"Faith" We ALL have it!

If you're a believer, looking for a debate or attempting to make a correction - this forum is just for you!

Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Thu May 15, 2014 9:37 pm

Did you read the following quote?

http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2008 ... yet-again/
As, however, a cell is a complex structure, with its investing membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus, a gemmule, [...] must, perhaps, be a compound one, so as to reproduce all the parts.

Do you think it's coincidence that he associates the nucleus and nucleolus with gemmules, and thus sexual reproduction?

Did you read the linked papers by Darwin?
http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/fra ... &pageseq=2
http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/fra ... pageseq=20

Did you see the sketches of cell organelles made by Darwin himself? Look at the links. Look at the sketches. Read the papers.

Darwin describes a cell as a "complex structure".

This all started with you saying "Darwin had no way of knowing how complex a cell is." I posit, in fact, he had a very good idea. He knew that the nucleus was associated with reproduction. He was drawing cell organelles in published papers. Even though he was wrong about his cell-centered Lamarkian variation and inheritance, that led him to recognize and talk about the great problems of explaining mechanically the transfer of information for reproduction (meiosis and mitosis) which he put inside these things called gemmules.

This is not someone without a proper appreciation of the complexity of the cell.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Fri May 16, 2014 4:10 am

You are being evasive. I asked by what methods, by what standards, have you concluded that the Christian god hypothesis is true. You made allusions to fulfilled prophecy, but you did not out and out state that. Is that your method? Is there anything else in addition? Be specific, clear, and complete please.

How do you distinguish between fulfilled prophesies and not fulfilled prophesies? Surely you decide this by looking at the world around you, aka by the scientific evidence.

How do you distinguish between historical texts and texts which I whipped up 5 minutes ago from scratch? Surely you decide this by examining the available historical evidence. History is a science like any other.

How do you distinguish between lucky guesses and astounding prophesies? How do you distinguish between reliable, nontrivial, and specific predictions like those from a physicist, and supremely vague and unspecific prophesies like Nostradamus? Surely you would apply proper statistical analysis and Bayesian reasoning to determine the likeliness of the current evidence on the possible hypotheses, including:
1- Actually fulfilled, and it's specific enough and unlikely enough that being right by chance is unlikely, i.e. the predictions of a physicist.
2- Too vague and thus anything can qualify, i.e. Nostradamus.

All I see is science. I don't see anything but science. It seems that you did use science to conclude that the Christian god hypothesis is true.

But then you complain when the rest of us want to hold you to proper scientific rigor. There's a reason the rest of us demand sufficient evidence.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Fri May 16, 2014 12:47 pm

EL you say,
I'm going to focus on this one point, because IMHO this captures everything about our dispute.
Science has no way of verifying directly that anyone could KNOW the future before it happens. That would be an extra-natural (supernatural) reality.

Yes it does. You are trivially wrong. If someone could start predicting winning lotto numbers "as if by magic", and won 50 state lottos in a row, we would notice this. We would notice this by the collection of evidence (ex: newspaper headlines) and statistical analysis (how many other people have won 50 lottos in a row, and what are the naive odds of that happening by luck?). Then, we could test this under laboratory conditions. I do not understand how you could be so wrong. What are you thinking?


I am thinking that you don't draw the vital distinction between direct evidence (materialistic naturalism), and circumstantial evidence (Intelligent Design theory), the latter of which allows us to legitimately, though indirectly, make inferences toward a reasoned, but not objectively proven, conclusion of "design" inherent within the Universe and particularly living systems.

"Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? A prophet of god could easily be given information just like Bill Murray's character had. In the film, he did convince several people that he could see the future. He did so by making many falsifiable predictions, which were then tested (wait to see if the prediction comes true). He convinced people through falsifiable predictions of future sensory experience, through evidence, through science. The other people saw those falsifiable predictions fulfilled, and they did internal informal statistical analysis on the various possibilities - that it was a prank, that it was a conspiracy, and so on, and they came to the conclusion that Bill Murray's character really did have some unusual ability to predict the future."


Well, sci fi TV and Hollywood movies aside, the point I would make is that I've ALREADY given you "evidence" of prophecy. Did you accept it? No. Why? Because even though it is very compelling CIRCUMSTANTIAL evidence of a supernatural event, it is not evidence that your standard of passing the baseline test of MATERIALISTIC NATURALISM can entertain, no matter what. The Bill Murray thing is Hollywood comedy. But we are speaking here about authentic historical events. Why do you think you reject Isaiah or the Psalms wherein very specific prophecies concerning Jesus' birth, life and death are fulfilled exactly in the New Testament; events utterly beyond either His or His followers control??? It's easy for you to refer to comedy fiction to say how evidence might be forthcoming that would satisfy you. But when a parallel authentic historic instance is presented, we see that it is not really so. Can "Science" understand prophecy? How would it even go about using its materialist methodology to begin? Ridiculous. If you can't get beyond materialism in your defining of Science to a point where you define it as "Inquiry seeking the "truth" no matter where the evidence leads", you're NEVER going to accept anything that will allow a transcendent explanation. Again, the argument you propose (that there could be a reasonable way for materialist investigation to verify the supernatural), exists as an oxymoron.

Of course, those demonstrations would not be demonstrations of the source of that power. But to conflate those is to commit a fundamental misunderstanding of science.


Like other dogmatic naturalists, the confusion lies in you mis-defining what Science OUGHT to mean. ( It ought to mean, "Inquiry seeking the "truth" no matter where the evidence leads")

Science is not materialistic. If you ask me what is it that causes hammers to fall, I will answer "I don't know".


Then I'll enlighten you. It's called "gravity". For such questions (like all the applied sciences, engineering etc,) materialist science is not only fine, it's a required methodology. Within the world there are predictable Laws and we study things trying to understand how those laws apply within the natural world and how we might use and manipulate those laws to develop technologies. It's what we respect about how that sort of science improves the quality of our life and our understanding of the way the Natural world operates. Atheistic Materialists however go beyond that to try to answer the existential, metaphysical Questions with that same materialist methodology, (meaning of life, origins of life, where the Universe came from and what our lives might mean). Then it crosses the realm of methodological atheism, to philosophical atheism, and, it's no longer science at that point. It's philosophical atheism trying dogmatically to rationalize with a misuse of scientific materialist methodology, to answer questions that can never be fully or adequately addressed within that narrow methodology, which can ONLY look at the Natural world, rigidly, from within the Natural world. If you want to build a space shuttle you'd better use that methodology. If you want to ask if there is a God, where the Universe came from, where life came from, what the implications of design in the universe might be, what the meaning of life is, it is an UTTERLY INADEQUATE methodology, in and of itself. It IS able to perceive the CIRCUSMTANTIAL evidence that would lead to transcendent conclusions. But ONLY when unconstrained by the methodological materialism that works fine for inventing TV or a microwave, but can NEVER go beyond study of the material world to discover where it all came from.

