism itself leads directly to this unethical, dishonest behavior, but it's just a hypothesis.

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 27 Feb 2009 #permalink

Rhology, you insufferable lying little twit.

"There is no indication in the eyewitness or theological accts that He died spiritually."

That what I said - he didn't die spiritually. Who among us does? Why don't you try to respond to what people say to you, and not twist it to make it correspond to the answer you want to give.

The "Gospel" of Mary Magdalene is not contemporaneous, not even from the 1st century unlike the NT books. Try again, but with something other than Dan Brown rip-off conspiracy theories.

I've read a total of 7 ages of Dan Brown, before I quit in disgust. I have read Mary King and Elaine Pagels, among others, and for you to dismiss all this as "Dan Brown rip-off conspiracy theories" just shows that you have no intention to actually confront any evidence taht disagrees with your self-justifying, reality-denying, hermetically sealed world view.

The Gospel of Mary probably dates from about 125CE, approximately contemporaneous with the last of the canonical gospels. Thomas probably dates with the earliest of the canonical gospels, or even predates them.

#180 - Lee,

because G_d could have created it to look exactly that way.

Precisely. Thank you. I don't agree it looks EXACTLY like common descent, etc, would predict, but I'm not willing to argue that here.

claims that his reading takes precedence over any other reading.

Absent a good argument to the contrary, yes."

When you can argue that evidence that confirms a theory is useless because G_d made it look that way, you are denying the utility of all science, and even of all human observation and experience in the world.
Fine.
I have no problem with you believing whatever you want to believe, Rhology. But when your circularly-consistent, reality-shielded belief system denies the validity of the beliefs of anyone who doesn't believe exactly as you do, and you further you argue that we should shape our polity to match your beliefs and not that of anyone else, and when you attempt to alter facts to match that world view and goal, and engage in dishonest twisting of what people say and cherry-picking of arguments to make it look as if your beliefs are somehow logically derivable, then you become an enemy of our polity, and of me.

Rhobot belched -

God is my fundamental axiom, my foundational presupposition. He is self-justifying and self-existent and has revealed Himself to a large degree thru the Bible so we can know that about Him and know Him. God accounts for intelligibility and reason because He is a personal, intelligent being and He has made humanity in His image, so that we think like Him and communicate like Him.

So. Decades of research, libraries of data, and mountains of physical evidence all leading to and supportive of evolution via natural selection is unconvincing and inadequate (and somehow means that atheists can't be moral in and of themselves), but Rhobot's ability to once again perform his Harun Yahya impersonation is an irrefutable bedrock of logic and a fatal blow to naturalism. Got it...

What is it about you and sidenotes?

Huh? I don't see it that way. You're claiming that God told us how he created the universe in Genesis. I am asking why I should believe that it is what you say it is. How this message was conveyed to a humanity is an important part of that. Who was this alleged revelation conveyed to and how was it conveyed? And your answer:

Moses, thru the process of inspiration.

Really? How do I know it wasn't just something Moses made up? Or maybe he mistakenly believed it to be a divine revelation? After all, Moses was just a human being, and if you tell me I can't rely on my own sensory powers because they are flawed, then the same holds true for Moses.

You should believe it b/c God, the infallible eyewitness and Creator, told you how it went down. See my note about the CSI team above.

I read your CSI Team analogy and I do not find it helpful. I would need to be convinced that the Creation account in Genesis was a revelation from this "infallible eyewitness and Creator".

The account contains nothing specific that matches up with the universe as we see it. If it specifically made reference to the Earth rotating on its axis and orbiting the sun, and that the stars we observe in the night sky contained planets of their own, that would hold a tremendous amount of weight with me. As others have written elsewhere in response to you, there is nothing predictive in the Creation account. And I repeat what I wrote above, the description of the night sky in Genesis reads just as we would expect it would if it were written by a Bronze Age man with a limited understanding of the cosmos rather than an omnipotent and omniscient entity that supposedly created it all.

Your first mistake is to assume that your autonomous reason is neutral and objective and sufficiently broad to understand the evidence as it exists in reality.

And the same holds true for you.

But, as I wrote above, there is the evidence that does exist in reality: We live on one of a number of planets and other bodies that orbits one of billions of stars in a galaxy that is itself one of hundreds of millions of more galaxies. Considering that, when I am expected to believe that the planet Earth was created, with plants on it to boot, before all of the rest of that, the Biblical Creationist model comes up short on the balance scale.

If I thought you cared about the answers, I'd spend more time on it

But I do care about the answers, otherwise I would not have asked the questions. If you expect me to accept that the Bible is a revelation from the creator of the universe and that the Creation account in Genesis is a description of "how it went down," then I need more than "just because it is."

I will get into the moral stuff later, as I have to get back to work now (sorry, reality calls!), but for now suffice it to say that in order for something to be objective, you first must have an objective. Once you have an objective, you can then measure whether or not something is "good" and "bad" within the context of the objective. To be continued!

JasonF:
"it very much appears that everyone here is trying to convince Rhology to change his views;"

Actually, I could care less what Rhology believes. If he wants to beleive that there is a rational foundation for the irretrievably a-rational area of faith belief, or that everyone who hears G-d speaking a story different from the one he hears is wrong - it's his soul.

But he is arguing much more than that. He is arguing that the mechanisms upon which we have built our civilization and knowledge of the world - observation and verification against reality,iterated to deal with errors - are irretrievably wrong, and that we should replace them with an adherence to his particular brand of irrational faith belief. That is dangerous and must be opposed.

I have for the most part not been arguing that Rhology is wrong in what he believes. I have been attempting _ imperfectly, I'm sure - to argue that his assumption of exclusive access to truth is wrong.

Lee,

"I have been attempting _ imperfectly, I'm sure - to argue that his assumption of exclusive access to truth is wrong."

No, you're doing just fine. I guess my question is, who are you arguing with? If it's with Rhology, I go back to my previous question: Why? Do you seriously think Rhology is going to change his mind or alter his stance in the slightest?

What triggered this line of thinking for me was how people were tripping over each other, and lining up to answer Rhology's demands for empirical data and explanations of such, even though he had already declared that "the acct in Genesis" trumps all. And since then, people have been expressing all sorts of exasperation when Rhology waves away their arguments, off-hand dismisses the data, and ignores the inconvenient queries.

It just seems strange to me to see it all go down. It's like if I told someone, "I believe my great grandfather was a doberman pincher, and no amount of data or information can make me believe otherwise", and then that person starts showing all sorts of data and gives long explanations for how that's impossible, yet when I just wave it all away, he gets all frustrated and acts like he can't figure out why I won't acknowledge his arguments.

The point is, I just told him why! I made it abundantly clear that I will never, ever accept anything that counters my belief, yet he argues with me anyway.

Now, if I tried to get this belief taught in schools or something, that person would be justified in arguing against my belief to the schools. And that's the key here...make the argument to the proper audience.

Of course, if the person just said, "I want to argue with you because you're a nut and it's funny to see you try and rationalize your belief", that's something else entirely.

Rho wrote:

1) A laboratory injects intelligence into the equation. No lab.

2) Experiments observed on a REPEATED basis, as good science should be.

3) No intelligent (ie, human) manipulation of the events.

4) With ALL normal environmental factors present. No control group, no outside interference from intelligent agents (ie, humans).

5) With ALL normal other factors present, such as predators, weather, fluctuations in prey, water, and other nourishment.

6) And a good way of judging when the line of organism has become a different type (just for utility's sake, but I'd call this slightly less interesting or necessary than the other 5).

In other words, is it unreasonable to think that, if you're presenting what you allege is evidence for a currently-acting process of unguided natural selection acting on random mutations, you could show some evidence of it that is not guided artificial selection acting on partially-random mutations?

Is that too much to ask?

If so, why?

This experiment has been done. A single species of lizard was introduced to 14 lizard-free islands in the Caribbean. Some of the islands were as small as a football field. The lizards were left there for 15 years to see if they could adapt to the scrubby vegetation, or go extinct, which was the expectation. However, the lizards prevailed and their morphology changed to a more stubby lizard with shorter legs and reproductively separate from the original population; a different species which satisfies Rho's Point 6 which he says is "less interesting or necessary" but which I would call the deciding factor.

Evolution at work.

Now how did I miss this greasy little gem?

Rho#164 #142 - Prometheus,
internal critique of naturalism without internalizing naturalism

âYou bluff alot, I'm calling it. Be specific, provide quotations. How precisely have I failed in my internal critique statements to properly internalise naturalism?â

Because the internal critique is from within the subject. ALL of your statements are comparisons and comparisons weirdly enough to stoicismâs pantheistic description of logos.

The internal critique or even a plain old fashioned ad arguendo discussion does not generate the giant stinking pile that this thread has become

It is called Odium theologicum. Legitimate discussions of methodological or even material naturalism from within the confines of methodological or material naturalism do not generate it

You have internalized nothing for the purpose of a logical assessment naturalismâs validity because your bias is so systemic that you think logic sprung from the cloven skull of God like Athena in pasties.

1. âa designer accounts for those similarities and differences just as well, if not better, than your unguided natural selectionâ

2. âShow how a Designer who made it that way could not account for these similarities and differences just as well as your unguided natural selection mechanism.â

3. âYour problem is not lack of evidence but sin.â

4. âOr maybe they're all made by the same Designer. You're presenting stuff that can easily be used by either worldview. Present some evidence that actually favors your side, not assumptions.â

5.âAn omnipotent Designer can do anything possible.â

I donât bluff, I am a percentage player. You dealt me a Royal Flush, 1 in 649740. Thanks stupid.

Now I have to agree with King of Ferrets.

âMehâ

By Prometheus (not verified) on 27 Feb 2009 #permalink

Last comment before the weekend. Don't know if I'll get back here before Monday.
Jason F - I assumed you were a materialistic naturalist, based on your comments. If I assume wrong, tell me. That's what I asked you to do. So, what do you believe?

And if you're wondering about why to engage in these, I hold no illusions that any of you will see the poverty of your argumentation either. I'm in it, as you should probably be, for the lurkers.

Prometheus,

Excellent point! Rhology claims to be conducting an "internal critique of naturalism", but when confronted with inconvenient information he immediately jumps out of naturalism and says "God did that".

Not much of an "internal critique", is it?

