Behe Tangles with Two Philosophers

Over at “ID The Future” there are three discussions I think are worth listening to. Hopefully it should stimulate some civilized discussion among critics and sympathizers of Behe and ID in general.

They can be accessed herehere, and here.

183 thoughts on “Behe Tangles with Two Philosophers

  1. Summary: Behe is interviewed by two catholic philosophers who already agree with him and only ask softball questions.

    Okay, so that sounds cynical.

    I did listen to the first of the three segments. Behe does not come off well (in my opinion). He describes his career as if he just stumbled into it without understanding what the subject was all about.

    As expected, the questions asked were all softball.

    Consider me underwhelmed.

  2. The problem I see with many of the arguments from both the Behe side and from the critics, is that they frame their arguments in a dualistic way. Behe is fond of the term, “purposeful arrangement of parts” and critics seem to argue from a position which believes in the fortuitous arrangement of parts. Both sides make great use of the machine metaphor. It’s a battle between the watchmaker and the blind watchmaker. Machines may mimic living systems, but living systems certainly do not mimic machines.

    In this talk Stephen L. Talbott shares a point of view which criticizes this dualistic thinking. And it’s a position that I agree with. I’d like to explore this in more detail and make further comments when I get the time.

  3. Neil Rickert:
    Summary: Behe is interviewed by two catholic philosophers who already agree with him and only ask softball questions.

    Okay, so that sounds cynical.

    I did listen to the first of the three segments.Behe does not come off well (in my opinion).He describes his career as if he just stumbled into it without understanding what the subject was all about.

    As expected, the questions asked were all softball.

    Consider me underwhelmed.

    I can symathize. But it does give us the chance to understand how Behe is thinking.

  4. CharlieM: Behe is fond of the term, “purposeful arrangement of parts” and critics seem to argue from a position which believes in the fortuitous arrangement of parts. Both sides make great use of the machine metaphor.

    Two things I notice about ID proponents:

    (1) They are very critical of materialism and very critical of mechanistic thinking;

    (2) There own ID thinking is extremely materialistic and mechanistic.

    I agree with the broad principle, that biologican organisms are designed. But the ID proponents are forever looking at that as an external design with an external designer. We should, instead, be looking for internal design. Organisms are self-designed. Some of the design comes from the population and the parents. But a great deal of the design of the organism occurs during biological development.

    As far as I can tell, biologists do recognize this. They are not as committed to the idea of a mechanical assembly of parts as Talbott thinks.

    I’m okay with Talbott’s ideas, except that he overstates his point.

  5. CharlieM: Behe is fond of the term, “purposeful arrangement of parts” and critics seem to argue from a position which believes in the fortuitous arrangement of parts.

    “Fortuitous” sounds like these arrangements are sheer luck, whereas they are without exception honed by the meat grinder of reality. “Purposeful” makes more sense, except Behe doesn’t quite seem to grasp that the purpose belongs to the organism whose purpose they serve, not to any external designer.

  6. colewd,

    I did point to development. They control their own development processes.

    Most of this is not conscious design. However, when we seek education, we are consciously participating in our own design.

  7. FWIW, all the theoretical biology and history of biology that I read these days are in the tradition of biophilosophy that Talbott is drawing upon — though his main influence is Coleridge, and I’m not sure how Talbott is aware that Coleridge is drawing upon Goethe, Kant, and others. (Coleridge was more or less the leading advocate of German Romanticism in Victorian England.)

    The biophilosophers I draw upon in my work are Hans Jonas, John Dewey, Kurt Goldstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Robert Rosen, and Francisco Varela. I also got hooked by Susan Oyama and Brian Goodwin at an early stage in my intellectual development.

    Ever since I became aware of Intelligent Design in the early 2000s, it was pretty obvious to me that there was no debate between intelligent design and evolution.

    Why I mean by this is not that intelligent design has never posed a serious, credible alternative to evolution — though that is also the case — but rather something quite different: that intelligent design was never really about evolution at all.