"Thus, I could confirm that some person has the unusual power to prediction the future. I might not be able to explain how or why, just like I cannot explain how or why gravity works, but I could confirm that he had the power, just like I can confirm gravity is real."


Yet you reject that prophecy, or the intelligent information encoded in DNA, is evidence (of ANY sort) that would compel you to see a designer, transcendence, behind it all? You say that you could accept the mystery of prophecy, (presumable as a "brute force" of nature like gravity). So why then would it be such a leap for you to concede the intelligent design directions encoded in DNA are a perceptible "brute force" that makes a Designer a reasonable conclusion? I "predict" that you do so because you are GENUINELY willing to accept the "brute force" reality of gravity within the Natural world, (It is a fundamental Law consistently in operation within the Natural world), but are ultimately unwilling, even if I show you prophecy fulfilled, to really accept prophecy as an indicator of transcendent reality, because THAT cannot not fit into the normal operating laws of materialism that shackle your thinking. Again, you SAY that you could accept prophecy as a brute force of nature, until I bring up Isaiah and the Psalms. You really don't accept the IMPLICATIONS of prophecy because, in reality, prophecy necessitates real explanation BEYOND the Natural world. Also, this, "I might not be able to explain how or why", sounds suspiciously like that cliche'd excuse of, "Well there IS a materialistic explanation, we just don't have it yet". (especially when you parallel it to gravity as a brute force of nature that we just have to accept as part of what defines, ....the Natural world).
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Fri May 16, 2014 1:37 pm

El comments,
Here's a (mediocre) description of the scientific method:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
Formulation of a question: [...]
Hypothesis: [...]
Prediction: [...]
Testing: [...]
Analysis: [...]

Where exactly does it limit inquiry only into "natural" things? Where is the restriction against applying it to "supernatural" things? I don't see it. All I see a restriction to apply it only to observable things, things with observable effects."


It is not the "obervation" of things that that sets your "limit" EL. It's the standards of INTERPRETATION you are willing to place upon the things you can observe that does. Obviously the circumstantial evidence of something as perceivable as Intelligent Design evidence is something we can perceive ("observe") in the Natural world. Even more so prophecy in terms of inference to the supernatural! The Interpretation you are willing to place upon those "observations" however, is limited by rigid atheistic naturalism. You just can't see that distinction can you?
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Fri May 16, 2014 5:23 pm

I am thinking that you don't draw the vital distinction between direct evidence (materialistic naturalism), and circumstantial evidence (Intelligent Design theory),

I don't know what you are talking about. I'm not being cute. I really do not understand what you are talking about. What do you think the difference is?

To me, there is no difference. There is no difference between direct and indirect evidence. It is a fiction.

... the latter of which allows us to legitimately, though indirectly, make inferences toward a reasoned, but not objectively proven, conclusion of "design" inherent within the Universe and particularly living systems.

You may have another confusion. Things are never proven beyond all doubt in science. That's not how science operates.

Sometimes I may use the word "proven" accidentally or as a shorthand, but if I was to be exceedingly formal and pedantic, I should not use that word. Instead, I should use "demonstrated", or "shown", or "highly supported".

Gravity? That's not proven. It's just been corroborated to such a high degree that it's beyond almost all doubt. It's not beyond all doubt. I can imagine evidence tomorrow which would convince me that gravity is wrong. Of course, that kind of evidence would be like convincing me that I'm in "The Truman Show" or in "The Matrix", but I still remain open to that possibility. Now, being open to the possibility doesn't mean I have to take it seriously before I see the evidence. I can and will act as though it's false until such time that this evidence is brought forward.

...

Let me explain to you how science works, and how rationality and reasoning works. It's called Bayesian reasoning. I'm going to skip over a lot of the details and mathematics, just to give you the gist of it.

When examining a hypothesis H, you need to determine all other alternative hypotheses. Then, you need to gather all of the relevant evidence. Then, you examine each piece of evidence, one by one, and determine how likely that evidence is if H is true. In other words, how expected is it that we should find that evidence if H is true. Then, you also need to determine how expected that evidence is if H is false. If the piece of evidence is just as likely on the premise that H is true as it is on the premise that H is false, then the piece of evidence neither favors nor disfavors H, and it's irrelevant. Then, gather together all of those probabilities, and properly multiply them together to get the end result.

We all do this, or something like it, intuitively. A major problem arises when we don't do the statistical analysis properly, such as from confirmation bias. That's why for important questions, I demand a formal examination on the evidence, and a formal attempt at the statistical analysis.

...

The Interpretation you are willing to place upon those "observations" however, is limited by rigid atheistic naturalism. You just can't see that distinction can you?

All I see is you continually making that assertion without justification or reason.

Again, it's hard to have a constructive conversation when it goes like:
A: You believe X.
B: No I don't.
A: Yes you do.
B: No, I really don't.

I'm not sure what else to do.

Now, I understand your position. Your position seems to be: Those atheists do not accept the evidence for intelligent design and Christian biblical prophesies as good and compelling. Thus they must have a presupposition against intelligent design and gods.

I don't know what to do. Dobbie and I have carefully explained our methods, our conclusions, and the justifications used to support those conclusions, and they are emphatically not what you say they are. Which means you must think we're liars. I don't know what to do when you think Dobbie and I have been lying, repeatedly, throughout this thread. What can I do to convince you?

I do not have a bias against the supernatural. How can I? I am biased against even recognizing the difference between natural and supernatural. I demand sufficient evidence.

We still have a problem here, but we're working on it. You've seemingly been spoon-fed a neutered version of science, a wrong version, that distinguishes between "direct" and "indirect", whatever the hell that means. In real science, there is no such distinction. In Bayesian terms, either the evidence is strong and the probability is high, or the evidence is weak and the probably is close to 50%.

For example, do you think we have "direct" evidence of atoms? No one has ever seen an atom. That's why we have courses in college on Atomic Theory, just like we have courses on the Theory Of Gravity, just like we have courses on the Theory Of Evolution. The evidence we have for atoms is all indirect. The early evidence for atoms was the whole number arithmetic of constituents of chemical reactions. Also the oil drop experiment,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_drop_experiment
and the gold foil experiment.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geiger%E2% ... experiment
That's all they had. It was all indirect, and it was still more than enough to demonstrate convincingly that atoms exist.

Even today, all we have is indirect evidence. Even an electron microscope is indirect evidence that goes through many machines and many (justified) assumptions to produce the image that we see on the monitor. Those assumptions being justified by the oil drop experiment and gold foil experiment. Put another way, an electron microscope is just another indirect evidence variant of the indirect evidence gold foil experiment.

