Reservations About ID, Rottenness in Creationism

As a card carrying creationist, I’ve sometimes wanted to post about my reservations regarding the search for evidence of Intelligent Design (ID) and some of the rottenness in the search for evidence in young earth creation. I’ve refrained from speaking my mind on these matters too frequently lest I ruffle the feathers of the few friends I have left in the world (the ID community and the creationist community). But I must speak out and express criticism of my own side of the aisle on occasion.

Before proceeding, I’d like to thank Elizabeth for her hospitality in letting me post here. She invited me to post some things regarding my views of Natural Selection and Genetic Algorithms, but in the spirit of skepticism I want to offer criticism of some of my own ideas.So this essay will sketch what I consider valid criticism of ID, creationism in general and Young Earth Creationism (YEC) in particular.

Take any of the accepted laws of physics, like say the classic one, F=ma in classical mechanics. The physical behavior requires no Intelligent Designer. This is true of every physical law. I recall a professor of physics saying, “after Newton there was no need of witches or of God”. What she meant, it seems to me, is God was irrelevant to understanding physical law. Invoking God doesn’t give further insight to understanding physics.

Only in some controversial interpretations of Quantum Mechanics will some physicists even dare to argue God exists. Such arguments have been put forward by Richard Conn Henry, John Barrow, Frank Tipler, FJ Belinfante etc. See:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-quantum-enigma-of-consciousness-and-the-identity-of-the-designer/

But that is the crux of the problem. If the Intelligent Designer is not the focus of physics, and physics underlies all the sciences, then how can ID then be incorporated into science? In that regard, I’m mostly ambivalent to arguing whether ID is science or not.

Like the play “Waiting for Godot”, we are “Waiting for the Intelligent Designer”. I reject the notion that one can apply stone henge as evidence of intelligent design and then make an equally believable case that one can look at the intricacies of the cell and conclude the Intelligent Designer exists. When I was an engineering student, I would be subject to examination to demonstrate that I could make designs. Human made designs are thus subject to independent verification. We can subject those sort of intelligent designers to field laboratory testing, we cannot do so regarding the supposed Intelligent Designer of the universe and life. This lack of direct testability will always leave quite a bit of room for skepticism, if not some inclination for outright rejection, no matter how powerful the arguments are against chemical and biological evolution.

If God were continually making miracles like he did in the time of Moses, we might not be having these debates, but as for now He has chosen to remain hidden from observation and experiment which are the foundations of science.

These criticism of ID will apply to creationism and particularly young earth creationism. Even supposing miracles are real, by their very nature, miracles will elude repeatability (that’s why they are miracles!). The most we can hope for is to use science to demonstrate that an unusual mechanism had to be responsible for certain phenomena. You can pretty much forget being able to create experiments that will require the Intellgent Designer to appear in the laboratory or in the field.  Not even creationists will argue for that possibility.

But that is not my worst complaint about the enterprise of YECism. The community appeals to Biblical authority to “prove” its case. But that is no proof whatsoever, and I’d argue that even the Bible doesn’t teach this as a method of proof. Is there biblical thermodynamics, calculus, electromagnetism, classical mechanics, linear algebra, or any major field of research that can be resolved by theology? No.

For example, some YECs will come around and preach that if you don’t believe the Earth is Young, then you’re compromising the word of God. To which I respond, well what does the book of Genesis have to say about what the right form of Maxwell’s Equations should be or how do your resolve the conflict of YEC with the Einstein-Planck equation that is related to the photo electric effect and thus all of Quantum Mechanics. At that point, the preachers have little to say. They’ll then proceed to make disparaging comments about my character.

The major problem of YEC (and there are many) is the problem of distant starlight. Some will invoke temporally and spatially varying speeds of light. Some will argue light was created en-route that gives the appearance of age (GAG!). The problem with varying speeds of light is in order to preserve the energy of the Einstein-Planck equation, one has to then invoke a varying Planck’s constant, which would mean the undoing of Quantum Mechanics. So YECism flies in the face of Maxwell’s Equations (electromagnetism), Relativity (which is related to Maxwell’s Equations), and Quantum Mechanics — no small pillars of real science! Though YECism might stand on its own against evolutionism, it collapses under the weight of modern physics.

But that is not even the end of the story. YECists like Ken Ham routinely demonize other Christians who disagree with him. This is personally distasteful because many in the ID community who have even been expelled and suffered career loss for their criticism of Darwin are also demonized by the likes of Ken Ham. Even supposing YEC is true, this is no way to treat fellow Christian who have shown a lot of courage in speaking their conscience.

Does his organization spend lots of money on real science? Well relative to the millions they spend on amusement parks which they pass off as the “creation museum”, they don’t do much on behalf of answering scientific questions. I’ve mentioned three major problems which are utterly neglected in favor of building amusement parks of no scientific value.

If YECists consider it sinful to believe in an Old Universe, then they’ll have to come to terms with the work of creationists like Maxwell, who ironically has given the best line of reasoning to argue against YECism. Using intimidation, demonization, and appeals to theology will not make much of a persuasive case, even to card carrying creationists like me. In fact, it only reinforces the view they have no facts to stand on, only blind belief.

Sometimes the way YEC “research” is conducted reminds me of the geocentrists that attempted to influence my denomination, the PCA. [incidentally physicist Dave Snoke is an Elder in the PCA, and Dave Heddle is deeply sympathetic to the PCA]. It was disgusting to try to reason with geocentrists. I know many Christian believers, who are in the aerospace industry. That industry wouldn’t achieve its success if it accepted geocentrism. I even met a Christian creationist astronaut who walked on the moon (Charles Duke). This would not be possible if the biblical geocentrists had their way. But some people are so committed to their own theology, they are unwilling to be reasoned with, nor will they seriously engage reasonable objections to their claims. If you want a taste of geocentrism, go here:

http://www.fixedearth.com/

Though YECs one the whole aren’t as bad as the geocentrists, there are pockets of them that are as bad, imho. I don’t want these sort of people on my team, and hence I have chosen to affiliate myself with the ID community because of some of the rotten tomatoes in creationism.

So then, in light of these things, why do I accept ID as true and hold out a smidgen of hope that YEC might be true? That obviously will be the subject of future posts at the Skeptical Zone, but all this to say, one can’t accuse me of not recognizing serious difficulties in some of the ideas I’ve promoted and explored.  And that is what I would hope the skeptical zone is about.

384 thoughts on “Reservations About ID, Rottenness in Creationism

  1. stcordova: I was merely trying to understand your side’s argument and criticism. It seems essentially that your side won’t believe unless they see the Designer in action in real time. Nothing wrong with that (even the Doubting Thomas said as much once upon a time). But this implies both sides will never agree.

    Not at all. For example, if we discovered the existence of non-biological intelligent beings that were nothing to do with designing life, that wouldn’t make the case for I.D. of life on its own, but it would at least establish the existence of your general mechanism. We might be able to repeatedly observe fairies making fairy rings (another ancient design inference), for example.

    But even that’s not necessary.

    If we were looking at an intelligently designed biosphere, there’s absolutely no reason at all that it should be mistaken by any biologist for one produced by unintelligent evolutionary processes. Designers could design life on a million planets without any one of the results coming anywhere close to being inside the parameters of evolutionary possibility.

