1. What is life? The Definition

As some of you already know, or suspect, I have decided to “return” to publishing OPs at TSZ. There are many reasons for that but mainly to save TSZ from what many blogs like this one suffered; the inevitable death. So, let’s see and hope that my take on old ideas can help to revitalize TSZ again… I have new ideas too…

I’m beginning with the most fundamental subject to most on both sides – LIFE.

Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to get stuck on the issue, because there is no definition of life that most scientists would agree upon. So, to start us off with the series of OPs on life, we need to have a definition of life that most would agree on…

What is the definition of life?

So, welcome back everybody! J-mac is back in the house…
Let’s get this show rolling!
Remember to have fun…

197 thoughts on “1. What is life? The Definition

  1. CharlieM: The only ubiquity is that chemical reactions have a significant role in the processes of life. But these also have a significant role in many lab experiments. We cannot infer from this that life, ora lab experiment, is just chemical reactions.

    Can you explain the creativity of the human mind in terms of chemical reactions?

    Can you explain anything at all with your woo?

    Glen Davidson

  2. CharlieM: Only for those who are trapped in one particular narrow world view.

    A philosophical travesty is a philosophical travesty regardless of anybody’s worldview. What you’re really saying here is that because you believe in some kind of supernatural being, then you feel justified in your travesty, but that’s just more philosophical travesty, not less. That one is called circular reasoning.

  3. colewd:

    Great. How is it that these magnificent components [atoms] were originated without design?

    keiths:

    How did they originate with design?

    The answer: you have no idea.

    colewd:

    We have an historical explanation called the bible which gives some idea of whats outside the well.

    The Bible doesn’t say how atoms were designed. And how do you know that the Bible is correct, given that you’re just a frog at the bottom of a well?

    See what I mean? That is exactly what I was talking about here:

    You do this again and again, Bill. You present an argument (such as the “frog at the bottom of a well” argument) not realizing that if it were valid, it would be fatal to your own position.

  4. Entropy,

    I don’t need to. You know very well that the proposal that human brains evolved has evidence behind it. You know very well that it’s just you and creationist deformation and misinformation that prefer to ignore the evidence. The point was your double standard. We could talk about that evidence once you understand the point.

    I don’t think you have what you think you have. Lets start with the basics. How did a neuron evolve?

    Analogies are not evidence. Your final phrase shows that you’re really begging the question. You have “divine design” right there in your premises.

    This is right analogies are not evidence but they are a way to analyze evidence. The atom and all its properties is the evidence.

    Which are all natural. If this was inductive reasoning, the conclusion would be that atomic properties are natural, not that they were designed. Designed from what? Wouldn’t those components have to have “specific parameters” and “repeatability” themselves in order for them to be appropriate components for those atoms so that the atoms had “specific parameters” and “repeatability”?

    Natural is not a conclusion about origins it is only a statement that what is observed is expected. What is your alternative explanation of the origin of specific and repeatable characteristics of the atom? It just happened to be this way so it could self assemble into observers of the universe 🙂

    But induction demands that you use your examples properly. If your examples are intelligences made of atoms, we should expect the same from induced designers. But let’s go one step further, since designers require components that have “specific parameters” and “repeatability,”just to have the ability to design, then you didn’t solve anything. The requirement carries on, and your proposal is an attempt to move things many steps further in the chain, only to end at the same place: some basic stuff that has “specific parameters” and “repeatability.”

    We have no evidence that you can design without designed components especially when you are using characteristics specific to atoms like electrons. All components need to be designed to precise specifications. There is no reason to think that atoms are an exception and especially one which is the result of a random accident.

    It is therefore safe to infer that you’re working towards a preconceived conclusion. That some magical being made these atoms. But if you worked those inferences and inductions properly, you’d never get there. You’re begging the question big time by dispensing of information contained in your very examples, when such information is inconvenient to reach your conclusion.

    So, your supposed inductive reasoning grew from mere assertion to begging the question by hiding it behind some pretty poor philosophy.

    By calling the prospective being “magical” you are question begging unless you can support the claim.

    The evidence is overwhelming that we are in a created universe and that is working from cells, molecules and atoms and asking the question how did these components originate.

    Your conclusion they are just part of nature does nothing to answer the question which in itself is fine but not a real point of debate.

  5. keiths,

    You do this again and again, Bill. You present an argument (such as the “frog at the bottom of a well” argument) not realizing that if it were valid, it would be fatal to your own position.

    It’s not fatal to my position because I am not claiming certainty. I realize my position is tentative based on limited perspective.