Maybe we never see your god directly, but we can still see its effects (if any), and thus we can still apply Bayesian reasoning on evidence, aka science, to make conclusions.

...

Your arguments from Christian biblical prophesy are a good example. The form of the argument is very scientific. You are relying on actual, observable evidence. You have made a hypothesis. You then argue that the known evidence is much more likely on that hypothesis than alternative hypotheses. The form of the argument is perfect. I have absolutely no problems with that. The argument is what we call "formally valid".

My problem with the argument is the premises. Specifically, I don't think you've done a good enough job examining alternative hypotheses, and I don't think you've done a good job assigning probabilities to some of those alternative hypotheses. If you want to start citing specific prophesies, then we can have a very specific conversation about them, one by one.

...

Your argument about intelligent design is less good. The hypothesis seems to be "no natural process can account for the known evidence". However, you haven't cited any evidence as far as I can tell, just some hand-waves about there being apparent design in living things. I'm sorry - I don't see design when I look at living things.

Contrary to common understanding, we do not recognize design by complexity.

One sense of the word "complexity" is entropy. The entropy of a system increases over time by natural, unintelligent forces.

In another sense of the word "complexity", it might refer to Shannon information, the exact opposite of entropy. Literally. Entropy and Shannon information are inverses of each other. This used to be a good metric a few hundred years ago. A few hundred years ago, we did not know of a natural, unintelligent process that could reverse entropy in a local, open system.

Then, Darwin discovered that process - sort of - and we've built on that idea for the last 150 years, throwing out large portions of Darwin, keeping large portions, and adding lots of new stuff. It is trivial to model this on a computer. Natural selection is an unintelligent, unguided process that reverses entropy, aka increases Shannon information, in a local open system. This is rather indisputable. Thus a generic "look at the design!" argument falls flat on its face.

That leaves potentially two more counterarguments.

The first is (legitimate) irreducible complexity. Behe defined irreducible complexity to assert that 5 parts doing 5 separate functions cannot come together to form a new compound machine. It's a naked assertion, and it's wrong. I find this to be rather dishonest (or highly ignorant) of Behe. Regardless, almost every single specific purported example of irreducible complexity has been shown to not be irreducibly complex. Three famous examples at the Dover trial: the bacterial flagellum, blood clotting, the immune system.

Now, if we did find some thing that did not have precursors, either of the same function or different functions, and it was very complex, then this argument might hold water. We have not found such a thing yet, and every time someone has purported to have found it, instead we find an evolutionary pathway. What should I think when every time someone proposes X they have been wrong, many many times they have been wrong, and each time Y has been shown to be correct? After a while, the proper thing is to expect Y to be true the next tiem.

That leaves the second: the origin of the first cell. As Dobbie and I have explained numerous times, "I don't know". Maybe a god did it. I don't know. Whatever answer we have to this, it does not affect evolution. Evolution will still be true even if a god created the first cell, just like gravity will still be true even if a god created the first cell.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Fri May 16, 2014 6:46 pm

EL asks,
"Did you read the following quote? “http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2008/02/12/antievolutionists-wrong-about-darwin-yet-again/
As, however, a cell is a complex structure, with its investing membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus, a gemmule, [...] must, perhaps, be a compound one, so as to reproduce all the parts.”


Yes. I did. In fact, as you know if you read my recent response to you, I posted that quote, and a fairly lengthy response to it. Suffice to say, as Dr. Behe succinctly pointed out, the “complexity” of a “chocolate covered cherry”, (equivalent to what is said in the quote you cite of a 19th century understanding of a cell), might be relevant to a kindergartner, but not our discussion. Is it relevant in terms of defining the word “complexity” that the quote describes that there are three parts??? Is THAT “complexity”, or is the word being used in an astronomical naivete’ by someone who HAS NO IDEA what “complexity” means regarding the inner workings of a cell?

In that same sense, you culpably today, (and Darwin naively and innocently in 19th century) misdefine the authentic meaning for the use of the word “complex”. If I tell you that I appreciate the “complexity” of something that I am ignorant of in contrast with its true complexity (as Darwin did the cell in the above quote), does my naïve claim really mean that I do in fact appreciate the genuine “complexity” of that thing I am ignorant of? Claims of understanding are not understanding. This would be true especially in the face of the demonstrable ignorance Darwin certainly had about the inside of a cell, as modern microbiology clearly demonstrates. If you read the actual descriptions of the cell that Darwin’s own referenced authority, G.H. Lewes, describes (Of whom Darwin is directly referencing in the full quote of the snippet you cite above), you can see that Darwin’s understanding of a cell was PROFOUNDLY ignorant in terms of its having ANY true “complexity”. I’m not going to bother reposting that section.

I mean, now I fear we are going to get into a semantic argument over wordplay. If you want to say that Darwin appreciated the “complexity” of a cell because he said it had a, “membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus”, then, in a legalistic way, since he claims it has more than one part (IE: not singularly “simple”), and calls that "complexity", you can try to force that irrelevant point I suppose? Still, in terms of the point that 19th Century scientists (including Darwin) had no idea of the vast biological/chemical/ designed complexity of a cell, the quote you so lovingly cite as a claim that Darwin “knew” cells were “complex”, is a ridiculously low definitional threshold for the meaning of the term “complex”, on the level of a chocolate covered cherry! Darwin’s understanding of the complex, design laden machinery at work within a cell was virtually nonexistent. Three parts may equal a legalistic, gainsay definition of “complex”, but it’s not what any Intelligent Design advocate means when we say that Darwin had no idea of the complexity of a cell.

You say,
“This all started with you saying "Darwin had no way of knowing how complex a cell is." I posit, in fact, he had a very good idea. …This is not someone without a proper appreciation of the complexity of the cell.”


Yes it did start that way, as it ends. If you want to insist that “complex” means having three parts, and then ignore the involved descriptions of his referenced expert on cells within that very quote, (G.H. Lewes), that demonstrate how neither man had a clue as to the complexity of a cell, you may. Your argument at that point, as I said before, is just gainsay wordplay.

You have “faith”, in the face of, but insistently apart from, the full evidence that exists, that he had no true knowledge about the complex design elements inside cells before the advent of the electron microscope. You misquote or misinterpret Darwin’s words and ignore the evidence of his personally referenced contemporaries so as to skew what you WANT him to have known about, (but that he didn’t), because you have a faith borne bias. Alas, I return to the whole thesis of the discussion. Without that FAITH bias, it’s pretty easy to see that 21st Century microbiology demonstrates abundantly that Darwin was CLUELESS about what is going on inside a living cell. Whatever Darwin may have thought was “complex” about a cell, (Yes, it has a “membrane, nucleus, and nucleolus”), he was, in fact, astonishingly clueless regarding the complexity at work within a cell, as we now know today.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Fri May 16, 2014 11:10 pm

They might not have understood DNA and proteins, but I'm pretty sure they had a knowledge of chemistry before the electron microscope. I'm pretty sure that they had a knowledge of the information content that is required per cell in order for them to function before the electron microscope too. That's what the Darwin quote shows.