    Let’s face it, it’s just unfortunate for you that the designers have decided to bend over backwards in their efforts to make this planet’s biosphere appear to be a natural product when it’s examined carefully.

  2. If we were looking at an intelligently designed biosphere, there’s absolutely no reason at all that it should be mistaken by any biologist for one produced by unintelligent evolutionary processes.

    Of course their is: a priori ideological bias, which is exactly the case.

    Let’s face it, it’s just unfortunate for you that the designers have decided to bend over backwards in their efforts to make this planet’s biosphere appear to be a natural product when it’s examined carefully.

    Historically speaking, it has never “appeared to be a natural product” when examined at any level. Even Darwin was attempting to explain the apparent design of biological organisms by hypothesizing a process that could mimic the success of human intelligent designers (breeders) when it came to generating different morphologies and maintaining them.

    As Lewontin admitted:

    ‘We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    Then there is this:

    Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. ~ Francis Crick

    Then there is the history of how biological features and evolutionary processes are described, which is always in prescriptive engineering terms – what things are for, what they are supposed to do, “why” they evolved, to meet what “goal”, etc.

    While it may be convenient to your ideology to imagine that, historically speaking, life forms have never “at any level” appeared to be designed, the fact is that to virtually everyone outside of the materialist ideology, biological forms have always, on every level, appeared to be designed, and many materialists also admit this.

    Darwinism itself began as a way to explain this apparent design without resort to a designer. If there was never apparent design, there would have been no need to come up with natural selection as a sorting system to explain it.

    The fact is, historically speaking, biological life forms have always appeared to be designed, and it is only those most deeply ingrained in materialist ideology that can say it doesn’t appear to be designed.

    But, this is just one more way that atheistic materialists must exist in a state of denial of what is obvious to satisfy their ideological bias.

  3. The fact is, historically speaking, biological life forms have always appeared to be designed, and it is only those most deeply ingrained in materialist ideology that can say it doesn’t appear to be designed.

    The fact is, children can tell the difference between their toys, themselves and their parents. Did WJM ever naïvely think that he and his parents were designed?

  4. William J. Murray: Of course their is: a priori ideological bias, which is exactly the case.

    Historically speaking, it has never “appeared to be a natural product” when examined at any level.Even Darwin was attempting to explain the apparent design of biological organisms by hypothesizing a process that could mimic the success of human intelligent designers (breeders) when it came to generating different morphologies and maintaining them.

    As Lewontin admitted:

    Then there is this:

    Then there is the history of how biological features and evolutionary processes are described, which is always in prescriptive engineering terms – what things are for, what they are supposed to do, “why” they evolved, to meet what “goal”, etc.

    While it may be convenient to your ideology to imagine that, historically speaking, life forms have never “at any level” appeared to be designed, the fact is that to virtually everyone outside of the materialist ideology, biological forms have always, on every level, appeared to be designed, and many materialists also admit this.

    Darwinism itself began as a way to explain this apparent design without resort to a designer.If there was never apparent design, there would have been no need to come up with natural selection as a sorting system to explain it.

    The fact is, historically speaking, biological life forms have always appeared to be designed, and it is only those most deeply ingrained in materialist ideology that can say it doesn’t appear to be designed.

    But, this is just one more way that atheistic materialists must exist in a state of denial of what is obvious to satisfy their ideological bias.

    You said: “The fact is, historically speaking, biological life forms have always appeared to be designed…”

    To humans, but not all humans. What if humans didn’t exist? What about before there were humans? What about after humans are extinct?

    Is design or non-design of “biological life forms” strictly determined by human opinions/perceptions/beliefs? In other words, if there were no such thing as humans, who or what would be around to opine on whether life forms were designed or not? And if there were no such thing as humans, wouldn’t other life forms still exist?

    What if a lizard could talk, and it were asked if it believes that life forms were intentionally designed? If it said no, would you accept that answer as being true? Keep in mind that lizards have been around a lot longer than humans.

  5. WJM

    The fact is, historically speaking, biological life forms have always appeared to be designed, and it is only those most deeply ingrained in materialist ideology that can say it doesn’t appear to be designed.

    This sounds like a fact made up to support a particular argument. I think you are projecting, as usual. Aristotle, for example (having, you may agree, a significant influence upon subsequent thought) opined:

    “Animals and plants come into being in earth and in liquid because there is water in earth, and air in water, and in all air is vital heat so that in a sense all things are full of soul. Therefore living things form quickly whenever this air and vital heat are enclosed in anything. When they are so enclosed, the corporeal liquids being heated, there arises as it were a frothy bubble.”

    This sounds decidely unlike a Design Hypothesis. Its origins can be traced to numerous pre-Aristotelean philosophers. Going back yet further, a Stone Age Paley might have written: “In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch shaped flint upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch flint happened to be in that place….”

    It would hardly have the same emotional appeal. I think the Design Hypothesis postdated the Age of Machines, and did not predate it. Until we had intricate man-made systems, there was nothing remarkable in our Designs to prompt the analogy, whatever one’s assumed ideological predisposition.

  6. When you have a theory (Darwinism), the entire purpose of which was to explain the apparent design found in life as the result of non-design processes, and the proponents of said theory are capable of asserting that there is no apparent design in life, one can recognize the self-refuting capacity of an a priori ideology.

    The assumption that living entities were designed goes back as far as recorded history. There is no argument to be had with those who would deny this. The recent discovery of what exists at the microscopic level in life does nothing whatsoever to diminish this view; in fact, it supports that view.

  7. I think the Design Hypothesis postdated the Age of Machines, and did not predate it. Until we had intricate man-made systems, there was nothing remarkable in our Designs to prompt the analogy

    No is there anything now that would prompt the analogy to anyone who thinks about it.

    ID advocates seem conveniently to forget their own research. For example, who would guess that this was authored by one of the core ID advocates?

    Since attainment of crude function is the critical initial step in evolutionary innovation, the relatively scant requirements contributed by the hydrophobic core would greatly reduce the initial hurdle on the evolutionary pathway to novel enzymes. Similarly, experimental development of novel functional proteins might be simplified by limiting core design to mere specification of hydrophobicity and using iterative mutation-selection to optimize core structure.

    I would love to see a design proponent suggest an alternate way to design coding sequences.

  8. William J. Murray: Of course their is: a priori ideological bias, which is exactly the case.Historically speaking, it has never “appeared to be a natural product” when examined at any level. Even Darwin was attempting to explain the apparent design of biological organisms by hypothesizing a process that could mimic the success of human intelligent designers (breeders) when it came to generating different morphologies and maintaining them.As Lewontin admitted:Then there is this:Then there is the history of how biological features and evolutionary processes are described, which is always in prescriptive engineering terms – what things are for, what they are supposed to do, “why” they evolved, to meet what “goal”, etc.While it may be convenient to your ideology to imagine that, historically speaking, life forms have never “at any level” appeared to be designed, the fact is that to virtually everyone outside of the materialist ideology, biological forms have always, on every level, appeared to be designed, and many materialists also admit this. Darwinism itself began as a way to explain this apparent design without resort to a designer. If there was never apparent design, there would have been no need to come up with natural selection as a sorting system to explain it.The fact is, historically speaking, biological life forms have always appeared to be designed, and it is only those most deeply ingrained in materialist ideology that can say it doesn’t appear to be designed.But, this is just one more way that atheistic materialists must exist in a state of denial of what is obvious to satisfy their ideological bias.