    Yes, the intelligent design movement thought they were, but that’s because they were quite badly mistaken about what they were really doing.

    The intelligent design movement thought that they were against evolutionary theory because ID evolved from creationism, which is against evolution.

    But a far more interesting problematic comes into view when we consider intelligent design as fundamentally opposed to what might be called complexity theory or general systems theory: the idea that systems can evolve from simple to complex all by themselves, without any need for guidance or intervention by an external intelligence.

    All of the challenges that intelligent design claims to pose to evolution — about the origins of life, or the origin of “body plans”, or the origin of major transitions like consciousness, mindedness, reason, intelligence, etc. are all much better explained in light of complexity theory than in terms of evolution.

    There was at one point a debate between Stuart Kaufman and Bill Dembski, but apart from that, all the ID people ignore complexity theory and focus all their attention on evolution.

  8. Kantian Naturalist,

    All of the challenges that intelligent design claims to pose to evolution — about the origins of life, or the origin of “body plans”, or the origin of major transitions like consciousness, mindedness, reason, intelligence, etc. are all much better explained in light of complexity theory than in terms of evolution.

    I have always agreed with this point you have made in the past. I would be very interested in an op on this subject. The biggest challange is empirically establishing a simple to complex model.

    Is there any real evidence that anything in our universe including primary matter is simple?

  9. colewd: The biggest challange is empirically establishing a simple to complex model.

    An even bigger problem, is in defining “complex”.

    My standard example is a sand dune. It has grains of sand of many different shapes, all put together. And when I point out the complexity of this, people tend to say “No, it isn’t complex at all; it is just a pile of sand”.

    What is complex depends on how you are looking at it. Biological organisms are complex when we look at them from an engineering point of view. But maybe they are not so complex when looked at from a biological perspective.

  10. Neil Rickert,

    What is complex depends on how you are looking at it. Biological organisms are complex when we look at them from an engineering point of view. But maybe they are not so complex when looked at from a biological perspective.

    Is this possibly a Divine perspective?

    From a human perspective biology maybe complex just because organisms are made of atoms as the sand dune is. Forget DNA reproduction gene editing etc.

  11. colewd: From a human perspective biology maybe complex just because organisms are made of atoms as the sand dune is.

    Or maybe they are not really made of atoms. Most of the atoms will be gone within a few days, replaced by different atoms. So maybe organisms are made of adaptive processes.

  12. Neil Rickert,

    Most of the atoms will be gone within a few days, replaced by different atoms. So maybe organisms are made of adaptive processes.

    What the evidence shows is they are made up of functional processes. Functions for which we can assign a reason or purpose.

    What is interesting is humans can do the same thing with inert matter.

  13. colewd: What the evidence shows is they are made up of functional processes. Functions for which we can assign a reason or purpose.

    Just give it up already.

    The organism doesn’t care whether you can assign a reason or purpose. And it is not obliged to follow the reasons or purposes that we humans assign.

  14. vjtorley:
    Hi Charlie M.,

    I’m sure you’ve read this article by Stephen Talbott, but some readers will probably find it of interest:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings: Why the organism is not a Machine (New Atlantis, Fall 2010).

    Cheers.

    Yes, I have read it and thanks for providing the link. Although I had to adjust the address you linked to so I could access it. Much of his writings, and lots of other interesting stuff, can be accessed from here

  15. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Behe is fond of the term, “purposeful arrangement of parts” and critics seem to argue from a position which believes in the fortuitous arrangement of parts. Both sides make great use of the machine metaphor.

    Neil Rickert: Two things I notice about ID proponents:

    (1) They are very critical of materialism and very critical of mechanistic thinking;

    (2) Their own ID thinking is extremely materialistic and mechanistic.

    I wouldn’t like to generalize, but your point is probably valid for many of them.