Rhology,

What specific comments made you assume I was a "materialistic naturalist"?

And once again, you continue to avoid my point: If you don't feel empirical data can overturn "the acct in Genesis", why do you even care (or pretend to) about the data at all? Aren't you just wasting everyone's time by demanding empirical support for evolution? After all, in the end you'll simply deny it all because you believe Genesis trumps all empirical data.

And no, I have no interest in "lurkers".

Pro Tip: There are no lurkers at ERV. My readership is composed of 5 people who check for new posts/comments 1000 times a day, respectively.

JasonF: I hold no illusions about Rhology, or anyone with his viewpoint, changing their minds due to evidence. As one poster keeps reminding Rhology, he's made it clear God said it, he believes it, and that settles it.

My target audience is, well, the audience, any lurker out there who hasn't seen Rhology's tired arguments before. I'm showing them how contentless these attacks on nonabsolute morality are, so they shan't be taken in by them, and I know from experience in old-fashioned public debates that this indeed does occur.

Rhology said: This is not a statement that makes much sense. My contention is that absolute morals are impossible without a God, yes, but I haven't made that my argument. Rather, I argue that, IF naturalism is true, someone like SciAveng doesn't have any justification for saying anyone else SHOULD do sthg, no matter what that might be, from taking care of one's children to not murdering all atheists' children. It's an argumentum ad absurdum.

If Science Avenger said that the justification for saying somebody should do something is "Just because Science Avenger says so", then that ain't much better than what your god says: "I'm god, you should do something just because I say so." Except I don't see Science Avenger, uhhhhhhh, drowning people and killing babies and punishing people in hell if Science Avenger doesn't like it.

If there were a god who dictated "absolute morals" to people, they would only be "absolute" in a dictatorial sense, as in... god has the "absolute" last word in it just because he says so. You still would have no way of knowing if god is just making up crap to boss people around for no good reason.

You keep saying "god says this, and god says that", but really it is other people who are saying those things. Nobody is hearing god say anything. They're only hearing what other people say god is saying. You're doing that to make your case look a lot stronger that what it really is.

And what makes you think that if "Naturalism" is true, then nobody would have "any justification" for something? Just because they don't have your justification, it doesn't mean that they don't have any justification. Once again you're exaggerating to make your case look a lot stronger than what it really is.

And even if you were right about nobody having any "justifications", it doesn't mean that there is a god up there somewhere handing out morals to people. At best, it only means that maybe there should be one. "Is" is a lot different from "ought".

Rhology said: I engage in internal critiques of the inability of naturalism as a worldview to account for moral statements that SHOULD pertain to or prescribe actions to anyone else and to the idea that moral statements are qualitatively different from a statement like "I like ice cream".

Yes, I've looked at your site and these critiques are completely without merit. They deal with fantasy versions of how people handle moral issues instead of how they actually handle them. Your ice cream statement is a shining example of that. Moral statements are qualitatively different because they deal with our deepest held values, instincts, and desires, and often carry the threat of costly reactions from others, whereas questions about ice cream preferences do not.

That you think this is in the slightest bit a challenging argument, or something that somehow none of the millions of people in the world realized, shows just how shallow your efforts on this subject are. It also might reveal problems of your own concerning morality (similar to the way so many gay fundamentalists become rabid homophobes). Your arguments remind me a lot of CS Lewis, who also tied himself into rhetorical knots avoiding the obvious in his "moral law" arguments in Mere Christianity. Instinct, value, desire, and awareness of potential future repercussions from our actions are enough to explain the bulk of human behavior (the remainder we refer to as "psychologically impaired"). With regard to your absolute morality, with apologies to LaPlace, we have no need of that hypothesis. If you do, mores the pity.

That's why it's useful to actually read what debate opponents write. I'm willing to engage this topic with you, but not strawmen.

You owe me a new irony meter. Look, if you need your god belief to prevent you from putting babies into woodchippers, I'm glad you've got it. Just don't expect the rest of us to feel compelled to spend a ton of time explaining to you why we don't.

ScienceAvenger,

Perhaps my issue is that I've never really bought the "argumentum ad lurkonam"...the lurkers argument. Maybe if one day I encountered someone who said "I used to be a creationist, but then I started reading through the comments section on this blog and I changed my mind", I would think differently.

Moral statements are qualitatively different because they deal with our deepest held values, instincts, and desires, and often carry the threat of costly reactions from others, whereas questions about ice cream preferences do not.

Unless you wanted to take the argument to its absurdity, that if 99.99% of humanity no longer liked chocolate ice cream, and that the last person on Earth who liked chocolate ice cream would be unfairly deprived because no one wanted to make it anymore.

Look, if you need your god belief to prevent you from putting babies into woodchippers, I'm glad you've got it.

SA, the really funny part is that he believes that Jeffrey Dahmer is in heaven if Dahmer truly converted before getting murdered in prison. Presumably, any of Dahmer's victims who were not Christians are in hell. And he tells us that under atheism nothing matters? Sounds like the opposite to me. You can murder, rape and steal all you want, so long as you genuinely repent before you die. Jesus Christ: The Ultimate Get Out of Jail Free Card!

The other irony is that he likes to describe our morality as "me-centered" (admittedly, I didn't see him write it here, but he has written it elsewhere), and yet we keep grounding our morality in how our actions effect others as well as ourselves, whereas his position is "I'm a sinner too, but I'm forgiven and I'm saved." Me-centered morality indeed.

But like you wrote above, if that is what he needs to keep him from going on a crystal meth fueled crime spree in some neighborhood in Oklahoma, then more power to him.

Rho,

You asked for an experiment to be conducted and you laid out the conditions.

I responded with a real world experiment that has been performed that met all of your criteria. The lizards adapted to the new environment and changed physically.

I realize you didn't expect anyone to meet your challenge, but there you have it.

Surprise!

So, Rho, what's it going to be?

1. Wow, this science stuff is pretty cool after all. I want to learn more.

2. They're still just lizards. They didn't turn into snakes or birds. (No, they didn't. That would be an example of creationism, not evolution.)

3. I'm going to ignore you.

Pro Tip: There are no lurkers at ERV. My readership is composed of 5 people who check for new posts/comments 1000 times a day, respectively.

Hey! I resemble that remark!

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 27 Feb 2009 #permalink

JasonF,

I don't think of it as an immediate wow-I-never-thought-of-that-before conversion (or deconversion if you like), but more of a Johnny Appleseed approach: toss seeds of knowledge, and give them time to grow.

I can't help commenting on this from Rhology that illiustrates how removed from reality he is more than anything else he's said:

A laboratory injects intelligence into the equation. No lab.

This statement is so nonsensical, so obviously wacked, I suppose that's why no one bothered with it. But seriously, how can one hope to have an intelligent discussion with someone who would utter such rubbish.

No, we did deal with it before in an earlier thread, but he wasn't able to defend/explain it in any way. So in other words it went like pretty much any other effort to try to drum something into his skull.

By minimalist (not verified) on 28 Feb 2009 #permalink

A laboratory injects intelligence into the equation. No lab.

When will you militant reductionists accept that chemical reactions are caused not by materialistic processes, but are guided by His Noodly Appendage? Chemical experiments are designed by intelligence, so of course covalent bonds are the result of an intelligent agency.

"A laboratory injects intelligence into the equation. No lab."

This statement is so nonsensical, so obviously wacked, I suppose that's why no one bothered with it. But seriously, how can one hope to have an intelligent discussion with someone who would utter such rubbish.

I don't think it's all that nonsensical. (You can tell he has to type fast to keep up with all these people.) Obviously he got that whole "laboratory injects intelligence into the equation" bit from some IDioligist somewhere.

You can see the "magical thinking" effect going on there though. If something's in a lab... then that automatically means intelligence was injected into it. Like it somehow catches the "intelligence lab" cootie bugs or something.

Evolutionist: "Okay here's some stuff that didn't evolve in the 'lab'."

Creationist: "But... were you there?????"

Pro Tip: There are no lurkers at ERV. My readership is composed of 5 people who check for new posts/comments 1000 times a day, respectively.

Six.

Pro Tip: There are no lurkers at ERV. My readership is composed of 5 people who check for new posts/comments 1000 times a day, respectively.

Six.

Depends on how you count.

TommyKey wrote-

The other irony is that he likes to describe our morality as "me-centered" (admittedly, I didn't see him write it here, but he has written it elsewhere), and yet we keep grounding our morality in how our actions effect others as well as ourselves, whereas his position is "I'm a sinner too, but I'm forgiven and I'm saved." Me-centered morality indeed.

I've always found that particular moral construct to be one of the creepiest things about the True Believers, especially since they are able to employ it to justify so very many reprehensible things.

ScienceAvenger,

"But seriously, how can one hope to have an intelligent discussion with someone who would utter such rubbish"

That's exactly the question I've been asking.

KoF observed:

"Hah, took you this long to go "meh" Prometheus?"

"Nah, You just have to run him to failure so that you don't get quote mined and used as an example of holy rectitude when he is trying to inject poison into some kid's head."

also

"Pro Tip: There are no lurkers at ERV. My readership is composed of 5 people who check for new posts/comments 1000 times a day, respectively."

I am trying to F5 Smith into a jewel encrusted Genome Sequencer.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rhology said:

"The communication of an infallible, omniscient, timeless, truthful being is the most potent evidence there could possibly be....:

This is his proof of God. His arguments do not arise from proof but raher lack of proof and the uncanny ability to dismiss evidence to the contrary. See when you know the answer you dont' have to do the work....I guess.

Enought said.

By Steverino (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

"On naturalism or some similar worldview, nothing popped into everything, and was organised by no one so that some impersonal "process" is responsible for there being order instead of total chaos in the universe. Atoms coalesced into molecules, into larger clumps of matter. Rocks became amino acids became proteins became unicellular organisms became bananas, platypuses, humans."

Really....where is your proof that this didn't happen? The data or evidence that proves this did not take place?

ID or Creaton is not an explanation, but rather an excuse for not wanting to learn how it all happened or just a wish to be ignorant.

Rho, why isn't that you don't apply your intellectual dishonesty other areas of study like Gravity, Germ Theory....all good with those theories?

By Steverino (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

Genesis 1

In the beginning God created Dates. And the date was Monday, July 4, 4004 B.C.. And God said, let there be light; and there was light. And when there was Light, God saw the Date, that it was Monday, and he got down to work; for verily, he had a Big Job to do.