    Perhaps you missed my first paragraph, William. There’s no reason for science to have an a priori exclusion of anything, including the fairies I mentioned. Rather, it works the other way around. When something is discovered, it’s included.

    Then I go on to point out that, hypothetically, an intelligently designed biosphere could certainly be identified, and that there’s no reason that it should bear any resemblance to an undesigned one, unless the designers were deliberately attempting to achieve that effect. Perhaps you don’t realise how tight the constraints on naturalistic evolution are.

    At the end of the post, I used the phrase “examined carefully”. It is in the modern scientific epoch that we start to examine life carefully. “Historically”, we weren’t really in a position to do so. And historically, as you’re interested in bias, Europeans had a heavy bias towards the view that an intelligent designer was responsible for life which goes back a long long way. Long before “careful observation”.

    Nineteenth century naturalists (biologists) started off with this heavy bias, but eventually the weight of their observations would lead them to question aspects of it, particularly the creation of individual species or “kinds” as they are.

    Many people in western culture still have the ancient cultural bias towards intelligent design, and one of its bizarre effects is that it can lead them to believe that those who don’t share it are themselves biased.

    Fairies are fine by me, but it needs very good evidence to establish them as part of the real world.

  9. What is really interesting in all of these debates is to see how differently everything is interpreted – every word, phrase, piece of evidence, argument, etc. – by the two parties. The atheist-materialists interpret everything completely differently than the theistic-dualists; so much so that both sides eventually conclude that the other side is simply not arguing in good faith or are willfully ignorant of the material.

    This goes back to a prioris and shows how important they are. Everything that follows one’s a prioris bears their unmistakable imprint.

  10. dr who,

    I read your post. I understood it. Your view is that our biosphere appears as if non-designed, or if designed, it is designed to appear non-designed. I disagree. IMO, it is so obviously designed, and so obviously unlike that which is not-designed, as to warrant most humans intuitively accepting/understanding that it is designed, and assigning such design to some kind of deliberate agency greater than themselves.

  11. William J. Murray: I disagree. IMO, it is so obviously designed

    What would a non-designed biosphere look like then?

    You can’t not know this for your claim that it is designed to be true.

  12. Basically, William, your argument boils down to asserting that you are the only intellectually honest person in the room. The rest of is are either stupid or dishonest.

    When you translate all your postings into plain English, that’s what they say.

    Like the guy shoveling shit in Dr. Zhivago, you are the only free man.

  13. William J. Murray: As Lewontin admitted:

    You forgot a line:

    The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

    William, do you live in a world where miracles can happen at any time?

  14. William J. Murray:
    .The atheist-materialists interpret everything completely differently than the theistic-dualists; so much so that both sides eventually conclude that the other side is simply not arguing in good faith or are willfully ignorant of the material.

    What I find most interesting is the imbalance of results across the “sides”.

    The theistic-dualists have been going round in circles since the beginning of time.

    The atheist-materialists seem to have created the computer you are typing on and industrialised the world in a few generations.

    So when the theistic-dualists actually achieve something or decide something please do let me know.

    Presumably you’d rather fly in a place designed by atheist-materialists then theistic-dualists? Why?

  15. William J. Murray:
    What is really interesting in all of these debates is to see how differently everything is interpreted – every word, phrase, piece of evidence, argument, etc. – by the two parties.The atheist-materialists interpret everything completely differently than the theistic-dualists; so much so that both sides eventually conclude that the other side is simply not arguing in good faith or are willfully ignorant of the material.

    This goes back to a prioris and shows how important they are. Everything that follows one’s a prioris bears their unmistakable imprint.

    Let’s examine your a prioris:

    If I were to claim that a giant frog named Fred designed and created the universe, would you accept that? If I were to claim that God is actually a one inch tall, 48 legged, 10 winged, green and purple striped, 12 eyed flying fish, would you accept that? If I were to claim that the one and only true God is female, would you accept that? If I were to claim that the one and only true God is gay or bisexual, would you accept that? If I were to claim that “the designer” was a really, really big cell that gave birth to this universe and then died of internal hemorrhaging, would you accept that? If I were to claim that Zeus or Odin is “the designer”, would you accept that? If I were to claim that I am the one and only true God and the designer of the universe, would you accept that?

    Would you accept any of the above without very convincing evidence?

  16. William J. Murray

    I disagree. IMO, it is so obviously designed

    OMTWO: What would a non-designed biosphere look like then?

    I second this question: What would a non-designed biosphere look like?

    How would you tell that it was not created that way on purpose?

  17. You left out Voltaire

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

  18. as to warrant most humans intuitively accepting/understanding that it is designed, and assigning such design to some kind of deliberate agency greater than themselves.

    Yes, animism is an ancient way of looking at natural phenomena.

  19. WJM:

    The assumption that living entities were designed goes back as far as recorded history.

    Only in societies that had an a priori conception of a designer* and a host of corollary assumptions about the goals and abilities of that designer.

    *AKA “creator,” AKA “god.”

  20. William J. Murray

    I disagree. IMO, it is so obviously designed, and so obviously unlike that which is not-designed, as to warrant most humans intuitively accepting/understanding that it is designed

    “It is so obvious the sun and stars revolve around the stationary Earth, and so obvious that the Earth isn’t moving, as to warrant most humans intuitively accepting/understanding Geocentrism.”

    You do understand that human intuition is notoriously unreliable in identifying the true causes of observed phenomena, don’t you? That one of the primary goals of science is to remove unreliable intuition from the equation as much as possible?

    Maybe you don’t understand.

  21. What would a non-designed biosphere look like then?

    You can’t not know this for your claim that it is designed to be true.

    Did it ever occur to you that if your challenge is valid, the converse must also be true? That if one is going to claim that he biosphere appears non-designed, they must know what a designed biosphere would look like?

    But I’ll answer your challenge: a non-designed biosphere would inexorably gravitate – as all other supposedly non-designed phenomena do – to the most efficient (simple) state and arrangements of materials as possible. IMO, if there is such a thing as a non-designed biosphere, it would never consist of anything much more than that which is the simplest arrangement of matter and expenditures of energy necessary.

    Furthermore, I wouldn’t expect any “biosphere” to last for very long, because it’s not like matter cares whether it is “alive” or “inert”, and I imagine there are far more conditions that would end a biosphere than would sustain it. Also, if all you have are rock and bacteria, or water and bacteria and rock, it seems to me that the simplest biosphere possible is the one to expect nature to gravitate towards.

    I certainly wouldn’t expect such a vast, interdependent collection of amazingly, unbelievably complex nano-technology and versatile, error-checking code.including things like the illusion of free will, self-aware perception and reflection, hologram-like memory systems, etc. All of that appears to me to be a horribly inefficient, unnecessary manner for matter to be arranging itself into.

    There doesn’t appear to be a law that dictates that matter should organize itself into such patterns (unlike the laws and lawful interactions that govern planet and star formation, or the formation of crystalline structures.

    So, I think that what we are looking at is exactly what we should not expect to find as the result of non-directed (by intention) biological evolution. A world full of nothing but bacteria-like single-celled organisms – perhaps; a world full of fish and mammals and plants and reptiles and birds and insects .. all forming an enormous, functioning, self-sustaining biosphere?