    Neil Rickert: I agree with the broad principle, that biological organisms are designed. But the ID proponents are forever looking at that as an external design with an external designer. We should, instead, be looking for internal design. Organisms are self-designed. Some of the design comes from the population and the parents. But a great deal of the design of the organism occurs during biological development.

    As far as I can tell, biologists do recognize this. They are not as committed to the idea of a mechanical assembly of parts as Talbott thinks.

    I’m okay with Talbott’s ideas, except that he overstates his point.

    How much of his writings have you read? As an addition to what has already been linked to here he writes about “Teleology and Evolution”.

    There he wrote:

    Every biologist who uses the conventional term “homeostasis” (a system’s maintenance of its own stability) or, better, “homeorhesis” (a system’s maintenance of its characteristic activity) is already saying something similar to “being-at-work-staying-itself”. It’s the way of being of any organism. The Aristotelian term is useful for reminding us that an organism is first of all an activity, and its activity is that of a centered agency possessing a remarkable coordinating and integrative power in the service of its own life and interests.

    I don’t remember hearing the term “homeorhesis” used before, especially not by biologists. But I think it fits the bill better than “homeostasis

  16. Flint:
    CharlieM: Behe is fond of the term, “purposeful arrangement of parts” and critics seem to argue from a position which believes in the fortuitous arrangement of parts.

    Flint: “Fortuitous” sounds like these arrangements are sheer luck, whereas they are without exception honed by the meat grinder of reality. “Purposeful” makes more sense, except Behe doesn’t quite seem to grasp that the purpose belongs to the organism whose purpose they serve, not to any external designer

    I think you are right. He does seem to consider his “molecular machines” as being designed in the same way that we humans design objects.

    But how are features honed in reality. As Talbott writes in the link I gave in my previous post ” It would be truer to say that teleology explains natural selection than that selection explains teleology”.

    If you want further info on why he thinks this you can read the entire chapter.

  17. Kantian Naturalist:
    FWIW, all the theoretical biology and history of biology that I read these days are in the tradition of biophilosophy that Talbott is drawing upon — though his main influence is Coleridge, and I’m not sure how Talbott is aware that Coleridge is drawing upon Goethe, Kant, and others. (Coleridge was more or less the leading advocate of German Romanticism in Victorian England.)

    Talbott has been inspired by Goethe, Barfield, Steiner, Coleridge, Kant, Craig Holdrege, Plato, Aristotle, and obviously many others. I’m sure he is well aware of the links between Coleridge and the others in this list.

    (Here is a short video featuring his friend and one of the founders of the Nature Institute, Craig Holdrege,)

    Kantian Naturalist: The biophilosophers I draw upon in my work are Hans Jonas, John Dewey, Kurt Goldstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Robert Rosen, and Francisco Varela. I also got hooked by Susan Oyama and Brian Goodwin at an early stage in my intellectual development.

    Thanks for the information about your influences.

    Kantian Naturalist: Ever since I became aware of Intelligent Design in the early 2000s, it was pretty obvious to me that there was no debate between intelligent design and evolution.

    Why I mean by this is not that intelligent design has never posed a serious, credible alternative to evolution — though that is also the case — but rather something quite different: that intelligent design was never really about evolution at all.

    Yes, the intelligent design movement thought they were, but that’s because they were quite badly mistaken about what they were really doing.

    The intelligent design movement thought that they were against evolutionary theory because ID evolved from creationism, which is against evolution.

    But a far more interesting problematic comes into view when we consider intelligent design as fundamentally opposed to what might be called complexity theory or general systems theory: the idea that systems can evolve from simple to complex all by themselves, without any need for guidance or intervention by an external intelligence.

    All of the challenges that intelligent design claims to pose to evolution — about the origins of life, or the origin of “body plans”, or the origin of major transitions like consciousness, mindedness, reason, intelligence, etc. are all much better explained in light of complexity theory than in terms of evolution.

    There was at one point a debate between Stuart Kaufman and Bill Dembski, but apart from that, all the ID people ignore complexity theory and focus all their attention on evolution.