And God made pottery shards and Silurian mollusks and pre-Cambrian limestone strata; and flints and Jurassic Mastodon tusks and Picanthopus erectus skulls and Cretaceous placentals made he; and those cave paintings at Lasceaux. And that was that, for the first Work Day.

And God saw that he had made many wondrous things, but that he had not wherein to put it all. And God said, Let the heavens be divided from the earth; and let us bury all of these Things which we have made in the earth; but not too deep. And God buried all the Things which he had made, and that was that. And the morning and the evening and the overtime were Tuesday.

And God said, Let there be water; and let the dry land appear; and that was that. And God called the dry land Real Estate; and the water called he the Sea. And in the land and beneath it put he crude oil, grades one through six; and natural gas put he thereunder, and prehistoric carboniferous forests yielding anthracite and other ligneous matter; and all these called he Resources; and he made them Abundant. And likewise all that was in the sea, even unto two hundred miles from the dry land, called he resources; all that was therein, like manganese nodules, for instance. And the morning unto the evening had been a long day; which he called Wednesday.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth abundantly every moving creature I can think of, with or without backbones, with or without wings or feet, or fins or claws, vestigial limbs and all, right now; and let each one be of a separate species. For lo, I can make whatsoever I like, whensoever I like. And the earth brought forth abundantly all creatures, great and small, with and without backbones, with and without wings and feet and fins and claws, vestigial limbs and all, from bugs to brontosauruses. But God blessed them all, saying, Be fruitful and multiply and Evolve Not.

And God looked upon the species he hath made, and saw that the earth was exceedingly crowded, and he said unto them, Let each species compete for what it needed; for Healthy Competition is My Law. And the species competeth amongst themselves, the cattle and the creeping things; and some madeth it and some didn't; and the dogs ate the dinosaurs and God was pleased. And God took the bones from the dinosaurs, and caused them to appear might. old; and cast he them about the land and the sea. And he took every tiny creature that had not madeth it, and caused them to become fossils; and cast he them about likewise. And just to put matters beyond the valley of the shadow of a doubt God created carbon dating. And this is the origin of species. And in the Evening of the day which was Thursday, God saw that he had put in another good day's work.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, which is resembleth us not in any ways, but are short and ill-formed and hairy. And God added, Let man have dominion over the monkeys and the fowl of the air and every species, endangered or otherwise. So God created Man in His own image; tall and well-formed and pale of hue created He him, and nothing at all like the monkey.

And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth. But ye shalt not smoketh it, lest it giveth you ideas. And to every beast of the earth and every fowl of the air I have given also every green herb, and to them it shall be for meat. But they shall be for you. And the Lord God your Host suggesteth that the flesh of cattle goeth well with that of the fin and the claw; thus shall Surf be wedded unto Turf.

And God saw everything he had made, and he saw that it was very good; and God said, It just goes to show Me what the private sector can accomplish. With a lot of fool regulations this could have taken billions of years. And the evening of the fifth day, which had been the roughest day yet, God said, Thank me it's Friday. And God made the weekend.

(stolen from a random site on the internets, where it was cited as copied without permission; source unknown)

Of course, what Rhology conveniently doesn't address is his proof for the huge active conspiracy that would have to be taking place in the government, private industry, universities across the world...to keep the "truth" about the theory of evolution quiet.

By Steverino (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

Genesis1: that is so very cool that I could not let it go unattributed. First hit on a google search for the first 2 sentences yields http://www.cs.umd.edu/~mvz/bible/creation.pdf with a copyright claim at the end (1995). Bravo to all involved.

By Sean McCorkle (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

I like this version bestest:
Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.

Da Urfs no had shapez An haded dark face, An Ceiling Cat rode invisible bike over teh waterz.

At start, no has lyte. An Ceiling Cat sayz, i can haz lite? An lite wuz. An Ceiling Cat sawed teh lite, to seez stuffs, An splitted teh lite from dark but taht wuz ok cuz kittehs can see in teh dark An not tripz over nethin. An Ceiling Cat sayed light Day An dark no Day. It were FURST!!!1

An Ceiling Cat sayed, im in ur waterz makin a ceiling. But he no yet make a ur. An he maded a hole in teh Ceiling. An Ceiling Cat doed teh skiez with waterz down An waterz up. It happen.8 An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has teh firmmint wich iz funny bibel naim 4 ceiling, so wuz teh twoth day.

An Ceiling Cat gotted all teh waterz in ur base, An Ceiling Cat hadz dry placez cuz kittehs DO NOT WANT get wet. An Ceiling Cat called no waterz urth and waters oshun. Iz good.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, DO WANT grass! so tehr wuz seedz An stufs, An fruitzors An vegbatels. An a Corm. It happen. An Ceiling Cat sawed that weedz ish good, so, letz there be weedz. An so teh threeth day jazzhands.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has lightz in the skiez for splittin day An no day. It happen, lights everwear, like christmass, srsly. An Ceiling Cat doeth two grate lightz, teh most big for day, teh other for no day. An Ceiling Cat screw tehm on skiez, with big nails An stuff, to lite teh Urfs. An tehy rulez day An night. Ceiling Cat sawed. Iz good. An so teh furth day w00t.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, waterz bring me phishes, An burds, so kittehs can eat dem. But Ceiling Cat no eated dem. An Ceiling Cat maed big fishies An see monstrs, which wuz like big cows, except they no mood, An other stuffs dat mooves, An Ceiling Cat sawed iz good. An Ceiling Cat sed O hai, make bebehs kthx. An dont worry i wont watch u secksy, i not that kynd uf kitteh. An so teh...fith day. Ceiling Cat taek a wile 2 cawnt.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, i can has MOAR living stuff, mooes, An creepie tings, An otehr aminals. It happen so tehre. An Ceiling Cat doed moar living stuff, mooes, An creepies, An otehr animuls, An did not eated tehm.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, letz us do peeps like uz, becuz we ish teh qte, An let min p0wnz0r becuz tehy has can openers.

So Ceiling Cat createded teh peeps taht waz like him, can has can openers he maed tehm, min An womin wuz maeded, but he did not eated tehm.

An Ceiling Cat sed them O hai maek bebehs kthx, An p0wn teh waterz, no waterz An teh firmmint, An evry stufs.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, the Urfs, I has it, An I has not eated it. For evry createded stufs tehre are the fuudz, to the burdies, teh creepiez, An teh mooes, so tehre. It happen. Iz good.

An Ceiling Cat sayed, Beholdt, teh good enouf for releaze as version 0.8a. kthxbai.

I wasn't even going to mention the LOLbible cause thats taking it up to a whole nuther level! My personal favorite is Genesis 3:12

An teh man said, teh woman u gave me saw teh tree An told 'bout it to me. At first I was liek "Noes!" but then, I was layk NOM NOM NOM. srsly.

By Sean McCorkle (not verified) on 02 Mar 2009 #permalink

That "Book of Dates" thingie came from the 1983 book NOT THE BIBLE, by Oral McJorrity (real authors: Tony Hendra and Sean Kelly -- ISBN 0345302494). It's currently out of print, but some sections of said book, including this Genesis parody, can be found online here.

The communication of an infallible, omniscient, timeless, truthful being is the most potent evidence there could possibly be.

So, we already have the most potent evidence there could ever be. There could never be any potenter evidence than the evidence that we already have. Ohhhhhhh kkaayyyyyy...

#200 - Prometheus accused me of not properly conducting an internal critique of naturalism. All of his quotes are of me actually expressing my own position, when I was asked to. The problem is that I was not labeling where I was doing what. So from now on I'll separate the comments into two sections, though it seems that the thread is winding down.

Internal critique of naturalism section:

#191 - Jason F,
Aren't you just wasting everyone's time by demanding empirical support for evolution?

Why not just provide some?

#192 - neil,
Only with what a designer mimicking common descent would predict.

This is a concession that a Designer hypothesis matches the data just as well as Darwinism. Thank you.

Pseudogenes are genetic sequences that were once functional genes, we know this by comparison to still functioning versions of the gene.

No, you don't KNOW that at all. You ASSUME it b/c pseudogenes LOOK LIKE they were once functional genes. Don't assume what you need to prove.

Other mammals have the functioning gene (guinea pigs don't but the mutation is in a different place to ours).
Common ancestry explains this,

So does a Designer hypothesis. I thought you were supposed to be proving evolution over and against ID here!

we have our designer placing deliberate misleading evidence for common ancestry, are we really going to spend time on that one?

If you're concerned with what the truth is, yes. If you're not, if you just want to know what you prefer to think, then have fun in your little dollhouse.

Serious answer I don't believe I have a fundamental one

So you can't provide evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth? That your brain produces true thoughts?
You may not ever have thought of these things, but I'd encourage you to do so. Empiricism is not tenable.

#195 - Eric Saveau,
Decades of research, libraries of data, and mountains of physical evidence all leading to and supportive of evolution via natural selection

Like what? Give me some evidence!
Don't beg the question like you do when you cite genetic structures that show that we came from a common ancestor. Don't assume it, SHOW IT.
Don't assume that you know that the fossils you have in your possession were even probably in lineage. You don't know they reproduced. You don't know they are in the same lineage. You ASSUME it. I want you to SHOW IT.
Don't tell me that experiments designed and performed by intelligent agents is evidence of UNguided processes. SHOW the natural processes in occurrences.
Bring forth your mountains of evidence. Why haven't you done so yet? I've asked many times already.

#196 - Tommykey,
Once you have an objective

You mean, once you pick one out of your butt and make it your big assumption. Wowee. WHY choose that one? Why not another one?
Why not choose mass murder = morally commendable as your chosen objective? Give me a reason beyond "that would be really mean".

#199 - Doc Bill,
single species of lizard was introduced

Intelligent manipulation. Try again.

the lizards prevailed and their morphology changed to a more stubby lizard with shorter legs

Wow!!!!!
Doc Bill, I'm not aware of anyone who argues that lizards can't evolve into lizards. Maybe you know someone who does argue that, but it's not me.
Seriously, is this kind of obvious DUH the best you guys can do out of your "mountains of evidence"?

#206 - 386sx,

And what makes you think that if "Naturalism" is true, then nobody would have "any justification" for something?

