In a post here at Uncommon Descent, Upright Biped makes what he calls his Semiotic Argument for Design, which he has been challenging me to refute for some time now, but which I have been struggling to understand. So it was good to see it summarised in one place, and I’d like to take a look at it piece by piece, and with your help, try to figure out what he’s getting at (I’m assuming he’s a he, which I don’t normally do, but I think he said something once that implied he was).
It’s a response to Larry Moran who dropped by from his Sandwalk blog to talk about onion genomes, but we don’t have to worry about onions too much, I don’t think, as UBP is making a more fundamental claim.
Thanks for keeping the site warm for me 🙂
Gotta lot of threads to catch up on, by the looks of things.
Still a bit gobsmacked by the number of Christians on Uncommon Descent who seem to think that William Lane Craig’s apologia for the divine command to genocide has any merit, and it’s left me somewhat sick of heart, but reassuring that Timaeus, and some others also find it abhorrent.
The idea that any action is good if you think that God commanded it seems to me so self-evidently dangerous that I simply cannot imagine how anyone can entertain it for a moment. And that’s only one of the problems with it.
For those out of the loop, the hoohah started here:
I think Dawkins’ excuse rings hollow, myself, but his link to Craig’s essay on the genocide of the Canaanites made my blood run cold.
While I tend to see materialism, or any ism really, as misguided attempts to to translate the epic poem of reality into a language of limits, the universe to an Upanishad, the unknown and unexpected cuisine of eternity into bite sized morsels of processed food by-product. Ultimately, I think isms, including materialism narrow the minds of the porters stuck with the baggage. Like a person forced to wear a hat two sizes too small, like a fundamentalist’s child taught to feel shame at the first whiff of curiosity about something potentially interesting, isms discourage freestyle boogie on the cranial dance floor. They attempt to definitively answer the important question, “Why?”*. At least, that is my general attitude. I can and occasionally do trot out tome lubricant for my neurons in order to formulate a logical support for the idea, but I just ran across a printed copy of this paper in a file folder which accidentally traveled with me this week. Continue reading
Questions about truth, free will, logic have been raised in another thread. To help clarify the discussion, let’s separate those from the “necessary premise” discussion.
Here’s an example of the argument being raised:
True statements can only be expected to exist, and we can only expect to be able to deliberately discern them, if we assume the universe is governed by logic (necssarily rationally ordered) and if we assume for ourselves the libertarian free will causative capacity to discern them.
This seems a rather strange claim, given then many people believe that our best and most reliable true statements are those coming from science, and based on describing our world in terms physical causation. Moreover, science is often considered to provide our best examples rationality and logical reasoning.
In another thread, WJM has frequently made arguments similar to this:
As I have said repeatedly, premises that support one’s arguments are only necessary if one wishes to develop a rationally coherent worldview. One is always, of course, free to believe whatever they wish – rationally justifiable or not.
Several of the other participants in the discussion have found such statements to be unsatisfying. This post is intended as a place where we might hope that WJM will fill in some of the gaps.