    I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but when most scientists refer to the origin of life itself as a secularist miracle, and the events that were necessary in order for multicellular, complex life to evolve later as almost equally miraculous, I don’t think anyone can say that what we see today in the world is what anyone would expect to find as the result of lawful and stochastic interactions of matter, even if that matter happened to miraculously turn into a self-replicating organism.

  22. Joe G:
    Except it doesn’t appear to be a natural product. Nature cannot be a natural product.

    What is “the designer” a product of?

  23. William J. Murray: dr who,I read your post. I understood it. Your view is that our biosphere appears as if non-designed, or if designed, it is designed to appear non-designed. I disagree. IMO, it is so obviously designed, and so obviously unlike that which is not-designed, as to warrant most humans intuitively accepting/understanding that it is designed, and assigning such design to some kind of deliberate agency greater than themselves.

    My view is that it appears non-designed on careful examination. Most humans, historically and in the present, haven’t examined it carefully, and most have grown up with the cultural preconception that it was intelligently designed, so it’s hard to tell to what extent their conclusions are intuitive. It’s worth mentioning that not all traditional cultures include the concept of intelligently designed life, so this doesn’t seem to be a basic intuition. Rather, like volcano gods being responsible for the actions of volcanoes, it can come into some cultures, and then be passed on down the generations.

    I don’t think you really understand my point about the constraints on biological evolution. It would require a conscious effort on the part of intelligent designers to remain within them.

  24. You do understand that human intuition is notoriously unreliable in identifying the true causes of observed phenomena, don’t you? That one of the primary goals of science is to remove unreliable intuition from the equation as much as possible?

    Yes, I know all that . What’s your point? The argument isn’t if it can be proven that life is designed, but if there is reason to consider or assume it is designed. Of course there is. It appears to be designed, whether it actually is or not.

  25. William J. Murray

    But I’ll answer your challenge: a non-designed biosphere would inexorably gravitate – as all other supposedly non-designed phenomena do – to the most efficient (simple) state and arrangements of materials as possible.

    Upon what observations or evidence do you base that assertion? What supposedly non-designed phenomena are you referring to?

    Why couldn’t a designer create such a simple efficient state if It so desired?

  26. William J. Murray

    T: “You do understand that human intuition is notoriously unreliable in identifying the true causes of observed phenomena, don’t you? That one of the primary goals of science is to remove unreliable intuition from the equation as much as possible?”

    Yes, I know all that . What’s your point? The argument isn’t if it can be proven that life is designed, but if there is reason to consider or assume it is designed. Of course there is. It appears to be designed, whether it actually is or not.

    My point is that since you are basing your argument for ID solely on your unsupported personal intuition, there’s no reason for anyone else to accept it. There’s certainly no reason to try and force that view into public schools as IDers keep trying to do.

  27. My view is that it appears non-designed on careful examination.

    I think if you took the nano-technological cities operated by code and high-precision machinery we now know the cell to be and showed it to Darwin, he would have torn up his manuscript and burned it. I think it is a jaded existence within ubiquitous coded technological constructs that allows anyone the illusion that what we find inside the cell to be an argument for “non-design”.

    I think the only way those nano-technological microscopic cities, and the super-code and operating system that controls and maintains the whole thing can be considered an argument for non-design “on careful examination” is through the ideological lens of atheistic materialism.

  28. Why couldn’t a designer create such a simple efficient state if It so desired?

    I didn’t say it couldn’t.

  29. William J. Murray: Yes, I know all that . What’s your point? The argument isn’t if it can be proven that life is designed, but if there is reason to consider or assume it is designed. Of course there is. It appears to be designed, whether it actually is or not.

    But it *is* designed – designed by evolution! So not only does it appear to be designed, it *is* design.

    We call it apparent design to differentiate it from the usual use of the word “design” where “designers” are things like us.

    So there is no argument there. The biosphere is “designed” for certain values of “designed”.

  30. William J. Murray: But I’ll answer your challenge: a non-designed biosphere would inexorably gravitate – as all other supposedly non-designed phenomena do – to the most efficient (simple) state and arrangements of materials as possible.

    Why?

    And what are some examples of “other supposedly non-designed phenomena”, for context.

  31. William J. Murray

    Why couldn’t a designer create such a simple efficient state if It so desired?

    I didn’t say it couldn’t.

    Then we’re back to the original question – how would you determine that a simple efficient system was non-designed?

  32. The atheist-materialists seem to have created the computer you are typing on and industrialised the world in a few generations.

    Really? Who invented the computer, and who are those mostly responsible for the industrialized world? You appear to be conflating “science”, “technology”, and “engineering” with “atheist-materialists”.

  33. William J. Murray: But I’ll answer your challenge: a non-designed biosphere would inexorably gravitate – as all other supposedly non-designed phenomena do – to the most efficient (simple) state and arrangements of materials as possible.

    But that did not answer my question as to what a non-designed biosphere would look like. You just noted what you thought it would *do* not what it would look like.

    So what would it look like?

  34. Thorton:
    William J. Murray


    Why couldn’t a designer create such a simple efficient state if It so desired?

    I didn’t say it couldn’t.

    Then we’re back to the original question – how would you determine that a simple efficient system was non-designed?

    That wasn’t the original question.

  35. William J. Murray: Really? Who invented the computer, and who are those mostly responsible for the industrialized world? You appear to be conflating “science”, “technology”, and “engineering” with “atheist-materialists”.

    Indeed. But there is a strong correlation between progress and atheism. The rise of science coincides nicely with the fall of theism. Why would people look for answers when they know all they need to know? Why would people strive to make this life better when eternal paradise awaits?

    etc etc.

  36. William J. Murray: I think the only way those nano-technological microscopic cities, and the super-code and operating system that controls and maintains the whole thing can be considered an argument for non-design “on careful examination” is through the ideological lens of atheistic materialism.

    Both cancer and HIV can be described in similar terms.

    So presumably they are designed also?

  37. William J. Murray

    T: “Then we’re back to the original question – how would you determine that a simple efficient system was non-designed?”

    That wasn’t the original question.

    You were asked how you would tell a non-designed biosphere and you said if it was a simple efficient state.

    Now you say a simple efficient state *isn’t* a sure sign of non-design.

    You just refuted your own argument. Want to try again?

  38. WJM:

    You appear to be conflating “science”, “technology”, and “engineering” with “atheist-materialists”.

    What kind of science, technology or engineering is theistic-immaterial?

  39. William J. Murray: Really? Who invented the computer, and who are those mostly responsible for the industrialized world?

    A good argument could be made for Alan Turing as the answer to that question.

    Do you know what the theists and their bigotry did to him?

  40. William J. Murray: all forming an enormous, functioning, self-sustaining biosphere?

    It’s funny, but what would you expect to happen to the parts that don’t function?

    So when you see what currently exists and say “see, it all has a function therefore that’s proof it was designed” that’s missing the point by a wide margin.

  41. William J. Murray: There doesn’t appear to be a law that dictates that matter should organize itself into such patterns (unlike the laws and lawful interactions that govern planet and star formation, or the formation of crystalline structures.