Argue for it, then. Pick anything and then justify it, and I'll question you.

At best, it only means that maybe there should be one. "Is" is a lot different from "ought".

I agree with this, and I'm glad to see at least SOMEone follows my point. I've been saying this ever since I got here.

#207 - Science Avenger,
Moral statements are qualitatively different because they deal with our deepest held values, instincts, and desires, and often carry the threat of costly reactions from others, whereas questions about ice cream preferences do not.

Prove that moral statements SHOULD BE TAKEN differently than questions of ice cream preference.
If it affects our quality of life,
1) So what?
2) Define "quality" in a non-question-begging way.

Your arguments remind me a lot of CS Lewis, who also tied himself into rhetorical knots avoiding the obvious in his "moral law" arguments in Mere Christianity.

Fortunately I'm not using his arguments. Try again.

With regard to your absolute morality, with apologies to LaPlace, we have no need of that hypothesis.

I didn't say they were necessary. This is part of my internal critique of naturalism - if no God, then no objective morals. So all claims of "that is morally reprehensible", such as the killing grounds of Cambodia, the frequent occurrence of gangs of Baptists beating up gays en masse, putting babies into woodchippers, and Joe Citizen raping and murdering your children, are empty. They mean the same as "I like ice cream" and carry the same weight - no weight.
(That's a joke about gangs of Baptists, BTW.)

#209 - Tommykey,

would be unfairly deprived because no one wanted to make it anymore.

Begs the question by using "unfairly" w/o arguing for the concept of "fair" on naturalism.
Seriously y'all, why is this so hard for you?

the really funny part is that he believes that Jeffrey Dahmer is in heaven if Dahmer truly converted before getting murdered in prison.

And why is that a problem on naturalism? It is just as morally commendable as feeding 10,000 children per day for free - not commendable at all, nor condemnable. It just IS. And you obviously can't live that way, b/c here you are making all these moral claims. You're acting like a Christian in your moralising.

yet we keep grounding our morality in how our actions effect others as well as ourselves

You mean, how YOU THINK they will affect others, and by begging the question of good effects and bad effects.

#213 - SA,
Mock, or answer the question, either way.

#216 - 386sx,
Evolutionist: "Okay here's some stuff that didn't evolve in the 'lab'."

Quite - prove it evolved from a different kind of animal. If you cite fossils, answer Gee's arguments in _In Search of Deep Time_.
If you cite genetics, prove how you KNOW that they evolved and weren't designed that way.

#225 - Steverino,
You want me to prove that nothing DIDN'T, uncaused, pop into everything?
I'm not even going to bother taking up that "challenge" - it is its own refutation. Have fun arguing that one.
But of course that's your positive assertion - prove it did. Provide ONE, JUST ONE example of nothing, uncaused, becoming something.

#227 - Not necessarily a conspiracy. Just answer the questions, please. The argument from authority isn't very strong, you know.

-------------------------
Me defending Christianity section, in which I presuppose Christianity's truth and defend its internal consistency:

#190 - Jason F,
Rhology has already made it abundantly clear that empirical arguments will never convince him.

Not until you either admit that you can't provide evidence that evidence should be listened to, or you give a non-circular argument to that effect.

#191
you still haven't explained why you assigned me the label of "materialistic naturalism".

Leave it alone. I was apparently wrong - tell me what your position is and we'll move on.

why do you even care (or pretend to) about the data at all?

I care about certain types of data, to show you that your position is not all it's cracked up to be, to show the internal inconsistencies in it.

#193 - LanceR,
The Jesus Seminar uniformly rejects a priori supernatural events and causes; there is no reason to give such bias any credence, absent an argument to that effect.

#194 - Lee,

Please let me know why anyone should accept a Gnostic Gospel as part of the New Testament when a good portion of the NT books were written in specific response to Gnosticism.
And the NT Gospels are much better dated to before 100 AD.

But when your circularly-consistent

Better than internally INconsistent like your worldview.

denies the validity of the beliefs of anyone who doesn't believe exactly as you do,

What a dumb thing to say. You deny the validity of MY beliefs. Waaaa! Let's stick to the issues.

#196 - Tommykey,

How do I know it wasn't just something Moses made up?

Lots of reasons - a human wouldn't make the Torah up, for one thing.
And if it's not from God, then we don't know anything, b/c naturalism can't ground reason or intelligibility.
God is certainly competent to ensure that human weaknesses don't get in the way of His revelation.

I read your CSI Team analogy and I do not find it helpful.

Well, that was presupposing Christianity's truth. Try it sometime and see how the universe looks then.
*IF* God was there and said how it went down, why should anyone believe the CSI team? Just grant the former for the sake of argument and answer the question.

The account contains nothing specific that matches up with the universe as we see it.

Once again begging the issue against the infallible eyewitness. He knows way better than you. Why should I believe you over Him?

there is nothing predictive in the Creation account

Sure there is.
Not that that matters in the question of whether it is true.

And the same holds true for you.

Fool - I don't assume my autonomous reason is neutral and objective and sufficiently broad to understand the evidence as it exists in reality. You're not even thinking now, but you just want to return insult for perceived insult. That's not an argument.
My (and all humans') reason is subservient to God, b/c He's far smarter and can see more.

there is the evidence that does exist in reality:

There is no evidence outside of God's evidence. See the above naturalism section. You're sitting in God's lap and reaching up to slap Him. I'm sure He's really impressed.

Once you have an objective

God is the only foundational standard for morality. We don't choose an objective, He is the standard. I'm not arguing from absolute morals; I'm arguing that God exists, therefore absolute morals. If no God, therefore no absolute morals.

#197 - Lee,
He is arguing that the mechanisms upon which we have built our civilization and knowledge of the world - observation and verification against reality,iterated to deal with errors - are irretrievably wrong

Wrong and wrong. Rather, Christianity posits a world in which natural processes ARE generally reliable and in constant operation, virtually all the time.
There is no reason to think such on naturalism, actually.
But when one THINKS he has evidence to disprove God, Who makes evidence and the possibility of interpreting it correctly possible, he needs to go back and rethink, b/c he is wrong. that's what has happened to you.

#203 - Jason F,
I have no interest in "lurkers".

I do. Y'all are welcome to talk to me at my blog anytime.

#206, 386sx,
You still would have no way of knowing if god is just making up crap to boss people around for no good reason.

Here is what I mean when I say that.

#215, Dustin,
When will you militant reductionists accept that chemical reactions are caused not by materialistic processes, but are guided by His Noodly Appendage?

Is that really your position?
How precisely do you refute naturalism, Dustin, since you posit a FSM God? And how do you know anything about FSM?

#223 - Bronze Dog,
One of the things I found funny was Rho's comment about the distribution of similarities also being predicted by ID. Well, what doesn't ID predict? It can explain anything, so it tells us less about the future than the idea it's all random chance.

I thought we were concerned about what is TRUE, not about what fits your preconceived notions. Live and learn.

#232 - 386sx,
So, we already have the most potent evidence there could ever be. There could never be any potenter evidence than the evidence that we already have.

Please explain how the testimony and findings of a CSI team studying a crime scene 10 years later would be preferable to the testimony of an infallible and wholly truthful eyewitness. Remember in which section I put this!

Rho,

Dismissing something based on personal belief without is not evidence. You refuse to accept the mounds of evidence that supports Evolution because it would mean that your belief system is flawed.

You remind me of that little Christian turd on YouTube, Sean/VenomFangX, who refuses to acknowledge science on the terms that science uses because it debunks his flawed logic.

You both have so much in common.

Even is Evolution were untrue, you would still have to provide positive proof of your God. Which you cannot.

You're done.

By Steverino (not verified) on 03 Mar 2009 #permalink

'Only with what a designer mimicking common descent would predict.

This is a concession that a Designer hypothesis matches the data just as well as Darwinism. Thank you.'

No no and thrice no. Not a Designer hypothesis, a very specific designer thingie (hypothesis should be testable). That being a designer mimicking common descent, that defiantly doesn't tie up with the Christian God who I seem to recall rather frowns upon dishonesty. The whole trickster god idea is a non-starter for science as it can not be tested, it's also very silly.

'Pseudogenes are genetic sequences that were once functional genes, we know this by comparison to still functioning versions of the gene.

No, you don't KNOW that at all. You ASSUME it b/c pseudogenes LOOK LIKE they were once functional genes. Don't assume what you need to prove.'

All this does is 'prove' that you know fuck all about genetics. (Yes I swore but this roundabout is getting ridiculous)

'Other mammals have the functioning gene (guinea pigs don't but the mutation is in a different place to ours).
Common ancestry explains this,

So does a Designer hypothesis. I thought you were supposed to be proving evolution over and against ID here!'

No, once again only a very specific (and silly) design pseudohypothesis does.
I've already accepted that a big supernatural hoax could be an explanation, e.g the Flying Spaghetti Monster with his noodly appendages, is that what you are really arguing for?
This is just daft.

'we have our designer placing deliberate misleading evidence for common ancestry, are we really going to spend time on that one?

If you're concerned with what the truth is, yes. If you're not, if you just want to know what you prefer to think, then have fun in your little dollhouse.'

But that is really special.

'Serious answer I don't believe I have a fundamental one

So you can't provide evidence that evidence is a good way to discover truth? That your brain produces true thoughts?
You may not ever have thought of these things, but I'd encourage you to do so. Empiricism is not tenable.'

By Jove I see the light, empiricism is only tenable for real stuff. We need faith when it comes to the non-existent.

Look gezza, I'm sure you're a lovely bloke and all that, love your misses, good with the kiddies etc but you really are swimming in a pond to deep.

I've tried repeatedly to give you some good hard science type stuff here, all you've done is try to be clever with the weasel words and indulge in multiple bouts of pseudo philosophical mental masturbation.

Rhology continuously fails to recognize the difference between prediction and mere compatibility. Concocting an explanation that is compatible with observable data, ad hoc, is trivially easy. His unknown designer could easily be replaced with an unknown magic unicorn, without any loss of explanatory power (since it has none to begin with).

Evolution is different. It provides a mechanistic reduction from which certain falsifiable predictions follow, all of which are confirmed by the empirical evidence.

Rhology is likely far too stupid to recognize his errors, as demonstrated by these persistent failures despite being corrected repeatedly by me and others.

