174 Replies to “ID proponents: is Chance a Cause?”

  1. Blas
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS:
    Here is my understanding of your argument.
    1,Some biologists say that if we rewound the tape of history, humans might not evolve again.
    2.Rewinding the tape of history means setting all the initial conditions to be the same.
    3.If the initial conditions are the same, but the result is different, then you cannot use determinism as a cause.
    4.The only other choice is chance.
    5.Therefore biologists think chance caused humans.

    Yes that is my rationale.

    BruceS:

    I would describe things differently by appealing to levels of explanation in science and by saying that the word “chance” might be used differently at those different levels.

    An old darwinian trick, give to the words more than one meaning and say I were meaning the other.

    BruceS:
    In this case, when the biologists say reset the initial conditions, I would take them as saying reset the initial conditions for the biological model:the environment, the species, the gene pool of the species, etc.And when biologists say rerun history, they mean rerun the stochastic model of evolution which includes chance effects (example, in this run, a predator by chance catches and eats an individual who had a mutation that was necessary for humanity).

    “chance effects” and chance it is not a cause?! Tell me please what make that on one run I´m dinned by the bear and in the other no? It just happened to be?

    BruceS:

    I think that, in this case, the usual saying in physics (not biology) is that there is no cause, not that chance is a cause.

    Oh yes! it just happened to be. Everything to avoid the word “chance”.
    BruceS:
    On the other hand, if you accept the multiple worlds interpretation, then the quantum state evolves deterministically and humans would arise in some histories and not others, which is exactly what happened in the first run through.Any questions about humans arising in “our history” would be meaningless.

    I would beleive in multiple worlds when somebody bring a physical evidence of other world. Oh wait a minute if the other world can make physical interactins with this world become part of this world ¿isn´t iit?. What a pitty we will never have physical evidence of “other” world.

    BruceS:
    So we are stuck becauseof the limits of our knowledge of physics.Further, I don’t think metaphysics can answer solely from logic and contemplation what physics cannot when it comes to questions about our universe.

    How many times I have to say this. Science cannot show if this universe is determined or not. Is a metaphysical answer. Make your chose.

  2. rhampton
    Ignored
    says:

    Blas,
    I agree that science can not determine if ‘chance’ events are predestined vis-a-vis a hypothetical rerunning of the universe. None the less, it is a scientifically accurate description of stochastic processes, like the roulette wheel.
    Do you disagree and/or propose some other term?

  3. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Blas: Yes that is my rationale.

    An old darwinian trick, give to the words more than one meaning and say I were meaning the other.

    I agree that the when people use natural language, words can have different meanings in different contexts. I tried carefully to explain what I thought the meanings were and why and how that answered your concerns. I was not trying to trick you.

    How many times I have to say this. Science cannot show if this universe is determined or not. Is a metaphysical answer.Make your chose.

    As I said, I don’t accept the either/or distinction for the reasons I gave. And I don’t accept that metaphysics can determine aspects of the world which science is still studying but has not come to consensus on. I understand your worldview is different. That is why I don’t think there is a further fruitful discussion between us on this topic.

  4. hotshoe
    Ignored
    says:

    BruceS: As I said, I don’t accept the either/or distinction for the reasons I gave. And I don’t accept that metaphysics can determine aspects of the world which science is still studying but has not come to consensus on. I understand your worldview is different. That is why I don’t think there is a further fruitful discussion between us on this topic.

    Yep.

  5. velikovskys
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory,
    velikovskys, cubist, thorton, hotshoe, damitall2, Robin, Allan Miller, Joe Felsenstein, SeverskyP35, and you are all atheists. Is this in doubt?

    Not an atheist,Gregory.Perhaps a brief outline on why your version of the Deity is so persuasive and useful would be helpful. Thanks

  6. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Is Gregory not an atheist? He hides his light under a bushel.

  7. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka: Is Gregory not an atheist?

    I think he is some kind of theist, perhaps eastern orthodox.

  8. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: I think he is some kind of theist, perhaps eastern orthodox.

    But we’ll never know.

  9. velikovskys
    Ignored
    says:

    I must admit I dabbled in Frisbeetarianism for a bit,but it was too rigid for my taste.

  10. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks for clarifying velikovskys. (Btw, in case you take your screen name after Immanuel Velikovsky, his work is fascinating, if nevertheless unorthodox! I read his World’s in Collision and about the ‘Velikovsky affair’ as part of my phd research.)

    Curious then if you refuse *all/any* labels or if you give a positive name to your particular worldview (we now know it’s not Frisbeetarianism), e.g. like Lizzie, who says she is a “a “pantheist” but that is “atheist” in most people’s lexicon”? Are you one of those deny-everything and take-no-position people when it comes to worldview, a ‘skeptic’ of the extreme variety?

    Any of the others I mentioned are welcome to deny their ‘atheism’ here as well, if that is what they believe. Evidence on this site is already provided for pretty much everyone else; I took a risk on velikovskys and he’s been kind to respond in the negative.

    “Is Gregory not an atheist?”

    No, I’m not an atheist. It’s been said clearly and openly several times already that I’m an Abrahamic theist.

    “I’m a “Darwinist” in the sense that I am not, for instance, an IDer.” – Lizzie

    Such a strange position to define one-self merely by what one is not. Sorry, not that inspiring, Lizzie. A ‘pantheist’ is not an ‘atheist.’ Maybe you’ll address that?

    “I flipped, once, about five years ago. No flop.”

    Does this mean that up to five years ago you were a devout Catholic?! According to the difference in those worldviews, it must be quite a flop in several ways to go from theism to atheism. Or is it just hyper-skepticism of any solid position, even a position of faith and hope, that was your downfall?

  11. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike Elzinga,

    I have addressed these naive concerns about semantics (http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/?p=3820&cpage=2#comment-37509) elsewhere on this blog. Profession vs. ideologue, get it?

    A physicist need not promote the ideologies of physicalism, naturalism or materialism in order to do credible natural-physical science. But in Mike’s case, angry-man atheist propaganda stands in the way and seems to require crude reductionism even *outside* of his narrow specialist field.

    Will Mike Elzinga deny or confirm he is an atheist? Or is he also a ‘pantheist/quasi-Buddhist’ like Lizzie, while nevertheless obviously more anti-theistic than she is?

  12. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Profession vs. ideologue, get it?

    What makes you think I give a damn what you believe?

  13. Patrick Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    Have you heard the good news about Flippy Flopperism?

  14. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, I’m not that naive and don’t think you do give a damn, which convicts you for not caring.

    If you’re honestly asking the question (which since you don’t answer simple questions, I must therefore doubt), Mike, then the answer is that you strike me as a man who refuses to learn, e.g. about ideology and how it has and does even today influence ‘pure science’. Likewise, you seem to pose yourself as a man who thinks he is an authority on evolutionism (an ideology you deny is possible), creationism and IDT, yet who simply recycles and regurgitates what NCSE says.

    It is ‘culture war in America’ talk Mike Elzinga demonstrates time and again from Kalamazoo. Refreshing instead are the people who are open to elevation and discovery, even if it is not to be found in IDT or creationism.

  15. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: refuses to learn, e.g. about ideology

    So an ideologist studies ides?

    Well, I’m not that naive and don’t think you do give a damn, which convicts you for not caring.

    There are things in this world that are far more important to care about than YOU YOU YOU, Gregory.

  16. hotshoe
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Any of the others I mentioned are welcome to deny their ‘atheism’ here as well,

    Thank gods you’re not asking anyone if they will deny their theism , which over two millennia has resulted in torture, corrective rape, and burning at the stake or beheading, etc, of the god-denier at the hands of your Abrahamic brethren.

    Even in the 21st century, merely to insist on the civil rights of the non-religious or the non-majority religious in any country is a sure way to turn oneself into a target for death threats and mental if not physical abuse from the religious majority. The so-called moderates among the Abrahamists are guilty of harassment and death threats — although I’d say that, by definition, only a fanatic can be incited to actually commit a beheading. Surely the moderates draw a line somewhere on this side of executing those who reject their faith. But no Abrahamist can ever be trusted to behave civilly towards those of other faiths or no faith.

    You have a lot of nerve demanding, repeatedly, that people here confirm or deny their religious status. And it’s none of your goddamn business, Gregory — which if you had decent manners to begin with, I wouldn’t have to tell you.

  17. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m most nearly an apatheist.TRVTH is beyond the ken of humans, so there’s not much point in pretending to know or deluding oneself into thinking one knows.

    As far as labels go, I’m closest to being a monist or pantheist, and have been so since age 11, when I first encountered the word. It takes different shades of meaning for me depending on my mood or what I’ve been reading or hearing about. The associated emotions are awe and wonderment.

    What am I missing, Gregory? What is it that you KNOW?

    Surely you don’t think the God of the Bible is a person-like entity that thinks in time and has emotions. Did I spell it right?

  18. velikovskys
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory,

    Any of the others I mentioned are welcome to deny their ‘atheism’ here as well, if that is what they believe. Evidence on this site is already provided for pretty much everyone else; I took a risk on velikovskys and he’s been kind to respond in the negative.

    Back up the bus , Gregory. What I was denying is your accuracy, which apparently is not that much of a concern to you by your own admission. And I didn’t deny atheism, I said I am not an atheist. I blame that on the Jesuits.

    What exactly is Abrahamic Theism about? How does one know God?