  6. colewd,

    It’s not fatal to my position because I am not claiming certainty.

    Neither are we.

    I realize my position is tentative based on limited perspective.

    So do we.

    So if we aren’t entitled to make the well-founded claims we do, being “frogs at the bottom of a well”, then you certainly aren’t entitled to make your flimsy claims. You’re down there at the bottom of the well with the rest of us.

    Will you take that to heart? When someone asks you, “Was the universe created by God?”, will you say “I have no idea. I’m just a frog at the bottom of a well”?

    When someone asks you if God exists, or if Jesus is God, will you say “How should I know? I’m just a bottom-dwelling frog”?

    Of course not. You apply a far more lenient standard to your own beliefs, with no justification whatsoever. And what’s truly remarkable is that you seem to be unaware that you’re doing it.

    How do you manage to function in the world if you can’t grasp this simple fact, which I’m explaining to you for at least the fourth or fifth time? How is it that a grown man, capable of operating a computer, can fail to grasp this after hearing it repeated so many times?

  7. keiths,

    Will you take that to heart? When someone asks you, “Was the universe created by God?”, will you say “I have no idea. I’m just a frog at the bottom of a well”?

    The big difference is that we can observe atoms at the bottom of the well because they exist there. Understanding the overall strategy of God is much more difficult . The claims that you and I make are very different and someone who designs microprocessors should get it. I remain hopeful 🙂

  8. colewd,

    How do you manage to function in the world if you can’t grasp this simple fact, which I’m explaining to you for at least the fourth or fifth time?

    No matter how many times you repeat yourself with an incorrect analysis it still remain incorrect.
    Keiths, atoms are most certainly designed based on their accuracy and repeatability. You as a semiconductor designer should get this. If they were the result of a random cause you would not exist and either would the 80386. This analysis is available from inside the well.

  9. colewd: If they were the result of a random cause you would not exist

    That’s your claim but you’ve not supported it at all. It’s just something you are saying without any reasoning.

    colewd: Keiths, atoms are most certainly designed based on their accuracy and repeatability.

    Heard of decay? Atoms decay. The proton is estimated to have a half life of 10 to the power of 32 years. So after all protons have decayed what of your claim that “atoms are designed”. If some life form arises after that point, somehow, will they appreciate the magnificent design of the atom?

  10. colewd: Understanding the overall strategy of God is much more difficult

    And what have you and J-Mac determined so far? Would you say it’s logical that the universe was not built for our benefit, given the tiny part of it we occupy?

  11. colewd: The evidence is overwhelming that we are in a created universe and that is working from cells, molecules and atoms and asking the question how did these components originate.

    And what answers have you found so far? None at all you say? Then what makes you think answers will be forthcoming any time soon?

  12. keiths:

    Will you take that to heart? When someone asks you, “Was the universe created by God?”, will you say “I have no idea. I’m just a frog at the bottom of a well”?

    When someone asks you if God exists, or if Jesus is God, will you say “How should I know? I’m just a bottom-dwelling frog”?

    colewd:

    The big difference is that we can observe atoms at the bottom of the well because they exist there.

    Then you’ll no longer claim that God exists, or that he created the universe, or that Jesus is God, because you’re just a frog at the bottom of a well? Who are you kidding?

    You’ll go on claiming those things because you’re simply incapable of maintaining consistency in your positions. Consistency is a smart-person thing.

  13. colewd,

    Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll just repost what I said the last time you resorted to your dumb frog argument:

    colewd:

    An opinion from data collected from the bottom of the well.

    keiths:

    You never learn, do you? Your “bottom of the well” argument fails every time, but still you keep trotting it out.

    You are attempting to discredit my position because it is based on “data collected from the bottom of the well”. What you keep forgetting is that such an attack is fatal to your own beliefs, because you’re a “frog at the bottom of a well” just like me.

    Is God an asshole? We can’t say, according to you, because we’re frogs at the bottom of a well. Is God loving? We can’t say. We’re just bottom-dwelling frogs. Is Christianity true? Who knows? Who could possibly say, based on the little we can see way down here?

    So the next time someone asks if you are a Christian, you’ll reply “Definitely not. I’m just a frog at the bottom of a well, and I have no idea whether Christianity is true.” Right?

    Of course you won’t. So stop using that dumb argument. It’s hypocritical.

    colewd:

    There is a book in the well that tells us something about the world outside the well. Some people call a fairy tale, but is it?

    keiths:

    Dude, think for a second.