"God is the only foundational standard for morality. We don't choose an objective, He is the standard. I'm not arguing from absolute morals; I'm arguing that God exists, therefore absolute morals. If no God, therefore no absolute morals."

Really???...So, all the civilzations prior to Christianity were without morals???

You really want to try to make that case????

By Steverino (not verified) on 03 Mar 2009 #permalink

question was asked:

"we have our designer placing deliberate misleading evidence for common ancestry, are we really going to spend time on that one?"

Rho replied:

"If you're concerned with what the truth is, yes. If you're not, if you just want to know what you prefer to think, then have fun in your little dollhouse."

So, it is your position that God has intentionally mislead those in science, For what reason? When all these people wish to learn the truth, God misleads them?

By Steverino (not verified) on 03 Mar 2009 #permalink

Steverino-- So, it is your position that God has intentionally mislead those in science, For what reason? When all these people wish to learn the truth, God misleads them?

For the lulz.

God is a /b/tard.

Newfags cant Trinity.

Really???...So, all the civilzations prior to Christianity were without morals???

Oh, they might have had morals, but they weren't ABSOLUTE MORALSTM. You know, like "no shellfish", or "be sure to knock up your brother's widow".

"hay guyz, check out my internal critique of naturalism :immediately appeals to the supernatural:"

By minimalist (not verified) on 03 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rhology said: Prove that moral statements SHOULD BE TAKEN differently than questions of ice cream preference. If it affects our quality of life, 1) So what? 2) Define "quality" in a non-question-begging way.

I don't need to prove any of that, that's what you can't get through your thick skull. The moment I deny the objective absoluteness of morality that you desperately wish to assume, the burdon of such proofs is lifted from me. Your argument has no substance.

Rho: Fortunately I'm not using [CS Lewis'] arguments. Try again.

Actually you are in a very fundamental way. You are demanding objective proofs in an area where they do not apply, and challenging empirical behavior on the basis of lightweight philosophy.

Rho: I didn't say [absolute morals] were necessary. This is part of my internal critique of naturalism - if no God, then no objective morals. So all claims of "that is morally reprehensible", such as the killing grounds of Cambodia, the frequent occurrence of gangs of Baptists beating up gays en masse, putting babies into woodchippers, and Joe Citizen raping and murdering your children, are empty. They mean the same as "I like ice cream" and carry the same weight - no weight.

But they in fact do carry more weight, as the reality of human beavior demonstrates on a daily bsis. You may see morality as an absolute-or-nothing deal, but most of humanity does not. You may not care about your quality of life, but most of humanity does. You can deny reality because it does not conform to your presuppositions, but don't expect your arguments to have any prsuasive power with anyone who rejects those presuppositions.

Please explain how the testimony and findings of a CSI team studying a crime scene 10 years later would be preferable to the testimony of an infallible and wholly truthful eyewitness. Remember in which section I put this!

Rhology, you can't possibly think that there can't be better evidence for God than what there is now. I don't know why you're saying that. I don't know if you're kidding with people or what. I don't know what CSI has to do with that either. Shrug!

Rhology is a lying fucktard. He is too intelligent to be anything else.

This is a concession that a Designer hypothesis matches the data just as well as Darwinism. Thank you.

Other mammals have the functioning gene (guinea pigs don't but the mutation is in a different place to ours).
Common ancestry explains this,

So does a Designer hypothesis. I thought you were supposed to be proving evolution over and against ID here!

See, Rhology is picking and choosing, quote mining, to find sentences that he can answer with the answer he wants to give. What hs is ignoring is the fact that "a designer hypothesis' matches ANY CONCEIVABLE DATA equally well, and this has been said to him. Instead of responding adequately to that challenge, he picks quotes which allow him to sidestep it - and he is way too smart for that to be accident. "a designer hypothesis' is consistent with nested hierarchy - and it is consistent with a complete absence of nested hierarchy. And that means that presence or absence of nested hierarchy - or of any other conceivable piece of data - does not and can not inform the idea of 'a designer hypothesis' in any way. "a designer hypothesis' is impervious to data. And that means that "a designer hypothesis' is pure faith. Which is why it does not belong in the science classroom.

And thank you, Rhology, for conceding that most of the new Testament was written in an attempt to deny the validity of accounts of the actions and words of Jesus with which Paul did not agree.

Not that Jesus was messiah anyway. "Meshioch will come only when he is no longer needed. He will come the day after he arrives."

You're acting like a Christian in your moralising.

No, I'm acting like a humanist, Rho. I suggest you try it sometime. Free your mind from the mental prison of Biblical literalist. But like I wrote above, your morality, such as it is, is an extremely selfish and hyperindividualistic morality centered on "saving" yourself by serving a god that does not even exist.

Morality is a human construct. There is no force external to humanity to tell us what is right or wrong. That's the real deal. Now, in the absence of your sky daddy, figure out how you can live with the rest of us in a state of mutual respect and coexistence. Like I wrote above, it's not only possible, IT'S EASY.

Hi all,

Section in which I perform an internal critique of naturalism:

#234 - Steverino,
Bring fwd a bit of evidence, plz. What is the piece you consider the strongest? I'll critique it so you can see whether it's my belief that leads me to reject or whether it's analysis.

#235 - neil,
That being a designer mimicking common descent, that defiantly doesn't tie up with the Christian God who I seem to recall rather frowns upon dishonesty.

I didn't say "the Christian God". I said "a Designer". You keep weaseling out of this b/c you have no answer. It's rather pathetic to watch you thrash around like this, to be honest.
Stop guessing at the ethical attributes and motivations of the hypothetical designer and show me some friggin evidence that a designer hypothesis can't account for that evolution can.

I've already accepted that a big supernatural hoax could be an explanation, or FSM

Which is a concession. Thank you. Step 1 is complete - ID is at least as plausible as Darwinian evolution. Now comes the part where we ascertain the identity of the Designer.

The rest of your comment is more thrashing about. You are fairly lost here, but that's OK. I'm not here to convince you but rather to make y'all look foolish, and it's working out quite well.

#236 - Tyler and #244 Lee (having copycatted),
His unknown designer could easily be replaced with an unknown magic unicorn

Yes. One would think that if evolution were so obvious and had all these mountains of evidence, this would not be the case.
You guys are conceding tons of ground here and seem not to realise it.

It provides a mechanistic reduction from which certain falsifiable predictions follow, all of which are confirmed by the empirical evidence.

And so could a Designer hypothesis. Next?

#241 - minimalist,

Now that I'm dividing my comments into 2 sections, please quote me from the naturalism section appealing to the supernatural.

#242 - SA,
You may see morality as an absolute-or-nothing deal, but most of humanity does not.

I didn't say *I* see it that way, since this is part of the naturalism internal critique. I'm just pointing out the consequences of the naturalistic worldview on moral statements. There is no possibility of objective moral statements and therefore no way to say "chopping up babies in woodchippers is wrong". One would have to say "it's icky TO ME but it's not icky to you, and neither carries any weight."

You may not care about your quality of life, but most of humanity does.

Begging the question, since you can't define "quality" in any objective way. You just can't keep your hand out of the cookie jar!

#244 - Lee,
he picks quotes which allow him to sidestep it - and he is way too smart for that to be accident.

Then point out where and how I have improperly quoted. Anytime.

#245 - Tommykey,
Morality is a human construct.

Then I can construct it differently, can't I? I'm a human.
I hereby state and assert that it is morally commendable to wipe Tommykey's entire family from existence forthwith.
Now, is that valid or not? If not, why not? If you disagree with my morality here stated, please explain how yours is superior to mine. If you appeal to greater numbers of people, please explain how that is relevant, how might does indeed make right. Thanks.

-----------------------------------------
Section in which I presuppose and defend Christianity:

#234 - Steverino,
you would still have to provide positive proof of your God.

Right after you provide proof for your worldview. Why not present an argument? What is your position and how do you know it's right?

#237, So, all the civilzations prior to Christianity were without morals???

Didn't say that. Go back, read it again. Might even try reading the article about morals I linked to.

#238, When all these people wish to learn the truth, God misleads them

1) God has already revealed the truth in His revelation. Looking for an alternative b/c you don't like the God answer is not commendable.
2 Thessalonians 2 speaks about this
8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

I suggest repentance, personally. So does God.

2) Do you have some overarching objective moral standard that would allow you to determine whether such deluding influence is morally wrong? You sound like you think it's bad of God to do that, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.
If not, then OK, it's not bad. If so, then what is it and how do you know it?

#240 - mds,
You know, like "no shellfish", or "be sure to knock up your brother's widow".

1) It's "marry your brother's widow", for one thing. Such a freakish devaluation of the blessing of children you exhibit!
2) Do you have some overarching objective moral standard that would allow you to determine whether such deluding influence is morally wrong? You sound like you think it's bad of God to do that, but I don't want to put words in your mouth.
If not, then OK, it's not bad. If so, then what is it and how do you know it?

#244 - Lee,
And thank you, Rhology, for conceding that most of the new Testament was written in an attempt to deny the validity of accounts of the actions and words of Jesus with which Paul did not agree.

When did I say anythg of the kind? A direct quote will suffice, thanks.

Rhology:
"What a dumb thing to say. You deny the validity of MY beliefs. Waaaa! Let's stick to the issues."

No, Sir, I do not. Your faith beliefs are yours. I've already said I have no problem with that. Please have the Christian honesty and grace to not lie about my position.

I am denying that there is any rational way to distinguish between conflicting faith beliefs. This is faith belief - the premises of faith belief systems are accepted without evidence. You believe your premises, on faith. My premises differ,I arrive at different set of faith beliefs - and there is no way to rationally or logically distinguish between the truth of your faith beliefs and mine.

You would insert your faith beliefs into public policy - as in, a requirement in our public schools to teach as observable fact in the world a conclusion you arrive at from your faith premises. THAT is what I oppose, Sir, because THAT is a denial of my right to have my beliefs.

Rhology said:I'm just pointing out the consequences of the naturalistic worldview on moral statements. There is no possibility of objective moral statements...

True.

...and therefore no way to say "chopping up babies in woodchippers is wrong".

False, empirically and demonstrably. People say it all the time, and it gets results.

One would have to say "it's icky TO ME but it's not icky to you"...