I don't know why you have this unusual fixation on the electron microscope. You know that we did science before we had solid state computers, right?

For example, the ancient Greeks back in BC had an estimate of the Earth's circumference accurate to 10%. In Newton's time, they knew we were about 8 light minutes from the sun. You don't fully appreciate how ingenious we can be when learning about the world around us. Science isn't limited to this exceedingly naive "direct evidence only" approach.

Darwin and his contemporaries knew that the cell was massively complicated, chemically. It had to be in order to do its functions. They knew that a single cell could grow into a human being, so of course they knew it was massively complicated. That's what the quote of Darwin literally says.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Mon May 19, 2014 11:53 am

EnlightenmentLiberal"]You are being evasive. I asked by what methods, by what standards, have you concluded that the Christian god hypothesis is true. You made allusions to fulfilled prophecy, but you did not out and out state that. Is that your method? Is there anything else in addition? Be specific, clear, and complete please.


Yes I am being "evasive", but not evasive enough it would seem. I need to be more evasive of digression from the topic I first brought up. Justifying my Christian theology is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether atheists, like Christians, are acting out of a "faith" viewpoint. You have tried to take me all over the universe, and beyond, (despite the fact that you don't believe in a beyond), in terms of digression from the original posted topic! To entertain you a bit however, (and I have already mentioned this easy to understand fact several times already), until we get to a place where you would consider the reasonable likelihood that there IS a "God" (ANY supernatural Creator Mind), my debating the finer points of Christian Theology is a waste of both my time and yours. If you reject even a baseline apologetic for God (Intelligent Design), why do you want to hear what I have to say about Christianity? But, since we have discussed the basis for inquiry that you limit investigation to, (namely, a materialistic "science" rooted in Naturalism), it is important to note, again, that any inquiry as to there being ANY "Creator" who "transcends" the Natural world, seems utterly beyond any possible acceptability that one might imagine for you, much less the Christian God. Suffice it to say that Jesus boldly declared that,
"The flesh counts for nothing. God is "Spirit" and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit."
Speaking from your point of view, "IF" there were such a "God", how could your brand of "science" deal with that EL? It can't. Your standard would lock your out, as I assert it actually does. You COULD see the evidence of Intelligent Design as the robust circumstantial case that might LEAD you to Faith in a transcendent reality, and then on to Christ. But your present standard excludes that possibility.

How do you distinguish between fulfilled prophesies and not fulfilled prophesies? ...How do you distinguish between lucky guesses and astounding prophesies?


You see, until you shed the mantle of limiting your "faith" standard to naturalism, it's a moot question. You, as yet, have nothing to "distinguish"! It could only be a relevant question (even if problematic and inclusive of possible paradoxes and issues to work through), if that distinction was in your "faith" vocabulary. Right now it just isn't.

All I see is science. I don't see anything but science. It seems that you did use science to conclude that the Christian god hypothesis is true.
But then you complain when the rest of us want to hold you to proper scientific rigor. There's a reason the rest of us demand sufficient evidence.


And so, considering your definition of "science" and by it your standard of acceptable "faith", you confirm everything I've just said above.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Mon May 19, 2014 5:50 pm

Justifying my Christian theology is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether atheists, like Christians, are acting out of a "faith" viewpoint.

I did not ask you to justify your theology. I asked "what is your epistemology?" I asked "by what method or process do you learn about your Christian god?"

We are not going to talk about whether it's possible, plausible, or likely if your god exists. Instead, we are going to first have a conversation about basic epistemology, or we are not going to have a conversation at all. In order to have a fruitful conversation on any topic, we must first agree to the ground rules of what is an allowed claim and allowed justification, and what is not. That is called epistemology. There is no point in talking about your god if we cannot agree to the ground rules of how we learn about your god.

I ask again: How do you determine whether some observable phenomena is "supernatural" or not? If not by science, then by what method or process? If you can make that determination that some observable phenomenon is "supernatural", and once you make that determination, can you learn anything about the "supernatural" observable phenomenon? If yes but not by science, then by what process or method?

I've seen this tactic used many times where the Christian attacks the atheist's epistemology when the Christian's epistemology has the same "flaws" or worse. I have no interest in playing to your double standards and hypocrisy. I again note that you have used argument from personal experience, from intelligent design, from prophesy, and all of those are scientific arguments. (Albeit done very badly.) That is your double standards and hypocrisy. If you are unwilling to have an honest conversation with give and take from both sides, then I see no reason to take part in it. I am going to repeat these questions until you answer.

PS: I again reject methodological naturalism as both wrong and meaningless. I do not accept naturalism. Science is not based on naturalism. Science does not have an atheistic presupposition. Science has a "observable presupposition". Your god has observable consequences, yes? Your god manifests in reality, yes? Then you can gather evidence, do statistical analysis, and make conclusions. You can do science. You've already done as much by arguing from personal experience, from intelligent design, from prophesy.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Mon May 19, 2014 6:34 pm

EL says,
“We still have a problem here, but we're working on it. You've seemingly been spoon-fed a neutered version of science, a wrong version, that distinguishes between "direct" and "indirect", whatever the hell that means. In real science, there is no such distinction. In Bayesian terms, either the evidence is strong and the probability is high, or the evidence is weak and the probably is close to 50%.


Of course I know that modern science claims that its hypotheses are always tentative and open for future improvement, or even discarding when and if new discovery renders them less advanced or wrong. That is not the problem. We get a better “widget” because of advances in technology that operate according to that flexibility that assumes progress comes as discovery builds upon the back of previous discovery. The applied sciences depend upon the past discoveries of others to build upon. What you still don’t see is how that, for the historical sciences that try to address the questions of origins of life, where the Universe came from, who are we really as sentient creatures and what, if anything is the ultimate purpose of our existence, those materialist STANDARDS by which you assume “science” MUST operate by (and that are fine, even necessary, for APPLIED Science) are UTTERLY INADEQUATE for the issues we are addressing, but that modern materialist science presumes to give answer to anyway.

So that when you say that I have a,

“version of science, a wrong version, that distinguishes between "direct" and "indirect", whatever the hell that means.”