    I prefer to deal with specific arguments rather than motives. For instance when “creationists” debate “evolutionists” each is looking for weaknesses they can point out in the other’s arguments. A lot can be learned by stepping back and trying to objectively listen to all that is said. Even if someone holds an overall view that is hard to justify they will probably still make valid arguments on specific points.

  18. colewd: to Kantian Naturalist,

    Kantian Naturalist: All of the challenges that intelligent design claims to pose to evolution — about the origins of life, or the origin of “body plans”, or the origin of major transitions like consciousness, mindedness, reason, intelligence, etc. are all much better explained in light of complexity theory than in terms of evolution.

    colewd: I have always agreed with this point you have made in the past. I would be very interested in an op on this subject. The biggest challange is empirically establishing a simple to complex model.

    Is there any real evidence that anything in our universe including primary matter is simple?

    It’s all relative isn’t it? I think in the past I have said that I have lost count of the times I have read papers and articles where phrases such as, “more complex than we thought”, has been used. Every time I come across it I ask, who is this “we” they are talking about?

  19. Neil Rickert: to colewd
    colewd: The biggest challange is empirically establishing a simple to complex model.

    Neil Rickert: An even bigger problem, is in defining “complex”.

    My standard example is a sand dune. It has grains of sand of many different shapes, all put together. And when I point out the complexity of this, people tend to say “No, it isn’t complex at all; it is just a pile of sand”.

    What is complex depends on how you are looking at it. Biological organisms are complex when we look at them from an engineering point of view. But maybe they are not so complex when looked at from a biological perspective

    And maybe they are even more complex when looked at from a biological perspective.

    A flagellum is often considered to be a multi-part machine which looks simple when depicted on the screen or in the pages of a book. Now think of it as an organ of a bacterium, growing, suffering damage, renewing itself and moving in various ways. Think of the dynamic coordinated activity that is required for it to function and to maintain homeorhesis. 🙂

  20. Neil Rickert: to colewd
    colewd: From a human perspective biology maybe complex just because organisms are made of atoms as the sand dune is.

    Neil Rickert: Or maybe they are not really made of atoms. Most of the atoms will be gone within a few days, replaced by different atoms. So maybe organisms are made of adaptive processes.

    Good point. They are dynamic forms in a similar way to the concept triangle which is a dynamic form encompassing all dimensions in 2D space.

  21. CharlieM: Think of the dynamic coordinated activity that is required for it to function and to maintain homeorhesis.

    That’s the wrong way to think about it. You are still thinking mechanically.

    Imagine you are in a traffic jam. And you need to find a way to deal with it. That’s a very complex combinatoric problem. But the drivers of the cars manage to find ways of moving, without having to do any combinatorics.

    The combinatoric problem comes from mechanical thinking. We, as biological creatures, manage to avoid solving that problem, because we are looking for pathways instead of looking at objects.

  22. Rumraket:
    Boring. For a much more interesting and engaging conversation, here’s one where evolutionary biologist Dan Cardinale interviews Michael Behe on his book “The Edge of evolution”:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlOoM9CO8d4

    I’ve now watched this discussion. brings up the topic of placentas here Dan argues that the appearance of placentas in lizards contradicts Behe’s two-mutation rule, and of course Behe disagrees and he does make a fair point. Dan argues that the development of full, functional placentas in lizards came about through conventional evolutionary processes but he doesn’t go into any details as to how this happened. It is usually explained by the increase of egg retention over the generations.

    The interesting fact I find is that viviparity has evolved around one hundred times independently in squamates. That suggests a progression from egg laying to live births. Evolution taking a direction towards autonomy as proposed by Bernd Rosslenbroich

  23. phoodoo:
    Sir Roger Penrose & Dr. Stuart Hameroff: CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE PHYSICS OF THE BRAIN

    Not great news for Darwinists.

    But would it be great news for either Einsteinists or Leibnizists?

  24. Flint: But would it be great news for either Einsteinists or Leibnizists?

    They have theories about the development of life on Earth too? Do tell.