False. We are mot limited to saying "it is icky". We also can appeal to our common humanity, our instincts, values and desires.

...and neither carries any weight.

False, empirically and demonstrably. It carries considerable weight, since it is the way people generally conduct their affairs.

Once again, you are denying objective, observable reality on the basis of idle theorizing as if humans were some sort of rhetorical construct. Humans are real, their behavior can be observed, and it doesn't bear the slightest resemblence to your mental masterbations.

Begging the question, since you can't define "quality" in any objective way.

And again, since I reject the notion of absolute, provable morals, I don't have to define quality objectively. The subjective version humans all over the world use is sufficient.

Rhology said: Doc Bill, I'm not aware of anyone who argues that lizards can't evolve into lizards. Maybe you know someone who does argue that, but it's not me.

There is no one arguing that creationists can't apply the same term to different species either. The argument was that this one species evolved to become two, which was the point of your challenge. What you choose to call them is completely irrelevant.

Which is a concession. Thank you. Step 1 is complete - ID is at least as plausible as Darwinian evolution. Now comes the part where we ascertain the identity of the Designer.'

Careful old chap your walking on very thin ice now 9th commandment wise.

At no point have I said ID is as plausible as Darwinian evolution, and you know it.

Firstly the only concession I have given is that a very specific form of designer i.e one that has made it look exactly like common descent etc could be an 'explanation' however I've made it very clear how unplausible I find such a suggestion.
Secondly I have not been referring to 'Darwinian evolution' I am aware of the last 150 years you know, I would have thought it was clear I'm referring to the modern synthesis.
It is clear I have stated this explanation (ToE) as much more plausible.

Frankly this whole 'trickster god' or 'evolution mimicking designer' buisness is an utter red herring and you know it, the reasons why are plainly stated by many posters above.

The only reason I'm thrashing around pathetically is as I didn't really want to get rude, although it's started to creep in.
I was really trying to show some respect for you as a fellow human being, looks like that was a waste of time too.

So lets be clear.

Every single bit of information I know about biology from years of study shows me clearly that common ancestry is true and that the ToE (modern synthesis not just Darwin) is the best available explanation for this fact.
There is nothing I have ever come across in biology that needs any 'designer' explanation.
The notion that some supernatural designer could have done it but made it look exactly like they didn't is such a stupid idea it is only worthy of ridicule and contempt.

I hope that makes it clear what I am conceding, so lets not see any 'false witnessing'.

I didn't start this as game, I am fascinated by biology and made a genuine attempt a communicating some of the reality of it as you seemed to lack much of an understanding of biology.
You have made no attempt to interact with the actual facts, you have played word games and tried to score points. That makes you a twat.
Harsh but I feel fair.

"Yes. One would think that if evolution were so obvious and had all these mountains of evidence, this would not be the case."

You are obviously too stupid to recognize the point I made, as what I said applies to any scientific theory, not just evolution. Once again, it's trivial to make any conjecture fit any data, ad hoc. Non-mechanistic magic can be made compatible with observations justifying quantum mechanics, too.

"And so could a Designer hypothesis."

You obviously do not have a clue what any of the terms I used actually mean, your ignorance beggars description.

Now that I'm dividing my comments into 2 sections, please quote me from the naturalism section appealing to the supernatural.

Why, that would be this part of #233:

#192 - neil,
Only with what a designer mimicking common descent would predict.

This is a concession that a Designer hypothesis matches the data just as well as Darwinism. Thank you.

Your designer "hypothesis" is 100% supernatural. You proceed from supernatural premises, to wit:

They are all designed. God created the entire universe.

...and, of course, your belief that a collection of Bronze Age folk tales -- self-contradictory, lacking correspondence to objective reality in many crucial areas, serially (badly) translated, jumbled and interfered with by any number of hands for political purposes -- is the infallible work of an omniscient, omnipotent Gawd.

You have been completely unable to give a naturalistic, mechanistic model for your designer "hypothesis". You have been challenged repeatedly; and repeatedly, you have sniveled, whined, weaseled, and most importantly, failed to come up with anything other than "POOF! magic".

Your repeated attempts to whimper that "the designer could be naturalistic!" is just a figleaf. You don't believe that. And nobody here buys it because we all see your presuppositions; we all know exactly what you are saying.

What you are engaging in is exactly the sort of thing I mocked when you first toddled in here, which is the image of creationist wearing a paper bag with two crude eyeholes punched in, and the words "NOT A KREASHUNIST" scrawled underneath. Of course, given the ultra-authoritarian tradition in which you were brought up, if a religious leader claims something it's obviously true! No questions allowed.

Those of us who accord a certain level of importance to evidence and, importantly, know what words mean, see it otherwise.

By minimalist (not verified) on 04 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rho issues a challenge: show me some friggin evidence that a designer hypothesis can't account for that evolution can.

Sure. What kind of designer would come up with the design for the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe?

Presumably your designer is super intelligent. Presumably you can determine which designs are His because they are so much more elegant than those of a human engineer. If those presumptions are incorrect, tell me how you can detect His designs otherwise. If those presumptions are correct, tell me the rationale behind the ridiculous "design" of the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve.

Evolutionary theory and developmental biology give us an excellent explanation for this poor design. I won't bother to explain that to you, because your ability to understand basic biology has been shown to be minimal. Besides, you have the Google; you can look it up for yourself.

What's your explanation for that pathetic design?

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 04 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rho,

There is plenty of evidence that support TOE, however, as you lack the intellectual honesty, due to your biased, you will be unable to give a unbiased answer.

Tell using the Bible as your basis for all information, why is Jerm Theory Okey Dokey with you?

Oh, and nice side step, everyone keeps asking you for proof of God..and you cannot supply it.

Again, even if TOE were untrue, you still have to proof God.

And, you are unable.

By Steverino (not verified) on 04 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rho,

Oh, Ape/Human Chromosome is pretty compelling evidence of common ancestry.

The "no one was there to witness it" defense is an intellectual cop-out plus, neither ID or Creation has an explanation supported by any type of evidence to explain the differences, similarites or the fused chromosome.

By Steverino (not verified) on 04 Mar 2009 #permalink

Hi all,

This thread has been quite fun and illuminating, so I thank you all for your participation and engagement. I have a 2-day-old son now and am going to take a break for about a week.
This thread is kind of winding down anyway, and quite nicely, I might add. Please, continue to direct people here as you've already done in more than one place, as I think your utter failure to answer virtually all of my arguments serves my position quite nicely. And don't forget (especially you, minimalist) which section you're replying to, if you reply.

Quoth the Rhology:

your utter failure to answer virtually all of my arguments

Anyone want a slightly broken used irony meter?

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rho prevaricated: your utter failure to answer virtually all of my arguments serves my position quite nicely.

The view must be interesting from "your position"... Apparently you missed #253 above, where your question about evidence was answered directly, per usual. Ignore it if you must, but the evidence will not go away.

Perhaps by the time your son is old enough to wonder why you lied to him all those years, you will begin to comprehend the meaning of "evidence".

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rhology, congratulations and mazel tov on your son!!! "I have a 2-day-old son now" Did your wife contribute?

Sleep whenever you can, son.

Not so much congratulations, though, on your honesty. But we knew that.

Rhology wrote (#233):

"a human wouldn't make the Torah up"

Right, because humans have never been known to write things.

I think a lot of the reason people have wasted so much time with an obvious lost cause is that Rhology--despite being batshit crazy, hypocritical in the extreme, and just plain incompetent in all the ways one expects of a victim of fundamentalism--demonstrates clear intelligence. People who are intelligent yet say unbelievably stupid things, and do it proudly and with utter confidence, cause observers a certain amount of intellectual anguish, because they think they've *got* to be kidding, or at least that the possibility exists. Rhology is merely the lost cause he appears to be.

ERV, a dubious congrats to you for attracting maybe the most egregious creationist troll I've yet to see on Science Blogs or anywhere else. And I don't know whether you're creeped out or honored that a scan of his blog reveals that he dedicates a sizable amount of his worthless verbiage to mentioning you.

Ideally his wife would give birth every week, so he would refrain from embarrassing himself on the Web any longer. Hell, we can always pray for miracles.

Now I just want the two hours I spent scrolling though this insane bullshit, agog at every step that someone would willing bend over for a massive and drawn-out rhetorical cornholing, back.

By Dances with MILFs (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

"Please, continue to direct people here as you've already done in more than one place, as I think your utter failure to answer virtually all of my arguments serves my position quite nicely."

Well, what can I say? Some people are just delusional.

Congratulations on the son, btw. Hopefully the ignorance you will inevitably impose upon him will not damage him permanently.

Good luck with the baby, Rho. Infants have a notoriously poor grasp of object permanence and other higher cognitive functions, so you'll actually be able to fool him with the "I'm doing this, but saying I'm not doing it" shell game... for a little while, anyway.

More your speed, eh?

By minimalist (not verified) on 07 Mar 2009 #permalink

I guess referring to the actual world instead of the one Rhology carries around in his head qualifies as refusing to answer his arguments...to him. Everyone else, not so much. But by all means Rhology, keep asserting that atheists cannot do what anyone can plainly see that they do in fact do. It can only help.

"a human wouldn't make the Torah up"

Right, because humans have never been known to write things.

Dances, as I keep telling him, the Creation account in Genesis reads just as exactly as we would expect it to from the perspective of a Bronze Age man who had no inkling that the Earth revolved around the sun and rotated on its axis, and that the stars in the sky were also suns like our own that have planets of their own orbiting them.

Then again, Rhology is right. No human (singular) would make the Torah up. It was the product of humans (plural).

*IF* God was there and said how it went down, why should anyone believe the CSI team? Just grant the former for the sake of argument and answer the question.

Well, *IF* God was there and said how it went down, I would expect something at least half as long and detailed as Darwin's Origin of the Species. Again, to reiterate, get the details right. State specifically that the Earth orbits the sun and that it rotates on its axis. Mention that planets orbit the stars we see in the night sky. Again, for something that is supposed to be a revelation from the supreme being that created it all, you set the bar pretty low.

Again, if the view of the cosmos described in Genesis is about what we would expect from the perspective of a Bronze Age man rather than an immensely powerful and intelligent being that created a virtually infinite universe, then I see no reason to presuppose your Infallible witness. All I see is one or more fallible Bronze Age men taking their best guess. If the CSI team's evidence does not confirm their flawed perspective, then I'm going with the CSI team's findings, with the caveat that future discoveries might shed new light on the story.