    If you’re just a frog at the bottom of the well, then how do you know that the book is correct? If being at the bottom of the well prevents me from inferring that God is an asshole, then it prevents you from inferring the truth of the Bible.

    On the other hand, if you argue that despite being at the bottom of the well, you have enough information to infer the truth of the Bible, then I can point out the obvious:

    1) You don’t; and
    2) Scientists do have enough information to formulate detailed theories in biology and meteorology, despite living “in the well”.

    Come on, Bill. Are you a meteorology denier too?

    The lesson is simple. If you want to deploy your “bottom of the well” argument, then be consistent and apply it to yourself as well as to your opponent.

  14. colewd:
    I don’t think you have what you think you have.Lets start with the basics. How did a neuron evolve?

    I don’t know. I haven’t studied the evolution of neutrons. I have studied evidence for common ancestry though, and that’s more than enough to understand that the human brain evolved. Since there’s a common ancestry connection between living species, it’s only proper to understand that the variety of brains across those living organisms points to the conclusion that the human brain evolved. No way around. If it didn’t evolve, then every organism would have human brains.

    Come on, you can do better than moving the goal posts and ask how it evolved. We’re talking about whether the human brain evolved, and about whether there’s evidence that it did. There’s evidence that it did. If we know how or not, doesn’t matter.

    colewd:
    This is right analogies are not evidence but they are a way to analyze evidence.The atom and all its properties is the evidence.

    They are just evidence that the atoms have some properties, not that they were designed. You’re ignoring the deep philosophical problem: you said it’s turtles all the way down. I don’t see any reason to extend the turtles to a magical being, when the bottom will be some foundational properties regardless. So those foundational properties might as well be right where they appear to be: at the basic properties of the stuff atoms are made of.

    colewd:
    Natural is not a conclusion about origins it is only a statement that what is observed is expected.

    That’s what induction is about. You work with what you have. You don’t make those huge leaps of the imagination that come with your magical being (and which solve nothing anyway).

    colewd:
    What is your alternative explanation of the origin of specific and repeatable characteristics of the atom?

    That their foundational stuff (particles, fields, whatever) have “specific” and “repeatable” characteristics.

    colewd:
    We have no evidence that you can design without designed components

    You’re begging the question. Of course we have such evidence. All of our designs started without designed components.

    colewd:
    especially when you are using characteristics specific to atoms like electrons.

    Which are not designed components. Again, you’re begging the question.

    colewd:
    All components need to be designed to precise specifications.

    Nope. All components need to have predictable behaviours. That’s it.

    colewd:
    There is no reason to think that atoms are an exception and especially one which is the result of a random accident.

    The atom properties are not the result of a random accident. They’re the result of the way nature works.

    colewd:
    By calling the prospective being “magical” you are question begging unless you can support the claim.

    It’s not my claim. It’s your claim. You’re the one who proposes a magical being. You’re the one who should support that claim. You’re begging the question, and you’re attempting to shift the burden of proof. You are complaining about something like this before. See what I mean by double standard yet?

    colewd:
    The evidence is overwhelming that we are in a created universe and that is working from cells, molecules and atoms and asking the question how did these components originate.

    For anything to have “specificity” and “repeatability,” their components have to have such characteristics from the very bottom. Intelligence could not exist without “specificity” and “repeatability” itself. Therefore, the “specificity” and “repeatability” must be more basic than intelligence. “Specificity” and “repeatability” are foundational. Anything else would be nonsensical.

    colewd:
    Your conclusion they are just part of nature does nothing to answer the question which in itself is fine but not a real point of debate.

    That’s because the question is, at the bottom, nonsensical. You’re asking to get to a point where “specificity” and “repeatability” are no longer there. Yet, your answer is something that requires “specificity” and “repeatability” to already be there. You’re just moving the point of “this is just the only way it can be” towards your magical being for no reason. You end up where you started regardless.

    Do you really not see that? The need for “specificity” and “repeatability” to be foundational, even if we didn’t know where that foundation lies?

  15. colewd: We have no evidence that you can design without designed components especially when you are using characteristics specific to atoms like electrons. All components need to be designed to precise specifications. There is no reason to think that atoms are an exception and especially one which is the result of a random accident.

    It sort of the logic of ID driven to its reasonably conclusion–just define everything as designed. What else has ID ever done, really?

    But I have to ask, are neutrinos designed? Killing radiation from atoms designed? Both the energy-wasting neutrino and the killing radiation of atoms are intimately tied to the properties that make atoms possible.