    If what you say is true, that the biosphere is designed and we are designed, then what’s up with the sun’s limited life?

    When it goes out is the designers grand experiment over? How do you feel being a lab rat in a lab you can’t even perceive?

    Some universe, designed for life but mostly empty space and hard radiation and even where life can thrive, in the tiny fraction of the universe that’s just right, an upper limit is set on it’s duration.

  42. William J. Murray: I think if you took the nano-technological cities operated by code and high-precision machinery we now know the cell to be and showed it to Darwin, he would have torn up his manuscript and burned it.

    Not at all. Darwin would be intelligent enough to realise that complexity on the microscopic level is exactly the same as complexity on the macroscopic level from nature’s point of view. We might intuitively find things on the scale of cells and galaxies amazing, because our scale of operation is in between. When will you take my point about careful examination? Belief in intelligent design of life is much lower amongst those who carefully examine cells than it is amongst the rest of the population, and that belief in the Designer did not originate from preachers and proselytizers looking through microscopes.

  43. Indeed. But there is a strong correlation between progress and atheism. The rise of science coincides nicely with the fall of theism. Why would people look for answers when they know all they need to know? Why would people strive to make this life better when eternal paradise awaits?

    This is a great example of what I’m talking about when I say that one’s a prioris color everything. You interpret theists a certain way that is favorable to your ideological positions. The rise of science doesn’t coincide with “atheism”; it coincides with the combination of the principles of the enlightenment with the monotheistic views of both Christianity and Islam.

    The reason scientific progress stalled out under Islam is because they largely purged enlightenment principles from their acceptable catechism. The reason the principles of reason and rational thinking on their own didn’t generate a scientific golden age long before it reached Christian Europe was because there was no reason up to that point to consider enlightenment principles a sound correlation to what one would expect from the physical world.

    Before the enlightenment, Christians examined the world in order to discover the works of God. This is why historians changed the connotation of “the Dark Ages” to “the Middle Ages”; there was a lot of scientific progress before the advent of the Enlightenment. When Christians widely adopted the philosophical premise that god was rational, we then had the heuristic that a rational god created a rationally-appreciable world and provided humans with corresponding rational capacity to be able t discover, recognize, and appreciate the handiwork of god.

    That was the rosetta stone principle that unlocked scientific and technological progress. Not “materialism” and certainly not “atheism”.

    Atheist materialists like to imagine that a belief in god is science-stopper, but – again – that’s just a self-serving, convenient a priori interpretation. It doesn’t diminish one’s desire to examine nature and “figure it out”; it stokes the fires of motivation to find out “the mind of god”, so to speak. To understand the purpose of this biological feature or the usefulness of that one. The principle of parsimony or elegance is a direct result of the belief that god is both rational and efficient. Otherwise, why should we think that theories are better when they are more efficient, or more elegant?

    Why would we expect efficiency and elegance from a non-designed universe?

    Theists strive to make this world better for the same reason anyone else does: it’s the world we’re in now, and the world our children and grandchildren will live in. Why not strive to make it better? What else do we have to do here? Furthermore, for most theists, striving to make the world a better place is a spiritual responsibility, not some ad hoc secular purpose we may or may not feel like working towards.

    Under a theistic premise, science is much more than simply a way to earn a living, or a way to get grants; it’s about finding out the truth about what god has made. What do atheists care about truth? What do materialists care about it? What difference does it make to them?

    I’d argue that it is rather the infusion of ideological atheism/materialism into science that has turned science largely into a political circus bent on pursuing and advocating an ideological agenda, crucifying any that disagree with the “consensus”.

  44. I’d like to thank all the participants for the dialogue. Like Allen MacNeill, I view these discussions as a means to clarify our positions and clean up our mistakes and strengthen our presentation.

    I’ve appreciated the restraint my side has shown, and I appreciate JoeG’s forbearance in waiting in the moderation queue. I didn’t want the thread to devolve into a shouting match, especially the ID side making insults to the non-ID side. I consider it a great privilege to have scientists like Joe Felsenstein commenting on my discussions, and I would hope the channels of communication remain open since his responses and that of other scientists carry great weight.

    I am working on a post that will cover the topics I mentioned, namely GA’s and Natural selection.

    I’ve said most of what I wanted to say on this topic, so for the remainder, I leave the discussion to those who want to stick around.

    Thank you again to all, and thanks to Elizabeth for the hospitality and willingness to moderate the discussion on the Reservations about ID, and Rottenness in Creationism. I look forward to our reconvening in the next post.

  45. You just refuted your own argument. Want to try again?

    I wasn’t making an argument. I was describing what I thought a non-designed biosphere would likely look like (given that a set of self-replicating organisms can come into existence without being designed).

    Because an intelligent designer can design a water feature in your back yard that doesn’t look designed doesn’t mean that now all water features look designed.

    Some water features look designed, others do not, whether they actually are or not. I would expect a non-designed biosphere to look like what I described. That doesn’t mean it would necessarily be non-designed.

  46. William J. Murray: . You interpret theists a certain way that is favorable to your ideological positions.

    No, not really. It’s just an observation.

    The rise of science doesn’t coincide with “atheism”; it coincides with the combination of the principles of the enlightenment with the monotheistic views of both Christianity and Islam.

    Says you. The enlightenment promoted science, intellectualism and opposed superstition. Fact is the enlightenment would not have happened had religion not had a stranglehold on society. It would not have needed to happen.

    When Christians widely adopted the philosophical premise that god was rational, we then had the heuristic that a rational god created a rationally-appreciable world and provided humans with corresponding rational capacity to be able t discover, recognize, and appreciate the handiwork of god.

    You had that for ~2000 years. It seemed that Christians preferred to construct a mechanism to keep the poor poor, the rich rich and the leaders of the Christian cult in power.

    This idea that a rationally-appreciable world came about because of Christianity is laughable. It was there all along, Christianity prevented it’s rational examination not encouraged it.

    That was the rosetta stone principle that unlocked scientific and technological progress. Not “materialism” and certainly not “atheism”.

    No, it was not.

    . It doesn’t diminish one’s desire to examine nature and “figure it out”; it stokes the fires of motivation to find out “the mind of god”, so to speak.

    Theism started out as essentially the default position for the world. You had long enough. What took you?

    To understand the purpose of this biological feature or the usefulness of that one.

    What rot! Tell me them, what is the purpose of the brain? What is the purpose of malaria?

    The principle of parsimony or elegance is a direct result of the belief that god is both rational and efficient. Otherwise, why should we think that theories are better when they are more efficient, or more elegant?

    So atheists don’t understand parsimony or elegance? Really?

    If your god is so rational and efficient why do I have to eat down the same tube I breathe through?

    Why would we expect efficiency and elegance from a non-designed universe?

    Why would we expect it from a designed universe? Is your designer incapable of designing a inefficient universe that nonetheless could support life?

    And you call creating a universe that’s almost all uninhabitable (not to say inaccessible) an efficient design, if we are the intended result?

    Theists strive to make this world better for the same reason anyone else does: it’s the world we’re in now, and the world our children and grandchildren will live in.

    They strive to make the world a better place for those who share their belief.

    Why not strive to make it better? What else do we have to do here? Furthermore, for most theists, striving to make the world a better place is a spiritual responsibility, not some ad hoc secular purpose we may or may not feel like working towards.