  25. phoodoo: They have theories about the development of life on Earth too?Do tell.

    No, but they do have theories about physics. I suppose a devout Leibnizist might say he had theories about the physics of the brain. I’m sure a Leibnizist wouldn’t particularly care that physics has advanced a bit in the last few centuries.

  26. Flint,

    Only problem being that if its true, you would have to be whacked out of your mind to still believe it arose through an unguided Darwinian process.

    But I am sure the faithful will still try to believe it. Atheism is a powerful religion.

  27. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Think of the dynamic coordinated activity that is required for it to function and to maintain homeorhesis.

    Neil Rickert: That’s the wrong way to think about it. You are still thinking mechanically.

    Imagine you are in a traffic jam. And you need to find a way to deal with it. That’s a very complex combinatoric problem. But the drivers of the cars manage to find ways of moving, without having to do any combinatorics.

    The combinatoric problem comes from mechanical thinking. We, as biological creatures, manage to avoid solving that problem, because we are looking for pathways instead of looking at objects.

    I am trying to understand what you mean by “biological perspective”. In my opinion we find ways of moving around in a traffic jam through our mental faculties. We do not need to think about all the physical forces and interactions involved in extricating ourselves from traffic jams because of our problem solving abilities. But the biological processes which accompany our thinking and our actions are extremely complex and integrated.

    In your view what makes a biological perspective different from a mechanical perspective? If I can understand this I might be able to better understand your point.

  28. In this discussion with Mark Vernon, Bernardo Kastrup argues that it is impossible to demonstrate that random mutations play a prominent role in driving evolution. Although he does believe that selection does play a prominent role.

    It is an article of faith to declare that the evolution of earthly life is brought about, in the main, through selection working on mutations which are random with respect to fitness.

  29. CharlieM: I am trying to understand what you mean by “biological perspective”.

    I was just referring to the idea of attempting to adapt to the current situation, instead of looking for an ideal mechanical solution.

  30. CharlieM: In this discussion with Mark Vernon, Bernardo Kastrup argues that it is impossible to demonstrate that random mutations play a prominent role in driving evolution.

    I am underwhelmed.

    He needs to understand that “random mutation” is a term of art within biology. In particular, biologists are not claiming that this meets the mathematical requirements of randomness.

  31. CharlieM: As Talbott writes in the link I gave in my previous post ” It would be truer to say that teleology explains natural selection than that selection explains teleology”.

    That sounds right to me. I would probably say that natural selection presupposes teleology, because teleology is a constitutive dimension of what life is, and natural selection is a consequence of living organisms doing what they do.

    CharlieM: It is an article of faith to declare that the evolution of earthly life is brought about, in the main, through selection working on mutations which are random with respect to fitness.

    I would agree with that, in the following sense: it is an article of faith that macroevolutionary patterns can be explained wholly in terms of microevolutionary processes.

  32. phoodoo:
    Flint,

    Only problem being that if its true, you would have to be whacked out of your mind to still believe it arose through an unguided Darwinian process.

    But I am sure the faithful will still try to believe it.Atheism is a powerful religion.

    So would you be more in favor of a guided Darwinian process, or do you prefer to believe it’s magic all the way down?

    The problem with conjuring up a god to poof reality into existence is, it solves all the hard problems by invoking an even harder one. Perhaps the idea is that the god problem is so hard let’s kind of assume it away, leaving us with the answer to everything.

    I think it would be easier to find evidence to support an evolutionary development of consciousness, than to find evidence that goddidit – except for those who believe that evidence is a religion all by itself.

  33. Kantian Naturalist:
    I would agree with that, in the following sense: it is an article of faith that macroevolutionary patterns can be explained wholly in terms of microevolutionary processes.

    Along these lines, it’s an article of faith that whole buildings can be constructed wholly of microbuilding processes. Clearly, at some point these microbuilding processes undergo a qualtative phase change, producing a building.