I am not at all surprised that my standard for what scientific methodology OUGHT to be defined by when approaching these kinds of existential, metaphysical questions, is utterly confusing to you. I assume you appreciate the distinction between, “inductive” reasoning and “deductive” reasoning in science? (High School science curriculum). Well, look at it this way. I assume you recognize that “deductive” reasoning would be considered more “direct” or “objective” in the conclusions drawn from it than “inductive” reasoning, though both are accepted as legitimate within scientific experimentation. Without using the word, “proof”, we observe greater reliability in a “deduction” than an “induction” that is only assuming that if a pattern repeats enough times given identical conditions, it will the next time also. Well, those are both methodologies still fully based, as they must be, in materialistic naturalism (atheistic “methodology”). What you are utterly blind to is that third realm of evidence called “circumstantial” evidence that infers something that can come out of neither inductive or deductive science, but STILL offers legitimate “evidence” with which to draw rational conclusions. It is not part of the language of the materialist science which you assume must define “science”, and that must indeed define the limits, FOR SOME REALMS OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY, (applied sciences like engineering), but NOT for the ones we are dealing with. Why this should ultimately be mysterious to you must lie in your dogmatic atheistic “faith” worldview, because we KNOW that circumstantial evidence IS valid. We use it, depend upon it and it is vitally functional in our everyday thinking and legal and court system. We know that the burden “toward” proof (not burden “of” proof), needs to be very high for circumstantial evidence to lead to a conclusion, as it should. But it IS a legitimate way to draw conclusions. We can convict people of crimes and send them off to prison based upon it!

Critically, where we are concerned, it is ONLY by way of such evidence that we could ever hope to discover, from within that otherwise closed system of the Natural world, signs of, indications of, suggestion of, inference toward, a transcendent, external realm “IF” it were there. (Discovering the “possibility” of it). Your brand of science EXCLUDES that sort of evidence as illegitimate! It even confuses you in your mindset that I bring it into the definition of how science SHOULD operate when addressing the sorts of issues we are dealing with, because it is utterly outside your materialist mindset! Deduction can’t inquire as to whether there is a God. Neither can induction. We are, as they say, “too close to the forest” for those methods to “see the trees”. In fact the natural world IS the forest and material science is hopelessly confined within that forest. If we want to ask the question, “is there anything outside the forest”, we need to accept what reasoning from circumstantial evidence might bring to the table. You can’t do that because you can’t even imagine it as legitimate within the methodology of science!

So, I say that it is YOUR version of the sort of science we need to investigate the possibility of a transcendent reality outside the Natural world that is “neutered” as it excludes the only methodology that could ever hope to draw any meaningful conclusions about that possibility. Intelligent Design Theory offers us just such an interpretation of the circumstantial case for God.

EL says,

Maybe we never see your god directly, but we can still see its effects (if any), and thus we can still apply Bayesian reasoning on evidence, aka science, to make conclusions.


That is still circular reasoning EL, because of the restrictions you place on legitimate methodology of inquiry. Intelligent Design theory DOES offer the “effects” you speak of. DNA with its “libraries” of “information”, “communicating”, “instructions”. You just cannot accept the IMPLICATIONS of that toward the conclusion of intelligent design, though the intelligent information is there in front of you and even atheists must use the LANGUAGE of intelligence when discussing it, because it begs such interpretation. Your definition of science refuses to see the circumstantial evidence that would allow for drawing ANY conclusion not grounded utterly within the Natural world, by definition. Hopelessly closed Mindset.

You say,

Your arguments from Christian biblical prophesy are a good example. The form of the argument is very scientific. You are relying on actual, observable evidence. You have made a hypothesis. You then argue that the known evidence is much more likely on that hypothesis than alternative hypotheses. The form of the argument is perfect. I have absolutely no problems with that. The argument is what we call "formally valid".
My problem with the argument is the premises. Specifically, I don't think you've done a good enough job examining alternative hypotheses, and I don't think you've done a good job assigning probabilities to some of those alternative hypotheses. If you want to start citing specific prophesies, then we can have a very specific conversation about them, one by one.


So let’s imagine for a moment on what basis you might judge that I have not examined thoroughly enough, “alternative hypotheses”. Out of your restricted materialist scientific viewpoint, you might feel that I would better conclude one of a number of alternatives that would “explain” any given miracle, (Not all that follows would fit prophecy, but you’ll get the point). These have been popularly proposed and we already know what the range of them will include. I’ll propose a few and you can add to these any I've missed. Some mass hysteria made witnesses see something that wasn't real. It was a trick made to “seem” miraculous (slight of hand), It was a dishonest conspiracy on the part of some to fudge the story later on to make it fit, it was never intended to be taken literally and was only allegorical symbolism, and, the best one of all, that utterly un-falsifiable retreat to, “Well, it was something for which, at present, science has no answer to, but for which, “some day”, we “may” have a materialist answer for, but for now, to invoke the supernatural?, Well, that would be “against science” (implicitly meaning fully naturalistic materialism).

So the demonstration of prophecy does not DIRECTLY “prove” that there is a transcendent realm out of which such an occurrence might be genuinely, “other worldly”. And I guarantee you that as long as you are stuck in a dogmatic atheist mindset, NO interpretation in that direction, no matter how compelling, would do the trick. Jesus Himself tells us directly that many will not believe, “though One were to rise from the dead.” Prophecy, if authentic, does not exist within or according to the limitations of the Natural word EL. So as long as your tools for inquiry are grounded and limited to that atheistic methodology, even if we nail down a miracle beyond any doubt of having occurred, you would rationalize it away similar to what I enumerated above. There will always for you be a better “alternative hypothesis”, grounded in NATURALISTIC explanations. We are not going to be able to have a meaningful “conversation about specific prophesies”, because it would be a waste of time to see the various ways in which you would re-interpret them as explainable within a context of utter naturalism.

Let’s just try one on though for fun to see how you respond. Jesus Christ was tortured to death and crucified. His legs were not broken because the Roman guards discovered that He was already dead. But, just to be sure (because if he somehow survived THEY would have been executed), they pierced his heart with a spear. Then he was wrapped in linens grave clothes and strong spices etc that would be smothering to a living person and buried that Friday afternoon. Then, Sunday morning (beyond what would be the point of rigor mortis), He was witnessed to have risen from the dead, and appeared to many for a period of time afterward, demonstrating specifically that He was not a ghost, eating fish with them, having them touch Him as a proof, etc etc. How do you account for that utterly IMPOSSIBLE event in terms of your definition and standards for inquiry in “science”?

You go on to say,

“Your argument about intelligent design is less good. The hypothesis seems to be "no natural process can account for the known evidence". However, you haven't cited any evidence as far as I can tell, just some hand-waves about there being apparent design in living things. I'm sorry - I don't see design when I look at living things.”