    What else do you have to do? Why don’t you tell me, as it’s you that is living in a designed biosphere on a designed planet in a designed universe. After all that you say that you don’t know what the designed purpose of life is? Very strange designer that can build a universe but forget to leave you a note explaining what it’s all for.

    Under a theistic premise, science is much more than simply a way to earn a living, or a way to get grants; it’s about finding out the truth about what god has made.

    Give me a *single* example of a scientific discovery conducted under a theistic premise that illustrates that point.

    What do atheists care about truth? What do materialists care about it? What difference does it make to them?

    That you have to ask tells me all I need to know about you.

    I’d argue that it is rather the infusion of ideological atheism/materialism into science that has turned science largely into a political circus bent on pursuing and advocating an ideological agenda, crucifying any that disagree with the “consensus”.

    He said while typing on his computer, in his air conditioned flat.

    Loads of people disagree with the “consensus”. They get Nobel prizes if they are right. And can *show* that they are right, that’s the important part.

  47. Not at all. Darwin would be intelligent enough to realise that complexity on the microscopic level is exactly the same as complexity on the macroscopic level from nature’s point of view.

    I guess I’ll have to agree here – if Darwin could deny what is obvious at the macro level, he certainly could have denied it at the microscopic level as well. If he couldn’t give up his ideology for the human eye, he probably couldn’t have given it up for nanotechnology either.

  48. Before the enlightenment, Christians examined the world in order to discover the works of God.

    They were assuming a clockwork. Regularity.

    Which is why science still looks for regularity.

  49. William, do you live in a world where miracles can happen at any time?

    Not only can, but do. Often.

  50. William J. Murray: I guess I’ll have to agree here – if Darwin could deny what is obvious at the macro level, he certainly could have denied it at the microscopic level as well.

    Please give me an example of design at the “obvious” level.

    Is the Parasitoid wasp an example of such “obvious” design? How about the screw-worm? Would you look at those and say “obviously designed”?

    What about HIV? Designed?

  51. William J. Murray: Not only can, but do. Often.

    Yet above you said

    When Christians widely adopted the philosophical premise that god was rational, we then had the heuristic that a rational god created a rationally-appreciable world and provided humans with corresponding rational capacity to be able t discover, recognize, and appreciate the handiwork of god.

    Yet both cannot be true. If, as you claim, miracles happen often then how can we tell if a given result (say in a scientific experiment) is the result of a miracle or not?

    A universe where miracles can and do happen is not a rationally-appreciable world!

  52. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “Not only can, but do. Often.”

    Then why do miracles never happen visibly in front of BOTH theists and atheists?

    For instance, a missing finger re-appearing on a hand on live TV, as opposed to chronic pain disappearing where the only evidence is based on the believer.

  53. OMTWO: Fer instance?

    There’s too many to list, and I’m not sure how I could contextualize it. I described one such instance in relative detail in the Libertarian Free will thread:

    So, to make a long story shorter, through a chain of extremely unlikely events including a realtor trying to basically steal the house for herself from and unethically sabotage our chances of getting the house, in an extremely unlikely context (the height of the housing market bubble, our low income, my own bad credit) we bought our huge dream home – built in the 1920′s, made out of solid cypress (the wood in the house alone is worth a fortune), 11′ ceilings, ornate mouldings and carved doors, 6 + 7-sided main rooms, enormous windows, 2700 sq ft, on an acre of land in the small rural town we wanted to live in, in a choice location, 3 bathrooms, 2 stories (with enough attic space for 3), fully enclosed front porch, carport, storage shed… for $32,900

    Another case would be: my wife was faith-healed of supposedly terminal cancer over 20 years ago.

    Another case would be how I got my current job/career that I’ve had for about 17-18 years now with no experience and no education in the field (graphic & print design & layout).

    The miraculous is an almost daily occurrence in my life. I certainly appreciate and am grateful for the many large and countless small miracles I’ve experienced and which have made my life such a satisfying joy to experience.

  54. Then why do miracles never happen visibly in front of BOTH theists and atheists?

    I was an atheist when my wife was faith-healed of supposedly terminal cancer. I could have interpreted that chain of events as a coincidence (compounded, perhaps, by some kind of group delusion). I suspect many miracles happen in front of atheists; but, if they have free will, they will always be able to choose not to see it as such.

    If they do not have free will, they just aren’t programmed to see it, or interpret it as such.

    For instance, a missing finger re-appearing on a hand on live TV, as opposed to chronic pain disappearing where the only evidence is based on the believer.

    I don’t think anyone can experience anything that is sufficiently divergent from the nature of their being.

  55. BTW, I was still an atheist for quite a while after that faith-healing event, but that event really got me to thinking about how I interpreted and organized the stuff I experienced.

  56. William J. Murray: Another case would be: my wife was faith-healed of supposedly terminal cancer over 20 years ago.

    Not a miracle. Spontaneous remission happens, no miracle required. Perhaps we’re not sure why it happens but it’s not a miracle. And why only your wife? Many other people have terminal cancer and have faith healing performed but don’t receive a miracle cure. Somewhat arbitrary miracle…

    William J. Murray: Another case would be how I got my current job/career that I’ve had for about 17-18 years now with no experience and no education in the field (graphic & print design & layout).

    Not a miracle. I’ve got a well paying job but left school at 17. Miracle? No. Perhaps talent helps?

    William J. Murray: The miraculous is an almost daily occurrence in my life. I certainly appreciate and am grateful for the many large and countless small miracles I’ve experienced and which have made my life such a satisfying joy to experience.

    Good for you. However you’ve yet to given an example of an actual miracle, only happen-stance.

    It seems that your definition of “miracle” is very different to mine.

  57. William J. Murray: I suspect many miracles happen in front of atheists; but, if they have free will, they will always be able to choose not to see it as such.

    A miracle is a miracle. Could you give an example of such a miracle that an atheist is able to deny is a miracle?

    A man flying (as given as an example on UD recently) would be a miracle undeniable to atheists and theists alike.

    If they do not have free will, they just aren’t programmed to see it, or interpret it as such.

    Or perhaps they are simply rational people who don’t reach into the “miracle” bag at the first opportunity?

    BTW, I was still an atheist for quite a while after that faith-healing event, but that event really got me to thinking about how I interpreted and organized the stuff I experienced.

    Presumably the cancer did not fly out of your wife there and then. Why would you even link the faith healing event with the subsequent remission?

    And what of all those people who do not receive cures? To me a miracle would be somebody like you seriously examining all the holes in their worldview. Is HIV designed William?

    but that event really got me to thinking about how I interpreted and organized the stuff I experienced.

    A rational response to that would have been to say “hmm, everybody here is asking for cures but nobody is getting one – this is a scam!”

  58. William J. Murray: I guess I’ll have to agree here – if Darwin could deny what is obvious at the macro level, he certainly could have denied it at the microscopic level as well. If he couldn’t give up his ideology for the human eye, he probably couldn’t have given it up for nanotechnology either.

    Ah! The ideological preconceptions that he, Wallace and other nineteenth century naturalists all grew up with. That staunch European atheism which had endured for so many centuries, and coloured all of their views. They just couldn’t learn how to make proper arguments from analogy, could they?

