Evolutionist Zoologist Turned Creationist After Child Was Demon Oppressed

[Many thanks to Elizabeth Liddle, the admins and mods for hosting these discussions.]

Skepticism is a virtue, and gullibility is not. It seems to me many religious organizations throughout history prefer followers who follow blindly. Many churches fostered a culture of gullibility and were often led by sociopaths who preyed upon the gullible. Such experiences left a bad taste in my mouth to this day, and hence I’ve grown to have a high regard and admiration for the skeptical community. For those reasons I’m on more cordial terms with skeptics than most Christians are.
Continue reading

Pascal’s irrational wager

Sal Cordova mentioned Pascal’s Wager on the Randi thread, and I was surprised to find that there has never been a thread on that topic here at TSZ. Hence this OP.

Pascal was a brilliant guy, but his famous Wager is an irrational mess. (Religion can have that effect on otherwise bright people.) In the comments, let’s explain the Wager’s shortcomings to Sal.

To start things off, here is Wikipedia’s statement of the argument, using Pascal’s words:

Continue reading

James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge, Intelligent Designer’s Elusiveness

http://web.randi.org/the-million-dollar-challenge.html

1.1 How long has this Challenge been open?

The Challenge was first introduced in 1964 when James Randi offered $1,000 of his own money to the first person who could offer proof of the paranormal. During a live radio panel discussion, James Randi was challenged by a parapsychologist to “put [his] money where [his] mouth is”, and Randi responded by offering to pay $1,000 to anyone who could demonstrate paranormal powers in a controlled test. The prize has since grown to One Million Dollars.
Continue reading

More Anti-Materialism at UD

The WEDGIES are at it again, this time talking about NDEs (last time it was dreams producing CSI)

Heres’s the link:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/guest-post-constancy-of-self-in-light-of-near-death-experiences-a-disproof-of-materialism/#comments

and the old one

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/are-dreams-incompatible-with-materialism/#comment-560350

Both posted by Barry Arrington on NKendall’s behalf.

This thread is for commentary for those of us who can’t participate there.

Evolutionary Search

If evolution is not a search, why is the term “evolutionary search” not an oxymoron?

Over at Uncommon Descent Elizabeth posted the following:

“…any “search” algorithm worthy of the name of “evolutionary search” comes with its own moderately smooth fitness landscape built in.”

So evolution is a search if it comes pre-built with its own moderately smooth fitness landscape built in?

What is a “major form”?

A long time commenter at UncommonDescent gives his opinion on ID’s position with regard to common descent:

The design inference is compatible with common descent and with universal common descent; a certain Michael Behe is a case in point on this. Common descent all the way up to universal common descent, is compatible with intelligently directed configuration of first life and of major forms thereafter including our own.

Yet in all my time learning about ID it’s never been clear to me, if that’s the case why are there not specific predictions from ID about what we will find in the fossil record?

Continue reading