What you are really saying (and what I would argue) is that the hypothesis from Intelligent Design makes more sense than trying to force indications of intelligence, into an atheistic hypothesis. Conversely, your argument is that ANY natural explanation, even one full of holes and gaps and conundrums as naturalistic explanation for life and the origin of the Universe is, trumps any interpretation from an alternate, inferred supernatural explanation, even if the evidence for intelligent design is compelling and interpreted rationally. In reality the natural explanation for how DNA could have formed does not have a natural explanation that is any better (and not as good) by way of Darwinian mechanism, than Intelligent Design’s interpretation that the intelligent information that is encoded within it, by extrapolation from our own experience as sentient beings, begs an intelligent mind as the genesis (small g) of that observable reality in the Natural World. But your science cannot entertain inference to ANYTHING outside the natural world. So, for you, it isn't evidence at all. You do not include circumstantial evidence toward implication of transcendence as real evidence, no matter how compelling. The level of circumstantial evidence for intelligent design KNOWABLE by modern science (as far as how circumstantial evidence would be used in a courtroom), would be great enough to send a murder suspect to the gas chamber. But one has to allow for that evidence to be “introduced into the court” of science to even consider it.

You say,

“Contrary to common understanding, we do not recognize design by complexity.”


In and of itself, neither do Intelligent Design advocates like Phillip Johnson or Michael Behe recognize design only by way of complexity. Crystals can demonstrate repeating patterns of complexity. They are not qualitatively the same thing as DNA. I agree, Complexity, in and of itself, does not define “intelligent information”. What point are you making?

You say,

One sense of the word "complexity" is entropy. The entropy of a system increases over time by natural, unintelligent forces.


“Entropy” refers to the disorder of a system, not increasing levels of complexity, and is critically relevant where the second law of thermodynamics is concerned. That law of physics tells us that in the natural world, things left to themselves, degrade to an ever less organized, more chaotic state of higher “entropy”. Entropy is a measure of the disorder of a system. Systems tend to go from a state of order (low entropy) to a state of maximum disorder (high entropy). So entropy SHOULD have the Universe becoming ever LESS organized and ever higher entropy (a trend toward less organization and toward a more chaotic state) should be the result. Of course, as you observe in the subsequent mention of “Shannon information”, that law could be reversed in an isolated circumstance where additional energy was being introduced from an external source (like a star, or our sun). Then one could find it reasonable to assume that complexity could be built up against the otherwise natural trend toward higher entropy. The problem with that, as you have already asserted yourself, is that “complexity” does not equate with “intelligent information”. Reverse entropy caused by energy impinging upon the physics of the second law, reversing entropy, would not create “intelligent” information just because complexity was being built up. Something as rich with intelligent information, beyond mere “complexity” as DNA, still begs an intelligent agent.

So, when you say,
“… Natural selection is an unintelligent, unguided process that reverses entropy, aka increases Shannon information, in a local open system...”

you conflate raw complexity, with intelligent information, after earlier having said that complexity does not define design! The information encoded in DNA is MORE than just “complex”.

You assert that,

“… almost every single specific purported example of irreducible complexity has been shown to not be irreducibly complex. Three famous examples at the Dover trial: the bacterial flagellum, blood clotting, the immune system.”


In the first place I suppose then that you are conceding that some of Behe’s examples are legitimate if “almost” all of them are wrong? How many do we need to demonstrate his point? Wouldn’t one or two be enough to demonstrate the inference to Intelligent Design? No one is claiming (least of all Dr. Behe) infallibility for him? Still, you flippantly mention three cases without giving the arguments. Even if you do, one wonders (I do) what Dr. Behe’s rebuttal might be?

Thankfully, at the end you offer an opportunity to return to the point of this topic of discussion when you say,

“… the origin of the first cell. As Dobbie and I have explained numerous times, "I don't know". Maybe a god did it. I don't know. Whatever answer we have to this, it does not affect evolution. Evolution will still be true even if a god created the first cell, just like gravity will still be true even if a god created the first cell.”


So ultimately, despite protestations against Intelligent Design theory, you concede that on these existential questions, you just don’t know! You are acting out of a faith system driven by presuppositions, just like the God believer who postulates Intelligent Design. Is there evolution! Sure. You betcha. If you take finches and change their environment their beaks will change to adapt. That neither tells us how we get the diversity of species, or how we get finches in the first place. You conflate, against a lot of the hard disconfirming evidence, an extrapolation from micro-evolution, to macro evolution. You are exercising a FAITH that the gaps and the contradictions and the counter evidence to that extrapolation is either unimportant or just a problem that might be solved later within your faith system so as to fit everything into your atheistic model. You don’t know it to be true and you have to explain away what I think is the preponderance of problematic evidence, circumstantial as it may be, that militates against your conception of biology and its origins. That is your “faith” “creation story".

I think it is time for me to start a different topic!
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Mon May 19, 2014 6:37 pm

EnlightenmentLiberal wrote:I don't know why you have this unusual fixation on the electron microscope. You know that we did science before we had solid state computers, right?



I guess I have a "fixation" on your attempt to make it seem as if modern microbiology hasn't made quantum leaps of a qualitative difference in advancement with the 19th century state of knowledge of what a cell consisted of?
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Mon May 19, 2014 7:20 pm

Ok, you're addressing some points. Good.

First, did you really mean it when you said this?
Well, those [inductive and deductive reasoning] are both methodologies still fully based, as they must be, in materialistic naturalism (atheistic “methodology”).

Do you really mean that inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning only work in a no-god reality? You don't use inductive or deductive reasoning? Really? I think you misspoke somewhere in there.

Finally, we're getting to the heart of the matter. You think that:
"circumstantial evidence" is not deductive reasoning. It is not inductive reasoning. It is not scientific reasoning. It is regularly used in our US courts.

I have no clue what you are talking about. All evidence in US courts is scientific evidence. What are you talking about? Judges and juries look at (observable) evidence, use their prior background knowledge, do proper statistical analysis, and come to conclusions. This is the textbook definition of Bayesian reasoning which is the heart of science.

Again, I don't know what caricature of science was taught to you, but the person teaching you was wrong. Again, science does not have an atheistic presupposition. Science does not assume materialism. Science does not exclude circumstantial evidence.

Using circumstantial evidence is scientific. Reasoning on circumstantial evidence is scientific reasoning.

You say I seem confused, but that's because you are using unconventional definitions and understandings. In this case, you are using an inappropriate and highly neutered definition of science. I don't know why. I even explained numerous times in this thread what science is, and how it includes circumstantial evidence.

Give me an example of something which you think is circumstantial evidence which is not scientific, and I will endeavor to show that it is scientific, or it's not evidence at all.

I will respond point by point to the rest of your post if you want, but again I think the heart of our disagreement lies here.

PS: I reject materialism. I reject methodological naturalism. I have no atheist dogma. I have no atheist presupposition. Science does not depend on naturalism. Science does not depend on methodological naturalism. Science does not depend on an atheist presupposition.
Last edited by EnlightenmentLiberal on Mon May 19, 2014 11:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby EnlightenmentLiberal » Mon May 19, 2014 7:39 pm

I just realized this is quickly becoming an argument over definition. You have a caricature understanding of science. I have been trying to fix that. You seem resistant to fixing your understanding of the scientific method, which is frustrating.

If you prefer, I will not use the word science. I can play word taboo.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/nu/taboo_your_words/

Let's see if I can use the term Bayesian reasoning without communication difficulty.

Let me explain again. When I look at the world, I see things. I have sensory experience. I see, hear, taste, touch, and smell things. This would include telepathy if it existed. It would include the sense experience of the magnetic field if I had such a sense like sharks, but I do not. This would also include god directly talking to me in my head. When I say observable things, I mean to include any sort of influence on my experience that does not come from within my own head.

I have this sense experience. It is vitally important that I try to predict my future sense experience, taking into account possible actions I may take. To do this, I need to construct models of reality. To do this, I need to take in all of that sense experience, create hypotheses, and then apply Bayesian reasoning to those hypotheses and the known evidence, and see if one of those hypotheses is a clear winner. If it is, then I start using it to predict the future.

Bayesian reasoning is looking at all of the available past sense experience, looking at each hypothesis, and determining "on this hypothesis, how expected is it that I should have this evidence"? Then, you just multiply together the probabilities appropriately, and you arrive at a probability that each hypothesis is right.

I again assert that this kind of Bayesian reasoning on sense experience is the only acceptable method, process, and justification for claims and knowledge about (non-abstract) stuff in our shared reality.

Note that this includes all valid circumstantial evidence. It includes all valid inductive and deductive reasoning. (All valid circumstantial evidence is inductive evidence.) Bayesian reasoning does not include any presuppositions that there is a god nor that there is not a god.

PS: This is science. I'd rather not get into an argument over the mere definition of a word, but you seem to have a dogged insistence in using technical terms incorrectly. I just thought you should know this for future conversations. I also direct you to the work of Richard Carrier on this topic, specifically his book Proving History.

...

On Bayesian reasoning, we can look at intelligent design. On the hypothesis that unguided biological evolution is true, we should expect to see several things, such as the correspondence of the morphological tree of life and the genetic tree of life. On the hypothesis that there is some irreducible complexity in some organisms, we should expect to find such irreducibly complex structures. Yet, despite lots of attempts to find such things, none have stood up, and all have been shown to have evolutionary ancestors. Thus, on Bayesian reasoning, the sensible conclusion is that the hypothesis of irreducible complexity is false, and unguided biological evolution is true.

As I've stated many times now, if you mean something else by intelligent design, please explain it. You've made many hand-waves to an argument which you think I know, but I do not. I cannot read your mind. Make your argument clearly so I can address it.

On Bayesian reasoning, we can look at Biblical prophesy.

We can use our knowledge of the state of the texts for the first few centuries, and use well established facts like about 5% of the modern Biblical text was added after the third century. (We know this because we have lots of surviving manuscripts, and the texts are different.) That's just modifications after the third century. Imagine how much worse it would have been in the first and second century while the text was still being standardized.

We can look at the other prophesies. No reason to look at one prophesy and ignore the others. The phrase is "even a stopped clock is right twice a day". So, for every prophesy you find that's arguably true, I'll find one that's false. For example, what about the prophesy that Jesus said he was coming back in the lifetime of some people present (Matthew 16:28). Do you really believe there's a two thousand year old Jew from Jesus's day still wandering around?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wandering_Jew
That's a failed prophesy.

And we can continue this kind of critical analysis of the text and surrounding facts. I'm more than welcome to continue this analysis with you, but my previous work has convinced me that the entire thing is fiction, to the same extent that Spider-Man is fiction. Sometimes Spider-Man references real people and real places, but the core characters did not exist, or are so exaggerated that they bear little resemblance to real people. Maybe there is a nerd somewhere in New York, but there isn't a nerd somewhere in New York who was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained superpowers and now fights crime. Similarly, maybe there was a wandering rabbi named Jesus, but his purported miracle stories are blatant fiction, and wholly unsupported and often contradicted by the historical record.

Just like there was no Moses as depicted, nor the exodus of Jews from Egypt, nor Noah's ark as depicted, nor Noah, nor Adam and Eve, nor the whole of the book of Genesis.

Again, we can focus on these points if you want. I'd suggest first agreeing with me that Genesis is fiction and Exodus is fiction, or arguing for the veracity of those accounts. We should start with the easy stuff. Do you believe that the universe is 6000 years old, and that there was a literal Noah and a literal global flood, and literally 2 of each animal (or 7) on a boat? Which came first: trees or stars? (According to the Christian bible: Trees? Day 3. Stars? Day 4. Want to guess the right answer?)
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Wed May 21, 2014 1:02 pm

"EnlightenmentLiberal" says,

First, did you really mean it when you said this?
Well, those [inductive and deductive reasoning] are both methodologies still fully based, as they must be, in materialistic naturalism (atheistic “methodology”).

Do you really mean that inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning only work in a no-god reality? You don't use inductive or deductive reasoning? Really? I think you misspoke somewhere in there.


Of course not. I would always argue that atheistic methodology (not invoking the supernatural) is a critical limitation within the APPLIED sciences for making progress. (You can't invent microwaves by invoking the supernatural.) But you don't use deduction or induction directly or exclusively to get God. When science tries to address those sorts of questions with only those tools it must move from methodological atheism, into the realm of PHILOSOPHICAL atheism, and it's invalid. Dr. Phillip Johnson, (author of the best seller "Darwin on Trial"), does a very good job in his lectures and debates pointing out this distinction and how materialists blindly rush in with their atheistic methodology into realms of inquiry where it is utterly insufficient. It is trying to use the wrong tool. Or one could better say, it is missing an essential tool from its tool box. I mean, if you want to say that, given certain circumstantial evidence within the world that reasonably infers God, one ultimately may interpret that data toward faith in God, and that that process ultimately invokes a logical, rational conclusion, then yes, we still must use rationality to come to that ultimate conclusion. But if your "science" is only allowing deduction and induction, and disallowing inference by way of circumstantial evidence, it will never be able to think outside the box of philosophical atheism. Such restriction is NOT a valid use of the methodological naturalism that IS valid within the applied sciences , (like engineering for instance). Like I have shown you over and over, your application of "science" amounts to atheistic methodology, verifying atheism. It's just rank circular reasoning.

You quote me saying,

You think that:
"circumstantial evidence" is not deductive reasoning. It is not inductive reasoning. It is not scientific reasoning. It is regularly used in our US courts.

I have no clue what you are talking about. All evidence in US courts is scientific evidence. What are you talking about? Judges and juries look at (observable) evidence, use their prior background knowledge, do proper statistical analysis, and come to conclusions. This is the textbook definition of Bayesian reasoning which is the heart of science.