    If atoms are designed, why do the actually useful ones have to appear via stellar (etc.) nucleosynthesis? Carbon is designed, but it didn’t even exist in the early universe? Is there any meaning to “designed” left, other than the fact that you’re going to christen any useful property as “designed”? It seems not.

    Why is helium one of the most common atoms in the universe, given that it’s virtually useless for anything but relatively specialized purposes that don’t require anything like the quantity that exists? And why does the earth nonetheless have a rather poor quantity of helium, for the uses that humans have for it (I know the real reasons, not the fantasy “design” reason)?

    Are neutron stars designed? Black holes? They come from the same “fundamental forces” that produce atoms, yet neutron stars are prone to make life-killing radiation in most cases. Best thing about them, colliding neutron stars do seem responsible for heavy element nucleosynthesis, but few neutron stars do that, most just exist out there either producing nasty radiation or doing nothing. Black holes are an entirely different danger, a place where atoms no longer have any kind of possibility.

    Are muons designed? Are all of the other short-lived particles designed? Or are you just happy to name the useful particles as “designed” without the slightest thought about what this means with respect to the entire menagerie of particles?

    Obviously you’re not interested in actual discovery of design, but merely in claiming design by fiat, like other IDists. And still it seems rather cherry picked. We have lots of relatively useless atoms (how much calcium do we need, vs. the amount in the earth, more in the crust?), and huge numbers of basically useless-to-humans particles, many of which can be dangerous for humans in the wrong situations.

    Above all, Bill, who likes to demand that everything about evolution be explained while he ignores the massive evidence that life has evolved, has not used design to explain anything at all about anything, let alone atoms. And he’s hardly going to explain why the same forces of the universe that produce some atoms that clearly are of value to us also produce neutrinos that aren’t, nor radioactive atoms that cause harm to us. We’re back to the utter uselessness of ID, which only knows how to look at something useful to us, then to declare “design.”

    Why don’t they explain why designed brains would end up in such useless cul-de-sacs?

    Glen Davidson

  16. OMagain,

    colewd: If they were the result of a random cause you would not exist

    OM: That’s your claim but you’ve not supported it at all. It’s just something you are saying without any reasoning.

    The claim was supported with an example of a computer where the components have to be specified and operate repeatably for the system to function. Can you think of a system that could function with components selected randomly or designed with a set of random parameters.

    Heard of decay? Atoms decay. The proton is estimated to have a half life of 10 to the power of 32 years.

    23 orders of magnitude longer then the age of the universe, impressive, 🙂

  17. colewd: The claim was supported with an example of a computer where the components have to be specified and operate repeatably for the system to function. Can you think of a system that could function with components selected randomly or designed with a set of random parameters.

    The fallacy of affirming the consequent.

    Typical IDist illogic.

    Glen Davidson

  18. Entropy,

    I don’t know. I haven’t studied the evolution of neutrons. I have studied evidence for common ancestry though, and that’s more than enough to understand that the human brain evolved. Since there’s a common ancestry connection between living species,

    You are begging the question until you can tie together sequence similarities with one resulted in the other through reproduction. There are large alternative splicing differences in formation of the human cerebellum as compared to chimps. We have no evidence that alternative splicing patterns can change solely through reproduction. There is evidence of common descent but the line of demarkation is not well understood especially the evolution of the human brain.
    Entropy,

    It’s not my claim. It’s your claim. You’re the one who proposes a magical being.

    Please reference where I used the term “magical being”. This is your straw man.

    For anything to have “specificity” and “repeatability,” their components have to have such characteristics from the very bottom. Intelligence could not exist without “specificity” and “repeatability” itself. Therefore, the “specificity” and “repeatability” must be more basic than intelligence. “Specificity” and “repeatability” are foundational. Anything else would be nonsensical.

    Thats right it is foundational to our universe and thats why the evidence points to the design inference. The foundational characteristics point to a created universe.
    Entropy,

    Do you really not see that? The need for “specificity” and “repeatability” to be foundational, even if we didn’t know where that foundation lies?

    It is what it is, is not an explanation. You are arguing for creation without realizing it.:-)

  19. keiths,

    Then you’ll no longer claim that God exists, or that he created the universe, or that Jesus is God, because you’re just a frog at the bottom of a well? Who are you kidding?

    Inferring existence is different then inferring intent. I can infer existence from the bottom of the well but cannot infer intent.

    I can infer that keiths exists from the evidence you post on this blog. I cannot infer from my limited perspective whether your decision to retire was a good one.

  20. GlenDavidson,

    In your system of affirming the consequent, there are no such possibilities.

    That’s your illogic.

