Leo Behe on atheism

There’s an interview with Leo Behe, son of Michael Behe, that has just been published by the Humanist and is available online.  Several blogs have commented on it.  Since Leo Behe discusses some of the issues that have arisen here (and were unfortunately deleted), this interview might be something we would like to discuss.

In brief, Leo Behe was raised a catholic.  But he has since become an atheist.

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Atheism and Theism: both statements about nature?

In the previous thread, Jet Black made the following comment in response to one of my comments:

Atheism is a statement about gods, not a statement about nature. You just seem to be making them synonyms. This is precisely the same trick that creationists and religious people often try to play; implicitly claim that a bunch of things are synonymous, reject one, and then by induction, you reject them all.

I disagree. Here’s why: Continue reading


Ilion, a regular poster at Uncommon Descent, linked to an argument for God that he makes on his blog, here. I found it interesting because it was exactly the argument (though more succinctly expressed, I think) that kept me a theist for most of my life):

The reality of minds in a material world (thus, every human being who has ever existed) is proof that atheism is false. If atheism were indeed the truth about the nature of reality, then we would not — because we could not — exist. But we do exist. Therefore, atheism is not the truth about the nature of reality.


My position was that as every one of us (I assume) has the experience I have of being aware – being a mind – and thereby of being a unique self – there must be something unique to me, that inhabits me, that is not simply a material body, which, I assumed, could carry on perfectly well, zombie-fashion, were that essential self to go on vacation for a bit. Which made an after-life perfectly reasonable: (I knew my body would cease to function, but as my self seemed to be unarguably independent of the body it inhabited, there seemed no reason to assume that it would not continue to exist independently once that body ceased to function). Continue reading

The Two Lizzies

I wrote this story a while back, and posted it on a couple of forums.  But I often find I need to link to it (it was written to make a point!) so I’m reposting it here.  Hoping it might generate some discussion 🙂


The Two Lizzies

Lizzie was a single mum, with a one-year daughter, Beth. Lizzie wanted to get back to her job in neuroscience – she’d left tantalizing data unanalyzed – but she loved her daughter, and wanted to give her a good start in life.

Lizzie heard about an experimental technique, whereby she could be in two places at once. Perfect! She thought. I can stay at home with Beth AND go back to work.

Lizzie made an appointment for the procedure. She was told that she would undergo a whole body scan under anaesthetic, and every atom in her body would be identified and located. Then a random half would be selected and displaced one meter to her left, making two sparse copies of Lizzie. Fresh atoms, identical to those missing from each copy would then be added, resulting in two identical Lizzies where there had once been one.
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Search space

A curious couple of days for me at Uncommon Descent!

I’ve always wondered why people who are skeptical about Darwinian evolution aren’t persuaded by the power of evolutionary algorithms to find creative solutions.

There seems to me to be a deep misunderstanding of a) the nature of search space (and its structure) and b) the role a Designer plays in a GA.

The oddest objection I find is the objection that the Designer designs the fitness function.  If the ID of ID is the fitness function, then ID is the environment!  Because that’s the analog surely.

Which is nicely Earth Motherish, I guess.

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God, or the HPoC, require …

…a paradigm where ‘explanation’ means something different than the modern usage of the term.

I wrote this in response to a question about supernatural events but I think it applies to Chalmers’ ‘Hard Problem of Consciousness‘ also:

Me: Who said I was unattached and objective? Find me a single example of a supernatural event.

Other guy: Jesus’ resurrection.

Me: Perfect example. We’ll assume that Jesus’ resurrection was a real event, witnessed by millions. A team of doctors pronounce him dead as a doorknob. He turns blue, rigor mortis sets in, and the doctors take his liver and heart for transplant patients so we know he’s as dead as they come. No tricks.

Now, the next morning, a team of scientists representing every known discipline with every possible piece of testing equipment starts monitoring the cadaver. They have EEG, MRI, CAT, mass spectrometers, chemical analysis teams, scales, x-ray machines, scopes up his ass and forced through his urethra, down his throat, in his ears and nose and around his eyes up his femoral artery, cloud chambers to measure the particle interactions, and a cop with the insta cocaine detector kit snipping bits of his hair at 2 second intervals to make sure his carcass doesn’t commit a crime. After watching the decaying flesh vigilantly all morning, suddenly the systems reanimate. Brain waves start registering, a heart regrows and starts pumping, the liver develops and the gall-bladder fills with bile. Jesus takes a breath. Witnessing the monitoring devices with a mix of awe, fascination and horror, the eyelids flicker and Jesus sits up. The cop’s test turns positive and Jesus nonchalantly waves his hand and the test turns negative.

What do you think the scientists do?

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What does a theist mean by ‘God’?

Crazy little thing called God:

In ancient times, unusual physical events apparently scared the shit out of the locals, even the local philosophers. Events like lightning, earthquakes, meteors, floods and things of that nature prompted fears and speculations about the wrath of some critter, a critter much more powerful than ourselves, that suffered petty jealousy and fits of rage. The goal, assuming such a being, becomes appeasement. That is a highly rational belief. Bad things are bad. It’s worth investigating ways to avoid them. It’s probably why Richard Simmons became a celebrity.

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