So you are going to try to tell me that you don't understand the distinction between deductive evidence that "proves" that someone murdered someone, and a "circumstantial" case where the INFERENCE to guilt from indirect evidence is strong enough for a conviction? The fact is that some "observable" evidence is only "circumstantial" and must be weightier to draw a reasonable conclusion of guilt than deductive "proof". I think you are able to see the valid analogy I draw with respect to our discussion if you really try EL. Try a little harder (or at all?) It isn't rocket science. (literally! That's applied science!)

You say,
Again, I don't know what caricature of science was taught to you, but the person teaching you was wrong. Again, science does not have an atheistic presupposition. Science does not assume materialism. Science does not exclude circumstantial evidence.


I don't think it is debatable as to the distinction I draw that I think you are missing, "accidentally on purpose". The applied sciences must use methodological atheism to perform experiments. The historical sciences,(evolutionary biology when it looks at origins of life, cosmology when it looks at origins of the Universe), when they try to limit inquiry to the same methodology, simply don't have the tools to ask existential metaphysical questions. The spokesmen for those branches of science are ardent philosophical atheists for this very reason. Crick, Dawkins, Harris, in all of their writings frame their outlook, from what they consider the ONLY scientific way to see things, as an exclusive basis for rationality defined by materialistic naturalism. I think the problem with you is that YOU have bought into a narrow definition of science that is a caricature, certainly where inquiry into the sorts of issues we are discussing are concerned. You can't seem to decouple the legitimate use of atheistic methodology within applied science, from it's insufficiency within the investigation of those metaphysical issues we are considering. I you were able to do that decoupling, you would, (even if you disagreed) be able to see Intelligent Design as a legitimate alternative theory. That you don't, out of hand, demonstrates that you are, in fact, stuck in a materialist mindset and DO NOT, in fact consider circumstantial evidence for God within the Universe as valid evidence.

You say,

You say I seem confused, but that's because you are using unconventional definitions and understandings.


Yes I am using "unconventional" definitions! I have been saying all along that "conventional" ones are wrong within the realms of inquiry we speak of! The problem is that "conventional" definitions within the stultified scientific establishment have been wrong about what the limitations of scientific inquiry must be when addressing the issues we face in this discussion. That is what DEFINES the Intelligent Design paradigm! The exposure of that very dogmatism that is blind to its own having crossed the bridge from a methodological naturalism, to a philosophical one, in its conclusions about what the evidence in the Universe tells us about origins. I understand that we are likely talking past one another. That's why it is apparent to me that you are "confused" (I give you the benefit of the doubt on that, though at some points I think you know better, like the distinction between objective proof and circumstantial evidence). I think you cannot conceive of "science" outside of an utterly materialist box, even when considering the possibility of things transcendent. Yet one can't get away from the consideration of transcendence if you are going to ask questions like, How did we get here? Who and what are we, really? What is the meaning, if any, of life? Is there anything transcendent? Is there anything in the world that would infer a Creator external to it that gives explanation to the amazing Universe we see and our amazing existence as sentient beings within it? You are blinded by the atheist methodology that those branches of science that try to address those questions use. By definition of the realms of inquiry they find themselves within, the historical sciences and Cosmology and physics must try to address those kinds of questions. But they are all BOUND to end up with atheist conclusions, if and as they depend upon an atheist methodology to set the limits of inquiry. The circular reasoning is absolute.

You accuse,

In this case, you are using an inappropriate and highly neutered definition of science. I don't know why. I even explained numerous times in this thread what science is, and how it includes circumstantial evidence.


But, (obviously) I argue that it is YOU who have a castrated definition of science, WHERE the sorts of topics for inquiry delve into the realm of existential, metaphysical questions. You can never draw a conclusion that there is a God, with atheistic methodology, even if there is one.

You say,

PS: I reject materialism. I reject methodological naturalism. I have no atheist dogma. I have no atheist presupposition. Science does not depend on naturalism. Science does not depend on methodological naturalism. Science does not depend on an atheist presupposition.


Then the highly rational interpretation of the evidence that Intelligent Design offers should be something you would consider as, at least, a viable alternative theory to the atheist model, even if you disagree. Obviously you do not, and your ultimate conclusion belies your assertion above. The anthropic coincidences that set fine limits for the laws of physics to make the universe able to sustain life; the miraculous levels of intelligent information encoded within living systems; these evidences SHOULD be able to infer for you the possibility (likelihood) of a designer. That they do not (That you reject Intelligent Design as legitimate science) either means that your statements above are simply untrue about your stance as a materialist, or (more likely) that you really are lost in dogmatism and really can't see the hard clash within your own thinking.
Last edited by Howdybud on Wed May 21, 2014 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Faith" We ALL have it!

Postby Howdybud » Wed May 21, 2014 4:44 pm

I want to further reflect on something EL said,

He comments on something I had earlier posted;

Science has no way of verifying directly that anyone could KNOW the future before it happens. That would be an extra-natural (supernatural) reality.


EL responds;

Yes it does. You are trivially wrong. If someone could start predicting winning lotto numbers "as if by magic", and won 50 state lottos in a row, we would notice this. We would notice this by the collection of evidence (ex: newspaper headlines) and statistical analysis (how many other people have won 50 lottos in a row, and what are the naive odds of that happening by luck?). Then, we could test this under laboratory conditions. I do not understand how you could be so wrong. What are you thinking?


The question that you fail to observe, and that makes ALL the difference, lies in the distinction between "observing" something in the natural world, and what defines your limitations on how interpreting those observations may allow for conclusions to be drawn from those observed phenomenon. What is the standard of POSSIBLE interpretation which will limit one's range of possible INTERPRETATIONS of those "observations"? You keep ignoring the implications of that distinction, parroting over and over why I don't see "observation", in and of itself, as what is going on in "Scientific" inquiry. One doesn't just "observe". That's not even what we are disagreeing over EL. Of course "observation" is of phenomena within the Natural World. It's all we have to work with in terms of direct "observation". But it is the rules of allowable INTERPRETATION that allow or disallow what we may say that those observations may "mean" that lies at the heart of the problem here. Probability may technically allow one to say that a prophecy is really just "coincidence", (after all, we ARE saying it is possible strictly within the natural world if we say that there is a chance.) But, on the other hand, your standard of the rules of inquiry EL will NEVER allow you to really consider if the source or cause of observable phenomenon in the Natural world might be "supernatural" (external) to it. Again, your standard (your defining of the limits of legitimate scientific inquiry) uses an atheistic methodology, to verify atheism. In that scenario atheism will always be the ultimate conclusion, because circular reasoning always circles back in its conclusion in a blindly closed loop of invalid reasoning.
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