    If there is no alternative then you have failed to refute the claim and my logic is fine. You are failing to find the exception because there isn’t one.

  21. Bill,

    If we can’t infer that brains evolved, from the evidence available to us at “the bottom of the well”, then you certainly can’t infer that Christianity is true.

    Are you willing, the next time someone asks, to say “I have no idea whether Christianity is true; I’m just a frog at the bottom of a well”? The answer, as everyone knows, is “no”. You love the “frog” argument, but only when you’re applying it to others. Your own beliefs get a pass.

    This inconsistency makes you look foolish, yet you trot out the frog argument again and again. People already know that you’re a liability to your faith. No need for you to belabor the point.

  22. Here is a video of an interview with Dr Michaela Glöckler discussing her views about life.

    Steiner insisted that anyone who wished to become an anthroposophical doctor, must first be a qualified medical doctor and Dr Glöckler is a pediatrician. English is not her first language and the following excerpt reflects that fact. But her words are very clear and she gives a very good account of what she understands life to be. And she is not just pondering these ideas in her mind, she is putting them into practice in a way that benefits others.

    Not only anthroposophists are saying the human is a spiritual being, but, anthroposophists are clearly saying what do they mean by spiritual. So Steiner defines his spirituality concept extremely precise and that gives the possiblity very specifically to enlarge everything and to get new insights out of that. Because Steiner’s concept of spirituality is that every human thought is a spiritual power. That what you think will be reality of tomorrow. That thinking is not just a cloudy thing but thinking is the driver of evolution. And he has a remarkable new paradigm for medicine. And that is what is my most favourite aspect of anthroposophic medicine. I can show this to you in this beautiful gesture you find in many Buddha sculptures. That you have these hands like a seed and then you have this gesture, ya. (She demonstrates this in the video) In many sculptures you have such a meditative gesture and this is a picture for the etheric forces, for the life forces. And Steiner discovered that what we carry in our thoughts as potential as activity is, let me say it very short, eternal life. And that what we have as biological life is incarnated intelligence, incarnated spirit, incarnated wisdom acting as natural laws: As body wisdom: As what ever we find with what? Through our thoughts as wisdom in nature.

    So Steiner developed the concept that what we acknowledge as so called facts, mathematical laws, who are running the nature who are running the computers, the ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and so on. That this sort of, let me say, incarnated intelligence, inherent intelligence, or incorporated intelligence is the same, only without matter, we carry in thoughts. So that there is one spirit acting out, evolving this whole evolution which is a huge intelligence, and only the human being can carry this in an individual form in its thinking, but everywhere you find it acting and manifesting and realising in wherever you look. So if you have this concept thinking is the spiritual power and is also life. Then you understand psychosematics, why thinking can heal, why meditation is healthy, why bad thoughts are affecting people. You do not know this only, you understand and you can also work with that concretely in healing, in concepts. But also when you have remedies from nature, minerals, plants, healing plants, you understand the spirit, you understand the effect also on the consciousness, on various parts of the body. So we study very concretely, very scientific, what works in the nature and corresponds with nature processes in our physical nature, and on the other hand what can we contribute by helping the people to live more consciously, more meaningful, more healthily in all their various life circumstances. So that is the more general background.

    So what is physical life, what is matter? It can be regarded as a condensation of thoughts. Thinking is primal.

  23. colewd:
    You are begging the question until you can tie together sequence similarities with one resulted in the other through reproduction. There are large alternative splicing differences in formation of the human cerebellum as compared to chimps.We have no evidence that alternative splicing patterns can change solely through reproduction. There is evidence of common descent but the line of demarkation is not well understood especially the evolution of the human brain.

    You’re missing the point. I never mentioned alternative splicing. What I said is that once you understand that we share common ancestry with other life forms, because of the many lines of evidence, it becomes obvious that the human brain evolved. There’s no begging the question. We look at the closest species to ours, and we see that their brains are smaller and somewhat simpler than ours. therefore, the brain of the common ancestor must have been smaller than ours. Thus ours evolved from a simpler brain. It’s that simple William. Don’t miss the point. Focus!

    colewd:
    Please reference where I used the term “magical being”.This is your straw man.

    That you call it “God” or “designer”, despite the need for atoms to make any designers you can point to, means that you’re not thinking of a designers as known, or made of atoms. Therefore you’re talking about a magical being.

    colewd:
    Thats right it is foundational to our universe and thats why the evidence points to the design inference. The foundational characteristics point to a created universe.