    It’s obvious that:

    We intelligently design houses with floors, walls and roofs, and these function as sheltered habitats for us.

    Caves have floors, walls and roofs, and they can function as sheltered habitats for us and other creatures. Therefore, we can infer that caves are also intelligently designed.

    We intelligently design canals to function as transport routes.

    Rivers are also waterways that can function as transport routes, so we can infer that they also are intelligently designed.

    We intelligently design nuclear power stations. The sun powers life on earth through nuclear reactions, therefore……etc.

    Function, William, should not to be confused with intended purpose. It is not obvious that things are intelligently designed merely because we can make analogies with our own designs.

  59. Good for you. However you’ve yet to given an example of an actual miracle, only happen-stance.

    I guess, then, that you’d have to tell me what you mean by “miracle” to be able to parse events in my life to see if anything I’ve experienced meets your criteria.

  60. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “Another case would be: my wife was faith-healed of supposedly terminal cancer over 20 years ago. ”

    Why can’t faith-healers heal visible problems like missing fingers or burns on a child’s hands and face?

    Give me just one example of the re-appearance of an arm or leg.

  61. Presumably the cancer did not fly out of your wife there and then. Why would you even link the faith healing event with the subsequent remission?

    She was diagnosed with it, went to a faith healer, went back to the doctor, told them she wouldn’t do the chemo without a second round of tests, they did a 2nd round of tests, and everything was clear.

    I could have passed it off as a coincidence, but that wouldn’t have been honest, IMO. When I take medication between doctor visits and the illness/condition disappears, I don’t chalk it up to “coincidence”; why should I do so when the apparently intermediary event was a faith-healing?

    Of course, you don’t get “faith healing on demand” like you can with a doctor and antibiotics, but again, that wasn’t an isolated incident. There were many events that, upon consideration thereof, I started reassessing my overall perspective, especially in regards to “consensual empiricism” as a philosophical arbiter of “what is real”.

  62. Toronto,

    I have no such examples. I (and many others) did witness lacerations on a child’s head heal before my (our) eyes in a few seconds. A friend of mine and I effortlessly picked up a heavy couch, each of us using only the ends of two fingers, whereas before we could hardly lift it using both hands and all our strength.

    But, I don’t know that those things would qualify under your particular definition of “miracle.”

  63. But anyway, it’s not in my philosophy that I can convince people that miracles of any sort exist; instead, my philosophy is that you cannot convince anyone of anything that sufficiently diverges from the nature of their being or, if you will, the fundamental aspects of their deeply-held world-view.

    IOW, if some people can fly, or do other such feats, neither I or anyone else will see it until/unless I/we can transform ourselves into a state that can accept such a context in relationship to our identity.

  64. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “I have no such examples. I (and many others) did witness lacerations on a child’s head heal before my (our) eyes in a few seconds. ”

    The problem is that these things are never documented on a video but for some reason, faith healings where the intervention is not in a position to be documented on camera, are.

    Pain, deafness, blindness get cured on my Sunday morning channel hopping all the time, but never has anything visible ever been healed.

    While I can’t say your event didn’t happen, your TYPE of event, a visible healing, never appears alongside those that require faith to believe that they occurred.

    A miracle would be any faith healer at all, to restore someone’s missing limb.

    If faith healing is true, then god is limited in his power, since it does not extend to limbs.

  65. The problem is that these things are never documented on a video but for some reason, faith healings where the intervention is not in a position to be documented on camera, are.

    It’s not a problem for me. I don’t require all that is real to be consensually demonstrable.

    If faith healing is true, then god is limited in his power, since it does not extend to limbs.

    It’s a good thing, then, that I’ve never asserted god to have unlimited power.

  66. It’s not a problem for me. I don’t require all that is real to be consensually demonstrable.

    I think you missed the point, which isn’t that it’s “consensually demonstrable”, but whether it is EVER verifiable.

    Just as a mind experiment, imagine that there’s no such thing as faith healing, but you strongly wish (for some reason) to give the impression there is. How would you go about it?

    Well, you know it can never stand up to examination or verification, so you make sure these are never possible. And you know you can’t claim faith healing produces physiological changes visible to the objective observer, so you make sure the “cures” make no such changes. And you make faith healing unreliable and intermittent, so that it never seems to work when a qualified professional is around (who isn’t in on the scam) who might know better.

    And by golly, what you’ve come up with is indistinguishable from “real” faith healing! What a mind-boggling coincidence. How do you explain such an extraordinary coincidence? Easy. Just say “it’s not a problem for me” and POOF it’s not a problem for you. Gotta love it.

  67. William J. Murray: It’s not a problem for me. I don’t require all that is real to be consensually demonstrable.

    I don’t see anyone posting on this board (except maybe you and Joe) arguing the opposite. Certainly none of us who do any kind of research do; research data is not consented to, but rather is provided for others to try and work. It’s no different than baking a cake – you can agree with someone else that you make the exact same kind demonstrated product all you want, but unless you both actually use the same recipe and tools (ovens with same temperatures, environments with similar humidity and pressures, etc) you are not going to have similar outcomes.

    Ironically insisting that you witnessed a fantastic healing event and relying on that to be support for your view that the fantastic can and does occur relies upon the idea of consensual demonstration as far as definitions go, but perhaps you mean something else by “consensual demonstration”.

  68. WJM: You would not write books or post on forums if you were not motivated to convince people.

    The only other sane reason for posting is to learn from others and to clarify one’s own thoughts.

    Since you have declared yourself free of competence in the technical argument, and have expressed no desire to learn, I have to assume that you are out to convince. Perhaps to drum up links to support book sales.

  69. William J Murray,

    Flint: “Well, you know it can never stand up to examination or verification, so you make sure these are never possible. And you know you can’t claim faith healing produces physiological changes visible to the objective observer, so you make sure the “cures” make no such changes”

    Exactly.

    If faith healing were valid, those who have faith would be healed, of “whatever” disease they have.

    Why would the ability to intercede in the material world be limited to those things outside of human scrutiny?

    Why would the designer of life itself, be limited in healing that very thing he has designed?

    How can a designer who can create and fine tune the entire universe be blocked from regenerating limbs on humans?

  70. Ironically insisting that you witnessed a fantastic healing event …

    I didn’t insist. Someone asked about experienced miracles, I relayed a personal anecdote.

    and relying on that to be support for your view that the fantastic can and does occur

    Support for my view … to whom? To me? I don’t require such support – I believe as I wish. To others? I specifically said I believe such testimony is entirely ineffectual when it comes to changing anyone’s mind.

    ..relies upon the idea of consensual demonstration as far as definitions go, but perhaps you mean something else by “consensual demonstration”.

    If I were trying to convince others that such things occur, you might have a point. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I have no reason to, even if I thought it was possible.

  71. stcordova

    I’d like to thank all the participants for the dialogue. Like Allen MacNeill, I view these discussions as a means to clarify our positions and clean up our mistakes and strengthen our presentation.

    No Sal, thank you for one again clearly demonstrating what Intelligent Design Creationism is all about. Thank you for lying about the multiple examples of potential positive evidence for ID you were given. Thank you for ignoring the tough questions you were asked and for just repeating your unsupported assertions. Thank you for attributing to me words I never said and a position I never supported. Most of all thank you for the smarmy false niceties, showing everyone that it’s OK to lie your ass off for Jesus as long as you do it politely.