  34. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: I am trying to understand what you mean by “biological perspective”.

    Neil Rickert: I was just referring to the idea of attempting to adapt to the current situation, instead of looking for an ideal mechanical solution.

    Whether adapting to conditions or seeking a perfect solution, biological entities perform actions some of which they themselves instigate. And for this reason their actions can be unpredictable. On the contrary, the actions of inanimate entities such as all of the machinery involved in a traffic jam is governed by actions external to those entities.

    This is not meant as an argument against your comments. These are just my thoughts that followed from what you were saying.

  35. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: In this discussion with Mark Vernon, Bernardo Kastrup argues that it is impossible to demonstrate that random mutations play a prominent role in driving evolution.

    Neil Rickert: I am underwhelmed.

    He needs to understand that “random mutation” is a term of art within biology. In particular, biologists are not claiming that this meets the mathematical requirements of randomness.

    That biologists may not be using random in accordance with a strictly mathematical definition is not the point.

    It is usual for believers in the conventional understanding of evolution claim that this aspect of the theory just happens in an accidental, unguided fashion. What is their justification for this claim? Do we have enough knowledge about past genetic activities and changes to make claims such as this?

  36. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: As Talbott writes in the link I gave in my previous post ” It would be truer to say that teleology explains natural selection than that selection explains teleology”.

    Kantian Naturalist: That sounds right to me. I would probably say that natural selection presupposes teleology, because teleology is a constitutive dimension of what life is, and natural selection is a consequence of living organisms doing what they do.

    CharlieM: It is an article of faith to declare that the evolution of earthly life is brought about, in the main, through selection working on mutations which are random with respect to fitness.

    Kantian Naturalist: I would agree with that, in the following sense: it is an article of faith that macroevolutionary patterns can be explained wholly in terms of microevolutionary processes

    It makes a nice change to have some agreement to the things I post. 🙂

  37. Flint: to phoodoo:
    phoodoo: Only problem being that if its true, you would have to be whacked out of your mind to still believe it arose through an unguided Darwinian process.

    But I am sure the faithful will still try to believe it.Atheism is a powerful religion.

    Flint: So would you be more in favor of a guided Darwinian process, or do you prefer to believe it’s magic all the way down?

    Believing that chemistry and physics is sufficient to produce sentience and rational minds, now that is to believe in magic.

  38. CharlieM: Believing that chemistry and physics is sufficient to produce sentience and rational minds, now that is to believe in magic.

    Feel free to provide the missing piece, you or phoodoo.

    If you had something significant to add to our understanding of reality you’d not be doing it on a blog.

  39. Flint: Along these lines, it’s an article of faith that whole buildings can be constructed wholly of microbuilding processes. Clearly, at some point these microbuilding processes undergo a qualtative phase change, producing a building.

    Amusing as it is, I don’t think the analogy holds.

    I was not, of course, objecting to naturalistic explanations per se when I made my remark.

    I was rather suggesting, along the lines of the so-called “Extended Evolutionary Synthesis”, that there are distinctly macroevolutionary processes.

    I recognize that this is a very controversial topic and also that I don’t have the relevant competence to be entitled to a position here.

    CharlieM: It is usual for believers in the conventional understanding of evolution claim that this aspect of the theory just happens in an accidental, unguided fashion. What is their justification for this claim? Do we have enough knowledge about past genetic activities and changes to make claims such as this?

    We know that there aren’t any empirically confirmed mechanisms that are able to first anticipate what traits will be adaptive in the future and then cause the genetic changes necessary for that trait if any are.

    But we do know that changes in the environment can cause epigenetic changes which can then be stabilized by subsequent genetic changes.

    CharlieM: Believing that chemistry and physics is sufficient to produce sentience and rational minds, now that is to believe in magic.

    Everything here depends on what one takes “chemistry and physics” to mean. If you have in mind the chemistry and physics that is taught in middle schools and high schools, then sure. But the physics and chemistry of complex self-organizing systems allow for a very different account.