    You missed this little point among what you quoted:

    colewd quoting Entropy:: For anything to have “specificity” and “repeatability,” their components have to have such characteristics from the very bottom. Intelligence could not exist without “specificity” and “repeatability” itself. Therefore, the “specificity” and “repeatability” must be more basic than intelligence. “Specificity” and “repeatability” are foundational. Anything else would be nonsensical.

    Read that carefully and try and understand it. Is it really possible for intelligence to exist unless it’s made of and operates under something that has “specificity” and “repeatability”? Of course not. So, you’re putting the cart-before-the-horse. Focus! Understand this!

    colewd quoting Entropy:: It is what it is, is not an explanation.You are arguing for creation without realizing it.:-)

    You missed the point. I’m arguing against creation because the ability to create and intelligence would require the very things you’re trying to explain. You thus don’t explain anything, you just move the foundational point further than strictly necessary only to end, if you thought carefully about it, in a more foundational “specificity” and “repeatability.” You stop at the “designer” because that’s your end goal. You prefer not to ask then how could this designer design and have intelligence? That should tell you that, even if your designer existed, it would still have to operate on the basis of something more fundamental that also has “specificity” and “repeatability.”

    Your magical being doesn’t answer your question. Asking for an explanation for those characteristics is absurd because, when you think about it, any answer will lead to atoms having their properties because that’s the way things operate at the most basic level. Design would not be possible without it, and thus those properties cannot be designed. They must be fundamental.

    Please focus.

  24. Entropy,

    Read that carefully and try and understand it. Is it really possible for intelligence to exist unless it’s made of and operates under something that has “specificity” and “repeatability”? Of course not. So, you’re putting the cart-before-the-horse. Focus! Understand this!

    The observation is specificity and repeatability and the cause is?

    You missed the point. I’m arguing against creation because the ability to create and intelligence would require the very things you’re trying to explain.

    Ah. A chicken and egg problem similar to the origin of life problem. Would you consider the existence of life “fundamental”?

    You’re missing the point. I never mentioned alternative splicing. What I said is that once you understand that we share common ancestry with other life forms, because of the many lines of evidence, it becomes obvious that the human brain evolved.

    Similarities alone do not point to an ancestral relationship. You are failing to explain the differences.

  25. keiths,

    If we can’t infer that brains evolved, from the evidence available to us at “the bottom of the well”, then you certainly can’t infer that Christianity is true.

    The lines of evidence are different so your logic does not hold. Christianity is based on historical record.

    We cannot even identify the common ancestor that chimps and humans share. When you look at alternative splicing differences this transition is far from trivial.

  26. colewd:
    The observation is specificity and repeatability and the cause is?

    It doesn’t make sense to talk about a “cause” unless there’s specificity and repeatability. You’re asking a nonsensical question (four times I explain this to you). Your question doesn’t have an answer because, in the end, you’re going to get to a fundamental point where there’s still an “unexplained” specificity and repeatability. Don’t you get it? Focus! Those characteristics will always be there. Nobody, not even a magical being, can create “specificity and repeatability.” The very existence of a designer means that there’s something more basic than that designer whose nature is fundamentally one of specificity and repeatability. That’s the way it is, and that’s the only way it can be.

    colewd:
    Ah. A chicken and egg problem similar to the origin of life problem.

    Nope. It’s only a chicken and egg problem if you insist that things with specificity and repeatability have to be designed. If you accept the fact that those things are fundamental (as in that’s just the way it is and the only way it can be), rather than designed, there’s no chicken-egg problem.

    colewd:
    Would you consider the existence of life “fundamental”?

    Of course not. That would be as non-sensical as your proposition that properties necessary for the mere ability to design were designed themselves.

  27. Entropy,

    . You prefer not to ask then how could this designer design and have intelligence? That should tell you that, even if your designer existed, it would still have to operate on the basis of something more fundamental that also has “specificity” and “repeatability.”

    This is a great thought. Could intelligence be the “fundamental”?

  28. Entropy,

    It doesn’t make sense to talk about a “cause” unless there’s specificity and repeatability. You’re asking a nonsensical question (four times I explain this to you). Your question doesn’t have an answer because, in the end, you’re going to get to a fundamental point where there’s still an “unexplained” specificity and repeatability. Don’t you get it? Focus!

    So in the end we have an uncaused cause 🙂 Which you call specificity and repeatability or perhaps matter with those characteristics.

    If you consider the origin of matter fundamental why would the origin of life not be the same given its chicken and egg problems

    Of course not. That would be as non-sensical as your proposition that properties necessary for the mere ability to design were designed themselves.