  72. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “Support for my view … to whom? To me? ”

    That’s exactly who it’s for, you.

  73. William J. Murray: I could have passed it off as a coincidence, but that wouldn’t have been honest, IMO.

    List every single thing that happened, micro and macroscopically, in the relevant period of time. Then we can determine what is coincidence and what is not. We can perhaps find another group of people who did everything except the faith healing event and see if their cancer vanishes. And then we can find another group of people with one more difference, and so on and so forth, until we identify the causal factor.

    Personally I’d not have stopped investigating at “faith healing” and then become a theist.

  74. William J. Murray: I specifically said I believe such testimony is entirely ineffectual when it comes to changing anyone’s mind.

    Non miracles as evidence of miracles is unpersuasive, yes.

  75. For those who have experienced unexpected healing, I wonder what they say to people who are dying unhealed, or who have lost a loved one.

    Tough shit? God hates you?

    Or something more loving, such as, “God must really love you to take you home early”?

    Perhaps WJM could volunteer as a counselor in a child cancer ward and tell the kids how God cures some people,. but fuck you.

  76. stcordova,

    Thorton: “Thank you for attributing to me words I never said and a position I never supported. ”

    This is something I’m glad I was a witness to Sal.

    If your position had any credibility you would present that evidence instead of putting words in people’s mouths.

  77. Toronto,

    “If faith healing were valid, those who have faith would be healed, of “whatever” disease they have.”

    If modern medicine was valid, those that go to hospitals would be healed of “whatever” disease they have. Just as a doctor or a hospital cannot guarantee outcomes even if there are no errors in diagnosis or treatment, because one has faith doesn’t guarantee any particular experiential outcome.

    Why would the ability to intercede in the material world be limited to those things outside of human scrutiny?

    Being unavailable to validation via consensual empiricism is not the same as being outside of human scrutiny.

    Why would the designer of life itself, be limited in healing that very thing he has designed?

    Why wouldn’t he be? Because I design a thing, I have unlimited power over it? Not true. I can design a piece of art; that doesn’t mean I can repair it if part of it is torn off and burned. Whether or not one designs a thing doesn’t correspond to the kind of power it may or may not have after the thing exists; that is just a power thing. I don’t believe god has unlimited power. First and foremost, it is limited by logic. Even god cannot make a 4-sided triangle, nor can god make 2+3=7.

    How can a designer who can create and fine tune the entire universe be blocked from regenerating limbs on humans?

    Off the top of my head, because it might violate their free will.

  78. petrushka

    For those who have experienced unexpected healing, I wonder what they say to people who are dying unhealed, or who have lost a loved one.

    Tough shit? God hates you?

    Or something more loving, such as, “God must really love you to take you home early”?

    Perhaps WJM could volunteer as a counselor in a child cancer ward and tell the kids how God cures some people,. but fuck you.

    That God guy is a real hard ass.

    It’s always interesting when a plane crashes with only one survivor. The religious folks all yell “Miracle!!”, conveniently forgetting about the other 299 people God has just given a violent fiery death.

  79. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “If modern medicine was valid, those that go to hospitals would be healed of “whatever” disease they have. ”

    But that’s what makes a miracle a miracle, that it does NOT work like anything man does and does NOT have those limits.

    Modern medicine may fail, but miracles by definition, are not limited by anything.

  80. Perhaps WJM could volunteer as a counselor in a child cancer ward and tell the kids how God cures some people,. but fuck you.

    That sounds like a good Sam Kinison skit.

  81. Modern medicine may fail, but miracles by definition, are not limited by anything.

    By your definition, perhaps. But I’ve never argued or asserted that god, or the power of intention, is unlimited. Some things are impossible. Others are just highly unlikely. God/intention can do the latter, but not the former.

  82. It’s always interesting when a plane crashes with only one survivor.The religious folks all yell “Miracle!!”, conveniently forgetting about the other 299 people God has just given a violent fiery death.

    I’m personally offended by wealthy (relatively speaking) Americans who rate guardian angels, while Behe’s Designer is busy ramping up new models of malaria and other parasites for the children of Africa.

    Now if this life is the designer’s idea of a joke, and this is just a Matrix, and we’ll all be together in the sweet by and by, then all I can say is what a great sense of humor.

    But if I could choose someone to heal by faith, I’d have chosen Jim Henson.

  83. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “Off the top of my head, because it might violate their free will.”

    Why do ONLY visible diseases fall into the category of violating their free will?

  84. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “By your definition, perhaps. But I’ve never argued or asserted that god, or the power of intention, is unlimited. Some things are impossible. Others are just highly unlikely. God/intention can do the latter, but not the former.”

    If I was god, and just finished designing the universe and fine tuning the laws of physics, I would be very interested in your claim that I have any limits at all.

    What in your half century or so of life on this planet allows you to judge the capabilities and limitations of someone who created you and everything you have ever encountered in your entire existence?

  85. Why do ONLY visible diseases fall into the category of violating their free will?

    IMO, because if an observer is forced to see and assimilate a factual, obvious, no-means-of-denial case of miraculous faith healing, they could no longer believe that miracles and faith healing do not occur, which would be a violation of their free will. As long as there is plausible deniability, however thinly, there is room for a free will choice to believe or not believe.

  86. What in your half century or so of life on this planet allows you to judge the capabilities and limitations of someone who created you and everything you have ever encountered in your entire existence?

    Logic.

  87. Logically speaking, is HIV designed?

    Ultimately, everything that exists is the product of intent, whether directly or indirectly, IMO.

  88. Well, I should say that everything that exists as an independent, distinguishable commodity is the product (directly or indirectly) of intent. Psychoplasm and the mind of god are not products of intent, but they exist.

  89. William J Murray,

    William J Murray: “Logic.”

    How can you judge the “logic” of the entity that was the source of logic and free will?

    Do you know at least as much as the designer of everything?

    Do you know half?

    How do you determine half of everything there is to be known without knowing ALL there is to be known?

  90. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
    Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the NON-existence of God.
    The argument goes like this:
    `I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’
    `But,’ says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’
    `Oh dear,’ says God, `I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly disappears in a puff of logic.

  91. Ironically insisting that you witnessed a fantastic healing event…

    William J. Murray: I didn’t insist. Someone asked about experienced miracles, I relayed a personal anecdote.

    Disagreeing with the tone in the choice of my words does not address the point I actually made.

    and relying on that to be support for your view that the fantastic can and does occur

    Support for my view … to whom? To me? I don’t require such support – I believe as I wish. To others? I specifically said I believe such testimony is entirely ineffectual when it comes to changing anyone’s mind.

    Providing such an anecdote is still an attempt at supporting your view, even if you don’t believe that such support will sway your audience. It’s saying, “I don’t care what others say or believe because I had a personal experience.” Such a statement is an excuse for not considering some other person’s (or peoples’) statements to the contrary.

    If I were trying to convince others that such things occur, you might have a point. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I have no reason to, even if I thought it was possible.

    But you are still trying to convince folks that your position has some level of validity – otherwise you would not be trying to defend your use of the anecdote to me. It’s still there to prop up your insistence that everyone else here on this board is either ignorant or blind. And it’s still – ironically – a reliance on consensual demonstration.

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