    Curious then if you refuse *all/any* labels or if you give a positive name to your particular worldview

    Sorry, that sounds like joining a club. Not interested. But feel free to go ahead and label me again.

    (Btw, in case you take your screen name after Immanuel Velikovsky, his work is fascinating, if nevertheless unorthodox! I read his World’s in Collision and about the ‘Velikovsky affair’ as part of my phd research.)

    He also was the honorary manager of “Velikovsky’s Comet” softball team.It was founded two years before his death. But like Moonlight Graham he never had an official at bat. Rumor has it he also liked to poke the bear.

  19. velikovskys
    Ignored
    says:

    Patrick,
    Have you heard the good news about Flippy Flopperism?

    It is a Christmas miracle ,PTL.

    Off,off topic, Mathgrrl was exquisite.

  20. SeverskyP35
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:
    Lizzie,

    keiths, richardthughes, olegt, Mike Elzinga, JonF, BruceS, Patrick, Neil Rickert, petrushka, Alan Fox, flint, llanitedave, Rumracket, OMagain, Reciprocating Bill 2, robert van bakel, velikovskys, cubist, thorton, hotshoe, damitall2, Robin, Allan Miller, Joe Felsenstein, SeverskyP35, and you are all atheists. Is this in doubt? Indeed, the vast majority of people in your ‘club’ here at TSZ are either atheists or agnostics or simply irreverent.

    For my part, Bertrand Russell put it best in his famous essay discussing whether he was an atheist or agnostic:

    I never know whether I should say “Agnostic” or whether I should say “Atheist”. It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God.

    On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods

    In my own words, while I don’t know for certain that there is no God, for all practical purposes I act as if there is no such being.

    That said, like physicist Paul Davies and many others, I think there is a profound mystery about how and why this universe, or even multiverse, exists. Is there an intelligence behind it all? I doubt it although I can’t rule it out. I don’t think anyone with any imagination can help but be awestruck by what we are discovering about the Universe. I would be equally awed by any intelligence capable of creating such a thing. Would I want to “worship” such a being? No. I find the whole religious notion of “worship” a little odd. Would I be intensely curious about the nature of such a being – because it would be “natural” by my usage – absolutely.

  21. Mike Elzinga
    Ignored
    says:

    SeverskyP35: No. I find the whole religious notion of “worship” a little odd. Would I be intensely curious about the nature of such a being – because it would be “natural” by my usage – absolutely.

    There is no evidence that any human has ever encountered a deity or knows what deities think. All the deities we ever hear about are deities that are concocted by human imagination; every one of them has too many human characteristics to be worthy of our adoration and worship.

    The mere fact that there are people who judge and condemn others based on fealty to a particular deity is reason enough to reject the worshiping of deities.

    The practice of a religion by any given individual is an indication of their inner character and their regard for other humans and the planet. There is no evidence that suggests such regard comes from a deity rather than from a person’s culture and general mental health.

  22. Jesse
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:
    Lizzie & Blas,

    Lizzie, ‘evolutionists,’ as I mean it, are ideologues for the ideology of evolutionism. They are not simply proponents of evolutionary biology, cosmology, geology, etc. Will you confirm or deny this? As far as past experience with your categorisations, you will contend that ‘evolutionists’ are just ‘scientists,’ ideology-neutral or ideology-free, who study and promote evolutionary theories.

    Dear Gregory,

    After chasing through a few links expanding on your position, I can confirm this is your usage of the term “evolutionist.” It does, however, seem inconsistent with your usage of “scientist,” as I’ve seen nothing that suggests you promote the usage of “scientist” as an “ideologue for the ideology of scientism” in preference to a “proponent of science.”

    Can you confirm that when speaking of evolutionary biologists, cosmologists, geologists, etc., you are speaking of scientists rather than ideologues for these respective disciplines?

    As ever, Jesse

  23. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Mike Elzinga: There is no evidence that any human has ever encountered a deity or knows what deities think. All the deities we ever hear about are deities that are concocted by human imagination; every one of them has too many human characteristics to be worthy of our adoration and worship.

    The mere fact that there are people who judge and condemn others based on fealty to a particular deity is reason enough to reject the worshiping of deities.

    The practice of a religion by any given individual is an indication of their inner character and their regard for other humans and the planet. There is no evidence that suggests such regard comes from a deity rather than from a person’s culture and general mental health.

    This is my view, too, though much better articulated by Mike. Has any theist ever seriously attempted to take this argument head-on? I don’t recall, say, William Lane Craig responding to it. In his many debates, has any opponent raised it?

  24. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Regarding the question in the OP, I see StephenB at UD mentally wrestling with RDFish/aiguy over whether chance is an explanation. So far aiguy seems to be winning the debate though I could be biased.

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