    Life and matter require your magically appearing specificity and repeatability. Seems like they both fit into your magical “fundamental.”

  29. GlenDavidson: I see much belief in and behind that statement.

    And no evidence whatsoever.

    Glen Davidson

    If you can understand what Steiner means by ‘thinking’ as explained in his book .The Phikosophy of Freedom then you will have all the evidence you need.

    In order for me to get an idea of your understanding I would like to ask you a question that I have asked others before. Do you accept that the concept ‘triangle’ is not multiplied in accordance with the number of minds that hold it? That the concept ‘triangle’ is singular, it is a unity? If you do not accept this I would like you to explain in what way you believe the concept is multiple.

    The problem with the evidence you are asking for is that each person must expend the effort to acquire it for themselves. It can be done in the same way that Goethe was able to ‘see’ the archetype.

    Here I am using the word ‘see’ in the same way that you are using it above. Only you ‘see’ no evidence because you either don’t know how to go about looking for it or you don’t want to make the effort.

  30. colewd:
    So in the end we have an uncaused cause 🙂Which you call specificity and repeatability or perhaps matter with those characteristics.

    What a crappy way to phrase that. Call it whatever (uncaused cause, even if it makes me vomit at the philosophically primitive crap). There’s foundational specificity and repeatability, and it can only be natural. It cannot be a magical being. Even a magical being would depend on such fundamental properties.

    colewd:
    If you consider the origin of matter fundamental why would the origin of life not be the same given its chicken and egg problems

    I didn’t say that the origin of matter was fundamental. I said that “specificity” and “repeatability” are fundamental. You’re not reading too carefully.

    Life doesn’t have any chicken-egg problems. You’re mistaking your perception of a problem with the actual existence of a problem. Ignorance about how a situation came to be is not the same as there being a real problem, other than such ignorance, which is your problem, not life’s.

    colewd:
    Life and matter require your magically appearing specificity and repeatability. Seems like they both fit into your magical “fundamental.”

    That language is rich coming from someone who’s proposing a magical being as a solution. It also shows that you’re not reading very carefully what I have explained again and again. Are you trying to appear to be that much of a fool, or are you reading shallowly? I think it’s the latter.

    I never said that “repeatability” and “specificity” appeared. I said that they’re fundamental. Since design is possible, that means that there’s inherent repeatability and specificity in nature. Design cannot be more fundamental than those characteristics because design depends on those characteristics. Those characteristics cannot be designed because that’s a contradiction of terms. It’s absurd. Really. How many times have I written this already? how many times before you understand it?

    Think! Focus! Try and understand! Read carefully! Focus! Focus! Read for comprehension!

  31. CharlieM: In order for me to get an idea of your understanding I would like to ask you a question that I have asked others before. Do you accept that the concept ‘triangle’ is not multiplied in accordance with the number of minds that hold it? That the concept ‘triangle’ is singular, it is a unity? If you do not accept this I would like you to explain in what way you believe the concept is multiple.

    I don’t play those word games. I know that “triangle” is called “the concept,” and don’t worry about its misleading nature until someone like yourself does try to use the fact that the Pythagorean-Platonic view has been incorporated into our language as something decisive of the “truth” of these matters.

    If you can ever move beyond the problems of language you might begin to understand these issues. It’s a shame that you don’t know philosophy, since of course these issues loom large in understanding the world, while you merely accept the prejudices embodied in language as if they reveal truth to us.

    Glen Davidson

  32. Entropy,

    I never said that “repeatability” and “specificity” appeared. I said that they’re fundamental. Since design is possible, that means that there’s inherent repeatability and specificity in nature. Design cannot be more fundamental than those characteristics because design depends on those characteristics. Those characteristics cannot be designed because that’s a contradiction of terms. It’s absurd. Really. How many times have I written this already? how many times before you understand it?

    Fair point.

    Repeatability and specificity were a characteristic of matter that did appear. It also is a characteristic of life.
    How do you propose that matter originated with these characteristics? It is what it is appears to be your claim.

    Do you consider information to be another fundamental?

  33. colewd:
    Repeatability and specificity were a characteristic of matter that did appear. It also is a characteristic of life.
    How do you propose that matter originated with these characteristics? It is what it is appears to be your claim.

    I do not understand what you’re saying in those two sentences. So, I just repeat that what I’m saying is that, at the most fundamental level, repeatability and specificity must be part and parcel of whatever that fundamental level might be.

    colewd:
    Do you consider information to be another fundamental?