Howdy all,

So my wife had our son and I took a week off, just in time to catch a cold or something that knocked me out from Wed night until Sat night. I was considering leaving this thread alone, but it's not all that old, so why not?
As customarily, please pay close attention to the two sections.
--Section in which I perform an internal critique of naturalism:--

#247, Lee,
I am denying that there is any rational way to distinguish between conflicting faith beliefs

This is stupid talk, sorry. You yourself have faith in all kinds of things, such as naturalism. Surely you don't think that there is no way to distinguish between naturalism and Christianity.
If you deny the premise, how about providing a little evidence for naturalism? It's only the 15th time I've asked, in this thread.

You would insert your faith beliefs into public policy

Um, yes, b/c I have a right to ask the gov't to respect my wishes.
And you yourself have faith in naturalism and would insert it into public policy, in negation of my own position. Don't be such a hypocrite about this.

#248 - SA,

I said: ...and therefore no way to say "chopping up babies in woodchippers is wrong".
You said: False, empirically and demonstrably. People say it all the time, and it gets results.

Hahaha. Snake oil "gets results" too, b/c it convinces people to buy it.
Since it's not objectively wrong by your own admission, it looks like you could say that it is wrong, but I could say that it is not wrong... where does that leave us? Where is the standard of comparison?

We also can appeal to our common humanity, our instincts, values and desires.

1) I say those are useless. How do you know I'm wrong to discount them?
2) It begs the question to appeal to any common humanity to support an idea of morality that one human or one set of humans advances over and against an idea that another human or set of humans advances that is different, since each can appeal to "common humanity" and such.
You have nothing. Your only way out here is to admit that there is nothing in naturalism that can support moral statements other than "I like it" and "I don't like it".

since it is the way people generally conduct their affairs.

Again, begging the question.

Humans are real, their behavior can be observed

Yep, and their behavior doesn't always agree with your standards of morality. Why arbitrarily make what YOU want the standard of comparison? After all, humans are real, their behavior can be observed, you know.

#249- SA,

The argument was that this one species evolved to become two, which was the point of your challenge.

OK, maybe DocBill was responding to someone else. That doesn't respond to my challenge, no.

#250, neil-

At no point have I said ID is as plausible as Darwinian evolution

You're apparently not very good at ascertaining what is good and necessary consequence of text. You clearly conceded that very thing. Self-deception isn't worth much coin.

You have made no attempt to interact with the actual facts, you have played word games and tried to score points.

I won't even try to conceal how much this hurts, neil.

#251, Tyler DiPietro,

it's trivial to make any conjecture fit any data, ad hoc.

Like Darwin did? ID was the prevailing idea back before him, you know?

Non-mechanistic magic can be made compatible with observations justifying quantum mechanics, too

I've been over that. Feel free to answer my challenges about karma and about the worldview surrounding magic.

#252, minimalist-

Your designer "hypothesis" is 100% supernatural. You proceed from supernatural premises, to wit:

Don't be so dense. You quoted me from the "internal critique of naturalism section".
And this wouldn't be much of a naturalistic critique if I incorporated supernatural. I'm just saying the data fits a naturalistic Designer better than natsel. You apparently have no response. Thanks for playing.

Your repeated attempts to whimper that "the designer could be naturalistic!" is just a figleaf. You don't believe that.

1) I doubt anyone would accept that as the only response from a Christian to the Flying Spaghetti Monster challenge - "You don't believe that." Come now, but YOU'RE supposed to get out of jail free just b/c you're on the evilution side? Please.
2) Dick Dawk himself and Francis Crick think panspermia are possible, and that's naturalistic, so there you go.
3) No, I don't believe it, but I am limiting myself to those options in this section. It's called a "thought experiment." Maybe you've heard of that before.

#253, Albatrossity,

What kind of designer would come up with the design for the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe?

A powerful one, but maybe who didn't want to create everything totally perfect, and maybe one whose reasons you don't know.
That's pretty pitiful, seriously. Your best response is "Well, ***I*** wouldn't do it that way!!!" Who cares how YOU would have done it?
Now, your evidence that the facts fit your hypothesis better than mine?

Evolutionary theory and developmental biology give us an excellent explanation for this poor design.

Actually, they give you no explanation for "design" at all. Poor as it may be, it still works, at least some of the time.
And the ID hypothesis matches these types of facts just as well - no one is claiming the Designer wanted to create Utopia.

#255 - Steverino,
Ape/Human Chromosome is pretty compelling evidence of common ancestry.

Why? Give specific reasons.

-------------------------
--Section in which I presuppose and defend Christianity:--

#252, minimalist-

the image of creationist wearing a paper bag with two crude eyeholes punched in

I have been clear from the beginning that I am a creationist. That doesn't mean I can't show you where you're wrong in critiquing ID.

#254 - Steverino,
Tell using the Bible as your basis for all information, why is Jerm Theory Okey Dokey with you?

I don't even know what "Jerm" theory is.
Neither does Talkorigins. Try again.

you still have to proof God.

No, I don't.
But just for fun, I welcome your interaction on this brief presentation.
Or this one.

#265, Tommykey,

the Creation account in Genesis reads just as exactly as we would expect it to from the perspective of a Bronze Age man

Bronze Age man also thought that it hurt when he stubbed his toe on a rock. You don't think it's untrue b/c of that, do you?
This is silly and untrue, actually, but even if it were true, it simply speaks not at all of the truth of the record. It's modern bias and ethnocentristic, really. How about some arguments?

the Earth revolved around the sun and rotated on its axis

Tommy now believes he can read minds of dead people. Shouldn't you guys excommunicate him from your church for that heresy?

Well, *IF* God was there and said how it went down, I would expect something at least half as long and detailed as Darwin's Origin of the Species.

Who cares what YOU would expect? Give me an argument to that effect. Why precisely is what was said totally insufficient for the purposes it set out to accomplish? Be specific.

It lives! Aaaaahhhhh! It's come to eat your brains! Run away!!

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 16 Mar 2009 #permalink

"Now, your evidence that the facts fit your hypothesis better than mine?"

Okay Rhology, here is the opportunity of a lifetime: explain, in clear terms, what exactly this "hypothesis" of your's is.

Bronze Age man also thought that it hurt when he stubbed his toe on a rock. You don't think it's untrue b/c of that, do you?

Now that was really stupid, Rhology. Bronze Age man didn't think it hurt, it DID hurt. There's no comparison between a response to pain and one's limited understanding of the cosmos because he lacked a telescope.

Tommy now believes he can read minds of dead people.Who cares what YOU would expect?

Well, you asked.

Why precisely is what was said totally insufficient for the purposes it set out to accomplish? Be specific.

I was specific. You chose not to address it. But here we go again:

State specifically that the Earth orbits the sun and that it rotates on its axis. Mention that planets orbit the stars we see in the night sky. Again, for something that is supposed to be a revelation from the supreme being that created it all, you set the bar pretty low.

More of the same solipsistic tripe.

Rhology argues that there is no difference between beliefs for which there is no evidence, and things seen and observed, because you have to have a belief that there is such a thing as existence. See, its all belief. Therefore, G_d - but only G_d as Rhology understands it to be.

Pure rancid fermenting bullcrap.

Enough. Apologetics - and Rhology - are too fundamentally dishonest for me to take any more of it.

Assholes! This is why you always use acid or fire on the troll. They regenerate. GAWD YOU GUISE ARE LIEK TEH WORST PARTY EVAR!

Lurker here. Very entertaining thread. Sorry, Rho: if your God can't come up with better evidence for His Own existence than mimicking godless evolution, down to the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve and pseudogenes, then He is a bungler or a trickster and not worthy of worship. I'll stick with materialism, which does not explain everything, but explains quite a bit. But thanks for the dance.

Rho, suffering from sleeplessness, wanks on re the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe.

What kind of designer would come up with the design for the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe?

A powerful one, but maybe who didn't want to create everything totally perfect, and maybe one whose reasons you don't know.
That's pretty pitiful, seriously. Your best response is "Well, ***I*** wouldn't do it that way!!!" Who cares how YOU would have done it? Now, your evidence that the facts fit your hypothesis better than mine?

Hilarious! So if your designer can do things for reasons that we don't know, and if his designs can be so mysterious that they resemble the workings of an addled kindergartner, what attributes can you define that will allow any of us to detect his designs?

Here's a clue-by-four. If both good design and bad design are considered to be evidence of your designer, your notions can't be discussed by rational people seeking useful explanations. But we knew that already, didn't we?

As for the evidence that evolutionary theory explains this anatomy, as I mentioned in my original comment, it's quite solid, but you have proven that you are incapable of understanding it. It involves vertebrate developmental biology, and I really don't have time to teach you. But I can suggest a good book to help you learn on those upcoming sleepless nights. Come back and ask again when you can write a coherent paragraph, in your own words, about the timing relationship between cranial nerve migration and cardiovascular development.

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 17 Mar 2009 #permalink

Here's a clue-by-four. If both good design and bad design are considered to be evidence of your designer, your notions can't be discussed by rational people seeking useful explanations. But we knew that already, didn't we?

Rho thinks everything in the natural universe is designed. His reasons aren't any deeper or more descriptive than "it looks that way to me, okay!?" and "the Bible tells me so." So, not only is "design" completely useless as a description -- lacking any point of comparison with something that might be un-designed, plus the fact that Rho will contort himself to view any and every scenario as a result of "design", see the giraffe example above --but if everything natural was "designed" then by definition that requires a supernatural designer. Which is why I keep hammering him about his pathetic attempts to arbitrarily designate his magical designer to be off-limits when arguing for design, because he is entirely arguing from supernaturalistic premises and his argument loses what little "support" it has without them.

There's a naturalistic way to argue for a designer -- Mike Behe has tried -- but Rho has proudly declared his ignorance of such arguments, leaving him without a leg to stand on.

By minimalist (not verified) on 17 Mar 2009 #permalink

Bronze Age man also thought that it hurt when he stubbed his toe on a rock. You don't think it's untrue b/c of that, do you?

I'll take Pathetic Analogies for $1,200, Alex.

