Cartesian Skepticism

The main features of Cartesianism are:

(1) the use of methodical doubt as a tool for testing beliefs and reaching certainty.

– A Companion to Epistemology, p 57

It seems odd to me that keiths, who denies the possibility of certainty, is a champion of Cartesian skepticism.

A Cartesian skeptic will argue that no empirical proposition about anything other than one’s own mind and its contents is sufficiently warranted because there are always legitimate grounds for doubting it.

… A Cartesian requires certainty.

– A Companion to Epistemology, p 457

keiths is not a Cartesian Skeptic.

Cartesian scepticism, more impressed with Descartes’ argument for scepticism than his own reply, holds that we do not have any knowledge of any empirical proposition about anything beyond the contents of our own minds. The reason, roughly put, is that there is a legitimate doubt about all such propositions because there is no way to justifiably deny that our senses are being stimulated by some cause (an evil spirit, for example) which is radically different from the objects which we normally think affect our senses.

A Companion to Epistemology, p 457

keiths is not a Cartesian Skeptic.

Is it even possible to be Cartesian Skeptic?

Slavery in the Bible

The Christian Bible condones slavery explicitly in numerous passages. One of those reference often by slave owners in the Antebellum South comes from the story of Noah.

Genesis 9:24-27
9:24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
9:25 And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
9:26 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
9:27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Continue reading

What is the Plan?

A prominent ID supporter at UD, gpuccio, has this to say:

My simple point is: reasoning in terms of design, intention and plans is a true science promoter which can help give new perspective to our approach to biology. Questions simply change. The question is no more:

how did this sequence evolve by some non existent neo darwinian mechanism giving reproductive advantage?

but rather:

why was this functional information introduced at this stage? what is the plan? what functions (even completely unrelated to sheer survival and reproduction) are being engineered here?


Continue reading


On the thread entitled “Species Kinds”, commenter phoodoo asks:

What’s the definition of a species?

A simple question but hard to answer. Talking of populations of interbreeding individuals immediately creates problems when looking at asexual organisms, especially the prokaryotes: bacteria and archaea. How to delineate a species temporally is also problematic. Allan Miller links to an excellent basic resource on defining a species and the Wikipedia entry does not shy away from the difficulties.

In case phoodoo thought his question was being ignored, I thought I’d open this thread to allow discussion without derailing the thread on “kinds”.

Discovered dollo’s law and it makes a probability case.

i just read in Acts/Facts (ICR creo pub) about a law in evolutionism called Dollo’s law.. Gould said”…restates the general principal of mathematical probability…”

This touches on a thread I made here once about how darwins idea, statement, that to disprove evolution someone would need to show why small steps could not have created anything now in biology. I answered that if small steps can do the glory/complexity of biology then they could do anything. However improbable. Say a fish to a rhino, over time, bacj to a fish, then back to a rhino. WHY NOT is small steps of selection can do anything.

WELL. They had a law here about how evolution can’t reverse/repeat itself due to the math improbability.

Yet this would confute Darwins argument.  SO small steps can’t do everything. There are boundaries indeed. THEN the creationist must be allowed the concept of how improbable biology coming from small steps IS. In fact Gould/Dawkins all agree its improbable for like results. so why not the whole concept of evolution as to explain biology??

The improbability of fish becoming fishermen, a common first instinct, is proved as right as a instinct because of Dollo’s law.  Its impossible to repeat/reverse but this means its impossible for the first time.

Small steps being selected is NOT a answer to the apparent impossibility of what evolutionism claims to demonstrate.


Time for a discussion of “kinds”, i.e. “created kinds”, known to some as baramins. More specifically, holobaramins, an originally created (no ancestors, that is) population and all its descendants. But from now on I’ll just call them kinds, as long as we can agree on the intended meaning. There can be no kinds within kinds. Each one is a separate tree in a creationist’s phylogenetic orchard.

I don’t mean to go on long. This is really intended as a place for creationists to attempt to answer important questions of baraminology. Can a kind encompass more than one species? How can you know whether two species belong to the same or different kinds? Would we expect to see something obvious to differentiate them?

I’ve seen several criteria proposed, some of which work in only one direction. If two species hybridize, it’s claimed, they must be the same kind; but if they don’t, that doesn’t mean they’re different kinds. If a transition between two species is not “mechanically feasible”, they must be different kinds; but if it is, that doesn’t mean they’re the same kind. Other criteria I’ve seen are “discontinuity”, whatever that is, intuitive recognition (seriously, that’s an actual claim), and of course biblical exegesis. Can we agree to leave out the last?

Finally, can some creationist use those criteria, or any other, to designate at least a few entities that he is sure are kinds? Then we’ll have something concrete to argue about.

Phylogeny – the Bigger Picture

During recent discussions on phylogeny, we saw a distinct failure to communicate, probably felt by both sides. The ‘evos’ attempted to consider the role of molecular data in determining relationship. Given that an obvious cause of common sequence is common descent, due to the significant but not perfect fidelity of the DNA replication process, the phylogenetic inference is that sequence similarity is indicative of common descent. This, critics feel, is a circular argument. Continue reading

Pull Up Your Socks

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that it is a federal crime to visit a website after being told not to visit it. This decision is based on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

As the linked article notes, this ruling seems to somewhat conflict with a previous ruling by the en banc 9th Circuit, so there is a good chance that it will be appealed to the full court. In the meantime, though, it is conceivable that a sleazy lawyer could file federal charges against people who use pseudonyms to continue participating in an online forum where they have been previously banned for pointing out the ignorance and irrationality of certain protected members.

It’s reassuring that we don’t know of anyone with the combined lack of self-control and ethics that would allow him to do such a thing.