    I’m not sure. 🤔

  34. keiths:
    CharlieM,

    That quote, and your summary of it, are pure, evidence-free woo.

    ETA:Ninja’d by Glen!

    The video I linked to was an interview for the documentary film The Challenge of Rudolf Steiner by Jonathan Stedall which demonstrates the many practical applications inspired by the teachings of Steiner. The success of these endeavours is evidence enough that your “evidence-free woo” has many benefits for society.

    If you are interested in looking at evidence for the etheric which is not directly perceived by the physical senses but is real nonetheless, you need to look to the works of people such as George Adams, Olive Whicher, Lawrence Edwards, Nick Thomas and others who explore the field of projective geometry. I would recommend the book The Plant Between Sun and Earth by George Adams and Olive Whicher which I read many years ago. Unfortunately it is very expensive.

    The physical world as explored by modern materialistic science is point-wise, static and ideally suited to dealing with dead matter. The etheric on the other hand comes from the other direction. It is peripheral, plane-wise and ideally suited to the ever-changing, living world.

    Many people have been and are doing experiments to acquire more knowledge and understanding of these things. The book The Vortex of Life by Lawrence Edwards is an example. The supplements that accompany this book can be found here.

  35. CharlieM,

    The success of these endeavours is evidence enough that your “evidence-free woo” has many benefits for society.

    If this Steiner-inspired stuff were actually better than reality-based approaches, it would have taken over the world by now. People use what works.

    There’s a similar problem with Scientology and its inflated claims. If Scientology could actually deliver what it claims, then everyone would have adopted it by now, and people would be clamoring for it.

    You want this stuff to be true, but it clearly isn’t.

    I characterized the Glöckler quote, and your summary of it…

    So what is physical life, what is matter? It can be regarded as a condensation of thoughts. Thinking is primal.

    …as “evidence-free woo”. If you contest that assessment, then present the evidence for it. Don’t just assert.

  36. keiths,

    CharlieM: The success of these endeavours is evidence enough that your “evidence-free woo” has many benefits for society.

    If this Steiner-inspired stuff were actually better than reality-based approaches, it would have taken over the world by now. People use what works.

    Anthroposophical inspired approaches are not about competing with other approaches. We have examples of people using their experienec of anthroposophy for the benefit of others and not in order to spread anthroposophy. People such as Karl König who was forced to flee Vienna and move to Scotland as a refugee in 1938. After a brief internment he set up a community for children in need of special care which is there to this present day. Children that today’s society deals with by the use of abortion. Abortion is certainly better for giving those concerned an easier life in the future.

    There’s a similar problem with Scientology and its inflated claims. If Scientology could actually deliver what it claims, then everyone would have adopted it by now, and people would be clamoring for it.

    You want this stuff to be true, but it clearly isn’t.

    If we do believe and take seriously the things that Steiner relates then we have a very difficult road ahead in the trials that we will have to face. annihilation would be a much easier option.

    I can quite easily understand how someone might come to the conclusion that anthroposophy was a cult similar to Scientology. But a deeper understanding would soon correct that conclusion even if some anthroposophists may very well treat it as a cult.

  37. keiths:

    If this Steiner-inspired stuff were actually better than reality-based approaches, it would have taken over the world by now. People use what works.

    CharlieM:

    Anthroposophical inspired approaches are not about competing with other approaches.

    It doesn’t matter. Ideas compete, whether they were intended to or not, and the Steiner-inspired crap has fared poorly in the competition. People value what works, Charlie.

    Remember, you were the one suggesting that…

    The success of these endeavours is evidence enough that your “evidence-free woo” has many benefits for society.

    …as if that were somehow evidence that the evidence-free woo isn’t evidence-free woo.

    Steiner’s crap doesn’t hold up, Charlie — neither when viewed directly nor when judged on the basis of its applications.

  38. CharlieM:

    I can quite easily understand how someone might come to the conclusion that anthroposophy was a cult similar to Scientology. But a deeper understanding would soon correct that conclusion even if some anthroposophists may very well treat it as a cult.

    Scientologists will tell you the same thing, with Scientology and anthroposophy reversed.

    You’re in the same, irrational, guru-worshiping boat as the Scientologists, Charlie. You just happen to disagree on who the guru is.

  39. CharlieM,

    That still leaves this, however:

    I characterized the Glöckler quote, and your summary of it…

    So what is physical life, what is matter? It can be regarded as a condensation of thoughts. Thinking is primal.

    …as “evidence-free woo”. If you contest that assessment, then present the evidence for it. Don’t just assert.

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