    I don’t think it is ‘magic’ to believe that an autocatalytic set can realize organizational closure if it is enclosed within a semipermeable membrane, and thereby become a biologically autonomous individual with rudimentary sensitivity and reactivity to its environment.

  40. Kantian Naturalist: I don’t think it is ‘magic’ to believe that an autocatalytic set can realize organizational closure if it is enclosed within a semipermeable membrane, and thereby become a biologically autonomous individual with rudimentary sensitivity and reactivity to its environment.

    Feedback mechanisms abound in nature. I also doubt that billiard balls bouncing around with inelastic collisions will create anything we’d call life.

    Elegant proposals exist as to how energy gradients force matter towards having life like properties: https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-new-thermodynamics-theory-of-the-origin-of-life-20140122/

    http://www.englandlab.com/uploads/7/8/0/3/7803054/2013jcpsrep.pdf

    CharlieM: Believing that chemistry and physics is sufficient to produce sentience and rational minds, now that is to believe in magic.

    Now, that all rather depends on your understanding of chemistry and physics, does it not Charlie?

    Perhaps you can take that sneer and instead point out to me the killer flaw in that paper that makes it the equivalent of “magic”?

    http://www.englandlab.com/uploads/7/8/0/3/7803054/2013jcpsrep.pdf

    Feel free to take your time. I’ll wait.

  41. CharlieM: Believing that chemistry and physics is sufficient to produce sentience and rational minds, now that is to believe in magic.

    Chemistry and physics ARE the components of sentient minds. So I guess what you’re doubting is that there is any process that could marshal the properties of atoms and the laws of physics and in time produce sentience.

    Your doubt is an example of the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy – that it’s inconceivable that the bullet just happened to hit the precise spot it did, and not be a nanometer off! Nobody could possibly aim that well. Clearly, there MUST have been some external, powerful force that guided that bullet to that EXACT spot and no other. Must be your god, QED.

    To believe otherwise would require a profound understanding of certain feedback processes at work over deep time. AKA “magic”.

  42. We don’t understand it, therefore it must have been magic.

    It might be magic but out of interest Charlie, out of all the things that were previously ascribed to such how many actually turned out to be magic?

  43. OMagain:
    CharlieM: Believing that chemistry and physics is sufficient to produce sentience and rational minds, now that is to believe in magic.

    OMagain: Feel free to provide the missing piece, you or phoodoo.

    It’s my belief that we should not be looking for a missing piece, we should be looking for missing dimensions.

    I obtained the image below from this article by Glen Atkinson. It reprisents nature depicted as four kingdoms and their relationship to the physical, etheric, astral, and ego as detailed by Steiner.
    The physical relates to the world of the senses and the desification of matter (earth). The etheric relates to the forms of life and is in constant fluidic motion as in the flow of sap in plants (water). The astral relates to sentience, the inner feelings. The possession of nervous systems is a mark of individualized astrality. (air). And the ego relates to self-knowledge, (fire).
    The old designation of the elements (earth, water, air and fire) does not contradict the modern understanding of elements. The former relates to general states of matter while the latter relates to the particular types and their distinguishable properties.

    The “missing piece” you wish me to provide is the etheric. It is the architect which gives form to the material provided by the physical. The peripheral forces working to draw out the central physical substance. Watch this video and observe the cells flowing en masse as they form the developing organism.

    Each of the four stages in the diagram are built on the previous stage. The majority of the energy in plants is taken up with growth, the animal expends further energy on sentience, and the creature which expends the highest percentage of energy on brain function is the human.

    It can be seen from the diagram that throughout all these stages there has always been a mind present (the world ego).

    As you have asked, I have freely provided my beliefs on the evolution and development of living processes. Others are free to believe or disbelieve as they wish.

    OMagain: If you had something significant to add to our understanding of reality you’d not be doing it on a blog.

    I’m not adding anything that is not already out there and provided by others who are more competent. than me to clarify these things.

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