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…
Can you explain anything at all with your woo?
Glen, to Charlie:
Or defend Steiner’s double standard?
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.
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:
I don’t think you have what you think you have. Lets start with the basics. How did a neuron evolve?
This is right analogies are not evidence but they are a way to analyze evidence. The atom and all its properties is the evidence.
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 🙂
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.
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.
It’s not fatal to my position because I am not claiming certainty. I realize my position is tentative based on limited perspective.
Neither are we.
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?
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 🙂
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.
That’s your claim but you’ve not supported it at all. It’s just something you are saying without any reasoning.
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?
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?
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?
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.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’ll just repost what I said the last time you resorted to your dumb frog argument:
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.
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.
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).
That their foundational stuff (particles, fields, whatever) have “specific” and “repeatable” characteristics.
You’re begging the question. Of course we have such evidence. All of our designs started without designed components.
Which are not designed components. Again, you’re begging the question.
Nope. All components need to have predictable behaviours. That’s it.
The atom properties are not the result of a random accident. They’re the result of the way nature works.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
23 orders of magnitude longer then the age of the universe, impressive, 🙂
The fallacy of affirming the consequent.
Typical IDist illogic.
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.
Please reference where I used the term “magical being”. This is your straw man.
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.
It is what it is, is not an explanation. You are arguing for creation without realizing it.:-)
Only true if you can find the exception. Good luck 🙂
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.
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.
Enjoy your closed-off little box.
It appears to be where you wish to remain.
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.
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.
So what is physical life, what is matter? It can be regarded as a condensation of thoughts. Thinking is primal.
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!
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.
You missed this little point among what you quoted:
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!
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.
I see much belief in and behind that statement.
And no evidence whatsoever.
That quote, and your summary of it, are pure, evidence-free woo.
ETA: Ninja’d by Glen!
The observation is specificity and repeatability and the cause is?
Ah. A chicken and egg problem similar to the origin of life problem. Would you consider the existence of life “fundamental”?
Similarities alone do not point to an ancestral relationship. You are failing to explain the differences.
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.
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.
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.
Of course not. That would be as non-sensical as your proposition that properties necessary for the mere ability to design were designed themselves.
This is a great thought. Could intelligence be the “fundamental”?
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
Life and matter require your magically appearing specificity and repeatability. Seems like they both fit into your magical “fundamental.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
I’m not sure. 🤔
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.
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…
…as “evidence-free woo”. If you contest that assessment, then present the evidence for it. Don’t just assert.
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.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
Okay keith, I think you have made your position quite clear so I’m happy to leave it at that.
That still leaves this, however: