Is there such a thing as a fair die?
[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.
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:
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.
The WEDGIES are at it again, this time talking about NDEs (last time it was dreams producing CSI)
Heres’s the link:
and the old one
Both posted by Barry Arrington on NKendall’s behalf.
This thread is for commentary for those of us who can’t participate there.
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?
Piotr, our esteemed associate, is a linguist. I admire the discipline of linguistics on many levels and some of my professional work has been in formal languages (computer languages, DNA languages). Noam Chomsky was noted for his contributions to computers, languages and psychology. Chomsky’s work was my first and only formal introduction to linguistics.
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?
Just thought I’d start a thread about my reappearance to save derailing this one!
Thanks to all who have been keeping the place busy in my absence! Things are still sticky for me, but I can smell a thaw!