Seriously, this is the level this clown operates at? I was about to hit the archives, but now I won't bother. I don't need that kind of blood pressure rise in the morning.

Rho thinks everything in the natural universe is designed. His reasons aren't any deeper or more descriptive than "it looks that way to me, okay!?" and "the Bible tells me so."

He really has no choice, Minimalist. His entire edifice of belief would come crashing down if he admitted that not everything in the Bible should be interpreted literally. "Well, if Noah's Ark didn't really happen, then that must mean that Jesus was not born from a virgin and rose from the dead. I might as well put my newborn son in the microwave oven now."

"how about providing a little evidence for naturalism?"

What the fuck is "naturalism"? A label for the assumption that the world operates without gods, correct? In that case, since there's no evidence for gods, there's nothing to defend. It's on the godders of the world to show just what's wrong with refusing to accept god-claims in the absence of sound reason.

Here's a demand parallel to Rhology's:

On one side you've got people who believe that waving dildos with magnets attached to them around can cure disease. They're sure of it, but they have no evidence. The medical community at large shrugs these numbfucks off and proceeds to seek science-based solutions to illness.

But the Dildomaggers are a persistent lot, and they come to label the so-called "philosophy" mainstream docs "undiddlism." This is so they can turn around and demand proof of "undiddlism," and then, when people dismiss this as trivially silly, accuse them of ducking a legitimate question.

How fucking stupid is this guy? I've never seen a more ignorant and brainwashed person enjoy wasting hours and hours sticking his bare pimply ass in the air just so that his intellectual betters can continue savagely smashing toilet plungers into it. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

By Dances with MILFs (not verified) on 20 Mar 2009 #permalink

Albatrossity insisted I return, so OK, I'm back. I would have expected a little bit of actually substantive interaction from him given his insistence, but alas, I've been disappointed.
Bottom line - this is my last post here unless someone provides some evidence for naturalism. Put up or shut up.

As customarily, please pay close attention to the two sections.
--Section in which I perform an internal critique of naturalism:--

#270, Tommykey,
Bronze Age man didn't think it hurt, it DID hurt.

No, he THOUGHT it hurt. If his brain was deceiving him, he didn't perceive it.

#271 - Lee
You didn't offer any argumentation. Too bad for you.

#274, Albatrossity,
what attributes can you define that will allow any of us to detect his designs?

He designs. He is intelligent, powerful, creative, at least partly communicative, among other things. You're not paying very close attention.

If both good design and bad design are considered to be evidence of your designer,

Haha - walking right into cannonfire. Look at what you said again:
If both good design and bad design are considered to be evidence of your designer,

So, you're asking me if design is to be considered evidence of a designer? Hmm, let me think about that one...

#277, Tommykey,
I might as well put my newborn son in the microwave oven now."

Please describe why that would be wrong to do if naturalism is true. Be specific about the standard of comparison you use to determine right and wrong.

#278 - Dances,
What is naturalism?

The belief that all is natural, and there is no room for supernatural.
What are you even doing here if you don't know that? Seriously.

In that case, since there's no evidence for gods, there's nothing to defend.

I'd sure like some evidence for naturalism. Got any?

On one side you've got people who believe that waving dildos with magnets attached to them around can cure disease. They're sure of it, but they have no evidence.

Kind of like those who claim naturalism is true. They're sure of it, but they have no evidence. Where is your evidence?

-------------------------
--Section in which I presuppose and defend Christianity:--

#270, Tommykey,
I asked:Why precisely is what was said totally insufficient for the purposes it set out to accomplish? Be specific.
Tommy said:
State specifically that the Earth orbits the sun, etc...

Ah ha, you fell headlong into my trap. That was not the intention it set out to achieve. You are biblically illiterate. Not saying that means you're worthless, but you have little to add in a conversation on this topic.

#273, zilch
if your God can't come up with better evidence for His Own existence than mimicking godless evolution, down to the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve and pseudogenes, then He is a bungler or a trickster and not worthy of worship.

I don't grant that He did a lot of mimicking. Rather, you INTERPRET, wrongly, the facts as they are and then call it godless evolution.
And on what basis do you say that He is unworthy of worship? Give me a standard of comparison by which you judge "worthy of worship" and "unworthy of worship".

#275 - minimalist,
His reasons aren't any deeper or more descriptive than "it looks that way to me, okay!?" and "the Bible tells me so.

Keep on believing that if it helps your ulcer.

but if everything natural was "designed" then by definition that requires a supernatural designer

True. But remember what section I put that answer in! In critiquing naturalism (1st section), I restrict myself to showing ToE's insufficiency and am mum on the identity of the ID.

#277, Tommykey,
if he admitted that not everything in the Bible should be interpreted literally.

You are truly clueless. It's really disappointing to hear you make such a facile error when we've interacted numerous times.
Here is the actual answer.

Going for the coveted "Double Dingbat" award for simultaneously beating a long-dead horse *AND* completely misrepresenting everyone's arguments, it's RHOLOGY!

Round of applause, everyone! Then run!

By LanceR, JSG (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

#270, Tommykey,
Bronze Age man didn't think it hurt, it DID hurt.

No, he THOUGHT it hurt. If his brain was deceiving him, he didn't perceive it.

So if I press a hot iron on your face while you are sleeping, you won't feel a thing, because you can't be deceived into thinking it hurts if you're unconscious, right?

#277, Tommykey,
I might as well put my newborn son in the microwave oven now."

Please describe why that would be wrong to do if naturalism is true. Be specific about the standard of comparison you use to determine right and wrong.

Well, first off, they taste so much better if you deep fry them instead. :-P

Seriously, I'm not sure exactly what you personally mean by naturalism. If I missed your definition somewhere, I apologize, but ask that you please restate briefly.

As for the standard I personally use, it is a universal standard. All people have the right to live their lives without having physical and mental pain or injury inflicted on them. All you have to do is accept that principle, and cooking infants in the microwave or stealing purses from old ladies is unacceptable behavior. If you tolerate it, then it is like a cancer that metastasizes through the body.

So, if you lost faith in Jesus tomorrow, would YOU cook your infant son in a microwave?

#270, Tommykey,
I asked:Why precisely is what was said totally insufficient for the purposes it set out to accomplish? Be specific.
Tommy said:
State specifically that the Earth orbits the sun, etc...

Ah ha, you fell headlong into my trap. That was not the intention it set out to achieve. You are biblically illiterate. Not saying that means you're worthless, but you have little to add in a conversation on this topic.

What trap, Admiral Akbar? You asked me why I personally do not accept the Genesis account of creation and I have repeatedly told you why. I wasn't debating you, I was explaining MY reasons for disbelief. And all you have to offer is some crappy analogy about an infallible witness versus a CSI team. If the evidence uncovered by the CSI team does not match the claims of this alleged infallible witness, then I have to seriously doubt the infallibility of the witness. If you want to believe it, that is your choice, but it is not binding on me.

#277, Tommykey,
if he admitted that not everything in the Bible should be interpreted literally.

You are truly clueless. It's really disappointing to hear you make such a facile error when we've interacted numerous times.

No, you're the clueless one my friend, as you took the sentence out of context. Here is what I wrote immediately after the sentence you quoted above:

Well, if Noah's Ark didn't really happen, then that must mean that Jesus was not born from a virgin and rose from the dead.

Please do forgive me if I am mistaken, but you do believe that the Genesis account of creation is literally true, right? You do believe that a snake spoke to Eve, correct? You do believe the story of Noah's Ark, yes? The Tower of Babel? Jonah and the Whale? (or big fish?).

My point obviously was that you can't allow yourself to view these stories as allegories rather than literal, historical events, otherwise your edifice of belief would come crashing down. Of course I didn't mean to imply that you believed that Jesus literally gave Peter physical keys to the gates of heaven, silly boy. People can and do believe in the divinity of Christ without believing the Noah's Ark story.

Now go give yourself 20 lashes with a wet noodle.

Surely there also must be some sort of Broken Record/Demented Parrot award for going in the tiniest circles ever. It's like he thinks if he waits long enough after everyone makes their response, nobody will notice when he just repeats exactly what you were responding to in the first place.

And then, of course, he had to go and outdo himself with this bit of GOTO 10 tautology:

"How do you detect your designer?"
"He designs."

Brilliant.

By minimalist (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

Holy shit, I just realized something:

what attributes can you define that will allow any of us to detect his designs?

He designs. He is intelligent, powerful, creative, at least partly communicative, among other things. You're not paying very close attention.

Hey, Idesign! I'm also intelligent, powerful, creative, and at least partially communicative!

Oh my god, you guys... I MUST BE GOD.

By minimalist (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

No, he THOUGHT it hurt. If his brain was deceiving him, he didn't perceive it.

Now try and explain the difference between thinking that something hurts, and something actually hurting.

By the bullcooker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

What's really frightening about Rhology is that clearly within his peer group he's perceived as being at the top of his game as far as apologetics is concerned. They probably think he's a witty guy to boot - more proof that this subset of Christians is more deluded than we can ever begin to understand.

By the bullcooker (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rho tautologizes when asked about attributes that would allow us to detect his designer: He designs. He is intelligent, powerful, creative, at least partly communicative, among other things. You're not paying very close attention.

I'm pretty sure that I have already figured out that an attribute of a designer is that "he designs". Do you have anything less circular in your argument pile? Like something that would make his designs different from other designers? A trademark, perhaps?

Then, when I pointed out that it is difficult to define anything when contradictory attributes (both good design and bad design) are considered to be evidence for the same thing, Rho whiffed: So, you're asking me if design is to be considered evidence of a designer? Hmm, let me think about that one...

Don't strain anything while you're thinking, OK? Just let me know how two DIFFERENT AND CONTRADICTORY parameters can be considered to be evidence of the same thing.

If you need an analogy to lubricate your synapse for this thinking process, it would be like saying that the Mona Lisa and a crayon drawing a chimp are obviously products of the same artist. In case you hadn't noticed, "good" and "bad" are antonyms, not synonyms.

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 31 Mar 2009 #permalink

Rhology has just appeared at my blog, and this thread popped up in my search when I was trying to find out what he's all about. I'm not sure whether to be flattered or frightened that he's found me...

Jay-- The prize for getting a Rho-comment is a bottle of Equate brand aspirin! It should be arriving in the mail shortly! lol.