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.

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Libertarian Free Will

The concept of Libertarian Free Will (and the contextualizations that must accompany it) is really just too big to tackle all at once, so I’m going to begin with a thread to serve as a basic primer about my view of Libertarian Free Will (LFW) – what I posit it to be, ontologically speaking, and how I describe it.

The basic difference between compatibilist free will and libertarian free will is that compatibilist intents are ultimately manufactured effects of unintentional brute processes. No matter how many layers of “pondering” “meta-pondering” one adds, or how many “modules” or “partitions” are added to the mix, it all still ultimately boils down to intentions being sufficiently explained as effects of brute (unintentional) forces. That is the root of all will in the compatibilist view; ultimately, humans do as they will, but do not will as they will, regardless of how many pre-action “intentions” they put in the chain.

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A Second Look at the Second Law…

…is the title of Granville Sewell’s manuscript that almost got published in Applied Mathematics Letters last year. It was withdrawn at the last minute by the editor, but you can still download the manuscript from Sewell’s web page. The purpose of this thread is to discuss the technical merits of Sewell’s arguments.

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Why the NDE/ID Debate Is Really (For Most) A Proxy Fight

To define:

NDE (Neo-Darwinian Evolution) = OOL & evolution without prescriptive goals, both being nothing more in essence than functions of material forces & interactions.

ID (Intelligent Design) = Deliberate OOL & evolution with prescriptive goals

(I included OOL because if OOL contains purposefully written code that provides guidelines for evolutionary processes towards goals, then evolutionary processes are not neo-Darwinian as they utilize oracle information).

I’m not an evolutionary biologist, nor am I a mathematician. Therefore, when I argue about NDE and ID, the only cases I attempt to make are logical ones based on principles involved because – frankly – I lack the educational, application & research expertise to legitimately parse, understand and criticize most papers published in those fields. I suggest that most people who engage in NDE/ID arguments (on either side) similarly lack the necessary expertise to evaluate (or conduct) such research on their own.

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“Tiktaalik”, Why it is a failed Prediction

Tiktaalik is still being used as a successful prediction of something. I know it was supposed to be a successful prediction of universal common descent because it is A) Allegedly a transitional form between fish and tetrapods and B) It was found in the “correct” strata because allegedly no evidence of tetrapods before 385 million years ago- plenty of fish though and plenty of evidence for tetrapods around 365 million years ago- Tiktaalik was allegedly found in strata about 375 million years old- Shubin said that is the strata he looked in because of the 365-385 range already bracketed by existing data.

The thinking was tetrapods existed 365 mya and fish existed 385 mya, so the transition happened sometime in that 20 million years.

Sounds very reasonable. And when they looked they found Tiktaalik and all was good.

Then along comes another find that put the earliest tetrapods back to over 390 million years ago.

Now had this find preceded Tiktaalik then Shubin et al. would not have been looking for the transitional after the transition had occurred- that doesn’t make any sense. And that is why it is a failed prediction- the transition occurred some 25 million years before, Shubin et al., were looking in the wrong strata.

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Intelligent Design is NOT Anti-Evolution

Thank you Elizabeth for this opportunity-

Good day- Over the past many, many years, IDists have been telling people that intelligent design is not anti-evolution. Most people understand and accept that, while others just refuse to, no matter what.

With that said, in this post I will provide the evidence (again) that firmly demonstrates that ID is not anti-evolution. I will be presenting several authoritative definitions of “evolution” followed by what the ID leadership has to say about evolution. So without any further adieu, I give you-

Intelligent Design is NOT Anti-Evolution

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Why Methodological Naturalism is a Questionable Philosophy of Science

Elizabeth started another thread (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=256) stating that methodological naturalism (MN) “underlies the methodology that we call science.” Later she spoke of “methodological naturalism, as in the working assumption that scientists make about the world in order to predict things.” Then she quoted Wikipedia, which states: “all scientific endeavors—all hypotheses and events—are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events,” adding that this is “more or less the definition I have been assuming.” In other words, science studies ‘nature-only’ because it is naturalistic – it sees nothing other than nature that *could* be studied. Elizabeth sticks with this definition when she says “Science occupies the domain of natural explanations.”

Still later, Elizabeth admitted she is ‘not wild about’ MN (or what I suggested as more accurate of her statements: science applies ‘methodological probabilism’) and also that “‘methodological naturalism’ is a poor term.” Thus, her concession: “now that I realise that the term [MN] appears to denote different things to different people, I will avoid it.” So, the main argument in the OP was deserted.

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Probabilities And Skepticism

I thought about including this in my previous thread, but it has grown so large that I suspect it would be lost in the abyss. If Skeptical Zone readers are interested I’ll write a series of these posts, in which I’ll develop a number of themes concerning why I abandoned evolutionary orthodoxy and became convinced that an inference to design is most reasonable.

As most of you know, I am a classical musician. All great musical compositions have a theme, and the theme of this site is “think it possible that you may be mistaken.” With that theme in mind, might I suggest some skepticism concerning probabilities?

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Is postmodernism the evil twin of modern science?

I don’t want to flood this place with items from Uncommon Descent, but as we have a certain overlap of members (and  ex members!) and certainly a common set of interests, there’s a post up now that I found interesting, not because of the board politics (which we will not of course discuss…) but because of an odd equation I see there that I have caught a sniff of before and is here made explicit, both in the OP and in some of the comments.

Its the equivalence between “post modernism” and the provisional nature of scientific inferences.

Which I find extraordinary because it’s always seemed to me that science and postmodernism are on two opposite poles.

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Anecdotal evidence

The ‘here’ in the first para refers to Secular Cafe, from which this is reposted.

In a number of threads, here and in other places, I’ve seen discussions – sometimes more than a little vituperative – concerning the value or otherwise of anecdotal evidence.

To start with my current position on it before commenting further.

I think that anecdotal evidence is evidence, but with three little caveats.

It is often, IMV, poor evidence, it is sometimes evidence of something other than what the anecdote purports to be evidence of, and it is rather infrequently later confirmed by later observations which have physical rather than anecdotal evidence behind them.

Having got that out of the way, an in-exhaustive list to identify the sort of alleged phenomena in which anecdotal evidence raises its head, in no particular order but as they spring to mind, with a few exceptions which I am anxious to include.

Ghosts, the effectiveness of clairvoyance, the effectiveness of astrology, the effect (or otherwise) of the full moon on madness,  hospital admissions et al, sightings of monsters on various lakes, UFO sightings, alien abductions, the power of prayer, what may broadly be called religious or spiritual experiences, unusual and hard or impossible to replicate physical phenomena.

For all of these, and others, I’d see it as important to keep a few things in mind.

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